Book Review Friday – The Age of Shiva


P.C. Zick


By Patricia Zick@PCZick

The Age of Shiva by Manil Suri sat on my bookshelves for five years. I bought it at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, in 2008. I shipped it back to my home in Florida along with ten other books I couldn’t resist in this warehouse of a bookstore. I still have a few other books left to read. But I picked up The Age of Shiva a few weeks ago, and it’s opening page lured me in despite my uneasy feeling when I realized the very sensuous description of a woman being fondled was actually the narrator Meera describing to “you” how it felt to breastfeed “you” as a tiny baby.

Written in first person (although an argument could be made that it’s really second person), Meera is describing her life of sacrifice in India during the decades from the 1950s to the 1980s to her…

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WHO IS OUR HERO, RAJA DAHIR OR MUHAMMAD BIN QASIM


Raja Dahar
The text books that are taught to Pakistani children recount exploits of numerous past Muslim heroes in them. Standing tall amongst these heroes is one Arab by the name of Muhammad bin Qasim, born on 31 December 695 in the city of Taif in modern day Saudi Arabia.
Following are just some of the tokens of Pakistanis’ veneration for their hero.
He is sometimes called “the first Pakistani”. Port Qasim, Pakistan’s second major port is named in his honor. PNS Qasim is the name of a Pakistani Naval ship. Pakistan Army Aviation’s home base is called Qasim Base. Qasim is a fairly common first name for Pakistani male children. The day of Yom-e-Babul Islam is observed each year in Pakistan in memory of Muhammad bin Qasim.
Now let us see what we are told about this hero and what we are not.
We are told that Muhammad bin Qasim was an Umayyad general who conquered the Sindh and Punjab regions, now a part of Pakistan, along the Indus River. That at the tender age of just seventeen, he was sent by Caliph Al-Walid-I to lead an army towards South Asia to release Muslim women and children who were kidnapped by the Hindu Raja of the time. That it was due to his conquest of Sindh and Punjab that the era of Islamic rule in South Asia was first launched in real earnest. This much we are told. This much Pakistani children are supposed to memorize and be examined in.
What we are not told is that the kidnapping event of women and children, though a historical happening by itself, may have been only a part of the legend. That the Umayyad interest in the region may have stemmed more from their desire to control the trade route down the Indus River valley to the seaports of Sindh, an important link in the ancient Silk Road, than any thing else. That on certain earlier occasions too, they had unsuccessfully sought to gain control of the route, via the Khyber Pass, from the Turki-Shahis of Gandhara. That by taking Sindh, Gandhara’s southern neighbor, they were ultimately able to open a second front against the Gandhara.
Chach
We are also not told some of the other possible reasons for this campaign. That the locals of the region had targeted Sassanid shipping in the past, from the mouth of the Tigris to the Sri Lankan coast, from their bases at Kutch, Debal and Kathiawar. That the real reason of the campaign may have been purely economic in which the kidnapping of women and children was but one fateful act of these semi-nomadic tribes whose activities disturbed much of the Empire’s shipping trade in the Western Indian Ocean. That the kidnapping incident only provided a ‘just’ reason to the rising power of the Umayyad Caliphate to gain a foothold in the Makran, Baluchistan and Sindh regions–an area the Empire builders had been eyeing for a rather long time by then. That one other possible reason for the campaign could be the policy of the local tribes of providing refuge to Sassanid and Arab rebels who fled the Arab advance and the accompanied Umayyad persecution in a quest to consolidate their rule. This we are not told.
We are told that he treated most kindly his new subjects when he became their governor. What we are not told is that where resistance was strong, long-drawn-out and rigorous, Muhammad bin Qasim’s response was rather ruthless. By credible accounts, he inflicted 6,000 deaths at Rawar, between 6,000 and 26,000 at Brahmanabad, 4,000 at Iskalandah and 6,000 at Multan. And that he built many mosques upon the sites of razed Hindu temples.
We are told that his nemesis Raja Dahir was a cruel and unjust ruler and was involved in piracy. That he was the one that kidnapped and tortured the women and children and refused to recant. That he was an immoral man who married his own sister.
Chach na
What we are not told is that Raja Dahir is also admired by many present day Sindhi Sunni and Shia Muslims. That he had given shelter in Sindh to a well-known follower of Imam Hussian, Muhammad Bin Allafi–a man much sought by the Umayyad in their deadly hunt for eliminating the last of the Ahl-e-Bait (Prophet Muhammad’s immediate family). That, according to some very believable sources, Dahir had even offered asylum to Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed, who was being persecuted at home. That as a result of this offer, Hussain was on his way to Sindh when he was seized at Karbala in Iraq and killed most viciously. That according to G.M. Syed, the grand old man of Sindh, “the Sindhis weep for Hussain ibn Ali and they weep for Raja Dahir Sen.” This we are not told.
But above all what we are not told is the manner of this hero’s death and the events leading up to the occasion.
Chachnama is an authentic document that recounts the history of Sindh in great details. It tells of an intriguing yet widely believed tale of Muhammad bin Qasim’s death.
According to this account, when Raja Dahir was killed in the battlefield, his daughters were captured as war booty in the Islamic tradition. The Governor, Muhammad bin Qasim, then sent them as ‘presents’ to the Caliph of the time Khalifa Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, to become a part of his vast harem. According to the narration, the women tricked the Khalifa into believing that Muhammad bin Qasim had violated them before sending them on. The Khalifa got so incensed for having been sent ‘tainted’ gifts that he ordered Muhammad bin Qasim to be wrapped in oxen hides and returned to Syria, his exploits not withstanding. The journey resulted in his death from suffocation. This version attributes the women’s motive for the ploy to exacting vengeance for their father’s death. It also states that upon discovering the trick after the death of Muhammad bin Qasim, the Khalifa deeply repented his action and ordered the sisters buried alive in a wall as a punishment.
chuch nama
The Persian historian Baladhuri, however, states that the Khalifa Abd al-Malik was a political enemy of Umayyad governor Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, Muhammad bin Qasim’s paternal uncle. He persecuted all those who were considered close to Hajjaj after his death. Muhammad bin Qasim was therefore recalled in the midst of a campaign of capturing more territory up north. An honorable man, he reported to his Caliph despite his loyal friends dissuading him from it. Upon arrival, he was promptly imprisoned in Mosul, Iraq. Intensely cruel torture on him started immediately afterwards. So severe was this torture that Muhammad bin Qasim breathed his last during the most extreme of sessions one hot July afternoon.
Whichever account is true, we are told none of these.
Two facts, however, remain undisputed. He was 22 years old when he was killed by his own Caliph. None have read the tombstone marking his grave for none know where he lies.

Taken from: http://religionandsindh.blogspot.com/2012/06/who-is-our-hero-raja-dahir-or-muhammad.html

Posted in Culture, Democracy, Hindu, History, Justice, Minority Rights, pakistan, Politics, Psychology Of Religion, Religion, Secularism, Sindh, Social Media, Sub Continent, UNO, Women Rights, Youth | Tagged | Leave a comment

Those who deny women


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Those who refute women also refute their own self and existence. One does not need to search for them as they are in such large numbers that one can just identify them with the rotting stench that they give off. The horrible smell is always there, whether they have drenched themselves in perfume or not. But despite spending so much, they continue to reek, even from their body language, and stagnant beliefs.
It doesn’t matter how much they promote their beliefs and thinking liberally; it doesn’t matter if they wear three-piece suits with ties because their trousers will still end above their ankles. It doesn’t matter because no one has ever told them anything different, because in any case, they are against learning, understanding, and thinking. It seems like they have some bizarre enmity with education, wisdom, and intellect. Their thirst for learning and intellect can either be satisfied by our maulvi hazraat, or by those self-proclaimed intellectuals who rule the media today.

But when these perfume-drenched intellectuals in colourful clothes embroidered with flowers open their mouths, rivers of wisdom and intellect begin gushing out. Our nation suffers from a famine of learning; the book and the pen were taken away from it ages ago. What little ability to think, to challenge and question that the nation still retains is slowly being eradicated. Their thirst for learning is so easily satisfied by this handful of intellectuals, who have only a couple of books to their reading credit. Neither will they read themselves, nor let others read. They consider themselves to be intellectuals merely on what they have heard and understood.51e7b2b0176bf

The media and the social media have produced solutions to all problems. People share and comment on things without having read them through, and without understanding them. TV channels constantly shove a microphone in a passer-by’s face, and then air whatever gibberish is said by the latter. Ignorance is being promoted with immense diligence, while the gates of learning are being closed down one by one. Those doors of education that haven’t closed yet have been given up to the care of some of the greatest ignoramuses to be found. So how can they educate the public, and why would they do that anyway?

Taken from: http://urdu.dawn.com/2013/07/18/aurat-ke-inkaari-kb-abro-aq/

Posted in Dawn.com, Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Malala, pakistan, Politics, Religion, Secularism, Social Media, UNO, Women Rights, Youth | Leave a comment

BBC Documentary about Altaf Hussain and MQM Money Laundering case


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This Video is about a Political organization which Named MQM Pakistan. BBC world service exposed their organization’s money laundering case and other illegal and criminal activities. Watch and share.

Watch, Share And like our Facebook page
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Secularism in Pakistan-A solution to Pakistan’s religious problems?


Why do we fear Secularism?

Many Pakistanis have a built in aversion towards the word secularism while taking an excessive pride in the Islamic Republic attached to Pakistan’s name. Despite the fact that many Pakistanis fail to follow the tenets of Islam and the word Islamic Republic makes a mockery of the meaning it remains a source of excessive pride. Scholars claim that today the country is very far from Islam because very few people in Pakistan really follow the tenets of Islam. However very few of them can answer the question whether it worthwhile to have an “Islamic Republic” only in name. However the real question is do we really have anything to fear from Secularism in the first place?
Secular_Pakistan
According to its dictionary meaning Secularism refers to the equal treatment of each and every religious group within the Nation and to the idea that religion should have a smaller role in politics and decision making because when it has too large a role people spend their time over their own separate interpretations of religion rather than Nation building and the tasks at hand.

Many Muslims in Pakistan fear secularism because they have a perverse idea of the concept fearing Islam will be diminished with Secularism. This is completely untrue. Pakistan’s Islamic identity will not be lost with a Secular system.

Will Secularism decrease Islam’s value in Pakistan?

Many Pakistanis continually fear that secularism will decrease Islam’s value or worse will eliminate Islam from Pakistan.

The fact is no one is pushing Islam away and with 95% of the population of Pakistan being proud and extremely pious Muslims for the most part it is impossible to even try. Islam will still be practiced by the majority of people as it is being practiced today without any hindrance whatsoever. The only difference perhaps will be that religion will be a personal matter. A person who does not follow Islam devotedly or a follower of a different religion or a sect of Islam will not be persecuted for having his own separate beliefs.

If seen in such a light Secularism is nothing to be feared. We can be proud Muslims and defend Islam as much or even more with a secular constitution as we can by labelling a country ruled by very corrupt people with barely any link to Islam an “Islamic Republic”. An Islamic Republic where the rulers themselves have no link to Islam and others often use religion as a tool to fulfill their personal interests.

Jinah

The fact is that a country that calls itself an Islamic Republic should have a constitution, laws (that are implemented instead of being cleared by people who can pay bribes), rules and regulations based on the tenets of Islam. A country lacking the Islamic economic and judicial system based on the teachings of the Prophet can’t be an Islamic Republic. It’s not that Pakistanis haven’t tried. If proof is needed one needs to look at Zia’s Islamicization. Pakistanis have tried to impose Islam in letter and spirit for 60 years and failed. It’s more than time we revised our direction.

The tenets of Islam support Secularism & harmony

“To you be your Faith, and to me mine.”
Ayat 109:6

During the rule of Ali Ibn Abi Talib the fourth Caliph of Islam a Jew stole a shield that belonged to the Caliph and claimed that it was his. He was brought to the court of Ali to settle the dispute. However due to lack of proof and according to Islamic law the Jew was allowed to keep the shield as Hazrat Ali could not prove he owned the shield. This was a verdict going against a Muslim Caliph in his own court. However Hazrat Ali accepted the decision calmly. On the other hand the Jew was dumbfounded as he had indeed stolen the shield. He was quick to embrace Islam and declared that he had lied in front of the entire court.

This was one example of how Islam spread to become one of the largest religions in the World and won hearts and minds. It was due to the insight and tolerance our ancestors had that we got to where we are, that Cordova and Baghdad became centres of learning and Islam spread from the corners of Spain to the boundaries of the far east.

Unfortunately many people in Pakistan do not understand that human rights and the equal treatment of all individuals in the country is more important in Islam rather than a notion of Islamic pride and superiority where labelling a country an “Islamic Republic” is deemed necessary. This pride comes from a past that our ancestors built with policies that we fail to understand today.

The Quaid E Azams Principles

“In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State — to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non- Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”

Quaid E Azam, February 1948

The above quote is the greatest proof that Quaid E Azam did not want a state that was built solely on the basis of religion. Unfortunately since his death the constitution has been changed to suit every new leader that came and the title “Islamic Republic,” untrue it may be has been added along with many laws that are completely out of line with Quaid E Azam’s original ideas for Pakistan. If we look closely at many of his speeches we will notice Quaid E Azam was a staunch supporter of secularism with an added focus on Islamic thought and ideology. Therefore until he was alive the Islamic Republic was never attached to the countries name. That happened when Ayub Khan came into power.

Other speeches by Quaid E Azam that clearly supported the message of peace, harmony and equality between all groups whether they are ethnic or religious are stated below.

‘We are starting with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state. No matter what is his colour, caste or creed is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations….”

“In due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims – not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense as citizens of one state.”

“[If you] work together in a spirit that everyone of you no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.”
11 August 1947

“The tenets of Islam enjoin on every Musalman to give protection to his neighbours and to the Minorities regardless of caste and creed. We must make it a matter of our honor and prestige to create sense of security amongst them.”
30th October 1947

Clearly Quaid E Azam understood that a Nation could not be built until differences were eliminated and people saw themselves as equal members of a single society regardless of faith or ethnicity.

Perhaps if that spirit was alive today Pakistan would not be afflicted with religious issues and infighting between Shia-Sunni, Barelvi-Deobandi, Wahabi-Mainstream Muslim, and the principles of personal freedom would have given way to building a Nation that was the most glorious one in history. Unfortunately this destiny still awaits the Pakistani race which dreams for justice and equality. Many conservatives continuously deny Quaid E Azam wanted a secular country believing that such a concept is against Islam when it is not. Perhaps they fear for their own interests but Quaid E Azam did indeed want a Nation that was Secular or Socialist and gave equal opportunity to all inhabitants.

People try to deny this but the fact is, being Muslims this is not something for us to be ashamed of but something glorious. That a leader who did so much for Muslims, gave them a new homeland and independence, still understood the morals of our ancestors because of whom Islam spread is truly remarkable.

Issues caused by the misinterpretation of Islamic Law & resources used to contain them

The fact that laws created to safeguard Islam are being used for the benefit and self interest of bad people does not do anything great for the image of Islam. A clear example is the blasphemy law, a law that makes an insult to Islam, the Prophet or the Quran illegal and punishable by death. This law has been used against minorities for a long time. However Muslims have fallen victims to this law as well.

An example of how this law is misused was the case of Mohammad Imran who was arrested in Faisalabad for blasphemy on the 28th of October 2007. He was falsely blamed because of a personal argument. After being arrested he was first tortured by the police, then the inmates and later he was placed in solitary confinement without anyone looking after his injuries. He was only released in April 2009 after being declared innocent.

Another example was the framing of Akhtar Hammed Khan, an 81 year old writer and sociologist by business interests and authorities unwilling to let his development work take place in Orangi, Karachi. He had launched a development project on the behalf of the people of Orangi. His project offering real estate loans on good terms and work to improve the condition of women through education, and access to employment and family planning was not well liked by these authorities. Thus they decided to book him on false charges with the police under the blasphemy laws. He was later released due to inadequate evidence but the case proves how the law is being used to settle personal scores and disputes.

Minorities have many such stories to share as 60% of all victims who are framed under this law are Non Muslims. The law has become a tool for fanatics, murderers and people seeking to settle personal scores yet the law still hasn’t been repealed due to the fact that militants have some influence on governance. Land disputes or personal quarrels are by far the main reason for people to be booked under this law.

Another such law is the Hudood Ordinance where in a case of Rape four witnesses are required to confirm that a rape has taken place. This is practically impossible. However the woman who complains that a rape has taken place is often booked for being with another man while the culprits of the rape run free.

Therefore the Hudood Law became a tool in the hands of rapists and today any woman can be raped. But when she goes to the police to get justice the Hudood Law can be used to frame her, because by claiming that she has been raped she also admits that she has been with another man and committed Zinah. Some figures claim that in the year 1979 there were only 70 women in Pakistani jails. A decade later, in 1988, this figure had risen to 6000 and over 80% of the women in prison were there because of these laws. It is said many more women do not even report rapes in fear of being persecuted due to this law.

Is Pakistan really Islamic?
Better to have a Secular constitution than Islam only in name

There is no doubt that our leaders found us a land that was a safe haven for Muslims and gave us freedom to make our own decisions without the fear of suffering biased treatment for the faith we followed. However the question today is how much Islam is being followed in the country?

For instance the Quran states:

“Keep yourselves away from bribes because it is kufr and one who receives them will never smell the scent of paradise”.

The fact is in Pakistan taking and giving bribes is so common that even a noble person can hardly live without paying one. Some honourable folk still struggle on but their lives are much more difficult. If a person has money it is a possibility he has given or taken a bribe at least once. Unfortunately the entire bureaucracy is at the forefront of this rot. Justice is sold and witnesses can be bought.

On the other hand while drinking is not allowed and a license is required in order to drink in Pakistan, people who want to drink do so with impunity and with no fear of being punished. The law is not even being implemented while if a drunkard happens to get caught a simple bribe wins back the persons freedom. On the other hand while adultery is considered a punishable law under the constitution it is practiced by many people in the country without any fear of punishment. The same goes for many other laws. It is virtually impossible to implement these laws and it costs resources to do so.

The fact is many laws related to Islam exist in Pakistan but they are there only in name. They are either being misused by people for their own interests or they are not implemented and people who commit heinous crimes are allowed to go free because of them, without any fear of punishment while the innocent are framed. Particularly the law simply does not apply to government officials who can flout any rule because of their influence and power.

The real question for Pakistan today is whether it is sensible to have a false, broken and corrupt “Islamic Republic” in name or it is better to have a secular constitution that guarantees freedom to everyone and ensures that there are no vaguely addressed laws that make a mockery of our Religion and are misused for the benefit of a few criminals.

Why do we fear secularism

Benefits of Secularism for Pakistan (In point Format)

In recent days I was having a very constructive debate with a very knowledgeable person about the benefits of Secularism for a society such as Pakistan, where people are judged by how much or how little people follow their religion. Here imposing ones brand of Islam on the other is common and I argued for Secularism while this person argued for the intricacies of Islamic law.

I have already written an article on secularism and will not go into detail but here I will present the argument for secularism in points compared to the disadvantages of a poorly functioning “Islamic Republic” which may turn out to be very useful.

Problems with a dysfunctional “Islamic Republic”

Misuse of laws meant to safeguard Islam for the personal interests of people-ie the Blasphemy law to frame innocent Muslims, Christians and Hindus on false charges of blasphemy in order to settle disputes.

{Qoute} An example of how this law is misused was the case of Mohammad Imran who was arrested in Faisalabad for blasphemy on the 28th of October 2007. He was falsely blamed because of a personal argument. After being arrested he was first tortured by the police, then the inmates and later he was placed in solitary confinement without anyone looking after his injuries. He was only released in April 2009 after being declared innocent. {Qoute}

No laws for the rich and powerful. All laws apply for the weak. For example a rich man can drink or do whatever he wants despite not being allowed to do so in his religion, without any fear… even rape women without ever being punished but a poor man is always punished. Is this justice?

{QUOTE}Those before you went astray, for, when one of the committed a crime and he was a great man, they would not punish him, and when he was a poor man they would execute the punishment (Bu: 86:12){QUOTE}

Differences in the belief of Islam-which Islam do we want. What do we do if some factions do not agree with the Islam we are currently following? Should it be Wahabism, Sufism, Deobandi or Hanafi Islam? How will we deal with differing interpretations which will cause more and more confusion?

When religion gets infused into society, fanaticism and terrorism are only by-products. This is why religion should be a personal matter kept to a person’s house and his place of worship. It should never be infused into governance and the state.

Muslims killing Muslims. The divide caused by the differences in our beliefs has caused a vast chasm among the Muslims. This chasm is so great that it is now leading to us killing each other. Not a day passes in Pakistan when a Muslim is not killed by another Muslim. The Taliban, Jundullah, Sipah E Sahaba, Lashker E Janghvi, Sipah E Mohammad… what else? In distant Norway there’s Anders Behring Breivik. Infusing religion into politics has only led to death and destruction.

People begin using the excuse of religion to increase their power and authority. For example there are over 30 Taliban commanders in the tribal belts each vying for power and influence. In the end the struggle for Islam becomes a cruel struggle for power and influence.

When a country decides to judge its people by how much or how little they follow their religion it fails to focus on other important things such as science, education, economy and growth. Ignoring these sectors has often led to decline in Islamic societies. It is causing Pakistan to decline today with the GDP growth rate that is incapable of creating new jobs for a rising population.

Islamist thought can only cause gradual factionalism and division as people get divided into sects and various groups while each religious group crowds to his or her own religious group for protection decreasing people to people contact between sects and religions. For example the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. A man was shot for questioning a man-made law that has led to the murder of innocent muslims, christians and hindus alike on false charges of blasphemy. The law simply cannot be erased but it can only get worse because of Islamist influence who refuse to allow any changes to the law. What is next? Declaring all Hindus Kaffir and declaring them wajib ul qatil?

Despite trying to impose Islam for over 60 years Pakistan has miserably failed. Today the rich can get away with any crime. Bribes are taken and given with impunity and justice can be sold. Pakistan has failed to impose Islam in every single aspect. Pakistanis have free access to any website, the younger generation can have intercourse when it likes with streets such as Napier in Karachi and Heera Mandi in Lahore. Drinks are easily available. No law in reality has been imposed. Pakistan is a broke, failed Islamic Republic in every sense of the word. Isn’t it better to stop trying to impose religion on everyone now and just give up?

More than a Billion Muslims live in abject poverty. Has having an “Islamic Republic” helped them in any way? Is it more important to give the poor man food and shelter rather than telling him how to behave in his daily life?

Benefits of Secularism.

By allowing freedom and giving each man his dignity we give everyone their rights. A person has the right to believe what he or she wishes and can stand for whatever he believes in. Islam itself allows us this freedom:

{QUOTE}”Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects Taghut (evil) and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trust worthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. ” (Qur’an 2:256)] {QUOTE}

Secularism will not degrade Islam but will instead allow it to flourish as secularism means the equal treatment of each and every religion. By equally treating Muslims we do away with biases a non religious or non-muslim resident would suffer yet we do not discriminate against the Muslims.

Secularism will do away with the problems in an Islamist system relating to which ‘Islam’ to impose when Muslims are divided into so many various sects and groups each believing something different. Here everyone will be equal.

Secularism if widely accepted by the Nation, will prevent commanders from using religion for their own gains and power. When the people will make religion a personal matter religious violence is sure to decline, allowing us to create a tolerant Nation. Something we currently lack.

Secularism will actually cause the growth of Islam and its evolution. In the past our rulers won the respect of minorities and their people and as a result Islam spread far and wide. Today we have forgotten the very actions of these leaders.

{Qoute}Taxation in the Caliphate is on excess wealth and not income, and there are no regressive taxes like VAT. The only taxes on companies are the agricultural land taxes (ushur and kharaj) that are a percentage of the agricultural produce or the land value. Non-agricultural companies do not pay this. Muslim owned companies will also pay the alms tax (zakat), but non-Muslim companies are exempt from this.

Non-Muslim men must pay a nominal tax called Jizya that gives them full citizenship rights, exempting them from National Service and taxes specific to Muslims such as zakat . Jizya is means tested and there are different bands for different levels of wealth. Caliph Omar imposed three bands for the Jizya tax – 4 dinars (£108) for the rich, 2 dinars (£54) for the middle class and 1 dinar (£27) for the poor. The Jizya tax rate is much lower than that of zakat, therefore the tax burden of non-Muslims is lower than that of Muslims in the Caliphate. {QUOTE}

Secularism will allow us to concentrate on bigger and better things. Like science, technology, culture and education which are much needed in Muslim states. Secularism has its obvious benefits because when religion is out of the equation we are not stuck on questions like the height of the shalwar.

Today Muslims are trying to kill each other and are at each others throats. Isn’t anything better than Muslims blowing Muslims up? Shouldn’t we try another system, something that actually works now? According to stats around 1 Million or more Muslims were killed (Most were killed by Muslims themselves) in the past 10 years. Isn’t it time to reflect and judge whether the Islamist’s system is actually working for us?

Secularism does not eliminate Islam or destroy it in anyway. People believing Islam cannot thrive under a secular system must ask the same question of 14 Million Muslims living in Europe. Secularism offers equality to everyone. This is the basic ideal of Secularism.

Source: http://www.defence.pk/forums/social-issues-current-events/181566-secularism-pakistan-solution-pakistans-religious-problems.html#ixzz2YjlnG0wS

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Are we really secular?


Ajeesh Venugopalan

We Indians are good at making tall claims about ourselves but the reality is far from our claims of being secular and coexisting in diversity. The Indian Diaspora is wide spread with 22 official languages, 3.2 million Square Kilometre in area and 28 states separated by different governments originally from the Indus Valley Civilization.

After having traveled throughout the country, some of these cultural differences are easily noticed and easy for an outsider to pick at quickly.  The current Telangana issue of dividing the “land over languages” spoken is a typical example of the unrest among the people of our country. The Dravidian languages which existed in India were supplanted by the (Aryans) Indo-European languages like the English, Hindi, Punjabi and few others. The Dravidian languages were primarily Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam which is widely spoken in the southern states of our country. North western and the north east regions of…

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THE MODERN CHASTITY BELTS


THE MODERN CHASTITY BELTS

RANTS OF A LOST SOUL

In olden times, a woman’s morality was controlled by using a chastity belt to prevent her from having intercourse. Not to anyone’s surprise, the phenomenon of this practice goes back to the roots of patriarchy and the need of man to ensure that his progeny is purely of his own blood, free from any form of contamination or adulteration by other men.

Many of us may think that we are living in modern times where the use of such overt practices to control a woman’s body are not visible. This maybe true, for the practices may not be so overt, but one must lift the veil of false consciousness and look at the norms around that are ensuring control over a woman’s body. Only until some time ago, I believed that there was no connection between a woman’s morality and her mobility. But just upon a cursory research, I came…

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