Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) and on the Editorial Board of Crescent International. He was among the founding members, with Dr Kalim Siddiqui of the Muslim Institute in London. He is the author of several books, his latest being: Power Manifestations of the Sirah: Examining the Letters and Treaties of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
It was in the month of Ramadan that the first few ayat of the majestic Qur’an were revealed to the noble Messenger (saws). Muslims must engage the divine Book in earnest. The Ascendant Qur’an by Imam Muhammad al Asi enables them to do so.
The Najdi Bedouins paid $400 billion—yes, that is billions with a ‘b’—to the American extortionist as protection money to save their illegitimate hold on power.
Tanzania has a rich Islamic history. Made up of the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar—hence the name Tanzania—it has still not shaken off the colonial legacy after more than 50 years of independence.
The nastiest television talk-show host, exposed as a sexual predator, has been knocked off his perched.
Elites in Western societies are in panic. Elections are no longer yielding the results they had hoped for.
Two alien regimes, in occupation of holy lands, are forced by circumstances to declare their unholy alliance.
Islamic Iran is heading for its 12th presidential election since the victory of the Islamic revolution in 1979. Six candidates have been approved for the May 19 poll.
Among his many great contributions, Allama Muhammad Iqbal will be remembered most for making Muslims realize their distinct Islamic identity and instilling a sense of self-respect and dignity in them.
Western officials and the corporate media have made lies and disinformation a part of normal existence. What is worse, they even insist people must accept their lies as truth.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Quebec City mosque in which six Muslims were murdered in cold blood, it was expected that the right-wing bigots and their bootlickers would tone down their anti-Islamic rhetoric. Instead they have intensified their attacks.
At the root of the US’ unremitting hostility towards the Islamic Republic of Iran is the success of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, its ability to withstand a raft of sanctions and now, its decision to abandon the dollar.
Despite its immense potential, corruption, environmental pollution and religious divisions are tearing the country’s social and political fabric.
Capitalism has resulted in accumulating wealth in the hands of a few people while impoverishing the overwhelming majority of people in the world. Today 62 richest people have as much wealth as the bottom half of 3.6 billion people. This is beyond obscene.
The 1.8 million people of Gaza are already starved, now they face an acute shortage of water as well. At least 90% of water in Gaza is unfit for drinking posing a serious risk to their health.
Among the vast arsenal of weapons the West uses, two institutions are paramount: the UN and Nato. If the former is used for diplomatic cover, the latter is used as a blunt instrument to achieve the West’s aggressive agenda.
India’s unrelenting hostility to Pakistan has led to precious resources being diverted to weapons and defence, holding back development in other vital fields. But now the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will prove a game changer for the region putting Pakistan at the centre of this economic transformation.
The people of Afghanistan face another grim anniversary as their rulers—all puppets of the West—continue to enjoy the perks of office. Their days, however, appear numbered.
While the Syrian government and army can rightly claim credit for the liberation of Aleppo, it did not come about without the sacrifices of Hizbullah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Islamophobia has not only become official with the election of Donald Trump in the US, it is spreading like a virus throughout Europe as well.
Defying all predictions, Donald Trump won the US presidential elections against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. He has exposed the US establishment and what it stands for.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing the region towards nuclear conflict that will cost the Hindu state dearly.
Nigerian army’s sole purpose of existence seems to be to attack and kill as many members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as it possibly can. Following the army’s massacre of 1,000 members of IMN last December, it embarked on another bloodbath last month.
The noble Messenger (saws) was sent not only to inform but also to transform humanity by bringing it out of darkness and into light. Muslims ought to pay attention to this aspect of the Sirah in this month of Rabi al Awwal.
One of the remarkable aspects of the American system is that people actually believe they have a say in how their president is elected. The media plays its role in pushing the establishment’s agenda to perpetuate the myth.2
Both the Kashmiris and Palestinians are suffering the brutal occupation of their land by alien invaders. Both occupations are the direct result of British colonial intrigue.2
A common threat from the takfiri terrorists has forced the two regimes in Egypt and Syria to cooperate with each other. This is a blow to Saudi machinations in the region.2
This is the second part of Zafar Bangash’s article on “change”; the first part was published in the October 2016 issue of Crescent International, concluding with outlining some of the qualities of muttaqi leadership.3
Change is a constant in human life. How change is managed, shaped and directed ultimately determines the way people govern their lives.2
Five years after Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was publicly lynched, the people of Libya are again turning to the Qaddafi family to save them from the mayhem that has engulfed the country.1
It would have been far better for the nearly 200 Islamic scholars gathered in Grozny to avoid hurling labels of takfir at those they disagree with. Instead, they should have condemned their actions.1
Muslims must break the habit of thinking inside the box. There needs to be a paradigm shift in their thought process to bring about the desired change in their societies.1
Since the Bani Saud occupied the Arabian Peninsula nearly 100 years ago, they have imposed rules that run contrary to the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. They should not be allowed to get away with this.1
Despites its being one of the most important pillars of Islam, most Muslims know little understanding about it beyond rituals. Hajj’s most important function—declaring dissociation from the mushrikeen—is seldom mentioned. It must be understood and revived.
Muslims have enormous wealth at their disposal: $11.5 trillion almost equal to the US GDP of $17 trillion. How Muslim wealth is utilized will have enormous implications for their future well-being.1
Led by the French, most Western officials seems to have taken leave of their senses. How else can one explain the ludicrous ban on burkini—the full body swimwear used by some Muslim women—under the guise of protecting women’s freedoms?1
The months of August and September highlight two anniversaries: the first, Hizbullah’s valiant resistance to Zionist aggression against Lebanon in 2006 and the second Islamic Iran’s eight year long epic defence of the Islamic State against the combined might of kufr emanating through Ba‘thist Iraq.
Muslims, especially those residing in non-Muslim majority countries, suffer endless confusion about important dates in the Islamic calendar such as the start and end of Ramadan and celebration of Eid al Adha because they do not pay adequate attention to the Qur'an and the Prophetic Sunnah.1
Hinduism’s Caste system is a blot on the world’s conscience. It provides religious sanction to a system in which some human beings are condemned to a life of permanent slavery and degradation. It needs to be exposed to the world.1
Britons voted to leave the European Union. Coupled with Turkey’s failed coup, it has changed the global situation radically. There will now be new political realignments in the region.1
While the Kashmiris valiantly resist the brutal Indian occupation, their friends around the world need to develop a coherent strategy to help them overcome one of the most brutal militaries in the world.1
Last month’s failed coup attempt in Turkey has exposed the alternate State that exists in the shadows. It has shown how deeply unsavory characters have penetrated the various institutions of state.1
The elite and media outlets never tire of proclaiming the virtues of freedom and democracy in the West. They denigrate others that do not conform to their way of life. How much freedom and democracy are there in the West and what is the nature of these notions? We look deeper.
Muslims know that Masjid al-Aqsa is under illegal Zionist occupation but most Muslims have failed to understand that Masjid al-Haram in Makkah is as much under occupation, albeit under that of people with Muslim names. Unless both are liberated from the clutches of these tyrants, Muslims will achieve little progress in the world.
All regimes in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) are dictatorships regardless of the label they carry. The Bahraini regime is made up of the minority al-Khalifa family that is brutally suppressing the majority Shia population. The regime’s decision to strip a respected alim, Shaikh Issa Qassem of his citizenship is likely to short-circuit the miserable existence of this pathetic regime.
Colonialism has had a profoundly negative impact on Muslim societies. Physical occupation was but a minor manifestation of this phenomenon. More serious was the mental subjugation that continues long after direct colonialism has ended. We point out some steps on the way to breaking out of this mental slavery.
Why does every ruler in the Muslim world feel the urge to present himself/herself ‘strong’? The answer lies in the fact that most lack legitimacy and therefore must project the image of power to appear strong.
Muslims must understand that Bani Saud are a colonial creation that are serving the interests of imperialism and Zionism. Under their control, historical sites have been destroyed and Hajj reduced to mere rituals.
Peace eludes war-torn Syria because external powers want the war to continue. The latest escalation was the provocative visit of General Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, to northern Syria without the permission of the Syrian government.
Riba (usury) has taken hold of global finance. Its purpose is to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor. This grand larceny, given legal cover, needs to be understood if humanity is to break free from modern-day slavery.
Ramadan must mean more than going hungry or thirsty for 15-17 hours a day. Muslims must strive to build taqwa, the real purpose of Ramadan. Understanding the true meaning of taqwa is the first step.
Zionists encroachments and attacks on Masjid al-Aqsa and indeed the entire Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem have become more frequent. Muslims cannot remain indifferent to this threat to the Muslims’ first qibla and third holiest site.
Isra wal mi‘raj is an important event in Prophetic history. Muslims must study the events leading to the mi‘raj and what lessons they can derive from them today.
The people of Syria and Yemen would want nothing better than peace but foreign powers are determined to continue the mayhem with tragic loss of life.
The world is held hostage by oligarchs whose sole purpose in life is to further enrich themselves, as the Panama papers once again reveal. The big question is what can the rest of us do.1
Dr. Kalim Siddiqui, the great Islamic scholar, visionary and, activist, joined heavenly company on April 18, 1996. This is an abridged version of the welcoming address delivered by ICIT Director Zafar Bangash at the Memorial Conference held for the late scholar in Toronto on April 23.
There are two wars going on simultaneously against Muslims: the military war and propaganda war. The imperialists and Zionists not only occupy Muslim lands but they also want to control their minds by manipulating the use of language.
Fanatics come in all shapes and sizes. There are religious fanatics and then there are secular fanatics. Neither is acceptable. Since Islam has been hijacked by both, it is time for committed Muslims to reclaim it from their clutches.
There is hardly any sincere person in the world—Muslim or non-Muslim—that does not sympathize with the plight of the long-suffering Palestinians. Their tragedy is that their own leaders have let them down repeatedly.
April 18 marks the twentieth anniversary of Dr Kalim Siddiqui’s passing away. He was one of the leading intellectuals of the last century blending intellectualism with political activism that created a unique personality.
Major changes are underway in global politics as the US-led unipolar world comes to an end. A multipolar world is emerging in which new more robust players are active. Islamic Iran is a central component of this new arrangement.
Ignorance is deliberately bred by ruling elites in order to manipulate people’s emotions. This is especially true in countries that never tire of drum beating about free speech, democracy and the rule of law.
While associated with renewal and growth, the month of March brings grim reminder of how terribly movements for change in the Muslim world have been subverted. Leaders of Islamic movements need to pay close attention to their modus operandi.
Will the February 22 agreement between Russia and the US outlining terms for cessation of hostilities bring peace to Syria? It offers a glimmer of hope but many uncertainties remain.
The noble concept of the Khilafah (the Islamic State) has been besmirched at the hands of terrorists and head choppers. This is part of a plan to undermine the aspirations of Muslims for legitimacy, justice and peace.1
As if bad governance, gross inequalities and mismanagement were not enough, there are some regimes that are deliberately promoting sectarianism to divide the Muslims.
Islamic resistance movements operate under very difficult conditions but they must be careful about who they choose as “friends”. Hamas seems to be drifting toward the Saudis that will certainly result in disaster.
Much of the Muslim world is mired in serious problems. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an accurate reflection of the pathetic state of the Ummah as was evident from an “emergency” meeting it held on January 21 at the behest of the Saudis.
Like Lemmings, the Bani Saud are rushing headlong into the sea toward collective suicide. Few would miss these savages from the desert caves of Najd.
Later this month, the Ummah will gather at the Haram to perform the Hajj. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, discusses the greatest of journeys a Muslim can undertake.
By executing the respected scholar and human rights activist, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the Saudi regime has added to its long list of crimes. This one, however, may prove its undoing. Sheikh Nimr's execution reflects the regime's failures both internally and externally and will only hasten its downfall. The world would be a far better place without this bunch of savages from the backwaters of Najd.
Attacks on Muslims and their institutions have risen alarmingly worldwide, especially in the US. Leading politicians and the media are front and centre of this vicious campaign.
Have the warmongers realized that their plot to overthrow Bashar al Asad by military means is untenable especially in the wake of Russia’s bombing campaign? A series of meetings on Syria’s future give rise to some hope for peace.
As the Iran nuclear deal reaches implementation stage, the US Congress has introduced new disruptive measures, such as the Visa Waiver Program to frustrate completion of the deal. Can the US be trusted?
What socio-political issues are likely to dominate the year 2016? ICIT director provides some pointers and food for thought.
The Prophet’s (pbuh) Sunnah and Sirah are the two fundamental reference points after the noble Qur’an on which all Muslims agree. He is the best of exemplars (33:21) and obedience to him alongside that of Allah (swt) is obligatory upon every Muslim. It is for this reason that Muslims organize elaborate programs to celebrate the birthday of the noble Messenger (pbuh) that falls in the month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal.
By its own actions, Turkey stands exposed as the terrorists’ air force and conduit for shipping their oil to the international market.
Amid all the hype, tough talk and name calling following the Paris attacks, two names are conspicuous by their absence: Wahhabi Arabia and Zionist Israel. The role these two entities play is worth a closer look.
The Qur’an is not a biography of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), but Allah (swt) describes His beloved Messenger (pbuh) in the most beautiful terms in the noble Book. He is the “best of exemplars” (33:21), with “the most lofty character” (68:04), and a “mercy to all the worlds” (21:107). He is the one who has “brought glad tidings inviting people to Allah” (33:45) “to bring them out of darkness and into light” (65:11).
The Zionists’ intensified attacks against innocent Palestinians at a time when Bani Saud are doing the same in Syria and Yemen should not surprise us. Palestinians have endured Zionist occupation for nearly 70 years.
The British colonialists have inflicted immense damage on the world of Islam. Nothing, however, compares in destructiveness to the imposition of the two illegiti-mate entities on the holiest places of Islam: the Najdi Bedouins (aka Bani Saud or the House of Saud) in the Arabian Peninsula, especially the Hijaz, and the Zionists in Palestine.
After each election in the West — Barack Obama’s first election as president of the US in 2008, Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the British Labour Party in Au-gust and the recent election of Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister of Canada — much euphoria is generated.
The US and its allies in the P5+1 group of countries appear to be dragging their feet in fulfilling their part of the bargain while demanding Iran comply with all its conditions in the nuclear deal. On October 21, the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei sent a letter to President Hassan Rouhani pointing this out saying the Islamic Republic’s concessions on the nuclear file were conditional on the other side, especially the US, lifting all sanctions.
In a reply to Abdul Latif Halimi’s recent article on 5Pillars, Zafar Bangash argues that Muslims need to stop deluding themselves and realise that the Syrian conflict is nothing more than an imperial war to take down the Resistance Axis.
The Bani Saud have once again shown they are totally incompetent and callous. The horrific deaths of 4,173 pilgrims in Mina on September 24 is proof of their crimes. They should be put on trial for crimes against humanity...
The Mina deaths were not the first even if the present tragedy surpassed all previous totals. There is a long list of disasters that have befallen the pilgrims under Saudi-controlled Hajj...
Two sacred mosques in Islam—Masjid al Haram in Makkah and Masjid al-Aqsa in al-Quds (Jerusalem)—are under threat. The global Muslim Ummah must take serious note of these challenges and take appropriate steps...
With the Muslim world in turmoil, it is easy to forget the wars on Syria and Yemen. The Bani Saud footprint is writ large in both locales...
The Saudis cannot be left to manage the affairs of Hajj. They are unfit physically and mentally to discharge this great responsibility. It should be taken over by a group of learned scholars backed by properly trained professionals.
The takfiri terrorists rampaging through the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) and the neocon/Zionist warmongers are two faces of the same coin. They are in fact one and the same entity, only using different labels. True, the takfiris are junior partners in this unholy alliance and are used to provide justification for the warmongers’ end-less wars and mayhem.
An estimated two million Muslims from all over the world will perform the annual pilgrimage of Hajj this year. The most challenging of all the ‘ibadat, the Muslims’ ordeal begins before they set foot in Makkah. Allah (swt) says in the noble Qur’an, “Pilgrimage to Allah’s House is a duty unto mankind, for those who have the means [physical and financial] to undertake the journey” (3:97).
Americans are so used to being lied to that when they are told the truth, they refuse to believe it. For more than three decades, the US establishment has been harping about Iran’s non-existent nuclear bomb. Now that the people are told that there is no such thing, most Americans find it hard to believe it. Perhaps, they can be forgiven. The dumbing down of America is so thorough that 38% of college students believe France shares a border with America. An equal number believes Uganda is a plant or an animal.
When the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the Islamic Re-public and the P5+1 group of countries (the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) was agreed in Vienna on July 14, Western media outlets immediately re-ported that there were “celebrations” in Tehran. The BBC as usual led the pack. Conversely, opponents of the deal were dubbed as “hardliners” whose personal in-terests would be affected if it was approved and implemented.
There is a common misconception among people that leads them to assume that just because a person holds a certain position of authority or office, that he/she automatically has legitimacy.
It has been described as “breathtaking,” “game changer,” and a “new chapter in in-ternational relations.” It is all these and more. Some comments about the process and content of the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries are in order before we discuss its implementation procedure and the broader implications.
The moment Zionist crimes against the Palestinians are mentioned, their apologists immediately trot out the anti-Semitism charge. It has become tedious to argue that it is not anti-Semitism but a reflection of the grim reality the Palestinians face on a daily basis.
Politics makes for strange bedfellows but the alliance between Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan and the Najdi Bedouins occupying the Arabian Peninsula is even stranger than fiction. Here is a quick checklist of facts.
Almost all people claim to follow some principles but when it comes to their personal interests, principles are often quickly abandoned.
History is repeating itself. The enemies of Allah and of the committed Muslims are once again getting together to destroy the Islamic State. Like the Prophet’s (saws) time, the neo-Ahzab fail.
The US has maintained its dominance of global affairs through militarism and the dollar. If the dollar were retired as a global currency, US militarism and aggression would be dealt a severe blow.
The takfiris did not emerge in a vacuum. They have been financed, trained and armed by a number of countries for their nefarious designs. We expose the conspirators.
There is nothing “international” about bodies like the UN, World Bank, IMF, IAEA etc. These are all tools in the hands of imperialist powers.
The OIC is the butt of many jokes but it surpassed even its own absurd existence when the Kuwaitis host called for confronting the threat of terrorism and extremism while financing both in conjunction with their Bedouin cousins from Najd.
Muslims prepare to welcome Ramadan and engage the noble Qur’an. The ICIT offers a meaningful engagement through its Digital Library: www:icit-digital.org
Imam Khomeini, who left this earthly abode and joined heavenly company on June 3, 1989, has had a profound impact on global politics. The Islamic Republic’s success in withstanding the global conspiracy of kufr and nifaq for more than 36 years is testimony to its strong Islamic roots.
The real axis of evil comprises the trio the US, Bani Saud and Bani Isra’il. In this caste pyramid, the Bani Isra’il sit on top, the US in the middle while the Bani Saud, as slaves, are at the bottom.
Both the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon in Egypt and Hamas in Palestine have suffered greatly but they continue to consort with unsavory characters tarnishing their own reputation.
A thousand years ago, the pope diverted the energies of warring princes in Europe against the Muslims in Palestine. In March the Bani Saud launched their aggression against Yemen. Like the Crusaders of old, the Bani Saud will also fail.
The allegation about Iran building a bomb is utterly false. The US and its allies know it, so what is their real motive in exerting pressure on Iran? We look at the hidden reasons.
If a Muslim perpetrates a crime, it is considered “terrorism;” if a non-Muslim is involved, no matter how heinous, he/she is only a ‘nutcase’. There is a deliberate policy behind the demonization of Muslims.
Has the Bani Saud made one mistake too many by attacking Yemen? If the conflict drags on, it is likely to bring down the Najdi Bedouins’ sand castles.
The only game the Najdi Bedouins know is to spread sectarian fitnah. Would they succeed in Yemen where not only the Shia Houthis but also several Sunni groups are also opposed to the Najdis’ favourite tyrant.
This book entitled The Doomed Kingdom of the House of Saud is a welcome contribution to the empty shelves — or virtually empty shelves — in libraries and bookstores about the 21st-century throwback tribal state called “Saudi Arabia.” Don’t misread me; there are some books about Saudi-controlled Arabia in libraries and bookstores, but they don’t have the intellectual courage to undisguise the clannish ruling class in Arabia. The average consumer of mainstream information, who has little behind-the-scenes knowledge, is unaware of the fact that such books are for the most part circulated by publishers that know the chosen class of rulers in Arabia are functionaries of the American imperium and camouflaged clients of the Zionist interest. The world is long overdue for a serious and honest deconstruction of the colonialist love child and imperialist darling otherwise known as Saudi Arabia.1
Zafar Bangash, Director of Contemporary Islamic Thought Institute, says Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, adopts a light and kind tone in his letter to the youth in the West with the aim of promoting the Islamic moderation and warning against the rise of extremism in the name of Islam.
Imperialism uses a large number of tools to maintain its hegemony over the rest of the world. None is more powerful than language and the mind of the colonized people. Freedom cannot be achieved without decolonizing the mind.
The Muslim world is beset by numerous problems and some countries may even undergo further disintegration but the silver lining is the Islamic Republic of Iran. The resistance front is getting stronger. This should give hope to oppressed Muslims everywhere.
If capitalism is such a great system why is there such widespread poverty in the world? Capitalism is run by vultures that prey on the innocent and the weak creating gross inequalities between and within societies.
Despite propaganda, the ISIS-takfiris are being supported, trained and armed by the US and its regional puppets. Washington just signed an agreement with Turkey to train “moderate” rebels to fight in Syria. Isn’t this what the US has been doing in Jordan for more than two year?
The west’s claim that freedom of expression is absolute contradicts its practices. Even the pro-Zionist Islamophobic magazine, Charlie Hebdo, does not believe in absolute freedom as evident from its own selective practices.
The west’s vile propaganda against the Messenger of Allah (saws) cannot do any damage to his noble personality who was sent as a mercy to all the worlds. Muslims will continue to love him more than their own selves.1
How the Islamic revolution in Iran has survived for 36 years despite unrelenting aggression from imperialist and Zionist powers is inspirational. It is the commitment of the people of Iran to Islam and the taqwa of its muttaqi leadership.
While no individual is indispensable, the Saudi regime is facing serious internal and external challenges that point toward its demise sooner rather than later.
The ISIS takfiris use Islamic rhetoric to attract gullible and frustrated Muslim youth to their ranks. Their fraud must be exposed to deal with them effectively.
Brute force is not the answer to every problem even if the temptation to use force has gained currency in Pakistan in the aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre. Lessons must be learned from the past in order not to repeat them.
Slaying innocent non-combatants violates every tenet of Islam. Those that indulge in such conduct are going against the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the noble Messenger (saws).
China is reviving the old Silk Road idea that will integrate Central Asia, Russia and Europe in the west and, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia in the east into its rapidly growing economy.
The murderous attack on the Islamophobic French magazine Charlie Hebdo is being used to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria and make fascism respectable. Pity the marginalized Muslims of France, indeed anywhere else in the Western world.
The US-led ‘unipolar’ world is dead. A multi-polar world is emerging but what role will Muslims play in it?
The occupiers of the two Harams appear determined to destroy both for their nefarious agendas. The House of Saud and the Zionists are two faces of the same coin.
Muslim countries may have achieved nominal independence but they continue to suffer from the debilitating legacy of the colonial imposed order in their societies.
Islamic Awakening movements have been undermined by the corrupt regimes subverting the will of the people. Much greater effort based on clarity of thought will be needed to consign these oppressive regimes into the dustbin of history.
Despite the hype about fighting them, the US and its allies have nurtured the takfiris for nearly a decade to be used for the broader plan to dominate the Middle East.
Malala Yusufzai’s Nobel Prize has got the westoxicated Pakistani elite into a tizzy. Suffering from acute inferiority complex, they find solace in acceptance by the west.
Demands of the P5+1, led by the US of the Islamic Republic in the nuclear talks are so outlandish that they may derail the entire process.
The tragedy of Karbala must rank as one of the greatest setbacks in Islamic history. Are Muslims—Sunnis and Shi‘is—prepared to draw the right lessons from it or continue to turn this into a partisan issue?
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is living up to his reputation as a Hindu fascist. He has escalated conflict with Pakistan in Kashmir and Siachen. He is clearly itching for a war.
Imperialist and Zionist warlords are addicted to war. Endless wars mean not only expansion but also huge profits at the expense of the world’s poor.
The political impasse in Islamabad has revealed those with vested interests to protect a system that does not serve the overwhelming majority in Pakistan.
Hajj is supposed to remove all distinctions of wealth, class, position or authority but the Saudis have reduced it to a purely commercial enterprise devoid of its Qur’anic content and Prophetic sunnah.
The Saudis have repeatedly brought up the subject of destroying the Green Dome over the Prophet’s (saws) tomb and relocate his body from there. How diabolical can they get?
Understanding the history of expansion of Masjid al-Nabawi and how the Green Dome over the Prophet’s (saws) tomb was erected will enable Muslims to understand its true significance.
The Islamic World Peace Forum take an exclusive interview with Zafar Bangash, Islamic movement journalist and commentator in Toronto, Canada and the Director of the The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), to ask about some concepts considered as the keywords and basic ideas in this regard...
While claiming to be carrying the banner of ‘Sunni’ Islam, the Saudi regime has visceral hatred for any genuine expression of Islam. We examine why.
Zionist Israel may have killed thousands of civilians in Gaza but it has failed to achieve any of its military objectives.
Even 13 years after 911, most Americans refuse to accept the official version of the events. Architects, structural engineers and academics continue to raise pertinent questions that the Washington warlords refuse to answer.
Is it a good idea for the Palestinians to take their case to the International Criminal Court? We look at the conduct of such institutions.
Without Palestinian resistance, the Zionists would have usurped the entire land of Palestine and stubbornly maintained that Palestinians are quite happy under Zionist occupation. Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), and the author of Diplomacy and Just Peace in the Seerah of the Great Messenger that translated by IWPF, a suburb of Toronto, made the remark in an interview with IQNA on the Zionist regime's offensives against the oppressed Palestinians.
The Zionist regime would not be able to carry out its crimes against the hapless people of Gaza with such impunity were it not for direct support of western regimes. They are all complicit in Zionist war crimes.
The Nigerian regime of Goodluck Jonathan is not only corrupt but also completely subservient to the zionists. To prove loyalty to his masters, his army perpetrated a bloodbath of peaceful participants in the Quds day rally.
Israel cannot win the war on Gaza because Hamas and Islamic Jihad refuse to surrender. The zionists are digging their own grave.
The zionists are bombing homes, schools, hospitals and even centres for the disabled in Gaza. These constitute war crimes.
The ISIS takfiris may have ripped the Sykes-Picot agreement of a century ago but what they plan to replace it with is hardly what Muslims are looking for.
Every year, al-Quds rallies are held worldwide on the last Friday of Ramadan. They are important because they remind the Muslims as well as non-Muslims that the first qibla of Muslims remains under alien occupation. Its liberation is the responsibility of every Muslim.
Iran is about to start a fresh round of talks with Western powers. What are the prospects of finalizing a deal? It will depend on how far Western powers are able to adopt a realistic attitude toward Iran’s peaceful nuclear program rather than living with illusions.
With the bursting of the takfiri group, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on the scene and their declaration of the Khilafah, it is important to understand this phenomenon through the Seerah of the noble Messenger (saws).
The Saudis may have created a monster that is likely to bite them as well. Should the ISIS invade Saudi Arabia, it will be a fight of a lifetime. Muslims will have a ringside view of a blood-curdling duel between ideological twins.
Masjid al-Aqsa has a rich history. It is intimately linked with Prophetic history, not of one but numerous prophets. It was first built by the Prophet Ibrahim (as) years after he built the Ka‘aba with his first son Ismail (as). Muslims have always been its true custodians despite illegal Zionist encroachments
The Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah and Seerah are the fundamental sources of knowledge for all Muslims. The Qur’an is the eternal source of guidance revealed to the noble messenger of Allah (saws) who then demonstrated it by his practical example. Thus the Qur’an and the Prophet’s Sunnah and Seerah form an integrated model for Muslims to emulate in life.
Ramadan must mean more than merely abstaining from food and drinks for a specified number of hours even if this would be arduous in the summer months. Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an and Muslims must engage the noble Book for true guidance.
Given the paucity of good leaders in the Muslim world, Imam Khomeini, who joined heavenly company in June 1989, offers an example of great leadership.
The emerging, new Muslim East (aka the Middle East) is not the one Condoleezza Rice had envisioned; it is more confident and assertive and pursuing an agenda to serve the interests of the people rather than imperialist/Zionist powers.
The US dollar is losing its shine as rivals emerge to stake a claim. It is not only the euro but also the Chinese currency, the yuan that are challenging dollar’s supremacy in global finance.
The Saud regime’s oppressive decree banning calls for reform, exposure of corruption or withdrawing allegiance from the king has had exactly the opposite effect. People are openly challenging the regime on YouTube and Facebook.
Calling for reforms is “terrorism,” withdrawing your allegiance to the monarchy is “treason” and contacting international news organizations about human rights violations in the kingdom will land you in prison. Welcome to the Saudi kingdom!
The combined assault by the Egyptian military and the Saudi regime on the Ikhwan and its supporters has exposed the unholy alliance of tyrannical regimes in the Muslim East.
The Syrian army is making steady progress against the takfiris, thanks to the support of Hizbullah as well as infighting between the cannibals and mercenaries that have flooded into the Levant.
Relations between Islamic Iran and Hamas are back on track after a hiatus caused by Hamas’ rash decision to burn its bridges with Damascus following eruption of the imperialist-zionist-Wahhabi inspired conspiracy in Syria.
At a time when takfirism deliberately promoted by the Saudi regime and its henchmen, is grabbing headlines, sincere Muslims of all schools of thought in Islam are working for unity. This reflects the view of a clear majority of Muslims worldwide.
While talk is better than war, the two sides—the government of Pakistan, and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), appear to be talking past each other. Neither side appears to realize the gravity of the situation caused by continued mayhem and fighting.
Muslims must use their proximity to the Qur’an and the Sunnah/Sirah of the noble Messenger (saws) as a standard to determine their standing in the world.
In their book, Why Israel?, Suraya Dadoo and Firoz Osman compare Israeli apartheid with that practiced by the apartheid regime in South Africa and not only find striking parallels but also the extreme form Zionist apartheid has taken. The result is an exciting and informative book.
While the overwhelming majority of Muslims (67 percent) want unity in the Ummah, a small disruptive minority is determined to create chaos. To confront such divisive tactics, Iran’s Majma at-Taqrib organized an international Conference in Tehran to bring ulama of all Schools of Thought onto a common platform to strive for unity.
How quickly has the Egyptian military led by the arch Zionist General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi exposed its hand? Sisi wants to be president of Egypt after claiming to eschew any such desire.
With Saudi-backed takfiris controlling Iraq’s Anbar province and the adjoining areas in Syria, it has become clear that their medieval sponsors want to create Takfiristan in this region.
Businessmen, diplomats and politicians are making a beeline to Tehran with proposals and offers reflecting Iran’s position as the most important regional player and the place to be.
Always on the lookout for foreign protection, the illegitimate House of Saud rule in the Arabian Peninsula eagerly embraced Uncle Sam once he emerged as a global cop after the Second World War.
Sectarianism is projected in some quarters as the greatest challenge facing Muslims when the vast majority of Muslims want unity in the Ummah. Who is stoking the flames of sectarianism?
Merely verbalizing love for the noble Messenger (saws) will not bring glory to Muslims; emulating his noble example in practice will. A pre-requisite is to understand the Sirah in its totality, not through anecdotal episodes.
Apartheid had a devastating impact not only on the blacks but anyone classified as “non-white” in South Africa. The tiny white minority usurped the bulk of the country’s resources and exploited the rest for its own selfish ends.
Abdul Aziz ibn Saud understood the utility of being a British puppet early on. By surrendering to the British, he secured vital support that brought the entire Arabian Peninsula under his family’s control.
After experiencing repeated failures in its policies, especially in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, Turkey has embarked on a course correction in foreign policy. One hopes these are sincere and that Ankara would work for peace and justice rather than disunity in the region.
The American political system is hostage to money. Lobbies rule the roost. The US, however, is not the only country where money talks. Other countries also use money to buy influence or favour. The Saudis use money to create fitna in the Ummah.
In Islam difference of opinion is permitted but in a respectful manner. Sectarianism is a deliberately propagated ideology of hate in which one group of Muslims denounces another as ‘kafirs’ and even resorts to killing. Such hate ideology must be exposed and confronted.
Contrary to popular misunderstanding, Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan but about the right of the Kashmiris to determine their own future. This has been recognized under International law and enshrined in several United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The Muslim world is in so much turmoil because Muslims have allowed the two holiest cities of Islam—Makkah and Madinah—to fall into the hands of primitive savages from the darkest crevices of the desert in Nejd, Central Arabia. It is important to know where the House of Saud emerged from.
Drones have become the weapon of choice for the US because no American casualties are involved. If innocents are killed, that is just “collateral damage”.
Following its “liberation” by the West, Libya has descended into absolute chaos. To the grim reality of life for people must now be added the distinct possibility of Libya breaking up along tribal lines.
The limits of US power have been shown by events, particularly the ongoing tragedy in Syria. The world’s principal troublemakers, the Saudis and the Zionists, are most upset since their nefarious agendas no longer work.
Representatives from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 group of countries are to resume discussions in Geneva on November 7. The follow up meeting within three weeks of the first round is seen as a good sign.
Despite much media generated excitement, it would be prudent to wait and see what the US is willing to do in order to ease tensions with the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially relating to the illegally-imposed sanctions.
With Syria having signed on the Chemical Weapons Ban Treaty, it is time to divest the Zionist entity of its massive arsenal of nuclear weapons as well to make the Middle East region a nuclear weapons-free zone.
The manner in which Hajj has been emptied out of its Qur’anic basis and turned into mere ritual by the Saudis poses a major challenge to the Ummah. Getting rid of the Saudi occupiers of the Haramayn is the most pressing problem facing the Islamic movement.
As early as July 2012, Crescent International had warned about the evil plans of the Egyptian military. Sadly, every one of our warnings came true a year later.
The subversion of Khilafah by the Ummayyad dynasty has led to two divergent memories in the Ummah. The Muslim masses yearn for memory based on Prophetic and Khilafah history while the ruling elites continue to push the memory of mulukiyya.
The Saudis have adopted an uncharacteristic position over the coup in Egypt. King Abdullah was the first foreign ruler to welcome it and immediately arranged for a $12 billion aid package for the mass murderers to continue their rampage unencumbered by financial woes.
Islamic Awakening movements (also described by some as the “Arab Spring”) are being subverted through a combination of brute force and vile propaganda. The subversion started in tiny Bahrain, moved to Libya and then engulfed Syria where it is still raging. Egypt has become its latest casualty.
Instead of going after the torturers and mass murderers, President Barack Obama has targeted the whistleblowers. Bradley Manning has become its latest victim. He is not the first and will not be the last. Obama has exposed himself as a hypocrite-in-chief.
The overthrow of an elected government in Egypt within a year has made it painfully clear to struggling Muslims that an Islamic State cannot be established through the ballot box. Islamic revolution is the only solution.
The Palestinians have often been let down by their own leadership. Even Hamas, the Islamic movement, finds itself in difficulties once again because of the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi from power in Egypt.
The House of Saud continues to cause immense damage to the Ummah. Their wrath is especially reserved for women and expatriate workers. They do not want women to be seen, only used by lecherous Saudi men.
In Egypt the Ikhwan failed within one year while in Iran, the Islamic movement has established a government that is still in place and going strong. Why? The Ikhwan made the mistake of working within the system while Imam Khomeini understood that the existing system had to be demolished.
Far from fulfilling their responsibility to defend the state’s borders against external enemies, Muslim militaries have perfected the art of conquering their own people. This is what has just happened in Egypt, as in numerous other countries before.
Sayyid Qutb’s martyrdom anniversary falls on August 29 but how many Muslims—even committed ones—are aware of this? Should this great scholar of Islam not be remembered for his immense contributions?1
With the takfiri mercenaries suffering repeated military defeats in recent weeks (they never had any mass support), they and their foreign sponsors have resorted to the most vicious form of sectarian hatred in Syria.
With so much mayhem in the Muslim world, it is important that we do not lose sight of the continued Zionist occupation of al-Quds (Jerusalem). The last Friday of Ramadan has been designated as the Day of Quds and Muslims would do well to remember it and join it.
The ulama are supposed to be inheritors of the Prophets but only if they adhere to the divine commands. When they fall for worldly temptations, they become a curse. This is what appears to have happened to Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a well-known alim, who has now joined the hate-spewing Saudis in spreading sectarianism.
With his convincing first round victory in Iran’s 11th presidential election, Dr Hassan Rohani has exposed the west’s negative propaganda that had dismissed the elections as “irrelevant”. The Iranian people have also shown their support for the Islamic system by participating in record numbers.
Allah (swt) has linked fasting in the month of Ramadan with the building of taqwa—the active self-consciousness of Allah’s (swt) power presence in our lives. This can only be achieved by caring and sharing with those that are less fortunate than us in the world.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Prominent Muslim thinker, Zafar Bangash, lashed out at the US for continuing its dishonest and dual-track approach towards Muslims and pursuing a completely biased position on Israel's large-scale invasion of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Electing the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz faction) has simply brought the same old party that had twice before failed to deliver. Amid growing allegations of vote rigging, Pakistanis seem to have opted for merely change of faces.
Failure of the western-backed rebels in Syria has resulted in increased sectarian tensions in Iraq from where the bulk of the mercenaries flooded into Syria. Many have returned and sectarianism is the tool used to divide Muslims by playing on their emotions.
Two Muslim countries—Malaysia and Pakistan—have held elections. People in the third, Islamic Iran, will go to the polls on June 14. There have been complaints of rigging in the first two; only in Islamic Iran are elections held in an organized and proper manner highlighting the difference between a secular system and that based on Islamic values.
The tendency among some Muslims to insist that their particular understanding of Islam is the only correct way has caused numerous problems. These are compounded by rigidity leading to unnecessary conflict when Muslims should be tolerant of different approaches.
In the second part of this essay, Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) discusses the political culture of Islam and how its revival is essential for the Ummah.
در کل، به نظر می رسد که هنوز سطح مطالعات مربوط به شناخت پیامبر اکرم(ص) در وضعیت مناسب نبوده و در این زمینه کاستی های زیادی وجود دارد، به طالعاتی که با تمرکز بر سیره پیامبر، به مسائل روز جهان اسلام و جهان بشری تمرکز نموده و برای پرسش های کنونی پاسخ مناسب، معتبر و تطبیقی از سیره ایشان استخراج نماید. به تعبیر مقام معظم رهبری، هنوز اقدامات صورت گرفته در این زمینه، پاسخگوی نیازی که جامعه بشری به آگاهی از این پیامبر جهانی و پیامی که ایشان برای بشریت دارند، نیستند. ضمن اینکه این کمبود آگاهی یا درک نادرست از سیره ایشان، به ویژه در فضائی که دشمنان اسلام به صورت ساختگی و جعلی ایجاد نموده و به تحریف رسالت یا محورهای عملکرد ایشان پرداخت هاند، موجب گردیده جریانی در غرب علیه اسلام و این پیامبر معظم پدید آید و به توهین و دیگر اقدامات ضدالهی در چارچوبی کلان از «اسلام ستیزی » منجر گردد.1
The Islamic World Peace Forum holds " International Symposium on Diplomacy and Soft Power in the Seerah of the Prophet " In this regard IWPF has had an interview with Dr. Zafar Bangash, Islamic movement journalist and commentator in Toronto, Canada and the Director of the The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), to ask about some concepts considered as the keywords and basic ideas in this regard...
As Pakistanis go to the polls, there are far more serious issues facing the country, not least a grand foreign conspiracy to break it up.
Control of the Arabian Peninsula and within it the two holy cities of Makkah and al-Madinah by the House of Saud have cause havoc in the Ummah. It is time to liberate the Arabian Peninsula.
Dr Kalim Siddiqui has left a huge legacy of intellectual output on Muslim political thought. We consider only a few aspects from his great contribution.
What or who constitutes the Ummah and how should we define progress? Zafar Bangash examines these concepts and sheds light from the Islamic perspective challenging some long-held but erroneous beliefs.
The suffering of the Syrian people is bad enough; they are now faced with a new, more sordid dilemma. Young Syrian girls from Jordan’s refugee camp are being purchased by rich Saudis and Qataris, some in their sixties and seventies.
Muslims are being attacked everywhere. Even the non-violent, peace-loving Buddhists have got in on the act as the Muslims of Sri Lanka have found to their cost.
This month marks the seventeenth anniversary of Dr Kalim Siddiqui’s demise. His deep understanding and penetrating analysis of global events are sorely missed at this critical juncture.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the US-allied invasion and occupation of Iraq. The attack was launched on a complete lie. While the Americans have gone, the legacy of toxic weapons they used is affecting Iraqi civilians in horrible ways.
Even though Mohamed Mursi won the presidential elections fair and square, the losing candidates and remnants of the old regime are not willing to give up so easily. In cahoots with their foreign masters, they are busy destabilizing Egypt.
American officials lack even basic table manners for talks. While offering to talk to the Islamic Republic, they slap additional illegal sanctions. The revolutionary leadership in Iran has made clear there will be no talks until the Americans improve their manners.
Events in Syria are not entirely based on domestic factors. There are three other conflicts underway that are all being played out through the struggle in Syria.
Americans have lost the war in Afghanistan but Washington warriors are still looking for ways to maintain troops there after the 2014 deadline.
Obama has always been long on rhetoric and short on substance. But he has another opportunity to prove he can deliver the change he has so often touted. His real test will be whether he is willing to deal on the basis of mutual respect with Islamic Iran.
Afflicted by widespread racism and inner contradictions, the Zionist state may not last until 2020.
America’s role as the sole superpower is not only over but it is becoming the pauper power with thousands of factory closings, jobs shipped overseas, its debt reaching the sky and its military having been thoroughly defeated. America’s dream has become a nightmare for most people.
Despite decades of sanctions, internal sabotage and external invasion, the Islamic Republic continues to take major strides in most fields because of the sincerity of its leadership and support of its masses.
How the Prophet (saws) acquired and exercise power is an aspect of the Sirah that has not been properly studied by Muslims. There is need to look at both the soft and hard power dimensions of the Sirah. Muslims celebrate the birthday of the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in the month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal. These often include na‘at and nasheed recitals. Lectures, if included, narrate the miracles he performed. There is, however, seldom any discussion of the power dimensions in the Sirah as part of his life-struggle. Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, discusses some of these issues.
Since Saudi Arabia acts as America’s and indeed of the west’s cash cow, its crimes are habitually glossed over. The recent case of two university professors, imprisoned for merely asking that people’s human rights be respected, illustrates the point.
(நபிகளார் எவ்வாறு அதிகாரத்தைக் கைப்பற்றினார்கள், எவ்வாறு அதைப் பிரயோகித்தார்கள் என்பது சீறாவைப் பொறுத்தவரை முஸ்லிம்களால் முறையாக ஆய்வுசெய்யப்படாத ஒரு அம்சமாகவே எஞ்சியிருக்கிறது. சீறாவின் மென்னதிகாரம் (Soft-power), வல்லதிகாரம் (Hard-power) இரண்டு பற்றியும் நாமொரு பார்வை செலுத்த வேண்டியுள்ளது.
Those opposed to Bashar al-Asad’s regime in Syria are prepared to strike a deal with the devil. This will cost the Syrian people dearly if such a diabolical plot succeeds.
Long line up characterized the two rounds of referendum to approve Egypt’s new constitution. The overall approval rate was 64% despite attempts by the opposition to disrupt the vote.
Given the widespread environment of Islamophobia in the west, the ruling by Canada’s Supreme Court to allow niqab in courts while women testify is a landmark decision with far-reaching implications.
As Muslims struggle to change the imposed political systems in their societies, it is important to understand current ground realities, where they want to go and who is going to lead them.
The December 16 gang-rape by six men and the subsequent death of a 23-year-old student has once again put the spotlight on this serious crime in India. Each year some 24,000 women are raped—a figure considered grossly under-reported because of the stigma attached with it—the issue has aroused the general public.
Zionist Israel can always count on its drumbeaters ensconced in western governments and the media to project it as ‘victim’ even when it kills Palestinian civilians with unrelenting ferocity.
Killing a large number of people is not the only factor that determines the outcome of wars. Zionist Israel murdered 32 times more Palestinians than the latter did to the Israelis yet the Zionists failed in their objectives in Gaza.
The US has no intention of leaving Afghanistan even if President Barack Obama loudly proclaims that all combat troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. American officials are negotiating with the Afghans to keep US troops in the country permanently.
Zionist Israel is definitely guilty of war crimes but do not expect its political and military rulers to be brought to justice anytime soon. The political dynamics, however, are changing and the Zionists may soon find themselves at the end of the line.
The attack on Malala Yousafzai last month has evoked worldwide condemnation. From US President Barack Obama to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, all condemned the attack. The question is: why is Malala given so much prominence when other attacks on girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan go virtually unnoticed?
Presidential elections in the US are a hugely expensive farce. It matters not who occupies the White House since every candidate is a slave of corporate elites and the Zionists, the true masters of America.
The wars unleashed by the US and its allies on Iraq have caused immense damage. By using depleted uranium shells and other munitions, Iraqi soil, air, and water and have been poisoned leading to very high incidents of cancer, the birth of grotesquely deformed babies and other ailments.
The visit of the Emir of Qatar to besieged Gaza Strip has led to much discussion. Was it merely to express solidarity with the Palestinians or there was a broader political objective?
While the west claims free speech is absolute, there is prohibition on anti-Semitism. There is also systemic targeting of Muslims in the US on mere “suspicion” that they might be “thinking” to harm Americans. Why the double standard?
The UN has become virtually irrelevant to the affairs of the world since it is in the grip of western powers that refuse to allow justice or fairness to prevail.
The House of Saud is determined to empty Hajj of its Qur’anic and Prophetic content. Will the Ummah remain a silent spectator in this gross deviation from the message of the Qur’an and Hajj?
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran shows that it is not Islamic Iran, but the US and Israel, that are isolated globally.
Will Israel make the mistake of attacking Iran? Should it become victim of its own hubris, the consequences would be devastating for the Zionist war-criminals.
Innocent people are always the victims of wars over which they have no control and towards which they did not contribute. The plight of Syrian refugees once again highlights this reality.
In the past, Egypt’s important role in the Muslim East (aka Middle East) was stymied because of its rulers’ subservience to imperialism and zionism. This may be changing amid renewed hopes.
Assalaamualaykum I'm ZafarBangash. Welcome to Ramadhan journey- a program that has been looking at the various dimensions of the month of Ramadhan, the month of fasting as well as the noble Qur’an which is intimately linked with the month of Ramadhan. Of course we know from our history of revelation that the first few ayaat of the noble Qur’an were revealed to the noble Messenger of Allah in the solitude of the cave of Hira’ and thereafter over a period of twenty three years. Ramadhan is also linked with building our taqwa. There were such important events such as the battle of Badr as well as the liberation of Makkah but what we really need to do in this month is to engage the noble book of Allah in a more profound way than we have perhaps been doing so far. In order to help and guide us along this path we have with us Imam Muhammad Al Asi who is a fellow in the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, a scholar,
The principal philosophy behind fasting in Ramadan is to build taqwa. What does it mean? Zafar Bangash explains.1
Muslims worldwide must develop a better understanding of the true nature of Al Saud and not fall for their poisonous propaganda
The news from Myanmar is as grim as it can get. Not only have tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims been driven from their homes, their homes and villages have been torched by criminal gangs, aided and abetted by Myanmar security forces.
US provocations in the Persian Gulf by amassing warships, planes and missiles could easily trigger a war with Islamic Iran
This year, August 14 — Pakistan’s Independence Day — marks a historic moment. In 1947, when Pakistan gained independence from British colonial rule in India, it was the month of Ramadan.
It was unrealistic to expect that the military in Egypt would simply roll over and hand power to the elected representatives of the people.
Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish fighter jet on June 22 reflects the deep Turkish involvement in the internal affairs of its neighbor and how far relations have nosedived between the two.
Pakistan is once again gripped by political and social upheavals. With rapidly deteriorating economic and law and order situations, there is real danger of an implosion.
The unprecedented hunger strike by nearly 1,500 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails not only galvanized the entire Palestinian population but also exposed yet again Zionism’s true nature as an ideology of indescribable cruelty, illegal arrests, and indefinite detention and torture.
Buddhists are supposed to be non-violent and peaceful people. Many no doubt are. Their monks dress in simple clothes and lead a frugal existence spending most of their time in chants and meditation.
On a visit to a Muslim country in 1990, a young journalist called me in my hotel room. Excited about the end of the Cold War and the peace dividend that was about to break out, he wanted my opinion on the subject.
Hopes aroused for a mutually acceptable approach to breaking the deadlock in Iran-P5+1 talks in Baghdad on May 23 and 24 were dashed because of Western duplicity.
Muslims occupy a vast swathe of the earth’s surface. From Morocco in the west to Indonesia in the southeast, Muslims reside in a part of the globe that acts as a bridge between Europe and the vast archipelago of Southeast Asia.
It is always difficult to reconcile with decline in one’s power and clout. This is as true of individuals in old age as it is of societies and empires in their twilight years.
Democracy is a much used and abused term. It is essentially a tool in the hands of the rich and powerful to legitimize their ill-gotten gains.
Imran Khan, cricket-star-turned-social worker-turned politician, is riding high in public opinion polls in Pakistan.
The latest round of talks between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) held in Istanbul on April 14 ended with all sides proclaiming success.
No change occurs in a vacuum. If change appears to occur suddenly this is largely the result of lack of awareness of underlying developments that lead to an explosion in society. In the physical world, this can best be explained by volcanic eruption.
It requires no great imagination to figure out that in order to get out of a hole, one must first stop digging. This should be obvious even to the most simple-minded people but American policy-makers, it seems, refuse to learn.
It was the beginning of the seventh year of the Hijrah. Only a few weeks earlier, the noble Messenger (pbuh) had concluded the Treaty of Hudaybiyah with the chiefs of Makkah.1
With notable exceptions, dictators rule much of the Muslim world. They carry many fancy titles: kings, amirs, presidents, prime ministers and, of course generals and colonels. What is common between them is that they are all subservient to the West even while they terrorize their own people.
(Warning: Disturbing Content) The heart-wrenching story of an eight-year-old girl who was abducted outside her school on 4-8-2009, raped and then brutally murdered occupied much media attention last month. The story of Victoria (Tori) Stafford would send shudders down the spine of every human being, especially parents, and make them wonder what kind of beasts would do such terrible things to an innocent child.
The Zionists are compulsive liars. From the myth that God “promised” them the Holy Land to the claim that Palestine was a “land without a people” given to “a people without a land”, they have peddled these lies endlessly. Anyone that dares oppose their inhuman and barbaric practices is immediately subjected to vicious distortions and lies.
In recent weeks, propaganda against Iran’s nuclear program has gone hysterical, pushed no doubt by the Zionist warmongers that are prepared to fight to the last American. Amid US-Zionist threats to attack Iran to prevent it from “acquiring” nuclear weapons — using nuclear missiles, no less — war psychosis has gripped much of the Western world and its Arabian clients!
In his masterpiece, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali offers the following advice to Muslims: shun those ‘ulama’ that stand as supplicants at the ruler’s door. Instead, seek guidance of those that are visited by the rulers. Imam Ghazali was writing at a time when the rulers were Muslims.
Can US leaders — in the executive as well as congressional branches — be considered rational? Almost daily, they threaten to bomb Iran, not to mention the imposed raft of sanctions aimed at undermining the Islamic Republic. The latest round of sanctions was slipped through the inappropriately named National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA). US President Barack Obama signed the NDAA on the last day of 2011 when most people were engrossed in New Year festivities to take much notice.
The degeneration of Muslim societies has gone so far that nothing is considered sacred any more, not even the honour of Muslim women. On December 17, when six soldiers attacked and wrestled a young girl to the ground in Cairo, ripping her ‘abayah and exposing her body, it sent shock waves throughout Egypt as well as the broader Muslim world.
How long this standoff will continue is debatable but what we need to consider is how this situation has deteriorated to a point that the US feels it can attack and kill Pakistanis at will.
American hubris is predicated primarily on its claim to technological superiority. This is best reflected in the radar-evading stealth technology used in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) called drones. To be sure, these are deadly weapons.
We must define the term “independence” accurately to fully grasp the Muslim world’s current situation. Possessing territory, having a government, army, etc, do not necessarily mean independence.
As mass popular movements sweep the Muslim East (aka Middle East) predatory Western powers and their local satraps are involved in desperate attempts to hijack them. They are offering the same failed systems in a new garb. Since the overwhelming majority in the region is Muslim, it is natural that they would want a social order connected to Islamic principles that represent and ennoble their unique identity.
In contemporary global politics, two ingredients are considered essential to project power: wealth and military might. The two are inter-related. Obviously, without wealth, military hardware cannot be acquired and without military might, wealth can neither be protected nor additional amounts accumulated. There is also a third factor: the power of iman (faith-commitment).
Weeks before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report was released on November 8, Western media outlets had already worked themselves into frenzy, drum-beating about how Iran would be found in “violation” of its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations by secretly diverting material to make the bomb.
It is an open question whether the Occupy Wall Street Movement will achieve its objectives. Launched on September 17, it has not only lasted much longer than most observers had anticipated, it has also gone global. On October 15, there were rallies in 82 countries worldwide from east to west and north to south.
News of Shaikh Hassan’s deteriorating health came from a government appointed prison physician who said his cancer had returned.
Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement that heads the government in Ghazzah, has scored a stunning victory over the Zionist State of Israel. It is not merely the numbers: 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one Israeli soldier.
With prospects of assuming power looking brighter in the aftermath of the Islamic Awakening sweeping the region, Islamic activists are engaged in a debate about the future political order in the Muslim East. There is near consensus that Islamic parties enjoy broad support, are well organized and will do well whenever elections are held.
One thing has become clear as a result of the movements for dignity and freedom sweeping the Muslim East (aka the Middle East): the old order has been permanently and irrevocably altered.
The First International Conference on Islamic Awakening held in Tehran on September 17 and 18 was a grand affair. There were more than 700 delegates from 84 countries representing all shades of opinion and thought in the Ummah.
Troy Davis was executed on the night of September 21, 2011 as hundreds of people maintained vigil outside the Jackson, Georgia prison hoping the Supreme Court would grant a stay of execution. It was all very civilized; he was killed by a large dose of lethal injection administered at 7pm.
The uprisings in the Muslim East (Middle East) took virtually everyone by surprise including those in the forefront of these movements. They could hardly believe, especially in Tunisia and the sleepy backwaters of North Africa.
ReflectionsThe day Burhanuddin Rabbani was to leave Tehran on September 19 after attending the First International Islamic Awakening Conference (September 17–18), I had briefly chatted with him about prospects for peace in Afghanistan.
“All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims” is an oft-repeated mantra in the West. This is even repeated by carpetbagger Muslims that should more accurately be described as Muslim-Zionists. What is the truth behind the assertion about all terrorists being Muslim?
As for the US economy, despite optimistic statements by President Barack Obama that it is on the mend — what else can he say? — statistics paint a very different picture.
The riots in London and other British cities that briefly captured world headlines last month were not unexpected. Ever since the economic downturn began to bite, and particularly since the election last year of a right-wing government dogmatically committed to cutting the benefits of the poorest and the taxes of the wealthiest, social commentators have been warning of the possible reactions to such measures.
It would be reasonable to assume that most normal people would overcome their anger after a decade. Not so the Americans, and now the Europeans as well. Since the attacks of 9/11, the world has been turned upside down.
After distorting the teachings of their own religion, Christianity, and then abandoning it all together, the Western world is now busy trying to give the same treatment to Islam in order to subvert it.
With America’s departure from Afghanistan now almost certain, new alignments are beginning to emerge among regional players aimed at securing the most favorable outcome for each country. Islamic Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are in the forefront of this effort but Russia, China and the Central Asian republics are not far behind either.
On its 64th birthday Pakistan has a unique opportunity to change policies that have been little short of disastrous so far. Such change will depend on several factors.
The Covenant of Madinah has been rightly described as the first written constitution in world history. Never before had humankind been given such rights enshrined in written form. Hitherto, every society — big or small — was governed by the whim of the rich and powerful whose interests were considered paramount. Often, the king or tribal leader’s word was the law. The poor naturally suffered in such an environment. Today, this is still the case in many parts of the world. Not so in Madinah at the time of the Prophet (SAW) more than 1,400 years ago. When he migrated from Makkah to Madinah, the noble Messenger (SAW) established a society based on the rule of law in which the rights and obligations of all its inhabitants were fully recognized and respected. Given its importance, both historical and religious, the Covenant of Madinah is being presented here in book form with detailed analysis. It is taken from a chapter in the author’s most recent book, Power Manifestations of the Sirah.1
The struggle underway to influence and control the course of events in Egypt reflects Cairo’s importance not only for the Muslim East but also global politics. The most populous country in the region, Egypt sits at the crossroads of two continents.
The task of the Islamic Ummah is to render all forms of injustice and God-denial powerless. This is at once a regional as well as global responsibility; and thus removing injustice cannot be the task of individuals. Just as the penetration of injustice into the minutest aspects of the lives of ordinary people requires institutions and rationalizing arguments that come from the coordinated activities of hundreds and thousands, perhaps millions of people, the removal of it must come from the concentrated force that multiplies through the aggregate exertions of Muslims in the service of Allah (SWT). At the center of these coordinated activities by Muslims is the imam. He is the embodiment of the Qur’anic furqan and the prophetic reference point; from him comes the direction, inspiration, and motivation. He makes the life-changing decisions. His ummah is accountable to him when he is accountable to Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (SAW).1
Power Manifestations of the Sirah examines the just exercise of soft and hard power by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the form of letters, treaties, the development of new social conventions, and warfare in order to consolidate the first Islamic State in Madinah. The author, Zafar Bangash, examines the norms of the society, contrasting the historical conditions in Makkah and Madinah, in which the Prophet (pbuh) conducted his numerous correspondences and treaty obligations. In particular the book looks at the Prophet's (pbuh) power prerogatives as they pertain to the Muslim migration to Abyssinia; the significance of the Pacts of Aqabah; the Covenant of Madinah; treaties with Arabian tribes outside of Madinah; the Treaty of Hudaybiyah; letters to rulers, kings, and governors outside of Arabia; and the Farewell Khutbah at Mt. Arafat.1
Every June, ceremonies are held to commemorate the passing away of Imam Khomeini in 1989. This year, these ceremonies gain added significance in view of the uprisings underway in the Muslim East. Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, compares the Imam’s leadership with the near-leaderless movements in the Muslim East.
The negative fallout from the Osama bin Laden episode is only slowly trickling out into the public domain but Pakistani officials are already scurrying to find support elsewhere as they desperately try to present a brave face over the whole affair. The Pakistani public is shell-shocked, unable to fathom how the Americans could mount an operation deep inside Pakistani territory, in a supposedly secure military base, that lasted 40 minutes without being challenged by the military. It should now be clear even to the most dim-witted that Pakistan’s relations with the US, strained at the best of times, have undergone a sea change. Further, the US is no friend of Pakistan — never has been and never will be.
Expectations for rapid change in the Muslim East have not materialized despite two long-entrenched dictators in Tunisia and Egypt respectively being driven from power in quick succession.
US President Barack Obama was immediately de-nounced by pro-Israeli groups when he spoke about the creation of a Palestinian state last month. He said that “…the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states” (emphasis added). The Zionists are not prepared to vacate territory occupied through wars of aggression; they talk about new “ground realities” meaning illegal Jewish squatter colonies will not be removed. Even with 1967 borders, the Palestinians will get a mere 22% of the original land of Palestine while illegal immigrants from Europe, Russia and North America are free to occupy every inch of the holy land.
The father of Furkan Dogan — a Turkish-American who was shot and killed by Israeli commandos when they attacked the aid ship Mavi Marmara on 5-31-2010 — has filed a case against the Israeli government in a US court. His lawyer Ramazan Ariturk said on May 24, “We will open a compensation case against Israel and we’ll declare this at a press conference in front of the US Capitol.” The Mavi Marmara was part of an aid flotilla organized by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, AHH, to deliver food and medicines to the besieged people of Gaza.
Bahraini security forces backed by Saudi troops and their masters in Washington have and continue to perpetrate indescribable crimes against innocent civilians in Bahrain. Those targeted include not only peaceful protesters, but also doctors and nurses treating the injured in hospitals.
Since he entered the White House in January 2009, Barack Obama has made war on Pakistan the most important policy of his presidency even while he has maintained a broad grin on his face. the presidential campaign: speak softly but carry a big stick.
The West’s attack on Libya is yet another crusade launched against a Muslim country on the pretext of protecting its people. Pope Urban II would be pleased to learn that his disciples are still marching on as good “Christian soldiers” against another group of “heathens” in the Muslim world nearly a thousand years after his sermon on Mount Clermont.
There is a frightening tendency in the US to target vulnerable minorities for cheap political gain and quick fame. American politicians of various stripes also use scare tactics to target vulnerable groups to achieve their nefarious designs.
Since the first stirrings of revolt erupted in Tunisia on December 17, 2010, the entire Islamic East has been engulfed in civil uprisings. Two tyrants — General Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and General Hosni Mubarak — have been swept from power.
The West’s hypocrisy stands exposed yet again in the contrasting policies toward uprisings in Libya and Bahrain. The US and allies Britain and France pressed the UN Security Council on March 17 to impose a no-fly zone on Libya.
General Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster from power has opened Tunisia’s political landscape somewhat. Political parties and various groups, such as trade unions and lawyers’ associations, are jostling to secure an advantageous position in the uncertain political climate that currently reflects Tunisian society. Political parties that existed legally were obviously tainted by cooperation with the regime.
The release of more than 1,600 secret documents by al-Jazeera TV on January 23 pertaining to complete surrender by the Palestinian Authority (PA) negotiators has confirmed what people have known all along.
The Tunisian dictator, General Zine el-Abidin Ben Ali has been driven from power. The leaderless uprising that forced his departure has been dubbed a “revolution” and Ben Ali’s flight has aroused hopes among people in the Middle East that they too can get rid of their dictators, most of them aging and in power for far too long.
This solar month — the Persian Bahman and the Gregorian February — marks 32 years since the culmination of the Islamic spirit of change that swept away the decrepit regime of the great grandson of Cyrus the great, his majesty, the now six-foot under.
After two weeks of political uncertainty, the situation in Lebanon began to stabilize on January 25 when the Hizbullah-led alliance secured the support of 68 parliamentarians compared to 60 for the ousted Prime Minister Saad Hariri. President Michel Suleiman asked Najib Mikati, another former prime minister, to form the new government.
In the month of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, Muslims worldwide celebrate the birthday of the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Lectures are delivered highlighting aspects of his great personality and the miracles he performed. Would it not be more appropriate to express our love for him by reviewing his life-struggle and the pain he endured in order to achieve the supremacy of Islam by establishing the Islamic State? Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Islamic Thought, discusses some of these issues.
The global political scene is not only changing, it has changed quite dramatically over the last decade or so. The pompous notion of a unipolar world in which the self-proclaimed “sole superpower” maintains perpetual full-spectrum dominance a la Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is no longer tenable.
Egypt is in even greater trouble. Hosni Mubarak, 82, is also suffering from cancer. The men around Mubarak have honed their murderous skills by terrorizing opposition groups like the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon and others that dared stand against Mubarak or his party henchmen in manipulated elections
As he was wheeled into the operation theatre at a Washington hospital, Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, must have prayed the Pakistani surgeon tending to him would successfully stitch his torn aorta to save his life so he could “save” Afghanistan.
Journalists, it is said, write the first draft of history. Given the manner in which the once honourable profession of journalism has been subverted into a propaganda tool of the Western corporate elite, it is a totally undeserved compliment.
Beyond the clichéd-ridden rhetoric on Kashmir, real people — men, women and children — are getting killed and maimed by one of the most ruthless military machines in the world: India’s 1.2 million-strong army, of whom 700,000 are deployed in Kashmir.
Guns and bullets cannot extinguish the spark of freedom that is lit in the hearts of people. Both Palestine and Kashmir represent this reality although the struggle of the Palestinian people is far better known — and now increasingly supported — worldwide while the suffering of the Kashmiris barely registers anywhere.
The chest thumping at the NATO Lisbon conference (November 19-20) did not impress the Taliban much. Instead, they were chuckling at how easily the Americans can be duped into believing they are negotiating with the Taliban.
In an interview by the Turkish based World Bulletin with, North America's two leading Muslim thinkers, Contemporary Islamic Thought Institute President Mohammed al-'Asi and Crescent magazine Editor in Chief Zafar Bangash, two thinkers talked about the understanding of the Islamic movement and the need for creating a new language without using western concepts, as well as al-'Asi's 30 volume first English commentary of the Qur'an.
Early last month, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Rahbar (Leader) of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, issued a fatwa of far-reaching importance for the unity and solidarity of the Ummah. It was immediately welcomed by leading scholars in the Muslim world.
"Only they shall tend to the masjids of Allah that make a firm commitment to Him..." (9:18–19) Pondering over the above ayaat, it appears as if they were revealed specifically to describe the behaviour of the present rulers in the Arabian Peninsula.
Turkey has always been an important player in the Muslim world. During Ottoman rule, it was the leading edge of the Islamic world. Its armies marched triumphantly into Europe reaching the gates of Vienna in 1683.
It was exactly nine years ago that US-led western forces invaded and occupied Afghanistan. The ostensible reason was to avenge the attacks of 9/11.
There are two aspects to every act of ‘ibadah in Islam: its physical (ritualistic) form, and its higher spiritual, communal, social, and moral purpose. The salah, for instance, is performed in a certain way but its true import lies in the fact that it is our direct link (sila) with Allah (swt).
Each new session of the United General Assembly in September opens with much fanfare. Not much is achieved at the UN except that leaders of different countries get an opportunity to talk about their pet subject. Few people, whether inside or outside the assembly chambers, pay the slightest attention.
On September 22, the UN Fact-Finding Mission finally released its report about Israel’s May 31 attack on the peaceful Turkish aid flotilla bound for Gaza. The report confirmed that the Israelis had “executed” Turkish peace activists
Tribal roots, obscurantist ideology The Aal Sauds from Dar’iyyah, a backward tribal outpost north of Riyadh, were one of many clans that dotted the desert landscape.
There was a time when every Muslim student instinctively knew about the significance of Masjid al-Aqsa (al-Quds), the first qiblah of Muslims. It was from there that the noble Messenger (pbuh) went on his mi‘raj in the twelfth year of his prophetic mission
To understand the floods’ impact on Pakistan’s economy, let us look at some statistics. Even before the floods, 40% of Pakistan’s population lived below the poverty line
Fear and paranoia have become the new parameters for every policy. While the attacks occurred in the US, other western countries also immediately passed repressive laws that were essentially aimed at targeting Muslims
Imperialists, Zionists, capitalists, and their enabling analogs in the poor countries of the world run around and tear up the lives of ordinary people, cause havoc in global markets, run down the environment and everything else in their path, leading to all manner of human suffering.
Pakistan turns 63 this month but it would be difficult to say a great deal positive about its style of governance or development in all these years. True, its birth was marred by great suffering and bloodshed, not in a formal war but during the migration of millions of people that were uprooted from their homes in India in August 1947.
The drums of war are once again getting louder in Washington. Led by the Zionist cabal and its neocon allies, American warmongers are itching for another war, this time against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not satisfied with the blood-letting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The same right, however, does not extend to those criticizing the crimes perpetrated by the Zionist State. Any criticism of Israel is immediately denounced as anti-semitism
The issue, however, is not merely about death; everyone will die one day. It has to do with the sense of hopelessness that has sapped the people’s will to live, leading them to despair and suicide.
There is a close relationship between the noble Qur’an and Ramadan. It was in this month in the fortieth year of his life in Makkah that Muhammad (pbuh) had a dramatic encounter in the Cave of Hira’ with the archangel, Gabriel (a).
It is a humble attempt by a number of dedicated writers in the global Islamic movement to pay tribute to the late Imam Khomeini who passed away 21 years ago (6-3-1989). This booklet is not a comparative study of the reasons for Iran’s success and others’ failures but we can say with confidence that both the Ikhwan and the Jamaat were endowed with the same quality of charismatic leaders as Iran, although they did not achieve the stature of Imam Khomeini. The Ikhwan and the Jamaat also had well-thought-out programs but because they did not adhere to their stated objectives fully and frequently made erroneous assumptions, success eluded them and continues to do so today. It is not an academic work; rather, it reflects the views of the contributors focusing on certain specific aspects. We hope others will take up the challenge and do much more because a great deal more is needed.1
Nature abhors a vacuum, especially a political vacuum. New players emerge to fill it in. The global order established by the victors of the Second World War is not only crumbling, it is almost dead; only its last rites need to be performed...
The flotilla of humanitarian aid sponsored by the government of Turkey was attacked in international waters by Israeli pirates equipped with the latest technology Washington can offer to its sea wolf client in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea...
There is a plethora of institutions masquerading as global do-gooders. Some of them might even be doing some good work but that is incidental to the overall objectives for which they were created.
By the middle of last month, frustration was growing among non-nuclear states over the nuclear weapons states’ foot-dragging on important aspects of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)...
It is important to clarify at the outset what Zionism, or to call it by its correct name, political Zionism is not...
Delivering democracy has become the all-purpose justification for every crime perpetrated by Western governments against other people...
The publicly-stated objective of the Washington conference was to collect all loose nuclear material from around the world, and to prevent such material from falling into the hands of “terrorists”.
The following day while driving back from Islamabad to Peshawar, the news on the car radio startled me: in a communist-led military coup, Sardar Daoud and his entire family had been murdered in Afghanistan...
In the rest of the Muslim world, barring Islamic Iran, the ruling elites have accepted defeat and humiliation as their permanent condition. One can find striking lessons of such behaviour related to Bani Israel described in the noble Qur’an.
Zafar Bangah, director of the ICIT, reviews Saeed Malik’s A Perspective on the Signs of Al-Qur’an: Through the Prism of the Heart, 278 pages, Pbk: $18.99, (published in 2009 and available at www.amazon.com and www.booksurge.com).
But it would appear that both the criminal elements in Iran and their Western backers have overplayed their hand...
The present political architecture of the world was cobbled together by the victors of the Second World War...
Concepts are useful tools that aid our understanding. Children learn new concepts through association with things familiar; adults learn through experiment and experience. Just as children learn not to put their hand in the fire because it burns...
This, however, is a superficial look at global reality. After all, the Soviet Union was also a superpower armed with nuclear weapons and had the largest air force in the world when it invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979...
I must admit even a seasoned observer like myself had started to wonder whether there was some truth to the allegations of widespread anger against the Islamic system in Iran following last June’s presidential elections...
If paranoia has become the official dogma of US domestic policy, militant unilateralism and hegemonic tendencies born of a sense of raw power have taken hold of Washington’s foreign policies...
Questions about the US’s knowledge of the attacks of September 11 were raised even before the dust had settled in New York. Now details are emerging. Officials in the Bush administration are struggling to explain embarrassing revelations...
The security forces, contrary to the West’s expectations, acted with great restraint and successfully handled the situation...
Muslim political thought needs to be realigned to the Sunnah and Sirah of the Prophet (s). In Part II of his essay, Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, looks at the consolidation of the Islamic power base in Madinah and the ideological, socio-political, and economic challenges it had to survive and ultimately overcome...
Both the US and its Zionist protege have increased the intensity of their rhetorical attacks against Islamic Iran. Last month, nuclear-armed Israeli submarines sailed through the Suez Canal, followed ten days later by Israeli warships crossing it into the Red Sea...
Muslim political thought seems to have drifted from the teachings of the Qur’an, and the Sunnah and Sirah of the noble Messenger of Allah (s). In Part I of this essay, Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Isla-mic Thought, places it back in the Sirah to enable the Islamic movement to transform wayward Muslim societies.
Iran’s June 12 presidential elections in which the incumbent, President Mah-moud Ahmedinejad, retained his post by a wide margin over his nearest rival Mir Hussain Mousavi has provided the Muslim-hating West another opportunity to spout its anti-Islamic venom. Through its media mouthpieces, they had already declared Mousavi the winner even before the people of Iran had had an opportunity to cast their vote. When the result turned out against their wishes, it was immediately denounced as “rigged”. It seems even Mousavi had fallen for this propaganda because he, too, prior to polls closing, told a Tehran press conference that he had “won”.
Muslim scholars, Islamic movement activists and even ordinary Muslims agree that the only natural habitat for Muslims is the Islamic State.Warning about the pitfalls of operating in a secular imposed order, Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, argues that the Islamic movement must be clear about its goals as well as methods in bringing about change in Muslim societies.
For a state and society to function smoothly, some basic services must be provided to its citizens: security, decent education, access to healthcare, prospects of a reasonable job and sound economy. Participation in the political process as well as justice are other important considerations for peace and tranquility.
In the introduction to his 1985 book, Of Emperors and Pirates, the American professor, Noam Chomsky quotes St. Augustine narrating a dialogue between Alexander the Great and a pirate. “How dare you molest the seas?” demands Alexander. “How dare you molest the world?” replies the pirate. “Just because I do it with a little boat, I am called a pirate and you do it with a huge ship and you are called an emperor!”
The Taliban’s ascendance in Swat and their brief foray into the town of Buner to the south sent leaders of the self-proclaimed superpower in Washington into panic that surpassed even that displayed by officials in Islamabad. US media reports repeatedly mentioned that Swat is barely 100 kilometres from the Pakistani capital.
There is also another definition of the Ummah: that of the aggregate power of the political culture of Islam. Today this is virtually non-existent because Muslims are not in control of their destiny. At this level, we cannot speak of the Muslim Ummah per se because its power is fragmented into nation-states ruled by elites and political systems that are the product of colonialism.
April marks a grim milestone in Afghanistan’s tortuous history. On April 27, 1978 the country was plunged into crisis following a Marxist-led military coup in which President Sardar Daud and virtually his entire family was killed. An internal uprising followed leading to the Soviet invasion of December 27, 1979.
What or who constitutes the Muslim Ummah and what problems does it face? In Part I, ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, offers some reflections on the issue.
March 23 is an important landmark in Pakistan’s history. It was on this date in 1940 that the All-India Muslim League passed a resolution in Lahore demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims of India. Within seven years Pakistan emerged on the world map as an independent state.
Barack Obama’s election on November 4th and his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States on January 20th have led to misplaced optimism even among those who should know better. Obama’s claims to America’s “greatness” because it afforded him — son of a cattle-herder from Africa — the opportunity to rise to the highest office in the land should not mislead anyone.
History has a habit of returning with a vengeance to reveal the behavior of unsavory characters. The Israeli onslaught on Ghazzah launched on December 27 that resulted in the cold-blooded murder of thousands of Palestinians is not the first dastardly crime perpetrated by the zionists.
Even by the murderous standards of Zionist Israel, the relentless aerial attacks on Ghazzah rank among the most criminal it has ever perpetrated against Palestinian civilians. At least 30 separate locations in the narrow strip were attacked simultaneously on December 27 as waves of US-supplied F16 planes and Apache helicopters dropped more than 100 tons of bombs.
Ever since the Palestinian Islamic resistance group, Hamas, won the January 2006 elections, Ghazzah has been turned into a concentration camp. Western countries immediately withdrew financial support once Hamas took full control in Ghazzah in June 2007. The aim was to strangle the Hamas-led government; so much for the West’s respect for democracy.
An estimated two million Muslims from around the world will converge on Makkah this month for the annual pilgrimage of Hajj. There are many dimensions to this most challenging of ‘ibadaat. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought sheds light on some aspects that have been virtually forgotten as part of a deliberate policy to ritualize and therefore, trivialize Hajj.
Two narratives have dominated news about Barack Obama’s victory in the US presidential elections. The first is the corporate media’s hype that democracy in America is vibrant because even an African-American can be elected president. The second is the global euphoria over Obama’s “historic” victory carrying the implication that a similarly “historic” shift is about to occur in US policies.
As an Islamic state, Iran’s policies — both domestic and foreign — are based on certain fundamental principles. The guidelines for these policies were laid down by Imam Khomeini during his lifetime. After he passed away in June 1989, his successor, the Rahbar Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei has adhered to these policies closely.
By the time these lines are read, the US presidential election would be over. Current trends suggest Barack Obama would be the next president unless some unforeseen catastrophe or electoral fraud like those in 2000 and 2004 occur. Obama will inherit the biggest economic mess in US history since the 1930s depression. How did the US, the largest economy in the world, come to such a sorry state?
Unable to contain (much less defeat) the resistance that has spread to most parts of Afghanistan in the last two years, the US has decided to bomb its way to “victory” by attacking Pakistan on the spurious pretext that it is going after insurgent sanctuaries across the border.
Within a period of less than 30 years, Muslims have consigned one superpower—the Soviet Union—to the dustbin of history and are about to deliver the other—the US—to the same fate, together with its regional surrogate, Israel. The achievements against the US are particularly remarkable because the mujahideen have had little or no external help.
To mark the cccasion of Yaum al-Quds this year, Crescent International in South Africa published a booklet analysing the rise of Hamas and the current state of the Palestinian struggle. Here we publish an abridged version of this booklet. The full version is available on the website of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought.
That the first volume of The Ascendant Qur'an, Imam Muhammad al-Asi's new tafseer of the Qur’an, would be well received inSouth Africa was never in doubt, given his great popularity within the Muslim community; what was unclear was the degree of support it would receive.
The desire for freedom that glows in people’s hearts cannot be put out, though it occasionally flickers low. It is sustained by the justice of the cause and nurtured by sweat and blood; hurdles and difficulties only strengthen a people’s resolve.
Most Muslims know that shirk—associating partners with Allah—is the greatest sin one can commit. There are numerous ayaat in the Qur’an (2:165, 4:48, 6:22, 6:137, 6:151, 31:13 and many others) that attest to this. What is less well understood is that there are different forms of shirk. Idol-worship is only one form; Hindus and Buddhists apart, few people now indulge in idolatry, but shirk is widely practised, even among Muslims, without many being aware of it. We need to identify these forms at both the individual and societal levels.
Two months may be too short a time to present an accurate assessment of the impact of Imam Muhammad al-Asi’s tafseer, The Ascendant Qur’an, but the contours of its reception are already clear. Most people have been impressed by its fine production quality, contrasting it with the poor quality of Islamic literature often produced elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Speculation abounds about why, after years of threatening to attack Iran, the US suddenly decided to send William J. Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs, the third-highest-ranking US state department official, to Geneva to attend a meeting with Iran over its nuclear program.
The last few years have been a period of exceptional turbulence in the Muslim world, even by the standards of an Ummah that has become accustomed to the buffets of history during the period of colonialist imperialism. In this extended essay, ZAFAR BANGASH, the Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), reflects upon the nature of social change and lessons for Muslims today.
முஸ்லிம்கள் இன்று ஏறத்தாழ எல்லா முனைகளிலும் தாக்குதலுக்கு ஆளாகிவருகின்றனர் —இராணுவம், கலாச்சாரம் மற்றும் இடைப்பட்ட சகல முனைகளிலும் தாக்கப்படுகின்றனர். ஈராக், ஆஃப்கானிஸ்தான், பாலஸ்தீன், செச்சன்யா போன்ற நாடுகளில் அந்நியப் படைகளால் அவர்கள் ஆயிரக்கணக்கில் பலிகொடுக்கப்படுவது மட்டுமின்றி, முஸ்லிம் நாடுகள் பலவற்றின் சொந்த இராணுவங்களே கூட முஸ்லிம்களைத் தாக்கி வருகின்றன —எடுத்துக் காட்டு: பாகிஸ்தான், எகிப்து, அல்ஜீரியா, துனீஷியா, மொராக்கோ. இந்த இராணுவத் தாக்குதல்கள் போதாதென்று மேற்குலகின் கலாச்சாரத் தாக்குதல்கள் வேறு. எனினும், சவூதிகள் புனித மக்கா-மதீனா நகரங்களில் —முஸ்லிம்கள் இவையிரண்டையும் சேர்த்து ஹரமைன் என்றழைக்கும் அந்நகரங்களில்— எடுக்கும் நடவடிக்கையோடு ஒப்பிடும்போது, மேற்கண்ட கொடூரமான யதார்த்தம் கூட முக்கியத்துவமற்றதாகத் தெரிகிறது. பேராசையும் வஹாபிஸ ஆர்வ வெறியும் நச்சுக்கலவையாக சேர்ந்துகொண்டு இஸ்லாமிய நினைவுச் சின்னங்களின் அழிப்புக்கு வழிவகுத்துள்ளது. இவை, துவக்ககால இஸ்லாத்தின் செழிப்பான வரலாற்றுப் பாரம்பரியத்தை இன்னும் சில வருடங்களில் நிரந்தரமாகத் துடைத்தழித்துவிடும் எனத் தெரிகிறது.
The great political circus otherwise known as the US presidential election campaign is an expensive affair. It will cost nearly $1 billion—no mean sum in a country with 45 million people without health insurance and another 40 million living in absolute poverty, even if it boasts the largest economy in the world.
While Muslims everywhere are concerned with the attacks on Islam and Muslims by our external enemies, particularly the US and its allies, far less attention is paid to the fact that Islamic history and culture are under attack from those who claim to be their guardians. ZAFAR BANGASH, the Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), discusses the Saudi authorities’ destruction of historical sites in the Hijaz.1
One of the most enduring myths about the Western media is their supposed objectivity. The grossly ill-informed and gullible Americans apart, the Muslims are its biggest victims. Muslims often ask why the Western media do not give their side of the story in such trouble-spots as Palestine, Iraq or Afghanistan.
No one could have expected that, less than two decades after the demise of the Soviet Union, the world’s “sole superpower”, the US, would also be close to collapse. This is the result of “imperial overstretch”, extravagant spending and grand larceny by a small coterie within the ruling elites at home. Soon after the Soviet Union disintegrated, a group of rightwing zealots—the neo-conservatives—started talking about “full-spectrum dominance” and preventing any rival power from emerging to challenge the US’s hegemony.
Over the last few years, Crescent International has serialised a new tafseer of the Qur’an by Imam Mohammad al-Asi. The first volume of this tafseer is now being published by the Institute ofContemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), as the ICIT’s Director ZAFAR BANGASH explains.
Commanding the collective good and forbidding evil must rank as the most important obligation of Muslims, the Islamic movement and the Islamic state. The Qur'anic ayah, “amr bilma‘roof wal nahy ‘anil munkar” (3:104 and 110) is often mistranslated as “enjoining good and forbidding evil”, minimising its forcefulness and giving it a pacifist twist.
On March 14 Iranians in overwhelming numbers participated in the country’s 28th elections since the Islamic Revolution (1979) to elect members of the eighth Majlis (parliament). At least 25 million people, constituting more than 60 percent of the electorate, cast their ballots to choose 290 members from a field of 4,225 candidates.
Most Muslims know that shirk—associating partners with Allah—is the greatest sin one can commit. There are numerous ayaat in the Qur’an (2:165, 4:48, 6:22, 6:137, 6:151, 31:13 and many others) that attest to this. What is less well understood is that there are different forms of shirk.
This month, Muslims all over the world will mark the birth anniversary of the Prophet (saw) with elaborate functions involving na’at recitals and nasheeds. Zafar Bangash, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) asks why Muslims ignore so much of the Seerah.
Muslims today find themselves facing a curious paradox. While some Muslims are involved in intense struggles to throw off the yoke of foreign domination and oppression - in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance -others in these very societies and elsewhere are busy facilitating the re-colonization of the Muslim world.
This month Muslims around the world will mark the 29th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, which shook the world and has dominated international affairs ever since. ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, discusses its success.
Never stable in its entire 60-year history, Pakistan has been plunged into one of its worst crises as a result of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on December 27. Soon after her death, General (retired) Pervez Musharraf and his minions made vacuous statements about “extremists” – naturally “enlightened moderates” like Musharraf could not have done it, could they? – threatening the “security and stability” of the country and vowed to redouble their efforts to deal with them even as enraged mobs went on a rampage.
Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has revealed a facet of Pakistani politics that is not generally known to people in the West: the extent to which Pakistani politicians act as agents of the West. Tens of thousands of Muslims are killed in political violence each year, most of of it sponsored by the West. Few are mourned as deeply as Benazir. Her assassination has been condemned by US President George Bush, the UN Security Council and a long list of other western leaders. Why should the death of one Pakistani draw so much attention in the West, when those of other – such as the girls killed in the Lal Masjid in July – are regarded with disdain?
The West’s all-out assault on Islam and Muslims–from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine to the political and military occupation of Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia by the US–has murdered or maimed millions. Muslims living in the West were spared such assaults in the past, but no more. One only has to glance through Western newspapers, magazines or television programmes to feel the intensity of hatred directed at Muslims. While the West has always been intolerant of ‘Others’, since 9/11 the mask of civility has come off, and there is barely the pretence of respecting human rights and the rule of law.
Three weeks after General Pervez Musharraf hit Pakistan's crumbling political system on November 3 by declaring a “state of emergency”, the Supreme Court, stacked with loyalist judges, handed him the verdict he wanted. His questionable “election” as president on October 6 was declared valid on November 22: the judges simply dismissed the last of six petitions challenging its legality.
Western imperialists have a number of strategies that they use to impose their will on others. Brute military force is one such weapon, of course, but the language used to justify it is just as important; in fact, often more important, if the victims of imperialism can be persuaded to consent to their own exploitation. The resort to force is often a tacit admission that the moral argument has been lost.
Returning to Pakistan on October 18, Benazir Bhutto discovered how radically the country has changed in the eight years she was away “languishing” in self-imposed exile. Heading a political procession—in reality a circus of rented crowds—from the airport to the mausoleum of the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Benazir’s procession was attacked by two suicide-bombers who left 140 people dead and more than 500 injured.
Since Israel is the new temple and zionism the new religion of the West, any mention of eliminating zionism or the zionist regime inPalestine is immediately branded as anti-Semitism and a threat to world peace. This is especially true of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, whose speech on October 26, 2005, has been so widely misquoted that promoting the lies has effectively become official policy in many Western countries. Even the United Nations Security Council was duped into issuing a statement condemning Iran for calling for Israel’s “destruction”.
The Supreme Court verdict on September 28, dismissing several petitions challenging General Musharraf’s attempt to contest presidential polls while retaining his army post, has dealt a severe blow to the opposition’s hopes of preventing him from continuing his rule. There was an immediate adverse reaction on the streets; the police resorted to their customary brutality, attacking lawyers, political opponents and journalists, and a number of cameras were smashed. Protests continued as Crescent International went to press, amid signs that though the verdict might have brought some respite to Musharraf, Pakistan’s troubles are far from over.
There are more than 56 Muslim nation-States in the world today, yet few would register on an informed Muslim’s radar screen as being particularly significant. What determines a country’s importance relative to others? Before answering this question, let us first list those that would probably make the top grade without assigning any specific order to them: Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia and Lebanon.
The month of August included the anniversaries of three important events in Islamic history, two reflecting Islam’s glory and the third the Muslims’ current impotence.
Some weeks after the tragedy of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad, there remains widespread anger with the government of Pervez Musharraf, and disappointment with the failure of Islamic groups to offer effective opposition to it. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) considers some of the lessons of the episode for the country’s Islamic movement.1
After years of precariously trying to balance the conflicting political demands of his American masters and Pakistan’s Muslim people, events in the last month appear to have pushed Pakistani dictator General Perwez Musharraf (pic) to the verge of being toppled. On July 26, news emerged that fellow generals had advised Musharraf to make a “graceful exit” from power.
Pakistan will turn sixty on August 14, but one would be hard-pressed to detect any sign of maturity in its political or social dealings. Successive rulers—civilian and military—have stunted its growth like a slave permanently shackled in a cage. All have also faithfully served foreign masters, while lining their own pockets at the expense of the country’s impoverished masses.
Perhaps never before in history has a self-declared superpower fallen from glory as precipitously as has the US. In less than 20 years it has gone from a hyperpower to being a spent force unable to deal even with such backward societies as Afghanistan and Iraq.
That the world is a nasty place is not in doubt; what is seldom admitted is the depth of the plight of the oppressed, especially Muslims, and the level of hypocrisy that passes for the rule of law and international order. The militarily powerful oppress and terrorize the weak under the guise of fighting “terrorism”, while the rich exploit the poor in the name of progress.
This month marks a painful anniversary in modern Muslim history: the defeat of the Arab states by Israel in 1967, and the loss of al-Quds and the Masjid al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site. In the subsequent four decades, not one Muslim army has successfully defended its country’s borders or the honour of its people. Instead, all they have achieved, with ruthless efficiency, is to attack the parapets of power in their own countries, banish civilian rulers, and seize control for themselves.
If a country’s architecture can be taken as indicating its status in the world, that of Istanbul reflects fairly accurately both Turkey’s past and its present. While the grandeur of its historic buildings are vivid reminders of past glories, the blandness of its contemporary buildings–concrete and glass boxes–reflects the disrupting influence and ultimate vacuousness of its Westernization.
On the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet (saw) last month, the Islamic State organized a number of unity conferences on the Seerah. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, attended conferences in Tehran and Istanbul.
That the Muslim world is engulfed in numerous crises is not in doubt; what is debated is who is responsible for this state of affairs and how to rectify it. There are some—Muslims and non-Muslims—who put all the blame on the Muslims; others say it is the direct result of colonialism and continued foreign interference in the internal affairs of Muslims
Already beset by numerous problems, both domestic and international, Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf has shot himself in the foot again by taking on the country's judiciary as well. Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was sent home for allegedly "abusing his authority", and placed under virtual house arrest.
While members of the UN Security Council were preparing to meet in London on February 26 to discuss what further steps they could take against Iran after the expiry of the UN’s illegal demand for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, Western diplomats in Vienna revealed on February 22 that US intelligence about Iran’s nuclear facilities had turned out to be false.
Muslims struggling for peace and justice will continue to face many challenges, but perhaps none more difficult than the propaganda against them in the West. Even as the lies spun by the Western media, in cooperation with their governments, about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in 2002-2003 have been exposed, more lies are churned out against Iran
People all over the world have long been aware of the stark gap between the reality of American policy around the world, dictated by the drive to achieve “full spectrum dominance” at any cost, and the claims of its leaders to represent enlightenment and freedom for all people. One effect of the disaster in Iraq has been to make even Americans – notoriously ignorant of world affairs – aware of their leaders’ apparent disconnection from reality.
It is difficult to say which is worse: nationalism or sectarianism in the Ummah. The ruling elites in the Muslim world exploit both these weaknesses to advance their own nefarious agendas. Just as nationalism is alien to the political culture of Islam, so sectarianism is the very antithesis of Muslim unity.
America’s defeat in Iraq is resulting in unforeseen consequences that will affect global politics in profound ways. Virtual civil wars have erupted both in Washington and in Riyadh among the hordes of Saudi “royals”. Fought only rhetorically, the war in Washington is more serious as it involves two powerful groups within the establishment: the oil lobby and the zionist lobby.
In what may be one of the UN’s most hypocritical moves ever, the Security Council imposed nonmilitary sanctions on Iran on December 23 for its peaceful nuclear-power programme. That the resolution went through several drafts over the course of two months reflected deep divisions among Council members, but its final passage reconfirmed that the UN does not live up to its high-sounding principles or care about the rights of others
Visiting Vietnam last month, US president George Bush tried to put a positive spin on the US’s defeat in Iraq by comparing it with the US experience in that country. The truth, however, is that the US defeat in Iraq surpasses the humiliation it suffered in Vietnamin terms of its political implications.
ZAFAR BANGASH, the Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought in Toronto, visited Iran in August,for the 19th Islamic Unity Conference. He reflects on developments there, and the renewed confidence and sense of progress that he discovered there.
Every US president enters the twilight zone of his presidency with trepidation. Given the enormous power and prestige of this office, seeing it slip from one’s grasp must be a particularly painful experience. For George Bush it is even worse, as he has presided over a series of disasters regarded as largely of his own making.
Every year there is confusion in the Ummah over the correct days for marking the beginning and end of Ramadan. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, and a community leader in Toronto, Canada, explains how the issue could be resolved.
At the same time that Muslims are elated at Hizbullah's brilliant victory over Israel's war machine, they are deeply troubled by the mayhem in Iraq. Although much of the trouble is Iraq is foreign-instigated, the Iraqis themselves are not above blame. The two countries offer stunning contrasts in acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and important lessons for the global Islamic movement. In Lebanon, Hizbullah has achieved with a few thousand fighters armed with iman triumphs that have eluded hundreds of thousands of heavily armed Arab soldiers fighting under the banner of nationalism. In Iraq, what seemed to be and opportunity for the Islamic movement has become a disastrous mess.
Hizbullah's stunning victory over Israel has boosted many people's morale, especially Muslims who are struggling for peace and justice all over the world. By defeating the most powerful military machine in the Middle East, Hizbullah has not only demolished the myth of Israel's invincibility but also shaken the Arab potentates in their huge palaces to their boots.
The unity of the Ummah has been a major theme of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The Majma-e Taqrib Bain al-Madhahib al-Islami (Organization for Convergence between Schools of Thought in Islam) convenes an annual Unity Conference to discuss themes of relevance to all Muslims. This year’s conference took place from August 20-22. ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), was there.
Four days after Iran sent a 21-page response to the Security Council about its nuclear programme, President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad inaugurated a heavy-water plant at Arak on August 26. The following day, Dr Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, was quoted by the Islamic Students News Agency (ISNA) as saying that Iran would not abandon its right to enrich uranium as article 4 of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) allows it to do so.
Since launching its murderous assault on Lebanon on July 12, Israel has destroyed 55 bridges, ripped up almost all the major roads in Lebanon, blasted scores of apartment buildings, and bombed Beirut's brand-new $600-million international airport, a power plant, milk factories, grain warehouses and hundreds of homes of the Lebanese: all ostensibly to "expel" Hizbullah, the Islamic resistance movement, from Southern Lebanon.
Crises bring out the best and worst in people. While Muslims everywhere have rallied in support of the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples facing the Israeli onslaught, the Arab regimes have joined the West's propaganda campaign against the Islamic resistance movement, Hizbullah.
The West's commitment to liberalism and democracy has always been a convenient façade that falls apart at times of crisis. People have freedom so long as they do not need it; the West is tolerant only to the point that people conform to its prevailing values and policies.
Even before the annual meeting of heads of member-states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) opened on June 15, officials in Washington were pulling their hair at what they perceived as a challenge to US hegemony in the vital Eurasian region.
Muslims in Canada were startled by the arrest on June 3 of 15 individuals, all of them Muslims, on charges related to terrorism. Two other alleged suspects were already in jail for gun-smuggling. Five of the 17 are under 18 years of age, so their names cannot be divulged, but that has not prevented the police or intelligence agencies from leaking damaging information about them.
There are basically two reasons why countries go to war: for self-defence, or for pillage and plunder. No country ever admits to indulging in such imperialist adventures; it is always done ostensibly in the name of some higher purpose.
Why is US President George Bush threatening to go to war against Iran over its civilian nuclear program at a time when American forces are bogged down in Iraq and US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld is facing a virtual insurrection against his disastrous handling of the war by retired American military generals?
The second paper at the ICIT’s Kalim Siddiqui Memorial Conference on April 23 was given by ICIT Director ZAFAR BANGASH, on a theme central to Dr Kalim’s understanding of the task facing the Islamic movement: the revolutionary method of change for Islamic societies.
An essential pre-requisite for the proper cure of a disease is its correct diagnosis. This is true of social ills as well as individual illnesses. Although modern science provides many tools to determine an individual’s ailment, it is much more difficult to diagnose the problems of society.
The diversity of the human condition and experience is one of the most wonderful elements of the world that Allah subhahanu wa ta‘ala has created for us. The evolution of human societies over time, and the need for people to learn from the experiences of earlier generations, is one of the major themes of the Qur’an.
America’s anti-Iran rhetoric, already intense, has gone into overdrive since the release on March 16 of US President George Bush’s second report on national security strategy. It reads more like an anti-Iran diatribe than a serious analysis of the US’s situation under Bush.
It would be naïve to miss the significance of the successive attacks on Islam and its sacred symbols: last year there were revelations about the desecration of the Qur'an at GuantanamoBay; then came the insulting caricatures of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace. While the cartoon controversy still rages, we witness the deliberate destruction of the ImamAskari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, taking the country even closer to sectarian warfare.
The controversy surrounding Denmark’s offensive cartoons refuses to die down. Demonstrations and protest rallies continue in various parts of the world, including Europe and North America, where Muslims reside as minorities. Some of the largest rallies took place in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan.
The celebration of Islamic festivals such as Eid al-Adha and the annual Hajj last month — both connected to Prophet Ibrahim's (as) willingness to sacrifice in fulfillment of Allah's command — is meant to revive the spirit and purpose of the Ummah.1
The West, led by the US and Britain, has worked itself into a lather over Iran's removal of seals from centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility to enrich uranium by turning it into a gas (uranium hexafluoride) as part of its civilian nuclear-research programme.
America has been so decisively defeated in Iraq that no amount of verbal sophistry by US president George Bush or his neocon allies can hoodwink the American people into believing otherwise. The cabal operating as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which led the chorus for “perpetual war” and “full-spectrum dominance”, appears to have gone into permanent hibernation.
Last month, the Organization of the Islamic Conference held an Extraordinary Summit in Makkah to discuss urgent issues facing the Ummah. Unlikely though it may seem, ZAFAR BANGASH, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, hopes that some good may come of it...
All creatures learn by example. Although this is a natural process, it can also have negative consequences. There is a well-known hadith of the noble Prophet of Allah, upon whom be peace, to the effect that a person adopts the character of the company he keeps for 40 days.
As part of the commemoration of Yaum al-Quds last month, Crescent International (South Africa) published a booklet called The Struggle for al-Quds. Here we reprint the foreword of that book, written by ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) in Toronto, Canada...
Contrary to widespread belief, international institutions such as the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) etc., were not created to bring peace and prosperity to the world, but to serve the interests of the West. It is distressing to note, however, that the very victims of these institutions seem totally mesmerized by the high-sounding rhetoric of these organisations, and act as if their survival depends on them.1
Disasters, whether natural or manmade, bring out both the best and worst in people. The earthquake that rocked Northern Pakistan and Azad Kashmir on October 8 has brought out the generous spirit of Pakistan's people and exposed the ineptitude of Pakistan's government.
That Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, shook hands with a war criminal like Ariel Sharon of Israel—better known as the Butcher of Beirut—was bad enough; it was even worse that he chose to do so on the twenty-third anniversary of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres (September 14-16).
That there is a serious disconnect between Islam and the West is not in doubt; what is hotly contested is whose fault it is. Each side blames the other but, given that the Western media dominate almost all discourse, Islam and Muslims are blamed for everything that goes wrong in the world.
Even the elaborate Independence Day celebrations on August 14 could not conceal the panic that has gripped Pakistan’s ruling elites since America’s military and nuclear agreements withIndia in June and July respectively.
America’s humiliation in Iraq has led some observers to describe it as another Vietnam. This is not quite accurate; the US’s Iraqi experience is much closer to the Russians’ in Afghanistan, with very similar outcomes, both positive and negative. Should the US military stay in Iraq extend for a decade or more, as did the Red Army’s in Afghanistan, there will perhaps be noUnited States left to return to, at least as far as its superpower pretensions are concerned.
The election of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as president of Iran in June shocked Western governments, apparently misled by their own propaganda that suggested that Iranians had turned against the Islamic State. ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, explains why Iranians elected him, and the threats Iran now faces.
There are two distinct but diametrically opposite views competing for dominance in the Muslim world today. The ruling elites, totally subservient to the West, while paying lip service to Islam for fear of their people, promote secularism and the Westernization of society; the Islamic movement insists on the establishment of Islamic values and principles.
Anti-Sudan propaganda in the West has reached such a pitch that even a movie, Hotel Rwanda, a fictional account of the Rwandan genocide, is being used to create the impression that a similar genocide is being perpetrated in Darfur.
Such are the problems and crises facing Muslims in the world today that many Muslims become deeply pessimistic, even hopeless, about the future of the Ummah. In his talk at a Milad Conference in Pretoria last month, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, highlighted the centrality of optimism in the Seerah.
Few Muslim communities in a minority situation have given more support to fellow Muslims around the world than the small but dynamic Muslim community in South Africa. Whether it is victims of the tsunami or the endless wars to which Muslims are subjected in different parts of the world, the South African Muslims stand out for their compassion and generosity.
This month - Rabi al-Awwal in the Hijri calendar - sees celebrations of the birth of the Prophet (saw) all over the Muslim world. In this article, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), discusses some key elements of the Seerah.
Can the US be a friend of the Muslims? This is not a rhetorical question; Muslims must consider it seriously because it has enormous implications for their future. First, a clarification is in order: when one talks about “the US”, one does not mean the American people but the government, although it could be argued that the 51 percent of Americans who voted for George Bush should bear some responsibility for the crimes perpetrated in their name.
Lord Macaulay could not have imagined that his Minute on Education, written for the British Colonial Administration in 1835, would still be valid 170 years later. His idea to create “Brown Englishmen” in India is alive and well, but with an important difference: the brown sahibs have now arrived in Europe and North America as well, and are hard at work to please their masters.1
On February 12 the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) and the Islamic Society of York Region convened a conference in Toronto to mark the 26th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Here we publish a report on the conference.
Writers are prisoners of the language they use, particulary if they wish to express ideas that run contrary to the way in which words are commonly used. There are idioms, expressions and even names that convey certain meanings and impressions, when the reality to which they are applied is very different.
The heavy American assault on Falluja in November ranks among the worst crimes ever committed against Muslims. ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, answers two key questions that it raises.
The world rediscovered a largely forgotten word as the new year rolled in: tsunami. The tragedy wrought on the countries of the Indian Ocean brought out both the best and worst in human beings. Ordinary individuals all over the world opened their hearts to help the victims of this tragedy; governments first downplayed it, then discovered it as an opportunity for self-promotion.
To gauge the true depth of moral and intellectual decline of the ruling elites in the Ummah, one has only to see their reactions to the plight of the Muslims in Iraq and Palestine under their occupiers. With the exception of the Rahbar of Islamic Iran, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei, not one Muslim ruler has uttered a word against the brutalities being inflicted on these hapless peoples, much less done anything to help them.
So powerful is the West’s propaganda that mere mention of the word “warlord” immediately conjures up images of a bearded thug terrorizing hapless civilians in Afghanistan. Just as terrorism has been made synonymous with Muslim activism, so warlordism has become the exclusive preserve of the Afghans.
Muslims can take comfort in the fact that their present state of powerlessness is not a permanent condition; circumstances can and do change...
The world of Islam has witnessed great changes over the last two decades. From the Islamic Revolution in Iran to the victories of the mujahideen in Afghanistan and the Hizbullah over the zionist invaders of Lebanon, the Islamic movement has achieved significant victories against its enemies...
As the date (November 2) for the US presidential election draws near, the deep divisions in American society, exacerbated by George Bush’s policies, are becoming more pronounced. The two main political parties—Republican and Democratic—have marshalled more than 10,000 lawyers to fight legal battles in what is believed will be a closely contested race that is wide open to manipulation and fraud...
A number of important landmarks in Islamic history are associated with the month of Ramadan. In the second year of the Hijra, the nascent Muslim community was tested by the Battle of Badr during this month..
Three groups of people have always operated in tandem with the crusading policies of Western governments: Churches, so-called aid-workers, and soldiers of fortune, the last more aptly described as criminals and terrorists doing their governments’ dirty work...
Muslims need to study the Seerah from its proper perspective: as a guide for us to plan our lives, both collectively and individually, especially by which to acquire power and the ability to do and achieve in the world.
It is tempting to blame the kuffar for the disintegration of the Ummah, but the fact is that the Muslims' own weaknesses enabled others to subjugate them, and then to impose alien systems on them...
Canadian officials, egged on by virulently anti-Muslim media and secular Muslims, are in a lather about the case of one Zahra Kazemi, who died in a hospital in Tehran last year...
On reconsideration, however, the realization emerged that the book is not actually as useless as it first appears, provided one is not misguided by what it says on the cover or, for that matter, what the editor writes in his introduction…
Throughout its tortuous history, Pakistan has staggered from one crisis to another; but general Pervez Musharraf has brought it to the brink of unprecedented disaster...
Hundreds of Islamic movement scholars and activists gathered in Iran last month for a conference marking the anniversary of the death of Imam Khomeini...
America has undoubtedly suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq, even if no US soldier has yet actually left the country. It is enough that America has become the most hated country in the world today...
Images of American troops committing appalling atrocities against Iraqi captives at the Abu Ghraib have causes outrage around the world and sparked a massive damage limitation campaign in Washington. ZAFAR BANGASH discusses the implications of the revelations...
Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources and Strategies by Cheryl Benard. Pub: Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, 2004. Pp: 118. Pbk: $20. (Also available on-line to download.)
US president George Bush had hoped that by April 2004 American casualties in Iraq would be so low that he could present this success as his personal triumph in transforming Iraq from a tyranny into a democracy...
The results of the Iranian Majlis elections in February silenced many who had expected them to produce a massive popular rejection of the Islamic system. But in Islamic Iran people are looking ahead, not back. ZAFAR BANGASH looks forward...
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says that the Messenger, upon whom be peace, was sent with clear signs and guidance in order to bring those who commit themselves to Allah, and undertake the tasks commanded by Him to maintain peace, justice and balance in society, out of darkness and into light (65:11)...
The Saudis' subservience to the US, and the fact that they exploit their position as rulers of the Holy Lands of Islam, is well established...
Over the last few weeks, the Western media has watched keenly as Iran went to the polls to elect a new Majlis (parliament), highlighting every perceived shortcoming in the electoral procedure and hoping that the elections would prompt a crisis in Iran’s Islamic system of government...
The public humiliation of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, had a far deeper purpose than was apparent at first sight: it was meant not only to deflect attention from the military’s role in nuclear proliferation...
As this issue of Crescent International goes to press, some two million Muslims are gathered to perform the Hajj, and the entire Ummah is preparing to mark Eid al-Adha...
Three distinct Muslim responses to the abolition of the khilafah (Islamic State) in Turkey in 1924 can be identified: the emergence of the Ikhwan al-Muslimoon in Egypt, founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928...
The fragmentation of the Muslim world into nation-states is the most obvious direct result of Western colonialism and its hegemony over the lands of Islam. Almost all Muslims now recognize the need to replace these states with Islamic states, and to re-draw the political map of the Muslim world...
Afghanistan’s US-imposed and supported "president", Hamid Karzai, said on December 24 that he expected the country’s tribal Loya Jirga (grand assembly) to complete its work within a week (after Crescent press time) and that he was confident that it would agree to his preferred presidential model for a new constitution...
Two ideas have dominated American thinking for the last decade: Francis Fukuyama's ‘End of History’ and Samuel Huntington's ‘Clash of Civilizations.’ They provide alternative understandings of contemporary history, Fukuyama proclaiming the triumph of the West...
Oscillating between comedy and farce, the Pakistani political scene has never been dull, but has resulted in terrible consequences for the hapless Pakistanis. An assorted array of charlatans and crooks, claiming to be on a messianic mission to usher in prosperity, have driven the masses into ever-deeper despair.
Is a "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West inevitable? Those Muslims desperately trying to avert one miss a crucial and obvious point: a full-scale war against Islam and Muslims...
Thanks to his rightwing advisors (better known as ‘neo-conservatives’ or ‘neo-cons’), US president George Bush has been trapped between Iraq and a hard place; in fact several hard places – Afghanistan, the US economy and a public that are at last beginning to realize that they have been lied to in a big way.
The Western world has seldom seen public demonstrations on the scale that occurred during the weeks preceding the invasion of Iraq earlier this year. Millions of men, women and children marched in the streets of London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC, in the hope that this public outcry would stop the impending attack
Even two years after the Taliban’s removal from power, the hapless Afghans continue to suffer under a reign of terror; the perpetrators are none other than the US-backed warlords ensconced as ministers or wearing pompous titles such as commander. Rape, robbery, and murder and the bloody-mindedness of the US occupation forces have turned almost every Afghan into an anti-American fighter.
ZAFAR BANGASH , director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), discusses the challenges facing Iraqi ulama under American occupation and their responses to those challenges.
While Americans mark the second anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, Muslims will be marking another tragedy. ZAFAR BANGASH remembers the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla.
The zionists continue to build a wall cutting off Palestinian villages and towns from each other under the excuse of "security." The same excuse has been advanced in the past for Jewish settlements...
Two of the world’s three top warmongers – US president George Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair (the third being Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon) – have been caught in a web of lies they spun to justify an illegal war against Iraq.
General Pervez Musharraf’s call for the recognition of zionist Israel, made during his visit to the US last month, hit the people of Pakistan like a bombshell. During a television interview on June 29, he called for an open debate in the media.
Last month’s student protests in Tehran have once again demonstrated the West’s animosity to Islam and the Islamic Republic. Despite the miniscule size of the protest group–a few hundred at most–it was immediately projected in the Western media and by American officials as reflecting the "unpopularity" of the Islamic government.
The US has become a menace to the world. This is not merely the opinion of Muslims, but also of its traditional allies. At the G8 summit in France earlier this month, Bush told the Europeans, especially the French, bluntly that they must tailor their policies to America’s interests.
Emboldened by the relative ease with which Saddam’s regime was overthrown, American hawks and neo-conservatives are now pushing for "regime change" in Tehran as well. Pro-monarchist groups, led by Reza Pahlavi, son of the late ex-Shah...
The announcement on April 29 by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld that American troops and aircraft would be moved out of Saudi Arabia by the end of the summer does not mean the end of trouble for the ruling al-Saud family.
America’s superhawks, also known as "neocons" (neo-conservatives), are ecstatic about the turn of events in Iraq, especially the lack of any effective resistance to the military takeover of Baghdad.
Even as Iraq is bombed into submission, Arab rulers continue to cooperate with the US while mouthing slogans to give the impression that they oppose the war. The "Arab street" will not tolerate these attacks, they say, yet their security forces feel no compunction about attacking anti-war protesters in Cairo, Amman, Sana and other capitals.
Iraq was supposed to be a walk-over: its oppressed people were going to greet American soldiers as "liberators," in the manner of the Kuwaitis in 1991, welcoming them with garlands. This was the rosy picture painted by Richard Perle, the superhawk in US president George W. Bush’s government who, together with fellow zionist Paul Wolfowitz...
Pakistan has been afflicted by two curses since the beginning of its existence: one a quirk of geography and the other of choice. At its birth Pakistan was saddled with an enemy, India, many times its size; and its ruling elites’ desire to pursue "friendship" with America is the second, warping its policies in the process.
In this month of Muharram, as Muslims all over the world remember and mark the martyrdom of Imam Husain (ra) at Karbala, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, relates those events to our current situation
Of all the countries that will be affected by the war on Iraq, Islamic Iran probably has the most to worry about. Neither US officials nor their zionist colleagues have made any secret of their real intentions: Iraq is merely the first step along the way to destroying Iran’s Islamic government.
George Bush senior, father of the US president, attacked Iraq in 1991 because Saddam Husain had dared to disrupt the order imposed on the Middle East (by the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916) by invading and occupying Kuwait.
With the world’s attention focused on Iraq, thanks to president George Bush and his gang of warriors, the zionists are getting away with murder in Palestine. This is not chance; Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has always wanted to divert the world’s attention from his policies against the Palestinians.
Iraqi president Saddam Hussain must be wondering what more he can do to get off George Bush’s list of “evildoers” who are marked for destruction. He has allowed unimpeded access, even to his palaces, to the UN weapons-inspectors, who have found nothing suspicious so far, although that is unlikely to prevent an American attack.
The Fiqh Council of North America, which is linked to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), has issued an astonishing statement regarding the date of Eid al-Adha, which amounts to a recommendation that Muslims ignore the commandments of Allah.
The current crisis in Iran arising from a court verdict against Hashemi Aghajari, a professor at Tehran University, is clearly a case of an unnecessary self-inflicted wound. As Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Rahbar, pointed out after several days of demonstrations by students...
With virulent anti-Islamic fervour gripping policy-makers in the West, it is not surprising that the Islamic movement is also coming under intense pressure. ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, discusses some of the approaches Islamic movements are taking to find a way forward.
A lethal brew of raw imperial ambition and personal greed, not the claims of US president George Bush that he intends to eliminate Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, is behind the drive for a renewed onslaught on Iraq...
Although the Muttahida Majlis-e Amal (MMA), a coalition of six Islamic parties, did unexpectedly well in Pakistan’s elections last month, the role of its component parties has not been widely discussed.
The ICIT held a second International Seerah Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last month. Here we publish the second section of an abridged version of the keynote paper, presented by Zafar Bangash, Director of the ICIT.
Muslims are so short of success stories these days that they are willing to clutch at any straw to beguile themselves. Take, for instance, the elections in Pakistan on October 10, in which an alliance of six “Islamic” parties surpassed even their own highest expectations.
Pakistan is again in the grip of election fever as people prepare for polls on October 10. With the leaders of the two main political parties, Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League, barred from participation because of corruption charges, the election has become a localized affair.
Americans marked the first anniversary of the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon on September 11. While the Americans and their allies were suitably solemn, there was also surprise that in many places, such as Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the anniversary was virtually unnoticed, except for the ceremonies that governments felt obliged to put on and the disruption caused by increased security for Westerners.
The ink on the agreement signed by Israeli defence minister Benny Ben-Eliezer with the Palestinian Authority (PA) was not even dry when the agreement was sabotaged. Ben-Eliezer said that it would be put on hold for several weeks because there was still a “potential” for Palestinian violence in the West Bank. ..
Events in Afghanistan are not going according to America’s script, despite tall claims of having routed the Taliban and al-Qa’ida. It is not just attacks on American and other so-called coalition forces, which are now becoming more frequent, but also the continuing factional fighting, especially between forces loyal to defence minister Mohammed Fahim and forces loyal to president Hamid Karzai...
The ICIT held a second International Seerah Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, earlier this month. Here we publish the first section of an abridged version of the keynote paper, presented by Zafar Bangash, Director of the ICIT.
The US’s disregard for law, even its own, since September 11 is now being emulated by others. The story of Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, 20, a Canadian citizen, was told on July 30 by Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star, who related how he had been arrested and “kidnapped” to the US.
Displaying supreme arrogance, India’s chief election commissioner on August 2 dismissed calls for international observers to monitor forthcoming elections in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Last month, the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) announced that it is to hold an International Seerah Conference in Sri Lanka in October, two years after a similar conference in June 2000.
In an act of characteristic barbarity, the Zionists killed 15 Palestinian civilians in a missile attack on an apartment building in Ghazzah late on July 22. Among the dead were nine children ranging in age from two months to 15 years...
General Pervez Musharraf is not the first Pakistani ruler to believe that he has a divine right, not only to rule, but also to rearrange the political system because he alone knows what is best for the country.
The US-imposed Afghan government has begun to unravel. Public works minister Haji Abdul-Qadir, who was also one of three vice presidents, was gunned down in broad daylight in Kabul on July 6.
In our last issue we published Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Khamenei’s speech at the annual conference in Iran to mark the death anniversary of Imam Khomeini, which was dedicated to the Palestinian struggle. ZAFAR BANGASH was there.
Twenty-three years after the Islamic Revolution, Iranians continue to debate vigorously several issues that have important implications for the future of the Islamic Republic. Heading their agenda is the question of relations with the US, which were severed by Washington in early 1980. The country’s economy and the roles of the press and judiciary are also debated with great passion.
The mother of all Jirgas, touted as the panacea for all of Afghanistan’s problems, is turning into a grand farce. Amid allegations that tribal elders have been offered bribes of up to US$1,000 by various warlords in Paktia province to elect them to the Loya Jirga...
ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, suggests another way to mark the birthday in this Islamic month of Rabi al-Awwal of the Last and Seal of all Allah’s Messengers (as).
ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, discusses the example South African Muslims set the rest of the Ummah
At a time when Muslims are reeling from the cumulative effects of numerous attacks, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) puts our plight and struggle in historical perspective
Israel’s murderous attacks on Palestinian towns and refugee-camps, which intensified on March 29 and were continuing at Crescent International press time (April 9), have set the Muslim masses on fire. Massive demonstrations have been held in such places as Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Rabat and Jakarta.
The second intifada has developed a life of its own, as the blows delivered by Palestinian mujahideen on two consecutive days (March 20 and 21) showed, even as frantic efforts were under way to save the zionist occupiers by an American-brokered ceasefire.
A week of mayhem by Hindu terrorists that erupted on February 27 left at least 700 people officially dead, most of them Muslims, in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Eyewitnesses, including western journalists, have put the death toll at three times this figure, with many deaths from remote villages not being recorded at all.
The middle of last month saw yet another upsurge in the intensity of the violence in Palestine. From February 14 to February 20 at least 60 people were killed, two-thirds of them Palestinians. At the same time, the West found yet another approach to trying to disarm the Palestinians politically, with a new peace proposal from Saudi crown prince Abdullah.
Under George Bush the US is well on its way to establishing a commonwealth of social and moral lepers whose members include such outcasts as the zionist state of Israel and Hindu-ruled India.
General Pervez Musharraf won widespread praise for his speech of January 12, attacking Pakistan’s Islamic institutions, not only from the West but from other established enemies of Islam such as Indian home affairs minister L. K. Advani and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres.
America’s policy vis-a-vis its declared enemies — real or imagined — is clear: first demonize, and then attack and destroy them. Interestingly, even those who are considered “friends” for a while are not spared...
India has moved quickly to cash in on the anti-terrorism frenzy sweeping the world by branding the struggle in Kashmir as terrorism.
On December 22, almost exactly 22 years after the Soviets installed a puppet government (on December 27, 1979, headed by Babrak Karmal) in Kabul, the Americans repeated the feat. Hamid Karzai was “sworn in” as prime minister with British troops guarding the interior ministry building where the ceremony took place...
Thirteen Pakistani troops were reported killed on December 26, as a result of Indian shelling across the Line of Control dividing Kashmir.
In the two-month period from October 7 to December 7, the Taliban’s world has been turned upside down; from controlling more than 90 percent of Afghanistan’s territory they were forced to surrender their last stronghold of Qandahar to tribal elders on December 7.
The ink had not even dried on the interim accord signed in Bonn on December 5 when various Afghan factions had denounced it as a foreign imposition that could not bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.
General Pervez Musharraf must feel that he has shot himself in the foot. His decision to join America’s war on Afghanistan and ditch the Taliban, because of George W. Bush’s infamous threat...
The United Nations conference on Afghanistan, scheduled for November 24 in Berlin, has been postponed until November 27 and the venue shifted to Bonn without explanation.
It is often alleged, both in Pakistan and in the west, that “Islamic fundamentalists” wield too much influence, grossly out of proportion to their actual support in Pakistan. It is further alleged that the ‘virus’ of fundamentalism has even infected the military in Pakistan.
While America has couched its ‘war’ on Afghanistan in the language of morality, more sinister motives are at work: desire to control the Caspian Sea’s oil and gas, as well as the destruction or removal (‘neutralisation’) of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
Whether the US-led war on Afghanistan will overthrow the Taliban is a moot point, but it has already caused tremors in Saudi Arabia. Not because the House of Saud is concerned about what happens to the Taliban or the Afghans...
The US-British assault on the Taliban and Usama bin Ladin in Afghanistan does not appear to be going well, despite the use of ground troops on October 20 after two weeks of aerial attacks.
If life in Makkah was characterized by passive resistance, in Madinah it entered a more active phase with the Prophet himself initiating many of the moves.
As the US war on Afghanistan intensifies, a motley collection of warlords and bureaucrats is being assembled to take over from the Taliban.
he beginning of US assaults on Afghanistan on October 7, killing scores of people, may have little to do directly with the attacks on September 11 in New York and Washington, despite claims to the contrary.
Clashes occur within or between societies when ideological differences emerge. The pre-Islamic Makkan society was based on idol-worship; into this environment was introduced the message of tawheed, the Oneness of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, embodied in the kalimah.
Afghanistan once again finds itself threatened with war and destruction, this time by the Americans. For nearly 25 years its people have known nothing but suffering.
The indecent haste with which the rulers of Pakistan have surrendered to US demands in the new crusade against Islam reflects the deep divide between the rulers and the Pakistani masses.
While protests against Israel and zionism were dominating the UN’s World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, little was changing for Palestinians under Israeli rule, with the zionist army continuing its brutal crackdown.
Two months before the International Seerah conference to be held by the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) in South Africa (September 21-23, 2001), a major conference on the Seerah took place in Ottawa, Canada. ZAFAR BANGASH, director of the ICIT, was there.
With Ariel Sharon, the butcher of Beirut, at the helm, the “only democracy in the Middle East” has gone berserk. It is using US-supplied Apache helicopters against Palestinian activists, in complete disregard of human life. Amer Hudeiri, a Hamas activist, was martyred on August 5 when Israel fired two missiles at his car in the West Bank town of Tulkerm...
Perhaps for the first time in history, a Pakistani ruler has stood his ground against India on an issue that is vital to his country’s survival. Previous Pakistani rulers often camouflaged their sell-out to India by citing external pressures or difficult circumstances.
As Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf headed for Agra for another summit-meeting with Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the divergent expectations of the two countries became clear in the manner in which they formulated their respective approaches.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran inspired and raised expectations among Muslims all over the world. Over 20 years later, it has not been followed by Islamic Revolutions in other Muslim countries. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, considers the experience and progress of the global Islamic movement during this period.
A vigorous debate is underway in York Region (the site of Crescent’s Canada office), on the question of racism, or more precisely how to address the issue of racism in the school curriculum.
The Islamic movement is a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional entity, as broad and as varied as the Ummah itself. Most Muslims instinctively recognise which groups are part of the movement, and which are not, but the multiplicity of voices, within the movement can be bewildering.
For nearly a decade Canada has been regarded by the United Nations as the best country in the world to live in; this may be true, but there are persistent problems reflected in statements of officials and organizations that mar this image. The most obvious is racism, an attitude almost universal in European and North American societies.
The excitement generated by Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s invitation last month to Pakistani chief executive general Pervez Musharraf, for peace talks in Delhi, quickly proved hollow when the very different positions of the two sides were made clear.
As Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of the noble Prophet Muhammad sall’Allahu alaihi wa sallam, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), discusses the Prophet’s role in bringing about change in society.
There appears to be no method in George W. Bush’s madness; since becoming president in a dubious presidential election, he has unleashed a flurry of policy statements and directives that have irked friend and foe alike.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists held its Press Freedom Day on May 3, issuing its list of countries and rulers where journalists are either being killed or incarcerated. Iran was blamed, as were China, Cuba, Malaysia and Tunisia.
Just weeks after the Arab governments humiliated themselves with their utter failure to support the Palestinian intifada at their Arab League meeting in Amman on March 28, Islamic Iran showed the way forward with the unqualified support offered to the Palestinians at the opening of its International Conference on the intifada and the zionist problem in Tehran on April 24.
Living up to his reputation as the “Butcher of Beirut,” Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has unleashed still more assaults on the besieged Palestinian civilians with helicopter-gunships, mortars and artillery shells in the West Bank and Ghazzah over the last two weeks.
That oppressors everywhere try to maintain the status quo by trying to delegitimize the struggle of those whom they are oppressing is understandable.
Any Muslim considers Hajj to be a journey in repentance and submission, and hopes to return home cleansed of all sins, like a new-born baby. Hajj is an arduous undertaking beginning with the hijra (migration) of the Muslim from his or her place of abode to Makkah in preparation for the performance of various rites.
Last month, the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) announced that it will hold an International Seerah Conference in Pretoria, South Africa, in June this year. This follows similar conferences in Pakistan and Sri Lanka last year.
The last colonial outpost in the heartland of Islam is crumbling under the power of the intifada. The overwhelming vote for war-criminal Ariel Sharon in the Israeli elections (February 6) is a sign of zionist desperation in the face of the Palestinians’ achievements.
As Muslims from all over the world begin to travel to the Hijaz for Hajj, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), discusses the true nature of the annual pilgrimage.
Hopes of a less strident foreign policy from the new American president, George W. Bush, even in such areas as oil, especially vis-a-vis Iran, may be misplaced. While Bush and Dick Cheney, his vice-president, are beholden to oil interests, American officialdom has the tendency to act in incredibly stupid ways.
The long-awaited Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report into the East Pakistan debacle of 1971 was finally released on December 30, 2000, although “sensitive” segments still remain out of the public eye. Even the 700 pages that have been released...
Muslims throughout the world celebrated Eid al-Fitr on December 27, coinciding with a less pleasant event that has been virtually forgotten by most of us by now. On this date in 1979, tens of thousands of Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan, setting off alarm bells in world capitals, not least Washington, then a leading champion of the ‘cold war’ mentality.
As the Al-Aqsa intifada in Palestine enters its fourth month, ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT), discusses the nature of the Israeli problem and the challenges facing the Islamic movement in Palestine in seeking to resolve it.
This paper was presented by Zafar Bangash at the International Conference on 'The Seerah: A Power Perspective' convened by the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) and Crescent International in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on June 16-18, 2000. Zafar Bangash is Director of the ICIT. In this paper, he outlines his understanding of the nature of leadership in Islam, and practical aspects of a leader.
In a desperate bid to save his own skin and displaying total contempt for Muslim lives, US president Bill Clinton, a self-confessed liar and philanderer, unleashed cruise missiles against Iraq on December 16.
Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamed must be getting a sinking feeling that events are fast slipping out of his control. This is not to suggest that the Malaysian judiciary, press or the police have turned against him.
So despised is Uncle Sam globally that too close an identification with him can spell the death-knell for any political figure, especially in the Muslim world.
Debate about Palestine is often shrouded in the fog of individuals’ preferences. There is always a prior commitment to one side or the other and every piece of evidence is used merely to reinforce one’s own argument or debunk the other’s.
Since the signing of the peace accords between the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Israel four years ago in Washington, a whole industry has sprung up studying the peace process. There are departments, organisations and think-tanks all drum-beating about it.
Amid uncharacteristically strong defiance, the people of Malaysia have kept the tempo of demonstrations despite the arrest of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim last month.
Malaysia has been taken by storm since Anwar Ibrahim, the relatively youthful former deputy prime minister, was unceremoniously sacked on September 2.
The writer, V S Naipaul, like the apostate Salman Rushdie, is much revered in the west. Both are of Indian origin although Naipaul was born in Trinidad where his forefathers were taken as indentured labourers.
The Crescent International is often considered ‘blunt’ in its reporting of world events. We make no apologies for this. We tell the truth as we see it without mincing words. The western media, with minor exceptions, indulges in double-speak.
China is an emerging superpower. For decades, the west viewed it as an enemy because of its radical ideology. Many American cold warriors still consider it so despite far reaching changes in China. These have of necessity affected its foreign policy preferences as well. Within China, old ideas have had to be discarded and new realities taken into account.
It was a foregone conclusion that there would be political as well as economic fallout from Pakistan’s nuclear explosions. Western governments had made clear that Islamabad would suffer terribly if it followed India down the nuclear path. Such pressure weighed heavily on Pakistani leaders before they took the plunge.
Muslim masses around the world greeted Pakistan’s nuclear tests with joy while the enemies of Islam were gripped by grief. Soon after Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif announced that five successful tests had been conducted on May 28...
Great men live in people’s consciousness long after they have left the physical world. Sayyid Jamaluddin Afghani (Asadabadi), Allamah Muhammad Iqbal, Syed Qutb, Imam Khomeini, Maulana Maudoodi and Dr. Kalim Siddiqui all come into this category. They were men of great ideas which have helped shape the destiny of millions in this century.1
One of the biggest injustices of the twentieth century - the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel - is being celebrated in a manner bordering on the scandalous. The implantation of the zionist entity in Palestine has been rightly described asal-Nakba (the catastrophe) by Palestinians.
Lebanon, it is commonly joked in Beirut, has three presidents: Elias Hrawi, Rafic Hariri and Nabih Berri. ‘What about Hafez al-Asad?’ asked a recent visitor to Beirut.
Lebanon’s political, religious and cultural diversity was reflected in a two-day seminar held in Beirut on April 14 and 15.
In western mythology, Lebanon is generally identified with mayhem, warfare, hostage-takers and hijackers. Similarly, the name Hizbullah conjures up images of gun-toting Muslim zealots out to get ‘peaceful’ westerners.
Since its creation more than 50 years ago, Pakistan has been trapped in a crisis of identity. For the ruling elite, it has meant the continuation of raj by other means with all the attendant pomp, ceremony and priveleges.
THE AGONY OF ALGERIA By Martin Stone. Published by Columbia University Press, New York, NY, US. 1997. pp. 274. Pbk: US$16.50.
Fifty years after its creation, Pakistan is still unsure of its identity. Notwithstanding the Zionist settler entity in Palestine, Pakistan is the only country in the world to have come into existence on the basis of religion - Islam - but it has yet to find its moorings.
Globalization means not merely uniformity but also conformity to the dominant, primarily American culture. This applies as much to food as it does to music and clothes.
Barely a month ago, pundits from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were proclaiming from every soapbox how Southeast Asian leaders had ignored their warnings about an economic meltdown before the house collapsed on them.
Not only Muslim blood but even Muslim honour is cheap. One only has to glance at the world from Indonesia to Morocco and all places in-between for confirmation. The death toll is so horrendous that it defies description.
A BRUTAL FRIENDSHIP: THE WEST AND THE ARAB ELITE By Said K Aburish. Published by Victor Gollancz, London, UK. 1997. pp. 414. Hbk: UK20.00.
First there was the troika - the president, prime minister and army chief - that ruled Pakistan. Now it is a foursome, with the chief justice elbowing his way in. In a perverse sense, it could be called progress towards democracy by 25 percent.
Lebanon has become a graveyard for the Zionists. Thanks to the Hizbullah’s courageous resistance, the Zionist occupiers and their South Lebanese Army (SLA) surrogates have been dealt repeated blows sending them into panicked frenzy.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to much drum-beating in western capitals about the victory of capitalism over communism. Western commentators, intoxicated by their belief in the 'effortless superiority' of the west, made dire predictions about the imminent collapse of the People's Republic of China as well. Where caution should have prevailed, the imagination was allowed to run wild.
People, especially celebrities, assume a new life after death. And contrary to Mark Anthony’s claim in the play, Julius Caesar, the good that men do is not forgotten. A cynic might say that Anthony was only referring to men, not women. Perhaps.
The appointment last month of Dr Masoomeh Ebtekar as vice president in the cabinet of president Mohammad Khatami caused surprise among those unfamiliar with Iran.
Mention India and it conjures up images of the Taj Mahal, sitar music and dope-smoking hippies tranced by gurus pontificating on the virtues of transcendental meditation.
The turmoil that has hit Southeast Asian currencies should serve as a reminder to all those who move too fast in trying to catch up with the west or attempt improving their economies.
The world's best known and longest-serving political prisoner's 27-year ordeal finally came to an end when shortly before 4 pm on February 11, 1990, Nelson R Mandela, accompanied by his wife Winnie, walked out of the Victor Verster prison in Cape Town. It may have been a few short steps to the prison gate, but it was a giant leap for Mandela and indeed the whole of South Africa.
Most Muslims mistakenly believe that the rulers or regimes in the Muslim world are their greatest enemies. This is not to suggest that they are friends of the Muslims but one must look at the issues more deeply.
The Global Islamic Movement does not have to contend only with the tyrants in the Muslim world. Their real struggle is in fact against the western backers of unrepresentative regimes. If left alone, these regimes would collapse like a pack of cards.
While the secular regimes in the Muslim world have failed miserably in alleviating the problems of the masses, they continue to remain in power. What is the reason for this apparent paradox?
Muslim activists are often engaged in heated debate about the model to follow to bring about change in Muslim societies. The best model is, of course, none other than that of the noble Messenger of God, upon whom be peace and blessings.
History does not move in leaps and bounds. Most Muslims involved in Islamic activity, especially of the political party variety, want immediate results.
The Saudi assertion that only 343 pilgrims (pilgrims) died in Mina in the April 15 fire has been challenged by eyewitness accounts who put the death toll at nearly 4,000. More than 12,000 were injured, many of them in the stampede that followed as the fire spread.
The Anglo-Saudi friendship treaty (December 1915) opened up vast new opportunities for Abdul Aziz ibn Saud. He became the recipient of British largesse - 80,000 annually (60,000 annually plus a lump sum payment of 20,000). His task was to harass Turkish allies in eastern Arabia and to disrupt their supply lines.
Of all the calamities that have befallen the Muslims in the twentieth century - abolition of the khilafah, imposition of the nation-State structure, the loss of Palestine and Al-Quds to the zionists etc - the emergence of the House of Saud in the Arabian Peninsula is one of the most grievous.
In this paper, Zafar Bangash highlights some key elements of Dr Kalim’s Siddiqui’s understanding of the contemporary historical situation, the role of the Islamic movement as in instrument for the ‘total transformation’ of the Ummah, and the challenges facing the Islamic movement in attempting to fulfill this role.
It is bad enough when Americans indulge in jingoism and proclaim the non-existent virtue of their country. It is infinitely worse when non-Americans start drum-beating about it. Perhaps it is then time for some serious reflection.
This book not only provides a detailed account of last year's tragedy in Makkah but also examines the background to the emergence of the House of Saud. It was placed in control of the Haramain by the British in order to prevent the re-emergence of Islam in its dynamic, global role. Under the cover of’guardians of the Haramain', the House of Saud has served, first British, and now American, imperial designs to the detriment of Islam and the Muslims.1
Muslims everywhere are impatient for change. Impatience itself is not bad. It shows that Muslims are alert and anxious to see change in their societies. This springs from the fact that they are dissatisfied with the status quo. This is also a positive sign.