Dallas Natia Mushaira, aqeeda and women

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There are two aspects of Mushaira I want to share;
1) Aqeeda or broadly devotion to the prophet and

2) Reduced role of women in the program.
Every one has a different level of devotion to the prophet and each one expresses it differently. As I go around different places of worship within and without the religions, I have learned to appreciate the “devotion” expressed in different formats.   
The Naatia Mushaira (Praise songs honoring the Prophet) reiterated a fact that Muslims are not a monolithic lot and I am glad we are accepting the diversity within without judgment; we are as diverse as God has made us.
Indeed, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made our life easy for us by predicting that there will be 72 (a metaphoric number to express diversity) tribes among his followers and each one was to compete in doing good.  You may find a refreshing wisdom in it; the prophet wanted us to accept that we are going to have differences but we will join in together in creating peace, salaam to every one of the humans that share the planet with us. There is a greater wisdom in the 2nd part of that statement that one among you would be the  righteous one,  and here is the kicker; only Allah will judge that, not now, but on the Day of Judgment, thus we were encouraged to compete in doing good without being judgmental about the other.  
Most of the Muslims understand that Allah is Rabbul Aalameen (Lord of the universes) and not our exclusive God, and they also believe that the Prophet is Rahmatul Aalameen (Mercy to mankind) and not just the prophet of men, but women as well.
A few among us strip the universality of Islam and make it a private club, and become judgmental about others and pre-empt Allah and the Day of Qayamat and condemn people.  No one can judge the faith of others, if they cannot get the Malik-i-Yo Middin that is recited at least 17 times a day; then I have no Idea what they can get out of parroting it.  
Do we have the humility to respect the way “the other” tribes worship God and respect Muhammad (pbuh)? Are we arrogant to declare that others are wrong? Are we humble enough to accept that our tradition works for us, as others’ work for them?

This is the toughest question Muslim will face. Once the humility enters our hearts and arrogance exits, Taqwa (piety and spirituality) grows within us.

Great poetry was recited, at the same time I was respectfully swallowing how a few of us have made Muhammad (pbuh), a substitute for God. Please don’t say Naoozu billah, only God knows what is in one’s heart.
It was refreshing to hear these couplets;
            Nirali shaan hai us ki, a ummat-e-mustafai hai
            Amal say dur hai lekin aqeedate inteha ki hai
            ( there is devotion but far from acts of goodness)
            Mere pyare nabee nay mujh say bus itna chaha tha
            Faqt insaan kehla-oon, faqt insaan bun jaaon
            (My prophet asked me to be a good human, I hope to become one)
            Le aayi hai kis mukhaam per apni fikr
            Paighambar say Ishq hai, paigham say nahin.
            (we love the prophet but have forgotten the message)       
In the past, I have heard a few couplets, where the poet was close to saying God was born out of the Noor of the Prophet…   however the following lines were mild compared to what I have heard in the past,  these  lines lead to dual interpretations;
·        Sooraj may tab aanay lagi 
·        Naat padhna ibadat kay barabar hai 
          Reading in the praise of the prophet amounts to worship to God
·        Bus itna fasila hai Rasool aur khuda may, ek dil ke paas ek rag-e-jaan ke
·        Ek shabeha noor-e-haq, dur shakl-e insaani mili
As a person who appreciates every which way people bow to the creator, it was fascinating for me to see the reverence for the prophet expressed differently. One group loves the man for the glad tiding he brought to the society and admires him for being humble, and the other one makes him divine. To you is your belief and to me is mine.
Mahtab Hussein writes on the face book, “I do have much Love for my Prophet but never worship him. I do appreciate his Human Capacity, his Eloquent Speeches, his love for people & Humanity, his personal character and his human Qualities.”
That was my sentiment as well. I love the prophet for bringing Rahmat to the world; he brought pure goodness to all humanity, of which we the Muslims are a part of.
The role of women 
Prophet Muhammad brought Rahmat, kindness to humanity and uplifted women from the oppressive traditions. He established and treated them as equals.
Women & Men are each other’s garments, each other’s respect, each others partners, being just is what God commands you to be. This equitable relationship between the husband and the wife must be one of love, mercy, tranquility, and kindness.
“Scholars have interpreted this to mean that husbands and wives need mutual support, mutual comfort, and mutual protection. It is also a reference to the fact that spouses are each other’s sanctuary in so far as each covers the others’ shortcomings and preserves his or her privacy; hence the tranquility and harmony.” Bassam A. Abed & Syed E. Ahmad.
Among us Muslims, a few of us do not have the guts to speak up when we see something wrong.  With one mouth we say Prophet is Rahmatul Aalameen but with the other we have a different rule. That “sher” is reflective of the state of affairs with the South Asian Muslims. “Paighambar say Ishq hai, paigham say nahin.”

Mere pyare nabee nay mujh say bus itna chaha tha
Faqt insaan kehla-oon, faqt insaan bun jaaon
By Khalid Khawaja

The woman who gets beaten will take the beating in all cultures, but when shameless men conveniently use (abuse) Islam to justify their acts, Prophet is not a Rahmat to them any more, Prophet was not Rahmat to Asia Bibi. Who is denigrating the prophet worse than the cartoonists?  

I urge Muslims everywhere to bring about a change and I hope in Naatia Mushairas, whereever we hold; we would want to see a women sing the Naats. They have a greater love for the man who uplifted them than the men.
Recently, I have witnessed shameless men walking out from a public gathering when a Muslim woman went to speak. the greatness of women is they put up with this non-sense to keep the dignity of the event, thank God , we live in America, a land of justice and as Imam Feisal alludes, the principles of dignity and equality of Islam are practiced in this nation. We don’t have to let others denigrate our religion based on our acts.  I will speak up and I hope there are more “men” out there who have the guts to speak up.
You can see how some of these men could feed the Fox news; they are a fodder to the right wing news media.  Unless we speak up against unjust practices, the right wingers beleive that we are an accomplice.
Prophet Muhammad is a mercy to mankind and each one of us who truly believes in it has to make that happen. May Allah guide us all to receive the message of the prophet to act on it and not talk about it. Amen!
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Mike Ghouse

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