Islam Current Affairs - 2020

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China passes law to make Islam compatible with socialism

The Peoples Republic of China has passed a new law to regulate Islam and make it more compatible with socialism by “Sinicizing Islam”.

Why the new law?

The new Chinese law aims to “Sinicise” Islam. The indifference of China towards Islam was garnering it loads of criticism:

  • China has around 20 million Muslims and Islam is one of the five officially recognised religions in atheist China. Even then the top officials in the Chinese government have often likened the religion to “mental disease” that “needs to be cured”.
  • China has detained more than 1 million Muslim Uyghur’s at the indoctrination camps of Xinjiang.
  • Many heavy-handed measures like confiscating copies of the Quran, issuing diktats to Muslims not to grow beards, and not choose names for their wards which sound “too Islamic” have been witnessed in China.

Hence to address the criticisms China has brought in a law to “Sinicise” Islam.

China justifies the move

The Chinese Media justifying the law has stated that:

“Modern countries are secular and diverse in a globalized world. But the revival and spread of religion have impacted secular society. Fundamentalism has caused more religious violence. Religious nationalism is threatening countries’ legitimate governments and is resulting in social instability.”

“The main purpose of China’s five-year plan to sinicise Islam is to seek Islam governance that tallies with Chinese practice, and it is not only limited to Islam. The government would take similar measures with other recognised religions of the People’s Republic of China.”

Hijri year 1436 starts

The Hijri new year marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year. It is also known as Ras as-Sanah al-Hijriyah. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic calendar.

Advent of the Islamic Calendar

The first Islamic year began in 622 AD and is believed to mark the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. The word Hijrah means immigration. The Islamic Calendar was started 1434 years before by the second Caliph Omar ibn Khattab, which makes the current year 1436 AH according to the Islamic calendar. The AH here stands for the Latin term ‘Anno Hegirae’ or ‘After Hijrah’.

Calculation of the New Year

The Islamic calendar runs on the lunar system, and the first day of the new month is decided based on sighting of the moon. So, the new year is determined by the sighting of the new moon. Therefore, the exact day varies in different countries, but there is generally only a difference of one or two days.

The Umm al-Qura Calendar, used in Saudi Arabia, is also followed by several neighbouring states on the Arabian Peninsula, such as Bahrain and Qatar. In India, the Hijri new year falls on October 25.