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Of Tombs, Discord, and Manufactured Journalism-The Reality Behind the Independent Article on the Prophet’s Grave

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By Hasib Noor

Yet another article about the destruction of the Prophet’s grave is published and I catch the story early as it’s released.

Wincing at the title of the article in the Independent, the UK national daily newspaper”…Muslim divisionproposalMohamed’s tomb,” I think to myself as I’m reading, “oh no, not again.”

Social media is absolutely livid. I’m getting tags, messages, and posts directed at me as everyone is inquiring about what is going on.

Why me? Living and studying in the City of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is a mix of having a guilty conscience wrapped in a blessing.

We constantly question ourselves.

We constantly say it’s not something we ever deserved.

But it’s a blessing we have to constantly be thankful for and live up to the legacy of this city.

There is a tradition that’s been passed down among the students to remind us of living up to that legacy, something age old. It’s been narrated by each generation of Madinah students to the next. The saying goes:

“don’t ever think you were so special to deserve to come here, but know that you needed this the most.”

Everything about being here reminds us of the responsibility. We are studying the faith that two billion people hold dear, in a tradition of over 1400 years, in the same location that the most beloved person to these two billion taught it in… the city of Madinah, one of the holiest cities in all of Islam.

The Prophet’s Masjid— Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi —the world’s oldest Islamic institution is the legacy of all of Islamic civilizations, scholarship, and history. All of it traces back to what every single Muslim shares and holds dear about this city. Not only because the masjid serves as the world’s oldest Islamic learning institution, but because Muslims know the exact location where the beloved Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is buried.

Madinah is where I read the article published by the Independent.

I feel sick. The language itself is loaded, divisive, intended to make an impact. And the reaction is the same. All of us feel it, think it, say it. “This CAN’T be true.”

I immediately send messages to my friends and contacts that are researchers at the Center for Historical Studies and Research of Madinah – to verify the news. My friend and long time researcher Abdullah Kabir Al-Shanqiti responds right away. He had already heard about the article. Many of the researchers, as well as the British-educated director of the center whom I know well, speak English. We have a conversation to discuss the details of the article and it is conclusive.

Standards of Journalism

Divisively worded to bring about an intended response, almost all of the facts in the article are not only out of context, but embellished or completely untrue. The article is laced with references to sectarian differences, and even manages to fit in a mention of ISIS for effect.

The source mentioned in the article, Dr. Irfan Al-Alawi,  of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, represents a polarizing organization called the Center of Islamic Pluralism based out of Washington D.C. The background, connection, and history of the organization and Dr. Irfan Al-Alawi is deserving of an entire separate article.

The timing of this article is something that came to light as research is done by close friends that showed that the Independent regularly posts articles every year that seemingly recycled the same story regarding the destruction of Masjid Nabwi, Makkah and/or the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) tomb. These articles date as far back as least to 2011. Dr. Alawi is consistently used as a source annually on this topic in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now with the most recent one in 2014. One can recognize a clear trend or what some might call agenda.

Focusing on the facts of the latest Independent article, the article is pure tabloid—not journalism and certainly not news. Written not with intent to share an event, but a planned disposition for an intended effect.

Worse, it seems entirely premeditated.

Who is Dr Al-Shabal?

The entire story plays off the words “proposal” and “plans.” Emphasizing the veneration of this site by all Muslims, Shia and Sunni, of all backgrounds to create a crisis —a strategic divisive effect.

The reality is, there was no such proposal, and there were no plans.

The article discusses a 61-page document by a “leading Islamic academic Dr Ali ibn AbdulAziz al-Shabal.” The reality is he is not a leading academic, unheard of by the Center of Historical Studies, and someone unknown until the Independent coins him as a “leading Islamic academic” figure.

The document he wrote is a paper that post-doctoral candidates in Saudi Arabian universities write in order to reach the level of adjunct professor. Al-Shabal teaches at Imam University. He submitted this paper to the Committee of the Presidency of the Two Masjids in order to establish credibility and at the end of his paper he makes suggestions. He did not submit a proposal to the government; that was never intended—let alone accepted. It is an entry submitted to an academic journal that was taken completely out of context in the Independent article—no, not out of context, seemingly used for an intended purpose.

The writer of the Independent article makes the claim that Dr. Al-Shabal “calls for the destruction of chambers around the Prophet’s grave ” and “the removal of Mohamed’s remains to the nearby al-Baqi cemetery, where they would be interred anonymously.” A prominent and well known scholar and professor in Umm al Qurra University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, from the lineage of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), Dr. Hatim Al-Awni Al-Sharif calls this a lie and the article a fabrication.

He says that Dr. Al-Shabal in fact called for the “separation” of the grave from the masjid structure and not destruction of the tomb or removal and relocation of the grave.

While correcting this fact, he scathingly critiques Dr.Al-Shabal’s academic journal submission and calls it “against the tradition of scholarship from the time of the companions and scholars of this ummah.”He further says while the Independent article stands corrected, “this does not change the fact that [Al-Shabal] went beyond all bounds… and the problem that exists with some is that they believe that they are more knowledgeable and stand more for (the defense of) monotheism than the entire Muslim nation, otherwise they would never have the audacity to put forth such a preposterous opinion!”

Dr Al-Sharif concludes that the academic paper went against the tradition and understanding of orthodoxy entirely and that even though the Independent is completely wrong, lied, and falsified what Dr. Al-Shabal wrote, it still is something that’s rejected.

Furthermore, Dr. Al-Shabal is painted as a “leading islamic academic figure,” yet he does not represent any kind of scholarly decision-making body, such as the Council of Senior Scholars whom the government directly seeks approval from. Nor does he represent the Organization of the Islamic Council, a 500-member body comprised of scholars from all over the world that’s based in Jeddah. Nor does he sit in the Fiqh Council (alMajma’ al Fiqhi) another international council that has members such as renowned scholar Sh Abdullah ibn Bayyah, and holds its meetings in Makkah.

This single fact shows how little the Independent even knows about how scholarly bodies are petitioned when it comes to matters dealing with Islam’s holiest sites.

Flashback to last year—the Council of Scholars in Saudi Arabia oversaw the decision to expand the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)‘s Masjid. An official government proposal and plan was given to them for approval. The expansion of the masjid in this proposal required changing the place of where the Imam leads prayers in the original masjid.

For over 1000 years Imams have led prayer here. This proposal suggested—for the first time in Muslim history—that the Imam would deliver sermons on a minbar other than the pulpit of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

New Prophet's Masjid 2 masjid-Nabawi-expansion-Madinah1-400x265

 

The Council unanimously rejected the proposal with the exception of only two members who gave secondary suggestions. The King called for a readjustment of the expansion to demolish all of the 5 star hotels in the back of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) Masjid and expand in a direction that preserves the original building, pulpit, and prayer cove.

I had to ask. How could the Council of Scholars, made up of at least one Madinan scholar, my own teacher, Sh. Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shanqiti, reject a plan and proposal to not have the pulpit of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) moved, yet they listened to a plan for his tomb to be moved? It was something impossible.

A Divisive Strategy to Sow Seeds of Discord

The problem of manufactured journalism is something we’ve seen more rampant today. A former CNN reporter, Amber Lyon, exposed that some news outlets even get paid by governments.

Regardless, seeds of discord spread among Muslims throughout social media because of the pervasive and almost subliminal impact such media plays. Many are in deep hate mode and have lunged full on attacks… without checking the facts.

When the facts are pointed out to many that the article contains false information, most seem to not care, “the reality is we can’t forget that Saudi did…” or “but in Saudi…” type rhetoric is spreading. Even academics that lay claim to scholastic standard, even journalists, even educators… many are falling prey to the exact intention of the article —the sowing of discord.

For many equating Saudi to not just a government but to an ideology that pigeonhole others is becoming comfortable, again. The “they” and “us” is something that spread through the discussions on social media, no matter which “spectrum” the person belonged to. The standing and representing movements rather than Islam again reared its ugly head.

Many are letting their feelings dictate their rationale—it doesn’t matter if the assertions in the article are false, there is injustice that needs to be spoken against, and criticism that needs to be made.

Destruction and Preservation in the Haramain

We must admit. We must be truthful. The realities of history, the truth of demolishing many archaeological sites, historical locations, and other damages to the two holiest sites in Islam is something that is concrete, recorded, and undeniable. There is no doubt, a time, a place, and a discourse that must be had on the destruction of historical sites (I plan on writing a critical analysis of the destruction and preservation of historical sites in the Haramain). However, many do not know about the existence and the work of the organizations to preserve historical sites. In fact, the Center for Historical Studies and Research of Madinah has an entire division that oversees preservation of archaeological sites in Madinah, makes recommendations to the government body overseeing expansion, and I have personally witnessed the director signing 18 sites to be preserved in the future expansion of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)‘s masjid.

Another organization that does the same in Makkah is called the Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, and many other organizations exist both in Makkah and Madinah that work to preserve historical and archaeological sites as best as they can.

But what must be realized, what must resonate, is that there is no doubt that this strategy of manufactured journalism to sow discord is prevalent and strategically placed.

Muslims cannot afford to fall prey to this. Muslims cannot accept to give up the ethos of our faith in verifying news, not spreading everything we hear, and lose sight of the brotherhood that unifies us to collectively speak out against injustice, oppression, and transgression in our faith.

Muslims cannot fall into emboldening sentiments of partisanship and hatred that these type of articles wish for. Right now a correction of false information that’s spreading, an understanding of our history, our heritage, our tradition, and our knowledge must be sought. It is in these turbulent times that we clearly see the work of strategy in play, and it is in these times that we beseech our teachers, our scholars, our academics, our journalists, our educators, all Muslims to hold fast and not let distraction seep in. Not let the seeds of discord blur our vision. Not let the disagreements distance ourselves from the objective of reaching a mutual understanding. Holding tight to the same rope, the unity of Muslims, a mutual understanding, a strength must be kept.

prophettomb3

Holding on to the Legacy of Madinah

After my preliminary responses on Twitter, I have the opportunity to have an exchange with prominent British journalist Mehdi Hasan. The disagreement over the facts isn’t there. It is a deeper sentiment that the article targets and wishes to sow.

We have a calm exchange, where we lay out our points. I point out the factual inaccuracy and emphasize that. And the exchange ends cheerfully with me offering him a cup of tea on his next visit to the holy city of Madinah and a discussion we can have—person to person.

Screen shot 2014-09-03 at 12.33.44 PM
He happily obligeds and says he was looking forward to it.

And I respond; I assure him the Legacy of Madinah is alive and well and will continue to be. This legacy will always defeat those who wish the seeds of discord. The legacy of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that is ingrained in our faith to overcome and realize the bigger picture, know and understand not just the time to discuss disagreements but the place and environment as well, and to see through the elements that wish to sow that discord in our ranks.

This is the type of discourse we should encourage to have with one another, this is the type of legacy that we should preserve.

In trying times where there are major events occurring in the world, our priorities should be directed by that legacy. A legacy that informs us, that the honor, blood, and sanctity of a Muslim is holier than the Ka’aba itself (1). A legacy that tells us, “It is enough of a lie to relate to others everything you hear (2).” A legacy that guides us, “O you who have believed, if there comes to you an immoral person with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful (3).”

Let’s uphold to that legacy, and not allow our discourse to be set by divisive elements and let discord sow in our hearts and ranks. These are from the hadiths of the beloved, our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and guidance from the Quran. That is the legacy we must carry.

That legacy lives on… and will continue to live on.

Hasib Noor, completing his final year in Bachelors at the College of Islamic Law in the University of Madinah, following undergraduate study in the US majoring Pre-Med & minor in Psychology.

FOOTNOTES:

1. A hadith narrated in Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, & Ibn Hibban- by Abdullah ibn Amr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who said “I saw the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) circumambulating the Ka’bah and saying: ‘How beautiful are you and how good your fragrance; how great are you and how great your sanctity. By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the sanctity of the believer is greater before Allah than your sanctity, his blood and his wealth, and to think anything but good of him.’”

2. A hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim by Abu Hurayrah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)

3. Quran 49:6

 

 

 

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Aasia

    September 3, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    May Allah reward you, but I’m bothered by Shakyh al-Awni’s criticism on the point of separating the blessed grave from the masjid. He could have said there is difference of opinion on this point but to criticize it as he did seems a bit much. ibn Baz, for example, held the same opinion as al-Shabal. See fatwa #65944 on Islam-QA.

    • Avatar

      javed

      September 4, 2014 at 5:36 AM

      I hope you should have read the fatwa properly, shaykh bin baaz didn’t say to separate the blessed masjid and blessed grave. He mentioned that what happened was incorrect and others should not take it as proof to build masjid on grave and vice versa.

    • Avatar

      Mohammed

      September 4, 2014 at 6:53 PM

      Sister As-Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
      I would tend to agree with shaikh al-awni on this point.
      I do like ahl al-hadeeth, but we should not take every word said by ibn-baaz rahimahullaah as nothing but truth.

      If this audacious plan of separating the mosque from Prophet’s grave is given an an audience, then it paves way for the obvious next step, relocation of grave. Obviously if the mosque is separated from grave, there will be a huge chunk of muslim population that will visit the grave as well and that in fact will lead to shirk in a bigger and more manifest way. See what people do on ghaare hira and jabale rahmat.

      Hence few muslims should not think that they stand for Islamic Monotheism more than the entire ummah including the pious salaf.

      Wa-Allahu alam.

      • Avatar

        Dewan G Ahmed (@truthfuloneone)

        September 9, 2014 at 6:45 AM

        It is documented a fact that all historical relics including shrines of family members of Rasulullah Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam including those of his close companions were destroyed after one thousand three hundred of their existence by Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab whose interpretation of Islam is followed by Saudi Government. Did Abdul Wahhab think he was wiser that Khulafa E Rashedun or than all those Sahabah who never spoke against visiting graves. Not only that Saudi Government with advise from Baz, Abdul Aziz, Al Bany demolished all those sites and places which were associated with life of Holy Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him. 5-Star high rise sky scrappers have been constructed which have ridiculed Holy Qaba.. This gentleman Mr. Shabal, even if he has presented this sacrilegious paper should have been tried & punished. May I ask a simple question : Is it permissible by Islamic Sharia to rule a Muslim country under monarchy (Kingship)? To me it is shirk.

    • Avatar

      Aasia

      September 4, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      You’re correct that ibn Baz didn’t say it explicitly. But, he did say it was wrong, which is not what Shaykh al-Awni is suggesting. What I’m saying is that a person such as Shaykh al-Awni shouldn’t be so blunt on this issue. Because, as the fatwa said ibn Baz considered what happened as incorrect and at the time Saeed ibn alMussayyab also opposed it. I referred to the fatwa for people to compare what Shaykh al-Awni said and what ibn Baz said. @Mohammed, I’m not advocating for people to take everything ibn Baz had to say or any other scholar for that matter.

  2. Avatar

    Muhammed Afzal

    September 4, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    The wahabi university in Madina is not the oldest in the muslim world you are a liar, it was founded in 1961.This is
    an example of how wahabites attempt to push off their modern concoctions as being rooted in the first generations when nothing could be further from the truth.
    This case, of the desecration of the blessed Maqam, has demonstrated what we all already know, that this propaganda institution churns out robots whose sole purpose it is to defend the policies of the monarchy.
    The Independent have every right to report on the vandalism and savagery that is being meted out against Islamic heritage. Infact the only people that have a problem with this exposure are the robot propaganda merchants of the aforementioned propaganda institution. The Independent have been correct and everyone can see that they are correct that there has been a systematic policy to destroy Islamic heritage.
    Alas the student robots of the propaganda institute wish their totalitarian state had the power repress free speech across the world.
    This article is actually an admission that infact the academic did suggest separating the blessed Maqam from the rest of the mosque.
    Why is it that wahabis, and only wahabis are focused on defiling everything associated with the praise and veneration of the Prophet of Islam (saw) even to the point that his own personage is being targeted?
    This article ONLY demonstrates that the wahabite students are ONLY upset that the world’s attention is being drawn to their acts of treacherous vandalism
    We thank the Independent, Andrew Johnson and Dr Irfan for recording the crimes of these quislings.
    The more muslims wake up to the true nature of wahabism the sooner it will return to the hole where it emerged from in the Najd.
    I suspect the moderators of this website will censor this post in the true spirit of totalitarianism that they uphold.

    • Avatar

      Imran K

      September 4, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      only a devli would think to separate the Prophet(saw) from his mosque and only a devil would try to defend him

    • Avatar

      Dilshan Waheed

      September 4, 2014 at 1:20 AM

      And you are?
      What evidence do you have to refute this.
      Talk with evidence brother not with irrational barbaric sufi language which talks of everything but unauthentic. ..so bring facts not words
      Jazakallah khair….

    • Avatar

      Abu Milk Sheikh (@AbuMilkSheikh)

      September 4, 2014 at 4:27 AM

      You said “the wahabi university in Madina is not the oldest in the muslim world you are a liar, it was founded in 1961.This is an example of how wahabites attempt to push off their modern concoctions as being rooted in the first generations when nothing could be further from the truth.” (sic)

      Abdul Hasib said “the Prophet’s masjid— Al-masjid Al-Nabawi —the world’s oldest Islamic institution is the legacy of all of Islamic civilizations, scholarship, and history.”

      Please read the latter again. He’s talking about the Prophet’s masjid, not the Islamic University of Medina, being the World’s oldest Islamic Institution. He’s right.

    • Avatar

      Muhammed Afzal

      September 6, 2014 at 2:42 AM

      As a point of clarification, it is my view that the author is deliberately conflating the Masjid An Nabawih with the Wahabi university in the city, and using this to suggest that the place where he is studying, i.e. the university is part of an unbroken tradition going back to the early generations and the Prophet (saw). This implied or express assertion is a lie because the Wahabi university was established in 1961. It is part of the wahabi narrative to obscure facts to mislead the Muslim masses and this is just another example.
      Wahabism does not have its roots in the city of Madinah let alone the masjid of the Prophet (saw) it arose from the place the Prophet (saw) prophecised it would emerge from the Nejd.

      • Avatar

        AbdulBari

        September 6, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        Br. Afzal, it looks like you already have a perception and it does not matter what the writer says,

        So should both sides pick up guns and settle the matter using force, without trying to understand each other?

        Its very easy to accuse others, I probably do this more than you every day.

  3. Avatar

    Dilshan Waheed

    September 4, 2014 at 1:22 AM

    Expect anti Wahabi comments to pour in akhi…but a v well written piece.May Allah reward you.

  4. Avatar

    RH

    September 4, 2014 at 2:37 AM

    Jzk for shedding light on the now very obvious manufactured journalism….I was tired of asking my FB friends to research on history of negative articles by this self proclaimed expert on Islamic Architecture and history…..in fact just three days ago I even commented to punish him for causing fitna year after year right around Hajj or Ramadan time! I was upset to see educated Muslims spewing hatred toward KSA while sharing this Independent article. I was in Medina earlier this year on 1st of Rabi AlAwwal and saw how welcoming the people were toward the visitors from Iran and they arrive in Rabi Alawwal in Medina and honor the Prophet PBUH and also visit the Masjid of Bibi Fatima (which is intact around the Saba Masajid area thought few have been fenced and not vitiable due to age and insecurity. I saw no discrimination towards the Iranians nor their guides and scholars. I even submitted a request to the women at the Haram admin to let me come and be the English/Arabic/Urdu/Hindi speaking ziyara guide during Hajj as I have a visa to come anytime and they really need a guide for women who speakes multiple languages. They directed me to the right office without any sign of arrogance or ego. Overall, the expansion was happening but I saw no destruction of any historically significant sites……lets not forget the architecture around has been renovated several times in the 19th & 20th century but now that we have internet and media…..haters are hating everyyear. I am sure most Muslims are above the fitna inshaAllah.

    • Avatar

      Shoaib malik

      September 4, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      Maybe you have not seen how people of beliefs other than Wahhabi are treated. In particular Sufis and Shia.?
      Why have they not refuted the article in its entirety officially ? Do we forget history, of what they are capable of ?
      Do we forget that their scholars preach that the dome and chamber is a biddah and shirk, & should not be placed inside the mosque. What about uthmayeen, and his views?
      Did they not plan to destroy the Bayt al Mawlid earlier this year, as reported in ye Saudi gazette , then refuted ?
      Let us not forget that the article initially appeared in the Makkah newspaper. Which accused the independent of ‘theft’ not fabrication.
      Anti Wahhabi posts are justified ‘Akhi’

    • Avatar

      Ahamed

      September 5, 2014 at 12:26 AM

      People of Madina are very soft and kind because of our beloved Prophet’s Dua. Is it not true that the present govt not allowing the muslims to raise their hand towards Nabi Mustafa Sallahu Allaihe wa Sallam. Who are they to come between us and our Prophet ? If they think it is shrik and bida and it their part of faith and they have no authority or right to impose on other Muslims. Is it not true that they have demolished Prophet’s living place in Mecca ?

    • Avatar

      jav

      September 5, 2014 at 3:12 AM

      Forget to mentioned that these salafi mafia spread around Prophet PBUH mosque and spread their narrow interpretation. I was chased and harssened even.For salafi brother,unity do not come when you start to harasen and saying bad about fellow muslims just becoz they donot buy your interpretation of islam by Saudi scholars

  5. Avatar

    Mohammed Azeem

    September 4, 2014 at 4:52 AM

    If the Center for Historical Studies and Research of Madinah and other organisations are aware of this article by Independent being not true than why didn’t they issued a statement (or a joint statement) against the article at the very moment they read it. It would have had a great impact on global media instead of a student coming out with an article.
    I’m not criticising anyone but in my view that would have been more appropriate.

    • Avatar

      hasibn

      November 18, 2014 at 3:33 AM

      They’re not a news agency nor put out press releases.

      It’s our job to verify news not cause sensationalism and expect people to tell us what’s true.

  6. Pingback: Dr Irfan Alawi and Holy Sites under threat??

    • Avatar

      abdul salafi

      September 4, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      people do not seem tom know that the muslim faith does not allow kings.
      the present king and his family are descendants of a crooked cunning jew .
      the king had destroyed all historical and cultural sites in this country systematically.
      look how they desecrated al baqui.
      the present king is put in place in 1932 by colonial powers.
      they oppress the masses and serve the orders of Israel and usa.
      all those experts who support the current imposter king is on the payroll of the king. they do it for money.
      it is sad.

  7. Pingback: Allegations on risks to Rawdhah Mubarak: The verdict is still out — Jamiatul Ulama KZN

  8. Avatar

    H

    September 4, 2014 at 6:03 AM

    To those writng anti-wahabi comments (and equally to the responses to those comments):
    Please reflect on the message of unity that this message is conveying. If the Independent were to read some of these comments, they would be celebrating! Understandably differences of opinion exist, but remember the beautiful aklaaq of the Prophet (pbuh) when stating your opinion!

    Please make dua that this Ummah unifies!

    • Avatar

      Jav

      September 5, 2014 at 2:54 AM

      Salafi brothers all the time talks about unity ..unity….and when it come to treat fellow brothers..it takes a second for them to issue fitwa that oh that brother is on way of hell !!!! I never seen any narrow minded muslims sect then salafis unfortunately and above rumors is nothing more then their extremist views

  9. Avatar

    υмαιя ¢αяєѕ (@omindsin)

    September 4, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    Beautifully done Sheikh !! In this world where people blindly follow the influences of Media and big names like Mr Mehdi or even Justin Beiber … you went ahead and defended what you believed in and the knowledge which ALLAH has granted you !!! May ALLAH bless you !! :)

  10. Avatar

    ml

    September 4, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    I think Muslims must learn to challenge any untrue article published by the media and take legal action against the perpetrators rather than blaming readers for naively believe in the reports and what they contain.

  11. Avatar

    Jamal Ud Deen

    September 4, 2014 at 8:55 AM

  12. Avatar

    Ismail

    September 5, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    From my experience with Muslims, “Wahhabi” is a term used to refer to Muslims who practice an aspect of Islam that you do not necessarily want to practice.

    All jokes aside though, thank you for clarifying this matter with the readers. A lot of people, and I must admit myself as well, jumped on the fake outrage bandwagon after falling victim to the Independent’s article. Just ignore those who are determined to remain stubbornly resistant even after reading this article.

  13. Avatar

    Abu Umaamah

    September 5, 2014 at 4:01 AM

    “We must admit. We must be truthful. The realities of history, the truth of demolishing many archaeological sites, historical locations, and other damages to the two holiest sites in Islam is something that is concrete, recorded, and undeniable”. Very sad! I recalled visiting the blessed city and seeing that some historical sites like “the trench” have given way to “modernity and expansions”.

  14. Avatar

    ZUBAIR

    September 5, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Aslaam aley kum brothers there’s no point arguing with each other about wahabi’s and sufi’s remember end of the day we are all muslim and we are trying to get to the bottom of the matter of what’s going on rather than argue who’s right who’s wrong. The best possible solution to this matter is to get a law put in place for this problem not to occur in the first place and every other problem where having against our blessed religion. Allahu alam

  15. Avatar

    ZUBAIR

    September 5, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Howdy!!!
    To you if you think this means something to me then you must not be a muslim or your being judge mental. The best possible greeting would be salaam hello or hi not howdy!!! Thank you really for nothing. I thought when I was speaking to someone that it would be a muslim but now I have found out that you are not a muslim. And no offence to the non muslims. Thank you

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  17. Avatar

    Akram

    September 7, 2014 at 4:41 AM

    براءة الشيخ/د.على الشبل من إخراج قبر النبي
    http://youtu.be/P1DJAU2Rzbc

    • Avatar

      Akram

      September 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      Brief excerpt from above video…

      He added that he was “not qualified to say so, and in fact, no one is.”

      “The Prophet … was buried where he died and this is where the Prophet should be buried,” he explained.

      “The Sahabah [the Prophet’s companions] did not find difficulties in choosing where to bury the Prophet when he died. Some of the companions might have suggested that the Prophet should be buried in Baqi and others that he should be buried alone. However, Abu Bakr … said: ‘I heard the Prophet say that the Prophet should be buried where he dies.’”

      “No one shall change this. This is our religion and the teachings of our Prophet. What was attributed to me is a lie that aims to confuse the people of the Ummah. This is the plan of the people of sedition who aim to confuse people in order to achieve their plans,” he added.

      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/09/06/Saudi-academic-slams-UK-media-lies-over-Prophet-s-tomb.html

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Civil Rights

Podcast: The Unfinished Business of Martin Luther King | Imam Zaid Shakir

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Our Muslim community is one whose existence, contrary to popular misconception, is predicated on the establishment of peace.

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The New Scramble For Africa

Africa
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Africa is a blessed continent with resources and biodiversity that would impress anyone. Africa’s history in Islam (while neglected) played a major role, it was home to the first country to welcome the Muslims and allow them to practice freely. After the spread of Islam trough traders, regions across Africa became hubs for knowledge and trade. The richest man in history hailed from Africa and was Muslim, and his name was Mansa Musa. The riches of Africa have always sought after. People from all over the world have aimed to to do business or exploit the blessed continent. Unfortunately, the history of Africa is filled with strife, bloodshed, slavery, and holocausts. This rings true till today. The purpose of this article is not to dwell on the past, be it Arab influence or colonization. The events going on today needs out attention, we have ignored the struggles of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Africa long enough. 

The first major scramble for Africa was in the 19th century, when Europe carved it up like it was their property. The second was during the cold war, when East and West seek allegiances of newly independent African states. We are witnessing a third scramble that is less obvious, and more behind the scenes with “investments” and “wars”. It can be described as a cold war between China and America. 

African mines

Some see the resources they have like oil, chocolate, rare earth minerals, diamonds, etc. as a blessing (investors mostly), but to the people living through this every day it is a curse. Oil or mineral dependent countries in Africa suffer from enclave industrialization, limited diversity in their economy, and vulnerability to price shock. While this is happening, they see decay in their agriculture, manufacturing, and other trades. The continent is still traumatized by five centuries of exploitation. It is no easy obstacle to overcome. What we are seeing will only get worse as oil production is expected to peak in 2025, world scarcity will increase, and we will see more wars around oil. For the last decade, China has been using “soft power,” basically using money for leverage. This comes in the form of aid, trade, infrastructure projects, and loans. This is a plot to make them a superpower in the region. America, on the other hand, is doing what it has been doing since 1776, it is confronting Africa as a “battlefield,” basically running operations or anti-terrorism projects in dozens of countries that the American public is unaware of. 

One example is South Sudan, and the American campaign to split the Muslim country of Sudan to two. Before the split, China reportedly had invested $20 billion in Sudan. With American interventions occurring, China watched the events unfold. After the split the newly inaugurated president of South Sudan flew to China to secure an $8 billion investment. By 2013, China controlled 40% of their largest crude oil producers and was importing 77% of the country’s output. After unrest and bloodshed occurring in Libya, Mali, Sudan, etc, China has established a stronger effort with peacekeeping officers to protect their oil interest. As one superpower implements one tactic, another superpower follows its traditional method. Last year in Niger, American soldiers, including two commandos, were killed. This was surprising to me as I was unaware of American military operation in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world with Muslims making 98% of its population.

We have seen a dangerous rise of commandos in Africa. In 2006, under Bush, 1% of deployed commandos were in Africa, by 2011 under Obama it had risen to 3%. It does not stop there, before stepping down from office, in 2016, 16.5% of American commandos deployed were deployed in Africa.

In 2006, only 70 special ops were deployed across the continent, in 2014 we have 700 deployed special ops in Africa. “None of these special operations forces are intended to be engaged in direct combat operations,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem. Despite this declaration, despite the deaths of soldiers in Niger, U.S. commandos keep finding themselves in situations that are indistinguishable from combat. 

In March of 2018, the New York Times released an article of 10 unreported attacks of American troops between 2015 and 2017. Despite these attacks and distrust towards the region, the Pentagon built a $100 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, regardless of the people’s concerns towards a base being built near their home. Our worldly desires is fueling this new scramble for Africa. Our need for resources, technology, and fuel comes at a cost. This cost manifests itself as the development of the rentier state (eventually developing into a kleptocracy across Africa, professional soldiers ruling the resource-rich lands or an expansion of the “war on terror”. 

Here are a few theoretical solutions, some are to be initiated by the government and some rely on people-power movements. The government needs to reduce corruption and that can be done through a menu of policies created to control and maintain corruption. Controlling corruption can be done through; changing the selections of national agents, modifying the rewards and punishments systems, and restructuring the relations between national agents and users to reduce monopolies. Another venue the government can explore is directly distributing resource revenues to the people. This is practiced in Alaska, and has been wildly successful. Finally, the government can invest the resource revenues in social development. Harnessing the revenues for human development to include education, healthcare, job training, and housing will lift up the urban and rural poor. 

The people can pressure the government to pursue any of those ideas mentioned. A power-people movement can look different depending on the need. One idea is that consumers in the West to boycott African minerals due to corruption and/or exploitation. This can develop into “smart boycotts” where we use internet hedge funds to attack corporations that exploit and feed into corruption. Developing campaigns like “blood diamonds” in the past have been proven effective to generate awareness and bring vital change. The same was done with the ivory, and now even China has laws making the product illegal.

People-power movements work and have helped locals rid of unwanted corporations in their region. Ken Saro-Wiwa, was a leader of the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta, he rallied against the abuses of the Nigerian military regime and the oil pollution created by multi-national companies, which resulted in a change of consciousness for the better. 

In his words: “Whether I live or die is immaterial. It is enough to know that there are people who commit time, money and energy to fight this one evil among so many others predominating worldwide. If they do not succeed today, they will succeed tomorrow.”

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CAA – NRC Row: Why There Is More To It Than An Attack On Secular Ethos

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‘Indian Muslims have nothing to fear. No one knows what CAA/NRC is all about. They are simply protesting because they are misled’, thus proclaimed a former classmate of mine who himself left India for brighter prospects during PM Narendra Modi’s regime but continues to believe in his promise of ‘acche din’ (good days).

Today the whole of India is divided over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which is to be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Thousands of students from India’s premier institutions like Jamia Milia Islamia, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, IITs and IIMs are thronging the streets to protest against the bigoted law.

The ripple effect has even reached top educational institutions across the world including Harvard, Oxford, Yale and MIT. From lawyers to celebrities to academicians, people across the world, belonging to different religions are raising their dissent against the law which is deemed to be against the secular fabric of the Indian Constitution.

What is this law all about?

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) provides an accelerated path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities from three countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an official record of all those who are legal Indian citizens. So far, such a database has only been created for the northeastern state of Assam which has been struggling with the issue of illegal immigration for a long time. In Assam 1.9 million people were effectively rendered stateless after NRC and were put into detention centers. Out of these 1.9 million, around 0.6 million are Muslim.

On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah declared during a parliamentary session that the register would be extended to the entire country.

Why the uproar?

At first glance the CAA seems to be a harmless law, which the government claims was made to help those who are facing religious persecution. However, the question arises why only those suffering religious persecution? Millions of people are suffering persecution in the name of race, region or language in India’s neighboring countries.

Even if we talk about just religious persecution, why does the law only accommodate those from three neighboring countries? Rohingyas are suffering brutal persecution in Myanmar. Christians are suffering in Sri Lanka. Tibetans have been persecuted because of their beliefs.

Many people opine that the CAA is not problematic in itself. It becomes problematic when it’s seen in conjunction with NRC. When NRC is implemented, millions of people will be declared illegal due to lack of documents in a country where the masses live in villages and documentation is a complicated bureaucratic process with a high error rate. According Professor Shruti Rajagopalan, the State Of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 by IDinsight, covering 2,947 households, found that 8.8% of Aadhaar holders reported errors in their name, age, address or other information in their Aadhaar letter (Aadhaar is the identity number issued to Indian residents). In the NRC, a spelling mistake can deprive one of citizenship and 8.8% affects over 120 million people.

They will be rendered stateless and sent to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Out of these ‘illegals’, everyone but Muslims can seek accelerated citizenship under CAA.

The fact is that even if we view CAA alone, the very act of offering citizenship on the basis of religion goes against the fundamentals of secularism and equality as mentioned in the Indian constitution.

UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has termed the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory”.

In this context, it’s also relevant to understand the revolt that is happening in the north eastern state of Assam. While the rest of India is against CAA and NRC for exclusion of Muslims, the people of Assam are protesting against the inclusion of 1.3 million undocumented Non-Muslims, as identified in the NCR. According to them, if these foreigners are granted citizenship under CAA, they pose a threat to the language and culture of Assam.

Police brutality against protesters

Student fraternity across the world was shocked when students of Jamia Milia Islamia who were peacefully protesting against the CAA were brutally attacked by police forces. Police accused students of destroying public property and fired tear gas shells, beat them up mercilessly and even open fired at them. They barged into the library, mosque and even the women’s hostels without authorization.

Video footage shot by students and reviewed by Reuters show students, including women, hiding beneath desks in the library, cowering in restrooms, jumping over broken furniture in an attempt to flee. It was later verified that none of the students had anything to do with some of the buses that were set ablaze outside the campus.

Reports of even more horrific police brutality surfaced from Aligarh Muslim University. A student’s hand had to be amputated after a tear gas shell hit him and exploded. Hundreds of students were severely injured.

Section 144 of the Criminal Code which prohibits any gathering of 5 or more people has been imposed across the entire state of UP. Internet has been shut down in several parts.

Videos showing police destroying properties of innocent Muslims in UP have surfaced which the ‘Godi media’, a term coined for PM Modi’s lapdog media, refuses to acknowledge. Innocent youth are being dragged out of their homes and their properties are being seized on the accusation of destruction of public property. Death toll has crossed 22. Thousands are in custody.

It’s not surprising that Narendra Modi is being compared to Adolf Hitler.

India’s secular ethos

Religion based politics is nothing new in India, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue and Gujarat riots being two of the most glaring examples.

However, in day to day life ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Aapas mein sab bhai bhai’ (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers) has not just been a slogan but a way of life.

Muslims in India have held prominent positions in every sphere of life, be it arts, literature, sports or leadership and have been admired by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The current BJP government aims to change all of that with its RSS-inspired fascist ideology of Hindutva – Hindu nationalism andHindu rashtra’ (nation).

India’s faltering economy and dejected youth

One of the heartening aspects of the CAA/NRC uprising is that it is not being seen as just a Muslim struggle. It is rightly being seen as a struggle to uphold the secular ethos of the Constitution of India. However, there is more to this struggle which is being led by the youth of the country.

Underlying the CAA-NRC struggles is the country’s deep disappointment with PM Modi’s lofty promises of ‘acche din’ (good days) which gave the country a new hope . Among other things he promised to make India an economic superpower. Today the nation’s economy is in doldrums which has led to frustration and dejection in the youth.

IMF’s last forecast for India was 6.1% growth in 2019. This has slumped to 4.9%. Unemployment is at a 45-year high and industrial growth rate is negative.

One of the major reasons for the economic slowdown has been the government’s radical decision of demonetization in 2016 which sent the entire country in a turmoil and failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. Small businesses took a further hit with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

At a time when the government’s primary concern should have been the faltering economy, the government diverted the country’s attention to the Babri Masjid -Ram Janmabhoomi issue. As soon as that ended it announced the CAA and NRC, continuing its propaganda of Hindu nationalism as opposed to real issues faced by the nation.

At this critical junction the economy can be expected to take a further hit by the cost of the implementation of the CAA and NRC exercise.By conservative estimates, nationwide NRC will cost Indians a whopping 500 billion rupees in admin expenses alone. Add to it the massive cost of building and maintaining detention centers across the country and the nation looks set for an economic and logistical nightmare.

Today the educated youth of the country is voicing its frustration at the price the country has been paying due to the government’s fascist ideologies. They no longer want the world to know India for its age old mandir-masjid disputes, mob lynchings, communal riots, human rights violations, poverty or illiteracy.

The current uprising is not just against one particular law.The people, especially the youth of India are protesting for their rights to work together as one nation to take the country towards being an exemplary democracy and an economic superpower.

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