Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

Working towards a progressive Islamic Pakistan


Posted @ PakTea

Religion has never been a part of state in Pakistan, in fact only been abused to serve political motives since her inception. Despairingly, dilemma of Pakistani intellectuals is that in a peripheral discourse of Jinnah as a secular or Islamist, even the meaning of a sovereign dominion has been lost, let alone Islamic Pakistan.

Sadly, both the seculars and the Islamists use the same obsolete version of Islam to justify their claims. A liberated, democratic, just, economically effectual Pakistan is consistent with what Jinnah envisioned as well as Islamic principals.

The expeditiously changing global socio-political environment after a failed WOT resulting in altering socio-religious dynamics globally, now makes the narrative of Zia and textbook indoctrination as sole radicalization agent irrelevant. It does not explain post-WOT sudden surge in Islam globally, rapid Islamization even radicalization of the west and rising racism. Thus making the secular doctrine, inconsistent with the “timeline”, getting groundless and unconvincing every passing day. Opportunist mullah, still to-date is getting leverage and excuses, cashing on the developments around, living on a vacuum created by failed state policies and lack of interest from intellectuals to feed the on growing demand vis-à-vis religious interpretations. It follows that; religion neither should be abandoned using clergy as an excuse, nor be left exclusively in cult domain.

Pragmatically, viability of an Islamic state consistent with the 21st century should now be the objective. Say, it is not rocket science to interpret that future belongs to interest-free banking (not the pseudo Shariah banking being offered). Recessions, debts, global financial crisis paves the way for a revised system. However, imperative is this serious discourse must not be left for inept mullahs, instead skilled banking professionals should carve a way forming a roadmap, gradually altering the system. Certainly, somewhere in the Europe steps will be taken now for similar reforms (e.g. debates over ethical banking, full reserve banking perhaps a precursor).

Likewise, primary objective of a fair judicial mechanism in any civilized society is to ensure justice provision for the weak and minority (might being always right manages). Apart from the Medina treaty, there are innumerable examples throughout the Islamic history of minorities particularly Jews being well protected and flourishing in an Islamic set-up. Moreover, I am unable to grasp, in a state where majority is not getting justice, and the law of the jungle prevails, how could minorities ever be protected?

Ostensibly, merely discarding Iqbal as an Indian poet is a disservice to his enlightening prose pieces. Taking him as a philosopher would reveal his religious reconstruction as a powerful tool, which portrays a picture of Islam that is neither left nor right, but perfectly coherent with 21st century. Like for Caliphate, Iqbal’s panislamic concept is not precisely what mullahs have portrayed. In his own words (prose):

“Equipped with penetrative thought and fresh experience the world of Islam should courageously proceed to the work of reconstruction before them”

 “For the present every Muslim nation must sink into her own deeper self; temporarily focus her vision on herself alone, until all are strong and powerful to form a living family of republics. A true and living unity, according to the nationalists thinkers, is not so easy as to be achieved by a merely symbolical overlordship”

“It seems to me that God is slowly bringing home to us the truth that Islam is neither Nationalism or Imperialism but a League of Nations which recognizes artificial boundaries and racial distinctions for facility of reference only, and not for restricting the social horizons of its members”

I perceive this impression of caliphate somewhat similar to a UN body or say EU or a proactive OIC.

Unlike mullahs “Ameer-ul-momineen” monarchic dogma, he advocates caliphate to be a Republican type of government with power shared by one assembly, and not overruled by one person. Albeit, supremacy lies with God.

“Should the caliphate be vested in a single person? Turkey’s Ijtehad is that according to the spirit of Islam the caliphate or imamate cane be vested in a body of persons, or an elected assembly. The religious doctors of Islam in Egypt and India, so far as I know, have not yet expressed themselves on this point. Personally, I believe the Turkish view is perfectly sound. It is hardly necessary to argue this point. The republican form of government is not only thoroughly consistent with the spirit of Islam, but has also become a necessity in view of the new forces that are set free in the world of Islam.”

Devising the concept of “Spiritual Democracy” as the ultimate aim of Islam, he advocates vision and spiritual enterprise as fundamental leadership credential-“Two hundred thickheads altogether cannot yield what a single visionary can”. And as Paulo Coelho rightly tweets, “Spirituality is not all about meditation and prayer, you have to act it!” Following this, if vision, integrity, and honesty be made the criterion to choose leadership instead of lingo-provincial based sectarianism, ultimately a spirited, progressive democratic state consistent with Islam will be instituted.

The future belongs to invigorated or reconstructed Islam, nor is secular, neither theocracy an option. Kamal’s constitutionally secular Turkey is propitiously and serenely transforming into Erdogan’s modern Islamic Turkey, having civil supremacy, and leading Europe in economic growth. Why can’t we do this?

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“Enlightened Moderation” is the foundation of Islam


While pursuing my quest to dig up the truth, I comprehend; we can equitably consider ourselves liberal and liberated, modern and enlightened. I ll tell you how. Precisely, the foundation of Islam is “enlightened moderation”; not Mushi,s much loved enlightened moderation! I wish someone should have taught him Iqbal!

Iqbal

Allama Iqbal,s reasoning of religious reconstruction, supplemented by his contemporary, progressive & forward-looking approach is enlightened moderation in its concrete wisdom to me. Iqbal perfectly eradicates qualms of the Islamophobes & outline design to moderate radicalization. We do not have to look like barbarians, promote outdated punishments, & hence create islamophobes, neither do we have to claim to be secular in an attempt to project a modern outlook coherent with 21st century.

The main purpose of the Quran is to awaken in man the higher consciousness of his manifold relations with God and the universe “he goes …and the individual achieves a free personality, not by releasing himself from the fetters of the law, but by discovering the ultimate source of the law within the depths of his own consciousness.

Iqbals, enlightened moderation, unlike Musharaf,s could give us precise guidance and can bridge gap between extremists and liberals. It is a solution to religious sectarianism and can unite us on one platform regarding religious orientation. We appreciate him as a thinker, mystic and a mentor. But where are the principals he advocated being practiced? Irony is that, he was never understood & followed till to date, hence confusion over religion persists.

To begin with, “Eternal principal”- that is Toheed & spirituality, is the essence of enlightened moderation and the keystone to religious enterprise. Spirituality by no means mean taweez, dhumal, amil baba-the mehboob qudmoon mein type!pasand ke shadi mintoon mein! Frankly, in our society today we are more accustomed with the negative aspects of spirituality than the positive influence. Thanks to our Gaddi-nashhens and fake fakeers for distorting the impression of spirituality & thanks to mullas for overlooking it altogether. People especially from villages, though many educated ones as well who have faith in mysticism go in search of babas & fakirs, and end up with fake fakirs, turning them into superstitious and apprehensive beings.
In reality, spirituality is probity, morality, honor, and character molding to man’s ideal nature. It is meditation, purification and surrendering oneself to one Allah. It is about reviving and utilizing man’s hidden powers of khudi. As Paulo coehlo tweets “Spirituality is not all about meditation & praying, you have to act it!” To whom is it more significant today than us? The ultimate solution to the turmoil around.

” Islam demands loyalty to God, not to thrones. and since god is the ultimate spiritual basis of all life, loyalty to God virtually amounts to man,s loyalty to his own ideal nature –says Iqbal

Nonetheless, Iqbal,s vision is not even  traditional Sufism , in fact he rejects ascetic Sufism calling it medieval mysticism. He blames “total “other-worldliness” as obscuring one,s vision as regard islam as a social polity” one reason for arrest in evolution of islam in last few centuries. Imperative point here is that, his idea is rather of a dynamic Sufism. His Sufi is worldly wise, more practical & pragmatic. Concisely, he is a hermit at night and a knight in the day!!

It is the lot of man to share in the deeper aspirations of the universe around him and to shape his own destiny as well as that of the universe, now by adjusting himself to its forces, now by putting the whole of his energy to mould its forces to his own ends and purposes. And in this process of progressive change God becomes a co-worker with him, provided man takes the initiative.

if he does not take the initiative, if he does not evolve the inner richness of his being, if he ceases to feel the inward push of advancing life, then the spirit within him hardens into stone and he is reduced to the level of dead matter.

In order to groom ourselves into enlightened religious beings, first credentials “eternal principal” & Khudi is utterly important. We should possess intuit of innovation & creativity. We should have grasp of religious knowledge as well as should be well versed in worldly matters. All rounders-it seems!

Posted @ PakistanFirst

http://pak1stanfirst.com/201009202689/articles/letter-to-editor/enlightened-moderation-is-the-foundation-of-islam.html

“Is religion possible?”


This was a question raised by Allama Muhammad Iqbal almost a century ago & he himself than gave a clear and precise answer & presented with clear-cut guidelines to make it possible in the modern world.

Iqbal perfectly eradicates qualms of the Islamophobes & outline design to moderate radicalization. Seculars, liberals & wannabe/ pretentious liberals (another class I have noticed!), extremists &fundamentalists should leave their stubbornness and settle somewhere in the middle. Why can’t we settle for a Modern, Moderate, non-theocratic, Islamic Republic?

“Quran embodies an essentially dynamic outlook on life” he goes. “Quran considers it necessary to unite religion and state, ethics and politics in a single revelation much in the same way as Plato does in his Republic.”

We don’t need to be secular to have a modern outlook coherent with 21st century. Neither do we have to adopt radical approach, follow unsuited, inconsistent & irreconcilable laws, in order to prove faithful, practicing Muslims. Iqbal has a way out of it!

Iqbal has deep inspiration from the Turkish religio-political thought process. His Turkish inspiration is not limited to Rumi but he’s also moved by their religious reconstruction course and their willingness to move to fresh religious interpretations.  To date we can specifically see that Turkey is one Muslim state which is nominally secular, but practically Islamic!

I perceive, he advocates drastic changes in the existing Islamic schools of thought as he defies & criticizes older laws & revives the concept of Ijtehad & Ijma with a view to rebuild the laws of shariah in the light of modern thought and experience. As he says, “Equipped with penetrative thought and fresh experience the world of Islam should courageously proceed to the work of reconstruction before them”. I am sure this is the Pakistan he meant, when he gave the idea of a separate Muslim ideological, ideal state. “Conservatism is as bad in religion as in any other department of human activity” he goes.

Imperative point here is, Ijtehad must only be done by “khudi” indoctrinated; enlightened scholars & intellectuals open to innovation. Frankly, such individuals are scanty in the world today. (Imp: Along with other credentials, khudi essentially includes surrender to one God & ultimate love for his Prophet(PBUH).Islam cant get away without Muhammad(PBUH), it seems, I m sorry!!)

Iqbal,s panislamic concept is not precisely what mullahs have portrayed for years. Iqbal understands the veracity & politics around. His concept is simple & pragmatic. He sensed that Muslim countries are too week to be combined together to build a caliphate. Instead, as step-1, they should up-grade themselves independently. His impression of caliphate is that of “league of nations” i.e., somewhat similar to a UN body or say EU of our times. In his own words, “For the present every Muslim nation must sink into her own deeper self; temporarily focus her vision on herself alone, until all are strong and powerful to form a living family of republics”

“It seems to me that God is slowly bringing home to us the truth that Islam is neither Nationalism or Imperialism but a League of Nations which recognizes artificial boundaries and racial distinctions for facility of reference only, and not for restricting the social horizons of its members”

Unlike mullahs “ameer-ul-momineen” monarchic dogma, he advocates caliphate to be a Republican type of government with power shared by one assembly, and not overruled by one person. Albeit, Supremacy lies with God.

His concept of democracy is a “Spiritual Democracy”. “As two hundred thick brains altogether cannot yield what a single visionary can”. He advocates spiritual enterprise as a fundamental leadership credential. Like Paulo Coelho rightly tweets, “Spirituality is not all about meditation & prayer, you have to act it!”. Following Iqbal, if we make nobility, integrity & honesty the criteria to choose our leaders instead of lingo-provincial based sectarianism, we can readily get out of this political turmoil for good and can have provident & farsighted men as leaders.

Nonetheless, all this sounds very idealistic & dreamy. But, than what else do you want a separate state for? And, at least we have been given an objective to accomplish, a challenge to encounter & an impossible to achieve.

This is peanuts, compared to what is encoded in his message. Pakistani intelligentsia, having degrees from the best uni,s all around the globe should  build their self-esteem and come out of Islamophobia.  They should understand the real spirit of Islam & for that understand Iqbal to counter extremist thought process. If we aren’t doing it, who will?

However individual responsibility aside, but more than that it is the responsibility of the state to understand & dispense the right message & provide healthy, ambulant & yielding religious environment. And, if the government is not doing it, than change the govt!! And, If we aren’t doing it, who will!!

Posted @ Pakistanfirst http://pak1stanfirst.com/201007232547/articles/letter-to-editor/is-religion-possible.html

Pak spectator

CHANGE: yes we can!


Exceptions aside, in general the duplicitous, ineffectual leadership we have, in and out of power show the exact representation of the public at large in terms of conduct & virtuous behavior. For proof compare the first & the last page of every daily newspaper, it gives simulating characters of leaders on the front page & the nation on the last. Then why so much resentment??

Probity is on the decline. Brutality, slaying, bigotry has always been high enough &is still on the high road. How many times a stolen mobile, a bag left in a shop, a wallet having your id & address been returned to you? The list is endless. The same deception and dishonesty than translates further up the ladder.yes we can

Leaders represent disposition of nation.

Dignified nation; dignified leaders

Iqbal goes,

khuda ney aaj tuk us qoom ke halat nahee budli

naa ho jis ko khial aap apni halat key badalney ka

Since we are in a perturbed “what to do?” state of mind, theirs no way these politicians will let us live in peace & we cannot reckon on “Samraat of democracy” for another 3 years. They will swap & the game will go on. Personally, I beleive in solutions & not plain grumbling over issues 24/7. I feel,the least & the best we can do in these circumstances is to change ourselves with a faith & intent that this transformation will than translate as a changed & charged leadership. Lasting change is the change from within.

As adversity is the best teacher; today, is the best time to get to grasp our ideology & Iqbal,s philosophy. Rationally, Iqbal is the only solution to our chaos-ville. To be acquainted with Iqbal is hard-hitting; to virtually apply him in our lives is far more challenging. But, we must gear up now to brazen out this challenge, or else we are doomed.Iqbal.

The privileged has more liability than the poor. Teaching the deprived tolerance is not compassionate; they have already been weathered to their limit & are in a condemnable state. Instead, it is imperative for the privileged to revolutionize, bring down their contentment thresholds, and demonstrate endurance and that change will than spread around.

Earn hilal! A great deal of emphasis is laid on eating hilal food, but not much on earning hilal. There are sumptuous resources enough for everyone in Pakistan. It is the corruption & the distribution which is unmerited. We are all wholly aware of the earnings & expenditures in our homes, if you see an imbalance, correct it.

Limit expenditure! People are getting more & more brand cognisant than ever. What was earlier a luxury is now becoming a necessity. We are a budding nation in chaos, in deep debt but living the dream of not even ordinary but elite class west in terms of lavishness &style. You don’t really need to live a Spartan’s live, just lower your expenses couple of levels below what u can afford & offer the excess to charity.

Change role models! Instead of looking up to pretentious, superficial movie stars &fashion icons, change the perception of the person you want to be like. Follow the resilient, the dignified & the honest. They are all around us. Follow Quaid, Iqbal & alike.

Work on your khudi. You hold it. Tag on Iqbal. Preserve your self respect. Live with dignity, self reliance & exalted self-esteem. Believe in & surrender to one Allah. Adopt the highest moral values our Prophet (PBUH) possessed & make him (PBUH) your role model & gold standard. Change should come from within you & shouldn’t be superficial.

Toughen up! Be enthusiastic to burn yourself to beget change. Develop forbearance & perseverance.

Sacrifice. Build up selflessness & magnanimity. Universe works on a give & take rule.You have to give in to get something back from the nature.

Stay positive. Deliver optimism & hope. Demonstrate commitment, passion, and excellence in your studies & work with an intention to serve Pakistan. We will thrive & all the material stuff we previously longed for would come anyway with the package.

Sabak phir purh sadaqat ka, adalat ka, shujaat ka

Lia jaey ga tugh sey kaam duniya ke amamat ka

“Humanity needs 3 things today-

A spiritual interpretation of the universe,

Spiritual emancipation of the individual,

And basic principles of a universal import directing the evolution of human society on a spiritual basis.”-Allama Iqbal in reconstruction of the religious thought in Islam.

Posted @ : The Pakistani Spectator, PakistanFirst.

 

http://pak1stanfirst.com/201004222157/articles/letter-to-editor/change-yes-we-can.html

citation


“Conservatism is as bad in religion as in any other department of human activity.It destroys the ego,s creative freedom and closes up the paths of fresh spiritual enterprise. This is the main reason why our medieval mystic techniques can no longer produce original discoveries of ancient truth”   – by Allama Muhammad Iqbal in “Reconstruction of religious thoughts in Islam”.

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