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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

Past and Prejudice
Khaled Ahmed

Past and Prejudice
Khaled Ahmed

Turkey started late but will catch up with India where Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is being subjected to censorship. Of course, India can’t be compared to what is happening to the Islamic world. But it can start looking worse than the British Raj for people like journalist Saeed Naqvi. He has spelt out his reasons in his recent book, Being the Other....

 

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu: How Precious Manuscripts Were Saved
William Dalrymple

The realisation that Timbuktu’s fragile heritage was in danger set off alarm bells across the world. The city was once one of Africa’s most revered centres of learning and the arts. From the 13th century onwards, but particularly during the great days of the Songhai empire, which reached its peak during the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu became the West African equivalent of Oxbridge or the Ivy League, pullulating with scholars busy copying out old Arabic manuscripts and composing new works of theology, history and science.

 

Islam, Race and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora
Craig Considine

Muhammad was then brought to a local police station where he was interrogated as someone who might have had something dangerous underneath his shirt. The veteran had reported him to the train conductor on the grounds that he was carrying a bomb. Law enforcement officials questioned Muhammad about his family background, religious beliefs and political views....

 

When Will Young Pakistani Women Find Their Own Fiery Brand Of Revolution? Or Is It Here Already?
Aneela Zeb Babar

There was, however, the sound of rumblings on the horizon; the mullahs (clergy) of Pakistan had expressed their displeasure at the institution of the women guards and their presence in the celebrations of the new state. Some of the clergy had issued religious edicts against women parading with their heads uncovered and bosoms exposed, fuming that these women would be staring into eyes of men, and be left with no shame and dignity. ...

 

Spiritual Transformation the Only Way Out Of the Ecological Crisis

It is only through awareness of the Creator—God—and of the fact that this world is God’s, not ours—can we develop a truly respectful attitude towards nature and other species. A spiritual transformation is thus the only way out of the ecological crisis and for extricating us out of the morass of soul-numbing materialism in which we are drowning. ...

The Political Education of Mahmoud Abbas

When Israeli tanks besieged Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah in 2002, the Palestinian leader famously declared, “Oh God, grant me a martyr’s death.” Two and a half years later, his wish came true, in part. In November of 2004, the “Old Man” died in Paris after suffering a brain haemorrhage. Arafat’s death left his party, Fatah, in disarray....

 

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.....

 
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  • The basis and inseparable principle of Islam is the followers of Non-Arabic religions are Khafirs. As long as Khafir concept is exist, No ...
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • Hats Off's venom has always been directed more at moderate Muslims...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Although we do not want to join the Ahmadi sect we should certainly try to learn what makes them better exemplars of peacefulness...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • i know. you are one of the most moderate muslims since the prophet.....
    ( By hats off! )
  • To Mohmmad Rofiq. First I wish Mr sultan Shahin forward this to you. Indonesia and Malaysia ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • Historical Krishna or Mohmmad paigamber cannot be my ideal even Swami Ramdas says. This both had gave enough blunders in human life...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Article writer hiding its identity which tells thousand word how this Abrhamic tradition is hollow of non-violence had no example to ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • Abhrahmic violence technology is best why to use Dharmic relgions Non-violence notion when Abrhamic tradition and its God had establish it'd hegemony on ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • I do not need any anti-venom to spurn your hateful activity in this forum.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • so your anti-venom is just like snake-oil.'
    ( By hats off! )
  • The venom spewers are just a distraction here. The would fit in nicely in any apostate website.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • mr ghulam mohiyuddin comes to this forum to "spew" his anti-venom?
    ( By hats off! )
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia are equally to blame for the winds of war in the Middle East. We should condemn both equally.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent article! Let us hope Malaysians heed it.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Islamophobics will always deny the existence of Islamophobia just as the worst racists deny the existence of racism. One's own....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off's bitter hate for Islam makes him blind to the whole person and the sum total of his achievements and makes him paint ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • yeah! caravan raiding is so generous. just like taking sex slaves is. also it was really generous of the prophet to to reserve....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Jehadi ideology has to be defeated. Using the holy platform of the mosque to spread such an ideology must be prohibited. Exposure...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I am hopeful Allah is with me." Zakir Musa. I would be very surprised if Allah is with you and your retrogressive ideas....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Comments of the PAS President and Hats Off are equally simplistic but the latter's comment is also mean-spirited.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • To fix the me and other you have to fix your "Quran" first which has highest notion of me and other on nearly every page.' ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • This is what happens when Urbanisim, and mordernity was imposed on the Tribal India. I am against of all this public place encroachment but we need ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • PAS President Tells Leaders, Politicians to Emulate Prophet Muhammad's Style of Leadership" that should be fine. now they all can start ghazwas, get mal-e-ghanimat....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Speaking up against anti-Semitism and against jihadism is always good but Hats Off has to demur because for him nothing....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • No where does it say in the Quran that men are not allowed to use their God-given intelligence....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • a full blown case of the "no true scotsman...."
    ( By hats off! )
  • Instead of blaming others, Pakistan's educational system should strive to eradicate all impediments to scientific....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off's comment is totally inappropriate. The article speaks of all fanciful aggrandizements of one's past propagated by ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Struggling to defend the indefensible.
    ( By Ramachandrannair Kazhipurath )
  • but of course! muslims can keep yakking off about the nasty golden age of....
    ( By hats off! )
  • Courage to Chart New Paths" That is exactly what Islam needs today. How deeply or...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • I don't agree with fear of islam equivalent to hatred of muslims because there are many types of muslims some are liberal and fundamentalist....
    ( By krishna )
  • Festivals which are conducted once in a year shall be tolerated.But on a daily or weedly basis show of strength should be banned. Public roads ...
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • It's Muslim arrogance that to separate place for worship and living, for highly populated India. The technology...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Whats the point of Article. Only one thing can be learn how to be cruel to be just, and give inspiration to hardliners to kill....
    ( By Aayina )
  • Denial of God is fundamental right, if person believes it. Looking at miserable situations of millions, especially when one minority ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • Potrait of Jinahh must remain in the hall, it's irrational demand of BJP goons. They reflect the historical fact that all political leadear had been ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • To Gulam Ghus Siddique. You showed the all grammatical need, other than it is hard to tell the intentions. Even keeping the word same meaning can be ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Assalamaulakum Janab sawal-Kya phone par ijajat dene s nikha ho jata h'
    ( By Abdul wahab )
  • "All this can only deteriorate further unless we all demand that faith becomes strictly a personal matter out of the public domain – FOR EVERYBODY." I ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )