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Books and Documents

Islamic History

There is a vehement debate going on in Indonesia on the role of Sharia in the state. Some argue secular politics are at the heart of the decline of the state, arguing for implementation of Sharia in all aspects of life as the solution. The recent debate is similar to that in the first years after independence since 1945, in the 1950s and in the 1970s. During the first years of independence, secular nationalists and Muslim nationalists were debating about the place of Islam in the state and particularly on the role of Sharia (Islamic law)....

 

Origins of Violence against Women in Turkey
Gunal Kursun

Rape, marital rape, domestic violence, honour killings, dowry violence, acid attacks, forced marriage, mob violence, stalking, sexual harassment and forced prostitution are some examples of violence against women in Turkey. The mistreatment of widows (such as the practice of sati in India), accusations of witchcraft (from the 15th to the 18th century in Europe), war rape and sexual slavery during military conflicts (such as during the Bosnian conflict and Rwandan genocide), forced sterilizations and forced abortions (such as the ones in Uzbekistan and China) or female genital mutilation (in some African countries) are other examples that we do not see in Turkey….

 

Malcolm X's assassination robbed the world of a Muslim civil rights visionary
Malcolm X

Critical to this was Malcolm’s conversion from the Nation of Islam to mainstream Sunni Islam. He went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and was struck by the racial harmony among Muslims: “There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colours, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white....

 

Becoming What We Hate
Khaled Ahmed

Pakistani historian Ayesha Jalal, diagnosing the failure of the state in Pakistan in her latest book, The Struggle for Pakistan (2014), says Muslims simply couldn’t reconcile their ideology with the conditions of the modern state. The Ulema (Islamic scholars) may insist on a seamless state, but they often lack the power to implement what they have in mind; and since what they have in mind is not a functional Islamic state but a utopia, an Islamic state ruled by them may run the risk of becoming like all utopias, beginning with the one visualised by Plato. Dangers lurk in the lack of will among the ulema to confront practical questions of maintaining the peace among local communities, regulating economic and social relations, or defending the realm against external threats....

“Many people today, including Irish-Americans, are not fully aware of the devastating loss of life that took place because of the Famine in Ireland. I am deeply honoured to be a part of this film project that will bring the reality of the Famine to the screen so that modern generations will know what their ancestors had to endure.”.....

 

Morocco: Model for Islam
Mohamed Chtatou

Morocco is a land of tolerance, acceptance and coexistence. King Hassan II has described it as a tree whose roots are in Africa, its trunk in Morocco, the side branches in the Middle East and its top foliage in Europe. Sitting on the crossroads of so many cultures, religions and civilizations, Morocco has become through the centuries a haven for countless cultures, ethnicities and ways of life…..

 

Historicity and Religious Sanctity of Architecture in Islam - Part 4: Islamist Extremists Should Learn From the Most Preserved Islamic Heritage in India
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Majority of the Islamic architectural sites in India are mausoleums, tombs, mosques or palaces, some kept up in sound condition, others requiring great and urgent attention. ... At a time when many Islamic buildings have not been protected, rather purposefully destroyed and vandalised, in Muslim countries, age-old mosques like the Quila-e-Kuhna mosque are the best preserved monuments in the oldest fort of Delhi, the capital of India...... 

Historicity and Religious Sanctity of Architecture in Islam - Part 3: Muslim Extremists’ Cultural War is against the Legacy of Muslim Predecessors
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Central Asia, Iran and Spain have been truly magnificent citadels of Islamic culture, art and architecture. Muslim predecessors, both rulers and religious scholars, endorsed and encouraged building of architectural structures, monumental mosques and madrasas and even Sufi shrines and mausoleums with big tombs and domes. When our Muslim predecessors or the Salaf in those parts of the Islamic world did not oppose the architectural advancement, why the present-day Salafis, who loudly claim to follow the Salaf, are vehemently opposed to it?...

When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the command from God to lead the Muslim community in five daily prayers, their prayers were directed towards the holy city of Jerusalem. For Muslims, the city of Jerusalem is an important site. As the home of numerous prophets of Islam such as Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), and ‘Isa (Jesus), the city was a symbol of Islam’s past prophets. When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made the miraculous Night Journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and the Ascent into Heaven that night (known as the Isra’ wal-Mi’raj), it acquired an added importance as the place where the Prophet  led all the earlier prophets in prayer and then ascended to Heaven…..

 

Many have looked on aghast at the destruction of hundreds of historic buildings and monuments to make way for the Grand Mosque’s expansion. According to the Gulf Institute, based in Washington, up to 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been destroyed, to be replaced with luxury hotels, apartments and shopping malls. Last week, the remaining 500-year-old Ottoman columns, commemorating the Prophet’s ascent to heaven, were destroyed…

Related Article:

Destruction Of Islamic Cultural Heritage: Muslims Must Reclaim The Spiritual Values Of Islam, Sultan Shahin Tells A Public Dialogue During UN Human Rights Council’s 22nd Session At Geneva

Historicity and Religious Sanctity of Architecture in Islam: Muslim Extremists’ Cultural War is against the Core Islamic Principles (Part 2)
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

It is a marvellous part of the cultural legacy of Islam that it exhorted its adherents to respect the norms and values of all other faith communities. This is best reflected in the nature and styles of Muslim architecture. It should be noted that embracing the positive values of the local people especially in the architecture and crafts does not go against the principles of Islam. When Muslims chanced to rule lands stretching from present-day Spain in the west to India in the east, and from present-day Turkey in the north to sub-Saharan Africa in the south, they built magnificent monuments taking into account the local norms and shared history of the native communities. .. But what the present-day Islamist zealots, particularly Daesh or ISIS, are doing by their cultural destruction in Iraq and Syria is not difficult to see. They have waged a war against the core faith of pious Muslim predecessors, the Salaf-e-Saleh whom they loudly claim to follow...... 

Historicity and Religious Sanctity of Architecture in Islam (Part 1): Significance of Monuments in the Holy Qur’an
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Cultural heritage, architectural monuments and ancient historic sites are of paramount significance among followers of all religions. Architecture is the mirror of cultural influences that creep into faith traditions. Besides common sense of preserving history and culture, Muslims were inspired by the Qur’anic exhortations to safeguard their monuments. The Quran called historical monuments as ‘symbols of Allah’ and enjoined their preservation as a means to achieve Taqwa al-Qulub (purity of hearts) (22:32). The ‘symbols of God’ or Sha’air-ul-Lah imply any place of spiritual, religious, cultural and historical importance that depicts the signs of God.....At a time when historical Islamic monuments and holy structures like the Prophet’s tomb are identified as an idol with the grave conviction of demolishing them, one can feel the urgency of awakening Muslims about the history and sanctity of their architectural sites and heritage. Driven by an ideology of universal hostility towards the cultural heritage of Muslims, the Islamist terror outfits have taken it upon themselves to demolish even the mosques built by earlier Muslims in an attempt to console their doctrine of “puritan Tawhid”......

Mullahs and Heretics: A Secular History of Islam (Concluding Part)
Tariq Ali

How dare you slumber in the shade of complacent safety, leading lives as frivolous as garden flowers, while your brothers in Syria have no dwelling place save the saddles of camels and the bellies of vultures? Blood has been spilled! Beautiful young girls have been shamed . . . Shall the valorous Arabs resign themselves to insult and the valiant Persians accept dishonour . . . Never have the Muslims been so humiliated. Never have their lands been so savagely devastated…..

Mullahs and Heretics: A Secular History of Islam (Part 1)
Tariq Ali

The military successes of the first Muslim armies were remarkable. The speed of their advance startled the Mediterranean world, and the contrast with early Christianity could not have been more pronounced. Within twenty years of Muhammad’s death in 632, his followers had laid the foundations of the first Islamic empire in the Fertile Crescent. Impressed by these successes, whole tribes embraced the new religion. Mosques began to appear in the desert, and the army expanded. Its swift triumphs were seen as a sign that Allah was both omnipotent and on the side of the Believers......

How Syria's Ancient Treasures Are Being Smashed
Diana Darke

Its strategic location - guarding the only corridor from Syria's interior to the coast as well as the entrance to Lebanon's Bekaa valley - guaranteed that it would be a fiercely contested stronghold in this war, just as it was for the Knights Hospitaller in Crusader times. The elegant Crusader cloister inside the castle bore an inscription carved in Latin: "Grace, wisdom and beauty you may enjoy but beware pride which alone can tarnish all the rest."….

'Traitor of Sindh' Seth Naomal: A Case of Blasphemy In 1832
Akhtar Balouch

"The next day, a man named Nooral Shah, and a 'Syed' by lineage, came to our neighbourhood, cursing Hindus. My younger brother, Pursuram, who was standing at the outer gate of the neighbourhood, asked Nooral Shah to refrain from it, but things heated up. In rage, Nooral Shah began claiming that Pursuram had insulted the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and a huge Muslim crowd gathered to agitate……

 

Ziauddin Barni and other sycophantic Sufis and scholars in the Sultanates of Iltutmish and Balban distorted the Islamic Fiqh and teachings only to gain the king’s favours and to strengthen his kingdom. They compromised with their position and knowledge to gain worldly and material benefits and wealth and power. So, in his old age he admits to his crime and confesses that his wrongdoings and misinterpretations of Islamic and Qur'anic teachings had earned him God’s wrath and he lived a miserable life.....

Related Article:

Caste and Caste-Based Discrimination among Indian Muslims - Part 13: Casteism in the Aligarh Muslim University

The Arabs to whom the Quran was revealed first seem to have ignored Quran’s historical dimension of FATABIRU. In the name of preventing people from shirk (setting up partners with God) they have destroyed many landmarks of Islamic history in Arabia. Going by the fact that the Arabs continue to destroy the remaining remnants of the Islamic past, in future there will not a be single historical proof of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his message on earth. The detractors of Islam may even say that Muhammad (pbuh) was a fictitious personality because they do not find any historical or academic proof of their existence in Makkah or Madinah....

One thousand years ago, Muslims, Christians and Jews sauntered down the same cobbled pathways in the sun-drenched cities of southern Spain, living, flourishing and contributing to Andalusia’s fashionable society and culture…..

 

Last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar wrote poetry in Punjabi, too, and had his works published at Royal Press situated inside Red Fort in 1855. A mathematics professor of Benaras College John Thompson had his A Hindustani-English Dictionary published in 1881 and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, known as the brain behind Aligarh Muslim University had written A'thar-as-Sanadid....


And

Encroachments of Pathan-Era Monuments in Delhi Eat Up Slice of History By Richi Verma

 

In honour of International Women’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to introduce people to several names of important Muslim women in history that they may not have encountered before. Although the names of such extraordinary figures as the Empress Theodora, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn, Caterina Sforza, and Elizabeth I are generally well-known, their counterparts in the medieval and early modern Muslim world are not.....

 

Redevelopment of Mecca: Bulldozers Bear Down On Site of Mohamed’s Birth
David Usborne

The Saudi royal family are adherents of the Wahabi faith, an austere interpretation of Islam that has served as the kingdom’s official religion ever since the al-Sauds rose to power across the Arabian Peninsula in the 19th century. The kingdom’s rulers, who deny Mohamed was born in what is known as the House of Mawlid, are opposed to preserving relics of the Prophet because they say it encourages Shirk, the sin of worshipping idols other than God....

Related Articles:

Destruction Of Islamic Cultural Heritage: Muslims Must Reclaim The Spiritual Values Of Islam, Sultan Shahin Tells A Public Dialogue During UN Human Rights Council’s 22nd Session At Geneva

Medina: Saudis Take a Bulldozer to Islam's History

The Saudis Are Bulldozing Islam's Heritage. Why the Silence from the Muslim World?

Why Don’t More Muslims Speak Out Against the Wanton Destruction of Mecca’s Holy Sites?

Thousands of Pakistanis Rally In Memory Of Jannat-Ul-Baqi Destruction by Saudi Wahhabis

A cautionary tale of a vibrant and thriving culture lost in time, these photographs collected on a community Facebook page in Afghanistan are likely to leave you in disbelief. The country we’re so often shown today is comparable to a broken medieval society, but not so long ago, the barren landscape was dotted with stylish buildings, women wore pencil skirts and teenagers shopped at record stores.

As you browse the photos that capture progress, hope and that rock’n'roll spirit in the air, keep in mind the implications of what happened to this culture in just a few decades....

Another Lesson in History
C. M. Naim, New Age Islam

Another Lesson in History
C. M. Naim, New Age Islam

Whenever I read such ‘historical’ accounts, and it is sadly too often, my first impulse is to wonder: do Pakistani Urdu newspapers have editors and sub-editors? Or do they have only wealthy and privileged owners, with hordes of cowering minions, and a changing stable of fantasizing columnists? Some of the latter seem equally privileged, for many often describe the meals and trips they enjoy with assorted bigwigs of Pakistan....

 

This foundation of this mosque was laid by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 622 CE. The original mosque was an open-air structure covered with palm fronds. It had a raised platform for the recitation of the Qur'an. It was a rectangular enclosure of 30mx35m with a roof more than 2 meters in height. It had three doors Bab Al-Rahmah, Bab Gariel, and Bab Al-Nisa. A shaded platform was created inside known as Suffah. This is known in Arabic as "Dakka Ashab Al-Suffah" place for the companions of Suffah….

 
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