Stories about fatwa

Would surrogacy ever be accepted in Pakistan?

Divorce in Pakistan has become a common occurrence in Pakistan. There are various reasons why couples are inclined to go down that path – sometimes it’s the couple’s inability to understand one another, other times it is because of issues related to dowry; and in some cases, it is because the woman is unable to bear a child, for which the husband divorces his wife and marries someone else, someone more fertile. Personally, I felt that last reason was a completely baseless one to leave someone. If a couple, for some reason, cannot conceive, adoption is always an exceedingly viable ...

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Killed for enjoying music? What is the truth?

Kohistan is a settled district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the predominantly non-Pashtun Hazara Division. It stretches to about 7,500 square kilometres on both, the east and west of the Indus River. The population of Kohistan is over 550,000 and the people speak Shina and Kohistani – both of Dardic origin. However, like the controversial video scandal the culture, history and ethnography of Kohistan is a mystery for the common Pakistani. Western Kohistan was a part of Swat-Kohistan in the district of Swat but back in the 70s it was made a separate district as was eastern Kohistan. Interestingly, the Kohistan district has two judicial systems in practice. Western Kohistan is ...

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Beat polio even if you have to “eat grass”

The casualties in our seemingly endless war on Polio were once limited to the sufferers of the disease itself. If the recent martyrdom of six vaccination workers in Karachi and Peshawar is any indication, this war is only getting bloodier and more terrifying by the day. In 1991, when El Salvador was engulfed by a brutal civil war, a cease-fire was arranged between the guerilla groups and the government to allow free mobility to the polio vaccination teams in the country. Two sides, locked in a savage conflict for ten years, had enough wits to acknowledge that their political and ...

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Religion or science: That is not the question

The argument begins with this question: why should science and religion be kept separate? The answer depends on what you believe; however, let me present my case in favour of the separation of science and religion. Science is the study of nature and how it functions. The beauty of science is that when a theory is presented, scientists of that field do not immediately agree with the theoretical claims. Rather, they put the theory to intensive criticism and tests. In many cases, the theories are disproved on the basis of counter evidence or errors that are deduced. If the ...

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Profiling and personal fatwas

We, Pakistanis, are an opinionated lot -that much is certain. But, when criticism turns in to censure then soon enough we see personal fatwa machines, depicting yet another poor prognostic sign for Pakistan. Muslim-Americans fume at being profiled and singled out for scrutiny at airports, but happily join the melee of labeling people based on appearances – a hijabi is purity incarnate and only the morally corrupt wear shorts, don’t you know? Prejudices are transmitted and bolstered by parents and families, and a good number of unfortunate people go through life not examining the outlandish mindset, let alone the fact that they ...

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Manal al-Sharif: The caged bird also sings

“It is not a revolution, it is not a plot, it is not a gathering and it is not a protest — we are only requesting to drive our cars.” The above message was posted on one of the many groups which have sprouted on Facebook supporting Manal al-Sharif’s brave initiative. An IT security consultant at ARAMCO, the biggest oil company in Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif is a brilliant, sophisticated woman asking for something that should have been a given: driving her own car. The House of Saud Saudi Arabia has largely been immune to the revolutions sweeping the region. The discontented Shia minority in ...

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Confessions of a ‘heretic’

It was like a nightmare. Dark shadows, mysterious phone calls, dreaming of death -there should have been a reason for all of this, but there was none. I had been declared an accursed heretic. I could feel them chasing me down, chopping me into pieces and celebrating wildly afterwards. I could sense the happiness they would gain from spilling my blood. The days were getting darker. I was alive but there was a deadly silence around me. Suddenly, my friends had stopped talking to me and so called ‘moderate’ art teachers started discriminating against me. My once ‘liberal’ social ...

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Fighting for the white stripe

On August 11, 1947, the country’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan unveiled the new Pakistani flag – an all-green Muslim League flag with a slight alteration. It included a white stripe that the then prime minister in his address went on to say provided minorities with rights that the Congress party in India was unwilling to give. Standing on the empty front lawn of the Governor House for the first time since the governor’s assassination, I was reminded of Governor Salmaan Taseer’s Christmas day address only a month earlier. The governor, who was dressed in his typical dark sports coat ...

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The conservatives and politics of fear

On Saturday, December 18, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, that was to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States (US) as children, failed to push through the Senate. Although at the outset, the DREAM Act had strong bipartisan support, as the mood of the country towards immigration shifted, Republican (and some Democrat) senators backtracked, terming the legislation as a backdoor amnesty for lawbreakers. These so-called lawbreakers are in fact, individuals who, through no volition of their own, entered and grew up in the US. America is the only ...

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Is Facebook to be blamed for 1 in 5 divorces?

Some clerics would say yes. Those who believe Facebook is sinful are likely to be against internet, gender mixing, music and a lot more because these may inspire a person to commit sin. Like any other social media platform, Facebook hosts a wide range of users, some looking for intellectual stimulation, and some others looking to seek companionship. One has to be no less careful with Facebook friends than with next-door neighbors, perhaps more so given the 500 million active users that it boasts. Earlier ths year, rumors about a religious ruling against Facebook went viral. A known figure from Al Azhar, ...

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