Archive for the ‘Religion & faith’ Category

Experience of “Waje Mahfil” (Islamic Seminar/speech)   Leave a comment

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February 3 at 10:59pm

I have been compelled to listen high volume “Waje” (Islamic speeches by clerics) in my village. Though there are some good advice in the speech that I liked. It is going on without any concern about the sound safety/pollution and the studies of the students who are appearing SSC exams. But I am more bothered by the reference of the other religions to establish supremacy of Muslims and the offensive tone by a speaker to them and to the cultural practices such as listing music.
I think it is completely unnecessary to refer to others for proving ones superiority if they are really superior. Islam and Muslims have a lot of things to be proud of and they have the same chance to do good things to be more proud like anyone else in the world; so when these mean-minded clerics would realize the importance of respecting others and good deeds to make oneself proud than offending others? And would be responsible to other people —


February 4 at 10:53pm

After the speeches prolonged beyond the midnight, one of the hot topics today was a comment by a cleric: A Muslim man should not apply razor to his beard, means one should not trim his beards; some people were asking if it is seriously meant; then some other replied- they should have asked that to that speaker, if he had ever trimmed his beards, which is most likely. Besides that my observation is the younger speakers delivered the most important advice in their speech but the crowd favourite were those older ones who could sensationalize the speech, added some spicy statements and could prove that ‘Muslims’ are superior to ‘others’ regardless their practices and qualities (well there is still space for debate on what they meant as ‘Muslims’). So, my observation is that the quality of speakers and audiences reproduces each other and limits hope for people like me that the society would be benefited from it.


February 4 at 11:15pm

In the evening I came across a group of my relatives and fellow villagers who were devising publicity strategy for another such “Islamic Waje Mahfil” in two weeks time at arms length form the place of the last nights one, beside another mosque (there are two mosques in the community within the distanse of few hundred meters resulting from factional rivalry) and my impression was that this “Waje Mahfil” was not also a separate incident. From last night’s experience I requested the coordinating person of this event, a senior cousin of mine, to consider two things: the SSC exam of the students and the issue of sound level; he replied that the high volume religious speech is not a problem, as it is virtuous, no one should complain about it. Though one or two in the gathering nodded in support, my request was returned from deaf ears. As I am writing, loudspeaker sound of another such event from few kilometers apart is pouring in to my ears; and reminding me that at my childhood and youth such events were rare and within last decade or even less than that it is becoming more frequent along with sending the children in the religious schools.

(after the above post some of my friends expressed concerns over my safety due to recent extremism on religious issues and I had to write the following reply–)

February 6 at 11:42am

Thanks everyone for your concerns! I partially agree with you; except the risk factor, which was minimal as that was my village and I and my family have a reputation there; however, few valuable things I have learned there- the sound and exam time issues are probably due to ignorance and unawareness- when I raised it, immediately some people agreed with it but unfortunately not all; later some of the organizers told me that they will try to keep sound low. And I am sure if they could thought about it consciously, they would have considered about exam too; they already printed the posters, made some preparation and invested some money, so it was not easy for them to change the date. I hope next time they will consider those. And it is our duty to share knowledge and awareness with our community —-



Posted February 6, 2016 by Abu Ala in Governance, Religion & faith, Society

Our Mother   Leave a comment

Last evening (14 October 2013) I was on my way to cover the sacrifice of the Durga idols by Hindu devotees in the Brahmaputra river in Mymensingh. There were several temples on the bank of the river and a shrine of a Muslim sage (holy-man) to complete the row. When I was in front of the shrine, I heard a Hindu mother was saying to his little boy to do ‘pronam’ or to pay respect to the shrine (or to the sage). On hurry I missed the full background but guessed from the words that the little boy might have done or said something that perhaps was not duly honouring for the holy-man in view of the mother. So she was teaching her little boy to be respectful to others irrespective of their faith and that struck me very much. Because, unless she noticed it, it was surely to be gone unnoticed and the boy might have had an understanding that it was okay not to pay respect to the people or culture of different ethnicity or faith. The mother was perhaps an ‘ordinary’ housewife. But her sensitivity to other cultures, faiths and diversity out smarts many of the global leaders in different sectors. I like to believe that it is the spirit and essence of Bangladeshi culture across all ethnic and religious lines. I hope all our mothers will be like her and teach our future generations to become human embracing all the diversities.

Posted October 17, 2013 by Abu Ala in Religion & faith, Society, Uncategorized

Question of rights and fasting   Leave a comment

One friend posted a question in her Facebook wall if “freedom to eat is a fundamental human right”. Very interesting question in the first day of Ramadan – the month of fasting for the Muslims! Unmistakably it was about mandatory fasting of Ramadan and it invoked a sizable amount of responses. Many argued that freedom to eat is a fundamental right and should not be infringed by mandatory fasting, as well as imposition of restriction on selling food and eating openly. Some objected that if they do not fast people show discontent or try to impose it upon them. Some were really annoyed to all these and almost revolted against. The protagonists argued that as it is about “religion” and “morality” it should be respected. Some thought as a large number of people are observing this ritual others should also be respectful to it.
Whether someone will follow a religion or perform a particular ritual is completely personal but many religions encourage its followers to do social chaperonage to ensure conformity of the whole society to it. Besides, all the societies have sort of inherent compelling mechanism to make sure its members will abide by its norms, including religious ones. Whether we like it or not it may happen, as well as the impositions of rules by state or other authority adherent to those norms.
But the most important issue concerned me here is the concept of right. Form some comments it appeared that they think right means one could do anything she/he wants regardless the circumstances. Is it so? If someone has a right means she/he could exercise it anywhere, everywhere, anytime, always! I am afraid that it is not possible. As every one of us has rights of different kinds we have to respect their rights as well. If my practice of right infringes the right of other of any kind, I am not allowed to do it. My right is only to that extent that does not encroach upon the right of another people (or being or entity); it is the precondition of entitlement of right. It is at the same time enabling me as well as restricting my ability.
Now, if we come back to the fasting thing, no one can force others to fast but encouraging or advising to be religious in certain way may not be violation of right. But hurting the sentiment and faith (including religious) of others and showing disrespect to them is a violation of right as it encroaches upon the dignity of that person (if religious or other kind of advice have the similar affect on a person that may be considered as violation of right as well). On the other hand imposing ban on selling and taking food openly could not be designated as violation of right as long as it does not limit the availability of food.
I personally believe that it is not necessary to restrict food selling and eating openly during Ramadan, but if it is done on the logic of respect to a substantial number of people, it could be accepted. But we have to make sure that such respect is shown to all religions, such as restricting cow slaughter in front of Hindus and so on; otherwise it will result in religious discrimination.  And, I strongly believe that it should be our moral responsibility as a human being to be respectful to others. If we wilfully abstain from taking food in front of a fasting friend or slaughter cow in a way that do not disturb our neighbours, it will only enhance mutual respect and rights. Then we need not bother with the annoying (sometimes sarcastic) state imposed rules. Religions and rituals are social matters not state affair.

Posted August 2, 2011 by Abu Ala in Religion & faith, Rights, Society

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