Bundle of Fitnah

The most pronounced feature of the legal determinations that exclude women from public life is the obsessive reliance on the idea of fitnah. In these determinations, women are persistently seen as a walking, breathing bundle of fitnah. One can hardly find a responsa that deals with women without the insertion of some language about the seductions of womanhood. So, for instance, women may attend mosques only if it does not lead to fitnah; women may listen to a man reciting the Quran or give a lecture, only if it does not lead to fitnah; women may go to the marketplace only if it does not lead to fitnah; women may not visit graveyards because of the fear of fitnah; women may not do tasbih or say amen aloud in prayer because of the fear of fitnah; a woman praying by herself may not raise her voice in prayer if it leads to fitnah; a woman may not even greet a man if it leads to fitnah; and every item and color of clothing is analyzed under the doctrine of fitnah.

Treachery Against Palestine

By Assad Bhuglah

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In 1917 the British betrayed the Arab people by promising Palestine as a Homeland for Jews. However, the 1917 Balfour Declaration had a condition that there was to be no detriment to either Jews or Indigenous Palestinians.  This condition was grossly violated by the British, the Americans and the racist Zionists. In 1948, some 0.8 million Palestinians were driven from their homes by the Zionist terrorists (the 1948 Nakba) to be followed by a further 1967 Nakba in which a terrorist Apartheid Israel seized all of the Holy land plus parts of Lebanon and Syria and Egypt, imprisoning several million more Palestinians.

False Narration

Usayd's mother said: 'I said to Abu Qatadah: "Why do you not narrate the Prophet's hadiths as other people do?" He said: "I heard God's Messenger (peace be upon him) say: 'Whoever attributes something false to me prepares for himself a position in hell to recline upon'. As the Prophet said this, he smoothed the ground with his hand".' [Bukhari]

This hadith states why many of the Prophet's companions were especially reluctant to quote him, fearing that they might replace a word here or there, or misquote him in some other way. If they were to attribute it to the Prophet and state that he said this, they feared that it might be counted as a lie. This would, then, put them in the position the Prophet warned against. Needless to say, God knows that they intended no such a thing, and if they erred, it would have been a genuine mistake. We know that God would not punish anyone for a genuine mistake, as the Prophet himself made clear. Nevertheless, these companions remained reluctant to quote the Prophet for fear of making a mistake. Some of them would quote him only very sparingly, as in the case of Abu Qatadah, who would have reported several times as many hadiths as are related through him. Others would qualify any quotation they made from the Prophet by adding the phrase, 'or he might have said something similar to this'.

Secure Handhold

Al-Baqarah (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 256

"There is no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks, for God is All-hearing, All-knowing. "

This verse is the most profound declarative statement in the Quran. It is not the business of any human being to coerce another in matters of faith or religion. The all-powerful gives us complete freedom to believe or not believe, to follow whatever religion we choose. The ability to attain to faith is innate in human nature, and the means to attain faith is provided by revelation. Only our willing, informed convincement is the true measure of God consciousness. By implication, for individuals or society to coerce people is to interfere with and arrogate to themselves authority over a relationship which can exist only between God and each individual soul.

Spin Doctoring

By Assad Bhuglah

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The role of a spin doctor is to make unpalatable things look palatable by twisting some facts. He is the one who weaves reports of factual events into palatable stories.  The term "spin doctor" is based on the 1950s slang "to spin" which is a shortened version of "to spin a yarn". 'Doctor' comes from the various figurative uses of the verb 'to doctor', ranging from 'patch up' or 'mend' or ‘to falsify'. 'Spin doctor' became a common jargon of US politics in the 1980s. In 1984, Elisabeth Bumiller of The Washington Post picked up the phrase, defining spin doctors as:  ”the advisers who talk to reporters and try to put their own spin, or analysis, on the story.” It is a senior political spokesperson employed to promote a favourable interpretation of events to journalists. The quote does not say truthful interpretation; the emphasis is on ‘favourable’. The person knows the truth, but he purposely selects information to create a false interpretation.  A spin doctor must not just focus his Public Relations strategy on promotion, but must also know how to make it a face-saving device if the strategy backfires.