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SOCIAL MEDIA IS A POWERFUL PLATFORM FOR DAWAH

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By Raashid Ul Nabi Khan

Since my childhood I was having very much interest in Dawah (invitation towards Islam). But one thing was missing: a good platform. In 2009, my dream came true when I first time login to Facebook. It gave me a great opportunity to reach to non-Muslims. By the grace of Allah, the feedback from non-Muslim brothers and sisters has been excellent, so far.

Once a non-Muslim sister, Garima Yadav, said and I quote: “Hi, it feels so nice though. I do not know you that well but if you are what you write (sorry if it is offending) then I am so happy to see someone so passionate about one’s religion and giving his best shot to follow it.

 

This world needs more people like you.” May Allah grant her Hidaya to accept the beautiful religion of Islam! It reminds me the verse: Invite all to the way of Lord (Allah) with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in the ways that are best and most gracious. {Quran 16:125}. She is a research scholar at Lady Shri Ram College for women. This was the great compliment from a non-Muslim sister, though there were instances, when feedback was against also.

I believe that on Facebook, Dawah is very fast. Every time when you post an Islamic link, video or any other related information, you have to be very active to give answers to all the queries related to the post. Every time when I upload an Islamic post, I always care for its authenticity. Dawah needs good and authentic knowledge and enthusiasm. Good and authentic knowledge may be not likely to be known by the Facebook scholars but their courage, enthusiasm and their good intentions must be appreciated. It is a good Dawah tool, which must be used by all those who have authentic and good knowledge of Islam.

Now, it has been successful journey from past eight years. Alhamdullilah, I clearly remember some good discussions on my Facebook wall on topics like hijab, jihad, sects among Muslims, and other topics. They were followed by strong arguments from Muslims as well as from non-Muslims. Facebook also gave me chance to interact with prominent scholars of Peace TV like NisarNadiadwala, AssimAlhakeem, Areeb Islam etc. I believe lot of Dawah work is yet to be done, as Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Whoever hides knowledge, Allah will brand him with the branding iron from the hellfire.” [Tirmidhi]

You can invest a pretty good time on Facebook while giving Dawah. This may take a bit of your time initially, but if there is anything beneficial for the society then Inshallah, this will be a sound investment of your time. The last prophet of Islam (SAW) said:

“Balligoanniwalawaayah (Relate from me, even if, only one verse).” So, if you know one verse of the holy Quran or one Hadith, spread it. Let’s spread the word of Allah on Facebook to maintain peace, which is the need of the humanity in current times. I just pray to Allah that makes me steadfast on Islam, so that, I can serve the community in a best possible way. You have heard about various professions across the globe like medical profession, legal profession, engineering as profession etc. I will tell you something about Dawah as a profession.

Dawah means invitation toward Islam. And, it is given to non-Muslims. If you have chosen Dawah as a profession, you have certainly chosen the lengthiest, hardworking and at the same time, the most rewarding profession. Dawah can change your personality from a shy to the bold person. And, it can uplift your character. It is becoming too corporate too. You have to wear dress formally, increase you vocabulary and most importantly, you have to increase the communication skills. While doing Dawah , you have to be very humble in your approach. And, make your presentation very simple, so that, the non-Muslim can understand the holy Quran and Hadith easily. There are various forms of Dawah . One type is street Dawah. It is that kind of Dawah where group of da’ees (Muslims who invite people to understand Islam) of any particular Islamic organisation choose a place in their locality and interact with non-Muslims. These interactions are face to face and clear the misconceptions about Islam among non-Muslims.

You can also join Dawah organisation and help the community in various ways. It includes socio-economic and religious upliftment. Once you have chosen Dawah passionately, success will kiss your forehead. Dawah, you can give 24×7, at any place, any time. While giving Dawah to non-Muslims, you can choose some common topics like why Muslim women wear hijab, jihad in Islam, women rights in Islam, is terrorism Muslims monopoly, etc. These days you can give Dawah on other social networking sites like on Twitter, Google+ etc, where you can share the holy Quran and Hadith with non-Muslims. The online Dawah is fast growing. During Dawah, you have to keep certain things in mind. For Dawah, you have to be patient and humble and you have to work very hard as it needs real hard work. You have to be knowledgeable while given Dawah to non-Muslims. When you choose a topic to present it before any non-Muslim, you have to be very confident and should have in depth analysis on the topic.

Once “Hamid NaseemRafiabadi” Head of department, Islamic studies, central university of Kashmir shared with me and I quote his words: “I also subscribe to the view that we must utilise all the means of communication fb, twitter and internet to convey the true message of Islam as Islam is being misinterpreted by our adversaries and even some misguided Muslims themselves through various channels .The Prophet(SAW) has utilised all the means available during his time to convey the message of Islam at Makkah and Madinah .He went to Taif ,visited the hajj wafud at Makkah during the time of Hajj ,he stood on the mount Safa to convey Islamic message to the people ,he sent letters to the rulers ,he gave farewell sermon at Arafat by elevating himself on a pulpit and there are such scores of ways and means through which he conveyed the message .In the life of our prophet(SAW) we have the best example and we need to convey the true tawhidic Islamic message through internet media and all available channels .We have been negligent on this count and we need to mend our ways and start delivering it sooner the better.I have been Alhamdullillah for last one and half years sending Quran al Fajr posts through fb and so far I have completed 30 and most of the 29 para of the Quranic tafsir through it .But the responses of so called wayward Muslims and the followers of blind mullahs has been lukewarm .When I may write poetry or some quotations they respond quickly ,but when I send some serious Quranic portions their responses are not very encouraging .Some unscrupulous people are using this medium for fatawa against each other ,while as some spread immodesty through their postures and profile pictures and that too with Muslim names.We need to change our attitude and we have not to wait for mullahs to guide us as they are busy amassing wealth on the name of religion .Intellectuals like Brother RaashidUlNabi Khan can also play their positive role in this field of important activity of dawah.”
There are hundreds of da’ees, who work day in and day out, in order to spread truth in the light of the holy Quran and Hadith. So, brothers and sisters, what are you waiting for, start doing Dawah. If not full time, do it as part time. As you may be knowing that Dawah is compulsory for every Muslim. If you want to be best, then carry out the work of Dawah . And, you will become the best.

(The author is a Law Graduate, Masters in Political science, B.Ed and presently teaches at Iqbal Memorial Educational Institute, DrussuPulwama. He can be reached at: raashidulnabikhan.dawah@gmail.com)


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Opinion

The white man’s burden

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By Shahzad Chaudhry

When Samuel Huntington first published his thesis of ‘The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order’ in 1996, he was laughed upon.
It was thought that he was making a case for the ‘white world’ to have another enemy as big as Hitler’s Germany or the Communist Soviet Union which could give reason for it to continue to spend money on retaining its military domination of the world. That Islam, which Huntington referred to as the other side of the civilizational divide, could be one such adversary. He failed to indicate the means to such an inevitable clash still quite wrapped in conventional applications.
By 1989, capitalist democracy had vanquished pre-WWI Imperialism, post-WWI Fascism and post-WWII Communism. Towards the end of WWII, the likely victors gathered the world at Bretton Woods to sign them on to a plan to institute a global order which would run on the Western model of a ‘capitalist economy’ and a ‘democratic political system’ ensuring the ‘West’s’ centrality in a reinstituted world order. Having overcome all, it aimed to paint the world in its own colour. Francis Fukuyama, an American political scientist, sealed that stage of finality in the political evolution of the world with his book ‘The End of History and the Last Man’, published in 1992. It is probable that Huntington countered Fukuyama’s thesis through his ‘Clash of Civilisations’ riposte. Fukuyama seemed exuberant while Huntington, initially dismissed, now seems prophetic.
Soon after, in 1998, a German professor at the University of Bremen, Dieter Senghaas, wrote ‘The Clash within Civilisations’ expanding on what Huntington had proffered and building on how such intercultural conflicts may germinate within civilisations, and the means to manage such conflicts. Keep in mind, the Al-Qaeda by then was a reality and had manifested itself with attacks on some of the US interests in Africa. The years between 1998 and 2008 was a period of an exclusive and entrenched conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere of an ongoing war between those who fought in the name of Islam and the Western civilisation.
Economic depression in 2008 brought home another reality. The capitalist system suddenly seemed to have run its course. Economists like Thomas Piketty and George Soros brought home the inadequacies of capitalism which had engendered another critical divide within societies between the 99 percent ‘have-nots’ and the one percent ‘have-all(s)’. Society stood starkly divided on the upward-mobility and prosperity scale. In the US, such deprivation became more noticeable in ‘non-college going whites’, mostly belonging to rural mid-western communities. These over time became the locales where the Church and white supremacists held sway.
Europe’s societies met another consequence with similar results, with the fragmentation of the family system when fewer people got ‘regularly’ married and even fewer gave birth to children. Soon the aged and the less productive outnumbered those who could sustain them. Retaining economies with required growth inevitably needed labour which had to be imported from where such resource was in abundance. Imperatives of an economy meant inviting people of alien cultures which gave birth to multiculturalism.
The phenomenon was initially enriching but later created a crisis of identity among the natives when their cultural ethos mutated or at the very least co-existed. In the US, meanwhile, urban America moved on gorging on the richness of such multiculturalism, while rural America was left to sulk with a sense of isolation and irrelevance.
People who had migrated not only found jobs for being better qualified and more creative and thus productive, they also replaced lazy locals who neither were equipped for the kind of jobs that the information and technology based economy could offer nor were keen to match their skills to move up the ladder. They had given up on college too even as students from all over the world populated their world class universities. What you got were prosperous, hard-working and productive émigrés establishing their cultures, and natives that were unskilled, uneducated and unemployed – isolated within their own habitats bordering on reverse ghettoisation. In Europe, the migrants populated city centres in massive collectivism. Such disaggregation was only consequential.
A creeping sense of alienation and irrelevance soon became a sentiment of hate. Politicians sensed the opportunity and cashed in on it as they moved for the kill. President Trump recently questioned the right of such naturalised citizens to sit in the US Congress. His exact words were more searing. Undoubtedly then, Brenton Tarrant, the monster of the Christchurch killings, hailed Trump as the leader of a resurgent White Power. White power isn’t new; it has existed before in the shape of the Ku-Klux-Klan in the US and the Skinheads of the UK who employed racial hatred and bigotry as their currency.
Restraints of law and a sense of shared stakes borne out of prosperity in rapidly progressing economies subsumed the white supremacists’ fears into acceptable levels of inclusivity – till free-market and laissez faire economics betrayed its partial gains for a selected few. Jobs went to those who could win those corporate profits, and these weren’t the left-behind natives. This brought up latent hate.
Right-wing politics around nationalism in Western societies became the anchor around which such hate has bloomed. It has since become mutually supportive for both sides as an electorate fired by such racial passion raises a leadership which in turn supports exclusivity. The sentiment is now so pervasive that someone as successful and as emblematic of inclusive and integrated societies like Angela Merkel finds it difficult to continue in politics. Brexit in many ways is an effort to rediscover such exclusionary existence.
What must be the way out of this horrible episode of hate and bigotry as evinced in Christchurch? Or may have the making of it in so many events of similar nature spread all over Western societies? Two fundamental separations will need to be created. One, that crime too has internationalised on the back of globalised politics, economics and multiculturalism spawned by the two. It finds succour from the same protocols of connectivity which gave us an interconnected world. Cooperative mechanisms must monitor such association for timely interdiction.
Two, a sentiment of hate or reprisal must be disaggregated and dealt with remedial interventions for the different stages leading to such an eventuality. Politics may stop using hate as currency. A system of democratic governance needs to be revisited; it must revert to be more inclusive.
An economic order which can address the shortcomings of the present form of capitalism needs immediate attention. What can make the current shape of capitalism more empathetic and inclusive? Is the Chinese order the answer or will the Islamic economic model ultimately tend to the poor and the deprived? It is time to get back to Bretton Woods or Davos or Jeddah and Dubai to seek the answers before we become fodder for the next series of hate wars. It is time to replace the challenge of a clash with a dialogue between civilisations. Jacinda Ardern has showed us the way.

 
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Opinion

Poor Nation, Rich Army

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By TAHA SIDDIQUI

On March 23, Pakistan will celebrate its Republic Day with the same “zeal and fervor” as it does every year. As usual, the Pakistani military will come out in full force, with joint parades by the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy. The ostentatious marches will include a display of Pakistan’s nuclear-capable missile system, an air show, and gun salutes to local and international dignitaries present for the occasion.
The extravaganza is always broadcast live on local television channels, set to the fanfare of new propaganda songs produced especially for the event by the military’s media wing. It is rare for the public to question these theatrics—but doing so is more urgent than ever.
Pakistan is going through some serious financial turmoil. Over the last few months, Prime Minister Imran Khan has crisscrossed the globe in search of aid to shore up the economy. Before one recent trip, he even acknowledged the country’s desperation for foreign money. Meanwhile, the country’s finance minister, Asad Umar, has been busy negotiating a new bailout package with the International Monetary Fund—Pakistan has been in the care of the IMF for 22 years out of the last 30. Inflation is at a four-year high, reaching over 8 percent, and Islamabad believes that it could tick even higher.
One-third of Pakistan’s population lives under the poverty line, and the country is ranked at 150 out of 189 countries in the latest United Nations Human Development Index.
Although Pakistan’s recent economic woes are troubling, the country has faced similar pressures for years. One-third of its population lives under the poverty line, and the country is ranked at 150 out of 189 countries in the latest United Nations Human Development Index. The national debt stands at around $100 billion, while its foreign exchange reserves are a meagre $15 billion. The value of the Pakistani rupee, one of the worst-performing currencies in Asia, has dropped 31 percent since 2017.
Yet anyone watching the parade on March 23 may believe that all is well. And they certainly won’t get the impression that the military is, in fact, behind many of the country’s economic problems. But after debt servicing, the military is Pakistan’s biggest economic burden. Already, over 20 percent of the annual budget officially goes to the military, but the armed forces have been pushing for more every year. Just in the last budget cycle, it won a 20 percent hike in its yearly allocation. The actual expense of the military is even higher, but it is hidden by moving some of the expenses to other budget lines. The parliament neither seriously debates the military budget nor subjects its spending to audit. By contrast, the country spends less than 5 percent of GDP on social services like education and health care, well below the regional average.
The military mainly protects itself by keeping the threat of India alive. The two nuclear-armed neighbours have been in conflict since the partition of South Asia in 1947. The militaries have fought four wars, with three of them over Kashmir valley. Even though Pakistan initiated these conflicts, it has told the public that it was only countering Indian aggression. In recent years, Pakistan has avoided a direct war, perhaps because it lost all previous ones. But it relies on militant groups based in Pakistan to keep tensions alive. This February offered a glimpse of such dynamics at play. In turn, the Pakistani Army gets the perfect excuse for its oversized burden on the country’s economy. Like a mafia protection racket, the military creates its own demand.
But it is not just the military’s budget that is eating away at the resources of a country that it has directly ruled for half of Pakistan’s 72 years of existence. Today, the armed forces’ empire has expanded well beyond its traditional role in security. It runs about 50 commercial entities. The military’s main business arm, the Fauji Foundation, has seen enormous growth. According to Bloomberg, its assets grew 78 percent between 2011 and 2015, and it has annual income over $1.5 billion. The military-backed organization has stakes in real estate, food, and the communications industry.
It appears that the business wing of the military is expanding even more under the Khan government. Khan’s critics allege that the military backed his candidacy and now, in return, enjoys relative freedom to do what it wants. There is plenty of evidence to back those claims.
Reuters recently reported that the Pakistani Army is moving into another lucrative industry: mining and oil exploration. Khan’s government is reportedly facilitating the arrangements by giving the military preferential treatment during negotiations.
(foreignpolicy.com)

 
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Opinion

Do Muslim Lives Even Matter?

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By Apoorvanand

Just as the world was coming to terms with the horror of the attack on Muslims worshipping at two mosques at Christchurch in New Zealand, I was trying to understand the indignation that my young friend, Shah Alam, felt after news broke of Babu Bajrangi being granted bail by the Supreme Court.
What Shah Alam is trying to discern is the inability of the Supreme Court to comprehend the feeling of insecurity and vulnerability that this development would instil, not only amongst those who were Bajrangi’s direct victims but also amongst the Muslim population from Gujarat and across India. They were seeing a criminal accused of the worst crimes against humanity being granted freedom.
So can the attacks in New Zealand be treated as a crime against humanity? After all, the victims were Muslims as well, living in a particular colony, very small in number, if you compare them with the number of Muslims living elsewhere, even in Gujarat?
It is then questioned why Muslims like Shah Alam, safely ensconced in cities like New Delhi, are distressed? What is their locus standi in this case? How are they affected by Babu Bajarangi’s crimes? Are they not stretching it a bit too far?
By raising such technical objections, Bajarangi’s crimes are sought to be localised. But those raising such questions forget that the message of the Gujarat pogroms was not only intended for those physically trapped in the fire, but for all the Muslims in India – what happened in Gujarat can happen anywhere.
A young Muslim student of my university told me that someone recently subjected him to a catchphrase, “2002 phir se (2002 again)”. When confronted, the fellow student chuckled and explained that it was in reference to Modi’s re-election again, just like the people of Gujarat had returned him to power in 2002. The desire travels so far, in space and time, and yet we, who are not Muslims, tend to ignore it.
I need not go into the exploits of Babu Bajrangi, which were a part of the campaign which ultimately catapulted Narendra Modi to power.
Babu Bajrangi, foolish enough to brag about his “heroism”, was only one of the perpetrators. There were other, more shrewd, more lethal, offenders who didn’t even let their kurta get soiled by the blood of Muslims.
But maybe Babu Bajrangi was not foolish at all. Because his big talk about violence did not repel people from violence, it only drew them towards it. They experience a certain sadistic pleasure in sharing the brutality that they did not have the gratification to commit themselves. They consume and relish it. This is what they wanted to be done.
When we see the mass murderer involved in the Christchurch massacre, live streaming his act, or when we learn that the brutality on Afrazul at Rajsamad was videotaped by the steady hands of a 14-year-old, we know that Babu was not a fool at all!
The 11 men outside the special TADA courtroom in Nashik soon after they were acquitted of all charges. Credit: Special arrangement
Reading Shah Alam and the relief that old age and infirmity brought to Babu Bajrangi, my mind went to a different kind of relief, to a different type of people. This time it is Muslims who got a reprieve from the courts. Jamil Ahmed Khan, Mohammed Yunus, Yusuf Khan, Wasim Asif, Ayyub Ismail Khan, Shaikh Shafi, Farukh Ahmad Khan, Abdul Qader Habibi, Syed Ashfaq Mir, Mumtaz Murtuza Mir and Mohammed Haroon Ansari, all charged with sedition and conspiring to wage a war against the nation and plan violence against Hindus, in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, were finally acquitted of the charges.
It took only 25 years for them to walk to freedom. Freedom, still dear and yet so bleak a word, or feeling for them. 25 years is too small a period for a nation, but in the life of a mortal human, it is a huge void. To make sense of life without or with these 25 years is hard.
I will not go into their stories. I don’t want tears. Because I know that there are eyes which would remain dry even after listening to the stories of horror that they went through. There would be stony souls who would say this is a small price for keeping the nation safe.
To think that grieving is now a partisan act in our country, is a sad state of affairs.
I turn the pages of the manuscript of the book of stories, recorded by Manisha and Alimullah of the wrongs, atrocities and injustices done to Riyaz Ahmad Mohammad Ramzan, Syed Wasim Haider, Irshad Ali, Abrar Ahmad, Rajjab Ali, Dr. Fargo Anwar, Nurool Huda, Waris Sheikh, Mohammad Ilyas, Amanullah Ansari,Mohammad Husain Fazli, Ahmad Dar, Rahmana Yusuf Farooqui, Abdul Muneen who went to different jails of India. All of them were suspected terrorists. They had to sacrifice 10 to 15 years of their individual lives to make the nation feel secure.
I recall the downcast eyes and feeble voices of those young men who were released after losing 7 to 15 years of their lives to the Indian jails only because the police in India thought that for each bomb blast only Muslims can be suspected. And our courts share their feeling. My memory fails to recall their names but I can still feel the loneliness that cut them from us. It has been more than 10 years since the public hearing at Hyderabad where I met them, their mothers and grandfathers and heard them talking about the devastation that befallen them in the name of the nation and witnessed their shaking hands trying to put together the broken pieces of their lives.
As I write these lines, I hear the story of the arrest and killing of Gurfan Alam and Taslim Ansari by the police in Motihari in Bihar. While washing their bodies, their kin found marks of nails hammered into them. An FIR – sans the name of any suspect – has been registered, we are assured by the top cop of Bihar.
Just as when I was trying to understand the unnecessary fuss that Shah Alam was making over a humane gesture by the Supreme Court, I learnt that the Gujarat government is not allowing the prosecution of police officers D.G. Vanjara and N.K. Amin in the fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004.
What can the poor CBI do and what can the courts do if the governments think that the accused were, in fact, serving a just cause? Why should that make the Muslims of India feel vulnerable?
What has poor Babu Bajrangi to do with all this? How are all these events connected?
(Apoorvanand teaches at Delhi University. Source: thewire.in)

 
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