Friday, February 29, 2008

Is Music Prohibited in Islam?

Is music haram?
Simply put .. No.

I have had discussions on forums regarding music in Islam and I thought to share some of them here. Music is considered to be 'evil'. It somehow induces devil-feelings in the listener. To quote the text from here.
"It is a the trap of shaitan by which he lures people to immoral acts. Indeed the essence of music, its causes, goals and effects all revolve around the songs of corrupt and immoral people, for music contains commendation of what Allah detests and boasts about what he dislikes. Music is a satanic voice that deeply penetrates the human heart and stimulates in it destructive desires, wreaks havoc on mans body and soul and fills his ears with obscenities."

My assertion is very clear. God clearly states what are the handiworks of Satan and advises humans to stay away from them.

5:90 - O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper.

Tell me.. if music is so bad.. why did God forget it in this verse?

The argument raised was this
“why is rape not mentioned in the Quran? does that mean its okay.”
No body can justify rape because its not mentioned in Quran. The example can be given of Cyber porn. It is not mentioned in Quran nor Hadith so does that mean one would let his/ her children do it? Of course not.

Another argument raised was this.
“Quran is a brief guide. More like a summary. Explanations come from hadith.”
Quran counters this brilliantly where God states that His book is not a brief guide.

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".

Also in the discussion the following verses were quoted to justify the prohibition of music. I'll quote them and let the reader decide whether they relate to music or not. You know my stance on these verses already.

31:06 - And there are among men, those that purchase idle tales, to mislead from the path of Allah and throw ridicule. For such there will be a humiliating punishment.

17:64 - Lead to destruction those whom you can among them with your (seductive) voice.

25:72 - Those who witness no falsehood, and if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable avoidance.

The thing is that nobody is allowed to prohibit or 'haram' and 'halal' things for humans. Its God's religion. It is He who decides what is better for us. No body is allowed to 'portray' that music is 'haram' in religion when its not the case. If you do not want to listen to music, more the better for you but do not impose this upon people as if religion prohibited it.

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: Nor follow thou the vain desires of such as treat our signs as falsehoods, and such as believe not in the Hereafter: for they hold others as equal with their Guardian-Lord.

Related Post:
- Dance, Music and 'kanjar'

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Clip Mania

You are sitting on your seat doing your work when a 'friend' of yours pops up and places his mobile phone in front of you. You have this feeling where this would lead to. 'Play it' he says referring to a clip.. and when you play it.. you get to see an amateur video showing a couple in a garden or somewhere going smoochy smooch!

What the hell!

What is with people! What kind of satisfaction do they get by sharing such kind of clips in which people are 'caught' doing something! ridiculous! (by the way I am all for consensual ones :p)

Now there are different types of people that would show you the clip. First is the type that I narrated above. He is your (supposedly) friend, either office or home, who you know has a collection of these clips! "haha! see what these morons are doing!" he'll tell you! You look at him and say ..'uh huh'.. amusing.

Then there are the types that speak as if they want to avenge something. "Look at what is happening in Islamic republic! this is what you call Islamic?! Musharraf did all this! Enlightened Moderation my ass!" They say this after narrating everything about the clip of where the location is and what 'they'll do now in scene!'

Then there are the sort of people that start off with dangers of enlightened moderation and go all the way to implementation of shariah! Mashallah! You start imagining the piety when they will narrate to you what sort of clips they saw on mobile phones with a certain friend of theirs! And then they'll promise to send you a clip in email! Lovely!

There is a class of clips, audio files to be specific, that are border-line sadistic! A guy would randomly call a number. Talk really weird stuff to the listener online, then gets abused by the listener and records everything! Then the sharing starts! 'Have you heard that clip?! haha! that is really funny!' a certain someone will tell you.

Then there are those nuts that dial call centers and would talk to the lady operator. They would talk to her with all the innuendos and double entendres!

I remember sometime back, a huge scandal had rocked Rawalpindi when secretly filmed video clips of an internet cafe were released (CD Version man! effective distribution!) in which couples came for internet surfing and ended up surfing things other than that. One can complain about their acts but what about those who were actively participating in 'distribution' of it?! 'Man you should see what they were doing! how come people do that in cafes! .. that guy was really weird!'

Man we are sick! 'Haha!' as long as its happening to other?!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pakistan Votes

Pakistani's have voted. And they have voted for change. Really?

You know what.. I really feel for PML-Q! I know they were going to be dumped no surprises there but they were just a political lot with a tag of PML-Q on their forehead! Majority of the politicians are the same! People are treating them with contempt as if they are the ones who are the cause of every ill Pakistan is afflicted with. I mean you do not have to go 100 years back in time to know that Nawaz Sharif, the champion of judicial supremacy, himself was responsible for attack on Supreme Court. Benazir Bhutto came to Pakistan by a deal with Musharraf. She had cases against her removed through National Reconciliation Ordinance! Zaradari, the current co-chairman, is the biggest thug of all.

Anyways.. coming to the results of the election, PML-Q's stars lost the game. Chaudhry Shujat, Sheikh Rashid, Ijaz ul Haq etc. I was also not surprised by the success of Awami National Part (ANP). The pukhtoon nationalist had to make a comeback since the mullahs of Mutahidda Majlis e Amal (MMA - the alliance of religious parties) did a terrible job. Mind you I voted for MMA in the last election. I had done that because I wanted to try other faces. I had even voted for Musharraf in referendum! so much for my selection :p But I totally believe that leadership is what matters even if you don't have effective political parties or the kind of democracy Pakistan has. Musharraf though has totally lost it. He wont survive much.

I could not vote this time because I was some 1800 km away from my polling station! I would have voted for ANP too perhaps. A party that takes a principled stand on various issues and are not nuts when it comes to religion. In fact, they tend to be more on the left on this count as they opposed the Afghan jihad and now the militant version of talibanization.

MMA got routed as well. Partly because of boycott, Maulana Fazlur Rehman's pro-Musharraf antics and their own performance. Or perhaps I am too biased against religious parties because I feel they exploit religion for their political gains? For the first time I guess Qazi Hussein Ahmad sensed it right where the opinion will lie and boycotted early.

The biggest surprise was from Nawaz Sharif's PML-N. The number of seats that his party bagged in National and Provincial assembly was really surprising. Good that he was not contesting because I do not want to see him as PM. Nor did I want to see Benazir as prime minister! Though her death was tragic which was exploited to the maximum by PPP, she herself was just another opportunist feudal!

There is one thing that I like. This time around there will be a new face for prime minister. I think the two-time Prime Minister term limit is very good because somewhere in me, I assume, that this would inculcate democracy within parties themselves too! Silly me! But I am not pessimistic. PML-Q got the treatment it deserved. Pakistani voters told them not to side with dictators. This is a very strong message. Its a strong reminder for anyone who is coming next. The message is loud and clear. Do not mess with Pakistani voters!

I hope what I state is true!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

SMS - The Opinion Maker

I just received a joke on SMS and it is again about PML-Q, the erstwhile goons of Musharraf. Tell me, if you have received political jokes recently, how many relate to PML-Q? I can safely say 90% or more of the times its about the same party. The 'ridicule' factor is most prominent in these jokes.

Its this type of politics-based joke that interests me. (Yes I do receive other jokes as well that interest me even more :p) You read the joke, you laugh and you forward it to someone else. Was it just simple as that? What you did as simple an act of laughing and forwarding was that you formed an opinion about PML-Q as well! What is the image of PML-Q in your mind now? Idiots most probably! And that is most important. I am not saying that its only the SMS that formed your opinion like that but it certainly is a build up on the earlier information.

SMS and cellphones are ubiquitous these days. Its such an important element in the modern day of communication but we do not give it due importance rather take it for granted. Yes we are aware of the 'nuisance' factor of it but do we really appreciate the timeliness of information received? Remember Benazir Bhutto's assassination? You read it on blog first or got the SMS first? Do we know how can it be utilized to further your cause?

Talking about political jokes, Propaganda has now taken on new form. I do not know whether it was by chance or some deliberate attempt but this is certainly working. The majority of the users of cell phone are young aged-middle aged Pakistanis. They can sms - not just receive and send calls. They are the ones that are more aware of the changing scenarios of the country and perhaps would want to do something about it. They are the decision makers and they are the recipients of these messages.

The usual medium of information like Newspapers, Radio and TV still play an important role in forming an opinion. The information they provide is portrayed as balanced and accurate. You cant really blame them because they are working in boundaries of ethics and fair-play (at least they say so). But when it comes to SMS, the language is more straight forward than the draped-thing that you get from other media. A joke is short, precise and to the point! Conveys what the meaning is and helps do it in less cost! Forget about expensive advertisement campaigns against opponents which sound sleazy anyway! SMS will spread much faster, will cover great distances, will have impact and you will not have to bear the expenses too! What an effective propaganda tool!

Blogs come close to quick opinion-forming information dissipation. Bloggers are usually more aware of the events that are going on whether political or apolitical. SMSs even outshine them in the sense that you do not spend that much time on computers. If you do, you would go to your favorite places on the internet including blogs and newspaper sites. You will not visit every site to get information. On the other hand, with SMS, the destination of the information is the 'recipient'. You get a message and you 'read' it! You will even forward it to your friends. A network of opinion was generated.

Perhaps you can clearly see the results of the next elections if SMS popular sentiment is to be believed. PML-Q will find it very difficult because the most powerful element of 'information' is not on their side! Pakistani politics is peculiar in the sense that dynasties, feudals, 'biradri' play more important role than the voter conscience. Would it be any different this time?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cleopatra - The Last Pharoh

In line with my recent posts on Egyptology in which I had posted about Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Nefertiti and Hatshepsu - this time I am writing about another very famed pharoh of Egypt called Cleopatra.

Courtesy Wikipedia

Cleopatra was actually Cleopatra VII. Her mother was Cleopatra V and her father was Ptolemy XII. She was born in 69 BC. She is considered to be the last of the Pharohs because after that Egypt was ruled by the Romans when Octavius annexed it with Rome. Octavius defeated Cleopatra and Mark Antony at Actium. By the way, Octavius was the grand nephew of Julius Caesar whom Cleopatra married before Mark Antony.

Cleopatra was a ruler of Hellenistic era. This era started when Alexander The Great went on his campaign spree to rule from Mediterranean to India in around 335 BC. This era is marked by spreading of Greek culture and civilization in all of the conquered areas. Cleopatra and her predecessors spoke Greek. Cleopatra was the one that restored Ancient Egypt's old deities and
language that had almost vanished during the past 300 years before her. The previous rulers preferred the Greek civilization over the ancient Egyptian one. Cleopatra actually learned to write in Egyptian Hieroglyphs! (I like her!)

After death of her father Ptolemy XII, she married her brother Ptolemy XIII and both reigned jointly. She being too individualistic, tried to reign alone (issued a coin depicting only her as regnant). Palace intrigues then led her to exile along with her sister.

When her brother got in conflict with Julius Caesar, she came in the picture again. He wanted to annex Egypt. She became Julius's mistress and thus Julius made her the Queen of Egypt. Her brother was drowned in the Nile. She bore a son from Julius which she wanted Julius to name as heir which Julius refused because he had chosen Octavian. When Julius was assassinated in 44 BC, she made her son co-regnant and had her sister killed so that no claimants to heir exist!

As the power struggle continued in Rome, Mark Antony, a military commander, administrator of Julius Caesar and another hopeful for Caesar title met Cleopatra. Both of them got involved and formed an alliance against Octavian. She had three children from Mark Antony. The three of them were made rulers of different areas that were under the control of Cleopatra. Being highly ambitious, Cleopatra dreamed of uniting east against Rome and then ruling both Rome and Egypt.

Octavian and Rome were incensed. Octavian sought war permission from the Roman Senate. After that both the forces fought the naval battle at Actium where Mark was defeated. Octavian invaded Egypt and finally Mark's forces were defeated at Alexandria. Mark Antony committed suicide. After sometime Cleopatra too committed suicide. The most famous version is that she died because of Asp bite. Although it is said that she got bit on her arm but Shakespeare immortalized the picture by suggesting that she had held the asp to her breast. (Picture at Wikipedia)

That apart, though Cleopatra's son claimed the throne but Octavian executed him. His famous statement "Two Caesars are one too many".

Update 12-02-2008

I had heard about Cleopatra's beauty but as I was writing this post I could not find any picture that could perhaps relate to her famed beauty. An anonymous comment took me to National Geographic's site which states

But a silver coin that went on display at a British university yesterday suggests Cleopatra's beauty may be Hollywood fiction. On one side the coin shows the Egyptian ruler with a shallow forehead, long nose, narrow lips, and a sharply pointed chin. On the other, her longtime lover, the powerful Roman general and politician Mark Antony, is depicted with a large hooked nose and thick neck.

Link is in comments.

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!
- Your Name in Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Polygamy in Islam- The Quranic Perspective

All those who are interested in polygamy, please do not read this because I am going to ruin your plans :p

As a muslim, we all have heard that a man is allowed to have four wives. Want to see the verse of Quran? Here let me quote the most common version of this verse...

4:03 - Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.

But as always, we muslims read only what we want to read. Now read the whole verse.

4:03 - If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.

When you are told something regarding Islam or Quran, do not just blindly accept them. I urge you to pick up Quran and read for yourself this verse. Just as it was like in my previous post of Travel Prayers.

A muslim man is not allowed to have 4 wives as he chooses and pleases! The main purpose of polygamy in Islam according to this verse is the welfare and protection of orphans! to provide a family for them. Not merrymaking!

And even in Quran (4:129) it is being emphasized that monogamy is the best because you can not deal with multiple wives justly.


Update 11th Sept, 2008

Recently, I have had the opportunity to discuss this verse and its possible interpretations. There is an opinion that the verse 4:03 discusses 'orphan girls' and not 'widows' as seems to be the case when verse 4:127 is taken into consideration.

When one goes on further in Sura Nisa and reads the verses, it becomes apparent that orphans as vulnerable, weak and requirement of a protective figure is being discussed. This can only happen if widow is married to and not the female orphans. This can be judged from following verse in which the orphans are advised to be married off in case they reach age of puberty. This cannot be possible if Verse 4:03 meant marrying orphan girls.

4:06 - Make trial of orphans until they reach the age of marriage; if then ye find sound judgment in them, release their property to them; but consume it not wastefully, nor in haste against their growing up. If the guardian is well-off, Let him claim no remuneration, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable. When ye release their property to them, take witnesses in their presence: But all-sufficient is Allah in taking account.

All in all, Quran advises you to be monogamous (4:129) as God tells us that a man can't be that equitable with multiple wives. Muslim society is encouraged to arrange marriage of single people (24:32) and those who cannot afford marriage - they are advised to stay chaste (24:33). A person has to abstain from sex and he is allowed to do so only with his wife OR if he has a slave/ captive - not both (23:05-06).

Polygamy is allowed in Islam but it is restrictive in nature. The ONLY verse dealing with polygamy is in Sura Nisa (4:3) and that is context of orphans - and one thing is for sure that you cannot marry an other woman just because it pleases you or she is pretty! Even Prophet Muhammad was told not to do so! (33:52).

This Book (Quran) has clear and detailed verses (6:114) and there no doubt in it (2:2). We are advised not to attribute lies to Allah (6:22), not to setup our religious scholars and leaders as our lords (9:32) and not to seek any other source besides this Quran (77:50) otherwise the Prophet will complain on judgment day that we abandoned Quran (25:30).

Prophet's Marriages

The logical question you would ask me is what do I have to say regarding Prophet Muhammad multiple marriages. Things are a bit different for Prophet and ordinary believers.

33:50 - O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their
dowers; ... and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers

Marriage was a special case for Prophet. Certain privileges were given to Prophet and not to believers. Perhaps, the quoted marriage cases fall in that category.

Prophethood is not an easy job. Prophet was made to do things which he did not want.

33:37 - ... and you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him. But when Zaid had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons,...

Check Also:
1 - Child Marriage in Islam
2 - Divorce in Islam - The Quranic Perspective

Monday, February 04, 2008

Travel Prayers - Salat Qasr

Most of you would have heard of travel prayers, most of you even offer it while traveling. Its basically shortening of the regular prayers (e.g. 4 units of Noon prayers reduced to 2 units) so as to provide a convenience to travelers.

Let me show you the verse in Quran that allows so...

4:101 - When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers...

No in fact. Read the whole verse.

4:101 - When ye travel through the earth, there is no blame on you if ye shorten your prayers, for fear the Unbelievers May attack you: For the Unbelievers are unto you open enemies.

Things a bit clear now? You are only allowed to shorten the prayers if you fear you'll be attacked. Its not like when you pack your bags for another city you keep shortening your prayers.

And please do not tell me that Prophet Muhammad told muslims to do so...

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)."


Saturday, February 02, 2008


What kind of a mystery is a 'woman'?! They really are from Venus I swear! No no! Venus is too near by for this specie! They are from like.. another galaxy! where specie don't live by breathing oxygen rather suck it from others!

oh I know them!
No No! Not the I know "know" them kind.. its actually I know "do not!" kind!
(what the hell was that? what am I writing?)

No matter what you do for them.. it will be worthless! what will be more important is what you 'did not' do! You do 99 good things.. 1 thing you forget.. and hell would break lose!

Its like damned if you do and ... well you are already damned if you didn't!

And the gift! nothing is more important in this world than the gift! you give them anything you want with all the love you can... and if it is not tagged 'gift'... forget about it cuz they'll ask you where is their 'gift'.

'I do not ask for anything else... these small things matter alot' they'll say. And then you'll ask yourself how could you do this to anyone?! thats a cardinal sin! you are doomed my brother!

If you had an argument with them. Beware. The moment you try to make the conversation - you'll be snubbed. And after that you'll be snubbed for not making the communication! Lovely eh?!

The world is 'oh so pretty' when a woman presents it to you with her charm.. and she can make life hell the very next moment if you are not compliant! Its like the Security Council and all the veto votes are with them!

Damn. You cant live without them either.
OK I am trying to make another contact.....

This was written after a bout of word exchange.. and with a strong male bias.. so forgive me.
Oh better not!