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Adhan: The Muslim call to prayer

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One of the most characteristic — and stirringly evocative — symbols of Islam is the adhan ((literally meaning “announcement,”, also called in Turkish: ezan), the Arabic call to prayer, dramatically intoned in a resonant cadence by a muezzin (Arabic muaddin, prayer caller) who summons the faithful to prayer, traditionally by climbing to the top of a minaret to issue his call. There is also a tradition of reciting adhan into the ear of a newborn. The root of the word is adhina, meaning “to listen, to hear, and be informed about”. Another derivative of this word means “ear”. To summon worshippers, the Jews use a trumpet and the Christians use a bell, but the Muslims use the human voice.

Prophet Muhammad’s mace-bearer and steward, Bilal ibn Rabah, an Egyptian Negro, was the first muezzin to call the adhan at Mecca. The adhan was originally a simple “Come to prayer”, and Bilal would roam the streets to remind people about prayer time. After the emigration of the Prophet and his followers from Mecca to Medina, a companion of the Prophet named Abd Allah ibn Zaid had a vision in which he tried to buy a wooden clapper to summon people to prayer. But the man who had the clapper advised him to call out to the people instead and to intone a short message. Ibn Zaid went to the Prophet with his story and he, while approving it, told him to ask Bilal, who had a marvellous voice famous for majestically sonorous renditions of the Qur’an , to perform the task. The sonorous cadence continues to stir 1.6 billion Muslims, from Morocco to Jakarta, five times a day: “Come to prayer. Rise up to your welfare!” And in the last hours of darkness just before dawn: “Come to prayer. Rise up to your welfare. For prayer is better than sleep.”

Responding to this call, praying in the mosque, and making the pledge to God is the only thing need to become a Muslim. At this point one crosses over from Dar ulHarb, the house of the pagan, into Dar ul Islam, and the house of Islam (submission). This is a very simple exercise. The emphasis is on not making a verbal mistake rather than on believing something. The prayer carpet is carried by the Muslim when he travels abroad. At the times of prayer, he will determine the direction of Mecca, roll out his prayer carpet, and say his prayers to Allah. Muslims are instructed to turn to the Kaaba shrine in Mecca during prayers.

 

The words of the adhan succinctly embody the basic principles of Islam and its teachings. The standard adhan can be translated as: “Allah is most great. I testify that there is no god but Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. Come to prayer. Come to salvation. Allah is most great. There is no god but Allah.” The first phrase is proclaimed four times, the final phrase once, and the others twice, the worshippers making a set response to each phrase.

With no fixed melody or meter, the sound of adhan is a function of certain linguistic features. Long vowels occur in the last words in most phrases of the adhan, and these can often be melismatically extended, while the timbre of adhan is influenced by the pronunciation of various letters in Arabic.

Adhan literally means ‘announcement’, and in the Shari’ah it means the announcement made in specific words at the time of salat. It was introduced in the first year of the Hijrah at Madinah. The cause of its introduction, in the opinion of the Imamis, was that Gabriel came down with the adhan in a message from God to the Prophet (S). The Sunnis say that ‘Abd Allah ibn Zayd saw a dream in which he was taught the adhan by someone. When he related his dream to the Prophet (S), he approved it.


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Editorial

The quest for truth

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“Truth”, is a slippery term. In theology, it has at least one clear meaning: What is revealed in sacred scriptures is by definition true, and theological argument can proceed on this sound foundation — at least among those theologians who share faith in that particular revelation. Science, however, does not have such a starting point. Popper stressed the now widely accepted view that science can never achieve truth but it can make and then test assertions that are falsifiable. If a theory survives numerous and varied attempts at falsification, one can have a degree of confidence in the reliability of that theory over a broad range of phenomena. Moreover, if a statement is inherently not falsifiable (for example, “God is just”), it cannot be a scientific statement.If a scientific theory cannot be “true”, can it at least be “correct”? Certainly, in the sense that it accounts for a range of phenomena with good accuracy and can be used to predict the outcome of previously unknown events. Scientists, in contrast to philosophers of science, do not worry too much about this point. Given a particular problem, it is usually pretty obvious to the skilled investigator which theory will yield a satisfactory solution.
Truth has many aspects. Infinite truth has infinite expressions. Though the sages speak in diverse ways, they express one and the same Truth. The Absolute Truth is one. God is One; The Uncaused Cause of all creation. The God wom we worship is not an exclusive God: He is your God, as well as mine, theirs as well as ours. He is the Lord of the Worlds to any person, of any faith.There are innumerable definitions of Allah (God) because His manifestations are innumerable. And beyond doubt, we are more than our bodies. There is more to our earthly life than just surviving, existing, and running after ephemeral matters.
A true sustainable fulfilment, meaning and purpose can only be attained, if we rediscover, and live by the Truth of what the universe so clearly, vividly and unceasingly declares within, and surround us. Allah’s Grace, and Beneficial Guidance is not a racial, social, gender, and family privilege. Each individual must earnestly strive for that Eternal Bliss. Our individual or collective success or failure, prosperity or bankruptcy, peace and fulfilment, or suffering, and destruction depend upon one’s reverence and alignment with Allah’s (God’s) Beneficial Guidance. And although Allah is invisible in this realm of existence, He has left innumerable evidences of His Reality through which people can know, be inspired and empowered by Him; if they only look.
There are 7 universal stages and gateways/platforms for creating a clearer and better “Fundamental Understanding” in recognizing the Truth about; our Creator, our birth right, authentic nature and true identity, purpose and mission as we journey through this probationary stage of our earthy existence into the eternal reality of life as in Allah’s (God’s) Presence. Much of the universe remains undiscovered, and we still have a lot to learn … yet they all point to Unity!
A conscious and introspective look at the marvels of universe; from the smallest subatomic particles to the vast expanse of multiverse (from the inner universe within each individual to the outer universes within creation) – their delicately complex and infinitely precise, balanced order, universal harmony and unity of design, reveals, glorifies, testifies, declares, and points towards the existence of “One Magnificent, Transcendent, Omnipresent (present everywhere), Omnipotent (unlimited power) and Lovingly Supreme Creator”.
Allah’s creation could be just called nature by those who don’t believe in Allah. Allah’s prophets as bearer of good news and excellent exemplars could be called just fictional stories from the past – BUT what about a PERSPICUOUS, LIVING MIRACLE as a Clear Evidence for Allah’s (God’s) Existence and His Loving Guidance with no statements of, “you just have to believe”?
Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer the proof that the Quran is the Universal Living Miracle and the Clear Evidence and True Words of Allah, The Lord and Sustainer of the worlds. Every thought, word and action has the potential to take us closer to, or further from Allah. Learn, Understand, Apply and Align, Share and Elevate towards Allah’s Nearness!
“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who are conscious of Allah, righteous, and those who avoid evil.” ~Quran 2:2

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A premeditated murder

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Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president who was later ousted from power, passed away on Tuesday. The 67-year old Muslim Brotherhood leader collapsed and died in a court during a session. Reports said that Mursi had just recorded his statement in the court during his trial on espionage charges when he collapsed. He was rushed o hospital where doctors declared him dead. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice political party said in a statement published on its website Monday that Egyptian authorities are responsible for Morsi’s “deliberate slow death” because they “withheld medication and gave him disgusting food. They did not give him the most basic human rights.” The group called for masses to gather at his funeral in Egypt as well as at Egyptian embassies around the world. Morsi was elected president in 2012 in Egypt’s first free elections following the ouster the previous year of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak. Morsi promised a moderate Islamist agenda and a new democratic era, but his time in power proved difficult, with critics accusing him of trying to amass power and impose the Muslim Brotherhood’s conservative brand of politics on the country. He was ousted from power under a military coup. Egypt’s army chief Gen Al Sisi led the coup. He is now the country’s president elected through sham elections which is o less than authoritarian rule. The country’s complete reversion to authoritarian rule has been overlooked by the world community. The United States, once a full-throated supporter of Egypt’s fledgling democracy, quietly acquiesced to the country’s authoritarian revival. Then President Barak Obama lifted an arms freeze against Egypt and told Al-Sisi that the White House would support resuming $1.3 billion in annual military aid “in the interest of U.S. national security.” American stooges, the Saudi Salafies and United Arab Emirate were other accomplices involved in criminality against Mursi, his Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian people. Saudi Kingdom, which symbolizes the monarchy in the region, has shown its horrendous face by not only supporting the carnage of Brotherhood but also declared the socio-political organization as ‘terrorist”. Egypts so-called Salfis, who feed on Saudi charity, too have rejoiced over the brutality against Brotherhood. What they and the West forget is that by persecuting and banishing dissent, they are forcing democratic movements to go underground and become violent.
More than 5000 people were killed and thousands others wounded in the military crackdown against Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Thousands others were arrested and jailed where they were subjected to worst means of torture. Amnesty International (AI), in a report said that 16000 people were arrested and jailed after Mursi’s removal. Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights initiative WikiThawra stated that more than 40,000 people were detained or indicted between July 2013 and mid-May 2014. Morsy and his co-defendants were accused of collaborating with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah to break into several prisons across Egypt in January 2011 and of facilitating the escape of Morsy and 20,000 others. The jailbreak came amid the chaos of the January 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak and led to Morsy’s election the following year. After his arrest, Morsi gave angry speeches in court and continuously insisted he remained Egypt’s legitimate president. His speeches led judges to order him kept in a glass cage during court sessions where they could turn off his audio. He was later sentenced to death. However, the apex court of the Egypt stayed the death sentence and ordered re-opening and re-hearing of the case. Turkey’s President RecepTayyipErdogan, who was a strong ally of Morsi when he was in power, paid tribute to the former president on Monday calling him a “martyr,” while calling current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi “cruel.” Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani, another backer of Morsi, tweeted his condolences, saying he received the news of Morsi’s death with “deep sorrow.”

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Editorial

Governor’s plain talk

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Merely a few days after Governor Sat Paul Malik dismissed the notion of autonomy as achievable goal, the National Conference has reiterated its commitment with the state’s autonomy and said that the party would continue to struggle for the restoration of autonomy. After party patriarch Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah, the NC general secretary Al Mohammad Sagar has joined the party’s autonomy song. Sagar, on Sunday, said that his party was not demanding anything new or outside the gambit of India constitution but what the state had been granted under the country’s constitution. The NC’s call for restoration of autonomy comes just with days after Governor Sat Paul Malik called the proponents of such slogans as “fraudsters cheating people”. Malik minced no words in condemning the political establishment of the state (both anti and pro mainstream) and said that Kashmiri politicians were cheating the people of the state by raising fake slogans. The NC’s reiteration of commitment with the autonomy comes at a time when the party is almost in election-mode. Though no date has been fixed for the assembly elections and the President’s rule has been extended for another six months, there are speculations that the assembly elections could be held by the end of this year. After winning all the three parliamentary seats in the valley in recently held general elections, the NC is dreaming of a great comeback in the assembly elections. The party has activated all its leaders and cadres to reach out to the people ahead of elections. In most of the constituencies, the party has nominated its possible candidates while search for candidates in other constituencies is going on. There are reports that the NC is trying to woo some PDP leaders and former MLAs to its fold to make most of the coming elections. In coming days, the party is going to raise its pitch on restoration of autonomy to the state. analyzing Governor’s dig on the NC with regard to the autonomy, one finds a merit in his statement.
It is a well known fact that the restoration of autonomy or pre-53 position to the state is an old demand of the National Conference but this, too, is a fact that the party had never been serious and sincere about the demand. Whether autonomy is a solution to the issue of Kashmir or not is a separate debate but the very question is whether National Conference (NC) is serious in what it demands. Had the NC leadership been sincere in their demand for pre-53 status to the state, the eruption of militancy had provided them a great chance to barter it with New Delhi. Government of India was desperate to ink a deal with any political party in Kashmir to get the state back on peace rails. Then Prime Minister Narsimha Rao in 1996 promised ‘anything short of Azadi’. “Sky is the limit”, he had said. But the NC leadership again faulted here and they accepted power against the wishes of common people without making any political or constitutional bargaining with government of India. The most humiliating moment for the party came in 2000 when its resolution on autonomy was summarily dismissed by then BJP-led government. The resolution was passed by the state legislature in a specially convened session in June that year. Given the NC’s history of compromises on its political agenda it sounds quite bizarre when its leaders talk of autonomy. The NC never talks of autonomy when in power. That is sufficiently known to the people of the state and the men and managers in New Delhi as well. It is sheer political hypocrisy to demand a thing the party does not believe in. The NC leadership knows it well that the party was never serious in demanding autonomy. They raise the slogan of autonomy only to bargain power with the centre.

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