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Newsletter Al-Mawrid (Sep'03-Dec'03)
Compiled by Jhangeer Hanif

Editorial: Settling Affairs at Home

The last couple of decades have seen an accelerated deterioration in religiosity among educated as well as common Muslims. Despite mounting efforts to reconstruct the Ummah, they seem to have been stuck in a period where intellectual anarchy prevails giving rise to mayhem and chaos around the globe. The defeat of Saddam regime after the collapse of the Taliban theocracy signifies the bitter reality that a profound disorder is prevailing among the Muslims the world over. Mullah Umar’s assertion that Armies of God will descend from Heaven to fight beside him and Hussain’s trust in his military might manifest utter unawareness as regards the laws of God for believers. While this unawareness has borne devastating implications for the people of their countries, it may also have had a degenerating impact upon the Muslim community as a whole.

It is not the first time that the Muslims under ‘Umer and Saddam have collided with other nations. The option of warfare has repeatedly been chosen by the Muslims in the last two centuries. With every defeat they encountered on the war front, they further succumbed on the religious and cultural fronts as well.

The Muslims of Pakistan although were exonerated from colonial imperialism in 1947, they were still captivated by the intellectual and cultural supremacy of the west. Every new generation has fallen head over heals in love with the western ‘way of life’ since then. We are fast abandoning our cultural and religious values in substitution for western ideals. From home to work, a drastic change in lifestyle and attitude has ensued. In the race to accumulate material benefits, teachings of the divine religion have long been put aside. There is no disputing the fact that the Word of God can never loose its magical effects: it still carries a message brimful of inspiration and motivation. The problem arises owing to the erosion of cultural values which are to ensure compliance with the religious directives. When following religion and living an austere life becomes a subject of irony and mockery, only a few souls dare tread the thorny path of religion.

Spending time in a mosque stimulates no social recognition and dressing up considering the norms of morality finds no acceptance. Attending late night parties and intermingling freely with the opposite sex, on the other hand, is glamorous and builds up an image of chivalry and valor. Special festivals offer no special enjoyment without a toast of champagne. Erosion of religious practices and cultural values is only an outward manifestation of the intellectual turmoil suffered by our nation. The real damage is being caused to the entire set of beliefs on which its religious thought is based. The concept of God has retreated into oblivion. Sometimes, He is simply relegated to the position of a powerless being while saints and Sufis rule and administer the world: the belief of accountability in the Hereafter fades away. Since people try to emulate something which does not completely fit into their religion and culture, they eventually lose their own identity which leaves them in the middle of nowhere. The torrent of life still continues to flow yet without any knowledge of the destination—the result is what may be amply viewed in the Muslim world.

Actually, we need to deal with the intellectual turmoil if the religion is to be completely assimilated again into the life of the Muslims. Without resolving the intellectual crisis, even if we win a battle that would be meaningless. Muslim minds are subdued by the overpowering intellectual supremacy of the west and thus are addicted to tracing its trail. There is no time to waste in the rivalries of power politics. It is the time when minds are prepared, souls are purged and concepts are refined. The new generation is baffled by the issues of the modern age. Muslim scholars need to have a fresh insight into the Book of Allah and address these issues. Settled affairs at home will help us settle matters with the outside world.


Meeting of the Board of Governors

A meeting of the Board of Governors was held on December 13 2003 at Al-Mawrid, Institute of Islamic Sciences. The Board:

1. reviewed the expenditure statement for the year ended December 31 2003.

2. reviewed the performance report for the year ended December 31 2003.

3. approved budget for the forthcoming financial year (Jan-Dec 2004).

Apart from the recurring expenditures (Rs. 6,476,040), the Board also approved a detailed plan for development which includes the construction of an audio-visual recording facility, provision of furniture and fixtures, fibre glass shed for the area reserved for payers and refurbishing the facade of the building etc. These avenues require finances up to four millions (4m). Philanthropists are requested to contribute toward the expenditures of the institute.


 Research and Academics


Mr. Rafi Mufti, Associate Fellow Al-Mawrid, has completed his dissertation on a longstanding controversial issue among the Muslim scholarship, Taqlīd (following one jurist only). This dissertation probes into the concept of Taqlīd and analyzes the arguments that are presented in favor of following only one of the four famous jurists all through the period of life without seeking any evidence. This dissertation primarily looks into the arguments articulated in Taqlīd Kī Shar‘aī Haythyīat by Mr. Muhammad Taqi Usmani—a scholarly exposition which strictly endorses the viewpoint that following one jurist only throughout the lifespan is imperative. Analysing the aforesaid arguments, Mr. Rafi Mufti elucidates the true purport of the evidence brought forth from the Holy Qur’ān and the Hadīth literature and opinions of the Muslim scholars. In his concluding paragraphs, he quotes verse 160 from Sūrah Baqarah, which asserts that it is outrageously inappropriate that man should continue to follow his desires after true guidance is revealed to him. Mr. Mufti maintains that even if it is not possible for common Muslims to analytically look into the viewpoints of the Muslim scholars yet they are obligated to think, evaluate, and change as and when conflicting views are presented before them up to the best level of their intellectual capacity with the help of scholars. The article spans eighty pages.

Istamnā’ Bil Yad

Mr. Sajid Hameed, Associate Fellow Al-Mawrid, has completed an article on Istamnā’ Bil Yad (Masturbation). This is a short exposition of about thirty pages on the topic and analyzes the arguments that are put forth on the proscription or the permissibility of masturbation. The writer classifies the divine decrees into two types. The first is definite and clear since it has explicitly been made lawful or unlawful by the Holy Qur’ān and the Sunnah. The second though has not been expressly addressed by the Sharī‘ah, our innate guidance and collective conscience helps us decide whether it is good or evil. The writer goes on to assert that the people addicted to masturbation feel contrite and remorseful. ‘What is this feeling of remorse?’ he first raises a question and then goes on to answer it at length.


Education and Training

The Meaning and Implications of Kashf (Unveiling)

Critical analysis and constructive criticism are only possible after understanding the purport of the theme asserted. Indulging in a dialogue to reach a consensus would be meaningless if participants continue to talk on cross-purposes. The adherents of Sufism may often be criticized for what is not their actual stance. In order to obtain true understanding, Dr. Suhail Umer, Director Iqbal Academy, was invited to expound upon The Meaning and Implications of Kashf at Al-Mawrid on 26 October 2003. The program was arranged by Mr. Anees Mufti, Member of the Board of Governors Al-Mawrid and Mr. Kashif Ali Shirwani. Dr. Suhail Umer enlightened the audience as to the importance of the role played by psychic experiences in the field of knowledge. He explained that the fundamental questions of all mankind are the same. These questions have been addressed through three different approaches, namely, philosophy, rationalism and Kashf, the first being based on Greek philosophical premises, the second is the embodiment of both philosophy and revelation though revelation is often put aside and the third hinges upon revelation only yet rationality is given a say. He explained that Kashf is essentially related to the unveiling of a certain meaning of a text which otherwise cannot be discovered with intellectual exercise. There are no special exercises, he maintained, which should be done in order to experience Kashf. It is simply compliance with the directives of the Sharī‘ah and leading a righteous life that a believer may experience Kashf only by the grace of Allah. It was announced that the discussion will continue in a follow-up session.

Importance of Understanding the Holy Qur’ān

On completion of recital of the Holy Qur’ān during Tarāwīh prayer, a program was arranged by Jamī‘at Punjābī Sodāgarān on 17 November 2003 at the residence of Mr. Ata-ur-Rahman Barri, Chairman Hasin Habib Corporation. Abdus Sattar Ghauri, Associate Fellow Al-Mawrid, was invited to talk on the Importance of Understanding the Holy Qur’ān. In his speech, he emphatically asserted that direct deliberation on the Holy Qur’ān should not only be carried out but also encouraged. A gathering of about hundred people (100) was present in the program.

Death and Ascension of Jesus (sws) to Heaven

Tahrīk-i-Rahmat organized a program in which Mr. Abdus Sattar Ghuari, Associate Fellow Al-Mawrid, was invited to express his views regarding a controversial issue, Death and Ascension of Jesus (sws) to Heaven. He explained that, according to the Holy Qur’ān, demise and ascension of the Prophet Jesus (sws) is certain. He put forth that the Bible has also recorded about the ascension of Jesus (sws), which has not been negated by the Holy Qur’ān. He referred to the fact that the Holy Qur’ān has rebutted claims of crucifixion and murder in the verse: they slew him nor did they crucify him (4:157). But nowhere has the Holy Qur’ān negated the assertion of the Bible that the Prophet Jesus (sws) was raised to Heaven by Allah. He also highlighted the point that the Holy Qur’ān has used the verb Rafa‘a (to raise) at twenty nine (29) places. But when it was used to mention the ascension of Jesus (sws), it was followed by the preposition Ilā (toward) (4:158). By this use, he asserted, the Holy Qur’ān has alluded to the ascension of Jesus (sws) to Heaven. A group of twenty five (25) people attended this program who asked Mr. Ghauri different questions on the topic after his speech.

Premises of Ghamidi’s Views

A discussion was arranged on December 08 2003 at Al-Mawrid between Mr. Rafi Mufti, Associate Fellow Al-Mawrid and Dr. M. Khalid, a veterinary doctor. He had some reservations about the views of Mr. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, President Al-Mawrid and wanted to understand the premises on which the latter has based his views. Dr. Khalid put forth his major objections: why has Mr. Ghamdi differed with the early Muslim scholars on most religious issues? Why is it that Mr. Ghamidi alone has stumbled upon all these supposedly novel ideas about religion? Why did these ideas elude our great genius Muslim scholars of earlier times? Responding to these questions, Mr. Mufti asserted that the difference of opinion is not related to the core issues of Islam; rather it is confined to the matters subject to deliberation.  Therefore, it is only the arguments based on the Holy Qur’ān and the Sunnah which determine the appropriateness and soundness of these views. Moreover, he emphasized that the extent of difference in case of Mr. Ghamidi is often exaggerated—a circumstance which necessitates that every interested Muslim himself study his works and find out what is right and what wrong.

Tawbah (Repentance)

Mr. Sajid Hameed, Associate Fellow Al-Mawrid, delivered a speech on Tawbah (Repentance) at Danish Sara Gujranwala on December 07 2003. He explained to the audience that in the light of the Qur’ān every soul that repents after making a mistake is instantly forgiven by the Lord. However, those who hold back from admitting their mistakes and seeking refuge in the Lord till death are not forgiven even if they seek forgiveness at the time of death. He also asserted that emotions of genuine remorse are required for forgiveness along with the commitment not to tread the evil path again. If, however, the mistake committed involves infringement upon anyone’s rights, forgiveness will not be forthcoming unless compensation is made, which may be to men and in some cases to Allah as well. For instance, if a person is guilty of extorting money from someone, he will be required to repay it to them and ask for forgiveness from them and Allah as well; and if he has missed obligatory prayers, he will have to offer them. Compensation along with feelings of contrition entitles a person to receive forgiveness from Allah. The program was attended by about thirty (30) participants.

Trials of life and the Mercy of Allah

On December 14 2003, Mr. Talib Mohsin, Associate Fellow Al-Mawrid, delivered a lecture on Trials of life and the Mercy of Allah at the residence of Mr. Faisal Naqvi, Walton Road Lahore.  In his speech, he stressed that the Mercy of Allah dominates the process of judgment. He explained that trails of life are all-pervading; on every corner of life, a person is put through a test. In these tests, sometimes he errs and sometimes he does good deeds. However, when it comes to judgment, one mistake is counted as one and one good deed is treated as equivalent to ten good deeds. So much so that deeds done with sheer sincerity are rewarded seven hundred times. For mistakes, he asserted, there is also a way to eliminate them all permanently by Tawbah (repentance).


Public Relations

Electronic Media

October 09 2003: PTV network recorded four programs on Khawātīn and Mu‘āsharah (Women and the Society). Mrs. Kaukab Shehzad, Assistant Fellow Al-Mawrid, elaborated upon various issues related to women in these programs including norms of gender interaction, co-education, consent of a lady for selection of her life partner, share of women in inheritance and evidence of a woman etc. These programs went on air on all the channels of the network during the month of Ramadan.

October 27 2003: Mrs. Kaukab Shehzad was invited to the program, Nizām-i-Hastī, to speak on the rights of parents and the rights of women. This program was aired by PTV in the morning transmission of Roshan Pakistan.

November 03 2003: Mrs. Kaukab Shehzad was invited to the Punjabi Program, Taranjan, as a guest. During a twenty five (25) minutes program, she responded to the queries of the participants. Some of the questions were: what is the spirit of fasting? When does it become obligatory to fast? And, under what circumstances, Islam allows to miss fasts?

November 13 2003: Mrs. Kaukab Shehzad participated in the Punjabi Program, Taranjan, as a guest. She addressed questions on Zakāh, Fitrānah, A‘ytakāf, Laylatu’l-Qadr etc.

Press Media

October 09 2003: Mr. Iftab Iqbal, Columnist and Drama Writer and Mr. Ahmed Bashir Tahir, Director Soft Vision Multi Media, met President Al-Mawrid, Mr. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi. They discussed various religious issues with him.

December 05 2003: Columnist, Mr. Kamran Alamgeer, interviewed the President about his views on different national and international issues facing the Pakistani people.

December 06 2003: Mr. Khurshid Ahmad Nadeem, Columnist and Mr. Shuaib Mansur, T.V. Producer, met the President.

December 30 2003: Columnist, Mr. Vaqar Malik, interviewed the President on various religious issues.

Other Engagements

October 13 2003: Mr. Mansur Sadiqui, Chief Executive Mass Media Campaign Consultant and Mr. Malik M Perveiz, Deputy Attorney General Pakistan, met the President and talked to him on different religious issues.

October 23 2003: Mr. Imran Khan, Chairman Tahrīk-i-Insāf, held a meeting with the President.

November 17 2003: Mr. Farid Ahmed Islahi, a religious scholar from Nepal and a graduate of Madrasah Al-Islāh, met the President.

November 19 2003: Mrs. Vaqar-un-Nisa, Research Associate National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), met the President. She had various questions to discuss about the applied aspects of Hudūd ordinance vis-à-vis rights of women.

December 22 2003: A group of students from Civil Services Academy held a meeting with the President.

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