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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

He stressed teachings of nonviolence and forgiveness in the Quran and the traditions from the Prophet and the Imams. Al-Shirazi argued that the “just as the soul is stronger than the body, so too is nonviolence, since it is the weapon of the soul, and so it is more powerful than the weapon of the body, which is made of matter.” He highlighted cases of early Muslims who personified nonviolent resistance to oppression....

Erdogan 'The Chief'
Mustafa Akyol
Erdogan 'The Chief'
Mustafa Akyol

Many of the other emotion-laden scenes — such as Erdogan’s brief imprisonment in 1998 by another secularist, military regime — emphasize the same basic message: The good, religious, modest people of Anatolia defeated a brutal, vicious, secular establishment in Turkey thanks to Erdogan — the bold, brave, unyielding “Chief.” Erdogan’s exceptional personality is of course highlighted: He is afraid of no threat, including death, which he sees as “coming together with God.” ....

 

The devastation that Earth faces today is, at root, a product of a spiritually-bankrupt worldview that is premised on a deeply problematic concept of ‘development’ and the related notion of the purpose of life being the maximization of sensual pleasure, including consumption and material acquisition. This being the case, overcoming it necessitates an inner transformation of us as individuals and communities, a complete change in how we perceive the purpose of our lives. In this regard, ‘environmental spirituality’ has a key role to play....

 

Few religious figures in the history of civilization have as successfully crossed borders of faith, language and geography as nimbly as Jalal al-Din Mohammad Rumi, the great 13th-century theologian and mystic poet. The son of an eccentric and ambitious Muslim preacher, Rumi, who is known in the Persianate world as Maulana, “our master,” circumnavigated the Middle East of the day, then overrun by invading Mongols and Seljuks, before eventually settling in Konya, in Anatolia....

 

While the modern method is more theoretical and merely intellectual, Sri Ramakrishna adopted the method of complete identification with the spiritual content of each religion he chose to understand and lived like a Muslim or a Christian and adored the Divine in their fashion with the fullest devotional identification. It is after this practical experiment that he declared that all these great religious traditions led to the same God. The same was his experience when he practised the Sadhanas of the different sects and cults of Hinduism....

 

He renounced all privilege, dressed and ate simply, slept on cots or on the floor, wore torn clothes, cleaned latrines and swept floors, and otherwise shared the lot of the poor. As one of the Red Shirts recalled: “He was a big Khan but he lived like a Faqir. He did not even have a cap to cover his head” (Banerjee: 126). The Bacha Khan never claimed spiritual powers for himself – he was, he said, a servant, not a Prophet. ...

 

It propagates a victim mentality that facilitates psychological manipulation, instilling fear and loathing of the host society that makes integration impossible. The notion of Islamophobia encapsulates this strategy....

 

Suddenly, the Islamic State in Iraq, led by an ambitious former graduate student who called himself Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saw its fortunes brighten anew. Baghdadi dispatched a handful of fighters to Syria and within a few months they were running operations across much of the country. Iraq promptly returned to chaos, and in April 2013, Baghdadi, presiding over a vast fief that stretched from the Iraqi desert to the outskirts of Damascus, rechristened his group yet again — as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — and appointed himself caliph.....

 

The most difficult subject for non-Muslims to understand is how peaceful Muslims can exist simultaneously with Muslim terrorists. This is the same problem Catholics, Protestants and Jews have had to grapple with throughout the centuries as adherents of each of those religions used violence to further some aim. Ghobash explains the differences among Muslims by describing Islam as a pyramid: “The fundamentalist, reductive, ‘authentic’ Muslims are at the top with the loudest voices and the clearest plan....

“Such institutions appear to be no longer capable of producing creative minds” or “nurturing the skills” necessary to solve the complex problems of Muslims today. Moreover, he says, the majority of the Muslim educational institutions failed to help students gain proper knowledge and understanding of Islam and did not facilitate the development of “mature faith”. ...

A Spiritual Treasure Trove
A Spiritual Treasure Trove
Roshan Shah, New Age Islam

Positive thinking is at the very root of the spirituality that he talks about.  It is based on realizing and acknowledging the existence of the Creator through reflection on the amazing universe. This connection with the Creator is to be expressed in relating positively with the creation in one’s daily life. To live in this way on an everyday basis is to lead a spiritual life....

 

Despite the memory of such horror, we see these women of Gujarat not only resurrecting their self-respect but even taking charge of their shattered communities. The voices we hear in this book are unique. Some international reports dryly relate the surprising strength African women have shown after the horrendous bloodbaths of Rwanda, but none that lets us hear their inner voices. Perhaps, this book when read could encourage African women to tell their stories.....

Rather than seeing the contradiction between wine and Islamic practice as deeply paradoxical, Ahmed regards the relationship as ‘mutually constitutive’ within the broader frame of a ‘common paradigm of Islamic life and thought’....

This is art of a beauty that takes us straight to heaven. And it reminds us of how much we don’t know — but, given a chance like this, will love to learn — about a religion and a culture lived by, and treasured by, a quarter of the world’s population....

Even though Dr. Brown is a Muslim, he is still a Western academic with some Western secular influences. Dr. Brown does an excellent job in questioning the use of a noble lie and weak Hadiths, but for some reason provides simplified responses to questions raised about the two issues. Instead, his main in-depth response is formulated around the fact that Western religious scholars did the same, almost subconsciously...

This immensely useful book is a beautiful testimony to the power of spiritual friendship in dissolving barriers and biases and in bringing people of diverse faith backgrounds to recognize their common humanity and their one Creator and to recognize their responsibilities to both....

They could express themselves through poems but at the same time encourage people for revolution through their journalism. In those times, they could realise a greater force in journalism than in literature. So they had literature for their own satisfaction and journalism for national interest. The British government also knew that these learned people posed one of the biggest challenges to its empire and that it must make some arrangement to keep them silent....

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Jihadists are a subset of the puritanical Salafist movement that seeks “progress through regression”, as Mr Maher puts it. The movement aims for perfection by following the example of the first three generations of Muslims known as al-Salaf al-Salihin, starting with the companions of the Prophet Muhammad...

 
Giving Up Jihad
Giving Up Jihad
Robert Fulford

Those he calls Salafi-jihadists believe, Maher says, in progress through regression. They are the most extreme of fundamentalists. Salafism seeks to revive the purity of the first three generations of Islam, starting with the Companions of the Prophet. Only a small fraction of the world’s Muslims accept that idea, but their impact is large….

“There is a model in Egypt and the UAE where they monitor mosques. We have the technology today to hear everything… We used to have many Imams coming from different walks of life. Somebody upset; he would say ‘Why don’t you kill the Christians, and Jews, and Hindus’. The message of hate should stop. Religion didn’t come from hate....

 
Be Rich toward God
John Ortberg

“God said, ‘You fool. This very night your soul will be required of you. And the things you have stored up—whose will they be?”...

 

Voltaire tells a fable about a Jesuit, a Danish and a Dutch chaplain in China arguing ferociously among themselves: a mandarin, disturbed by the noise, asks for an explanation, and when they continue fighting he throws them all in prison until they agree. They will never agree, he is told. Well, they must forgive each other, he says. That, he is told, is also impossible. In which case, he says, “they must remain in prison until they pretend to forgive each other”....

 

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.”...


 

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...

Islam and the Future of Tolerance
Islam and the Future of Tolerance
Roshan Shah, New Age Islam

The Quran, like any other text (religious as well as other) can be interpreted in diverse, often mutually-contradictory, ways. If radical Islamists champion a violence-driven, politics-centric interpretation of their faith, many Muslim reformists articulate diametrically different interpretations of Islam, which are rooted in a quest for peace. What people read into a text depends heavily on their cultural and ideological baggage....

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