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Ram Lalla, a resident of UP by : Antara Dev Sen

Ram Lalla, a resident of UP by : Antara Dev Sen

Source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/

So it has happened. Ram has been demoted from a divine being to a mere earthly creature. He even has a birth certificate from the Allahabad high court. Soon he may be expected to acquire a voter identity card from Mayawati and a Unique Identity number from Nandan Nilekani. This court victory for litigant Bhagwan Sri Ram Virajman, among others, is just the beginning of his arduous life on earth. In a curious twist of destiny, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu is now in his worldly avatar as a UP-ite.

Dragged down from his heavenly pedestal by his fanatical followers, Ram has other problems too, as a historical being. He seems to have been born several centuries ago, no one knows exactly when (but they will, they will, just wait!) and is still in his infancy.

This young VIP in Ayodhya, residing amidst ruins where the central dome of the Babri Masjid used to be, is Ram Lalla. It was in the name of this infant god that the centuries-old mosque was demolished by his followers. And thousands killed as a result. As an infant, Ram Lalla allowed what he would probably not have permitted as a grown-up Maryada Purushottama.

But while the infant Ram resides in this seat of violence he is reported to have all these heroic exploits as the prince of Ayodhya and Sita’s husband. Is dear Ram Lalla all grown up and married too? Why, there is even the Sita ki rasoi, his wife’s kitchen, right beside his nursery. Can he be both an infant and an adult at the same time? Can he be in several places at the same time? Sure he can, as a god. But as a historical being? When divine beings are reborn as earthlings, their wings are clipped. They cease to be gods. The same Allahabad high court may frown upon this claim of omnipresence from the litigant, accepting it may set a dangerous precedence.

As it is the courts set limits to the powers of gods. Recently the Bombay high court has ruled that gods are incapable of playing the share market as it turned down the petition from an association of gods demanding a account. But all these gods had PAN cards, insisted the gods’ counsel, and were shareholders already! Never mind, said the court, the gods did not have the “personal skill, judgment and supervision” required. When a god becomes a legal person, he needs to be judged accordingly.

And one of the powers that Ram has clearly lost in this court case is his divine ability to recreate himself and his world. “Ram is born in countless ways, and there are tens of millions of Ramayanas”, said Tulsidas in the 16th century. Not anymore. Ram has now been cast in stone, imprisoned forever in a unidimensional figure by this week’s historic court verdict.

Last year, when the Liberhan Commission finally released its report on the demolition of the Babri Masjid after 17 years, it made several recommendations. Regarding the authenticity of the claims of Ram Janmabhoomi/ Babri Masjid it said: “The question whether a structure was a temple or a mosque can only be answered by a scientific study by archaeologists, historians and anthropologists. No politician, jurist or journalist can provide a comprehensive answer to such questions… Therefore, set up a statutory national commission of experts to delve into these questions…

” The government curtly replied that it was not necessary to appoint another national commission, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) would be enough.

This week, the court ruled in favour of Ram Lalla based on the findings of the ASI. Senior historians like Irfan Habib doubt the authenticity of the findings, and believe that evidence may have been planted that the ASI could not detect. The courts can only act on whatever information they are given. And our government bodies are not known for efficiency.

I feel for the ASI. What on earth could they do? In 2007, when they were asked to tell us about the Ram Setu, they had their heads bitten off. They had stated that being a science and technology department, they would have to examine the Ram Setu in a scientific manner, not “solely relying on the contents of a mythological text.” So, although ancient mythological and literary texts are culturally important, they are not historical records that “incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters or the occurrence of the events depicted therein”. It neither accepted nor denied Ram’s existence, and said that the bridge was not manmade, but naturally formed.

Immediately there were charges of blasphemy, ASI officials were suspended, the culture minister almost had to resign and the ASI was forced to change its view in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile the law minister said of course Ram was a historical figure — sure, he existed.

But which Ram was the historical figure? Valmiki’s demigod? Kamban’s god? Tulsidas’s literary deity? Krittibas’s homespun hero? Vimalasuri’s Jain champion? Chandrabati’s householder? The Santhals’ tribal hero? Periyar’s flawed protagonist? North India’s imposing Lord Ram is hardly present in southern India. In the east he is more of a mythical hero than a god, and he practically disappears in the northeast.

In one court judgment we have swept aside our rich heritage of many Rams, each equally dear to the devotees of each region, swept aside thousands of years of cultural history and memory, and fixed on a “historical figure” — the UP-ite Ram Lalla, who is forever in infancy.

This is a sad day for our pluralistic tradition. Giving a third of the land to “Muslims” while “Hindus” get two-thirds may be politically expedient for the moment, but it will not stem the rot of refashioning collective memory. The verdict, well-meaning as it is, has been interpreted by Hindu fanatics as justification for their acts of desecration of the mosque.

Unless the government moves on these criminal acts, and brings at least the culprits named in the Liberhan report to book, there will never be closure. And in his new avatar as an earthly infant, poor Ram Lalla woudn’t be able to protect us either.

– Antara Dev Sen is editor of The Little Magazine. She can be contacted at: sen@littlemag.com

 

Ramadan : Why Fasting Is Prescribed?

Do You Know?

Praise be to Allah.

The reason why fasting is prescribed:

One of the names of Allah is al-Hakeem (the Most Wise). The word Hakeem is derived from the same root as hukm (ruling) and hikmah (wisdom). Allah alone is the One Who issues rulings, and His rulings are the most wise and perfect. He does not prescribe any ruling but there is great wisdom behind it, which we may understand, or our minds may not be guided to understand it. We may know some of it but a great deal is hidden from us.

Allah has mentioned the reason and wisdom behind His enjoining of fasting upon us, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (and become pious),-” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:183)

Fasting is a means of attaining taqwah (piety, being conscious of Allah), and taqwah means doing that which Allah has enjoined and avoiding that which He has forbidden.

Fasting is one of the greatest means of helping a person to fulfil the commands of Islam.

The scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) have mentioned some of the reasons why fasting is prescribed, all of which are characteristics of taqwah, but there is nothing wrong with quoting them here, to draw the attention of fasting people to them and make them keen to attain them.

Among the reasons behind fasting are:

Fasting is a means that makes us appreciate and give thanks for pleasures. For fasting means giving up eating, drinking and intercourse, which are among the greatest pleasures. By giving them up for a short time, we begin to appreciate their value. Because the blessings of Allah are not recognized, but when you abstain from them, you begin to recognize them, so this motivates you to be grateful for them.

Fasting is a means of giving up haraam things, because if a person can give up halaal things in order to please Allah and for fear of His painful torment, then he will be more likely to refrain from haraam things. So fasting is a means of avoiding the things that Allah has forbidden.

Fasting enables us to control our desires, because when a person is full his desires grow, but if he is hungry then his desire becomes weak. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “O young men! Whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting one’s chastity. Whoever cannot do that, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.”

Fasting makes us feel compassion and empathy towards the poor, because when the fasting person tastes the pain of hunger for a while, he remembers those who are in this situation all the time, so he will hasten to do acts of kindness to them and show compassion towards them. So fasting is a means of feeling empathy with the poor.

Fasting humiliates and weakens the Shaitaan; it weakens the effects of his whispers on a person and reduces his sins. That is because the Shaitaan “flows through the son of Adam like blood” as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, but fasting narrows the passages through which the Shaitaan flows, so his influence grows less.

Shaykh al-Islam said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, (25/246): “Undoubtedly blood is created from food and drink, so when a person eats and drinks, the passages through which the devils flow – which is the blood – become wide. But if a person fasts, the passages through which the devils flow become narrow, so hearts are motivated to do good deeds, and to give up evil deeds.”

The fasting person is training himself to remember that Allah is always watching, so he gives up the things that he desires even though he is able to take them, because he knows that Allah can see him.

Fasting means developing an attitude of asceticism towards this world and its desires, and seeking that which is with Allah.

It makes the Muslim get used to doing a great deal of acts of worship, because the fasting person usually does more acts of worship and gets used to that.

These are some of the reasons why fasting is enjoined. We ask Allah to help us to achieve them and to worship Him properly.

And Allah knows best.

Courtesy : Words Of Love

Welcoming The Arrival Of Ramadan

Do You Know?

The month of Ramadan has arrived again, the month of fasting and prayer. It is the month that provides an opportunity for forgiveness from Allah and emancipation from our sins. It is the month for performing good deeds and giving in charity. It is the month when the gates of the heavens are opened and the rewards for our deeds are magnified many times over. It is the month wherein prayers are answered and the status of the worshipper is elevated. It is the month wherein sins are forgiven.

Allah bestows so many blessings upon his servants in the month of Ramadan. This is the month of fasting that is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) fasted during this month and directed his followers to do the same. He told us that whoever fasts this month with faith, seeking Allah’s reward, will have all of his past sins forgiven. He likewise informed us that whoever stands in prayer throughout this month will have all of his past sins forgiven.

The month of Ramadan contains within it a night that is superior to a thousand months. Whoever is denied the goodness of that night is indeed deprived.

We should welcome this month and embrace it with happiness and joy. We should have the truest resolve to observe the fasts and the prayers and to compete in doing righteous deeds. During this month, we should ardently repent for all of our sins and encourage each other to engage in virtuous deeds and call to what is right and forbid what is wrong. In this way, we will succeed in attaining the blessings and the great rewards of Ramadan.

The fast provides us with many benefits and is full of wisdom. It purifies and strengthens our hearts. It rids us of our baser tendencies like exuberance, arrogance, and stinginess. It reinforces our good traits like fortitude, clemency, and generosity. It supports us in our inner struggle to please Allah and attain nearness to Him.

Fasting teaches us about ourselves and our needs. It shows us how weak we are and how truly dependent we are upon our Lord. It shows us how much Allah has blessed us. We are reminded of our brethren those who are less fortunate and are inspired to treat them well. We are compelled to thank Allah and to use the blessings He has provided us in obedience to Him.

Allah draws attention to these many benefits when he says: “O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (and become pious),-” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:183)

In this verse, Allah makes it clear that he prescribed fasting in order to purify us. Fasting is a means for us to learn self-restraint and cultivate our piety. Piety is to observe the commandments and prohibitions of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) sincerely out of our love and reverence for Allah, and to avoid His punishment and anger.

Fasting is a great act of piety in itself and a great means of increasing our piety in all aspects of our religious and worldly lives.

Narrated by ‘Abdullah: We were with the Prophet while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Allah’s Apostle said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #62, Hadith #4)

The reason that fasting has this effect is because Satan flows like blood through our veins. Fasting constrains this flow while and acts as a reminder of Allah and His greatness, thereby reducing Satan’s influence over the fasting person while at the same time his faith strengthening. He naturally starts engaging in more acts of obedience and fewer acts of sin.

There are many other benefits of fasting that we can discover with a little thought and reflection. Fasting is good for bodily health. It gives the body a chance to purify itself of accumulated poisons, a fact which has been confirmed by numerous doctors.

The sacred texts speak quite extensively about the virtues of fasting in the month of Ramadan and about it being a duty upon the believers. Allah says:

“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,- (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (with hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:183-185)

Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) . 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah) 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #2, Hadith #7)

When the angel Gabriel asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about Islam, he replied: “Islam is to bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish prayer, to pay charity, to fast the month of Ramadan, and to perform pilgrimage to the House if you are able to make the journey.” (Al Tirmidhi)

Gabriel then said: “You have spoken the truth.” Then he said: “Tell me about faith.”

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) replied: “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and divine decree, both the good and bad of it.”

He said: “You have spoken the truth. Tell me about excellence in faith.”

Allah’s Messenger replied: “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and though you do not see Him, you know that He sees you.”

He said: “You have spoken the truth.” (Sahih Muslim)

This hadith is of considerable importance and deserves serious thought and consideration.

Once Mu`adh b. Jabal said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Tell me about some deed that will admit me into Paradise and distance me from the Hellfire.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “You have asked about something great, yet it is very simple for one for whom Allah makes it easy. Worship Allah and do not associate anything with him in worship. Establish prayer, pay Zakah, fast the month of Ramadan, and undertake the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.” Then the Prophet (peace be upon him added: “Should I not inform you about the gates of goodness? Fasting is Paradise. Charity extinguishes sins like water extinguishes fire.” (Al Tirmidhi)

Fasting is a most virtuous act with a reward commensurate with its greatness. This is especially true in Ramadan, since Allah has made fasting therein an obligation upon the believers and a means of their attaining salvation.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Every deed of the human being is for himself and its reward is multiplied for him from ten to seven hundred times. Allah says: ‘Except for fasting, for truly it is for Me and I alone will reward it, for verily he abandoned his desires, his food, and his drink for my sake.’ The one who fasts experiences two joys, one upon breaking his fast and one when he meets his Lord. Surely the breath of the fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When Ramadan commences, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are bound in chains.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him said: “On the first night of Ramadan, the devils and rebellious jinn are bound in chains, The gates of Paradise are opened until not a single gate remains closed. The gates of Hell are bound shut until not a single gate remains open. Then a caller calls out: ‘O desirer of good, go forth! O desirer of evil, restrain yourself! Allah is emancipating people from the Fire every night’.” (Al Tirmidhi)

On the eve of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a sermon and said: “O people! A great and blessed month is coming upon you, a month containing a night better than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting in its days an obligation and observing prayer in its nights a voluntary act. Anyone who seeks nearness to Allah in this month through any virtuous act will be like one who carried out a religious obligation at another time, and anyone who performs an obligatory act of worship in this month will be like one who performed seventy such acts at another time. It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Paradise.” (Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah)

We must seize the opportunity presented to us in this blessed month and appreciate the greatness of this time by engaging in all the worship that we can. We must hasten to perform good deeds. Allah has made this month a time for worship and for competing with one another in righteousness. We must increase our prayer and our spending in charity. We must busy ourselves with reading the Quran. We must hasten to help the poor, the needy, and the orphans. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most generous of all people and he was even more generous in Ramadan. We must follow the good example of our Prophet (peace be upon him) by redoubling our efforts in this month.

We need to safeguard the blessings of our fasts from our sins and our shortcomings. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not leave off false speech and false conduct, Allah has no need of his leaving off food and drink.” (Sahih Bukhari)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When any one of you is observing the fast for the day, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor raise his voice. If someone insults him or quarrels with him, he should say: ‘I am fasting’.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

We must beseech Allah for forgiveness in this month and do all that we can to take advantage of this precious time. We must avoid committing any offence against the fast that will diminish its blessings and invoke Allah’s anger. Therefore, we must not be negligent of our prayers or stingy with our Zakah. We must not consume interest or the property of the orphans. We must not steal, oppress anyone, or disrespect our parents. We must not spurn our kinfolk. We must avoid backbiting, slander, lies, and falsehood. We must eschew false oaths and claims. We must not shave or trim our beards or leave our moustaches to grow. We must not listen to song and musical instruments. Women must not make a wanton display of themselves and men should not mix with them. These sins are forbidden throughout the year, but in Ramadan they are even more forbidden and more sinful.

We must fear Allah and avoid what Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have prohibited us. We must be upright in our obedience in Ramadan and throughout the rest of the year. We should call one another to this and by doing so attain the success and salvation that this month promises us.

– Sheikh `Abd al-`Aziz b. Baz

Courtesy :  Words Of Love

What Does Islam Say About The Day Of Judgement?

Do You Know?

The present life is only a trial preparation for the next realm of existence.  This life is a test for each individual for the life after death.  A day will come when the whole universe will be destroyed and the dead will be resurrected for judgment by God.  This day will be the beginning of a life that will never end.  This day is the Day of Judgment.  On that day, all people will be rewarded by God according to their beliefs and deeds.  Those who die while believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” and are Muslim will be rewarded on that day and will be admitted to Paradise forever, as God has said:

“And those who believe and do good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever”. (Quran, 2:82)

But those who die while not believing that “There is no true god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God” or are not Muslim will lose Paradise forever and will be sent to Hellfire, as God has said:

“And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter”. (Quran, 3:85)

And as He has said:

“Those who have disbelieved and died in disbelief, the earth full of gold would not be accepted from any of them if it were offered as a ransom.  They will have a painful punishment, and they will have no helpers”. (Quran, 3:91)

One may ask, ‘I think Islam is a good religion, but if I were to convert to Islam, my family, friends, and other people would persecute me and make fun of me.  So if I do not convert to Islam, will I enter Paradise and be saved from Hellfire?’

The answer is what God has said in the preceding verse, “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he will be one of the losers in the Hereafter.”

After having sent the Prophet Muhammad  to call people to Islam, God does not accept adherence to any religion other than Islam.  God is our Creator and Sustainer.  He created for us whatever is in the earth.  All the blessings and good things we have are from Him.  So after all this, when someone rejects belief in God, His Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) , or His religion of Islam, it is just that he or she be punished in the Hereafter.  Actually, the main purpose of our creation is to worship God alone and to obey Him, as God has said in the Holy Quran (51:56).

This life we live today is a very short life.  The unbelievers on the Day of Judgment will think that the life they lived on earth was only a day or part of a day, as God has said:

He (God) will say, “How many years did you stay on the earth?”  They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day….” (Quran, 23:112-113)

And He has said:

“Did you then think that We had created you in jest (without any purpose), and that you would not be returned to Us (in the Hereafter)?  So, God is exalted, the True King.  None has the right to be worshipped but Him”… (Quran, 23:115-116)

The life in the Hereafter is a very real life.  It is not only spiritual, but physical as well.  We will live there with our souls and bodies.

In comparing this world with the Hereafter, the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)  said: {The value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like what your finger brings from the sea when you put it in and then take it out.}  The meaning is that, the value of this world compared to that of the Hereafter is like a few drops of water compared to the sea.

“Allah Favors Those Who Nag In Supplications”

Do You Know?

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Allah favors those who nag in supplications”, referring to those who never tire of repeating their supplications over and over again. SubhanAllah! Allah is Great, & for sure, nothing’s more beautiful than meeting Him and nothing is more pleasant than the moments when we praise Him.

The following video, may Allah SWT bless the speaker (Brother Belal Assad)

 

Courtesy : Mystrugglewithin