China’s unilateral action on South China Sea drives Pacific nations towards US embrace!

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China’s unilateral action on South China Sea drives Pacific nations towards US embrace!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

__________

Part-I

China’s aggressive project to build small islands in the South China Sea region, ignoring territorial claims of fellow nations in the region, is hitting Pacific nations at a more visceral level, bringing anxiety over security. China’s creation of small military installations, including a 10,000- ft. landing strip, on various tiny atolls in the Western Spratly Islands seems to have ratted Washington to pay more attention on the issue rattling the region for quite some time.

Asia-pacific region remains a flashpoint as China is gradually trying to expand its control over the common sea territories in South East Asia. The regional powers say China is causing a big and imminent threat to security” in Southeast Asia.  The rise of China’s economic power has given rise to its military power and the regional rivals cannot in any way stop or weaken the economic muscle of Beijing.

The Pacific countries Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei have long had their own competing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. To complicate the issue further, now China claims over hundreds of mostly uninhabited small islands, reefs, and rocks in the 1.4-million square mile South China Sea. Using traditional symbols to describe  one’s position in a given situation, China says it controls the territory within a U-shaped maritime boundary, known as the 9-dash line and also referred to as “the cow’s tongue,” since the line appears in a large curvature far below the mainland.

The Chinese mainland lies nearly 1,000 miles away from its most distant claims.  Beijing’s full claim over the sea would give it control of shipping routes touching half of all global trade through the region. Earlier this summer China said authoritatively that it would stop expanding the number of islands it is reclaiming but would continue to build in places where it has started work. China’s land reclamation efforts have taken place in an area that constitutes nearly 80 percent of its exclusive economic zone, a 200-mile radius that extends from national territory under the UN Law of the Sea.

In order to showcase its prowess to  neighbors, Chinese naval forces have already denied the Philippines access to explore oil and gas deposits and have harassed Philippine fishing fleets from places like the Scarborough Shoals, which sit about 100 miles off Philippine shores.  The Chinese Coast Guard occasionally blasts Filipino fishermen with water cannons after they sail too close to the tiny island outposts. Such unilateral action by China could spiral out of control, or a misunderstanding” could result with a military clash, killing people.

The monopoly strategy of China, equipped with military prowess and UN veto seat, has prompted an everlasting increase in military spending by the regional nations. The Philippines announced a 25 percent increase in military spending over 13 years aimed at bolstering naval defenses and effectively countering China’s claims.

In addition to boosting defense funding, Manila is preparing to reopen a former American naval base in Subic Bay where it will station new fighter jets purchased from South Korea. Repairs are also being made to a rusting World War II-era cargo ship now beached in the Spratlys that serves as the country’s most western military outpost.

As Asia’s super power China is pushing its agenda in the region, the Pacific nations are exploring diplomacy with the global super power USA, new defense options, and even international legal recourse to stop China from extending its sphere of influence just off their shores.

The Philippines is also fighting back in court. A case at The Hague argued on July 13 sought to have an international court rule on the legality of China’s territorial claim. (China refused to participate). That case is causing a stir here and in Vietnam, off whose shores China parked an oil rig last year, bringing clashes at sea and at home between ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese.

The Hague tribunal admittedly has no enforcement mechanism and Beijing has signaled it has no plans to uphold an international ruling. But the hearings may provide the Philippines additional arguments in future negotiations. A decision on whether the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration has jurisdiction to rule comes this fall.

The Philippine military is limited compared with China’s. But under a decades-old mutual defense pact, the US is obliged to aid its former colony if it is attacked. Yet how far Washington will take action in the sea is unclear.  However,  analysts describe both lingering doubt and unwarranted expectations in Manila. Filipinos have a tendency to place excessive or misplaced expectations in America’s commitment to protect the Philippines.

Vietnam is also looking for similar assistance to confront China on the high seas. Earlier this month, Hanoi’s Communist Party Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong, who met with President Obama in the Oval Office, told a forum in Washington that his country plans to expand military partnerships with the USA. The Pentagon said it will provide Vietnam with $18 million to purchase coast guard vessels.

It seems that increased international attention on China’s activities has slowed down its military buildup. When under strong international pressure, China tends to adjust its strategy.  In recent days China has adopted a more conciliatory tone, saying it will build fishing havens, weather stations, and light houses on the islands, though the Philippines and its Southeast Asian neighbors are dubious.

Meanwhile, a Japanese surveillance plane with crew from the Philippines flew over areas of the South China Sea that the Philippines are in dispute with China over.  The flight path taken by the Japanese plane was close to the Spratly Islands, which the Philippines claim, and where China is constructing man-made islands.

China’s expansion and reclamation of islands in the South China Sea has escalated tension among Southeast Asian countries, and coordination between Japan and the Philippines may be perceived in Beijing as tacit support from Japan that the Philippines have rights to contested ocean territory. Japan, Asia’s second-biggest economy after China, receives a cut of the $5 trillion in cargo that passes through the shipping routes of the South China Sea each year.

The increase in activity in the region comes at a time when Southeast Asian leaders are jockeying for control over a swath of ocean that provides a tenth of the fish caught by global companies, Japan does not have any direct territorial interests in the South China Sea, but Japan’s own national security will be greatly affected by any instability and conflict there, making it a legitimate stakeholder.

Japan and China also face a direct standoff over disputed sea territories.

Part-II

Obviously, UNSC‘s veto members have certain prerogatives, rights and advantages and China is taking full advantages of being a permanent member on the discredited UNSC.    USA and other veto members or NATO have not taken the military steps on fellow veto members Russia and China.

China claims a whopping 90 percent chunk of the South China Sea. Its maps draw a “nine dash line” to mark its claims, some of which are nearly 1,500 kms from China but close to the coastlines of nations that ring the line, like the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam.  However, China’s claim does not stand up under existing international law, as laid down in the United Nations Law of the Sea. China enjoys such rights because its fishermen have cast their nets in those distant waters for centuries. Those claims give China “indisputable sovereignty” over the land features and waters inside the line, Beijing insisted in a document presented to the UN in 2009. That sovereignty is, in fact, disputed. The Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei all claim some or all of the rocks, atolls, reefs, islands, and water that China says belong to it. The Philippines has taken China to an international court at The Hague to challenge the legitimacy of the “nine dash line,” though Beijing has said it does not recognize the tribunal’s right to rule on the matter. Beijing evidently hopes that its recent land reclamation drive has changed the facts on the ground – or in the sea

China seems to have laid the groundwork to move its land power South … expanding the area of competition with the United States.

Even as Russia, China’s senior strategic partner, annexed Crimea and reportedly moved into Ukraine its military to defend the ethnic Russian there,  China also built seven artificial islands in the strategically sensitive and economically critical South China Sea, alarming its neighbors and risking confrontation with the USA, because it believes it can get away with the nervy move and bolster an old desire for regional dominance. In fact, China has wanted to do this for a long time. Now it has the dredging vessels, the money and the people. China tentatively turned in that direction in June, announcing that it had nearly finished its land reclamation drive. Chinese engineers using dredgers have turned seven reefs and atolls in the Spratlys into artificial islands. Some are large enough to support garrisons, land fighter jets or to dock large naval vessels.  Satellite images show cement factories and multi-story buildings being constructed and identifiable state- owned enterprises racing to make the new islands habitable. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of PRC says these outposts would also help China “better safeguard national territorial sovereignty” and serve “military defense” purposes. Uses include helicopter bases for anti-submarine operations, aircraft refueling facilities, naval harbors and radar and missile installations that could one day help China’s air force impose an Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea, as it has tried to do over the East China Sea in its dispute over island ownership with Japan. Those prospects worry both the United States and regional powers.

Australia is considering sailing the sort of Freedom of Navigation patrols that the US navy runs regularly through the South China Sea to challenge any Chinese sovereignty claims it considers excessive. Even India has voiced concerns over possible threats to free navigation on major trade routes, including in the Indian Ocean.

China counts the South China Sea land reclamation project a success and it has strengthened its position in sovereignty disputes with its neighbors in Southeast Asia and it has projected its power into the heart of a waterway that sees five trillion dollars worth of trade each year.

The Chinese are acting as if they are stronger than they are. Caught in the middle of this big power maneuvering are a clutch of Southeast Asian nations that nurse territorial claims to rival China’s. Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei sell most of their exports to China, and China is a growing source of investment for them. Beijing’s recent moves have frightened their governments who are looking to Washington for regional balance.

As China’s interests and horizons expand, so will its impulse to exert physical control. China is moving beyond being a great power.  The secretive and determined methods Beijing is using to turn rocks and atolls into potential military bases, and its bland dismissal of other nations’ claims to those specks of island turf, is causing worry beyond just the Pacific Rim.

China’s activities in the South China Sea have sparked doubts about its intentions. China now appears to have altered a long-professed policy of “peaceful rise” and shown another face in the Pacific, and in so doing has driven a number of Pacific nations towards an American embrace.

Regional powers expect China to make good on its promises that all the civilian facilities it builds will be open to all.

World’s perceptions on China being a sensible nation with its ‘peaceful rise’ policy” have changed.  As China focused on building its economy and infrastructure it talked to neighbors about peace. But now China is trying to make peace effort as the subject of other countries to consider.

President Xi Jinping of China has emphasized closer trade and investment ties with Southeast Asia. The emphasis, called “One Belt, One Road,” is a centerpiece of his foreign policy, but China’s strategies on the South China Sea and on “One Belt, One Road” are in conflict.

Japan opposes China’s “expansionist” ambitions on South China Sea!

Standard

Japan opposes China’s “expansionist” ambitions on South China Sea!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

____________

China’s aggressive project to build small islands in the South China Sea region, ignoring territorial claims of fellow nations in the region, is hitting Pacific nations at a more visceral level, bringing anxiety over security. China’s creation of small military installations, including a 10,000- ft. landing strip, on various tiny atolls in the Western Spratly Islands seems to have ratted Washington to pay more attention on the issue rattling the region for quite some time.

Asia-pacific region remains a flashpoint as China is gradually trying to expand its control over the common sea territories in South East Asia. The regional powers say China is causing a big and imminent threat to security” in Southeast Asia.  The rise of China’s economic power has given rise to its military power and the regional rivals cannot in any way stop or weaken the economic muscle of Beijing.

The Pacific countries Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam and Brunei have long had their own competing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. To complicate the issue further, now China claims over hundreds of mostly uninhabited small islands, reefs, and rocks in the 1.4-million square mile South China Sea. Using traditional symbols to describe  one’s position in a given situation, China says it controls the territory within a U-shaped maritime boundary, known as the 9-dash line and also referred to as “the cow’s tongue,” since the line appears in a large curvature far below the mainland.

The Chinese mainland lies nearly 1,000 miles away from its most distant claims.  Beijing’s full claim over the sea would give it control of shipping routes touching half of all global trade through the region. Earlier this summer China said authoritatively that it would stop expanding the number of islands it is reclaiming but would continue to build in places where it has started work. China’s land reclamation efforts have taken place in an area that constitutes nearly 80 percent of its exclusive economic zone, a 200-mile radius that extends from national territory under the UN Law of the Sea.

In order to showcase its prowess to  neighbors, Chinese naval forces have already denied the Philippines access to explore oil and gas deposits and have harassed Philippine fishing fleets from places like the Scarborough Shoals, which sit about 100 miles off Philippine shores.  The Chinese Coast Guard occasionally blasts Filipino fishermen with water cannons after they sail too close to the tiny island outposts. Such unilateral action by China could spiral out of control, or a misunderstanding” could result with a military clash, killing people.

The monopoly strategy of China, equipped with military prowess and UN veto seat, has prompted an everlasting increase in military spending by the regional nations. The Philippines announced a 25 percent increase in military spending over 13 years aimed at bolstering naval defenses and effectively countering China’s claims.

In addition to boosting defense funding, Manila is preparing to reopen a former American naval base in Subic Bay where it will station new fighter jets purchased from South Korea. Repairs are also being made to a rusting World War II-era cargo ship now beached in the Spratlys that serves as the country’s most western military outpost.

As Asia’s super power China is pushing its agenda in the region, the Pacific nations are exploring diplomacy with the global super power USA, new defense options, and even international legal recourse to stop China from extending its sphere of influence just off their shores.

The Philippines is also fighting back in court. A case at The Hague argued on July 13 sought to have an international court rule on the legality of China’s territorial claim. (China refused to participate). That case is causing a stir here and in Vietnam, off whose shores China parked an oil rig last year, bringing clashes at sea and at home between ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese.

The Hague tribunal admittedly has no enforcement mechanism and Beijing has signaled it has no plans to uphold an international ruling. But the hearings may provide the Philippines additional arguments in future negotiations. A decision on whether the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration has jurisdiction to rule comes this fall.

The Philippine military is limited compared with China’s. But under a decades-old mutual defense pact, the US is obliged to aid its former colony if it is attacked. Yet how far Washington will take action in the sea is unclear.  However,  analysts describe both lingering doubt and unwarranted expectations in Manila. Filipinos have a tendency to place excessive or misplaced expectations in America’s commitment to protect the Philippines.

Vietnam is also looking for similar assistance to confront China on the high seas. Earlier this month, Hanoi’s Communist Party Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong, who met with President Obama in the Oval Office, told a forum in Washington that his country plans to expand military partnerships with the USA. The Pentagon said it will provide Vietnam with $18 million to purchase coast guard vessels.

It seems that increased international attention on China’s activities has slowed down its military buildup. When under strong international pressure, China tends to adjust its strategy.  In recent days China has adopted a more conciliatory tone, saying it will build fishing havens, weather stations, and light houses on the islands, though the Philippines and its Southeast Asian neighbors are dubious.

Meanwhile, a Japanese surveillance plane with crew from the Philippines flew over areas of the South China Sea that the Philippines are in dispute with China over.  The flight path taken by the Japanese plane was close to the Spratly Islands, which the Philippines claim, and where China is constructing man-made islands.

China’s expansion and reclamation of islands in the South China Sea has escalated tension among Southeast Asian countries, and coordination between Japan and the Philippines may be perceived in Beijing as tacit support from Japan that the Philippines have rights to contested ocean territory. Japan, Asia’s second-biggest economy after China, receives a cut of the $5 trillion in cargo that passes through the shipping routes of the South China Sea each year.

The increase in activity in the region comes at a time when Southeast Asian leaders are jockeying for control over a swath of ocean that provides a tenth of the fish caught by global companies,  Japan does not have any direct territorial interests in the South China Sea, but Japan’s own national security will be greatly affected by any instability and conflict there, making it a legitimate stakeholder.

Japan and China also face a direct standoff over disputed  sea territories.

Indian PM Modi’s visit to Russia and Central Asia to boost India’s multi-directional strategy! (A report)

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Indian PM Modi’s visit to Russia and Central Asia to boost India’s multi-directional strategy! (A report)

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_________________

 

I

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has resumed his foreign tours and went to Eurasia (Russia and Central Asia) from July 6-13 that will see a packed schedule with the prime minister spending about a day in each country. He was on a 3-day visit to Russia attend the seventh meeting of BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summits and was also simultaneously on his first ever eight-day visit of Central Asian countries, making Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan after the two summits in Russia.

Modi visited Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan from July 6-8, after which he attended the summits of the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Russian city of Ufa from July 8-10. In Ufa, in the Republic of Bashkortostan, over 1,300 km from Moscow, Modi met his peers from the other nations of the BRICS grouping — Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the host, and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma – during the summit. After the two summits, Modi left for Turkmenistan (July 10-11), followed by Kyrgyzstan (July 11-12) and finally Tajikistan (July 12-13) before returning to India.

In Uzbekistan, the highlight would be Modi’s interaction with Indologists and Hindi language students in Tashkent. In Kazakhstan, Modi addressed the Nazarbayev University and also inaugurated the India-Kazakhstan Centre for Excellence in ICT, where India has stationed a Param supercomputer, Sarna said. In Almaty (Kazakhstan), Modi attended a business event, where leading CEOs from both countries were present. In Turkmenistan, the prime minister inaugurated a centre for traditional medicine and yoga, with the participation of the Tukmen government, said Sarna. In Kyrgyzstan, Modi had a packed schedule, including the inauguration of an e-health link, under which one hospital in Bishkek will be linked with a hospital in India. “This is a pilot project and can be replicated,” the top official said. In Tajikistan, the final leg of the tour, Modi held talks with President Emomali Rahmon, besides other engagements. Modi paid a visit to India owned Ayni air base in Tajikistan, where it has set up a field hospital.

The Modi’s visit to the five nations, which are part of India’s extended neighborhood, are of strategic importance politically and economically.

PM Narendra Modi said on his arrival in Ufa, Russia: “It is very special to be in Russia, a nation whose remarkable friendship with India has always been known,” . He was accorded a warm welcome at the Ufa Airport and was hopeful of productive meetings and interactions at the BRICS and SCO Summits, forums India said attaches immense importance to.

The BRICS, which is an acronym for its five member countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, meant for decision taking on enhancing cooperation in the economic front, – launched its new development bank with a $100 billion contingency reserve. The first head of the bank would be an Indian. At the summit of the SCO, a security bloc led by China and Russia, India and Pakistan were accorded full membership of the six-nation grouping that currently also includes former Soviet republics Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. India has so far only had Observer status in the SCO grouping, the focus of which is boosting connectivity, counter-terrorism cooperation, bolstering cooperation in the energy sector, enhancing trade and dealing with drug trafficking. With the BRICS Development Bank already set up, the summit also looked at the possibility of starting trade and credit facility in local currency. The BRICS Summit in 2014 was productive with interactions of BRICS leaders with captains of industry and leaders of other invited countries.

On the sidelines of the summits, PM Modi held bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. He met Chinese President Xi Jinping today and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday, July 10. With President Xi, the PM discussed bilateral ties at a time when India has expressed unhappiness over the proposed $46 billion economic corridor that would pass through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, and also over China’s support to Pakistan over the release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi whose name was linked with the two day Mumbai attack drama.

All eyes , however, were on PM Modi and Sharif’s scheduled meeting on the sidelines of SCO summit in Ufa. Officials from India and Pakistan had been tight-lipped on the details and structure of the meeting. Modi and Sharif last met at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu last November; they did not hold formal talks so far. Sources have said PM Modi’s phone call to Sharif at the start of the holy month of Ramzan set the tone and broke the ice. However, sources have said this is no way indicates the resumption of dialogue just yet. At the Ufa meeting PM Modi was expected to raise India’s concerns on terrorism, including the release of the prime suspect Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, the 26/11 mastermind who has walked free earlier this year. Economic ties and trade negotiations found dominance in the talks between the two nations. PM Modi has also accepted Pakistan’s invitation to attend the SAARC Summit in 2016 to be held in Islamabad. Both agreed on a significant cooperation to counter terrorism, targeting Muslims in Pakistan and maybe in Kashmir.
Indian PM also solicited, as usual, the support of these countries in an effort to secure a permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council. PM Modi said as he left Delhi that he expects positive outcomes in economic cooperation and cultural ties among the BRICS nations.

II

Ever since PM Narendra Modi took charge at the helm of the Indian government, he has undertaken a number of strategic tours: from Bhutan to USA, including Canada, France, Germany and China and now Russia and Central Asian nations. The Indian PM has become known for his high-profile visits – each with the mission to build economic and strategic ties across the world and the visits are highly publicised by the PMO and corporate media syndicates. .

India’s move to counter Chinese game in Central Asia has prompted Modi to target Central Asia with the Russian support. Following the ‘Great Game’ of the 19th century, when the Russian and British empires contended over Central Asia, and the Cold War era when the Soviet Union and America locked horns, the last two decades have witnessed China entering as a formidable player in energy and infrastructural development in the five Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

The central Asian countries that PM Modi shall be covering in this tour are all extremely important in terms of the natural resources they hold and in their potential to form strategic alliances. These nations have been key suppliers of oil and natural gas for China and are now looking for a diverse market. Oil, natural gas, and energy are at the center of the trade ties between India and these Central Asian countries which are rich in natural resources and share a cultural legacy with India. Modi had promised to bring solidarity to Indian ties with these nations. PM Modi underlined India’s historic ties with Uzbekistan – that land of Babur’s birth and its importance in the Silk Route. With Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Modi discussed various investment opportunities for India such as in the fields of tourism, and culture. Cyber security is one key field where the two countries have decided to build a strong partnership and work together. Another key point of discussion was the implementation of uranium supply from Uzbekistan. 2000 metric tonnes of the mineral is to be imported by India. A similar Uranium pact was also signed with Kazakhstan; India will now import 5000 tonnes of the yellow mineral in the next four years. Kazakhstan and India also inked a number of MoUs related to trade and culture. India made a renewed effort at securing some of Turkmenistan’s natural gas reserves – previous attempts having been waylaid by China.

Cultural ties formed one of the highlights of PM Modi’s agenda. Student exchange, linguistic developments, and religious tolerance were all discussed by the PM with the heads of these states. Yoga was discussed too.
Focusing on military partnerships, India has signed agreements on military and security cooperation, military exchange, joint exercises, and formation of a joint anti-terrorism unit. Tajikistan is already a significant military ally since 2002 when it built an air base near the town of Farkhor. This base is a support centre for US terror operations in Afghanistan and a counter point to any possible malevolent advances by Pakistan.

American military operations in Afghanistan which is culturally closer to Central Asia than South Asia have meant that the region has been subjected to essentially a three-horse race.

III

India moves according to its own plan and agenda. After ‘Act East’, ‘Link West’ and proactive Indian Ocean diplomacy to the South of India’s landmass, PM Modi, fond of visiting foreign countries, has turned attention to Eurasia in order to connect North. His super fast trips to all five countries of Central Asia in one go, as well as Russia, from July 6 to 13, have boosted India’s multi-directional strategy. They have strengthened our presence in a geopolitically vital region labeled historically as the ‘heartland’ determining the fate of the world.

The International North–South Transport Corridor is a trade route (using various modes such as ship, road, and rail) between India, Iran, Russia, and other Central Asian, and European nations. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan are other routes, currently under consideration for addition to the existing corridor. PM Modi made a significant pitch to the heads of these countries to join the freight corridor. India also sought support from the Central Asian countries for India joining the Ashgabat Agreement – another strategic cooperation for movement of freight and a transit route between Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Oman, and Kazakhstan.

The post-Soviet Central Asian space is stuck between the dominant power of yesterday, Russia, and the dominant power of tomorrow, China. Despite the advancing strategic partnership between Russia and China, Russia dominates and even dictates its terms to Central Asia- a former block of republics in the erstwhile USSR. Central Asians confront after becoming sandwiched between Russia and China. India takes full advantage of its traditional military links with Moscow. The palpitation that countries like Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have been undergoing under the looming Chinese shadow over their energy sectors has generated an opening that Modi is trying to exploit.

The setback to ONGC in 2013 in Kazakhstan, which blocked Indian acquisition of a prized oil well, has been made up via a new oil concession in the north Caspian sea where our energy major holds minority stakes. Modi has also extracted commitments from Kazakhstan for additional mature blocks for Indian investment, besides fresh contracts for uranium supply.

Modi’s energetic diplomacy in Central Asia demonstrated that India can be very important seeker of influence in the region, where Russia, USA and China calls all energy shots.

PM Modi has taken his first step cementing the ties by visiting Eurasia though the outcomes are not to the satisfaction of New Delhi since the countries Modi visited are very strong and, unlike his previous visit to South Asian nations, do not depend on India for anything.

Test Cricket is like major bank robbery! England and Australia must abandon cricket exercises!

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Test Cricket is like major bank robbery! England and Australia must abandon cricket exercises!

Abdul Ruff Colachal (Expert on match fixing)

__________________

It is not just the IPL but all types of cricket are fake and fraudulence. Fielding rules,  less  number of fielders and pro-batboy pitch and bogus bowlers make batboys enjoy life at the crease , at times for days.

It is a fact that everything in cricket is not genuine: it is full of mischief, fake toss, prefixed outcomes, fake 100s, and 200s 50s that are in fact gifts from bowlers.

Cricket match is like bank robbery, looting in the public view.  In cricket, bowlers generally behave like “gentlemen” (Women are much better now as they are not exactly involved in bogus cricketing).

England and Australia are the top frauds in cricket and they don’t play without prior fixing. In the ongoing Ashes in England, it appears UK has made agreement to make the Australians the winner in 5 tests. In the first test, somehow England won and Australians played some useful tricks by crying loud and effected replacements in the team as if taking the issue very seriously, worse than how India does it to  overcome defeats.  In the second test, Australian bated first innings and English bowlers helped Australians shine by offering big scores without bowling seriously. In the second innings, English bowlers had to offer at least 50 to Warner because he is a known big hitter and did not get any runs in first innings. Cook is dying for a full 100.

In fact, no one has any idea as to what exactly the ENG bowlers are doing with the Ball. They just throw balls for 4s. They know how to offer runs.

So, both teams play joint cricketism. Why should they play 5  tests each covering 5 days? Why not 3 matches? Why test at all?

Therefore, cricket is very similar to major bank robberies where batboys and bowlers-fielders   operate jointly for 200, 100 etc.

Batboys operate as attackers and bowlers/fielders operate as security that allow robbery and pretend not aware of any wrong doing.

The way they showcase their cricketism, it looks England is a waste box or empty match box. English bowlers have no idea about bowling.

As such,  it would be advised that England should stop playing with strong teams and choose the  weak teams to play with.

For instance, Zimbabwe is surely a safe bet for England as Eng batboys can easily get 100s and 200s.  In fact English bowlers are happy to honor the Australian strategic partners in cricket.  England cannot now play against India which is not supply logistic support to Australian team which helped Indian government to offer Bharatrna post to a fake cricketer who could get free scores.

Already, India and Pakistan have easily got big scores and some 100s form Zimbabwe and England now should play safe. . Oh, no. The latest report says Zimbabwe thrashed India in T20 in Harare on July 19.   So, England has be extra cautious even with weak Zimbabwe, unless it fixes the match is or series.

It is now clear England is a useless team and won the first test by fluke. So, England could lose remaining tests as well.  Why not now declare the series loss to Australia.

If England concedes series defeat by Australia, they would save time, money and unnecessary fatigue and pains in the galleries.

Will England declare the series defeat and show way for other teams to stop playing bogus tests?

Clearly, England is one of worst and weakest teams and as such it can play only against Kenya or Nepal. And, that too arranged by prior fixings between teams or boards.

However, that would be a self defeat for the English cricketers who introduced cricket to former colony subjects, including entertainment loving slaves.

The best solution is to end international cricket matches with foreign teams. Let them play local cricket for the time being so that the Cricket fans could be tamed in due course to forget cricket and opt for other real sports.

Once England and Australia stop cricket, perhaps world would be safe and secure from fake records, bogus rankings and match fixings become somewhat safe from corruption.

Enough of fake joint cricketism for 100s, 50s and 200s, etc by misusing hired bowlers.

Will England help the humanity?

The matter of fact is there are some Muslim anions promoting cricket money makers by illegal and immoral means. Not only Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but also and Arab Dubai also are involved in this bogus game. Apart from teams of Muslim nations, there are also many Muslims play in cricket teams of non-Muslim nations and they all want to mint money and bogus records. They also willingly play mischief as sport by employing deceptive methods, cheating techniques and offering free runs. They ignore the Islamic values and faith.

When others cheat and mint money, greedy Muslims do not want  to be way behind in this.

How to save them when it has become difficult even for mosques to make them real Muslims  in true sense, even otherwise.!

Test Cricket is like major bank robbery! England and Australia must abandon cricket exercises!

Standard

Test Cricket is like major bank robbery! England and Australia must abandon cricket exercises!

Abdul Ruff Colachal (Expert on match fixing)

__________________

It is not just the IPL but all types of cricket are fake and fraudulence. Fielding rules,  less  number of fielders and pro-batboy pitch and bogus bowlers make batboys enjoy life at the crease , at times for days.

It is a fact that everything in cricket is not genuine: it is full of mischief, fake toss, prefixed outcomes, fake 100s, and 200s 50s that are in fact gifts from bowlers.

Cricket match is like bank robbery, looting in the public view.  In cricket, bowlers generally behave like “gentlemen” (Women are much better now as they are not exactly involved in bogus cricketing).

England and Australia are the top frauds in cricket and they don’t play without prior fixing. In the ongoing Ashes in England, it appears UK has made agreement to make the Australians the winner in 5 tests. In the first test, somehow England won and Australians played some useful tricks by crying loud and effected replacements in the team as if taking the issue very seriously, worse than how India does it to  overcome defeats.  In the second test, Australian bated first innings and English bowlers helped Australians shine by offering big scores without bowling seriously. In the second innings, English bowlers had to offer at least 50 to Warner because he is a known big hitter and did not get any runs in first innings. Cook is dying for a full 100.

In fact, no one has any idea as to what exactly the ENG bowlers are doing with the Ball. They just throw balls for 4s. They know how to offer runs.

So, both teams play joint cricketism. Why should they play 5  tests each covering 5 days? Why not 3 matches? Why test at all?

Therefore, cricket is very similar to major bank robberies where batboys and bowlers-fielders   operate jointly for 200, 100 etc.

Batboys operate as attackers and bowlers/fielders operate as security that allow robbery and pretend not aware of any wrong doing.

The way they showcase their cricketism, it looks England is a waste box or empty match box. English bowlers have no idea about bowling.

As such,  it would be advised that England should stop playing with strong teams and choose the  weak teams to play with.

For instance, Zimbabwe is surely a safe bet for England as Eng batboys can easily get 100s and 200s.  In fact English bowlers are happy to honor the Australian strategic partners in cricket.  England cannot now play against India which is not supply logistic support to Australian team which helped Indian government to offer Bharatrna post to a fake cricketer who could get free scores.

Already, India and Pakistan have easily got big scores and some 100s form Zimbabwe and England now should play safe. . Oh, no. The latest report says Zimbabwe thrashed India in T20 in Harare on July 19.   So, England has be extra cautious even with weak Zimbabwe, unless it fixes the match is or series.

It is now clear England is a useless team and won the first test by fluke. So, England could lose remaining tests as well.  Why not now declare the series loss to Australia.

If England concedes series defeat by Australia, they would save time, money and unnecessary fatigue and pains in the galleries.

Will England declare the series defeat and show way for other teams to stop playing bogus tests?

Clearly, England is one of worst and weakest teams and as such it can play only against Kenya or Nepal. And, that too arranged by prior fixings between teams or boards.

However, that would be a self defeat for the English cricketers who introduced cricket to former colony subjects, including entertainment loving slaves.

The best solution is to end international cricket matches with foreign teams. Let them play local cricket for the time being so that the Cricket fans could be tamed in due course to forget cricket and opt for other real sports.

Once England and Australia stop cricket, perhaps world would be safe and secure from fake records, bogus rankings and match fixings become somewhat safe from corruption.

Enough of fake joint cricketism for 100s, 50s and 200s, etc by misusing hired bowlers.

Will England help the humanity?

The matter of fact is there are some Muslim anions promoting cricket money makers by illegal and immoral means. Not only Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but also and Arab Dubai also are involved in this bogus game. Apart from teams of Muslim nations, there are also many Muslims play in cricket teams of non-Muslim nations and they all want to mint money and bogus records. They also willingly play mischief as sport by employing deceptive methods, cheating techniques and offering free runs. They ignore the Islamic values and faith.

When others cheat and mint money, greedy Muslims do not want  to be way behind in this.

How to save them when it has become difficult even for mosques to make them real Muslims  in true sense, even otherwise.!

Landmark West-Iran nuclear deal!

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Landmark West-Iran nuclear deal!

-Dr. Abdul ruff

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World peace process could be accelerated only by concerted efforts by international community led by UN in resolving all outstanding conflictual issues as satisfactorily as possible. The USA-Iran standoff over Iran’s legitimate strive for nuclear facility at par with other powers has caused tensions between them and the crisis has been worsened by the interference of Israel, seeking to be the  lone nuclear power of West Asia.

The deal

Led by the US super power, the so-called UNSC-5+1 countries — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — reached the landmark agreement with Iran after more than 20 months of intense negotiations, mostly held in Vienna or Geneva. Under a historic deal between Iran and major world powers in Vienna on July 14, Iran agreed to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating an atomic bomb. Iran has repeatedly said its work is purely peaceful but Israel objects.

In return, the USA, EU and UN would lift sanctions on Iran. Under the agreement, any UN sanctions relief would be simultaneous with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying “implementation of agreed nuclear-related measures by Iran.” Iran will not use its advanced centrifuges to produce enriched uranium for the next decade.

The deal reduces the number of Iranian centrifuges by two-thirds. It places bans on enrichment at key facilities, and limits uranium research and development to the Natanz facility. The deal caps uranium enrichment at 3.67 percent and limits the stockpile to 300 kg, all for 15 years. Iran will be required to ship spent fuel out of the country forever, as well as allow inspectors from the IAEA inspectors certain access in perpetuity. Heightened inspections, including tracking uranium mining and monitoring the production and storage of centrifuges, will last for up to 20 years. The USA estimates that the new measures take Iran from being able to assemble its first bomb within 2-3 months, to at least one year from now.

US Congress has 60 days to review the agreement, giving its opponents plenty of time to dig into the details and challenge the Obama administration’s position. In Tehran, the deal will need the clear backing of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to fend off any objections from hardliners suspicious of an accord with the United States after decades of hostility and mistrust.

The United Nations Security Council is likely to vote next week on a resolution to endorse the Iran nuclear deal and terminate targeted sanctions, but retain an arms embargo and ballistic missile technology ban. The five permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council – United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – were parties to the deal agreed with Iran in Vienna, along with Germany and the European Union. The UN Security Council resolution would terminate its seven previous resolutions on Iran, but under the Vienna deal it would leave a UN weapons embargo in place for five years and a ban on buying missile technology for eight years.
According to the Vienna deal, the six world powers, Iran and the European Union will form a Joint Commission to handle any complaints about breaches. If the complaining state is not satisfied with how the commission addresses its concerns, it could then take its grievance to the UN Security Council. The Security Council would then need to vote on a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

If the nuclear deal is adhered to, all the provisions and measures of the UN resolution would terminate 10 years after its adoption and the Iran nuclear issue would be removed from the Security Council agenda.

Iranian response

 

 

The deal is god news for humanity, especially the Iranians – the target of West and Israel for quite some time now. People of Iran felt relieved and even joyous for the first time in years of sufferings due to western sanctions that cripple Iranian economy as its export of energy sources and other goods were effectively blocked.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country’s nuclear deal with major powers would open a new chapter of cooperation with the outside world after years of sanctions, predicting the gradual elimination of mutual mistrust. He added in a live televised speech that Iran would abide by its commitments under the agreement as long as world powers did so too. he suggested the deal reached after marathon talks between the OPEC oil producer and world powers would lay the foundations for an improvement in an economy battered by years of sanctions.

President Hassan Rouhani recalled that his election in 2013 was made possible by voters who “clearly said they want a government that protects the nuclear programme and brings prosperity to the country as the same time”. “We didn’t ask for charity. We asked for fair, just and win-win negotiations,” he said. “Today after 23 months of negotiations with world powers we reached a turning point.”

Israeli response

Pursuing genocides cum expansionism in Palestine and militarism in Mideast as its key policy Israel wanted the UNSC-Iran deal to fail so that it can resume its  terror attacks on  the Palestinians in territories being occupied by  it, but the  successful deal has clearly upset all its terror designs for the ME region.

As expected, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, after failing to fail the UN-Iran deal, quickly slammed the landmark nuclear accord hammered out between the world powers and Iran as a “historic mistake” and hinted that he remained “committed” to order military action against Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. The hardline Jewish leader said that the powers negotiating with Iran –- the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany –- made far reaching concessions on the areas meant to prevent Iran from ever being able to obtain nuclear arms.

PM Netanyahu, whose government continues to pursue its aggression and terror in Palestine, also called for Israel’s political leaders to put party politics aside and unite around a most fateful issue for Israel’s future and security- i.e. to protect Zionist occupational terror practices in Palestine as he is coming under withering criticism from the illegal settler opposition for what is being termed a colossal failure on his part to stop the agreement.

American response

The agreement, a focal point of U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, appears set to reshape relations between Iran and the West, with its effects likely to ripple across the volatile Middle East.

Hailing the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, a beaming US President Barack Obama said the pact ensuring Tehran does not acquire a nuclear bomb was based on verification and not on trust as he warned the Congress that he will veto any legislation aimed at scuttling the agreement.  Obama, in a rare early morning statement, asserted that this deal has achieved what the US and the international community wanted from day one — to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Because of this deal, Obama said Iran will remove two thirds of its installed centrifuges, the machines necessary to produce highly enriched uranium for a bomb and store them under constant international supervision.

The US President asserted that under the deal every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off and the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place. Well aware of the challenge that he faces in the Congress where Democrats are in a minority, Obama said, “I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”

President Obama asserted that with the deal they have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region and under the deal every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off and the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place.

Polls have shown Americans generally to be in favour of a deaf.. For the USA, the nuclear deal struck with Iran holds both promise and peril. The same can be said for Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Democratic frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race. Clinton embraced the deal in remarks on Capitol Hill. However, Democratic presidential contender eyeing the strong Jewish vote bank Hillary Clinton, in a tough voice vowed that Tehran will never be able to acquire atomic weapons if she is elected to the White House. Mrs. Clinton cannot risk alienating wealthy Jewish donors, some of whom may worry that the new deal further endangers Israel. And focusing on Jewish vote bank, she said she continues to view Iran as “an existential threat to Israel. Clinton enjoys some maneuvering room. Despite Republican efforts to vilify Obama’s foreign policy, the president garnered about 70 percent of the Jewish vote in 2012, suggesting that many American Jews are far from being single-issue voters primarily focused on Israel’s security.

Arab response

The ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, sent a note of congratulations to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday for Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. The statement contained the first official comment by Gulf Arab countries towards a deal many of them privately fear will encourage Iran to back its allies across the Middle East more forcefully.  The UAE, like all other Gulf States except Oman, belongs to a Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Iran-backed rebels in Yemen since March. Abu Dhabi perhaps fears that the Vienna agreement will strengthen prosperity of Iran and Iranian influence in the region for peace.

Given that Iran is a neighbour, Saudi Arabia hopes to build with her better relations in all areas on the basis of good neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs. Saudi Arabia expressed hope Tuesday for an end to Iran’s regional “interference” after a historic nuclear deal aimed at ensuring its Middle East rival does not obtain an atomic bomb. Two of the kingdom’s fellow Sunni-run Gulf neighbours also expressed hope for better relations with Shiite-dominated Iran. To counter Iran and Israel, Saudi Arabia is pursuing its own nuclear projects and building alliances beyond its ties with Washington.

Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, sent cables to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Rouhani congratulating them on the “historic agreement”. He hoped the deal “would contribute to strengthen peace and stability in the region and to direct all efforts for the development of the countries in the area”.

Peace in Mideast now depends exclusively on Israel- the only nuclear power and effectively the US backed super power of west Asia, terrorizing Arab world, especially the Palestinians. However, USA, unfortunately, is still arming nuclear power Israel with nuclear weapons, threatening the peace in the region.

Israel remains a grave threat to Mideast peace and to the  peaceful and secured existence of humanity at large!

The Iran’s nuclear deal with the West is most welcome.

Goal of fasting during Holy Ramadan!

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Goal of fasting during Holy Ramadan!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Muslims are under intense surveillance and attacks globally while many Muslims deliberately harm fellow Muslims and bring bad name for Islam. It is because they have no faith in God or Islam. They live for themselves, their focus being on material profits, even work against Islam and Muslim community. But those who observe fasting and offer prayers should be on guard from evils of all kinds. There are precautions that could help Muslims to overcome that and attain spiritual heights the Ramadan fasting is meant for.

Once again the Holy Ramadan month has arrived as the chief blessings of Allah (Arabic world for God) to help the humanity of believers live much better than now and after the holy month and safe-land in the Hereafter life.

Muslims should realize that fasting during the holy Month is not a formality. Attaining self-purification through spirituality is a major goal of Islamic fasting-worship, especially in the month of Holy Ramadan, although unfortunately Muslims fast for certain material benefits.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar which is a month of blessed, month of revelation of the Holy Quran, and month to achieve Jannah, and therefore the best month in a year Muslims look forward each year to fulfill their spiritual duties. Fasting is one of Islam’s five main pillars. The other pillars are the belief in one God and the Prophet Mohammed as His Messenger, praying five times a day, completing the pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able and giving charity or “zakat”. Though fasting is mandatory for all Muslims upon reaching puberty, as long as they are mentally and physically sound, it should not be observed as a mere formality. Those elderly and chronically ill are exempt from fasting; however, it is incumbent upon them to feed the poor instead if they possess the financial means. Concern for less privileged and poor is the thrust of Islamic fasting.

While fasting, Muslims are expected to reflect upon good and bad things that have happened to them in the past, especially the last Ramadan month. Those Muslims who have been Islamic, positively religious, upright with truth, who avoid ill speech, arguments, loss of temper and malicious behavior, who have served the cause of Islam and Muslims, helped fellow Muslims and others in difficult positions, who have kept the word given to others – are the blessed ones – especially those who undertook the fasting and did only good things, thought only of good positive tidings! Remember, Allah warns us of consequences for each of our good or bad actions and we would be held accountable for everything we do or refuse to do.

It is quite possible that Allah does not punish quickly enough those who commit hypocritical errors or crimes but that does not mean we can justify everything we do.

The Holy Quran informs the believers, the Muslims, that fasting, like other Islamic duties, is prescribed for them. “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard against evil.” (Holy Quran, 2:183) Allah says: “And when My servants ask you (O Prophet) about Me, surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should hear My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.” (ibid, 2:186)’ “And swallow not up your property among yourselves by false means, nor seek to gain access thereby to the authorities so that you may swallow up other people’s property wrongfully while you know.” (ibid., 2:188)’ “He who does not give up uttering falsehood and acting according to it, God has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” (Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAS). Prophet Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights, and explained it by saying: “..Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-4.) Prophet Moses also had fasted forty days and forty nights (Exodus 34:28).

The entire global nation of over 2 billion people, men and women, young and old, rich or poor – all together, for a whole month – not eating, not drinking and not having intimate relations, during the daylight hours. This describes the month of Ramadan.

Fasting as a spiritual practice is found not just in Islam but in all religions but there are fundamental differences as Islam prescribes clear cut norms- from dawn to dusk every day for full month of Ramadan. Fasting in Islam does not just consist of refraining from eating and drinking, but from every kind of selfish desire and wrong-doing. The fast is not merely of the body, but essentially that of the mind and spirit as well. The physical fast is only a symbol and outward expression of the real, inner fast.

The founders of various other faiths (Buddha, Moses, Jesus, others) practiced quite rigorous fasting as a preliminary to attaining their first experience of spiritual enlightenment and communion with God. However, it is not that only Holy prophets fast but also all believers also do so, and they all do so not as a mere formality but with a spiritual purpose useful for the human lives. Islamic fasting, especially in Ramadan month, is significant for its content and length – from dawn to dusk without food or drink.

Purpose of fasting in Islam as practiced by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAS) include (a) develop and strengthen our powers of self-control, so that we can resist wrongful desires and bad habits, and therefore guard against evil. In fasting, exercising our ability of self-restraint, so that we can then apply it to our everyday life to bring about self-improvement; (b) to attain nearness and closeness to Almighty Allah (God) so that He becomes a reality in our lives. The rigors of fasting purely for the sake of following a Divine commandment, knowing and feeling that He can see all our actions however secret, it intensifies the consciousness of God in our hearts, resulting in a higher spiritual experience; (c) to learn to refrain from usurping other’s rights and belongings. In fasting we voluntarily give up even what is rightfully ours; how can then we think of taking what is not ours but someone else? (d) Charity and generosity is especially urged during Ramadan. We learn to give, and not to take. The deprivation of fasting makes us sympathize with the suffering of others, and desirous of alleviating it; and it makes us remember the blessings of life which we normally take for granted.

The object of fasting is that a person should abstain from the food which nourishes the body and obtain through fasting the other religious food which satisfies and brings solace to the soul. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad said: “People are unaware of the true nature of fasting.. Fasting is not just the state of remaining hungry and thirsty. Its nature and effect can only be discovered by experience. The human makeup is such that the less food is consumed the greater is the purification of the soul and the development of the powers of inner vision. God’s purpose is that you should reduce one kind of food (physical) and increase the other kind (spiritual). The person fasting must remember that the aim is not simply to remain hungry; he should be engrossed in the remembrance of God so as to attain severance from worldly desires.

Fasting a full month with Islamic commitment would make the believers strong spiritually. Those who truly fast for the sake of attaining to God – and not merely as a custom or formality- should be absorbed in the praise and glorification of God, and in meditating upon His Unity. Maulana Muhammad Ali said: “The real purpose of fasting is to attain righteousness. A person who undergoes hunger and thirst, but does not behave righteously, has done nothing. If someone is told the aim and object of doing a certain duty, and he does that duty but does not attain the required aim and object, it is as if he has not done that duty.” The Maulana used very strongly to urge the members of the Muslim community to say the tahajjud prayers during the month of Ramadan: “You have to rise early in any case to begin the fast; rise even earlier, by half an hour or an hour, and say tahajjud prayers.”

Many people have tried different kinds of fasting. Some will drink only juice for a day, or eat only fruit, or stay away from any sugar or starches, or leave alcohol for a period of time. Yet, it seems strange to most folks, the idea of Muslims fasting in the month of Holy Ramadan. What is the significance of Ramadan? Isn’t it a very harsh practice? Is it just a time when Muslims sleep and fast and hardly work all day; and eat, drink, enjoy and stay awake all night? What really is the spirit of Ramadan?

Islamic fasting is not just about staying away from food alone and doing all devilish things 24 hours. There are as many levels of fasting as there are facets to being human. Proper fasting should encompass all dimensions of human existence for it to have the divinely intended effect. The following are some of the major levels of fasting:   Ritual level of fasting requires that the basic rules for fasting be fulfilled, which are avoiding food, drink and sexual intercourse between dawn and sunset for 29 or 30 days each year. On this level, one is basically following the letter of the laws regarding fasting without particular consideration for the spirit of fasting. It is the entrance level which must be fulfilled for the fast to be Islamically correct, but the other levels must be added for the fast to have any real impact on the fasting person. Fasting on this level alone will not benefit one spiritually, except from the perspective of submission to divine instructions, if one chooses to follow the ritual consciously and not merely according to tradition. Thus, by itself, the ritual level will not purify one of sin or atone for sin.

Fasting on the “physical” level causes the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst – when the prophetic (Sunnah) way of fasting is observed. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to consume a very light meal before the dawn (suhur) and moderate meal (iftar) to break the fast at sunset, while scrupulously avoiding filling his stomach. He is reported to have said, “The worst container a human being can fill is his stomach. A few morsels of food to keep a person’s back straight are sufficient. The Prophet (peace be upon Him) used to break his fast with a few fresh or dried dates and a glass of water just before beginning the sunset prayer. This level allows the fasting person to experience the pangs of hunger and thirst and thereby develops sympathy in him or her for those starving and dying of thirst in other parts of the world.

Islamic fasting cum prayers lead the faithful from the ritual, psychological and physical levels to spiritual level to help live as enlightened Muslims. On the physical level, some chemicals in the brain that transmit messages and create feelings, called neurotransmitters, are affected by fasting. Fasting encourages the endorphin neurotransmitter system, related to the feeling of well being – and euphoria, to produce more endorphins and, in fact, makes the true believers feel better. This is similar to the effect of exercise but without the physical work. It has also been noted by medical experts that fasting improves the physical health in numerous ways. For example, during the fast the body uses up stored cholesterol (fat) that is often deposited in the blood system, as well as in other fatty areas of the body. So, we find it does help keep the body firm and minimizes the danger of heart attacks.

The difference between the ritual level and the physical level is, a person doing only ritual fasting may eat large meals prior to beginning the fast and immediately upon ending the fast, and not feel any hunger or thirst throughout the whole month. However, like level one, if the fasting person does not incorporate the other levels of fasting, the fast will only be physically exhausting. The Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said, “Maybe a fasting person will gain nothing but hunger and thirst from fasting.”

The sexual instinct and drives are harnessed on this level of fasting. In these times where the media continually plays on sexual desires to promote and sell products, the ability to control these powerful desires is a plus. Fasting even physically reduces sexual desires and the fact that the fasting person has to avoid anything which could stimulate him psychologically helps to further lower the libido. But committed fasting makes the believers derive all spiritual benefits as well.

Prophet Muhammad (SAS) said, “O youths, whoever among you is able to marry let him do so, for it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts. He who is unable to marry should fast, because it is a shield.” By restraining from sexual acts, even though they are permissible, the fasting people make it easier for themselves to restrain from forbidden sexual acts when they are not fasting.

Fasting on physical level involves controlling the many negative emotions which simmer in the human mind and soul. For example, among the most destructive emotions is anger. Fasting helps bring these emotions under control. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) said: “When one of you is fasting, he should abstain from indecent acts and unnecessary talk, and if someone begins an obscene conversation or tries to pick an argument, he should simply tell him, “I am fasting.” So, on this level, whatever negative emotions challenge the fasting person must be avoided. A person has to abstain from lewd conversation and heated arguments. Even when one is in the right, it is better to let that right go and keep one’s emotional fast intact. Likewise, the negative emotion of jealousy is reduced, as every fasting person is reduced to the common denominator of abstinence; no one is externally superior to another in this regard.

In true fasting, humans realize several levels of meanings of life. The psychological level helps the fasting person psychologically to control evil thoughts and trains him or her, to some degree, how to overcome stinginess and greed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah has no need for the hunger and the thirst of the person who does not restrain himself from telling lies and acting on them even while observing the fast.” In this age of immediate gratification, when the things of the world are used to fulfill human needs and desires almost as soon as they have them – the ability to delay gratification is an important skill. What is between immediate gratification and delayed gratification is patience. During the fast, the believers learn patience – and the benefits of it.

Fasting gives one the opportunity to overcome the many addictions which have become a major part of modern life. Food, for many people, provides comfort and joy – and the ability to separate oneself from it gives the fasting people the psychological benefit of knowing that they do have some degree of control over what they do and what they do not do. From a psychological perspective, it is good to be somewhat detached from the things of the world. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good and full life – in fact, one can and should expect that. However, it is important that Muslims are able to detach ourselves from material things so that they do not become the most important part of their lives to determine our faith.

In Islam, in order to establish the final spiritual level – the highest and most important level of fasting, the level of Allah-consciousness, Prophet Muhammad SAS (peace be upon Him) made the renewal of the intention for fasting a requirement before every day of fasting. He was reported to have said, “Whoever does not intend to fast before Fajr (the dawn) will have no fast.” The daily renewal of intention helps to establish a spiritual foundation of sincerity essential for the spiritual cleansing effects of fasting to operate. Sincere fasting purifies and atones for sin, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of sincere faith and seeking his reward from God, his previous sins will be forgiven.” He was also reported to have said, “From one Ramadan to the next is atonement for the sins between them.”

Fasting, like other Islamic requirements like daily prayers and holy Hajj is not a mere formality to be completed somehow as a burden but it has a spiritual significance attached to it and hence it needs to be performed with utmost sincerity and complete commitment.

Ramadan Observations

 

Islamic fasting is not simply about denying our body food and water. It also involves arguably the more taxing challenge of avoiding ill speech, arguments, loss of temper and malicious behavior. When combined with the previous levels of fasting, the spiritual level transforms a person from within. It restores, revives and regenerates the fasting person’s spirituality and radically modifies his or her personality and character. These are the precious products of a heightened state of God-consciousness. A successful fasting enables us become pure in thoughts and deeds.

Fasting is primarily between the person and God, as no one can be sure that any person is actually fasting. Because of this intimate aspect of fasting, Allah was quoted by the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying. “Every act of Adam’s descendants is for themselves, except fasting. It is meant for Me alone, and I alone will give the reward for it.”

Self-purification as the central part of spiritual development is the goal of fasting during Holy Ramadan. It is obviously wrong to presume that just fasting without any spiritual commitment in the Holy month of piety and compassion would add more wealth to us. Fasting is performed as a duty of Muslims for Allah’s kindness toward us.

Self-purification could be attained only by performing the fasting cum prayers at all its levels. If Muslims fast with ill-feelings intact and just for dirty money or similar other favors, they do not seek self-purification, On the contrary, by such selfish or negative motives in fasting they refuse to be self purified in spiritual form. These Muslims care nothing about the Hereafter life.

Truth and truthfulness, kindness and compassion are the foundations of self purification. Whether they fast or not, if Muslims do not tell lies or at least avoid telling lies they could be sure of reaching the truth zone. But if they decide to continue to avoid lies, they indirectly approach the spiritual domain. However, if upon the close of holy fasting, Muslims resume all bad habits, including telling lies, they in fact directly kick the holy fasting month.

If humans- Muslims – have not changed their life patterns, even after fasting 30 days year after year it could only signify hopelessly permanent hollowness in humans! That also may mean Muslims systemically refuse to accept the importance of arrival of Holy Prophets to the world to guide the humanity.

Importantly, Muslims could perform fasting, prayers and other religious duties not merely as a formality for favors from God or people. Spirituality and self-purification have got much to do with this notion. If Muslims have fooled, deceived or harmed anyone, deliberately or otherwise, they need to repent.

Sincere fasting brings one closer to Allah and earns a special reward. The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed that there is a gate in paradise called Rayyan reserved for those who fast and he also said, “When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are open.”

Patience and mercy are the important virtues we all need in these harried times to live as good humans. Month of Ramadan is viewed as a month-long school where graduates leave with a developed sense of self-control in areas including diet, sleeping and the use of time. The degree to be obtained by the believers could be called as Self-purification.

For this to happen, let bad, cunning or negative thoughts leave your mind and good thoughts enter your mind system in order to help you make a better and purposeful spiritual life. Holy month of Ramadan is the best time for that auspicious endeavor.

Simply put, in saying that we have observed Ramadan fasting, we should also mean we are now purified with divine thoughts, away from selfish, hypocritical, corrupt malicious motives of ordinary life.

As Ramadan fasting is sort of preparation for the enlightened life as well as life Hereafter, Muslims need to ensure that they would be qualitatively different –purified in body, mind, heart, thoughts, soul at least partially to begin with- when Holy Ramadan month arrives next year.

Let us make Holy Ramadan purposeful. Let us continue throughout year with whatever good tidings we practice during the Holy Ramadan. Let us be away from mischief and sins. May Allah protect all Muslims from devilish eyes, from sinful destructive designs of enemies of Islam. May God allow faith, peace, happiness and prosperity for entire humanity!