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Accept my hearty congratulations for bringing out the MG. It is doubly good that this newspaper is available on the Internet too.
Md. Aijaz
Gorewali, Khavda, Kutch 370 510

Deobandis and ahl-e hadith
Your editorial (16-31 May) was informative. I would like to clarify that Ahle Hadith in general do not hate any of four Fiqhi Imams or their followers. They have a very high respect for all of them. However, they do reject beliefs which are clashing with authentic Hadiths, e.g., instantaneous triple Talaq. Your editorial has created an impression contrary to the above.
The controversial book must be seen as an exception. Please do not generalize.
Abdul Haque Shaikh, Solappur 413001
Editor: We have no intention to generalize and we are not against any section of the community. In fact, we try to cover the news and views of Muslims of all sections and regions.

Hotmail from Solapur
Your editorial column in the last issue can be titled as 'disunity in the name of religion' as you have criticized the ahle-hadees. Who is right and who is wrong the Arabs know very well; they don't want your suggestions or may be they had stopped your funds, so you started to criticize the Indian Jamiat-e-ahle-hadees.
abdul wajid, Solapur 413001

Editor: MG did not ever and does not receive any funds from any government or official or non-official agency, Arab or non-Arab. This is the secret of our strength and outspokenness.

Don't try to cheat someone as you have done in your editorial column in the last issue. I hope you will understand well.
Abdul Haseeb, Solapur 413006

You have openly criticized the salaf Muslims. It is not fair. Who is cheating, you know very well. I have read a magazine issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband, which openly said that we are 'muqallids' and the salafs (JAH) are not followers of imams; and it criticized salafs. Who is wrong. First of all you have to think. I think you want to make your magazine famous by criticizing and making mischiefs with salafs as the earlier publishers had done.
Saquib, Solapur 413002

PM's Truth
Premier Vajpayee, speaking recently expressed a universal truth in the aftermath of Tehelka, which in Arabic means a thing which ends in destruction. Various forms of its root H-L-K- have been used 69 times in the Holy Qur'an. Verse 1 in Chapter 102 titled Takathur (racing for name and fame by desiring more and more of material wealth) explicitly says: Rivalry in worldly increase distracteth you until you come to the grave (Pickthall's translation). The prime minister too reportedly said that excessive greed for more and more is the root cause of all our troubles. Very right indeed. The only thing lacking after the realization of this truth is to be always true and never to tell a lie. The aim of most of the leaders is to get richer and richer but they tell the masses that they want to serve them.
Sultan A. Patel, Khanpur Deh 392 150

The truth about Kashmir
‘Kashmir is a complex and complicated issue’ is a deceptive and confusing tirade by all the powers who want to maintain the status quo ante in the area. Indian leaders and opinion makers are aware of the history & genesis of the Kashmir issue and know the fall outs of status quo ante ,but due to the lack of foresight and courage they are not coming out calling spade a spade and recognizing the fact that by de jure Kashmir has never been a part of India.
Unless the peer group in India speaks and supports the truth about Kashmir,no power on earth can make south Asia the island of peace. AS LONG AS THERE IS NO CHANGE OF MIND AND HEART in the Indian opinion leader class about the basic realities on Kashmir, America or UN cannot facilitate the restoration of peace. Kashmir is not a dispute which has emerged overnight ,nor is a decade long strife, it has a recorded history of 53 years. Since the inception India has evaded the solution by confusing this other wise very simple issue in one way or the other.
Many times international mediation came into play, so many UN peace missions tried to solve the issue, innumerable bilateral agreements from Tashkent to Lahore vowed to solve the dispute. But every time India either backtracks or at the outset starts the parleys with duplicity and publicity orientation.
I believe unless a mass opinion develops within India that caters to the satisfaction of the wishes of Kashmiri people no facilitator or intermediary can play any effective role.Who knows may be Kashmiris would vote in favour of India! But India has to come out with the truth about the Kashmir dispute and make sure that self esteem of people of Kashmir is honored.
Inder Krishen Bhat

Your ‘Islamic Perspectives’ of Muharram issue, spoke about martyrdom of Husain (RA). But Muharram also witnessed innumerable martyrs of Islam. Moreover, you never mentioned the hadith about the virtue of ibadat and fasting in this month. Kindly utilize this page with real, true and pure teachings of Allah’s Book and the Prophet’s Sunnah and his elegant life, rather than some day-to-day commentary which lacks authenticity.
Dr MJ Idris, Bangalore

Minorities panel
Apropos of the interview with Dr Prof. S. Tahir Mahmood Saheb (MG, 1 May), there is no doubt that the entire life of N.C.M. has passed in darkness with the exception of the term of Prof. Mahmood who made the commission known to the common man and dealt with genuine problems.
Perhaps the government did not expect that a dedicated academician and devoted scholar would be so alive to the responsibilities of the Commission, as chairman.
His period as chairman cannot be forgotten. Certainly his book will be a guiding force and a compass for the entire machinery of NCM as well as the government machinery and bureaucracy.
S. Shafiq Ahmad
Shyam Ngr, Meerut 250 002

Whose tail?
Within two hours of United States’ public denunciation of Israeli incursion into Palestinian territory in Gaza, in BBC’s reporter Orla Geurin’s words, ‘Israel has to turn tail and beat hasty retreat’. Ariel Sharon had planned to remain in the area for weeks if not indefinitely - another step in his relentless life-long struggle to gobble more and more land and to throw Palestinians out of the ‘sacred Zionist Israel’ through violent means.
The new US Republican administration of Bush and Colin Powell was forced to issue public warning and world was witness to the miracle of Israel gulping its pride and arrogance and turn back within hours.
And to think, Oslo took 7 years and achieved nothing.
Whatever may be the achievement of the hour, it only goes to prove that US holds the key to peace in the Middle East and Israel cannot make an move if it is countermanded by its ‘only ally and benefactor’. This lays a great responsibility on the US, in as much as, there is no doubt that all the 50 year long Israeli subjugation of Palestine and its people, could not have taken place without US support, approval, consent, licence, connivance and collusion. Democrat or Republican, no US administration can unequivocally declare that its hands are clean of Palestinian blood. Major countries of Arab and Islamic world are US friends and allies, in the limited sense of ‘common mutual interest’ that binds them together. But the tragedy has been going on for such a long time, that US cannot pretend it has no plans to intervene in the search for an honourable peace in the Middle East. US owes it to its Arab and Muslim friends as well as to the rest of the peace-loving world. Bush and Powell do have what it takes to move decisively and swiftly to achieve what Clinton’s soft-pedaling could not achieve in his 8 years’ democratic rule. The world now waits for he second shoe to drop, before it relaxes in peace.
Ghulam Muhammed Siddiqui

Dowry system in Islam
Dowry is vehemently prohibited by Islam. I strongly oppose the dowry system prevalent in our society. Islam is a divine religion, which cannot permit this evil practice. The dowry system causes great trouble to both the bride and the bridegroom in our society. For example, if a low-income father has four girls, it would be impossible for him to give dowry demanded. It is a very bad system for both the parties. Every body should come forward to eradicate such evils from our society. In our Indian society thousands of girls are killed and forced to suicide every year due to this menace.
Md. Amiruddin Ahmad
Chararpar, Karimganj, Assam

The most misunderstood term!
The term kafir relates more to the status of a person’s belief system and reflects less about the physical entity that he is. A more apt, politically and socially significant term ‘dhimmi’ used in Arabic literature to denote non-Muslims has been ignored and has gone unnoticed by Muslim-bashers.
The word ‘kafir’ probably is one of the most misunderstood terms in the history of world languages. The term has been abused and projected by media in such a fashion that it induces spontaneous hatred among people to whom this term is being referred to. Any language at its best, conveys what it is made out to convey. Factually speaking, there is nothing derogatory or insulting about the term ‘kafir’. The term (derived from kufr in Arabic) means ‘one who rejects (denies) the truth’ or ‘One who does not believe’ or a ‘non-believer’... A person who is not a Christian is called a non-Christian; a person who is non-Muslim, which translated into Arabic language is a ‘kafir’. It is as simple as that.
A non-Muslim subject in an Islamic state is called ‘dhimmi’ (derived from ‘dhimma’ meaning responsibility) meaning a subject whose life, honour and property are to be protected by the Islamic State while he enjoys freedom to follow his own belief-system. He will have his own set of laws, administered by his own tribunals and own judges, without any interference on the part of the Muslim authorities. He will also be exempted from participation in the wars, otherwise compulsory for the Muslim subjects of the state. He will not be required to pay the compulsory annual Zakat (a compulsory tax collected annually from Muslims by the Islamic government and disbursed to the poor, Muslims and non-Muslim alike). Against all these privileges the able, earning and male ‘dhimmi’ has to pay a nominal tax called ‘Jizya’. The quantum of Jizya has to be reasonable so that it does not constitute a financial burden on him. In case of any uncertainty with respect to the safety of non-Muslim subjects, an Islamic state will forfeit its right to collect such a tax. History tells us that the second Caliph ‘Umar (RA) retuned a huge sum of money collected through ‘Jizya’ to the non-Muslim subjects in one such compelling circumstance. The ‘dhimmis’ will be exempted from jizya if they participate in the war effort.
At the time of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an, when most of the non-believers in Mecca and Madina had waged a pitched battle against the believers, Allah (SWT), sensing the question upper most in the minds of most Muslims with respect to their dealings with other non-believers who were not hostile to them, issued the following instruction: ‘Allah does not forbid you to be kind and deal justly with non-Muslims who do not wage war against you on account of your religion and do not drive your out of your homes. Verily Allah loves those who are just’ (60:8). The above mentioned verse in fact is a policy statement in this matter. This is further exemplified by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who said, ‘One who kills a dhimmi will not get even the scent of Paradise.’ In another statement he said, ‘I shall stand witness against the believer who will be guilty of persecuting a dhimmi.’
It should be further noted that while discussing the rights of neighbours and wayfarers, Islam does not make any distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims. A non-Muslim neighbour has as much right over his Muslim neighbour as the Muslim neighbor next door. There cannot be a better example to illustrate Islam’s stand vis-à-vis the treatment to the non-Muslims than the story narrated by Abu ‘Uzair (RA), one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), before embracing Islam. ‘I was one of the prisoners of war and was handed over as captive to one of the Ansars [‘helpers’, i.e, Muslims of Madinah]. Ever since the Prophet instructed his companions to take good care of the captives, the situation used to be that my host used to eat only dates while providing me a stomach full meal.’ No wonder, the entire Christian population of a border town, preferred to live as dhimmis under the rule of Hazrat Umar (RA), the second caliph of Islam instead of becoming sovereign subjects of a Christian king in 640 CE.
Moin Don, Kalyan, Mumbai 421 301


What is a Nikahnama?
What is a Nikahnama? Is there any confusion over it in north India? One of my Hindu friends asked me this question. Naturally I could not answer it, even Muslim scholars were not able to.

Arif Zain, Malappuram

Editor: 'Nikahnama', literally means 'marriage paper or document.' Nikah is Arabic for marriage and nama is Persian for book or document. This term is used in the north for unofficial papers signed by an unofficial qadi, or marriage officer, and the bride (or her agent) and the bride groom, their fathers or agents, in addition to some witnesses. It contains their personal particulars as well as any extra conditions agreed at the time of marriage like the amount of mahr or any other mutually agreed condition, which (theoretically) may even include the right of the wife to divorce her husband. This document is made out in three copies, one each is given to the bride and bride-groom and the third is kept by the qadi for future reference.
There is a demand these days that the nikahnama should contain rules of Islamic shari'ah about the conduct of the wife and husband, especially in respect to talaq (which is misused by illiterates) and inheritance. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has been discussing various versions of a unified nikahnama which will contain such information for future reference, but so far no decision has been taken.

Who is behind MG?
I want to know if the MG is owned by a person, or does it belong to any community organization?
Mohammed Shakir Siddiqui, Paterson, USA

Editor: MG is not brought out by any 'organization' or Jamaat as such. It is brought out by me using mostly my own funds. Though some friends and like-minded people have extended a helping hand, still I have to bear the big deficit. The paper has been brought out to meet an acute need of a Muslim voice in English in this country where we constitute a community of around 200 million people but have no stake in the non-Urdu media and our voice goes unheard. Though MG has been appreciated a lot at home and abroad but this has not translated into resources and, as a result, we are unable to progress to a weekly and editions in other areas and languages.

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