IFUT’s upcoming Educational Initiatives

Within months of being established, IFUT has successfully sponsored the publication of a groundbreaking study on Faith based violence. It has also hosted its first event. In the upcoming months, IFUT is planning more initiatives and events that educate its audience on matters relating to Faith.

1. Books: IFUT will purchase and distribute bulk quantities of its first publication to educational institutes, think tanks, strategic decision makers and academics.  As part of its forward mission, IFUT will sponsor and support similar studies and publications that highlight how exclusionist ideologies target across different faiths.

2. Events and Seminars: As part of its educational initiatives, IFUT will continue to host academics and activists  who counter exclusion and intolerance with via multidisciplinary academic disciplines.

3. Educational Development with Higher Education Institutes: IFUT will seek to establish chairs, departments and centres within higher educational institutions as well as strengthening existing centres.  In order to counter exclusionary and totalitarian ideologies, IFUT will develop competing platforms that emphasise on spiritual traditions and reclaiming the divine heritage within different faith traditions. IFUT has identified this reclamation as a potent counter against literalist and intolerant ideologies that have emerged on the backs of carbon lobbies and politicised faith.

4. Documentaries: IFUT has identified and will strive to commemorate and celebrate those icons who have sacrificed their lives to stand up to bigotry and the misrepresentation of faith to achieve totalitarian political agendas.

Some insight from the Vedas – by AZ



In my early to mid twenties I spent considerable time studying scriptures and their exegeses (and the most fundamental of the theological works) of world’s major religions. Now, some thirty years later, enjoying the fairways on the back-nine of my life’s course, I am trying to revisit these scriptures as and when I get time. The idea is to see what still seems to shine as bright in the twilight of my intellectual journey as it did at the base camp.

Recently I read the humungous works of the Vedas again. I have not been so interested in ‘Karma Kanda’ section of each of the four parts of the Vedas as these sections deal with the hymns and rituals of Hinduism and the ritualized religion is not of great interest to me. However, here are some excerpts from ‘Jnana Kanda’ sections of the Vedas. This part of the Vedas, that tells us what it really means to be a human being, is not merely for Hindus, it is universal – Vedic India’s precious legacy to humanity that continues to dazzle after five to four thousand years.

It is hard to think of a scripture or text of the same age (some 5,000 years ago) that can match Vedas in its understanding of human nature. Rarely have I seen such distillation of spiritual wisdom as in these parts of the Vedas, which are together called Upanishads. The Upanishads are empirical rather than urging to believe and thus undermining our sense of logic and our sense of responsibility for discerning truth for ourselves. Their narrative is non-judgmental that speaks with passion about darkness and ignorance and not with anger about sin and punishment.


Know the Self as lord of the chariot,
The body as the chariot itself,
The discriminating intellect as
The charioteer, and the mind as reins.
The senses, say the wise, are the horses;
Selfish desires are the roads they travel.
When the Self is confused with the body,
Mind, and senses, they point out, he seems
To enjoy pleasure and suffer sorrow.
(The Katha Upanishad — 1.3.3-4)

We live not by the breath that flows in
And flows out, but by Him who causes the breath
To flow in and out.
(The Katha Upanishad — 2.2.5)

Knowing the senses to be separate
From the Self, and the sense experience
To be fleeting, the wise grieve no more.

Above the senses is the mind, above
The mind is the intellect, above that
Is the ego, and above the ego
Is the un-manifested Cause.
And beyond is God, omnipresent,
Attribute-less, realizing Him one is released
From the cycle of birth and death.

He is formless and can never be seen
With these two eyes. But He reveals Himself
In the heart made pure through meditation
And sense restraint. Realizing Him, one is
Released from the cycle of birth and death.
(The Katha Upanishad — 2.3.6-9)

When all desires that surge in the heart
Are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.
When all the knots that strangle the heart
Are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal.
This sums up the teaching of the scriptures.

From the heart there radiate a hundred
And one vital tracks. One of them rises
To the crown of the head. This way leads
To immortality, the others to death.
(The Katha Upanishad — 2.3.14-16)

The earth comes from the waters, plants from earth, and man from plants, so man is speech, and speech is the resonance of soul. (The Chandogya Upanishad — 1.2)

Smaller than a grain of rice, smaller than a grain of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a grain of millet, smaller than even the kernel of a grain of millet is the Self. This is the Self dwelling in my heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than all the worlds. (The Chandogya Upanishad — 3.14.2)

Control the sense and purify the mind. In a pure mind there is constant awareness of the Self. Where there is constant awareness of the Self, freedom ends bondage and joy ends sorrow. (The Chandogya Upanishad — 7.26.2)

Time, nature, necessity, accident,
Elements, energy, intelligence –
None of these can be the First Cause.
They are effects, whose only purpose is
To help the self rise above pleasure and pain.
(The Shvetashavatara Upanishad — 1.2)

In the golden city of the heart dwells
The Lord of Love, without parts, without stain.
Know him as the radiant light of lights.
There shines not the sun, neither moon nor star,
Nor flash of lightning, nor fire lit on earth.
The Lord is the light reflected by all.
He shining, everything shines after him.
(The Mundaka Upanishad — 2.2.10-11)

Having taught the Vedas, the teacher says:
Speak the truth. Do your duty. Neglect not the scriptures. Give your best to your teacher. Do not cut off the line of progeny. Swerve not from the truth. Swerve not from the good. Protect your spiritual progress always. Give your best in learning and teaching. Never fail in respect to the sages. See the divine in your mother, father, teacher, and guest. Never do what is wrong. Honour those who are worthy of honour. Give with faith. Give with love. Give with joy. (The Taittiriya Upanishad — 1.11.1-3)

They have attained the goal who realize God as the supreme reality, the source of truth, wisdom, and boundless joy. They see the Lord in the cave of the heart and are granted all the blessings of life. (The Taittiriya Upanishad — 2.1.1)

The mind may be said to be of two kinds, pure and impure. Driven by the senses it becomes impure; but with the senses under control the mind becomes pure.

It is the mind that frees us or enslaves. Driven by the senses we become bound; master of the senses we become free. Those who seek freedom must master their senses.

When the mind is detached from the senses one reaches the summit of consciousness. Mastery of the mind leads to wisdom. Practise meditation. Stop all vain talk. The highest state is beyond reach of thought, for it lies beyond all duality.

Why Muhammad Ali is the Greatest Sportsman of all time – by Zain Ulabideen



Muhammad Ali was an award-winning boxer who is considered to be the greatest boxer of all time. He also said that himself a lot, even to the point where he had his own cartoon called “I am the greatest”. But what made him the greatest sportsman?  That is why I’m writing this essay. So what did make him the greatest? For that we have to look at his life…


Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay. And was generally poor, he also was racially segregated. Some people wouldn’t give him water because of his skin color, this becomes more important later. Ali once got his bike stolen by a punk white kid, after he and a police officer (who was also a boxing coach) caught the punk Ali said he was going to beat him up, the officer said he needed to learn how to box first. Initially Ali declined but then gave in wanting fame and fortune.


From there he began his amateur career he started in 1954 where he beat up other amateurs and won multiple golden glove titles and, eventually, a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics, his amateur career score was 100 wins 5 losses. After this he began his professional career. Starting in 1960, by1963 he was undefeated and then, after beating Sonny Liston became the youngest person to win the title from another boxer. From here Ali reigned as the heavyweight champion but then, because of his opposition to the Vietnam War he was denied permission to fight.


This is where he becomes the greatest morally. He has stated that war is against the teachings of the Quran (he was Muhammad Ali at this point) and continued this stance and did not box for 3 years. Over that time his stance grew more popular as more people fought against the Vietnam War. And eventually put on an FBI watch list for his efforts. Ali was very conscious of his religion and, despite having originally been part of the Nation of Islam he converted to Sunni Islam. Also many speculate that when he said I am the greatest he meant that Muhammad and Ali are the greatest.


After the war he still retained his champion title but lost it to Joe Frazier but then won it back again later on and still retained it until his last few fights. Which he lost, many speculate because of early Parkinson’s disease. On June 3rd 2016 Ali died at the age of 75. He is still considered an American icon to this day.



Hussaini Brahmins: The Hindus who fought for Imam Hussain in war of Karbala

The term ‘Hussaini Brahmins’ comes as a surprise for the majority of readers. It is perceived as if two contradicting words are aligned together. However, its definition is a source of inspiration for

The term ‘Hussaini Brahmins’ comes as a surprise for the majority of readers. It is perceived as if two contradicting words are aligned together. However, its definition is a source of inspiration for those who believe in plurality, unity and diversity. At a time when communal animosity is escalating between Hindus and Muslims, one should reminisce the valour shown by Brahmins residing in North-West frontier (now Pakistan) by joining the martyrdom of the revered Islamic figure.

Who are Hussaini Brahmins?

Rahab Singh Dutt, an upper-caste Hindu belonging to Mohyal community traveled all the way to Iran, along with his sons to join Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad in the war of Karbala. The famous battle was fought against caliph Yazeed, who had turned corrupt and spread a cruel rule in the region of al-sham (the area which is now demarcated as Iraq, Iran and Syria). Since the grandson of prophet took objection to his unjust methods, Yazeed launched a war against him.

Imam Hussain, who was left with a few number of supporters in the region of Central Arab (now Medina, Oman and Yemen) wrote a number of letters to neighbouring tribes and regions which had maintained good relations with Prophet Muhammad. One such letter reached the Brahmins of North-West frontier.

Despite knowing the fact that he was participating a one-sided battle and destined to lose, Datt joined the forces of Hussain. According to Sunita Jhingran, who claims to be a Mohyal descendant of Rahab Singh Dutt, “Our ancestors joined the forces because Imam Hussain was fighting against the oppression of people under Yazeed’s rule. He was fighting for true Islam, which was propagated by the beloved prophet. Rahab Singh Dutt was a warrior who joined the forces of the Imam since he was standing for the righteous.”

The war of Karbala began in 680 AD. Rahab Singh Dutt joined the losing battalion of Hussain. Dutt did not die in the battle, but his seven sons who accompanied him lost their lives shortly after the beheading of Imam Hussain. After the battle, he met Hussain’s sister, Zainab and narrated his story.

According to Vipin Mohan Jhingran, who claims to be a Hussaini Brahmin, Zainab was moved to tears after confronting Dutt. ”The family of Prophet Muhammad told our ancestor Rahab Singh Dutt that from now you are not just Brahmins, but ‘Hussaini’ Brahmins,” said Jhingran.

Where are the Hussaini Brahmins now?

The Hussaini Brahmins thrived in the regions of Pakistan in the pre-independence era. The community members are identified with surnames such as Mohan, Bali, Chibber, Dutt, Bakshi, Lav, Bimwal and Jhingran. After the partition, they migrated to India and settled in various parts of the nation.

However, despite their contributions in the redefining era of Islamic history, a number of Muslims in India and Pakistan fail to acknowledge them. They refrain from believing the narrative of the Mohyal community alleging that no Islamic author has claimed the same. However, Shia cleric based in Lahore, Maulana Hasan Zafar Naqvi, validates the fact that Mohyals had participated in the war of Karbala since they had good relations with Caliph Ali, the father of Imam Hussain.

Despite sharing a rich and varied history, the Hussaini Brahmins have somehow turned into a lost community and have remotely made their socio-religious presence felt. Amid situations where a Tajya procession in Muharram can cause a communal riot, both the communities should recall the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and sacrifice made up by Mohyals to safeguard his honour.