Monday, July 30, 2012

The Inner Housekeeping in Ramazan

The commencement of Ramazan, the Holy month of fasting for Muslims, brings along with it important changes in lifestyle and behavior. In addition to prohibition of eating, drinking and sexual activity during the day light, fasting also implies refraining from unethical social behavior such as lying , backbiting and oath breaking. Muslims practice a sublime set of moral behavior and attitudes during this month, which should set standards  for the whole year around.  Fasting is a personal affair, their are social activities associated with fasting; but in abiding to the rules each individual begins a personal endeavor to change daily habits, and to revisit inner impulses and behaviors.

Ramazan is  the time for self or inner house keeping. The inner affairs of our hearts and minds , our intentions which create our actions and build our personality are revisited and addressed in this Holy Month. The difficulties of fasting and the pressures of thirst and hunger are meant to create a firm and steadfast personality who could resist the temptations and attractive worldly desires which may take a human being to a degraded state of existence and undermine human dignity . Weak people usually give in and sell their dignity for very little. Ramazan is meant to restore strong will and faith in humans who have lost their direction and goal.
During those moments of hunger and thirst the fasting individual considers the sufferings and pains of others and comes to a sublime level of selflessness. Ramazan takes humans to a higher level of contemplation and altruism, a sensation that is compromised in today's material world.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reflections on the Awakening Conference in Tehran

Women have had a central role in the Islamic  awakening or Arab Spring, what ever we name it. They have taken to the streets along with men protesting against dictatorship and tyranny and demanding freedom and a dignified life. Women in Tunisia,Egypt,Libya, Palestine, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain all played an instrumental role in the success of their nations. As mothers, wives, sisters and daughters women, took central or support roles in promoting the movements and sacrificing their lives or that of their beloved . In many instances women resisted tremendous pressures and broke the chains of fear and suffering with resilience and hope for the future. Some Iranians believed that the Islamic Revolution and Republic served as an inspiration for their movement. Others questioned whether a Revolution of 32 years age and now facing numerous challenges could still serve as a model for Muslim nations.
The Islamic Revolution of Iran is still unique in many respects, the sweeping victory in 1978 amid the staunch opposition of the number one superpower the USA, surviving a devastating war and crippling sanctions are all indications of strength. Over the years, this Revolution like any other has face numerous growing challenges as well. 
1200 women involved in the Islamic awakening movements were invited to Iran by the government. They met and discussed issues related to the Awakening in the luxurious Milad Tower Conference Center  and later visited touristic attractions in some historic sites. State media gave much emphasis to the importance of this gathering which provided participants with the opportunity to become familiar with Iran and the achievements of the Revolution and which set grounds for a future network of these women .
The Islamic Revolution has taken great strides in providing a self confidence and identity for Muslims , and has given them pride in their Islamic faith and practice. While the great gains of these 32 years are numerous, an objective picture would include the lessons and losses as well. These Muslim women and all those who believe in the legacy of the Islamic Revolution, need to learn the losses and lessons as well as the gains and achievements. It is only then that we can deliver an objective picture and useful exchange of experiences for these nations. Press TV indicated in its report on this conference that these women from 83 countries had a chance in Tehran to freely discuss their ordeal and sufferings and aspirations without the fear of retribution. This is a good start , but hopefully it will also be considered for Iranian citizens as well, so that they could also speak out and voice their concerns and criticisms without any fear of retribution or pressure in their own homeland.