Disabled does not mean less abled

I have got a bad habit of watching news first thing in the morning ,most of the time there is always one bad news which causes stress for the rest of the day, last year on doctor’s advice I have stopped watching news and talk shows to avoid stress, for a change few week ago I tuned a news channel which was showing a protest of the people with disabilities, who were demanding from Balochistan government to ensure implementation of quota in government services and few other demands and in few minutes Police started manhandling the protesters to clear the route for a government official. The disabled persons have been protesting for five months to press the authorities for acceptance of their demands but none of their demands are met.
This was not the first incident, in December 2014 and 2016 on International day of people with disabilities a group of blind protesters who were protesting to increase job quota for them in government institutions were brutally manhandled by Punjab Police.
When I tried to find some statistics of people with disabilities in Pakistan I got surprised after finding out that the last census in Pakistan was conducted in 1998 after a gap of 16 years. Holding census is a constitutional requirement which is not being met. In March 2015 Prime Minister of Pakistan with the consent of four provinces announced country’s sixth census to be held in March 2016, unfortunately it has not been conducted to date. Now Federal Government is willing to carry out census in March 2017. If the government does not have the statistics of people with disabilities the budgetary allocations will always be wrong. So, the first hindrance that persons with disabilities encounter is statistics.
It took me some time to find an institution who can provide statistics, after putting some efforts I managed to contact Helping Hand for Relief and Development a private NGO who produced a detailed report about the People with disabilities Statistics in Pakistan.
According to 1998 census Pakistan had 3.28 million people with disabilities. According to Helping Hand’s report of 2012 population of PWDs in Pakistan was 5.035 million, which is more than the population of any of the individual countries population of Norway, New Zealand, Lebanon or Kuwait. From within Pakistan, PWDs population is more than the combined population of three cities i.e. Multan, Hyderabad and Peshawar. It is estimated that around 1.4 million are the children of school going age including 0.6 million girls.
The data incorporated in publication at district, provincial and national level should’ve facilitated the researchers, policy makers, planners, government departments and welfare organizations. It should’ve helped the governments to address the issues and vulnerabilities of PWDs but after witnessing protests in Quetta and Lahore subsequently I believe provincial governments have wasted the efforts of Helping Hands.
Disabled Persons’ Employment and Rehabilitation Ordinance initially promulgated in 1981. The declaration established responsibility of the State toward the prevention of disabilities, protection of rights of persons with disabilities and provision of medical care, education, training, employment, and rehabilitation to the persons with disabilities.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. Pakistan became the 101st country to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities when former President Asif Ali Zardari signed the Instrument of Ratification on UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September 2008.In 2009 PPP government took some measures by launching special CNIC scheme for the special persons. The main purpose was to identify special people throughout the country and provide them facilities.

Special Citizens Act, 2008 seeks to provide the accessibility to disabled citizens at every public place, with regard to allocation of seats in public transports, provision of facilities on footpaths for wheelchairs and blind persons. Similarly, while crossing the roads special citizens must be given priority. Under this act, government shall make the concerned authorities bound, before the construction of buildings in public or private sectors particularly in Educational Institutions, Banks, Hospitals, Shopping Malls, Police Stations, Airports, Railway Stations, Bus Stops, Hotels and at every public place to provide the facility of access of wheelchairs. After the 18th  Constitutional Amendment in 2011, the provincial governments have been empowered to take further initiatives.
We cannot force the governments but we can at least raise awareness through different means, social media can play an important role to educate people. Our overall cultural apprehensiveness on how we treat and interact with disability is questionable, let the change begin at primary level. Let us educate our children from young age to respect without discrimination. Let us educate people to stop calling them with ugly names certain terms that were once considered politically correct are now offensive. The terms “retarded” was once considered correct, as so many people use in impertinent fashion but not any longer. We need to celebrate our co-equals for their differences. As a society, we have the responsibility to promote the inclusion of our differences. When interacting with someone with a disability, we can be respectful in both our words and actions. It may be easier to understand how to interact with people who have disabilities if we imagine having a disability ourselves. Think about how we would want people to talk to or treat us?
Let us discourage discrimination and create a more tolerant world.

4th Feb; World Cancer day

 

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 What an inspiration Ms Edie Littlefield Sundby is; She was given three months to live ten years ago after a Stage 4 gallbladder cancer diagnosis, against all odds, she survived 79 rounds of chemo and radical liver and lung surgeries, losing 60% of her liver, and her right lung. She is vibrantly alive, and the only person to have traversed the historic and largely unmapped 1600 mile Mission Trail that spans from Loreto, Mexico, to Sonoma, California. Her book ‘The Mission Walker,’ will be released July 25, 2017.
Few excerpts of inspiration from her book;
I started to walk the day I was told I was dying of cancer. I believe walking has kept me alive. I live with a constant, pressing awareness of death. Once I start to walk, I am not afraid anymore; all is well. I thank God every day for this life, and I want there to be more, though that’s not known. What is known is that I’m alive today, this minute. And that’s pretty much what we all have – this day, this moment. A long walk is a slow remembering of how profound and wonderful life is; God is everywhere and in everything. Wherever I look I am looking at God.
“I am fighting to stay alive not because I fear death, but because I love life.”
The Mission Walker: I Was Given Three Months to Live…

cancer

freedom of speech

Blasphemy, freedom of speech, rule of law; these are the familiar topics in discussion these days. I was thinking to write my thoughts on these topics. Hence, I had to think twice, even to think about such topics because there is no room left for tolerance. Fatwas are already set up as soon as you give your opinion about anything which is not acceptable to any other sect.
I would wish to present some excerpts from a dialogue I read years ago in Urdu, recently I have discovered the English version which was originally translated from French to Persian. A dialogue between Ja’far as Sadiq (702-765 CE) was the 6th Imam Of twelve Shias and according to some traditions a teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Wasil Ibn Ata and many more including Jabir Ibn Hayan the alchemist. I would like to request my readers to keep the time of this discussion in mind before I present you more on the subject of blasphemy and other related issues.

Theory about the “Origin of the Universe”. By Ja’far as Sadiq ;
“ The universe was born out of a tiny particle, which had two opposite poles. That particle produced an atom. In this way matter came into being. Then the matter diversified. This diversification was caused by the density or rarity of the atoms.”
Ja’far as Sadiq was a patient and tolerant teachers of his time. After his lectures he would listen and reply to the remonstrances of his critics.
The Dialogue is between Ja’far as Sadiq and Abu Shakir. Abu Shakir used to criticise Ja’far as Sadiq on his Islamic views, specially Tawheed, oneness of God.
Once Abu Shakir, said to him: Would you allow me to ask some questions?
Why not? said Ja’far as Sadiq.
Abu Shakir: Is it not a myth that there is Allah?
You want people to believe in a thing which does not exist. If there was Allah, we could have felt his existence through our senses.
You may say that we can perceive the presence of Allah by our intelligence and not through our inner or outer senses. But our intelligence also needs the assistance of our five outer senses, without which it cannot function. We cannot make any reasoning or come to any conclusion without the help of our senses.
By your imagination you have created a being, which is of your own image. Since you see, talk, hear, work and rest, He also does exactly what you do.
You do not show Him to anyone. To maintain your hold on the people you say that He cannot be seen. You also say that He was not born from the womb of a woman. He does not procreate and that He would not die.
Your Allah is also like the veiled god. You say that the universe was created by Allah. As a matter of fact the universe came by itself. Does anyone create the grass, which grows in the field? Does it not grow and get green by itself? Does anyone create the ants and the mosquitoes? Do they not come out by themselves?
l know that some people, who have been deceived by you, believe in your invisible Allah, but you cannot deceive me and make me believe in Him.
By introducing your invisible Allah to the people, you want to acquire wealth and position and have a respectable, comfortable and luxurious life. These are my last words. I do not want to say anything more.
Ja’far as Sadiq replied:
l would like to start with the last part of your speech. Your accusations that I want money, position and a comfortable life would have been justified if I was living like a caliph. You have seen today that I have eaten a few morsels of bread only and nothing else. I invite you to my house to see for yourself what I will have for dinner and how I live.
Abu Shakir, if I wanted to acquire wealth and have a good life, as you say, I was not obliged to teach and preach to get rich. I would have earned money and got rich by my knowledge of chemistry. Another way to get rich was to do business. I have more knowledge’ about foreign markets than any merchant in Medina.
I have heard, that your father was a pearl merchant. Perhaps you may have some knowledge about pearls. But I know all about pearls and precious stones. I can also appraise their market value. If I wanted to get rich I would have worked as a jeweller. Can you test and recognise a precious stone? Do you know how many kinds of rubies and emeralds there are in the world?
I know nothing about them, replied Abu Shakir.
Do you know how many kinds of diamonds there are and what colours they have?
I am not a jeweller, but I know all about the pearls and precious stones. I also know where they come from. All jewellers must know about gems, what I know, but few of them know their sources. Rough diamonds are cut by experts. This is the cut of a diamond, which gives it its brilliance. Those who are experts in cutting diamonds are trained from the childhood in the profession of their fathers and forefathers. Cutting a diamond is a very delicate and difficult art. A diamond is cut only by a diamond.
I have said all this simply to show to you that if I wanted to accumulate wealth, I could have done so by making use of my knowledge about jewels.
You have said that I have fabricated stories and ask the people to worship Allah, who cannot be seen. You refuse to acknowledge existence of Allah, because He cannot be seen. Can you see inside your own body? If you could have seen what is inside you, you would not have said that you do not believe in Allah, who cannot be seen.
You have said, that a thing which cannot be seen, touched, tasted or heard, does not exist.
Do you hear the sound of the movement of blood in your body? It makes a full circuit of your body. If the circulation of blood stops for a few minutes you will die.
Abu Shakir said: I cannot believe that blood circulates in the body.
It is your ignorance, which does not let you believe that your blood circulates in your body, and the same ignorance does not let you believe in the existence of Allah, Who cannot be seen. Have you seen the tiny living beings, which Allah has created in your body?
It is because of these small creatures and their wonderful work that you are kept alive. They are so small that you cannot see them. Since you are a slave of your senses, you do not know about their existence. If you increase your knowledge and decrease your ignorance, you will come to know that these small beings in your body are as large in number as the particles of sand in the desert. These small creatures are born in your body, multiply in your body, work in your body and die in your body. But you never see them, touch them, taste them or hear them in your life time. If you had known yourself and had the knowledge of what is going on inside your body, you would not have said that you do not believe in Allah.
Pointing his finger to a huge stone Ja’far as Sadiq said:
Abu Shakir, do you see the stone, which is in the foot of that portico? To you it seems lifeless and motionless, because you do not see the brisk motion, which is inside the stone. Again it is lack of knowledge or your ignorance, which would not let you believe that there is motion inside the stone. The time will come when the learned people would see the motion which is in the stone.
Abu Shakir. You have said that everything in the universe came by itself and has no Creator. You think that the grass in the field grows and gets green by itself. You must know that the grass cannot grow without seeds and seeds would not germinate without moisture in the soil and there would be no moisture if no rain falls. The rain does not fall by itself. First the water vapours rise and gather above in the atmosphere in the form of clouds. The winds bring the clouds. Then the water vapours condense and fall down as rain drops. The rain must also fall at the right time, otherwise no grass will grow and become green.

Take the seeds of ten kinds of herbs and put them in a closed jar, which has sufficient water, but no air. Would they germinate? No, in addition to water, seeds need air also. It is possible to grow grass, herbs and fruits in hot houses, when it is very cold, provided there is sufficient air. Without the presence of air no grass will grow in the fields. If there is no air, all plants and animals, including human beings, would die.
Do you see the air, on which your very existence depends. You only feel it when it moves. Can you refuse to believe in the existence of air? Can you deny that to grow and get green the grass needs many things like seeds, soil, water, air, a suitable climate and above all a strong managing power, which may co-ordinate the action of these different elements.
It is not because of one’s knowledge, but it is due to his ignorance that he does not believe in Allah. When a wise man thinks of himself, he finds that his own body needs a controller so that all its organs and systems may function properly. He then realises that this vast universe also needs a controller or supervisor so that it may run smoothly.
Do you think that the mountains are only heaps of stones? The Great Allah has created them to serve some very useful purpose. They were not created so that you may take stones and turn them into idols. Wherever there is a mountain there is flowing water. Rain and snow which fall on the mountain tops produce streams of fresh water. These streams combine together to form big rivers, which irrigate farms and fields.
I am too small and too weak to create Allah with my brain. It is He, who has created my brain, so that I may think of Him and know Him – my Creator. He was there before I came into being and He would be there when I am no more. I do not mean that I would be totally destroyed. Nothing in the universe is totally destroyed. Everything is subject to change. It is only Allah, Who does not change.
Abu Shakir said: I cannot believe that a thing may be everywhere but remain unseen.
Ja’far as Sadiq said: Do you know that the air is everywhere but cannot be seen?
Said Abu Shakir: Although I cannot see the air, I can at least feel it when it moves. But I can neither see your Allah nor feel his presence.
Ja’far as Sadiq said: You do not feel the presence of air when it is not moving. The air is only a creation of Allah. He is everywhere, but you cannot see Him or feel His presence by your senses. You have admitted just now that although you do not see it, but your instinct or your soul tells you that there is something inside the stone, and is not the stone, which can help you. That something is Allah.
I know that you will not accept, or perhaps you do not understand, what I say. A man must have sufficient knowledge to understand complicated problems.
If there was no Allah there would have been no universe and no you and me.
The sentence, “There is no Allah”, is meaningless. The existence of Allah is a must.”
Everything in the universe obeys His laws, which are permanent and eternal. Because of His absolute wisdom and knowledge, He could make such wonderful laws, which will last for ever. Each and every law, made by Him serves some special and useful purpose.
Ja’far as Sadiq asked: Do you now believe that Allah, who cannot be seen, does exist and what you worship is the unseen Allah?
Abu Shakir replied: I am not yet convinced. I am in a quandary. I am full of doubts and misgivings about my convictions.
The above discussion will make me more comfortable to explain my views on blasphemy in my next write up .

Generation of adulterated milk

 

It seems Indian and Pakistani Punjab is in the race when it comes to contaminated and adulterated milk. United Punjab was known for health before partition. Regrettably, in recent decades, both sides of Punjab are known more for scandals. For years now people of Punjab on both sides are suffering.

As much as 80 percent packed as well as unpacked milk is adulterated and contamination is posing serious health hazards to Lahorites, says data collected during five years by City District Government Food Department in 2008. In June 2008 Mr Shahbaz Sharif became the Chief Minister of Punjab, in December 2008 he led some serious steps. CM Punjab announced to set up a Food Authority to mark off the phenomenal increase in adulteration.

According to a report published in national newspapers in 2008, adulterants in milk include urea, sub-standard cooking oil, unhygienic water, formalin, a chemical used by doctors to preserve the human body, penicillin for enhancing the thickness and fragrance of milk, hair removing powder, sweetening agents to improve its taste and urea to lend it uniformity.

Milk suppliers use Formalin, a chemical used by doctors to preserve the human body, to preserve large quantities of milk during transportation to Lahore from rural countries. The report added that milkmen also injected unsupervised and inconsistent doses of steroids and other chemicals into cattle to obtain more milk, but this brought down the calcium content in the milk and the affected human body adversely. The report disclosed that during the examination of samples, the presence of the industrial chemical, melamine, have been found in milk powder manufactured by multinational milk companies. The report informed that melamine is an industrial compound found in plastics that has been practiced by unscrupulous manufacturers. Melamine, that has caused kidney stones or kidney failure, especially among infants, is added to the milk in order to lower prices, the report said.

Pakistan was the sixth largest milk producer in the world in 2010. In 2016 Pakistan with a 40 billion liters per year production capacity, have become the third largest milk producer in the global. Overall, the industry contributes to 11% of the country’s GDP.

In 2010 Khawaja Muhammad Asif of PMLN submitted a study submitted to the University of Cambridge revealed that Pakistan produced 17 billion liters of milk and consumed 38 billion liters and anybody could explain how it was doubled. He stated that companies mixed urea and other contaminations in the milk.

“Pakistanis are drinking white poison in the shape of packed and unpacked milk”

PMLQ’s Riaz Fatyana said during the proceedings of a parliamentary committee on food adulteration that government laboratories had found that milk companies were adulterating it with bleaching powder, urea and muddy water and that milk supplied by none of the companies was fit for human ingestion. He said his own investigation had revealed that the most of the adulterated milk came from military farms in Okara. The supply of adulterated and substandard milk was naked cruelty to the citizenry and the government should seriously look into it. The loose milk available with milkmen was much better, he said. Bushra Gohar of ANP said the food adulteration was a life-threatening issue, but it should be expected that imposition of RGST would improve the milk quality. She stated she was also concerned that profits of the milk companies were going out of the country.

The above revelations were submitted during a public hearing of the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue in 2010.

In September 2011, an inter-court appeal (ICA) was registered after an LHC single bench’s judgement on December 22nd, 2010 that dismissed a petition filed by the Watan Party through Barrister Zafarullah Khan, who had asserted that melamine and other chemicals injurious to human health were being used in the packaged milk. The bench had held that a report by a German laboratory had declared the milk fit for human consumption and hence the media reports which claimed the milk was adulterated had no value.

The petitioner submitted that MNAs, including Khawaja Asif of the PMLN, Riaz Fatyana the PMLQ and Faisal Saleh Hayat of the PML-Q had also set up the issue during proceedings of the parliamentary committee on food and adulteration. He contended that out of 19,718 samples of milk collected by the Food Department in the last five years, almost 17,529 samples were found adulterated

In April 2016 the Punjab Food Authority wasted more than 6000 litres of unhealthy and unhygienic milk during a crackdown.

Justice Ayesha A Malik took up the request filed by the Barrister Zafarullah Khan of Watan Party on April 2016 The Lahore High Court today sought assistance from the Advocate General Punjab in a petition challenging the sale of poor and adulterated milk in the province, causing fatal diseases to citizens.

In July 2016 the two-member bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman heard the appeal filed by Watan Party against the sale of adulterated milk at Supreme Court Lahore Registry. The bench made remarks that no one would be permitted to play havoc with the lives of citizens and converted it into a show moto notice due to the seriousness of the matter.

On September 2016, Supreme Court ordered a chemical examination of all domestic and international brands selling packed milk in Pakistan. The order was brought out by a two judge bench after a petition from Barrister Zafarullah Khan against the government of Punjab for not banning these products.

On 27th Dec 2016 a hearing was kept back in Supreme Court Lahore registry against selling of unhealthy milk in Punjab. The lawsuit was heard by Justice Saqib Nisar, and Justice Sheikh Azmat Syed. An examination report was submitted proving contaminated elements in milk produced and propagated by some companies. Ten pasteurized milk samples were tested by the Pakistan Council of Scientific and industrial research (PCSIR). Out of 10 pasteurised milk samples only one found fit for human consumption.

Justice Saqib Nisar stated that we are allowing the Punjab Food Authority to carry out its activity throughout Punjab. He called for the Director General of Punjab Food Authority to visit all districts in Punjab and take samples for test as a representative of the court. He further said that this case is of great importance, we will conclude the case of unhealthy milk as clean water and pure milk are basic necessities of all residents. The court ordered Punjab Food Authority to bring action against unhealthy milk vendors throughout Punjab and submit a report in the coming hearing in January, 2017.

Unfortunately even in 2016/2017 percentage of this criminal activity is equally strong as it was in 2005 or 2008 or 2010.

Despite Supreme Court’s strict stance and in the bearing of strict Chief Minister of Punjab couple of headlines I caught in media last month;

On 17th January 2017 Punjab Food Authority wasted 800 litres of milk adulterated with toxic chemicals in Faisalabad.

On 17th January 2017 Punjab Food Authority seized over 2,000 litres of substandard milk from various localities of Rawalpindi.

On 19th January 20,000 litres of adulterated milk caught in Peshawar.

How come our government fails to address this serious issue of unfit milk being sold under the banner of top brands? Regrettably, this is a neglected subject that requires a great deal of attention, as there is a glaring absence of safeguards on food items in Pakistan. The culprits of this crime against humanity sell unhygienic milk openly and without any fear of being caught or punished.If strict government of Punjab couldn’t bring any improvement and adulterated milk is still sold openly, imagine the situation in rest of the provinces. We can merely hope for an improvement.

Naqab

 

In 2013 the Birmingham Metropolitan College had told all the students, staff and visitors to remove all hoodies, hats, crowns and veils while on the premises so that they were easily identifiable at all times. But the controversial ban of the Niqab a veil that leaves only a slot for the eyes sparked fury among some Muslim girls, who say they are being discriminated against. More than 9,000 people signed an online petition set up by Students’ Campaign calling on the college’s principal, to remove the proscription.

David Cameron the then PM of United Kingdom, backed the decision and said through his spokesperson; he believed educational institutions should be able to, set and enforce their own school uniform policies.

But only after three days, the Metropolitan college decided to modify its stance to permit individuals to wear, specific items of personal clothing to reflect their cultural values. The conclusion came after thousands signed a petition against the ban and just before a planned protest by hundreds of students in Birmingham.

Recently Morocco has been in the headlines for the same ground. I am more interested because I have spent nearly four years in Marrakech and I am quite familiar with Moroccan culture and King Mohammad’s moderate policy and his strict stand against religious extremism. I have witnessed the increase of tough security all over Morocco, police check posts in cities and on freeways, the Army has been posted at the airports and busy places since the Syrian War. Adult females are free to wear whatever they feel like, whether it’s a skirt or a traditional hijab or burqa. But hijab is not admitted on National television. Around two weeks ago I saw the news of ban on production of Burqa in Morocco.

 

China Lahsini a freelance journalist, reported from Rabat that the Moroccan Ministry of Interior notified Burqa producers and retailers of the immediate prohibition on the sale as the destruction of current stocks. Traders have disclosed that the decision is motivated by security reasons, about criminals having repeatedly used this garment to commit their crimes.

 

In Judaism, Christianity and Islam the concept of traversing the head is or was associated with appropriateness and modesty. The veil or Naqab has a cultural background specially in deserts, women and men both cover their heads and facial expressions to avoid heat sand. Even nowadays there are parts of Northern and Western Africa, where the veil is part of men’s cultural dress, e.g. men from Taureg tribe residing in the Saharan interior of North West Africa descendant of Berber ancestors.

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Tin Hinan, ancient Tuareg Queen of the Hoggar  by Hocine Ziani

When I turned towards Holy Quran for guidance on Hijab, veil or Burqa I found the following verse of Sorah  Ahzab  ayat no 59 which is quoted in reference of hijab and Naqab;

 

O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the women of the Momineen to draw their outer garments closely round themselves. This makes it more likely that they will be recognised and not be harmed. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Aisha Bewley

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

Umm Muhammad

O prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should draw down their shawls over them. That will make it more likely that they are recognized, hence not teased. And Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

Muhammad Taqi Usmani

O Prophet, enjoin your wives and your daughters and the believing women, to draw a part of their outer coverings around them. It is likelier that they will be recognised and not molested. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Abul Aala Maududi

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful

Pickthal

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Yusuf Ali

O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Shakir

 

O Prophet, tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of believers to let down upon them their over-garments. This is more proper, so that they may be known, and not be given trouble. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

Maulana

Prophet, tell your wives, daughters, and the wives of the believers to cover their bosoms and breasts. This will make them distinguishable from others and protect them from being annoyed. God is All-forgiving and All-merciful.

Sarwar

O Prophet!  tell thy wives and thy daughters, and the women of the believers, that they should pull down upon them of their outer cloaks from their heads over their faces. That is more likely that they may thus be recognized and not molested. And ALLAH is Most Forgiving, Merciful.

Sher Ali

Now there are two identical words used by the people who translated the Ayat to signify hijab, cloak and outer garments; whether it’s a cloak or outer garment, none of the above scholar including two women scholars translated or pointed out that covering the face is obligatory.

The hijab is one name for a variety of similar headscarves.

The Niqab covers the entire head and face; however an opening is left for the eyes.

I am not personally against Naqab as long as it is worn as a personal choice or cultural identity, I differ, where people associate it  to an obligatory religious act of religion. Whether its Middle East or West in the presence of Quran Niqab cannot be coerced.

I am not a scholar, but there is another verse of Quran for our guidance Sorah Al Qamar verse 17;

And we have indeed made the Qur’an easy to read and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?

This article was first published in Dunya tv blog

“Our Lady of Paris”

 

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Front facade by Benh Lieu Song

When you are leaving for vacations, you better leave your faith in your closet at home otherwise there is a serious chance of missing a lot of culture and history. When I was visiting Basilica of Sacred heart in Paris I met an Indian Muslim family outside while we were enjoying live music at the stairs of the Basilica played by some local band, while I intended to go inside I asked them too to come inside but they politely refused and told me that it is against their faith to enter the church.I respected their insecurities and went in. You are free to believe and practice whatever makes you comfortable

I am going to get you to the famous Notre-Dame de Paris. There are hence many different attributes to the cathedral, it is impossible to describe them all, but it is notable for it’s organ, stained glasses, figures, paintings, sculptures. Notre Dame de Paris got more famous by Victor Hugo’s 1831 Gothic novel and subsequent films The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is a French Gothic novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831.

 

 

Situated on the Right Bank of the River Seine, Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral, is a medieval Catholic Cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The Île de la Cité is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris. It is the heart of Paris.The 4th arrondissement of Paris is one of the 20 arrondissements (administrative districts.

Cornerstone laid for Notre-Dame de Paris in 1163. The Notre-Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. Flying buttress is that it is not in contact with the wall it supports. The flying buttress was built up during late antiquity and later flourished during the Gothic period (12th–16th c.) of architecture. Ancient examples of the flying buttress can be ground in the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. The architectural-element precursors of the medieval flying buttress derive from Byzantine architecture.

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Organ Notre-Dame by Eric Chan

The organ has 7,952 pipes. It has 110 real stops, five 56-key manuals and a 32-key pedalboard.

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The cathedral has 10 bells. The largest, Emmanuel, original to 1681, is located in the south tower and weighs just over 13 tons

In 1548, rioting Huguenots damaged features of Notre-Dame, considering them idolatrous
The Second World War caused more damage. Several of the stained glass windows on the lower tier were hit by stray bullets.

In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration in the radical phase of the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed.
I would strongly recommend a visit to the Cathedral, whether you are religious or not.

 

The journey, not the destination….. travel; envisage; contemplate

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