DISCLAIMER: Post on religion and related topics. Aaaargghhh! Steer clear those of you who will have nothing to do with either. Go to the tags that say 'nonsense' instead. There's so much of that on my blog. :)
Folks who have any knowledge/interest on the following may please comment. Else, please refrain. Thank you, thank you.
It also must be added that a great deal of the charm and attraction the following personalities and their shows hold for me has to do with the beauty of the language. I am a sucker for well-spoken and well-used Arabic, Urdu and Farsi, which I think are the most beautiful languages in the world and when you throw in the heady subject matter of Islam, I'm quite hooked.
Allors! Here we go.
1. Professor Maimoona Murtaza Malik
I am a big fan. Of this lady and certain other speakers I have been following of late.
I have been watching the graceful, classy, very well-read and eloquent Prof. Malik on QTV's Ramadan ladies' special, Khawateen Time, as regularly as I can. And she leaves an impact, she does. I am going to try and be like her. Haw haw. (Khawateen Time is a call-in program, apart from having one topic of discussion a day. Have tried calling in with no success. Have a few quick questions off the top of my head that I'd like sorted out by a scholar like her.)
Prof. Maimoona Murtaza Malik exudes calm and grace, and as a clincher, talks with such a voice of reason and understanding as makes me want to pick up many books and start learning more. (And she wears lovely abayas...!)
For her DVD's, you can check out her section on Sahulat Bazaar. I've already ordered some stuff.
Aside: Controversy has to surround a good thing. Arguments on various public forums (fora?) about whether Prof. Maimoona Malik is Sunni or Shia. I ask, how does it matter? *rolling eyes*
2. Dr Israr Ahmed
High on my Favourites List is one Dr Israr Ahmed. Oh my Lord, he's very brilliant. He's got a huge bank of knowledge, and what an orator! He doles out poetry by the ladleful, he spews beautiful Urdu, Farsi, Arabic and English quotes like an... err, I can't give an appropriate simile - what else spews poetry so admirably? Caught his lecture on shirk recently and it made my blood run cold. Time to get in line, Saab.
[Booming voice: "Man salla yuraa'ee, faqad ashraka..." etc. Nice edits too by QTV, with reverb effects, to drive home the horror perfectly! :)]
The thing about Dr Israr Ahmed. He is certainly not what I would call calm or quiet a la Prof. Maimoona. He has a big voice, filled with expression and drama. But he is not a poser. The subject matter of his discourses is such that his style of oration is very suited to it. So, for realism and sincerity, and of course, for being so appropriately moved by the right things, he gets my vote.
Trivial trivia: Dr Israr Ahmed was very close to Allama Iqbal. In fact of point I believe he was almost considered a son to the great poet.
Aside: I read somewhere that Dr Israr Ahmed has courted controversy in the past over his comments on Shia Muslims, as well as for his statements on 'global Jewish/Zionist hegemony'. Can't say anything about this since I haven't seen or heard for myself.
In general, on the former, let's just say I don't subscribe to intra-Islamic rifts at all and as for the latter, well that's an open book.
3. Mufti Muhammad Akmal Qadri:
Then there's Ahkam-E-Shariat, hosted by Mufti Muhammad Akmal Qadri, whom I've respected since some years now when I first watched him at home in Jammu. (That was the month of Ramadan as well, and my first truly satisfying one, come to think of it.)
Ahkam-E-Shariat is a lovely program, which as the name suggests, deals with practical matters as looked at by Shar'ia. Regular folks like you and me can call in and ask Mufti saheb to clear any doubts we might have in the clear light of the Holy Qur'an and the hadeeth. Which, let's face it, is the only way for Muslims to look at things. And in between replying to all queries, he touches upon a new topic each day, and in great detail.
Once again what is most admirable about Mufti Qadri is his personality. The male version of Prof Maimoona Malik in terms of grace, level-headedness, stright-talking and quiet.
How I prefer calm, reasonable and intelligent religious discourses of the Prof. Maimoona-/Mufti Qadri-kind to cocky, derisive, condescending speeches that I often find being aired on other channels.
The voice of reason, understanding, clarity and grace is the need of the hour. This is the true picture of Islam that should be showcased to the world, and I speak especially of the impact on non-Muslims who migt be tuned in (by mistake or otherwise). As if Islam isn't vilified enough by the media at large, when we have big names, loud rants and big publicity following cheap production values, it doesn't throw an accurate or too-good light on us.
Unfortunately and surprisingly, it is these playing-to-the-gallery speakers on Islam who are high on the popularity charts. How the masses love them. Gaaah. Wherefore education? Oh, well. Moving on.
Sahih Bukhari Hadith 3.123
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained."
Obviously the month of Ramadan does special things to one, spiritually speaking, and this Ramadan in particular I have been very affected. To pick a current analogy from Obama: It is time for CHANGE.
And that's coming up in short order, insha'Allah. I head back home to Jammu and Kashmir and do things that really matter, help with the folks and in general prepare for The Afterwards. This is a very big deal to me and ideally should have been from the very beginning, but there's no time like now to make amends.
I am so looking forward to this next phase.
"As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths."