Let’s accept it.

In many cities of Pakistan, people held candle-lit vigils for the victims of Peshawar school attack. Some also left flowers by their pictures. Although we are all grieved but a new debate started if we should condemn these highly un-Islamic practices of holding candle-lit vigils.

In another news, the christian community of Peshawar declared that they will not celebrate Christmas this year to show solidarity with their Muslim fellows. A social site posted if after this, Muslims still consider it ‘haraam’ to wish a christian ‘merry Christmas’ and many replied with rather disgust that it is after all haraam to wish a christian on Christmas.

One does not have to go too deep to understand that in saving the religion, we are giving up humanity. It’s all about priorities. Looking at our priorities, it can be safely said that we are the most senseless, dumb and idiotic group of people living on the face of earth right now. Infact, we might just be making history here.

The way things are…

  In a candid discussion on a social site the topic under discussion was if men are superior to women in the context of Islam. I, personally believe that superiority of any kind, is always earned. It’s never simply bestowed on anyone. Not even in the form of one’s gender.
“I for one, do not believe in a God who does not see humans as equals, it goes against everything He says He is.”- was a comment later made by someone in person. I was asked to write a blog on this and to put the following information to clarify this topic further. I never thought I’d ever write on such a thing but it only seems right to do so.
 The Quran says: “You are members, one of another.” (3:195)
The following Hadith gives an apt description of the role of women: Men and women are two equal halves of a single unit. (Al Tirmizi)
The Quran says that men are in charge of, that is, they are ‘maintainers’ of women (4:34)-This leads to a common misconception that Islam gives a higher status to men than women. When did being maintainers become the same as being superior in status?
  An example given in Quran about the woman who was strong enough to rule was given with reference to the people of Sheba. They lived in Yemen. The famous dam of Marib made their country very prosperous and enabled it to attain a high degree of civilization. The Quran tells us that they were ruled by a woman (27:23) without disapproving of her rule. Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba was very wise and sagacious. It is an accepted principle with the commentators of the Quran that when the Quran reports something without any disapproval, that means that has been approved of. Thus the example of the Queen of Sheba having found mention in the Quran shows that rulership is not man’s monopoly. 
Of all the Qur’anic passages about men and women perhaps the one most often misunderstood or misused by both Muslims and non-Muslims is verse 34 of Surah an-Nisa. That verse is the one they all like painting wrong because it states, men are ‘qawwam’ over women. ‘Qawwam‘, they translate as superior. This made a huge confusion for a long time till it was cleared. The clarification was the addition of a bracket, which said (in responsibility) The verse begins with the statement that “men are qawwamun over women”. The root of the key word, qawwamun (pl. of qawwam), is qama which means “to stand or to make something stand or to establish something”. It is often used in the Holy Qur’an in the sense of establishing religion or prayer. A related word is qa’im which means “one who stands or makes something stand”. Qawwam is an intensive form of qa’im and has a sense of continuity in the action involved. So it means one who is continuously standing over something (as, for example, a guard or caretaker) or one who is continuously making something stand, i.e. is maintaining it. In the Qur’anic usage of qawwam and related words there is almost always present an idea of propriety. For example, aqamah of salah is not only praying but also praying properly. The function of qawwam is also understood in the Qur’an to be characterized by fairness. Thus in 4:134 and 5:8, the only other passages in the Qur’an where the word is used, the believers are told: “O you who believe! Be qawwamin with fairness…” “O you who believe! Be qawwamin for God as witnesses to fairness…” From the statement that God has favored men more than women in some ways we should not conclude, as many careless readers of the Qur’an do, that Islam views men superior to women. For this statement does not exclude the possibility that in some other ways women may be favored more than men. In the words of the Holy Qur’an: “The nobler among you in the sight of God is the more muttaqi (righteous) among you.”

a question of faith

   I have come across this notion countless times, notion of blind faith. Faith itself is a belief that does not rest on logic or any material evidence so technically, it has to be blind. I must confess that I am a slave of reason. Reason that comes within the limited area of one’s knowledge and mine is too little. Given that, I could easily have developed faith in a lot of things, but I cannot. As a child, I had always wondered why am I not a Hindu, or a Christian or even atheist for that matter? I asked one of my teachers about it and she politely, yet with an element of warning told me not to question on faith. In different words, but that’s just what everybody told me, whom I had ever asked. I then realized that its actually a taboo in our society.

   But who could have repressed the inner turmoil? I am Muslim because I have been born to Muslim parents, but that for sure is not a reason enough. And then again, the talk of blind faith. If being a good follower of my religion makes me more righteous and if that requires blind faith, then how different am I from those who practice other religions with the same intensity of regard and again with their blind faiths? All religious preachers too in general discourage the questioning on faith. If the whole thing is so blind, are we all not lost a bit?

  Its not difficult to understand why I am what I am. But, it takes guts and a lot of self exploration to understand why I am not what I am not. I discarded the idea of blind faith as it led me no where. God would not have made me ‘the best of His creations’ by giving me brains and the ability to reason if it were such a useless thing.

  So I started questioning my inherited beliefs and also started exploring a little about other religions and atheism too. I would rather not go into the details of where I stand now and how I have come to be here, but it certainly has given me a lot more satisfaction. The idea that things could be reasoned and understood – a little if not completely – is actually a much better feeling than any blind faith giving me nothing but blind prayers.

   The simple question that ‘we are what we are, but why are we not what we are not, when we could be?’ has groomed my thoughts and approach towards life on many aspects other than religion. To be concise, it has opened on me the doors of countless possibilities.

   What is good for one is not necessarily the same for another. The way of questioning and reasoning worked for me but I must not say that it should be followed by any other. But then, how can you know, unless you try it?