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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

The 1,000-Year-Old Lost Arab Poetry That Lives on in Hebrew
Benjamin Ramm

A thousand years ago, as much of Europe languished in the Dark Ages; the Iberian Peninsula was a cultural oasis, the brightest beacon of civilisation. Under the Umayyad dynasty, the caliphate of Al-Andalus stretched from Lisbon to Zaragoza, and centred on the Andalusian cities of Córdoba, Granada and Seville. From the 8th Century, the caliphate oversaw a period of extraordinary cross-cultural creativity known as La Convivencia (the Coexistence)....

 

Women, Interrupted: They Have Had To Bear the Brunt of Religious Zealotry in Pakistan
Khaled Ahmed

“Before being killed, she begged the men who had dragged her out of the house not to slit her throat, which they would usually do, but shoot her instead. They fulfilled her last wish and shot her in the head. Her corpse was hung from the lamp-post like those of other such victims in the main square of the chief city of the Swat Valley, where such executions were regularly being carried on.”....

 

How Wonder Woman Turned From a Hero to A War Crimes Supporter
Susan Abulhawa

But make no mistake. Zionism cannot reconcile with feminism, and such antiquated imperial feminism belongs to another era, when feminists fought for the right to vote, but only for white women. In the words of Jaime Omar Yassin, "Feminism cannot be Zionist, just as it cannot be neo-Nazi - feminism that doesn't have an understanding of how it intersects with racial and ethnic oppression is simply a diversification of white supremacy."....

 

Sufism Remains Heart of Islam, Even Now

Yet, in a context like medieval India, Sufi saints did play major roles in shaping political culture as well as social mores. They enjoyed large followings of the kind that has continued in modern times—followings transcending communal religious boundaries. Despite some questionable appropriations and tactical compromises, Sufism remains the heart of Islam, practising and preaching in the language of love even in these times of terror and violence....

 

The fact that Manal was born to a family on the West coast and that her mother is from North Africa made it more likely for her to be circumcised than for the majority of Saudi women in the rest of the country. Unlike her, I’ve never had a fundamentalist phase. Even as a child I was immune because I was repulsed by the similarities I saw between the self-righteousness and certainty of both Kansas Christians and Riyadh Muslims....

 

Recommended Reading: Explaining Our World Today
Akbar Ahmed

These are not normal times for a Muslim professor on a Western campus. At the beginning of each term, I calculate that students coming to my class have lived just about their entire lives in a post-9/11 environment. There is an Islamophobic atmosphere of controversy and crisis around Islam and widespread outright lies and falsehoods about the religion—“fake news.” Every act of Muslim terror only makes matters worse....

 

Arab TV Series Dramatizes Life under ISIS
Ben Hubbard

A mother travels to Syria to find her son after he ran away to join the Islamic State. A Christian renounces her faith and plots to blow up a church. A black-clad matron tells teenage girls to rest up before they are raped by extremist fighters. These frighteningly familiar stories of life under the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will this month become plotlines on prime-time television across the Arab world.....

 

Modern Politics in Pre-Modern History
Audrey Truschke

Aurangzeb is controversial not so much because of India’s past but rather because of India’s present. Twenty-first-century India is plagued by religious-based conflict, especially between Hindus and Muslims, India’s religious majority and its largest religious minority, respectively. As the minority, Indian Muslim communities are in the weaker position. They are often demonised as anti-national, less Indian than Hindus, and tend to bear the brunt of religious-based clashes in terms of the loss of human life and livelihood.....

The Myth of the Muslim World
Asma Afsaruddin

"The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the hours of the Prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtues; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion." Such views influenced Edward Gibbon and his largely favourable depiction of Islam in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Similar positive assessments of Islam continued to be found through the first quarter of the 19th century;...

 

Fleeing a Fictional World of Despots and Drones
Francine Prose

As the violence escalates, the central characters become hunted fugitives, refugees in their own city. We learn their closely guarded secrets, and we come to share their terror of the probable consequences should those secrets be revealed. We read with increasing anxiety and in the growing hope that these heroic men and women — Christian and Muslim, from a wide range of backgrounds — will somehow triumph....

 

How the Islamic State Rose
Stanly Johny

The ISIS may now be losing territories to Kurdish rebels in Syria and the Iraqi Army in Iraq, both backed by the U.S. But its ideology, like that of al-Qaeda and other jihadist organisations, is unlikely to fade away in the near future given the geopolitical and sectarian fault lines of West Asia. ...

 

Jihad and Death – The Global Appeal of Islamic State

Are the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad responsible for modern Jihadism, or does the terrorists’ ignorance of their religion show that Islam is cover for inner disquiets that make more sense to the psychologist than the imam? Last July’s lorry massacre on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice was committed by an unstable libertine who had only recently discovered Jihadism....

 

The Enemy within – A Thrilling and Satisfying Polemic
Leila Aboulela

Despite all this, she has been subjected to the insult of being perceived as “the enemy within”, and finds herself wondering whether the UK will still be a home for her grandchildren. It is this personal stake that gives her forthright and intelligent book its sense of urgency. By tackling the “Muslim problem” head on...

 

Reconciling Islam with the Modern World

She first quotes Iqbal (whose suggestion that elected Parliament should be able to complement Ulema’s work and exercise Ijtihad appears shockingly modernist).“The law revealed by the Prophet takes special notice of the habits, ways and peculiarities of the people to whom he is specifically sent. The sharia values [ahkam] are in a sense specific to that people; and since their observance is not an end in itself they cannot be strictly enforced in the case of future generations....

Religion Gone Astray—What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith

Like individuals, religions, when they become institutions, can, as the title of this book says, go ‘astray’, deviating far from their purpose. They do this, the authors say, when, for instance, they are interpreted to promote monopolistic claims to truth, when they are marshalled to foment conflict and engage in violence against people who behave and believe differently and when they are invoked to seek to justify gender injustice. Hence, the authors stress, they ‘need to be called back’—...

The Story of Piro and the Gulabdasis

The main protagonists of this fascinating piece of work are a terribly marginalised Piro—a low-caste Muslim prostitute in nineteenth-century Punjab—and her Guru Gulabdas, a cult-figure and preacher of syncretistic Bhakti variety. The main part of the story revolves around Piro’s struggles over her own life, body and thought in association with Gulabdas, for whom she abandoned her Muslim-ness, amidst violent opposition, and sought a new beginning in the devotional milieu at the Dera of the Guru....

 

Guru Nanak’s Devotion to God and His Message of Social Equality

About his mission to unite people who claimed to follow different faiths in common devotion to the One God, because of which many Hindus and Muslims came to accept him as a true man of God. About his teachings about the meaninglessness of narrowly-inscribed religious labels and identities that hinder one from realizing God.  About his critique of supremacism, bigotry, exclusivism, communalism, priest craft, caste and caste-based discrimination and superstition in the name of religion. About his insistence that mere rituals or belief in dogmas are utterly insufficient for salvation.....

 

Non-Violence and Peace-Building in Islam

Hardly a day passes without the media reporting some violent barbarity somewhere in the world being committed in the name of Islam. Today, there is an urgent need for popularising an alternate understanding of Islam, one rooted in a commitment to peace, nonviolence and inter-community harmony. Peace and prosperity for all peoples, not just Muslims alone, crucially depends on this....

Pained at the horrific conditions of many Muslim societies today, that are characterized by patriarchy, intolerance, violence and oppression, Sardar insists that the root cause for their malaise is what has come to be seen as ‘Islamic orthodoxy’ (in its Sunni as well as Shia versions). Hence, the only solution lies in replacing this with an alternate understanding of Islam, one drawing on the tradition of Muslims like the Mutazilites, who placed a premium on reason in their understanding of Islam, and the Sufis, for whom love was the pivot.....

 

Social and Political Issues Facing Muslims Living in the West

He also sees value in Western secularism, explaining that “Muslim Westerners have understood that when secularism and religious neutrality are not instrumentalised by ideologues or intellectuals or political trends opposed to any presence of religion, they guarantee religious pluralism in Western societies and protect their legitimate rights.”...

 
A Call for Spiritual Renewal
K. Suhela, New Age Islam

A Call for Spiritual Renewal

It’s hard for us even to be civilized in the parking lot of a Masjid, for God’s sake. The only time we are organized is when we have to be organized in Sufuf (rows), when Salah is called, but outside of that—forget about it! Just basic human decency, basic human decency, we don’t possess. We don’t possess it. What have we done? What have we produced as a people? How have we contributed to the world? The only time we make it to the news is when we blow something up or we are in some chaos or another....

 

Falsity of the Thesis ‘Clash of Civilizations’ That Insists, Muslims and Others Simply Cannot Live Together In Peace and Harmony

She appreciates his “cultural scope”, that “spans continents”, and suggests that his “near-seamless transition from a village prodigy to a global scholar” is a “stunning example of Muslim cosmopolitanism”. She refers to Nadwi’s kindness, reserve, politeness and patience, and his open-mindedness and respect for differences while being deeply-rooted in his faith....

The Surprising Role of Jesus in Islam

Is that too big a leap in both time and theology? Maybe not. Akyol frames it this way: “The three great Abrahamic religions of our battered world, despite all the past and present tensions between them, come together” in the story of Jesus. “Whether we are Jews, Christians or Muslims, we share either a faith followed by him, or a faith built on him, or a faith that venerates him.”....

“Vedanta views different religions as so many ways to the same goal. Vedanta does not antagonize any religion. Vedanta takes the position that the same God can be viewed by individual minds in different ways. There are sure to be various conceptions of God. The human mind can conceive of God according to its capacity. The Hindus may conceive of God in one way. Mohammedans in another way, the Christians in another way, the Jews another way. Each of these conceptions can lead the spiritual aspirant to the ultimate goal....

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NEW COMMENTS

  • Out of curiosity, I was just scanning through the various Tafsirs on Surah 98 Al-Bayyinah. Raza Ahmad Khan Barelvi....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The Quran permits war against only the oppressors. It also allows alliances with all likeminded people irrespective of their faith, to put up a united ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Shahin sb, The following ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • As far as I know, a carpenter has to create idol based on the "mantra" and other specifications mentioned in Tantra vidhi ....
    ( By A Hindu )
  • As far as I know, a carpenter has to create idol based on the "mantra" and other specifications mentioned in Tantra vidhi or Agama shastra ...
    ( By A Hindu )
  • سیدنا سعید بن جبیر شاگرد عبد اللہ بن عباس رضی اللہ عنہم کو راستہ میں ایک بد مذہب ملا ،....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Allah the Most High says, “And O listener (followers of this Prophet) when you see those who argue in Our verses, turn away from ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Ghaus Sb is repeatedly quoting verses like: “So the clear proof and guidance and mercy have come to you, from your Lord; so who ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Mr. Sultan Shahin, You say to me, “Then you say Muslims follow Quran and will continue to follow Quran, no matter what. You ....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Shahin sb, The context of verse 3:151 is the battle of Uhud. Casting terror into the hearts is relevant only for the enemy who stands ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Sultan Shahin sahib, You say to me, “Dear Ghulam Ghaus Saheb, You quote verses from Quran 7:37, 6:157, and 39:32 in an attempt to prove ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • 1) I am surprised to see that Qunatity of the Muslims is presented as miracle. 2) A single word of Quran is not changed. Story behind this ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • We should be neither text-centered nor shrine-centered. Our approach to text and....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Dear Ghulam Ghaus Saheb, You quote verses from Quran 7:37, 6:157, and 39:32 in an attempt to prove that mushriks are kafir in Quranic terminology ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Dear Naseer Saheb, let me try and understand this better. Wherefrom do you get the idea of kafir being religious persecutor in the following example. ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • हमें ही क़त्ल करते और हमें ही दहशत गर्द कहते है, बेगुनाह का क़त्ल कर क़ातिल खुद को मर्द कहते हैं...
    ( By Abidi Zafar )
  • Sultan Shahin shab thank you very much. If time permits me I shall write.
    ( By Shahnawaz Warsi )
  • Welcome Shahnawaz Warsi, to this forum and the comments section. Instead of just summarising and expressing...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • I have spent a lengthy time over Islamic scholarship. A few days ago I discovered the debate on this website. I have ....
    ( By Shahnawaz Warsi )
  • English Translation of the earlier quoted Arabic Excerpt from the Mutazilite Tafsir “Al-Kashaf” on the verse 98:1 "The kuffar had two groups, (1) the people ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • In my comment yesterday, I said that to say “The Mushrikun are Kafirun” is an oxymoron and therefore, you will not find such a verse ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Dear Sultan Shahin sahib, If we study the Rumiya and Dabiq magazines of ISIS, we find their ideologues also use terms, “tawaghit” (plural of taghut, ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • Their 'major response' will be in Arabic language spoken with forked tongue!'
    ( By Skepticles )
  • Shahin sb says : But the idea of extirpating shirk is always there. So much so that in some of the last verses to be ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Dear Ghulam Ghaus Saheb, I do not use words like Kafir and Mushrik in a pejorative sense, if at all I ever use them. I ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Dear Sultan Shahin sahib, The terrorist kharijites of ISIS and their like-minded groups kill the mushrik, kafir, Muslims, especially .....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • A misleading article. “According to UK law, Nikah on its own is not enough, and a civil ceremony is a requirement...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • Sultan Shahin sahib, Whatever Sufis may have done I do not subscribe to the ideology of offensive Jihad for the sake of establishing Islam’s domination ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Ghaus sab, I agree with you that there should not be fighting over these terms. Moreover I believe that we should discard these terms and proclaim ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Ghulam Mohiyuddin So Arabs are planning a major response to Trump's
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  • Dear Ghulam Mohiyuddin Saheb, You take the line that our Sufia-e-karam did. Stress the positives of Islam and ignore or underplay the controversial. That’s why ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Dear Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Saheb, I am intrigued at the use of some of the terms in the following sentence: "The actual debate should be ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Some Israeli Jews are killing Muslims in Palestine. Some Burmese Buddhists are Killing Muslims in Burma. Terrorists are killing Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, ...
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  • That Muslims say such terms are not pejorative is enough for knowing their standpoint. Literally these terms are also not pejorative. In Islamic faith, the terms ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • It is Khathija who trapped Mohammed into Marriage with a youth who is junior by 20 yrs.Khathija"s brother was a christian ....
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • The pejorative meaning is very much in the minds of people. Look at Yunus Sb’s example to illustrate the correct interpretation of 98:1 and 98:6. ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Good job sir'
    ( By Siraj Rajdan shaikh )
  • There are many things about Islam and its spread that are awe inspiring without being miracles. Islam is free from all kinds of mumbo jumbo ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Ghaus sab, I do not know that we need any terms to distinguish between Muslims and non-Muslims. We should on the other hand emphasize our ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Ghulam Mohiyuddin sahib, You are closely reading all the comments. From your comments I have understood that you do not want to hold the debate on ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )