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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

Sir Syed also took in a very cool manner the claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani to be the messenger of God, which had outraged the Muslim world. The founder of the Ahmadia movement was declared a heretic as he questioned the finality of Quranic revelations.  “Let him be happy with his claimed revelations, if they do not cause any harm to us. What should matter to you is that he is a gentle, god fearing man. Debating on his claims of divine revelations is futile,” was Sir Syed’s reaction to the raging debate among Muslims of the times....

 

While taking classes at the US Army War College, the officer, a devout Muslim, sometimes led Friday prayers at the local mosque. During campus debates he took exception to those who claimed that political Islam was incompatible with democracy. In his final paper he argued that Arab democracies must include Islamists, even “radical ones”....

 

Likewise, many theologians are now aware that they cannot pursue their theological commitments and formulate their religious beliefs without taking into account the findings of contemporary science. In other words, today many people realise that science and religion are complementary to each other, a far cry from the earlier model that posited them as being in conflict....

 

Terror in the name of Islam is an issue that Khan has for long been concerned about and has sought to counter, including through many of his writings and discourses. In this book, Khan stresses that to tackle Muslim militants and their seeking to provide their militancy with pseudo-religious justification there is a pressing need for Muslims committed to peace to promote an Islamic counter-ideology, a narrative of Islam that is based on peace.....

The urgency with which a batch of homologous petitions have been filed against Halala and polygyny this year, and the media attention that instant Talaq received last year, would make anyone think that these are big, and the only issues facing Indian Muslims. The reality, however, is different. Instant Talaq despite its atrociousness was never a major problem and its setting aside by the apex court had rendered Halala too redundant....

This matter has profound importance: Waters disbelieves, and I do believe in a moderate Islam. She has no hopes for changes in Islam; I argue that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. Among other benefits, my approach offers the possibility of cooperating with anti-Islamist Muslims, something I hope For Britain will make a priority....

 

She repeatedly mentions how simple Muhammad's (PBUH) message was and how peaceful was the purpose of his revelation. Allah's guided Prophet wanted to bring a system to the fallen Arabs so that it could expel anarchy and put Islam on the map. She points out that unlike the followers of nearby Christians and Jews, Arabs had no revelation of their own. Muhammad, after taking over Mecca from the Quraysh without shedding a drop of blood, destroyed the idols from Kabah, and linked Islam with the story Abraham, Hagar and Ismail....

 

Yet one wonders if homo pakistanicus under ideology today, with a 60 per cent literacy rate, is more “dangerous” than the one in 1947 when the literacy rate was less than 20 per cent. Pakistan has a lot of religion but lacks the “software” of useful knowledge needed in today’s world.....

 

Of these, perhaps the most powerful and flamboyant is Noorjahan who has coins issued in her name and is allowed to issue Farmans — both kingly prerogatives — and who enjoys the singular privilege of being the only wife of Jahangir for the last 16 years of his life. Of her Sir Thomas Roe, the English Ambassador to the Mughal court is constrained to observe: “Noormehal fulfils the observation that in all actions of consequence in court, a woman is not always an ingredient, but commonly a principal drug of most virtue.”...

 

For decades, modern-looking men with clean-shaven faces, sporting silk ties and wearing Italian suits, had led Iran. They could converse in fluent French and, even more conveniently, in English. They were sometimes criticized for being autocratic, but they were at least “our” autocrats. The country is now led by turbaned and gray-bearded clerics aided by stubble-faced technocrats deeply distrustful not only of US foreign policy but also of many aspects of secular culture—except nuclear technology....

 

BB tried to be pragmatic and to be on the right side of General Aslam Beg, the army chief, but “her minister for defence, Colonel Sarwar Cheema, did not help with the equation and incurred the hostility of the army chief”. BB was not good herself at taking sane advice as she ignored Hassan Zaheer, her principal secretary and author of a tell-all book on the dismemberment of East Pakistan....

 

The long counterinsurgency campaign included the Bud Dajo massacre (March 1906) of nearly a thousand unarmed Muslim villagers who had taken refuge in an extinct volcano on the island of Jolo. A grim photograph of American soldiers posturing afterward like big-game hunters over a heap of corpses would not look out of place in a Holocaust museum. When asked by a Senate committee in 1902 if punishing families by burning crops and villages lay within the rules of civilized warfare, Brigadier General Robert Patterson Hughes, provost marshal general of Manila, replied, “Those people are not civilized.”...

The first of these is Para Vidya (higher knowledge). The other is Apara Vidya (lower or ordinary knowledge)—in other words, spiritual and material knowledge respectively. God is the source of these two forms of knowledge and man should acquire both. This paradigm can be of considerable benefit in the study of nature. It recognizes that nature has two aspects: material and spiritual (composed of conscious entities or living beings). In this paradigm, God or the Supreme Being is the Cause of all causes....

 

The first is the idea of Islamic ideology as the basis of polity in Pakistan. To this end, he quotes both Suhrawardy and Toynbee, showing that any attempt to create an exclusively Muslim or Islamic state would actually lead to the state’s destruction. Indeed it would have been even more useful if he would have referred to Mr Jinnah himself, who had told the Raja of Mahmudabad that the idea of an Islamic state where Muslims were divided into 70 plus sects would mean the state’s dissolution....

 
Why Science Does Not Disprove God
Why Science Does Not Disprove God
Roshan Shah, New Age Islam

Aczel doesn’t claim that he has convincingly proved the existence of God—but that isn’t his purpose here. What he seeks to show—and this he does impressively—is that science has not proven the non-existence of God. He doesn’t deny that religion as a human institution can have its flaws. “But”, he explains,  “God—a power well outside our ability to comprehend, transcending the creation of the universe we see around us—may well exist, and science has not, and will not, disprove it.”....

Toynbee argues that the process of history cannot be understood rationally because history is a creation of God and man is just an instrument who helps accomplish a divine plan. Therefore, human nature should be understood through intuition and by adopting mystical methods....

“I spend no time working for conversions. I love the poor and respect Islam. So does God. I believe that Muslims can be, and are saved within Islam. So I make no effort to convince Muslims to profess Christianity. What I do is to try to live a Christian life in the midst of Muslims...We trust that Allah is using us to move hearts towards Him. I haven’t yet met a Muslim who really wants to hear a Christian’s views on Jesus (They have their own idea about Jesus). But I have met hundreds who appreciate very much seeing someone who follows Jesus. Therefore, that’s what I spend my time trying to be—a follower of Jesus.”...

Some of the crucial issues that the book deals with are: how faith in and commitment to a particular religion and witnessing to it among others can go along with respect for other religions and their adherents; the contemporary importance of interfaith and inter-community bridge-building; varied purposes and forms of interfaith dialogue and collaboration; religion as a means for promoting peace, as opposed to its misuse as a vehicle for fomenting conflict; theological arguments to counter radicalism in the name of religion;  the need for rethinking religion in a contextually-relevant and spiritually-elevating manner....

Atheism’s depressing worldview is in contrast to that of the theistic understanding where death is linked to the hope of being welcomed by a loving God and the possibility of a life of peace and fulfilment in the Hereafter. Unlike atheists, theists believe there’s someone to accompany them in life and death, to pray to and thank for. They also have something to hope for after death....

Recognising this basic oneness can facilitate a more appreciative attitude towards other faiths while also helping us recognise that religion ought to be something that we ourselves embody, in terms of leading an ethical and God-oriented life (reflected in love for God and for all fellow-creatures), rather than just being a set of dogmas to blindly believe in and rituals to mechanically perform....

Pakistan does need to self examine in order to shift the narrative from its repressive commitment to religion. India, too, has a major role to play by helping it shed the feeling of insecurity from its larger neighbour that had been responsible for many of the course shifts. There is a laundry list of political and social initiatives but Madiha also retains a realistic outlook by pointing out that the Islamists are sure to oppose legal reforms, reform in school curricula and regulation of Madrasas....

 

If Jahiliyyah amounted to the servitude of humans to other humans, for Qutb, true Islamic life involves total submission to God. Qutb preached that Islam would ultimately prevail but its triumph would not occur simply by virtue of its revelation by God but rather through a group of people understanding the task, believing in it completely and conforming to it as closely as possible.” Qutb called for the creation of a Qur’anic generation which would act as a vanguard “to point out the road of salvation to humanity and to build the road as well.”...

 
Why Pakistan Lost Out
Khaled Ahmed
Why Pakistan Lost Out
Khaled Ahmed

The state was more inclined to favour the narrow worldview of the madrasa than the schools it ran or private sector schools. Politicians who announce doing away with “English-medium” O-level institutions have no regard for the job market that regularly rejects the ideologically acceptable products. The book asserts: “Over the past three decades, intolerance and violent reactions to dissent and differences of opinions, particularly relating to issues that have to do with religion....

 

Indeed, the paucity of books on anti-Islamist Muslims symbolizes their larger predicament: they are threatened, marginalized, and dismissed as frauds. Threats come from the Islamists, the advocates of applying Islamic law in its entirety and severity as a means to regain the medieval glory of Islam. Islamists attack modernizers with words and weapons, rightly sensing that these liberal Muslims pose a profound challenge to the current Islamist hegemony. ...

 

Writing from the American context, but making a point that has much broader relevance, Isaacs says, “Today, the doors are open in our society to remove God from everything. Evolutionary theory now unapologetically asserts that human life had no creator or designer, and that our lives on Earth serve no designer’s purpose—we are simply accidents of nature”. Materialist evolutionists think there’s no God, no ultimate foundation for ethics, and no ultimate meaning to life.....

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