Life-cycle of a Believer

If you have 10 minutes take a look at this as well

|-| Fajr |-|

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Surah al-‘Asr is a fascinating chapter in the Qur’an because despite it being the second shortest chapter, it sort of sets the details/blueprint and encompasses the cycle of a believer’s life. Think about it:

“By Time.
Indeed, Mankind is in loss.
Except those who believe and do good deeds, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to patience.” [al-‘Asr]

A person’s lifeTime seems to follow a certain pattern: We are all in loss and in danger of losing our Hereafter – except for the believer. But when belief enters your heart, you naturally start doing deeds of righteousness. But then belief can’t stay suppressed in your heart and so you advise others and enjoin goodness – more importantly, you stand up for the Truth. And the moment you stand up for the Truth in this world, is the moment you will…

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Charming the Money Snake

Often times in our community we hear the following

“If I was richer I would definitely contribute to this project or that cause!!!

The money I have is just enough for me to get by!!

One day InshaAllah I well be self sufficient enough to spend more in the Cause of Allah SWT

and so on and so forth
Then we some how console ourselves by saying the day I have enough money I will surely give it here and there for the sake of Allah SWT.

How much is enough and who decides this?

SubhanAllah our Prophet SAW admonished us by saying “Save yourselves even if by the skin of the date”. Yet we fool ourselves in this materialistic/consumerist society that one day we will have enough money to spend in Allah’s SWT way after we have spent on ourselves.

Just yesterday one of the brothers I know reminded me that

He ﷺ said, “By Allah I don’t fear for you poverty, but I fear that the world would be abundant for you as it has been for those before you, so you compete for it as they have competed for it, so it destroys you as it has destroyed them.” (Agreed upon)

Reflect!

On the Path of Knowledge

— Written by a good friend

We frequently use Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf (RA) and Uthman ibn Affan (RA) as examples to state that “there is nothing wrong with being rich, it’s how you spend the wealth”. This is true but it’s a “premature” conclusion.

Imam Ghazali writes on the topic of “Love of wealth”:
.
Know that the likeness of wealth is that of a snake in which there is both poison and medicine, as we have said. Whoever does not know the incantation for the snake and seizes one in his hand will be destroyed. It is for this reason that is not proper for someone to say: “Amongst the companions, there were some who were rich, such as Abdur Rahman bin Awf and the likes of him. Therefore, there is no fault in being rich.” This is as though a child, seeing a magician who takes a…

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Fasting on Ashura

Fasting on the day of Ashura or the 10th Muharram along with the day preceding or succeeding it is a recommended Sunnah as recorded in a number of authentic Ahadith.

Please attempt to fast on these two days – 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th of Muharram to gain immense reward.

The collection of ahadith regarding this day has been collected here

Karbala: A Historical Analysis by Dr. Yasir Qadhi

Below is a timeline of the events preceding and surrounding the death of Hussain RA, based on a recent talk by Sh.Yasir Qadhi from the Memphis Islamic Centre. I would encourage all of you to listen to it and benefit from it.  Following the timeline is some commentary and analysis from the talk abridged and edited for easier reading.

At the outset the Shaik warned that this is a grave and contentious issue that has plagued the Ummah for a long time. This is not an effort to demean anyone but to inform Muslims of the issue surrounding the death of Hussain RA. This presentation is based on the classical historians of Islam such as ibn Hajar and Ibn Kathir. This is a summarised version and not a detailed exposition of the same and should be understood in the same spirit.

I have attempted to put the talk into written form to aid those who listen to the lecture and to ensure those who do not, at least know it in summary. Where information, only in terms of specific dates, was not mentioned in the talk, I have added them based on my own research.

In preparing this I do realise and thus hope to remedy my own ignorance of the History of Islam. By putting this document together, I hope personally that I continue studying the History of Islam and the various issues that shaped our Muslim Ummah. I do hope that this document is not an end but the beginning of such a study. May Allah SWT grant us Tawfeeq for the same. Ameen

In presenting this information in this format, if there are any mistakes in recording the speech or in any additions, then they are from me and Shaithan. May Allah SWT forgive us and unite us on the Straight Path. Ameen

The article is divided into three parts – Timeline, Commentary on Karbala and Commentary on Ahlul Bayth

Time Line

3H Ramadan – Hassan ibn Ali RA born

4H Shaban – Hussain ibn Ali RA born

26H – Yazid son of Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan RA born

35H – Ali RA becomes Khalifa after martyrdom of Uthman ibn Affan RA

35H – Battle of Jamal (Ali RA fights Aisha RA over the issues surrounding martyrdom of Uthman RA)

36H – Battle of Siffin (Ali RA fought Muawiyah). It is said that in the Battles of Jamal and Siffin more Sahaba died than all of those who died in battles during the lifetime of Rasool SAW. These battles are together known as the first Fitna and are an extremely sad period of Islamic History.

37H – Ali RA moves capital to Kufa. Shia of Ali or the Party of Ali formed here. (Purely political supporters of Ali with no separate theology)

40H – Ali RA dies

40H – Struggle between Muawiya and Hassan RA. Hassan RA makes peace 6 months later by giving up seat to Muawiya. Muawiya begins rule from Damascus.

40H – Hassan RA leaves Kufa and returns to Medina along with Hussain and Family

~45-46H – Yazid leads Muawiyah’s army into Constantinople. Hasan RA fights along with Yazid in this battle.

50H – Hasan RA dies in Medina

60H – Muawiya RA dies in Damascus. Before dying he nominates his son Yazid as the Khalifah after him. Many of Sahaba pledge allegiance to him. But they leave active politics after the pledge. Hussain and Abdullah ibn Zubair do not pledge.

60H Ramadan – Governor of Medina calls Hussain RA home and asks him to pledge allegiance to Yazid. Hussain RA avoids this and goes to Mecca.

60H Ramadan – When people in Kufa hear about Hussain not giving allegiance to Yazid, they become overjoyed and start sending letters of support to Hussain and ask him to lead them in revolt

60H Dhul Qadah – Husain RA sends his nephew Muslim ibn Aqeel with couple of others to assess situation in Kufa and determine if he has support

60H Dhul Qadah – Neary 40,000 people of Kufa pledge support through their tribe leaders to Muslim ibn Aqeel promising Hussain support against Yazid. Muslim ibn Aqeel asks Hussain to come to Kufa.

60H Dhul Qadah – Rumours of revolt reach Yazid. He deputes 28 year old Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad without an army (only 17 people accompanied him) as governor of Kufa to take charge of situation.

60H Dhul Qadah – ibn Ziyad confirms the possibility of revolt and sends spies to find the heads of Hussain’s support.

60H Dhul Qadah/Dhul Hijja – Hussain gets the message and prepares to leave for Kufa.

60H Dhul Qadah/Dhul Hijja – Host of Muslim ibn Aqeel, Hani bin Urwah caught by ibn Ziyad. When Muslim hears this, prepares an army of 4000 Kufan men and heads to the gates of ibn Ziyaad’s fortress.

60H Dhul Qadah/Dhul Hijja – On the same day between Fajr and Isha, ibn Ziyaad, a master tactician, bribes or scares Muslim’s men away such that by nightfall, not a single man supports him

60H Dhul Qadah/Dhul Hijja – Muslim is caught by ibn Asha’as, a lieutenant of ibn Ziyaad. Muslim makes him promise to send a message to Hussain warning against coming to Kufa.

60H 9th of Dhul Hijja – Muslim martyred publicly. Over next few days chief supporters of revolt arrested and publicly killed. Kufans no more support Hussain RA

60H Dhul Hijja – The Sahaba in Mecca and Medina, ibn Abbas, ibn Umar, Abu Saeed al Khudree, Jaabir ibn Ubaidillah RA along with Hussain’s brother from another of Ali’s RA wives, Mohammed ibn Hanafiyya dissuade him from going to Kufa.

60H Dhul Hijja – Hussain RA leaves for Kufa with the letters of support from Kufa in spite of all the warnings from people of Hijaz, with 70-80 people of his family. Hussain still doesn’t know that Kufa has given up the revolt.

60H Dhul Hijja – ibn Ziyaad intercepts Yazid’s army of 4000 men, on the way to Turkey, led by Umar ibn Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas. He gets permission to keep them at standby.

60H Dhul Hijja – Hussain sends messengers to Kufa on the way but both killed by ibn Ziyaad.

60H Dhul Hijja – Hussain reaches close to Kufa. Ibn Asha’as’ message reaches him along with information of Muslim and the turn face of Kufa.

60H Dhul Hijja – Hussain confers with his party. They encouraged him to continue to Kufa to avenge Muslim and hoping Kufans will still support Hussain. He still thought he could get the support he required and win. He did not go to Kufa to “sacrifice” himself.

61H Muharram – Hussain reaches Karbala (4 – 6 kms out of Kufa). Umar ibn Sa’ad commanded by ibn Ziyaad to negotiate with Hussain. Hussain gives three options – go back to Mecca, meet Yazid or leave in exile. Ibn Ziyaad refuses and asks Hussain to come to him or face war.

61H Muharram – ibn Ziyaad puts Shimir in charge of force over Umar ibn Sa’ad.

61H 9th Muharram – Shimir gives ultimatum to Hussain to come to ibn Ziyaad and give allegiance. He refuses.

61H 10th Muharram – Hussain and other men martyred by the force, now led by Shimir. Women and children spared. Zain ul Abideen, son of Hussain escapes as he was a baby hidden amongst the women. 15 Ahl ul Bayth die.

~63H – Yazid dies.

~64/65H – ibn Ziyaad murdered in a power struggle in Syria.

65H – A party called Tawabbun (The Repenters) emerge from Kufa, feeling guilty of Kufa’s part in the betrayal of Hussain. They head to Damascus to exact revenge.

65H Muharram – Tawabbun stop at Karbala. They lament publicly and beat themselves over the martyrdom of Hussain. Theological Shi’ism is said to have its roots from this incident.

~~~

Karbala: Who is to blame?

It could be argued that Hussain Ra did not take the right step by going to Karbala in spite of the warnings of the other Sahaba. Some others hold the view that he went there to sacrifice himself. But Hussain Ra went there believing that Kufa would support him. In fact the letters of support that reached him is said to have been so numerous that it filled 2 bags used on camels. On top of that Muslim’s message later on also supported this assumption. Thus the real blame falls upon some other individuals

  1. People of Kufa at that time – The people of Kufa are squarely to be blamed for their treachery in the face of bribes and threats by ibn Ziyaad. Having first supported Hussain, they did not even turn up to Karbala to defend him. Even companions like Umm Salama Ra and ibn Umar Ra held them to blame for the same
  2. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad, Governor of Kufa – Known to be young, ruthless and impetuous, his arrogance is another reason that caused the martyrdom of Hussain. Hussain Ra gave him three options, choosing one of which might have set a different course. But having refused the options, he insisted that Hussain come to him and pledge allegiance. This was something Hussain Ra would not do and thus led him to fight ibn Ziyaad’s army.
  3. Umar ibn Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Original Commander of the Governor’s Troops  – He is not a Companion nor is he completely to blame for Hussain’s Martyrdom. But he did not take a more strong stance and prevent ibn Ziyaad from attacking Hussain Ra
  4. Shimir and his Henchmen, Stand in Commander of the Governor’s Troops – For delivering the final blow on Hussain Ra, the grandson of the Prophet SAW.
  5. Yazid, Khalifa – While many positions exist on Yazid’s role in the martyrdom, his decision to appoint ibn Ziyaad as governor and his unwillingness to punish him after, are considered to be his primary failing.

The issue of Hussain’s Ra martyrdom is obviously a black mark on the history of Muslims. He was the grandson of the Prophet SAW, yet he was killed in battle by other muslims. This is no doubt heartbreaking for those who love the Prophet SAW and his family. But that portion of Islamic History saw many deaths of Companions of the Prophet SAW and thus without condoning Hussain Ra death, we cannot single it out.

~~~

The Position of Ahl Ul Bayth

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# Ali bin Husayn or Zayn ul Abideen was the sole male survivor in Karbala and the Prophet’s SAW lineage continues through him.

‘A’isha reported that Allah’s Apostle (SAW) went out one morning wearing a striped cloak of the black camel’s hair that there came Hasan b. ‘Ali. He wrapped him under it, then came Husain and he wrapped him under it along with the other one (Hasan). Then came Fatima and he took her under it, then came ‘Ali and he also took him under it and then said: Allah only desires to take away any uncleanliness from you, O people of the household, and purify you (thorough purifying) [Sahih Muslim 2424

 

The Ahl ul Sunnah wal Jama’a take the position between 2 extremes of loving the Family of the Prophet SAW to the point of deifying them or hating them and vilifying them. The Ahl ul Bayth are to be loved as commanded by the Prophet SAW himself and as shown by Sahaba such as Abu Bakr and Umar RA. Moreover, if the Ahl ul bayth are righteous, or from among the Companions or both, then their stature increases even higher in the eyes of the Muslim.

If on the other hand, they are found to be the opposite of righteous, then their deeds are basis of judgement as admonished by the Prophet SAW.

JazakAllahu Khairan

A glass of water

Reflect!

On the Path of Knowledge

Harun al-Rashid, one of the richest of the Abbasid Caliphs, once heard of a righteous scholar named Ibn As-Sammaak and requested his presence in his chamber to give him good counsel. When the scholar arrived, the Caliph had ordered a glass of water to drink.

Seeing this, Ibn Samaak asked; “what would you give if no water was available to you and you were forced to trade for this one cup of water?”

Harun al-Rashid replied, “I would give at the very least half of my kingdom”

The scholar then asked, “and what would you give if you were unable to release the waste of that water from your body?”

The Caliph said, “I would give the other half of my kingdom”

The Sheikh smiled and told the Caliph, “What value is your kingdom if it can be bought with a glass of water”.

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A Little Goes a Long Way

Ramadan Mubarak

Ramadan is upon us once again Alhamdullilah. Ramadan is a month in which Muslims are commanded by God to withhold from food, drink and marital relations, from the time of sunrise unto sunset. A month of Fasting, Quran and Charity.

While non muslims would be bewildered by how a person can abstain from food and drink (anywhere between 8 to 22 hours depending on geography/season), many Muslims find this month to be the training ground for the year ahead.

The month of fasting is not undue stress for the Muslim but a time to reflect. Reflect upon the fact that – if he can give up what Allah SWT has made permissible for him, how much harder can it to be to give up what is impermissible.

Apart from giving up necessities, Muslims also prefer to pay the Zakat (Annual Poor Due) and increase charity in this month. In the Islamic tradition wealth is a blessing from Alah SWT whom He bestows as He pleases. This doesn’t imply that one doesn’t have to work for his income. Rather a person should put in the effort to the best of his ability and leave the results to Allah SWT. Thus a person shows true reliance on Allah SWT by expecting the reward from Him SWT instead of his own efforts.

A person might question that why poverty exists if Allah SWT is so full of bounty. This is not a new question and was asked by the non believers of Mecca and was recorded in the Quran.

And when it is said to them, “Spend from that which Allah has provided for you,” those who disbelieve say to those who believe, “Should we feed one whom, if Allah had willed, He would have fed? You are not but in clear error.” [Surah Yasin:47]

What one should understand is that poverty and richness are nothing but tests of faith and hence neither situation is particularly an advantage in the sight of God. While no person should want poverty for himself, the condition of wealth is not necessarily a sign of Allah SWT pleasure. He SWT has warned us of how wealthy people and nations commit the folly of transgressing Allah limits because of the perceived security wealth gives them. The ultimate aim of every Muslim is to gain Allah SWT pleasure and wealth is a means to that end.

To achieve this end Allah SWT has obligated on wealth over certain quantities, Zakat (Poor Due). Over and above that He SWT has also promised immense rewards for any voluntary acts of charity. The giving of charity is such a great act that the Prophet SAW has said – Save yourself from the fire even if by the half of a date. In another narration he PBUH mentioned – “Do (good) deeds which is within your capacity (without being overtaxed) as Allah does not get tired (of giving rewards) but (surely) you will get tired and the best deed (act of Worship) in the sight of Allah is that which is done regularly.”

If giving charity has a great reward then giving it regularly is surely greater.

But can giving repeatedly, truly help the society? Toby Ord the founder of Giving What We Can seems to think so. Toby Ord has pledged to give away 1 million pounds in charity. Before you think that he is a Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, you should know he is a philosopher at Oxford University earning a Research Analyst’s salary. What he proposes is that, over a lifetime he will be able to give away 1 million pounds from his salary.

He estimates that over the period of his career he would earn an average of 42000 pounds per annum. He has pledged to cap his salary to nearly half of that at 20000 and donate the rest in charity. His impetus is that if every pound of charity is donated effectively, it could make a real difference to a person who needs it badly. His organisation, studies charities and ranks them according to the impact they have in improving quality of life.

The concept is quite simple – over and above necessities, the amount that is needed to acquire luxuries are significantly higher. By diverting these funds towards the needy, we might give up on creature comforts but will significantly affect the life of another person. Spending on another person allows you to buy for them necessity which can help improve their quality of life and/or increase their life span. In short your money is valuable but when given to someone else.

Besides being practical, charity also has other incentives. A study conducted by Micheal Norton and his group at Harvard Business School shows more – the money given away is not just valuable – it also is a source of happiness. Very simply put, when somebody spends on others there is definitely a feeling of contentment of having done something good.

What really struck me about his campaign to encourage people to pledge ten percent of their income, is how it ties in with saying of the Prophet SAW about regular deeds. Most of us Muslims prefer Ramadan as a time of giving and spend our Zakat and Sadaqah in this month. I only wonder how much further it would take us in the eyes of Allah SWT if we develop habits of giving regularly. Muslims generally tend to be a charitable lot. By developing effective institutions for monitoring and utilising these funds and living on a little less than we are used to, we definitely can do a lot more, to bring change to the society.

Wallahu A’lam

Mutual Admiration

I came across these quotes on Sh. Musa Furber’s facebook page. While we as muslims are easily given to name calling when we disagree with other muslims, it is sobering to see how scholars of the past admired each other. ThabarakAllah

“There are [only] four scholars: Sa‘īd ibn al-Musayyib in Medina, al-Sha‘bī in Kūfa, al-Ḥasan in Baṣra, and Makḥūl in Greater Syria.”—al-Zuhrī“All scholars depend on Abū Ḥanīfa in fiqh.”—Al-Shāfiʿī

“[He was an] Imām par excellence”—Aḥmed bin Ḥanbal describing Sufyān al-Thawrī

“I learned from eleven-hundred shaykhs, but none better than Sufyān [al-Thawrī].”—ʿAbdulllah ibn al-Mubārak

“Mālik is God’s proof over His creation.”—al-Shāfiʿī

“I never saw a man whose fiqh resembled his hadith [in rigor] more than al-Awzā‘ī.”—al-Shāfiʿī

“The likeness of al-Shāfi‘ī to other people is as the likeness of the sun to the earth.”—Aḥmed bin Ḥanbal

“I have left no one in Baghdad with more understanding and knowledge, and more scrupulous and ascetic than Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal.”—al-Shāfiʿī

The above show the mutual admiration these scholars had for one another. Please make this one of the lessons you take from them.

Oxfam Relief Efforts in Uttarakand

Recent rains in Uttarakand have created widespread damage in the region with entire villages being washed away and thousands of people still stranded. The Indian army and other agencies are coordinating relief efforts while certain politicians are taking this as an opportunity for one upmanship.

Below is a quick picture I came up with, after a conversation with the Oxfam India representative in Bangalore. The email conversation along with details of operations on the ground and contact details are included here. Oxfam is currently providing relief services in terms of food and blankets at the moment along with help from people experienced in disaster management through their local partners.

Uttarakand Damage

Uttarakand Damage

The scope of their work will extend to providing shelter, health, hygiene and water services. Due to difficulties in transporting material from other parts of India, Oxfam is accepting monetary donations only (tax exemptible) and sourcing required materials from nearby locations. You can choose to blame this person or that or you can contribute in your own small way to helping out people.

Donate at http://www.oxfamindia.org (give them a call to get your tax exemption certificate). Go to the website for more details.

Of success and farmers

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit my grandparents back home. Oddly enough the reason I had to go back hometown was to attend the prayers of a relative’s funeral on one day and the wedding of a friend the next. Those reasons aside going back home is always a time of family and this time was no different.

On inquiring upon the health of my grandfather, my grandmother replied that his knees are weak but his exercise still keeps him going. What she said made me think about my own laziness to start exercising. It has been six months since I moved to Bangalore but I keep finding excuses for myself to avoid starting at all. Yet my grandfather who has had a heart attack, moved 3 houses and still manages his shop at 75 has not seen it necessary to stop.

On thing I know about my grandfather is his steadfastness in his actions. Be they worship or every day activities, I have known him to be very strict about his routines and daily activities. His dedication to his exercise and the time he spends in worship of God Almighty made me reflect on the concept of success as mentioned in the Quran. In the chapter of the Believers (23), the first few verses speak about the characteristics of the successful believers. Nouman Ali Khan, a student of the Quran and the Arabic Language, has a beautiful explanation of these verses here. He talks about the same concept in this sermon about adopting value systems, as well.

From the video though, I wanted to concentrate on a particular word Muflihoon, which means success. While a mere translation of the word indicates successful people, the root of the word comes from Falah, which means a farmer in the Arabic language. One of the things that amazes me about the Arabic language is that, when you become aware of the roots of word used in the Quran, the understanding of the verses becomes that much richer.

In this case the use of the word Muflihoon whose root is farmer, indicates a success of the farmer. Back then and even today, in many parts of the world where farming doesn’t take place on an industrial scale, the life of a farmer is tough. For someone with an annual crop, he needs to expend a year’s worth of effort, to get his reward at the end. So he begins preparing the land in the dry season, plants his seed before the rain, tends to the crop during and after the rain and finally harvests the crop for sale and consumption. After all the effort though, he is still not guaranteed the crop because of so many natural factors yet that never stops him making the effort in the hope of the payoff at the end.

The parallel to the believer in this world is similar. Many people in my experience, both Muslims and non Muslims, tend to see Islam as a rigid set of do’s and don’ts. While I don’t make any bones about the existence of obligations and prohibitions, the way of looking at them has to be according to the legislator. By fulfilling obligations and avoiding prohibitions, we are putting in the effort in this world to reap its reward in the next. (I will hopefully elaborate on of the beliefs of Muslims in subsequent articles but as of now it is suffice to say that this life is only a test and the life after death is everlasting and eternal. The destination of each and every individual depends on his actions in this life)

Yet unlike the farmer who spends himself without being assured of a return, the believer is assured by God Almighty that his deeds will never be lost. In fact the believers are encouraged by the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) to strive as far as they are able to do so[1] and expect a reward from their Lord in the hereafter[2]. As the commands of the religion envelop many aspects of life, the underlying wisdom is that the believer is constantly directing his heart towards God Almighty, formally or informally.

Ibn Al Qayyim, a noted Islamic scholar, jurist and commentator on the Quran had to say about this – 

There can be no doubt that assuming the best about Allah only comes as a result of righteous conduct. It is the righteous person who assumes the best about his Lord, since he knows that Allah will reward him for his good deeds and will never break His promise. 

On the other hand, the sinner who persists in wrongdoing, injustice, and disobedience is prevented by his evil deeds from assuming the best about his Lord. We can see a similar situation in how people relate to each other. A runaway slave, for instance, is not going to assume the best of his master. Good assumptions never go hand in hand with the disturbed state of disobedience. A sinner is estranged from his Lord to the extent of his sinfulness. The person who has the best outlook on his Lord is invariably the one who is the most obedient to his Lord.

Which brings me back to my grandfather and generally the people of his generation who have spent a lifetime of worship to God Almighty – I pray that God Almighty forgives them their sins, accepts their deeds and enters them into His Paradise. Ameen.

 _____
[1] Bukhari #7288 
[2] Muslim #6875

A response to The Hindu’s article

I wrote this letter to the Editor in response to the opinion piece titled, ‘Seeking Allah in the Midlands’ published on May 24th.

Sir,

I’m writing this in response to a recent article, written by Hasan Suroor, titled ‘Seeking Allah in the Midlands’ published on May 24th. The article starts out with the author exposing his inherent bias against Islam. While he rightly states that there is a perception problem, he states that it is a fact that ‘ more Islamic a society, the more misogynist the society is’. The author is then surprised that Islam still fascinates women, educated and independents ones no less. For me the tone of the article seemed as if the author was struggling to reconcile fact on the ground with his own preconceived notions that he claims to be are facts.
I say this because he himself goes on to provide evidence for the complete opposite. He cites research by CIS and New Muslim Project, Leicester  suggesting women are independently researching and then accepting Islam. Anecdotal evidences from the research suggest that women are leaving behind their liberal tendencies to follow islam as a way of life.He then goes to speak about problems that converts have coping after conversion based on the research.
I would definitely acknowledge as a Muslim that the services offered to converts in terms of physical, mental and spiritual help are not as nearly well developed as one would hope for. People leaving their faiths and coming to new ones are vulnerable to the changes associated with the process and need more support from the existing community. In a Islamophobic atmosphere, the challenges are more acute than for any other religion in general. The west has an added problem because the muslim population is largely made up off immigrants and hence it is very difficult for converts to discern what is Islamic and what is cultural. Yet the fact that more people are coming to Islam are a clarion call to muslims to develop better systems to cope with seekers, in a world where people are looking for solace in any form.
I do not want to reply to inaccuracies in the article (Lauren Booth, cited in the article has already done so on her blog) but would like to point out that such a negative tone in the article doesn’t go well with The Hindu’s high standards of journalism. An opinion piece is after all opinion yet when opinions are propounded as facts without so much as a shred of evidence and then the opposite is highlighted seems to me to be poor standards of journalism. I am a regular reader of The Hindu and would definitely like to see the author provide further evidence to support his statements or reword the article to reflect the same.

Best Regards

Haroon