Flying Royals Drowning Lambs

Appalling. That’s how I feel when I look at the condition of the Muslims in the Middle-East. Its very difficult to believe that the Arabs of the Peninsula had once conquered the known world 1400 years ago. How could these nomad Bedouins crush the mighty empires of Persia and Rome? The “How” is more important in the last question because when you look at their descendants you will find traces of anything but that of warriors who took on the world head on.

Let me cut to the point straight away. The monarchs of the Arab world are weak, greedy, dependent (on US) and in totality utterly incompetent to be the leaders of a people who once held the civilizational torch guiding mankind from darkness to light. It seems that the torch has turned into a dilluminator, guiding mankind from light towards dark dungeons of arrogance, ignorance and war-mongering.

Lets see the political reality of this important oil rich Arab Muslim country named after its conqueror, Saudi Arabia. Its rich in oil and gold. Its an important strategic partner for the US and the country is above all very dear to Muslims across the world because it is home to the cities of Makkah and Madinah, the two holiest places in all of Islam. Muslims in general feel very uncomfortable talking about the Country which is symbolically the center of the Islamic world. Talking about the Saudi misdeeds and injustices feels like spitting at the sun.

Saudi Royals have on the other hand keep working hard to make it easy to come out in the open about them. True, no country is a land of angels, and we cant expect miracles from the governments who rule us. We can or we cant choose our leadership is not the main focus o his thread. Neither is it to judge whether th ability to choose is better or worse than the natural outcome of power struggle. The main point is, what drives the policies of a country and what are its objectives.

The Saudis may hit back asking why a non-Saudi guy (like me) should have the audacity to critically examine Saudi Government, especially when the citizens themselves are very happy with their government. More importantly, what difference will it make to the Saudis what opinion I have of them? None at all actually. That’s right, no matter how much me and other bloggers bash the Saudi government, it wont change a thing. Here is why. The concept of “Independent” “Sovereign” “Nation State” is the philosophical mountain behind which hides the governments of the present world, in different shapes, forms, colors and shades. The independent nation state answers to no body but itself, which naturally forces the state to adopt policies that protect ethnic, sectarian, cultural, linguistic and religious biases. Let me explain.

We know that the single biggest problem in the world is the Palestinian occupation by the European Zionists. The Muslim world expects the richest Muslim country in the world to do something about it, diplomatically and maybe even militarily to defend the lives of innocent people in Ghazza specially. But why should the Saudis risk their “sovereignty” over the Palestinian issue? On the other hand, Saudis are dependent on the US for their very existence because they fear that the Palestinians might collude with Iraqis and Yemenis to take control of the Arabian Peninsula. If not them, then surely Iran will take over Saudi Arabia, is the fear that has been silently taught on the streets on Arabia so that the common people will blindly throw their weight behind the Royals’ strategy to rely on western powers to keep the sheikhs in power. To save the ethnic Saudis from such a dishonorable position where they must work to earn a living for a change, we see the unfolding of different fronts. The ethnical front is the war against the fearsome rebellious militant Palstinians and the dirt poor Yemenis. The sectarian front is the threat of shii Iran. The linguistic and cultural threats are the Asians who work mostly menial jobs. With all these threats (or evils) facing the Saudi Arabian Society, who could blame them for taking the kind of stance they have taken recently.

The Arabian Peninsula has been active in the regional strategy since 2011 in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. First, they bank rolled the militants who started the civil war in Syria to dislodge Bashar. Till date 500,000 people died and the war is far from over as Russia and Iran have come in full support to defend the madman Bashar. Then came Egypt. Saudi petro dollars were channeled to the mass murderer Sisi who lead a bloody coup to take over power in Cairo.
Then came Bahrain. Saudis marched into the country to crush the rise of Arab Spring in Manama. Innocent people were bulldozed and the people brutally silenced by Saudi guns. Next, Yemen, the cradle of Arab civilization. Saudis not only bombed the Yemeni villagers but they forced a shut down of food and medicine to starve the people eto submission when their guns failed to conquer Yemeni pride. Yemen did not give up, even though it is now like Ethiopia in the 80’s.
Next Qatar, the super rich Arab state and the home of Al Jazeera.

Qatar is the only Arab country in the Peninsula which rivals the Saudis diplomatically in the region and beyond. Doha hosts among others, the Taliban, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood leadership. Moreover, the Saudis suspect Qatar to have informal strategic relationship with Iran. To strengthen the Saudi diplomacy, US President Trump visited the country for the Islamic Arab Summit where 55 muslim countries also took part. It was another way of showing the world that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is the leader of the Muslim world as a state.

Saudis have more than just a few points to demand their presumed superiority in the Muslim world. It has the world’s largest reserve of oil, it is the closest Arab ally of the US, it employs millions of South Asian Muslims making the Kingdom a very important source of foreign currency for countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt and India. Above all, it has the spiritual, religious and traditional supremacy over the vast majority of Muslims simply by default due to the location of Makkah and Medina in their geo-political government. Its an unwritten law amongst Muslims, who believe that, who ever has authority in Makkah and Medina must therefore also be the supreme leader of the Muslim Ummah. The fact that the Saudis never ever claimed to be the leader of the Ummah doesn’t really matter, average Muslim will hold the Saud family in high esteem as long as the custodianship of the two sacred masjids are with that tribe.

When the Sharifs of Makkah betrayed the Ottomans, Muslim thinkers and leaders in South Asia remained mostly silent for fear of speaking against the family that administers the two sacred mosques. Muslims just didn’t get it then and they still suffer from that old disease. The unjust rulers loose their right to the title of Imamah (leadership) over the Ummah, is as sacred as faith and belief in God, as its Wahy (revelation) from God to Nabi Ibraheem and confirmed by the Majestic Quraan to Nabi Muhammad (sallillahu alihi wa aalihi wa sallam).

Are we Muslims naïve or just un-intelligent when it comes to our Deen (system of Life) I keep asking myself. We read in the Noble Quraan that God chose us to be Witness over all mankind, alternative meaning, to spread justice on earth, and to stand firm against any obstacle that hinders the progress of kindness, generosity, liberty, morality, honesty, sincerity, truthfulness and general goodness amongst people. Muslim men and women face the task that holds the key to their ultimate destination, to support all that is good and to resist all that is evil, a concept that strikes at the very foundation of the Jahilii (nationalistic, fascist, tribal) society currently in place in so many countries where Muslims live in overwhelming majority.

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Hajj Message 2017 – tell another Hajji

9th Dhil HAjj or the Day of Arafah is the important day for the global Muslim family. Day of Arafah for the year 2017 shall be on 31 August, Millions of Muslims shall gather in Makkah for the Holy pilgrimage and on this day the most important rite will take place on the plains of Arafah, a place just outside of Makkah, where pilgrims pray, supplicate and ask for God’s Mercy. Arafah can be distinguished by the site of Hajjis sitting on a mountain called the Mountain of Mercy (Jabal Rahmah), its where the Holy Prophet Muhammad Sallillahualihi wa alihi wa sallam gave the farewell sermon.

This great day of Muslims is followed by celebrations called Eid al Azha which lasts for about 3 days. In this Eid, Muslims sacrifice an animal as re-enactment of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for the sake of Alimighty God. Sacrifice is usually followed by distribution of meat amongst the needy.

In addition to the religious ceremonies, Muslims have another golden opportunity to address the issues facing 1,7 billion Muslims. Political leaders may have succeeded in keeping Pakistanis away from Indians and Bangladeshis away from Rohingyas but in Makkah all of them will come together without any prejudice and without any care for boundaries or languages.

Hajj is indeed a great event. Its the world’s largest gathering of people who desire nothing but peace for Muslims and non Muslims. Makkah for five days becomes the political religious and social center of the whole world. The pilgrims come from countries around the world with only one agenda, ISLAM, peace, submission to God’s Will. It is therefore a truly common ground for bringing together people from two categories, from the grass roots – workers, farmers, laborers AND also from the landed aristocracy, elites and business empires etc. No other event in the world compares to this classless and self motivated and self financed attendance, and this is a potential weapon unknown to most Muslims.

Lets come to the point. Muslim world is being humiliated by the political and religious leaderships. Muslims should understand very well that, their only way out of the terrible situation is to throw away the junk at the top, reorganize their social and economic systems and ensure that accountability and transparency are never compromised again.

All the Muslims all over the world should know that they have a religious responsibility to make an effort to change their corrupt, despotic and dictatorial leaderships. Muslims should also remember that according to the monotheistic (unitary) principle there can be absolutely no room for racial, linguistic, nationalistic, tribal, wealth driven prejudices. The power to change a corrupt government lies with the mass people, the workers and home makers. This realization seems the hardest part to communicate to mass people although it happens to be in their primary interest. So long as Muslims continue to feel helpless, small wolves will pretend to be big lions.

The blood of a Kashmiri Muslim has the same value as a Punjabi, the life of a Rohingya child has the same value as a Bangladeshi child. The world, and everything in it, belongs to ALLAH swt, no man has the right to deny or deprive another human being their right to security of life and property. Kashmiri Muslims and Rohingya Muslims demand this security of life and property from their fellow Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh. May God have Mercy on them and on us if we failed to do that.
Yemen and Syria and two blessed lands. The entire Muslim world will have to answer for the genocide happening there. Misr still asks why the petro dollars were used to bankroll into office a psychopathic murderer? It needs to be reminded, the one who shows no mercy to those on EArth, the One in the sky will show no mercy to him on the Day of Judgement.

Muslim commoners are united in their hearts through the feeling of pan Islamic bonding. Its the political leadership and the economic system which needs to be thrown into garbage before something meaningful can once again begin to grow on Muslim lands.

Zakat, for Whom, for What, How Much

I wish to give Zakat to some poor relatives, beggars, homeless, orphans, madrassahs and masjids. But wait a minute, have I really considered the priorities of collecting and distribution of Zakat?, am I doing the right thing by following my Zakat wishes? I think many Muslims simply hope to feel satisfied that they did their duty to Islam whilst giving zakat to their chosen charities or individuals. Somehow, this method of collecting and giving Zakat clashes with the Zakat system painted in Islamic History Books.

First of all, zakat is not a matter of choice. Its a mandatory obligation upon every Muslim who earns above the bare minimum, or basically, every non-exempt adult Muslim is bound to pay Zakat. The giver is not being personally kind or generous by giving, it is among his compulsory duties to do so and its non-compliance also comes with consequences. What kind of consequences? The first caliph of Islam Khalifah Abu Bakr RA declared war on a tribe which refused to pay Zakat. Its importance to the Caliph was like Salah (prayer) and the fact that Salah and Zakah are mentioned together in the Majestic Quran at several places..

Next, I want to highlight that Sadaqah and Fitra don’t carry the same obligation as that of Zakat. Individuals are free to give Sadaqah and Fitra as much as they would like to for the benefit of the society. Donations are absolutely at the discretion of the giver. Whereas Zakat is fixed, mandatory and obligatory upon every non-exempt Muslim.

It seems that in many Muslim societies Zakat and Sadaqah have become somewhat confusing to distinguish. Zakah, like income tax, has to be assessed by a Zakat collector. How much Zakat should I pay is not something that I should calculate. Imagine if I were free to assess my own income taxes for the year! I would love to do that BTW but it doesn’t work that way. Its called Conflict of Interest. A zakat official assesses income and charges the assesse for a certain amount to be paid to state treasury.

Individuals don’t decide what to do with the Zakat money, the Chief of that locality will do that. Why? Because he knows more, he sees more and has more knowledge about the economic condition of his city and its surrounding areas. It may be the case, that his city is quite wealthy already and needs no Zakat but another city struggles for food and water. In other words, as an individual I will never have the complete picture of the greater community and therefore it makes a lot of sense for me to give zakat to an authority with broader and wider view of things. Obviously, this authority should be a public entity so as to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

One of the 8 recipients of zakat is “way of God” (Fi Sabilillah). Some people suggest it means to build a masjid. I disagree. I understand that it means that Zakat can be used for the struggle, to fight for the victory of Deen over the evil forces of Shaitan. Lets say there is an evil king who has engaged in genocide and civil war against his people. I believe Zakat fund can be utilized more efficiently by giving to those people who strive to replace the evil king. This would be better than setting yet another orphanage or another madrassah while the evil king continues to spill blood in the land. The ideological struggle is what I understand by “Fi Sabilillah”, and this is a great and epic battle between the forces of good against the forces of evil.

As you may appreciate, we have a problem now. See, in most countries the Zakat system is just a personal thing. Governments take income tax (which is far higher than Zakat), leaving Zakat in the same rank as any other acts of worship but at the discretion of individuals as if it was sadaqah. Although some Muslims came up with really innovative ideas to collect and channel zakat through charitable institutions, it still remains very much a personal decision to decide on how much and to whom to give zakat. The result of this is that every year funds get poured into masjids, madrassahs and orphanages, which is not a bad thing at all, but the far greater issues of Muslim societies either get worse or at best remain as bad as they are already.

So much talk of Zakat on TV makes me wonder, isn’t there one scholar who could stand up and ask for zakat to help the Yemenis, the Syrians, the Kashmiris, the Arakenese or the Palestinians? Obviously a celebrity scholar will not say such un-polite things on TV! I already knew that. But I just had to throw that in there…

At the moment, Zakat fund would be best utilized for rescuing Muslim countries from the grips of evil forces. Majority Muslim states are either colonized by their own elites or indirectly controlled by a superpower. If you agree with me, then would you agree that Muslims are only living in an imaginary “Free” world, whereas  in reality are chained to the commands of the dark forces as if they were modern day slaves (of policies and strategies of superpowers). The most urgent demand on zakat in this decade would be to free the necks from the chains that bind them together in humiliation and indignation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter in Godric’s Hollow

My daughter asked me to read something to her. So I borrowed my little sister’s book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Kids like magic and fantasy stories, so why not read this famous children’s book to my little sweetheart. After the first chapter, I felt there was something wrong in it. Although my baby fell asleep but I simply couldn’t out the book down. JK Rowling had cast a reading charm on me it seemed. Next few weeks my girl saw less of me reading to her and more of reading for myself silently until I got all seven books completed.

The story begins with an orphan, whose parents have just been murdered in their very home in God-ric’s Hollow. Its not a mystery novel because that’s not how its presented. The identity of the murderer is not at all relevant but the thought behind the man is what really matters. All through out JK Rowling has the reader thinking about the purpose and motive behind this double murder. Why kill the Potter family?

Let me talk about my girl again. HP’s author is asking an 11 year old to walk into the mind of a “murderer”. What could my daughter say, “dad, tell me, why did you-know-who murder Harry’s parents? what was their fault? Why does he want to kill Harry so badly?” It makes me wonder, since when do children’s books target the lives and works of murderers and serial killers?

The murder scene at Godric’s Hollow is central to all the 7 books. Again and again we are reminded how the Dark Lord kills James and then moves towards HP. Lily pleads for Harry’s life. Move away you silly girl…as if to say “I just want the boy, not you, so just step aside”. Lily is murdered. Voldemort approaches Harry and wham. The Dark Lord falls. Harry rises.
Because the sacrifice of Lily was supremely cast in blood, being the purest form of miracle, it was stronger than anything any Dark power could ever muster. It was the power of pure love from a “Mugblood” that destroyed Voldemort when he was at the very top invincible, undefeatable, all powerful. It was SACRIFICE that brought the Dark Lord down to his knees. In Islam its called Shahadat, martyrdom.

Godric Hollow, James and Lily’s home town, was also the birth place of Godric Gryfindor, the Lion. Tom Riddle on the other hand is a descendent of Slazar Slytherin, the Snake. Godric, Slytheirn, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff founded Hogwarts. The Lion and the Snake were always at odds at almost everything, including Quidditch. Hogwarts was setup 1000 year ago. James and Lily died in 1981, so the school’s founding date must be around 1000 CE. Interesting, that was the time of the Crusades. It is well known that the European crusaders came into contact with an advanced Islamic civilization in Jerusalem (Al-Quds). One of the interesting areas where Arabs claimed world leadership was in their knowledge of Sciences like Physics, Biology, Medicine, Astrology, Mathematics and ofcourse – Chemistry (which they called Al-Kemia).

A particular branch of Al-Kemia dealt with transmutation, that is the study or research of how to turn lead into gold. Alchemy as it turns out had two aspects, physical and spiritual. The spiritual alchemy desired to transform ordinary men into purified souls. In Islamic terminology its called Tazakkah, to purify. The one who is purified is the one who is successful and is the one who will be accepted and received by the Lord of the Universe. Purification of the soul disregards obstacles such as blood, color, language, race, identity or any other prejudices.

The Knights Templars brought back with them newly found treasures from Jerusalem at the end of their missions. Some of those treasures were ancient books, wisdom, science and technology and ofcourse philosophy. It may just be a wild guess, but God-ric Gryfindor might have been a Templar who brought back the sword from the Arabs alongwith the ideological knowledge of Alkemia. Slytherin must have not liked very much to see his race loose power to half bloods and Mugbloods. For the preservation of his race he went the other way, over to the Dark side. This ideological conflict must have carried on down to the present age when Harry and Voldemort face off just like Dumbledore and Grindelwald did earlier.

Lets come back to Godric’s Hollow. This is where the story begins for this age, with roots that go back more than the crusades, even before the time of Christ (PBUH). It goes back to the Pharaos, especially to one known as Akhenaton, the first monotheist Pharaoh of Egypt. They say, Alchemy started here in Egypt. I don’t doubt that because Egypt (Misr actually) being the birthplace of civilization should have had world religious influence as well. The very idea of resurrection, return to God and submission to God’s will captures the essence of God-ric Hollow if seen through the Alchemist’s eyes. I that room, Lily represents Light, Life, Faith and Goodness while Voldemort brings the face of ego, envy, greed and hate. This war between the two sides started back in Eden and haunts us this very moment. How we respond to it, the choices we make, define us and our souls.