title: Hereafter in the Glorious Qur’an,
By Dr Zakir Naik
Belief in the Hereafter is a basic and fundamental pillar of Islam. Without believing in this truth, a person could not be a Muslim. This doctrine has been eluciadated in the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah in detail. We present here some refrences that clarify this reality:
1. Live Once in this World and then be Resurrected in the Hereafter
Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:
How can you disbelieve in Allah? seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return. (Al-Baqrah 2:28)
Islam states that a human being comes into this world only once, and after he dies, he is again resurrected on the day of judgement. Depending on his deeds, he will either dwell in heaven i.e. Paradise or he will dwell in hell.
2. This Life is a Test for the Hereafter
It is mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an:
Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving. (Al-Mulk 67:2)
This life that we lead in this world is a test for the Hereafter. If we follow the commandments of the Almighty Creator and we pass the test, we shall enter Paradise which is an eternal bliss. If we do not follow the commandments of our Creator and fail the test, we shall be put into hell.
Full Recompense on the Day of Judgment
It is mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an
Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing). (Aal `Imran 3:185)
Al-Jannah i.e. Paradise is a place of perpetual bliss. In Arabic, ‘jannah’ literally means ‘the garden’. The Glorious Qur’an describes Paradise in great detail, such as gardens underneath which rivers run. It contains rivers of milk unchanging in flavor and rivers of purified honey. In Paradise there are fruits of every kind. No fatigue shall be felt in Paradise neither shall there be any idle talk. There shall be no cause of sin, difficulty, anxiety, trouble or hardship. Paradise shall thus have peace and bliss.
Paradise is described in several verses of the Qur’an including Aal `Imran 3:15, Aal `Imran 3:198, An-Nisaa’ 4:57, Al-Ma’idah 5:119, At-Tawbah 9:72, Al-Hijr 15:45-48, Al-Kahf 18:31, Al-Hajj 22:23, Al-Fatir 35:33-35, Yasin 36:55-58, Al-Saffat 37:41-49, Al-Zukhruf 43:68-73, Al-Dukhan 44:51-57, Muhammad 47:15, Al-Tur 52:17-24, Al-Rahman 55:46-77, Al-Waqi`ah 56:11-38.
5. Hell – Jahannam
Hell is a place of torment where evil-doers undergo the most terrible pain and suffering caused by being burnt by hellfire, a fire whose fuel is men and stones. Further, the Qur’an states that as many times as their skins are burnt, the residents of hell shall be given fresh skin so that they feel the pain. Hell is described in several verses of the Qur’an including Al-Baqarah 2:24, An-Nisaa’ 4:56, Ibrahim 14:16-17, Al-Hajj 22:19-22, Fatir 35:36-37.
6. Logical Concept for Differences in Different Individuals
In Hinduism, the differences between two individuals at birth is explained by stating past Karma i.e. actions of the previous life, as the cause of the differences. There is no scientific or logical proof or evidence of the cycle of rebirths.
How does Islam explain these differences? The Islamic explanation for these differences in different individual is given in Surah Al-Mulk, Almighty Allah says:
Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving. (Al-Mulk 67:2)
This life that we live is the test for the hereafter.
Furthermore, the sufferings of mankind in this world have been explained logically in an article entitled ‘Predestination and Sufferings of Mankind’ published on our website. For more information, please click here.
Source: Taken from www.islamandhinduism.com with modifications.
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title: Predestination and Human Action,
No good or bad and no benefit or harm happen to a person except with Allah’s Will and Predestination. Testifying and believing in this is one of the pillars of faith, and without it the faith will not be valid.
There is no contradiction between luck and the belief in Allah’s Decree and Predestination. The person’s luck or portion in something is predestined by Allah. However, believing that a lucky person could achieve what Allah did not prescribe for him, or that only his luck can bring him benefits and repel from him harms, this is something rejected by the Glorious Qur’an, Sunnah, reason and reality.
It is authentically reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “O Allah! None can prevent what You have willed to bestow, and none can bestow what You have willed to prevent, and no wealth or majesty can benefit anyone, as from You is all wealth and majesty.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Prayer and Pre-destination
It is wrong to say that Allah does not accept our supplication, because accepting the supplication does not necessarily mean that a person should be given exactly what he supplicated for. Rather, one’s supplication may be answered, or an affliction is driven away from him because of his supplication and this will be better for him than what he asked for, or that Allah reserves the reward for him in the Hereafter as stated in a Hadith from the Prophet (peace be upon him).
As far discrimination between people, then this is evident; however, Allah does this out of knowledge and wisdom and not out of ignorance and injustice. There is absolutely perfect wisdom in Him doing so; Allah Almighty says:
Look how We have favored [in provision] some of them over others. But the Hereafter is greater in degrees [of difference] and greater in distinction. (Al-Isra’ 17:21)
Allah Almighty also says:
And have raised some of them above others in degrees [of rank] that they may make use of one another for service. But the mercy of your Lord is better than whatever they accumulate. (Az-Zukhruf 43:32)
In fact, poverty may be for some people better than richness, and richness is better for some others, in the same way health is more beneficial for some. It is reported in a Hadith Qudusi (there is a controversy about its authenticity), “Among My Slaves there are those for whom nothing is better than richness, and if I were to impoverish them, they would be corrupted. And among My Slaves there are those for whom nothing is better than poverty, and if I were to make them rich, they would be corrupted. I manage (the affairs of) My Slaves, I am indeed the All-Aware of their circumstances.”
You should know that real happiness is not by obtaining some money and other temporary worldly pleasures. Rather, the real happiness is in faith and acts of good deeds. Allah says:
Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer— We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. (An-Nahl 16:97)
Finally, it should be noted that there are some etiquettes that must be observed when supplicating and there are some matters that prevent the supplication from being accepted.
Submission to the Predestination
Submission to Allah in regard to His Predestination is something required in Islamic faith. If Allah decrees something, there is no one who can overturn His Decree, and if He rules, there is no one who can overturn His Rule. Allah says:
And Allah decides; there is no adjuster of His decision. And He is swift in account. (Ar-R`ad 13:41)
This submission is even more required in regard to matters of the unseen, among which is Predestination, which is the hidden secret. At-Tahawi said in his book entitled Al-`Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah: “The essence of Predestination is the Secret of Allah in His creation which neither a close angel nor a Prophet knows.”
Allah does not do anything except for wisdom; some people might know it and some others might not know it. However, asking about the wisdom in order to reassure one’s heart is acceptable, but asking a question as a way of objection is not permissible, as this is the approach of the devil. Allah says about him:
And [mention] when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He said, “Should I prostrate to one You created from clay?” (Al-Isra’ 17:61).
Is Predestination an Excuse for sinning?
Scholars stated that it is permissible to argue that Predestination is the reason for the calamities that befall a person but not for the sins that he commits.” Ibn Taymiyyah said: “One may give Predestination as an excuse for calamities but not for sins.”
Everything is predestined is something determined in the texts of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). However, it is not acceptable to use Predestination as an excuse for committing sins as we have already clarified in the first point. So, this is our answer to those who say: “What is my fault if this is predestined for me?”
In matters of religion, if one fails to perform an obligation due to laziness, then he is held accountable for that. The congregational prayer is an obligation according to the preponderant view of the scholars and if one fails to perform it without a valid reason, one is sinful.
No sane person would see the fire coming to consume him and he waits for it with the pretext of destiny. Of course, a sane person in this case would not wait but will struggle to run away.
For those who want to rely on Predestination, they are advised to work and do their effort. ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is no one amongst you except that his place in Hellfire is written and his place in Paradise is written.” The Companions asked: “Shall we not rely on our book (i.e. Predestination) and not act? He said: “Rather, you should act, as every person is facilitated for what he was created for…..” Ibn Hajar said: “It means that you should be preoccupied with acts of worship, and what you were created for and ordered to do. Then, you should let the matter of the unseen which only Allah knows to its Owner (i.e. Allah), you do not have to do anything about it. This is the summary of the statement of At-Tibi.”
We have not seen anybody leaving his worldly benefits because of relying on Predestination, while some people abandon the means of guidance out of relying on this, and this is contradictory.
Ibn Taymiyyah said in his book entitled Minhaj As-Sunnah: “Using Predestination as an excuse (for committing sins and leaving religious obligations) is unfounded according to the agreement of the Muslim scholars and wise people. The person who uses it as an excuse when committing evils and wrongdoings is someone who contradicts himself and follows his desires. A scholar said, “In matters regarding obedience, they say that they have a choice, but in case of acts of disobedience, they you say that they are forced. They only follow that which corresponds to their desires.”
Source: Taken from www.islamweb.net with modifications.
tags: arya-samaj / banaras / bhag / dayanad / decree / destiny / fate / ganesh / garhan / hindu / hindu-scriptures / hinduism / idolatry / karma / kumbh-maila / lakshmi / lekhram / luck / messengers / monkey-god / paganism / phone / polytheism / predestination / prophethood / quran / re-birth / sarasvati / statues-hindu-gods / varanasi /
title: Zakah (Obligatory Charity) in Islam,
Zakah is one of the five pillars of Islam. Zakah is mentioned together with Salah (prayer) in eighty two verses of the Glorious Qur’an. Almighty Allah says:
And establish prayer and give zakah. (Al-Baqarah 2:43)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Islam is based on five pillars: “The testimony of Faith, the performance of Salah, the payment of Zakah, the performance of Hajj and the fasting of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Meaning of Zakah
The Arabic word “Zakah” literally means “Purity” and it is known that giving Zakah purifies excess wealth. The Islamic meaning of Zakah is that a certain percentage of excess wealth is taken from the rich and given to the poor. It bridges the gap between the rich and the poor Muslims, and fosters brotherly love among them. The importance of Zakah in Islam is undeniable and should not be underestimated.
Zakah is Obligatory
It is incumbent upon every Muslim who owns nisab (minimum zakatable amount) of wealth to pay its Zakah. The nisab and the percentage of Zakah to be taken from different types of excess wealth are clearly defined in the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah. For example, when a quantity of 85 grams or more of gold or 595 grams of silver or their equivalent of cash is held in possession for one year, Zakah of 2½ percent becomes due upon it, once the nisab has been reached.
Who receives the Zakah?
The eligible recipients of Zakah are clearly mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an:
Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:60)
Why pay Zakah?
A man said to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) “Tell me about a deed which admits me to heaven.” He said: “Worship Allah ascribing no partner to Him, perform Salah, pay Zakah and maintain good relation with your kinfolk.” (At-Tabarani)
Warning against withholding Zakah
Allah Almighty says:
And let not those who [greedily] withhold what Allah has given them of His bounty ever think that it is better for them. Rather, it is worse for them. Their necks will be encircled by what they withheld on the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. And Allah , with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted. (Aal `Imran 3:180)
This is a special kind of Zakah that is due at the end of the month of Ramadan. Allah, the Exalted, has instituted Zakah Al-Fitr as a means of purification from idle talk and deeds that one may have uttered during this month, as well as a food gift to the needy to save them the embarrassment of asking for it on the Day of `Eid, thus the poor may celebrate the joy of `Eid along with the rich.
Rulings of Zakah Al-Fitr
1. One of a “Sa`” (measure of about 2.5 kgs) of rice, wheat, dates or similar types of food should be given to the poor.
2. Zakah Al-Fitr should be given on `Eid day, and it can be paid a day or two before `Eid.
3. It is permissible to give Zakah Al-Fitr in the form of money, clothes, food or any other articles.
4. If Zakah Al-Fitr was given after the `Eid prayers it would be regarded as common charity not as Zakah Al-Fitr.
5. Zakah Al-Fitr should be given on behalf of every adult, minor, male or female Muslim.
Source: Taken from www.saudigazette.com with modifications.
tags: aid / alms-tax / almsgiving / amarnath / arya-samaj / astha / banaras / bhajan / charity / daan / dan / dayanad / financial-support / ganga / generosity / hindi / hindu / hindu-gods / hinduism / idolatry / india / indian / kumbh-mela / lakshmi / lekhram / mandir / sarasvati / shivling / temple / yamuna / yatra / yearly-tax / zakah / zakah-in-islam /
title: Predestination between Islam and Hinduism,
Belief in predestination was deep-rooted in ancient Indian religions. It is noteworthy that the belief in predestination has two types of extremist followers: one of them views that the human being has no freewill and everything has been pre-ordained, while the other views that there is no predestination and every event happens freshly and recently and every person is free and independent in his actions and doings. Both views were wrong in their perception of predestination. They failed to conceive the idea of predestination in its true nature.
The true belief in predestination which was preached by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is to believe in the eternal, everlasting and inclusive Knowledge of Allah, the Almighty, for everything even before the creation of this world espoused with the belief of freewill of the human being. Every person in Islam is ordered to work and struggle with firm belief in predestination; none should rely on predestination and abandon work and action.
Who Determines the Destiny Karma or Ishvar?
There are a lot of disputes about this subject in Hinduism. Some Hindu sects believe that Karma itself is the determiner of the destiny and does not need to an external agent to execute it in human life while the theist sects of Hinduism believe that the distinction between the fruits of Karma, i.e., good and evil Karma, are due to Vishnu as the Supreme Enforcer of Karma, yet souls alone have the freedom and responsibility for their acts.(1)
According to Madhvacharya, a well-known Indian philosopher, God, although has control, does not interfere with man’s free will; although He is Omnipotent that does not mean that He engages in extraordinary acts. Rather, God enforces a rule of law and, in accordance with the just deserves of Jivas, gives them freedom to follow their own nature.(2)
Madhva agrees that the rewards and punishments bestowed by God are regulated by Him in accordance with the good and sinful deeds committed by them and He does so out of His own will to keep Himself firm in justice and He cannot be controlled in His actions by Karma of human beings nor can He be accused of partiality or cruelty to anyone.(3)
According to Islamic doctrine, Almighty Allah is the One Who wrote the destiny and fate of human beings. He is the Just, the Equitable, the Powerful, He does whatever He Wills, no one can ask Him, no one is to hold Him answerable and no one can judge Him on His Commandments and Decrees, He is the Most Compassionate and the Beneficent Who forgives whom He Wills. The Destiny is the true reflection of His Might and Knowledge.
It is notable that the doctrine of transmigration of the soul, with respect to fateful retribution for acts committed, does not appear in the Rig Veda.
The concept of Karma first appears strongly in the Bhagavad Gita. The topic of Karma is mentioned in the Puranas.(4) It is clear that the concept of Karma is a latter development on Hindu faith which shows the human intervention that denotes the weakness of its authenticity and genuineness of this doctrine.
Opinion of Vedanta
Followers of Vedanta, a leading practicing school of Hinduism in existence today, consider Ishvara, a personal supreme God, as playing that role.(5) According to the Vedanta view, a supreme God is ultimately the enforcer of Karma but humans have the free will to choose.
In some earlier historical traditions of Hinduism, followers of an atheistic division of the Samkhya(*) School do not accept the idea of a supreme God. According to the Samkhya School, a supreme God does not exist.
Theistic View about Destiny in Hinduism
According to the theistic view, the effects of one’s bad Karma may be mitigated. Examples of how bad Karma can be mitigated include following Dharma, or living virtuously; performing good deeds, such as helping others; Bhakti Yoga, or worshiping God in order to receive grace; and conducting pilgrimages to sacred places, such as Chidambaram Temple or Rameswaram to get grace of God.(6)
The story of Ajamila in the Bhagavata Purana also illustrates the same point. Ajamila had committed many evil deeds during his life such as stealing, abandoning his wife and children and marrying a prostitute. But at the moment of death, he involuntarily chanted the name of Narayana and therefore received Moksha or union with God and was saved from bad Karma and Ajamila was forgiven for his great sins and attained salvation, despite his bad Karma.
A person can be free from sorrow through the grace of Isvara. Therefore, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad assumes a Supreme Being whose grace to devotees provides a way of escape from the law of Karma.(7)
Opinion of Theistic schools
Theistic schools believe in cycles of creations where souls gravitate to specific bodies in accordance with Karma, which as an unintelligent object depends on the will of God alone. For example, Kaushitaki Upanishad 1.2 asserts that birth in different forms of existence as a worm, insect, fish, bird, lion, boar, snake or a human, is determined by a person’s deeds and knowledge. 
Prarabdha Karma is of three categories, Ichha, Anichha and Parechha (personally desired, without desire and due to others’ desire). For the one who has realized the self, there is no Ichha-Prarabdha but the two others, Anichha and Parechha, remain. Neither agency nor actions does the Lord create for the world, nor union with the fruits of actions. But it is Nature that acts. -Gita, Ch.5, Verse 14.
Generally, Hindus believe in predestination and there are some statements in Hindu scriptures that address the issue of destiny in Hinduism. However, they are not as clear as the texts of the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah regarding this subject. The true belief in destination has existed in Hindu culture as was quoted from Krishna and Tulsidas. But the belief has been distorted when they tried to find some justification for the sufferings of mankind in this world especially for the sufferings of innocent babies born with some sorts of defects or disabilities.
However the true faith has been brought by our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In fact, this life is a test and this world is not the permanent abode, rather this life is a temporary residence. The whole universe will be destroyed and everyone would be resurrected for accountability in front of Allah, the Almighty, and the sufferings and disabilities would be compensated with full equity and justice. Not only this but Almighty Allah will multiply the reward and human being will wish that he would have been suffered from disabilities in this world seeing the unlimited Mercy of Allah in the Hereafter.
[*] Samkhya, also Sankhya, Sāṃkhya, or Sāṅkhya is one of the six orthodox or “theist” schools of Hindu philosophy and classical Indian philosophy.
 Krishnan Yuvraj, The Doctrine of Karma, Motilal Banarsi Dass Publishers, 1997, pp. 155-156.
 Tapasyananda, Swami. Bhakti Schools of Vedantapgs. Chennai, Sri Ramakrishna Math. pp. 178-179.
 Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Wendy Doniger, Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions, University of California Press, 1980, p. 14.
 David Frawley, Vedantic Meditation, North Atlantic Books, 2000 p. 4.
 Editors of Hinduism Today Magazine, What is Hinduism? p. 254.
 Krishnan Yuvraj, The Doctrine of Karma, p. 25.
tags: allah-almighty / arya-samaj / bhag / destiny-in-islam / divine-destiny / divine-message / fate / ganesh / garhan / hindi / hindu / hindu-scriptures / hinduism / idolatry / india / indian-prophethood / karma / monkey-god / paganism / polytheism / predestination-between-islam-and-hinduism / predestination-in-islam / quran / re-birth / sarasvati / statues-hindu-gods /
title: Significance of Zakah,
In the first place, we must differentiate between Zakah and tax. Zakah has a spiritual nature and has its roots in the revelation, whereas secular taxes are imposed by the civil or secular authority.
Secondly, the function of Zakah is clearly defined as catering for eight categories, whereas taxes have much wider applications.
Thirdly, tax collection depends on the power and skill of the authorities, which induces many people to seek to avoid, if not evade payment. Zakah, being a religious duty, has the consciousness of the believer as an inducement towards payment. There is an invisible collector of Zakah living in the heart of every Muslim. You can cheat the government, but how can you cheat Allah? For this reason, Zakah remains an obligation on the Muslim.
There is no excuse for Muslims to withhold Zakah. The aim of Shari`ah is to help the poor and needy to be self-sufficient. It is not to encourage the culture of dependence. Islam abhors those who make begging a profession. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once bought an axe for a poor man to collect fire wood to sell and feed himself and his family. This example should inspire the Zakah authorities into projects that affect the fundamental solution of poverty. It should fund training schemes to make the skills of the poor more marketable. It should also finance projects that give jobs and supply needed goods and services such as textile factories, machine tool manufacture and cheap housing.
Zakah Is a Solution of Poverty
Modern economics shun aid which meets immediate consumption. There are, of course, cases where the need for food and other consumer goods is too urgent. But Zakah funds should plan to achieve the aim of the Shari`ah, that is to find a long term solution to poverty and dependence. In this respect, I would like to differentiate between Zakah Al-Fitr (Zakah for breaking the fast) and Zakah Al-Mal (wealth tax). The former should be exclusively for consumption as the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised us to bring joy and plenty to every household on the occasion of `Eid Al- Fitr. But the latter should be an allocation of long-term projects.
The imposition of an organized Zakah collection system should be the objective of every Islamic state, both for the benefit of social peace and religious fulfillment. This might create a problem where Muslims live side by side with non-Muslims. It would not be just to charge the Muslim with both civil and religious taxes while the non-Muslim neighbor pays only one tax. In the past, non-Muslims used to pay Jizyah which was the counterpart of Zakah from Muslims.
Economy occupies a large part of our life. We cannot pass even a day without undertaking any economic activity, whatever it is. Even eating or sleeping for a while comes within the purview of economics. As for example, why do we eat? We eat to survive. Why do we survive? We survive for work. Why should we work? We work just to earn our bread. How do we get bread? We get it either for money or by producing. Therefore, both money and production are the two most important parts of economy. The Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah involve a lot of texts that exhort for charity, Zakah and doing works that benefit human society. If the system of Zakah in Islam is understood well and properly it verifies the divine nature of Islam. Truly, the system came from none other than the Almighty Allah, who created everything including people and the universe. Manmade theory may be wrong. But, there is no slightest degree of doubt that Allah’s System is perfect and beneficial for all.
Zakah and the Prosperity of Human Society
If the concept of Zakah is faithfully implemented, it can solve the current economic problems of not just Muslims, but also problems of the whole world. The economic problems of Muslims would be solved if we start practicing, in earnest, this much-neglected pillar of Islam.
Zakah: the First Universal Welfare System
The achievements of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were based not on ephemeral but on the permanent values of the Glorious Qur’an. He brought about the greatest revolution, even an economic and political miracle, in human history. In a very short time after the prophet (peace be upon him) migrated to Al-Madinah and implemented the system of salah and Zakah, the economic condition of the people changed and improved immediately.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “If a single person were to sleep hungry in a town, then Allah’s protection is lifted from such a town.” (Ahmad) This hadith emphasizes that no one (Muslim or non-Muslim) under this system should go hungry. Thus, the Zakah system created the first universal welfare system in human history. It also gradually transformed the existing slave-based economy to a universal welfare-based economy. By the end of Prophet Muhammad’s period, the entire Arabian Peninsula enjoyed economic as well as political security. In fact, we abandoned the system implemented by our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Consequently, common Muslims have continued to live in poverty and suffer intergenerational economic misery. Islam’s system of Zakah has nothing to do with this sad state of affairs.
The effective control of Muslim land and its vast resources have slowly passed into the hands of the enemy, while we are exhorting ordinary, working-class Muslims to give Zakah. While thousands of children die from malnutrition and lack of medicine, religious Muslims spend millions of dollars on food and decorations to celebrate the departures and arrivals of Hajis (pilgrims) in hundreds of cities and towns around the world. Many religious and rich Muslims firmly believe that performing multiple Hajj and `Umrah is the highway to heaven. While many of the Imams and religious leaders join in and participate in the celebrations of the rich by praising their religiosity, all the while they exhort the poor to be patient and accept their predetermined fate.
When will we implement the economic system of Zakah as effectively as was demonstrated by our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) there will be no poor and needy.
Role of Zakah in Present Days
Zakah is generally translated as charity or poor-due, but Zakah with its root Zakw, which means growth and development. Zakah ultimately leads to growth and development of all human beings; it removes the need for charity or poor-due in the long term. Zakah not only leads to the economic progress of individuals and all human beings, but to their spiritual progress as well.
 http://ireland.iol.ie/~afifi/Articles/Zakah.htm (last accessed on 29-82013).
 http://kantakji.com/fiqh/Files/Zakah/143.txt (last accessed on 29-82013).
 For a detailed discussion about the system of Salah, see a two part article in MONITOR, pages 6-10, September/October 1998, and pages 7-12, December1998/January 1999.
 http://islam-understanding.blogspot.com/2004/10/role-of-Zakah-in-islam.html (last accessed on 29-82013).
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title: Female Child between Islam and Hinduism (1/2),
It was a blessing of Islam to all mankind in general, and the Hindu girl, especially, that Islam kept her life and salvaged her from certain death. Every country where Islam entered called its people to abolition of the tradition of killing girls, inviting parents to show mercy and compassion for their daughters. Islam warned them of the punishment of Allah in the Hereafter if they violate the rules and regulations regarding their girl’s rights. History says that Islam remained the main source and honest guard for the life of girls through its unique rules, strict laws and practical examples.
Its good impact was that the heinous tradition of killing innocent girls was wiped out from the human society and people became aware of the ugliness of this practice.
The Arabs in ignorance used to bury their daughters alive mercilessly as the birth of a girl was considered as ominous and a sort of insult in the society. They never felt any shame or guilt of this brutal act and terrible crime, rather, it was a common practice in many parts of the world; it was a widespread custom in the human societies including India,as we will talk in this article. In fact, their mind was unable even to perceive the cruelty of this act and no one was to condemn this inhumane practice until the light of Islam illuminated on the horizon of the world and the divine revelation was sent down on the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that announced an open war on these bad practices. The clear and precise verses of the Glorious Qur’an awakened awareness and consciousness of good and evil and drew their attention to the horror of these crimes. The divine verses were a light in the darkness of the ignorance and misguidance.
Read the following verses, perhaps, it will guide your heart to believe that the Glorious Qur’an is a true revelation from Allah the Almighty, as no one has perceived such humanistic principles during those days, instead, the whole humanity remained wandering in the jungle of such barbaric acts centuries after centuries, until the guidance of Allah came in the form of the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked. For what sin she was killed?(At-Takwir81:8-9)
This verse drew the attention of the people to the heinousness of this act warning that the killer would be accountable in front of Allah the Almighty on the Day of judgment, and would be questioned why the girl has been buried alive?
Allah (Glory be to Him) described the bad feelings of a person when he was informed of the birth of a female in his house and said:
And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief.He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide. (An-Nahl16:58-59)
Now we would like to present some examples that verify that the rights of Indian girls were breached in every walk of life.
Sacrifice of Girls in Ancient India
We find in the books talk about Indian civilization many examples of human sacrifice in general and sacrifice of children in particular.
Wright, Caleb, (d. 1869) says: “About one hundred miles south-west of Cuttack is the country of the Kunds. They worship a goddess called Bhuenee. To secure her blessing upon the soil they cultivate, they deem it important at certain times to offer human sacrifices upon her altars.”(1)
The victims, who must be in the freshness and bloom of youth, are brought by stealing children from distant villages and rearing them until they become large enough to be acceptable to the goddess. At the time of sacrifice, the victim is tied to a post; the sacrificer, with an axe in his hand, slowly advances towards him, chanting to the goddess.
Among the Jerejas, fierce and warlike tribes, who live in the north-west part of India, great numbers of female infants are put to death immediately after birth. In one village, in which were twenty-two boys, not one girl was to be found. The villagers confessed that they had all been murdered. In another village were found fifty-eight boys and only four girls; in another, forty-four boys and four girls; and, in many other villages, the number of boys exceeded that of the girls in nearly the same proportion.(2)
Furthermore, Chapman, Priscilla says in this regard:
“And there is many a touching scene when the knife is laid upon the favorite kid as a sacrificial offering.”(3)
This is unlike Islam and its principles as Islam has honored women and gave them their due and full rights.A Surah of the Glorious Qur’an has been named “An-Nisa’” (The Women) to honor them and exalt their position. It is the influence of Islamic teachings that Muslims in most Islamic countries honor their daughters, love them and treat them with equality; there is no discrimination in treatment between male and female.It is the impact of Islam on the Hindus that many of them gave up this bad practice, as is evident from comparing the conditions of Hindus in the past and the present.
Womanhood was Regarded as a Curse in Hinduism
The phenomenon of insulting women and demeaning them and making them a source of bad luck and omen led some Hindu women to hate themselves for being a female.This was noted by a female Hindu writer, Ramabai Sarasvati who says:“In less than six weeks a school was opened in Bombay with two pupils, one of whom had thrice attempted suicide, restrained only by the fear of being born again a woman.”(4)
According to Hindu tradition women are incapable of exercising any degree of mental capacity, for the men are accustomed to treat them as merely created for their enjoyment or for their service, and really do not esteem them to be of the same order of beings.(5)
Prohibition of Marriage of Widows in Hinduism
Debate on the issue of the second marriage of widow continued between Muslim scholars and Hindu religious leaders in the past century.Undoubtedly, second marriage is permissible in Islam for man and woman if she was divorced by her husband or was separated by the death of her husband. However, some Hindu leaders believed that it is contrary to the Hindu religion and regarded Neyog as a solution to some social and marital problems. The debates with Muslims led some Hindu spiritual leaders to be lenient in this issue. And some of them tried to find evidences in Hindu scriptures that permit second marriage for Hindu widows.
However, the injunctions of the sacred books of the Hindus are unequivocally and positively against their marriage. Thus, widows become a burden on their own families, and are yet debarred from entering anew into the married state, and becoming the centre of a new domestic circle, who are denied the ordinary enjoyments of life, and who can taste no pleasures which are not illegal. This system is utterly incompatible with the general welfare of society.
This custom of marrying girls in their early childhood and as soon as possible, though common to all castes, is most strictly observed by the Brahmins. Once a girl has passed the marriageable age, it is very difficult for her to find a husband.
When the poor girl becomes a widow before she has even become a full woman, and as by the custom of her caste she may not marry again, she is oftentimes tempted to lead an immoral life, thereby reflecting discredit on the whole caste. Everybody recognizes these abuses, but the idea of remedying them, by allowing a young widow to break through the stern rule of custom and marry again, would never even enter the head of a Hindu, more especially of a Brahmin.(6)
In fact, the second marriage for the widow as was prescribed in Islam is a solution to all these social problems.
The grand source of misery in a native house is the degradation attaching to widowhood, and the prohibition of the perhaps yet infant widow to marry again. It is not simply the violation of all the dictates of nature which gives rise to almost universal demoralization, but widows of riper age are too frequently wholly destitute of provision, and in their fall from comparative ease to the worst state of dependence, they become a ready sacrifice to the horrors of vice.(7)
The Practice of Sati in Hinduism
One of the negatives of the Hindu society is the ugly tradition, known as Sati, that has been practiced in the Hindu society up to the past century but the debates with Muslims awakened in some Hindus awareness of the brutally of this crime against humanity and the practice of Sati disappeared these days, but the austerity and isolation of life by Hindu widows is still continued to this day.
Chapman, Priscillaalso noted this phenomenon in India and said: “The Orthodox Hindu still uphold the right of Sati; no less than eight of the wives of the late Rana of Udaipur, the highest family in India, have been burnt to death on his funeral pile.”(8)
On the contrary, we find that Islam forbids suicide and Sati is not but a kind of suicide, the Glorious Qur’an and the blessed Sunnah are full of texts that prohibits killing oneself. Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.(An-Nisa’4:29)
In addition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “Whoever kills himself with an iron instrument will be carrying it forever in hell. Whoever takes poison and kills himself will forever keep sipping that poison in hell. Whoever jumps off a mountain and kills himself will forever keep falling down in the depths of hell.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
When we compare Islam with Hinduism in the provisions related to the female gender we find Islamic rulings more coinciding with the logic, wisdom and practice. Islam never orders to do anything that contradicts human nature or harms him.
(1) CALEB WRIGHT, A. M. INDIA AND ITS INHABITANTS,BOSTON: PUBLISHED BY L. P. CROWN & CO.1854, p.6.
(3) Chapman, Priscilla, Hindoo Female Education, L. and G. Seeley, Thames Dittom, Surrey, 1839, p.14.
(4) RamabaiSarasvati, 1858- The High-Caste Hindu Woman,New York, Revell, p.18.
(5) Chapman, Priscilla, Hindoo Female Education, L. and G. Seeley, Thames Dittom, Surrey, 1839, p.24.
(6) Dubois, J. A. (Jean Antoine)(1765-1848), Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies,Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1906. p.213.
(7) Chapman, Priscilla, Hindoo Female Education, L. and G. Seeley, Thames Dittom, Surrey, 1839, p.34.
tags: amarnath / aryasamaj / banaras / dayanad / dowry / feminism / ganga / hindu / hindu-gods / hinduism / hindus / idolatry / kumbh-maila / lakshami / lakshmi / lekhram / parvati / polygamy / rights-of-woman / sarasvati / sati / shivling / sita / tirath / varanasi / widows / woman / women-in-islam / yamuna / yatra /
title: Is There any Life after Death? (1/2),
By Sayyid Abul A`la Al-Mawdudi
Is there any life after death? If so, what kind of life is it? This question lies far beyondthe awareness of our perception. We do not have the eyes with which we could see beyondthe frontiers of worldly life and find out what lies on beyond it.
We do not have the ears with which we could hear anything from beyond these frontiers. Nor do we haveany instrument by which we could determine with certainty whether there is any lifebeyond death. Therefore, the question whether there is any life after death liescompletely outside the area of scientific knowledge which is concerned with the classification and interpretation of sense data.
Anyone who asserts in the name of science that there is no life after death, therefore, he makes a very unscientific statement. Merely on the basis of scientific knowledge, we can neither affirm that there is a life after death nor deny it. Until we discover a dependable means of acquiring knowledge about this matter, the correct scientific attitude would be neither to affirm nor to deny the possibility of life after death.
Is the Hereafter perceptible by the Five Senses?
The question is beyond its field. But can we possibly maintain this attitude in life? Can we afford to adhere to this neutrality? Theoretically speaking, this may hold good, but looking to the hard realities of life which we have to face on every turn and pass, our answer would be: certainly not. If we do not have the means to know a thing directly, it is of course possible for us, from a purely rational point of view, to refrain from either affirming or denying it. But if the thing is directly concerned with our everyday life, we cannot maintain that attitude and must either affirm or deny its existence.
In order to live a full life on the earth we must have a definite attitude towards such problems. These questions simply cannot be avoided. For instance, if you do not know a person with whom you do not have any dealings, you may refrain from forming an opinion about his integrity and trustworthiness; but if you have to deal with him, you must do so either on the assumption that he is an honest man or on the supposition that he is not.
You may also proceed with the idea that, until his honesty is either proved or disproved in practice, you will deal with him on the assumption that his integrity is doubtful. But this manner of dealing with him would, in effect, be no different from the way you would deal with him if you were convinced of his dishonesty. Therefore, a state of doubt between affirmation and denial is possible only as an abstract idea; it cannot form the basis of practical dealings, which require a positive attitude of either affirmation or denial.
Why Lifer after Death?
A little reflection should help us to see that the question of life after death is not
merely a philosophical question; it is deeply and intimately related to our everyday life. In fact, our moral attitude depends entirely upon this question. If a person is of the view that the life of this world is the only life and that there is no life of any kind after that, he must develop a particular type of moral attitude.
A radically different kind of attitude and approach is bound to result if he believes that this life is to be followed by another life where one will have to render account of all one’s acts in this world and that one’s ultimate fate in the Hereafter will depend upon one’s conduct in worldly life. Let us try to understand this through a simple example.
Faith in Hereafter and its Impact on Moral Behavior
A person undertakes journey from Lahore to Karachi on the assumption that he is traveling to his final destination, where he will be beyond the reach of the police that could haul him up for an offense, and the jurisdiction of the courts of justice that could bring him to book.
Another person undertakes the same journey knowing that it is only the first stage of a longer journey which will carry him, beyond Karachi, to a land overseas which is ruled by the same sovereign as that of Pakistan. He also know that the court of that sovereign has complete secret database of his activities in Pakistan and that this record will be fully examined there in order to decide what position and treatment he deserves by virtue of his past performance. Now, it should be easy to realize how different the conduct of these two travelers of the same train will be. The former will prepare himself only for the journey up to Karachi, whereas the latter will keep in view also the requirements of the further stages of the long journey. The former will assume that all the gains that he can possibly make, or all the losses or harms that he might suffer, will be confined to the journey up to Karachi, and that will be the end of it. The latter, on the other hand, will know that the real gains or losses of the journey will be realized in its last stages and not in the first. The former will keep in view only those results of his actions as are likely to manifest themselves up to the time that he reaches Karachi; the latter’s visit will extend to the long term results likely to unfold themselves in the distant overseas lands where his journey will eventually take him. Now it is obvious that this difference between the approaches and attitudes of the two travelers results directly from their view of the nature of their journey and its end.
Similarly, a person’s views in regard to life after death have a decisive influence upon his moral conduct in this world. The direction of every step that he takes in his practical life will depend upon whether he treats this worldly life as the first and last stage of life, or whether he also has in view the Hereafter and consequences of his conduct in this world or the next one. He will move in one direction in the first instance, and in exactly the opposite direction in the other instance.
From this I should be clear that the question of life after death is not merely a fruitless intellectual or philosophical exercise but a question that intimately concerns and vitally affects our everyday life. There is, therefore no justification for any skepticism in this matter. Any attitude that is determined by skepticism in regard to the Hereafter could not in effect be any different from the one based on a definite rejection of the idea of a life after death. We are, therefore, obliged to make up our minds whether there is a life after death or not. If science can not help us here, we must seek the aid of rational thinking and logical reasoning.
Source: Taken from www.teachislam.com with modifications.
tags: afterlife / arya-samaj / banaras / bhag / bhoot / bhut / day-of-judgment / dayanad / death / grave / hereafter / hindi / hindu / hindu-scriptures / hinduism / idolatry / indian / karma / kumbh-maila-india / lakshmi / lekhram / life-after-death / messengers / prophethood / re-birth / renaissance / resurrection / samsara / sarasvati / soul / spirit / statues-hindu-gods / transmigration-of-souls / varanasi /
title: Purification in Islam and Hinduism (2/4),
In the first part of this series, we dealt briefly with the philosophy of purification in Islamic jurisprudence.
Now, in this part we are going to discuss the philosophy of purification in Hinduism. We will dedicate the conclusion of this series for the points of agreement and disagreement in the philosophy of purification in both cultures.
When we take a look at the chapter of purification in Manu Shastr we find good details about the philosophy of cleanliness in Hinduism. The chapter includes the reasons that lead to impurity, method of purification, what are the pure and clean things and what are the unclean impure things.
Causes of Impurity in Hinduism
There are some causes that nullify the purity of a person requiring him to take a bath. If a person touches a Chandal or menstruating woman, he becomes impure and needs bathing as was mentioned in the following Mantra of the Manu Shastr:
- When he has touched a Chandala, a menstruating woman, an outcast, a woman in childbed (or a woman giving birth to a child), a corpse, or one who has touched a (corpse), he becomes pure by bathing.(1)
In Hinduism, there are some causes that require a person to make an ablution for purity and cleanliness especially when a person intends to recite the Vedas. The Manu Shastr says in this regard:
“45. Though he may be (already) pure, let him sip water after sleeping, sneezing, eating, spitting, telling untruths, and drinking water, likewise when he is going to study the Veda.(2)
However, sneezing, eating or spitting is not invalidators of ablution in Islamic jurisprudence. In addition, telling lies is a serious sin in Islam but it is not amongst of the invalidators of ablution or purity.
Invisible Impurity in Hinduism
According to Hinduism, when a person sleeps in the night and wakes up in the morning, he becomes impure and no worship or act of devotion can be performed without taking a bath as well as no food can be eaten before purification.
In addition, when a devotee comes out of his worship, he becomes impure and if he wants to perform some worship again, he has to wash both hands, feet to rinse out the mouth.
It is noteworthy here that this purification resembles in some features the ablution in Islam, sleeping is a cause that invalidates the ablution in Islamic jurisprudence, however, sleep itself is not an invalidator of ablution rather, passing gas is an invalidator of ablution, but when a person falls asleep, he cannot know whether he passed gas or not, therefore, sleeping has been regarded a cause of invalidating the ablution.
What is Sutak in Hinduism?
According to Hinduism, when menses begin for a woman her whole body becomes impure even her dry hands turn into impure and she cannot touch anything otherwise the touched thing will become impure too.
When she takes a bath after six days, she becomes pure. Furthermore, when a woman gives birth to a child, she becomes impure and her entire tribe or familymembers including; man and woman become impure. Additionally, if a person from her tribe resides in another city or is on a journey and he received the news of the birth, he becomes impure.(3)
Whenever a child is born in the family, the whole family has to observe Sutak for ten days. No one of the family can take part in any religious activity or can attend the temple. They have to stay away from all kinds of worship and devotion during the ten days. Also she is not allowed to enter the kitchen and do any work until the ritual of Havan is performed.(4)
Purifying with Cow-dung
After the prescribed period, the Hindu woman has to wash her body with cow dung and cow urine and after doing that she will become pure and her impurity will be wiped away. It is also recommended for her to drink cow-urine in order to achieve purity.
It is noteworthy that if a person belongs to the Brahmin caste, the impurity resulted due to the child birth will continue for only ten days. But if the person is from Chattari, then the impurity will continue for twelve days. And if the person is from the Vishay caste, he has to wait for fifteen days, and a Shudra will wait for one month.
The period of purification in Hinduism is not similar for all people; rather it differs from one caste to another as was mentioned in Manu Shastr:
- A Brahmana shall be pure after ten days, a Kshatriya after twelve, a Vaisya after fifteen, and a Sudra is purified after a month.(5)
This is unlike Islam. Because Islam has no caste system, as a result, the ruling of purity in Islamic jurisprudence does not differ from one individual to another. Rather, every Muslim is equal in the ruling of purification or cleanses. Any person becomes pure by pouring water on the whole body. There is no difference between man and woman or youth and old.
What is Patak?
In Hinduism, when a person dies, the whole tribe becomes impure and this type of impurity in Hinduism is called Patak. Patak is observed by Hindus after the death of a relative. The Hindu tradition of Patak is also called Sutak. Patak refers to the period of renouncing daily life activities from twelve to sixteen days after the death of a family member in Hindu community.
The Manu Shastr says in this context:
- When (a child) dies that has teethed, or that before teething has received (the sacrament of) the tonsure (Kudakarana) or (of the initiation), all relatives (become) impure, and on the birth (of a child) the same (rule) is prescribed.(6)
But in Islamic jurisprudence, we do not find any sort of impurity that travels with the news as we have seen in the case of birth and death in Hindu Philosophy wherein the impurity moves with the news of birth and death even if a relative is in another city, he will become unclean immediately after hereceives the news of birth or death.
Impurity after eating food in Hinduism
There are particular regulations concerning impurity resulting from eatingfood. Before a Hindu eats food, he has to draw a circle with cow dung and water and to sit in it bare body wearing nothing except for Dhoti. During eating, if a person enters the circle with his dresses, the circle becomes impure and the food becomes prohibited for him to eat, though the person is his brother or relative.
It is well known that Islam does not consider eating a pure and permissible food an invalidator of the purity or ablution also Islamic jurisprudence does not regard cow-dung as pure or purifier, rather, cow-urine and cow-dung are real impurities that require purification if it touches the cloth or body or any other pure thing.
Hindus regard cow-dung and cow-urine pure while they regard the water that comes out from the mouth as impure. However, in Islamic jurisprudence we do not find any ruling of this kind. The question is: if cow-dung and cow-urine are clean and pure though cow is a kind of animal while human being is loftier in rank and more meritorious than angels in the sight of Allah the almighty though human feces and urine are impure and disgusting in all cultures and religions all over the world,why are not human urine and feces pure and purifier like the cow excreta?
We cannot find logical reason why the menstruation or child birth makes all family members and relatives impure even if the person is in another city.
In addition, Hindus regard bleacher or washerman as impure and unclean because they touch unclean clothes and dresses of the people but according to this philosophy every person should be regarded as impure as every person cleanses himself of his dirt or excreta after he passes the stool or urine.
According to Islamic jurisprudence, when a person touches something impure or his limb or cloth is polluted with any kind of impurity it becomes pure and clean after washing. Even if a washerman or an employee in the cleaning and beatification job,he washeshis hand or body he becomes pure and allegeable for performing the prayers and he can touchthe Glorious Qur’an and can recite from it and he is allowed to enter the mosque after taking the bath as his impurity is temporary and momentary not permanent or unending.
(1) The Laws of Manu translated by George Bühler, (Sacred Books of the East, Volume 25, chapter 5th.
(3) But Shikan, Khal`atul-Hunood, Matba`a Siddiqi 1864 A.D., p.119.
(4) http://hindi.speakingtree.in/allslides/hindu-religion-mein-sutak-ka-matlab. (Last accessed, July 11, 2016)
The laws of Manu translated by G Buhler, The Clarendon Press 1886, p.182.
tags: ablution / allah / almighty / angel / ashnan / avtar / bath / beef / cleanliness / cow / dewta / god / hindu / hinduism / ishvar / lord / parmeshwar / puja / purification / sanatan-dharma / vishnu / widows /
title: Hindu Yoga and the Five Prayers in Islam (3/3),
By: Editorial staff
Is Yoga a Source of Supernatural Powers?
Yoga has been considered since ancient times a method to get extraordinary power, even in the present era, many Hindu yogis exercise yoga for this purpose. However, now the experts of yoga began to declare that yoga is means of physical and mental strength. For instance, it teaches that if a man can observe the spirit of non-injury in his thoughts, words and deeds for a period of twelve years faithfully, he will acquire such subtle spiritual power that even the wild beasts of the jungle will forget their ferocity and become gentle in his presence.(1)
If a man practices absolute truthfulness in all that he says, thinks and does, whatever he wills comes to pass; or if he observes complete silence for a certain time, he will gain the power of prophecy. The steadfast practice of continence also will develop the power of healing.(2)
It is true that certain psychic powers may be manifested as the result of the practices, such as clairvoyance (the ability to see things which are hidden), clairaudience, (the supposed power to hear things outside the range of normal perception) and thought-reading, etc.; but these are mere passing consequences, which come to a yogi as his inner organism becomes more purified and susceptible to finer vibrations.
If the yogi is careful not to attribute undue importance to them and move onward, he shall not be harmed or misled by them. The yogi will always be safe so long as he holds firmly before his mind the ultimate goal of all the science and practice of Yoga, which is nothing short of direct vision of Truth and God-union.(3)
Benefits of Prayers in Islam
We note that the daily five prayers have many benefits for a person: the most important of them is that Islamic prayers is a safe method of worship for Allah the Almighty and it is an approved way for attaining the pleasure of Allah. It was stated in the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that who observe the five daily prayers regularly alongside the extra deeds are blessed with the love by Allah the Almighty.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah said: ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My Refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him.” (Al-Bukhari)
Union with Ishvar through Yoga
This Hadith explained that when a slave of Allah seeks nearness to Allah and His love through voluntary prayers, Allah (Glory be to Him) protects and saves his legs, hands, eyes and ears from sinful acts and accepts his prayers. However, there is no concept of union with Allah in Islam, but Yoga leads to union with Ishvar as believed by the experts of Hindu yoga. It is noteworthy that the concept of union with the Creator in Hindu philosophy created a lot of religious confusions in the field of divinity; idols of god have been made and many holy personalities have been worshipped because of this concept.
The Physical Aspect of Yoga
The method by which a person gains perfect control and balance in his physical system is known as Asanam or posture. The study of psychology shows that the greatest part of human activity originates in the spinal column, where all the main nerve centers are located.
Through the systematic practice of various postures a person can overcome both physical heaviness and nervous unrest; the muscles and bones can be made more flexible, the flow of the nerve currents more even; and the whole system will gain greater lightness and endurance as well as better health.
The principal points to keep in mind are the back, neck and head must be in a straight line and the chest erect, so that the nerve currents may have free action; there must not be the slightest leaning forward or backward or at any angle.
At first such a posture may seem unnatural, but Yoga declares that what we consider natural may be really unnatural and what is now unnatural for us may become perfectly natural.
We would like to point out here that in every rak`ah of prayer there is a short sitting between the two sajdahs(prostrations),between the two prostrations, it is necessary to sit motionless with the back straight and erect. This is called itmi’nanand it must be done. If you see a Muslim when he performs the prayer, you will find all kinds of physical postures that are needed for a good health of the human body. In fact, the five prayers include all merits and benefits collectively that could not be found in yoga or any worship of any religion in the world.
Self-punishment in Yoga
Some yogis in India exercise severe types of spiritual exercises that may result in some permanent physical defect in order to obtain some supernatural powers.
These mendicants are akin to the class of fanatics in India who assume the title “Yogi”, and who refuse to wash the body, for religious reasons; or who sit with uplifted arm until it is withered; or who allow their finger nails to grow until they pierce their hands; or who sit so still that their birds build nests in their hair; or who perform other ridiculous feats, in order to pose as “holy men” before the ignorant multitude.(4)
A famous English news paper published news about a Hindu yogi claimed to have had no food or drink for 70 years
and Indian military scientists studied the 82-year-old Prahlad Jani who claimed he has not had any food or drink for 70 years.
MrJani, claimed to have left home aged seven and lived as a wandering sadhu or holy man in Rajasthan, is regarded as a ‘breatharian’ who can live on a ‘spiritual life-force’ alone. He believes he is sustained by a goddess who pours an ‘elixir’ through a hole in his palate.(5)
Its keynote is the Healthy Man—its main purpose to help people to conform to the standard of the normal man.
However, such un-natural exercise is prohibited in Islam, as these types of acts spoil the physical strength of the body, and makes a person unable to fulfill the social, religious and family duties.
We believe that the human being is consisting of two important elements: the body and the spirit and every one of them has separate requirements and instincts none of them should be compromised for the other. It is neither religion nor logic for humans to leave eating and drinking until his body becomes weak or decayed. It is not permissible for a person to leave his home, parents and independents retiring to jungle or mountain for worship or spiritual enhancement as is practiced by some Hindu yogis. This is kind of worship is not permissible in Islam. Neither the matter would be preferred over the soul nor would the soul be preferred over the matter. The true and straight path lies between exaggeration and underestimation. This principle distinguishes Islam from Hinduism and other religions of the world.
The five prayers are a divine gift for mankind to achieve physical, spiritual, social, moral and religious enhancements in easy and flexible methods that are suitable for all people. The prayer system is based on monotheism with purity of body, garment, place, mind and heart. To understand the nature and postures of prayer you should visit any mosque and ask any Imam. Also a lot of materials on this subject are available on the internet.
(1) Swami,Paramananda, Science and practice of Yoga, La Crescenta, Calif., Ananda-Ashrama; Boston, Mass., Vedanta centre1918, p.12.
(4)See, Hatha Yoga or The Yogi Philosophy of Physical Well-Being with Numerous Exercises, By Yogi Ramacharaka, Yogi Publication Society 4000 Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, 111. 1904, p.13
(5)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/7645857/Man-claims-to-have-had-no-food-or-drink-for-70-years.html. (Last accessed on 3-2-2015).
(6)Hatha Yoga or The Yogi Philosophy of Physical Well-Being with Numerous Exercises, By Yogi Ramacharaka, Yogi Publication Society 4000 Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, 111. 1904, p.16.
tags: aghori / amarnath / arya-samaj / barat / conditions-of-fasting / darshan / dayanad / declaration-of-faith / fasting-in-islam / hatha-yoga / hindi / hindu-gods / hnduism / india / indian / karvachauth / kumbhmela / lakshmi / lekhram / prayer / puja / requirements-of-fasting / rulings-of-fasting / sadhu / salah / sarasvati / sawm / self-control / shivling / siyam / tapasya / taqwa / tirath / upvaas / upwas / varanasi / varat / worship / yatra / yoga /
title: Sexuality in Islam and Hinduism (1/4),
By Editorial Staff
The subject of sexuality is an interesting religious, philosophical and social issue. Our site always tries to explore and introduce some new aspects of similarities and differences between Hinduism and Islam. This article tackles many issues such as: permissible sex, prohibited sex, marriage, polygamy, sexual intercourse during the menstruation and puerperal bleeding, definition of adultery in Hinduism and Islam, forbidden ways of sex with wife, etc. This will be presented in the light of sacred texts in Islam and Hinduism. We hope that these lines will be useful for Muslims interested in the study of Hinduism and Hindus interested in the study of Islam and for the lovers of philosophy, religion and culture in general.
Sexual Instinct in Animal Kingdom
Sex is a common instinct between human beings and animals. According to the general observation, majority of the animal kingdom is based on the system of reproduction for its offspring through sexual activity. Some of them are based on the natural system of pregnancy and begetting system like; cow, goat and sheep. However, bats are birds but they are amongst the mammals not amphibians. Furthermore, the system of reproduction in some animals is based on the natural system of egg and chicken. Perhaps, most of the animals feel pleasure and happiness when they have sex and both, male and female, are driven by their natural instinct to meet. However, some animals do not accept more than one in its female partner in one time like the lion. Many of them accept more than one in its partner, like pigs.
Sexual Difference between Human beings and Animals
Animals in general do not tend to abnormal sex methods such as homosexuality and other forms of sexual activity. In fact, purposely abnormal or unnatural sex is rare in animal kingdom, or naturally they are not interested in abnormal sex. In most cases, the animals are motivated for sex in definite periods or specific seasons for breeding or reproduction and one male can have sex with many female animals of its kind irrespective of its mother or daughter as can be seen in the species of goat, cow, horse, etc. Most animals do not have sex only for sex; rather, they have sex in the natural seasons for reproduction. However, human beings are the only known creature whom Allah the Almighty has given absolute will for good and evil; including sexual activities. On the other hand, the angels were created on the nature of obedience for Allah the Almighty and they are free from lusts, hunger, thirst and other natural needs according to Islamic belief.
Adam and (Eve) Hawwa’ or the First Human Beings
In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Adam and Hawwa’ (Eve) are the first human beings who were created by the power of Allah the Almighty without prior example. Adam was created from clay and after that Hawwa’ was created from one of the ribs of Adam according to one opinion in Islam. Another opinion is that Hawwa’ was not created from the ribs of Adam; rather, she was created separately and independently like Adam (peace be upon him). And both of them were attracted to each other and exercised sexual intercourse and the human generation began spreading on the globe. The story of Adam and Hawwa’ was mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah.
Ancient Marriage System and Abel and Cain
The tradition of marriage during the dawn of human history was different from the marriage system now. It has been stated in Islamic sources that Eve, the first woman on the earth, gave birth in every pregnancy twin; male and female. It was the law of that period that the male of one pregnancy married the female of another pregnancy. It was prohibited to marry the female of same pregnancy. In other words, the male twin was not allowed to marry his own female twin but the twin of another birth. Abel and Cain were sons of the first man on this earth and the first Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Cain was born with a beautiful twin sister, and Abel was born with a twin sister less in beauty. So Cain was not happy to marry the twin of Abel and wanted to marry his own twin sister. The story ended on the murder of Abel at the hand of his brother Cain. For more detail, the books of interpretation and translations of the meanings of the Quran in English with comments can be referred. (Al-Ma’idah 5:27)
Is Sexual Instinct Good or Bad?
The sexual instinct according to Islam is not good or evil in itself, but its goodness or evilness lies in its use. We can liken it to a knife which is not good or evil in itself, but both qualities lie in the usages. If a fruit is cut with the knife to eat, then no doubt that it is a good thing and there is no objection for this use. But if the knife is used to kill an innocent, then it is surely an evil. If you defended yourself with the knife against an enemy or predatory animal, then it is also good and beneficial and there is no blame in using the knife for this or for similar good purposes. The instinct of sex and lust is like the knife. If a person uses sexual power to satisfy the sexual thirst of his wife and to please her or to get a good offspring through a legitimate marriage, then it is good. This kind of good deeds deserves human reward before a reward from God as well as he gets good reputation among the people. Such righteous person will be recognized by his good character and nice behavior regardless of his faith and belief. But if a person uses the instinct of sex in the forbidden intercourse, illicit sex, rape, adultery, molestation, or in abnormal sexual activities, this undoubtedly is a bad use of this instinct. Such actions cause social destruction and create an atmosphere of enmity between individuals and families leading to anger of Allah the Almighty. Such persons are regarded as mean and ugly and deserve bad reputation from the people before the anger of Allah the Almighty. These facts about the sexuality are evident and intuitive in most of the world’s human societies; in India, China, the Arabs, non-Arabs, the East, the West, Islamic, non-Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Jain or other communities. Because there are some religious facts those are general human truths, such as goodness of honesty and truthfulness and the ugliness of lying and deceit. And the same is in the case of adultery and illegitimate sexual intercourse. These facts are obvious, clear and plain and they are ingrained in the nature of the people.
Marriage: A Legal Bond for the Legitimate Sex
In most religions in the world, including Hinduism and Islam, marriage is a sacred contract and a true path to the legitimate sexual intercourse between man and woman. Marriage issues are mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith in detail. Through the marriage agreement each spouse is allowed to enjoy other’s body freely, weather with the intention of offspring or only for enjoyment. This subject has been dealt with in the Glorious Qur’an and the Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in clear words. Allah the Almighty says in the description of marriage bond between spouses: “It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
Why Are the Spouses Described as Dress in Qur’an?
In the above-mentioned verse, the description of dress is a metaphor for the spouse because both of them protect and cover each other from any sort of harm and abomination, as the dress protects the body from the heat and cold and covers the private parts from being exposed to others. The style of expression in the Glorious Quran for this meaning has a high level of figurative method and a lofty genre of simile. Because sex, intercourse or lusts are words a normal man and woman feels ashamed when pronouncing them. Therefore, the words of the Glorious Qur’an are very nice, when described that intimate relationship in a pleasant and metaphor that suites to high taste. Furthermore, Allah the Almighty says: Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish and put forth [righteousness] for yourselves. And fear Allah and know that you will meet Him. And give good tidings to the believers. (Al-Baqarah 2:223) According to Islam, the spouses are allowed to enjoy each other sexually and there is objection in that. Regarding the carnal desire, the husband and wife have to avoid what has been declared forbidden in the Qur’an or in the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) such as sexual intercourse in wife’s back (or anal), which is a major sin in Islam, and sexual intercourse in wife’s vagina during her bleeding whether menstruation or after child birth. Allah the Almighty says: And they ask you about menstruation. Say, “It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. (Al-Baqarah 2:222) Except the above-mentioned prohibited forms of sexuality, the wife and the husband have full freedom to enjoy each other in the framework of approval and not harming any party.
To be continued……
tags: arsa-vivaha / asura-vivaha / brahma-vivaha / daiva-vivaha / divorce / divorcee / dress-code / equality-of-woman / equity / gandharva-vivahaa / hijab / hindu-widows / hinduism / islam / islamic-law / modesty / niyog / oppression / paisacha-vivaha / parvati / polygamy / prjapatya-vivaha / rakshasa-vivahaa / sati / second-marriage / sexuality / shariah / true-religion-of-islam / veil / woman-rights-in-islam / woman-status-in-islam /
title: Hindu Yoga and the Five Prayers in Islam (1/3),
By: Editorial staff
I would like to talk in this article about an important topic which is the subject of yoga. There is no doubt that India has presented to mankind several philosophies, thoughts and cultures over long times. India is characterized with distinct ideas in many intellectual and philosophical aspects. However, when we examine Hindu faith and worship system or religious aspects, we find many strange and extraordinary issues.
In addition, Yoga system is one of the most famous Hindu philosophies that have been used as an instrument for spiritual enhancement and strength. Yoga has become these days a common physical exercise practiced by many people in the East and West even in the Arab and Islamic world.
This article will talk about yoga basically in the light of what was written by Hindu experts of yoga that will include its definition, its divisions and the purposes for which it was invented, then a comparison would be made between yoga and the five prayers in Islam which are obligatory on every adult Muslims, men and women.The differences between both spiritual systems would be highlighted in an objective manner.
There are a lot of talks about the health benefits of yoga and people are attracted to the practice of Yoga in the Islamic and Arab world.
Openness of Islamic Culture
It should be noted that Islam has never been hostile to any culture or religion in, rather, Islam welcomed and still welcomes every good and beneficial factor regardless of cultural, religious or ethnic affiliations. The Islamic history is a witness for this claim. Islam has embraced Greek philosophy and thoughts and Arabic language extended its arms to receive the philosophical terminology of different disciplines. Also Muslim scholars followed the Arabic proverb that says: “Take what is pure and leave aside what is dirty.”
The Sanskrit Word of Yoga
Furthermore, Yoga literally means “union”, union between subject and object. According to Yoga experts, knowledge takes place through this union. There must always be some point of contact. We cannot know the truth from a distance. We may make a mental picture of it, but it cannot be exact. For precise knowledge there must be contact and this contact is Yoga.(1)
Definition of Yoga
Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
BREWER’S DICTIONARY says about Yoga:
“Yoga is a practice of Hindu philosophy seeking to unite the human soul with the Universal Spirit by concentrating the mind on some eternal truth and withdrawing the physical senses from external objects. Experts in yoga are able to hold their breath for protracted periods and do other things in apparent contravention of natural requirements.”(2)
We note here that Yoga is not only a physical exercise for physical health as is propagated and thought by many people interested in Hindu culture; rather, it is a spiritual exercise that intends to transfer a person from this physical world to a spiritual state in order to realize the unseen world.
A Hindu Yoga expert Swami, Paramananda(1884-1940) says in this regard:
“When people out of spiritual yearning want to prove the deeper facts of existence, Yoga offers them certain methods by which the revelation of these facts can be gained.”(3)
What is Hatha Yoga?
The science of Yoga is divided into several branches. Among the best known and leading divisions are (1) Hatha Yoga; (2) Raja Yoga; (3) Karma Yoga; (4)Gnani Yoga.(4)
Hatha Yoga is that branch of the Yoga Philosophy which deals with the physical body—its care—its wellbeing— its health—its strength—and all that tends to keep it in its natural and normal state of health.(5)
However, the yoga widely known in the west is based on Hatha yoga, which forms one aspect of the ancient Hindu system of religious and ascetic observance, the highest form of which is Raja Yoga and the ultimate aim of which is spiritual purification and self-understanding leading to Samadhi or union with the divine.(6)
Practices of Yoga are directed along three distinct lines, physical, mental and spiritual. The first step deals with that which is most immediate to us—our body. This special branch is known in India as Hatha-Yoga. Its chief aim is to establish a healthy balanced condition in the body through physical exercises, postures and by regulating the functions of the breath.(7)
It is a misconception that Yoga is an exercise, a way for us to keep fit. It is partly true, but if you think that Yoga is just that then you are greatly mistaken. Yoga develops the body since a weak one is a hindrance to spiritual growth. It does not simply focus on the physical but on the mental and spiritual aspects as well.(8)
We imagine that we are born with certain tendencies and that these compel us to act in a certain way; but a Hatha Yogi—one who has attained absolute mastery over his body—claims that this is a mistake, that we have hypnotized ourselves into this negative thought, that there is no reason why we should follow blindly all our physical instincts.(9)
That is why we find many Hindu Yogis undergo many types of tough and abnormal spiritual exercises intending union with unseen world. In fact, the metaphysical world is not limited to Allah and His attributes or angels; rather, there are other unseen entities such as jinn, devil, Satan, and other bad spirits. And Satan is an avowed enemy of man, who always wants to lead him astray and throw him in sinful acts and abnormal worships while the Yogi thinks that he got a union with Ishvar though his union was in fact with the devil and this is a real evil for him and his followers who love him.
Jnana Yoga (ज्ञान योग)
Amongst the various kinds of yoga, there is a yoga called Jnana Yoga that implies the yoga, or method of realizing the divine nature through wisdom (Jnana). Wisdom is not knowledge in its ordinary sense, although it includes it. It is that higher knowledge which is self-illumination. This is equally the goal of every yoga, or method, the difference lying only in the path chosen for reaching that goal.(10)
It should be noted that wisdom is the intended goal for which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was appointed as a messenger and was sent to the people. The Glorious Qur’an has mentioned this subject in more than one place. Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
“Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them.”(Al-Baqarah2:129)
This verse specifies that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teaches the sacred Book Glorious Qur’an and Wisdom and purifies them. While we find Hindu yogis are not interested in intellectual and physical purity, rather, they regard the dirtiness a sort of nearness to Ishvar.
(1) Swami, Paramananda, Science and Practice of Yoga, La Crescenta, Calif., Ananda-Ashrama; Boston, Mass., Vedanta Centre1918, p.3.
(2) Brewer’s Dictionaryof Phrase& Fable, New Yorkharper & Brothers Publishers p.974.
(3) Swami, Paramananda, Science and Practice of Yoga, La Crescenta, Calif., Ananda-Ashrama; Boston, Mass., Vedanta Centre1918, p.3.
(4) See: Hatha Yoga OR THE YOGI PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICAL WELL-BEING WITH NUMEROUS EXERCISES,YOGI RAMACHARAKA, YOGI PUBLICATION SOCIETY, Chicago, 111. 1904, p.8.
(6) See: Elizabeth Knowles, The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,2005, p.779.
(7) Swami, Paramananda, Science and Practice of Yoga, “La Crescenta, Calif., Ananda-Ashrama; Boston, Mass., Vedanta Centre 1918, p.4.
(8) http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/whatisyoga.asp (Last accessed on 3-2-2015).
(9)Swami, Paramananda, Science and Practice of Yoga, “La Crescenta, Calif., Ananda-Ashrama; Boston, Mass., Vedanta centre1918, p.4-5.
(10) SWAMI VIVEKANANDA, VEDANTA PHILOSOPHY, LECTURES ON JNANA YOGA1899, p.7
tags: aghori / amarnath / aryasamaj / barat / conditions-of-fasting / darshan / dayanad / declaration-of-faith / fasting-in-islam / hatha-yoga / hindi / hindu-gods / hnduism / india / indian / karvachauth / kumbhmela / lakshmi / lekhram / prayer / puja / requirements-of-fasting / rulings-of-fasting / sadhu / salah / sarasvati / sawm / self-control / shivling / siyam / tapasya / taqwa / tirath / upvaas / upwas / varanasi / varat / worship / yatra / yoga /
title: Funeral in Islam and Hinduism (3/3),
Burial and Environment
In the previous parts of this article, Part 1 and Part 2 on funeral rituals, advantages of the burial and disadvantages of burning the dead body were mentioned briefly. Now, we would like to quote here some modern non-Muslim experts in the field of disposal of the dead bodies who are keen and eager to preserve the environment from pollution.
Some of those experts suggested that the dead body should be placed in a large jar filled with sand, soil and water, and then a plant or seed should be planted on the mouth of the jar so that the roots of the tree can absorb the remains of the body and can convert them into food for trees.
Thus, people can choose what tree or plant they want to be after they die. It is noteworthy that most Muslim graveyards are located in the open fields outside the city and the graveyards are full of trees, grasses and other natural plants that absorb through their roots the toxins of the decaying body in the grave and converts them into oxygen.
Modern Science Supports the Burial Method
This Italian method (The Capsula Mundi project) of burial has been invented and developed in Italy. The method is similar to burial on Islamic way as it appears clearly from the pictures.
This is an idea captured perfectly by this beautiful new burial method developed in Italy. The Capsula Mundi project by designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel has developed an organic, biodegradable burial capsule that will turn the deceased’s body into nutrients for a tree that will grow out of their remains.1
After being encapsulated in the fetal position, the deceased is buried and either a tree or tree seed is planted above their capsule. The project’s site already has a number of trees to choose from.2
Thus, the burial ground turns into more fertile land and the Muslim graveyards become a green territory that produces fresh air.
Burial is pretty much the standard way that most humans have been burying each other since a long period. As the body decomposes, it can release nutrients to the soil.3
This is the opinion of experts regarding burial who concluded that the burial method is suitable for the environment and nature. The difference between burial in the Islamic tradition and the Italian one is that they place the dead body on sitting position in a large jar; however, Muslims put the dead body lying down straight on the back in a grave.
There is no doubt that the dead body in a cooked earthen jar will take time longer for decomposition than the period of decomposition in natural earthen grave.
Mushroom food from the dead body
In order to expedite your body’s decomposition, you may want to invest in the Infinity Burial Suit. The death suit has mushroom spores embroidered into the fabric. An alternative embalming fluid is used after death, which helps facilitate mushroom growth. Not only does this have the benefits of biodegradable coffins, but it actually takes it a step further by purifying the soil from the toxins already in your body. As the body decomposes, the mushrooms take up the preservatives, mercury, lead, and other toxins that have accumulated over a lifetime. Those toxins then become fixed in the mushroom and are not left to pollute the soil. In 2011, the suit’s inventor Jae Rhim Lee gave a TED Talk and explained the suit in detail.4
Islamic ruling on re-usage of the old graves
It is important to note here that Islam permits reuse of old graves for the new burials specially when the previous body has disintegrated and turned into dust after a long period of its burial. This is an important ruling in this regard that was stated by many Muslim jurists in their books.
The Famous Hanafi jurist Az-Zayla`i (may Allah have mercy on him) says: “When the dead body becomes ragged and turns into dust; then it is permissible to bury another dead body in that grave and it is also permissible to cultivate and grow plants and build on it, and all types of utilizations are permissible.”5
A legal ruling was issued by the Fatwa Centre, Jordan on the issue of re-use of an old graveyard in (`Ain Jana). The Fatwa says: “The graveyard (mentioned in the question) is old, and no one was buried in it since 1933. So there is no problem according to the Islamic Shari`ah in using the graveyard again, to bury the new dead bodies if the remaining bones of the previous one were treated with respect and honor and were put in an appropriate place and the remnant should be put at the end of the grave at sides of the grave.”
Modern science has discovered that the period of decomposition of the body is one year, but the bones need a longer period for the decadence.
A study on the issue of reuse of the old Muslim graveyard for new burials recommended the following:
1- It is the duty of the state to secure and provide appropriate land for the burial.
2- The state has to pass laws preventing people from building on the graves so they can be used for burial for second and third times.
3- The state should grow trees and plants on the graveyards.
The problem of the graveyards in the cities
During the preparation of this research, I came to read a study carried out by the BBC on the problem of burial in Greece. The study shows that the disposal of human dead bodies is a big problem in this country.
“Cemeteries in Greek cities are so overcrowded that bodies are often only kept in the ground for three years. Then families have to pay for exhumation – and for the bones to be kept in a building known as an ossuary. But many cannot afford to pay even for this limited degree of dignity in death.”6
I think that such problems commonly emerge from the negligence and mismanagement by the body in charge. The issue is not the issue of burial or cremation. Many countries have numerous problems in traffic, sewage, birth and child, diseases, patients, hospitals. Many of these problems are due to poor management and negligence in public services. This does not mean that birth itself is an abnormal phenomenon, or illness and treatment are contradictory to the human nature. In fact, the problem of burying the dead bodies in some countries is a result of carelessness and mismanagement by the government. It is the duty of the city administration to organize the graveyards by allocating new lands out of the city limits due to the expansion of the population and the spread of urbanization.
The Hindu cremation results in many serious disadvantages on the environment and causes pollution of air. Also, burning a dead body needs a large amount of wood that leads to cutting forests and trees that contributes to air pollution. Also, the Hindu way of burning is an expensive one and unaffordable for the poor people, contrary to the way of Islamic burial that is cheap and best.
The city Varanasi is on the banks of the Ganges River, which is holy to the Hindus. According to the Hindu religion, it recommended to burn the dead body in the fire which is called Mukti “Salvation”. Both Varanasi city and the River Ganges are sacred in Hinduism. Therefore, they try to get the body burned there on the bank of the river.
That is why a complete facility for the burning of dead bodies has been made available in Varanasi on the bank of the river. There are many open crematoriums prepared for this purpose. Cremation ghat’s fire is lit ceaselessly over the whole year. An average of 300 dead bodies are burnt every day.
Hindus believe that if a person dies in Varanasi is rewarded paradise and salvaged from Hellfire. Therefore, several guardians bring their beloved ones who are close to the death hoping their death in Varanasi in order to achieve salvation.7
The method of burning the dead body adopted by the Hindus leads to many evils; we will mention here some of them briefly:
1- Burning a dead body is contrary to the dignity of human being.
2- The tradition of burning the dead body sometimes causes to leave half-burned dead bodies naked on the banks of the rivers, whether the deceased is a male or female.
3-Burning the dead body hurts people with its bad smell and smoke emanating from the corpse fire.
4-Burning the dead body causes pollution of water across the rivers in India.
5-Burning the dead body results in polluting the environment and the air through its smoke and smell.
6- Burning the dead body is too expensive for the poor Hindus because people need a large quantity of wood, moreover, some rich people prefer sandalwood for their cremation that is very expensive, while many poor people do not get a morsel of food.
7-Burning the dead body and throwing the ashes into the rivers abolish the chances of investigation in the case of crime and closes the door of inquiry if there was a felony connected with the dead body but if it was burned or was thrown into the water the chance of inquiry has missed forever. On the contrary, the burial is free from this problem and many investigations were carried out on the dead bodies buried in the graves.
8-Burning the dead body causes poisoning the fish in the rivers due to eating the human bodies.
9-In some cases, Hindus also bury their dead, such as unmarried woman, infants and Sanyasis (celibate).
10-Hindu scriptures never said that burning the dead is more environment-friendly; rather they say that fire librates the soul. But Hindu brothers began claiming that burning the dead body is a good method for disposing the dead body.
This article does not intend to invite Hindus to bury their dead as Muslims do but the intention is to uncover the truth about something important regarding the environment.
As India tried reviving the river once before, and failed. The 1985 Ganges Action Plan cost $250 million over 20 years and succeeded in treating only 35 percent.8
(1) http://www.boredpanda.com/biodegradable-burial-pod-memory-forest-capsula-mundi/ (Last accessed on 26/12/2015)
(3) http://www.iflscience.com/environment/what-do-when-youre-dead-science-edition(Last accessed on 26/12/2015).
(4) Badruddin Al-`Ayni, Al-Binyah Sharh Al-Hidayah, Dar Al-Kutub Al-`Ilmiyyah, Beirut 2000, vol.3, p. 252.
(5) http://latest755.rssing.com/chan-14774636/all_p40.html(Last accessed on 26/12/2015).
(6) http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34920068 (Last accessed on 26/12/2015).
(7) http://www.trt.net.tr/urdu/جنوبی-ایشیا/2015/10/01/ہ-342878 (Last accessed on 26/12/2015).
(8) http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/ganges-cleanup-will-cost-tens-of-billions-of-dollars-but-is-a-great-idea/?_r=0 (Last accessed on 26/12/2015).
tags: afterlife / arya-samaj / banaras / bhag / bhoot / bhut / day-of-judgment / dayanad / death / grave / hereafter / hindu / hindu-gods / hindu-scriptures / hinduism / idolatry / karma / kumbh-maila / lakshmi / lekhram / messengers / prophethood / re-birth / reincarnation / renaissance / resurrection / samsara / sarasvati / soul / spirit / transmigration-of-the-souls / varanasi /
title: The Hereafter in Hinduism,
By Dr Zakir Naik
First: The Concept of Rebirth in Hinduism
Most of the Hindus believe in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, which is called ‘Samsara’. ‘Samsara’ or the doctrine of rebirth is also known as the theory of reincarnation or of transmigration of the soul. This doctrine is considered to be a basic tenet of Hinduism. According to doctrine of rebirth, differences between individuals, even at the time of their birth, are due to their past karma i.e. actions done in the past birth. For example, if one child is born healthy while another is handicapped or blind, the differences are attributed to their deeds in their previous lives. Those who believe in this theory understand that since all actions may not bear fruit in this life, but there has to be another life for facing or reaping the consequences of one’s actions.
It was mentioned in the Bhagvad Gita: “As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless.” (Bhagvad Gita 2:22)
The Doctrine of Re-birth is also described in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:
“As a Caterpillar which has wriggled to the top of a blade of grass draws itself over to a new blade, so does the soul, after it has put aside its body draws itself over to a new existence.” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4:4:3)
Second: Karma – The law of Cause and Effect
Karma means act, deed, action or activity and refers not only to action undertaken by the body but also to those undertaken by the mind. Karma is actually action and reaction or the law of cause and effect. It is explained by the saying: “As we sow, so shall we reap”. A farmer cannot sow wheat and expect rice to grow. Similarly, every good thought, word or deed begets a similar reaction which affects our next life, and every unkind thought, harsh word and evil deed comes back to harm us in this life or in the next life.
Third: Dharma – Righteous Duties
Dharma refers to what are the rights or righteous duties. This includes what is right for the individual, family, the class or caste and also for the universe itself. In order to achieve good karma, life should be led according to Dharma; otherwise it will result in bad karma. Dharma affects both, the present life and the future as well.
Fourth: Moksha – Liberation from the Cycle of Rebirth
Moksha means liberation from the cycle of rebirth or of ‘Samsara’. The ultimate aim of every Hindu is that one day the cycle of rebirth will be over and he will not have to be reborn again. This can only happen if there is no karma to cause an individual to be reborn i.e. it looses its good and bad karma.
Fifth: Rebirth Is Not Mentioned in the Vedas
The important point worth noting is that the doctrine of rebirth is not postulated, propounded or even mentioned anywhere in what is considered to be the most authentic Hindu scriptures i.e. the Vedas. The Vedas make no mention of the entire concept of transmigration of souls.
Sixth: Punarjanam Means Life after Death
The Common word used for the doctrine of rebirth is ‘Punarjanam’. In Sanskrit ‘Punar’ or ‘Puna’, means, ’next time’ or ‘again’ and ‘Janam’ means ‘life’. Therefore, ‘Punarjanam’ means ‘next life’ or ‘the life hereafter’. It does not mean coming to life on earth again and again as a living creature.
If one reads many of the references to Punarjanam in Hindu Scriptures besides the Vedas, keeping the life in the hereafter in mind, one gets the concept of the next life but not of rebirths or of life again and again. This is true for several quotations of the Bhagvad Gita and Upanishad which speak of Punarjanam.
This concept of repeated births or of cycle of rebirth was developed after the Vedic period. This doctrine was added by Hindu priests in subsequent Hindu scriptures including the Upanishad, Bhagvad Gita and the Puranas in a conscious attempt to rationalize and explain the differences between different individuals at birth and the different circumstances in which people find themselves in, with the concept that Almighty God is not unjust. As far as God is not unjust, the inequalities and differences between people are due to their deeds in their past lives.
Islam has a rational answer to this which we shall discuss in an independent article.
Seventh: Life after Death in the Vedas
There is reference to life after death in the Vedas. It is mentioned in Rig Veda, “The unborn portion, burn that, AGNI, with thy heat; let thy flame, thy splendor, consume it; with those glorious members which thou hast given him, JATAVEDAS, bear him to the world (of the virtuous).” (Book no. 10, Hymn no. 16 verse no. 4.)
The Sanskrit word ‘Sukritam u Lokam’ means ‘the word of the virtuous or region of the pious, referring to the hereafter.’ The next verse in Rig Veda, Book 10, hymn 16, verse 5 says: “… Putting on (Celestial) life, let the remains (of bodily like) depart: let him, JATAVEDAS be associated with a body.” (Rig Veda 10:16:5)
This verse too refers to a second life i.e. life after death.
Eighth: Paradise – Swarga in the Vedas
‘Swarg’ i.e. Paradise, is described in several places in the Vedas including Atharva Veda that says: “May all these streams of butter, with their banks of honey, flowing with distilled water and milk and curds and water reach thee in domestic life enhancing thy pleasure. May thou acquire completely these things strengthening the soul in diverse ways.” (Book 4, hymn 34, Verse 6, (Devi Chand)
Furthermore, Atharva Veda says: “Having pools of clarified butter, stocks of sweet honey, and having exhilarating drinks for water, full of milk and curds, may all these streams flow to us in the world of happiness swelling sweetly. May our lakes full of lotuses be situated near us”. (Atharva Veda, Book 4, hymn 34, verse 6, Veda Pra.)
Also Atharava Veda mentions:
“O both of you! start to accomplish it. Make determined effort to accomplish it. Those having unflinching faith attain this abode of happiness. Whatever ripe offerings you have made in fire of sacrifice, may both; the husband and wife, stand united to guard them with care.” (Atharva Veda 6:122:5)
On the other hand, Rig Veda says: “O Aila, the loud-sounding clouds, these divines say to you, since you are indeed subject to death, let your progeny propitiate your revered cosmic forces with oblations, then alone you shall rejoice (with me) in heaven.” (Rig Veda 10:95:18)
Ninth: Hell – ‘Nark’ in Vedas
‘Nark’ or ‘Hell’ is also described in the Vedas and the Sanskrit word used is ‘Narakasthanam’.
It is also mentioned in Rigveda:
“May the bounteous fire divine, consume them with his fiercely glowing sharp jaws like flames, who disregard the commandments and steadfast laws of most venerable and sagacious Lord.” (Rigveda 4:5:4)
These references show that the ancient Hinduism had a concept of hereafter similar to the Islamic faith about the Day of Judgment. However, the original thought was misunderstood, misinterpreted and distorted during the later periods.
Source: Taken from www.islamandhinduism.com with modifications.
tags: afterlife / arya-samaj / banaras / bhag / bhoot / bhut / day-of-judgment / dayanad / death / grave / hereafter / hindu / hindu-scriptures / hinduism / idolatry / karma / kumbh-maila / lakshmi / lekhram / messengers / prophethood / re-birth / renaissance / resurrection / samsara / sarasvati / soul / spirit / statues-hindu-gods / transmigration-of-souls / varanasi /
title: Hereafter in Islam,
By: Shahul Hameed
All religions speak of two levels of existence. One is that of this phenomenal world, which we recognize with the five senses of our body. The other is that of the transcendent world, where we are believed to exist as a spirit.
In this world, we have both the body and the spirit. The body is measurable or quantifiable, whereas the spirit is abstract and incommensurable. Only measurable entities can be subjected to scientific studies; and only those entities that are subject to some form of scientific scrutiny or observation by qualified persons can be “proved” (in the scientific sense) to exist.
The ‘Hereafter’ which belongs to the metaphysical world cannot be subjected to any scientific study, as the methods or tools of science are not suited to study non-material, spiritual, transcendental entities.
But when people speak of the “proof” for the existence of the Hereafter, they usually mean rational or logical proof; and such proofs can be presented for the existence of the Hereafter.
In fact, the Glorious Qur’an makes a very simple but effective appeal to our everyday experience to convince us of the existence of the Hereafter. He (Glory be to Him) says:
It is Allah Who sends forth the Winds, so that they raise up the clouds, and We drive them to a land that is dead, and revive the earth therewith after its death: even so [will be] the Resurrection! (Fatir 35:9)
As He (exalted be He) sends forth rain that revives dead earth, He will bring back to life the dead bones too. That is, if Allah can revive dead earth, He can revive dead bones too.
And note how rationally Almighty Allah in the Glorious Qur’an handles the question:
And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) Creation: he says, ‘Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?’ Say, ‘He will give them life Who created them for the first time! For He fully knows all! – The same Who produces for you fire out of the green tree, when behold! ye kindle therewith (your own fires)! Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?’ – Yea, indeed! for He is the Creator Supreme, of skill and knowledge (infinite)! (Yasin 36:78-81)
Throughout history, all the Prophets of Allah (peace be upon them all) had been calling people to believe in life after death. Their great confidence in handling this metaphysical question, even when they were greatly opposed by their people on this very same issue, points to that the source of this belief was Allah Himself.
Indeed, the necessity of life after death ought to be evident to the moral consciousness of man. Without an afterlife, the very belief in Allah becomes, one may say, irrelevant.
Surely, there will be a Day of Judgment, when Allah will raise all the dead. On that day, the whole universe will be destroyed and then again the dead will be resurrected to stand before Allah.
That day will be the beginning of the never-ending life in the other world, when every person will be rewarded according to his or her deeds. Almighty Allah says,
The Unbelievers say, ‘Never to us will come the Hour’: Say, ‘Nay! but most surely, by my Lord, it will come upon you;— by Him Who knows the unseen,— from Whom is not hidden the least little atom in the heavens or on earth: nor is there anything less than that, or greater, but is in the Record Perspicuous: That He may reward those who believe and work deeds of righteousness: for such is Forgiveness and a Sustenance Most Generous.’ But those who strive against Our Signs, to frustrate them,- for such will be a Chastisement,- of painful wrath. (Saba’ 34:3-5)
The belief in the Hereafter is a great incentive for people to be responsible and dutiful in their activities.
The people of pre-Islamic Arabia who didn’t believe in the Hereafter used to indulge freely in gambling, drinking, plundering and murdering. But soon after they accepted the belief in the One God and life after death, they became the most disciplined nation of the world. They gave up their vices, helped each other in hours of need, and settled all their disputes on the basis of justice and equality.
Similarly the denial of life after death also brings its inevitable results in this world. When a whole society denies it, all kinds of evils and corruptions become rampant in that society, until eventually it is destroyed.
The Qur’an mentions the terrible calamity of the end of times:
Then, when one blast is sounded on the Trumpet, And the earth is moved, and its mountains, and they are crushed at one stroke,— On that Day shall the (Great) Event come to pass. * And the sky will be rent asunder, for it will that Day be flimsy, And the angels will be on its sides, and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them. * That Day shall ye be brought to Judgment: not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden. * Then he that will be given his Record in his right hand will say: ‘Ah here! Read ye my Record! I did really think that my Account would (One Day) reach me!’ * He will be in a life of Bliss, in a Garden on high, the Fruits whereof (will hang in bunches) low and near. Eat ye and drink ye, with full satisfaction; because of the (good) that ye sent before you, in the days that are gone! * And he that will be given his Record in his left hand, will say: ‘Ah! Would that my Record had not been given to me! And that I had never realized how my account (stood)! Ah! Would that (Death) had made an end of me! Of no profit to me has been my wealth! My power has perished from me!’… * (The stern command will say): ‘Seize ye him, and bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, insert him in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This was he that would not believe in Allah the Most High. And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! * So no friend hath he here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the foul pus from the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin.’ (Al-Ha’qqah 69:13-39)
These indeed are all very strong reasons urging us to believe in life after death.
Source: Taken from www.onislam.net with modifications.
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title: Islam: A Divine Blessing for Hindu Girls,
By Aisha Stacey
This article deals with the issue of girls or female in both religions: Hinduism and Islam.
Hinduism(1) is the third largest religion in the world, with more than 950 million adherents. Although Hindus live predominantly in India and Nepal, they are scattered throughout the world. In some ways Hinduism and Islam can be thought of as polar opposites. Two of the most basic beliefs of Hinduism conflict completely with the most basic beliefs of Islam. In Islam worship is for One God, Muslims do not worship idols, statues or representations of God. Hindus, on the other hand worship many gods and deities.(For more information on this subject, please, click here.)
Muslims believe that we each have one life, upon which we will be judged and rewarded or punished accordingly, whereas Hindus believe in reincarnation, the process of rebirth and the transmigration of souls. In this article we will talk about the status of women in Hinduism and compare it with the teachings of Islam.(For more information on this subject, please, click here.)
Women in India suffer from a wide range of social injustices and the status of women is usually discussed on a nationwide basis. However it is important to note that more than 80% of Indians are Hindu and the majority of negative behaviors towards women can be attributed to Hindu practices. Indian women rank high in worldwide statistics on prostitution, the murder, neglect and abuse of young girls, the number of women sold into slavery, as victims of AIDS, and living below the poverty line.
Infanticide, the killing of a child soon after birth, has been prevalent in India for centuries. In 1834 it was reported that, “in some villages, no girl babies were found at all; in a total of thirty others, there were 343 boys to 54 girls.” One hundred and fifty years later the killing of girl babies has been streamlined. In a 2007 article, Reuters reported on the high level of female feticide (the practice of aborting female fetuses) in India. According to UNICEF, ‘A report from Bombay in 1984 on abortions after prenatal sex determination stated that 7,999 out of 8,000 of the aborted fetuses were female.
Reuters also reports that “Around 10 million girls have been killed by their parents over the last 20 years. Female infanticide and feticide, although illegal, are still prevalent with boys preferred to girls.” A 2006 government survey found that 45 percent of girls were married before the legal marriageable age of 18. India’s adult female literacy rate in 2004 was 47.8%, compared to the adult male rate of 73.4%. What is it about Hinduism that allows such blatant discrimination against an entire gender?
Some argue that the Hindu scriptures allow such practices. An obsession with sons stems from the age of Atharva Veda when it was written “Let a female child be born somewhere else. Here let a son be born.” However Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, although this appears to not make a great deal of sense, it does, in the sense that Hinduism is a mixture of religious and cultural practices. The Hindu religion calls for rituals to be conducted in honor of women yet at the same time, women are denied any form of last rights at death or a fair share in family inheritance. In a letter to an Indian newspaper in 2002 one woman tried to explain the increase in feticide.
In India marrying a girl off is very expensive and the boy children bring home a bride and a dowry. Also Hindu law requires that only a SON may light the funeral pyre of their mother and father. We all know it is very costly to marry off a girl whereas the marriage of a son brings back whatever has been spent on him since his birth. This is a fact and unless this is addressed to, female feticide cannot be stopped.
Baby boys are desired, whereas, girl babies are despised. In the Arabian Peninsula before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam, baby girls were buried alive. This was an ignorant practice and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated unreservedly that female children are a blessing and that raising them to be righteous believers is a source of great reward. In the Glorious Qur’an, Allah the Almighty declares those who despise daughters as evil.
And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide. (An-Nahl 16:58-59)
The traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) show very clearly that raising girls is a source of pleasure both in this life and in the Hereafter. His beloved wife `Aa’ishah relates stories that demonstrate the desirability of female babies.
A lady along with her two daughters came to me (`Aa’ishah) asking for some alms, but she found nothing with me except one date which I gave to her and she divided it between her two daughters, and did not eat anything herself, and then she got up and went away. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) came in and I informed him about this story. He said: “Whoever raises daughters and treats them generously (with benevolence) then these daughters will act as a shield from Hell-Fire for them.”(Al-Bukhari).
“Whenever a child was born among them, `Aa’ishah would not ask if it was a boy or a girl. Instead she would ask: ‘Is the child healthy (and without defect)?’ If she was told: ‘Yes,’ she would say: ‘All praise is for Allah, Lord of All the Worlds.’”
A common social ailment amongst the Hindus is the practice of the bride’s family paying a dowry to her new husband’s family. Although this practice was formerly outlawed in 1961, it is still pervasive.
Due to the difficulties and hardships that dowries cause and the humiliations and dishonor inflicts a girl, Islam has no such custom or requirement. Instead, Islam has what is known as the mahr. It is a gift of money, possessions or property made by the husband to the wife, which becomes her exclusive property. It is an admission of her independence, and is intended to show the husband’s willing acceptance of bearing all the necessary expenses of his wife.
As you can see from two examples, the status of women in Islam is very different to the status of women in Hinduism. While one religion, Hinduism, claims to honor women, it is up to the secular Indian government to make laws forbidding the atrocious treatment Hinduism allows. On the other hand respect for women is enshrined in Islamic law.
If a Hindu girl is really eager for the true liberty, honor, security and spiritual peace, she can enjoy all those blessing in the shade of Islamic rulings that have no room for any sort of discriminatory or oppressive ethnic constitution against the feminine gender.
Islam is a blessing for a Hindu girl even when she is a fetus in the womb of her mother, because Islam secures her from being aborted as such heinous act is strictly forbidden by Islamic Ruling. Islam is a blessing for a Hindu girl when she is a marriageable woman, because Islam prohibits any kind of excessive expenses in marriage and Islam saves her from the curse of dowry that leads many girls in Hindu society to commit suicide, instead of that, Islam urges a bridegroom to present gift to his bride during the marriage contract. Islam is a blessing for a Hindu girl when she is a widow because Islam forbids burning a widow with her husband’s funeral pyre as well as Islam allows her for second marriage after her husband’s death. Islam is a blessing for Hindu girl when she is a mother as Islam regards that Paradise lies under the feet of mothers. In fact, Islam has honored woman in all stages of her life, rather, Islam has breathed a life into the dead and oppressed being of a female gender.
 Except for specific quotations the majority of the information about Hinduism is obtained from the following web sites. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/ataglance/glance.shtml) (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html) (http://www.religioustolerance.org/hinduism4.htm). (www.religiousconsultation.org) (www.sanatana-dharma.tripod.com) (www.religionfacts.com)
Source: Taken from with modifications.
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