Friday, June 17, 2011

Rape? Very Funny

Everybody receives SMS on their cell phones. The gender classified as 'Males' do a certain act when it comes to SMS containing adult content - we pass it on to many of our male brethren for ... umm...  the greater good of the humanity? I do not know for what purpose but we do so. No clue seriously. Call us idiots. Or perverts. Whatever.

The other day, I received this message. Read it...

'Define Rape with help of one good example? 
Rape is a very difficult job. For example, it is like playing golf with continuously moving hole'

Stomach churns?

I was stunned. How could anyone make a joke out of rape? What is wrong with people. And why are people forwarding it? This is not a joke for heavens sake. This cruelty. This is trivializing of the worst kind of an issue extremely important. Just as I have received it, countless many men would have received it. I could not forward it, many would have done so. What does it show?

It shows a complete lack of humanity. It shows the attitude of a society towards a serious crime rendering it mundane. A thing that can be treated as a joke. Certain questions came in to my mind. Was it a Pakistani creation? Is it reflective of only Pakistani society? Or did this SMS came bordering hopping into Pakistan? Do others think the same about this issue?

I know for Pakistan that it is considered fault of the woman if she is raped. She must have been wearing 'wrong' clothes or she must be in a wrong company always which would have ultimately resulted in her being raped. Anything to place the blame on the woman and giving clean slate to the men - 'hey, he just could not control himself'. How pathetic is that.

Seriously it amazes me how trivial we consider the issue of rape. No one has the right to violate a woman's sanctity no matter what the situation! It requires two to tango does not figure in this scenario! Please stop this insanity.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

A 2500 Years Old Peshawar


PESHAWAR: Archeologists say that the city of Peshawar may be around 2,500 years old. The University of Peshawar (UoP) and K-P Department of Archeology performed a recent excavation at Gor Khatri, a prominent cultural landmark and the highest point of the city. The results suggest that Peshawar dates back to 300 BC, supporting claims that this city is among the oldest living cities in Asia.

Mohammad Naeem Qazi, an assistant professor of archeology at UoP, said that thus far the excavation has probed a depth of 48 feet. The excavation project was launched in 1994 by the former archeology chair, Dr Farzand Ali Durrani. The project’s aim is to better understand Peshawar’s history, said Qazi. “We have unearthed layers upon layers of history, that go uninterrupted at least 2,300 years back.”

The first layer of relics date back to the British era. Other relics have come from the Sikh, Durrani, Mughal, Sultanate and Ghaznvid periods. The latter, which followed Ghaznavi’s defeat of the Hindu Shahis, dates around 1,000 AD. Older remnants are from the White Huns, Kushans and Sassanids. There are even signs of Parthians, dating back to 100 AD.
“Below the Parthians lie the remains of the Scythians period, and there are also vestiges of Indo-Greeks, known as Bactrian Greeks, that ruled this region around 200 BC,” Qazi said.  In this dig, archeologists have found little from the Mauryan period, which pre-dates the Bactrians, although Mauryan relics have been found in the general area, indicating that Peshawar extends back some 2,300 years.

Among other items, the recovered relics include glazed pottery and other utensils, toys, grinding stones and over 40 coins.

“Peshawar has the sole distinction of being the oldest living city. It didn’t die, unlike Mohenjodaro and Harrappa. It has survived for two and a half millennia,” said Dr Abdul Samad, an archeological consultant for UoP.

Gor Khatri, where this excavation was carried out, is itself an important cultural landmark. According to Qazi, Zahiruddin Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, mentions the hair-cutting ceremonies of Hindu yogis in Tuzak-e-Babri. Jehan Ara Begum, daughter of Shah Jehan, also built an inn at this site, which was known as “the inn with two gates.”  During the Sikh period, Paolo di Avitabile, the Italian mercenary governor of Peshawar, used the inn as a private residence. It became the police headquarters under British rule, and remained as such until 2004.

Gor Khatri is the stuff of real history but it also boasts myth and legend. In his 20th century history of Peshawar, Ahmed Hassan Dani wrote about a Chinese ruler who tried to take the Buddha’s famous alms-bowl by force. However, the bowl refused to budge, even when hitched to a carriage drawn by eight elephants.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Can You Touch The Quran When Unclean?

There is this very common notion that one should not touch the Quran when one is unclean. Unclean in general terms would mean not being in the state of ablution or more specifically in case of women, if they are menstruating.

Is it really the case? Lets first start from the verse that actually informs us so.

Quran 56:79(the book) Which  none shall touch but those who are clean:

As always, one should check the context of the verses. 

56:75 - I call to witness the setting of the Stars
56:76 - And that is indeed a mighty oath if ye but knew
56:77 - That this is indeed a qur'an Most Honourable, 
56:78 - In Book well-guarded, 
56:79 - Which none shall touch but those who are clean: 
56:80 - A Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. 

A cursory reading would show that a macro perspective is being discussed in which the God (as is the case with this Chapter), is narrating His favours and trying to impress upon the readers to understand the greatness of Quran. It does not show that muslims are not allowed to touch Quran when impure. Compare this to specific instructions of God in case of offering prayers.

4:43 - O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again. 

So one can see that when God says that only clean can touch Quran, it means that those who have pure heart and thoughts can understand it. Its the impurity of hearts and minds that is the subject and not otherwise. Suppose that I am wrong and indeed the verse is talking of being in a state of cleanliness when touching Quran, the following should follow:

If you can not touch the Quran then you can not utter the wording of Quran. Quran is not about being paper and ink right? the words in it matter. Since you cannot utter words of Quran, this means you can not recite Quran when unclean. This follows that since you can not recite Quran, so the name of the entity who sent it, should also be not taken because you are unclean. 

Does this makes any sense? Of course not. 

You take the name of God in any state. You can not help it. When you can take the name of entity who sent this Quran and Who mentions Himself all over in it, why cant you recite it? If you can recite it then why cant you hold or touch it? Remember what I said? Its not about paper and ink that matters most.

So do not be the one restricting yourself (and others) in touching or reciting the Quran when no where God intends to or said so. 


Related Post
- Menstruation and Religious Duties

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Saleem Shahzad is Dead

Investigative reporter Saleem Shahzad, station chief of Hong Kong based Asia Times, was found dead yesterday. He was kidnapped on the 29th of May. He reported on issues of Islamic jihad, Al Qaeda, militancy in Pakistan and links within the military apparatus with militants. He last published this article at Asia Times. 

This is dedicated to his bravery. May we be blessed with a peaceful country.