Books and Documents

Islamic Ideology

True Meaning of the Phrase ‘Ma Malakat Aymanukum’: Does It Mean Only Male Or Female Slaves?
S. Arshad, New Age Islam

The phrase “Ma Malakat Aymanukum” is not used to mean only male or female slaves but all the poor and needy persons, male or female, dependent on the wealthy and well to do people. This verse also hints at the system of distribution of Zakat because the purpose of Zakat is to distribute a portion of the income or wealth of a well to do person to needy people around him. Thus all the needy people around a well to do person are ‘Ma Malakat Aymanuhum” according to this verse. The Quran envisages a society where the wealthy will always take care of the needy people around them and will strive to reduce poverty in his area by parting with a portion of their wealth with the poor and the needy. Therefore, all the needy and the destitute under a wealthy person’s purview are his “right hand possession” or “Ma Malakat Aymanuhum” or dependents in terms of financial position and it is his religious duty to take care of them. So, even a beggar, an orphan or a destitute person comes under the phrase ‘Ma Malakat Aymanukum’....

“Elements of Islamic laws and codes have become inconsistent not just with the contemporary era, but also with the very principles and values of Islam that such laws and codes are supposed to uphold.” From triple Talaq to rulings on hijab and banks and to interfaith marriages to choosing diverse careers we have a range of opinions to debate and choose from without being guilty of defying Islam or what Asad calls “true Shariah.” What is wrong with legalism may be understood by taking a look at its history – Chinese, Judaic, Christian and other traditions that fought war against it. ...

God in the Quran Speaks To the People through ‘Symbols’
Jan-e-Alam Khaki

This could be one more reason why Iqbal says, “free (Aazad Kar) the intellect (Khirad) from bondage (Ghulami) and make the young teachers of the old”. Could he mean that the new ideas be given space to enrich our societies through multiple ways of looking at the symbols, metaphors and allusions used in the sacred texts and complex literature to enlighten our paths in a global village?...

The Regress of Knowledge: Understanding the Concept of Salafism in Traditional Sunnism
Adis Duderija

One aspect of this struggle for religious legitimacy among the post-righteous generations of Muslims (as-Salaf as-Salih), chronologically speaking was by linking one's theological, political or legal views to that of the As-Salaf As-Salih. This would, in turn, imbue these competing factions with the sense of normativity, credibility and authority. As a corollary, the concept of Salafism - or what I also term a Salafi worldview - can be conceptualized in terms of the idea of the "emulation-worthiness" of the first century religious and political authorities who were perceived as having remained faithful to the teachings of the Qur'an and the example of the Prophet in relation to 'Aqidah (beliefs), Manhaj (methodology) and 'Ibadah (worship) in contrast to those who are deemed( from a perspective of a particular group of Muslims) to have deviated.....

What God Is Not and Why, In The Light Of the Quran?
Hasan Aftab Saeed

God is not a theorem that can be proved by starting from more basic assumptions. Any ‘logical’ argument that proposes to do so ends up proving the opposite, in the process undoing itself. That’s because He is the Absolute (the most Basic), which means he depends on nothing while everything else depends on Him (112:2). Over the centuries, philosophers have repeatedly demonstrated the errors in the ontological, cosmological, and the teleological arguments that claim to ‘prove’ the ‘existence’ of God....


So it is the job of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), to explain the Qur’an. And it is the job of the believers to obey him.”He who obeys the Messenger obeys Allah indeed” (Nisa 4:80). And even more emphatically it says: “And obey Allah and obey His Messenger.”(Al-Taghabun 64:12). It is to be noted that here the Qur’an did not say “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” By using the command, “obey” independently the fact has been firmly established that the status of an order given by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is the same as that given by Allah....

Rescuing Islamic Law from Legalism
Dr Muhammad Maroof Shah

Beyond the period of the Companions the history of Islam doesn’t furnish a single instance of a real Ijma, either in the sense of an agreement among all Muslim scholars or even among those of a particular period.’’ From 3rd or 4thcentury A.H the Law was conceived as a "combination of the Nass ordinances plus a legislation arrived at through deduction. Instead of the original Two sources or roots (Usul) of the Law – the Quran and the Sunnah, the Muslims were presented with four roots: the Quran, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas; and only a small minority of scholars continued to oppose this arbitrary addition.’’....

Khatam-e-Nabuwwat and Its Significance - Part One: How a Muslim Came To Be Defined
Tahir Kamran

Until the early modern period of Muslim intellectual history of South Asia, Muslim rule was in existence; therefore question like the definition of a Muslim never arose. The religious culture revolved around the empire and Dargah (Sufi Shrine), the influence of which had been articulated in the social plurality. Both of these institutions allowed certain space for the co-existence of multiple socio-cultural identities. ...

Put an End to the Vilification of Islam
Tariq A. Al-Maeena

To summarize some of the ridiculous Fatwas of the past supposedly based on the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would take many pages, but here are a few examples. In May 2007, a fatwa was issued by an Islamic cleric in Egypt, which said that a female worker should breastfeed a male colleague to establish a maternal bond between them, in order to overcome the Islamic law against the illegal private seclusion of men and women. The cleric based his fatwa on a flawed interpretation of a Hadith by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).....

He accepts traditionally widely understood and properly delimited meaning of wisdom and sage for Hikmah and Hakeem and thus requires us to take seriously illumined philosophies across cultures. He notes that the method of knowledge from the Unseen (Ghayeb) include Wahi, Tehdees, Tafheem, Zoaq, Marifat, Ilmi Ludni, Kashf etc. He reminds us of a Prophetic tradition stating that “Anyone who spares 40 days only for God springs of Hikmah will be on his tongue.”....


The Mufassirin Who Render the Quran A Book of Foolish Nonsense
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Who are these Kafaru who are the worst of creatures? Irrespective of how they have translated the verses, every commentator has treated all of the People of the Book and all of the Mushrikin as Kafir and the worst of creatures. In their translations, some of them vary, and consider only some among the People of the Book among the Kafaru but almost all of them consider all the Mushrikin as among the Kafaru. The expression “The Kafaru among the People of the Book and among the Mushrikin” is interpreted by these Mufassirin as merely identifying the Kafaru from different faiths. By implication, for them all non-Muslims are Kafir and these verses merely exclude Kafir from other faiths such as the Buddhists, the Zoroastrians, etc....

Mercy to the Worlds: Just As a Lamp Dispels Darkness, Through His Prophet, Allah Seeks To Illuminate the Souls of Mankind
Qasim A. Moini

Emulation doesn’t mean literally and ritualistically adopting the ways of the seventh century; rather it means living as per the requirements of the age, but with a firm moral anchor that can help one differentiate between right and wrong. Beyond words, beyond loud protestations of faith and beyond rhetoric, it is strength of character that is needed to build society and the self. And as the verses from the Quran have illustrated here, the guiding light of the spirit is the sacred personality of the Holy Prophet. ...


Thus the birth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the most significant and the most remarkable event in human history. Had there been room in Islamic teachings for the celebration of birthdays or anniversaries, the birthday of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) would have undoubtedly deserved it more than the birthday of any other person. But that is against the nature of Islamic teachings. That is why, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism, there are very few festivals in Islam, which provides for only two Eids (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Azha) during the whole year....


In the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-Awwal and just one week before the Milad-un-Nabawi (celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday), a deadly terrorist attack targeting a North Sinai mosque during Friday prayers has resulted in the death of more than 300 innocent worshippers, horrifying Egyptians and people throughout the world – something anathema to the very essence of Islam. While those who have carried out this attack and others like it – whether on mosques, churches or security forces – claim to do so in the name of Islam, it is among the most sacred of Islam’s tenants that they in fact transgress.....


Who Are Sufi Muslims and Why Do Some Extremists Hate Them?
Megan Specia

Sufism has shaped literature and art for centuries, and is associated with many of the most resonant pieces of Islam’s “golden age,” lasting from roughly the eighth through 13th centuries, including the poetry of Rumi. While some Muslims view Sufis as quirky, even eccentric, some fundamentalists and extremists see Sufism as a threat and its adherents as heretics or apostates....

      For the Greatest Master of Islamic Tradition all love is essentially holy or divine because it is really (though many are not conscious of this) directed towards God who alone is and who is the only Beloved smiling in every form. He is for progressive Platonisation of love; he is for moving from phenomena to the One which manifests yet hides in them....


The Sharia, then, endorses rational consideration of everything in existence, deducing what was unknown from what is known. In other words, our consideration of reality should proceed by means of what the logicians call rational syllogisms. Of the various types of syllogism, the Sharia would clearly advocate the evidential syllogism. This should be considered the most productive type because it starts from a premise certain in itself (evidence) and thus leads to conclusions that cannot be untrue….

Islamic Rationalism – Part One
Dr Imadaldin Al-Jubouri

In Basra, Wasil ibn Ata (699-749) founded a ‘rationalist’ school to represent Mutazilite thought and to teach Muslims new methods of thinking. He asserted that the intellect is a way to faith, to know God, a way to distinguish between good and evil, and the only criterion to understand the Sharia (Islamic law). Hence, Mutazilites said that “intellect is before quotation,” and they praised the intellect considerably. They contended with other Muslim schools, particularly the Hashawaites and Dhahirites, who believed that the intellect had no role in the Sharia. Truly, it was hard work for Mutazilite thinkers to free Muslim minds from the shackles of dogma and formal teaching methods....


National Seminar at Jamia Millia Islamia on Islamic Humanism
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Professor Wasey’s key message was that the Muslims believe in the Quran but do not follow it – “Quran Ko To Maante Hain, Lekin Quran Ki Nahin Sunte” and the fact that while the Prophet formed an Ummat-e-Wahida with people of all faiths in a common cause, the Muslims of later times failed to do so. Professor Pant said that the Hindus remember their history only from the days of partition and have forgotten earlier history. He said that Islamic influence has permeated all aspects of the life of Hindus from their food and the Halwa which has become the standard offering to the deity and distributed as “Prasad”, the dress, the language, the architecture, the classical music in which many of the forms are kept alive by the Muslim artists, the arts, poetry and the culture….

Deobandis in South Asia — I
Mubashir Akram

The Deobandi version of Islam in Pakistan is hardly what it started out to be in 1867 in India as a revivalist movement. The seven giants of the Islamic Jurisprudence of that time who established Dar-al Uloom Deoband included names like Rashid Ahmed Gangohi, Zulfiqar Ali, Shah Rafiuddin, Muhammad Yaqub and Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi. This religious seminary was once the second largest after Egypt’s Jamia Al-Azhar, and took on the tasks of spreading education, awareness and political reformation among the Muslims. This school, and school of thought gave birth to Jamiat-e-Ulmae Hind (JUH) in 1919.


Islam, Nationhood and the Indian Ulema
Ammar Anwer

Both Maulana Azad and Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani presented strong theological arguments to support the modern concept of nation-states. The idea that all Muslims are like one nation has brought Muslims nothing but destruction. It is also very impractical. I strongly believe that it is time that Muslims from all around the world should stop believing in this unfeasible concept and protect and safeguard the interests of their own respective states.

Current Western conceptions of soulmates popularise the Yin and Yang of Taoism or ancient Chinese Philosophy Shiva and Parvati of Hinduism’s mention Ardhanarishvara, a “represent[ation of] a synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe,“[5] and Aristotle’s saying “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” [6] are also prominent modern depictions of soulmates. The Quran and Prophetic Tradition, however, is full of context for soulmates by the mere meaning of the term Zawj (Quran 4:1, 6:98, 7:189, 39:6)....

Food for Thought in the Month of Ramadhan
Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

However an intriguing aspect of the month of Ramadhan needs to be solved with open mind. The Arabic dictionary meaning of Ramadha is given as ‘intense heat’ and therefore Ramadhan as the name suggests, must be the month that always falls in midsummer.

The historic reference of the battle of Badar fought between the Madinan force of believers and the invading Makkan forces was during Ramadhan, that is, in the intense heat of summer (Ramadha), and is often quoted as an example of endurance of the Believers; as to how the small force of Prophet Muhammad’s followers defeated the disproportionately large Makkan force of non-believers….

“The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees. (That Night is) peace until the dawn.” A-Qadr (97:4-5) Far beyond a mere religion, Islam is a broad discipline of sciences aimed at stirring spiritual capabilities. Quran is a document of these sciences. In other words, a syllabus of spiritual sciences and formulas of creation of the universe, and to enter into the world of the Unseen....

The Philosophy of Hunger in Islamic Thought
Z Hussain

Now imagine prostrating to God in the state of hunger. It is at this moment the veils between Creator and creation are at its thinnest. Hunger may sap you of your physical energy but it does nothing but boost your spiritual energy. Moses was physically tired and hungry but his spiritual energy was at a maximum when absorbing the secrets of God’s knowledge through His chosen servant....

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