Zakat Al Fitr – Charity, so poor could celebrate Eid


handful of barley Definition:

Zakaah al-Fitr is often referred to as Sadaqah al-Fitr. Sadaqah al-Fitr is a duty which is Waajib on every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so.

Purpose: 

The main purpose of Zakaah al-Fitr is to provide those who fasted with the means of making up for their errors during the month of fasting. Zakaah al-Fitr also provides the poor with a means with which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (`Eid al-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims.

“The Prophet (pbuh) made Zakaah al-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadaan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Salaah will have it accepted as Zakaah, while he who gives it after the Salaah has given Sadaqah.”
[Abu Dawood – vol. 2, p. 421, no. 1605 – rated Saheeh]

When Due:

Zakaah al-Fitr is only Waajib (obligatory) for a particular period of time. If one misses the time period without a good reason, he has sinned and can not make it up. This form of charity becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Salaah al-‘Eed’ (i.e. shortly after sunrise on the following day). However, it can be paid couple of days prior to the `Eid’.

Rate:

The amount of Zakaah is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one Saa` (two handfuls ) of food, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family. Typically calculated as 2kg of barley, which is equivalent to Rs. 100 per person (in Pakistan, for 2015). It’s also said that if you can afford, you can give Rs.1280 (as per dates value in 2014) per person or more, but Rs. 100 will fulfill your obligation.

Who you can give to:

Who so ever is eligible to take Zakat, can take Fitr (commonly known as Fitra in Pakistan) as well. I wrote another post on Zakat.

Here’s the list again:

  1. the poor
  2. the needy,
  3. collectors of Zakah,
  4. reconciliation of hearts,
  5. freeing captives / slaves(fee al-Riqab),
  6. debtors
  7. in the Way of Allah / Islamic causes (fee sabeel illah)
  8. the traveler.

Source:

http://en.islamway.net/article/12171

Hate > Divide > Fight > Enslave > Rule – Simple ?


Hatred leads to Division, which leads to Fighting, that makes you weaker, which leads to your Enslavement and then finally, you are Ruled. This is a fairly simple strategy, known as “Divide & Rule” (said to be used by Philip II, King of Macedon (back in 382-336 BC), but I guess it is part of human nature, that humans fall for it rather easily. As the conspirators started to use the strategy, some 1000 years ago, and unfortunately, it still works in the 21st century. It’s human nature, that people tend to get emotional and angry with the differing views. Everyone wants to convince others, he/she is right. I think, the biggest challenge we face today, is the authenticity of information (thanks to – Disinformation). That is the root cause of all the arguments, fights and wars. Every party believes in the opposite, to be true. But the problem arises, when everyone tries to convince its version to others and specially use force later on. If we accept the fact that it is fairly difficult to get to the absolute truth, even if you do, others might not necessarily believe you, so why can’t you live together peacefully while still having different opinions ? Instead of arguing and fighting ?

divide and rule

Never underestimate the power of hate and divide & conquer conspirators. It specially works when people are ignorant about their fundamentals and go with the flow. Read the history – Jews vs Christians, vs Muslims, Israeli vs. Palestinians, Democrats vs. Republicans, South vs. North Korea, East vs. West Germany, Shia vs. Sunni, white vs. black, Arab vs. Non-arabs, India vs. Pakistan and so on. If you read history, you know very well, what was the outcome of that division and hate. And many of these divisions exists today, which makes me wonder, we still fall for it naively. We are same human being, created by the same God (we call by different names). It is very simple, as long as you know, you are hating, you are at a loss.

If I apply it to Pakistan, Establishment couldn’t misuse ruling powers, if the nation (us) live together in peace (without hate). I won’t name here, but there are so many examples, like TV hosts, Singers, Politicians, Cricket players, sects, being hated so ruthlessly, that actually compelled me to write this blog post. We were taught to follow the straight path, as prescribed by Quran and Hadith, but instead of reading that, we make difference out of our free will, judgement and desires and end up being stupidly enslaved eventually, at the hands of few people on earth. It has become almost popular culture to hate certain people here. Indeed one stark difference, between West and us, we fall rather easily for hate. Let’s try to hate less, as a starter, shall we…

love hate

Love and hate has complete different directions. Lets stop hate and start loving people. Even if you think, someone is bad, let’s stop hating them, instead love their good characteristics and instead appreciate good people more. Find common terms among yourself and ignore the differences. Rest assured, you will see the change yourself, where you will have peace and unity and nobody would be able to fool you around or subdue you, when you are one and stand for each other.

Love more and hate less!

Iftar buffet dinners in Ramazan – Extravagance ?


I thought, that over the years, with a lot of awareness, through TV shows, articles on newspapers and social media, people are avoiding lavish ‘iftars’ (breaking fast at sunset) during ramazan. But to my surprise, there is no stopping.

I was invited by a friend to meet in the evening and have iftaar+dinner together. I reached there around an hour early, but there was a long queue of cars to enter the hotel. I saw so many cars worth 10 times my car and full of people, took me 15 minutes in the queue. Gave the car to the valet and entered to see my friend. While I was waiting at the lobby, I saw many people around. It turned out, there is some corporate invitation and one restaurant was completely booked for it. Here comes my friend, excited, greeted and hugged, since we met after quite some time. It was very nice seeing him. He took me inside one restaurant downstairs, but we were stopped at the entrance, asking for a booking. It was a fairly large restaurant, but was fully booked. Then, my friend used his selling skills and somehow managed to convince the manager and we got the table for 2 at the corner, btw he was staying at this hotel as well. Minutes later, the whole restaurants was filled with guys and families and children and it became too noisy. We grabbed some food, I started off with my favourite starter for ‘iftaar’ – Pakora. Then added some ‘channa chaat’, fruit chaat and ‘dahi baray‘ and returned to our table, where ‘Rooh Afza – sharbat and other drinks were already placed for us.

Here’s a how a typical home-made ifar looks like. I have labeled each item. They are the most common dishes used in Iftar in Pakistan.

typical iftar dishes karachi

I hardly saw people saying duwa (prayers), as it was actually high time for prayers getting accepted. Instead everyone was running, to grab his/her favourite food in time and bring on the table 🙂  Some, were running to enter the restaurants, as they must have got stuck in the traffic jam. I saw many people sitting alone on the table, as if their dates have ditched them 🙂 , but actually they are waiting for others to join (who might be stuck in the traffic). ‘Azaan’ (call for prayer) said, at the time of sunset, and everyone starts eating dates and then the food they had brought. Many people entered the restaurant as late as 20 minutes, past the time of iftar. I thought, there would be many people from companies, but they were mostly families.

Obviously, it is an amazing feeling of having the luxury of eating anything you want, after 16 hours of fasting (not eating). Everyone, including myself wanted to eat as much as possible, or at least taste everything. However, soon everyone realizes that after eating 5-6 items, you feel completely full. And then you overeat, where you feel like eating, while your stomach is full. Additionally, where you want to make the most of the occasion and make the most of your money spent.

The per head cost of the buffet dinner was Rs 1700 and we were discussing, there are around 1000 people, which means Rs. 1.7 million is spent in just two hours, in one restaurant and we were astounded ourselves at the figure.

So, while driving back home, I started to reflect back on the event. Fasting is supposed to instill a desire to help those who are less fortunate, by sharing food and wealth with them.  I thought, we learn to sacrifice our hunger for the will of God,  learn patience, learn to abstain from all evil acts, and specially learn, how it feels like to be hungry and better relate to the poor, who can only eat one or two times a day and thus appreciate the blessing of God, who has provided you with food and resources abundantly. It’s a month for us to be humble and give charity. Then, I compared my friend paid Rs 1700 per person for that meal.  Imagine, there are around 200 such restaurants in Karachi and almost all would be full in the same way. So, 200 restaurants times say 200 average capacity, times Rs1000 average cost, which means we spend Rs. 40 million in just one day in Karachi, in fact one meal and that is on a lower side estimate.

Imagine, if I multiply it with 30 days of Ramazan – Rs.1,200,000,000 (1.2 billion), money we spent in eating one meal in Ramazan in Karachi ??

I had started food charity drive with friends, for the past 5 months, where we provide poor people with dinner for Rs. 5, while it cost us Rs. 30. So, for Rs. 1.7m a day, I can feed around 1.3 million poor a day. We could virtually eliminate poverty in the country, in a month. So, compare this, the charity food is healthy, and filling and cost Rs 30, while we ate at a lavish restaurant by spending Rs 1700 (we spent 5600% more). Do you still think, it is not extravagance and you will not be questioned by God, how you spent the money, that He provided. Everyone is tested in this world, different test for rich and different for the poor. Rich naturally, are accountable more, as they are given more, another reason, I tend not to have more.

Let’s look at some of the crazy facts of Ramazan:

  • Almost everyone say, we gain weight during ramazan ? What,Gain! After staying away from food for 15 hours out of 24 hours, you gain weight ?
  • Price for food items increases, during the month of ramazan ? I thought, we are supposed to fast whole day, ie not eat and there would be less demand. Then, how come the price increases ?

And then we wonder, why there is so much poverty, why there is so much hunger, why there is so much unrest in the society, why there is so much inequality and why there is so much hate? Aren’t we inflicting injustice in the society ourselves, this way. Spending wastefully in food is just one example. How do we spend on clothing, cars, homes, furniture and the list is never ending. First we accumulate money and stash it, then we spend it wastefully. Aren’t we told to keep the money flowing, aren’t we told to distribute the money among poor, aren’t we told to pay zakat (2.5% of our savings) and aren’t we told to spend wisely from the wealth, God has entrusted us ? Then, these facts must not be surprising, when we follow all social customs of iftar, while ignoring the teachings and principles of Ramazan and Fasting, how could we possibly get the benefit of Fasting  – both spiritual and worldly.

Here are some background quotes, supporting these points, from Quran:

“Look how We have favored [in provision] some of them over others. ” Quran 17:21

Meaning in this world, so that some are rich and some are poor, and others are in between. Poor will be tested for their patience, while rich will be tested for how they use God’s bounties.

“Truly, your Lord expands the provision for whom He wills and straitens (for whom He wills).” Quran 17:30 

This Ayah is telling us that Allah is the One Who provides or withholds, the Bestower Who is running the affairs of His creation as He wills. He makes rich whomever He wills, and He makes poor whomever He wills, by the wisdom that is His.

“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying and going round the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifin (those who waste by extravagance).” (Quran 7:31, Surah Al-A’raf)  

Explanation: There were people who used to perform Tawaf around the House while naked, and Allah ordered them to take adornment, meaning, wear clean, proper clothes that cover the private parts. people were commanded to wear their best clothes when performing every prayer. Hadith: “Eat what you wish and wear what you wish, as long as you avoid two things: extravagance and arrogance.” Prophet said: “The Son of Adam will not fill a pot worse for himself than his stomach. It is enough for the Son of Adam to eat a few bites that strengthens his spine. If he likes to have more, then let him fill a third with food, a third with drink and leave a third for his breathing.”

“And give to the kinsman (relatives) his due & to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer (traveller).”  

According to Prophet Muhammad (saw): “Your mother and your father, then your closest relatives and the next closest.”

But spend not wastefully in the manner of a spendthrift (extravagance). Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan is ever ungrateful to his Lord. And if you [must] turn away from the needy awaiting mercy from your Lord which you expect, then speak to them a gentle word.”

(17:26 , 27 & 28 Surah Al-Isra’, Qur’an)

So, these are some points I was thinking about and wanted to share. Btw, I wrote a blog earlier, if you want to read as well, on similar topic: Extravagance or ‘Israaf’ something we need to be careful about

Want to learn more about Fasting or Ramadan:

http://www.fastramadan.com/10_points_for_fasting.php

Why is SINDHRI the sweetest mango in the world – The magical secret


the king of fruits!

chaaidaani

They are a generous size….and sweet but not sickeningly, so you can have more than one, unlike any of it’s more sugary counterparts….other mangoes may be more sugary but none is sweeter than the Sindhri to me. Or may it is just the Sindh running through my veins that gives me biased taste buds. It doesn’t have irritating fibres that get stuck between the teeth….it allows itself to be eaten in so many forms…You can slice it, cube it, blend it. It is such a cooperative variety.

But then, can we really blame it for being so amiable?

It is from the land we call Mehran…..and so the Sindhri is a reflection of the people that sow it and care for it and pluck it off trees and keep it wrapped in hay shreds till the green becomes a vibrant yellow, bit by bit.

sindhri

Sure, it has it’s shortcomings like…

View original post 243 more words

But Why Do Punjabi Women Fall For The “Karachiite-type” Men?


🙂

chaaidaani

The idea of Urdu-speaking larkaas falling for Punjabi mutyaars caught on like fire! We all saw much of ourselves in that earlier blog. So many of us related to it. As did I, because of my half-Punjabi streak (the other half is Sindhi, but that part will need another blog;)).

What makes perfect sense is that if in the 6th most populous nation in the world, Pakistan that is, a HUGE number of Karachiite-type men are falling for and are with Punjabi women, a complimenting number of Punjabi women have also statistically fallen for, and agreed to be with, and “LIKE” (more than in the FB “like” kind of liking) the Urdu-speaking variety of guys.

So what’s so special about the Karachiite-type dudes? Why do many Punjabi girls choose them over the bhangra-ofying, equally colourful, jazbaati, food-loving, mostly good looking, from the same gene pool, khulla dulla Punjoo guys?

View original post 952 more words

Where to spend your ‘zakat’ (charity)


It is a month of ‘ramzam’, where our good deeds are multiplied manifold for its rewards, so consequently, majority of muslims give their ‘zakat'(alms) in this month. I see a plethora of ads, billboards, pamphlets where they are requesting for zakat money. No doubt, pakistanis are most philanthropists, but everyone seems to be jumping to cash on it.

We should remember, that zakat should be given in the form of money, so that the receiver has the complete authority to spend it the way he/she likes, ie to fulfil any of his/her most important need. Or in other words, you cannot buy food, or goods with zakat money and give to these poor people. The idea being, Zakat is poor person’s right, not something you give to oblige him/her, it’s their right. Unlike zakat, you are free to give other charities, and how much you want to give and in what form you want to give, eg charities like ‘sadqua’, ‘khairaat’, etc.

But ‘zakat’ is obligatory. Let me brief you about its basic rulings for Zakat. I have included only common points, while skipping others. Obviously I could not cover this topic comprehensively in one blog post, so don’t take this as comprehensive guide to cover every scenario. However, I will share link at the bottom, should you need to read further.

zakat, 2.5%, gift, charity, alms

Linguistically, ZAKAT has two meanings: purification and growth. Technically, it means to purify ones possession of wealth by distributing a prescribed amount to the poor, the indigent, the slaves or captives, and the wayfarer.

Who has to give:

It is obligatory for an adult who has saved more than *87 grams (7.5 tola) of gold or it’s equivalent cash or assets (that grows in value), continuously over a period of a year.

* 87 grams of Gold is ‘Nisab’.

Who can receive it:

I have listed only 5 common persons, we usually give zakat to:

  • Fuqaraa: Those who own property in excess of basic necessities but below the value of Nisab.
  • Masakeen: Persons of extreme poverty who possess no wealth whatsoever.
  • Aamileen: (Zakat collector) Those persons who are appointed by an Islamic Head of State or Government to collect Zakat. It is not necessary that this be a needy person.
  • Muallafatul Quloob: Those poor and needy persons who are given Zakat with the intentions of solidifying their hearts because they maybe recently converted to Islam or to bring them closer to Islam.
  • Al Ghaarimeen: A person whose debts exceeds his assets and his net assets (after deducting his liabilities) is below the Nisab limit. To determine whether a person qualifies, his basic necessities of life (house, furniture, clothes, vehicle, etc.) will not be taken into account. It is conditional that the debts were not created for any un-Islamic or sinful purpose.

Benefits of Zakat: 

  • It reminds Muslims of the fact that whatever wealth they may possess is due to the blessings of Allah and as such it is to be spent according to the His commands.
  • Zakat functions as a social security for all. Those who have enough money today pay for what they have. If they need money tomorrow they will get what is necessary to help them live decently.
  • Zakat payer pays his dues to Allah as an act of worship, a token of submission and an acknowledgment of gratitude. The receiver of Zakat receives it as a grant from Allah out of His bounty, a favor for which he is thankful to Allah.
  • Economically, Zakat is the best check against hoarding. Those who do not invest their wealth but prefer to save or hoard it would see their wealth dwindling year after year at the rate of the payable Zakat. This helps increase production and stimulates supply because it is a redistribution of income that enhances the demand by putting more real purchasing power in the hands of poor.

Allah says in the Quran: “The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn. It grows seven ears and each ear has hundred grains. Allah increases manifold to whom He pleases.” (Quran 2:261)

charity, alms, zakat

Other questions:

Who cannot be given Zakat?

What kinds of things require paying Zakat on them?

Other assets exempt from Zakat

Zakat calculator 

Further reading (& sources):

http://www.hidaya.org/publications/zakat-information/

http://zakatpages.com/faqs/

http://www.islamawareness.net/Zakat/whatzakat.html

Extravagance or ‘Israaf’ something we need to be careful about


I remember, someone gave me Rs. 10,000 (=$100) for food charity (food distribution to the poor, I run with my friends). Some 300 poor people satisfied their hunger for one time, with that much money. Imagine, how many had their meals with Rs. 26,000 (=$260) and so on. But the point is, we can easily spend Rs.10,000 in a group of 8 people, for one meal at any buffet (eg iftaar, lunch or dinner), so compare that with a meal for 300 people.

Extravagance – is to exceed the limits of what is required or what is customary. We should not spend wastefully in the manner of the spendthrift. Eat and drink but not waste by extravagance. As you know, extravagants are considered the brother of evil. And we should also not be miser, in fact when we spend, we should neither be extravagant nor niggardly (scrimy), but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes). It does not relate to food or eating, instead we should avoid being extravagant in all matters, eg in drinking, clothing, conversation, spending, sleeping, hygiene, laughing, joking, praising, criticism, prayers (ibadat), in fact we should choose the path of moderation in virtually every part of our life. The method of determining whether or not an action is extravagant is to consider whether it exceeds what is needed or exceeds what is customarily regarded by the people to be within acceptable limits or common in the society or people with your same stature.

If we (blessed to be rich) observe these practices in our life, there would not be this much of a poverty in our neighbourhood, cities, countries and planet earth, that we see today,  the extreme economic disparity in our society. If everyone abstains from excesses or lavish lifestyle and instead share extra money to the less privileged and thus does his/her part in charity, according to his/her capacity, we would have removed poverty and hunger from the world and it would be a lot happier place. Bless you all!

Some quotes on this:

In everything the middle course is best: All things in excess bring trouble to men.
Titus Maccius Plautus

The passion of acquiring riches in order to support a vain expense, corrupts the purest souls.
Francis De S.Fenelon

A bedroom requires a bed. Everything else was extravagance. Well, he had a bed all right.
Audrey Meadows

If extravagance were a fault, it would not have a place in the festivals of the gods.
Aristippus

An extravagance is something that your spirit thinks is a necessity.
Bern Williams

He who buys what he needs not, sells what he needs.
Japanese Proverb
Prodigality is indeed the vice of a weak nature, as avarice is of a strong one; it comes of a weak craving for those blandishments of the world which are easily to be had for money.
Sir Henry Taylor

One year, yet Malala is still in the news headlines – Why ?


Post updated: October 17, 2013

Summary at the end..

I read the transcript of her speech at the UN General Assembly and listened to her interviews and news stories and talks about her upcoming book and looking at all the limelight she’s getting, I am of the view that she is a smart and a courageous girl, with a drive to do something big for the country, like many other Pakistani girls and women. Here I will be presenting the reason, why she’s on the spotlight in the global media. It’s dangerous today, if you only know the MSM version of an event.

What does Investigative Journalists say about it:

Some people think that Pakistani in general think negatively and doubt every news coming out of media. To tell you the truth, we’re living in Dark Ages, we stand less chance of understanding the conspiracies happening around the world and committed on us, then to make one. We only get to understand (the real truth), when western society, specially smart people with conscience, opens up and investigates about the events and share with rest of the world. Pakistanis don’t particularly hate Malala as a person or her noble intention, like every other considerate human around the world, feel sorry for her. Let’s read what others says about this:

Newsweek: “One of the world’s biggest public relations firms, Edelman (whose clients include Microsoft, Starbucks), has a team working on her behalf while politicians, journalists and book publishers are making her into something of a global brand.” So, one of the reasons for her perfectly scripted speeches and interviews, as if coming from a 60 years-old political veteran.

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.  In her article “Brand Malala”: Western exploitation of a schoolgirl, she says: “Former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Malala’s avid supporter, fits that description. He is known as a misogynist by his former work colleagues and to human rights campaigners for his refusal to address the plight of widows whose husbands were unlawfully killed by the state see my earlier story” http://activist1.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/malala-becomes-poster-girl-of-western-government-double-standards-on-gender-justice/

She further points out, with regard to the question of another agenda, artist Jonathan Rao who painted the portrait of Malala that hangs in the National Gallery admits to his concerns in the Independent newspaper and states:-

 “I guess I was worried that she was probably a pawn in a bigger game and was being unduly influenced by the people around her.”

Veterans Today: Project Malala’: The CIA’s Socio-Psychological Intelligence Operation – by  Zaki Khalid, is a geopolitics and security analyst. I shared the above article when this Malala incident took place last year. According to this defense journalist also, the poor girl was exploited. That’s the beauty of conspiracies. They never leave it black & white. They used her good intentions as a front, while camouflaging it with highlighting taliban and terrorism seamlessly. Read her speech, taliban or terrorism is all over it. Every news, headline, article, interview, or title has either of the two word. The writer back then, pointed out about the foreign funded mercenaries committing such attacks (and next day claiming responsibility as Taliban), which is in fact a very common practice in Pakistan. So, she just became a pawn, at the hands of this wider agenda of terming taliban as evil and justifying the false war on terror. And now read this: The Staged Malala Yousafzai Story: Neoliberal near-Martyr of the Global Free Market Wars – by Scott Creighton. Reading above and various other similar research, provides lots of proof point about why they think it’s in fact a staged encounter and how the incident cannot be scientifically true, from surviving Kalashnikov multiple gun shots on the face, to multiple news stories about where the bullet hit, to the preparedness of protesters with play-cards in English, right after the attack and so on. From local media, Syed Mohammad Ali wrote on Express Tribune: “If there was anything unsettling about this entire event, it was seeing the UN’s blatant attempt to showcase and parade Malala in the effort to raise its own credibility. Seeing the UN endorsement of Malala’s heroism does seem a bit cringe-worthy given the impotency of the UN in challenging the US invasion of Iraq without a Security Council resolution, or doing much about the ensuing havoc unleashed in Muslim countries around the world since 9/11. Seeing Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of a country with a shameful colonial past, as the Special Envoy for Youth, benevolently praising Malala for her bravery, did not make one feel any better.”

Drones is a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry:

Do you know that Drone is a big business. UK, USA and Israel are the three countries who are leading the development of armed drones and engaged in drone operations in Afghanistan.

  • US plans to spend $2.5 billion in 2014. Living Under Drones report says top commanders (terrorists) account for estimated only 2% of victims.
  • Over the next 10 years, the Pentagon plans to purchase more than 700 medium- and large-size drones at a cost of nearly $40 billion, according to a Congressional Budget Office study.
  • UK has spent £2 billion since 2007 on drones, with further plans to allocate additional £2 billion this year.
  • Israel is said to double US’s drones sale by 2014, currently US is leading in the world.
  • Meanwhile, according to a September US government accountability office report, the number of countries possessing drones rose from 41 in 2005 to 76 in December 2011.
  • Canada and Australia are planning to spend $1bn and $3bn respectively on drones.

What’s the triggering Factor: Imran Khan’s Protest against Drones along with Code Pink:

About three dozen members of the U.S. activist group Code Pink plan to march into Pakistan's restricted tribal region to protest U.S. drone strikes in the rugged territory. Photo: B.K. Bangash, Associated Press

On October 6th, 2012, a party of 30 men and women between the ages of 22 and 80 years old were organized by the American antiwar coalition Code Pink, along with Imran Khan’s political party (PTI) and several other volunteers, launched a rally towards northern Pakistan, that was also attended by other westerners, like Lauren Booth, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, and Clive Stafford Smith, an American-British lawyer and founder of Reprieve – an international legal aid agency supporting drone victims. Have you read the report that the lawyer (from Reprieve), who’s filing cases for the victims of drone attacks in Pakistan, has blamed american government willfully delaying his visa process. Read from The Guardian: Pakistani drone victims’ lawyer accuses US of blocking his visit to Congress

Code Pink reaching in Islamabad, jointly delivered a petition from more than 3,000 Americans to the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Hoagland, calling for an end to the CIA drone strike policy in Pakistan.  It’s signatories includesAlice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Wolf, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Jody Williams, Tom Hayden, Patch Adams, Glenn Greenwald, Juan Cole and other prominent Americans, including former U.S. government officials, calling for an end to the drone strikes. Before the march, Mr Khan told the BBC that he would authorise the shooting down of US drones over his country if he became its head of government.

Result: The rally (‘peace march’) hit the world headlines, albeit reluctantly, but got the world attention through mainstream media:

Salon, NYT, The Washington Post, The Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Al Jazeera, Daily Mail, NBC News, US News, The Independent, The Huffington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, virtually every news channel jumped to cover the news. 

News stories:

“How is our government any better than the militants we battle?” asks Joan Nicholson, a 78-year-old member of Code Pink.
“One victim asked, ‘I have nothing to do with terrorism; can America explain why they chose me?’”

NYT:
“We kill a lot of innocent people,” said Medea Benjamin, a cofounder of Codepink and part of the delegation in Pakistan. She called the attacks “barbaric assassinations.”

Speaking of the tribal areas, she said, “This is a culture that very much believes in revenge, and then they seek revenge by trying to kill Americans. So we are just perpetuating a cycle of violence and it’s got to stop somewhere, and that’s why we are putting our bodies on the line by trying to go to Waziristan to say no.”

Washington Post: “You hit people with these drones and you create instant enemies,” said JoAnne Lingle, a silver-haired Mennonite from Indianapolis. “It’s supposed to be increasing our national security and it’s doing the opposite.”

The Huffington Post:
“I also delivered a letter from Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Wolf, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Jody Williams, Tom Hayden, Patch Adams, Glenn Greenwald, Juan Cole and other prominent Americans, including former U.S. government officials, calling for an end to the drone strikes.”

With such stories from people on-site talking to the victims, suddenly generated worldwide uproar, specially in the US public opinion, against the wisdom in drone attacks and the barbaric killing of civilians (unlike what is said to be an extremely precise technology) and ended-up with worldwide outrage against US Government, almost sabotaging the multi-billion dollar drones business (read: precise technology). The Malala incident was said to be staged, to deflect that resentment against drone attacks and changing world opinion, to highlight the threat of Taliban (more so through TTP) to women/children. In fact, changing the game 360 degrees, from world viewing drones as inhuman killing children in Pakistan, to world believing that terrorists threaten children in Pakistan (Malala eg), so drones are inevitable.  TTP is widely considered to be a group of outlaws, many a times funded through foreign secret service agencies, used every now and then for various such covert operations (eg shooting/bombing) and then randomly claiming responsibility (such claims obviously has never be proved and can never be).

Oct 6th, 2012:                      Imran Khan launched rally against drone attacks

Oct 6th, 7th and 8th:       Protest rally against Drones, all over mainstream media (all news report links provided above)

Oct 9th, 2012:                    Malala incident took place (deflecting world view instantly), as that was given even bigger coverage in the media.

Malala incident news spread like a wildfire, since special coverage was given to her, eg Prime Minister, President condoling, COAS (Armed forces General of Pakistan)   visiting her at the hospital, US President Obama, UN’s Kofi Anna sending condolences, later Madonna dedicated her concert to her (not to mention how she publicized it) and then thanks to the professional PR agency services, she’s a worldwide icon now for girls’ right to education. Everyone is jumping the bandwagon, to exploit her fame and many people with good heart, also rallied her cause, out of naivety of the vested interest, rest is history.

Shahnawaz Farooqui (pakistani journalist and commentator) recently compiled this on Malala (in urdu language):

Drone Attack’s Impact on Pakistan:

Drone is considered as a cutting-edge technology, precisely accurate with virtually no collateral damage, while Imran Khan had almost sabotaged it, showing the largest drone operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a failure, where majority of women, children and civilians were killed and a success ratio of only 2% high-level targets.

Here’s some stats on drone victims, humans killed from Drones in Pakistan since 2004*:

Total reported killed:              2,548 – 3,549
Civilians:                                   1255 – 2496
Injured:                                     336 – 1226
Women:                                     321 – 447
Children:                                   168 – 197
High-level targets killed:        2%

* figures in humans

Viewer discretion: Reduced the size, so that you don’t start crying right away

Why do the Governments Promote Malala ? 

Like I said before, with Malala, goes the story of Taliban, along with the message that Pakistan Government not doing enough to curb terrorism or is a failed state and needs intervention. While the cover is to exploit the sympathetic public opinion, who wants to support such subjugated women and children in northern Pakistan, as people with good intention are far more than bad, so, you see mainstream support for Malala from around the world. I would agree, if she has got the chance to voice for women’s rights and girls education, it’s better than nothing for pakistani women’s rights. But at what cost ? As much as she is promoted, it carries with her the story of Taliban being a major terrorist threat (if someone didn’t know about Taliban before, they’d know it by now through her popularity). Had it not been this case, either she would have been dead long ago, without even a news line in the last page in a Pakistani paper, let alone a headline on every international news media and a speaking slot in the UN assembly Or she would have remained nobody like many other unrecognized girls and activists in Pakistan. Read here about those activists and heroes, never heard of, because they doesnt’ serve any vested interests of the western world. So, in other words, her story and promotion, alteast gave a breather of 1 year to the (resumption of) drone attacks in Pakistan, and around the world. Had America been sincere to the women’s right in Pakistan, then it would not have silenced (read abducted, tortured, raped and imprisoned extra-judicially in Guantanamo and destroyed the family of) Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Harvard PhD graduate Neurologist from Pakistan, actually an American Citizen. Her crime, in addition to being extremely intelligent, she developed great command over english and Islam, and started preaching it vociferously. Check out her one such rare video from 1991, where she’s raising voice for women’s right in Islam, in Houston:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnr0AIeKZso

Does anyone in the world know about Edhi, who set up worlds largest ambulance system in Pakistan, all through charity. THEY are our heroes, which the world media, had been completely silent about, so that nobody on earth would know about the goodness of Pakistanis and their philanthropism. If you want to know about Taliban, read from , a british journalist who was captured by Taliban for sneaking into Afghanistan secretly. After being arrested by Taliban, with the treatment she received during her 6 days of captivity and upon release, read Quran later in UK and then she converted to Islam. Feel free to enlighten yourself, let’s not fall prey to media propaganda. There are many videos you can google about her or read her book: “In the Hands of the Taliban: Her Extraordinary Story”

http://yvonneridley.org/analysis-and-opinion/afghanistan-the-reality-on-the-ground

Supporting/Promoting Malala and her cause: 

Terrorism experts have concluded that: Terrorism is a struggle of freedom fighters against tyrant governments suppressing them, anywhere in the world. When you see how US/UK/etc manipulated elections in pakistan (failing people’s popular choice), to bring corrupt as puppets into power, so that they can continue to suppress uninformed slaves, then how could you possibly believe they are sincere about education or women’s education for that matter. Unfortunately, knowing all this, makes it very difficult to support Malala’s cause, because that’ll remain a lip-service by the world powers.

Minus terrorists and Taliban from the incident that is associated with Malala, and she will become nobody in no time, just like Edhi is to the world. 

What Should We Do:

I know, people in Pakistan and around the world are kind-hearted and want to support her on that tragic incident, and her new cause for the women and children, but I am concerned about the western powers and our government, who’re exploiting this incident out of proportions, for their vested interests, viz. Drones business. Fine, I don’t have a clear proof that Malala incident is staged (only have scientific hints), but so is the information that Malala was shot by Taliban, without any proof. So, how come the world is convinced that Malala was attacked by Taliban in 2012 in PAKISTAN, to teach a lesson that girls should not study, and the US is sincerely supporting the poor girls from northern pakistan and Malala’s cause of women education and actually not interested in this multi-billion dollars drone industry, after knowing all the facts, that I mentioned above ? If I support/promote Malala story and her cause, wouldn’t that mean, I am indirectly justifying the need for drone industry and the blood of those innocents pakistanis (men, women and children) will be on my hands, perished by drones every now and then ?

And last but not the least, we are not supposed to highlight (let alone spend multi-million dollars in marketing) such evil acts. Our religion tell us that evil act should not be publicized, but culprits reprimanded and action taken to make sure such incident doesn’t happen again, instead of advertising it to the whole wide world.

What should we do ? Choose wisely, after understanding all these facts, because you’ve the power to THINK and not just believe state conspiracies.

Summary:

 

  • Oct 6th, 2012: Imran Khan launched rally against drone attacks
  • Oct 6th, 7th and 8th: Protest rally against Drones, all over mainstream media (all news report links provided above)
  • Oct 9th, 2012: Malala incident took place (deflecting world view instantly), as that was given even bigger coverage in the media.

In fact, changing the game 360 degrees, from world viewing drones as inhuman killing children in Pakistan, to world believing that terrorists threaten children in Pakistan (Malala eg), so drones are unavoidable.

  • Everyone is jumping the bandwagon, to exploit her fame and many people with good heart, also rallied her cause, out of naivety of the vested interest, rest is history.
  • Drone is considered as a cutting-edge technology, precisely accurate with virtually no collateral damage, while Imran Khan had almost sabotaged it
  • Justifying that Pakistan Government not doing enough to curb terrorism or is a failed state and needs intervention.
  • Unfortunately, knowing all this, makes it very difficult to support Malala’s cause, because that’ll remain a lip-service by the world powers.

Sources & Further readings:

http://hmkyz.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/shame-on-your-dad/

http://activist1.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/brand-malala-western-exploitation-of-a-schoolgirl/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/rise-of-the-drone-from-calif-garage-to-multibillion-dollar-defense-industry/2011/12/22/gIQACG8UEP_story.html

https://dronewarsuk.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/shelling-out-uk-spending-on-drones.pdf

http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/u-s-peace-activists-in-pakistan-decry-drone-strikes/

http://newsweekpakistan.com/the-pr-firm-behind-malala-inc/

Oxford Union Debate “Islam Is A Peaceful Religion”


Founded in 1823 and described as ‘the last bastion of free speech’, the Oxford Union is the most famous debating society in the world. On the 23rd May 2013, the Oxford Union held a debate entitled ‘The House Believes Islam is a Religion of Peace’ between three speakers arguing for the motion, and three speakers arguing against the motion, which is now published on YouTube. Don’t forget to listen to Mehdi Hasan, the reason this debate became so popular.

MOTION: “This House Believes that Islam is a Religion of Peace.”

1. MATTHEW HANDLEY, Student from St Hugh’s College, Oxford (for motion):

2. ANNE-MARIE WATERS –  A prominent journalist and campaigner, and is a member of the Labour Party (against motion):

3. ADAM DEEN – Muslim Speaker and Debater (for motion):

4. DANIEL JOHNSTON – journalist and editor of magazine Standpoint (against motion):

5. MEHDI HASAN –  Britain’s most prominent Muslim journalist. Political editor of the Huffington Post (for motion):

(most popular in this debate):

6. PETER ATKINS is former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and now a fellow of Lincoln College (against motion):

The debate ended with a victory for the motion, and a defeat for the Islamophobic side. 

It is said that, “When truth is hurled against falsehood, falsehood perishes, for falsehood by its nature is bound to   perish” – Quran.  Suppression or ignoring the truth, would only lead to more converts in UK and Europe, as you see now-a-days. Nobody believes in what the mainstream media presents, if it is not based on truth or lacks any logical sense.

I have started to notice that it is not much of a debater’s skills, but rather Islam itself is fairly easy to defend, when you know the facts and figures. If you are interested to have factual information about Islam, from unbiased sources, below are ones I would recommend on this topic. Or you can visit http://www.irf.net and read about Dr. Zakir Naik or listen to his videos on YouTube etc.:

1. en_Islam_and_Terrorism

2. http://www.thecommentator.com/ckeditor_assets/attachments/333/en_common_questions.pdf

3. FAQ about Islam:

http://www.irf.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=255&Itemid=199

Appreciate more and discourage less


It’d be better if appreciate more and hate less. One of the reasons we produce less heroes because, we do the opposite. We take heroes for granted, while they dwindle in the rat race, and instead we rebuke underperformers so immensely, that many do not dare to try, out of possible backlash into stone age. I’m not just talking about musicians here..