Iraqis have become victims of violence in many different circumstances since the American invasion of the country in 2003. Many have been victims of sectarian violence between the Sunni and Shi‘i communities, in which Shi‘i religious institutions and occasions have been particularly targeted by Sunni militants. Few, however, could have anticipated that the Shabaniyah festival in Karbala on August 28, to mark the anniversary of the birth of the twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, would end with over 50 people killed in fighting between Shi‘i gunmen and Iraqi authorities, sparked by the heavy-handed security arrangements in the city.
When Hizbullah drove the Israeli military out of southern Lebanon in August last year, winning a stunning victory in a war by which the US and Israel had hoped to destroy Lebanon’s main Islamic movement and secure control over the country, it was a defeat not only for Israel but for the US as well.
Later this month, Muslims all over the world will mark the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan, undoubtedly the most special time of year for all Muslims. The obligation to fast in the month of Ramadan was laid upon Muslim by a Divine commandment conveyed through Allah’s Messenger (saw) in the second year after the hijra, when the new Muslim community in Madinah was still in its early, formative period.
The month of August included the anniversaries of three important events in Islamic history, two reflecting Islam’s glory and the third the Muslims’ current impotence.
Asked about the lesson of fasting, Imam Husain (r.a.) is reported to have replied that “the rich should feel the pangs of hunger and appreciate what the poor have to endure, and therefore share Allah’s bounty with them.”As Muslims begin the month of Ramadan later this month, they should think of the suffering of their brothers and sisters in Palestine, and Ghazzah in particular.
The United States regime, never shy about showing its zionist colors, has come out swinging again; this time, its target is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic State in Iran, which it plans to brand as a “terrorist organization”. Of course, the politicians in Washington are free to say whatever they want – thank God it’s a free country, with freedom of speech and all that. The thing to notice, though, is whether such “made in Tel Aviv” statements are serious policy or simply political rhetoric.
How to get 80,000 Muslims to fill up a soccer stadium? Unless there is a soccer match, a soccer stadium is hardly ever filled up. At the Gelora Bung Karno stadium, the largest stadium in Jakarta, on August 12, however, nobody was playing football when people filled up all the seats. Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), no stranger to crowd-mobilisation, managed to gather a huge crowd: some cynics say that getting 80,000 people together in a country like Indonesia is no big deal; the realities of the land in which an event is held are more important aspects to be analysed by observers of Indonesian politics, particularly those in the Islamic movement.
The oil-rich countries in the Gulf region as a whole are well-known for employing and abusing huge numbers of foreign workers, who contribute to and sustain the boom in their economic, industrial and building development. Yet the international community (including the UN), press and broadcast media have ignored the plight of these workers even though in many cases they outnumber the indigenous populations.
Like a spoiled child that throws a tantrum when it cannot get what it wants, the US government is threatening to place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of Iran on the list of “terrorist” organizations unless the UN Security Council agrees to tougher sanctions against Tehran. The idea is so preposterous that even Washington’s friends have baulked. How can an important arm of government be described as a “terrorist” organization, they ask incredulously.
The Loya Jirga, or grand assembly of tribal elders, is the traditional Afghan way of discussing and resolving differences, but there was something very odd about the one held in Kabul from August 9-12. True, large amounts of food that (including rice, lamb kebabs and other Afghan delicacies) were served with typical Afghan hospitality, but the jirga was not entirely an Afghan affair. This was partly because it brought together tribal elders from both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, which is something of a novelty with potentially grave consequences for the future of Pakistan if it is not handled carefully.
The “guilty” verdict handed down to Jose Padilla and two other defendants (Adham Hassoun and Kifah Jayyousi) on August 16 by a court in Miami is both bizarre and revealing. US government spokesmen hailed the verdict as a major victory in the war on terror, despite the fact that Washington had done everything in its power to prevent the case from ever being heard in a civilian court.
Some weeks after the tragedy of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad, there remains widespread anger with the government of Pervez Musharraf, and disappointment with the failure of Islamic groups to offer effective opposition to it. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) considers some of the lessons of the episode for the country’s Islamic movement.
Ramadan, the month of fasting, is linked to a number of important events in Islamic history. It is the month in which the Qur’an was first sent down from the Lawh Mahfuz (the “well-guarded tablet,” al-Qur’an 85:22) and in its earthly form given to the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Dr Ali Shariati, who died in London in June 1977, was among the most important figures of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which unfortunately he did not live to see; and yet, 30 years after his death, his contribution and legacy are largely forgotten. During the 1970s, his lectures and writings played a crucial role in preparing young Iranians, brought up during the secularising and “Westoxicated” policies of the Shah’s regime, for the possibility of Islamic rule. In this paper, IQBAL SIDDIQUI analyses major elements of his thought, particularly his belief that Muslims need what Dr Kalim Siddiqui would later call “an intellectual revolution” in their under-standing of Islam.