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OPINION – “SUFISM – THE MISUNDERSTOOD ISLAM” – THE GENIUS OF PAKISTANI SUFI BABA BULLEH SHAH

“SUFISM – THE MISUNDERSTOOD ISLAM”

 

By Aadil Farook:

www.aadilfarook.com

 

One late night, Allama Iqbal called his faithful servant, Ali Baqsh. When Ali entered Iqbal’s room, he saw a buzurg (saintly man) with a very enlightened face sitting on a chair while Iqbal lie at his feet pressing his legs. He was very surprised to see this. Iqbal asked him to bring drinks from the market. Although surprised, considering the late hours, Ali went out nonetheless. Nearby, he saw another buzurg with a small shop. He got drinks from him but when he offered him money, the buzurg declined saying it was between him and Iqbal. After sometime, Iqbal called Ali again and asked him to take the buzurg outside and see him off. He went out with the buzurg but after a while, the buzurg suddenly disappeared. When he looked across, the shop had vanished as well. He was totally shocked and asked Iqbal about it. Iqbal requested him to not ask about it but he kept on asking with utmost curiosity. On his sheer insistence, Iqbal told him to never disclose it and said, “the buzurg in my room was Moinuddin Chishti and the one in the shop was Ali Hajweri”.

 

This incident took place about 850 years after Hajweri’s death and nearly 700 years after Chishti’s death. Muhammad Munawar Mirza, a prominent scholar of Iqbal Studies, is reported to have narrated this incident and was confirmed by Iqbal’s son, Javed as well.  It happened during the later years of Iqbal’s life when the philosopher-poet had turned into a Sufi. To an ordinary man, such things are impossible to believe in but in the world of Tasawwuf, Mysticism and Sufism, it is nothing unusual.

 

There are four kinds of opinions about Sufism. The true Sufis claim it as the real Islam. The literalists shun it as a mixture of biddahkufr and shirk. The pseudo-Sufis “follow” it without knowing anything about its reality. The rationalists deem it only for those who are superstitious, backwards and lack brains. Let us discuss all four with slight details.

 

The Sufis say that Islam is empty without Ihsan which is worshipping as if one sees God. They say that religion is way beyond acts with a ritualistic and heartless attitude devoid of any concentration. They say that Sufism is a higher dimension of Islam and the perfection of Iman. They aim far above the minimum requirements for salvation. Their focus is not just the quantity but the quality of deeds. They claim Sufism as the spirituality of Islam. Furthermore, they claim some portion of Sufism as a hidden Islam graspable only to them, not even to ordinary scholars let alone to laymen.

 

The literalists say that Sufism has nothing to do with Quran & Sunnah. They say that whatever Sufis say and do is either different or contradictory to what has been revealed to and practiced by the holy prophet. They say that Shariah is one for all without any distinction between the awaam (common man) and the khawaas (elite). They say that the holy prophet and his companions were the true elites and they didn’t practice Sufism.

 

The pseudo (fake) Sufis are the liberals who find the conventional, orthodox and traditional Islam as dry, boring and tough not knowing that it is a compulsory pre-requisite to Sufism. They take only the outer form of some aspects of Sufism without even a hint to their inner reality. For example, they are delighted with the artistic aspects of Sufism and find a way to follow their nafs under the guise of Sufi Art not knowing that before creating Sufi Art, one has to become a Sufi which is a lifetime struggle against nafs. Women who do not want to cover themselves as ordered by God, and, men who do not want to follow the Sunnah in appearance consider themselves as “Sufis”. The fact that Sufism stresses on the inner aspects does not mean that the outer is irrelevant; what it teaches is that the outer has to be combined with the inner. In the case of men, since beard and Islamic attire are both not compulsory, one may become a Sufi without Sufi appearance as an exception like Iqbal, but it is very rare. However, in the case of women, since the attire is a compulsion, it is impossible to be a Sufi without it. 

The rationalists deny Sufi knowledge because according to them it has nothing to do with reason, logic and proof. This category has similarities as well as differences with the literalists. The difference is that where the later implies revelation as proof, these imply rationality or empirical information as proof. The similarity is that both deny religious experience and intuition as sources of knowledge because for them there are no higher levels of human consciousness than their own. Thus where one consists of those who are modernists to the bones, the other carries the germs of modernism.

 

 

Sufism, if properly understood, is the heart of Islam and the essence of deen. It comprises of tazkia-e-nafs (purification of soul) and tasfia-e-qalb (purification of heart). It involves the diminishing of ego, the dominance over animal instincts, abstinence from vain or worldly desires and the freeing of one’s heart from the love of all but God. The sole aim is an intimate relationship with Allah by self-negation.

 

No discourse on Sufism is worthy without a discussion on qalb (human heart). The entire Quran is full of verses which say that people who deny the truth have hearts with blameworthy traits. The sayings of holy prophet also convey the same theme. The Sufis claim that just as the denial of truth is linked to hearts that are diseased or hardened or blackened, the comprehension of truth to the extent of an almost direct “vision” of God is linked with the purity of heart. This fact is proved by prophet’s experience of miraaj. Although no heart can be purer than his heart but since this experience was of the highest order unmatched by Sufis, even his heart had to be washed thrice. Moreover, when his chest was ripped apart in childhood, even then his heart was washed.

 

The Sufis insist on nothing more than the act of zikr (remembrance of God) as it is the most supreme cleanser of hearts. However zikr has a much broader and deeper meaning in Sufism. It is not the repetition of a mere tongue-recital of divine names and words as non-Sufis do with the help of beads (tasbi). In general, it is a heartfelt awareness of Allah irrespective of whatever actions are on the limbs. A specific practice to develop this state is muraaqba (concentration) in which they do zikr in isolation in such a way that the tongue, heart and mind all converge on celestial verses while being forgetful of everything other than Allah. Both Quran and hadith have claimed zikr (whether general or specific) as among the most virtuous deeds.

 

The difference between calculating the height of Mount Everest and climbing it is not more than that between the theoretical conceptualization of and practical adherence to religion. That is why the main theme of Sufis is ishq-e-ilahi (love for Allah) as it is love that softens hearts and inspires men to reach heights, unmatched. Hence they differ from philosophers, theologians and jurists of religion who don’t go beyond mental comprehension. Instead of trying to understand God by reading or thinking, they believe in finding Him. Yet, due to the depth of Sufi thought, it is inevitable that some of the greatest intellectual contributions to both philosophy and literature came from Sufis.

 

A strong condemnation of Sufism is that since it is about renunciation and other-worldliness, if it is practiced, it will further stagnate the progress of ummah which is the last thing needed. This misconception is due to the lack of understanding of the word dunya in Islamic dictionary. Dunya, which is worthless in the eyes of God, is not attaining a high rank in the society itself but attaining it either for egoistic reasons or love of material things. If the same high rank is attained for a righteous cause with a godly intention, it is deen and not dunya. This proves we need Sufism all the more for two reasons. Firstly, since a Sufi cannot attain status through the wrong means, he has to rely on his brilliance alone and thus will be more competent. Secondly, if there will be Sufis at the top of society, there will be no dirty politics because they would not be sitting on high ranks for selfish motives. Thus Sufism has nothing to do with going to a forest and sitting under a tree doing zikrZikr is free from the limitations of place and time.

 

So far we have discussed aspects of Sufism which even its greatest opponents can only admire. What most don’t realize is that Sufism didn’t start with those categorized under the word, “Sufi”. All those since Adam who lived exclusively for God whether they were prophets or others were Sufis. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself was the biggest ever Sufi and his companions were also true Sufis irrespective of when this word was introduced in any language. It was for a reason that Hazrat Ali Hajweri[1] said that once there used to be Sufis but the name of Sufism was not there; now there are only Sufi terminologies but there are no Sufis left. However, there are two things that need to be understood at all costs. Firstly, someone who rejects all aspects of Sufism may enter the lowest ranks in paradise but cannot become a momin at allSecondly, a momin who is considered as a non-Sufi is actually a semi-Sufi because he cannot become a momin without following a major portion of Sufism even if he rejects the minor portion.    

 

However, Sufism is not as simple as we have disclosed so far. Its history is full of controversial statements and actions. Many Sufis have been labeled as either heretics or crazy. Few were persecuted or forced to leave their towns. Most were either never understood or many years after their deaths. The first criticism against Sufis is their distinction in knowledge between the common men and the spiritually elite ones. The question is when Islam is the same for everyone, who put this distinction? The holy prophet himself created this distinction. Hazrat Abu Hurairah narrates a hadith: “God gave me two types of knowledge. One, I have transferred to you. The other, had I transferred, people would have cut down my throat”. When the purpose of holy prophet’s life was to spread knowledge, why would he say such a thing had there been no distinction? Furthermore, another hadith is, “We, the assemblies of the prophets have been commanded to address men in proportion to their intellects”. It proves that prophets do not disclose everything to laymen.

 

The second criticism raised against Sufis is about their claim that there are hidden and higher dimensions to meanings of Quranic verses. Hazrat Ali narrates a hadith, “every verse of the Qur’an has four layers of meaning: an exoteric sense (zahir), an inner sense (batin), a limit (hadd), and a beware point (matla‘)”. It was for a reason that Al-Ghazali claimed four levels of Tauheed. He said that the first and lowest is the literal text of Surah Ikhlaas which is for ordinary men. The second is for the khawaas (elite). The third is for the elite among the elite. About the fourth, he said that had he disclosed, people would call him a kafir. Here, we cannot help but mention a very subtle aspect of a Quranic verse [Yousaf Ali 3:7]. “In it are verses basic (of established meaning); they are the foundations of the Book: others are allegorical…..but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge…..none will grasp the Message except men of understanding”. Notice that the full stop between the bolded lines is put by the translator and is obviously not in the original Arabic text, without which it would be read: “no one knows its hidden meaning except God and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge”.

 

Religious knowledge is divided into two: evidence-based and experience-based; the earlier means the literal text of Quran and hadith; the later implies the one earned by actually walking on the path taught by the earlier and thus a more profound understanding of the earlier. The literalists reject the later one due to their shallowness, superficiality and short-sightedness. Hence, although they are fully qualified for eternal salvation, they deprive themselves of an immense treasure of knowledge. The Sufis believe in learning by doing it, a rule people otherwise follow in all walks of life e.g a doctor who has not practiced medicine or treated patients will never grasp the expertise through reading books alone.     

 

In my last post I discussed intuition as a source of intelligence. The Sufis take this concept to another level. They claim intuition (ilhaam) with a pure heart as a source of higher knowledge beyond sense and reason. It is below only the prophetic revelation in the hierarchy of God-man communication. Since non-Sufis cannot see anything in between revelation and reason, they are divided into 2 categories – the ordinary religious man deems Sufis as deviants as he sees only revelation, whereas the modern rationalist deems them senseless as he sees only reason. Both are wrong as they don’t see anything in between. This intuitive aspect allows Sufis to have access to those channels of truth which non-Sufis don’t have and thus are deemed as crazy.

 

Now we will discuss the most “dangerous” part of Sufism – the things said by Sufis which seem totally outside the bounds of Shariah. Human language is lost for words to describe a state of spiritual witnessing. Few moments of mystical experience yield more knowledge than a thousand books. During such experiences, the levels of human consciousness reach far beyond a normal man. Thus mystics have access to those channels of truth which normal people cannot even think about. Here we discover another reason why prophets are greater than the Sufis. Both of them know and experience way beyond a common man but where the prophet’s superior wisdom doesn’t let him disclose everything, the childish ecstasy of a Sufi turns him vocal and thus leads to trouble among novices. That is why Sufis call themselves as intoxicated.

 

Let us consider the most extreme case of the great Mansur Al-Hallaj who uttered probably the most controversial words in the history of Sufism, “I am the Truth”. If his words are taken literally, how can a non-Sufi accept it? It took another great Sufi, Rumi, to explain it three centuries later after experiencing the same level of proximity to God. As a person travels the path of Sufism, his own “I” (as standing in opposition to Him) gradually gets diminished as it continues to attain unification with “He”. There comes a point when the mystic doesn’t even possess an individual “I”. When Hallaj said “I”, since his own “I” had diminished in the love of “He”, he meant “He is the Truth” with the highest possible conviction. Such apparent contradictions arise due to the fact that a Sufi has two centers of consciousness – human and divine. Outside his state, he speaks from the earlier one; during his state he speaks from the later one.

 

Some Sufis recognize two deep layers within qalb. The first is called ruh, the spirit and the second which lies even deeper is called sirr, the secret. The sirr is the deepest layer of consciousness and is infact “beyond consciousnesses”. It is the sacred core of the soul where the divine and the human become united, unified and fused. In other words, it is in this dimension of the soul that the “uniomystica” is realized. The ego-consciousness which is actualized in this dimension and which naturally is the highest form of ego-consciousness in Sufism is no longer the consciousness of the mystic himself. It is rather the consciousness of the divine I speaking through him.

Ibn-al-Arabi’s Wahdat-ul-Wajood (Unity of Being) is another serious example. It implied that God alone has existence, and, was misunderstood as Pantheism by the Western Orientalist, Nicholson. It took someone as great as Shah Wali Ullah to admit that far from being false, it was the ultimate realization of Tawheed on a most superior level. Amazingly, Quantum physics, the enemy within secular science, has recently proved exactly the same thing. We live in a spiritual (rather than material) universe. There is a universal consciousness right from an atom to a human being. There is no dead matter. The intensity of this universal soul differs among creations and thus creates the hierarchy from matter to plants to animals to humans. The scientific explanation is not part of this topic but it proves that both extremes were wrong – the dualism of Creator-creation as well as that everything is God – the right view is that “in everything there is God”. Reading scientific proof of Wahdat-ul-Wajood sounds almost unthinkable but the relationship between a high intuition and ordinary rational intellect was best expressed by Iqbal:

 

“Where thought grasps Reality piecemeal, intuition grasps it in its wholeness. One fixes its gaze on the temporal aspect of Reality; the other on the eternal. One slowly traverses, specifies and closes up the various regions of the whole for exclusive observation; the other is present enjoyment of the whole of Reality”.

 

Since Thought (brain) will grasp that, much later, which a high Intuition (heart) grasped much earlier, it took 1000 years for scientists to understand that which a mystic understood in a moment. The incommunicability of a mystical state, in the form of an argument, between the one undergone and the one challenging its authenticity raises serious doubts. It is because intuitive knowledge, despite being valid, is unverifiable. However, as discussed earlier, it is even verifiable for those who reach that spiritual level. The great Rumi once said that “whatever exists in the unseen realm has its roots in the seen realm; the forms may change but the essence remains the same”. The multiplicity of different beings that we observe in the universe with the physical eyes is reduced to unity when witnessed with the eye of heart. Thus the mystic, in that state, “sees” or rather experiences nothing but one being in the form of a light (nur) (or some other inexpressible entity) everywhere.

 

Modern man finds such subjective experiences impossible to believe in. How can we rely in matters of knowledge on something as unreliable as experience of others? What about History? Why, then, does he believe in Aristotle or Plato? Has he himself seen, heard or touched them? The whole recorded history is nothing but an account of other’s experiences. “If a man could say nothing but what he can prove, history could not have been written” – Michael Jackson. Not only this but when we closely study the lives of these Sufis, their truthfulness even in ordinary matters of life was undeniable let alone in a matter as big as the experience of God.

 

A very strong criticism against Sufism is its extremeness and lack of balance. The Urdu word Ishq, which has no equivalent in its English translation “love”, does true justice to Sufism. Ishq itself turns something finite into infinite but when the subject of that ishq is Himself Infinite, then how can there be balance in it? The holy prophet, again, due to his superiority above Sufis could combine the mutually exclusive combination of Ishq and moderation; otherwise, there is no greatness without a touch of madness. A Sufi sees neither heaven nor hell but only his Beloved. For him, deeds done for the fear of a fire or want of a garden is a trade, not worship.    

 

The various orders (tariqah/silsila) of Tasawwuf have often been criticized as they involve a kind of exaggerated relationship between a Shaikh (master) and a mureed (disciple) in which the later “blindly follows” the earlier by a “slavish imitation”.  Even religious people, influenced by contemporary thought, criticize it. It is true that Islam is submission to God and not to someone else but before that one has to learn submission itself and it is not an easy or an overnight process at all as it is harsh on the nafs. The purpose behind such a relationship is learning the “art of submission” which once learned makes following Islam in totality easy on the nafs. Otherwise a genuine Shaikh never goes against Quran and Sunnah in both speech and action.

 

 

Secondly, since the Shaikh has walked the path, he knows exactly all the traps and webs of both Satan and nafs and how to avoid and conquer them as well. Thus he makes the aspirant’s journey much easier. The traveler’s spiritual progress is accelerated as a result. Those who do not follow anyone remain stagnant in tarbiat (training of nafs) and islah (self-rectification). When a 1000 things told by a Shaikh are followed, since he is only human, there maybe 10 wrong things as well but who would deprive himself of the benefit of the other 990?

 

“Every Sufi order is descended from the Prophet. The rite of initiation (bait) is a crucial moment in the history of Islam when, sitting beneath a tree, he called on his Companions to pledge their allegiance to him over and above the pledge they made at their entry into Islam. The prototype of the pact between Master and disciple is mentioned in the Quran[XLVIII:18]: God was well pleased with the believers when they pledged allegiance unto thee beneath the tree. He knew what was in their hearts and sent down the Spirit of Peace upon them and hath rewarded them with a near victory”.  

 

Islamic Education, Culture and Civilization is incomplete without the concept of adab. One may explain everything about Islam in the most convincing manner but he cannot become a scholar unless he has adab for those above him in knowledge, taqwa or experience. Today we come across students and professors of Islamic studies who reject Sufism simply because they cannot understand it. Rather than considering their own lowliness, they reject something followed by the greatest Muslims in history, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The only explanation behind this severe lack of adab is arrogance.

 

This raises a very serious question. Is there anyone other than the holy prophet who was so pious or knowledgeable that he was infallible? No. Ghazali or Ibn-al-Arabi or Rumi or even the Sahaba (Companions) didn’t have that right at all. But the point that modernists miss is that only those who themselves reach that or near that level have the right to refute them, not us. The hierarchy among scholars cannot be broken; one cannot jump without crossing the intermediate levels. When someone of the caliber of Ibn-e-Taimiyah criticizes Sufism, then it is intellectual difference worthy of respect. But people like us have no choice but to be silent when we don’t understand a Sufi or find him contradictory to Quran due to our own low understanding of Quran.

 

What it is about Sufis that they deserve knowledge and experiences of a different level altogether? Here, they can be clearly differentiated from other religious people. Religious people may follow all the compulsory acts and abstain from all prohibited acts but when it comes to negating oneself, no one tolerates anything that hurts his pride among others. There is no veil between man and God thicker and most hard to lift than his own ego. No one wants to be considered inferior at any cost and would do anything to avoid such an opinion among peers. What makes Sufis the greatest after the prophets is their willingness to suffer humiliation for God because of their ishq (intense love) for Him. They, because of their humbleness, attain indifference to how much people look down upon them. Their selflessness is their highest virtue and their key to unlock the Divine mysteries kept hidden from everyone else.

Disclaimer – Pakistan Think Tank Management Has No Opinion on  the Above Article. The Views expressed are that of the author.

 

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America at the Crossroads: The Presidential Election and the Clash of Democracy by Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja 

America at the Crossroads: The Presidential Election and the Clash of Democracy

 

 

 

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD

Editor’s Note
As we look at the picture of the Earth taken by Apollo 17 in 1972, it is important for us to remember that all differences aside, we share this world. It is the only home to more than 7.5 billion of us, and there is nowhere else to go – at least not in the foreseeable future. We may set out as migrants or refugees across our artificial boundaries of nation-states, but we are one planet and we came into being out of one people. This is a theme in the work of Mahboob Khawaja. However, humans seem very good at making complexity and chaos out of order and wholeness.

 

Donald Trump has taken the sickness of division and chaos to unimaginable levels when he entered the position of the most powerful person on the planet. This power is not attributable to him, but to the position and power of the United States (regardless of how shamefully much of that power was achieved). The President of the United States is given the sacred trust of the people of the U.S. to use that power wisely, justly, and for the good of the people – all the people. Trump has utilized this power solely for his own benefit and has inflicted his love of chaos and cruelty on the world. He has had the collusion of the Republican Party in general, and elected Republicans in particular, in supporting his wanting dismantling of the government infrastructure, the undermining of democracy, and the random and dismissive approach to international relations and issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people of the United States, and her elected representatives, need to take seriously our responsibility to the global community, and for the multitude of problems, the planet and her inhabitants face. We can be a force for good, or we can pursue the path of rogue nation. I believe that if we choose the latter the path will be short for the U.S. and for the Earth. Therefore, the Biden administration has a big job in front of it. The first being convincing the American people of the need to follow a new path together rather than a (comfortable) failed path that has brought us to the brink of disaster.

Mahboob Khawaja, PhD

“We have let the government’s evil-doing, its abuses, power grabs, brutality, meanness, inhumanity, immorality, greed, corruption, debauchery and tyranny go on for too long. We are approaching a reckoning. This is the point, as the poet W. B. Yeats warned, when things fall apart and anarchy is loosed upon the world.” John W. Whitehead “Monsters with Human Faces: The Tyranny of the Police State Disguised as Law-and-Order.” Information Clearing House: 7/25/2019 (Quoted by Mahboob A. Khawaja, “Democracy of Inhumanity and We, the People of Global Consciousness”. Information Clearing House: 1/01/2020).

Trump’s Absolutism and the Clash of Democracy

President Trump embarked on deceitful triumphalism after a fair and free outcome of the 2020 Presidential election. While denying the facts and enlarging the scope of hype, false rhetoric and wickedness to claim a political win utterly divorced from the prevalent facts on America’s – We, the People landscape. Enticing questionable stance on the results of the election and constantly blaming the Democratic Party and Joe Bidden –President-Elect– as the unlawful and fraudulent winner of the election. President Trump’s domestic spoilers are few and those 126 GOP House Republicans supporting the Texas lawsuit to nullify the results of four US states’ elections, brought a slap to their expectations today when the suit was rejected by the Supreme Court.

President Trump failed miserably to understand the vitality of an effective leader to console the masses in situations of unusual crises, to know his own strengths and weaknesses, and to analyze the wisdom of people around him conducting the governing circle. Intelligent and conscientious leaders unite the masses in crisis but Trump is focused on dividing and driving the American people to violence and unpredictable political chaos. It is this type of insane egoism that brought the downfall of so many leaders in human history. This author recently observed (“American Presidential Election and Democracy Look for Change, Moral and Intellectual Leadership.” UncommonThought:11/19/2020.)

Wickedness and piety cannot be combined in one human character. Trump inflicted disharmony and racial discrimination against the population of color. There is always inconsistency in a delusional mind and so it is with Trump’s paranoia and vengefulness. He has incapacitated the inborn moral and intellectual faculties of Americans and besieged the nation in its conduct of the basic tenets of liberty, justice, and democracy. This was not accidental but a planned scheme – despite being unknown in its short-long terms consequences over the nation’s ability to cope with the change phenomenon for a sustainable future. America under Trump became insane – a victim of its own obsession with power and fearful of its future.

To glance ahead, America and its claim to a working democracy will haunt future generations with suspicion and extended discard. Trump and his coercive puppies could not think of America as part of the global community except as conforming to their own fantasies, phobias, prejudices, policies, practices and preferences, favoring Israel and Netanyahu and nothing else for the pandemic entrenched people of America. History will tell of this time when Trump plagued the body politic with the deliberate misinterpretation of the election and outrageous futuristic hypotheses leading nowhere in a civilized society. The sudden and inexplicable democratic plunge into self-geared wickedness must be catastrophic for future generations. What happens in America affects the global culture of human thoughts, freedom and justice. President Trump lacking the capacity of wisdom cannot control his feelings and is a of being a misfit to hold that office. The American masses are caught in a storm of ugly confrontational democracy as they appear unenlightened and unprepared to cope with its aftermath. Time is critical for American short- and long terms political culpability to sort out a sustainable political future. The logic of reason shall call for a smooth transfer of power to Joe Bidden-President Elect on January 20, 2021. But American pride and prejudice could change many events into defying assertions of working democracy.

In Search of Vaccine and Cure for the COVID-19 Pandemic

The US media highlights the COVID-19 Pandemic surge – more than 16 million cases of infection, and more than 300K deaths now more than 3K daily. This is pandemic carnage that could have largely been averted if there was a responsible federal administration thoughtful of – We, the People. Could there be a revulsion against the capitalist democracy in-waiting to take its shape and form once Trump and his supporters submit to the will of the people? Apparently, the vaccine against Covid-19 is ready to be distributed but one must be cautious not to imagine a magic cure in days or weeks or if the vaccine will do the job as it is claimed to be by the manufacturers both in American and Germany. Covid-19 is a global pandemic and its remedial approach should have organized global sharing and pooling of knowledge-based scientific resources all across the world. We are One Humanity – natural disasters and fatalities know not any borders, flags, or nationalities but surge like wildfire as is being witnessed in the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Not so, Americans and the EU still buried in the past would not consider the Russian Covid-19 vaccine already prepared and administered or the Chinese vaccine because they are manufactured by the politically opposing entities. Again political absolutism heightens animosity and hatred rather than human understanding and cooperation for a precious cause of saving the lives on Earth. To save the life of one human being is to safeguard the whole of humanity. We are all born equal: One Humanity:- the Divine Message of Al-Qur’an states it clearly:

“Proclaim in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created,

Created man (human being) out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood,

Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,  He Who taught (the use of)  the Pen,

Taught man (human being) that which he knew not.”

It is sheer ignorance and a human tragedy to highlight the political differences when mankind is in urgent need of a viable cure for the Covid-19 pandemic. Politicians are not the medical experts to authoritatively speak for scientific reasoning. Most often medical practitioners prescribe medication on experimental basis, often not certain about the ultimate impact. The masses across the globe are fearful and losing faith on political leaders leading medical propagation of various vaccines for human consumption. It seems illogical to expect sober, judicious and reasonable undertaking when politicians are indulged in abusing truth and honesty in their behavior. If human life can be deceived and cheapened in America and across the globe, one wonders how to evaluate the importance of human rights, freedom and justice in any viable context. Joe Bidden and some of his colleagues appear to be rational, enlightened and self-disciplined folks to assume the next governance of world’s powerful Government. He promised to vaccinate 100M Americans during the first 100 days of his presidency –  a planned and rational optimism for change and to restore normalcy for the future. Destiny and future-making are always timeless and constantly moving phenomenon as we look beyond the obvious critical horizon of human anxiety and sufferings to come.

  1. Be the leader who is open to listening and learning and with a spirit to engage with the masses across America and the world as you claim to be and listen to voices of REASON, even to the dull and ignorant – they all have a story to tell.
  2. Plan, organize and set your strategic priorities in writing – like the statement of top objectives and monitor and achieve success by doing the best. The WHO, Global Warming  (a time bomb in waiting) Climate Summit and Global mankind is waiting for you and so are the neglected people targeted victims of color, ethnicity, and creed- all leading to more man-made disasters.
  3. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a critical issue and a priority to be dealt with cautiously and scientifically for the good of the masses.
  4. Mankind looks for Hope, Unity, Peace and co-existence amongst the divergent cultures and nations of the world. You take initiatives to bridge gaps between cultures and civilizations, including Russia, China, the Muslim world and others abhorred and hated by Trump presidency. If Immanuel Kant’s ‘Perpetual Peace’ was taken seriously, today’s America and Europe would have been at peace, not wars within themselves and with the global community.
  5. Trump lacked imagination and visionary foresight and neglected advice and reasoning in all official endeavors. He opted for transgressors, killers and morally corrupt dictators, kings and princesses across the globe.  You Mr. President (elect) will have the opportunity and time to take corrective actions to enhance human equality, human rights – be it in America’s Black Life Matter, Kashmir, Palestine, Myanmar-Burma, China or elsewhere and take initiative to legislate changes to ensure participation of the indigenous, black and people of colors as equal citizens in American political systems.
  6. Your Chief Justice will administer your oath in the name of God –The Beneficent – The Merciful – the Creator of the World – Who created human beings from a living sperm and sustained life on Earth – and you will perform the art of leading mankind as being part of mankind on a living Universe and Earth as we are accountable for all of our commitments and pursuits.


Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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Beautiful Walk Down Memory Lane of Pakistan Generation 1945-2019

 

 

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America and Pakistan in Search of Peace and Conflict Resolution By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

America and Pakistan in Search of Peace and Conflict Resolution

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

 

Reflections on Today’s World of Politics

President Trump and young-looking Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met this week at the White House. Trump is master to transform rhetoric into reality as he did to North Korean leader. Both were trying to overcome the historic indifference and prejudice to bridge the ever-widening gaps between the reality and perceptions of the relationship. If the nation’s relationships are based on the simplicity of truth, wisdom, national interest and integrity, one could foresee political compromises as a virtue to foster friendship.  Trump’s body language signalled some positive overtures as America looks for foes and friends to end its occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan is central to this strategy to facilitate a peaceful and face-saving outcome for America militarism in Afghanistan. Truth is unchanging as it was in 2001 that George W. Bush – an emotionally disturbed and intellectually imbalanced president embarked on military intervention to invade Afghanistan to strengthen his standing before the American masses after the 9/11 events. Truth is the same today as it was almost two decades earlier that America and its NATO allies displaced and killed millions for no other reason except a preposterous and distorted version of warmongering against the poor and helpless people of Afghanistan who had nothing to do with the 9/11 tragedies.  When false assumptions go unchallenged, it breeds more reactionary forces to entrench in violence and destruction.

Bertrand Russell and Alfred Einstein Manifest (1955) called a war with H bomb might possibly put an end to the human race.”  In 2017, America tested the Mother of Bombs in Afghanistan as if it was an American state. This is how America and NATO destroyed the ancient and peaceful culture of Afghanistan. All wars are dreadful and end up in calamities with ripple effects for centuries to come. It is evidence of tragic human abnormality that American, Afghan and Pakistani could not unfold humanitarian approaches to resolve the enlarged conflict in Afghanistan. Now, Trump and Imran Khan have come to understand its reality and wisdom of reciprocal forbearance that could usher a just a viable settlement in Afghanistan. But no one should underestimate the prevalent optimistic scepticism linking Pakistan and Afghanistan to a new American policy and practice for change in southwest Asia.

If America has the political, moral and intellectual capacity to honour its commitments, it could resolve the Afghan problems via a peaceful agreement with the people of Afghan and ensuring a legitimately elected system of governance for Afghanistan. It is not the question of whether Taliban or President Ashraf Ghani’s party should govern Afghanistan, but the people of Afghanistan must have a participatory and final say in making the peace deal.  Rights of the people and political fairness must be the guiding principles to conclude a peace pact between the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Military interventions never deliver peace and social harmony but destroy all substance that should support societal progress and future-making.

Imran Khan should be careful to assess Pakistan’s own weaknesses and strength and learn from the past as to what mistakes were made in military collaboration with the US scheme of things in the region. The USAID gimmick or the loans from the IMF are not viable strategies for national progress and development. Pakistan must strengthen its domestic socio-economic and political productivity, advancements and integration. Its progress is key to international cohesion and services to the neglected masses. Khan does not appear to have expertise in political change, economic productivity and nation-building. Political corruption is cancer in society. He should encourage and engage the new generation of educated and intelligent and honest people to participate in building new public institutions, new systems of participatory governance and political accountability in all domains of affairs. Imran Khan will be wise to enlarge his circle of governance by enlisting educated and proactive visionary men of ideas and strategic experts to deliver services to the people and ensure a progressive Pakistan.

Trump to Mediate Kashmir between India and Pakistan – Will He?

As a friendly overture to softening relationship with Pakistan, Trump offered to mediate the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.  Immediately, Indian PM’ spokesperson denied Trump’s assertion of PM Modi ever asking him to discuss Kashmir with Pakistan.  In politics, argument and rebuttals could be pondered with varied logical scales. There is a contrast between what India claims to be and what Pakistan stands for and what the people of Kashmir valley aspire for. If we imply canons of rationality, it could clarify the core of fault lines between tense relationships of India and Pakistan.  If India and Pakistan are sincere to find a cure to the overwhelming cruelty, military tyranny and violations of the basic rights of the people of Kashmir, the global community will view them as leaders of peaceful future-making

For a change, Trump has sensed the rationality of restoring normal ties between the two nuclear rivals. It could help him to gain some numbers in political popularity as he did on North Korea – an unthinkable probability making it a thinkable reality for normalization of mutual relationship. Both India and Pakistan and given their competing claims cannot deny the fact that Kashmir is the focal issue to a normal future for the masses in both countries. War is madness if there are people of reason to think about the societal future and wellbeing of the people. Kashmir was never part of India even under the British Raj. In 1947 and 1949 at the UN Security Council Resolutions, the people of Kashmir were promised a referendum (plebiscite) to decide about their future whether to join India or Pakistan.  It is not the domestic territory of India or Pakistan to undo the truth about Kashmir. There is no sense to shed human blood on a precarious experiment whether India administers Kashmir or Pakistanis do. The conflict must be resolved by addressing the humanitarian problems and sufferings of the people of Kashmir. If Trump along with Russia and China could persuade both India and Pakistan to resolve the problem, it could open up a new threshold of peace and harmony in Southwest Asia.

America Needs a Safe Exit from Afghanistan

In a changing world of global thinking and friendly relationships with others, American foreign policy experts should think critically how best they could communicate to a friend in Southwest Asia and enlist urgently needed moral and practical support to pave the ways for a peaceful settlement of the Afghanistan crisis. America is a military power but its legend of invincibility has been torn apart by small groups of fighters in Afghanistan. Much of this land of ancient tribal herdsmen is in ruins, it’s the economy, political and civic infrastructures and productivity devastated by the insanity of war and civilian lives float between obsessed insecurity, daily bombings and extended graveyards. America cannot undo the history of its own ruthless engagement and strategic failure. This consequence is of its own failed strategy or no strategy at all, and not of the role of Pakistan or others. If American rational impulses are intact, its policy should focus on a multilateral approach including Pakistan, Iran, India, China and Russia to pool intellectual resources and work out negotiated settlements in Afghanistan and Kashmir. America needs to be rational and see the mirror of its prolonged involvement in a war that has consumed more than 4,000 lives of US soldiers and almost 15,000 wounded veterans. This is no excuse to reinforce aggression against the people of Afghanistan. America needs a safe exit from the prolonged self-engineered crisis.

Russia, China, India  and Pakistan Could Help America to Negotiate Peace in Asia

While individualism is a political trait, authoritarian absolutism is a political sickness and contrary to the principles of liberty and justice. America enjoins a moral and intellectual history of the making of the nation. “These are the times that try men’s soul”, wrote Thomas Paine in Common Sense (1776), the political vision and reference for the independence of America from Britain as a nation. If global common sense is the hub of rational thoughts, America under Trump has open lines of communication with President Putin and Chinese President Xi Ping. It is rational to assume that Pakistan under PM Imran Khan could facilitate an international gathering inviting Russia, China, India and America to open a dialogue for political change and conflict resolution.

 

This will be a magnanimous forbearance and proactive vision to dispel the notion of war and intransigence and to reshape a turbulent past, be it in Afghanistan or Kashmir and strengthen a legitimate purpose of peace, friendship and sustainable relationships without the tyranny of wars and violations of human rights and dignity. The ferocity of wars and violations of human rights cannot be the intelligent hallmarks of a progressive society striving to harmonize humanity and make sustainable peace as a reality for future generations.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution and international affairs with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, October 2017.

 

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Why Propaganda against New Head of Pakistan’s Spy Agency? By Sajjad Shaukat

Why Propaganda against New Head of Pakistan’s Spy Agency?

By

Sajjad Shaukat

 

Pakistan on June 16, this year appointed Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed as the new head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, replacing the agency’s head, Lieutenant General Asim Munir.

 

In this regard, as part of the continued propaganda campaign against Pakistan Army and ISI, on June 21, 2019, an article by Ayesha Siddiqa under the caption “New ISI Chief Faiz Hamed a manipulator picked by army chief Bajwa to be his master’s voice” left no stone unturned in maligning country’s key security agencies, while describing Lt. Gen. Faiz as a hardliner.

 

It is regrettable that some of the Pakistani liberals and self-styled champions of freedom of expression like Ayesha Siddiqa who seem in collusion with Indian security agencies forget that Pakistan bashing is in not interest of Pakistan.

 

 

In this respect, by ignoring ground realities which Pakistan Army and ISI are facing in maintaining the internal and external of the country, Ayesha wrote: “Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed, the new Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, has raised eyebrows, not due to his appointment but because he replaced Lt Gen. Asim Munir, who was appointed just eight months ago. This creates an impression that Faiz Hameed brings more to his boss’s [Army Chief] table than his immediate predecessor. The change has ensured for him the title of being ‘his master’s voice’ and the fact that this will have an impact on the politics inside the organisation for the short to medium term…a new head of the ISI will not or cannot tamper with its strategic goals. He will not interact with the jihadis on his own or eliminate them because he doesn’t agree with the idea. However, his relationship with the army chief, the ISI and the rest of the army will have an impact on his ability to perform…Qamar Bajwa, who had taken over the command of the army by then, brought his own man to head the ‘C’ wing of the ISI responsible for counter-intelligence, which means a hand on the political pulse of Pakistan and on the organisational pulse of its army…General Hameed could have continued as Adjutant-General had Bajwa not gotten restless and brought him back to the ISI…The shift will certainly leave a mark on the relationship between the army’s spy organisation, Military Intelligence…Bajwa’s influence leapt further…when he was included as a member in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s newly created body for Pakistan’s economic revival…the National Development Council.”

 

However, following the anti-Pakistan entities’ approach, Ayesha Siddiqa neglected the facts. She must know that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan.

 

But, foreign elements have, again, started terror attacks in Balochistan and other regions of the country which show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel want to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

As regards the new wave of terrorism in Pakistan, various terrorist outfits, particularly the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan has its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements, and all these outfits are promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the external entities against Pakistan. As part of the double game, American CIA, Indian RAW, Israeli Mossad and Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) which are in collaboration, are using these terror groups in weakening Pakistan and especially Balochistan in order to fulfill the covert strategic aims of the US-led India and Israel against Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.

 

As Pakistan is the only declared nuclear country in the Islamic World, Hence, America, India and Israel have been acting upon their collective agenda to destabilize it. Besides, after the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan (Balochistan), the country has become a special target of the CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance in supporting various terror-related attacks in various cities, including separatist elements in Balochistan province.

 

Besides, it was due to the corruption-practice of the previous regimes that at this juncture, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises and challenges like corruption, soaring prices, energy-shortage, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid. Notably, the present drastic situation cannot be comprehended by the general masses and even the political leaders who abruptly change their opinion. Therefore, they become an unintentional victim of the external plotters who succeed in creating a rift particularly between the political groups, divided into ethnic and linguistic lines. These foreign enemies also seek to create a division between the political leaders and the Armed Forces of the country.

 

And under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, anti-corruption drive by the institutions is going on independently, where the military is not interfering, though rendering all possible assistance in eliminating of corruption. But, a writer like Ayesha is exploiting anti-corruption drive of the government in negative terms.

 

In fact, the appointment of Lt-Gen. Faiz Hameed as the new Director General of ISI is a routine matter which barely attracted any attention at all, except among the country’s liberals and the Indian media, with the two coming together through Ayesha Siddiqa’s article. Its provocative title clearly shows that the main aim of the article is to spread disinformation—an assault on multiple targets such as civil-military relations—ISI and the Army in order to create wedges among the key institutions of the country.

 

It is mentionable that Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa is an active member of the US-based “South Asians Against Terrorism & For Human Rights” (SAATH) Forum-an ultra-liberal platform run by former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani who describes himself on his official website as “an India-friendly Pakistani currently living in exile in the US”.

 

In his latest book, “Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State”, Husain Haqqani maligned Pakistan, its security agencies, while targeting the country’s ideology and nuclear weapons. Painting a dark picture of the country, Haqqani has distorted the image of Pakistan and its armed forces, while showing Pakistan a fundamentalist state in the line of the external propagandists.

 

 

As regards Husain Haqqani, while serving as Pakistani ambassador, he was protecting American interests. He had issued visas to many CIA agents like Ramond Davis to destabilize Pakistan. Besides, working at various American institutes, Husain Haqqani developed secret liaisons with Indo-Israeli lobbies and became a covert element of an anti-Pakistan campaign. Particularly, this could be judged from his book, titled, ‘Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.’ In this book, Husain Haqqani targeted both military and Islamic ideology. While pointing out the relationship of the Pak Army and ISI with the Islamic militants, Haqqani allegedly wrote, “since September 11, 2001, the selective cooperation of Pakistan’s military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf—sharing intelligence with the United States and apprehending Al Qaeda members—have led to the assumption that Pakistan might be ready to give up its long-standing ties with radical Islam.” He advised America, “Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military’s support for Islamic militants.”

 

American famous writers and authors exaggeratedly praised the book of Husain Haqqani, as it was in accordance with the hidden agenda and blame game of the US and Indian high officials and their media and which still continue against Pakistan and its security agencies. Especially, Stephen P. Cohen, author of the book, ‘The Idea of Pakistan and The Pakistan Army’ allegedly wrote, “We are in Husain Haqqani’s debt for providing the authoritative account of the linkages between Pakistan’s powerful Islamists and its professional army.”

 

It worth mentioning that Haqqani was found guilty by a Pakistani court of authoring a memo in 2012 requesting America’s support against Pakistan’s military, which resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest and his formal designation as an international fugitive when he failed to comply. Interpol which is under pressure from former Husain Haqqani’s American patrons refused to act on Islamabad’s request, so, he remains free to continue operating his ultra-liberal platform and engaging in other provocative activities.

 

Like Haqqani, Ayesha is also known for her controversial book titled ‘Military, Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy’; and criticized military and the ISI.

If anyone read various articles and books written by Ayesha Siddiqa, he can conclude undoubtedly that she, herself, is master’s voice of the US-led anti-Pakistan entities, while the article regarding the new head of Pakistan’s spy agency is part of the propaganda against Pakistan and its Army and ISI.

 

 

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