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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

Salam was the first Pakistani to win a Nobel, and his victory should have been a historic moment for the country. But instead, 40 years on, his story has largely been forgotten by the country in which he was born – in part because of the religious identity he held so dear...

PM ignored rumours about Bajwa’s Ahmadi link. Significantly, Nawaz cites a former chief acknowledging that the screening of top promotions in the army was not sufficient insurance against growing radicalisation within its ranks….

 

Pakistan has been the victim of the covert war which was supposed to be directed at the infidels. This should be instructive, given the aimless bloodshed, unless Pakistan doesn’t care about it....

 

This is a human story written by a person who knows how to listen and to observe. And because the subject is about a group of ordinary Afghans and their mentor doing their best in the struggle to end one of the longest wars in human history, it is a story that is well worth reading….

 

A tendency towards revisionism and to make the past look good by not allowing facts to come in the way of a good story, is not unique to Muslims the temptation becomes the greater when a culture or community feels it is being “targeted”....

His mother, a ‘very devout, very conservative, very Wahhabi’ woman, was acting strangely—furtively taking phone calls when she thought he was out of earshot....

Mentored in politics by moderate visionaries like Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Dadabhai Naoroji, Jinnah in the formative days of his political career in the early 1900s', enjoyed a unique position even as he was struggling to firm up his Law practice in Bombay....

 

The most conspicuous of these is Wahhabi-Salafist Islamic fundamentalism, with its medieval social, cultural and political agenda, which has spawned organisations like the Taliban and the Islamic State and unleashed savage violence in many parts of the world....

 

 Serious discourse about apportioning blame for present conditions upon liberalism is widely reported. Nearer home, a particular version of liberalism we know as secularism has been pushed into retreat by an aggressive version of nationalism....

To 'reappropriate' Muslim women's destinies, Lamrabet attempts to debunk beliefs and myths surrounding what is considered the 'weaker sex' by discussing and reinterpreting Quranic verses that either tell stories of female Quranic figures, or that directly address believing women....

In the Sub-Continent, this debate started with British imperialism (‘British Raj’, 1857-1947). Muslims responded to the imperialism through different means, scholars like Chirag Ali (d.1895), Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (d.1898), Allama Iqbal (d.1938), Abul Kalam Azad (d.1958), Shibli Numani (d.1914), Mumtaz Ali (d. 1974), Syed Mawdudi (d.1979), Amin Ihsan Islahi (d.1997), Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi (d.1999), and others gave them critical response by their scholarly works….

Barren sandy desert, extremely hot climate, and scarcity of water resources made the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula an inhospitable abode for man since ancient times. Its original people were pagans, except for some Unitarians (ahnaf) who contemplated on the Oneness of God. In the post Judeo-Christian era, pockets of wet fertile land attracted Jewish and Christian settlers from the adjoining regions, and became isolated centres of trade and commerce. However, the vast stretches of the desert heartland that only sustained a nomadic life, remained in a primitive state until the advent of Islam. The nomadic tribes had preserved their ancestral paganism, with each tribe having its own idol; and the Ka‘ba, a cubical shrine at the heart of an ancient sanctuary (Haram) in Mecca, was the centre of idol worship. The nomadic Arabs were largely unlettered, had no notion of central state or kingdom, and their social and moral norms were based on traditions (Sunnah) and dictated by the struggle for survival. .....

 “Understanding Salafi Movement in the Context of Pakistan”, presents a nuanced analysis of the Salafi Movement and its presence in Pakistan. It explains how the use of modern communication technology helped the creation of a Salafi network across Pakistan....

 

When Radhakrishnan referred to some of the gods of the Hindu pantheon he wrote, “The polytheism was organised in a monistic way. Only it was not a rigid monotheism enjoining on its adherents the most complete intolerance for those holding a different view.”...

Assange has been charged on 18 counts, including 17 violations of the Espionage Act. James Goodale, former general counsel of The New York Times, who urged the paper to publish the Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration noted…

 
Religious Pluralism and Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Daler Aashna Deol
Religious Pluralism and Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Daler Aashna Deol

Since the precise meaning of the word pluralism may not be clear to an ordinary reader, I want to take a moment to talk about it. A pluralistic society is one where multiple things, multiple viewpoints, multiple belief systems, can exist at the same time....

Indian Muslims have fought and laid down their lives for the land and the idea of India. Brigadier Mohammad Usman and Havildar Abdul Hamid are names that stand out among a legion of martyrs....

 

Islamic history is usually taught to us as a kind of closed universe, unlike Judaism or Christianity where world empires loom large and historical personages such as Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus and Alexander make appearances. But even with Islam, we sometimes get hints of a subtext....

 

... a thin, neatly dressed young man wearing a floral patterned shirt approached him from the pavement. He put his hand through the open window (of the car), and the nearly blind Mahfouz, thinking it was one of the many well-wishers who still congratulated him for his Nobel, reached out his own hand to shake it. But instead of grasping Mahfouz's hand, the youth thrust a long switchblade knife (twice, according to one of the surgeons who treated Mahfouz), very hard, into the eighty-two-year-old writer's throat....

True, we have a mind and a physical body, but we aren’t them (although most people think contrarily and so suffer). We are actually the Soul/Spirit/Atman or Life Energy that keeps a person alive. It arrives at birth and departs at death. It is invisible, intangible and beyond human comprehension and definition....

 

In the patriarchal world of South Asia, women have to act tough or risk being toppled by men. In a sense, this applies universally, as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was often said to be “the only man in the cabinet”. Sheikh Hasina is authoritarian and harsh, bordering on cruel....

 

When you want to put a lock on the collective mind, you embrace “ideology”. This is a recipe for creating a uniform mind but you have to add a bit of punishment to make it hold. Religion comes in handy because it allows you to punish deviation....

 

Reflecting Khan’s understanding that spirituality isn’t something cut off from daily life, but, rather, deeply rooted in it, this book is framed around anecdotes from the lives of people (famous as well as ‘ordinary’), aspects of Nature, key events in the history of countries, reports in newspapers and so on....

 

This precariousness, this sense that one can quickly be cast out of a community, is something that appears regularly in this collection, whether the expulsion is from a Western society, caused by an unwelcome opinion....

 

My ideological adversaries hastily call me non-religious (rather than irreligious or anti-religion). They wish to possess the sole right to explain what religion is and express their own opinions about it. They also want to decide what action needs to be taken concerning matters religious.....

 
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