WHAT was previously thought to be typical Viking Age patterns in silver on woven bands of silk in Viking Age graves are actually geometric Kufic characters as per a new research at Sweden’s Uppsala University. The Arabic characters appear in burial costumes in Viking Age boatgraves, as well as in the chamber graves clothing of central Viking Age sites such as Birka in Mälardalen.
“One exciting detail is that the word ‘Allah’ is depicted in mirror image,” says Annika Larsson, researcher in textile archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History at Uppsala University. “It is a staggering thought that the bands, just like the costumes, was made west of the Muslim heartland. Perhaps this was an attempt to write prayers so that they could be read from left to right, but with the Arabic characters they should have. That we so often maintain that Eastern objects in Viking Age graves could only be the result of plundering and eastward trade doesn’t hold up as an explanatory model because the inscriptions appear in typical Viking Age clothing that have their counterparts in preserved images of Valkyries.”
It was while working to recreate textile patterns for the Viking Couture exhibit at Enköping Museum, Enköping, Sweden, that the researchers discovered that the woven bands contained ancient Arabic script, Kufic characters, invoking both Allah and Ali. The Kufic characters were found in the Viking Age in mosaics on burial monuments and mausoleums, primarily in Central Asia. Similar Kufic characters appear in the grave costumes in Viking Age chamber graves in central sites such as Birka in Mälardalen, as well as in boatgraves in the area around Gamla Uppsala. Continue reading “New research finds Allah and Ali in Viking Age patterns”
THE HISTORIC judgement by the Supreme Court striking down the ridiculous practice followed in some sections of the Muslim community is commendable. About time it was done away with. It is noteworthy, however, that the same has already been banned years back by several Islamic nations, including our favourite neighbour.
Triple talaq or should I say the instant triple talaq had of late become everyone’s favourite whipping boy (comes second only to the four wives conundrum) and though as a Muslim woman I do find it an extremely regressive and outdated practice, I know it has more to do with the patriarchy deeply embedded in our society than anything else! When I say our society I do not mean Muslim, I mean Indian. So while I’m glad it is out of the way, can we be as bothered about ‘all’ women across religions, castes, and economic demographics? Because, frankly, I think the status of women is elevated only by a single factor – economic independence. No religion, no law, no sharia, no nothing!
This is a recent debate on Zakir Naik on NDTV, a supposedly balanced news channel. While it’s ok to question his ideology but to let Tarek Fatah join the discussion will only mislead the common public. Tarek puts India in the same league as Pakistan with his emotional outbursts.
Indian media needs to be careful when it invites people like him. He may comes across as a liberal but is a confrontationist.
Given the track record, and growing influence of regressive conservatives in Pakistan, this news item was unusual. The Pakistan Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights has recommended that the Council of Islamic Ideology [CII], be dissolved. The CII was established in 1962 by the semi-benevolent dictator Field Marshal Ayub Khan, when he forced through his new Constitution, to recommend ways by which all laws could be in conformity with religious doctrine.
Demanding dissolution of a Constitutional body is hardly routine, but the tipping point seems to have been CII’s suggestion that husbands should be allowed “light” violence against “errant” wives, with the decision on quantum of crime and punishment being left, naturally, to the husband.
It is true that CII’s recommendations are not mandatory, but they affect public discourse. This preposterous instance of misogyny and, indeed, misogamy, made headlines across the world, eliciting ridicule mostly. But ridicule is an inadequate response. Continue reading “A tipping point in Pakistan”
From being addressed as a traitor, to a Pakistani, and of course the usual ‘terrorist’ tag, thanks to the hatred some of my countrymen have against Muslims; I bear it all each day. Twitter, day in and day out is filled with hate messages from the hardliners who demand a certification of patriotism from me, just because I am a Muslim. Feels sad. But then, that is what it is! Just a mere ‘feeling’. I pull up my socks again and get out there on the virtual battlefield to fight my Indianess. I really do not need to do so but I still choose to do it.
It amuses me that individuals with no claim to fame of contributing anything for India indulge in dirty name callings when I raise my voice against intolerance. The usual is, people like these need to be sent to Pakistan. Hell, no! Why should anyone have the right to decide on my choice of country? Why should anyone have the right to question my belongingness to India? And most importantly, why should anyone have the right to dictate terms to me! Continue reading “I am an Indian and I am a Muslim”
The Shoulder to Shoulder movement which started in Delhi has now reached Lucknow. A joint Shia-Sunni Eid-ul-Zuha namaz was offered at Imambada Sibtainabad in the city today. The event has been creating a buzz on the social media during the last few weeks.
The prayer was led by a Sunni Imam, Maulana Shehzad, and the participants included Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq.
It’s a welcome change from the regular dividing news coming out of the Muslim community. Let’s hope we see more of this peaceful efforts.
No one has a right to declare that Shiism or Sunnism is false and heretical.
One of the major differences between Shia and Sunni traditions is about the role of leadership. When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was returning from his last pilgrimage, he gathered the caravan at an oasis called Ghadir Khumm and delivered a revelation, that as of this day he has delivered the complete guidance from God, the message of Islam is complete now.
That message was and is crystal clear; there is no misunderstanding about it. There is no more advisement from God, and nothing more needed to added to the religion, it’s done. However, the tag part of that message was understood in two different ways. Continue reading “Muslims should learn to respect each other”
WHEN ignorance marries bluster you get a functioning blunderbuss. Every scattershot gun should come with a safety catch, but human behaviour so often becomes vulnerable to the ego of a weak mind.
Muslims claim, with justified pride, that the age of jahilya, or ignorance, ended when the message of Islam came to the Prophet Muhammad in the desert city of Mecca. Regrettably, jihalat still lingers in parts of the Muslim world. It has found a temporary sanctuary in Delhi’s Jama Masjid, the iconic symbol of Indian Islam.
If the bluster of its Imam, Syed Ahmad Bukhari, were nothing more than self-inflicted wounds, it would not matter so much. But Bukhari gets media space, thanks to his position, and thereby affects the wider perception of Indian Muslims. When he claims that he will not invite India’s Prime Minister to his 19-year-old son Shaban Bukhari’s so-called investiture ceremony, but would like Pakistan’s leader to be present, Ahmad Bukhari is guilty of many varieties of stupidity. Indian Muslims relate to their country’s leaders, not to those of a foreign nation. But this is an appropriate moment to ask another question. Continue reading “A petty feudal at Jama Masjid”
Three news items caught my attention recently: A suicide bombing in Afghanistan killed 89 people, blowing of religious places by ISIS in Iraq and a letter by a prominent cleric in India to the ISIS chief. All three incidents involved Muslims!
This is the state we are in today as a community. Even during the holy month of Ramadan we’ve not given peace a chance.
While nobody claimed the bombing in Afghanistan, it’s mostly Taliban behind such attacks in the country. Which Muslim would do that in such a month! If it’s indeed Taliban then they have further alienated themselves. This has been a trend of sorts during the last few years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading “Let’s be just Muslims Again”
SADIA DEHLVI is an Indian author and activist. Her most recent book is ‘The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi’. Her first book was ‘Sufism: The Heart of Islam’. In a telephonic interview with Inam Abidi Amrohvi, Muslims Today, Sadia speaks on Sufism, women’s rights and Indian Muslims in general.
How satisfied are you with the progress of Indian Muslims during the last 20 years or so?
Well that’s a very tough question because lot has happened during the last two decades, and I think Muslims have progressed a lot.
When I was growing up, I remember, there was hardly a Muslim middle-class. Just after the partition when we had the landed elites and the poor, you never came across Muslims who were doctors, lawyers, engineers, young politicians, etc. I distinctly remember, I had gone to boarding school in Shimla and I was the only Muslim girl there.
When I look now, I see that things have changed a lot for the better. Today, you see a whole new generation of Indian Muslims who are educated and empowered in the true sense. They are engaged in sports, film industry, media, legal, arts and medical profession. So there has been a tremendous growth during the last twenty years, undoubtedly. But, on the other hand it’s not good enough. We should have progressed much further and become a bigger part of India’s growth story. A lot needs to be done at the grassroot level. You know there are many issues at stake. I find that there is a tremendous thirst for knowledge, to work and be financially independent, in the poor people I work with in the Muslim community, especially amongst the women. So there is a tremendous change in their mental attitudes which is a good sign. They want to progress and are looking for opportunities. Unfortunately the opportunities are not enough. Continue reading ““Sufism is Not an Innovation but a Classical Tradition of Islam””