Share your Views on Muharram

Husaini message
Many momins praise the Ahlulbayt(as) as the Sainat Najat – ‘Ark of Noah/Salvation ‘,which is undoubtedly true .However the mistake that is made ,is that they do not’board’ the Ark of salvation but only eulogise it from afar .It can offer salvation providedyou board it ie go wherever it leads you to & not act as per your own will .

It is the time of year when I remember and grieve for the loss of Imam Husayn (AS) and in remembering the events of Karbala and His (AS) martrydom I realise the importance of the power of Islam and true faith. It also makes me realise I have to stand up for what’s right and never take oppression.  Share your Views

Several Islamic websites Blocked By Group XP

Several Shia websites, including Sistani’s official website, were blocked by an extremist group who call themselves Group XP.

It was the most serious cyber attack of its kind over the past few years in pursuit of a sectarian aim. was also hacked but now it redirects to which seems to be working properly.

They have posted a youtube video which begins with Bill Maher’s mockery of Sistani and then cuts to an audio of Sistani’s (and Khoei’s) fatwas on sex.

The semiofficial Fars news agency said the hackers were based in the United Arab Emirates and blocked access to 300 sites.

For Visiting Grand Ayatullah’s website now please vsit. or

Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (A) has said: “A Nasib is not one who bears enmity to us the Ahl al-Bayt, since you will never find a person who says that I hate Muhammad and the family of Muhammad. Rather, a Nasib is a person who is openly hostile to you since he knows that you follow us (the Ahl al-Bayt) and (since he knows) that you are of our Shi`a.”

Thawaab al-Amaal by Shaykh Saduq’

Crooks and says The defaced site could well be a guerrilla marketing stunt to promote Maher’s new mockumentary “Religulous,” a scathing dissertation on faith that opens in theaters Oct. 3.

Key Iranian Shiite religious figure Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi condemned the attacks.”Fanatical Wahhabis do not want the voice of Shiite officials to reach the world,” Fars quoted him as saying

A group of Shi’ite lawyers has filed a lawsuit against Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi in a Doha court following his attacks on the Shi’a. The attorneys called for him to be stripped of his Qatari citizenship and expelled from the country because his statements incite to civil war.

Sources: Al-Misryoon, Egypt, September 22, 2008;.

Real difference between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims

Real difference between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims
The following is a response by Sayyed Mohammad Musawi to a queation from a Sunni brother :What are the differences between Shias and Sunnis ?
1- One Religion:
Islam is One religion sent from Allah (swt) to all human beings as the last and final massege. It was never divided into different sects like Hanafi, Shafi’ee, Maliki , Hanbali,Wahabi, Sufi etc, but only because of people’s interference in the religion which is the word of Allah(swt). All previous religions suffered from the same problem of divisions upto the extent of loosing the real massege.Islam being the last and final massege from Allah(swt), was perserved by Allah (swt),so, Real Islam was kept and still remains and will remain intact, inspite of many divisions existing and even governing many Muslim countries.

2- The Prophetic Islam:
 The Real Islam is the Prophetic Islam which was preached and practiced by the Prophet Mohammad (sawa) and His noble progeny (Ahlul Bayt a.s.) , and not any other Islamic sect, though Islamic sects have many Islamic practices, but The Complete Real Islam is non but the Islam of the Prophet (sawa) and Ahlul Bayt which existed originally from the begenning of Islam before any Islamic sect came to existance, and contineued till now through Ahlul-Bayt .

3-Who Leads Islam?:
 The leadership of Islam after the Prophet (sawa) was the main subject on which division started.The question is : Who appoints the successor of the Prophet to lead the Ummah ? Is it Allah who appoints ? or anybody from the people?Those who believed in Allah (swt) as the source and authority to appoint the divine leaders are the followers of Ahlul-Bayt , while Sunnis believed that Islamic leadership can come through group of individuals as what happened in Saqeefa, or one individual, as when Abu Bakr appointed Umar as a Khalifah after him,or just six individuals from the whole Ummah as Umar appointed six to select one of them, or to be killed if they were unable to select one. Majority of Sunnis believe that any person can be a Khlifah as far as he is able to get the power by any way even by killing the previous Khalifah and sitting in his place.

4-Divine Leadership (Imamah):

There are plenty of very authentic evidences from Quran and authentic Sunnah that the Prophet (sawa) has not left the Ummah without perfect leadership after him. He has said many times in accordance to Allah’s orders that the leader after him will be Imam Ali followed by the infallible Imams from Ahlul Bayt . These evidences are mentioned even in famous Sunni books where they narrated the Prophetic Hadeeth stating that ( The Khalifas after me will be twelve all of them from Quraish) or ( The Imams after me will be twelve, all of them from Quraish).(Saheeh Al-Bukhari vol.9 p.541 and Saheeh Muslim vol.3 p. 1452 ).They also admitted Hadeeth Al-Thaqalain stating (I am leaving behind two greatest things, that you will never go astray as far as you keep following both of them; The book of Allah, And my Ahlul Bayt)Saheeh Muslim vol.4, p.1874, Sunan Al-Tirmithi vol.5, p.662, al-Mustadrak by Al-Haakim vol.3, p.109, Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal vol.3, p.14,Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.4, p.114, Tafseer Al-Durr Al- Manthoor by Soyooti vol.5, p.702 and many others.

Following Quran and Ahlul-Bayt who teach the real Sunnah and have the real Tafseer of Qur’an, is the belief and practice of the followers of Ahlul-Bayt(as) who are known by Shia Muslims.They are in fact following Allah’s orders by following the ligitimate Islamic leadership, and getting themselves saved from going astray.

5-Saqeefa followers:

Other Muslims who are known as Sunni Muslims do not believe in the immediate leadership of Ahlul-Bayt(as) after the Prophet(sawa) and claim that the Prophet (sawa) has left the Ummah without any specific sytem for leadership, though many of them claim it as Shoora(election).Shoora in fact is applicable in managing wordly affairs, but never in religious affairs, as no Prophet came through election,so how Prophet’s successor can come through election?. It is only Allah(swt) who knows who is the best to lead mankind, and He appoints him.

Shoora was an excuse to justify bypassing the Quranic and Prophetic orders stating the leadership of Imam Ali .Those who claimed Shoora were trying to ligitimize the incident of Saqeefa which brought Abu Bakr’s government, but such claim can not justify why Abu Bakr himself appointed Umar as a Khalifa after him and did not leave the Muslims to elect a khalifa by Shoora as it was claimed by Sunnis as if it was done by the Prophet (sawa). Why they accept Abu Bakr appointing Umar After him and do not accept the Prophet(sawa) appointing Ali after Him? Knowing that the Prophet’s statements are from Allah(swt), while Abu Bakr’s statements were from himself.

In Saqeefa few people from Quraish led by Umar Bin al-khattab and Abu Bakr Bin Abi Quhafa along with few from Ansaar, gathered and argued and even quarelled, then Umar proposed the name of Abu Bakr to be Khalifa, in the absence of Imam Ali who was busy in the preparation of the funeral of the Prophet (sawa). Ahlul-Bayt and leading Sahaba like Imam Ali ,Salman Al-Farisi,Ammaar Bin Yaser, Abu Thar Al-Ghifari,Al-Miqdaad Bin Al-Aswad, Al-Abbas Bin Abdul-Muttalib uncle of the Prophet(sawa) and others refused the outcome of Saqeefa which was against the orders of the Prophet (sawa) who told the Ummah in many occasions that Ali is the leader after Him.Those who accepted Saqeefa are called now Sunni Muslims, where those who followed the divine leadership of Ahlul-Bayt(as) are called Shia Muslims.

6-Prophetic Statements on The Real Leaders after him:

The Prophetic statements and Hadeeths support the fact of the leadership of Imam Ali(as) and Ahlul-Bayt after the Prophet(sawa). Many of these Hadeeths are narrated in main Sunni references, so must be accepted by all Muslims.Here are Just few examples:-

A) The Prophetic Hadeeth stating: (O Ali, you are the leader who will lead my Ummah to the right path when they differ after me)(Al-Mustadrak Alal Saheehain by Al-Haakim Al-Neesaboori vol.3 page 122, Kanz Al-Ummaal vol.6 page 156, Tareekh Dimishq ,Biography of Imam Ali, vol.2, p.488).

B)The Prophetic Hadeeth:(O Ali, your status from me is as the status of Haroon from Moosa, but there will be no prophet after me).Quran states that Haroon was always the Khalifa and deputy of Moosa till the end of Haroon’s life. This Hadeeth was narrated in many Sunni sources such as Saheeh Al-Bukhari vol.5, p.280, Saheeh Muslim vol.4, p.1870,Sunan Al-Tirmithi vol.5, p.638, Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal vol.1, p.170, Al-Mustadrak by Al-Haakim vol.3, p.109, Sunan Ibn Maajah vol.1, p.42 and many others.This Hadeeth is well known in the Islamic books as Hadeeth Al-Manzilah.(The Hadeeth of The Status).

C)The Prophetic Hadeeth This,Ali, is my brother,my trustee,and my Khalifa(deputy) on you, so listen to him and obey him.)(Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal vol.1, p.111, Tafseer Ibn Katheer vol.3, p.352, Tareekh Dimishq by Ibn Asaakir Imam Ali biography vol.1, p.99, Shawaahid Al-Tanzeel by Al-Hasakaani vol.1, p.371, Al–Khasaa’is by Al-Nisaa’ee p.24, Al-Kaamil Fil Taareekh by Ibn Al-Atheer vol.2 p.41,and many others.This Haddeth is well known as Hadeeth Al-Daar.(The Hadeeth of the House).

D)Hadeeth Al-Ghadeer when the Prophet (sawa) said infront of thousands of Sahaba after asking them whether they accept him as a master on them more than themselves on themselves, and their reply as : Yes, then he announced that: (For whomsoever I am the master(leader), Ali is his master(leader), O Allah,support him who follows Ali and be enemy of him who becomes enemy of Ali).Sunan Ibn Maajah vol.1, p.43, Sunan Al-Tirmithi vol.5, p.633, Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal vol.1, p.84, Al-Mustadrak by Al-Haakim vol.3, p.109,Al-Bidayah Wal-Nihaayah by Ibn Katheer vol.5, p.209, Tafseer Al-Durr Al-Manthoor by Soyooti vol.2, p.519, Shawaahid Al-Tanzeel by Al-Hasakaani vol.1, p.157, Tareekh Al-Khulafaa by Soyooti p.200,Al-Khasaa’is by Al-Nisaa’ee p.28 and many others.

E)The Prophetic Hadeeth stating O Ali you are from me and I am from you) Saheeh Al-Bukhari vol.5, p.278, as well as the Prophetic Hadeeth stating Ali is from me and I am from him, and he is the leader of every believer after me) Sunan Al-Tirmithi vol.5, p.632, Al-Mustadrak by Al-Haakim vol.3, p.110, Al-Manaaqib by Ibn Al-Maghaazili Al-Shaafi’ee p.152, Al-Khasaa’is by Al-Nisaa’ee p.25. and many others.

F)The Prophetic Hadeeth:(Whosoever believed in me and had faith that I brought the truth, must follow Ali Ibn Abi Talib,because following Ali is following me, and following me is following Allah) Muntakhab Kanz Al-Ummaal with Munad Ahmad vol.5, p.32, Tareekh Dimishq by Ibn Asaakir Biography of Imam Ali vol.2, p.91.

7- Where Is The Real Sunnah?

All Muslims claim following the Prophetic Sunnah, but the majority of such claims are clearly baseless with the vast differences and contradictions between many Islamic sects in faith and practice, keeping in mind that the Prophet’s Sunnah can not contardict itself. The differences are based on different Hadeeths stating different statements in the same matter and situation. These are the fabricated Hadeeths which were made to meet wordly benefits of certain people or governments or groups etc. The fabricating of Hadeeths started during the time of the Prophet (sawa) and was so much that He declared on the pulpit that :Lying on me has become so much, beware , whosoever lies on me deliberately should be sure of his place in the fire.

No doubt, Hadeeth fabricating was much more after the departure of the Prophet (sawa) since many governors like Mu’awiyah and Hajjaj and many others were paying money to fabricators like Abu Hurairah and many others.Hundreds of thousands of fabricated Hadeeths were mentioned in the books and on pulpits to please the governors or to oppose their opponants.Sunni Ulama’ admit this unfortunate fact.

The big question for all Muslims who really want to follow the Prophet (sawa) is : from where can we get the real Sunnah and be away from the fabricated Hadeeths?

The most authentic source for getting the real Sunnah are Ahlul-Bayt , not only because they were living with Him most of the time, but also because their highest degree in truthfullness and nobleness, beside the Prophetic statements that (I am the city of knowledge and Ali is it’s gate, so, whosoever wants the city must come through it’s gate.)(Al-Mustadrak by Al-Haakim vol.3, p.126, Shawaahid Al-Tanzeel by Al-Hasakaani vol.1, p.81 Hadeeth no. 118, Al-Jaami’ Al-Sagheer by Soyooti vol.1, p.108 and many others).

Following the Quran and Ahlul-Bayt means taking the Prophetic Sunnah from Ahlul-Bayt(as) and leaving anything away from them.If all Muslims follow the real Sunnah, there will be no disputes or differences among them, because of the fact that One Prophet’s Sunnah is just One Sunnah which leads all into The One Islam.

The followers of Ahlul-Bayt take the Real Sunnah from the most authentic sources who are Ahlul-Bayt and the authentic Sahaba, while the followers of other Islamic sects take their religion from sources which are never strong and authentic as Ahlul-Bayt .

So, these are the main two differences between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims:

– Islamic leadership from Allah(swt)? or from anybody else? Shia believe it from Allah(swt).

-From where to get the Real Sunnah? Shia take it from the most authentic sources who are Ahlul-Bayt(as) and authentic Sahaba.

May Allah (swt) guide and keep all of us on the sraight path of the Prophet (sawa) and Ahlul-Bayt .

Wassalamu alaikum wr wb

Sayyed Mohammad Musawi

World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League(WABIL)


Unity, Love and Tolerance – Islamic Perspective”

Shia Sunni ulema Reciting Namaz Together.

QAis ZAngipuri Nauha yaad e karbala 2008

Qais Academy Bangalore
Under Marhoom Maulana Yousha Faizi
Release this Set Of Nauha and Hadith e kissa
in Muharram 1429
Kalam By Marhoom Qais zangipuri
Hadith e Kissa in urdu Poetry. By Qais Marhoom Zangipuri.
Nauha 1:Jo hashm Hai purnam hai
Nauha 2:Ae Zuljinaah kya kiya apnae sawaar ko
Nauha 3Hai Barader
Nauha 4 Chehallum hai shah e Dilgeer ka
Nauha 5 Husaina Husaina
Nauha 6 Qasim sae na Akbar se naShabeer sae P..
Nauha 7 Paesar ka waqt Aakhir hai
Nauha 8 Koofioon nae gher sae bulaya tumhain

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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.

Interview with Maulana Sayyed Hamid ul-Hasan

Interview with Maulana Sayyed Hamid ul-Hasan

By Yoginder Sikand

Maulana Sayyed Hamid ul-Hasan is the principal of the Jami’a Nazmia, Lucknow, amaulana_hamidul_hasan.jpg madrasa catering to the Ithna ‘Ashari Shi’a community. He is one of the leading Shi’a ulama of India, having been educated at Najaf Ashraf under the well-known Shi’a mujtahid, Ayatollah Agha Khui.
YS: What do you have to say about the current propaganda against the madrasas as ‘dens of terror”?

MSH: The madrasa system, as such, is devoted simply to the preservation and promotion of the Islamic tradition. There has been no radical change in the madrasa syllabus in India for decades, if not centuries. So how and why is it that suddenly people have started branding the madrasas as ‘dens of terror? If at all there was any truth in these allegations then how come no one made such allegations ten years ago or before?

YS: Shi’a-Sunni conflicts are still acute in several places, including Lucknow. How can this be solved?

MSH: As I see it, the ‘ulama, both Shi’a as well as Sunni, ought to be in the forefront of efforts to
improve Shi’a-Sunni relations, by promoting serious and peaceful dialogue so that we can understand each other. I strongly feel the need for unity and understanding between followers of the different groups among the Muslims, but I regret to say that the ulama in general have not made any major moves in this regard so far they seem too scared or reluctant to come out of their narrow confines. Now, here at the Jami’a Nazmia, we have tried to reach out to the Sunni ‘ulama, by inviting some of them to come and meet with us and discuss various issues, and I must say that we have registered some success in this regard, although not as much as we would have wished.

YS: How have madrasas responded to the demands being voiced from several quarters for the ‘modernisation’ of their curriculum? In particular, how have they reacted to government offers of financial assistance in return for including modern subjects in their syllabus?

MSH: I cannot speak for other madrasas, but as for the Jami’a Nazmia, we are now teaching both religious as well as modern subjects. We follow the syllabus prescribed by the government-run Allahabad Madrasa Board, which includes both types of subjects. We teach all the modern subjects taught in the regular school system till the sixth grade level. The Board pays for the salaries of some of our teachers. We do not feel that this leaves us open to government interference we at least have not experienced this. Now, as far modernisation is concerned, we have a policy of encouraging our students to simultaneously enrol in regular universities. Almost all the students of our madrasa at the final level have done or are doing a graduation course from Lucknow University, mostly in the Urdu, Persian, Arabic and Islamic Studies Departments. Some of our graduates are now teaching at the Aligarh Muslim University, and others are even working in Islamic centres abroad, including Sweden, Norway and America. Some ‘ulama may think that teaching modern subjects would negatively impact on the faith of the students or trap them in the snares of the world, but I must say that this fear is completely misplaced. Unlike in several other madrasas, we actively encourage our students to regularly read newspapers and magazines so that they know what is happening in the world around them. If they remain ignorant of the world and of contemporary issues, how can they provide proper leadership to the community?

YS: 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?

MSH: At the Jami’a Nazmia we do use traditional books of fiqh so that the students get a good grounding in traditional methods of dealing with various issues, learning how the ‘ulama of the past interpreted and understood the shari’ah. But we also teach books on modern issues, mostly written by modern Iranian ‘ulama and mujtahids. In the Ja’fari school of fiqh which we follow, the doors of ijtihad have never been closed, and so we insist on the continuing necessity of ijtihad, performed by a qualified mujtahid. Our students are also encouraged to read books written by modern ‘ulama scholars such as ‘Ali Shari’ati and Allama Murtaza Muttahari and so on in order to understand how Islam can be understood and expressed in modern terms. We don’t stick just to old books, as many people wrongly imagine.

YS: What role do you think madrasas and their ‘ulama should play in promoting inter-faith dialogue?

MSH: I feel that religious leaders of all communities have a vital role to play in this regard, particularly since relations between Hindus and Muslims are so strained in our country today. We in India have a purpose and use for every sort of rubbish, but we neglect our most precious resource religion and use it, for the most part, for destructive, instead of constructive, purposes. Now, India is not like Pakistan or Iran, where almost all people follow one religion. We have so many religions here, so we must actively seek to understand our own religions in such a way as to promote inter-communal amity. It is the duty of religious leaders to take a lead in promoting inter-faith dialogue. As for myself, I try in my own small way to do this when I address gatherings.

Recently, in the month of Muharrum, I addressed a ten-day majlis specifically on the issue of jihad, in which several non-Muslims, including the Vice-Chancellor of Lucknow University, participated. I stressed the true meaning of jihad, which is striving in the path of God. Jihad does not mean killing innocent people, as is wrongly supposed. I quoted the Qur’an, which says that if a non-Muslim comes to you and seeks shelter, it is your duty to protect him. You should convey God’s message to him and then send him to a safe place. The Qur’an also says that Muslims should struggle for the rights of all persecuted people, not just of Muslims alone. I gave the example of Hatim Tai’s daughter. When, after a battle, she was arrested and brought before the Prophet, she told him that her father, who had died before the Prophet had declared his prophethood, used to help the poor and distressed, although, of course, he was not a Muslim. This so touched the Prophet that he ordered that she be immediately released. Then again, I quoted the story of the Christian priests of Najran, who came to Medina to debate with the Prophet. If the Prophet had ordered all non-Muslims to be killed, I asked, how come the Christian delegation came to Medina? The Christians debated with the Prophet on various religious matters, but in the end did not accept Islam, and they returned home safe and sound. If Islam really insisted on killing all non-Muslims how and why did the Prophet allow them to return?

In the majlis sessions I insisted that the greatest power in the world is love, not brute physical power. I commented that although religions have their doctrinal differences, their basic message is one and the same that is, there must be no bloodshed of innocents in the name of religion. If at all this happens, you can be sure that the person who such an act is not really religious. I made much the same argument in another meeting I recently addressed, at the Christian College in Lucknow, at a conference on religion and terrorism. I feel that religious leaders must go out and address such mixed gatherings so that the message gets across to a wider audience. We can’t afford to stay cocooned in our madrasas and temples any more, hoping that the world will change on its own.

As I see it, the greatest barrier to inter-faith dialogue is ignorance of each other, which then leads to hatred and misunderstandings. I recently suggested at a meeting held to discuss the communal problem that the government and the mass media must play a pro-active role in promoting mutual understanding between different religious communities. When a religious festival of a certain community is being celebrated, I suggested, television and radio companies must invite leaders from all religious groups and get them to say a few words on the occasion, after, of course, passing this through a censorship board to weed out anything objectionable. We have the National Integration Council which should be doing this sort of work, but actually it’s proved to be worse than useless some sahib on the Council gets a fancy car with a red light on it and the only thing he does is say a few seemingly comforting words after people have been massacred in a riot.

YS: Are any efforts being made in the madrasas themselves to encourage their students to play a role in promoting inter-communal harmony?

MSH: There don’t seem to be any organised efforts as such, but some individual madrasa teachers do play a role in such activities in their own personal capacity, and this naturally impacts on their students. I feel that we must train our students so that they learn how to interact with people of other faiths not simply for the sake of telling them about Islam, but also so that they can work together for a better and more peaceful society. I feel that dialogue is important for its own sake to clear up misunderstandings that people have about each other and their religions, and it should not be motivated by any hidden missionary agenda. So, when I interact with people of other faiths I don’t do so with the intention of converting them or denigrating their religion. Rather, I interact with them in order to learn from them, to look at, their good points. After all, everyone has the choice to follow the religion of his own choice. That’s his own business and his affairs are with God.

I feel that we need to study other religions, because this will go a long way in promoting inter-communal harmony. Thus, when I say that I have studied some of the Hindu scriptures, and on the basis of that have come to the conclusion that Hinduism does stress moral values, I can come closer to my Hindu friends. But if I say that such values are found only in ‘ Islam, not only am I wrong, but I would also provoke hatred and conflict. So, I feel that there is a crucial need for us to study comparative religions, but this should be for the sake of promoting better relations with others, and not for refuting people of other faiths or creating conflicts with them. It is only through decent behaviour and good morals (ikhlaq) and not through heated debates (munazara) that we can actually resolve our differences. When you study other faiths you must first cleanse your mind of preconceived notions, or else you will not really learn anything at all.