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Thread: Features (Dawn)

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    Re: Features (Dawn)



    Learning from experience



    By Khurram Ali Shafique
    Friday, 24 Dec, 2010


    THE year 1987 was memorable because even those segments of the population that had not been much interested in politics during the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) earlier in the decade were now feeling restless. This view was confirmed by the historic turnout during the elections that followed a year later.

    The 1988 elections were the second occasion in the history of Pakistan where the results, however rigged they may have been, were at least accepted by all major contestants (the first such occasion were the elections of 1970). In the light of the ideals Muslims of this region indigenously developed since 1887, and the goals achieved through them, there are reasons to believe that the new goal that had appeared before the nation in 1988 was ‘emancipation’ rather than anything else. This goal had to be achieved through the “inner synthesis” of diverse political experiments carried out in the previous twenty years. The ideal to be pursued whilst in quest of the goal was “learn through experience.”

    Emancipation was the new goal. This may be concluded from the fact that according to the generally accepted views, conventional democracy (i.e. western democracy) pre-supposes a high literacy rate, which did not exist in Pakistan at that time (nor does it now). If so, then the masses had less reason to care for such democracy and more to care for the other, indigenous, variety that had already been idealised by them: it had been taught to them by the most influential Muslim teachers, preachers, poets and artists for more than a thousand years.

    It was a spiritual democracy, envisioned by the more genuine schools of Sufism in the past, and more recently turned into a political idea by Muslim thinkers like Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Shah Waliullah, Waris Shah, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the Ali Brothers and Allama Iqbal. In The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam (1930-34), Iqbal stated that for a Muslim, this idea was “a matter of conviction for which even the least enlightened man among us can easily lay down his life.” Hence, the indigenous concept of democracy does not pre-require literacy or formal education; instead it pre-requires a certain shared consciousness of purpose and a sense of destiny. Does it then not appear natural that the true aspiration of the masses can only be achieved through this indigenous variety of democracy? It does not degrade the people because of a poor literacy rate. It has been ingrained in their consciousness by the best-loved poets and teachers over a period of thousand years.

    Just as conventional democracy pre-requires literacy and education, the indigenous variety calls for spiritual emancipation (in the mentioned passage, Iqbal goes on to say, “in view of the basic idea of Islam that there can be no further revelation binding on man, we ought to be spiritually one of the most emancipated peoples on earth”) does not require it. Spiritual emancipation, in this sense, means emancipation in all spheres of life rather than just political. Artistic and literary, social and political, religious and legal, education and psychological emancipation collectively amounts to spiritual emancipation.

    In retrospect, we may recognise that we started pursuing this goal in 1987. Unlike some of the earlier goals, such as Muslim nationhood, separate electorates and Muslim homeland, the goal was not clearly stated on this occasion. Beginning with the election of a woman prime minister ahead of any other Muslim nation, the journey towards emancipation was carried forth, perhaps, unknowingly for the most part.

    The quarrels between Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, the work of the human rights activists and the feminists, the so-called enlightened moderation at the turn of the millennium, the emergence of an all-powerful media with its good and bad influences, and the uneasy alliances with western powers may all have contributed towards achieving this goal. The strongest factor, however, was undoubtedly the “inner synthesis” of the diverse political ideologies that had been tried out since 1967.

    In the absence of a well-stated ideal, the only ideal to be pursued was to learn from experience. This was also important because the emancipation that we were trying to achieve was unprecedented. It was a long-cherished goal that had never become a reality for our society during centuries of rule by tyrants and despots. Therefore, the best way forward was to learn from experience.

    A benchmark came in 2006, when judicial activism of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, prevailed upon the combined whim of a native military ruler and the sole superpower on earth, and made them answerable in a court of law for “the missing persons”, most of whom were not only common but also disfavoured citizens.

    As if to symbolise the ethos of the past twenty years, six women cadets and a Sikh male cadet were seen among the contingent that took over guard duties at the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam on December 25, 2006. The 130th birth anniversary of the founder of Pakistan was indeed a good day to mark the end of a stage in the history of this nation, and to start preparations for the next stage. “Emancipation”, which was the goal achieved in the past twenty years, was soon going to become a tool for achieving the next goal, and a new ideal would then be pursued.

    The writer is the author of Iqbal: an Illustrated Biography (2006) and other works on the history and culture of Pakistan. KhurramsOffice@yahoo.com


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    Re: Features (Dawn)


    Ghazali’s view of the Quran
    Dated: 20.05.2011
    By Nilofar Ahmed

    JUST as there is a growing global demand for enlightening modern commentaries of the Quran, there is a persisting dearth of exegetical scholarship, even as the overall body of literature on Islam increases.

    In this scenario, it is rewarding to look at Imam Ghazali’s classic theory of Quranic interpretation, presented in one of his most well-known works, Ihya Ulum ud-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences). Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (1,058-1,111CE), a great philosopher, cosmologist, jurist, psychologist and theologian-turned-mystic, was born and died in

    Tus (Khorasan). He was a prolific writer. Many of his books are extant to this day.
    Ghazali says that the hadith, sayings of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and those of other scholars of early Islam prove that for men of understanding there is a broad scope in the meaning and interpretation of the Quran. Hazrat Ali said, “If I so will I can certainly load 70 camels with the exegesis of the opening surah of the Book.” Since the outward exegesis of this short chapter can be written in a few pages, what is the meaning of this statement? Ghazali explains that the person who thinks that there is no meaning of the Quran except for the outward (or obvious) exegesis, is actually expressing his own
    shortcomings and he thinks that all other people are at the same level as himself.
    Ghazali quotes a religious scholar who says that the Quran encompasses 77,200 forms of knowledge, for every Quranic sentence constitutes one form of knowledge. Since the Prophet is reported to have said that the Quran has an outward aspect, an inward aspect, a limit and a prelude, the above number is multiplied four times. Ibn Masud said, “One who intends to acquire the knowledge of the ancients and the moderns should ponder over the Quran. This knowledge is something that is not achieved by its mere outward exegesis.”

    The first requirement of interpreting the Quran is that it should have been heard from the mouth of the Prophet and be supported by a chain of narration going back to him. But, according to Ghazali, this applies only to a small part of the Quran.

    Secondly, the Companions of the Prophet, and those after them, the tabiun, gave many varying explanations. The Prophet could not have given all these, sometimes contradictory, explanations of the verses of the Quran, which means that every exegete came to his own conclusion.

    Thirdly, Ghazali argues that if the interpretation of the Quran is like revelation and is only heard from the Prophet, and is preserved the way revelation is preserved, then why did the Prophet pray for Ibn Abbas saying, “God, bestow upon him the understanding of the religion and teach him the interpretation of the Quran”? Fourth, Ghazali thinks that it is not a
    requirement of interpreting the Quran to find that opinion which is expressed by a learned authority, but it is lawful for everyone to elicit a meaning from the Quran in keeping with his understanding and intelligence.

    Ghazali quotes a hadith in which it is said, “He who explains the Quran according to his personal opinion shall take his place in Hell” (Tirmidhi). According to Ghazali, the reason for prohibiting the interpretation of the Quran by one’s personal opinion is for two reasons. Firstly, the interpreter has his own opinion (ra’y), which is influenced by his nature (tab’) as well as his desire or passion (hawa). So he interprets the Quran accordingly, citing as evidence an argument which promotes his purpose.

    This can happen to those interpreters who are aware of the Sharia as well as to those who are ignorant of it. Thirdly, sometimes a person has a preconceived purpose for which he adduces proof with a verse, knowing fully well that that purpose is not intended in the Quran. This has led to the growth of many sects.

    There are many subjects in which transmission from authorities or classical interpreters is necessary for the explanation of
    the Quran, as in the case of ambiguity, or where a word is omitted in case of conciseness or where a word is understood, etc.

    Anyone who hastens to explain the deep meanings of the Quran through the outward aspects (of the rules of grammar) of the Arabic language, without knowing the meaning transmitted from the authorities is a person who “explains the Quran by his personal opinion”. He has merely translated its words or the outward exegesis, which is not sufficient.

    There are many depths and secrets in the path to understanding and interpreting the Quran, but outward exegesis based on the knowledge of the meaning of the Arabic words and its grammar alone cannot guide us to them. These secrets are not opposed to outward exegesis, rather they complete it and constitute the essence of the Quran. The secret meanings of the Quran are unveiled, when both academic and spiritual links are made, to “…those established in knowledge, in proportion to the abundance of different forms of their knowledge, the purity of their souls, the fullness of their motives in pondering (over the Quran), and their isolation for seeking (its meaning)”.

    In other words, according to Ghazali, there has to be a three-pronged approach: the outward exegesis with a linguistic base, a layering of reference to the classical commentators, and embellishment with the secret meanings, which are exposed to ‘purified souls’ or the Sufis.

    nilofar.ahmed58@gmail.com
    Last edited by The Revivalist; 05-21-2011 at 07:55 AM.

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    Re: Features (Dawn)


    Quote Originally Posted by The Revivalist View Post
    Ghazali’s view of the Quran
    Dated: 20.05.2011
    By Nilofar Ahmed

    JUST as there is a growing global demand for enlightening modern commentaries of the Quran, there is a persisting dearth of exegetical scholarship, even as the overall body of literature on Islam increases.

    In this scenario, it is rewarding to look at Imam Ghazali’s classic theory of Quranic interpretation, presented in one of his most well-known works, Ihya Ulum ud-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences). Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazali (1,058-1,111CE), a great philosopher, cosmologist, jurist, psychologist and theologian-turned-mystic, was born and died in

    Tus (Khorasan). He was a prolific writer. Many of his books are extant to this day.
    Ghazali says that the hadith, sayings of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and those of other scholars of early Islam prove that for men of understanding there is a broad scope in the meaning and interpretation of the Quran. Hazrat Ali said, “If I so will I can certainly load 70 camels with the exegesis of the opening surah of the Book.” Since the outward exegesis of this short chapter can be written in a few pages, what is the meaning of this statement? Ghazali explains that the person who thinks that there is no meaning of the Quran except for the outward (or obvious) exegesis, is actually expressing his own
    shortcomings and he thinks that all other people are at the same level as himself.
    Ghazali quotes a religious scholar who says that the Quran encompasses 77,200 forms of knowledge, for every Quranic sentence constitutes one form of knowledge. Since the Prophet is reported to have said that the Quran has an outward aspect, an inward aspect, a limit and a prelude, the above number is multiplied four times. Ibn Masud said, “One who intends to acquire the knowledge of the ancients and the moderns should ponder over the Quran. This knowledge is something that is not achieved by its mere outward exegesis.”

    The first requirement of interpreting the Quran is that it should have been heard from the mouth of the Prophet and be supported by a chain of narration going back to him. But, according to Ghazali, this applies only to a small part of the Quran.

    Secondly, the Companions of the Prophet, and those after them, the tabiun, gave many varying explanations. The Prophet could not have given all these, sometimes contradictory, explanations of the verses of the Quran, which means that every exegete came to his own conclusion.

    Thirdly, Ghazali argues that if the interpretation of the Quran is like revelation and is only heard from the Prophet, and is preserved the way revelation is preserved, then why did the Prophet pray for Ibn Abbas saying, “God, bestow upon him the understanding of the religion and teach him the interpretation of the Quran”? Fourth, Ghazali thinks that it is not a
    requirement of interpreting the Quran to find that opinion which is expressed by a learned authority, but it is lawful for everyone to elicit a meaning from the Quran in keeping with his understanding and intelligence.

    Ghazali quotes a hadith in which it is said, “He who explains the Quran according to his personal opinion shall take his place in Hell” (Tirmidhi). According to Ghazali, the reason for prohibiting the interpretation of the Quran by one’s personal opinion is for two reasons. Firstly, the interpreter has his own opinion (ra’y), which is influenced by his nature (tab’) as well as his desire or passion (hawa). So he interprets the Quran accordingly, citing as evidence an argument which promotes his purpose.

    This can happen to those interpreters who are aware of the Sharia as well as to those who are ignorant of it. Thirdly, sometimes a person has a preconceived purpose for which he adduces proof with a verse, knowing fully well that that purpose is not intended in the Quran. This has led to the growth of many sects.

    There are many subjects in which transmission from authorities or classical interpreters is necessary for the explanation of
    the Quran, as in the case of ambiguity, or where a word is omitted in case of conciseness or where a word is understood, etc.

    Anyone who hastens to explain the deep meanings of the Quran through the outward aspects (of the rules of grammar) of the Arabic language, without knowing the meaning transmitted from the authorities is a person who “explains the Quran by his personal opinion”. He has merely translated its words or the outward exegesis, which is not sufficient.

    There are many depths and secrets in the path to understanding and interpreting the Quran, but outward exegesis based on the knowledge of the meaning of the Arabic words and its grammar alone cannot guide us to them. These secrets are not opposed to outward exegesis, rather they complete it and constitute the essence of the Quran. The secret meanings of the Quran are unveiled, when both academic and spiritual links are made, to “…those established in knowledge, in proportion to the abundance of different forms of their knowledge, the purity of their souls, the fullness of their motives in pondering (over the Quran), and their isolation for seeking (its meaning)”.

    In other words, according to Ghazali, there has to be a three-pronged approach: the outward exegesis with a linguistic base, a layering of reference to the classical commentators, and embellishment with the secret meanings, which are exposed to ‘purified souls’ or the Sufis.

    nilofar.ahmed58@gmail.com


    Salam,


    I think bro you did not check my link that i have shared. (Friday Features) in Articles. And before going to check that please read what i have typed in first two to three rows. If i forget to share any feature so you are requested to post there. I hope you will not mind that.


    Regards

    Asif Nawaz Abro
    My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that 'achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that's nice, too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.'

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    Re: Features (Dawn)


    W salam.
    Bro i could not understand what do you want to say?

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    Re: Features (Dawn)


    Quote Originally Posted by The Revivalist View Post
    W salam.
    Bro i could not understand what do you want to say?

    Bro i meant to say that you should have shared Friday Feature in the specific area which i have reserved for these Friday Features.It is in the Articles' category not in Islamiat.
    My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that 'achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that's nice, too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.'

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