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Hajj: Is the Largest Gathering Going to Happen in 2020?

Being one of the largest gatherings on earth, Hajj is the most significant pilgrimage for Muslims all around the globe. Let’s look at is this going to happen this year!

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Picture during Hajj 2020

When coronavirus was officially proven to be humanly transmitted, governments were anxiously monitoring the situation. Before the rapid increase in daily cases, there were not many precautions taken. During this time, many Muslims around the world have already planned their life journey – Hajj. It is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Hajj is one of the main pillars of Islam, and it is an exceptional journey for every Muslim around the globe.

Saudi officials were not clear on their approach to Hajj until the cases started significantly surging in Europe. The Kingdom has decided to stop Umrah (pilgrimage similar to Hajj) in late February in its response to the Pandemic. Later on, the Kingdom went on to urge Muslims around the world to reconsider their pilgrimage for this year. As Saudi Arabia is engaged in more restrictions, the question as to whether the Hajj is going to happen this year is pointed out by many. This article will provide you with the answer to whether Hajj will take place and, in such cases, how it is going to look. 

Historical lockdowns of Kabba 

There were three historical lockdowns of Kabba (building at the center of Islam’s most important mosque, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca), which prevented Muslims from performing Hajj. Although performing Hajj is an essential pillar of Islam, in cases where the context endangers the life of those performing it, Hajj can be canceled. In the year 930 AD, the Shiite Qarmatians State launched several attacks on Mecca and the pilgrimage routes. During that period, Islamic Scholars issued a fatwa that banned the pilgrimage to Mecca as life and properties were in danger. 

In that same year, Qarmatians managed to raid Mecca and massacred thousands of pilgrims. Hajj was then banned for the next ten years. 

During the 19th century, the people of the Hijaz region of the Arab Pennisula epidemic outbreaks, such as the plague, meningitis, and cholera. In 1814, the plague epidemic claimed the lives of over 8000 people, and Hajj was not allowed that year. Islamic scholars unanimously agreed to cancel the Hajj as there was a significant threat to life. 

Lastly, the Kabba was closed for 15 days in 1979 following the raid on the city by Juhayman al Otaybi. During that time, scholars of Islam issued a fatwa stating that Kaaba would remain close for 2 weeks. What it comes down to is that when a context that threatens human life emerges, the closing of Kabba and cancellation of Hajj can take place.

Is Hajj going to take place this year? 

There are several allegations, opinions, and news where there will be any cancellation of Hajj for this year. However, there has not been a definite statement from the Saudi officials on what will happen to this year’s Hajj up until now. 

The Kingdom is facing difficult times recently as the daily numbers have increased significantly. Although it looked for some time that the Kingdom is experiencing a decreasing trend of cases, lately, the Kingdom is suffering an increasing trend. This makes it extremely difficult for it to open the doors of Hajj.

As previously mentioned, when faced with settings that endanger one’s life, then Islam rules that Hajj should be canceled. Recently all the elements of such a setting can be found in Kaaba. That is why the doors of Hajj are going to be closed but not for everyone. 

From the latest statements of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah published to be the state-run Saudi Press Agency, it seems that the Kingdom is taking a softer approach. The Kingdom has decided that Hajj this year will only include Saudis and other nationalities that are inside the Kingdom. From the latest developments, Hajj will certainly take place, but it will be exclusive only to people within the Kingdom. 

How will Hajj look this year? 

Although Hajj will be allowed for the people within the Kingdom, serious measures and precautions will be placed. The rules and regulations of this year’s Hajj will be such that they mitigate the chances of the virus being transmitted. The precautions may be tiring for some pilgrims, but they are necessary to maintain safety in the region. 

Despite the harsh precautions that Hajj officials are planning to take, there is also going to be a significantly low number of people. That is, Hajj officials will determine the number of pilgrims for this year. There is no information on what criteria the pilgrims will be chosen, but a completely different Hajj will certainly be taking place this year. It will be poignant for many Muslims around the world, to see this year’s Hajj is almost empty.

What does it mean for Muslims to be unable to attend Hajj?

To understand what it means for Muslims to be unable to attend Hajj, one should understand what Hajj means to Muslims over the world. As mentioned previously, it is one of the main pillars of Islam. It is a religious journey through which a Muslim connects with God on a different level. It is considered to be one of the most important ways to reach self-purification.

When talking to any person who has performed Hajj, you can feel the emotions in their words. They are very enthusiastic when they talk about their experience in Hajj. Almost all of them can’t wait to go back. For a Muslim, not being able to go to Hajj this year means that he is not able to experience the previously mentioned experiences. Hajj generates peculiar religious feelings and spirituality that deeply attaches Muslims’ hearts to Kaaba and Makkah and the journey itself.

To sum up, Hajj is a unique and significant journey for every Muslim. For safety purposes, the doors of Hajj will not be opened to Muslims outside of Saudi Arabia. However, Hajj will be opened and is going to take place under a significantly low number of people this year, and it could probably be around 1000. 

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Is anti-Semitism essential for the survival and growth of Zionism and Jewish peoplehood?

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Is anti-Semitism essential for the survival and growth of Zionism and Jewish peoplehood?

Unlike any other state around the world, Israel is constantly whining about its international image being tarnished and unfairly sullied. The apartheid entity routinely blames “anti-Semites”  for ” seeking constantly to lynch the Jewish state’s image.” Israeli Hasbara (propaganda) doctors would voice all sorts of unreasonable and preposterous “rationales” to explain the utter lack of love for the pariah state among the peoples of the world.

Israel, which the late American evangelist Jerry Falwell referred to as “the nation-state of the Lord” has effectively been transformed in the eyes of the bulk of humanity into the nation-state of the devil.  Well, but even the devil itself is probably learning “useful” lessons from Israel.

While insisting that Israel’s ugly image suffers due to anti-Semitism, not Israel’s abominable behaviour in occupied Palestine, the professional twisters of truth would eventually invoke the mantra that “boys will always be boys and goys will always be goys”! (goys or goyem is a derogatory Jewish term for non-Jews)

Israel firsters, whose Chutzpah often transcends reality,  would never attribute the sullied image of the apartheid entity to its unceasing and unmitigated crimes against the helpless Palestinians. We all know that not a single day passes without a Palestinian boy, child, woman, worker, farmer, doctor, student or journalist getting murdered or maimed by the Gestapo-like Israeli army or the even more murderous paramilitary Jewish settlers all over the Occupied West Bank.

We kill them knowingly

Israeli officials and spokespersons are well aware of the  utmost gravity of these crimes. However, they would argue that these crimes, however nefarious and barbarian, should not lead to tarnishing Israel’s image.

Read Also: Are Palestinians facing a pre-holocaust situation in the West Bank?

Moreover, the Zionists would argue that international critics of Israel’s  “actions” are guilty of singling Israel out for their scathing criticisms, while conveniently ignoring other villains on the world’s arena, such as Russia, the Syrian regime, and even the U.S. and its allies who killed and maimed thousands of innocent people in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Being hated is essential to being Zionist

Yes, the Zionists do admit, though begrudgingly,  that they indulge in all sorts of heinous crimes, including crimes against humanity, against the Palestinians.

Generally speaking, the Zionists don’t claim that these crimes are correct and ethical, although religious Talmudic settlers thugs, such as Ben Gvir and Smotrich, who won recent Israeli elections, would cite numerous quotations from the Torah and Talmud “proving” the utter morality and perfect legitimacy of these crimes, including burning Palestinian kids alive.!

Read Also: The fanatic Zionist and me: Truth versus arrogance of power

None the less, the Zionists would insist that Israel has the right to defend itself as if self-defence justified an evil military occupation, dehumanizing repression and humiliating apartheid for over half a century. One settler leader from the settlement of Kiryat Arba near Hebron had the audacity to say “if Joshua did exterminate the Canaanites, why can’t we do the same to the Palestinians”?

A little story that speaks volumes

Exposed and demoralized before the entire world, Zionist spokespersons would reveal, often inadvertently,  one of the most outrageous aspects of their collective evil mindset. A few days ago, an Israeli right-wing activist wrote in Ynet  that Jews can survive only if they are hated by Goyem, but in order to be hated, Jews must indulge in every evil act in order to draw hateful reactions from non-Jews.”

Read Also: Even if a hundred  holocausts were committed against Jews, it gives them no right to slaughter Palestinians and steal their homeland

I really had thought that perhaps only a small esoteric Jewish cult did indulge in this strange behaviour.  But then a friend intimated to me a little secret.  He told me a story he said he had heard from his father who died many years ago. According to the friend, when Arab kids in a given Palestinian town were playing near the small local  Jewish neighbourhood, the mother of the only Jewish kid who was playing with them, gave the Arab kids some sweets and a few piasters , asking them to hit and curse her own kid!.  I remembered this little story when a Zionist settler activist told me during an internet chat  recently  that “we need to be hated in order to survive as Jews.”

Some audacious rabbis would privately explain such bizarre behaviour by arguing that if Jews found absolute love and acceptance by non-Jews, they would eventually assimilate and perish as a people.

In other words, anti-Semitism is essential for the survival and growth of Zionism and Jewish peoplehood! One Israeli rabbi reportedly argued that if there were no anti-Semitism, it would be the moral and religious duty of the Jews to create “some” anti-Semitism to make Jews feel that they are different”!

Startling Open Secret

This startling open-secret should explain the fact that numerous trumped-up anti-Semitic incidents, including torching synagogues,  scrawling anti-Jewish graffiti, and vandalizing Jewish grave headstones are often committed  by Jews, not anti-Semites! Just ask Law-enforcement authorities in the U.S. and UK, and they would tell you some shocking stories in this regard.

And, yes, there are numerous rabbis and Talmudic sages who would argue that Jews will not survive and prosper if they were readily accepted and loved by goyem, since such cordiality and friendliness would lead to slackness, integration assimilation and ultimate extinction of Jews . Jews in America are often cited as a classical example. Due to their complete integration into the  American society, most American  Jews blended completely and thoroughly,  melting away into the general fabric of American life, leaving themselves,  their children and their grandchildren only nominally Jewish.

In light, Jews must accordingly show off their brutal ugliness and evilness to  Goyem in order to generate a certain amount of anti-Semitism which would be highly beneficial, useful and even vital for Jewish survival and growth.

There is absolutely no doubt that  Israel’s 75-year-old ongoing holocaust against the Palestinians can be explained, at least in part, in light of this criminal mentality, which actually constitutes a creed and ideology for millions of Zionist Jews.

Some readers, stunned by the utter shamelessness and diabolic oddity of this mentality might be prompted to think that the author of this article is perhaps exaggerating and blowing things out of proportion.

But there is no exaggeration here. I remember the late American Jewish author Alfred Lilienthal quoting a Zionist rabbi in his masterpiece-book, the Zionist Connection, as saying that “a little anti-Semitism is always useful since it reminds us of who we are.”!  

Chasing the Mirage of the desert

Today, Israel and its tails, mouthpieces and allies in the U.S. and some European countries are fighting an anti-Semitism that doesn’t really exist except in the sick mindsets of Zionist leaders. Thus, every legitimate criticism of the brutal Israeli occupation, including the apartheid regime in the West Bank, is twisted to imply hated for Jews. 

Read also: Israel Has No Right to Exist if Palestine Has No Right to Exist

The Zionists would argue cunningly and tendentiously that opposing Israel is opposing Jewish self-determination. They conveniently ignore the fact that Israel’s right to exist is inextricably entwined with Palestine’s right to exist and the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. And. Yes, Israel has no right to exist as a criminal entity, practising open-ended occupation and apartheid and indulging in all forms of repression and savagery against a people whose only “crime”  is nothing other than being non-members in the “chosen-tribe club” So, let the Zionists chase the mirage of the desert for as long as they wish.

In the final analysis, humanity is under no legal or moral obligation to accept, condone or tolerate Jewish apartheid in Palestine  than it was to accept the apartheid of the former White supremacist regime in South Africa. Meanwhile the Zionists may seek to vent their endless frustration at humanity by threatening to unleash their stale scarecrow of anti-Semitism in the face of critics. It is too late for them. The peoples of the world have already wakened up.  The magic has been annulled! and we will continue to tell the truth about the evil entity even if telling the truth is perceived as anti-Semitic

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What Does Shraddha Walker’s Murder Mean for Love in India?

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What Shraddha Walker's Murder Means to Love in India?

Earlier this month, India was shocked by the news of the murder of 28-year-old Shraddha Walker by her live-in partner Aftab Poonawalla. Aftab had killed Shraddha merely three days after they moved into their new home in Delhi in May this year. Aftab had cut the body of Shraddha into 35 pieces and stored them in a fridge. He was gradually disposing of the body parts in a nearby forest area.

Interfaith Couple and Sensational Murder Trial

After the news of Shraddha’s murder broke in mid-November following the arrest of Aftab Poonawalla, it became a sensational murder trial. The murder was debated on prime-time debates on TV.

While the murder was chilling and one could expect it to cause a sensation, it became a sensational murder trial for very wrong reasons in India. The fact that Shraddha and Aftab were an interfaith couple made it a sensational murder.

Even though Aftab has claimed that he killed Shraddha in a fit of rage while they were fighting, the police are yet to establish the motive for the murder. The media trial, however, has given a religious colour to the murder.  Some people, including those on TV debates, have dressed the murder in the language of religion.

Love Jihad?

The religious colour given to the Shraddha murder and the transcending of the murder beyond its context is a result of the Love Jihad discourse adopted by the ruling right-wing party BJP.  BJP used Loved Jihad as an electoral issue in many state elections.

At present, eleven states where BJP is in power have passed legislation against Love Jihad. The argument by the Hindu nationalists is that Muslim men intentionally fall in love with Hindu women and then these men force the women to convert from Hinduism to Islam.

Also Read: Love Jihad: A Conspiracy or a Political Campaign?

Demonizing Muslims

There are also attempts to demonize Muslims after the murder of Shraddha. A man from the UP state recently went on TV to support the actions of Aftab. He claimed to be a Muslim, named Rashid Khan and justified the cutting of Shraddha into 35 pieces.

When the police arrested the said man, it was found that he is a Hindu, named Vikas Gupta.

Vikas Gupta’s statement went viral on social media and Muslims were called out and demonized for his statement.

Also Read: Bollywood’s portrayal of Kashmir- Journey Of Representation From Heaven To Hell

A Setback to the Freedom to Love in India?

Shraddha’s sensational murder trial has raised questions about love in India. It will hurt the hard-won right of freedom to love.

There are two aspects to be considered. First is the freedom of young people to love or live in live-in relationships. Since the news of the murder reached almost every home in India, it will scare people from getting into live-in relationships. Further, society will also be suspicious of these relationships. Live-in couples already face difficulty in negotiating the conservative society in India and the case will only exacerbate it. For instance, live-in couples in India find it difficult to find a house or rented accommodation. Aftab and Shraddha also lived in rented accommodation. More people than ever before will now hesitate to rent their accommodations to live-in couples.

Second, as discussed above Shraddha’s murder will make it worse for interfaith couples to negotiate everyday life in India. Even though India was never a safe place for interfaith couples, the case is going to make society hostile to interfaith love. Those who were already against interfaith love will use this case to further cement their position on Love Jihad.

Further, society in general parents of young people in particular will turn hostile against love.

Also Read: The mainstreaming of anti-Muslim Hindutva Pop in India 

A Difficult Task Ahead

The sensational murder trial and the media trial of Shraddha’s murder by Aftab have raised questions about love in India. Further, the discourse of Love Jihad is also back. Hindu nationalists will make sure that the case is exploited to its full to make a case for Love Jihad.

For those in India, who want to preserve the hard-won right of freedom to love, the task ahead is very difficult. Even though the case has already become sensational, they must make sure that it is restricted to its immediate context. If the case transcends its immediate context, hate will win against love. Love must triumph!

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The Scope of inter-religious pluralism within Islam

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Even though pluralism is a loaded term, its generic meaning suggests a phenomenon of peaceful coexistence between entities of diverse cultural, religious, and political inclinations. It is important to remember that pluralism does not mean the elimination of difference, nor does the word “tolerance” do justice to its intended purpose. Pluralism is not merely tolerating the other but engaging with the beliefs of others with peaceful dialogue and action. The scope of inter-religious puralism within Islam proposes this kind of pluralism.

Also, read Islamic Democracy: Is Democracy Compatible with Islam?

What does Pluralism mean in Islam?

Looking at the subjective meaning of pluralism within the ambit of Islam, the proponents of various Islamic discourses have proposed that pluralism is a pronounced feature of Islam. Many Muslim intellectuals claim that pluralism is central to the fundamental essence of Islam. A convincing case can be made for the presence of a compelling pluralistic ethos within the Islamic scriptures.

In his essay, Reformist Islam in Comparative Perspective, Mehran Kamrava claims that the rise in the level of religiosity amongst Muslims has given rise to other forms of Islam. One of which according to him is “likely to have the most resonating consequences for Islamic jurisprudence in both the near and the distant future” and calls it “intellectual Islam”. He claims that it is through this form of Islam that a Muslim reformist discourse is introduced. Which has produced significant work to locate the place of inter-religious pluralism in Islam. He further derives some themes out of the reformist discourse, very important with their reference to pluralism in Islam:

“First is a deep and abiding conviction in Islam as faith and a system of belief. In its current manifestation, the discourse of reformist Muslim intellectuals does not seek to instrumentalize Islam for purposes of achieving modernity in a manner palatable to the masses at large. Islam is not a means to an end; it is an end in itself. It simply needs to be re-thought and reformulated. The reformists’ reliance on and endless references to the Qur’an bespeaks of the text’s cultural centrality to them.”.

Such display of absolute faith by Muslim reformists whilst having reformist inclinations bespeak of their balanced position. A flexible modern vision can develop interfaith dialogue. The abiding conviction to Islam earns a sense of authenticity for their thought process in the eyes of fellow Muslims.

Read here, Islamophobia: Impacts on Muslim Women

What is Democratic Pluralism?

The next theme of the reformist discourse is “democratic pluralism”: “Pluralism, the reformist discourse’s proponents maintain, is a salient feature of the spirit of the Qur’an and the hadith.” (Kamrava )

To support his claim he cites another Muslim intellectual Abdulaziz Sachedina who quotes:

The challenge for Muslims today, as ever, is to tap the tradition of Koranic pluralism to develop a culture of restoration, of just intrareligious and interreligious relationships in a world of cultural and religious diversity. Without restoring the principle of coexistence, Muslims will not be able to recapture the spirit of early civil society under the Prophet.

In the globalized world, the facets of modernity like its political model of the nation-state have become a governing principle for all ethnic, cultural, and religious pluralism. This means the only larger identity governing the religious identity of the people is that of the nation-state. In the religiously pluralistic society of today, people may have different identities, but the model of the nation-state promises all of them the same status. People might identify with different religious inclinations, but the state identifies them as either citizens or residents of the state. This is exactly the kind of challenge that Sachedina talks about when he implores Muslims to revive the tradition of pluralism that is central to the Islamic texts for peaceful coexistence in the globalized world.

Also, read Why should dignified Muslims never normalize with Israel?

The Case of Muslims living as a minority

If Muslims live in a minority in a nation-state that runs on one of the political models of modernity like democracy or secularism, then for the sake of the welfare of Muslims they need to fulfill the duties that the nation-state demands from them. Andrew March talks about the jurisprudence of Muslim minorities also called Fiqh al-aqalliyyat al-muslima in Arabic:

Fiqh alaqalliyyat tends to be a discourse where departures from traditional Islamic commitments are not seen as desirable, and certainly not goals in and of themselves, but where creative rethinking often occurs in subtle and pragmatic guises. It is thus an important object of study for those interested in the ideal moral encounter between a public religion like Islam and modern/post-modern secularism. (March 6).

Important questions of interest toward non-Islamic institutions have been addressed from within internal Islamic discourses that advocate for a positive Muslim attitude concerning the issue of pluralism.

Read here, How Practical is the Secular Democracy of India? Curbing of Religious Freedom in Kashmir

Islam’s relation with other Faiths

The third theme within the reformist Islamic discourse is “Islam’s relations with other great faiths”. An important aspect central to the Muslim understanding of pluralism is the conception that god’s message in the Quran is universal and that the revelation was made through more than just one prophet, which means that the revelations had multiple manifestations. The basic underpinning for this idea can be seen in the Quran which mentions the monotheistic traditions of Judaism and Christianity. Far from denying the Quran in fact validates that Torah and Bible were predecessor scriptures affirming that their message has come from the same god. Many Quranic verses echo the sentiments which envisage a world where diversified people are united by their pious intentions and mutual devotion to God.

Also, read Islam in 2075: World’s Largest Religion!?

Some Important Milestones in the Islamic History

Apart from the theoretical contributions to promote Islamic pluralism, efficient action has also been taken within the Muslim discourse on a practical level to perpetuate inter-faith harmony.

One such historic step was the “1981 adoption of the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights, whose article XIII states: Every person has the right to freedom of conscience and worship in accordance with his religious beliefs.”.

Apart from this, another significant step was taken in 1990 when the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam was adopted, Article 1(a) of which states:

“All human beings form one family whose members are united by submission to God and descent from Adam. All men are equal in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities, without any discrimination on the grounds of race, color, language, sex, religious belief, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. True faith is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to human perfection.”

Read here, Is This the Ultimate Solution to Rising Islamophobia in India?

Islamic Tradition of Peaceful Coexistence

The Quran recognizes fundamental rights for all humankind whether Muslims or non-Muslims and explicitly forbids compulsion in faith. The Islamic texts also provide a practical model of implementing pluralistic ideals which have greatly affected the treatment of non-Muslims in Muslim lands. Contrary to the Islamophobic stereotypes, Islam not only acknowledges pluralism, but it also goes beyond the reductive concepts of tolerance and intolerance to endorse and encourages a tradition of peaceful coexistence.

Also, read Islamophobia: Impacts on Muslim Women

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