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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

 

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.

Wearing Rings or Threads To Ward Off Evil???

Do You Know?

“Entrusting Oneself To Any Other Protector – such as Rings, Threads etc. is an act of Shirk.”


“Say: “Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allah – if Allah intended some harm to me, could they(Rings or Threads) remove His harm, or if He intended some mercy for me, could they(Rings or Threads) withhold His Mercy?” Say: “Sufficient for me is Allah; in Him those who trust [the true Believers] must put their trust.”(The Holy Quran, Chapter 39, Verse 38)

In this verse, Allah , Most Glorified, Most High commands His Prophet, Muhammad (pbuh) to reject those powerless, graven images worshipped by the polytheists, which can neither remove any harm which might befall a person by Allah’s Decree, nor prevent any sustenance or blessings which might come to a person from Him. Then He commands him to place his trust in Allah, for He is Sufficient to bring benefit or prevent harm for all who sincerely depend upon Him.

It proves that protection from harm is only from Allah , and so entrusting oneself to any other protector – such as rings, threads etc. is an act of Shirk.

It is reported on the authority of Umran Ibn Husain (RA), that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) saw a man with a brass ring in his hand, and he asked him: “What is this?” He replied: “It is for protection from al-waahinah (weakness).” The Prophet (pbuh) answered: “Remove it at once, for verily, it will not increase you except in weakness, and were you to die whilst wearing it, you would never be successful.” (Narrated by Ahmad, with an acceptable Sanad)

Umran Ibn Husain (RA) informs us in this Hadith that the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) saw a man with a brass ring in his hand, and he asked him for what purpose he was wearing it. The man answered that he was wearing it to protect him from illness, at which the Prophet (may Peace Be Upon Him) ordered him to remove it and informed him that it would only cause him to become weak and not protect him from illness at all, and that should he die while wearing it and believing in its power to protect him, he would not succeed in the Hereafter, nor would he know eternal bliss.

Some of the scholars have said that wearing a ring or such like in order to protect oneself against harm is an act of minor Shirk, but what is understood from the Hadith of Umran is that it constitutes major Shirk because it is mentioned in the Hadith that to die while doing so would result in failure to achieve everlasting bliss in the Hereafter. It could be that the definition depends upon the beliefs and intentions of the perpetrator if he believed that it could cure him of itself, without Allah’s Help, then it would be major Shirk; while if he believed it be a cause of the cure, while Allah is the One Who grants health, then it would be considered to be minor Shirk – and Allah knows best.

It proves the obligation to reject the wearing of rings, bangles, chains etc. as a means of protection against harm, because bringing good and avoiding harm are the prerogative of Allah , Alone, and seeking such help from other than Allah means associating partners with Him.

It is also reported by Ahmad on the authority of `Uqbah Ibn A`mir (RA) in a marfoo’ form:

“Whoever wore a tamemah (talisman or amulet), Allah will never see his wishes fulfilled, and whoever wears a wada’ah (a sea-shell resembling an oyster shell), Allah will never grant him peace and tranquility.” – and in another narration of Ahmad: “Whoever wears a tamemah has committed an act of Shirk.”

Uqbah Ibn A`mir (RA) informs us in this Hadith that the Messenger of Allah (may Peace Be Upon Him) supplicated against every person who wears a talisman or a seashell, believing that it will benefit him without Allah , that Allah will not allow him to achieve any of his goals nor fulfill his wishes or dreams; rather, He will prevent him from ever finding security and tranquility; and he also informed us that any such action is false; indeed, in another narration, he informed us that the tamemah is a form of Shirk because its perpetrator believes that it will benefit him without Allah.

It proves that wearing an amulet or talisman, believing that it can benefit one is an act of Shirk because benefits come only from Allah, the Almighty, the All-powerful.

It is reported by Ibn Abi Hatim, on the authority of Huzaifah (RA) that he saw a man with a thread in his hand to protect him from fever; he broke it and recited the Words of Allah, Most High:

“And most of them do not believe in Allah, except that they associate partners with Him” (The Holy Quran, Chapter 12, Verse 106)

Huzaifah (RA) visited a sick man and found him wearing a thread on his wrist; and when he asked the man what was the purpose of it, he told him that it was a protection from fever, at which Huzaifah (RA) broke it declaring it to be Shirk; and as proof of this, he recited the Words of Allah , Most High:

“And most of them do not believe in Allah, except that they associate partners with Him” – and the meaning of this verse is that many people believe in Allah , but adulterate their belief with Shirk.

Kitab At Tawheed


Courtesy : Words Of Love