Come Let us Go

9 09 2008

From the legendary Punjabi Muslim poet of the 18th century Bulleh Shah.

Chal Bulleh chal outhay chaliyay jithay howan sarai annai
Na koi sadi zaat pehchani, na koi saanu man’nai

Translation:

Come Bulleh, let go where everyone is blind
So that no one recognonizes our caste and no one recognizes us (as pious)

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Bulleh Shah – The People’s Poet

2 02 2008

One of my friends sent this translation of one of the most famous verses from Bulleh Shah who was a sufi master and a great poet of the Punjabi Language.

Summon Bulleh Shah for Shah Inayat
has brought us to the door,
Whose love do I whirl bedecked
in varied shades of green and red.
Whilst dancing rapturously
Beloved I found thee;
Love for you makes me whirl in ecstasy.





Raped? With Four Witnesses?

22 11 2007

Here is another story that I wrote sometime ago. I thought it would be (unfortunately) appropriate to post it now because of what has been going on in KSA lately. And you know what I really hate? I really hate when otherwise sensible people (Some Muslims in this case) say nonsense things like, “In KSA they have a sharia system. They never go against Islam. It is the Western media distorting the news. blah blah.” When you try to reason with them then they accuse you of being a Western stooge directly or indirectly. These are the same people have no problem in believing in outlandish conspiracy theories.

Also this is off topic but please pray for the victims of the cyclone in Bangladesh.

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Raped? With Four Witnesses?

by Jahandost

It was an unremarkable village, the only thing different about it was that it was surrounded by mountains on three sides so that its main connection to the outside world was a pass. It was somewhat far from other centers of population, so for the purpose of this story it does not matter when this story took place, it could have taken place today, yesterday, a year ago, five years ago, a hundred or even five hundred years ago. The location is also of no consequence.

On that fateful day Fatima, the daughter of a poor farmer, got separated from the rest of her group while coming back from the fields. While trying to find her way back to the village she came across a group of men who had less than noble intentions. She cried for help and struggled but there is no person who could help her. After desecrating her body the men left her for dead. After many hours of searching her father and the village folk came across her and took her back. Fatima and her family were traumatized, but not completely broken even though people were saying ‘things’ and pointing fingers at her. She knew who were assailants were – the powerful and the influential in the community but she had faith in justice. The case was presented before the judge, the accused of course feigned ignorance and innocence. The qadi (judge) declared that Fatima should produce four witnesses otherwise the court has no doubt that she was involved in adultery and the society must be cleaned of her abominable presence. As expected, the two aggressors were set free by the qadi. Fatima insisted that this law was unislamic and that they were twisting the laws for their own benefit but her voice fell on deaf years.

Fatima was thus condemned to death by the court and abandoned by her family since it was now clear to everyone that she had dishonored her family and there is no other way for them to reclaim their honor. The next day she was brought to the main square to be stoned. She expected justice from men but men are imperfect and often times their justice is also imperfect. Dejected and wronged by her people Fatima turned to God, the only one who can deliver perfect justice and so right before breathing her last she asked God if the perpetrators of this crime would face the same humiliation that she had to face so that in the future men will think a million times before even thinking about desecrating a woman.

After the death of Fatima the village life came back to normal. It was winter time, it snowed this time of the year but this year it snowed unusually heavily so that the pass was closed, that’s when strange things started to happen. The two men who had desecrated Fatima became sick, at first the village doctor could not figure out what the problem was and there was no way to get doctors from the city since the village was now effectively cut off from the rest of the work. Then the qadi became sick as well, it was not after a few weeks that the puzzle was solved but it was bizarre – all three men had become pregnant! People could not explain it, some even called it a miracle. Then it happened again, another woman was raped and she was again asked to provide four witnesses but in her case the court proceedings took some time and the man who was accused was raping her became pregnant instead of her becoming pregnant. The court proceedings were stopped altogether, people wanted to make sense of what was going on in the world. It seemed that in case of married couples, the natural law still prevailed – The woman still became pregnant and their husbands would not become pregnant. Many weeks passed, a few more cases – the same pattern it was always the accused in rape cases that the became pregnant i.e., the men.

The village was still cut off from the outside world even after many months, although the winter should have ended some time ago. Consequently the village was running short on food and other vital provisions. It was then the people realized that it was not just a miracle but rather warning from God. People repented, they finally saw the obvious that the accused in all the cases were guilty. Menfolk had twisted the laws of God for their own benefit and now they had to pay the price. God was punishing them. Only repentance for their crime of denying justice to rape victims could redeem them. The villagers stayed up for a few days, prayed, begged God for mercy and promised that they will not deny justice to women in the future. The women in all the cases were set free, their honor restored and no blame was put on them. It was decided that the accused men would be put to death after the termination of the pregnancy. That night the village went to sleep and the next day when they woke up, all the male pregnancies had disappeared all of a sudden and snow had also melted overnight.

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Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “People, beware of injustice, for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.”

Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2447, Mosnad Ahmad, #5798





Outrage: Gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia sentenced!

19 11 2007

There was a time when Muslims stood for peace and justice, a time when the aim of law was to bring justice and not to punish people, a time when the jurists realized that the laws are there for humans and not vice versa. Alas! We no longer live in that era. A rape victim in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 200 lashes. Her sentence was increased when she protested about the original sentence. To the judges, “Do you have any decency left?

Here is the press release from the Human Rights Watch.

Saudi Arabia: Rape Victim Punished for Speaking Out
Court Doubles Sentence for Victim, Bans Her Lawyer From the Case

(New York, November 17, 2007) – A court in Saudi Arabia doubled its sentence of lashings for a rape victim who had spoken out in public about her case and her efforts to seek justice, Human Rights Watch said today. The court also harassed her lawyer, banning him from the case and confiscating his professional license.
An official at the General Court of Qatif, which handed down the sentence on November 14, said the court had increased the woman’s sentence because of “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.” The court sentenced the rape victim to six months in prison and 200 lashes, more than double its October 2006 sentence after its earlier verdict was reviewed by Saudi Arabia’s highest court, the Supreme Council of the Judiciary.

Human Rights Watch called on King Abdullah to immediately void the verdict and drop all charges against the rape victim and to order the court to end its harassment of her lawyer.

“A courageous young woman faces lashing and prison for speaking out about her efforts to find justice,” said Farida Deif, researcher in the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch. “This verdict not only sends victims of sexual violence the message that they should not press charges, but in effect offers protection and impunity to the perpetrators.”

The young woman, who is married, said she had met with a male acquaintance who had promised to give her back an old photograph of herself. After she met her acquaintance in his car in Qatif, a gang of seven men then attacked and raped both of them, multiple times. Despite the prosecution’s requests for the maximum penalty for the rapists, the Qatif court sentenced four of them to between one and five years in prison and between 80 and 1,000 lashes. They were convicted of kidnapping, apparently because prosecutors could not prove rape. The judges reportedly ignored evidence from a mobile phone video in which the attackers recorded the assault.

Moreover, the court in October 2006 also sentenced both the woman and man who had been raped to 90 lashes each for what it termed “illegal mingling.” Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned that the criminalization of any contact between unmarried individuals of the opposite sex in Saudi Arabia severely impedes the ability of rape victims to seek justice. A court may view a woman’s charge of rape as an admission of extramarital sexual relations (or “illegal mingling”) unless she can prove, by strict evidentiary standards, that this contact was legal and the intercourse was nonconsensual.

In an interview in December, the rape victim described to Human Rights Watch her treatment in court:

“At the first session, [the judges] said to me, ‘what kind of relationship did you have with this individual? Why did you leave the house? Do you know these men?’ They asked me to describe the situation. They used to yell at me. They were insulting. The judge refused to allow my husband in the room with me. One judge told me I was a liar because I didn’t remember the dates well. They kept saying, ‘Why did you leave the house? Why didn’t you tell your husband [where you were going]?’”

“Victims of sexual violence in Saudi Arabia face enormous obstacles in the criminal justice system,” said Deif. “Their interrogations and court hearings are more likely to compound the trauma of the original assault than provide justice.”

During the recent hearings, Judge al-Muhanna of the Qatif court also banned the woman’s lawyer, Abd al-Rahman al-Lahim, from the courtroom and from any future representations of her, without apparent reason. He also confiscated his lawyer’s identification card, which the Ministry of Justice issues. Al-Lahim faces a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry of Justice on December 5, where sanctions can include suspension for three years and disbarment.

Al-Lahim, who is Saudi Arabia’s best-known human rights lawyer, earlier this year had planned to take legal action against the Ministry of Justice for failing to provide him with a copy of the verdict against his client so that he could prepare an appeal. Despite numerous representations to the court and the ministry, he was not given a copy of the case file or the verdict.

“The decision to ban the rape victim’s lawyer from the case shows what little respect Saudi authorities have for the legal profession or the law in general,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

On October 3, King Abdullah announced a judicial reform, promising new specialized courts and training for judges and lawyers. There is currently no rule of law in Saudi Arabia, which does not have a written penal code. Judges do not follow procedural rules and issue arbitrary sentences that vary widely. Often, judges do not provide written verdicts, even in death penalty cases. Judges sometimes deny individuals their right to legal representation. In May 2006, a judge in Jeddah had thrown a lawyer out of his courtroom in a civil suit on the sole basis that he is of the Isma’ili faith, a branch of Shiism. Trials remain closed to the public.





Thus Spoke the Danish Sage (Part I)

17 11 2007

Here are some words of wisdom from the man who taught me to appreciate the absurd, one of the men who led me to the path of a thousand manifestations, the great sage of Denmark. Read and be intoxicated. Interestingly the Danish sage has been compared to the Indian Sage that I often talk about!

“No, not one shall be forgotten who was great in the world. But each was great in his own way, and each in proportion to the greatness of that which he loved. For he who loved himself became great by himself, and he who loved other men became great by his selfless devotion, but he who loved God became greater than all. Everyone shall be remembered, but each became great in proportion to his expectation. One became great by expecting the possible, another by expecting the eternal, but he who expected the impossible became greater than all. Everyone shall be remembered, but each was great in proportion to the greatness of that with which he strove. For he who strove with the world became great by overcoming the world, and he who strove with himself became great by overcoming himself, but he who strove with God became greater than all. So there was strife in the world, man against man, one against a thousand, but he who strove with God was greater than all. So there was strife upon earth: there was one who overcame all by his power, and there was one who overcame God by his impotence. There was one who relied upon himself and gained all, there was one who secure in his strength sacrificed all, but he who believed God was greater than all. There was one who was great by reason of his power, and one who was great by reason of his wisdom, and one who was great by reason of his hope, and one who was great by reason of his love; but Abraham was greater than all, great by reason of his power whose strength is impotence, great by reason of his wisdom whose secret is foolishness, great by reason of his hope whose form is madness, great by reason of the love which is hatred of oneself.”





Koonj on ‘I am a Walking Religion’

5 11 2007

One of my favorite bloggers from back in the days, Koonj, posted a powerful poem not too long ago but I did not get a chance to link to it. Here is an excerpt:

If I am a feminist, you snidely accuse me of cunningly outmanoeuvring my religion.
If I am an academic, you congratulate me on keeping my religiosity at bay just long enough to nab one of your jobs.
If I become depressed, you exhort me to lose the darkness of my religiosity.

If I am happy, you say I am deluded.

I cannot win. I cannot simply be. I must be defined and packed up in a small green box marked ISLAM.
Any flaws I have must be traced back to Islam. Any disadvantages I have must be marked up to my religion.

Any strengths I have must be explained away. I am, you say, too Western to be truly a Muslim woman. You say I am too Americanized to be a truly Muslim woman. I am too critical to be a real believer.

Speaking of back in  the days, Koonj characteristic style was very powerful and yet likable (Ok sometimes she does sound like an aunty). On a lighter note, if you get a chance then be sure to check out Koonj’s Khutba for Dummies. Its a classic. 🙂





Jahandost is an ‘idiot’: Reason # 1

3 11 2007

One of the most lovable (and may be even pitiable) character in world literature is Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. Prince Myshkin is sincere in his heart and thus he is taken advantage of by other people and thus he is an idiot. Jahandost does not claim to be as pure of heart or likeable as Prince Myshkin but Jahandost can be an ‘idiot’ nonetheless, at least some of the time. So there was a friend was in desperately in need of some help and had some problem in rent, so Jahandost stepped in since no one else was willing to do so. ‘Of couse’ he would pay back Jahandost at the end of the month but ‘of course’ the friend left the country at the end of the month and then refused to pay back Jahandost. This is so because he will not be getting the money (the security deposit) that he was supposed to give to Jahandost as it has been confiscated (because of fines) and now it would be ‘unjust’ for him to pay Jahandost. This is despite the fact that Jahandost also paid the fine and not getting the security deposit. So basically Jahandost ended up effectively paying the other person’s rent. Afterall aren’t we supposed to supposed to help our brothers and sisters in time of need? Yes we are; even if they think that we are idiots when we help.

So, “Whatever happened to brotherhood?” Now do you know why I am the way I am.