A King and the Moon – and the Beginning of a 1000 year Civilization from India

On my lunch break right now, so I can afford to share my thoughts. On my way to work I read the ARABIC Grammar book. Four English to Arabic phrases from this book knocked me off few hours ago. Here are the 4 lines:

  1. Al Hindu watanun Adheemun. India is a great country.
  2. Al Hindu watanee. India is my country.
  3. Uhibbu Watanee. I love my country.
  4. Al Hunudu kulluhum Ekhwatee wa Akhawatee. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.

The book was written by Mr Amanulla Vadakkangara, a respected educationist from Malappuram District in Kerala, India. The author taught Arabic in an international Indian school in Doha, Qatar. Are you surprised yet? If not, then let me explain this in bit more detail.

The outside world thinks that Muslims of India are basically north Indians speaking Urdu and having more in common with Central Asian cultures as in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan which produced raiders and conquerors whose very names still evoke some kind mixed feelings in the common people. Pakistani books usually credit a young general called Bin Qasem with the honor of bringing Islam by the sword to India going back to the 8th-9th century Umayyad dynasty. It is said that Bin Qasem in an effort to rescue a band of Muslims wrongly captured by Raja Dahir of Sind arrived with about a hundred soldiers defeating armies much more numerical superiority paving the way for the firm footing of Islamic governance in the western region of South Asia (basically Sind and Punjab to some extent in today’s Pakistan).

This story is refuted strongly by another Muslim community called the Shiites. They say that Bin Qasem was actually ordered by the great butcher Hajjaj ibn Yousuf to hunt down supporters of the Ahl-al-Bayt (peace be upon them) who had takn refuge in the court of Raja Dahir who himself being overtaken by the nobility of the Shiite Muslims refused to give them up to anyone and in the process lost his Kingdom to the young Muslim Arab general.

Now, let me tell you that there is yet another story which clouds both the narrations stated above. Islam is said to have arrived in India much earlier than Bin Qasem, if we follow the history of a certain king based in Kerala in the 7th century. Kerala boasts of an interesting geography located in the southwestern tip of India placed right next to Tamil Nadu in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west, basically the Malabar coast is the site of Kerala where natives speak Malayalam housing 56% Hindus and 26% Muslims in its state. The Kerala Muslims (or Malyallam Muslims) also called Mappas locally have a rich story to tell and it goes back to the 7th century at the time of the Holy Nabi Sallillahu alihi wa aalihi wa sallam.

According to legend a noble king called Cheraman Peruman was out at night when he witnessed the splitting of the moon. His amazement could not be explained by any scholar in his court except when he approached visiting Arab traders about it who only promised to search for answers in their journey on the sea. Years later, the Arab traders came back to him with answers, and the answer was in their desert country of Arabia itself for a man had arrived in their midst who declared his appointment as the leader of mankind being the last and final Prophet and Messenger of ALLAH Swt. It was the blessed Nabi sallillahu alihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam who had split the moon into pieces one day as his miracle for the doubters’ minds. The Prophet (swm) had split the moon by asking ALLAH SWT for a miracle and it was that miracle which the noble king had witnessed and it was this even t that was responsible for setting off waves of questions and thoughts in the heart of the noble king.

He had decided. He would go to Arabia, meet the blessed Messenger (swm) of ALLAH SWT so that he could become a Muslim at the hands of none other than the man who was the Ambassador of God. The noble King set out for Arabia with his Arab friends. He is said to have reached the kafela of Muslims during the time of the Farewell Pilgrimage. There, the King was given audience with the Noble Messenger of God (PBUH) where the king said his shahadah to enter the fold of Islam as a believer. How could this meeting take place without some exchange of gifts as India was famous in the world for its exquisite and extra-ordinary beauty and flavors. The noble king brought with him Garlic Pickle as a gift which the Noble Messenger (PBUH) accepted very happily choosing to share them with his companions.

On the return journey through Yemen, the noble king fell seriously ill, not being able to make it to his kingdom he summoned his Arab friends to take his money back to Kerala and inform his family of what had happened and instruct them to light up Islam in Kerala starting with a Masjid for which his money should be used completely. King Cheraman Peruman Radi Allahu Anhu rests in Yemen while the Cheraman Jama Masjid in Kodungallor stands today as a testament to the noble king’s legacy.

Lets come back to my Arabic lessons. The fact that Kerala currently is called home by 8.8 million Muslims makes them a Muslim community equal to the Hashemite Kingdom Jordan. The Malayallam language should also be considered as an Islamic language if only to honor the brilliance of the Malayallam culture for upholding the dignity of Islam when the courageous followers of the noble king constructed the Islamic mosque letting the drops of Islamic knowledge accumulate over centuries into an ocean of art, culture, knowledge and scholarship for the benefit of all mankind.

Mr Amanulla chose to write the four sentences in Arabic and English it seems with another greater agenda more noble than learning another language for the sake of it. The agenda, it would seem to me is this, the word Hindu is an Arabic Islamic word, this should be known to all the Muslims in South Asia. Al-Hindu is the Arabic translation for India. In Sanskrit, India is called Bharat not Hindustan. It was the Islamic world that called Bharat as Al-Hind and the Central Asian Muslims called it Hindustan (as in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan etc). Every Indian should therefore be a Hindu I terms of ethnicity, according to Arabic Islamic understanding. The plural form of Hindu is Al-Hunudu, that is all Indians which naturally includes Muslims and non Muslims also signifies the above statement which says that Hindu is a nationality not a religion as such. It were the colonialists British who had to severe the brotherhood between the natives by splitting the religious harmony through categorizing where the great Hindu brotherhood of Muslims and non-Muslims fell apart once the Hindu was given the religious shape and color. On the other hand Muslims were pulled away by another form of religion advocated by the British loyalist “Sir” Syed Ahmed Khan under the banner of the Two Nation Theory. It was a divisive theory that floated just after the First War of Independence conducted by the Sepoys in 1857 when Hindus and Muslims for the “second last” time united against a common foe. The “Last Time” for Hindu Muslim unity was under the banner of “KHILAFAT MOVEMENT” organized by Mawlana Mohammad Ali and his brother Mawlana Shawkat Ali, together called the Ali Brothers.

Islam’s forerunners were the noble companions among whom is the blessed king of Kerala Syedene Cheraman Peruman Radi Allahu Anhu. His travel to the Arabian peninsula in order to meet the Leader of all Mankind was the reason and the heavenly door for the entry of Islam in India, also known as Al-Hindu in the Islamic Arabic language. For 1000 years Islam contributed to the economic, social and educational advancement of Al-Hind. The cultural character of present day India can never be separated from its Islamic identity no matter how hard certain right wingers may try. The tear drop on the cheek of time, the greatest throne of the material world, the fort of jewels, the tomb of the emperor, and so on and so forth are the fruits of a work created in the mausoleum of love nurtured by the brotherhood of respect and dignity and long dreamed by a lonely king taking a night walk staring at the beautiful face of the moon.

 

 

 

 

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This is How Long You Will Live

Management gurus tell me to write a plan, what I want in life, happy family, money, home, car, business and then they say I should pursue it with the belief that I will achieve them. They come up with stories of successful people who did exactly that. I don’t think life is really like that. Management Gurus are wrong. Sorry!

Lets start like this. What do you know what’s going to happen in your life? The simple answer is you don’t know. Except for one thing, your life will one day come to an end. You could be the richest, the most powerful person on earth, but that will not change the most basic fact. Life will come to an end at some point and all those plans and strategies you made for life will surely vanish in thin air. And then what?

You have essentially two possibilities. You can either believe that life ends here on Earth and that’s the end of everything. Or, you could believe that life on earth will end while simultaneously another life will begin in another dimension, another time and space equation, the knowledge of which is yet unknown to you. Your first option is a bit scary. If this life is all you have, then you better put all your energy to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. If you cant achieve anything then you will be unfortunately amongst the loosers. Well, at least that’s how I would interpret the messages of Management gurus.

It sounds bit sad that this wonderful life on earth will end and we will take none of our material accomplishments with us anywhere. Then why bother with anything at all? They talk about light at the end of the tunnel. What tunnel, what light? There is nothing to look forward to if this is it, this life and nothing after this. It seems also an indirect way of motivating the philosophy “ends justify the means” because you only live once and therefore you need to get whatever you want by any means necessary. This is also why they even teach that its okay to steal, to break rules and step over your emotions and feelings to get to wherever you want to be. It sounds all negative to be in a situation like this. It almost doesn’t make sense to live out this life under these dark clouds.

What about the second option, does that make life sound any better. Think about this for a while. Management Gurus show their stars, the winners, and then they motivate us to go after our goals with the same zeal as their super heroes. Well, guess what, 99% of the people are not going to do that. There will be men and women who will not make it to the Olympics, there will be people living on tiny paychecks, there will be farmers and factory workers who will not win Oscars. That’s real life buddy. That’s the hard life that we have to deal with. What future should they look forward to?

Some people believe in a different concept of life. Our stay on earth is temporary and short. This life is only one stop in the long journey that will take us all to a place more beautiful more rewarding than what we see here. That is the life after death, the eternal life. The rewards in the heavens will far outstrip the rewards in this world. Most important of all, unlike this crazy material life, we will have equal opportunity to enter the heavenly garden, based on our Goodness, unlike this life which pretty much only values material accomplishments.

Sounds more like a fairy tale doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what makes it all the more motivating and exciting. We are allowed to feel happy about such a concept of life where we will find pure and complete justice. We will find that the homeless and the billionaire will be evaluated for their good deeds and the one who qualifies gets entry into the garden of eternal pleasure. Maybe both of them will get entrance, all depends on the individual’s deeds. That sounds like a plan to me.

The wealth centric corporate world would desperately want us to believe in reality, to believe in what we can understand based on our limited knowledge. The good news is, it doesn’t have to end this way. We can indeed think about a better future in the After Life regardless of our material positioning in this world. So, if I ask myself, how long will I live?

The answer is, our life in this world is a very short one. When we will come back to life, in the Hereafter, we will say this worldly life lasted not for more than afternoon or an evening.

Belief in Life After Death is the right solution for those 99% people who work hard every day to meet the demands of responsibility. The heavenly concept in no way discourages you to not make any material plans for this world. Quite the contrary actually. It forces you to think about time. Your time. Since you know its limited, you will now make a much better plan for this world and for the world to come. In the process, hopefully, goodness and grace will be the guiding light.

 

 

 

 

 

Jerusalem – the Eternal Capital of Believers

The blessed land of Jerusalem belongs to the One who created it. That is the Almighty God, ALLAH the most Supreme. That is what I believe. I will put up my arguments below.

Prophet Musa (AS – Peace be Upon Him) delivered Bani Israel (the family of Isarel or Jacob) from the slavery of Phiraoun. The followers of Musa AS were thrown in the wilderness for 40 long years until an entirely new generation of jews grew up to accompany Joshua and Calebe to conquer the Promised Land. Nabi Musa (AS) himself never set foot on the Promised Land. Here lies the big clue to Bani Israel’s fortunes.

Nabi Musa AS went to Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights in which time he received the Ten Commandments (or the Torah). Bani Israel during this time split into two broad groups. One held on to Faith and Belief in One God and rallied around Nabi Haroon (AS), Nabi Musa’s brother. While the other group rallied around a golden calf. Nabi Haroon AS represented Belief, while the golden calf represented the Duniya (the material world). The Duniya is Satan’s weapon to lure Believers away from the slavery of God to the slavery of their desires, lusts and ambitions.

Lets see whats written in the OT, Detronomy 31, 16-18:

“Deuteronomy 31:16-18English Standard Version (ESV)

16 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.”

Bani Israel cant fool the Believers. A person cant be a criminal and an honest judge at the same time.  The Promised Land can only be inherited by such people who keep their covenant with God, who commit no evil on earth, who worship not foreign gods, who remain by choice the people who God loves, and not those who God has turned away from.

The only people who can inherit the Holy Land are those who keep their covenant with God, remain truthful to their religion and do not adopt any other creed in contradiction to the Unitary concept of God. What a man claims as his denomination is of the least concern. The most important criteria for the right to rule over Jerusalem should be a man’s faith in God followed by his righteous actions.

Only a true, sincere believer will call Jerusalem his home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.