I have found your homepage good and attractive in colour. May God bless you.
It’s really nice to see you people doing so well on the Internet. I will be grateful if you could inform me if there is a site on “Nadwa”.
Rehan Ahmed, C-308, Zubeda Garden,
Shara -e- Faisal, Karachi-75350.
I appreciate your painstaking efforts in collecting the news of the Muslim countries.
I feel, having moved all over the world several times, that the Muslims in India know rather inadequately about Hindus and vice versa. It would be a great service if you could attempt to inform your readers about the views of other religionists and about the realities in other Muslim countries.
While complaint of neglect of Muslims is general, what is not emphasized is that there is hardly any Muslim who is professionally educated and who is not employed well. Those who have studied only in Madrassas and know not even the local language, get left out from the societal stream. When I was heading a large Government of India undertaking and wanted to appoint qualified Muslims, I could not get even one.
India has had Muslim Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chief Justices of Courts, Cabinet Ministers, Foreign Secretaries and Air Force Chiefs, Captains of Cricket, Football, Hockey Teams, Scientific advisers, IAS and IFS Officers, Army Brass, Businessmen etc.
So much for the complaint that the minorities in India are getting a raw deal. But in countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh, there is not a single Minister or Judge or anyone else of importance from the Minority Communities. Not one player in the Cricket or other teams is a member from the Minorities there. Why is it so?
When we visit Saudi Arabia, for example, we are not allowed to carry a single book on other religions. We cannot practise our religion there nor build our places of worship. In Iran, even foreigner women have to cover their heads with black cloth, the moment they enter the Teheran airport. In India, every religion is free to practise their thoughts and modes of worship.
For thousands of years, every temple in India was mutilated by misguided armies and there were even persons like Aurangzeb who deliberately destroyed the most holy temples (Kashi, Mathura and Ayodhya) and built Mosques on exactly the same spots. Would the Prophet (Pbuh) have were desecrated by the crusading Christians. Does not the very thought hurt so deeply?
I have met and interfaced with Muslims in several countries. But I have never even seen Muslims of the stature of Indian Muslims. The exposure to other beliefs have made them even more sincere Muslims while they are tolerant and understanding. Kindly bring these ideas to the notice of Muslims in our country who are not educated but perhaps get carried away by whatever is told to them.
The holy Qur’an is replete with surahs which extol the virtue of respecting the Prophets before the Pyghumber (Pbuh) the generosity with which the Prophet (Pbuh) treated the followers of other religions and even his enemies, etc. What the holy texts say and what the teacher practised may be different from what the followers (anywhere in India or elsewhere) practise.
D. Ramesh, BDA Flats, BTM, Bangalore-560076.
Maqbool Ahmed Siraj replies : It is indeed heartening to know that some of our non-Muslim brethren are keen to know the Muslims/ Islam. We do agree with you that the Hindus and Muslims have inadequate knowledge of each other. What they get to know more are the issues triggered by communal politicians.
If certain of your observations are directed towards this magazine, let us clarify that the Islamic Voice has been trying to promote understanding between various faiths. It has been consistently advising its Muslim readers indulging in grievance-minded politics. Muslims’ lack of education, mismanaged resources, wrong priorities, lopsided educational strategy, false notions of religiosity etc have all come for criticism in our editorials and various other columns insofar as we have been even accused of being overcritical of ourselves.
It is also our effort that Muslims appreciate the democratic polity, freedom of expression, secularism practised by the Indian state. All educated Muslims boldly argue with their co-religionists abroad the relative advantages they enjoy in India and the opportunities they have to rationally understand and interpret their faith before followers of other faiths. We have time and again pleaded with our Muslim readers that much of the discrimination they perceive is imaginary and could be combatted by attaining parity on educational level.
It is true that Muslims have a noticeable presence in India, especially in the fields of music, films, literature, sports etc while similar representation is not available to Hindus in two neighbouring countries i.e, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is atleast authoritatively known that minorities in Pakistan who constitute three per cent of the population, 10 seats are reserved in the National Assembly. Every government in Pakistan has at least one Hindu Minister. The First national cabinet of Pakistan had two Hindu Ministers (vide Indian Express, Madras, August 20, 1947, Page 1). During the last 50 years, at least one Cricket team player from Pakistan was a Hindu, Anil Dalpat. Hindus dominate several town municipal councils in Tharparkar district of Sind province of Pakistan. They constitute more than one-third school teachers in that district. Similarly at least two ministers in central cabinet of Bangladesh are from among Hindu Communities. Bangladesh has good many Hindu film personalities, poets, writers, journalists and bureaucrats and executives. They are well-known in West-Bengal due to linguistic affinity between two adjacent regions. While we do not hold brief for these two countries, it is advisable that they provide the representation to their minorities.
There are rewards as well as disadvantages of being a noticeable minority for Muslims in India. If some of them achieve notable positions, a great majority of them also suffers because of insecurity and communal riots. While in Pakistan, the minorities have reservation in legislatures in India, they do not have similar privilege. Muslims who constitute 12 per cent of population should in normal process have 65 members in Lok Sabha, a number they could never achieve. Indian Muslim Minority is more visible because it is larger in size and also because India is a secular state.
As for your observation regarding the mutilation of temples in India, it will be necessary to say that much of such information is concoction of a set of biased historians. Such canards serve the political designs of certain political parties. So selective instances are highlighted from the history. Aurangzeb also demolished the Shahi Jama Masjid of Qutb Shahi Kingdom in Golconda to unearth the treasure hidden beneath during his sacking operation of Golconda. His motives were political during much of his army operations. Kindly see Historian B.N. Pandey’s interpretation for Aurangzeb’s orders about Kashi’s temple. As for Mathura, the Mosque and the temple co-exist side by side even to this day. Regarding Ayodhya, nobody could prove that there ever existed a temple at the site of the now demolished Babri Masjid. The Supreme Court refused to go into the question when it was referred to it by the Hon’ble President of country. Let alone demolishing others’ places of worship, the Muslims have been directed to even shun criticising gods worshipped by people of other faiths. Pursuit of power has, however, always been responsible for such vandalism by kings and despots of various faiths. It will be wrong to attribute them to religious bigotry. None of the Muslim Moghul King performed Hajj. Guru Nanak did. Should we call these Muslim King perfect epitome of Islam or its tenets. A zealous Muslim will be concerned with performing rites of his own religion rather than demolishing others’ shrines. Guru Nanak’s gurdwara even to this day stands in Baghdad.
Saudi Arabia not only prohibits import of books of other religions it also confiscates Islamic books that do not conform to the official version of Islam followed by the Government of Saudi Arabia. Several Arab countries have allowed construction of temples for the expat labours. There are Hindu temples in Dubai and Oman. Ask any Sindhi businessman if he has suffered losses because of his being a non-Muslim in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. It is not alone Iran or Saudi Arabia that impose certain restrictions on their citizens. The United States can force any of its citizens to do compulsory military service. Boxer Mohammad Ali Clay was jailed for two years for refusing the military induction. And the US is the original home of all democratic freedoms.
We appreciate your noble sentiments regarding communal harmony, fraternity and brotherhood and endorse your views. Our destiny lies in seeking common grounds and promote tolerance. Let us reinforce these ideals rather than what other countries do with their people. Justice never demands reciprocity.
I was surprised to see a newspaper report that some Muslim leaders have suggested insurance for Hajj Pilgrims. I do not know what exactly this means? The idea is preposterous. All I can say is, no Hajee will try to take a life insurance for going to Hajj. It will affect the sanctity of the Hajj. This is a political gimmick.
Secondly, what about the Hindus going to Tirupathi, Kumbakonam or to Aiyyappan Temple, or Amarnath temple’ Sikhs going to the Golden temple, Christians to Bethlehem or Vatican etc? Why should they not be insured? India is a secular country, so why should a welfare scheme be initiated for one community only? Let there be similar schemes for all communities. Otherwise, it is all likely to be considered as appeasement of Muslims for no fault of theirs.
By M.Z. Chida, P.O.Box.No.2625, Chennai.
Every issue of your magazine makes me more eager to see the next one. The new home page makes it very easy for me to read the latest issue.
Kasim Ahmed, 985148@USA.net.
The Deputy Commissioner of Kolar has requested the Government of Karnataka to provide an alternative site in lieu of the old Tippu Sultan Mosque on Nandi Hills being taken over by the PWD.
We would be grateful if a foundation stone is laid at Nandi Hills for a new ‘Tippu Sultan Mosque’ construction. It will be the most befitting tribute to the legendary warrior and Freedom Fighter from Mysore in the 50th year of India’s independence. It may be recalled that Tippu Sultan was the only king who built a Mosque and a Temple side by side at Bangalore, Srirangapatnam and the Nandi Hills.
D.M. Liaqath, Ex. Dist Waqf Committee Member, Rly Station Road, Chikballapur-562101.
Dr. Akhtar Hussain Sajjad pleads that the words “Remember” and “Memorise” offer the same meanings and thus Sheikh Zakariya has done no wrong while translating the word Zikr as to memorise. But great divines and scholars such as Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi have interpreted Zikr as Naseehat (to learn a lesson) instead of agreeing with Sheikh Zakariya’s interpretation (Refer P.84-87 of Tablighi Nisab-Ek- Mutaala). Ulema may examine it with reference to the context of the verse 54:17.
Be united and hold up the rope of Allah for being identified as Muslims and not as Deobandi, Barelvi or Jamaati etc. The Islamic Voice has been doing well in this direction. 25
MIG, Shaheed Nagar. Agra.
It is heartening to note that Pakistan is seriously considering reduction of number of pilgrims. It will be a welcome feature if other countries also follow suit to bring the number to a reasonable level to avoid congestion and to make the pilgrimage safe and comfortable for first-timers.
S.Nazir Ahmed, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore-11.
It was so inspiring to read the relentless humanitarian work being done by Dr. Sheik Ali, former Vice Chancellor of Mangalore and Goa Universities. May his story inspire youths to join hands with him.
K.L. Vishwanathan, 46, Amar Mahal, Mumbai-89.