No Women in the World Enjoy Perhaps a Better Status Than the Women of Iran

No Women in the World Enjoy Perhaps a Better Status Than the Women of Iran

By Dr Javed Jamil

 

iraan.jpgWhen I landed on Ayatollah Khomeini Airport , Tehran , I already anticipated I was entering a country which was different from most of the other countries. As I was taken out of the Airport by the staff of the Government of Iran and taken to Laleh International Hotel, the difference started unfolding itself. What attracted my first attention were the hoardings on the roadside. They were beautifully decorated with written messages in Iranian Nastalikh, but unlike India and Western countries, there were no pictures of naked women selling commercial items. There were of course no casinos and bars, no evidence of any night life. The road was full of long cars, and I was told that most of them had been manufactured domestically. By the time I checked in the hotel I was convinced that I was in Khomeini’s Iran which had a beautiful blend of Islam, Persian culture and modernity.

I stayed in Iran for 8 days. Right on the first day, I was introduced to the participants from 19 countries. I was told that I was the only Indian to have been invited, and only second one in the last fifteen years’ history of Qur’an exhibition. The other one was some calligrapher from Hyderabad who attended the exhibition several years back. The participants belonged to two categories: artists and Quranic scholars. I obviously belonged to the second category. The countries that had their representatives included Britain, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Georgia, Turkey, Palestine and Rumania.

The exhibition was just unbelievable. The decoration was fabulous, and the calligraphy, books and paintings related to Qur’an were too beautiful to believe. People in large numbers thronged to see the exhibition. I think nowhere else such a Qur’an exhibition was organized at this big level. I was particularly pleased to see that the emphasis in Iran has shifted to the Qur’an in a big way. Qur’anic centers are burgeoning all over Tehran . Of course, Iranians have huge faith in Ahl- e-Bait but they do not make issue of it the way some Indian Shia tend to do. However, I felt that the exhibition would have served the purpose better if the emphasis was on the content of the Qur’an rather than simply the Qur’anic arts. I told this to Mr. Hashmi, the chief organizer of the conference, and I have been requested to submit my plan for the next exhibition. I will Insha Allah prepare a format that will enable the visitors to understand the messages of the Holy Book.

The International Conference on Qur’an that was earlier planned was cancelled due to unknown reasons but I had the opportunity to explain my ideas of Applied Studies of Qur’an to several small groups. I explained to them that we have had been studying Tafsir of Quran for a long time, but now we must concentrate on the application of Quranic knowledge and guidance in various fields. We must endeavor to pursue Qur’anic commands at the world level in a way that the whole mankind benefits from the great social, economic and moral values of Islam.

There is a lot of propaganda in West about the status of women in Iran . What I found was a different picture altogether. I can say it for sure that no women in the world enjoy perhaps a better status than the women of Iran . Women are everywhere to see. They are in almost all the offices and the business centers. They form more than half of the population of the universities. They can be seen moving with aplomb and dignity. They are most elegantly dressed, with long shirts and Jeans and the headscarves covering all or part of the head. They are of course arguably the most beautiful women of the world. They confidently talk with men wherever required. There are no evidences of their commercial exploitation. The crimes against women are negligible compared to West. There are a very few cases of rapes, there are no teenage pregnancies (if there are any at all, they are hardly known). Most of the girls marry boys of their own choice and the government of Iran helps them marry as soon as they want to. I had a discussion with a woman who seemed to be Western minded in her approach, and criticized Islamic republic for not giving women freedom to dress. When I told her that if there was a curb on women’s dress, it was in fact a curb on men, she ultimately seemed to agree. If women wear revealing dresses, I asked her, who enjoys this site most. Men, obviously. I saw in Iran Empowerment of Women with Security. And this is what Islam prescribes. Not the Western style empowerment which has become only a tool for exploiting women by the forces of bazaar. Empowerment without security has no meaning at all.

The most wonderful spectacle of the trip to Iran was reserved for the last day of my stay in Tehran . It was the Juma Prayer at Tehran university. A gathering of about 1.5 million was there. We had the honor to get the place just behind the Imam. Ayatollah Jannati discussed the world situation in some length in his 45 minute long Khutba in Farsi. The fervor and enthusiasm of the people was worth watching. And the credit goes to the administration that it made extraordinary arrangements to handle such a big crowd.

I returned back hugely satisfied with the trip. The only negative thing I noticed was the extraordinary feeling of Persian nationalism in the minds of Iranian people. This can prove counterproductive in the long run.

Was the heart of your brother with us?

http://www.alqaim.info/unity/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/jang-jamal_en.jpgThe Battle of Camel (Jamal) was the first war declared against Imam Ali (AS) in Basra in year 36/656 after people appointed Ali as their leader of the Muslim community.

When Allah gave him (Amir al-mu’minin) victory over the enemy at the Battle of Jamal one of his comrades said on that occasion, “I wish my brother so-and-so had been present and he too would have seen what success and victory Allah had given you,” whereupon Amir al-mu’minin said:

“Did your brother hold me friend?”

He said: “Yes,”

Then Amir al-mu’minin said:

In that case he was with us. Rather in this army of ours even those persons were also present who are still in the loins of men and wombs of women. Shortly, time will bring them out and faith will get strength through them.

Note: If a person falls short in his actions despite means and equipment, this would be indicative of the weakness of his will. But if there is an impediment in the way of action or his life comes to an end as a result of which his action remains incomplete, then in that case Allah would not deprive him of the reward on the basis that actions are judged by intention. Since his intention in any case was to perform the action, therefore he should deserve reward to some extent.

In the case of action, there may be absence of reward because action can involve show or pretence but intention is hidden in the depth of heart. It can have not a jot of show or affectation. The intention would remain at the same level of frankness, truth, perfection and correctness where it is, even though there may be no action due to some impediment. Even if there is no occasion for forming intention but there is passion and zeal in the heart, a man would deserve reward on the basis of his heart’s feelings. This is to what Amir al-mu’minin has alluded in this sermon, namely that “If your brother loved me he would share the reward with those who secured martyrdom for our support.”

Nahjul balagha Sermon12

Culture Versus Islam

Culture Versus Islam

This is an interesting article which addresses a major problem in most Muslim communities. Although it has been written specifically for Malay Muslims, just replace the word Malay in this article, with say, Bengali or Indian or Pakistani and you will get an article fit for any culture. The author is a Malay who wrote this letter to members in his immediate community. – ITMR WebmasterIslam is a religion. But, to many Malays, Islam is a culture. It is a practice handed down by their fathers, and their father’s father before that. It is something they do out of habit rather than out of the education they have received. That is why the converts or the “Born Again Muslims”, if I may be permitted to use this phrase, make better Muslims.

Converts learn the religion from scratch and throw away their old beliefs on becoming Muslims. The Born Again Muslims re-learn the religion and are able to differentiate between Islam and the Malay Adat, and are brave enough to reject what is unIslamic though they run the risk of being branded fanatics.

The majority of Malay Muslims confuse between what is religion and what is culture. They take both as one and the same and, on many an occasion, practice religion as if it was part of the Malay culture, or adopt some of the old cultures thinking they are doing an Islamic thing.

Sometimes even the culture over-rides religion and they rush out to implement a cultural practice as if it would be unIslamic in not doing so. Culture takes precedence over everything else and, if they miss one or two obligations in Islam, like praying or fasting, it does not matter as long as that so called “adat” has been safely implemented.

For example, they would spend hours dressing up a bride for a wedding ceremony. Never mind that the
bride has to miss her Maghrib prayers because of this. Allowing her to do her Maghrib prayers would mean the preparations would be interrupted or delayed, not to mention her hair, which had been carefully set at great expense of time and money, would get all messed up.

The house would need to be cleaned and everything would need to be nicely set up in preparation for Eid/Hari Raya. This would mean they would have to miss the last day of fasting or else there would be no energy left for the great task ahead of them. Impressing the guests who would be visiting for Eid/Hari Raya is more important that fasting.

Is it not a Malay proverb which says, “Biar mati anak, jangan mati adat”? In other words, culture is so important that they would sacrifice their child as long as the culture is protected. They would not sacrifice for Islam.

How did this come about? Islam is very specific and explicit. Islam is the ultimate and everything else comes later. How could, therefore, culture stand between the Muslim and his religion? Even more important, how could the Malay get so confused that he could not differentiate between religion and culture and allow himself to practice Islam his way; religion as a culture.

Malays were Hindus long before they became Muslims. In fact, a good part of Indonesia, where the Malaysian Malays originally came from, is still Hindu. Even in those parts of Indonesia which have become predominantly Muslim, you can still see the remains of the Hindu religion and many of their dances and so on still retain this culture to a certain extent.

The Malay Sultans of early Melaka had Sanskrit names, proof of the Hindu influence. They became Muslims not through the influence of the Arabs, but through the influence of the Indian merchants who came to Melaka to trade.

That is why our brand of Islam is the same as in India and we find some differences when comparing our practices to that of the Middle Eastern Muslims.

The nation at that time owed their loyalty to the Sultans. When the Sultans converted to Islam the nation followed suit without any questions asked. They became Muslims due to the tradition of loyalty to the Sultans rather than because they were committed to the religion.

Here alone was reason enough for the weak following of the religious principles. The people were just doing what the Sultan asked. The old cultures and traditions were retained and practiced side-by-side with Islam. The early Malay Muslims were one confused lot of people and, to some extent, this confusion still remains.

In fact, you can still see aspects of Hindu culture in our so-called “Islamic” practices. Take the lighting of lanterns on the last seven nights before the end of Ramadan. This is modelled after the Hindu religious celebration of Deepavali, the festival of the lights.

What about the wedding ceremony mentioned earlier? Very much a Hindu practice where the bride and bridegroom sit on a stage so the world can see them see and to receive the blessings of the crowd who sprinkle scented water and flowers on them.

Many acts the Malays do in the name of religion is not Islamic at all.

In fact, some are even contrary to religious beliefs; bida’ah or shirik; and compromise the principles of the Islamic faith. These practices are not only sinful but makes a mockery of the One God fundamental because that forbidden practice acknowledges the existence of other forces equally powerful.

For instance, take the practice of consulting bomohs. Most Malays believe in the powers of the bomoh and many actually go to see them for assistance.

Bomohs are nothing but witch doctors. In the Western terminology “witches” are servants of the devil as they draw upon the powers of the forces of evil. The Malays swear by the power of the bomoh rather than do their Hajat prayer to get their wishes fulfilled. Bomohs use the Koran, spirits of dead people, bones of humans, and so on, to “pray” for help.

It must be remembered that though the bomoh uses the Koran it is not used for reciting the verses but as talismans or “tangkals”. The Koran is not taken in its spirit or substance but in its physical form, as an object of magic.

Sometimes the verses are recited but only for “fixing things”. The “client” may want the bomoh to help them get a job promotion, a contract they have tendered for, the love of a woman or man, and other worldly desires. In extreme cases the bomoh calls upon the “powers” of the Koran to harm an enemy or as a prevention, called “sekatan”, from an enemy who is suspected of using another bomoh to give this client bad luck or make him sick.

Islam, or the powers of Islam, is treated as something magical or mystical, and who better to call upon the magic of the Koran or the verses of the Koran than the black magic man, the bomoh. Of course, every bomoh would claim he is doing things the Islamic way and that there is no shirik in what he is doing. This gives the Malay the feeling of security, that he is not offending God in his actions or creating an associate to God.

Many religious people, those well learned in Islam dare not speak out.

They realise that this is a very sensitive area to venture into. In fact, some of these religious people even contribute to the belief by themselves offering mystical services. The Malays believe that these religious people have a closeness to God due their “ulama” status and how better to reach God than through these people.

One reason why the Malays are so gullible may be because Islam was an “imported” religion. Malays choose to be Muslims only when it suits them and revert to their old cultures and traditions freely.

Consider the concept of water and oil; they do not mix. Oil stays on top and does not contaminate the water below it. What we do not realise is, oil chokes life in the water by blocking the flow of oxygen.

In the same way, the belief in other forces other than Allah “kills” the fundamentals of Islam. Without this fundamental belief, their Islam is just as “dead” as the life in the water below the oil. It is time the religious authorities and the ulamas speak out. Re-education is required.

You are either a Malay or a Muslim and, if to be a proper or good Muslim means we have to be less of a Malay, than let it be so.

Romeo juliat on Messenger

If you are sitting by your Messenger waiting for a Juliat, romeo or Prince Charming to pop up, you might hit the jackpot any moment. But hitting the jackpot is not the end. It is the beginning of what may be and mostly is a bumpy ride.

The Internet revolution has been around for more then a decade. In the past decade 2.5 million American lovers tied the knot after meeting online. Such unions became a part of the Western culture and economy (dating sites made big bucks).
According to the Wall Street Online Journal many of these marriages are going downhill now. The first decade was of excitement, the second one is of consequences.

This article is to examine why internet romance can be frustrating. This category of romance includes lovers who met in the chat room or the dating sites.

Online shopping is attractive because a lot of products of different brands, packages and prices are made easily obtainable. The same is true of Internet dating. A wide variety of individuals of different origins, countries, statuses and interests are available in the brush of a second. The key factor that makes it thrilling is that we imagine more than we observe.

“It’s only words and words are all I have to take your heart away.”-Boy Zone
The person you come across introduces himself or his profile does it for him. Either you believe him or else get going. Take it or leave it.

He narrates who he is and you present yourself to the best of your abilities, and in the process facts are a little warped. (We are not talking about the bizarre incidents where people pretend to be of the opposite gender or different ethnicity.) What we are talking about is hiding bankruptcy, obesity or pretending to be a university professor or living in Manhattan. Consciously or unconsciously, we project ourselves like we would like to be in reality. Living our fantasies is easier online.

Let’s be more sensitive here. There are things in everyone’s life he/she has yet to deal with!

Like the acne marks or job loss, hatred for alcohol or fondness for booze, it’s easy to hide anything and everything online. And obviously we don’t want our online sweetie to know what we perceive to be our own shortcomings or weaknesses.
The extent to which people lie or hide surely differs but it never fades away. Both the parties “nudge the truth” and when the affair goes offline, cracks in the stories become visible.

Also, people try to find a mate in their surroundings first. Internet is usually the last resort and desperation is therefore high.

Since the online profile is the ultimate bait, pages and pages are filled with few facts and plenty of fibs.

Some even seek professional help in filling and judging an online profile. No wonder online spouses commonly accuse each other of lying before marriage to win cases in courts.

Promise anyone anything and get away with it, no consequences online. Given that the major part of the relation evolves through text messages-the tones, mood and verbal cues are absent, increasing the chances of misjudgment. Even if voice chat and web cams become involved, meeting the person online and in reality is still poles apart.

There is one more issue. We see what we want to see. We notice and get attracted to certain characteristics in a person that we consider important. You might get too swept away by what appeals to you and not pay attention to what you, your living standards and circumstances require you to look for in a partner.

Mesmerized by his/her choice of music, discussions on Thackeray, supremacy in chess, and the oh-so pretty photograph that was mailed last week? And of course, the fact that he works out in gym two hours a day and she is unsatisfied with her pedicure this week are viable cues to his/her health and status. These can be misleading.

This information is not enough to decide to spend the rest of your life with him or her.

Plus, the web is a free place for all ages to find love. A 16 year old also wants a relationship too. But is he/she ready for it? Teenagers are not only too young to decide whom to spend their life with, they are also more prone to fall in the wrong hands and get exploited. The love life and its crash landing can have negative affects on their careers and personalities, which have yet to bloom.

For the past few million years attraction has had a different story. Men look for fertile women to spread their seed and women look not only for fertile but also competitive males who will not only impregnate them but also help in bringing up the offspring. Fertility and competitiveness are visible in appearance. The broad jaw line and well built physique in men not only promise healthy genes, but also fine hunting abilities (competitiveness). In modern day, the perfect catch is the one with lot of sex appeal and a high status. Finding the right partner was crucial to our survival and these cues are completely absent online.

Research also suggests that our likeness depends on similar interests, attitudes, beliefs and attractiveness. Opposites might attract (the chances of which are high on the Internet), but in the long run only similitude can assure smooth sailing.
Can we defy, within a decade of the Internet revolution, what we have acquired in millions of years?

In real life, the main factors that get people to hook up include physical proximity. The more you see a person, the more familiar and thus more admirable he/she becomes. If the guy is sitting in Nigeria and the girl in Thailand, dating is a genuine problem. Imagine how frustrating it is to not being able to have enough of your darling.

Physical proximity also has additional benefits. If the lovers share a neighborhood, high school or even a book club, they have access to each others past life, families, friends etc. Above all there are mutual acquaintances. The fractures in the stories mentioned above will have more chances of being leaked out, before it’s too late.

People who meet in real life also end up in bad relationships, but with a higher tendency of online lovers to lie, deceive and misjudge, the chances of break-up are also higher! Another thing that is frustrating is that playing games in the virtual world is easier than in reality. A person can appear visible; become invisible or never sign- in again. It’s very excruciating to have a sweetheart that vanished in thin air for eternity.

Keeping away from online love (if you can help it) will save you a lot of hassle. It’s difficult to talk people out of love, but it’s good to warn them of the impending disaster.