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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

Review of 'Confessions of a Terrorist – A Novel'
Review of 'Confessions of a Terrorist – A Novel'
By Anita McKone for New Age Islam

Reliable factual information gathered by terrorism expert and author Professor Richard Jackson is set within a simple but compelling fiction: Michael, a British intelligence officer, and Professor Youssef Said, a Middle Eastern terrorist organiser, face each other across a table in a rundown building in Leeds, UK....

 

Editor's Note: New Age Islam is happy to be able to present for the first time on internet this ground-breaking work by Quran exegetes Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Ullah Syed for the benefit of its readers. The authors hardly need any introduction on this website. Muhammad Yunus Saheb has been contributing for long and we have posted Ashfaque Ullah Syed Saheb's individual contribution too in the form of his televised lecture. Presented below is the introduction to the book written by the renowned academic and author Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl:

For those who have the moral will, the book I introduce here will prove to be an invaluable reference source on the Islamic faith.  For those who do not wish to be participants in the perpetuation of religious bigotry and hate, this book will provide an accurate, thoughtful, and reliable introduction to Muslim beliefs and practices.  I wish we lived in a world in which this book would become a standard reference source for students of religion who are interested in an accurate introduction to the religion of Islam.  The best thing I can say about this book is that it is the product of a labor of love that lasted for more than a decade.  The authors do not offer a personalized view of their own religiosity; they explain in a very straightforward and accessible fashion what mainstream Muslims believe in and especially, what the Qur’an itself teaches.  Non-Muslims will understand why well over a billion people call themselves Muslim and also how Islam inspires Muslims to deal with and improve upon the world in which they live.  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.  But this book is not just an informative tool for the fair-minded and interested reader.  This book is an educational tool for both Muslims and non-Muslims—it is an authoritatively reliable text to teach young Muslims, or even Muslims who never had the time to study the Qur’an, or the fundamentals of their religion.  The book is written with the kind of balance and fair mindedness that makes it equally valuable for Muslim and non-Muslim students of Islam.  The least I can say about this text is that it was written by two ethically conscientious and principled Muslims in order to share their religion with every ethically conscientious and principled reader in the world.  They must be heard.

Today, whenever we talk about a group of young Muslim men travelling across borders and fulfilling a religious responsibility, the discourse is about fighting what is popularly referred to as jihad, culminating in grotesque violence in the name of religion. And, whenever we talk about the caliphate--of which the Ottoman was the last, abolished in 1924-- the discourse is about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), known for its atrocities in West Asia, proclaiming its re-establishment....

Book Review: Rumi (Sufi Comics)
Roshan, New Age Islam

Rumi’s magnum opus is the Masnavi-e Manavi (“Rhyming Couplets of Profound Spiritual Meaning”), a vast collection of mystically-inspired poems. It is considered to be among the gems of world literature, and has been translated into numerous languages. It focuses on instructing disciples on the Sufi path how to reach their goal....

His numerous books helped set the philosophical agenda for atheism for half a century or so, until when, around the age of 80, just a few years before his death, he declared that he was wrong all along about God. No one expected this from one of the world’s leading champions of atheism, not least Flew himself. “[I]t may well be that no one is as surprised as I am that my exploration of the Divine has after all these years turned from denial to discovery,”….

One theme that emerged again and again, one not portrayed in the wider media, was that of mercy and compassion. This idea of Rahma (mercy) is at the centre of the Islamic experience. The fundamental nature of Allah is mercy. As one of the contributors (Mohammad Hassan Khalil) said, the “idea of Rahma frames the Qur’an.”  That sense of divine mercy overcoming all else came up again and again as a quality of God, as a divine attribute that we as humans are to emulate. Within the Muslim community it lends a strong concern for social justice and externally ones’ dealings with those outside the Ummah. If the Quran is a vehicle, mercy is the chassis…..

 
Understanding Islamism through History
Talmiz Ahmad
Understanding Islamism through History
Talmiz Ahmad

Islamism is the movement that seeks to achieve a reformed political order that is founded on a reconciliation of Islamic principles and those of modern political theory, such as constitution, parties, elections, representative government, human rights, freedom, justice, and social and economic welfare. It emerged, not in the 1920s as Mr Owen says, but in the early 19th century, in response to the total defeat suffered by the Arabs at the hands of the western colonialists……

 

My mother is so liberal she makes me look Republican. I was shocked when she said, "You know those people wouldn't cross the road to piss on you if you were on fire." (In addition to being liberal, she's also Southern.) I couldn't believe my civil rights-loving, ERA-supporting, Bill-Clinton-was-the-victim-of-a-vast-right-wing-conspiracy-believing mother was siding with my boyfriend's NRA-supporting, Ronald Reagan-worshipping, Knight Templar-pretender of a father…..

 

While her dread of her father drove her to don the robes of a Buddhist nun, her spiritual master gradually helped Ani Choying overcome the wounds of her battered childhood. Slowly, she began to learn to derive joy from so-called ‘little’ things—saving an injured mouse, for instance, or crying over a Bollywood film or coming up with a new idea for a song. Being a nun didn’t make her oblivious to the beauty of life.....

 

Everywhere, pluralism was replaced with a ferocious polarisation. Almost all the former Ottoman lands suffered bouts of savage bloodletting, and some of these – Turkey 1919-21, Palestine 1948, Cyprus 1963-4, Lebanon 1975-90, Bosnia 1991-2, Iraq from 2002 and most recently in Syria from 2011 – grew into civil wars of startling violence and fought along religious fault lines......

 

The thrust of this wonderfully intriguing book is that virtually all the religions of the Middle East, not just the Abrahamic ones (Judaism, Islam and Christianity) but also a clutch of mysteriously esoteric ones, are marvellously entwined. This should draw people together, encouraging mutual respect for their common spirituality and lovingly shared heritage, not tear them lethally apart. If only….

 

The fact, however, is that science has definitely not, and certainly cannot, disprove God. Little do proponents of the thesis that science has shown God to be a myth know that scores of leading scientists across the world, overwhelmed by the remarkable intricacy and complexity of the cosmos, have had to conclude that the universe must definitely have a creator, and that without God life would not have been possible and the cosmos itself would have been inconceivable......

He was against all forms of pluralism, and loathed the traditional "elasticity of doctrine, ritual and practice" that made Islam dynamic and vibrant. His theological position, writes Michael Crawford, "made him condemn much of the Islam of his own time". It was thus natural for ibn Abd al-Wahhab to declare that following any school of Islamic jurisprudence, except his own Hanbali School, was indistinguishable from shirk, or polytheism…..

2003- For the first time, a program was organized by the Foundation for Pluralism to bring all the Hindus communities of Dallas together. Shanti-Shanti is an American girls duos chanting songs in Sanskrit, and they were introduced to the Hindu Audience for the first time. Indeed, that is the first time; Dr. Mihir Meghani of Hindu America Foundation was invited to be a part of the event, as he was set to bring all the Hindu Sampadrayas together. ....

 

Ibn al Arabi asserted that the identity of “Huq” {the Creator} and the “Khalqh” {the created} is One.  According to him, ‘God is the Unity behind all Plurality and the Reality behind all phenomenal existence. In his ‘Futhhath’ he says: “there is nothing but Allah; nothing in existence other than He; there is not even “there” where the essence of all things is one.” The Shaikh ul Akbar’s “Wahdat ul Wujud” {“The Unity of Being” or “Ostological” or “Pantheistic “Monoism” is but an extension of the Doctrine of Tauheed {“Unity of God”} The Shaikh professed that “there is nothing in existence except Allah”   and that “to realize this, what is required is Not “Reason” but “Zauqh” {institutive experience of an individual}……

 

Could it be that those who are radicalized—and as explained by the authors, they tend to be reasonably well educated—also recognize the double standards, hypocrisy, and contradictions within that system? Ideology is recognized by the authors as being “the centre of gravity of jihadists and radical Islamist movements,” followed by a clear basic explanation of Islamist ideological points. However, that is followed by a discussion of that touches on the “theatres of global jihad.” The ideas expressed: recognizing the Sykes-Picot secret deal of 1916; the “foreign support for…apostate regimes;” and the “insurgency” in Iraq and “invading Afghanistan and Iraq;….

 

Whilst Ibn al Arabi was of the opinion that ‘Unit Of Being” is an “ Objective Experience’ , the Mujaddid  professed that it is an “Subjective Experience”  because , though a mystic  might feel as if he is identified with God almighty, in fact it is NOT so. What actually happens, according to him, is that in his or her ‘” Sukr” {Rapturous Ecstasy} the mystic loses himself or herself in the object of his or her love and therefore feels as if he or she has reached the stage of “’Fana {total annihilation}   and thus attained “Baqa {Eternal Life}.  This experience, Shaikh Sirhindi declares, is both  illusive and transient  because the mystic reverts  from “Hal: { ecstatic  intoxication}   to his or her original  state of “Sahu” { sobriety}  which is  the stage  of  “Abdiyath’….

A Season for Martyrs
Bina Shah
A Season for Martyrs
Madeline Amelia Clements

Disenchanted with his media job, uninspiring studies, the privileged lifestyle of his Karachiite friends, even the prospect of a coveted US visa, and additionally depressed by his cameraman’s killing in the first assault on the Dubai-returned Bhutto, Ali starts to find some solace by “dissolving”, “annihilating” or “losing himself” in ecstatic “union” with the protesting crowds whose activities he is sent to monitor.......

 
Sahab-e-Alam, Dilip Kumar, Speaks!
Farooq Sulehria
Sahab-e-Alam, Dilip Kumar, Speaks!
Farooq Sulehria

The book offers many things for many people. While his fans may find out more about him, cultural critics and artists can draw many lessons in film-making. In fact, this book should constitute an essential reading at film schools….

 
Religion and Science in Harmony
Religion and Science in Harmony
Roshan Shah, New Age Islam

Religion and science need not be seen as enemies of each other, the authors contend, unlike what hardened atheists as well as some extreme literalist religionists imagine. The changing understandings of the natural world that scientific investigations engender may necessitate, the authors say, continuous reconsideration of some of the ways in which we understand religious texts, particularly sections that relate to the natural world. On the other hand, they point out, the discovery by scientists that the laws of nature are finely tuned for life clearly indicates that people who deny God in the name of science should reassess their understandings of science and the world…..

Timbuktu is a well-known name in India. Even those who are illiterate and don't know much about the geography of the world use this name in phrases. Basically, this name tickles their funny bone and, thus, they believe that sending somebody to Timbuktu would be a funny thing. Not anymore…..

 

Whilst at Damascus, the Shaikh devoted his time in writing his intricate work It is said that the Shaikh used to write at the rate of Three Karats {which we now call Quires} a day!  His works in Arabic were freely translated into Persian and circulated.  In Damascus, he enrolled many disciples. Even reputed scholars from far and near sought his audience to seek his blessings and to learn from him “”the truths of the upper world and the realities of the lower one.”….

 

After 9/11, the United States, backing the military and intelligence services of central governments, looked to these peripheral regions—which were already in a state of turmoil—in their hunt for terrorists. The involvement of the US has exacerbated and expanded the violence between centre and periphery but is not the cause of it. Unfortunately, the US has not demonstrated that it has any understanding of this history and dynamic between centre and periphery in the conduct of the war on terror over the past decade. Rather, the US continues to implement the same failed policies in new conflict areas. I would challenge anyone, including Professor Fair, to take one glance at the current state of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, FATA, or other regions of the Muslim world where America is engaged and argue that its policies to halt the violence have been anything but a failure…..

 

Shaikh al Akbar Ibn al Arabi spent a couple of years in Egypt.  Fresh from studies and immature in worldly wisdom, he was brutally frank and reckless in his public announcements, which appeared heretical to orthodox Ulema like Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibrahim Al Biqai and others. The opposition was so stiff that there was, it is said, a concrete attempt to assassinate him.  The Shaikh, obviously, instigated by the Ulema, was arrested. On being released, he wisely preferred to leave Egypt in search of calmer atmosphere in a safer haven.....

 

Revolutions never work from the point of view of humanist values and human rights. Now that young Pakistanis are talking of revolution, it is imperative to remind them that they should talk of strengthening institutions and not a leader however promising….

 


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