Sunday, February 18, 2018

The deniers of hadith or Munkar e Hadith

 Munkar e hadith is a popular term among Muslims. It is used to label an individual or a group accused of denying the validity of the hadith or the saying or action of the Prophet. Hadith means words or sayings or an action of Prophet Muhammad. The purpose of applying this term to an individual is primarily to invalidate any argument that is being raised about the legitimacy of a statement attributed to the Prophet. It is a weapon that is often used to stifle the argument of anyone who questions the prevailing opinion among Muslims as promoted by their schools of thought. You may have heard the expression commonly applied to certain individuals or to groups to ostracize them and to invalidate their opinions on any issue.
Take for example the following statement attributed to the Prophet Abd Allah ibn al-Samit said: Abu Dharr said: Allah's Messenger -- Allah bless and salute him! -- said: "When one of you stands in prayer, what definitely constitutes a barrier for him is an object placed in front of him of the same height as the back of a camel-saddle. If it is not in front of him and of the same height as the back of a camel-saddle, then some [stray] donkey, or some woman passing, or some black dog will cut off his prayer." I said: "O Abu Dharr! What is it that makes a black dog different from a red or yellow dog?" He replied: "O dear cousin! I asked Allah's Messenger -- Allah bless and salute him! -- the exact same question. He said that the black dog is a devil."
(Sahih Muslim, Book, 4, No, 1032) 
According to many people anyone who questions the validity of this hadith can be termed as denier of the hadith or munkar e hadith.
Interestingly in the same book of Sahih Muslim, four hadith later, a statement is attributed to one of the wives of the Prophet.  "Urwa b. Zubair reported: 'A'isha asked: What disrupts the prayer? We said: THE WOMAN AND THE ASS. Upon this she remarked: IS THE WOMAN AN UGLY ANIMAL? I lay in front of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) like the bier of a corpse and he said prayer.  (Sahih Muslim, Book, 4, No, 1037) 
Sahih Bukhari also includes a similar hadith in his collection: Narrated 'Aisha: The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away. for I disliked to face him." Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 9 :: Hadith 490
Apparently the mother of the believer is questioning the validity of this statement and saying that the Prophet could not have said it because his practice was different from this statement.
Can she be described a denier of the hadith? Can anyone say that the mother of the believer did not know her faith properly? Can any one say that she was acting  on the commands of feminists of her time? Can she be accused of pursuing a Jewish or Christian agenda? No, not many would have the courage to even raise such issues. 
This hadith and the response of the mother of the believers summarizes the debate on Munkar e hadith.
Like the mother of believers, there are millions of Muslims now who know their religion, as they have gone through the vast literature produced by Muslims throughout the centuries and who have questions about not just one but several statements attributed to the Prophet. They are sincere in their commitment to the divine guidance. They care about their faith and they genuinely believe that silencing people or ignoring their questions, will only create more confusion.
There have always been people who looked at such statements and responded to them according to their ability. For instance the six canonized compilers of hadith, namely, Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Abu Dawood, Imam Nasai, Imam Ibn Maja and Imam Tirmidhi (Before the inclusion of Ibn Maja, it was Imam Malik's muwatta that was part of the six most accurate books on the statements of the Prophet) had access to some 2.3 million statements of the Prophet. But all of them included only 23 thousand in their collections. Even in the 23,000 they collected, only a few thousands seems have commonalities either in the text or in the meaning. Can anyone call them munkar e hadith. Obviously, they were the deniers of overwhelming majority of the ahdaith they had access to. The selection of the collected statement was not divinely revealed. It was the outcome of the human efforts that they put in constructing a a methodology to verify the statements as much as one can.
So, essentially, one can look at their methodologies and choose the one that he or she feels makes better sense Almost of the six compilers and many hundred more who worked on hadith literature, had differing methodologies in their work.
They were first formally grouped and defined canonical by Ibn al Qaisarani in the 11th century, who added Sunan Ibn Maja. Since then, they have enjoyed near-universal acceptance as part of the official canon of Sunni Islam. 
  • In the Sunni Islam the six canonical work are, Sahiah al Bukhari, Sahih Musli, Jamia Tirmidhi, Sunan Nasai, Sunan ibn Maja and Sunan Abu Dawood. However, Malikis do not accept Ibn Maja part of the six canonical work. They include al Muwatta in those collections.
  • The Twelver Shia sext has four hadith collections: Kitabul al Kafi, ManLa Yahduruhu al FAtih, Tahdib ul Ahkam and Al Istibsar.
  • The Ibadi sect has Tartib al Musna as their book of hadith.  .
  • The Ismailis use the Daim al Islam as hadith collections.
Obviously, the compilers of the statements of the Prophet happen to be the first ones who rejected many because they did not fulfill their self determined criterion  Even before the emergence of these compilers there were companions including the scholarly ones and the Caliphs who even chastised people who were reporting the unverified statements of the prophet.
No Muslim can ever deny the fact that in his 40 years of life as a prophet, the Prophet did not utter a single word or instruction or explanation other than the verse of the Quran. No one argues that the Prophet did not address people on different occasions. Similarly, no one can ever say that everything that the Prophet did and say was recorded during his life time by the companions who had also obtained his verification for their written or memorized words.
For instance, the number of ahadith narrated through the family of the Prophet such as his wife Khadija whom he lived for almost 28 years or his four daughters is far less than the number of ahadih attributed to some companions who have been mentioned as the main source of ahadith.
From the second year of Hijra until he left this world, the Prophet must have given at least 400 plus Friday sermons. Yet we do not have more than 50  and their accuracy has often been disputed by scholars themselves. About the first Friday sermon given by the Prophet, there are two opinions Imam Qurtubi reports one version and Imam ibn Qayyim al Jauzi offers a different version.
Thus many Muslims believe that not everything that was said by the Prophet was either written down or memorized. The closest of the Prophet did not report much about his instructions and style of life. None of the companions approached the Prophet for his seal of approval of what they had written or memorized. The companions wrote down the Quran and memorized it with full concentration as they were asked to do.
However, the Quran makes it clear that nothing should be attributed to Allah and his messenger unless it is true. Muslims believe that the Prophet ensured in his life time that every word that God revealed upon him was preserved in writing in his life time. But his statements were not. Thus, many Muslims believe that despite the presence of the canonical work and other books of ahadith, people have to be extra cautious when dealing with such statements. They suggest the best way to determine their accuracy is not only the chain of narrators and their integrity but also the relationship of the statement with the Quranic dictates. If the statement is in the context of the Quranic verse and it elaborates or explains within the Quranic context, then its validity and accuracy is proven, but if it questions the Quranic statement, then it must not be used for making any decision or argument that that impacts individual or social life,
They do not deny the fact that the Prophet did not leave instructions for his followers. But they say that not every word of what he said was preserved and approved by him in his life time. They do not deny the hadith, rather they argue to have stricter and logically sound methodology to determine the accuracy of the statements attributed to the Prophet.
On the other hand there are people who say, that all the research and all the work has already been completed by the scholars living from 7th to 11 centuries.Their logic defies the Quran that ask human beings including the believers to be in constant search of signs of Allah. This verse of the Quran places emphasis on continuous research and by saying that all answers have been given and all issues have been resolved, they are only challenging God and his wisdom. So please be careful when you use the term munkar e hadith.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Slavery, Polygamy and Muslims
by Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Slavery is mentioned in at least twenty-nine verses of the Qur'an, most of these are Medinan and refer to the staus of slaves. The verses are largely restricted to manumission and sexual relations. The Qur'anic references to slavery mainly contain broad and general propositions of an ethical nature rather than specific legal formulations.
The Quran used the slavery in the past-tense in the Quran, thus signalling only those individuals who were already enslaved at the time of revelation. This meant  that slavery was never compatible with the commandments of the Quran and was in fact outlawed by Quranic Law.
The Qur'an recognized the practice of inequality between master and slave and the the then norms about the rights of the former over the latter. But the Quran stated that from a spiritual perspective, "the slave has the same value as the free man, and the same eternity is in store for his soul.
The Quran urged kindness to the slave and recommended their liberation by purchase or manumission. The freeing of slaves is recommended both for the expiation of sins and as an act of simple benevolence. It exhorted masters to allow slaves to earn or purchase their own freedom.
The Qur'an, however, did not consider slaves to be mere chattel; their humanity was directly addressed in references to their beliefs, their desire for manumission and their feelings about being forced into prostitution and forced labor. In one case, the Qur'an referred to master and slave with the same word, rajul. Later interpreters presumed slaves to be spiritual equals of free Muslims. For example, verse 4:25 urged believers to marry 'believing maids that your right hands owned' and then stated: "The one of you is as the other," which the Jalaalayn interpreted as "You and they are equal in faith, so do not refrain from marrying them." The human aspect of slaves was further reinforced by reference to them as members of the private household, sometimes along with wives or children.
The purpose was not to promote or sustain slavery but to eliminate it completely. It took Muslims some 1400 years to realize this intent and now the slavery is completely banned in all countries including the Muslim majority countries.
On the issue of having multiple wives, there is only one verse in 
the Quran in which polygamy is mentioned.  "And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you - [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one - or [from among] those whom you rightfully posses. This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course." (Surah an Nisaa - Women, 4:3).
This reference to polygamy, or having multiple wives, was discussed as a response to a specific social situation of war-torn society in seventh-century tribal Arabia, The purpose was not on multiplicity of wives but on social justice in the context of the social structures prevalent at that time.
Polygamy was meant to be viewed as a component of justice in the treatment of widows and it was mainly to offer fair care to orphans. Its functional purpose was to allow widows and orphans to be taken care of in a social structure in which women usually did not have independent means of financial support and orphans did not have any legal status to exist as responsible beings. 
But the text  was clear that polygamy was only permissible if all wives were treated justly. But the Quran warned that it would not be possible for a husband to treat all of his wives fairly. This effectively eliminated the possibility of polygamy tin practical terms.  
If we look at the verse in details we find that it talks of dealing with justly with orphans, and is directed towards their male guardians who might assume their guardianship. Marriage to female orphans was only suggested only if the guardian feared that he would not be able to carry out his duties  honestly. It was personal and ethical issue. The assumption was that marriage to the orphan would give him a greater stake in managing the financial responsibility  towards her. It did not say that all male guardians must marry their female wards. 
The verse also emphasized justice towards the wives as well. As the Quran said: "And it will not be within your power to treat your wives with equal fairness, however much you may desire it;  and so, do not allow yourselves to incline towards one to the exclusion of the other, leaving her in a state, as it were, of having and not having a husband. But if you put things to rights and are conscious of Him-behold, God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace" (Surah an Nisaa- Women, 4:129)
Thus monogamy is the rule for marriages and polygamy is not relevant in our world today because there are alternative venues available to secure justice.
The irony is in our inability to look at the Quranic verses in a consistent and relevant manner. While, practicing slavery for almost 1400 years legally, we have declared it illegal and un-Islamic today but on polygamy, despite the Quranic emphasis on equality and justice and having one wife, we still support and find justification for it. It is this practice that the Quran is opposed to. It clearly states that the divine guidance must not be used to serve the interests of a specific group, gender or race

Friday, February 9, 2018

Non-Denominational Muslims and the Five Pillars of Islam

by Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Do non-Denominational Muslims practice a different form of Islam? How do they pray or fast or perform Hajj? How do they give their zakat? Where do they draw inspiration from? Who is their spiritual and religious leader? Whose books they read? Do they participate in Muslim activities organized by various groups? What is their view on various Muslim organizations such as Jamat Islami, Tableeghi Jamat, Ikhwanul Mslimeen or Islamic Circle of North America or Islamic Society of North America or Muslim American Society etc? Do they have any syllabus to follow? Do they have any specific masjid they go to offer prayers?
These any many other similar were the questions many asked after reading the first article on Non-Denominational Muslims? Perhaps, some people think that like many existing sects or groups, Non-Denominational Muslims have their own group, faction, masjid or organization. Far from that, the idea behind the Non-Denominational movement is to break down the barriers that factionalism and sectarianism have created over the centuries. It is rooted in the idea that individuals can understand the divine message and act in a responsible manner towards their faith and fellow human beings without dividing themselves in any organization.
They do not believe in the false division of Shias and Sunnis. They view this division outdated and harmful. Their basis to evaluate history are those Quranic values that promote peace and justice. They do not want to live in the past to carry on the age old differences of their predecessors. They view them as unique individuals in the continuity of human history with the aim of progressing. They recognize the injustices done by Muslims to each other in the past, but they believe that the best way to deal with them is to move forward for peace and justice without any division.
They believe more in principles than historical precedence. They do not believe in the divine guidance is something static and stagnant but as something progressive. There are certain essential divine guidance that must always be the hallmark of those who believe in divine mercy. In their view, the most essential task for any human being is to have full commitment to peace and justice with total dedication to God.
In their views all juristic differences are created by human beings based on their own views of the divine message. One should live with those difference as long as they do not change or challenge the essence of the divine faith. They believe Islam as the manifestation of the divine will and guidance as revealed to human beings through human history through difference languages and cultural idioms.
They do not believe in the superiority of a nation or a group or individual. 
When it comes to prayers, they do not insist that their individual way is the only way to seek perfection. They acknowledge and accept anything that is substantiated by the Quran and Sunnah as well as by human intellect within the context of their time.  How should one fold or unfold their hands during the prayer is not a bone of contention among them. Whether Surah Fatiha was recited behind Imam or not is not an issue for them. They believe that Allah knows the intention and actions of individuals and human beings should not interfere in these affairs.
Fasting is from dawn to dusk in normal circumstances. However, when the days are almost 23 hour long or in situation where the sun does not set for six months they believe that individuals, collectively or individually can determine the length according to their social and personal circumstances.
For zakat, they leave it to individuals to donate from their savings to the state or to individuals or charitable organizations.
They believe that the Hajj or umra are to be performed based on one's financial and physical conditions to experience the unity of the ummh and the dedication to Allah.
They do not identify with any Muslim organization because in their view every individual in any work of the community upliftment must be appreciated. Each organization has its own strength and weakness. However, organization's work need to be viewed in the context of the divine message and prophetic guidelines. They view that the Quran's message was essential to bring about changes in human society for the betterment of all based on strictly non violence. They take the Quranic mandate of no compulsion in religion seriously. Those who work for Islam and believe in Islam must adhere to the principle of change through non violence. They also believe that religious loyalties cannot be the basis for social and cultural biases. Humanity is one and God has created a pluralistic society and God's will must be respected. They believe that dignity is the essence of human existence and any organization that discriminate people on the basis of their view of the divine or commitment to him or rejection of God is betraying the divine call for the unity of humanity.
In this world the struggle of human being is to maintain the equilibrium so that people may feel secure and safe regardless of the views they believe. People cannot be intimidated to believe in any idea or to reject any.
Non-Denominational Muslims believe in dialogue and resolving human differences or living with those differences peacefully through dialogue and consultation. They believe that human sufferings cannot be divided based on people's religious identity. Issues such poverty, malnutrition, helpless, diseases, injustices and violence impact every human being that experience them regardless of their religious or ethnic background. They believe that as Muslims it is their responsibility to work with the rest of the world to overcome these problems so that they could help create an environment conducive for peace and justice.
They believe in serving humanity without any barriers. A needy and poor or the victim of injustice must be treated with utmost care and concern regardless of the faith or no faith he or she belongs to.
They are concerned about protecting their environment as they believe that human beings in their attempts to master the nature must refrain from adopting policies that would harm the universe in any form or shape. They do not believe in fiscal policies that cause disparities and deprive people to earn legitimate frutis of their labor. 
In their views, Non-Denominational Muslims do not believe in patriarchy or a male dominant society. They believe that only through positive contribution by both men and women and through interaction within a well defined moral and social framework they can build a humane and decent society.
Their frame of reference are the divine guidelines that in their scriptures remind them that their relevance to the world is based on their usefulness and contribution to the humanity and in their contribution to everything good regardless who is behind that goodness.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

NDM, Non-Denominational Muslims

by Dr. Aslam Abdullah

A growing number of Muslims, especially in the US and Canada, now identify with an Islam that is non denominational. They can simply be called Muslims, however, if anyone wants to distinguish them as a separate category, they may be described Non Denominational Muslims or NDM.
Who are they and what do they believe in?
They, like rest of the Muslims, believe in monotheism, finality of the prophethood and in the day of resurrection. They accept the Quran as the last divine testament or message. They believe in the concept of permitted and not permitted as defined by the Quran and sunnah. They believe in the sunnah of the Prophet as is spread throughout the Quran and those statements of the Prophet that are essentially substantiated by the divine guidance. They believe in the divine gift of intellect to understand the Quran and sunnah in the context of their circumstances and changing situations.
They do not identify with either sect because they believe that Islam's initial and eternal call was and is for the unity of believers. They do not identify with with schools of though or madhhab or maslak as they believe that all schools have an abundance of good in their proclamations. They do not discard the rich intellectual heritage left by scholars but they make a clear distinction between the Quran, Sunnah and the opinions of scholars. They do not view such opinions as binding and final.
They believe in prayers, fasting, zakat, and Hajj as explained in the Quran and explained by the Prophet. They benefit from the accumulated knowledge left for posterity by the scholars without having their allegiance to any single of them. They respect all regardless of their distinct identity for their scholarship, sincerity and dedication.
They believe that the Prophet and his personality offer the role model to Muslims and others and consider him and other prophets a direct link between the divine message and changing human circumstances.
They do not believe in dividing the ummah in shia, sunni sects or Maliki, Hanbali, Hanafi Shafai and Imamiya factions They believe that time has come to break down the barriers that Muslims have structured over centuries and work for the unity of Muslims based on the Quran, sunnah and human intellect.
Their major differences with denominational Muslim groups focus on few major issues. These are, human dignity, human rights, equality of gender, rule of law, freedom of expression, rights of non-Muslims and adaptation to the changing circumstances. They do not accept the dominant position taken by all sects that apostasy is a crime punishable by death. They see no relevance of blasphemy law in Islam. They stand for the equality of gender with rights and duties for both men and women in a proportionate manner. They advocate responsibility of human beings towards each other without any discrimination against anyone. They do not believe in any act of violence to achieve their theological freedom and religious rights as well as injustices against them. 
They argue that the rule of law should be supreme ensuring that divine laws pertaining to the unity of humanity are not violated. They argue that non-Muslims are equal citizens of the world and their rights must be protected the same way as the rights of Muslims. They do not believe in promoting a state that exclusively serve the interests of Muslims only or give them a dominant position to the negligence of others. Above all, they believe that the divine guidance empowers them to make a clear distinction between the message that is permanent and the message that was relevant to the seventh century Arabia. They believe the intent of the divine guidance was to help people overcome their differences and live peacefully with their differences without any coercion.
The non denominational Muslims view the entire universe as a manifestation of divine will without any division of worldly and religious sciences. They advocate a knowledge that helps people to understand, explore and conquer the forces of nature to create a better world for all human beings.
They do not believe that human beings are an image of God. They consider God the supreme and all His creation subordinate to Him.
They believe in the ability of human beings to do good and to join efforts to eliminate injustices and biases that race, culture, language, ethnicity, geography, or status have created. They believe that slavery has been abolished once for all and they stand for people's right to self determination based on the principle of justice and peace.
They do not divide human societies into majority and minority communities because in their view justice is the essence of human existence and the ultimate act of worship as it would ensure that the dignity and rights of every human beings are secured.
It is this non denominational approach that is being questioned and challenged by the well entrenched sectarian and factional leadership because such an approach has the seeds to eliminate the role of clergy or the so called spokespersons of God empowering the people to have direct stake in the faith they believe is the straight path to their success in this world and the hereafter. The non denominational Muslim movement is a mass movement under the leadership of the Quran, the Prophet and human intellect. It has no organization and it has no single spokesperson. It is this movement that has the potential of bringing out monumental change in the way Muslims practice their faith and the manner the world view Islam. The movement will succeed because it alone can lead Muslims to the divine guidance as delivered and practiced by the Prophet without any divisions. The movement will overtake the Muslim mind once the independent thinking is promoted and encouraged.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Why are these days sacred?The first Ten Days of Zil Hijja 

We all have heard that the first ten days of Zil hijja are the best days of the year. In support of this assertion, a reference of the Quran chapter 89 verse 1-3 is given "By the dawn and by the ten nights. Moreover, there is a consensus of scholars on the authority of  Ibn Kathir, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Az-Zubair, Mujahid that "the ten nights"   are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah,
The scholars explain by the ten nights Allah meant days because the last ten nights of Ramadan are more blessed than any other days as in those days occur the night of power. The scholars further quote the hadith of the Prophet saying:  “There is no deed that is better in the sight of Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of Al-Adha”. It was asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for Jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Al-Bukhari)
During these days the following acts are recommended:
1. Perform Hajj (Pilgrimage)
2. Fast all nine days and especially on the ‘Day of Arafah’
3. Perform Dhikr and Takbeer
4. Stand the Night in Prayer
5. Make Sincere Repentance
6. Return to Book of Allah (The Quran)
7. Increase in doing ALL good deeds
8. Slaughter an animal and distribute the meat (Sacrifice)
9. Attend Eid prayers. 10. Thank Allah
This explanation limits the understanding of the commonly held belief that the first ten days are the most blessed ones and does not give reasons for this. First of all, if the Quran is making a reference of ten night, then it means night and not day. In chapter 89 the Quran first, is alluding to the pre-Islamic period when the first ten nights of Zil Hijja were spent in merrymaking and debauchery. People would surround the Kaaba naked and indulge in gambling and drinks. The Quran is reminding the people the assembly for Hajj is not for this purpose and if people want to understand the fate of those people who indulged in these kinds of behavior, they should check human history that would explain to them that nations that have chosen that route hurt and destroyed them.
The chapter further elaborates that they indulged inthis behaviorr neglecting their responsibilities towards those who were helpless, neglected and marginalized and who had no regard to the life yet to come. The Quran, then concludes the chapter by asserting, that if people want to have a peaceful exit from this world and a comfortable entrance into the next world, they should focus more undergoing the purification during these ten days to reorient them to the divine values of caring and sharing.
The Quran makes this allusion in the context of the Hajj that is considered the biggest assembly of human beings regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, status, wealth, knowledge, caste, color, dress or creed. The Quran is describing this annual experiment in human unity and dignity as the most significant moment of human existence. Thus through describing the first ten days the best in the year, the Quran is reminding the people that the essence of all faiths is the unity of humanity and its dignity and Hajj is an occasion when this unity and dignity is vividly visible. During these ten days, men, women, children animals and all other creations of God are safe. During this period people show utmost humility and sincerity towards each other and celebrate the oneness of humanity,
An argument can be made that if this is the noble goal than it must be made available to all. Well, this experience is open to all who believe in the idea of monotheism as explained by all the prophets and reaffirmed by Prophet Muhammad and who stand for the unity of humanity, dignity of human beings, peace and harmony between all sectors of human society.

Thus one may conclude these the first 10 days including nights of zil hijja are the best days of the year because during this time people prove to themselves that they can overcome their differences for the unity of humanity and live in peace and with humility with each other.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The age of Khadija, the mother of the believers

Some say she was born in 555 AD and others say she was born in 567. If we accept the first one than at the time of her marriage in 595 AD with the Prophet she was 40 and if we accept the second one she was 28. She was married twice before her marriage with the Prophet. She had 3 or 4 children from previous marriages, three sons and one daughter, depending on whose account you accept. Not much is known about any of them except one by the name of Hala who together with the brother Mother Khadija died either in the battle of Fujjar or in a street brawl as historians have different narrations.
Tabari says the Prophet had eight children six from Mother Khadija, four daughters and two sons. However, Shias in general believe that she had only one daughter, Fatimah.  We know the names of seven children of the Prophet as given by the historian. We do not have the names of the eight children or age. The first child was born three years after the marriage, thus depending on whose account one accepts either at the age of 44 or 21, the second one’s date of birth is not known, the third one was born at her age of 45 or 33, the fourth one when she was either 47 or 35.  The fifth one when she was 48 or 36 and the sixth one when she was 50 or 38. However some historians claim that the youngest daughter of the Prophet was born in 615 AD when mother Khadija was 62.
This is what we find in most history books on the ages of the Prophet’s children. Qasim(598 – 600 or 601 AD), Abdullah. 615 AD), Zainab (599 – 630 AD), Ruqayyah (601 – 624 AD), Umm Kulthum (603 – 630 AD), Fatimah (ca. 604 or 615– 632), Ibrahim (630-631))
Now the latest Mayo Clinic research tells us the following. Menopause is the time that marks the end of one’s menstrual cycles. It's diagnosed after one has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in the 40s or 50s, It can happen between 40 and 50.
Now according to the commonly held view the first child of Mother Khadija was born when she was 43 and the last when she was 50 or 62. Is that scientifically possible if one determines that she married the Prophet at the age of 40 or 41? Is accepting that a part of Iman. What if we accept the alternative age, 28 at the time of her wedding the prophet? History gives us both options and the Quran is silent on that. Can science be used to determine her age based on her reproductive cycle or do we have call it a divine miracles especially when the longest of her children was Zaibab (31 years) Others were Qasim, one year, Abdullah, less than year, Ruqayyah 23 years, Umm Kulthum 27 years and Fatima, 28 or 18 years depending whose history you accept?
If history cannot help us can our common sense do that? Don’t be agitated with this question, rather think calmly about the historical accounts that have reached us. If the historians have problems with determining the age of the wives and children of the prophet, can they be relied on other details of his life? What then is the criterion of analyzing history and sorting out facts from faction?

Well, the only document that dates back to the times of the Prophet is the Quran itself and that is the only criterion to determine the accuracy of events reported by historians in the written form some 300 years after the death of the Prophet.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The sacred art and holy science of Lynching

It is difficult to trace the origins of the word lynch. But like all other great ideas, it originated during the American Revolution when the phrase Lynch Law was first used to describe a punishment without trial. Charles Lynch and William Lynch, the two residents of Virginia in 1780s are credited with the phrase. However, people have been killing fellow humans without trial without the presence of this word for centuries. The word did not keep a record of all the people killed through this method, but what is known is that during 1882 and 1968 nearly 3,500 blacks and 1,300 whites were lynched in the United States. In Europe, the lynching was first recorded in 1919. The lynching has also been recorded in Mexico, Guatemala, Dominion Republic, Haiti, South Africa, Nigeria,  Palestinian Territories, Israel, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and India.
The lynching of Dalits has been going on for centuries in India, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Kashmiri pundits, Christians and Muslims are some of the religious communities that have recently been added to the list of people lynched.
In recent years, after the emergence of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), a political wing of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), the lynching incidents against Dalits and Muslims have increased.  It has now become a source of identity for the BJP supporters and leaders to prove their commitment to their version of Hinduism by showing reverence to cow, known as mother cow and lynching people after making accusation against them.
Thus, if anyone is found guilty of eating beef or hurting a cow, the lynching mob can become active and perform the religious ritual swiftly.
Here are certain rules for this sacred ritual to be performed
1. Those privileged to lynch must be affiliated with RSS or its affiliated or supportive groups. The affiliation to BJP is a plus.
2. Members of the Muslim, Christian, Sikh and other religious minorities may not be involved in the lynching as the act would turn it into profane.
3. The lynching group should keep a list of meat eaters in their localities as the potential beef eaters can be identified from them. However, the list must identify their religion as there are several BJP and RSS supporters who also often mutton and chicken etc.
4. Once the Beefeater is identified, a day and a place should be chosen to lynch him or her. 
5. If the Beefeater is seen with a herd of cows or is suspected of driving cows in a truck or van, the identification would be easier.
6. The Police should be requested that its presence is not needed on the day and in the area where the sacred art of lynching would be performed.
7. Those selected for lynching should be asked to wear the mask if possible.
8. If the lynching group does not use the masks, the leader should be informed so that he may alert the authorities in advance that even if identified, these people should not be charged for lynching. 
9. It is not necessary for the accused beef eater to be carrying beef or using it, an allegation is enough to perform the sacred ritual.
10. The accused should be surrounded and beaten with whatever one can find to hurt to ensure he either dies on the spot or in hospital in case someone carries him there.
11. While lynching the group should constantly chant, Jai Shri Ram and Jai Bajrang Bali.
12.  Immediately after the lynching, the leader should inform the BJP and RSS leadership in a manner that it could nto be traced in any way. The leadership would ensure that charges are not filed.
13. In case the charges are filed, the group should make all efforts to keep quiet and hide the main perpetrators.
14. In case the person is arrested, the leadership should ensure that the charges filed against the perpetrators are for the minimum sentence.
15. The police and the other authorities supportive of RSS and BJP should be asked to find forensic evidence that the person who was lynched was, in fact, a beef eater.
16. The topmost leadership of the RSS and BJP must always distance itself away from the lynching calling it incidents committed by unruly mobs or even Muslims who did this to blame RSS and BJP.
17. IN temples controlled by the RSS and BJP leaders, offerings should be made to thank gods for removing one more beef eater from the face of the earth.
18. Videos of the person being lynched should be circulated to satisfy the religious sentiments of the people who for security reasons could not participate in such a ritual.
19. Statements should be issued that lynching has nothing to do with religion.
20 Gods should be thanked for ensuring that RSS and BJP are in power.