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Editorial

Farewell to Ramadan

The Kashmir Monitor

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The end of Ramadan dawns upon us as a moment of bittersweet realization. Many of us enter the holy month with the recognition of its miraculous and blessed nature, hoping to pave a path of refinement through the alleys of abstinence and consciousness of the divine. And in many ways, the end of this month is strikingly similar to its beginning.

Owing to the cyclical nature of Ramadan – matching the quintessential lunar behaviour – the end of Ramadan is in some ways a déjà vu of its beginning. Almost one month ago, worshippers in the mosque gathered beyond the usual evening prayer hours to hear of moon criers bringing news of the Ramadan moon. Heads of the house reminded us of groceries that we were too lazy to purchase, while some relied on the luxury of memories related to spending the month with family. The mood was joyous, a transformation of sorts that welcomed the moment as the much needed pit stop in a dizzying race.

As the moon flickers into distant darkness, the Muslim world is preparing to bid adieu to a month that gave so much and asked for little. Muslims across the globe will stand at the crossroads of jubilant celebration and pronounced poignancy. They will stand at the intersection of welcoming Eid-Al-Fitr and parting away with Ramadan. The blessings of this month were more generous than usual, the opportunity to do good more than ever. In times of excessive intake and consumerist fairy tales, it was moment of empathy towards those who live the realities of hunger and poverty. While the eleven months are consumed by debates on haves and have-nots, this month was a reminder of our own frailty, and the ability to overcome weakness with faith and charity before food.

 

One is often left confused about how we draw the curtains on this month. We could express overt sadness, but isn’t this in violation of Eid bringing in its joyous gifts for those who observed the month with awareness? There’s always a framework on how we prepare to enter Ramadan, but what about exiting this month in a way that does it justice?

Perhaps in this state of ambivalence lies the spirit of Ramadan. Our spiritual tradition relies, in addition to collective understanding, on our individual experiences and learning curves. The open-ended conclusion to Ramadan allows for our individual commitment to carry forward the essence of Ramadan. It’s a month that radiates the corners of darkness, the darkness that shadows our spirit at several testing points in life.

A month when the lights of a mosque are on for longest at the night is a month that inspires illumination for the days that follow. It’s the month that gave us the Book, a guidance that is ‘Light upon Light’, so that we may resist the darkness of our anxieties with the optimism of faith.

As the elders in the mosque stand poised once again to hear the moon crier, and our mothers remind us of the groceries that we still haven’t bought, the end of Ramadan will remind us of how exactly it all began. The nights will be lit with firecrackers, the streets with attractive sweets and toys, and families with glittering new clothes. But amidst all that shines, there will be a light that illuminates the brightest, the revealed light of faith and the acquired light of its inspiring benefits. And, just as we began Ramadan, we pray to be empowered by this light, and hold it against all that conspires towards darkness around us.

At the end of this blessed month we say “O Allah, forgive me. My Lord, I could have done more but I did not, so forgive me. My Lord, excuse my shortcomings and blemishes, You are indeed oft -Forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me.”

Istighfaar, or seeking forgiveness, at the end of every good deed, is the way of the righteous. We need forgiveness to patch the holes we created in our fasting due to our faults and mistakes, or at least for falling short on fulfilling the full rights of hospitality to the guest. After all, arriving with a batched record is better off than arriving with no records at all.


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Editorial

Mirwaiz sounds alarm

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Kashmir is not about political trouble alone. It is quite disturbing that grave moral issues are confronting the people of the state more menacingly than the political one. It is for this bitter truth that Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq made a departure from his usual Friday address (which generally revolves around politics and religion) last week and centered it around drug abuse. Mirwaiz said that members from cross sections of society have been informing him as well as a large number of letters he is receiving, which suggest that the menace of drug addiction is spreading far and wide in Srinagar and across the valley especially among the youth including girls. Mirwaiz made a fervent appeal to parents, teachers, Ulema, Mohalla Committees and Masjid committees to wake up to this reality and take steps in this regard. He said easy money made available to children makes access to drugs easy for them. He said parents have to take responsibility for this. Mirwaiz’s concern was equally shared by the state Governor Satya Pal Malik who appreciated him for alarming people on this subject of vital social importance. Though no definitive study has been conducted on the number of people addicted to drugs in the state, State Human Rights chief, Justice Bilal Nazki, some time back, said that 70,000 people (4000 of them woman) are suffering from this disease currently in the valley alone. Doctors and NGOs working on the subject say that the figure is much higher. The latest figures say that drug addiction cases have witnessed 100% increase in 2018 in comparison to 2016 and 17. The data says that SMHS hospital alone records 90 patients in its OPD daily. The other hospitals and state-sponsored and privately owned de-addiction centres also have disturbing inflow of drug-addict patients. Recently, a young boy in Shopian died due to overdose of drugs leaving his parents in the life’s worst grief. The boy had previously been admitted in different rehabilitation and counseling centres but in vain. It is not an isolated case. The menace of drugs is catching up in young Kashmir fast and furiously. Be it a way to fight personal crisis, means to wipe the mental scars or just a sign of being cool, a section of youth in Kashmir have fallen into the net of drugs. Charas, brown sugar, cocaine, cannabis, psychotropic drugs et al are the new weapons of mass destruction for the youth. Cannabis, though illegal, is cultivated locally on vast swaths of agriculture land in Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, Bandipora, Kupwara and Baramulla districts. Reports of connivance between the officials of concerned government departments and the cultivators are sometimes stated as a cause of cultivation of this formidable drug. What is more disturbing is that drug peddlers have found their way in the most sensitive areas of our society. They have by now entrenched themselves into spaces of educational institutions as well. Some lower rung employees of educational institutions are reported to be in involved in trafficking of drugs in colleges and schools. Easy access to drugs and uncontrolled activities of drug peddlers are reported to be the main contributing causes of this insidious phenomenon.  The most worrying part is that there is little effort on the part of the concerned people in the administration to curb the menace. A few years back union ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched a scheme under which financial assistance is being provided to the states for prevention of the drug abuse. However, Jammu and Kashmir has benefited least from the scheme so far. In this context Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s alarming message must awaken the society as well as the government equally.  It needs a comprehensive and joint campaign by all sorts of political and religious leaders. There are dozens of social and religious organizations, which owe moral obligation towards people to educate them on this issue.  The mainstream political parties too cannot shirk from their responsibility. They are a part of this society, and they should also come forward to build society on strong moral values. The government’s responsibility is more than anyone else. It is the primary duty of the government to guard society against all kinds of debauchery and decadence.

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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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