Stories about islam

Are we carrying out Eidul Azha rituals the right way?

Emaciated bodies, their remains everywhere, blood flowing on already dirty streets across the city and the smell of freshly cut flesh – this is a glimpse of Karachi on the first day of Eidul Azha, aka Bakra Eid. I’ve heard that amongst sacrificial animals, this day is known as D-Day. The effects of Eidul Azha are already felt a week or so prior to the event itself. It starts when you step out one fine day and your nostrils are greeted with the oddest of stenches, until you suddenly detect the actual source of the smell: the goat your neighbour bought a ...

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As a Muslim husband, I do not agree with Farhat Hashmi and her view on marital rape

It was the summer of 2015. I was in Pakistan for a month and a half due to the demise of my father. My visit coincided with the month of Ramazan. During the holy month, my wife decided to attend Dars-e-Quran sessions conducted by a certain Islamic scholar, Tahira Yousuf. One night, my wife asked me to pick her up after the lecture. When I reached the centre, the lecture had just ended and I saw a large number of women from apparently affluent backgrounds coming out of the hall. When my wife sat in the car, I asked her ...

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Why I ditched my chador

When I was in my teens, some 20 years ago, my parents would tell me to wear a chador (a large piece of cloth that is wrapped around the head and upper body) and cover myself every time I would go out of the house. I lived in a small city and my father was widely known. Each time I stepped out of my house, I would cover myself from head to toe, sometimes even the face if I was with my father, as he didn’t want people gazing at his daughter. I understood at the time that this was essential for ...

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Two years in Pakistan made me reconsider my values on parenting

A few years ago, a friend of mine sent me Khalil Gibran’s poem, On Children. Upon reading it, I remember my first thought being, ‘this guy probably didn’t have children of his own’. I was appalled at the things he suggested in his poem. Gibran wrote: “Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself, They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” I got married at the age of 23, and exactly nine months later, I became the mother of a daughter who is ...

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(Not) ‘All Pakistanis suffer equally’

In the wake of the recent heart-rending tragedy that befell the Hazaras of Hazarganji, a number of prominent media personalities such as Asad Rahim Khan, Pervez Hoodbhoy, and the relentless political activist Jibran Nasir, came out in vocal support of the highly persecuted minority ethnic group. They openly spoke about the real motivation behind why the community continues to be preferentially targeted by a now annual onslaught of militant attacks, and why its predicament is still met with a rabid form of popular indifference that is nauseating to even consider, let alone make sense of. Tomorrow morning a few friends and I will be ...

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When will people like Khateeb stop using a peaceful religion as a tool for violence?

A frightening incident recently took place in Bahawalpur in which a student fatally stabbed his teacher. The teacher wanted to organise a welcome party which the said student considered ‘un-Islamic’ due to the intermingling of males and females. In a chilling confessional video, the student alleged that the late professor used to ‘insult’ Islam on a regular basis. He showed absolutely no remorse for his action, and when asked as to why he didn’t take the legal route, his answer was that courts in Pakistan are freeing ‘blasphemers’. A student of 5th semester at Govt Sadiq Egerton College in Bahawalpur who identifies himself as Khateeb Hussain when ...

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Trying to find a middle ground in religion, Three Daughters of Eve raises more questions than it answers

The most pressing concern of an individual confused about his/her belief or faith is the instinctive attraction towards spirituality or religiosity. The path towards righteousness is often met with confusion. Though there is some clarity, the confusion is always there. Elif Shafak’s recent novel, Three Daughters of Eve focuses on three main characters, categorised in the book as, the Sinner, the Believer and the Confused. It also focuses on the character of the professor. The book constantly moves between the past and present, and between the protagonists’ feelings of confusion, reasoning and clarity. The book primarily deals with the character of Peri, a ...

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From empowered to oppressed: Today’s treatment of women contradict our Islamic teachings

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was considered the greatest embodiment of the principles laid out by Allah (SWT) in the Holy Quran, and he set the finest example for his followers. Hence, the best way to appreciate how Islam empowers women is by observing the conduct of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) towards women. Let us start with a hypothetical question for all the men: suppose you are in your 20s and you received a proposal of marriage from a widowed woman who is more than 10 years older than you, and who coincidentally also happens to be your employer. With ...

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105 years later, Allama Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawabe Shikwa are still raising significant existential questions

Kyun ziaan kaar banun, sood framosh rahoon Fikr-e-farda na karun, mahw-e-ghum-e-dosh rahoon Naale bulbul ke sunoon, aur hama tan gosh rahoon Hamnawa, main bhi koi gul hoon ke khamosh rahoon Jurrat aamoz miri taab-e-sakhun hai Mujh ko shikwa Allah se khakam badahan hai mujh ko (Why should I play the part of the loser and refrain from seeking what I can gain? Why shouldn’t I think of the future, instead of mourning the losses of the past? Why should I listen to the woes of the nightingale? My friend, I am not a flower who will remain silent It is truly my poetic ability that gives me the courage ...

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According to this “scholar”, ‘sins such as murder and rape will be ignored as long as you pray’

The dilemma of the contemporary age is the excess of unsorted information masquerading as knowledge and the most abundantly distorted type of ‘knowledge’ these days is ‘religious’ in nature. A certain breed of such so-called scholars exists among us, disseminating a message that is far from truth. Their half-baked ideas about religious norms, practices and forms of punishment aren’t based on logic or humanity. Such religious quacks probably existed before our time too but the ubiquity of social media brings them to our phone screens whether we want them to or not. Recently, I came across one such ‘religious cleric’ ...

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