Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Muharram-ul-Haram": 1st Month of Islamic Year -- Hazrat Imam Hussain alayhis 'salam And Incident of Karbala

Muharram-ul-Haram is one of the four months of Islamic Lunar Calendar declared sacred by Allah (SWT) in the Glorious Qur'an. The other three months of Islamic Lunar Calendar are Rajab al-Murajab, Dhu al-Qa'dah and Dhu al-Hijjah.

In the Glorious Qur'an verse 59 of Surah An Nisa, Allah (SWT) says:

"O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and "Ulil Amr" (Those who are authorized to command) from among you."

The believers always obey Allah (SWT), obey His Messenger and the "Ulil Amr" appointed by Him. It is an open invitation. Because, Laa Ikraaha Fid Deen [There is no compulsion in religion] (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:256). Those who (in truth) are not believers can do what they want.

Likewise Prophets, Messengers, sent down by Allah (SWT) to guide and warn people, never accepted anyone at all as Prophet or Messenger, whatever the circumstances were, be it that they did not stop claimers of this kind, or opponents, with application of force or repression.

In the same manner Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A.S.) did not recognize anyone as "Ulil Amr". His elder son Imam Hasan (A.S.), like his grandfather, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) as in the [Treaty of Hudaybiah], let Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan be the ruler, but did not give up his rights of the "Ulil Amr", which he was at that time.

When Yazid ibn Muawiyah became the ruler he threw to the wind the earlier policy of the rulers not to demand "Bayah" (oath of allegiance) from the children of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), and began to exercise pressure upon Imam Hussain (A.S.) to swear loyalty and acknowledge him as the "Ulil Amr", which the Holy Imam rightly refused. It is another aspect of the whole affair that Yazid ibn Muawiyah was the meanest tyrant of the worst degree, but even if he was an ordinary ruler Imam Hussain (A.S.) could not swear loyalty to him as the "Ulil Amr". So he did not. In the month of Rajab al-Murajab 61 Hijrah, he left Medina and went to Makkah. From Makkah, before performing Hajj Pilgrimage, he took his family with him, and with some friends and companions, true believers, he began the journey towards Iraq, with the expressed intention to cross the boundaries of the empire under the rule of Yazid ibn Muawiyah, and settle down in some other country, Iran or India, because he wanted to make it clear to Yazid ibn Muawiyah that he could not allege obedience to a "non-Ulil Amr" as he himself was an "Ulil Amr".

It was not to be. A large army of Yazid ibn Muawiyah under the command of Umar ibn Saad surrounded the caravan of Imam Hussain (A.S.) when he reached Naynawah, Karbala, on the 2nd of Muharram Al-Haram in 61 Hijrah.

There are several other aspects of human relationship and behavior in the events of Karbala that took place in the 10 days of Muharram-ul-Haram, culminating in the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (A.S.), and his 72 friends and relatives, which come into sharp focus as we recount every minute, during the religious gatherings, each year, but, above all, the ultimate reason remains the same, the impossibility of taking "oath of loyalty" (Bayah), by an "Ulil Amr", to obey a "non-Ulil Amr".

After Imam Hussain (A.S.), all his successors to "The office of the Ulil Amr", our holy Imams, refused to obey "Non-Ulil Amr", and every ruler held each of them prisoner, used every trick, applied force and in the end killed every Imam, exactly as Yazid ibn Muawiyah did.

Muharram-ul-Haram is a month of mourning for the lovers and followers of "Ahlul Bayt or Aal-e-Muhammad". In this month, on the 10th day (Ashura) in 61 Hijra, Imam Hussain bin Ali (A.S.), the grandson of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and the younger son of Imam Ali and Fatima Zahra (S.A.), together with his family and friends, in all 72 men, were slain on the sands of the desert of Naynawah, Karbala. Since then, each year, the true followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), through grief, sorrow and tears, keep alive the message, cause and purpose of the greatest martyrdom in human history.

No doubt Muharram-ul-Haram is a holy and sacred month:

The believing men and women, in this month of Muharram-ul-Haram, suspend application of good effects of days and dates and avoid rejoicing even if happy events come in their stride.

The friends and followers of "Aal-e-Muhammad" hold meetings (Majlis), they had been doing so, for last fourteen hundred years, in the name of Imam Hussain (A.S.), during the months of Muharram-ul-Haram (and Safar al-Muzaffar), particularly in the first 10 days of Muharram-ul-Haram, to give new life to the Divine Message of "Laa Ilaaha Illallah (no one worthy of being worshiped but Allah)" as the beloved saint poet of the Indian subcontinent, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (of Ajmer) had said: "Indeed Hussain (A.S.) is the architect of 'Laa Ilaaha Illallah' both are reciprocally related to each other."

And the philosopher poet of Pakistan, Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, had said: "Ismail was the beginning (first step), Hussain was the ultimate."

Each year (at the advent of Muharram-ul-Haram) Islam turns over a new leaf.

In fact it is on account of Imam Hussain's remembrance, every year, we know who the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A.S.), Fatima Zahra (S.A.) are, and what were their true substance, style and wisdom.

It is because of Imam Hussain's memory, we call to mind each year the Islam, and it becomes clearly visible from behind the blur of the dust of delusion, thrown into the eyes of Muslims in the name of Muslim rule.

Sindhi Topi (Sindhi Cap): The Most Essential Part of The Sindhi Culture - - Sindh Celebrated The First Ever "Sindhi Topi Day"

Pakistan is a country of several ethnic groups and cultures. This is apparent not only in the looks of the people but also in their language, traditions, food and dress.

One thing a newcomer would notice is the variety of caps and turbans Pakistanis wear. Even though with increased travel, TV, and urbanization the caps worn in one part of the country have also been adopted by people in other parts but, still, the cap or the turban a Pakistani wears would usually give away his ethnicity and, sometime, even his social status.

Sindh has one distinctive cap, which stands out for its colorful embroidery and glasswork; the Sindhi Topi. It is round in shape except that a portion in front is cut out to expose the forehead for the same reasons as explained earlier. It comes in two varieties - hard and soft. The hard variety will keep its shape when not worn but the soft variety can be folded and even put into one’s picket. Most Sindhis, rich or poor, own a Sindhi cap.

The Sindhi Topi is regarded as one of the most essential parts of the Sindhi culture and is usually offered to guests, along with a traditional Sindhi Ajrak, as a token of respect.

Sindh celebrated first ever ‘Sindhi Topi Day’ on 6th December, 2009.

The call for the Sindhi Topi Day received an enthusiastic response everywhere as tens of thousands of people of all languages sporting Sindhi Topis and Ajraks took to the streets to express their sentiments and love with the Sindhi culture.

The Sindhi Topi Day has been observed following calls from a Sindhi television channel and the PPP in response to uncalled for remarks about the Sindhi Topi by an anchorperson of a private television channel.
Hand-woven Sindhi Topis are a product of hard labour and made in almost every district of the province. However, the Sindhi Topi produced in Tharparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar and other districts of the Mirpurkhas division are rated better and fetch a better price.

The Sindhi cap is also used in Balochistan, both by the Pushtuns and the Baloch. Balochistan, otherwise, is a land of turbans. And very distinctive turbans, too.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Part 5: Pictorial History of Pakistan Air Force From the Brush Strokes of Hussaini - - 1947-1957 The Early Days (P-4)

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: Aug-57
Artwork Located:
Officer's Mess Air Headquarters Islamabad

The silver Freighters with a blue fuselage line and green propeller spinners belonged to No 12 VIP Squadron. The camouflaged Freighters with the red spinners flew with No 6 Squadron, while the Transport Conversion Squadron had their spinners painted brown.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: Nov-49
Artwork Located:
Base Commander's Office PAF Peshawar

Even as a young Flying Officer, Fuad Shahid Hussain's incredible mastery in low level aerobatics became legendary in the PAF. Manoeuvring just a few feet above the ground in a Hawker Fury, his propeller wash kicking up dust on the runway, or just missing the tree tops in a graceful 8-point roll, he made it all look like child's play. By the early 1950s he was a rapidly rising star - now known by thousands throughout Pakistan as just "F.S." - and a role model of every fighter pilot in the air force. Tragically, "the prince of pilots" lost his life to diabetes at the young age of 40, when he was an Air Commodore.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: 1951
Artwork Located:
Air War College - PAF Faisal

The first formation aerobatic team, formed by No 9 Squadron on its Furies, was called 'The Red Dragons'. The painting shows the team performing officially for the first time in 1951 at Peshawar. The occasion was the farewell ceremonies for the PAF's outgoing C-in-C, Air Vice-Marshal R L R Atcherley. 'The Red Dragons' thus gained the honour of being the first aerobatic team in the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

The Team:

Squadron Leader Zafar Chaudhry
Flight Lieutenant Saeedullah Khan
Flying Officer T H Gotting
Flying Officer M Hayat Khan

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: 1952
Artwork Located:
Ministry of Defence

In 1952, No 11 Squadron, Drigh Road (now Faisal) Air Base, formed an aerobatic team with the curious name "The Paybills," that happened to be the squadron's call sign. This was the PAF's first jet aerobatic team, flying the squadron's Attackers. The painting shows the formation flying over Manora. This team was led by F S Hussain, the renowned flyer and aerial acrobat of his time.

The Team:

Squadron Leader F S Hussain
Flight Lieutenant M Z Masud
Flight Lieutenant Pete Malik
Flying Officer A U Ahmed
Pilot Officer Jamal A Khan

A Trip to Manorra Beach (Arabian Sea) Near Karachi - - Full of Excitement, Fun And Unforgettable Moments

In July 2009; I, with my family, got a chance to visit Manorra Beach that is the only tourism possible island near Kharachi. The Arabian Sea was on full swing on that day and it was a daring fun to have a 15-20 minutes boat ride from Kaemarri to Manorra. The boat was totally in the hands of merciless waves of Arabian Sea.

After getting off the boat; everyone of us feeling nausea but we had to travel again by a Suzuki Van to reach to the beach area. The wind was blowing heavily and tides of Arabian Sea was smacking the shore with tremendous power. The Sea level was rising with every passing minute and getting dangerous.

Terrifying and Unforgettable Moments of Our Trip To Manorra Beach:

My nephew and niece , Anas and Aisha, just before the accident.

The whole trip was full of fun and excitement; but the accident that happened just at the beginning of the trip was terrifying and unforgettable for everyone of us. My elder brother and his family; his wife, a son and daughter, were also accompanying with us on this trip. We located a place to sit and I, with my nephew and niece, hurriedly headed towards the sea to have fun with the rising waves and wet and cool sand. I started to have photographs with my mobile of the Arabian Sea and the children. Since we were just there and didn't know the intensity of waves; therefore suddenly a huge tide came and it dragged my niece with it. She cried uncle catch me (Chachu, mujh ko pakrro). The Almighty Allah gave me power and I jumped towards her and after catching her sat down immediately. Her mother saw the scene and running towards us screaming for her daughter. The tide was so dangerous that even I felt going with that for the first instance. Thanks to Almighty Allah; who saved us from any loss and we got careful for the remaining trip.

In the process I got my mobile phone soaked in the Sea water and turned off; and I couldn't use it further to take the photographs. Luckily, we had a spare digital camera that was used to capture the remaining trip. The above photograph was the last one I took from my mobile camera.

Looking very careful after the incident

Just watching the huge tides of Arabian Sea

Children having fun of camel riding and Swings on the Manorra Beach

Amazing waves surprising everybody

After having a tremendous trip full of fun, excitement and unforgettable incident; we had to get back after noon. Then again the boat riding from Mannora to Kaemarri to back to the home deadly tired.

Even after quite a few months; whenever we remind the incident we use to thank Almighty Allah for saving us from any loss of life.

Tent Pegging - - One of The Traditional Sports of Pakistan Having Origins Since 4th Century BC in Asia

Tent Pegging is a popular equestrian sport in Pakistan. It is a warrior game which is believed to have its origins since 4th century BC in Asia.

A rider carrying a lance on a galloping horse attempts to pull out a grounded wooden peg. If he successfully carries that peg beyond a 10 feet line from the point of strike, he gets 4 points and moves to the round of finalists. If the peg drops before crossing 10 feet line, the tent pegger gets 2 points and another chance to strike. But if he fails to pull out the peg, he drops from the game.

In Pakistan, tent pegging is more of an exhibition than a game. Well bred horses are brought to the playground with a profound sense of pride. Tent peggers wear colorful turbans. Their arrival in the arena is marked with great pomp and show. Drums, trumpets and flutes are played when they enter the field.

Group competitions also take place. Sections of four and sometimes eight tent peggers attempt to pull the pegs simultaneously.

Some variations of Tent pegging in Pakistan are a part of various education institution and folk sports competition. Most popular are lemon Cut, where a rider on a galloping horse cuts a lemon, hanging by a chord, with a sword.

Just Check out the video clip below to see how sophisticated the real tent pegging is all about:

Tent Pegging Horses & Horsemen - Celebrity bloopers here

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Part 4: Pictorial History of Pakistan Air Force From the Brush Strokes of Hussaini - - 1947-1957 The Early Days (P-3)

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: Mid 1950s
Artwork Located:
Office of MD Shaheen Foundation

In the mid-1950s, the PAF received 8 H-19Ds under the US assistance agreement, for the establishment of Search and Rescue (SAR) Flights at certain PAF Bases. This also marked the beginning of 'chopper" operations in the PAF, and in Pakistan as a whole.

The last H-19D was phased out of the PAF in 1971.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: Mid 1950s
Artwork Located:
Air Headquarters Breifing Room

Grumman SA-16A Albatross amphibians were a part of the Search and Rescue Flight at Drigh Road (now Faisal) Air Base, Karachi in the mid-1950s.

The aircraft were also used for coastal patrol and maritime reconnaissance during the 1965 War. One of their more important tasks was to keep a sharp look out for the Indian Navy aircraft carrier "Vikrant' whose entry into the area would have added a new and far more menacing dimension to the air war in the south.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: Jul-54
Artwork Located:
Office of the Director of Air Transport - Air Headquarters

During the early 1950s, the PAF purchased 81 Bristol Freighter transport aircraft. The Freighters were lumbering and noisy, but useful. They undertook an extensive range of transport and communications tasks in Pakistan for more than 10 years. The

painting shows relief goods being unloaded at Chittagong airfield. The Freighters were phased out in 1966 and replaced by the C-130s.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: 2-Sep-49
Artwork Located:
Air Guest House PAF Kalabagh

To introduce the young nation's youth to the joy of flying, glider pilot training was introduced through the "Shaheen Air Troops", established at Karachi on 2 September 1949. On 22 July 1950, Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin awarded the Glider Flying Badges (Wings) to the first group of student pilots.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: Mar-54
Artwork Located:
Vice Chief of Air Staff's Office

In March 1954, Furies of No 14 Squadron flew from Peshawar to Dhaka in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) on a training flight. The painting shows the Furies passing over the river Buri Ganga (Old Ganges) that flows by the capital city. Few of the pilots could have then foreseen that their squadron, re-equipped with F-86s, was destined to make Dhaka its home for seven years (1964-1971). Courageously fighting two wars from its Tejgaon Air Base in 1965 and 1971 - and outnumbered 10:1 in both - this squadron was to add glorious chapters to its history by destroying 20 enemy aircraft.

The Squadron emblem, a black scimitar, painted near the canopy, still adorns the F-7s that No 14 Squadron flies today.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: Aug-51
Artwork Located:
Basic Staff School PAF Badaber

Attackers - the PAF's first jet fighters - arrived from England in August 51 and were allotted to No 11 Squadron. Although designed primarily as a ship-borne machine, the Attacker was also produced in a land version, offering the nautical advantage of short take-off and landing characteristics, with a heavy load of bombs and rockets. Despite some teething problems, this first-generation jet fighter was soon mastered by PAF pilots and was used quite effectively. The aircraft also participated in fire-power displays on many occasions but never saw combat. It was phased out in 1958. The artist shows an Attacker overtaking a Fury during a simulated interception.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: 1950s
Artwork Located:
Headquarters Air Defence Command

In the early 1950s, the Hawker Fury was the frontline fighter of the Pakistan Air Force. Armed with 20 mm cannons and an effective load of bombs and rockets, the Fury was considered ideal for air support of ground forces and was rated very high among the combat aircraft of its class.

The painting shows a pair of Furies scrambling from the border airfield of Miranshah in a typical response to an 'XX call" from the Pak Army for air support. The Fury remained in service with the PAF from 1949 to 1960.

Size: 2ft x 3ft Oil
Date: 9-Jul-49
Artwork Located:
Air Guest House PAF Kalabagh

The Wali of Swat, Honorary General Abdul Vudood, was an enthusiastic supporter of the PAF. On 9 July 1949 the Wali contributed (the cost of) a Hawker Fury fighter for the newly independent country's air force. To commemorate the occasion a brand new Fury, in its distinctive silver livery bore the Swati crown prince's name. Operational requirements later forced Jahanzeb also to be painted over in the camouflage scheme carried by the other Furies.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Festivals of The Minorities - - Christmas Celebrations in Pakistan

Christmas in Pakistan is celebrated like any other festival of the minorities. The Christmas day in Pakistan is a public holiday, although it is observed in the memory of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. Though predominantly an Islamic country, Christmas in Pakistan is the main festival of the 5 millions Christians in Pakistan. Pakistan Christmas also brings forth the various traditions and rituals of Christmas celebrations in Pakistan.

Since, Christians are less in number, the enthusiasm and excitement of this festival in Pakistan is limited within the pockets where they live. Christmas celebrations in Pakistan are quite austere. However, such imperatives cannot mar the enthusiasm. Churches in Pakistan are decorated with streamers and colorful flags. Church services are held both on the eve of Christmas and on the Christmas Day.

Christmas in Pakistan is a very special occasion for many. Those who do not visit the church during the rest of the year, do not miss to attend services. Wearing new clothes, even the poorest person will attend the services. At Christian festivals like Christmas and Easter a big procession takes place, in Lahore, from St. Anthony's Church to the Cathedral. It takes hours to reach the Cathedral for the services. These are then celebrated with lots of enthusiasm! Before and during Advent, spiritual seminars take place to help people to prepare for Christmas or 'Bara Din' (which in Urdu and Punjabi means the 'Big Day'). This expression is very popular, even among Muslims in Pakistan.

Christmas in Pakistan is celebrated with the special Christmas cakes and meals. Chicken or beef curry, rice and maybe a sweet dish is the staple menu during Christmas. Family reunions and exchange of gifts are some of the common practices. Houses are decorated with stars and Christmas trees and cribs.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Quaid-e-Azam) - - One of The Greatest Leaders of Sub-continent And Founder of Pakistan

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, also known as “Quaid-e-Azam” in the history of India, is not only a great leader of Muslims of Indian sub-continent but he also holds an important position in the row of world politicians. The thing that distinguishes him from others leaders of the world is that he used Britain’s constitution to defeat Britains and won independence for his nation although he had to face stiff resistance from British government and great opposition from the Hindus' Indian National Congress.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born in Karachi on 25th December 1876. His father's name was Poonja Jinnah, who was a merchant. He received his primary education from “Sindh Mudrasatul-Islam” in Karachi. After completing his primary education, he left for England, where he got admission in law and soon become a barrister. After completing his education, he came back to India and helped his father to overcome financial crises. Once Jinnah decided to give up his education but then he realized his mistake and started his education again.

After coming back to India, he went to Bombay to start his practice. In the beginning, he faced some problems in getting cases but even at that time he refused to accept anyone's help and soon overcome this crisis. In the begging Jinnah was a great supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity, so, he joined All India National Congress. In 1913 Jinnah joined Muslim League and took an active part to make it effective.

It was through his efforts that Muslim League and Congress Party agreed to a political settlement in 1916. This agreement is known as “Lucknow Pact”. According to this pact, Congress for the first time recognized a separate position of the Muslims and accepted the Muslim demand for a separate electorate. As the time passes and Jinnah realized that Congress is only for Hindus and only protecting Hindu’s rights, Jinnah left Congress and devoted all his energies for the welfare of Muslims of Indian Sub-Continent. In 1928, when Nehru put forward his report also known as “Nehru Report” in the history, in which he rejects the fact that Muslims are a separate nation in the India.

In his report, he insisted that there is only one nation in the India i.e. Hindus (although Congress agreed in Lucknow Pact that Muslims are a separate nation). Jinnah put forward his fourteen points in 1929, in which it is clearly said that there are two big nations in the India i.e. Muslims and Hindus not one as it was claimed in Nehru report. Jinnah fourteen points also includes demands for some constitutional reforms. Jinnah was very anxious about the future of Muslims of India. He wished that the Muslims should emerge as an effective force but Muslim League suffered from internal problems. In 1934, Jinnah took over control of the Muslim League and made it strong and organized party within few years. In 1940, at the 27th annual session of the Muslim League, held in Lahore, Jinnah with other Muslim leaders analyzed the political problems of Muslims in great deal. A resolution was passed unanimously which is known as Lahore Resolution. In this resolution it was demanded that Muslims of the Indian Sub-Continent should have a separate homeland comprising the regions of the Sub-Continent having a Muslim majority. After the Lahore Resolution passed on 23rd March, 19940, the Muslim League entered into a new phase and under the presidency of Jinnah soon become a popular party. Jinnah put his best to made Muslim League a true representative party of Muslims. The results were obvious in 1945-46 elections, when Muslim League enjoyed a landslide victory both in central assembly as well as in provincial assembly elections. The Muslims continued their organized efforts under the guidelines provided to them by Jinnah.

As a result of these efforts Pakistan came into being on 14th August, 1947.Jinnah was the first governor general of Pakistan. The establishment of Pakistan was the result of the constant struggle and great sacrifices of the Muslims of the Sub-Continent. It was due to determined and shrewd leadership of Jinnah that the Muslims of Sub-Continent had a homeland of their own. Jinnah passed away on 11th September 1948. He was given the title of Quaid-e-Azam (The greatest leader) by his nation for his services for his nation.

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