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Books and Documents

Islamic Personalities

Single-handedly, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817 – 1898) led the Muslims of the Subcontinent towards a modern Muslim identity. Inspired by his visit to the University of Cambridge in England, he set up a University for Muslims in Aligarh. From this institution came leaders, prime ministers, policy makers, historians, scientists and so forth. In the colonial time when there was deep suspicion of “the Other” especially after the bloodbath of 1857 when Muslims were being persecuted some Muslims were distancing themselves from all that was foreign, especially British education, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan encouraged Muslims to progress and not to hold back but to educate themselves, learn English, and develop better relations with the other in order to create deeper understanding and better communication…..

'The Second Master'-Abu-Nasr Muhammad al-Farabi
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Al-Farabi’s philosophy is based on the teachings of Plato and Aristotle as they were interpreted in the school of Baghdad in the tenth century. Like all writers in Arabic he assumed there were no essential differences between the two, but he preferred the metaphysics of Aristotle, as interpreted by Neo-Platonist. He uses a Neo-platonic emanationist theory crafted within the structure of Ptolemaic cosmology to account for God’s power of creation. However, God, or the First Being (al-Awwal), does not, like “the One” of the ancient philosopher Plotinus….

 

Lessons from Prophet Muhammad’s Life: Prophet Muhammad in Loss and Grief
Tariq Ramadan

God had once more tested the Prophet (peace be upon him) through his humanity and his mission. He had lost so many loved ones- companions, his wife Khadijah, three of his daughters, and his sons. His life had been crossed with tears, but he remained both gentle with his heart and firm in his mission. It was this chemistry of gentleness and firmness that satisfied the Most Near.....

 

710th Death Anniversary:  Khusrau Believed In Affection and Respect between People of Various Faiths
Sadia Dehlvi

Deeply influenced by the spiritual philosophy of Hazrat Nizamuddin, Khusrau believed in affection and respect between people of various faiths. He wrote of his love for Hindustan, its fruits, vegetables, trees, animals and birds, likening it to paradise….

 

In his youth, Dara came into contact with numerous Sufis and Bhaktas, some of whom exercised a profound influence on him. The most noted among these was Hazrat Miyan Mir (d.1635 C.E.), a Qadri Sufi of Lahore whose disciple he later became. Hazrat Miyan Mir is best remembered for having laid the foundation-stone of the Golden Temple of the Sikhs at Amritsar. After Dara was initiated into the Qadri Sufi order, which he describes in his Risala-i-Haq Numa as ‘the best path of reaching Divinity’, he came into contact with several other mystics of his day, Muslim as well as Hindu, including Shah Muhibullah, Shah Dilruba, Shah Muhammad Lisanullah Rostaki, Baba Lal Das Bairagi, and Jagannath Mishra. Dara’s close and friendly interaction with them led him to seek to highlight the essential sameness or oneness of Sufism and Hindu mysticism......

Past Present: Understanding Azad
Mubarak Ali

He went from being a Pan-Islamist who was considered responsible for introducing the Ulema to politics to a nationalist. Yet much of his life remains shrouded in mystery.....

 

Khwāja Mo`Īnuddīn Chishti Was the Torchbearer of Love, Compassion and Inter-Faith Harmony in India
Misbahul Huda, New Age Islam

Even more than 700 years after his demise, his shrine is a symbol of inter-faith love and harmony. Today deviant and extremist Islamic groups are engaged in terror and wanton killings of innocent civilians in the false pretext of spreading Islam and compelling them to change the religion on gun point. They should take lesson from Gharib Nawaz’s concept of inclusive Islam and his peaceful method of preaching.....

Uwais of Qaran Never Met Prophet Muhammad, Both Were Fully Aware of Each Other’s Spiritual Presence, Bound by the Love of Allah
Sadia Dehlvi

The Uwaisi form of spiritual transmission in vocabulary of Islamic mysticism was named after Uwais Quarni, as it refers to the transmission of spiritual knowledge between two individuals without the need for physical interaction between them. The story of Hazrat Uwaiz remains a favourite amongst Sufi circles. Sometimes the Messenger of God would turn in the direction of Yemen and say: “I perceive the fragrance of love from Yemen,” referring to the presence of a great lover of God living in that region......

Remembering Dara Shikoh - The Prince of Tolerance
Dr Amineh Ahmed Hoti

South Asia, particularly the Sub-Continent region, is home to a stunning array of diverse groups, languages, and cultures. At times living in complete harmony, at others, as in recent times with mercurial levels of tolerance leading to escalating violence, unfortunately meted out to individual properties and lives. …..

The Friend of Allah
Sadia Dehlvi

Prophet Muhammad entrusted his mystic heritage to Hazrat Ali famously saying, “I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate”. Hazrat Ali is universally recognised as the leader of the Wali’s, Sufis, the Friends of Allah. The Prophet also said, “Man Kunto Maula va Ali un Maula”. These words are known as Qaul, and inscribed on the walls of numerous Sufi spaces. Hazrat Amir Khusrau set this prophetic saying to a classical Raag, and most Sama Mahfils, musical assemblies traditionally begin with a rendition of the Qaul......

 

Allama Iqbal: Great Poet and Philosopher of Islam
Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi

The stranded Pakistanis have twice made great sacrifices. Firstly, when they abandoned their wealth, property, friends and relatives in India and migrated to East Pakistan during the partition of the Subcontinent, and secondly when they stood with the Pakistan army to protect the unity of Pakistan during the period of secession of East Pakistan and formation of the new state of Bangladesh. As a result of their position against secession, they were subjected to killing, looting and displacement…..

 

Allama Iqbal encouraged the younger generation for fresh interpretation of Quran and the Sunnah and discovers mutual harmonies that would enable Muslims to learn modern science and use science and technology to improve their material existence…..

 
The Shy Sufi
Sadia Dehlvi

The Shy Sufi
Sadia Dehlvi

Muslim mystics and Sikh Gurus were affectionate and respectful towards one another. Mian Mir often travelled to Amritsar to meet Guru Arjun Dev and whenever the Guru visited Lahore, he met the Sufi. The quest for God united Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs….

The Forgotten Inheritance of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
S. Irfan Habib

Muslims made India their home centuries ago, and according to Azad, they had a huge stake in the idea of India. However, Azad’s idea received a jolt in 1947 as the violence of partition ravaged India. Azad went on to live for another ten years, helping in healing and rebuilding the scarred and bruised new India. Azad lived many lives....

Rabia of Basra
Sadia Dehlvi

Rabia of Basra
Sadia Dehlvi

One of my favourite Sufis is Rabia Basri, who gave Sufism the concept of Divine love. The eighth century mystic woman remained a celibate as her overwhelming love for God left no room for any worldly relationships. Sufi manuals are filled with stories from her remarkable life that illustrate her teachings.....

 

When she brought the blessed child home, she had a daughter named Shaima and her sucking son, Abdullah. Shaima was about five years old and she used to help her mother take care of Mohammed. She would bath him and take him for walks and always embraced him with love. Shaima witnessed a change that happened in her family from poverty to comfort because of the blessing of this child. She used to sing songs about him and say: “Our Lord! Keep Muhammad (peace be upon him) alive for us so that I can see him become an adolescent, then a leader. Suppress his enemies and those who are envious of him, and give him everlasting glory!”…

 

What Studying Muhammad Taught Me about Islam
Craig Considine

Muhammad's beliefs on how to treat religious minorities make him a universal champion of human rights, particularly as it pertains to freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the right for minorities to have protection during times of strife. Muhammad initiated many legal covenants with Christians and Jews after establishing his Muslim community….

Messenger of Peace
Sadia Dehlvi

Messenger of Peace
Sadia Dehlvi

Over 1,400 years ago, Prophet Mohammed warned of extremism and called for moderation. He said, “My way is the middle way”, and “beware of extremism for it was extremism that destroyed the people before you”. Despite all the glories bestowed upon him as the beloved of Allah, Mohammed remained in prostration before Him, calling himself His slave….

Leadership Qualities of Prophet Muhammad
Louay Fatoohi

Another beautiful aspect of Prophet Muhammad’s leadership is combining authority and power with mercy and gentleness. This combination is difficult to achieve. Those who are merciful and gentle may fail to become leaders, lacking firmness and decision making skills. On the other hand, those who are in leadership positions find it very difficult to behave with mercy and kindness as they exercise their power and authority....

The Long Shadow of a Muslim Sufi and Charismatic Scholar Fethullah Gulen
Fethullah Gulen

As a young cleric, he served at various mosques in Turkey, but soon developed a philosophy of his own that emphasized the synthesis of faith with modernity and secular education. He is believed to have drawn inspiration from the ideas and wisdom of past Sufi scholars, especially Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), and Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (1877-1960). The latter was a Kurdish theologian, known for his extensive commentaries on the Quran and advocacy of the teaching of modern sciences, technology and secular education in all religious institutions…..

In fact, if efforts are made to study the Prophet’s life with all prejudices set aside, sectarian and doctrinal differences may give way to consensus and a spirit of ecumenism within the world of Islam, enabling Muslims to live in harmony with themselves and with others. Conversely, not studying the Prophet’s life will only add to the differences within the world of Islam, as each group claims its own view constitutes the ‘authentic’ Sunnah....

He lived in an age marked by political and moral crisis following decline of Mughal power. The state of Muslim society was also perilous as a result of intellectual decay among Muslims. Having been educated by his father and at some religious seminaries and being sensitive to what was happening to Islam and Muslims, he started proffering his analysis of the prevailing conditions and suggesting ways and means to revitalize Muslim society and treat the malaise….

 

Attar in his library picked up his wooden soup bowl and turned it upside down on the prayer mat where he sat. The horse neighed in pain as the commander of the Mongol cavalry advance guard pulled sharply on its reins and wheeled it around. He raised his hand in the air to signal his warriors to stop. But they too had drawn rein in fright. They could not believe what had just happened. Before their eyes the entire city, whose minarets and turquoise tiled domes were beginning to shine in the first light of dawn just moments ago, had disappeared into thin air......

 

Role of Iqbal in Philosophy and Religion
Syed Kamran Hashmi

Iqbal is mostly quoted by all the people who have a grudge against the people’s mandate, equal rights, and religious freedom be it a military dictator, Islamic revolutionist or a violent extremist. He is hardly present in the discourse of research-oriented scholars who only look at the data in support of or against their argument instead of relying upon a vague concept that cannot even be defined properly in 100 years…..

 

Muhammad Iqbal: Question Islamism of the Iconic Poet
Tufail Ahmad

Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), Pakistan’s national poet whose birthday on November 9 is celebrated by Islamist organisations and Urdu litterateurs across South Asia, is known for promulgating the idea of Pakistan, engendering Islamism among Muslim youth, lauding socialism which he did not follow and ridiculing democracy under which he thought people are counted and not weighed …..

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