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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Naml….

I never realized that ants have been given so much importance in Islam. Not only there is a whole surah about ants in the quran, I just found out that Hazrat Ali (AS) also spoke about them in great detail.
Below is part of the Sermon 185 from the Nahjul Balagha that is about ants.

“Look at the ant with its small body and delicate form. It can hardly be seen in the corner of the eye, nor by the perception of the imagination – how it moves on the earth and leaps at its livelihood.  It carries the grain to its hole and deposits it in its place of stay.  It collects during the summer for its winter and during strength for the period of its weakness.  Its livelihood is guaranteed, and it is fed according to fitness.  Allah, the Kind, does not forget it and (Allah the Giver) does not deprive it, even though it may be in dry stone or fixed rocks.

If you have thought about its digestive tracts in it’s high and low parts, the carapace of its belly, and its eyes and its ears in its head you would be amazed at its creation and you would feel difficulty in describing it. Exalted is He who made it stand on its legs and erected it on its pillars (of limbs). No other originator took part with Him in its origination and no one having power assisted Him in its creation. If you tread on the paths of your imagination and reach its extremity it will not lead you anywhere except that the Originator of the ant is the same as He who is the Originator of the date-palm, because everything has (the same) delicacy and detail, and every living being has little difference.”

Why, oh why? [Women and Masjid (Pakistani Perspective)]

Growing up in a family like mine, I never realy felt any biases against myself due to my gender. I had the same curfew time and went to the same educational institutes like my brother. I learned to drive pretty much the same time and interesting both of us were taught to offer salah by our grandfather too. In fact, a lot of the times it was my brother who thought I always got the advantage, being a girl, and got away with a lot of things and now wen I think back, I cant really deny that completely 😛

But as I grew older and started going to Pakistan more often (and then later lived there), I realized, things were ‘culturally’ very different from what I had been taught at home and from what I had learned from books. I am not saying that Islam really differs too much between the two genders, but the difference is way too visible in the predominantly so-called Islamic State. You know, as it is said, if you want to understand Islam, look at Islam itself and not Muslims. This saying started to become a reality for me.

Soon, I found out there is not a single masjid nearby where women could go to pray if they wanted to. Funny. Yes, I am a Hanafi and I always knew that Prophet Mohammed (SAW) encouraged women to pray at home but did that mean women are not allowed into the masjid at all? I started digging for answers and interestingly, I found a hadith which says:

Hazrat Abdullah bin Omar (RA) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Do not prevent your women from attending the masjid, even though their houses are better for them” [Sunan Abu Dawood]

Not bad at all! This was all very logical…something I knew already but just didnt know from where it came. Praying at home is better for women but Islamically, men could not prevent women from praying at the masjid. The meaning was straightforward: a masjid is supposd to provide proper facilities for women at masjid and then it is upto the women whether they want to go or not.

Now, talking about fiqh. Hanafis are usually the most strict wen it comes to women praying at the masjid and as it is the predominant fiqh in Pakistan, I really needed to know whether it is something cultural or Hanafis really believe that going to masjid is, in fact, haram for women. I found the following:

Hazrat Aisha (RA) has been reported to have said, “If the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was alive to see what women are doing now, he would surely have prevented them from entering the masjid for prayer just as women of Banu Israel were prevented” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

Now the above is simply an opinion by Hazrat Aisha (RA), not a ruling. It is also of common knowledge that Hazrat Omar (RA) prevented women from attending masjid for prayer as part of the law during his reign without making it part of the religion itself. Futher, the fatwa on this matter must be scrutinized far more carefully:

“It is disliked for women to attend congregational prayers in the masjid even for Eid and Juma prayers, and even for old women attending night prayers, according to the more reliable position in Hanafi School, due to the corruption of time.” [Imam al-Haskafi, Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr, 1/566]

So, again, it is disliked and not considered haram as the common misconception in Pakistan. Further, if you look at the Hanafi rules, you will in fact find various laws regarding how a woman should behave in a masjid if she is having her periods. Now , if according to Pakistani jurists, women are not allowed in the masjid at all, why do we need to talk about wat a women should do if her periods start when she is in the masjid?

And then at times I think, if women are allowed to go freely to markets, lawn exhibitions, fashion shows and social gatherings where men and women intermingle, often (not always obviously) in the most un-Islamic manner, then how can going to masjid be considered haram? Sadly, in a country like Pakistan, even the most religious women often have to miss their prayers because they were either stuck in a traffic jam or were buying essentials at a market. You would be shocked to know that most shopping malls in Pakistan do not even have a prayer room for women and interestingly, most shops remain closed till around 1 in the afternoon.

So what are women supposed to do?

Well, I guess just wat they have been doing so far…prayers can wait!

900 choohay

I am sure you have all heard this saying, ‘900 chohay kha key billi hajj ko chali.’

This has always intrigued me to a great extent but I almost always refrain from talking about it because it usually ends up in a really nasty debate. But well, isnt my blog the best place for controversies? It has always been so why not start a new one 😉

A friend of mine said to me just yesterday, “If you want to make enemies, try changing something.” Although it was said in a completely different situation, it fits quite well over here too.

We belong to a society where people like to poke their noses into everyone’s affairs, love to interfere and give unwanted/unasked for advices. So obviously when they see you doing something new, they will almost always shower you with not only stares but also offensive and lousy comments. The comments become even more coarse if your attempt is towards becoming a better muslim. And the best way to malign people trying to improve themselves is by reminding them of what wrong things they might have done in the past or they might still be doing, and it all might include the above mentioned saying.

Now, I would like to ask, if improvement is so loathsome, they how did Hazrat Omar (RA), who was once the greatest enemy of Islam, became one of the most loved companions of the Prophet (SAW), one of the most respected Caliph ever and of the Ashra-e-Mubashira? And to remind you all, Hazrat Omar (RA) was not at all like Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddiq (RA) who simply just believed whatever the Prophet (SAW) said. He had an inquisitive mind and always asked a lot of questions. An example is the time wen he was contemplating whether intake of alcohol is permissible or not:

“When the prohibition of alcohol was [being] revealed, Hazrat Omar (RA) said, “O Allah! Clarify for us the [matter of] alcohol with a clear statement,” thus the verse which is in Baqarah was revealed, “They ask you about alcohol and gambling. Say: In them is great sin…” So Hazrat Omar (RA) was called and it was read to him and he said [again], “O Allah! Clarify for us the [matter of] alcohol with a clear statement.” Thereafter the verse in Al-Nisa was revealed: “O you who believe! Do not approach prayer while you are drunk…” Hence, the herald of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) would call out when the prayer was about to commence, “Let no drunken approach the prayer,” and Hazrat Omar (RA) was called [again] and it was read to him. He said, “O Allah! Clarify for us the [matter of] alcohol with a clear statement,” so the verse was revealed, “…so will you not refrain?!” Hazrat Omar (RA) said, “We refrain.” (Al-Trimidhi)

So what will you call Hazrat Omar (RA)? I am sure this does not change your opinion about him as one of the best people to have served Islam. So why are we now so reluctant to accept people who are trying to change themselves in this era? Why do we have to call them terrorists? or brainwashed? or rigid? or mulla? On the other extreme are the people who would always tell you that you arent doing enough. They will tell you, in the most unpleasant manner that you are not covering yourself properly, getting eye brows done is haram or simply even using the Internet is haram (Unique has a great post on this here). Please, can we see them as humans trying hard to fight temptations? And why do we want people to be simply black or white? Why cant there be shades of gray? If things were so easily changed by 180 degrees over night, then why was Qur’an revealed in 23 years? Why were the greatest Muslims, the people who had the biggest motivation, the Prophet (SAW) himself, right in front of their eyes not forced to change themselves over night? Because, changes that happen slowly and steadily with time are more stable, firm and dependable.

So next time you see someone trying to make a positive change in his/her life, try to stay quite if you have nothing good to say. Dont be a demotivating factor if you cant be a motivating one.

Note: Unique has another post which somehow relates to this topic. Although its about a TV show which is about Non-Muslims ‘behaving’ like Muslims, I think its very relevant because most of us, even though born in Muslim families hardly know anything about Islam. So when we, personally, decide to follow Islam, it is pretty much like a Non-Muslim, with a Muslim name, trying to grasp concepts. You may also like to read a post on maqasid which talks about the same program.

Blissful Marriage (6)

Divorce

Now this actually will be difficult. I was kind of delaying this post as I usually dislike talking about things which make me unhappy but its a reality of life and a very important topic as far as marriages are concerned: obviously, because marriages are the reason why people get divorced in the first place 😛 . I guess, I need to do this very very seriously. So, here it goes:

Qur’an puts a lot of emphasis on divorce and there is a complete surah (Sura At-Talaq) talking about how, if needed, divorces should be dealt with. It must be kept in mind that divorce, although allowed, should only be exercised when all possible efforts of reconciliation have failed.

The Prophet (SAW) said, “With Allāh, the most detestable of all things permitted is divorce.”

It is, thus, very important to be sure you are getting married to the right person. Obviously, no one can foresee the future but getting married to the right person surely reduces the risks. But, if a situation arises where there is no option but to part ways, it is important to follow the rules as laid by the Qur’an.

O Prophet! When ye do divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately), their prescribed periods: And fear Allah your Lord: and turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness, those are limits set by Allah. and any who transgresses the limits of Allah, does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance Allah will bring about thereafter some new situation. [65:1]

Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy. [65:4]

From the above verses, it can be clearly seen that a divorced woman must not leave her husband’s house (or be forced to leave) until she has completed her iddat period which starts from the time the divorce is announced (when she is not having her periods) till she has had three periods. If the woman is past her menopausal age, iddat is for three months and if she is pregnant, iddat ends with pregnancy. This whole time, the woman remains her husband’s responsibility and must remain in his house.

Let the women live (in ‘iddat) in the same style as ye live, according to your means: Annoy them not, so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs), then spend (your substance) on them until they deliver their burden: and if they suckle your (offspring), give them their recompense: and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another woman suckle (the child) on the (father’s) behalf. [65:6]

Once the iddat is completed, the woman has to then leave the house in front of two witnesses.

Thus when they fulfil their term appointed, either take them back on equitable terms or part with them on equitable terms; and take for witness two persons from among you, endued with justice, and establish the evidence (as) before Allah. Such is the admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out. [65:2]

Obviously, the divorced couple might realize later that they have made a mistake and might wish to remarry. There is a condition to it, commonly referred to as, Halalah:

A man divorced his wife and she married another man who proved to be impotent and divorced her. She could not get her satisfaction from him, and after a while he divorced her. Then she came to the Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! My first husband divorced me and then I married another man who entered upon me to consummate his marriage but he proved to be impotent and did not approach me except once during which he benefited nothing from me. Can I remarry my first husband in this case?” Allah’s Apostle said, “It is unlawful to marry your first husband till the other husband consummates his marriage with you.” [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 190]

Triple Talaaq

There are four famous different opinions among the scholars on this issue. The first opinion, which is the opinion of the four dominant schools of thought, is three divorces given together at a time befall and the woman is divorced. The second opinion is if the woman has carried out sexual intercourse, then three will befall, and if she hasnt, then only one will happen. The third opinion is from the Shia school of thought, which says that three divorces at a time are nothing and have no legal status at all. The fourth opinion is this is only to be counted as one divorce. Among these different views the fourth opinion is the strongest and most logical.

The opinion that three divorces uttered at once is to be only counted as one is the opinion of Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddiq (RA) and Hazrat Omar (RA) during the first two years of his caliphate and several of the Ashra-e-mubashira. The conclusive opinion of these sahaba is from authentic texts, which shed light on this controversial issue. It was only during Hazrat Omar’s (RA) caliphate that triple talaaq was imposed as a law of the state and not as an innovation in deen.

In the time of Allahs Messenger (saw), Abu Bakr, and the first two years of the caliphate of Hazrat Omar (RA), the three pronouncements of divorce were regarded as one divorce. So Hazrat Omar (RA) said: People have made haste in an affair they used to practice with patience, so supposing we execute it on them, so he executed it on them.

Jokingly Divorcing the Wife

Although it sounds absurd but some people do end up saying the ‘three words’ as a joke! A fatwa on this might be able to clarify confusions about it.

Wife’s Right to Divorce

Many people think of it as a taboo to discuss divorce before getting married. Now thats an important aspect of being married so why be so scared of it? Discuss at length how you want the ‘contract’ to be finalised and this is one important issue. Although I was not able to find anything in the Qur’an about it, you might like to see a fatwa on this.

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Blissful Marriage (4)

Polygamy

Women, hate me for saying this out loud once again, but polygamy is allowed in Islam.

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (among them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. [4:3]

Men, stop being so happy now. There are conditions that you must fulfill to justify marrying another woman!

The Arabs were guilty of a double injustice to widows: they did not give them and their children a share in the inheritance of their husbands, nor were then inclined to marry widows who had children, because the responsibility for the maintenance of the children would in that case devolve upon them. The Qur’an remedied both these problems by giving a share of inheritance to the widow with a share also for the orphans, and it commended the taking of such widows in marriage by allowing polygamy expressly for this purpose. It should, therefore, be clearly understood that monogamy is the rule in Islam and polygamy is only allowed in certain circumstances. This permission was given at a time when the wars, which were forced on the Muslims, had decimated the men, so that many widows and orphans were left for whom it was necessary to provide. A provision was made in the form of polygamy so that the widow should find a home and protector and the orphans should have paternal care and affection.

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). [4:34]

Another condition that must not be ignored is that a man has to be able to deal justly with all of his wives. Now thats quite a task. Dealing with one wife can be difficult for men, I only wonder how men can deal justly with 2, 3 or even 4 wives.

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Blissful Marriage

One day when Hazrat Aisha (RA) was spinning some woollen thread, she looked up to see Prophet (SAW) with a golden glow of contentment on his face, mending his sandals, sitting beside her on the floor. She praised him with a poetic quotation and he, never to be outdone in gallantary, kissed her forehead gently and said, “O Aisha (RA), may Allah (SWT) reward you well. I am not as much the source of joy to you as you are to me.”

we live in a society that revolves around the term ‘wedding’; be it social gatherings or tv serials, nothing is deemed complete without it. Our businesses thrive on this term: fashion designers, make up artists, caterers, photograhers and even carpenters would have been starving if this term didnt sum up the whole meaning of our lives. But how many of us look beyond this term and think of a closely related term which in fact is the reality behind the contract signing ritual: marriage. Sadly, very few!

I was difficult to be convinced to get married. When I finally did agree to get married, I knew I had chosen just the right guy. I had made a decision and I knew I could not let anyone or anything weaken my decision. For that I needed to strengthen my decision further which could only come through knowledge.

I was engaged for exactly 9 months and during this time I had to mentally prepare myself to live in a house I had never seen even in my dreams, leave the only country in the world I called home, call a new family my own and dedicate my whole life to a man I had met only thrice. This was all too overwhelming for me. Alhamdulillah, my susraal was always a relief and because of them I knew I was getting married to the right person. But, there were still people who would instill all sorts of negativity in me about my decision. So, instead of thinking about this all the time, I was able to find ample time to study about Islamic Marriages (interestingly, there is not much stress on weddings in Islam).

I am not saying that I had an Islamic wedding but I had a very simple wedding as compared to most weddings I have attended in the past few years. I wish I could have an even simpler wedding if I had not gotten weak. Some times you just have to give up cuz of ur own extended family’s cultural values. I wish I could have been stronger. I am not even saying that I adjusted to my new life style immediately, in fact I am still trying to adjust. After all, even water takes a while to calm down after its hit by a small pebble and no matter how much you prepare yourself, you dont really know how the experience would be until u start living it.

But that does not mean you should not prepare yourself at all. You cannot just enter the examination hall with no preparation at all unless you wish to fail. You might not be able to solve all the problems, but at least you have to make an attempt. And that is precisely the reason why I am doing this series of posts: I want to share what I have found regarding marriage with all of my readers, knowledge might give you the courage to initiate the change. If you are a guy, its a bit easier to be assertive in our society. Go ahead and be the change you want to see.

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