Archive for the ‘Commentary on the News’ Category

The Cost of the Syrian Uprising: Shaykh Al-Bouti

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013
Shaykh al-Bouti

Shaykh al-Bouti (ra)

The Cost of the Syrian Uprising: Shaykh Al-Bouti

22nd March, 2013

By H.A. Hellyer

Thursday evening in Damascus saw a suicide bombing take place in Masjid al-Iman – one of the more famous mosques in Syria’s capital city. At least 42 people were killed; among them was a famous Sunni religious scholar (‘alim), 84-year old Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Bouti. Of Kurdish origin, he was a renowned scholar worldwide, with students from across the Muslim world, including within Muslim Western communities.

Read more of this article via The Cost of the Syrian Uprising: Shaykh Al-Bouti.

From Imam Salim: From my perspective this is a very well written article and well balanced in dealing with the confusing political events in Syria today. But one thing I would like to say is that whoever was the murderer who did this, the real reason he was killed is that Shaykh al-Bouti (may Allah (swt) raise him to a high station) possessed knowledge. Ignorance is an important tool of warfare no matter what side you are on. All groups in this conflict be they rebels, government, extremists, salafists, whomever – the one thing they are most afraid of is the people gaining true knowledge of Islam. Shaykh al-Bouti (ra) had that knowledge and was willing to give it to people. He was a true teacher. A thoughtful man of knowledge who imparted it to others and was truly loved for that. It is that which the killers wanted to kill. This way they can easily spread their false Islam, no matter from which side it might come. So whoever did this benefited not only themselves but all the “sides” except the one side which matters the most. The common man and woman who are caught in the middle of the conflict and who are suffering most from it. They had the most to loose by al-Bouti’s ( may God be pleased with him) murder. May Allah (swt) protect them and deliver them from this struggle safely, and soon, Ameen

Inna allahi wa inna allahi rajayun!


The Hindu : Life & Style / Metroplus : Sufi serenade

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Shye Ben-Tzur

This past February my wife and I spent time in Ajmer with Pir Inam Gudri Shah Baba V. The time we spent with him was a wonderful experience. Part of that wonderful experience was meeting Shye Ben-Tzur and his wife. Two of the most pleasant people I have ever met, they were our greeters when we arrived on the Shatabdi Express and kept an eye on us the entire time we were there. Later on we found out about the wonderful music that he produces with his group. Imagine Qawwali in Hebrew! And the flute, very nice. Now it is a great pleasure to read in The Hindu about a concert. You can find his music at Amazon, just search for his name and you will find it.

From The Hindu:

On the occasion of the 63rd Independence Day of Israel, the Embassy of Israel hosted a reception at The Ashok, New Delhi.

The reception was also an opportunity to bid farewell to Ambassador Mark Sofer and Deputy Chief of Mission Eli Belotsercovsky, who were returning to Israel this summer after a four-year period in India. Over 600 guests arrived to be part of the mega celebrations.

As part of the celebrations, Israeli qawwali singer Shye Ben-Tzur, together with Rajasthani and Israeli musicians, performed Sufi music renditions in three languages — Hebrew, Hindi and Urdu — and dazzled the audience. The music lovers swayed to popular compositions like ‘Dil ki bahara banke’ and ‘Dama dam mast kalandar’ and many songs in Hebrew.

Ben-Tzur is an acclaimed Israeli composer, producer and performer who has been living in India for the past decade, creating music that brings together traditional Sufi qawwali and Rajasthani rhythms with Western elements.

Shye, who gave up the rock band Sword of Damocles, which he himself initiated in the early stages of his musical journey, said, “I was looking for sacred and meaningful music. When I attended a concert in Israel by Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain, I was seduced. I came to the Ajmer Dargah and fell in love with qawwali.” At Ajmer Dargah, he learnt qawwali from qawwals, and in 2004 performed at Jahan-e-Khusrau, the prestigious international Sufi music festival held annually in the spring since the year 2001.

via The Hindu : Life & Style / Metroplus : Sufi serenade.


Rs 2 crore crown for Sarwar shrine – The Times of India

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

In My Opinion

Recently a gold “crown” was designed, cast and presented at the Dargha of Khwaja Fakhruddin Chishti, in Sarwar, about 65 kilometers from Ajmer where Fakhruddin’s father, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti (may Allah be pleased with both of them), is buried. You can read more about it by following the link below:

Rs 2 crore crown for Sarwar shrine – The Times of India.

My opinion of this is that it is a travesty.

Most of the revered individuals, Shayukh, Pirs, Murshids, Kwajas and others in the Chishti lineage were practitioners of poverty. And whatever they received in donations was immediately passed on to those in need, the poor of the neighborhoods around their Khankas. What was needed for food for those who lived in and to run the Khanka was minimal and also used as soon as it was given. There was no gifts such as this one. The cost in dollars of this “crown” is 2 crore India Rupees which in western counting system is 20 million rupees which is equivalent to a little over $476,000 (at .42 exchange rate). This enormous sum of money would have gone a long way to supplying food, medicine and schooling to the poor people in Sarwar and Ajmer.

Furthermore, individuals such as Fakhruddin would never take donations from people whose motives were suspect. Those such as government officials looking for some kind of endorsement from the Khwaja, or wealthy people who were just seeking absolution from their sins through the awlia’s intercession. Neither of these types were allowed into the Khanka, much less to give such donations as this. Yet here, as quoted in the above article:

With the nightmares of the 2G and CWG scams still haunting the party, top Congress leaders went to seek divine blessings at the dargah of Khwaja Fakhruddin Chisti, son of sufi saint Moinuddin Chisti on Friday.

The leaders offered a gold crown worth approximately Rs 2 crore to the dargah.

This is counter to every principle of the Chishtiyya. It is highly suspect and, as I said before, a travesty. Hundreds of thousands of people starve, are sick, jobless, unschooled while 2 crore rupees are wasted on a meaningless symbol. And this symbol now is only of the decadence that these people have sunk to. The officials of the dargha should be melting this down right now and using the money for social programs which the Chishtiyya are known for. And if they are too cowardly to do this, then they should be replaced.

The fault here is on both houses, the donors and the acceptors, but some blame must be laid at the feet of the devotees as well. People should know better! They should know that this kind of influence buying is neither correct, nor effective. Insha’allah they will never get what they are trying to purchase through such transgressions.


Maghreb Jews celebrate Hanukkah (

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

A Moroccan Jewish family lights Hannukah candles. The 8-day celebration ended December 8th.

Imrane Binoual

I think this is a good article about the celebration of Hanukah in the Maghreb countries. It also is a small snapshot of the conditions the Jewish communities must put up with. One thing that seems to be prevalent is the feeling that the current cool relations between the Jews and their Muslim neighbors is the amount of reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict in the media. I find this to be a common misconception among many Muslims who equate being Jewish with being Israeli or pro Israeli. I also think the opposite is true, that many people equate being Muslim with being pro-Palestine. Both camps are feeding a stereotype that fosters ill will and mis trust. Personally I am pro-Peace. I recently heard an interview with a Palestinian woman who had lost a son when he blew himself up at a cafe in Israel and an Israeli man who had also lost a son when a terrorist bomber blew himself up. Both felt that to be either pro-Israel or pro-Palestine meant one was not pro-peace. I agree.

Getting off the topic a bit. I also remember when I was in Fez with a group of Sufi “good will ambassadors” that our sponsor took us on a tour of the old city which included a neighborhood which was predominantly Jewish and had been for centuries. All the signs were still in Hebrew and other than that you could hardly tell the difference between that part of the city and any other. He told us that Morocco was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel (and the US for that matter) and that the king had supported and aided Jews in Morocco to emigrate to Israel when it was founded if they wished. It seems from this article that Jews in Morocco still fare better than their brothers and sisters in other parts of the Maghreb.

via Maghreb Jews celebrate Hanukkah (

For Jewish communities throughout the Maghreb, the eight-day festival of lights known as Hannukah ended December 8th, this is a way to safeguard their cultural and religious heritage.

The festival ended on Wednesday (December 8th), but Casablanca residents gathered on December 6th to mark the festivities, said Jacky Kadoch, President of the Jewish Community of Marrakesh-Essaouira.


Contact Imam Salim

Contact Imam Salim

VOA | Pakistan Cleric Offers Reward for Killing Christian Woman | Asia | English

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Remember this man's face, the face of a mushrik surrounded by bodyguards. Who does he need protecting from? Hey Yousef, the bodyguards will not protect you from Allah (swt)

A Pakistani cleric says if the government does not hang a Christian mother of five convicted last month of blasphemy against Islam, then his mosque will offer a reward of $6,000 to anyone who kills her. Yousef Qureshi issued the call Friday.

via VOA | Pakistan Cleric Offers Reward for Killing Christian Woman | Asia | English.

This man is a disgrace to Islam. He has no right to make such a claim and in doing so he becomes just another common criminal who is inciting people to murder. Look at his face carefully and remember it. If anything does happen to Asia Bibi then he should be arrested.

I am really getting tired of these fake uluma who speak as if they have some kind of authority and in the end all they are doing is defaming the name of Islam and trying to promote themselves.  And look at the two men on either side of him, what are they? Bodyguards – this man is not a man of the people. The worst part of this is that other, less educated people will believe him to be what he is not and will follow him. He is playing on people’s emotions and lack of knowledge, perpetuating this kind of un-Islamic behavior.

As he spoke of this the real judiciary in Pakistan is considering pardoning and releasing her, this is the correct and Islamic way of doing things. Christians are ahl al kitab and are therefore protected as our brothers and sisters. Furthermore, from what I have read in other accounts there is much doubt as to the truthfulness of the witnesses against her. This so called cleric, Yousef Qureshi, has taken it upon himself to set himself up as judge and jury for this person probably without even hearing the evidence against her, or the witnesses for her, or any type of real judicial process. There can be no such way of doing things in Islam, In Islam there has to be witnesses and a real judge to make a determination of guilt. Even then there are degrees of application of punishment. What Yousef Qureshi is doing is un-Islamic and he is the worst kind of mushrik – he is worshiping his own self, his own ego and desire and his own brand of justice over Allah’s justice. For that I think he will be severely punished when he faces Allah (swt) on the final day.

The case of Asia Bibi seems clear cut to me. People in her village want something from her and since they cannot get it through the usual means they are resorting to character assassination and accusing her of this crime. From what I have ready she should be released and allowed to leave the area if that is what she wants.