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Please say something about “The Role of Religion in World Affairs”. ?
First and fore mostly, it is vital to identify the perspective of religion in the minds of the readers. Religion in general means: “A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.” This definition does not leave room for an effect on world affairs. Islamic teachings relate that the religion of Islam is not simply a set of beliefs, but also a code of life. Islam is a complete socio, political and economical system which caters to the needs of all human kind regardless of color or ethnicity. According to the latter, Islam is a religion which actually does have an impact on the world. If all Muslim adhere to the teachings of Islam they can change the course of history of mankind and bring forth justice, equity and peace in the masses.
Some Muslims argue that America is anti-Islam or anti-Muslim, and see its invasion of Iraq, among other developments, as proof of this. What is your Opinion?
When a nation shows hostility towards a particular group of people or nations, it becomes very obvious. Why doesn’t the outlook of the masses point fingers towards other nations like, Japan, China, or Taiwan etc. The hostility of America towards Muslims and Muslim nations is apparent and does not need discloser, but is an open secret in the minds of not only Muslims but also non-Muslims.
‘America is not a charitable organization – they came to steal from Iraq’… Is it true ?
The political and economic system of America is based on ‘capitalism’ which means it is an: “Economic system based on private ownership of the means of production, in which personal profit can be acquired through investment of capital and employment of labor. Capitalism is grounded in the concept of free enterprise, which argues that government intervention in the economy should be restricted and that a free market, based on supply and demand, will ultimately maximize consumer welfare.” However: “The concept of capitalism has evolved over time, with later thinkers often building on the analyses of earlier thinkers. Moreover, the component concepts used in defining capitalism-such as private ownership, markets and investment-have evolved along with changes in theory, in law, and in practice.”
Personal interest without any moral obligations may lead to irrational actions making weaker nations targets. The obvious point that arises in the minds of thinkers is that Iraq is a nation whose oil reserves can cater amply to themselves and to other nations. Unfortunately from the time Iraq has been invaded until now, its situation is grave. More than one million human beings have been killed and their infrastructure has been virtually wiped out. Instead of this great nation helping others, four million Iraqi refugees have fled their land to save their lives. The well known Geneva Convention states that ‘the invading country has the responsibility of safe guarding the life, wealth and honor the subject nation’. In the case of Iraq, we see no respect for the lives, wealth or honor of the Iraqis. People are dying in this country while the invaders are at ease sucking the oil of a nation which is slowly bleeding to death.
What are your views about sectarian conflicts raging Iraq, between Shias and Sunnis?
It is a well known fact that in pre-war Iraq, citizens were co-existing for centuries with harmony and peace. Many Iraqi’s have mixed families; it was a common thing for a Shia to marry a Sunni without any religious or customary restrictions. After the invasion of Iraq suddenly we hear of sectarian feelings emerging and killings attributed to them. Reports suggest that those who are involved in the sectarian killings are not Iraqi’s but in fact are non-Iraqi. The well known expression ‘divide and rule’ clearly applies here. The agenda of the invading forces, Zionist regime and their leaders clearly state that ‘we are benefiting from this war.’ The idea behind bringing hate amongst Muslims is to move the world’s attention from one big problem to another so that they could freely occupy a nation.
What role do you feel the Ulema could or should play in promoting inter-sectarian and inter-communal harmony in India?
It is the duty of all humankind in general and in particular the scholars to promote peace and harmony in the nations. None of the religions promote hate and discord; almost all religions promote love and affection among fellow humankind. As the leader of their followers Ulema, have a great responsibility on their shoulders to promote understanding and love and teach peace and respect among fellow humankind.
There is much talk now of America allegedly planning to attack Iran. What do you think the Iranian, or general Shia, response would be if this happens?
First of all I believe America is not stupid to do some things which will bring the country to its knees. There could be chances of doing so, as this kind of stupidity has been done in the past in Vietnam, Cambodia and recently in Afghanistan and in Iraq where millions have been killed and more millions suffering. Let me say this to all the readers that if a person commits one crime and never regrets it, he will certainly commit a next bigger crime and eventually the time will come for such a person to commit the biggest crime. Likewise if a minor crime takes place in a society and the people react to that injustice, there is fewer chances of the second time such crime to occur; if the masses are careless then bigger crimes will take place. If people would have reacted to the atrocities, carnage and injustice of the past it would have been difficult for criminals to commit a crime against humanity. In such case it is not only a responsibility of a Shia but it is the responsibility of all Muslims to denounce and condemn this violence. The famous tradition of our beloved Prophet (s) says: “If a Muslims starts his day without thinking about the welfare of other Muslims he is not a Muslim.”
In India today, a growing number of ulema are setting up ‘modern’ schools, which provide both ‘modern’ as well as Islamic education. How do you see this? And what role do you feel the ulema should play in the field of education?
Islam itself is modern, so there is no room for new terminology expressed as “modern Islam” Separation of ‘modern’ secular schools from Islam is not the right approach. Islam is a system of life, which means it adheres to all the needs of humankind; which could be jurisprudent or scientific subjects. Thus it is the duty of Ulema to cater to the needs of all aspects of the society and guide the new generation towards the success of this world and the world to come in the Akhirat. I’m please to know such Ulema and trying to follow their footsteps. In order to eradicate poverty, hate and injustice it is vital to ensure that no human is illiterate. The Ulema have a greater role to play in this regard. It is pleasure to know that Ulema are leading in this aspect of life too. Alhamdulillah.
It is often argued that in their teaching of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) madrasas generally focus on issues that are of little contemporary relevance. What do you have to say about this?
Islamic science of jurisprudence is one of the sciences of the world. For each and every science there is a need of expertise and specialization. If a person is specializing in Medical science it is difficult for such person to do be an expert in IT. Those who take the subject of Islamic jurisprudence they cannot take other subjects. Islamic jurisprudence demands all time and energy to spend to learn and guide. Alhamdulillah after the Islamic revolution the contemporary issues have been adapted in the curriculum with the science of Islamic jurisprudence. Like social science, political science, oriental languages etc. .
Do you agree? Clerics had been fighting among themselves but asking the community to unite? Is it not a absurd situation?
Human psychology states that professional jealousies are part of human behavior. It is a well known fact that doctors with the doctors, engineers with the engineers, and politician with the politicians usually brawl. Clerics too are among human species and they might act according to their behavioral pattern; although they should not be like other professions, they should be God fearing, peaceful, kind and compassionate. They should be ideals for humankind to follow. One of the traditions of Masoom (a) says: “Likeness of Ulema is like of the Prophets’. In such case all those who are in this category should never fight but they should become a symbol of unity. A great cleric of our modern era Imam Khomeini has said: “Think of a scenario all the Prophets are in one place at one time, are they going to fight?” May Allah give us Heavenly inspirations to follow the command of Islam Ameen!
If the woman wants to marry she has to give up her right over her own body? A woman has no right to say “no” to sex should her husband desire it. In other words, the law aids men in securing usufruct over women’s sex by making a legal condition of marriage. What you say?
A law is abused when it is not understood. The biggest problem we Muslims are facing is that we are unaware of our own religion. Majority of us are uninformed in many important Islamic subjects. The subject of marriage in Islam is a very important and has thorough guidelines for its followers. Marriage in Islamic is part and parcel of humankinds needs. It is not like other religions which preach celibacy and fail to preserve it. Islam is the religion which caters to all the needs of a human being. Marriage in Islam is the decision of two matured people, not a force. Before getting married both the parties should know what their rights and responsibilities are. It is the right of husband to have sex at the time of his need but it is also the responsibility of a husband to consider the health and mode of his partner. Before getting married one should know Islamic guidelines in this regard. Islam has guided humanity towards this subject with minute detail. It is the very reason I have developed the ‘pre-marriage’ course for the people who would like to get married. Those who are interested in this regard the link is www.al-bayaan14.com under ‘Seminar Section’ ‘Pre-Marriage Course'
What Islam says on “Relationships of Muslims with Other Muslims”? ?
As the Holy Quran states: “You shall hold fast to the rope of Allah, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall Allah’s blessings upon you – you used to be enemies and He reconciled your hearts. By His grace, you became brethren. You were at the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you there from. Allah thus explains His revelations for you, that you may be guided.” (3:103)
The Muslim Ummah today has a duty to promote peace; there is no room for hate and revulsion. I have a basic question for all those who are the people of reflection. As per the aforementioned verse of the Holy Quran it was the ignorant and arrogance of the Arabs which make them fight each other for centuries. It is Islam which has the capacity to unite all the tribes and nations under one banner. What a pity, the religion which caused the unity of humanity in the early golden days, is now the same religion that becomes the source of discord? We can easily conclude it is not Islam which is causing discord among Muslims but it is ignorant Muslim who are promoting dispute among each other. Such people have forgotten the decree of the Holy Quran and the tradition of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him and his progeny). The Holy Quran again stresses the point that: “The believers are members of one family; you shall keep the peace within your family and reverence Allah, that you may attain mercy.” (49:10) With careful examination we can see that the majority of our beliefs are shared and our actions similar to other Muslims. Understanding the ideology which benefits by dividing us is very important. We Muslims should get united because our aim is common and our enemy is common.
The majority of Muslims confuse between what is religion and what is culture? What is the solution?
The definition of culture according to the literal meaning is: “A particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period”. According to this, Islam is a culture which introduced a system of life which can easily adapt and which is universal; meaning Islam has introduced mankind to a cultural system which is socio, economical and political. A glance at the world cultures shows that they are slowly dissolving into one pop culture. To be given an example the Indian culture which is slowly vanishing from its society has been replaced with foreign culture. Islam introduces unchangeable, adoptable, easy culture for all ages and all societies. There are many aspects in our day to day lives which have been copied from the non-Islamic culture. To be given an example the marriage ceremonies we don’t see any thing which Islam wanted it followers to do but the culture in which we exist has influenced us severely to the extent that the Islamic culture has been forgotten. If Islamic culture is established in our society there shall not be any girl left without marriage. Dowry is not Islamic culture Mehr, or Sidaq ‘marriage gift’ should be given to the bride from the groom is Islamic culture, which has long been put aside..