Archive for August, 2007

(There aren’t many people reading this blog these days (am I becoming senile?) Those who have stuck around, please help discuss this very important issue.)

Muslims in India are very poorly represented in the upper part of the ladder of education and the upper niche of the societies due to many internal and external reasons.

Question is: what must be done to solve it and how?


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Qurratulain Hyder

I never knew about her, until Raza. And then Pakistaniat(Raza again).

My impression- she must be a Pakistani writer. (UPDATE(clarification): because there’s nothing visible in India)

Then along came 3quarksdaily. That shook me from my torpor.

Hell- 3QD is not a culture blog. It’s basically a science blog. And a very high profile one at that. If she appears there, she must be a bigshot. So I started reading the story carefully.

Surprise of surprises, she was an Indian! Omigosh, I’d never have guessed that. True, Raza spoke of Noida, but I didn’t take much notice. Probably because I wasn’t expecting her to be Indian.

Then I went to The Hindu (the newspaper. today’s editorial in it made me nauseate). Gave a search on her name to find out more. Guess what? They didn’t even publish the news that she was dead.

Why do I feel so empty? Why are my feet not steady on the ground? Is the ground there?

Lend me a light.

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The Christian Jesus

(The Christian Jesus)

This is a bit crazy post. Please pardon me.

1. The Muslim Jesus

2. The Muslim Jesus

3. The Muslim Jesus

4. The Muslim Jesu

6. The Muslim Jesus

The ITV documentary Muslim Jesus.

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The Shari’a as it is, has some flaws. It has to be adapted to the modern situation keeping the principles intact.

For example the Shari’a does not address the issue of computers and internet very coherently.

In my opinion, these laws should not be formulated by people who studied Islam just because they did not get admission into anything else. Unfortunately most of our religious scholars of that type. Another thing that strikes me most about Muslim religious leaders is their arrogance. Most of them are ‘if you’re not with me, you’re against me.

If you look at the Companions, none of them were full-time theologians who earned from his knowledge of religion. All of them depended on some profession or the other for bread. Deen was their passion.

Even right into 14th century, many of the important theologians were leading scientists, jurists and businessmen and women. Students used to be taught Science alongside the Qur’an and the jurisprudence.

I would like such people formulate the Shari’a.

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But for this post, I wouldn’t have known about the latest achievement of Shiv Sena. Why isn’t this front page?

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Happy Birthday, India


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The Fall of Muslim Spain

I read about the history of Muslim spain long time ago, but I was not very sure about how the fall came about. I think now I have a better idea.

But before I get into the history, let me recount an experience.

I was talking to an ultra-orthodox friend of mine. He told me this about Spain (Al-Andalus)- “the Muslims there were so impious that when the Christians told them to wait the Muslims did not have the ability to run or fight. The Christians came back with swords to slaughter them.

I was deeply disturbed by this account. There was no sympathy for a race that was being persecuted! There was, instead, a contempt for the sufferer (a signature of right wing mind).



It is a sad story and a shameful one for the Musilms. And a demostration of how easily unity of Ummah can fall apart.

Problem started when the Umayyad dynasty at Baghdad was overthrown by the Abbasids. A young surviving Umayyad prince named Abd-ar-Rahman came to Spain and started to rule there. The Abbasids, sure enough,did not like the development. They sent a band of soldiers to kill Abd-ar-Rahman. These soldiers were duly defeated by Abd-ar-Rahman, and he then declared Andalus independent of Baghdad.

Can you imagine what happened next? The Abbasids formed an alliance with the French kings and warlords who were fighting Muslim Andalus from the north. The Andalusians, in turn, allied with the Byzantine empire who were defending their falling empire againt invading Muslims.

Even inside Andalus things were not black and white. There were many Christians fighting for the Muslims. For the invading French, however, things were black and white. They considered Muslims as pagans and heretics who had to be destroyed.

Meanwhile Abd-ar-Rahman’s successor Abd-ar-Rahman III declared himself the Caliph of all Muslims.

This proved fatal. Succession struggle became so bitter that the empire fell into pieces of city states. Muslim Andalus never recovered from this infighting which was almost a civil war. Add to the problem- the invading French from the north.

The city states held out for about three more centuries among infighting and constant attack from the north.

In 1492, with the fall of Granada, fall of Muslim spain was complete. Then came in Spanish Inquisition, the brutality of which I better not mention, except that no less than a million books on theology, physics, chemistry, astornomy, philosophy and medicine burned.


So what do I make of the narrative of my ultra-orthodox friend? I think that the Abbasids, who were never quite friendly with the Umayyad Al-Andalus spread these rumours about Andalusian Muslims, as propaganda. I would argue that these propaganda has survived through ages.

Instead of helping the tolerant and coherent Muslim Andalus, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived side by side, they (both the Andalusian and the Baghdadi Caliphate) paved the path for inquisition and maybe even the crusades.

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