Mirza Ashraf’s responses to Marwan Majzoob’s questions:


(a) Q:    The article states that there is not big gap between Western civilization and Muslim civilization. This statement or the crux of the Foreign Affairs 1997 article needs in depth analysis by TF USA affiliates.

A: —— I believe there is a yawning gap between Western and Islamic Civilizations. Seemingly the Western Civilization evolved from Christianity, but the sketchy blending of Greek philosophy with scriptural message of Jesus, was unsystematic until the time of Clement (150-219) and Origen (185-254). Clement helped to develop the compatibility of the philosophical views of Greek thinkers to the message of Christ. Origen, who held that there is nothing wholly incorporeal except God as three in one, Father, son, and Holy Ghost, based on Greco-Roman myths as well as Hellenistic conception of the universe. In other words, the Greco-Roman civilization had adopted Christianity as its religion. Soon after the European Renaissance, the revival of Greek philosophy of rationalism made it easy for the European to discard religion and stick to the original Greco-Roman civilization based on reason and rationalism.

Islam, appeared in Mecca where there was no civilization. It appeared amongst illiterate and uncultured, tribal society. Islam, linked itself with Abrahamic ideology of monotheism, connecting itself with the chain of Jewish prophets. The view that the Jews were Chosen People was offensive to the pride of the civilized Romans and Greeks who thus had sought their affinity with their own well known Platonic philosophy, and thus philosophy and the Christian religion were assimilated, instead of connecting it with Abrahamic philosophy of monotheism. When Islam spread, and its scholar came across with Greek philosophy and sciences, they inspired by Qur’anic appeal to reasoning—”Call [the mankind] into the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason (argue) with them in the better way”—and its Prophet’s instructions, “Search for knowledge is compulsory upon every Muslim male and Muslim female” so far so that “Search knowledge though it be in China” provided the impetus for knowledge. The origin of Islamic Civilization was based on Qur’anic teaching revealed as a deen or way of life not as a religion. Philosophical and scientific learning was adopted by them which was discarded when the Muslims thought it was no more needed. Therefore, as the Europeans separated religion from their generic civilization of Greco-Roman period and founded their future on rationalism, in the same way Muslims discarded adopted Greek philosophical works from their original foundation of civilization based on Qur’anic deen. It is well known the Qur’an and its teaching was the first book compiled in prose. The early Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula had no other literature (except poetry) based on moral and ethical teachings or any treatise presenting philosophy of life. It is impossible for the Muslim to separate Qur’anic teaching from their socio-political system as their civilization was born from it.

In a nutshell the yawning gap is clear that the Western Civilization today is based on scientific reasoning, and rationalism, while Islamic Civilization is based on Qur’anic teaching and Divine Spirituality. As they have done in their past, today, Muslims need to blend rationalism and scientific reasoning in their deen.

(b) Q: —— I disagree with Mirza Ashraf that discussion about God and no God is irrelevant. But God and no God discussion is also important for Muslim intellectuals. All others major groups have gone beyond God and no God discussion except Muslims.

A: —— It would be a repetition to mention that during the Golden Age of Muslim history, scholars believed in God and teachings of Islam and were great scientists, philosophers, and moralists. This means that belief in God had never been a hindrance in their philosophical, scientific and mathematical researches.  If one is a true believer in the faith of Islam, or in any other Divinely revealed faith, discussion of God and no God is meaningless even for a MUSLIM intellectual. Muslim philosophers and scholars have discussed about Allah by believing in Him and then defining Him and His ways as: Panentheism meaning: Everything in God. It views the universe is a part of God. Pantheism meaning: God in everything and it views God in everything visible. Theism meaning: Belief in the existence of a God, (god or gods), specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe. Pan-theism meaning: The belief that God, (god or gods), is present in all things in the universe. It also displays in some beliefs worship or tolerance of many gods. Wahdat ul Shuhud: (Unity of Vision) Oneness of Perception. In other words the unity of consciousness that nature is the conscious reflection of God’s presence.  Wahdat ul Wujud (Unity of Being) Oneness of Being that God and the world are identical, that everything emanates from one source or the first cause or the Absolute Being or God and is then joined with the Essence or the source from which everything emanated. There are other doctrines such as Wajib ul Wujud (Necessary Existent), Tashkik ul Wujud (Equivocality of Being), etc. The best explanation in the famous poet Hali’s words is: falsafi ko behs ke ander Khuda milta nahien.

تفکروافی اللہ و لا تفکروافی ذات اللہ  The Prophet said: “Meditate (blessings of) Allah; Do not brood over the nature of Allah. زیں سبب فرمود ما را مصطفےٰ بحث کم جوئید در ذاتِ خدا Rumi said: “Hence Mustafa (Muhammad pbh) enjoined us saying, Do not seek to investigate the essence of Allah.”

I understand that these sayings are not acceptable to the atheistic minds. What I am presenting here is based on the teachings of Islam. Billions believe in these teachings, and few against these cannot change the minds of billions whose whole way of life is established on deen-e-Islam. Human beings change their way, only when a better system is presented to them. It is my firm belief that the artificial intelligence, if it is able to evolve a new system, a new social order and a new ideology, everything will be changed.

(c) Q: —— Hindus never killed any human being in the name of God. Buddhism and Jainism are atheistic religions. They believe in moral code but not necessarily in God. In Buddhism belief in God is optional.

A: — Please go through the pre-Islamic era of Indian History. India A History by John Keay and the recently banned book, The Hindus, An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger. The Hindu period is full of bloody wars and killings and Ramayan Bharat is a chronicle of warfare. They killed Buddhists for not believing in Brahma and for refusing to accept transmigration of atman or soul. A monotheistic deity has no place in Buddhism, and Hindu believers in Brahma as one god and supreme authenticity of the Vedic canon, made their best to convert the Buddhist back to Hinduism by persuasion as well by power. India, the birth place of Buddhism, is the first in Buddhism where the Buddhist population decreased. They could not kill Muslims for believing God, because Muslims entered India as powerful invaders. Rather Muslims killed them for not believing in One God.

(d) Q: —— Because of the religious frenzy Muslims are killing Muslims at present, right in front of our eyes. Why Muslims are doing it?

A: —— It is still authentic that war is politics by other means. At the end of Abbasid period Islam’s call of Jihad for War came to end. After that Muslims fought many wars amongst themselves as well as with European Christians, but those were political wars. Even the first civil war after the murder of Hz Uthman and then between Hz Ali and Muawiyya were political wars. Even during the Crusades, Salah uddin Ayubi had to fight with some groups or tribes of Muslims. Neither the Caliph at Baghdad supported him nor the Caliphs of Arab Spain, believing that Crusades are not Jihad for War as the Christians are people of book. What we have seen before in history and what we are seeing today, is all politics and a lot more.

(e) Q: —— Masses always need dogma to survive.

A: —— First of all we have to understand what dogma is. Its original meaning in Greek is ‘opinion.’ But according to Oxford Dictionary, ‘dogma means a principle or a set of principles laid down by an authority and intended to be accepted without question.’ At the age of nineteen I read Qur’an thoroughly and understood it according to my own imagination. At that time I wasn’t familiar with Western philosophy, while I had full knowledge of Islamic and Classical Greek philosophies. I understood each and every verse of the Qur’an without taking it as a sacred book; I rather studied it as a text book of theology. I was impressed by the depth of many verses of the Qur’an for example its appeal to reasoning—”Call [the mankind] into the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason (argue) with them in the better way” and studied it with my knowledge of mantaq or logic which I had acquired by reading Aristotle’s translations in Persian. I started studying Western philosophy when I was 23 and the first book I bought was Russell’s History of Western philosophy for 25s or Rs.11.00. I know there are many believers who read Qur’an without understanding it and follow it blindly. One of my best friend, who memorized Qur’an and on the night of 27th of Ramazan being his final reciting or say first graduation, he wished me to attend his final traveeh. It was my first experience to enter a mosque–at the age of 14 years. Next day I asked him if he understood what he was reading: he said that he has just memorized it. I myself had not read the Qur’an, but languages of English, Arabic and Persian being my subjects, I could easily understand the meanings of Arabic verses he was reciting. I explained him all what he was reciting, which not only astonished him, but also interested him to take Arabic classes. He did his Arabi-Fazal, and then earned a scholarship from Medina University. In my case, I first understood Qur’an with reason and logic and then started believing in it. Blindly following a religion or a scripture is very dangerous and I would emphasize that a dogmatic approach is a blunder which is unforgivable.

(f) Q: —— Muslims need some extra dosage of logic, in my view.

A: — Although it is very difficult to teach logic to every Muslim, but it is a must for the teachers of Islamic Studies. Every Imam of a mosque must have full knowledge of logic. Muslim scholars and teachers in the early period and even until the end of Ottoman and Mughal rule, were taught logic as a compulsory subject. My grand uncle and his son educated in a Nadvi school knew ‘mantaq.’ In fact these mullahs who teach Qur’an without explaining its content to the students, forcing them to memorize and then recite during Ramadan without explaining the logic of the revelation of each and every verse, are making Islam a dogma instead of a religion based on reason. Though in the Qur’an there are events related to ancient prophets, which may not have a historic proof, but logically their ways and their actions make a lot of sense. The Qur’an does not present an education of logic, rather its content emphasizes reason. Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula were not familiar with logic, except few of Prophet’s companions and some learned Christian and Jewish scholars in Mecca and Medina. But in debate and interpret Qur’an, Muslims had to learn logic. Basically it was lack of logic in Islamic knowledge that forced Muslims to study Aristotle and Plato and many other Greek thinkers.

(g) Q: —— Orthodoxy in Islam is in majority.

A: —— It is unfortunate that Muhammad Abd al Wahhab’s interpretation of Islam has been exploited by the Saudis for their political gains. With oil money in their hands, they are promoting orthodox ideologies and today throughout the Middle East, we see all chaos. This is a very well known and many times debated issue. We all know how thousands of Madrasahs financed by the Saudis are promoting orthodox-teachings. The Qur’an clearly says, “Do not throw yourself in self killing” but these and many other verses are being ignored. ====



Islamic and Western Values[Foreign Affairs article published in 1997]

Islamic and Western Values

By Ali A. Mazrui


Westerners tend to think of Islamic societies as backward- looking, oppressed by religion, and inhumanely governed, comparing them to their own enlightened, secular democracies. But measurement of the cultural distance between the West and Islam is a complex undertaking, and that distance is narrower than they assume. Islam is not just a religion, and certainly not just a fundamentalist political movement. It is a civilization, and a way of life that varies from one Muslim country to another but is animated by a common spirit far more humane than most Westerners realize. Nor do those in the West always recognize how their own societies have failed to live up to their liberal mythology. Moreover, aspects of Islamic culture that Westerners regard as medieval may have prevailed in their own culture until fairly recently; in many cases, Islamic societies may be only a few decades behind socially and technologically advanced Western ones. In the end, the question is what path leads to the highest quality of life for the average citizen, while avoiding the worst abuses. The path of the West does not provide all the answers; Islamic values deserve serious consideration.


Mores and values have changed rapidly in the West in the last several decades as revolutions in technology and society progressed. Islamic countries, which are now experiencing many of the same changes, may well follow suit. Premarital sex, for example, was strongly disapproved of in the West until after World War II. There were laws against sex outside marriage, some of which are still on the books, if rarely enforced. Today sex before marriage, with parental consent, is common.

Homosexual acts between males were a crime in Great Britain until the 1960s (although lesbianism was not outlawed). Now such acts between consenting adults, male or female, are legal in much of the West, although they remain illegal in most other countries. Half the Western world, in fact, would say that laws against homosexual sex are a violation of gays’ and lesbians’ human rights.

Even within the West, one sees cultural lag. Although capital punishment has been abolished almost everywhere in the Western world, the United States is currently increasing the number of capital offenses and executing more death row inmates than it has in years. But death penalty opponents, including Human Rights Watch and the Roman Catholic Church, continue to protest the practice in the United States, and one day capital punishment will almost certainly be regarded in America as a violation of human rights.

Westerners regard Muslim societies as unenlightened when it comes to the status of women, and it is true that the gender question is still troublesome in Muslim countries. Islamic rules on sexual modesty have often resulted in excessive segregation of the sexes in public places, sometimes bringing about the marginalization of women in public affairs more generally. British women, however, were granted the right to own property independent of their husbands only in 1870, while Muslim women have always had that right. Indeed, Islam is the only world religion founded by a businessman in commercial partnership with his wife. While in many Western cultures daughters could not inherit anything if there were sons in the family, Islamic law has always allocated shares from every inheritance to both daughters and sons. Primogeniture has been illegal under the sharia for 14 centuries.

The historical distance between the West and Islam in the treatment of women may be a matter of decades rather than centuries. Recall that in almost all Western countries except for New Zealand, women did not gain the right to vote until the twentieth century. Great Britain extended the vote to women in two stages, in 1918 and 1928, and the United States enfranchised them by constitutional amendment in 1920. France followed as recently as 1944. Switzerland did not permit women to vote in national elections until 1971 — decades after Muslim women in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan had been casting ballots.

Furthermore, the United States, the largest and most influential Western nation, has never had a female president. In contrast, two of the most populous Muslim countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have had women prime ministers: Benazir Bhutto headed two governments in Pakistan, and Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed served consecutively in Bangladesh. Turkey has had Prime Minister Tansu Ciller. Muslim countries are ahead in female empowerment, though still behind in female liberation.


Shared by Tahir Mahmood

To read the full article, please click the hyper-link below:


 I hope TF USA affiliates will read this article and it will be critically analyzed by the affiliates.

nSalik [Noor Salik]

Editor of the Month – 06/08/2015



Be careful what you wish for

Be careful what you wish for

Be careful what you wish for

We heard all our lives

But why…

Why those wishes don’t realize the way we want them to?

Why the beautiful punchlines are missed…

Why are we elated?

To then find those unfortunate twists…?

What would it cost the universe

To do it right once

To custom design it the way we wanted

To say here you go

Your wish is fully granted !

What would it cost…

Perhaps the loss of scared people

Desperately sticking to faith…

Trying hard,

But bitter and full of hate

Praying and making wishes

And getting shocked every time

…because wishing for that perfect outcome

Was really their crime!

I wanted to present this case

Wanted to ask why

Why this shred of happiness which actually ends up in a desperate cry….

So I did

And someone within me spoke up

Saying look at each of your wishes

And look what you have got

Your wishes were granted almost word to word!

So why do you feel that you were not heard…?

Idea is to enlighten you!

Not through pain, but through unusual event or two

Idea is not only to reach immediate, fun outcome

Idea is to make you wiser, a much better person

Idea is for you to find eventual happiness

Instead of pushing you into complete madness

….you may not realize, but we actually cleared the way

Just so you can experience this amazing day!

You are infatuated with small scenes

Not knowing the eventual dangers

You don’t know the dark allies

Or the lurking strangers

We do!

We do

And so we always craft the outcome

That is only best for you


3rd June, 2015

The Rukhsati of a Son

The Rukhsati of a Son

 Shared by Dr. Syed Ehtisham

‘Congratulation s,’

I said to my wife.   ‘You have finally managed to produce an export quality child.’  This was almost six years ago; we had just received the news that my son, Ahmed, had been offered a place at Aga Khan Medical University. My wife was over the moon, busy phoning our relatives and friends, Karachi and abroad, to share the good news. Good news is always shared knowing some people will genuinely feel not-so-good after hearing it. Fanning the feelings of those who are jealous is so satisfying for most women; my wife being no exception to this weakness. Watching her talking animatedly, I sat coolly, calculating the inflated telephone bills I would be expected to pay at the end of the month. Train of thought followed me to wonder how I was going to meet the additional expenses and tuition fees of Aga Khan Medical University.     AKU, as it is affectionately referred to as, is an expensive set up. I remember, a few years ago, I saw a patient who had initially been under treatment at AKU. I asked him why he had left a good hospital like Aga Khan to come to my mediocre clinic. He replied,  ‘Doctor Saheb, three days in AKU was enough for me. It is so expensive, I don’t think even Aga Khan himself could afford treatment there.’  There was no point sharing my financial worries with my wife. I knew her usual, ‘Who told you to have so many kids,’ answer only too well. At times like these, a verse by Mairaj Faizabadi haunts me:

مجھ کو تھکنے نھیں دیتا یہ ضرورت کا پھاڑ

میرے بچے مجھے بوڑھا نھیں ھونے دیتے

‘What do you mean by export quality?’ My wife interrupted my thoughts.  ‘I mean, after five years he will be so well educated and well groomed, he will be sought after by the whole world,’ I said gloomily.  ‘All my children are export quality material,’ she announced proudly, ‘and mind you, the credit does not go to you. You hardly took any part in their upbringing&# 39;.  This was also one of her favorite lines. Needless to say, any faults in them would have been attributed to me. There was no point in arguing with her, because I knew I would end up losing. More than 25 years of marriage had taught me the virtues of being silent at the right moments; this being one of them. But the fact was, that I was feeling a bit down at the time. It was dawning on me that for the next five years I will be preparing my son to leave us and settle in a foreign country.    The dilemma every upper middle-class educated family is facing these days, in Pakistan, is what to do with their next generation. The safest solution for them at present, it seems, is to settle them abroad. USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are the favored destinations. Anywhere in the world, except Pakistan, is equally acceptable. One does not need to be of extra intelligence to know the reason for this obscure behavior. Pakistan is not new to crises, but the type of uncertainties facing us today is beyond any comparison. Political instability, rampant terrorism, widespread nepotism, unrepentant corruption, blatant lawlessness and absence of security have never been so obvious and inexplicable as they are nowadays. These maladies are increasing day by day with no end in sight. Desperately, we look to our leaders for a way out, but as always our hopes are quashed, as they turn out to be pathetic lesser mortals than us. Even their association with the human race is questionable at times.   As an old pediatrician friend of mine, Dr Abbas Ghani used to say,

 پاکستان میں تو جس کی دم اٹھاو،مادہ نکلتی ھے

In this polluted atmosphere, only the corrupt can survive and prosper. It is but natural that we want our children to escape this imbroglio; send them to any place where there is a semblance of normalcy; where at least some values and principles for a decent living are being practiced. It is painful to nurture a child for twenty five years, rear him into a bright young man and then send him to a foreign land to serve an alien culture and society. In due course, he might excel there, to be the brightest of the bright. But then, what good is that for his country or people?

 جنگل میں مور ناچا،کس نے دیکھا    

After his admission, time passed quite quickly. It was almost three years ago, when one day my wife suddenly disclosed,     ‘You know Ahmed has to go to USA soon, for his electives.’    ‘What is an elective?’ I asked.  Everyone at the dinner table, including my seven year old daughter, gave me a look suggesting there is something seriously lacking in my general knowledge. One of the children explained what ‘electives’ were.    ‘Why can’t he do his elective here’, I asked.  Again everybody looked at me as if I am dim.  ’If you do your electives in USA, it improves your chances of getting a job there,’ my son replied.  I was trying to figure out the finances involved in this endeavor, when he dropped the next bombshell,  ’After the electives I’l take my Step One exam next year. I have to sit for two more examinations after that. The exam fee is roughly 1400 dollars for each.’    ‘And where will you be going for your electives?’ I asked, still reeling from the financial shock I just received.  ‘San Diego,’ he replied.    ‘Where is San Diego?’ I asked.    I have never been to USA; therefore, I did not know the geography of the land.  ’I have been accepted to do an elective in a hospital there dealing with AIDS patient. It’ll be a very good learning experience.’ My son replied, without bothering to explain the location of San Diego to me.    ‘If you happen to know, San Diego has one of the largest gay communities in USA,’ my younger son chipped in, making sure that I remain uncomfortable and sleepless for the next few weeks.  One elective and three examinations later, it was time for my son to go for his interviews to USA again. His itinerary looked as if he was going on a sight-seeing trip across USA, travelling from the East to the West Coast. I agreed to send him alone. Travelling is fairly safe in America, I was told. I remembered a time when my son wanted to go to Peshawar for a few days, to visit one of his class mates hailing from there. I did not give him permission to go, for security reasons. I felt bad at that time for not allowing him to go to a city in his own country. After all, had I not gone on an all-Pakistan tour at age 18 with my cronies? Retrospectively, it turned out to be the right decision. One of the questions the American immigration officer asked, after grilling him for two hours was, ’Have you ever been to Peshawar?’  Finally, the day arrived when I was at the airport to see him off for the final time. He was going to join his residency programme in the US. From now onwards he will only be a visitor, coming to us for brief blissful periods on his holidays. I was so happy for him. But then why did I feel a lump in my throat as I hugged him, bidding him farewell? I had the same feeling when my daughter was leaving our house, at her Rukhsati, to live with her husband. Suddenly it dawned on me. It was the Rukhsati of my son…

ھم سادہ ھی ایسے تھے کی یوں ھی پذیرای

 جس بار خزاں آی سمجھے کے بھار آی