Books and Documents

Books and Documents

Aphrodisiacs? Search This Medieval Islamic Encyclopaedia

Centuries of diverse scholarly activity and textual exchange buttressed the encyclopaedia. Al-Nuwayri quotes earlier thinkers extensively, including figures who may be familiar to Western readers, like Aristotle, Avicenna and the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides. In a self-­effacing note in his preface, he insists the compendium is the achievement of other writers. His own words “merely interpret the book’s contents and frame them like eyebrows over the eyes.”...


Religions Come Into Being to Call Us Back To the Spiritual Paths from Which We Have Strayed

The religions that the authors identify with—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—belong to the ‘Abrahamic family’. They contain rich spiritual treasures. Yet, much evil has also been, and continues to be, fomented in their name (as is the case with many other religions, too), including war, hate, terror and oppression. As the authors tell us: Religions come into being to call us back to the spiritual paths from which we have strayed, the paths that lead to healing. But religions themselves, as institutions, go astray, too...

Inter-Religious Dialogue—Some Proposals for Building Peace Together

Linked to the crucial role that interfaith dialogue can play in peace-building is what it can contribute in terms of providing spiritual direction to humankind. At a time when materialism is at its zenith, when moral values face a grave crisis, and when the market is the new deity for vast millions, the crisis of the lack of religious and spiritual values affects people across all religious boundaries. ...


Islamic Critique of the Politics-Centric Misinterpretation of Islam

The ideology of totalitarianism in the name of Islam that underlies various forms of Muslim extremism can be countered on other grounds (for example, on the basis of secular human rights), but to be acceptable to Muslims for whom Islam forms their frame of reference, the critique has to be in Islamic terms, and in this task this little book excels....


Celebrating the goodness in cultures and faith traditions other than the one they identify with, the contributors to this volume discuss the ethics of harmonious coexistence in a multi-religious society, something that is of global importance today, particularly in the context of endemic violence in the name of religion in many parts of the world....


Meet Generation M: The Young, Affluent Muslims Changing the World

Generation M are the Muslim millennials, the global generation born in the past 30 years, but with a twist. Unlike their Christian counterparts in the US and western Europe, most of whom are turning their backs on organised religion, Generation M has “one over-riding characteristic, which is that they believe that being faithful and living a modern life go hand in hand, and there is absolutely no contradiction between the two,” ...

The 'Boytrap': When the Islamic State Goes to Play Soccer

“IS policy towards soccer is driven by opportunism and impulse. The group fundamentally despises the game, yet can’t deny that it is popular in its ranks and in territory it governs,”...


The Only Sensible Way to Deal with Life’s Many Hurts Is Forgiveness

Many of us choose to nurse our wounds, making them even worse by refusing to forgive those we see as responsible for them. We think they deserve to be hated. This gives us a deceptive sense of power over them. We feel that forgiving them might mean that condoning their actions or that we are weaklings. Little, however, do we realise that the resentments that we so carefully cultivate against others for what they may have done only damages us further....

Islam Gave Rise to a Movement of Women’s Liberation That Shook the Social Sphere of the Time

Islam gave rise to “a movement of women’s liberation” that “shook the social sphere of the time, which was essentially grounded in a merciless patriarchal system.” It encouraged women to speak for themselves as they entered the social sphere and sought their rights that tribal tradition had denied them....

Christians and Muslims Should Embrace 'The Jihad of Jesus': After All, This Is Our Shared Jihad

... the "open perspective" fosters inspirational personal growth and transformational social change by opening people up to positive elements of other religious traditions. In doing so, Christians and Muslims leave behind the "ideology of religious supremacy," and acknowledge the "mercy of God,"...


This is what Allah's servant `Imam Ali, Amir Al-Mu'minin, has ordered Malik ibn al-Harith al-Ashtar in his instrument (of appointment) for him when he made him Governor of Egypt for the collection of its revenues, fighting against its enemies, seeking the good of its people and making its cities prosperous.

هذَا مَا أَمَرَ بِهِ عَبْدُ اللهِ عَلِيٌ أَميِرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، مَالِكَ بْنَ الْحَارِثِ الاْشْتَرَ فِي عَهْدِهِ إِلَيْهِ، حِينَ وَلاَّهُ مِصْرَ: جِبْوةَ خَرَاجِهَا، وَجِهَادَ عَدُوِّهَا، وَاسْتِصْلاَحَ أَهْلِهَا، وَعِمَارَةَ بِلاَدِهَا.

He has ordered him to fear Allah, to prefer obedience to Him, and to follow what He has commanded in His Book (Qur'an) out of His obligatory and elective commands, without following which one cannot achieve virtue, nor (can one) be evil save by opposing them and ignoring them, and to help Allah the Glorified, with his heart, hand and tongue, because Allah whose name is Sublime takes the responsibility for helping him who helps Him, and for protecting him who gives Him support. He also orders him to break his heart off from passions, and to restrain it at the time of their increase, because the heart leads towards evil unless Allah has mercy.


Secret Chapter of 9/11 Inquiry Released After 13-Year Wait
Deb Riechmann

However, others — including Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, the co-chairman of the congressional inquiry — believe the hijackers had an extensive Saudi support system while they were in the United States. Graham has said that the pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia as being the principle financier.”...


Young Muslim Women Brainwashed By ISIS

Not only are we made aware of the racial discrimination faced by Muslim women, particularly those who wish to stay veiled while living in the West, but also how, once internalised by them, does it actually frame and affect their psyche. It is the trauma of living in a hostile cultural environment that turns Ameena into a religious fanatic with Jamila and her family's politics acting as mere facilitators of that transformation....


The Age of Disintegration: Neoliberalism, Interventionism, the Resource Curse, and a Fragmenting World
Patrick Cockburn

A common explanation for the rise of Islamic resistance movements is that the socialist, secularist, and nationalist opposition had been crushed by the old regimes' security forces, while the Islamists were not. In countries like Libya and Syria, however, Islamists were savagely persecuted, too, and they still came to dominate the opposition. ...


Why the War on Terror May Never End

And since the Greeks, escape routes have been identified and sought — Aeschylus hoped law could provide reconciliation; Jesus later claimed this power for love. But in his disturbing new book, “Spiral,” Mark Danner worries there is no way out of today’s “forever war,” which continues unabated after 15 years....

Al-Fatihin: Islamic State’s First Malay Language Newspaper
Jasminder Singh and Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani

Al-Fatihin: Islamic State’s First Malay Language Newspaper

...called on jihadists in Southeast Asia who could not afford to make the journey to IS territories in the Middle East, to either migrate to the Philippines or to kill IS enemies wherever they may be found, even using vehicles to cause their deaths. IS-related groups have to be neutralised or eliminated in Southeast Asia for Al-Fatihin to lose its potency and relevance, along with its plans for a caliphate....


Muslim Women Are Not Always Victims, They're Fighters'
Ruby Hamad

Few people are as simultaneously despised and pitied as Muslim women. Largely relegated to both helpless victim and existential threat, their voices are muffled by a western media and public that treats their lives and bodies as blank canvases onto which others are free to paint their fears and suspicions....


What is Islam: Pretext, Text, Context

Ahmed passed away at a young age before the book was published. But he has left behind one of the most dazzling books in recent memory, full of overpowering illumination of the kind rare in contemporary scholarship.

Local Wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen Became Proxies For Larger Conflicts

Shia fought Sunni. Britain, France and a reluctant America fired shots in Libya. Russia showily shored up the president of a Syria torn apart, probably forever, like the colonial borders that created the countries of the region after World War I....


Formula for Lasting Peace between People of Different Religious Traditions Must Be Spiritual

If our hearts and minds are tuned to these traditions, he writes, we can appreciate and support for one another, despite our religious and other differences. Studying the wisdom of the world’s religions can, he says, help us develop compassion for each other and discover that the message of love and mercy is common to all our faiths....

Why Waiting for an Islamic Reformation is a Lost Cause

The founder and prophet of Islam, Muhammad, was also a statesman. Consequently, his leadership intertwined politics, law, and religion, placing the lattermost at the forefront of public life. In contrast, Christianity placed Christ in opposition to the existing legal order and political system....


Understanding Firaq Gorakhpuri’s Pain

He says it not in so many words but by simply recalling that Firaq had a tendency to fish for sympathy, and that Ali Sardar Jafri, of all the people, had made a documentary which was far from an accurate representation of facts in Firaq’s life, which in the last few decades, bordered on morally bankrupt...


From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World

She shows how Afghanistan led to Iraq and how Iraq led to ISIS. Lamb says the West’s sense of failure in both Afghanistan and Iraq led President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron to stand by “as more than 200,000 people were killed in Syria and Vladimir Putin started to redraw the map of Europe, annexing Crimea from Ukraine.”...


The Arab Winter as ‘Morbid Symptom’

In most Arab states, “ruling families ‘own’ the state... to all intents and purposes; they will fight to the last soldier in their praetorian guard in order to preserve their reign”....


A Life of Poetry and Adventure
Khaled Ahmed

Then Pakistan’s first military coup was staged in1958 and he was in the wrong place, Moscow, attending the first Afro-Asian Writers’ Congress together with Hafeez Jalandhari, the poet who authored Pakistan’s national anthem. Faiz was arrested upon his return....

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