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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

سنی عالم اسلام کے مقابلہ میں مصر میں فاطمی خلافت ( 909 سے1171) نےمشہورالازھر کی بنیاد ڈالی جو کہ اگرچہ مسجد کا نام تھا مگر یہ ایک مدرسہ تھا کہ جس کا مقصد یہ تھا کہ یہاں ایسے مشنری علماء کی تربیت کی جائے کہ جو سنی عقائد کےخلاف تبلیغ کر کے لوگوں کو شیعی عقائد کی طرف مائل کرسکیں۔ فاطمی ریاست نےالازھر کی مکمل طور پر سرپرستی کی اور اس میں مشہور علماء کو بحیثیت استاد کےمقرر کیا اور ان کی اچھی تنخواہیں مقرر کیں تاکہ وہ اطمینان کےساتھ درس و تدریس میں مشغول رہ سکیں۔

 

بدلتی ہوئی سیاسی صورت حال نے ایران کے دفتری یا نوکر شاہی کے ہاتھوں کو مضبوط کیاکیونکہ جب فتوحات کے ذریعہ عباسی سلطنت میں توسیع ہوئی اور اس میں نئے علاقے اور مختلف مذاہب کے لوگ شامل ہوئے تو اس کے نتیجہ میں بہت سے انتظامی مسائل کے ساتھ نئے سماجی اور ثقافتی مسئلے بھی پیدا ہوئے جن کی وجہ سے اس بات کی ضرورت محسوس کی گئی کہ خلیفہ اپنے لامحدود اختیارات کو استعمال کرتے ہوئے انہیں حل کرے’ ان کے حل میں خلیفہ نے سب سے پہلے اپنے ذاتی اور خاندان کے لوگوں کی حمایت کی اس میں دفتری لوگ تھے علماء نہیں ۔

 

ایک مرتبہ ایسا طبقہ وجود میں آگیا، تو اس نے اپنے اقتدار او رطاقت کو محدود کرنے کے بجائے اور پھیلانا شروع کردیا۔ خاص طور پر روز مرہ کی زندگی میں جو رسومات تھیں ان کی ادائیگی کا ذمہ اس نے اٹھا لیا، اور پھر ان رسومات کی ادائیگی کو اس قدر پیچیدہ بنا دیا گیا کہ صرف وہی ان کو پوراکرنے کےاہل ہوگئے یہ صورت حال ہندو مذہب میں ہے کہ جہاں مذہبی رسومات کی ادائیگی صرف برہمن طبقہ ہی کرسکتا ہے۔ یہی وجہ تھی کہ ذات پات کی تقسیم کے ابتدائی دور میں اگر چہ اولیت کشتری طبقہ کو تھی مگر بعد میں اس کا درجہ دوسرا ہوگیا او ربرہمن کو اولیت مل گئی۔

 

The Study Qur'an (SQ), a project of HarperCollins, can perhaps best be understood as an analog to its forerunner, the HarperCollins Study Bible. Originally published in 1993, the SB is an ecumenical project. Though various denominational actors and figures are cited, the SB bears no preference for one over another. Aside from its denominational accommodations, the SB is significant as an academic project – entry level courses in academic institutions teaching the Bible or Christianity routinely mandate the SB as required reading. As a result of its widespread use in academia, the SB has sold quite well, having exceeded 150,000 copies since initial publication. Therefore, although the SB may not hold much currency within devotional congregations, it retains a majority market share in academic environments.

 
In Search of Oneness—The Bhagavad Gita and the Quran Through Sufi Eyes
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam
In Search of Oneness—The Bhagavad Gita and the Quran Through Sufi Eyes
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

‘Every people is on the right path, in their faith and in the direction of their prayer,’ Raza quotes the noted Sufi of Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (b. 1238), as saying. This recognition of spiritual universality can enable people to appreciate and value the truths contained in spiritual traditions other than the ones they have ‘inherited’, as it were, by birth.   And that is just what happened with Raza, born in a Muslim family, as he began to study the Gita and several other scriptures after studying the Quran.

Guiding Souls—Dialogues on the Purpose of Life
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam
Guiding Souls—Dialogues on the Purpose of Life
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Leading a truly meaningful life is about ‘finding God in the human heart’, as Kalam puts it. Realising our true selves—the purpose of life, according to various spiritual traditions—is something that requires both self-reflection as well as social engagement, Kalam suggests. The ‘voyage of inner exploration’ leads us to realize our connection with the rest of humanity, guided by compassion: ‘independence from narcissism is self-realisation’, as he beautifully puts it.

 

It's worth teasing out the implications of what Mr Nawaz is saying. Over-simplifying only a little, let us agree that of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims, some 10% are open, as of now, to his proposal for a form of Islam that fits comfortably with secularism, human rights and equality.

 

We learn the difference between Islam and Islamism, as well as the fascinating distinctions among political Islamists, revolutionary Islamists and militant Islamists. Crucially, we discover how Mr Nawaz himself fell in with an Islamist organisation. He speaks of his "identity crisis," brought on by British racism and pounced on by charismatic recruiters trolling for vulnerable youth. Grievance born of secular sins - discrimination by the liberal democratic state - preceded his Islamist ideology, not the other way around……

 
What is Indian secularism?
Sarvepalli Gopal
What is Indian secularism?
Sarvepalli Gopal

..As far back as in July 1948, in the wake of months of communal frenzy, Nehru looked forward with confidence to a brighter future. ‘I believe’, he wrote, ‘that India can only become great if she preserves that composite culture which she had developed through the ages … whatever might happen in the present, sometime or other, India will have to tread that path to self-realisation and greatness.’ That note of optimism can strengthen us still.

 

Time and again as I read this book, I felt nauseated as US officials callously or, sometimes, almost indifferently decided on courses of action that resulted in deaths, often on a substantial or even massive scale. And some pretty ordinary people carried out elite bidding. Is what they do normal? Is it sane? Would most people do it? Of course not. The US elite, and elites generally, are seriously psychologically disordered. But so are those who lack the moral capacity and courage to refuse to obey their orders. Or, to put it another way: accepting money to exploit or kill others is the act of a coward.....

How refreshing, then, to read an honest yet affectionate exchange between the Islamist-turned-liberal-Muslim Maajid Nawaz and the neuroscientist who advocates mindful atheism, Sam Harris. “Islam and the Future of Tolerance” begins on an impolitic note. Harris tells Nawaz that to reform Islamic practices one must “pretend” that “jihad is just an inner spiritual struggle, whereas it’s primarily a doctrine of holy war.”

ʿAbd al-Rāziq’s constant reference to the Qur’ān emerges especially clearly. Concern for ease of understanding might occasionally lead the translator to be slightly too expansive: for example, the line of poetry quoted at the end of Book One, Bānū Fa-Mā Bakat Al-Dunya Li-MaraʿIhim (‘They departed, and the world wept not for their ruin’) is rendered ‘The Caliphs were gone. The world did not lament their death’…..

Religion, and Islam in particular, appear to be mainstays in discussions about politics in the Middle East. But while readers may be quite familiar with contemporary debates about the role of religion in Mideast politics, this phenomenon is far from a recent one. One of the seminal texts on the topic—one that generated a firestorm of criticism and debate—was published in 1925 by an Egyptian Islamic scholar and Al-Azhar faculty member, Ali ‘Abd al-Raziq.

It is time to clearly understand the pristine message of the Qur’an rather than reading it with the eye of its medieval era jurists, scholars and ideologues. There is an urgent need to understand the core message of Islam that remains buried under layers of medieval interpretation. The  world is now too complex, too interconnected, too globalised to be divided into ‘black’ and ‘white’: ’the abode of Islam’ and ‘the abode of unbelief’. The overall message is: break the monolith wherever it comes from. The   fundamentalists must realize that their blind literalism could lead them to follow the letter of the law, but betray the intents of foundational texts……

Peace for the Sake of Peace
Peace for the Sake of Peace
Belinda F. Espiritu, New Age Islam

This de-monopolization of resources has made the violent method totally irrelevant. Opting for war does not arise out of any kind of necessity but is only the result of the ignorant misuse of freedom, which shall be rewarded, as the Quran says, with “disgrace in this world and severe punishment on the Day of Resurrection” (2:85)……

Some of the Prophet's companions wanted to first solve the problems that existed at that time between the Makkans and the Muslims, instead of first accepting peace. The Prophet did not agree with this approach. Instead, he unilaterally accepted the conditions of the Makkans. The Hudaibiya peace treaty thus became possible only because the Prophet accepted all the conditions of the other party and did not insist on justice. This shows the importance of peace for its own sake in Islam, not linking it to, or predicating it on, justice or human rights. This is expressed in a phrase that appears in the Quran (4:128): As-sulh Khair, which means ‘reconciliation is best'. .....


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Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on his book "The Age of Peace"

اسلام کے ابتدائی دور میں جب کہ شام و عراق اور ایران فتح ہوئے تو نئے ہونے والے مسلمان اپنے ساتھ اپنی آبائی اور قدیم روایات کو ساتھ لے کر آئے، اس موقع پر بھی علماء نے اس بات کی شدت سے مخالفت کی کہ نئے ثقافتی اور سماجی قدروں کو اسلامی معاشرے میں ضم کیا جائے اور اس بات کی حمایت کی کہ عرب ثقافت کو جس کو وہ اسلامی کہتے تھے اس کی خالصیت کو برقرار رکھا جائے ۔

اس کا نتیجہ یہ ہوا کہ وہ تمام دانشور کہ جو روشن خیال اور لبرل نظریات رکھتے تھے انہیں زندیق یا مانی اور مزوک کے پیروکار کہہ کر یا تو قتل کردیا گیا یا ان کی زبان بندی کردی گئی انہیں میں سے ابن مقفع تھا جو کہ مجوسی سےمسلمان ہوا تھا اور جس کی عربی زبان پر اس قدر مہارت تھی کہ وہ اہل زبان کی غلطیاں نکالا کرتا تھا  علماء کے اس رویہ کی وجہ سے اسلام کےابتدائی دور ہی میں ذہنی طور پر مسلمان معاشرہ کو پھیلنے نہیں دیا گیا او راسے ایک دائرے میں محدود کردیا ۔

 

In Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire, Seema Alavi makes an admirable and successful attempt to rethink some key assumptions of South Asian and global history. Specifically, the book inserts into history five important Muslim men of religion, including Sayyid Fadl, Rahmatullah Kairanwi, Haji Imdadullah Makki, Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan and Maulana Jafer Thanesri, who were hounded by the British government for their role in 1857 and fled India to seek their fortunes in different cities of the Ottoman Empire.

 

The contributors to this volume represent a diverse range of religious and spiritual perspectives, including Hindu, Islamic, Christian, Buddhist, Sikh, and secular humanist. Despite their differing beliefs about the reality of the cosmos, their spiritual commitments lead them to argue for pretty much the same things, a remarkable testimony to the importance of interfaith dialogue and solidarity to work together for the common cause of protecting the global environment, an issue that intimately concerns us all, irrespective of our religious beliefs and other differences. .....

Loewenstein provides the evidence to demonstrate this fact in one case after another. The ones that I found most interesting are the use of mercenaries in Afghanistan which provided further evidence that US policy, and even its military strategy and tactics 'on the ground', is being progressively taken over by corporations, and the 'occupation' of Haiti, post-earthquake in 2010, by the UN and NGO 'aid' agencies which forced locals into the perpetual victimhood of corporate-skewed 'development'…..

This life, she explains, is a testing-ground for eternal life in the Hereafter. The purpose of our life is to worship God. Remembrance of God is something that Islam greatly stresses. Attachment to created things, she notes, is a source of suffering, such attachment taking us away from remembrance of God. We all have innate need to connect to our Creator, but the mistake most of us make is to seek to fulfil that need by getting attached to some or the other thing—our jobs, our relatives, our friends, name, fame, power or endless consumption and entertainment, and so on. Ultimately, however, these things fail to give us what we truly need. It is only in connecting with God and spending our lives according to His will that we can attain true happiness—in this world and the next.....

We all knew that the mullahs would give a verdict they thought would ensure the emperor's patronage. The first Qazi asked Dara to hand him the jade thumb ring that was still on his left hand. He examined it slowly and asked, "This green stone is inscribed with the words 'Allah' on one side and 'Prabhu' on the other. Does this mean that you consider this Hindu god to be equal to our Muslim Allah?"

A Skewed Analysis of Islamophobia
A Skewed Analysis of Islamophobia
Suleiman Khan, New Age Islam

You definitely haven’t heard of ‘Christianophobia’ or ‘Buddhismophobia’—or ‘Paganophobia’ for that matter—but you must certainly have heard of ‘Islamophobia’, which is now so commonplace a term that it has probably found its way into every respectable dictionary. And there’s good reason for it, too. Prejudicial views about Islam and negative stereotypical images of Muslims—which is what the term ‘Islamophobia’ encapsulates—are now fairly widespread across the world. ....

Why Liberalism Needs Islam
Why Liberalism Needs Islam
Anna Provitola and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins

EVERY FOUR OR FIVE YEARS, Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes a book telling the world about the horrors of Islam. In her latest installment, Heretic, Hirsi Ali rightly feels the need to justify why another such book is in order. Apparently, she now has a bit more hope for the future of Islam. ...

 

A gravely erroneous impression has been created by atheist evolutionists that modern science has conclusively proven Darwin’s theory of evolution of species by ‘natural selection’ to be true, and, in this way, has finally debunked the ‘theory’ of God as well as the belief that life has been created by God. Many ill-informed people with little knowledge of both theology and science have fallen prey to this fallacious thesis. The fact, however, is, as this slim yet remarkably  engaging and informative book tells us, not all scientists accept Darwin’s claims, and many scientists are confirmed believers in God…..



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