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Islamic Culture

“The idea is to have a virtual reunification of the archaeological objects extant in Babylon and Berlin,” Dr. Hilgert said. “This is what is so important about the time we are experiencing. We have to learn again that cultural objects, elements of culture, have very much to do with who we are, what we identify with, how we orient ourselves in this world.”

 
Muhammad Iqbal on the Spirit of Islamic Culture
Muhammad Iqbal
Muhammad Iqbal on the Spirit of Islamic Culture
Justice Dr. Javid Iqbal

The fourth dimension of “freedom”, in the eyes of Iqbal, is emphasis of the spirit of Islamic culture on man to be “creative” in possibly all aspects of his life. Obviously in this sphere poets, writers, artists, scientists etc. are all included. Since Iqbal believes that God has breathed His spirit in man, He expects man to be creative like Himself.

 

Germany's Muslim community is bracing for a culture shock when masses of Arab migrants join millions of residents of Turkish origin. But experts suggest the change could be positive for it could broaden outlook, and say fears of religious radicalism may be overblown. For a Syrian refugee family, attending Friday prayers in a German mosque can be a headache.

 

On 28 August, Bollywood released Phantom, a reality check on this hopeful human emotion,in which an Indian Muslim goes underground to avenge the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai. Acted by Saif Ali Khan, the daredevil blows up a Pakistani terrorist’s house in London, gets himself arrested to get into Chicago’s jail where he poisons David Headley for his involvement in the 26/11 attack.....

 
Joyful ‘Islamic’ Wall Art!
Joyful ‘Islamic’ Wall Art!
Nigar Ataulla, New Age Islam

Working quietly from their home, Adeela and Junaid have created Sawab, an online store featuring contemporary framed art prints, stretched canvas prints and wall stickers. These products, with styles, themes and motifs derived from the rich Muslim cultural heritage, add aesthetic appeal to your home or office and make elegant gifts.....

Is Music Prohibited In Islam?
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
Is Music Prohibited In Islam?
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

We see or hear only what our brains are capable of comprehending and the keenness or sharpness with which we see, hear, smell, feel or taste is what gives us the different talents. Our ability for focusing or paying attention is also determined by our cognitive abilities or what our brain is able to make of the stimuli. Now if God or nature has given some people musical ability and great natural talent for it, then God or nature has meant it to be used. The Quran clearly frowns on people who prohibit to themselves what God has not prohibited. ….

There cannot be a greater contempt of the holy Quran that guaranteed respect, honour and equal rights to women. During the month of Ramzan, the ISIS held Quran memorization contest for its fighters. The winners of the contest will get slave girls as prize and as encouragement for memorizing the Quran. The verses chosen for the contest are the Makkan verses that speak of Qital and fighting with the ‘Kafirs’. The verses are Surah Muhammad, Surat al-Tawba, Surah Fath and Surah Anfal. The ISIS is doing this to revive the Arab tribal tradition of ‘Sibya’ in which human beings are given away as prize.....

The Islamist War on History
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
The Islamist War on History
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

Historical sites associated with important personalities in early Islamic history have made way for public lavatories and luxury hotels. Mecca today is all set to become a consumer’s paradise; in this consumer city, Muslims will be able to consume the Hajj the same way they consume burger with coke. In short, there is no room for reflection, an interior dialogue with one self which was the sole point of this pilgrimage, rather it is being replaced by an air conditioned Hajj where you could look down at the Kaaba from your suite in one of the many hotels which would eventually dominate the skyline and eventually engulf (and perhaps eclipse) the House of God.. .....

 

Yet as the film progresses from Sharma’s personal essay on the inner struggles of a gay Muslim to a political examination of Wahhabism’s hardline manipulation of contemporary Islam, audiences witness firsthand his intimate struggles of uncertainty and self-doubt against the backdrops of religious extremism, commercialisation and sectarian battles – all of which continue to poison modern understanding of Islam for Muslims and non-Muslims alike....

Happily Ever After
Amin Valliani
Happily Ever After
Amin Valliani

Allah says in the Holy Quran that it is “He who has created man from water, then He established relationships of lineage and marriage. …” (25:54). Relationships in human societies are formed mainly by way of marriage. Therefore, individuals celebrate weddings in all societies. They consider marriage an event of special significance in their lives....

 
The U.S. Muslim Honor Brigade Strikes Again
Asra Q. Nomani
The U.S. Muslim Honor Brigade Strikes Again
Asra Q. Nomani

The most puritanical interpretations of Islam require veils. The Deobandi school of thought, the driving ideology of the Taliban, militant groups and strict orthodoxy in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, requires full-face veils for women, as does the Wahhabi and Salafi schools of thought exported to the world from Saudi Arabia. My mother’s family required she wear the face veil as a woman....

Angst over Armenia
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Angst over Armenia
Aijaz Zaka Syed

Muslims in the Subcontinent share strong cultural and historical ties with Turkey thanks to the long Muslim and Mughal rule in India. The founder of the Mughal dynasty, Babar, was of Turkish stock and wrote his fine memoirs, Tuzk-e-Babri, in the language that came naturally to him – Turkish....

 

It described Pakistan Ideology to mean a country that was inspired and driven by the ‘Islamic character’ of the Pakistan society and an idea that eschews secular and ‘Westernised’ influences in the country and replaces them with an ‘Islamic culture’ and an ‘Islamised polity….

 
Turkey’s 'Rocker Imam' Inspires Turks
Mustafa Akyol
Turkey’s 'Rocker Imam' Inspires Turks
Mustafa Akyol

The Rocker Imam seems to be a figure who appeals to these not-so-conservative-but-religious Turks, and even fully to those who are nonreligious but appreciate spirituality. Tuzer's lyrics are filled with references of the love for and compassion of God, which has more appeal to these Turks than the fear from and wrath of God. Other modern Islamic figures who have gained popularity in the past decade — such as Sufi sage Cemalnur Sargut, philosopher-theologian Caner Taslaman and activist and thinker Ihsan Eliacik — also point to the same niche in Turkish society for a more liberal and cosmopolitan interpretation of Islam....

 
Ghalib, With Angels as His Muses
Farahnaz Zahidi
Ghalib, With Angels as His Muses
Farahnaz Zahidi

A Long Play (LP), or a 33 1⁄3 rpm vinyl record, that my father had bought from a trip to London was titled “Lata sings Ghalib”. Often, Abba would play it and make me sit and listen. It was like a punishment for me. I didn’t understand why Abba wanted to listen to something so sombre with such difficult words. He tried to explain the lyrics to me, and told me tales of how he had heard Lata Mangeshkar sing some of these Ghazals live at the Royal Albert Hall in London. But as a seven-year-old, I thought Abba’s going to London and buying that LP was a very unfortunate thing, after all, I could have used the same time playing Pacman on my Atari video game. Years later, studying Ghalib for my grade 10 Urdu exam, I thanked Abba. And thanked my eldest brother who, when I entered my teens, gifted me a Deewan-e-Ghalib…

 

Along with being a political worker and a journalist, Hasrat was not only also a poet but a humanist one at that too. In his verse, he has included the autobiographical elements so subtly and powerfully that the reader will find themselves absolutely absorbed; it becomes the reader's story......

 

Intizar’s characters reply: “But haven’t you read the history of the Muslims?” In Panchatantra, Geedars (jackals) dunked themselves in false colours to appear as lions and presumed to produce a regimented society with stiff laws, but are discovered as Geedars and not the kings of the jungle they pretended to be. He applies the Geedar simile to the progressives who wanted to usher in revolutions and to the fundamentalists who wanted to induct literature into jihad….

 

“Like the Maulanas, Hindu pundits also used to declare fatwa. Urdu was the language of the times, so it was used in them. Every fatwa refers to a Hadith, so this one also begins with one written in Urdu by a Maulana. It is followed by a Pandit answering the Maulana by referring to a Shloka from the Ramayana in Devnagiri before pronouncing the judgement.” Indicating the date written on top of the fatwa, he says laughing, “This one is before Ghalib.”.....

 

Peer, who I have a fleeting memory of in rediff.com’s office, strokes the script with unflinching scenes of terror and tension that afflicted the population of Kashmir, caught in the crossfire between militants and army. I haven’t read his acclaimed Curfewed Night but I do recall this heart-breaking diary, which offers a disturbing glimpse of the horror he encountered personally. He even appears in a brief cameo doing what may seem amusing at first but is mostly a painful reminder of scars left on a tortured psyche.......

 

The liberal democratic system allowing individual freedom of speech, freedom of expression etc. is fine, but there must be limits to such freedom, particularly when there is an undeniable tendency to take advantage of it. If Sharia Law is attempted to be introduced surreptitiously under the guise of religious freedom, then such attempts should be considered to be thwarted; otherwise bigger problems may arise in future which may threaten the very fabric of the society.....

 
Ibn-e-Safi, the Man:  Stranger Than Fiction
Nadeem F. Paracha
Ibn-e-Safi, the Man: Stranger Than Fiction
Nadeem F. Paracha

I don’t anymore though, outgrowing the fantastic sounding cities and countries full of quirky spies, strange gadgets and racy plots that Safi offered in his novels, making him one of Pakistan’s most popular and best-selling Urdu novelists of all time.....

 
Shahid Sajjad:  A Study in Bronze
Irfan Husain
Shahid Sajjad: A Study in Bronze
Irfan Husain

It is unsurprising that art has little place in a society as racked by violence and as warped by greed as Pakistan is today. Artists, too, are marginal figures unless they are good at self-promotion. And Shahid Sajjad was the very antithesis of a pushy person blowing his own trumpet: modest to the point of becoming a recluse in his last few years, he let his work speak for itself.....

 

Mehdi Hasan may not be with us, but his repertoire will continue to enthrall music lovers in all times to come……

 

Interestingly, though both, the 20th century secular Pakhtun nationalists, as well as the more religious and conservative expressions of Pakhtun identity, celebrated the Pakhtun culture’s militaristic tenor, Pakhtun folk music is remarkably romantic and poetic in nature, with the singers mostly voicing sagas of longing for their beloveds (who are in some foreign land), or for the mountains and rivers of the Pakhtun lands that the singer misses.....

 

He had come from Bombay where he had been leading a hard but fruitful life for twelve years. In the preface to his collection of short stories titled Yazeed, Manto mentioned that he considered Bombay his Doosra Watan – after Amritsar where he spent his boyhood and early youth – and called himself Chalta-Phirta Bambai. “Wherever I stay, I’ll make my own world.”....

 
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