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Should I Greet a Stranger or Not: A Socially Relative Concept


By Nauman Tasleem 
The writer is associated with the print media of Pakistan and can be contacted at noma47@gmail.com.

“Good Morning.” A stranger said to me.

Do I know that lady?

If, I do not know her then why she greeted me?

Maybe she is needy and wants to borrow some money from me.

It was my second day in the USA and after a brief rest at my friend’s New York home; I went outside in the street to just have a bird’s eye view of the country, which is dreamland for millions of people in the world.
I was thinking of going in a nearby playground or just have a visit of a grocery store. The distance between my home and grocery store was not that much and during my five-minute walk, anyone who passed by me said ‘Hello’ or ‘Good Morning’.

Later, I came to know that it is a tradition in the US that people used to greet each other, as a gesture of goodwill. It was really strange for me, as we have always considered US society, a promiscuous one and an infidel society which has nothing to do with human values. “But they are greeting the strangers, a thing which has been taught by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

Jisay Jantay Ho ya Nahi Usay salam Karo (Greet everyone, either you know him or not) but we have never followed it in Pakistan?”

I asked my friend. Rather, we are instructed by our religious clerics (read Mullah) to only greet Muslims.
Often, in Pakistan whenever you greet any stranger then he/she would stare at you, as if you have done punishable crime or you are up to something negative.
If you have shown slight warmth in your greetings then get ready for weird look from the opponent, as he/she would consider you an alien or would utter, “Bhai maaf karo. Ubhi khulay paisay nahi hae,”
Some of the readers might differ and say that the US is not a good country, as it is bombing Muslims of the world but we should be clear here that we are talking about the society traditions not the actions of the government.
It was not the only good thing I saw in US society. I have had a chance of having dinner with an American family. Before starting dinner, the family has a brief pray, thanking the Almighty to bless them with food and saving from starvation. This is what exactly Islam teaches us. “Mera jitna shukur karo gay utno Ma tumhy aur nawazunga (The more you thank me, the maximum I will be bless you)”
At the same time, the traffic laws are governed very well through heavy fines. No one dare to enter the emergency lane (only for ambulances), as heavy fines are imposed. If you are on traffic signal at 2am then everyone stops, despite the fact no police officer is present but even then people follow the law.
However, not everything was good in the US society and there were also some shortcomings. The biggest, I observe, is wastage of food. Often people at homes or in markets buy more food than their requirement and the result — a lot of food could be found in garbage cans.

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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Guest Posts

 

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Should I Greet a Stranger or Not: A Socially Relative Concept


By Nauman Tasleem 
The writer is associated with the print media of Pakistan and can be contacted at noma47@gmail.com.

“Good Morning.” A stranger said to me.

Do I know that lady?

If, I do not know her then why she greeted me?

Maybe she is needy and wants to borrow some money from me.

It was my second day in the USA and after a brief rest at my friend’s New York home; I went outside in the street to just have a bird’s eye view of the country, which is dreamland for millions of people in the world.
I was thinking of going in a nearby playground or just have a visit of a grocery store. The distance between my home and grocery store was not that much and during my five-minute walk, anyone who passed by me said ‘Hello’ or ‘Good Morning’.

Later, I came to know that it is a tradition in the US that people used to greet each other, as a gesture of goodwill. It was really strange for me, as we have always considered US society, a promiscuous one and an infidel society which has nothing to do with human values. “But they are greeting the strangers, a thing which has been taught by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

Jisay Jantay Ho ya Nahi Usay salam Karo (Greet everyone, either you know him or not) but we have never followed it in Pakistan?”

I asked my friend. Rather, we are instructed by our religious clerics (read Mullah) to only greet Muslims.
Often, in Pakistan whenever you greet any stranger then he/she would stare at you, as if you have done punishable crime or you are up to something negative.
If you have shown slight warmth in your greetings then get ready for weird look from the opponent, as he/she would consider you an alien or would utter, “Bhai maaf karo. Ubhi khulay paisay nahi hae,”
Some of the readers might differ and say that the US is not a good country, as it is bombing Muslims of the world but we should be clear here that we are talking about the society traditions not the actions of the government.
It was not the only good thing I saw in US society. I have had a chance of having dinner with an American family. Before starting dinner, the family has a brief pray, thanking the Almighty to bless them with food and saving from starvation. This is what exactly Islam teaches us. “Mera jitna shukur karo gay utno Ma tumhy aur nawazunga (The more you thank me, the maximum I will be bless you)”
At the same time, the traffic laws are governed very well through heavy fines. No one dare to enter the emergency lane (only for ambulances), as heavy fines are imposed. If you are on traffic signal at 2am then everyone stops, despite the fact no police officer is present but even then people follow the law.
However, not everything was good in the US society and there were also some shortcomings. The biggest, I observe, is wastage of food. Often people at homes or in markets buy more food than their requirement and the result — a lot of food could be found in garbage cans.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Guest Posts

 

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Message for the Muslim World in Hajj 2012


This is a video that I produced keeping in view the message delivered to Muslims in Hajj 2012.

Follow this link to view the video: http://vimeo.com/57311227

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Audio

 

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Either Brother in Faith or Brother in Humanity


By Mansoor Syed
Director ‘Canada Beyond Borders’
Mansoor Syed

Canada Beyond Borders (CBB) “World Developmental Relief Organization” is a Canadian Not for Profit group helping under privileged communities around the world. It’s a group of professionals from all walks of life and background providing knowledge based innovative solutions to communities in need within their local environment around the world.

CBB Core Values include; “Respect Humanity, Harmonize Prosperity”. All are welcome to join CBB. and chip in your share in Education, Health, Safe Drinking Water, and socio-economic, self propelled sustainable development. Capacity Building.

I salute those Christians and Muslims who still follow, honour and practice declaration of Mubahila signed between Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the elders (Christians scholars) of Najran some 1380 years ago on  March 16, 632 AD. Learned wise Muslims and Christians deserves our appreciation of keeping spirit of the declaration alive till today which has harmonized the human society. Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when asked about the human relationship in this context has clearly given a charter to humanity. I quote “Either you are brother in Faith or brother in Humanity” unquote. How beautifully the harmonic balance of equality, responsibility and obligation towards each other has been created in society – that’s why- every Muslim is duty bound to protect the life and property of their Christian brother’s specially living in Muslim governments. Since that day only and only camouflaged Muslim (terrorists) – those who do not have an understanding of Islam, the spirit of Mubahila and have no respect for Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) are killing innocent human beings, Christians and Muslims alike around the world. That is one of the reason Europeans cried in the past that Islam was propagated in Europe with the power of sword. It’s a historical depiction of those camouflaged Muslim terrorists. Those terrorists are culturally Muslims by their tribal tradition and have nothing to do with Islam. Westerners should read and understand the Arabic cultural history and should restrain labeling every Arab cultural act as Islamic.

As an example I quote, recently the Niqab issue in the Canadian Court. Niqab is an Arabic cultural tradition of a specific tribe. Recently, I wrote to my friend Jason on this issue and reproduced here FYI. I quote “Jason thanks for understanding – I very much appreciate your clarity between religious and cultural jurisdictions. I am afraid, mostly followers of Islam do not have that Clarity: I will definitely share your thoughts with my folks!. Judges are right in making their judgments within the legal framework. However, I remind to all, loud and clear that it has nothing to do with Islam. Niqab is an Arabic Cultural and tribal tradition. Please restrain to contemplate this issue with Islam. The dress code of women in Islam is exactly or somewhat similar what Mom of Jesus – Isa Iona Merriam (peace be upon her) wore and is being practiced by nuns in churches. There should be no Confusion; we Canadians don’t see room for criticism to any cultural practices. Nevertheless legal civic requirements should not be compromised.” Unquote.

The roots of those culturally Muslims are very strongly in the region of former USSR. One has to be very careful in tracing historical movements of the past, as the terrorists’ roots will lead to planes of Mubahila. We have seen episode of 9/11 terrorist attach conspired and reflection of their past. In Russia movement is taking roots for banning these Muslim terrorist groups.

Note: This comment was given in connection with the post https://fakihahassanrizvi.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/quote-of-the-day-from-a-japanese-newspaper/
it's not with God

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2012 in Guest Posts

 

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Forgotten Principles of the Founder


Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali JinnahMuch has been written and said about Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. However, little has been implemented by maintaining the true essence of his precious guidelines. The easy-to-understand percepts of the founding father have been reserved for historical archives, political sloganeering and rhetoric. Every year, August 14 and December 25 seems to be a ripe time for commemorating what should have been established as ‘law of the land’, till now. These dates on the calendar are unconditionally meant to spurt out the love for the country. The ‘go green’ furore encapsulates us (Pakistanis), twice a year (add two more to it if there is a cricket match between Pakistan and India). Zealous ‘spirits of nationalism’, undoubtedly, should be portrayed, but not at the expense of their institutionalization. Referring to M.A Jinnah during verbose speeches, substantiates the arguments of the present day leaders without ameliorating the distraught status quo.
Akbar S. Ahmed in his well wrought book, ‘Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: the search for Saladin, questions the Pakistani leadership that has there been a plan devised to marginalize the ‘real Jinnah’? If not, then what is the record of Pakistan for promoting Jinnah’s stand on the international stage? The answers are still to be extracted and the procedure, like others prevailing in Pakistan, is not that easy. For the past 65 years, political bouts among the self-appointed custodians of Pakistan’s ideology, power-hungry politicians, the belligerent bureaucracy and so-called military saviours have enslaved the inspiring miracle of the 21st century. Instead of focusing on the essential messages of the founder, divergence over interpretations of his speeches has segregated the nation. ‘Debating Jinnah’ outweighed the acquisition of ‘visionary Jinnah’. To this day, attempts are being made to de-construct Jinnah’s inclination towards secularism or Islamic polity. Construing most of his speeches would lead to the conclusion that majority of the notions presented are accomodative of both the mindsets (religious and secularist). It is a matter of common sense to utilize the ‘irrefutable commonalities’ for building immutable blueprint of governance. The most simplistic example revolves around the golden motto of ‘unity, faith and discipline’. A clear manifestation of any three, on part of the Pakistani leadership, has not been witnessed. Being a human, Jinnah too had a right to hold some personal liberty in views and actions. Our failure lies in the unfair demarcation of his subjective and objective opinions. All this has dragged the illiterate majority into a state of self-pity and oblivion, which some people term as ‘identity crisis’ nowadays. The ‘intellectual demise’ of Pakistani politics had a ‘trickle down effect‘ that limited Quaid’s principles within ‘portrait frames’, bank notes and floozy declamations.
Nations have an inherent tendency to learn this behaviour when they fail to translate ‘words of wisdom’ into ‘actions of value’. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah believed in the ‘power to act’ and advocated appropriate actions. He adopted struggle as his passion, not as a way for achieving desired results. His achievements were a by-product of his untiring devotion towards his passion. This is the reason that his name will rest in world history as a man who altered the globe. Pakistanis have an example that needs to be emulated through sincerity with their respective professions. Quaid-e-Azam’s justice with his profession made him the father of Pakistan. He was not a priest, philosopher, poet, writer or even a politician. In fact, Jinnah was an incorruptible and unpurchaseable lawyer, who won the biggest case of his life in the international court of justice, the day Pakistan came into existence. For all the explanations implicitly stated in this piece of writing, I couldn’t muster the courage to end it with a quotation of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

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Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Political Ticker

 

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Islamophobia Intensifying into Islamorealism


As images of the twin tower collapsing flashed on the television screens, Al Qaeda was alleged for carrying them out. The world was segregated into ‘evil’ and ‘bad’ by the president of a hegemonic state. Muslims forcibly had to wear the tag of ‘terrorist’. The ‘war on terror’ was against all those who were with Al Qaeda and its leader, world’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden.

This war has covered a time period of 11 years and after a decade of blood shed Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a secretive operation by the US NAVY SEALs. If this is what the US wanted then the world must have been converted into a peaceful abode. The terrorist groups must have been eliminated by now and Muslims all around the world wouldn’t have been suffering from such discriminatory tortures. Every bearded man or a Pakistani wouldn’t have been stigmatized for his adherence to the injunctions of Islam. The ‘war on terror’ has inflamed the world by using ‘hate speech’, ‘psychological manipulation’ and ‘unethical stereotyping’. It’s not just the Muslims now, one of the world’s most tolerant states was literally shaken when at least 87 were shot dead by an eccentric Christian at Oslo, back in 2011. Anders Behring Breivik underwent a psychological check up and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Cemil Çiçek told a session on intercultural dialogue as part of the Third Consultation Meeting of the Parliamentary Speakers of the G20 Countries in Riyadh that:

“As people in North Africa and Middle East risk their lives to fight an honorable struggle that highlights the joint values of humanity; in Europe racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia are on the rise with the economic crisis. It is of great concern that political parties portraying migrants as a source of security concern, unemployment, crime, poverty and other social problems are increasing their support.”

This year we saw outrageous demonstrations against an anti-Islam film by Muslims all around the world. Things have gone beyond the poor and unjust notion of ‘Islamophobia’- which doesn’t imply a good picture of the world at all.

Rick Jacobs in his op-ed contribution for The New York Times discusses ‘The Sin of Sowing Hatred of Islam’ on September 25, 2012. According to him:

“The American Freedom Defense Initiative is the group spearheading this provocative anti-Islam campaign. In July, a federal judge in New York ruled in favor of the group in a freedom of speech case, forcing New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority to place an ad that denigrates Islam in subway stations, and now, time may have run out for further appeals. It reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Those ads went up Monday.
What is the message of this ad, directed at the multitude of subway riders of countless faiths and ethnicities?
By using the term “jihad” in the context of a war against savages, the ad paints Islam as inherently violent, evil and bent on overthrowing the Western democracies and their key ally in the Middle East, Israel — even though, for the vast majority of Muslims, “jihad” refers to a spiritual quest, not the more politicized idea of holy war.
Yes, these ads are lawful. But they are wrong and repugnant”.

It’s an alarming incident. The dichotomy of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is getting more distinct. Where evil is being used as a synonym for the Muslims. Flawed and irrational concept of Islamophobia is burgeoning up as Islamorealism. It is just another well organized attempt to sling mud at the world’s fastest spreading religion. While the Arab world is engulfed with Syrian massacre and calls for self-determination, if Muslims won’t properly react to this strengthening ‘propaganda’ against them, then more anti-Islam films will be released soon.

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Research Hub

 

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Religion, violence and art


About 3,000 precious works on display in Paris‘s famed Louvre museum.

A NEWS item in Dawn (Sept 23) revealed that Paris’s illustrious Louvre Museum has opened a new wing of Islamic art.

The wing was sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Oman and Azerbaijan.

One of the very first visitors, after the inauguration of this latest religion wing in the museum, registered his comments.
According to him, the exhibition depicts that ‘Islam is a refined and peaceful civilisation’.

This is the swift impact which art can generate on the minds of the recipients. It’s a feasible and effective tool for making religious principles more comprehensible. The Islamic world needs to change the gear for countering actions that openly aim at denigrating Islam.

Islamic calligraphy and art itself is renowned and lauded all over the world. Any form of art should be considered for utilisation to target both believing and non-believing audiences. An anti-Islam film calls for elucidating and clarifying religious injunctions with a motive of communicating their true essence.

Comparing this aesthetic medium with the grotesque protests in the streets of Pakistan in the name of ‘Day of love for Holy Prophet (peace be upon him)’ makes one think that ‘artistic manifestation’ of religion is far better.

This can have a longer and profound impact of a religion that is a symbol of peace. Muslim countries across the world need to react unanimously and with prudence. Even if they label it as propaganda, then an intelligible ‘counter-propaganda’ is required.

Art is among the long list of peaceful ways of propagating Islam, as it is. A more sensible attempt was made by ‘Discover Islam UK’, a non-profit organisation working to promote a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.

After the release of anti-Islam film, this organisation started to distribute large numbers of copies of books, which reflected the correct version of Holy Prophet ’s life.

Islam is a peace-loving religion and it does not need burning tyres or remonstrating mobs to claim that we love the torch-bearer of this religion.

Those who chant slogans of jihad must carefully look at its forms as well. One of the forms, known as ‘Intellectual Jihad’, demands that the arguments raised by non-believers are answered carefully. For that Muslims should accoutre themselves with weapons of intelligence, reason, truth and logic. In my opinion, art can make ‘Intellectual Jihad’ much easier.

Originally published in Dawn newspaper, September 28, 2012.
http://dawn.com/2012/09/28/religion-violence-and-art/

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Letters

 

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