Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can A Muslim Befriend A Non-Muslim?

Now, this is one that you get to hear a lot from certain muslim quarters. Al-Qaeda and its likes will swear upon anything to show its true. A muslim is not supposed to befriend non-muslims especially Jews and Christians because they are out to hurt you! In this globalized world, a muslim will meet a person from another faith and the assertion that they should not be made friends sounds illogical unless you have a reason for doing so! I had a very good Christian friend in school, I used to eat from his home! God must be kidding us when stating so! But first.. the oft quoted verses ...

60:01 - O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends:...

5:51 - O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

5:82 - Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant.

We have to have a complete picture of why God is stating a particular thing regarding people and for that you need to have an understanding of Quran. The answer lies in these verses.

60:01 - O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as friends (or protectors),- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (take them not as friends), holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.

60:08 - Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.

60:09 - Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.

The only case in which you are not allowed to befriend non-muslim is when they religiously persecute you. If they want to co-exist peacefully, you are not allowed to transgress.

4:90 - Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

No where it states that when you meet an ordinary Jew, Christian or a Hindu - automatically start with mistrust of that person! thats ridiculous. That person of another faith, might be a better person than your 'believer' friend. We are all humans. We should respect each others faiths.

2:256 - Let there be no compulsion in religion...

Check My Other Posts

- 'I Hate You'

Friday, April 25, 2008

Colliding Galaxies

You know what.. galaxies are just an astounding piece of nature! I am just left amazed whenever I see pictures of them. They are so pretty... and the size of them.. absolutely mind boggling. Still there seems such an order in their huge size, weight, stars, gravity and dark matter!

Hubble Telescope has released some new images and they provide breath taking aftermath of galaxies after their collision!

(All pictures and text below courtesy Space.com)

"Galaxy mergers are now known to be more common than was previously thought. They were even more common in the early universe than they are today. The early universe was smaller, so galaxies were closer together and therefore more prone to smash-ups. Even apparently isolated galaxies can show signs of past mergers in their internal structure."

"This game of celestial bumper cars is driven by the gravitational pulls that galaxies exert on one another. Typically the first sign of a collision is a bridge of matter connecting two galaxies as gravity's first gentle tugs tease out dust and gas. As the outer reaches of the galaxies begin to interact, long streamers of gas and dust, called tidal tails, sweep back to wrap around the galactic cores."

You know in some million years.. our galaxy 'Milky Way' will split by our giant neighbor 'Andromeda'?! That should be fun! :p By the way our galaxy is a cannibal too! Scientist also say that the universe is expanding.. and in future there will be no stars in our night sky because every galaxy would have drifted apart. Why do galaxies have to act like humans?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Torment of the Grave

Q. Will there be 'azab e qabr'?
A. No.

As muslims we all believe that we will judged for our acts on the Judgment Day. Quran is quite detailed about the Judgment Day and several verses give a portrayal of that day. The earth will become barren and the mountains will be wiped out (18:47), horn will be blown and everyone will rise from their graves and go to their Lord (36:51), the deeds will be evaluated (36:54). We also know that souls will enter heaven in case of death if the person has performed good deeds (36:26).

There is another thing in Islamic literature which deals with Torment of the Grave, 'azaab e qabr'. According to this, the evil doers will really get a thrashing! I mean their grave for one will be so tight that they will not be able to breath, there will be snakes and I do not now what to cause them hurt. On the other hand the doers of good will be treated nicely in their graves.

The thing is.. there is no such thing in Quran regarding torment of the grave. What I get from Quran is that there would be hardly anything like that! Check this verse...

20:102 - The Day when the Trumpet will be sounded: that Day, We shall gather the sinful, blear-eyed (with terror).
20:103 - In whispers will they consult each other: "Yet remained not longer than ten (Days);
20:104 - We know best what they will say, when their leader most eminent in conduct will say: "Ye remained not longer than a day!"

Tell me.. whats the purpose of so great a torment to the evil doers when they do not even remember what happened?! I mean there has to be a purpose for the torment right? If you keep torturing me the whole night and the next morning I don't remember a thing... isn't that quite helpful for me?

There will be no such thing as torment of the grave because God has already stated that He will judge the deeds on a specific day called Judgment Day. I understand the reason for all such stuff as this become sort of moral suasion for the believers to do good deeds. Though there will be no such thing.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tenacious D

Best Song in the World
I have been an admirer of Jack Black for a long time...

(hope the link takes you there. For the firs time I decide to share a video and the sharing option is disabled! lovely)

Friday, April 18, 2008


How old were you? 6 I assume. You were planning to celebrate your birthday in August. You were the only child of your parents. I remember you held my daughter when she was just 2 months old! We all jumped out of our seats when you picked up the cot she was in! You said that she was a very cute baby. Your mother was telling us that you fondly remembered my daughter and that you wanted to play with her more. But you are no more. Those beautiful eyes and smile is no where to be seen. Cancer took you away. Your parents .. how do you describe the state they are in? Can words do justice? I was none of yours in relationship. It could have been my daughter in your place.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


- Thank God you know - He could have given us mathematical equations to solve in our daily prayers.

- Maths is like a human anti-fertility drug. 'maths meri mardana kamzori hay'.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Imprudent Broadcasters

Which do you think would have been a bigger news? Dr. Sher Afgan getting a thrashing from people or (God forbid) Dr. Sher Afgan losing his life while saving himself from people?

Obviously the latter. This is exactly what the media wanted - not the death of Dr. Sher Afgan but the 'bigger' news and it can be anything for that matter. This is the most unfortunate aspect of media reporting.

The other day there was a fire on I.I. Chundrigar Road in one of the buildings. I could see the fire fighter perched up on the snorkel and there was a gentleman besides him in trouser shirt and talking on a cell phone! I might be wrong here but it was most probably a reporter trying to be 'on the spot'. Can it get more ridiculous than that?

Can the reporter not understand that he might be impeding the work of fire fighters? Why did not the fire fighter stop him from coming on-board? Or he just could not because 'may be' the reporter flashed his press badge in his face and told him that he was a reporter and can do anything? Just like the other day in my organization, a reporter was misbehaving with the security guards and demanding that he be let in because he is was a reporter!

When Aitazaz Ahsan was pleading with the crowd to let Dr. Sher Afgan go in peace, he was also requesting the media men to stop airing pictures of the whole drama using their cameras because people obviously were getting more 'attention seekers' and it could result in unfortunate situation. Did the media men stop rolling their cameras? No.

What kind of a society are we becoming when there is no respect for life and dignity and all that matters is getting the attention of people to the 'news'? Will we be soon having incidents in which cameramen will barge into private homes and air their 'stories'? Diana died because of the negligence of the driver and paparazzi - are we heading in the same direction? Remember earthquake of 2005? and the airing of a person dying on TV? I am still disgusted even remembering it (check the link below to know about it).

Unfortunate. This requires attention of society in general and regulators in particular. Limits have to be set.

Related Posts:

- Prudent Broadcasters
- Can One Show a Person Dying Or Being Slaughtered on TV?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Defining Adulthood

For me, the stage when you transform from an adolescent to an adult is when you start to appreciate the singing of Noor Jehan and Farida Khanam and crave for their songs.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Woman's Witness Value Worth Half of Men?


OK let me jump straight to the verse and then see...

2:282 - O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write: as Allah Has taught him, so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, but let him fear His Lord Allah, and not diminish aught of what he owes. If they party liable is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable Himself to dictate, Let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her ...

The verse continues but I stopped here as the latter part will not form part of discussion. Couple of things (and more) to note here.

1. Its about a financial deal. More specifically a debt deal.
2. General principles regarding the deal are being told, basic idea being that there is no injustice.
3. The debtor is to dictate what should be written (not the creditor for fair play). The debtor should state the exact amount, specification of debt.
4. If the debtor is mentally weak, deficient in abilities to dictate then a guardian on his behalf should do this.
5. Witnesses have to be present. Witnesses should have the approval of both the parties.
6. Witnesses should be 2 Men or 1 Man and two women. If one forgets/ errs, the other reminds.

Lets evaluate the verse.

- The verse is dealing when people deal amongst themselves, sets the basic guidelines and ensures that no injustice takes place.

- The verse in no way suggests, and no one should extrapolate from it, that women are not allowed to appear in courts or testify! This does not relate to her intelligence, competence or her role being of a 'house wife' primarily. This is ridiculous.

- This verse does not in any way suggest that women are 'stupid'. If she is, why would the other woman remind her? isn't she stupid too?

- This relates more to the situation wherein women are subject to various social, cultural difficulties. There might be situations in which she might be exploited.

Now let me tell you another interesting thing. It relates to the translation of the verse and specifically the word 'ehda-huma' which means 'one of the two'. 'huma' means dual/ those two. Interestingly, this word is 'genderless'! so it does not mean that 'if one of the two women errs or forgets' - it means 'if one of the two forget or err' (including male and female).

For example: -

23:50 - And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both ('wayna-huma') shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs.

24:02 - The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them ('min-huma') with a hundred stripes: ...

Please do not trust me. Open the Quran and see. And do not ask me why the translators made it gender specific in case of verse 2:282. Good translations do keep this in mind. Check Pickthal.

2:282 - ... And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if the one erreth (through forgetfulness) the other will remember....