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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

With the authorities having loudly and repeatedly declared the word off-limits to all non-Muslims, especially in their Malay-language religious texts, arguments, counter-arguments and outright displays of obstinacy have come (and will probably keep coming) from all sides in the past decade....

 

Imagining Pakistan as an Islamic State
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

In the liberal-Marxist intellectual environment in which I received my political grooming in the Lahore of the late 1960s, the standard view was that the Muslim League, especially its supreme leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, wanted a separate state for the Muslim nation to escape exploitation at the hands of the Hindu moneylenders....

 

Correct the focus. The US must take a firm stand to ensure that the Wahhabi philosophy does not get propagated disproportionately in Muslim countries around the world particularly in Pakistan. The US must ensure that the philosophy of Sufism is given the share of voice that it deserves as the belief system of the majority....

 

Veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn (65), who has reported from the Middle East since 1979, has three full-length books on Iraq already to his credit. This monograph on the rise of the ultra-jihadist Islamic State builds on his reportage for The Independent and long-form writing for the London Review of Books....

 

Madrasas controlled by militant Pakistani groups who work for al Qaeda continue to function freely. One of the largest extremist groups in the country, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, has members who have helped al Qaeda. It now operates under a new name and has even changed the look of its largest Madrasas complex to become a model it can show to the Western press....

 

“By Allah’s grace no other official, semi-official or non-official institution of Pakistan has been so attached and devoted to Islam in thought and action as the armed forces of Pakistan....

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Heretic’
Susan Dominus

Hirsi Ali has strong thoughts on what form that change should take for Muslims: a major overhaul of their religion. “Without fundamental alterations to some of Islam’s core concepts,” she says, “we shall not solve the burning and increasingly global problem of political violence carried out in the name of religion....

The Sufi Islamic traditions evolved over history with a degree of interaction with Hinduism on the sub-continent. It is a school that includes philosophers and mystics. Sufism embraces the Koran and most of Shia and Sunni Islam's beliefs. Sufis believe that Sufi teachings are the essence of every religion, and indeed of the evolution of humanity as a whole….

 

The book is comprised of four chapters; the first presents an analytical critique of this elitist current. El-Sharif explains that Islamic feminism searches in religious texts, the Quran, the Prohet's sayings and in Islamic Fiqh(jurisprudence) with the purpose of presenting new readings and interpretations of some matters regarding women....

 

Religious minorities like Hindus and Christians also complain of discrimination and have periodically been subjected to violent attacks by extremists. The extremist violence is beginning to impact intra-Sunni factions such as the Deobandis and Barelvis. This may also be a result of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) policy of divide and rule in the Sindh....

 

In the sixteenth century during the Mughal emperor Akbar’s time the curriculum in Indian Madrasas blended the teachings of Islam and Hinduism. Hindu and Muslim students would together study the Quran (in Arabic), the Sufi poetry of Sa’adi (in Persian), and the philosophy of Vedanta (in Sanskrit), as well as ethics, astronomy, medicine, logic, history and the natural sciences....

 

Why Islam Needs a Reformation
Ayaan Hirsi Ali

It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labelled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.”…

The Ottoman Empire: Heading Towards Disaster

The Ottomans had lost wars before, but never the empire itself. This time it was different. The demands imposed by the Allies provoked a revolt by Mustafa Kemal, the hero of Gallipoli, who pushed the Greeks and Italians out of Anatolia, deposed the sultan and abolished the caliphate. ....

 

The Rise of Political Islam in Turkey

After 1970, Turkey was rocked by a series of socio-economic shifts. Urbanization that had been ongoing for decades accelerated throughout the 1980s, prompted largely by an economic restructuring plan recommended by the IMF after the military coup d’état of 1980….

 

Today, whenever we talk about a group of young Muslim men travelling across borders and fulfilling a religious responsibility, the discourse is about fighting what is popularly referred to as jihad, culminating in grotesque violence in the name of religion. And, whenever we talk about the caliphate--of which the Ottoman was the last, abolished in 1924-- the discourse is about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), known for its atrocities in West Asia, proclaiming its re-establishment....

Understanding Islamism through History
Talmiz Ahmad

Islamism is the movement that seeks to achieve a reformed political order that is founded on a reconciliation of Islamic principles and those of modern political theory, such as constitution, parties, elections, representative government, human rights, freedom, justice, and social and economic welfare. It emerged, not in the 1920s as Mr Owen says, but in the early 19th century, in response to the total defeat suffered by the Arabs at the hands of the western colonialists……

 

Hinduism in America, a Brief History
Mike Ghouse

2003- For the first time, a program was organized by the Foundation for Pluralism to bring all the Hindus communities of Dallas together. Shanti-Shanti is an American girls duos chanting songs in Sanskrit, and they were introduced to the Hindu Audience for the first time. Indeed, that is the first time; Dr. Mihir Meghani of Hindu America Foundation was invited to be a part of the event, as he was set to bring all the Hindu Sampadrayas together. ....

 

Revolutions never work from the point of view of humanist values and human rights. Now that young Pakistanis are talking of revolution, it is imperative to remind them that they should talk of strengthening institutions and not a leader however promising….

 

'Islamic Humanism' By Lenn E. Goodman Is A Valuable Contribution To The Study Of Islamic Humanism, Offering Abundant Examples From Islamic Philosophy, Ethics, History, And Literature

Romantic love, too, constitutes a home for the secular par excellence. Islam has preserved some aspects of pre-Islamic poetry and has not erased the continuing fascination with the secular themes of love and conquest or fight and flight. Among the celebrants of secular love is Ibn Hazm of Córdoba (994–1064), whose “anticipations of Descartes’ and Kant’s criticisms of the faith of naïve rationalism rest on a limpid yet rambunctious religious faith” (p. 61). Ibn Hazm offers secular love in place of the sublimated and unsublimated eroticism of the mystics; to those who find a spiritual meaning in erotic longings, he offers a naturalistic alternative. The secularization of human love is prominent in the work of Ibn Taymiyya (1263–1328) as well, according to Goodman. And he sees Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya’s (1272–1350) Rawdat al-muhibbin (Lovers’ garden) as “a thoroughgoing exposition of secular love.”….

 

Was Ibn al Arabi a “Zindiq (a hypocrite) or a “Siddique” (a man of truth)?  Scholars were and are divided in their opinions about this prolific writer, talented poet and erudite philosopher, to say the least.  The material for a detailed biographical sketch, a thorough enquiry into and dispassionate assessment of his doctrine are too inadequate, abstruse and unyielding to make any conclusive remarks about him.  I content myself with presenting – objectively, as far as possible, a brief account of his life along with , what may be taken to be an apology of an interpretation of his views and the views of others on his doctrine…..

 

The Prophet said, ‘The Hour will come when leaders are oppressors, when people believe in the stars and reject al-Qadar (the Divine Decree of destiny) when a trust becomes a way of making a profit, when people give to charity (Sadaqah) reluctantly, when adultery becomes widespread – when this happens, then your people will perish.’ ”….

A Song for Sindh: When a Hindu Woman Meets a Muslim Man
Rafia Zakaria

What history has torn apart let fiction bring together and so it is in the tale of Ali and Sunita, inhabitants of Sindh’s tumultuous present, man and woman, Muslim and Hindu. In Shah’s telling, theirs is a love that is much like Sindh’s lore, threatened, delicate and secret. Ali is a journalist, harbouring like so many millions of Karachi’s children; dreams of escape to a foreign land. Sunita is by virtue of indigenous connection, a child of the land; rendered less by the arithmetic of Pakistan’s new nationalism, its awkwardness with the hyphenation of a Hindu-Pakistani…..

 

Province of Men: 'The Underground Girls of Kabul'
Rafia Zakaria

Sympathy and the moral righteousness borne of the project of liberating girls like Aisha from the Taliban were then, and are today, dominant frames in how Westerners view Afghan women. The details of Afghan lives that do not fit easily into the plot of pity or the fantasy of freedom are almost always ignored. It is in this realm of overlooked narratives and hidden details that…..

 

Is Religion Inherently Violent? In Her New Book, Fields of Blood, Karen Armstrong Argues Against the Idea That Faith Fuels Wars
Emma Green

But maybe that's the point: Humans talk in frameworks. People see the world through cultural associations and narratives of history, even if they're not apparent; that's why the attendees of Armstrong's book talks can intellectually understand that religion hasn't caused all the major wars in history while still almost subconsciously believing religion to be inherently violent. ....

Saints and Shrines in Pakistan
Hartmut Elsenhans

By their virtuous behaviour and meditating reflection on the Holy Qur’an, the saints liberated believers from a mechanistic interpretation of Islamic faith reduced to formal rules of behaviour which the believer had to mindlessly follow. The saint draws his understanding from a meditative vision of God; he experiences a deep mysticism and follows the path of understanding until he experiences the unity of the created world as an emanation of the unique and single God.....

 
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