Happy Hijri new year 1432 - "Never lose hope"

This is the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and the month of the Hijri new year. The story of the Hijrah, from where the Islamic calendar got its name, goes as follows:

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, found it impossible for him to continue his mission of inviting people to the True religion, Islam, in Makkah; and that his own life and that of other fellow Muslims were at risk. So, he started looking at nearby populations that would accept his message and provide him a base to establish a model Islamic society. After hearing about the message of Islam and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, the people of the nearby city of Yathrib, later to be known as Madinatunnabi (the city of the Prophet) or Madina, invited the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, to migrate to their city. They offered him submission and unconditional support, and graciously accepted to accommodate all fellow Muslims with them.

After a couple of years of careful planning, the time had finally come when Allah ordered the Prophet to leave Makkah for Madina. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, made the journey with Abu Bakr as his companion. Despite the fact that Allah was `the third with the two of them', the whole journey of Hijrah was scrupulously planned and executed with extreme care and caution. When they finally reached their destination, the people of Madina were filled with joy at having the greatest of man as their fellow citizen, and sang the famous song 'tala`al badru `alaina' while welcoming him.

Years later, this important event of Hijrah was chosen by Caliph Umar and his counsel to mark the beginning of the Islamic Calendar.

Why Hijrah to mark the Islamic Calendar?
1. Hijrah is a major milestone in the mission of Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It marks the beginning of establishment of Islam as the complete way of life.
2. It is a very special occasion for Muslims as it highlights the importance of submission of one self to Allah the Almighty.
3. It reminds us of the sufferings of early Muslims in Makkah, and how they left all worldly pleasures to please Allah the Almighty. It is only because of their sufferings and sacrifices that Islam is what it is today.

Lessons from Hijrah
1. If something is not working out as planned, look for alternatives (Prophet`s seeking alternative land for establishing the deen when efforts at Makkah failed)
2. Don`t do anything hastily. Proper planning is the key. (The Prophet took few years seeking alternatives to Makkah. He went to taif, and had contacted other nearby tribal leaders. He migrated more than two years after people in Madina started accepting Islam and opened their doors to him)
3. Rely on Allah, only after diligent planning. (The Prophet and Abu Bakr (r) journey was not a straightforward trip along the regular route. It was very well planned and well executed)
4. There is no fault in taking help from experts (Prophet had a trusted non-Muslim bedouin who knew the area well as a guide)

Finally here is an excerpt from an article on onislam.net about attaining true Hijrah

Five Important Areas for a True Hijrah: To attain true Hijrah, here are the five areas we have to work on
1. Faith: We should work on strengthening our faith to be able to pull away from what God has forbidden.
2. Knowledge: Only with good knowledge could our faith see us through the trials and tests of staying on the straight path. (Knowledge is not limited to religious information only)
3. Acts of worship: Migrating away from what God has forbidden to worship, which not only brings us closer to God and supplies us with essential strength, resolve and tranquility, but also humbles us enough to see we’re only creatures like the rest of the creation, and that we have to maintain an ethical relationship with the universe and other people.
4. Desire: Controlling one’s urges and desires is prerequisite to how much success in this life one achieves as a migrant to God.
5. Ethics : A person who is full of great concepts and no deeds to prove it is a loser. Unless our Islamic ethical system is apparent through our everyday behaviors and manners, there is no hope for us to be true Muslims and a true migrant in the way of Allah.

In short, a true immigrant is an ethical, well-mannered and pious Muslim, and that is what we should all strive to be everyday of our lives. Allahumma Ameen.


Turning to the Qur’an in times of tribulation

by Uthman Khan

The murder of a family member causes great unrest in one’s heart. And indeed the death of a small animal is sufficient for an individual to remember the return to their Lord. Upon the idea of the creation of mankind, the Angels were disturbed because of the potential level of injustice and the spilling of blood that we would cause. Yet Allah, with His infinite wisdom created mankind, and informed them of their role as custodians of truth and justice in this world. With this in mind, we reflect on the current situation of the world, and the escalating legitimized removal of wealth, freedom and life.

The greatest crimes on a global scale are arguably those committed against Muslims and many find entertaining the regular action-packed news of the ‘progress’ being made to maintain safety and security. But the same ‘progress’ is at the expense of the freedom and lives of many Muslims who are often unable to fulfill their basic human necessities. Chilling is the image of another Muslim being killed and even more so, the mass murder that we witness regularly. Allah informs us that “the believers are nothing else than brothers,” (Qur’an, 49:10) and His Messenger (peace be upon him) said that “the Muslim nation is like one body…if a single part hurts then the rest feels the suffering with fever, and cannot sleep.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Throughout history trials and tribulations have faced those nations that affirmed the truth of Allah’s sovereignty and unity of worship. However, this nation, as in those who follow Muhammad (peace be upon him), has been given a special status coupled with a complete and comprehensive source of guidance to last till the Day of Resurrection.

“Thus We have made you the best nation, so that you be witnesses over mankind, and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you.” (Qur’an, 2:143)

The Muslims must therefore appreciate and understand the position that they hold and turn to the guidance that they have been blessed with. Some individuals feel secure from such trials, and find themselves busy in their own affairs. Yet Allah warns us:

“Do people think they will be left alone because they say we believe, and will not be tested. And indeed We tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make known (the falsehood of) those who are liars.” (Qur’an, 29:2-3)

All of mankind will therefore be tested and in addition, the same tests will affect both the sinners and pious among mankind due to their vastness. In another verse we are warned:

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial, etc.) which does not affect only those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allah is Severe in punishment.” (Qur’an, 8:25)

Tribulations and whatever else the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us about must surely take place. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Muslims to observe patience, prepare, and be cautious of them. In fact, we must take extra caution in our current times because we have drawn closer to the final hour. The nature of tribulations is that they spiral out of control and often confuse people so that one would assume something prohibited to be permissible or vice versa. The 9/11 and 7/7 events are pertinent examples and the perpetrators are unable to control the plethora of consequences that result.

Due to the complexity of tribulations and their potential implications, many respond incorrectly and often go to extremes, despite knowing the Qur’an has been revealed to guide us in all of our affairs.

If a Muslim responds to a situation in accordance with the Qur’an then they will be elevated in status and rewarded, while if they do otherwise they will be lowered and face the consequences. Thus, we find guidance through correctly contemplating the verses and in particular stories of the Qur’an, and contrasting them with our own situations. Allah says:

“(This is) a Book which We have sent down to you full of blessings, so that they may ponder over its verses, and so that men of understanding may remember.” (Qur’an, 38:29)

Many of the stories in the Qur’an provide exemplary responses which can be correlated to situations that we witness today. Stories of true leaders, who acquired great strength in their belief, were steadfast upon the truth, and endured physical, mental and emotional tests. Every Muslim who is granted wisdom must contemplate the path that Allah chose for the best of the believers.

Patience and firmness upon the religion of Allah, while seeking the reward in the next life, is perhaps the most common lesson that can be taken from the stories in the Qur’an. The knowledge and wisdom in these stories is abundant and a fundamental source of insight into these stories is authentic exegesis.

The Qur’an is the source of guidance, honor, and strength for the Muslims. We must all build a relationship with the Qur’an, study its meaning and understanding, contemplate its verses, and remember Allah through them. Allah says:

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Qur’an, 13:28)

[Source: The Saudi Gazette]


Is justice the privilege of only a selected few?

Jamaat leaders Nizami, Mujahid, Kamruzzaman and Abdul Kader Molla are now in police custody and being tried for so called war crimes. It is alleged that they were involved in many crimes against humanity during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, which ultimately resulted in Bangladesh emerging as an independent country. However, all this fiasco almost four decades after the war has lead to many questions.

1. According to media reports, Nizami is around 70 while the other three leaders are in their early 60's. That means during the war, they were youths in their early 20's with the exception of Nizami, who was 30 or so.
If we take a look at the political leadership today, we will hardly find any national leaders who are even in their forties, let alone be of their age then. There is not even a single national leader or political personality who is in his mid or even late 20's. Even the leaders of student organizations like BCL, BCD or Shibir are in their mid 30's.
So, isn't it funny when we hear that these handful of youths were the leaders of the entire anti-liberation movement and perpetrators of large scale crime against humanity?

2. It is reported that these jamaat leaders were members of a student organization in 1971 when carrying out the crimes. Were they the only members of this organization? Was it that only this four persons were the perpetrators of those horrendous crimes? Where did they get their training? Where did they get the arms? Who showed them directions? Who assisted them in various capacities?
Probably these four are supermen with extra-human capabilities!

3. All these four people are from different parts of Bangladesh. Nizami is from Pabna, Mujahid from Faridpur, Kamruzzaman from Sherpur and Abdul Kader from Mirpur. Most of them were students at their local colleges, and hence there is no chance of them knowing each other then.
Years later, they all joined Jamaat. Call it a miracle or whatever you may, exactly these four turned out to become its top leaders four decades later.

3. I pity the other members of their student organization then. Had they been involved in crimes against humanity, they too could have become top leaders and national politicians, including ministers.
Or is it that allegations of crimes against humanity is brought against these people only because of their political position???

4. During the war in 1971, many political parties and personalities opposed the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan, including Muslim League and the communist parties (which are now part of the government). There is no mention of their names or even of the fact that these parties opposed the separation.
It seems all others, apart from the few scattered and independent alleged war criminals (who were not even jamaat members then), were and are 'doa tulshi pata' (as innocent as an angel).

5. Some months ago, the government handed out a list of 40 suspected war criminals. Does that mean that the BAL government wants us to believe that out of the entire 75 Million people, only these forty (remember they are only suspected criminals) were involved in crimes against humanity.
Some quarters have spends all their time, energy and money in highlighting the reign of terror lashed out by the anti-separation forces. Was all that terror and devastation and sufferings and killings committed by only this (at most) forty people.
It is said that three millions were killed and 200,000 women raped in the nine months of war.
All that carried out by this forty disconnected young men???

6. In late December 1971, American channel CBS broadcasted images of Mukti bahini killing tens of innocent biharis and rajakars in broad day light in front of thousands of people in the then racecourse maidan. The incident took place on the 18th of December, and was lead Kader Siddiki, a prominent freedom fighter.
This is not an isolated incident. During the nine month war, millions of Biharis and anti-separation Bangladeshis were tortured, raped, made homeless, maimed, robbed and thousand of them killed. Most of these were carried out by the mujib bahini, which was a guerilla unit trained by the forces of and in a neighboring country. It is alleged that this force was formed during the concluding part of Liberation War according to the policy of Awami League and the ally, India, aimed against the actual freedom fighters to bar them from taking the lead in the War; and they did not actually take part in the fighting against Pakistani forces.
Was these not crimes against humanity? Will these crimes never be tried just because it was perpetrated by elements of BAL?? Is justice the privilege of only a selected few???


Fair media in a free land

The hottest media sensation in Bangladesh last week was the joint interrogation of Maulana Saidur Rahman, Amir of the terrorist organization, JMB and the top three leaders of Bangladesh Jamaate Islami. Every day the newspapers carried sensational and detailed reports of what went in the interrogation cell.

One report mentioned that the three top Jamaat leaders (Maulana Nizami, Maulana Sayedee and Mr. Mujahid) were lying down on a green blanket when Saidur was produced before them in the DB office. Surprised and startled at meeting an old acquaintance and ex Jamaat leader, all three of them jumped out of the blanket. In another report, it was said when Saidur was brought face to face with Nizami and Mujahid, Saidur greeted them with Assalamu alaikum. Only Nizami responded to Saidur’s salam whereas Mujahid put on a stone face and kept silent. Yet another report portrayed the scene of Mr. Mujahid meeting Maulana Saidur. According to the report, at first Mr. Mujahid claimed that he didn’t know Maulana Saidur. But upon reminding him of their meeting in 1990 at jamaat office where Mr. Mujahid was boasting about his participation in the Intellectual killing in 1971 while peeling an orange, Mr. Mujahid kept numb and faced the floor in shame.

All these reports are so vivid and detailed that it seems all these interrogations take place in the presence of reporters.

However, a little scrutiny and reading of other related reports make it clear how false and fabricated these reports are. Here are just a few examples.
It was reported both in print and electronic media that due to lack of facilities and space at the DB office in Mintu road, Maulana Nizami, Maulana Sayedee and Mr Mujahid could not be accommodated in DB office at the same time. First only Maulana Sayedee and Mr Mujahid were held there. Later when Maulana Nizami was transferred from central jail to DB office, Maulana Sayedee had to be shifted to Ramna thana. This was confirmed by the OC of Ramna thana in the electronic media. How could it then happen that all three of them were lying down on a green blanket when Maulana Saidur was brought in their presence??
Most importantly, the Deputy Commissioner of DB police said in a TV interview, that Maulana Saidur and the three top leaders of Jamaat are arrested under different cases, with their investigating officers being different and also in most cases even the thana being different. Thus there is no question of bringing them face to face.

Yet these are the media outlets which claim they are “angshik noi, puro shott” (the complete truth), ”niteer proshne aposh-heen” (firm on principle) or "committed to the people's right to know".


unhealed wounds

25th February marks the first anniversary of one of the saddest events in the history of modern day Bangladesh. Here is a detailed analysis of what happened then. Much of it make sense, and worth the read.