Stories about God

What would Iqbal think?

On the southern bank of the River Neckar in Heidelberg, Germany, is the Iqbal-Ufer. This street, running parallel to the river, was named in honour of Allama Iqbal, the poet-philosopher from India. It was here that the poet was granted his PhD in philosophy. As I glance at the images of this breathtaking city, I can understand Iqbal’s appreciation for beauty. What amazes me, however, is the depth his poetry plunges into when describing the despairing state of Muslims in India. An eye that is accustomed to beauty, a voice that thrills with eloquence, would shun despair and disillusionment. Yet these ...

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Hercules: Out with the demigods and in with the mortals

Director Brett Ratner, who has previously directed the Rush Hour trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Horrible Bosses, brings Hercules, an action-packed movie with Greek muscles written all over it. Pumping the action in the lead role is former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who is seen clad in leather attire while swinging his swords and clubs at his enemies with Greek conviction. Unlike the Greek mythology, where Hercules is the son of Zeus, the movie doesn’t bode that connection as this time the story is somewhat different. Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is the leader of the mercenaries and although he is regarded as the demigod son ...

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My husband is deployed in the inhospitable terrain of Waziristan

Nowadays, various television channels have taken to playing emotional songs about sons and fathers joining the army, going on active duty and dying at the line of duty. It might be motivating for the general public, but what happens to the families of these soldiers can be comprehended neither by the channels nor by their producers. It is very difficult to satisfy a three-year-old when she asks, after watching the song, if her father is going to meet the same tragic fate because she believes that her father is the bravest. It is difficult to answer her question when a lump in the throat is ...

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You

In the centre of a wave of silence, where I sit inside a shed, You are the tools that I have used to build this home. When people debate about You, You sneak into the smile that travels across my face. You are in the noise that is aroused but more so in the silence that follows. Because what is every word but a pointless effort to imitate the sweet pleasure which roams casually inside silence? Your name is constantly provoked in different forms, in different accents, and You are denied in different languages, in different ways. Lives are spent in defending ...

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If I live in Finland, do I have to fast for 23 hours a day?

In the region of the earth above the Arctic Circle called ‘the land of the midnight sun,’ the sun does not rise for several months in winter or set for several months in summer. In Finland, the sun stays above the horizon for seventy days at a stretch. What are Muslims in such regions to do if Ramazan occurs during one of these summer periods? A response to this question on one of the forums online was that “the midnight sun is a myth and that there is no such thing”. The respondent added that the days are very long in these ...

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Has China really put a ban on fasting?

Over the last few days, my Facebook timeline (that has incidentally become a conduit of current affairs knowledge for a lot of people these days) has been filled with people posting news about the ban on fasting in China. Consequently, a lot of my friends are asking me if this is really true, and if I am barred from fasting as well. These questions need to be appropriately answered. What is the ban really about? To set the record straight, this ban on fasting is not a blanket ban for all Muslims across China. In fact, there hasn’t been any official ...

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I am a Hindu and Allah (SWT) dwells in my heart

Mahatma Gandhi shares an interesting anecdote in his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. “One day an ardent atheist heckled a Christian clergyman. ‘Well, sir, you believe in the existence of God?’ ‘I do,’ said the good man in a low tone. ‘You also agree that the circumference of the earth is 28,000 miles, don’t you?’ said the atheist with a smile of self-assurance. ‘Indeed.’ ‘Prithee, tell me the size of your God and where he may be?’ ‘Well, if we but knew, He resides in the hearts of us both.’ And the atheist shook his head in disbelief.” In my view, the clergyman was right to ...

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You don’t have to celebrate homosexuality, but please don’t be a homophobe

The landmark Supreme Court judgment was definitely not going to go unnoticed in Pakistan. It was obvious that it was going to get widespread support in Pakistan as well. I was surprised to even see a few people drape their profile pictures in the rainbow colours in unity. However, the copious amounts of vitriol directed towards those people were vastly unwarranted and totally unnecessary. Nobody is requiring every single person in the world to celebrate pride but there is no reason to berate people doing so. You are free to express yourself but your freedom of speech does not extend to having a right ...

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This Ramazan, develop an attitude of gratitude

As I sit here writing this, I am exuberated with joy that Ramazan is almost here. We, Pakistanis, are always fashionably late; that should explain why we start fasting a day after most other countries do. Anyhow! Personally speaking, Ramazan is my favourite time of the year. A month I exclusively dedicate to my relationship with God, focusing on spiritual growth and reflections. It would be great if every Muslim tried to make a conscious effort in changing some part of their personality that needs to be improved during Ramazan. But unfortunately, it is sad to note how each year this month ...

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My beloved daughter, do not weep when I am gone

To my beloved Daughter, It seems that today may be my last day on earth, my last day with my family, my last day with you. Today, I managed to get a chance to reflect on all that I have done in my life as a father. It has been pretty interesting, in my opinion. I leave to you my final memories as I prepare for my transition into the life hereafter. The first time I held you in my arms and saw your smile, sweetheart, I felt more blessed than you can ever imagination. I gazed at you, God’s marvellous creation, wondering if you ...

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