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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

With courage and empathy, she takes readers to hardscrabble streets where Islamist militias unleashed a wave of almost indiscriminate butchery....

 

Twelve Minutes of Freedom in 460 Days of Captivity
A House in the Sky

Our captors practiced a fundamentalist form of Islam, interpreting the words of the Quran in the most literal way possible. Most of the boys, we learned, had gone to insurgent training camps in rural areas. They were part of a loosely organized movement that was fighting their country’s own faltering transitional government and Ethiopian troops, who were sent over the border in 2006 to support Somalia’s attempts at democracy. They described this fight as their jihad. Nigel and I came from what they termed “bad countries.” We belonged to the Western world, which to them was inscrutable and immodest and ruled over by Satan….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 33: At the End, a Prayer
Ziauddin Sardar

We have reached the end of al-Baqura (verses 284-286), and it is time for me to admit I have found this exercise rewarding in ways I had not expected. Engaging with the Qur'an in this verse by verse, week by week wrestle with words and meanings has shown me what years of reading have not quite pieced together in such a clear way. Let me explain. We began our blogs with the opening chapter, al-Fatiha, which is known as the "mother of the book"…

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On Laws and the Inner Life – 33
Hazrat Inayat Khan

As man grows through the inner life, so he feels a freedom of thought, speech and action which comes as a natural course through his spiritual journey. And the reason why this freedom comes and whence it comes can be explained by the fact that there is a spirit of freedom hidden within man, covered by outward conventionalities. When man grows out of the outward conventionalities, then the spirit of freedom, which was closed in so far, becomes manifest….

 

A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising
Farooq Sulehria

Instead of over-optimistically glorifying the uprising or pessimistically ridiculing the temporary lull as ‘Arab winter’, he views the Arab spring as a protracted or long-term revolutionary process which may continue to unfold for another couple of decades. In fact, the recent coup in Egypt weeks was a timely endorsement of Achcar’s thesis on the Arab spring….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 32: That Was Then, This Is Now: Part 2
Ziauddin Sardar

Under such conditions, the Qur'an says if you cannot find two satisfactory male witnesses, then have one satisfactory male and two satisfactory female witnesses. But an explicit reason is given for this provision: "if one of the two women should forget the other can remind her". Now, the thing with a specific reason is that it can change with changing times and circumstances. That's why we cannot take a provision such as this as a general rule or command. General rules in the Qur'an are simply stated as fact, as, for example, "There is no compulsion in religion" (verse 256). But context-specific verses tend to have conditions or reasons attached.....

Hijacking America's Mind on 9/11
Hijacking America 's Mind on 9/11

Summing up his findings, Elias Davidsson refers to human rights norms according to which the families of 9/11 victims are entitled to know what happened to their next-of-kin and society is entitled to have the perpetrators, planners and facilitators of the mass-murder identified, prosecuted and convicted.... 

Questioning the Muslim Woman
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Questioning the Muslim Woman
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Based on an intensive study of women in a single Muslim-majority locality in northern India, Kirmani seeks to explore how Indian Muslim women construct and negotiate their multiple identities—of religion, gender, class, language, educational background, regional origins, minority status and so on—privileging some over the others, depending on the context, but, yet, not allowing these to overwhelm their self-definitions….

Not Lost in Translation
The Speaking Tree

Not Lost in Translation
Quran

Khan’s work is more of a transliteration than a literal translation which makes it extremely readable. Explaining the purpose of this compilation Khan’s writes, “The Quran is the word of God and it is the duty of believers to communicate the message of the Quran to all human beings so that they may the know reality of life.”

The World of Ibn-e-Safi
Zarminae Ansari

The World of Ibn-e-Safi
Ibn e Safi

Asrar, as Ibn-Safi, started writing detective fiction after being challenged by someone, to come up with a new genre of the Urdu novel. He eventually wrote about 245 novels in the Jasoosi Duniya and Imran Series. His 1963 Imran series novel, written after a 3-year hiatus and launched by Lal Bahadur Shastri who was to become PM of India, broke all sales records and went into second edition within a week in India....

 

The Quran: The Test of Science and a Standing Challenge (Part II E)
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Quran says that “He has spread out the earth like a carpet so that you may go about therein by roads and channels”. The other verses also say that “He has spread out the earth and He has set thereon mountains standing firm”. We know from geology that the earth’s crust is very thin and the crust is underlain by the mantle, and that it occupies less than 1% of Earth’s volume. The rest of it is mantle and core....

The Quran: The Test of Science and a Standing Challenge (Part II D)
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

He also said that most of the information concerning embryology mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith is in perfect conformity with modern science, but there were also a few verses which he could not conclusively comment upon. Neither could he say that they were right, nor could he say that they were wrong; because he himself did not know about them. These verses were the first two verses of the Quran which were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): “Proclaim! (or Read!) In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created – Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood?” [Al-Qur’an 96:1-2]....

The Quran: The Test of Science and a Standing Challenge (Part II C)
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

The Quran says that in iron there are great benefits. In his book Nature’s Destiny, the well-known microbiologist Michael Denton emphasizes the importance of iron: “Of all the metals there is none more essential to life than iron. It is the accumulation of iron in the centre of a star which triggers a supernova explosion and the subsequent scattering of the vital atoms of life throughout the cosmos. It was the drawing by gravity of iron atoms to the centre of the primeval earth that generated the heat which caused the initial chemical differentiation of the earth, the out-gassing of the early atmosphere, and ultimately the formation of the hydrosphere....

Religion, Atheism and Secularism
Ram Puniyani

These Madrasas were set up with US instigation, money and syllabus, through which the Mujahedeen, Taliban Al Qaeda emerged and played into the hands of US designs of throwing away Soviet army from Afghanistan. In India, the insecurity of the section of middle classes in the face of rising presence of Dalits and women in social space in the decade of 1980s led to the political abuse of religion’s identity by BJP when it took up the issue of Ram temple. …

 

Technology and Nonviolence Keep Arab Hopes Alive
David Ignatius

History tells us that revolution often triggers counter-revolution: The spontaneous, euphoric moments of liberation are eclipsed by the forces of repression – with reaction often dressed in uniform. The counter-revolution is gathering momentum in the Arab world, two years after the uprisings that toppled rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Syrian’s Bashar Assad has fought back brutally to preserve his dictatorship; Egypt’s generals ousted the Brotherhood government there. The men in the tanks seem to be winning the day….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 30: Justice in Giving, Justice in Trade: Part 2
Ziauddin Sardar

The passage (al-Baqura 261-281) moves from discussing charity to usury, from an institution that builds community and society to one that blights and destroys social cohesion, from the broad basis of human sympathy to the annihilation of all sympathetic human affections.

Islam is by no means unique in seeing usury in a negative light, a Madeleine points out. It is regarded as evil in most religions and religious philosophies. In The Divine Comedy, Dante, who has a particular aversion to Islam and its prophet, places usurers in the inner ring of the seventh circle of hell, below even suicides....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: The Realization of the Inner Life – 32
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There he performs everything thoroughly and rightly, in order to fulfill his outer commission in life. He is a friend to his friend, a relative to his relatives. With all to whom he is outwardly related he keeps the right relationship with thought, with consideration; and yet in his realization he is above all relationships. He is in the crowd and in the solitude at the same time. He may be very much amused, and at the same time he is very serious. He may seem very sad, and yet there is joy welling up from his heart....

The Quran: The Test of Science and a Standing Challenge (Part II A)
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

There are two scientific facts mentioned in this one verse: first, about the big bang and second, that every living thing being is made from water. In the deserts of Arabia where there is scarcity of water, the Quran says that every living thing is made up of water (unless mentioned otherwise- like Jinns from fire and angels from light). Today, science confirms that the cytoplasm which is the main component of the cell, it contains around 70 to 90% water 6. .....

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 29: Justice in Giving, Justice in Trade: Part 1
Ziauddin Sardar

The overall theme of communal transformation continues in this passage (al-Baqura 261-281) where the focus is on two agents of social change, one positive and one negative: charity and usury. The Qur'an is concerned that we understand the nature and purpose of charity, and hence that there are right and wrong ways in which it can be dispensed. For believers, it is a way of "affirmation of their own faith”…

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  On the Fulfillment of Life’s Obligations – 31
Hazrat Inayat Khan

THE position of the person living the inner life becomes like that of a grown-up living among many children. At the same time there seems outwardly no such difference as is apparent in the ages of the children and the grown person, the difference lying in the size of his outlook, which is not always apparent. One who lives the inner life becomes much older than those around him, and yet outwardly he is the same as every other person……

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 28: God, the Life-Giver
Ziauddin Sardar

At first glance these stories (al-Baqura 258-260) seem unclear. So I am not surprised that Madeleine is flummoxed. And yet these verses deal with the most central issues of religion and the most enduring subject of human fascination. To believe in a creator is to accept not only that life and death exist, but that there is a power beyond the natural processes of which we are aware, a power that not only created life and death but can bring about life after death….

The Quran: Test of Time and a Standing Challenge (Part I)
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

First of all, the Quran is a miracle of miracles. According to Sir William Muir, who was one of the staunchest critics of Islam said “There is probably no other book in the world which has remained twelve centuries (now fourteen) with so pure a text”1. Almost a billion people read this book and millions have memorised it. The memorizers range from ages 6 and up; whether it is males or females, black or white, rich or poor, Arab or non-Arab. ...

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On the Aim of the Sufi Journey – 30
Hazrat Inayat Khan

In every relationship we must place God before us, and become conscious of that relationship so that it will no more remain an imagination; because the first thing a believer does is to imagine. He imagines that God is the Creator, and tries to believe that God is the Sustainer, and he makes an effort to think that God is a Friend, and an attempt to feel that he loves God. But if this imagination is to become a reality, then exactly as one feels for one's earthly beloved sympathy, love and attachment, so one must feel the same for God…….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 27: The Heart and Soul of the Qur'an
Ziauddin Sardar

Here we come to the passage (al-Baqura 255-257) that for me is the heart and soul of the Qur'an. It begins with the verse that is second only to al-Fatiha in its familiarity to Muslims. Known as Ayat al-Kursi, the verse of the throne, it was considered by classical commentators to be the most excellent verse in the Qur'an….

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On Preparing for the Sufi Journey – 29
Hazrat Inayat Khan

THE inner life is a journey, and before starting to take it there is a certain preparation necessary. If one is not prepared, there is always the risk of having to return before one has arrived at one's destination. When a person goes on a journey, and when he has to accomplish something, he must know what is necessary on the path and what he must take with him, in order that his journey may become easy and that he may accomplish what he has started to accomplish. The journey one takes in the inner life is as long as the distance between the beginning of life and death,….

 


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