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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

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.....

 

‘North America is a Crime Scene’: The Wild West with Its Irreverence for Death
Aijaz Zaka Syed

The militarism dictating the US foreign policy did not begin as fallout of the World War I and II but has been the continuation of the same policy that had driven the white colonial nation to subjugate the ‘Injun Country.’ The continuous US and allied military campaigns and wars that followed the two Great Wars, from Korea to Cambodia and from the Philippines to Vietnam and more recently in the greater Middle East in the last century or in this century, are all part of the same worldview and conscious design……

 

Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil
Arzu Kaya Uranli

Bullock also shows us a systematic and honest analysis beyond the 'veil' with great sophistication. She draws a thin line between so called religious duty and faithful action for the sake of God as well as sincere, pious Muslims and the flawed followers of faith…..

 

Noam Chomsky-Infuriating and Necessary
David Masciotra

The immensity of Chomsky’s mind is matched only by its dexterity. In his first triumph as a public intellectual, he reinvented the field of linguistics by developing the now widely accepted theory that the ability to learn language is an innate capacity common to all humans……

 

The Sufi Message Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 71- On Attitudes
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There are three gifts of God given to some in this world, and these gifts are greater than jewels, gems, wealth, or anything else in the world, and nothing can buy them. One may be born with them, yet not know it. One gift is the influence to progress, another gift is the influence to attract, and the third gift is the influence to make difficult situations easy…..

 
Come All Ye Faithful
Seema Chishti

Come All Ye Faithful

From a book titled Mecca, by a formidable British writer born in Pakistan, you expect the world of Islam to unfold between the covers. Ziauddin Sardar does not disappoint. Through a biography of Mecca, the holiest of holy cities for Muslims and the centre of the Kaa’ba (the ‘Cube’ in Arabic), he takes you on a fascinating journey of Islam. Muslims are supposed to have two kinds of conversations while discussing their faith. One that they have with “others” and another they have amongst themselves, but Sardar’s book allows both to take place simultaneously…..

The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation
Nyla Ali Khan

Even today, when the share of women in the Indian political space is negligible, with just 2 out of 87 members elected in the 2008 elections, Akbar Jehan appearing on the scene in the male dominated society of those times speaks volumes about her grit and competence. From breaking the myth about her having been married to Lawrence of Arabia to detailing how she virtually replaced Sheikh Abdullah in leading people during his incarceration, the book brings out some important aspects of Kashmiri history……

 
The Holy Vedas: Part - 7
Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: Part - 7

Work and live as an act of offering to achieve immortal fame and complete satisfaction of having lived a successful life. Remember you are the child of immortality and that all life is but an offering, Never forget that the nectar-honey of the flower of mercy is for those who sacrifice, and the life offered is the life accepted. Let the sacred flame of divine fire shine brightly in your soul......

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 66 - The Aim of Life
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The main object of life can only be one object, though there may be as many external objects as there are things and beings. There is one object of life for the reason that there is only one life and this in spite of the fact that it appears outwardly to be many lives. It is in this thought that we can unite and it is from this thought that true wisdom is learned. No doubt that main object of life cannot be understood at once, and therefore the best thing for every person is first to pursue his object in life. For in the accomplishment of his personal object he will arrive some day at the accomplishment of that inner object…..

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 10

Unlike other similarly situated Bureau of Prisons inmates,[700] prisoners are designated for a CMU and transferred there without prior notice or pre-transfer opportunity to contest their placement. Instead, within five days of transfer to a CMU, an inmate receives a “Notice of Transfer to Communications Management Unit.” Our review of these notices from several cases suggests they do not describe specific acts or evidence underlying a designation that would permit a prisoner to challenge them....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 9

As Human Rights Watch has previously documented,[592] jails and prisons across the United States often respond to prison or inmate management challenges by segregating individuals from the general population, often through prolonged physical and social isolation, for hours, days, weeks, or even years. Isolation for 22 hours per day or more, and for one or more days, fits the generally accepted definition of solitary confinement.[593] When it is prolonged, solitary confinement can constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment prohibited by human rights treaties to which the US is party....

 

Express Investigation Report of Riots in Uttar Pradesh
Appu Esthose Suresh

A third of all “communal” incidents recorded by police in Uttar Pradesh in the 10 weeks following the Lok Sabha election results have occurred in — or on the fringes of — 12 assembly constituencies that are scheduled to go to polls over the next few months. If a larger circle is imagined — covering broadly the region around these constituencies — this proportion rises to two-thirds, police records scrutinised by The Indian Express show. The records show a running strand of attempts made by an aggressive BJP, a desperate SP, and a flagging BSP to turn every clash involving individuals from the two largest religious communities into a communal issue. There is also clear evidence of provocation in areas where Dalits and Muslims live together, leading to communal polarisation……

All Parts of the Investigation:

Express Investigation Part-I: Over 600 ‘Communal Incidents’ In UP Since LS Results, 60% near By-poll Seats

Express Investigation Part-II: My Loudspeaker versus Your Loudspeaker

Express Investigation Part-III: Dalit-Muslim Divide Deepens, Goes Rural

Fighting Kids to Dhaba Bill: Takes Little To Keep Communal Pot Simmering

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 65 - The Alchemy of Happiness
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The soul in Sanskrit, in the terms of the Vedanta, is called Atman which means happiness or bliss itself. It is not that happiness belongs to the soul; it is that the soul itself is happiness. Today we often confuse happiness with pleasure; but pleasure is only an illusion, a shadow of happiness; and in this delusion man may pass his whole life, seeking after pleasure and never finding satisfaction. There is a Hindu saying that man looks for pleasure and finds pain.…..

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 64 - More on the Soul
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The word 'soul' is used by different people in different senses. But the manner of its connection with the body proves it to be divine. Therefore, the Sufi conception of the soul is that it is the divine part in man. The fire that comes from coal or wood is in reality the part of the sun that is in them. When the soul qualities arise in the heart of a man and show themselves, this proves that it is the divine part in him that rises, like the flame in the fire. Soul is in all objects, both things and beings.....

 

Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions - Part 8
Human Rights Watch

Sentences in terrorism and terrorism-related cases vary considerably. In the 494 terrorism and terrorism-related prosecutions we reviewed based on Department of Justice data, defendants who went to trial received a median sentence of 11.3 years, while those who took plea agreements received a median sentence of 3.2 years. More than one-third of those who took a plea deal received either no prison sentence or a sentence of time served. [546] However, 91 defendants received sentences of 15 years or more, including 19 life sentences...

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 63- On Silence
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There is a saying that words are valuable but silence is more precious. This saying will always prove true. The more we understand the meaning of it, the more we realize its truth. How many times we find during the day that we have said something, which would have been better left unsaid! How many times we disturb the peace of our surroundings, without meaning it, by lack of silence….

 
The Killing Equation
Henry Siegman

Both conservatives and liberals, including David Brooks of The New York Times and Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic, have criticized the movie and its director, as well as Tony Kushner, co-author of the screenplay, for failing to distinguish between terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad that deliberately target innocents, and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), whose retaliatory strikes—even when they cause “collateral damage” and kill civilians—target only terrorists......

 

I was looking for material to explain Sania Mirza’s trauma with Hindutva’s ultra-nationalists when I remembered that Dilip Kumar had undergone similar experiences, of being called a Pakistan sympathiser, even a Pakistani agent. It is another matter that Muslim zealots in both countries have targeted India’s most emulated movie icon for adopting a Hindu screen name instead of sticking to Yousuf Khan, which came with his Peshawari Muslim identity….

 
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