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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

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…..

The foregoing verses (22:36/37) make three clear points. First, the slaughtering of cattle in the name of God is purely symbolic, as the flesh or blood of the slaughtered animal does not reach God. Second, in the material context, the meat of the slaughtered cattle is to be eaten by the pilgrim, and shared with the poor and the needy. Finally, the real goal is Taqwa – heedfulness of God, which is also stressed in another verse.5 In the nomadic society of pre-Islamic Arabia, cattle head constituted the main instrument of asset. They were treated with honour, and sacrificed to please various deities. The Qur’an permitted the continuation of this rite, but reserved it only for God.15 .....

 

Before ISIS, all religious denominations stand in the line of fire. Christians and Muslims know only too well the bitterness and despair of a life spent under the ominous flag of Takfirism—a heretical perversion of Islam, also known as Wahhabism, which reared its hideous head a mere two centuries ago.  Evil has a new face and it is Takfirism! Doing nothing while millions of lives are at risk is tantamount to murder. We owe it to our children to carry on this fight so as to prevent the shadow of our shameful inaction from falling on future generations.....

 

Thus, through these verses the Qur’an reminds the Muslims that like the Prophet as a testimony among them, they have to act as a testimony to humanity by grooming themselves as models of good conduct and behaviour for the followers of other faith-communities to follow their example. This complements the Qur’anic world view on the universal brotherhood of humanity as reviewed earlier (Ch. 9), and assigns a special moderating role to the Muslims – a role that fanned the phenomenal spread of Islam in its early centuries, and, with time, a gradual sweep of Islamic values and paradigms across the world.

Rekha Kalindi, an 11 year old girl, raised her voice against forced marriage. She was tortured and even starved by her mother but she didn’t give up. Here’s an excerpt from the book, The Strength to Say No: One Girl’s Fight against Forced Marriage, that chronicles her brave actions and how she fought against everyone to continue her studies.

 

Nazrul Islam, all the same, faced condemnation and stiff resistance from all quarters, Brits, Hindus and Muslims alike. Some wiseacres happened also to be admirers of Fascism, if not outright Fascists. One of these tooth and nail colonial fighters survived long enough to reminisce, to carry it kit and caboodle, till the 1980s…

 
The Lessons of Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki
The Lessons of Anwar al-Awlaki
By Scott Shane

This is the digital legacy of Awlaki, who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in September 2011. Addressing a V.F.W. convention in Pittsburgh last month, President Obama championed the counterterrorism record of his administration. ‘‘I’ve shown,’’ he said, ‘‘I will not hesitate to use force to protect our nation, including from the threat of terrorism.’’ He listed some of the terrorists killed on his watch. ‘‘Anwar al-Awlaki, a leader of the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen — gone,’’ Obama said to applause.

They could bully, beat up and rob any unprotected soul, commit major crimes, spread terror in the community and roam about in broad daylight, or disappear in the desert wilderness - depending upon their clan clout. The Qur'an had to stop this outrage. There were past examples of rulers inflicting severe punishment on those who defied them and of communities suffering awesome punishments because of their errant ways. The Qur’an reminds its audience of these punishments (5:33), and commands amputating of hand for stealing (5:39) as an exemplary punishment. It, however, leaves a forgiveness clause (5:39), thereby allowing flexibility in the mode of punishment.....

According to Mustafa Hamid, it was, however, the Qais camp run by Mawlawi Nasrullah Mansur of the Harkat-e-Inquilab-Islami, Afghanistan that was not only the training hub for Arab jihadists but also the Afghans who went on to become leaders and cadres in Mullah Omar’s Taliban.

 

The Qur’anic verses reviewed in this chapter relate specifically to adultery (Zina) in which consenting men and women engaged themselves as part of the prevalent social norms (36.1 above). The lax sexual mores of the times kept sex related crimes to low levels and accordingly the Qur’an does not specifically refer to sex offences which are committed by men or women by force, or by way of active seduction, or when their prey is in a state of delusion or unconsciousness, such as under drug or during sleep.  Muslim jurists have legislated capital punishment for rape while punishment for other forms of sex-offences is dictated by the severity and circumstances of the offence. However, it must be admitted that the capital punishment for rape is not derived from the Qur’an, and is based on the pre-Islamic custom of stoning to death for adultery, as recorded in the traditions.....

The critic may still question, if recommendation was ‘towards monogamy’, why wasn't it clearly spelled out? The answer is simple: Strict monogamy would have inevitably resulted in increased suffering and exploitation of women at the hands of the constitutionally lustful man: In the context of the revelation, introduction of monogamy in a single stroke and without any other option would have required the new polygamous converts to part with all but one of their wives, leaving a good number of women without a protective husband. This would have created serious problems relating to the status, preoccupation.......

 

the ideology that Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab promoted and jihadist movements today (for example, the merciless assaults on popular religious practices and idolatry, and, especially, the practice of Takfir—excommunication of other Muslims, as well as what Crawford calls “secondary Takfir”—the highly controversial gesture of excommunicating otherwise pious Muslims for not themselves excommunicating others), other concepts central to the ideology of Al-Qa‘ida and ISIS (such as the insistence on a caliphate) do not exist in Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s writings ...

 

Muslims praise their Creator, pray, fast and give charity. All of these are, as is well-known, stressed in Islam. But what is not as widely-known as it should be is that there are deep connections between Islamic teachings and environmental protection. Concern for the environment is not just a modern concern. Drawing on Islamic sources and interviews with Muslim environmental activists, this path-breaking book highlights Islam’s profound dedication to humankind’s collective role as stewards of the Earth......

From a traditionalist perspective, these commentators desacralise the holy text by applying to it modern hermeneutic techniques. Further, from the same perspective, the revisionist interpretive methods, feminist ones included, have another major problem: they are indifferent to the principles of Qur’anic exegesis and the rules of interpretation established by the oft-mentioned — though never quite defined — “Arabic-Islamic heritage.” ….

Reappraising the Common Muslim Mindset about Women Rights in Islam
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam
Reappraising the Common Muslim Mindset about Women Rights in Islam
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

When the Qur’an accorded women such a lofty status and rights that they could not even imagine in the seventh century Arabia, then why this discrepancy between the actual Qur’anic provisions for women and their sorry state of affairs in the Muslim world today? Reappraising the common Muslim mindset, Qazi attempts to answer the above question with quite a different approach. ...

According to the law of nature, peace can be attained only on a unilateral basis, and not on a bilateral basis. This means that first of all we have to abandon all kinds of confrontational methods such as political activism, protest-based activism and human rights activism. This kind of unilateralism will establish normalcy, normalcy will then lead to peace and peace will open the door to all kinds of opportunities. Then, by wise planning we can achieve all those goods that we want in terms of social justice and human rights….

 
Bidding the Good and Forbidding the Evil: Essential Message of Islam: Chapter 26 To 30
Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed
Bidding the Good and Forbidding the Evil: Essential Message of Islam: Chapter 26 To 30
Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed

 Qur’anic repeated rejoinders on freeing slaves, it’s clear dictates to looking after them, to setting them free and to marrying them off, its specific ennobling vocabulary for slaves, bondmaids and captives, and its avoidance of any distinction between slaves and freeborn in all its social and civil laws, amply demonstrate that the Qur’an aimed at rooting out the institution of slavery. Accordingly Caliph Umar abolished slavery among the native inhabitants of Arabia. He also gave a clear instruction to his generals, on the strength of the Qur’an, not to turn the civilian population of conquered nations into slaves.....

The oldest compilation that the centre has dates back to 9th century AD. “Musnad Abu Yala’s Hadis or collection of Prophetic traditions was the first book that was compiled from manuscripts,” the director said. The manuscripts are collected in microfilm format. The Nizam had established the centre to improve on Hyderabad state’s wealth of knowledge.....

 


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