Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eid - Is Animal Sacrifice Obligatory?

I had posted an entry when a tragedy had struck Hajj and had expressed my opinion on why Hajj is restricted to only 2 days and why not to 4 sacred months as God has stated.

Another thing that is of interest... is sacrificing an animal obligatory? No. Not at all. Sacrificing an animal on Eid ul Azha is not obligatory. It is obligatory only on Pilgrims (Hajjis) who are on Hajj in Makkah. Sura Al-Hajj mentions the rites of pilgrimage.

22:36 - And the animals! We have appointed them among the ceremonies of Allah. Therein ye have much good. So mention the name of Allah over them when they are drawn up in lines. Then when their flanks fall (dead), eat thereof and feed the beggar and the suppliant. Thus have We made them subject unto you, that haply ye may give thanks.

God has made things easy for us but we act otherwise. Look at the trouble that people have to go through by arranging for sacrificial animal. A person with low income resource cannot think of buying the animals for sacrifice as they are exorbitantly expensive.

I heard that a bull was being sold for 1 million Rupee! What on earth is wrong with people?! A goat for 500,000! Are you kidding me?! Is this what Eid is for?! What a pathetic show off! Where is that spirit that is required at such event.

22:37 - Their flesh and their food reach not Allah, but the devotion from you reacheth Him. Thus have We made them subject unto you that ye may magnify Allah that He hath guided you. And give good tidings (O Muhammad) to the good.

Oh some devotion we show!

I am not at all against sacrificing animal for the benefit of the poor. Even better if you do not want to sacrifice an animal and contribute financially to help someone! 'Sadqa' and 'khairat' are wonderful things as form of charity. But animal sacrifice being equated to obligation on muslims is not right! And why restrict it to one day for that matter?! Should you not be helping the poor this way on other days as well?!

It becomes a burden as well! Not everyone is capable of dishing out so much money. When a person cant afford to buy sacrificial animal... imagine what he/ she will have to go through. He does not have enough money! forget money for worldly affairs.. he does not have money to spend in the way of God! And then the society.. 'You do not plan to sacrifice any animal this time?' God can be handled.. humans cannot be handled!

And lastly.. the filth! First our local administration is not that efficient in collecting animal waste. Then 'we' do not bother to dispose off properly! The end result.. a huge mess and stench! Awful to say the least.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nefertiti - The Most Beautiful Woman In The World!

Ok let me post on the last person in my current line of postings on Egyptology before I head out to home on holidays. I wrote about The boy-king Tutankhamun, his (probable) father Akhenaten and now its the turn of his step-mother Nefertiti.

This is a very famous bust of a woman stated to be the most beautiful woman in the world! Courtesy Wikipedia.



Isn't she pretty?! Yeah I know there is an other name buzzing in back of your mind.. Cleopatra.. well she too was a pharoh and a queen. Nefertiti and Cleopatra are the two most famous ancient egyptian female celebrities.

Nefertiti became famous because she was associated with a pharoh who was somewhat obsessed with introducing monotheism in ancient Egypt, he was Akhenaten. Interestingly, although she was the great royal wife of the pharoh, she was depicted alongside pharoh as being equal to his status! This was considered a blasphemy. She was also depicted as a very beautiful person in reliefs and busts whereas 'unusually' the pharoh Akhenaten is shown with an elongated face, protruding belly and wide hips. No one is sure whether portraying ugliness was part of religion or he had some physical abnormality.

Nefertiti had to face some troubling times after her husbands death. Both of them had actively espoused the cause of new religion - Atenism. After his death, she had to control the affairs and that included pleasing the all powerful clergy who had turned against the couple for abandoning the old gods. In her time, the new religion was gradually sidelined and old deities made a come back. Her step-son married her daughter Ankhesenpaaten to continue the royal lineage. Tutankhaten (suffix -aten) changed his name to Tutankhamun (suffix -amun) to show complete transformation of Egypt from the new religion.

Nefertiti died in probably the third year of Tutankhamun reign.

Check My Other Posts on Egyptology

- The First Monotheist - Akhenaten
- King Tut
- Hatshepsu - Woman Pharoh with A Beard!
- Cleopatra - The Last Pharoh
- Your Name in Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The First Monotheist - Akhenaten

He has been called the first individual in history, as well as the first monotheist, first scientist, and first romantic. He is Akhenaten.

A very controversial figure in the list of pharohs. His rule dates back to 1350 BC and he was a king of 18th dynasty. His successors include his son, the famous boy-king, Tutankhamun on whom I wrote the last post. His royal wife, Nefertiti, is considered to be one of the most beautiful of queens.

Akhenaten is very famous for introducing monotheism in Egypt! Egyptions were familiar with a variety of deities headed by a supreme deity - Amun-Ra. Akhenaten introduced Aten as one of the supreme gods and after passage of sometime proclaimed Aten as the only supreme deity. The suffix in his name (-aten) was a result of this. He was earlier named Amenhotep IV. Aten is visible in the form of solar disc spreading light on the pharoh. By the way, the solar disc was just a representation, Aten was not considered to be a sun god.

What he did next was very controversial to say the least. He started to deface everything that had Amun as god. Did away with traditional religious ceremonies, depicted his wife Nefertiti to be equal amongst the pharohs (considered as blasphemy!) and started building a new city, Amarna, instead of Thebes which was the religious hub of pharohs.

Do you know that Akhenaten is considered to be a pioneer in introducing monotheism? In fact some attribute birth of Judaism to him! Some even consider him Moses who introduced One God to Israelites! But that of course is a moot point amongst egyptologists.

Another thing that sets apart his rule from others was the style of art. Pharohs were normally depicted as strong built that crushed the enemies but portrayals of Akhenaten were 'with a sagging stomach, thick thighs, larger breasts, and long, thin face' - quite different from the previous depictions of pharohs! On the other hand, the busts of Nefertiti that have been excavated till date show her as a very beautiful woman!

When he died, it started the reversal of everything that he had done. The city of Amarna was abandoned and so was the the god Aten. Old rituals and festivals came back.

Check My Other Posts on Egyptology

- Nefertiti - The Most Beautiful Woman in World
- King Tut
- Hatshepsu - Woman Pharoh with A Beard!
- Cleopatra - The Last Pharoh
- Your Name in Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

King Tut

Tell me whether you have seen this picture or not?

Courtesy Wikipedia

I bet you must have. But many of you dont know who he is. Let me take you on a short journey of history of pharohs. I'll be posting various entries regarding Egypt. I have an interest with egyptology but damn it! why the hell have I been quiet?!

Tutankhamun or King Tut as he is popularly known is a world famous boy-king. He was crowned the pharoh at the age of 9. There is some confusion still on who his father and mother were but it is assumed that his father was Akhenaten. I will write more about Akhenaten in my later posts becasue he was the one that introduced monotheism in Egypt! His step-mother Nefertiti, thought to be one of the pretiest of Queens. One post dedicated to her as well :p

King Tutankhamun is famous becasue his tomb was found completely intact, the first of its kind, by a very famous archaeologist Howard Carter. Normaly a tomb when found does not contain the complete collection of assessories that had been buried with the kings sarcophagus. It has been looted already by the looters in the by-gone era and the treaure hunters. Howard Carter also comes in the same category but has the tile of archaeologist :p Dont ask me what he and his men did to the mummy to retrieve gold! In case of Tutenkhamun, the tomb KV-69 was found completely intact in the Valley of the Kings.

The scientists (Egyptologist to be specific) have done extensice CT Scanning of his mummy and come out with a computer generated face.


Recently he was shifted to his 'new' resting place (a glass chamber that would save him from heat, humidity and tourists :p) BBC has the complete pictorial of it if you want to check. I am just giving some of the pictures here.



All pictures courtesy BBC.

Check My Other Posts on Egyptology

- Nefertiti - The Most Beautiful Woman in World
- The First Monotheist - Akhenaten
- Hatshepsu - Woman Pharoh with A Beard!
- Cleopatra - The Last Pharoh
- Your Name in Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Your Name in Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Courtesy University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology- My name in Egyptian Hieroglyphs is this!



Hmm. A Horned Viper, An Arm :p Reed Leaves and Door Bolt! Man I am confusing!

Check My Other Posts on Egyptology

- Nefertiti - The Most Beautiful Woman in World
- The First Monotheist - Akhenaten
- King Tut
- Hatshepsu - Woman Pharoh with A Beard!
- Cleopatra - The Last Pharoh

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What Makes Relationships Sustainable?

I was in conversation with a friend of mine. We were talking about some other group of people when she stated that "my relationship with them is now normal becasue they do not have a stake involved with respect to me". Now this made me ponder and I did not like what conclusion my mind was trying to draw :|

Are relationships 'interests' based? Is all that talk of love, compassion nothing but just another word of "protecting ones interest'? Every relationship starts based on the feeling of love and care. I agree to that otherwise no relationships would develope. Yes you can argue that not every relationship initiates on the feeling of love e.g. two business partners who although have a relationship but not out of love but to 'further their interests'. And we cant really put sustainability factor in this situation. What I am talking about are the relationships built on the foundation of love. Father and son, mother and daughter, siblings, husband and wife(?), lovers...

Consider for example a son and a father relationship. Pure love eh? Right. Everything is going ok between them. A dispute arose between the two, suppose, a property dispute. The father and son dont see eye to eye on this one and in the end the son is thrown out of the home. (yeah quite exaggerated and quick but this happens).

You can say that since a 'negative' element was introduced in the relationship of love so it ruined everything... but can it be said that 'threat level' of negativity rose to such an extent that it prompted the father to 'protect' his interests? Was the underlying feeling between the two of 'threat maintenance' to a possible maximum? Is love just a cover up?

Ok how about saying that a relationship consists of both elements - 'love' and 'threat maintenance'. Does the latter outweigh the former? Countless incidents of love and sharing are equalled by just one negative act e.g. being unfaithful.

What makes relationships sustainable? Love and compassion for the other OR maintaining that negativity threat to a lower level? Is the glass half filled or half empty? Are they one and the same thing?

Am I nuts?! What the hell am I saying?! :p

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Can a Woman be an Imam?

There are couple of very interesting pictures posted on buzzvines, one of the blogs syndicated by Bloggers.pk. You can check them here and here. (If they have not edited them out yet)

One of the pics shows a woman, as imam, leading a prayer session which includes men as well. Interesting questions have been raised that whether a woman can be an Imam or not. Can she lead the prayers? Whether women should stand behind men in rows and that whether they should or should not intermingle in mosques.

I have always believed that Islam is the property of Allah and not humans.. so muslims better don't trespass!

Let me start off with an excellent verse that forms the basis of my argument.

6:114 - Say: "Shall I seek for judge other than Allah? - when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail." ...

Now if Quran is 'explained in detail' as God puts it.. then we should find in it whether a woman can be an Imam. hmm. Unfortunately there is no such info in Quran.

So what does that mean? Did God forget? Did He commit a mistake? typo?

20:52 - He replied: "The knowledge of that is with my Lord, duly recorded: my Lord never errs, nor forgets,-

There goes the erring and forgetting portion. OK. Then probably Prophet Muhammad would have said anything about it if God did not mention it right?

10:15 - But when Our Clear Signs are rehearsed unto them, those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, Say: "Bring us a reading other than this, or change this," Say: "It is not for me, of my own accord, to change it: I follow naught but what is revealed unto me: if I were to disobey my Lord, I should myself fear the penalty of a Great Day (to come)."

But prophet is saying that he only follows what God has revealed. Further the prophet is being warned here not to change anything and recite whatever that has been revealed.

Ok then what? How about I say that such and such thing is in Islam and such and thing not? This thing is 'haram' and that thing is 'halal'. Religious scholars keep doing that after all...

6:150 - Say: "Bring forward your witnesses to prove that Allah did forbid so and so." If they bring such witnesses, be not thou amongst them: ...

So if I say that a woman can not be an imam, then I would have to bring something as evidence that God said that. Which of course I do not have. Similarly, if I say that God said that a woman can be imam! Hell! I don't have an evidence for that either!

So what should be done? It is very simple actually... keep the opinions to yourself! No one has the right to say that such and such thing is Islamic or unislamic or this is haram or this halal. If anyone does that.. recite to him the above verse! No religious scholar is smarter than God! And that includes Dr. Zakir Naik as well! He has no right to brand things islamic or unislamic.

So if you are not comfortable with offering salat with women - do not offer salat with them! And if you are ok offering salat with them or they being the imam - suit yourself! But keep the judgment for later!

6:164 - Say: "Shall I seek for (my) Cherisher other than Allah, when He is the Cherisher of all things (that exist)? Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your goal in the end is towards Allah: He will tell you the truth of the things wherein ye disputed."

Its His religion. Let Him decide who was wrong or right on the day of judgment!

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