Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The god-circle

Nasir Khan, June 28, 2016

An easy way for me to exemplify god will be to compare it to a circle that has no beginning and no end.


All believers, who, no doubt, have diverse views and nuanced interpretations of what they mean by god, may run around this cirlce for all their lives; they will be running round and round endlessly. Running and running but getting nowhere because they are running in the same narow circle! A circle is a cricle; it has no starting point nor an end. 


However, if (and that is a big if ) they step outside the circle and reflect upon what they have been doing, for what and for what reasons may find something new. But not many will do so or can do so because to run in the trodden circle is a lot more comfortable than risking any step outside the path. 


 Early in my life I took the path away from the fiction of god and that has given me mental and spiritual freedom, option to use rational thinking, faculty to reject superstitious beliefs and dogmas, happiness and love for humanity without any fear of anyone from anywhere. The god illusion is out of my way and I feel I am a complete human being.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Forces of Darkness and Ignorance in Pakistan



Nasir Khan, June 23, 2016

The tragedy that started in 1947 in the shape of Pakistan and in the name of Islam has continued uninterrupted since then. In this country, Islam was transformed into a cult of ignorance and darkness and then into a cult of death and violence.
Muslim leaders and politicians initiated their political agendas by using the Islam card when the British Raj in India was on its hind legs. They galvanised the conservative Muslim clergy to support their call for a separate homeland for Muslims that was to be modelled on the Islamic principles of laws and polity.
But none of these shrewd leaders explained what those principles of religious laws were or how a political system based on those seventh-century Arabian laws and mindset would operate in modern times. They gave the poor and ignorant masses cheap slogans to repeat, which they did. But the masses had no clue what these laws and system of government would be like.
What the misguided and morbid extremists are doing in Pakistan in the name of Islam and their brigands kill innocent people when they choose to do so is a natural unfolding of the dark force that was unleashed by manipulating religion. The tree of ignorance and darkness is bearing its bitter fruit.

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https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/06/22/famous-pakistani-sufi-singer-killed-by-gunmen-in-karachi.html

 Famous Pakistani Sufi singer killed by gunmen in Karachi
Amjad Sabri was shot several times Wednesday while driving his car.
Pakistani investigators and journalists gather around the car of famous Sufi singer Amjad Sabri after an attack in Karachi on Wednesday.
Pakistani investigators and journalists gather around the car of famous Sufi singer Amjad Sabri after an attack in Karachi on Wednesday.  (Shakil Adil / The Associated Press)  
KARACHI, PAKISTAN—Pakistani police say gunmen have killed a famous Sufi singer in the southern port city of Karachi.
Police officer Arif Mahar says Amjad Sabri was shot several times Wednesday while driving in his car. Sabri’s brother, who was also in the car, was wounded.
Sabri and his late father, Ghulam Farid Sabri, were well-known qawwali singers, a style of music rooted in Sufism, or Islamic mysticism. Islamic extremists reject Sufi traditions and have targeted Sufis in past attacks.
Karachi has long been gripped by violence, with attacks carried out by Islamic militants as well as ethnic separatists, criminal gangs and rival political parties. On Tuesday, gunmen killed a member of the Ahmadi religious minority, and the son of a provincial judge was abducted. No one has claimed the attacks.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Massacre in Orlando

 Nasir Khan, June 13, 2016

The massacre of so many innocent people at the hands of Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old US citizen was a deplorable and savage act. What made him commit such a horrendous crime is not clear. The pieces of information we saw on the telescreens show him to have been a mentally unstable and violent person. Only the psychologists or criminologists may come up with  some further clarification of his behaviour, but one thing is clear. He acted alone. Will we escape the usual practice where a crime committed by a person belonging to Islamic religion is attributed to his religion and by implication, all Muslims are stigmatised?


We should also keep in mind that such random killings are common in the United States. People kill people for fun or shoot innocent people if they want to. In the United States, violence is glorified and getting weapons is so easy; therefore, such crimes as the massacre in Orlando are not exceptional. The only distinctive nature of the present crime is the large number of people who fell victims.

However, America is not the only country where violence and killings are common. For instance, in Pakistan sectarian killings are common. Religious fanatics, mostly belonging to the majority Sunni sect, target Shias, Ahmadis and other religious minorities. The burning of some young girls alive recently shows the force of inhuman traditions and customs of patriarchal society and its coercive methods. Then, come the Taliban and other Islamist militant groups on the scene who target people to advance their version of Islamic state under a pristine Islam that existed in the Arabia of the seventh century AD.

The massacre in Orlando also shows that police or security agencies cannot prevent the actions of individuals who want to commit such crimes as Omar Mateen did. This is an inescapable sad reality.

Much has to change socially and politically both at local, regional and global levels to combat violent crimes. However, there is no sign of any such movement towards that direction.

Monday, June 06, 2016

The death of Muhammad Ali

Nasir Khan, June 5, 2016

Muhammad Ali stood against an oppressive state, its war of aggression in Vietnam and the dehumanised existence of American blacks. Who could have imagined that this young black man who came from a humble background would defy the coercive power of the state for enlisting him in the US army for ‘serving’ the genocidal war in Vietnam? But he did that some 50 years ago.

He took all the risks of defiance in a heroic manner irrespective of the ensuing consequences for the cause of peace and truth. He left his mark in the history of struggle of black people for civil rights and equality. 

The world has come to recognise that he was more than a boxing champion. Both politically and socially, he was a man of high stature for whom billions of decent human beings can be proud of.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Ramadan Mubarak to All!

Nasir Khan, June 1, 2016

Soon the holy month of Ramadan will start, a month in which Muslim believers fast from dawn to dusk, without touching any food or water. It is all done to fulfil the command of the Almighty Allah.

We had learnt that in this holy month Satan is chained and imprisoned. This means, he is not free to perform his evil deeds, which he otherwise does for the eleven months of the year. In those months of iniquity, he spreads much wickedness and misleads people. In these months, he manages to create so many ardent followers that they carry on his mission in his absence during the holy month of Ramadan. 


As a result, we still see people killing each other, warmongers still destroying people, weapons producers still selling arms to provoke more conflicts and in this way earn more profits. Other crimes in society continue as usual.

The rulers of Muslim countries continue to enjoy lives of plenty and luxury, depositing billions of dollars in foreign banks in secret accounts while the masses suffer.

Ramadan Mubarak to all!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Inherited beliefs and freethinking

Nasir Khan, May 28, 2016

All human children are born in the same way, according to the physiological and biological reproductive system of human beings. Right from their infancy, they learn about the customs and rituals of their societies through their parents and other close relatives. Of course, they follow the religion of their parents as part of their upbringing and schooling. They had no choice but to follow the religions of their parents.

As grownups, they become convinced of the truth of their own religion. They believe their religion to be the ‘only true one’ while discounting any such truth to other religions! This is more so in conservative and traditional societies world-over.

Only a limited number of people manage to break loose from this mode of thinking and rigid religious indoctrination. Luckily, in western societies that have become multicultural, multi-ethnic and multireligious, there is a marked trend, at least amongst the  people of European descent, to move away from the traditional religious beliefs, while extending  respect to the followers of  all different religions.

This change has come about because of the humanist values and freedom to think and choose in secularised societies.  The people who are most devoted to their religions and deities happen to be the migrants and their descendants of Asian and African origin.

———
Translation of the Urdu text in the photo:

‘”What a coincidence that people born in a certain religion regard their religion as being the only righteous one!”
 Sam Khan's photo.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

On Humans and Gods

Nasir Khan, May 20, 2016

Humans created god by attributing many of their own qualities unto an imaginary ‘being’. But they also gave him a bit more than what they themselves were: they made him all-powerful and all-knowing! So are the fictional places that human beings created in their grand fantasies called Paradise, Hell and the Kingdom of God! But they did not create one god; they created hundreds and thousands of gods and goddesses in many old cultures and societies.

But in the early history of humankind, the forces of nature, like thunder, storms, rain, etc., overawed humans. They were not able to explain these powerful and frightening forces of nature that affected them. As a result, they started to do whatever they could to placate them by making occasional sacrifices to them and entreating them for mercy and kindness.


The idea of deities came much later when they developed anthropomorphic ideas relating to deities they came to believe in that were distinct from the earlier worship of the forces of nature.


Since then, the story of gods in various forms and shapes had become a dominant factor in their lives. The movement from the plurality of deities to smaller numbers was gradual. In some cultures, there was further reduction in such numbers, coming down to three, two or only one. They are all part of the history of the evolution of the notions of powerful supernatural or divine beings.