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Books and Documents

Islamic Ideology

Ideology and History
Tahir Kamran

The relationship between ideology and history is very problematic, to say the least. An ideology is undoubtedly formed as a result of criss-crossing of historical forces. History yields ideology, but this relationship is often inverted afterwards. Once an ideology makes its way into any polity, its beholders tend to subjugate history to ideology and, in all cases so far reported, the former is re-invented strictly in accordance with the injunctions and edicts of the latter....

 

Why the Survey of British Muslim Attitudes is so Profoundly Disconcerting
Maajid Nawaz

Moreover, there is a problem with viewing Muslim communities exclusively through a lens of their religious identity. It is entirely normal for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to have multiple facets to their identity, and an excessive focus on just one reinforces the Islamist paradigm that we should be trying to avoid. Promoting pluralism and understanding that gender, geography, economics, sexuality, hobbies and nationality are often as important to an individual as their religion, will allow for some fresh thinking. Supporting British values might seem like an overt focus on nationality, but really it fosters inclusivity and will help us tackle extremism, building a stronger Britain....

The Hubris of the Islamic Label
Parvez Ahmed

The debate over labels is thus a red-herring. The call for more condemnations by Muslims often masks ugly stereotyping presuming that Muslims have a monopoly on religious violence. Furthermore, increased militarization as solution is being tone deaf to the lessons from history. The real solution remains the same today as it was after 9/11 - reversing the downward spiral of human development across MENA. President Obama has asked Muslims to do more and certainly more can be done to debunk the ideology of ISIS. But President Obama has fallen short of laying out how he and his Western allies will nudge governments across MENA to speed up reforms that are necessary to give people in the region hope thus giving them less reason to buy into the messianic apocalyptic vision of ISIS….

 

Pushing Back Against Islamist Aggression: Free Speech and Economic Warfare Are Powerful Weapons
Richard W. Rahn

President Obama and other leaders frequently make the statement that the Islamic State, or ISIS, and other Islamic terrorist organizations are not Muslim. The facts do not bear them out. The Islamic State and the others can and do point to specific passages in the Quran that support their interpretation rather than those of the moderates. Most non-Muslim-majority countries have increasingly protected the rights of minority religions, while almost all majority Muslim countries have not. Few Muslim majority countries even pretend to be democracies, and many argue that their religion is incompatible with democracy. It should be made clear to the moderate Muslims (those who are tolerant of others’ beliefs and practices) that they are welcome in the United States and elsewhere, provided they do not seek or expect special privileges (restrictions on others’ speech or dress, new holidays or the imposition of Shariah law). That is, they should adapt to the majority culture, not vice versa. The act of putting a Quran in the toilet should not be considered a hate crime while doing the same with a Bible is labeled “art....

 
A Human Weakness
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam

A Human Weakness
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam

Actually, we should consider the good things that we have as gifts from God, and should attribute the lack of the things that we do not have but want to our own shortcomings. In this way we can really help ourselves in character-development. It can make us positive-thinking people. There is nothing in the world, we must remember, worse than a negative-thinking character....

 

A Jihad against Somali Music in the Land Of Freedom
Bashir Goth

Under controlled conditions and being put on the spot, the artists found themselves in a state of inquisition, they had no other option but to relent and fulfill the wishes of the Mullahs who they thought were genuine scholars of Islam, not aware that these clerics where only pushing their own narrow interpretation of Islam down their throats. The artists were too intimidated to ask questions such as that if music was Haram why such a ban was not applied to the 1.6 billion Muslim living in the world. Why Al Azhar Sheikhs had to listen and even praise Umm Al Kalthoum, why music of Muslims from Sudan, Mali, Senegal and other West African countries is one of the most popular in the world....

 

The world must continue to lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach the true peaceful nature of Islam,” Obama wrote. “We can echo the testimonies of former extremists who know how terrorists betray Islam. We can help Muslim entrepreneurs and youths work with the private sector to develop social media tools to counter extremist narratives on the Internet....

 
An Endless Farce
Nadeem F. Paracha

An Endless Farce
Nadeem F. Paracha

Once the regime got rid of Pakistan’s ‘immoral  past,’ from the country’s big and small screens,  it then moved to rid them of material that could put wrong ideas in people’s minds about Pakistan’s glorious new path to ‘Islamisation....

 
The War between Good and Evil
Khwaja Azhar Abbas, Tr. New Age Islam

The War between Good and Evil

The Quran does not consider theoretical arguments in favour of it being a divine revelation sufficient enough but also calls men to examine its results. If its results are right according to its claims, it will be a proof that it is God’s revelation; and if the results do not corroborate its claims, then its claim of being a divine revelation will stand null and void. The Quran has presented a very nice and clear proof of its being a divine revelation. It says that I proffer a system. You can proffer a system of your own.....

 

"The fact that Saudi Arabia carefully supports the so-called non-traditional Islam, which has a lot of names in Kyrgyzstan - the Salafi Islam, the fundamentalist, the Arabic, the Wahhabi - is beyond doubt. Saudis do it wherever they can. And the problem of Islam or even Islams in Kyrgyzstan itself - the traditional and non-traditional versions – is now quite acute. And more than half of the society is concerned that non-traditional Islam will gradually replace traditional. Even more so, the young people are attracted by this unconventional Islam"…..

 
Dialogue and Dawah
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Dialogue and Dawah
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The only thing that is required for true dialogue is getting rid of communal thinking. If you are free of communal or communally-supremacist thinking, then you are the right participant in a dialogue....

The Ethics of “Because-I-Say-So” And Its Theological Companion
Dr. Amina Wadud

….only this time they drag God in there with it.  Islam is “a way of life” (or din, pronounced “Deen”), and not just “religion” (in the western sense of separate mundane and sacred).  In the first century after the death of the Prophet, an intense intellectual period began that lasted for a few hundred years.  However, much of the Islamic classical intellectual traditions were preoccupied with the law.  Islam became a religion of do’s and don’ts. The Qur’an commands us “to order what is good and forbid what is bad”…..

The only reason the Prophet (peace be upon him) wore a turban was because it was the customary dress of his people. We cannot say that wearing the turban is something our faith enjoins upon us any more than we can suggest that it is prohibited. It is purely a matter of culture and custom. There is no authentic Hadith regarding the turban. Then I explained to him that the strongest legal verdict regarding the hair is that it is also a matter that is governed by custom. The length of the Prophet’s hair is not a Sunnah for us to follow…..

 
The Quest for Questions
Jan-e-Alam Khaki

As God’s creation is limitless, so is learning. And following the Abrahamic tradition so should be our quest for questioning. We should develop enquiring minds to create new knowledge and insights about the marvellous creation around us, thus fulfilling God’s command of reflection and contemplation....

 
Ramadan Economy
Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

Ramadan Economy
Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

First, it may be my personal view but I disagree fundamentally with fusing religion with economics. Religion is a divine contract between an individual and a divine entity; it cannot be related to the overall subject of a free market. At the individual level, it might have a part to play within the economy, but imposing it on the entire functioning is not beneficial. The literature fails to explain the aspect where people who are not subscribers to an Islamic perspective are part of the market economy.

 

Finally, my previous forecasts have turned true, once again! American President Barack Hussain Obama is very cunningly implementing his hidden desire of giving birth to few more Sharia states in the world. With this mission in mind, Obama helped ouster of secularist government of Ben Ali in Tunisia, Husni Mubarak government in Egypt and now Muammar Gaddafi government in Libya. No doubt, sensing his imminent defeat in the next Presidential election, Barack Hussain Obama has accelerated his 'mission Islamization'. Here we all need to remember one point that, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah – all welcomed the ouster of Gaddafi in Libya. Earlier they welcomed ouster of Ben Ali and Husni Mubarak. And of course, such 'over-whelming' excitement by the radical Islamist as well as Jihadist groups, clearly show to the world that, in all the three cases, radical Islam became winner while United States and the West are losers. -- Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

What does Pakistan stand for? What are our values? Where lies our repository of truths? What is my role? What has caused this malaise and the spate of recent tragedies? Questions rather than answers and proclamations should be asked. Our notions of Islam need to be deepened; we should revisit many aspects of this great faith in all its diverse and pluralistic traditions. We should resist succumbing to the rejectionist tendencies and reductionism of denial like most Pakistanis. We should not reject that there are serious problems in Pakistan, and not reduce the problems’ causes to a single factor or to divert responsibility to ‘external forces’, nor should we suggest the solution in such a vague and crude manner by simply parroting “Islam is the solution” without even realising what we are talking about. -- Ahmad Ali Khalid

Al-Banna became a disciple of Rida and ardently adopted Rida's interpretation of what comprised an Islamic State. Although al-Banna's Islamic State near directly mimicked the Islamic State proposed by salafiya reformism, his gained more popular support and, thus, became the first mass movement for Islam. Al-Banna believed that the spread and creation of a genuine Islamic State could only occur through the banning of Western ideas and influence on Sharia doctrinal laws. Sharia is the code of law derived from the Quran. -- Assad

In the 500 Most Influential Muslims 2010, Mr Winter is below the King of Saudi Arabia – who comes in at number one – but ahead of many more chronicled figures. He is ranked in an unspecified position between 51st and 60th, considerably higher than the three other British people who make the list – the Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi; the UK’s first Muslim life peer, Lord Nazir Ahmed, who was briefly jailed last year for dangerous driving; and Dr Anas Al Shaikh Ali, director of the International Institute of Islamic Thought – making him, at least in the eyes of the RISSC, Britain’s most influential Muslim...

In an increasingly secular Britain, sociologists suggest with regularity that “football is the new religion”. Winter understands the comparison. “Football has everything that is important to religion,” he says. “Solidarity, skill, ritual, the outward form of what looks like a sacred congregation. Except it’s not about anything.” Just don’t tell his brother. -- Paul Williams

 

The facts are undeniable. Wherever modern Islamic movements have come to power, whether through a popular revolution (Iran), military coup (Sudan) or civil war (Taliban in Afghanistan), they have invariably sought to drastically restrict personal freedoms and civil rights in the name of upholding the rule of God.

In Turkey, members of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party – many of whose senior figures have their roots in Islamic political activism – have sought to resolve the sovereignty of God/people issue by declaring that the notion of God’s “ontological sovereignty” was quite compatible with the political sovereignty of the people. -- Inayat Bunglawala

In order to really contribute to the economy, Islamic banks will have to expand their commercial and investment banking services, and various streams of deposits should finance these ventures. They will have to diversify their product mix, making use of their comparative advantage, and not just using the conventional modes

Should Islamic banking broaden its base? All un-serviced sectors say that it should, in case it wishes to finance small enterprises, farmers and the homeless, rather than concentrating on big business. -- Muhammad Aftab

The book, simply titled al-Jihad, provides an incisive critique of the arguments about the Islamic concept of jihad put forward by both hardened Islamophobes and radical Islamists alike. ‘Jihad is often seen by non-Muslims as anti-human, as akin to terrorism, and as a cover-up for imperialist conquest. I wanted to critique that impression’, Maulana Yahya explains. ‘At the same time’, he adds, ‘many Muslims are opposed to ijtihad, to reviewing some of the rules of classical fiqh that were developed in a totally different historical context, including in matters related to jihad, some of which are not in accordance with the Quran. Consequently, Muslim youth in many countries, inflamed by the oppression suffered by Muslims, have taken to indiscriminate violence, wrongly claiming it to be jihad. I wanted to counter their arguments, too’. ‘I wanted the book to appeal to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike’, he explains. -- Yoginder Sikand

Later, in order to further expand this work of promoting peace and solidarity, the Prophet entered into a treaty with the Jewish and pagan tribes of Medina, according to which these groups were to be treated as belonging to the same qaum or community as the Muslims. All those who were party to the treaty were to be given protection or peace, except, of course, those who violated this agreement. According to the treaty, the valley of Yathrib or Medina was to be a sacred place for all those who were party to it. In this way, by giving foremost importance to peace, the treaty guaranteed the parties to it safety from external attack and internal strife. The same spirit was evident in the terms of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah between the Muslims, led by the Prophet, and the Meccan pagans. The Prophet signed the treaty although some of the terms appeared to be heavily weighed against him. This he did so that a climate of peace could be created, because of which Islam would be able to spread peacefully. -- Maulana Waris Mazhari

 

Another problem is that by the time non-Muslims examine Islam, other religions have typically heightened their scepticism: If every "God-given" scripture we have ever seen is corrupt, how can the Islamic scripture be different? If charlatans have manipulated religions to suit their desires, how can we imagine the same not to have happened with Islam? Sure, previous religions have been corrupted, and that is why we have a chain of revelations. Ask yourself: why would God send another revelation if the preceding scriptures were still pure? Only if preceding scriptures were corrupted would God need to send another revelation, to keep mankind on the straight path of His design. -- Laurence B. Brown

If the idea is to cover up the body, then some of the undulating heaps , faces peeping out are more stimulating than ladies in Club Mediterranee or erotic gyrations by Bollywood prima donnas. Although the custom of covering women with head scarves is now generally associated with Islamic societies, the practice predates Islamic culture by many millennia. Veiling and seclusion were marks of prestige and status symbols in the Assyrian, Greco-Roman and Byzantine empires, as well as in Sasanian Iran. The Muslim Umayyads copied it from the Byzantines in Damascus, which they took over lock stock and barrel. According to one tradition, the Prophet Mohammad's wife Aisha did not veil her face. Generally, there was greater freedom for women among nomadic Arabs, Turks and Mongols before Islam.  -- K Gajendra Singh

 
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