Padmavati: The myth or legend?

With the release of the trailer of this high budget, much awaited movie, Padmavati, has come the flood of comments praising how wonderful and grand the whole trailer looks.

Now I don’t have any issues with it being told as a folklore, or for entertainment purposes of the majority hindu audience, just as the intended poem written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi (a muslim poet, some 200 years after khilji’s death). But this must be made clear to the audience just as the poet himself did at the end of his poem. It must be made clear that its based on the poem and its not supported by any historical facts.

It must also be noted that while Ranveer Singh looks just as savage as a ruthless villain should look like, Alauddin Khilji was not at all like that. He certainly did not have a waxed chest or six abs like Ranveer and certainly did not eat raw meat. He can easily be defined as one of the most successful Muslim rulers in India and he expanded his sultanate in all directions from Delhi in a very short span of time, defeating on Hindu Raja after the other. Yes, the Hindus might say that he plundered and looted (and Muslims might argue that he was not unkind with slaves and was just with spoils of war), but thats what happens in wars: the winner gets all; women included.

Attacking Chittor was probably just part of the expansion plan. It seems rather unrealistic and unreasonable that someone like Alauddin would have attacked Chittor for a woman he had never even seen. Rani Padmi might have become an important part of spoils of war for him if she stayed alive but a woman, no matter how beautiful she might be, would not have been the reason for siege for an ambitious ruler like Alauddin who didn’t even spare his own uncle.

Probably I won’t be watching this movie (just like last 5 movies by Sanjay Leela Bhansali) but I would urge everyone to please read a little about Alauddin Khilji as a ruler from History books and not just judge him from a movie based on a poem written only for entertainment purposes.

PS: Ranveer looks hot tbh, but there is shahid kapoor as well in the movie 😉

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Happy Independence Day?

32 killed in Karachi over MP’s murder. 2.5 million affected by floods. President chilling in the UK. And begging. Mostly chilling though.

Whether I like her not, Fatima Bhutto’s tweet summed up the whole situation in a manner that can only be called complete.

Pakistan is going through a really tough time and the President’s visit could not be more untimely than this. During this one past week, there has been a plane crash killing 152 innocent civilians, the country is drowning in a flood which is most probably the worst in 80 years, an MPA has been murdered brutally in a masjid and the violence that followed has already taken lives of nearly 50 people already. And its not only about people who have died, what about the people who are still alive? There has been a financial fall out of all these events. The flood has hugely affected agricultural lands in both Punjab and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, 2.5 million people have been displaced and immediately need food and shelter, vehicles worth millions of rupees were torched yesterday in Karachi and businessmen have lost billions in the strike today.

And our politicians are happy justifying their fake degrees while our President is partying in London in his suite at Hyatt Regency where he has booked 18 rooms on the same floor where half of the rooms will remain unoccupied during his visit. I wish the President had listened to other politicians for a change!

Just 10 days later Pakistan will be celebrating its 63rd independence anniversary, but is there something to celebrate?

What really went wrong?

A country which was thought of as some state in India merely a decade ago now seems to have some sort of connection with anything and everything hat makes headlines. Be it the alleged father of MJ’s youngest son ‘Blanket’, Sania Mirza’s husband Shoaib Malik who notoriously married an Indian girl and then denied it only to later accept it, the young men who paralyzed Mumbai for 3 days and the lone operator Faisal Shehzad who nearly blew up Times Square all happen to be Pakistanis.

I wonder at times what really went wrong? Was it Jinnah’s death when Pakistan was only in its infancy days? Or was it the undemolished (is that a word!?) feudal system? Or was it the corrupt political system?

Procrastination

No its not Twitter, Facebook or Google Buzz. It might be for the youth but for the majority of Pakistanis, its politics. And arent we always asking the most stupid questions. Here are some of the most commonly discussed unsolved questions and my answers (you dont obviously have to agree to them 😛 ):

Should Pakistan have been created?

It was created more than 6 decades back. Can we talk about improvement instead?

Kashmir hamara hai.

LOL. Is that a joke? We have already lost half of our country. We are finding it difficult to hold on to wat we are left with. What will we do with a part of land which is not ours yet?

Pakistan should be an Islamic State.

It was established as Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1973 constitution.

Free judiciary (a.k.a. CJ mafia’s authority) will make Pakistan the most democratic, crime free country in the world.

Oh yea? Keep dreaming. It has only established a criminal, who attempted to murder the COAS, the most ‘trustworthy’ and ‘respected’ person in the country.

Only Khilafat-e-Rashida can save us.

Like Khilafat-e-Rashida saved the Khalifas themselves? I think we need to remind ourselves that both Hazrat Usman (RA) and Hazrat Ali (RA) were murdered by the so-called Muslims only. We only deserve people like Zardari to rule us.

The story of Majid Nawaz

Note: What follows is by Majid Nawaz himself and was published in Guardian.

Ten years ago, I was sent from Britain by a global Islamist group to recruit in Pakistan. Stepping off the plane in Lahore, I slowly breathed in the scene around me. With minarets and azans almost like background props and mood music, the Muslims I saw in every direction whetted my appetite for revolution. We were going to radicalise the country and foment a military coup against the democratically elected “client” ruler, Nawaz Sharif. I was 21 years old. I was part of a vanguard to set up a Pakistani branch of Hizb ut Tahrir (HT), so that their future caliphate could go nuclear. Nothing was going to get in my way. Nothing did.

Ten years on (during which I spent five years as a prisoner of conscience in Egypt), I recently returned. I had left HT and recanted Islamism. I was back, determined to reverse some of the Islamist fever I had helped instil. Whereas in 1999 Pakistanis thought my wife and I were Arabs due to her “Egyptian” headscarf, now rumours were rife about acid attacks on women walking the streets uncovered. I was older, wiser and smarter. This time, the revolution would be against Islamist hegemony.

I was on a four-week, nationwide university tour to speak against Islamism and to urge students towards pluralistic, democratic values. Contrary to western mythology, Islamist radicals are found among the educated, the elite and the socially mobile. Yes, a minority of Pakistani madrasas provide an ample supply of jihadists, but the ideologues are smart and modern.

Bin Laden, Zawahiri or, indeed, the many pseudo-intellectuals of HT are highly educated and socially mobile. Many madrasas are simply antiquated religious schools belonging to the conservative but apolitical Barelvis, Pakistan’s majority religious denomination. Jihadists despise this faction. Nine days ago, a jihadist blew himself up in a Pakistani mosque, murdering the leader of the Barelvis, Dr Sarfraz Naeemi. The poor are simply used as jihadist cannon fodder.

Thus it was that we began in Karachi and worked our way around the country. We ventured deep into the deserts of interior Sindh and then across into the turbulent outback of Quetta, Balochistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaida fighters are said to be headquartered. From there, we crossed into the Punjab, ascended into Kashmir and then finally up to Islamabad. In our flak jackets, with a security detail in tow, we addressed thousands of students.

In Quetta, armed separatist students threatened to shoot anyone coming to the talk. Their gripe was with the Pakistani government from which they wanted independence. Like so many things in Pakistan, our role in this was eventually settled over a cup of “chai”.

My first real taste of the diversity that is Pakistan came here. I met popular revolutionaries who despised Islamists, yet wanted to secede, in some cases by violence, from Pakistan and “Punjabi hegemony”. They began their speeches in the name of Allah, but ended with: “Death to Pakistan.” They blamed the “Punjabi” government squarely for the ills of jihadism. Destroying Pakistan was not exactly on my agenda.

Pakistan and its problems are not monolithic and are not all related to Islamism. Corruption, ethnic and economic factors and a lack of leadership all play out differently in each province. I found the people of Sindh to be hugely sympathetic to our message. Conversely, the people of Mirpur, in “free” Kashmir, from where more than 90% of British Pakistanis come, and where sterling is a currency of choice, were hostile to the west. It was in Punjab where I found most of the denial culture. The west was to blame for everything, including sending me as an agent to set up HT in Pakistan and then as an agent trying to push back HT. You see, the trouble with conspiracy theories is that they were invented by the infidel west to stop Muslims thinking.

In Lahore, I was attacked by a British member of HT. He, like many others, had left the UK to recruit vulnerable Pakistani students. He was also a teacher at a private university. After this attack, we started receiving death threats. Our security advised us to cancel the rest of the tour. We chose to carry on.

It is true that Pakistan has exported its fair share of Jamaat-e-Islami Islamists and pro-Taliban jihadists to British shores. Many Pakistanis are in denial about the role their country has played in the growth of Islamism and jihadism. When we pushed them, however, most acknowledged the rise of the “religious right”. Denial is never a good thing when trying to solve a problem.

Here in the UK, after the release without charge of the 12 Pakistani student terrorism suspects, we could do with a dose of truth serum too. During the rise of British Islamism in the 1990s, HT was exported to Pakistan from Britain by the likes of me. In London, in 2000, I met Sandhurst-trained Pakistani officers who had been recruited from here and were being sent back to Pakistan to instigate a military coup.

The man who physically attacked me was a British citizen who joined HT in the UK. British members of HT also played crucial roles in exporting their group to Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, Mauritius, India, Egypt and Denmark, among others. I know because in each case I know the people who did it. Only when the people and governments of Britain and Pakistan take responsibility for the rot on their doorsteps can we start moving seriously towards solutions for the problem of extremism.

Our tour was partly to initiate such a thought process. By showing people that one does not have to be against Islam to be against Islamism, we hope to resolve the moral dilemma that many face.

Military means can only ever be a stop-gap. As the near Taliban takeover in the northern regions of Pakistan showed, if civil society cannot segregate the masses from Islamists, then American drone attacks will be the least of our worries.

Do more

Continued from the previous post. Obviously wat follows is merely my opinion based on wat I have read, seen and gone through. It will be a bit random as I am only trying to put everything in one single post.

After the death of the Prophet (SAW), the time of the Caliphate of Hazrat Omar (RA) is usually deemed to be the time wen the maqasid of sharia were being achieved although a lot of people had (and still have) reservations. Obviously, the best time has to be that of the Khulfa-e-rashideen but the other three Khulfa had to deal with many civil wars during their eras and most of the time we forget talking about their reforms and ‘good governance’. Since then, there has been no muslim ruler (Hazrat Omar (RA) hated to be called a ruler, he preferred the modest Ameer-ul-momineen) who has been able to achieve even a fraction of that.

Today, as we see the world, it is a shame that it is in fact the Scandinavian countries that come close to achieving the maqasid of sharia. Obviously they have laws that permit vulagrity, illegitimate live-in couples and so on so forth but they value life and the government protects their right to be allowed to practice the religion they belong to, to get free education, to get opportunities of employment and to get their wealth and property protected (arsonists dont go around burning other people’s property there).

Challenging the writ of the State

Soon after the death of the Prophet (SAW), the Ridda Wars broke out because Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddiq’s (RA) Caliphate was not accepted and the writ of the State was challenged. The issue got so heated up that there was no option but to go on war.

Although there were lot more misunderstandings in the coming years, the writ of the state was once again challenged in a brutal way during Jang-e-Siffin by a group of people who were known to be very pious Muslims but in fact ended up calling Hazrat Ali (RA) kafir. This whole issue led to Jang-e-Neherwan and later shahadat of Hazrat Ali (RA).

Today, the writ of the state is being challenged in the worst manner. I dont like the government and it is their mistakes that its all come so far.

It is important to understand that everyone sporting a beard is not someone who has the authority to implement a sharia. The Prophet (SAW) has very clearly talked about such people: “There would be a group of people among you who would recite the Book but it will not go beyond their throats, they would pass through teachings of the Deen as an arrow passes through the prey. They would kill the followers of Islam and spare the idol-worshippers.” [Sahih Muslim]

Zaid Hamid on Operation Rah-e-Haq

PS: I am not a Zaid Hamid fan and I do not necessarily agree with everything that he says but I think he has summed it up quite well in the video

Maqasid al-Sharia

Ibn-e-Maryam hua kare koi
Mere dukh ki dawa kare koi

I know I am bad with the shairi thing and most probably I have gotten the shair above wrong, apologies for that, but thats not the point of the post. The point of the post is to talk about the self-proclaimed sualiheen aka holy beings aka messiahs aka Talibans.

But before talking about Taliban and whether we like em, support em or not, i think its important to understand what the buzz word, Sharia, is all about.

Now this will obviously be a summary and/or an introduction to the topic and will not include a lot of minute details.

Sharia

The word Sharia itself has been used only once in the Qur’an [45:18] and can literally be translated to mean ‘way’ or ‘path.’ It is the legal framework (based on fiqh) for the private and public lives of Muslims providing laws for politics, economics, family, hygiene and several social issues. (Do read The Comparison with the Common Law here)

The objectives of Sharia

The law was basically developed for the falah of the people, both in this world and in the hereafter and thus include all aspects of life.

  1. Protection of Religion: To protect the freedom of practicing religion, specifically the 5 basic pillars of Islam. To provide basic health facilities so as to enable all to undertake activities of physical ibadat (includes marriage at appropriate age) and help people in earning halal rizq.
  2. Protection of Life: To promote meditation through salaat (mental relaxation) and physical health through medical facilities and exercise. Family health to be protected through laws on quarantines during epidemics and the isolation of persons with contagious disease. This category also includes laws of revenge, qisas andhomicide.
  3. Protection of Progeny: To provide medical facilities to the females to ensure a healthier society. This category also includes the laws related to marriage (the contract itself), divorce, custody of children, adoption, inheritance and also illegitimate relationships (zina) and the children that might be born as a result of such relationships.
  4. Protection of The Mind: To provide services that would provide mental peace and laws that keep people away from alcohol, drugs and other addictive habits. This may include a lot of laws that govern the economical condition of the society (poor economic condition can lead to mental imbalance) and false accusations.
  5. Protection of Wealth: To facilitate people in ensuring proper usage of their zakaat. This category also includes laws about financial independence of women and regulations about property, trade, preservation of property rights and the punishments for stealing.

Do we know of a country that protects religion, life, progeny, mind and wealth?