Stories about religious scholars

When did Eidul Azha turn into a vicious spending competition?

Every year, Muslims all over the world observe the festival of Eidul Azha to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) submission to the will of Allah (swt). By obeying His order to sacrifice his only son, Hazrat Ismail (AS), he proved that he was a true servant of Allah, and it is this spirit of sacrifice that is to be observed by Muslims every year. Unfortunately, instead of realising that they have to be ready to sacrifice every precious possession in the way of Allah, Eidul Azha is now observed only as a ritual. And with the exception of a few, most Muslims do ...

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Why framing Shia genocide as a sectarian conflict only trivialises the problem

One of the most important factors which determine the way an issue is understood, debated and addressed is the way it is framed in the media. Framing becomes extremely important as it affects the discourse, narrative, and ultimately the kind of solutions which are brought to the table. Knowing its importance, supporters and opponents of a contentious issue often try to frame it to their advantage. For example, in the US, the debate around abortion is often framed as pro-life by Conservatives. This is a very powerful and effective construct as it creates the impression that those who choose abortion are anti-life and hence ...

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Ramazan shows are like a slice of Pakistan: A bit of religion followed by a lot of gossip

For those of us who grew up watching PTV, religious shows were an integral and beneficial part of the daily routine. Anything that came on PTV, we watched. As a member of the PTV generation, I grew up watching the daily afternoon show where the recitation of the Holy Quran was taught, and I don’t recall missing Majlis-e-Shaam-e-Gharibaan on any tenth of Muharram, even as a Sunni. Religion, as presented on TV back then, was something to be respected and honoured on the media. I recall care being taken even about the kind of advertisements that were run between religious ...

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Did Aamir Liaquat accidentally defend secular democracy?

Controversial scholar, entertainer and televangelist, Aamir Liaquat, offers a liberal feminist virtually no reason to smile and nod politely. On March 16, 2016, Mr Liaquat may have finally broken that tradition. On an episode of NewsEye, Mehr Abbasi raised the subject of the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Act and the controversy surrounding it. Senator Hafiz Abdullah, of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), rebuked the act as any viewer acquainted with Pakistani political dynamics may have anticipated. It was the identity of the act’s defender, which came as a pleasant surprise. Mr Aamir Liaquat was visibly bitter, missing one burning cigarette clamped casually between ...

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Dear Allah Mian, in 2050 I wish…

“Baba, what’s a beheading?” “Hmmm?” my father asked from behind the newspaper he was reading. I knew he wasn’t listening. “A beheading.” I repeated. Baba hastily put the paper down and looked at me. “Where did you hear that word?” he asked incredulously. “In the news. ‘Beheading of a girl in Afghanistan’. She was in my class, I mean, the same class as me. Class three.” “Mahnoor, I’ve told you to change the channel when such news appears, haven’t I?” Baba asked sternly. His face looked strange. He looked angry yet worried at the same time. “It wasn’t on TV Baba. It was on Facebook. I read the ...

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Why don’t men give women the rights guaranteed to them by religion?

Pakistani women are playing an active role in society and have attained success in fields that were considered to be ‘no go zones’ a few years ago. Although they are taking strides towards prosperity and financial independence, further efforts need to be made in order for them to gain their share of honour and dignity. Could you have imagined, a decade ago, that Pakistan would have scores of female fighter pilots in its Air Force? Could you have imagined a year that Pakistan’s soil would be emboldened with the memory of a female martyr, Flying Officer Marium Mukhtiar? Many of you are nodding your ...

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Is it compulsory to hate India, America and Israel, in order to love Pakistan?

A few days ago, I was sitting by the Indus River in Jamshoro, singing a patriotic song. Moments later, I noticed a fisherman who burst into laughter observing me. When I asked him why he was laughing, he said, “Saeen where is this Pakistan this song speaks of? Here, I don’t have the money to send my children to school or even shop for Eid. That aside, women are continuously killed in the name of honour, children are raped and such brutalities are recorded then sold. People are murdered because they belong to different sects or religions, be it Shias, Ahmadis, Christians etcetera. There’s no tolerance in this society. Hindus ...

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Dear TV channels, stop commercialising Islam in Ramazan

Sawab, Rounaq Ramazan, Ramazan Hamara Emaan, Pakistanion ka Ramazan, Marhaba Ramazan, Subhan Ramazan, Ramazan Sharif, Bismillah Ramazan, Shan-e-Ramazan, Ishq Ramazan, Jashan-e-Ramazan, Mohabbat-e-Ramazan – the list is exhausting… and utterly monotonous. These are some of the many special Ramazan shows that have been lined up to be aired on various TV channels during the holy month of Ramazan this year. Along with these shows, many channels have also come up with their signature game shows to lure in audiences. Just like last time, nearly all news channels are planning to run shows where the hosts invite so-called religious scholars to discuss topics of religion and Islamic jurisprudence, recite naats between the show, cook different delicacies for iftar and interact with viewers ...

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One small step for Sheikh al-Khaibari, one giant leap for mankind

Once upon a time, far away, long ago… These are the words with which I was tempted to begin today, before I was told off by a friend for being overly cynical and unable to look at the bright side, the silver lining, the beautiful butterflies that the caterpillars currently infesting my lemon trees will one day become, etcetera. For her sake, I will take optimism by the hand today and see how far the yellow brick road goes. My quest today is to make sense of the latest in absurdity that the glorious Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia has to offer. For ...

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12 and married

The small private clinic was echoing with mixed voices – those of ear-piercing shrills and loud excitement. Waiting to see my doctor, I realised the commotion in the maternity section with nurses rushing through a storm of women – aunts and grandmothers waiting on news of a baby child. Passing it on as regular routine at the clinic, I was alarmed when the doctor came out scolding the elderly woman in the group who was wailing, claiming the doctor did not do enough to save the child. The doctor told the waiting family, “The poor girl would have died in labour. She was ...

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