Saturday, September 29, 2012

HT Archives- In Praise of My Mother



HindustanTimes Sun,30 Sep 2012
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In praise of my mother
First Published: 17:56 IST(30/11/2006)
Last Updated: 17:56 IST(30/11/2006)
Sometimes I wonder what I would have become had I lost my mother instead of my father. I was just seven at the time of my father's untimely departure from this world. The shattering memories of those days of struggle are keenly alive in my memory. It was a battle for survival for all of 
us, especially for my three younger sisters. As for my mother, no one could have expected such resistance to hardship from a lady like her, coming from a mere hamlet, who had hardly ever seen the doors of an educational institution. But she is a lady of faith and high spirit and she made all the impossible things possible for us.
I remember how every night she used to tell us stories that had lessons in morals, dignity, struggle and heroic deeds. Through them all was our biggest lesson: never give in to hard times, they never last long. Although she never received formal education, she somehow arranged convent education for us. I should also praise her efforts to become compatible with contemporary times. A person who was only familiar with Urdu and fluent in the Arabic scriptures of the Holy Qu'ran, she was almost illiterate in English or Hindi. But she overturned her status with time. Today, she is at ease with both these languages. All this was the result of her hard work and the urge to learn with us.
Her philosophy regarding life was very simple yet very important. She used to say, "Humanity is the best religion and love for all is the true faith; cooperation, intelligence and hard work are the best tools to sustain us; neither bad days nor good ones last long, so always be practical and learn to live with the times."
This praise belongs not only to my mother but also to all the women of every home. A mother is God's precious gift. I strongly feel that humanity has survived despite all calamities only due to the sincerity and goodness of mothers.

HT Archives- Rosewater and Scorpions



HindustanTimes Sun,30 Sep 2012RssFeed
Rosewater and scorpions
Saiyed Zaigham Murtaza
August 21, 2006
First Published: 03:33 IST(21/8/2006)
Last Updated: 03:33 IST(21/8/2006)
This week followers of Hazrat Sharafuddin Shah Wilayat, a revered saint of Uttar Pradesh, will celebrate his birthday and urs with traditional enthusiasm. Shah Wilayat’s message endures as a symbol of the Gangetic Plain’s unique tradition of syncretic culture, the famous
‘Ganga-Jaamuni tehzeeb’. One may go so far as to say that love is eternal and it creates room for itself in any condition.
Hazrat Sharafuddin Shah Wilayat, a medieval mystic, has long been considered one of the great Sufi saints. He migrated from south Asia to India and found a suitable place in Amroha, then known as Azizpur town. His primary mission was to preach love and humane behaviour. In Amroha he was informed about another Saint, Hazrat Shah Nasruddin, who was short tempered and intolerant of other spiritual leaders on his turf.
Hazrat Sharafuddin present him a bowl of rose water through one of his colleagues. The message was that ‘I am here to spread the essence of humanity’. Hazrat Nasruddin responded by dipping a rose in it, which made the water overflow from the bowl. The message was that here is no room for anyone else. When Hazrat Sharafuddin refused to leave the locality, Shah Nasruddin said if he stayed there, his grave would be the breeding ground and habitat of deadly scorpions.
Knowing this Shah Wilayat said to his messenger, go and tell him I am here to preach love not hatred. Love may create room for itself. Indeed, the scorpions will guard my grave and yet they will be as peaceful as saints themselves, if my love has any power.
They will never harm any human being. These powerful words came true. Even today one may find countless scorpions in the graveyard of Hazrat Sharafuddin Shah Wilayat living side by side with humans in utter peace. Such, it seems, is the power of love that can alter the very nature of even deadly Creatures. Why, them, cannot we human beings benefit from love, to live peacefully in the world that was originally for all of us by Almighty?

HT Archives- Queen Zubaida's Bargain



Hindustan Times - The name India trusts for news
Hindustan Times - The name India trusts for newsFriday, April 13, 2007|04:16 IST
Queen Zubaiyda’s bargain
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Saiyed Zaigham Murtaza
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April 3, 2007
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Religion is not about empty ritual but about faith. Nor can it be a compulsion on any one. But it’s curious how true devotion always seems to pay you back. One of my favourite stories about this concerns Bahlol of Baghdad, known as Bahlol Diwana, whom HT readers have encountered before in this column.
One day Bahlol was by the riverside making a sandcastle, like children do. Zubaiyda, wife of Caliph Haroon-al-Rashid happened to pass by. She was kind hearted enough to ask, "Bahlol! What are you doing?"
"Constructing a home for Paradise," replied Bahlol.
"Please would you sell this house to me?"
"Yes, I can, but for 100 dinars."
Since Zubaiyda wanted to help Bahlol in any way she could, she immediately paid him the amount.
Bahlol asked, "Don't you need a receipt?"
“Just write it up and send it to me later,” replied Zubaiyda.
When the Caliph came to know about it, he laughed at his wife. Meanwhile Bahlol distributed that money among the poor as he usually did.
That very night Zubaiyda had a dream. She saw a big garden, the like of which she had never seen before. In it was a splendid palace, rich with jewels and decorated sumptuously A river flowed by, its banks blooming with flowers. Zubaiyda was given a receipt, written in gold, and was told that this was the Garden that she had bought from Bahlol.
Zubaiyda woke up and told Haroon about it. Early in the morning, Haroon summoned Bahlol and asked to buy a house, too.
Bahlol laughed aloud. “Sorry, they are out of stock now. And even if I had one, I regret to say that I may not have given it to you, because Zubaiyda bought it without seeing (the reward). Whereas, you want to buy one now because you see gain in it.” Haroon felt ashamed but now it was too late.
It can be said that real rewards come through faith, not greed. God seems to best admire those services rendered without any motive but goodwill.




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From HT Archives_True faith is Love



HindustanTimes Sun,30 Sep 2012
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The true faith is love
First Published: 17:04 IST(5/5/2006)
Last Updated: 15:12 IST(6/5/2006)
Should religion break hearts or fill them with love and affection for others?

We seem to have moulded laws only for narrow interests. We use religion to propagate hatred against the very human beings for whom these laws were framed. We manipulate situations.

We 

polarise human sentiments to divide people. Really, religion seems to be a tool of destruction. But our own age teaches us wisdom, if we would only learn it.

An Englishmen came to Gandhiji and said, I read the Bhagvad Gita and I liked it. Gandhiji replied that he liked it, too and read it daily. The man then said, “But I found it better than the Bible.” Gandhiji answered: “But I read the Bible also and I like it too.” The man said: “I find the Gita is better and want to switch my faith to Hinduism.” Gandhiji said: “I think you haven’t read the Bible properly. You are not yet a good Christian, how can you become a good Hindu? You better go back and try to be a good Christian. The day you do it successfully you will be a good human being, too. And that day the religious wall within your heart will begin to shrink and you will not only be a good Christian but also a good Hindu, a good Muslim, and a good Jew too.”

So the difference is only within our heart. Otherwise, we are one species, defined by the common term “humanity”. The proof of this is the feeling that rises in our heart whenever we find any disaster or calamity has hurt human beings in any part of the world. We shouldn’t lose our faith. But blind faith is disastrous, so let us be rational and not lend our ear to demagogues or religious contractors. They take us away from faith in God and love for each other to irrational and illogical hatred and make us encroach unjustly on the faith of our fellow human beings.