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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

Heresy Based On Hearsay
Ziya Us Salam
Heresy Based On Hearsay
Ziya Us Salam

Does it strike her that in Islam no woman is expected to change her name following marriage and she can even walk out of it without giving any reason whatsoever? The prophet’s wives retained their maiden names. And a woman enjoys three times the rights of the man over her children. These nuances would not have struck her mind. In the season of Islam bashing, she adds to the din. Full of contradictions and anomalies, low on facts....

Related Article:

Salam! Maulana Ziya Us Salam

 

Zakaria, then a 10-year-old, is baffled when her aunt Amina's husband, Sohail, takes a second wife, something unheard of in their family till then. Zakaira tells parallel stories of Amina's polygamous marriage and Pakistan's hopes and betrayals through this book....

 

There can be no debate that din al-Islam is the religion of the followers of the Prophet Muhammad: Islam. However, the Qur’an also uses the generic word Islam, and its different roots, and the word din, with various shades of meaning. Thus the Qur’an uses the word ‘din’ to denote judgment (1:4), divine law (2:193), law (of the land) (12:76), obedience or devotion (39:3), faith, religion, moral responsibility (107:1), religion in the conventional sense (110:2) etc. Based on these Qur’anic illustrations, the term din would appear to embrace the broader notion of obedience (to God) or compliance (with God’s commandments), as against religion in its popular sense.....

 

This book is not without its flaws. A drawback of the anecdotal style in which it is written is that Ahmad’s life is presented with neither chronological nor thematic consistency. Comprehensive indices would make this a minor irritant, but since the index here is rather incomplete, reviewing material on any particular event or subject necessitates paging through the entire book....

 
Qur’anic Reflections on Nature: Chapter 4, Essential Message of Islam
Muhammad Yunus
Qur’anic Reflections on Nature: Chapter 4, Essential Message of Islam
Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed

The Qur’an is alive with reflections on the beauty and harmony of nature and on its relationship with life as part of its ontological debate. These reflections are in the form of statements, which capture the laws of the cosmos in expansive open ways that captivate and beguile us by their beauty, majesty and accuracy. Thus for example, the following Qur’anic observations are picturesque and imaginative, and at the same time clearly indicative of the axial and the orbital rotations of heavenly bodies that science discovered many centuries later…..

According to Pakistani law, a man can have up to four wives, which could leave a woman devastated and publicly humiliated after her husband decides to exercise this legal right. It’s this interplay between the private and public that journalist and human rights activist Rafia Zakaria explores in her first book, The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan….

 
The Text of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, 'Essential Message of Islam'
Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
The Text of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, 'Essential Message of Islam'
Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed

An unqualified and wholesome belief in the One Almighty God (tawhid), without the slightest association of anything with Him (shirk) distinguishes the Qur’an as the epitome of the purest form of monotheism. The Qur’an repeatedly asserts the transcendence of God and uses a rosary of attributes to convey the multifarious manifestations of His Words (kalimat). It recounts almost a hundred attributes of God such as, the Sustainer (Lord), the Sovereign, the Holy, the (source of) Peace, the Secure, the Preserver (of safety), the Mighty, the Inexorable, the Supreme, the Eternal Source (of everything), the Complete, the Fearless, the Exalted, the Wise, the Permanent, the Merciful, the Independent, the Omnipotent, the Originator of Heaven and Earth etc. The Qur’an however makes it clear that all Words are due to Him….

The Underground Girls of Kabul is not a sob story of women's woes (of which there are many) in a deeply patriarchal milieu. It is an ambitious and diligent attempt at documenting, deciphering and distilling the reality of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of girls who dress up boys....

 

The book is a mix of intimate memoir – she writes with great emotion about the decision to wear a Hijab, and later to leave her head uncovered – and jeremiad against the “tyrants” who oppress Arab women in their governments, and in their homes....

 
Culture of the Cosmos Is a ‘Culture of Peace’
Culture of the Cosmos Is a ‘Culture of Peace’
Belinda F. Espiritu for New Age Islam

Maulana Khan explains that the culture of the cosmos is a ‘culture of peace’, which enables the cosmos to function for millions of years without witnessing any confrontation that could have impaired its functioning. In his thoughts, “if a ‘culture of violence’ had informed the cosmos, by now it would have been devastated, and there would have been no possibility for human life to exist”....

 

I know of many cases where Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh women have been pressured into arranged marriages against their will. But, Islam cannot be scapegoated for Ms. Ali’s disturbing circumstances. Religion is not the culprit; cultural traditions are responsible for the pressuring of women and girls to enter into marriages against their will. Islam unmistakably outlines that a woman’s consent is mandatory for marriage. Therefore, coercion is prohibited in our faith....

 

With the authorities having loudly and repeatedly declared the word off-limits to all non-Muslims, especially in their Malay-language religious texts, arguments, counter-arguments and outright displays of obstinacy have come (and will probably keep coming) from all sides in the past decade....

 
Imagining Pakistan as an Islamic State
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed
Imagining Pakistan as an Islamic State
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

In the liberal-Marxist intellectual environment in which I received my political grooming in the Lahore of the late 1960s, the standard view was that the Muslim League, especially its supreme leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, wanted a separate state for the Muslim nation to escape exploitation at the hands of the Hindu moneylenders....

 

Editor's note: This is a brief but fascinating biography of prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaih-e-wassallum) from Qur'anic sources alone. Published in 2009, 'Essential Message Of Islam' By Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed is a seminal work about which Distinguished Islamic scholar and Professor of Law, UCLA Law School. Prof. Khaled Abou El Fadl, wrote: " Indeed this book manages to translate the Muslim vision or the way that Islam heals the ailments of humanity in the current age and every age. Readers who wish to learn the theological and moral dogma of Islam will find this book indispensable."

 For me, this chapter telling the story of the Prophet from Qur'anic sources alone, without using ahadees and other usual sources with debatable credibility.  Classical biography of the prophet Muhammad (may God’s blessing and peace and be upon him) is largely based on the manuscript of Ibn Ishaq (d. 151 ah/ 768 ce) compiled about 125 years after the prophet’s death and published by Ibn Hisham (d. 218/834) around the close of the second century of Islam. This work is based on the oral accounts that were in circulation during that era and were inevitably embellished by fanciful speculations and gross exaggerations down the generations to project the prophet as a legendary figure. As a result its accuracy as a historical record is questionable.

The Qur'an, however, is preserved verbatim since the prophet’s era down the generations by an unbroken chain of huffaz. As the huffaz in the prophet’s era were the first hand witnesses to what they memorized, the text they preserved over time is as good as eye witness account of the events of the prophet’s era. In other words, the authenticity of Qur'anic records is above debate. 

In this chapter, Muhammad Yunus and Ashfaque ullah Syed have attempted to construct a summary account of the prophetic mission by connecting   Qur'anic verses with the major events of the prophetic mission as recorded in the annals of history. Hence their work offers a fist hand account of the key events of the prophetic mission and is free from the conjectures, embellishments and imageries that characterize the classical biography.

A doctrine of taqlid (blind conformity with the works of past scholars) and absence of any textual scrutiny or scientific investigation of ancient works, and the exclusion of the Qur'an from any historical research had delayed any attempt at Qur'an-focused exercise as the present work represents. It should be closely read by all those who want to know the noble character of the prophet, his trials and tribulations and the truly defensive nature of the battles he fought. ---  Editor

Correct the focus. The US must take a firm stand to ensure that the Wahhabi philosophy does not get propagated disproportionately in Muslim countries around the world particularly in Pakistan. The US must ensure that the philosophy of Sufism is given the share of voice that it deserves as the belief system of the majority....

 

Veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn (65), who has reported from the Middle East since 1979, has three full-length books on Iraq already to his credit. This monograph on the rise of the ultra-jihadist Islamic State builds on his reportage for The Independent and long-form writing for the London Review of Books....

 

Madrasas controlled by militant Pakistani groups who work for al Qaeda continue to function freely. One of the largest extremist groups in the country, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, has members who have helped al Qaeda. It now operates under a new name and has even changed the look of its largest Madrasas complex to become a model it can show to the Western press....

 

“By Allah’s grace no other official, semi-official or non-official institution of Pakistan has been so attached and devoted to Islam in thought and action as the armed forces of Pakistan....

 
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Heretic’
Susan Dominus
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Heretic’
Susan Dominus

Hirsi Ali has strong thoughts on what form that change should take for Muslims: a major overhaul of their religion. “Without fundamental alterations to some of Islam’s core concepts,” she says, “we shall not solve the burning and increasingly global problem of political violence carried out in the name of religion....

The Sufi Islamic traditions evolved over history with a degree of interaction with Hinduism on the sub-continent. It is a school that includes philosophers and mystics. Sufism embraces the Koran and most of Shia and Sunni Islam's beliefs. Sufis believe that Sufi teachings are the essence of every religion, and indeed of the evolution of humanity as a whole….

 

The book is comprised of four chapters; the first presents an analytical critique of this elitist current. El-Sharif explains that Islamic feminism searches in religious texts, the Quran, the Prohet's sayings and in Islamic Fiqh(jurisprudence) with the purpose of presenting new readings and interpretations of some matters regarding women....

 

Religious minorities like Hindus and Christians also complain of discrimination and have periodically been subjected to violent attacks by extremists. The extremist violence is beginning to impact intra-Sunni factions such as the Deobandis and Barelvis. This may also be a result of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) policy of divide and rule in the Sindh....

 

In the sixteenth century during the Mughal emperor Akbar’s time the curriculum in Indian Madrasas blended the teachings of Islam and Hinduism. Hindu and Muslim students would together study the Quran (in Arabic), the Sufi poetry of Sa’adi (in Persian), and the philosophy of Vedanta (in Sanskrit), as well as ethics, astronomy, medicine, logic, history and the natural sciences....

 

While reiterating that Hizbullah transformed itself from ‘an exclusivist Islamist Jihadi movement working outside the Lebanese state into a more inclusive political party within the Lebanese system’ from the mid-1980s....

 

Barren sandy desert, extremely hot climate, and scarcity of water resources made the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula an inhospitable abode for man since ancient times. Its original people were pagans, except for some Unitarians (Ahnaf) who contemplated on the Oneness of God. In the post Judeo-Christian era, pockets of wet fertile land attracted Jewish and Christian settlers from the adjoining regions, and became isolated centres of trade and commerce. However, the vast stretches of the desert heartland that only sustained a nomadic life, remained in a primitive state until the advent of Islam.....

Related Articles:

Introducing the Book 'Essential Message of Islam' by Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed

Preface and Contents of the Book 'Essential Message of Islam' by Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed



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