Stealing a Life …

Paris attacks are harrowing. Brings a shiver down my spine. I am not exaggerating my state of mind. Whenever innocents die I am forced to recall the words from my favourite book “The Kite Runner”:

“…there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft…when you kill a man, you steal a life…you steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness…there is no act more wretched than stealing…a man who takes what’s not his to take, be it a life or a loaf of naan…I spit on such a man. And if I ever cross paths with him, God help him…”

A horde of Muslims have been concerned about how the horrendous attacks in Paris will bring a bad name to Muslims, again. I am not sure how to answer this. More or less the same number of people are concerned about how western media is actively reporting the Paris carnage and how Facebook is sympathising with the French community by rolling out an application that can merge your profile picture with the French flag to become a unique profile picture on your profile. They are arguing that such a sympathising gesture is only bestowed on the western people and the terrorism affectees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and others are always snubbed and which is a discrimination and selective-sympathy. It is true. But I guess it is more true that Muslim states are so feeble and incompetent today that their internal differences owing to sectarianism and weakness owing to corruption have led them to this situation and because of that Muslim community is given little or no significance in a world dominated by western democracy, culture and economy. Nature has it that only the strong survives. Justice is subjective and the mighty rules.

I find it sound to put a French flag (even though I haven’t put one on my profile yet but I support those who have) on the Facebook profile and sympathise with the French community ignoring any ifs and buts here. I mourn on the loss of innocent lives in Paris and my heart bleeds for every single soul lost in Paris attacks and all such terrorist attacks anywhere in the world.

Power comes with the responsibility and responsibility requires courage to befit the position you are responsible for. It would take courage for Muslim community to enjoy the pinnacle of the same power western world is enjoying today without being irresponsible.

I don’t know if this terrorism anywhere in the world will ever stop. It unfortunately doesn’t seem to end. I though certainly hope for the terrorism to be dealt with at least more responsibility!

Of Shahzeb’s Killers Getting Pardoned

As the nation is embroiled in a debate on whether or not the pardoning was a right choice, the most ignored fact is that victim’s family may not have any choice. Either they did it because they were too much on the spiritual side, or they did it to keep their existence intact in the society dominated by the feudal and influential. As the news suggests, it is the latter.

And the Judge may have followed the Islamic principle of “Qisas” while adjudicating the case, that has upset the “liberal” lot for it relates to Islam. So, again the ignored fact is that the same principle of Qisas — regardless of right or wrong, as it remains a debate in modern times — has served as a blessing in disguise for the aggrieved family. Had they not pardoned Jatois and Talpurs, they would most certainly have been haunted throughout their lives by the feudal and influential families of the murderers. With that, would the “liberal” lot — I am addressing them primarily because I am sick of being learning that Islam has to be invited in ever social phenomenon — have successfully saved the family of Shahzeb from the wrath of Talpurs and Jatois? Simple answer is: No!

This is perhaps the best we could have as a verdict today. It truly reflects the culture and norms of our society; it is compatible with it eventually. Break the dominant feudal power in the society and then abolishing the concept of Qisas from the justice system might actually work in favor of poor as well for there would be no agent of fear left to be worried about for the aggrieved and not-so-influential victim(s).

The Case of Darul Uloom Deoband, Pashtuns and Jihad — II

The Jihadi movements in the frontier area made the British intelligence believe that the militancy is slowly coming down to a fine art. At that time the British intelligence was unsure about the hand-in-glove cooperation between the frontier tribes and Darul Uloom Deoband,  but they did believe that the fanatics from the sub-continent were actively supporting the militancy in the frontier region against the British power.

Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni writes again in his book  Tehreek Reshmi Rumal that we (Daruloom Deoband) would assist the frontier tribes and supply them with all the crucial information to keep them at advantage and step ahead of British. Madni further writes that the Pashtun mullas were the best men upon whom the spirit of nationalism and religion was easy to be invoked.

Interestingly, those people who did not agree with the Jihad of the frontier tribes in the frontier region saw their houses burnt down at the hands of Jihadist on account of rejecting the holy insurgency. Maulana Barkatullah, a known anti-colonialist  would ardently support such practices. While the proclamation of Jihad against the British was obtained from the Ottoman commander commander in-chief in Hejaz (present day KSA), it was noted that Obaidullah Sindhi himself wanted to become the Home Minister of India whereas Maulana Barkatullah wanted Premiership once the British were gone from the sub-continent.

At that moment, Maulana Mehmud ul Hasan sent a letter addressing all his students in frontier region, ordering them to pledge their support to Haji Turangzai in the Jihad against the British. On the otherside, Haji Turangazi went on to consult with the Afghan emir about when the final attack should be made on British. The notable Mullahs from different tribes involved in the Jihad against the British at that time were Mullah Mehmud Akhunzada, Mullah Abdul Halim and Mullah Sayed Akbar from Afridi tribe; Mullah Babra in Bajur; Mullah Sandaki in Swat; and Mullah Chaknawar and Haji Turangzai in Mohmand. All these Mullahs were fearsome and resolute against the British colonials. They, and other Mullahs, were responsible for mobilising and organising the Mujahids in Mehsud, Mohmand and other upper Kohisatni tribes of Pashtuns.

Thousands of Rupees, tens of horses and hundreds of rifles were provided to the frontiner Mujahideens from the Darul Uloom Deoband to fight against the British; on the other hands, thousnads of Kabuli Rupees and other material support were provided to the Mujahideen from Afghanistan. At every moment the Darul Uloom Deoband kept on providing motivational support to the Mujahjideen in frontiner region who were now almost up in arms against the British and ready to wage a massive Jihad against them any moment.

In the meanwhile, when the frontier tribes gained material strength against the British, Obaidullah Sindhi, including other Ulemas from Darul Uloom Deoband, travelled to Afghanistan with the objective of securing more financial and material support from Afghanistan Emir and mobilise the Afghan youth to fight for Turkey against the British.

During the year 1916, the top echelon of Mujahideen devised a plan against the British — both in sub-continent and Turkey — which was supposed to be presented to the Ottoman vizir. All hell broke loose on the Jihadi movement when the letters that contained all the plans against the British and were sent to Ottomans were intercepted by the CID. Those letters were written on silk in order to avoid the eyes of British intelligence. This was how this whole moment later came to be known as “Tehreek-e-Reshmi Rumal”.

After the letters on silk were caught by the British, many of the people were charged by the British for treason. They included Mullahs from Darul Uloom Deoband; Maulana Madhni, Mehmud and Maulana Mohammad were transported to prison camp in Malta by the orders of British colonialist on account of high treason.

Despite after that, the frontier tribes maintained strong links with the Darul Uloom Deoband and kept sending their kids to study there. This connection between the frontier tribes and the Deobands can still be found today, and which seems to be as strong today as it was then; or perhaps have grown more stronger with the passage of time.

The Case of Darul Uloom Deoband, Pashtuns and Jihad — I

At the beginning of 20th century Muslims of India started to struggle to consolidate the Indian Muslim identity. Darul Uloom Deoband played a conspicuous role as mentioned in Barbara Metcalf’s study “Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband, 1860-1900”. Jamaluddin al-Afghani’s (1839 – 1897) work, a Persian religious and political philosopher, started to gain popularity in India. The idea of pan-Islamism as a universal identity of Muslim was promoted through the works of al-Afghani in the sub-continent  and it gained momentum especially in the year 1910, writes Ira Lapidus in his book “A History of Islamic Societies”. Because the colonial repression was faced by many Muslim countries at that time the idea of pan-Islamism as a rescue ideology from the colonialism easily penetrated more in the Muslim society of sub-continent. The Chancellor at Darul Uloom Deobad, Maulana Mahmudul Hasan, mobilised a movement in year 1914 to liberate the sub-continent from the British. It wasn’t just a movement but it was more to it which invoked upon Pashtuns a new spirit of religionism, not that they weren’t already under the influence of it.

Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni, who was a senior scholar at the Darul Uloom Deoband, describes this Jihadi movement as “Reshmi Rumal Movement” in his book Tehreek Reshmi Rumal. Ubaid Ullah Sindhi (1872 – 1944), a Sikh who converted to Islam, and became a part of Darul Uloom Deoband, who worked under the Chancellor Maulana Manudul Hasan, writes in one of his essays “Shah Waliullah Aur unki Siyasi Tareekh” that the movement was founded on the ideals of Shah Waliullah and its aim was to achieve the political and religious agenda on the lines of Shah’s ideologies; this belief was in some way different than the predominant motives of Darul Uloom Deoband.

The band of Pashtuns mobilised to fight against the British were called “Jamaat e Mujahideen” or the religious warriors. Darul Uloom Deoband procured the funds and disbursed it to the Pashtuns. Printing presses were setup during this time in the sub-continent. Darul Uloom Deoband struggled to recruit more and more youth to wage a Jihad against the British. As for Pashtuns and Balochs a plan was devised. The Kohistan (upper Swat) was tasked to join the Turkish army against the British in order to weaken the British position there on the frontline and make them focus rather on the First World War where British were engaged against the Turkish than the sub-continent. On the other hand, the Mohmands and Mehsuds (Waziristan) were given the task to wage Jihad on the British forces in Peshawar; Kalat and Makran tribes of Balochistan were to wage Jihad on British forces in Karachi; the Ghaznis (Afghanistan) were to wage Jihad in Quetta. This was the plan of Darul Uloom Deoband to use and mobilise the Pashtuns and Balochs against the British on the name of Jihad.

Such a Jihad by Pashtuns against the British was not any thing new. Between 1893 and 1897, Hadda Mulla’s Jihad against the British also focused on the preservation of Pashtun’s culture, religion and their independence. This Jihad was different than the Jihad against British as the one earlier in time had no supervision of Darul Uloom Deoband, whereas this time the Darul Uloom Deoband fully sponsored the Jihad against the British and provided the Pashtuns with funds, munition and all the support required in insurgency that they needed.

It is noted that the links between the Pashtun tribes and Darul Uloom Deoband wasn’t newly established. The first interaction between the Pashtun tribes and Darul Uloom Deoband happeneed when a Pashtun freedom fighter Fazal Wahid, more commonly known as Haji Sahab of Turangzai of Charsadda, joined the Darul Uloom Deoband and got his madarsah education from there, and later with the Ulemas from Darul Uloom Deoband he went on to perform  the Hajj. It is said that he got his extreme inspiration of Darul Uloom Deoband’s ideologies during the journey.

Hussain Ahmed Madni , the Shaikh ul Islam, from Darul Uloom Deoband strongly believed that violence was necesasry to remove the British from the sub-continent. And for violence there was apparently a need to raise an army of Mujahideen. Naqsh-q-Hayat, the autobiography of Hussain Ahmed Madni “Naqsh-e-Hayat” describes the use of force against the British and termed it Jihad. Madni also argued that Gandhi, Nehru, Ali brothers (Maulana Muhammad Ali & Maulana Shaukat Ali), Dr Ansari and Maulana Bari — all were against colonialist. However, while Gandhi was strictly against the violence it cannot be put aside by the Pashtuns for militancy in a larger historical picture had always been the prerogative of the frontier tribes.

Considering the Pashtuns as the experienced militants, the Maulana Mahmud believed they were the best recruits for the anti-colonialism cause.

More on the case of Darul Uloom Deoband, Pashtuns and Jihad in the next write up.

Imam Taymiyyah on Fighting With Infidels

Before I begin, I want to assert that reproducing someone’s work on this blog doesn’t necessarily mean endorsing or propagating any idea or belief. This blog post should only be considered as academic in nature. And as a reference to this blog it should only be reproduced further for academic purpose only.

Professor Abu Zahrah of Egypt in his book “Imam Ibn Taymiyyah” (the Urdu translation of which has been produced by Naib Hussain Naqwi) summarieses the opinion of Imam Taymiyyah on fighting with infidels in the following terms:

On the first question as to whether it is permissible to fight the disbelievers on the ground of their disbelief or on that of their tyranny and transgression, the Imam refers to two schools of thought among the Ulema. The first school holds that according to Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam Abu Hanifah and others, and the majority of of Ulema and Aimmah, fighting with disbelievers is allowed only if they are bent upon oppressions and tyranny. From this opinion it follows that waar with infidels is not permissible in any other circumstances.

Consequently, fighting can be resorted to as a defensive measure or in response to aggression, even if it turns out to be a case of emergency. But in such a fight only the active comatants or their inciters will be killed, and women, achorites, and disabled or old people, who neitherparticipate in the fighting nor exhort others to do so, will not be slain, In brief, the disbeliever who does not take up arms, does not urge others to fight and is not guilty of any hostile act in connection with the war shall not be put to death.

The second school is of the opinion that war with the disbelievers is grounced on their disbeliever. That means that fighting is obligatory with them simply because they are infidels not because they are inclined to turanny. This is to be creed of Imam al-Shafi. Therefore, under this principle, every disbeliever who has attained majority and discretion would be deserving of capital punishment, irrespective of whether he is capable of fighting or not, whether he is himself on the war path or not and whether he is actively assisting his comrades (the disbelievers) to pursue the fight or not.

In this regard, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah considers the first opinion, viz., the opinion of the majority, to be correct and, in support of his position cities authorities from the Quran and Sunnah.

Source: Punishment of Apostasy in Islam, by S. A. Rahman (former Chief Justice of Pakistan)