Showing posts with label mauritius. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mauritius. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The 'Bid'ah' of Eid Parties


In his Friday Sermon of 05 July 2019~ 02 Dhul-Qaddah 1440 AH, Imam- Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius comprehensively examines a contemporary practice among sections of Muslims, including Ahmadis of Mauritius: the celebration of religious festivals in the manner and style of other communities and peoples. In adopting 'modern ways' of branding Muslim festivals, the celebrationists are blindly following misguided, hedonistic elitism; seriously eroding the sanctity of the Islamic Pathway as taught by the Holy Prophet (sa) through his own sacred practices at such times. Apart from being a deviant practice (Bid'ah), such grand parties also dilute attention away from important interests and issues of the community. Through a sociological and political analysis also of the phenomenon of 'Eid Parties' in Mauritius, the Imam of the Era (atba) provides important insights and lessons to liberate common folks from being puppets in the hands of  wrong-headed elitists and the wily politicians of our societies. 

Read the Friday Sermon Below: 


Celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr

It is a shame to see the Muslim Community organising big parties and dinners and labelling them all as “Eid Party” after the month of Ramadan. After this [blessed] month, there is the month of Shawwal, and Eid-ul-Fitr marks the start of Shawwal on its very first day. Eid-ul-Fitr is a day of rejoice for all believers found in the Muslim Community; it is a day when Allah gives permission to the believers to eat, drink and be happy, and moreover to share this happiness with the family and also the non-Muslim neighbours and friends. Thus, on this occasion, vermicelli and cakes are distributed, and sometimes, the Briani [a special rice and meat dish] as well.

Therefore, Eid-ul-Fitr’s actual duration is one day of joy bestowed to us, believers, by Allah after the Ramadan, a month-long of sacrifice. Eid-ul-Fitr is for those who have obeyed the Creator and have done a lot of sacrifice for the cause of Allah. And after this time-frame of about 29 or 30 days, you [i.e. the true believers] have obeyed Allah, and have stayed away from all licit things which became restricted and forbidden during the fasting time from early morning before dawn till sunset. When Allah said: “Obey Me”, you have obeyed and sacrificed, and spent much time in Ibadat (Worship), Zikr (Remembrance of Allah), Tilawat Quran (Recitation of the Holy Quran), Duahs (invocations to Allah), Farz & Nafl Salat/ Namaz (Obligatory & Voluntary prayers), giving away charity, eating little, and sleeping less, and maximizing your time in such acts of worships.

So, after the Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr is a day when Allah (swt) manifests His pleasure for His loyal servants, those who showed complete obedience to Him, their Creator. Eid-ul-Fitr is thus not only a day of rejoice and a day for the distribution of cakes and to eat and drink, but it is also an opportunity to forget family tiffs and rancour and to purify ourselves, our souls by giving away the Sadaqat-i-Fitr.

It is narrated from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: Whoever fasts Ramadan then follows it with six days (fasting) of Shawwal, it is as if he fasted a lifetime.” (Muslim)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Future of Chagos and Agalega


The sovereignty of, and territorial rights over, the Chagos Archipelago is a matter of contention between Mauritius and the United Kingdom for more than half a century now. Before granting national independence to Mauritius in 1968, the retreating colonial power played shady games to retain its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean region. As it happened, two years before the granting of Independence, the colonial power decided to retain a land foothold in the region for the longer term and hence excised the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius. During the pre-independence political negotiations between Mauritius national leaders and the British government, the continued British-control over the Islands was legitimated through questionable deals- thanks to the obvious unequal bargaining power between the parties- the Conquerors leveraging their heft of power and their political subjects on the negotiating table desperately seeking freedom from colonial yoke. Through offering best relations beyond independence, paying 'peanuts' as immediate compensation and a vague promise of returning the Islands to Mauritius at an unspecified future date when the facility at the Islands would no longer be needed for 'defence purposes', Britain sought to retain its control over the Chagos Archipelago for the indefinite future. 

Responding to global shifts in power and the emerging equation with the US in the post-second World War/ Cold War  scenario, the UK later through a bilateral agreement, leased the strategic Islands to the United States for establishing its grand military base in the heart of the Indian Ocean- the Diego Garcia Naval Base. Almost in parallel, within a decade (1967-1973), Britain ensured that Chagossian villagers were systematically and stealthily ousted from their homes and lands permanently, without any opportunity of returning to their homeland forever! British national security and strategic interests trumped over the rights of poor and vulnerable islanders. Even as the Big Powers- the United States and the United Kingdom- consolidated their strategic interests and military control of the region, the hapless Chagossian people were left to languish in the wilderness of their own catastrophe- in mainland Mauritius, Seychelles,  the UK and elsewhere. No wonder, the British colonial excesses in the region continue to scar the national spirit of the formerly subjugated people, the Chagossians in particular.

Friday, April 19, 2019

19 April 2003: 'Bai'ah Day' Ruminations


19th April 2003 is an important day in the annals of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya (Qadian), for it marked the end of an era and the formal beginning of another, within the larger concept and actual working of the system of spiritual succession or ‘Khilafat’ among the Ahmadi Muslims. Many Ahmadis today can relate that day with the death of the fourth Khalifatul Massih of the Jamaat-e- Ahmadiyya Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Saheb (1928-2003). Some also relate the day with the formal inaugural of a new system of ‘Khilafat’ among the Ahmadis, a Divine Manifestation with an Elect of God in our era, Hazrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius, accepting Bai’at at his hands, marking an important milestone in the sacred history of modern Islam. The first Bai’at was held in the house of Hazrat Ummul Mumineen Sadr Sahiba Fazli Amena on the second storey, at Louvet Avenue, Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius. 

Indeed one of the questions that deeply divide devout Ahmadis today relate to the events of 19 April 2003, its meanings, interpretations and implications. As is well known, it was in the final years of the caliphate of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Saheb that a pious and devout Ahmadi Muslim mystic in Mauritius, Hazrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba), began to make the extraordinary claim that Allah (swt) has raised him as His Elect of this era, to invite people to God and to strengthen Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya by sharing the Divine revelations and other spiritual verities being vouchsafed to him, with the assistance of Rooh-il-Quddus. It is a matter of historic record and Divine destiny that the fourth Khalifatul Massih thought highly of the noble qualities and preaching attainments of the future Divine Elect when he was still working as a missionary-ambassador of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya into the various communities and nations of the Indian Ocean region.

The emergence of the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius coincided with the decline in physical health, spiritual faculties and eventual death of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib. In his last years, the ageing caliph was already in a zone of his own, where he was in constant need of sound advice for prudent governance of Jamaat affairs. Yet, as it happened, he was badly advised regarding the nature and character of the Divine Manifestation then emerging in the horizon of Mauritius. Unscrupulous and scheming people, who worked behind the corridors of influence, suggested vanity of office and pride of legacy. Hence, when the saintly figure was reported to have made the claims of being a recipient of Divine revelations, he was expelled from the Nizam-e-Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya under misleading circumstances. Social boycott was administratively enforced on those Ahmadis who preferred faith above the world. Instead of showing humility and open heart to understand the lofty claims and spiritual verities on offer in the new era, the Nizam-e-Jamaat chose pride and vanity in the material legacy they amassed from the past, and it is only unfortunate that the fourth caliph passed away before he could reflect on his decision vis-a-vis the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius, may Allah forgive him.

The fact that the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius has completed 16 years in relative obscurity will only surprise those who have no knowledge or understanding about the working of the spiritual realm. There are indeed many spiritual lessons and lofty insights to be derived by observing and understanding the Divine favour on the Khalifatullah (atba) and how he goes about with his deep and unwavering commitment to advance the cause of Allah and His Message in the last eighteen years. The duty of the Divine Messenger is only to convey the Message; Allah the Most High is the Reckoner. Fortunately, Ahmadis are beginning to come out of the shadow of that colossal mistake of their leadership. Increasingly, they are aware of this alternative trajectory of the Divine Favour in the Jamaat, for truth can be eclipsed, but only for a period. Like the moon, it will eventually come out of the shadow of clouds and confusions created by the enemies of truth, Insha-Allah, Aameen. 

Reproduced below are certain brief comments and points mentioned at the beginning of the Friday Sermon of 19 April 2019~12 Shabaan 1440 AH by Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius on the significance of the aforesaid historical event : 

Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, today (19 April) marks 16 years that a historical event happened within the framework of the Divine Manifestation of this era. The first Bai’ah (oath of allegiance) in the hand of Allah was made and that day also marked the death of the 4th Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Before I get up to deliver my sermon, I feel that I shall receive many important messages from Allah. These revelations may come down during or after my sermon. Anyway, these are messages [they are coming and Huzur (atba) is aware of it] that I must share – soon – with you my dear disciples and all humanity, Insha-Allah.

[The Caliph of Allah - Khalifatullah (atba) - then spoke of this important day in the annals of the history of the Divine Manifestation and the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam. He recounted how he and the one who was always by his side to write down the divine revelations - and to whom Allah had made great favours (Z. Domun Saheb) - gathered with the believers of the Divine Manifestation at that time for the study circle at Quatre-Bornes. That day was the day when the 4th Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Movement died, and Z. Domun Saheb asked Amir’ul Mumineen, Munir Azim Saheb, a question about whether he had received any revelation about giving Bai’ah (oath of allegiance) to the believers.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Youth and 'Synthetic' Pleasures


The Youth of the Ummah in Peril

Liberal, lawless practices of the modern era, under the influence of Westerners and Americans, mainly affect young people. If this fringe of society of non-believers does not care so much about misdeeds, damage and other major problems caused by globalization, the youth of the Ummah, on the other hand, cannot and must not remain indifferent to its influence on their way of life, their way of behaving. And especially the harmful effect it causes to their faith and piety. This is disturbing.

The Youth's Mission

Now, the youth is the future. For all, without exception. Nations, countries, organizations, communities, family. All depend on the youth of today to take over for continuity. The same goes for Muslim youth, the youth of the Ummah in the four corners of the earth. This youth has a mission. To take over from the elders. To continue to propagate the Sahih al Islam (true Islam/ true teachings of Islam) in righteousness. To build educational centres for children and adults. But above all, to fraternize with members of other communities. For it is quite clear, according to Qur’anic verses and Hadiths, that to have respect for one’s neighbour is piety.

It is through this respect for everyone that this youth, the pillar of tomorrow, can build solid foundations for the Ummah to live in peace, serenity, tranquillity, and harmony. However, the youth of this century is going through difficult times with the rise of globalization that touches all corners of the world.

The Youth's Embarrassment

This situation really embarrasses the youth of the Ummah because they seem to be caught between two fires: (1) the principle of Islam which makes the clear-cut clear difference between the lawful (Halal) and the unlawful (Haram); (2) The boundless freedom in all matters of the unbelievers in this temporal world.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Fourth Caliph and the Divine Signs


In his Friday Sermon of 01 February 2019~ 25 Jamadi’ul Awwal 1440 AH, Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, Hazrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius profoundly reflects upon certain interesting Divine Signs of our times. Based on Qur'anic prophecies and the Holy Prophet's own teachings, the Later Days is the era of extraordinary developments, marking the advent of great transformations that will 'disrupt' the existing ways and 'flatten' the worlddestroying the elite privileges and artificial barriers at every level of societal stratification. Thanks to breath-taking changes in transportation mechanisms and  communication technologies in our times, different classes, nations and peoples are brought together more than ever before. In this age of the Internet, all the world is virtually reduced to our finger-tips! Hence, unlike the past, ideas and images travel swiftly across the world and it is now possible to reach out and share the Divine message to people everywhere, Alhamdulillah.  

On 07 January 1938, speaking on the occasion of the installation of loudspeakers at the Mosques in Qadian, the far-sighted second caliph of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad (ra), underscored the importance of technical advancements as a means of bringing people together and he went on to virtually predict the advent of a time of technological progress when a single person sitting somewhere will be able to communicate and conduct his business globally and thereby it would become possible to spread the message of Islam across the world in an easier way through such developments. 

In this context, the establishment of the MTA International  commencing its operations from Mauritius  on 07 January 1994 was an important event in the annals of the Jamaat-e-AhmadiyyaThe then (fourth) caliph Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Saheb profoundly understood the significance of the moment and the opportunity MTA represents for the community. He recalled the prescient words of the second caliph on the occasion as he believed that the time to spread the teachings of Islam-Ahmadiyya around the globe arrived, with the satellite broadcasting channel in place. Anticipating the promised "victory" of Islam-Ahmadiyya in the second century of the Jamaat (1889-1989; 1989-), the fourth caliph even unleashed a programme of global bai'at, setting targets for the rank and file to convert the whole world. As it happened, afraid as they were to speak truth of the situation to the caliph,  the Nizam-e-Jamaat 'cooked the books' to reach the figures their 'boss' wanted to see and thereby perpetuated a culture of caliph-worship in the Nizam-e-Jamaat, creating a permanent crisis of credibility in its functioning 'methods'. Consider the searing paradox here: on the one hand, the caliph projected the Nizam- 'establishment'- as the true 'heirs' of the Promised Messiah (as) for all times; yet, he ended up presiding over the destruction of the fair name and legacy of the institution.  Allah (swt) raising an Elect of His choice  would upset and 'disrupt' the 'order' (the system of elected, infallible leadership) in the Jamaat. Hence, exaggerating  the 'ego' of the elected chiefs of the Jamaat, the caliph propagated that only a man-elected caliph could be the Divine Elect in future. Despite his line of thinking and public pronouncements, the caliph also understood that the All-Powerful and Exalted Allah (swt) might raise someone, anyone He chooses at a place of His choice, especially at the beginning of a new century of the Jamaat. The ambitious caliph did seem to have wished, and he certainly asked the Jamaat in so many words on the occasion of the annual Jalsa in the year 2000 CE, that everyone pray for him to be elevated as the "Mubarak Wajood "('blessed person'), like mentioned in the prophecies of the Promised Massih (as).    

Allah does what He will. Despite the caliph's ambitious plans and his arrogant pronouncements on Divine Decisions concerning the raising of a reformer in the Jamaat in the new century, the trajectory of Divine blessings and favours shifted in this era, with the advent of a man who speaks with the help of Ruh-il-Quddus, like prophesied by the Promised Massih (as) himself in his testamentary declaration, Al Wassiyat. Indeed, Allah (swt) in His infinite wisdom, used the most disruptive of technologies of communication the humans have ever known- "Ruh-il-Quddus"- to destroy the man-invented and exaggerated notions of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya and rebuild the edifice of the Divine Order of His Elects guiding humanity till the Day of Judgement, by raising a humble servant of the faith in this era- a spiritual progeny of the Promised Massih (as) himself- Hazrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius, Alhamdulillah. Like the Promised Messiah (as) also points out, despite the persecution- with "millions stand(ing) up against them", the caravan of the Divine Elect (atba) will continue to straddle the world with His Message, Insha-Allah, Aameen. 

The Divine signs narrated here calls for deeper reflection by those who use their minds- including truth seekers among the Ahmadis. In this era when the world is 'flat', the old order of special claims- of inherited family legacy and infallible authority of tribal chieftains (think of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat today)- are out of sync with the times and are bound to vanish. In the new order of God on earth, everywhere- both materially and spiritually speaking- 'the underclass', i.e., those who were  previously looked down upon, truly humble people are to inherit the earth: Indeed, the Divine favour of prophethood and sovereignty is being bestowed upon a new class of people in the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya as well- through the advent of the Divine Manifestation in Mauritius, Alhamdulillah, Allah-u-Akbar!

Read the Friday Sermon Below: 

Signs for the 'Ulul-Al-Baab'

And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason.” (Yunus 10 : 101).

Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, Allah shows His signs in extraordinary ways. Sometimes in simple and unimaginable things. He can show His signs in a grand way. Certainly Allah guides whom He wills to the right path, and when He guides His servants, He opens for them the door of spiritual knowledge and makes them understand even a thing that seems simple and unimportant and He makes them see its importance.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Pride and Prejudice in the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya


O my Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous. (Al-Furqan 25: 75).

Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own Presence; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure. (Al-Imran 3: 9).

Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or fall into error. (Al-Baqara 2: 287).

Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; Help us against those who stand against faith. (Al-Baqara 2: 287).

 'Practice' versus 'preaching' in the Nizam-e-Jamaat

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community headed by a man-elected caliph deceives the world with his beautiful speeches about peace and the need to have Love for All and Hatred for None.

As Caliph and Messenger of Allah, it is my duty to put before the world, especially in front of all Ahmadi Muslims around the world, the true face of their present caliph, who certainly does not practice what he preaches.

The Break-up of Ahmadi Families in Mauritius

To hide his face, he tells people who ask him questions about the current situation in Mauritius, a situation that for more than seventeen years has turned sour in the Ahmadiyya Community of Mauritius, [that everything is fine]. With the instructions, directives that come directly from the current caliph, the chiefs of the Jamaat Ahmadiyya in Mauritius are doing whatever they like by implementing what they call, the caliph’s instructions, such instructions that they absolutely must implement, despite the fact that these same instructions are against the vital teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and even the teachings of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as).

In view of the world, the caliph preaches peace, he is a peaceful man, a man of peace. He insists that there is no problem in Mauritius, that everything is fine in the best of all worlds! But in truth, the more he masks the break-up and massacres in the Jamaat Ahmadiyya in Mauritius and elsewhere in the world within the Ahmadi families, the more the truth turns into a powerful wave to reverse his Machiavellian plans. He takes himself as a gatherer, but in truth he is only a man who wants to divide families and break the Muslim unity and family union.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Warning to the Nizam-e-Jamaat in Mayotte

Located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa,  the Mayotte archipelago is geographically part of the Comoros Islands, while officially it is an overseas territory of France. It consists of a main island, Grande-Terre (or Maore), a smaller island, Petite-Terre (or Pamanzi), and several islets around these two, situated between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. While the region came under the French settlements in 1840s, the people of Mayotte voted to remain politically a part of France in 1974. Following a 2009 referendum with an overwhelming result in favour of the department status under France, Mayotte became an outermost region of the European Union in 2014. 

It was the Arabs who brought Islam into the region during the medieval times and a Sultanate was established as early as 1500. According to the 2017 census, the small Island region (with an area of 374 square kilometers---144 sq mi) has a population of a little over 2,50,000- a vast majority of whom are the descendants of the Muslims. Although located far way from the mainlands of Africa and Asia, the remote Indian Ocean islands also had the fortune of receiving the message of Islam as propagated by the Promised Massih of the Later Days, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian. In many ways, the deep penetration of the message of Tawheed as propagated by the Promised Massih (as) to the remotest regions of the world is an awesome testimonial to the astonishing truth of the words of Allah (swt) descended on that holy  Divine servant in the previous era: “I shall cause your message to reach the corners of the earth”.

In the late 1990’s, it was the pioneering efforts of Hazrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb of Mauritius that planted the seeds of Ahmadiyyat in several Indian Ocean island communities, including the Mayotte Islands. As the missionary-ambassador of the Promised Massih (as) working in the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya in collaboration with the then Khalifatul Massih IV, Hazrat Munir Azim Saheb took extraordinary  personal initiative and considerable pain to establish the message of Ahmadiyyat in these parts of the world. If ever the Nizam-e-Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya develops institutional memory and are truthful to their own records and testimonials; they would not, they should not and indeed they cannot avoid or evade the seminal spiritual work and rich legacy of Hazrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb in the spread of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya in the region. 

Of late, the Nizam-e-Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, in Mayotte and beyond, is behaving like the sectarian thugs the Promised Massih (as) used to oppose all his life. In their vain desires for cheap personal glory, they ‘invent’ the history of the Ahmadi peoples and they erase the collective memory inconvenient for their current temperaments! In their concern for constructing a new identity, they are behaving like a prodigal son in denial of his father!! Instead of gratefully co-opting and quietly celebrating the trailblazing spiritual work of Hazrat Munir Azim Saheb in the Indian Ocean island communities in the 1990s as part of the wider and global history of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya and its peoples, the Nizam-e-Jamaat is in denial today. Do they think the politics of denial and social boycott has a chance against the tide of history and the destiny of a Man of God? Allah says in the Qur’an: “We will soon show them Our signs all around the world and in their own selves, until it dawns on them that indeed this is the truth. Is your Lord not Sufficient (to confirm your veracity), for He alone is (also) witness to everything?”. (41:53)

In the final part of his Friday Sermon of 25 May 2018 (09 Ramadan 1439 AH),  Imam Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius spoke on the situation in Mayotte, where natural calamities are unfolding against the backdrop of spiritual calamities. In their quest for cheap victory, sectarian prejudices are being unleashed by the chiefs of the Nizam-e-Jamaat against the Jamaat-Ul Sahih Al Islam in Mayotte so much so that Hadhrat Saheb (atba) has been constrained to issue a Divine warning against the culprits involved in the episode. 

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:   

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mauritius: Freedom from Slavery

Every year, Mauritius observes a national holiday on February 1st. For, this day marks a defining moment in the collective memory of the Mauritian people's struggle for dignity and human rights. Almost two centuries ago, it was on this day in 1835 that the abominable practice of Slavery was formally abolished in the Island State, liberating a mass of humanity from the clutches of an oppressive social order. 

The story of how Mauritius- once a virtually uninhabited Island off the southeast coast of Africa, became home to close to 1.5 million people today; professing various faiths- including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam- and speaking different languages, including Creole, French, English, Tamil, Urdu, Hindi and Bhojpuri and Chinese- is a fascinating chapter in the making of the modern world. There is little doubt that the modern identity of Mauritius as ‘a rainbow nation’ is a tribute to the cultural confluences it inherited from its complex past. 

Originally discovered by the Arabs in the 9th century; successively colonized by the different European powers from the 17th century- the Deutch, the French and the British- in the last four centuries; modern Mauritius is, in many ways, shaped by this Island nation's encounter with the different phases of global capitalism and the trajectories of the European imperial forays into Africa and Asia, including the strategic control of the Indian Ocean region for safeguarding their vital, commercial interests. The detachment of a part of the Mauritian territory- the Chagos Archipelago and offering the same on a virtual, perpetual lease to the United States by the last colonial power- Britain- before the granting of national independence to Mauritius in 1968, continue to remind all of us in the global South about the long shadows of imperial hubris that permanently scar the psyche of nations and peoples. (For a review of the continuing Mauritius-UK dispute over the Chagos Archipelago, click here).

Even as the colonial masters sought to subjugate the nations they conquered through military means, they found it politically convenient to stake the moral high ground of good governance, rule of law and human rights in the shaping of national policies. Hence, the colonial, administrative practices in the Indian Ocean region, including in relation to questions of slavery and ‘rule of law’ in the conquered territories vis-a vis the subjugated peoples, can be seen as a partial concession to the tectonic shifts in the global thinking around questions of human dignity and basic rights. The abolition of slavery in the British colonies and the introduction of the system of ‘contract labour’ with a semblance of rights and privileges for the migrant working class can only be seen against this backdrop.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Life @ 40: A Spiritual Gaze

‘Moses! 
I am your Lord. Take off your sandals: you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.
I have chosen you, so listen to what is being revealed. 
I am Allah; there is no god but Me, so worship Me and keep up the prayer so that you remember Me'. (20: 12-15)

These verses in the Holy Qur’an allude to a time when Allah (swt) directly spoke to a servant of His, intimating him about the great Divine Mission that lies ahead of him; urging him to be detached from the personal relations that come in the way of  remaining engrossed in Divine Remembrance through fervent prayers and other devote supplications. In mystical commentaries of the aforesaid verses, the idea of "taking off the sandals" certainly points to the same: in being asked to remove his sandals, Hadhrat Musa (as) was being asked to cast aside this world by turning his face towards the Ocean of Divine Presence alone, dedicating oneself solely to Allah (swt). In a famous poem by  that medieval polymath Sheikh-ul-Akbar Muhyi-ud-Din Ibn Arabi, the imagery is explained eloquently: 

"Take off the sandals if you come
to this valley, for therein is Our Holiness.
Of the two worlds divest yourself,
and lift the veils of in-betweenness"

It is indeed a perennial practice of the Divine, a Sunnat Allah-according to the Qur’an- that He raises His Elects at places and times of His choice. Allah knows best where to place His Message’. (6:125)  One of the interesting facts about the present Divine Manifestation in Mauritius is this. When Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) began to be a recipient of Divine communications and other messages of an exquisite spiritual variety, the messages from the Unseen reminded him about the need for holding a lot of patience and to ‘forget’ this world and to devote his time in much remembrance of the Divine through prayer and other supplications: the same kind of Divine messages that were revealed to Hadhrat Musa (as) in that sacred valley of Tuwa almost three millennium ago and preserved in the Holy Qur’an for all times! Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

'The Days of Noah are Coming...!'

A Difficult Time in Mauritius

We never punish (a people) until we have sent a messenger. (Al-Isra, 17: 16).

My brothers and sisters, reflect well. 

From the beginning of this year 2018, Mauritius is going through a difficult situation. When you think that from the first day of the New Year (01 January 2018) a great accident happened where two brothers died, and then the next day an ex-husband killed his ex-wife with a revolver (when she came to visit her child in the home of the ex-husband) and then killed himself.

Since the 1st of January, the rain has not stopped falling; heavy downpours except on Sunday 07 January 2018. At the beginning of the school activities for the new year, on 08 January 2018, heavy rainfall continued to flood, destroying the agricultural fields (fruits and vegetables) and amenities of thousands of houses and cars. Then a dangerous cyclone, named Berguita, came to make matters worse since Tuesday 16 January until 18 January 2018 and for the first time in Mauritius (after many years) more than five thousand people, men, women and children have gone to seek refuge in the shelter centers, leaving their homes and all their furniture, food and other amenities, taking only their own persons and their family members to shelter from the cyclone. Social workers and even the government only distributed biscuits and bottled water to support all those people.

After the passage of Berguita, vegetables and fruits have almost disappeared from the shelves of the markets and for the fruits and vegetables remaining, prices have skyrocketed and it has become very difficult for the Mauritian nation given the rise in prices at all levels. These torrential rains, lightning and cyclone Berguita caused quite a lot of damage nationwide, blocking drains/ canals, flooding the streets and destroying cars too. Afterwards we saw a lull in the density of the rains in some parts of the country, but in other regions the rain did not cease to cause misfortunes.

The situation became alarming when on Wednesday and Thursday, 24 & 25 January respectively, the notice/ warning of heavy rain forces the government and the organizations concerned to close schools, universities and even some workplaces. The panic was felt here in Mauritius with the rising waters and the continual torrential rain. Given the situation, the Ministry of Health advised people to boil water before drinking to stay healthy and avoid diseases such as gastroenteritis and other health problems. Despite the precautions many have also caught conjunctivitis.

It is impossible for me to list all the problems that Mauritius is facing because our little island is consecutively going through trials.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

'No Compulsion in Religion', says Qur'an

Islam's normative injunctions are all designed to foster freedom and justice and to promote a just social order. Its moral universe is informed by the Living Presence of Allah (swt), to whom people are responsible individually and collectively as a group- sect, religion, tribe, clan, nation, community, etc. - and are bound to account for their acts and omissions on the Day of Judgement. Several verses in the Qur'an affirms the inherent freedom of choice in people: "Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you (Prophet) compel people to believe? It is not for a soul to believe , save by God's Leave" (10: 99-100). 'Say, Now the truth has come from you Lord: let those who wish to believe in it do so, and let those those who wish to reject it do so' (18: 30).

Life in Arabia during the Holy Prophet's time also produced within its varied contingencies complex questions of freedom of choice in faith matters. Some of the Muslim parents had a dilemma: whether to force their children to join the then nascent Muslim community; or to respect the children's choice of joining their foster- parents' clan (Jewish tribe- Banu Nadir that was leaving from Madinah and some also wishing to join Christian merchants going to Syria). It might seem astonishing to some; but the Qur'anic verse-"There is no compulsion in religion" (2: 257) was  originally revealed to ensure the freedom of choice of the people who wished to leave Islam against the wishes of their Muslim families!

Even as Islam commands freedom of conscience and respects the right of people to make choices, it also allows resistance to oppression and injustice and to wage wars in self-defence in compelling political circumstances. What is not required or unjustified in general conditions of life, may gain validity of law and practice in exceptional circumstances. Necessity, proportionality, fairness and even-handed dealings are central to Islamic ethics, and the 'text' of moral injunctions need to be seen in the 'context' of the evolving circumstances of the Muslim life. Muslim Ulema who celebrate the 'cult of sword' in the name of Jihad/preaching of Islam are grossly misguided in reading the text without knowing its context. Their ill-considered views are detrimental to the fair name and legacy of Islam as a religion that appeals to human conscience and secular reasoning in equal measure. In his first Friday Sermon of the New Year- on 5th January 2018, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) expounds profoundly on freedom of choice from a Qur'anic perspective and corrects the doctrinal mistakes of the Muslim Ulema on this vital question.