Posted in islam, religion

The origin of the art of Islamic calligraphy is attributed to Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib


Ismailimail

“The beauty of writing is the tongue of the hand and the elegance of thought.”
Ali ibn Abi Talib

Blue Qur'an Bifolium from the “Blue Quran,” dated North Africa, 9th-10th century. Sura al-Furqan (The Criterion), 25:55 – 64. Aga Khan Museum

From the Greek kallos (beauty) and graphein (to write), calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. Although the development of sophisticated calligraphy as an art form is not unique to Islamic cultures, it has been used to a much greater extent and in varied ways, and in all art forms and materials in Islamic civilisations.

Sources credit Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad and the first Imam of the Shia, as the developer of the Kufic script. This is the oldest style of Quranic calligraphy, named after the city of Kufa in Iraq, where the script is believed to have originated. Hazrat Ali taught that each letter of…

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Posted in freedom, pakistan, pluralism, religion, social evils

Pakistan’s Easter 2016 – Not a beginning to be proud of.


Easter is wonderful occasion celebrating new beginnings with the arrival of spring. With treats like marzipan and hot cross buns, the festivities are such a treat. Like every year, I got a generous share from my Christian friends. I have known many Christians and I have not seen any of them belittling their other sects. Catholics and Protestants live so peacefully. Some segments of Muslims in Pakistan do not. They are so much into sectarian divide and violence that sometimes it is just a shame. And then there are others, who then try to bridge the gaps and portray the best possible character.

Yesterday, many Christians and people from other religions – mostly children and women, lost their lives on a day when new beginnings are celebrated. Such a shameful act. We can blame the government and get angry on the Taliban terrorist but their nexus is so complex that one can’t help much – they are bloody corrupt. However, the mindset of discrimination also exists far and wide in the disguise of being both religious or moderate and it is time to face the mirrors. So, if you have ever professed your religion and your interpretation of your religion as the best or only truth, then you are as much to blame. If you have ever thought or said anything demeaning about another sect or minority in order to feed your false pride, you are equally to blame. Because even you are myopic even to consider only your religion is superior, you are demeaning the other, and one can surely be not the ‘best’ follower. Everyone sins. If you have curbed any human right in the name of religion, you have done bad, if not worse or worst.

I have been harassed by such people in my teenage years. When my chemistry teacher (and not Islamic Studies teacher) at my school started discriminating students based on their sect, I should have understood that Pakistan is brewing to be this messed up and as an adult, I should anticipate this kind of world. I was naive; we are naive. 15 years later, we are truly messed up. Messed up people who are Qadri apologists, blasphemy law supports, India haters, West haters, people who cry on not getting Iqbal Day holiday, people against Holi/Holy holidays, or destroyers of happy celebrations of our brothers and sisters.

Thanks to some of the so-called teachers, not only in Madrassahs but all over, in families, in mosques, in political parties. Let’s face it, many people who are considered honorable in certain societies, are the biggest hate mongers/preachers because they are themselves so corrupt that they can’t see the wrath of their fears. The minute you identify one, just bombard them with questions regarding their intention. This nation needs reality checks every minute. Asking a question requires guts, which we do not encourage or teach in our society, but we need to show some courage now. So after Mullah in the mosque gives a sermon or some uncle, teacher or friend gives advice in a drawing-room, let’s pretend that we have a Q&A session to follow. I am sure many of the people will not utter a word, forget the questions because they are fearful that mobs would just harass them and incite their fears over others. We have become so afraid of God that we have forgotten the softer side of love.

We need street smartness to religion. We have become book-worms. We need intellectuals of religion who can question in order to understand better. Those who teach their kids to question, are confident and greatest teachers who do not run on their ego.

Posted in pakistan, religion, social evils

Mumtaz Qadri’s execution but what’s next…


The real win for Pakistan will be on the day when the blasphemy law would be eradicated because it is the root cause. I hope when #minorities are protected and their so-called religious abusers are treated the same way because even after Qadri’s execution, we have not reached to that discussion. The talk is still about having negative comments about blasphemy law, and not actual blasphemy law and so-called blasphemy. Long way to go.

Posted in beliefs, pluralism, realizations, reflections

Bubble that bursts


Filter bubble is the worst thing that a human mind (and as a result, human civilization) can experience, however it is not alone a google/internet phenomena. It has existed in all eras. We held our preconceived notions and unquestioned optimism so close that it can become a kind of grave for us.

Posted in culture, happiness, islam, poetry

VII-VIII-VI


No Nauroze is complete
without making some art
blossoming flowers and the garlands
pearl set on the wrist
brush strokes over the egg shell
pen replaces the sword
warrior horses have adorned the ankle bells

 

The army of piety
choose your cause wisely
be the ambassadors of peace and love
sans discrimination
we all are sons and daughter
of mother earth
conserve our relations
with all things natural

 

First ray piercing through clouds
on the wishing pond
where gold fishes dance
amid glitter, coins and gold
O dervish, let us whirl in joy
old is ever-new; new ornaments the old

Posted in beliefs, history, islam, lessons, pluralism, reflections, religion

Paris, I love you – Charlie Hebdo attack and the bottom line


I wanted to write whole argument on why people think that religion is dividing and actually how myopic is our understanding of violence and fanaticism. The reason for addressing these two issues were both the cartoon and the horrific massacre by the terrorists. However, I will skip it for another day as in crisis, we need more time to reflect and try to simplify the complex without corrupting the beauty of its complexity. It is the time for analysis, conclusions can wait.

The following is a perfect response by a friend and her wisdom:

How can a cartoon or a video destroy and mess with your faith and how can murder save and avenge it?

I would like to include other beliefs such as sexual diversity or human dignity or equality because apparently both the publication house (in terms of an institution) failed big time in salvaging their own ego and fanaticism through a display of hate speech in disguise of satire, and terrorists I believe they are godly as I highlighted previously in this post – It is NEVER okay. In short, cartoonist and staff members did not deserve it despite of whatever they expressed.

Paris is the worst place for this kind of subtle media fanaticism (with forced freedom) and apparent religious fanaticism. France is revered for love, democracy and human rights in historical and cultural narrative.

In connection to the particular cartoon, Muslim are fighting a tough battle internally and at global level (illustration) and this is the time for everyone to practice empathy and compassion – we do not need more oil in the fire. At the same time, LGBTQ community world over is trying every day to get their voice heard and fighting for identity in vulnerable situations and this is the time for everyone to practice empathy and compassion – they do not need more oil in the fire especially with backlash from religious fanatics.


 

 

Response after some initial responses from other channels: In discussions, I believe everyone should condemn the terrorist attack but then you are forced to advocate freedom of speech in its current defunct status. People all over the world, who are neither terrorists nor fanatics but moderate religious individuals are victimized through insult of such media content and the expectations of accepting it with a pinch of salt or displayed a populist standard of sense of humor. There is no empathy for receivers. Press had its voice but where is the voice of people who felt offended and never resorted to violence. Participation is never taken seriously, it is judged miserably. One ratified forced response is the only thing accepted – you can not lie on a continuum, you cannot question the sanctity of press. Where does free speech goes then?

The initial reflections above were not to equate in terms of moral equivalence of the both acts – their degree of fanaticism and approach of exercising is very different. For me, it is not fair that if I have to condemn one then I have to the take side of another. There are always more than two sides – the coin metaphor does not fit all.

In the start of this blog post, I clearly said it is not the right time but I guess we need to address the multi-dimensionality of the issue. Being an avid art practitioner and advocate, I am all for responsible use of freedom of speech and expression – it is not an alien concept and much possible, as exercising moderation in whatever you do is seen as a natural law. We all have desires but we find the appropriate place and approach to satiate them. We do not curb our expression but find the right spot. I am not pro-forced freedom rather it is important to foster positive interdependence (it is not simple as a clause on free speech in constitutions because blasphemy laws can be equally dangerous to freedom). Why – simply because most people will choose autonomy over freedom and autonomy can not be exercised in isolation – it needs positive interdependence. At the same time, I am completely against banning; I am pro-debate in public. I guess, as an institution, this publication has failed big time – nothing less than subtle fanaticism for me (even we remove the horrific massacre that followed). Moreover, there is no justification and tolerance for attacking or killing someone.

At this moment, my heart goes to the families of victims – May the souls of departed rest in eternal peace.

Posted in care, life, one story at a time., pakistan, poetry, religion, social evils

It is NEVER okay.


Oh the landlords of faith
It is not okay

You are not the learners[1]
Enemies of learners and children
Disgrace to Abraham’s sacrifice
How can God thrive on human blood?
It is not okay

You are not the learners
Your thirst did not sanction two drops
I can hear the cries of children – some dead, some crippled
From schools, dinner tables and heaven above
It is not okay

You are not the learners
Sans humility, your ego is godly
Is not blasphemy applied to you?
You think you are godly
It is not okay

You are not the learners
You are politically racist – have no religion
Christian, Hindu, Army, Civilian, Muslim
Who can kill his own brothers and sisters?
It is not okay

You are not the learner
Dread sight of martyr learners in your afterlife
Their Sin: upholding the title of Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqat[2]
Before God, you will have to answer them
It is not okay

You are not the learners
Why would you respect the learners?
Intellect is not be used in religion, you say
Religion disapproves your reason
It is not okay

You are not the learners
If the learner in me would have to fight back
I will never pick up a gun or sword
Feel free to die in shame
It was not okay

In solidarity with Muslims, genuine learners, children of Peshawar, Pakistan and civilians of Sydney, Australia.


[1] In Arabic, Taliban

[2] In Arabic, Finest of all creatures (as bestowed with the power of intellect)