Asghar Ali Engineer
Asghar Ali Engineer in 2010
|Born||10 March 1939|
|Died||14 May 2013 74) (aged|
Santacruz, Mumbai, India
|Notable awards||Right Livelihood Award (2004)|
Asghar Ali Engineer (10 March 1939 – 14 May 2013) was an Indian reformist-writer and social activist.Internationally known for his work on liberation theology in Islam, he led the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement. The focus of his work was on communalism and communal and ethnic violence in India and South Asia. He was a votary of peace and non-violence and lectured all over world on communal harmony.
Liberation theology is a synthesis of Christian theology and Marxist socio-economic analyses that emphasizes social concern for the poor and the political liberation for oppressed peoples. In the 1950s and the 1960s, liberation theology was the political praxis of Latin American theologians, such as Gustavo Gutiérrez of Peru, Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay, and Jon Sobrino of Spain, who popularized the phrase "Preferential option for the poor".
Islam is an Abrahamic, Monotheistic, Universal religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.
Progressive Dawoodi Bohra known as "Bohra Youth" is a reform movement within the Dawoodi Bohra subsect of Mustaali Ismai'li Shi'a Islam. They disagree with mainstream Dawoodi Bohra, as led by the Da'i al-Mutlaq, on doctrinal, economic and social issues.
Engineer also served as head of the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, both of which he founded in 1980 and 1993 respectively.He also made contributions to The God Contention, a website comparing and contrasting various worldviews. Engineer's autobiography A Living Faith: My Quest for Peace, Harmony and Social Change was released in New Delhi on 20 July 2011 by Hamid Ansari, the then Vice-President of India.
Asghar Ali Engineer was born 10 March 1939 in Salumbar, Rajasthan, India as son of a Bohra priest, Shaikh Qurban Hussain. He was trained in Qur'anic tafsir (commentary), tawil (hidden meaning of Qur'an), fiqh (jurisprudence) and hadith (Prophet's sayings), and learned the Arabic language.
Salumbar is a small town and a municipality in Udaipur district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was ruled by the Chundawat Sisodia rajputs of Mewar.
India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Tafsir is the Arabic word for exegesis, usually of the Qur'an. An author of a tafsir is a mufassir. A Qur'anic tafsir attempts to provide elucidation, explanation, interpretation, context or commentary for clear understanding and conviction of God's will.
He graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Vikram University in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, years as an engineer in the Bombay Municipal Corporation before taking voluntary retirement in 1972, to devote himself to the Bohra reform movement.and served for 20
Vikram University is a university in the city of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Ujjain is a city in Ujjain district of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the fifth largest city in Madhya Pradesh by population and is the administrative centre of Ujjain district and Ujjain division. It is a famous Hindu pilgrimage centre with the Kumbh Mela held here every 12 years.
He began to play a leading role in the reform movement in 1972 when a revolt took place in Udaipur. He was unanimously elected as General Secretary of The Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community in its first conference in Udaipur in 1977. In 2004 due to criticism of the Dawoodi Bohra religious establishment he was expelled. In 1980, he set up the Institute of Islamic Studies in Mumbai to create a platform for progressive Muslims in India and elsewhere. Subsequently, through the 1980s, he wrote extensively on Hindu-Muslim relations, and growing communal violence in India. Asghar Ali Engineer has been instrumental in publicising the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra movement through his writings and speeches. In 1993, he founded 'Center for Study of Society and Secularism' to promote communal harmony. [ verification needed ]He supported the ban on Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" because he felt that the novel "is an attack" on religion.
Udaipur, also known as the "City of Lakes", is a city governed by Municipal Corporation which comes under Udaipur Metropolitan Region. It is the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar in the former Rajputana Agency. It was founded in 1558 by Maharana Udai Singh II of the Sisodia clan of Rajput, when he shifted his capital from the city of Chittorgarh to Udaipur after Chittorgarh was besieged by Akbar. It remained as the capital city till 1818 when it became a British princely state, and thereafter the Mewar province became a part of Rajasthan when India gained independence in 1947.
The Dawoodi Bohras are a sect within the Ismā'īlī branch of Shia Islam. The largest populations of Dawoodi Bohras reside in India, Pakistan, Yemen, East Africa and the Middle East. There are also significant numbers living in Europe, North America, South East Asia and Australia. Most sources put the worldwide population to be one million.
Mumbai is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. As of 2011 it is the most populous city in India with an estimated city proper population of 12.4 million. The larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region is the second-most-populous metropolitan area in India, with a population of 21.3 million as of 2016. Mumbai lies on the Konkan coast on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. In 2008, Mumbai was named an alpha world city. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires among all cities in India. Mumbai is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the city's distinctive ensemble of Victorian and Art Deco buildings.
He authored more than 50 booksand many articles in various national and international journals. He was the founding chairman of the Asian Muslim Action Network, director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, and head of the Center for Study of Society and Secularism in Mumbai, where he closely worked with scholar and scientist Professor Dr Ram Puniyani. Engineer was also a supporter of the supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, an organisation which campaigns for democratic reformation of the United Nations.
Ram Puniyani is a former professor of biomedical engineering and former senior medical officer affiliated with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He began his medical career in 1973 and served IIT in various capacities for 27 years, beginning 1977. In December 2004, he took voluntary retirement to work full-time for what has been stated by some as "communal harmony" in India. He is involved with human rights activities and initiatives to oppose something which some see as "the rising tide of fundamentalism in India". He is associated with the organisations All-India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD. In 2006, he was awarded the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration.
The Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (CUNPA) is a global network of more than 300 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 1,500 current and former parliamentarians from around 150 countries devoted to establishing a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.
Engineer wrote that "Women do not enjoy the status the Qur'an has given them in Muslim society today."Engineer believed that in this day and age women should be equal to men.
Women had internalized their subjugation of men as the latter were the breadwinners. Since then women have become quite conscious of their new status.
Engineer believed that women should be treated as equal to men, and said that people who support an unjust order, or remain silent in view of gross injustices were not religious people. Women’s inequality topped his priority list of injustices. However, critics said that his interpretations of the Qur'an were not strong enough to get people to change their beliefs surrounding women’s place in Islam. Sikand thought that Engineer’s opinion was based on his interpretation of the Qur'an and his outlook on the 21st century instead of the interpretations that the Qur'an has now. “His understanding of Islam is indelibly shaped by his concern for social justice and inter-communal harmony, of course.”
Engineer was given several awards during his lifetime, including the Dalmia Award for communal harmony in 1990, an honorary D.Litt. by the University of Calcutta in 1993, the Communal Harmony Award in 1997 and the Right Livelihood Award in 2004 (with Swami Agnivesh) for his "strong commitment to promote values of co-existence and tolerance".
Ismāʿīlism is a branch of Shia Islam. The Ismāʿīlī get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma'il ibn Jafar as the appointed spiritual successor (Imām) to Ja'far al-Sadiq, wherein they differ from the Twelvers who accept Musa al-Kadhim, younger brother of Isma'il, as the true Imām.
Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin was the 52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq of Dawoodi Bohras, a subgroup within the Mustaali, Ismaili Shia branch of Islam. He was appointed as the 52nd Dā'ī al-Mutlaq at the age of 52 in 1967. He was the longest living Dā'ī al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra community. Compared to those of his predecessor, Burhanuddin's policies were aimed at Islamization of his sect.
Islam is the second-largest religion in India, with 14.2% of the country's population or approx. 200 million people identifying as adherents of Islam. It makes India the country with the largest Muslim population outside Muslim-majority countries. The majority of Indian Muslims belong to the Sunni sect of Islam. The religion first arrived at the western coast of India when Arab traders as early as the 7th century CE came to coastal Malabar and Konkan-Gujarat. Cheraman Juma Mosque in Kerala is thought to be the first mosque in India, built in 629 CE by Malik Deenar. Following an expedition by the governor of Bahrain to Bharuch in the 7th century CE, immigrant Arab and Persian trading communities from South Arabia and the Persian Gulf began settling in coastal Gujarat. Ismaili Shia Islam was introduced to Gujarat in the second half of the 11th century, when Fatimid Imam Al-Mustansir Billah sent missionaries to Gujarat in 467 AH/1073 CE. Islam arrived in North India in the 12th century via the Turkic invasions and has since become a part of India's religious and cultural heritage. Over the centuries, there has been significant integration of Hindu and Muslim cultures across India and Muslims have played a notable role in economics, politics, and culture of India.
Abdullah Yusuf Ali, CBE, MA, LL.M, FRSA, FRSL was a British-Indian barrister and scholar who wrote a number of books about Islam and whose translation of the Qur'an into English is one of the most widely known and used in the English-speaking world. A supporter of the British war effort during World War I, Ali received the CBE in 1917 for his services to that cause. He died in London in 1953.
The Musta‘lī are a sect of Isma'ilism named for their acceptance of al-Musta'li as the legitimate nineteenth Fatimid caliph and legitimate successor to his father, al-Mustansir Billah. In contrast, the Nizari—the other living branch of Ismailism, presently led by Aga Khan IV—believe the nineteenth caliph was al-Musta'li's elder brother, Nizar. Isma'ilism is a branch of Shia Islam.
Asma Barlas is a Pakistani-American writer and academic. Her specialties include comparative and international politics, Islam and Qur'anic hermeneutics, and women's studies.
Yoginder Singh Sikand is an Indian writer and academic who has written several books on Islam-related issues in India.
Arwa bint Asma was the long-reigning ruler of Yemen, firstly as the co-ruler of her first two husbands and then as sole ruler, from 1067 until her death in 1138. She was the greatest of the rulers of the Sulayhid Dynasty and was also the first woman to be accorded the prestigious title of hujja in the Isma'ili branch of Shia Islam, signifying her as the closest living image of God's will in her lifetime. She is popularly referred to as as-Sayyidah al-Ḥurrah "the Noble Lady", al-Malika al-Hurra "the Noble Queen" and the Little Queen of Sheba.
Although Islam does not recognize any castes, Muslim communities in South Asia apply a system of social stratification. It developed as a result of ethnic segregation between the foreign conquerors (Ashraf) and the local converts (Ajlaf).
The term Gujarati Muslims is usually used to signify an Indian Muslim from the state of Gujarat in western coast of India. Gujarati Muslims are very prominent in industry and medium-sized businesses, and there is a very large Gujarati Muslim community in Mumbai. Many members of this community migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and have settled in Sindh province especially in Karachi, contributing to the national welfare and economy of Pakistan. Having earned a formidable accolade as some of India's greatest seafaring merchants, the centuries-old Gujarati diaspora is found scattered throughout the Near East, Indian Ocean, and Southern Hemisphere regions everywhere in between Africa and Japan with a notable presence in: Hong Kong, Britain, Portugal, Réunion, Oman, Yemen, Mozambique, Zanzibar, United Arab Emirates, Burma, Madagascar, South Africa, Mauritius, Pakistan and East Africa.
Syedna Abu Jafar us Sadiq Aaliqadr Mufaddal Saifuddin is the 53rd and current Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras. The Dawoodi Bohra are a sub group within the Mustaali, Ismaili Shia branch of Islam. He is the 2nd eldest son of the 52nd Dai Mohammed Burhanuddin. He succeeded to the office after his father, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, who died in 2014 and is the spiritual leader of 2.5 million people living in 100 countries. Saifuddin has contributed substantially to the restoration of medieval Fatimid architecture, notably Al-Hakim Mosque and other Fatimid-era mosques located in Old Cairo.
The 1985 Gujarat riots began in February and lasted till October 1986, in the city of Ahmedabad. The violence caused an estimated death toll of 275, thousands of injuries and tens of thousands displaced. According to Asghar Ali Engineer, the riots were organized by the Bharatiya Janata Party to cause the downfall of the government of Madhav Singh Solanki. Initially the riots were an intra Hindu caste issue over the reservations policy of the state government but this turned into a communal riot between Hindus and Muslims. The rioters had initially targeted state property but within a month began to target Muslims and Muslim owned property.
Syedna Abdul Qadir Najmuddin bin Syedna Tayyeb Zainuddin became the 47th Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra sect amid succession disputes.
Religious violence in India includes targeted violence against Muslims. There have been several instances of religious violence against Muslims since Partition of India in 1947, frequently in the form of violent attacks on Muslims by Hindu mobs that form a pattern of sporadic sectarian violence between the majority Hindu and minority Muslim communities. Over 10,000 people have been killed in Hindu-Muslim communal violence since 1950 in 6,933 instances of communal violence between 1954 and 1982.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practised in India by some Islamic groups. The procedure is generally performed when a girl is seven years old and involves the total or partial removal of the clitoral hood. Consequences of FGM may range from discomfort to sepsis.
Composite Nationalism and Islam, titled Muttahida Qaumiyat Aur Islam is a book written in 1938 by Maulana Syed Husain Ahmad Madani espousing a united India for both Muslims and non-Muslims. The book opposed the partition of India and in it Madani advocated for "the ideal of a 'composite nationalism' within an united India, which he thought would be more conducive to the spread and prosperity of his community over the entire subcontinent than any religious partition."
C. N. Ahmad Moulavi was an Indian writer of Malayalam literature, best known as the translator of the first complete publication of Quran in Malayalam. was the author of a number of books on Islam and was reported to have contributed to the propagation of education among the Muslims of Malabar region. A member of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi during the period 1959–64, Moulavi honoured by the academy with the distinguished fellowship in 1989.
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