Stories about Quran

Another sad madrassa tale

The sun was shining down in all its glory on blossoming flowers which were ready to be plucked. Young children, not over the age of five, were seen laughing and giggling while birds flew and chirped overhead – creating a fusion that signified the beauty that this world holds. Three of those young children stepped forward to pull a few flowers for their teacher. However, fate had a sardonic way to disrupt the content that shone on their faces. This is not a movie script, nor is it an unraveling of a fictional story. This is a real life story ...

Read Full Post

Obama’s apology and the ashes of the Holy Quran

Last week, as the horrible news spread that US military officials had incinerated copies of the Holy Quran at Bagram airbase, American military and civilian leaders quickly said they were sorry. NATO commander General John Allen and US President Barack Obama both apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. A top US defense official, Peter Lavoy, even appeared at a Washington DC area mosque to offer his apologies to worshippers during Friday prayers. Yet Washington also went beyond apologies. Allen announced an investigation into the affair, and the military pledged new training for its personnel. “These actions do not represent the views of ...

Read Full Post

You deserve 20 marks if you’re a Hafiz-e-Quran

I recently read a news story where I learnt about an incident of discrimination against a Pakistani Christian student named Haroon. Haroon couldn’t get into medical school because he was refused the 20 extra marks that Hafiz-e-Quran students are given on the exam. According to him, the practice was unjust since his Bible knowledge was just as good. I sympathise with Haroon; I am all for giving him the opportunity to study at a medical college, but not at the cost of demoralising people who memorise the Holy Quran and earn those 20 marks. Let me explain why. Twenty marks hardly make a two percent difference in ...

Read Full Post

Screeching at the pulpit: Is this Islam?

Whenever I face a problem in my daily life, I turn to the Holy Quran. If I cannot find what I am looking for there, my second option is always the mosque.  Unfortunately, I am often disappointed. Imams and maulvis are seldom able to provide me with guidance. This is in stark contradiction to the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). At that time,  mosques played a vital role and people used to come to Muhammad (pbuh) and share all kinds of problems – financial, physical, emotional, or psychological – with him. My conversation with a maulvi reiterated the unfortunate reality of sermons in mosques today. I work for a telecommunication company, and the ...

Read Full Post

How to pray (five times a day) with a busy schedule

Before I genuinely began to cultivate and nurture my relationship with God, I regarded the five daily prayers that Islam enjoins on believers as laborious. It seemed impractical to expect that I would be able to stop what I was doing during my busy work schedule to take time out and pray. Working as a news wire journalist, I was often spending over 10 hours a day in the office or at conferences, interviews and meetings, barely able to make time for a lunch break. If I wasn’t working, my time was divided between house chores, errands, family and friends, and ...

Read Full Post

Ecological consciousness and Islam

I am always inspired by trash. When I see it on the roads, in parks, in hospitals and outside homes it sends me in a state of a deep reverie. A couple of years back, I was shaken to the core to do ‘something for my country.’ Looking for the answer of what could be done, I came across a newspaper article about some ‘crazy’ youngsters who, tired of the oblivion of their fellows and authorities towards matters of environmental consciousness, took it upon themselves to do something. They girdled up their loins with the motto that the least you ...

Read Full Post

Masjids and more: An American in Lahore

As an undergraduate in college, I spent almost every waking hour learning Arabic—if I wasn’t in my daily Arabic class, I was practicing the language with my peers over a warm cup of coffee. We were given a hefty amount of homework each night, and the wee hours in the morning always found me in the library with my head buried in my Arabic textbook. Still, the effort was worth it, because after three years of learning the language, I was able to do what I had always wanted; read and understand the Quran in its original language, Arabic. If I may ...

Read Full Post

What’s with the morality brigade?

The sight of the world around us degenerating into a hate-fuelled spectacle brings pain to the heart of anyone with real faith. Man’s greatest achievement, at least according to great religious philosophers like Ibn Rushd, Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas, is the ability to act of free will rather than instinct. It is what separates man from the animals and makes us Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqaat or the highest of all creation. Sadly, roving drones around the city, nay, the world, serve as a constant reminder that the term is quite liberally applied to much of mankind. In The Decisive Treatise (Fasl Al-Maqal), Ibn Rushd, ...

Read Full Post

A reason to remember 9/11

Ever since I saw the movie V For Vendetta, I have a small ritual of sorts. Every year, on September 11, I keep my status for the whole day, “Remember, remember, the 11th of September, for I see no reason why it should be forgot.” It’s my way of paying tribute to the innocent men and women and yes, believe it or not, Muslims that perished no that tragic day. This year, a friend commented asking what it meant, and I gave her the cliff notes version of the original rhyme, explaining it was my way of commemorating the tragic ...

Read Full Post

Dishonoring the Holy Quran

I heard about ‘International Burn a Quran Day’ through Facebook, as invitations to join  pages against the event kept coming in. The first thought that occurred to me was ‘Oh no – here we go again!’ Yes, it’s not the first time that the Holy Book of Islam is being disrespected by non-Muslims. During the post-9/11 ‘War Against Terror’ campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, non-Muslim soldiers burnt and flushed Quranic scripts, to make Muslim prisoners angry and force them to retaliate or get a reaction out of them, find a reason to beat the prisoner up. It was also an insulting ...

Read Full Post