x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Please, no more about the Titanic

A reader takes issue with all the coverage of that ship sinking. Other topics: a recent column about Salafi claims to historical legitimacy, and also school fees, stock prices, a teaching survey, and that ship that sank.

A reader complains that he has heard too much about the Titanic - but still enjoyed one recent story about it. AP Photo
A reader complains that he has heard too much about the Titanic - but still enjoyed one recent story about it. AP Photo

In A religious basis for violence misreads original principles (April 9), columnist Hassan Hassan uses the term "Salafi". But which ones? Salafism comes in many forms.

The mention of Ibn Taymiyyah is very strange. On whom did he declare takfir, and how are his views much different from those of other theologians such as Imam Nawawi, Ramli, Ibn Abideen or others?

The writer makes the point that if Ibn Taymiyyah's viewpoint is expressed, then there is no need to seek further evidence (that is, he accuses Salafis of believing this). But this point is highly debatable.

As you know, the Salafi school does not believe in taqleed (blind following of a particular school). This accusation is more befitting those who practise taqleed in one of the four schools. If you quote Imam Nawawi to an adherent of the Shafi school, that is enough proof for the person. If you quote Ibn Abideen to a Hanafi, then Ibn Abideen is seen as sufficient.

I am familiar with the fatwa books of the Hanafi school and in any of them, most of the references come from Ibn Abideen. It is only recently that some Hanafis have started to combat this. Also Ibn Taymiyyah in his Majmu Al Fatawa has dedicated a whole section to tasawuff (Sufism) and the Salafi editor of the book has made notes in the section with strong disapproval of many comments made by Ibn Taymiyyah. The famous book Kitab ur rooh by Ibn Taymiyyah's student has drawn strong criticism from senior Salafi figures like Sheikh Albani.

Later the columnist mentions the Mardin fatwa. The issue of the misprint was first highlighted by Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah and used as a massive PR stunt. How many of the terrorists of today rely on this fatwa?

The major conference in Turkey was nothing but a PR stunt. Did it actually achieve anything? Will terrorists think twice before committing their atrocious crimes?

One more point: your columnist labelled sadd al tharayi as a Salafi principle. This principle is famous among the scholars of usul ud deen (principles of religion) and is famous across the four schools.

You can write to the fatwa department (www.awqaf.ae) and ask them and they will be able to provide you with the details in this regard.

Hassan Mallu, Abu Dhabi

Schools already overcharge us

I refer to Dubai schools get go-ahead for fee rise (April 9).

When you pay abut $20,000 (Dh73,600) a year to a school that provides no books, no uniforms, few if any extra-curricular activities, and when you have to pay Dh1,000 a week to tutors on top of it all, then you soon reach the point where you come to think of the schools as simply profiteers.

KHDA should continue to freeze their abilities to raise the cost of education.

Over-paying at these private institutions guarantees nothing. Foreign parents are held hostage.

Name withheld by request

That's (almost) too much on Titanic

Sorry, but I'm about Titanic-ed out (Unsinkable stories, April 10).

No doubt lots of people make money from the Titanic industry, which has itself become titanic. But there have been lots of worse catastrophes in history and all the emphasis on this one has become downright tedious.

That said, however, I admit that I did really enjoy A familiar shout in Titanic film spurs search for Arab passengers (April 6) in your Review section. Somebody actually found something new and interesting to say about the disaster.

Allan Hester, Dubai

Many should talk about survey

This is about Adec to take part in global teaching survey (April 9).

To help increase the effectiveness of this process, it would be advantageous to publicise the contents, structure and process of the survey.

Making it available to many students, parents, teachers and education administrators will result in discussion and so the input will be more informed for those actually surveyed. In turn that will make the outcome more meaningful as a direction for improvement.

Tom Pattillo, Canada

Some IPOs are good investments

I read with interest the column Groupon debacle offers a lesson - don't buy shares in newly listed firms (April 10).

I find that advice a little facile. Surely the writer wishes he has invested in a few shares of the start-up called Apple, for example.

And is it really a surprise that corporate officers found a loophole in the law to allow them to "sandbag" IPO investors?

I don't suppose Groupon executives wanted to have a problem in their accounting, but you can't expect them to do more than the law requires - that's why we have laws, after all. The real lesson is: don't buy into faddish start-ups.

Hugh Ainsley, US