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Here I present excerpts from the well-acclaimed book, “Chasing Mirage” by Pakistani-born author and founder of Candian Muslim Congress, Tarek Fatah, who dedicated the book to Benazir Bhutto (a Muslim) Daniel Pearl (a Jew) both victims of terrorism in Pakistan.

 

Preface

chasing-mirage-tarek-fatahPage 10 (page number in PDF copy– Cover page is page number one)

I write as a Muslim whose ancestors were Hindu. My religion, Islam, is rooted in Judaism, while my Punjabi culture is tied to that of the Sikhs. Yet I am told by Islamists that without shedding this multifaceted heritage, if not outrightly rejecting it, I cannot be considered a true Muslim.

Page 11

In this book I attempt to draw a distinction between Islamists and Muslims. What Islamists seek and what Muslims desire are two separate objectives, sometimes overlapping, but clearly distinct. While the former seek an “Islamic State,” the latter merely desires a “state of Islam.” One state requires a theocracy, the other a state of spirituality.

Page 14

For instance, take these lines from 19th-century India’s giant Muslim poet Mirza Ghalib (in today’s Islamic world, he would be in hiding):

Hum ko maaloom hai janat ki haqeeqat lekin,

Dil ke behelane ko Ghalib ye khayaal accha hai.

[Of course I know there is no such thing as Paradise, but,

To fool oneself, one needs such pleasant thoughts - Ghalib]

A century earlier, another towering Muslim figure and the foremost name in Urdu poetry, Mir Taqi Mir, had openly embraced all religions, not just Islam:

Mir ke deeno mazhab ko poochte kya ho, unne to

Kashka khencha, dehr mey baitha, kab ka tark Islam kiya.

[Why bother asking of Mir what his creed or religion be?

He wears vermillion, sits in the temple, and has long renounced Islam.]

Page 15

Muslims are told incessantly that true Islam can only prosper under the protection of an “Islamic State,” but the facts suggest that nothing could be further from the truth. Muslims living as religious minorities in secular societies—be it in South Africa, India, Canada, the United States, or Britain— are able to speak their minds, live under the rule of law, and get equality of citizenship. On the other hand, Muslims cannot even dare to imagine such rights in present-day Islamic States.

The book is aimed also at my Arab brothers and sisters who have suffered at the hands of colonialism, going back to the 15th century. Repeated wars, oppressive dictatorships, and an Islamist upsurge have made things worse.

Foot notes

Mawali (or Mawala): A term in Arabic used to address non-Arab Muslims. In the 7th century, the Mawali were considered second class in Arabian society, beneath free tribesmen. It has entered the lexicon of India, where it is used as a derogatory term for someone involved in menial work or a homeless person.

Page -16

Advice for Imams

Instead of asking for non-Muslims to convert to Islam, these imams should be telling their Muslim congregations: “You have been lied to for centuries.” Muslims need to educate themselves about Islam, not proselytize their religion to non-Muslims.

The book is also aimed at Pakistanis who deny their ancient Indian heritage despite the fact that India derives its name from the River Indus,which is in Pakistan. Pakistanis are the custodians of the ancient civilization of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, not Madain Saleh in Saudi Arabia or Giza in Egypt.

Page 18Muslims have demonstrated a sense of security and confidence in their faith, without wearing it on their sleeves, they have flourished. In contrast, whenever in history they became obsessive about rituals and defensive about their religion, as if it were a brand name that needed protection from competition, they stumbled.

And as they became obsessed with religion, they stifled independent thought and individual liberties, seriously damaging their own societies. The debacle of Muslims in 13th-century Iraq, 15th-century Spain and 18th-century India came about when extremists of that time tried to whip society into order. This should have been a lesson for us all, but that was not to be.

The Book Chasing a Mirage will show that throughout Islamic history, all attempts to use Islam to justify or validate political power—and there are countless examples—have invariably ended in bloodshed and war.

Page 19

Islam and Muslims have suffered immensely when Islam has been used as a tool to seek or retain power founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak, who in the 16th century, while addressing his Muslim friends, wrote:

Make mercy your Mosque,

Faith your Prayer Mat,

what is just and lawful your Qu’ran,

Modesty your Circumcision,

and civility your Fast.

So shall you be a Muslim.

Make right conduct your Ka’aba,

Truth your Pir,*

and good deeds your Kalma and prayers.

 

Chapter 1 – Politics and Theology of Islamic States

–- PDF page no - 22, actual page no – 4

 

Last paragraph – Taha against sharia

Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, an author, politician, and brilliant scholar of Islam—and veteran of the struggle to keep his northeast African country free of rigid sharia law.* He was hanged based on a fatwa of Saudi Cleric Shiek Abdullah bin Baz

Foot notes

* Sharia law: Law based on Islam’s sacred book, the Quran, which God is believed to have dictated to the Prophet Muhammad and nine other sources, mostly written by men in the 8th and 9th centuries.

PDF page no - 24, actual page no – 6

Taha’s supporters argued for the repeal of sharia law and a guarantee of democratic civil liberties under which a more enlightened understanding of Islam could be freely debated Muslim blood had flowed freely any time power-hungry politicians, dictators, kings, or caliphs* had invoked Islam to create a mythical Islamic State.

PDF page no - 25, actual page no – 7

Since the first caliphate in Medina in the 7th century, clerics have continually reminded Muslims that their mission on Earthto spread Islam—is impossible without the establishment of an Islamic State

Abul Ala Maudoodi (d. 1976), the founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party in India and Pakistan. In promoting jihad and the Islamic state, Maudoodi divided the world between Darul Islam (House of Islam) and Darul Harb (House of War).

PDF page no - 28, actual page no – 10

One of the harshest critics of a return to rigid Islamic rule was Ali Abdel al-Razik of Egypt in the late 1920s Razik argued against the Islamic State and advocated the separation of religion and civil society

PDF page no - 31, actual page no – 13

Paragraph 3

Arabian imperialism should be replaced by universal humanism

We find that when Muhammad Ibn Tumart—the Mahdi of Muslim Spain—who was Berber by nationality, came to power and established the pontifical rule of the Muwahhidun, he ordered for the sake of the illiterate Berbers that the Quran should be translated and read in the Berber language and that the call to prayer should be given in Berber.

PDF page no - 37, actual page no – 19

Para 1

Indonesia - millions turned to Islam, without relinquishing their language, custom, or culture.

Para 2

Muhammad would have wept to see how his message was misused to consolidate power and subjugate the population

Whether it was from the pulpit or the throne, opponents from within the faith were almost invariably declared as enemies of Islam, and killed.

PDF page no - 40, actual page no – 22

Neo converts – forced to pay Jaziya -- the Sindhi and the Berber Muslims were treated as second-class Muslim citizens, forced to pay Jaziya* just as non-Muslims were required to do.

Muslims ignored scientific & Industrial developments

Muslims had used religion to justify their politics, they were constricted by the rigidity of their beliefs. They were not able to adapt to the changing world of new enlightenment that was triggered by the invention of the printing press and, much later, the steam engine. The American and French revolutions, as well as the Industrial Revolution in Britain, bypassed the religion-based institutions. The Catholic Church and the sheikhs of Islam could do little more than stand silently as spectators.

The very sciences that Muslims had introduced to Europe came back to haunt them as their clerics declared all scientific endeavour and secular education to be the work of infidels and thus a challenge to the Quran. Unable to compete and facing defeat in most spheres of human endeavour, be it sports or space, Islamists have set as their objective the creation of an Islamic State

Page No 58 (PDF Copy)  - actual Page No in the book – 40

Islamic State can only serve the interests of Islamists and not its citizens, or Islam, and defi nitely not its non-Muslim populace.

Page No 59

Second paragraph

If Muslims have suffered in India at the hands of right-wing Hindu nationalists, the plight of Hindus in Pakistan is far worse and systemically institutionalized

last paragraph

the Islamists in Pakistan’s parliament in May 2007 introduced The Apostasy Bill which seeks, among other things, to provide death sentence to any Muslim converting to other religions and imposes life imprisonment for female apostates

Page no 60 (actual page # in the book 42)

First paragraph

Jews, Christians and Hindus are enemies

If Saudi textbooks teach hatred against Jews and Christians, Pakistani school texts and teachings malign Hindus and Hinduism. In fact, in more than one textbook Hindus have been cited as the “enemy of Islam”

Chapter 3 - Saudi ArabiaSponsor of Islamic States

Shah Waliullah - Wahabi

Shah Waliullah stayed fourteen months in Arabia, and on his return to Delhi in 1732, laid the foundation of what was to become Political Islam in the subcontinent. Wahhab’s message had now travelled to India.

Page no 68 - actual Page No in the book – 50

First paragraph

Waliullah is best known for his invitation to the Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali to invade India. In his letter to the Afghan king, he said: “All control of power is with the Hindus because they are the only people who are industrious and adaptable. Riches and prosperity are theirs, while Muslims have nothing but poverty and misery.

Second paragraph

Heeding the call, Abdali invaded India four times, and even though he defeated the mostly Hindu Maratha armies in the Third Battle of Panipat, he also sacked and burned the city of Lahore, invaded Kashmir, and devastated the Moghul capital of Delhi in 1756, blinding the emperor and killing tens of thousands of Indian Muslims. Abdali’s barbarity is remembered to this day.

(The Pakistan military has thoughtlessly named one of its nuclear missile systems Abdali, not recognizing that Abdali’s primary victims were the Muslims of what is now Pakistan! Shah Waliullah and his Wahhabi teachings led to the destruction of the very Muslim rule he had sought to save.)

Fourth paragraph

Saudi flag!!! ( display of violent ambition )

Saudi flag displays a naked sword under the Muslim oath THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD, AND MUHAMMAD

IS HIS MESSENGER?

Page no 70 - actual Page No in the book – 52

Fourth paragraph

Take, for example, the case of the Prophet’s 1,400-year-old home in Mecca. The Saudis plan to demolish it. What makes this planned demolition worse is the fact that the home of the Prophet is to make way for a parking lot, two fifty-storey hotel towers and seven thirty-five-storey apartment blocks—a project known as the Jabal Omar Scheme—all within a stone’s throw of the Grand Mosque. Had the site been destroyed by non-Muslims or some occupying Western army, the entire Muslim world would have seethed with outrage. But the news of the demolition was met with a deafening silence. By November 2007, not a single Muslim country, no ayatollah, no mufti, no king, not even an American or Canadian imam had dared utter a word in protest. Such is the power of Saudi influence on the Muslim narrative.

Compare this to events in December 1992, when a mob of 150,000 Hindu nationalists attacked a 16th-century mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya. Within hours the mosque was reduced to rubble, and in the weeks to follow, thousands of Indians died in Hindu–Muslim riots. The Muslim

world reacted with outrage. Among the countries that expressed anger at the destruction of the centuries-old Indian mosque by Hindu extremists was Saudi Arabia. In the United States and Canada, imams gave fi ery sermons and urged congregations to protest. Although more than a dozen years have passed since the destruction of the mosque, there is still bitterness in the air.

The question is this: Why is it that when the Babri mosque in Ayodhya was demolished, hundreds of thousands of Muslims worldwide took to the streets to protest, but when Saudi authorities plan to demolish the home of our beloved Prophet, not a whisper is heard?

Is it because Muslims have become so overwhelmed by the power of the Saudi riyal currency that we have lost all courage and self-respect? Or is it because we feel a need to cover up Muslim-on-Muslim violence, Muslim-on-Muslim terror, Muslim-on-Muslim oppression?

Page 72 actual Page No in the book – 54

Second paragraph

How can a country bulldoze the grave of the Prophet’s daughter, destroy Muhammad’s house, build a public toilet inside the house of the Prophet’s wife, and burn the grave of the Apostle’s mother, and all in the name of Islam? Imagine the reaction across the Muslim world if the destruction of the Prophet’s home had been blamed on a Jewish conspiracy with US help. Why have Muslims accepted such glaring double standards as the norm?

Chapter 4 – IranThe Islamic State

Page 87 actual Page No in the book – 67

Racism & Tribalism!!!

Second paragraph

The Arab ancestry that is a prerequisite for the job of the Supreme Leader of Iran is not just any Arab ancestry. An applicant for the job would have to prove his roots to the Arabs of Mecca of the 7th century.

Not just any relative of the Prophet, but only those who can prove their lineage to his daughter Fatima and her husband, Ali Ibn abu Talib. These men are known as the Syeds. Only an Arab Syed of Iran can rule the country as its supreme leader

Third paragraph

Racial origin became an issue in the country’s first presidential elections when one Jalal-uddin Farsi was disallowed from running for office because his father was born in Afghanistan! I guess Afghan blood sells a bit cheaper in the market of racial hierarchies than Arab blood

 

Chapter 5 - PalestineFuture Islamic State?

 

Page 73 actual Page No in the book – 92

Muslims occupying holy places of others

After all, don’t we Muslims occupy the birthplaces of the Sikh faith? Have we not eliminated Zoroastrianism almost entirely and control all of its holy places? Are we not in control of vast tracts of Buddhist civilization on the Indus river?

Page 94 actual Page No in the book – 76

Adonis – Syrian poet

First paragraph

In an interview aired on Dubai television in March 2006, Adonis made critical observations about Arab society and the mixing of religion and state.

Third paragraph

Arabs are not creative

Adonis also told Dubai TV that Arabs were now in a “phase of extinction, in the sense that we have no creative presence in the world.

Fourth paragraph

Muslims will destroy Islam

When the interviewer interjected, saying Adonis’ views were “very dangerous,” he ended up making an even harsher prognosis: “The Muslims today—forgive me for saying this—with their accepted interpretation [of the religious text] are the first to destroy Islam, whereas those who criticize the Muslims—the non-believers, the infidels, as they call them—are the ones who perceive in Islam the vitality that could adapt it to life. These infidels serve Islam better than the believers

Chapter 6 - The Prophet is Dead

Page no 104 actual Page No in the book – 88

Last paragraph

History of Islam – Muslim killing Muslim

The history of Islam can be described essentially as the history of an unending power struggle, where men have killed each other to claim the mantle of Muhammad.

Page no 106 actual Page No in the book – 90

First paragraph last few lines.

Prophet proclaimed that all Muslims were equal, irrespective of their tribal or racial origin—that black and white, Arab or non-Arab, had no superiority over one another—his followers were laying claim to leadership based primarily on their tribal lineage, while denying power to others simply based on where they were born

fourth paragraph  last line

The legacy of this early debacle is such that even today, power is rarely handed over in the Muslim world without bloodshed.

Page no 116 actual Page No in the book – 100

Shia vs Sunni – massacre

In 2006 alone, more than thirty thousand Iraqis died as Sunni and Shia Arabs killed each other in a gory display of hatred that goes back to the power struggles that unfolded after the death of the Prophet of Islam

Page no 127 actual Page No in the book – 111 - first paragraph

The Iranian scholar Ali Dashti writes that before the advent of Islam, the Arabs used to boast about the superiority of the tribe, clan, or genealogy over those of others. Their claims to superiority were not based on virtues and graces, but on prowess in killing, plundering, and abducting other men’s women.

 

Second paragraph ( para last but one )

today’s secular democratic civil societies, where citizenship is based on human created laws, not divine texts and specific race, religion, tribe, or clan.

Last paragraph

Choice for 21st century Muslims

In the 21st century, we Muslims have a choice. Either we can emulate the great Muslim scientists and philosophers, such as Averroes and Kindi, Avicenna and Khaldun, or we can follow the orthodoxy that labelled these giants as apostates. In making that choice, we need to be aware that we sacrifi ce the state of Islam when we chase the elusive mirage of an Islamic State.

*

Chapter 7 - MedinaThe Politics of the Rightly Guided Caliphs

Page no 131 actual Page No in the book – 115 -

First paragraph

Racial superiority of Arabs

Important -- What began as the superiority of the Meccan Arab over the Medinan Arab has evolved into systemic racism against the Black African, the Persian, and the Indian.

Muslims found little fault in systemic racism. Earlier Islamic dynasties were complicit in the slave trade.

Islamic scholar and historian than Ibn Khaldun writing in 1377 that “the Negro nations are, as a rule, submissive to slavery, because (Negroes) have little that is (essentially) human and possess attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals

second paragraph

Today, when the Janjaweed * militia hunt down and massacre Darfuri Muslims in Sudan, their action stems from centuries of ingrained belief in the racial and tribal superiority of the Arab over the darker Black African

 

Page no 137 actual Page No in the book – 121 -

second  paragraph

Despotic rule in the name of Islam

The kings, generals, and religious leaders have always disguised their despotic rule as a practice of Islam.

Third paragraph

Today, however, despots have trampled on their Muslim subjects, forbidding them to investigate the science of governance and politics. In the name of Islam, they have deceived Muslims, creating a stagnant pool of subservience. Political thinking is paralyzed.

Page no 153 actual page in the book 137

Last paragraph – last few lines

Important Continue even today to cause bloodshed on the streets of Gaza, Karachi, Baghdad, and Algiers. Unfortunately, Muslims continue to be taught that the blame for their failures lies not within themselves, but elsewhere

Page no 155 actual page in the book 139

Important The disputes had nothing to do with piety, religiosity, or one’s conviction in the Quran, but were purely about power and the control of the Islamic State, clearly at cost to the state of Islam.

Page no 164 actual page in the book 148

Ismaili Muslims - Agha Khan – Non-Muslims ( Infidel )

First paragraph

Important Agha Khan and his followers as non-Muslims. However, he leads his followers in a progressive and dynamic manner, reconciling Islam and modernity with grace and composure that has won him and his community the affection and respect of the entire world

 

To the Agha Khan and his followers, called the Ismaili Muslims, faith is a guide to action, not to be worn on their sleeves. It resides in their hearts. They aspire to no Islamic State, yet live in a state of Islam

Third paragraph - last few lines

IMPORTANT Ismaili Muslims established the 9th-century Fatimide dynasty in Egypt; founded the Al-Azhar University; were expelled from their homeland by their Sunni detractors, dispersed and scattered across Yemen, India, and Persia; faced discrimination and harassment wherever they went; and yet managed to be the most literate, urbanized, charitable, socially cohesive, and upwardly mobile people among the Muslims of the 21st century.

Last paragraph

The rest of us Muslims can, of course, continue to label each other as non-believers and apostates. We can hate modernity itself, be envious of human joy, bury our heads in the Arabian sands, and let the bloodthirsty desert have the last laugh

Chapter 9 - CordobaIslam’s European Venture

Page no 197 actual page in the book 181

Last paragraph (racism &  neo converts )

Important To generate revenue, Umayyad governor Ubayd Allah bin Habhab of Egypt resorted to a clumsy and racist policy: he decreed that all non-Arab converts to Islam, in particular Berbers, would be considered non-Muslim. Their privileges as Muslims were withdrawn. The berbers were forced to pay Jaziya

Page no 198 actual page in the book 182

Important - In 740, while the Umayyad Arab army was in Sicily on an expedition against the Byzantines, a devout man named Maisara led the Berbers in an attack on the city of Tangiers. The city collapsed within days, with the Berbers not only killing the Arab governor, but massacring the city’s entire Arab population, down to the last child. From there the revolt of the Berbers spread rapidly, and within a short period, all of North Africa west of Egypt had seceded from Umayyad control, with the Berbers electing their own caliph. By the time news reached Damascus, the cream of the Syrian cavalry had been wiped out.

Important - The defeat was particularly stinging because the Arabs had been defeated by a people they considered inferior. How could the darker skinned Berbers (Racism) defeat the forces of, supposedly, God’s deputy on Earth?

By mid-741, huge battles were being fought between the Berbers and the Arab armies, Muslims were spilling Muslim blood across North Africa.

Page 199 actual page in the book 183

Last paragraph

Muslims were selling fellow Muslims as slaves in exchange for dogs and goats, all in the name of Islam

Chapter 10 - BaghdadIslam Embraces the Persians

Page no 216 actual page in the book 200

First paragraph

The Umayyads were essentially an Arab state invoking Islam to justify their rule over non-Arabs (Racism); the Abbasids came to power as a result of a revolt of the Persians against Arab supremacy in Islam.

Last paragraph

Iranian nationalism is essentially anti-Arabian and tries to distance itself from Islam

Page 230 actual page in the book 214

Last paragraph

Muslim Vs Muslim conflicts

Between 700 and 900 CE, the period when sharia law was created and the hadith—the sayings of Prophet Muhammad—were compiled, about forty-five Muslim versus Muslim wars, assassinations, revolts, and counter revolts took place.

Chapter 11 - ShariaGod’s Law or Man’s Flaw?

Page no 272 actual page in the book  214

Important The promoters of sharia banking are Islamists, and their target is to control the Muslim population and segregate them from the rest of the world, one bank account at a time. With every mortgage signed, the family has to take ownership of sharia and disown the rest of society as the impure moneylenders.

Chapter 13

Page no 301 (pdf ) - actual page in the book  287

Paragraph 3

Important – Muslim men raping Muslim women

Pakistani troops in the Bangladesh war had no hesitation raping Bengali women after clerics had declared these Muslim women as non-Muslim enemies of Islam. The same theology today gives religious license to the Janjaweed Arab militia in Sudan to rape Darfuri women—their very own Muslim sisters

page 303 - actual page in the book  289

Important – Slave transferable property

Maudoodi writes: “The proprietary rights over a slave, male or female, as given to a person by the government, are transferable, like all other proprietary rights.”

Page 312 - actual page in the book 298

Second paragraph beginning

Important – School girls not allowed to escape from a burning class room

In the most atrocious application of the Saudi law, fifteen schoolgirls perished in March 2002 when they were not permitted to flee their burning school in Mecca because they were not wearing so-called proper Islamic dress.

Page no 315- actual page in the book 273

-          Important - Music ban

Islamists who despise music and singing should pay heed to Ibn Khaldun, the great Muslim philosopher and sociologist of the 14th century. In his 1377 classic, The Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun said the disappearance of music from a community is one of the signs of its decline.

Page no 353 - actual page in the book 339

First paragraph – last few lines

Important - underachievement of Muslims - Muslims have to blame themselves

In the pantheon of the arts, sciences, and culture, we are nowhere to be found. In the gallery of whiners and underachievers, our numbers are ever increasing as we drift further into the jaws of Political Islam. As long as we cannot awaken our conscience, take responsibility for our actions, and reach out to the world, we are doomed.