The Tribune - Spectrum


, August 18, 2002


Understanding the Prophet

THIS refers to the article "Was the prophet misunderstood.?" (July 2) by M.S.N. Menon and we feel that the basic ideas of the article are quite misleading. The author has asked, "Was the prophet against the multiplicity of god or against idols"? Muslim believe in one, unique, incomparable God, who has no son nor partner, and that none has the right to be worshipped but Him alone. He is the true God. He has the most magnificent 99 names and sublime attributes. No one shares his divinity, nor his attributes.

The author has pointed out "The God of Islam is anthropomorphic. He is seen in human terms". Islam rejects the attribution of any human form to God and His incarnation in any human form. All of these concepts are considered blasphemous. Muslims believe in prophets and messengers of God like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishamael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus. But God’s final message was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad. God has said "Mohammad is not the father of any one of your man, but he is the Messenger of God and the last of the prophets’. All prophets and messengers were created as human beings who had none of the divine qualities of God. Therefore, the question does not arise that Islam believes in idols or multiplicity of God, it reject both of them.


The author’s perception about orthodox Islam, Sufism and mysticism is also questionable. Muslims have one holy book and the message was revealed through only one prophet, therefore, Islam cannot be divided into orthodox and unorthrodox. It is a matter of interpretation. Generally, there are two ways to interpret the message: One directly from the source — the religious documents and two, from the clergy who have taken it upon themselves to authoritatively interpret the scriptures. Islamic mysticism and sufism belong to second category. Sufis and mystics have their own way of interpreting Islam which may or may not say what God intended. Therefore, Sufism and mysticism can never be a part of Islam. Therefore, Islam should not be misinterpreted through mysticism. All interpretations are open to criticism, only the Koran is divine and its divinity can never be in clash with civilisation.

The author says, "tombs of saints are ... place of worship". Islam rejects this completely. The prophet told his fellow beings, "Do not make my tomb as a place of worship". The Koran says "Death is the end of life".

The black stone, Hajar al Aswad, was fixed into the eastern corner of Kaaba about five feet above the ground. Its diameter is around 12 inches. The author says, "the Muslims go ground the black stone seven times and kiss it each time they make a round. What is this but reverence of a stone?". Actually, this black stone acts as a point for starting the Tawaf or circumambulation which is the ritual encircling of the Kaaba, not of the stone.

The entire universe, from the atom to the galaxies, is in constant rotation like a circumambulator who encircles the Kaaba in an anti-clockwise direction. All object in the universe, atom, moon, starts, electric current, galaxies are rotating in the same way. The Kaaba is never free from circumambulators. Kissing and touching of the black stone is not at all a part of rituals of the annual Haj. However, people want to touch or kiss it with respect because this stone bears a memory of Prophets Adam and Ibrahim. Therefore, this black stone is not sacred nor has it any importance in Islam other than being a memory. Any form of veneration or any worship associated with this black stone should be treated as blasphemous.

Badaruddoza and Arshad Chouhan,

Kamzoor Kadi Kaun

This is in response to S Jaswant Singh Sidhu’s letter (July 21) in response to my letter (June 23). Nowhere in my letter have I termed Kamzoor Kadi Kaun satiric. The statements I mentioned were spoken by Neena Gupta herself. But I certainly do not think that mellow is a term one would associate with the sharp, biting tone of the serial. Mr Sidhu says that words (spoken by Gupta) seem appropriate to the situation. I fail to understand how the participants of any show on earth could be grouped as sautans and be derided in an episode being made especially for them and still seem appropriate to the situation.

Further, I never said Gupta was being pitiful, or weak or faltering. In fact, I acknowledge her as a maker of good serials for television. Mr Sidhu has skirted the main issue of my letter i.e. the limited vision of the programme makers when it comes to women. My views were episode-specific.

Moreover, had the serial led viewers and participants to genuine laughter and had it been spell-binding, it would not have gone off air in so sudden and so quick a manner. Incidentally, this ‘women’s special episode’ was the last one to be aired.

Harneet Sandhu,

Empowered by fresh attitudes

This refers to Vimla Patil’s "Empowered by fresh attitudes" (July 21). These days women have a considerable say in choosing their careers and selecting their life-partners. Once shackled by illiteracy, financial dependence and oppressive religious rituals, women today are no longer deprived of social status and justice. Instead they have become self-reliant and enjoy financial and emotional independence.

While all this awakening and independence may be satisfying and encouraging, there are some apprehensions also whether we as a society are able to uphold our age-old socio-cultural values. No one should grudge freedom and equality to women. But what perturbs saner elements in the society is the craze that some women have for money and power, for which they ignore cultural norms and social expectations. Why should one forget that freedom without a sincere sense of responsibility would be as meaningless and harmful as slavery itself?

Ved Guliani,

Price of not being money wise

"The price of not being money wise" (July 21) was an interesting as well as educative. It is more relevant for the youth in the process of grooming and honing their talents, faculties and attitude towards money and its accounting. The suggestion is equally applicable to the elders, especially parents, who have to see that their wards pick up handling of money to the best of their ability.

It is not only women who tend to shy away from the accounting of money more than men do. In my opinion, the acumen for anything or a reluctance is not gender-speciifc Growing boys as well as elderly men too do shy away from keeping accounts.

Parents of adolescents should pay an equal attention towards grooming sons as well as daughters, without any gender discrimination. That essential training will enable them to deal with money with responsibility.

K.L. Noatay,

Home This feature was published on August 11, 2002