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Books and Documents

Islamic Personalities

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: ‘The Great Akbar’ Of Independence Struggle
Mushirul Hasan

Azad’s greatest gift was to postulate an equation between Islam and Indian nationalism on the one hand, and between Islam and the universal principles, on the other. He did so to enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination, and diminish dogmatism which closes the mind to Ijtehad....

Gaddafism: an African Hero’s Legacy Lives On
Late Muammar Gaddafi

His crime was Gaddafism: an ideology advocating for a strong, united Africa, which prioritized the interests of the indigenous masses over the interests of the foreign corporate bourgeoisie. Muammar Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafism had turned Libya into Africa's most prosperous nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and highest life expectancy in Africa. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands….

 

Emīr ʿAbd al-Qādir: Jihadist Doesn't Equal Psychopath
Emir Abd el-Kader

During his life of warfare, imprisonment and exile, the emir kept at bay the demons of hatred and bitterness. His ability to understand and forgive was harnessed to his unusual capacity to empathize with his adversaries. His disciplined intellect, knowledge and sense of duty to divine law allowed him to distinguish between Christians who attacked his country as invaders and Christians in Damascus he had an obligation to protect as minorities and innocents…..

 
Defending the Prophet: An Introduction (Part IV)
Syed Manzoor Alam, New Age Islam

...the average human is not an expert in sociology, history, ethics etc. He merely thinks that his present civilization is the correct civilization or it is the correct society, with the right cultural norms and values. And these people don’t realise that cultural norms and values change from time to time and place to place. The values of post-Victorian England are radically different from the values of present century England.....

It was the result of the betrayal of the Jews, during the time of war which is high treason in any country. So the punishment given to them were not because they were Jews, it was because they committed treason. This has nothing to do with their ethnicity or religion. Another thing that must be kept in mind that this was not even the judgement of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) but it was the judgement of the Sad Ibn Muadh, who was chosen to pass a sentence on them. ….

There are multi-faceted responses to such attacks against Islam: economical, political, responding in the media etc but in these articles I wish to present the academic response. I begin by Islamically contextualizing such attacks. These attacks are called ad hominem. It means you are attacking the messenger, instead of the message; you are attacking the persona, rather than what he says.....

Every society, every country has a line that you don’t cross. It just so happens that the honour of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) does not exist beyond that line for them. They have other issues that are beyond that line.....

Abu’l-Faiz Thauban Ibn Ibrahim: Man of the Fish
Sadia Dehlvi

The controversial doctrine proclaims that all things exist within God and are not separate from Him. Such mystic ideas did not go down well with the orthodox establishments.….

 

The Wisdom of Ali (RA)
Farhan Bokhari

Hazrat Ali’s words of wisdom in the letter to Maalik bin Ashtar went on to dwell upon the criteria for successful leadership:  “Try carefully to realise that a ruler can create goodwill in the minds of his subjects and can make them faithful and sincere to him only when he is kind and considerate to them, when he reduces their troubles, when he does not oppress them and when he never asks for things which are beyond their power. These are the principles you should keep in mind and act upon”....

 

Learning Lessons from Hazrat Khadija’s Life
Nigar Ataulla, New Age Islam

....after the Prophet married Hazrat Khadija, his family life did not come in the way of his meditations.  Often, he would sit in the cave atop Mount Hira, thinking and reflecting on life. Hazrat Khadija would send her little daughters with food and water so that he would not be hungry and thirsty. She gave the Prophet complete spiritual support, too....

Manto’s Human Psyche
Farooq Sulehria

Manto’s Human Psyche
Farooq Sulehria

However, Manto would never write under the influence. He would also avoid “drinking on national holidays like Pakistan Day on 23 March, not for any nationalistic reasons but merely to devote himself to the amusement of the children, whom he helped put up buntings and flags all over the front of the house.” While he appears as an irresponsible family head, he was indeed a loving father and husband. ...

 

His people would ridicule him. They would hurl insults upon him. They would harass Noah and his disciples. They would threaten him with a social boycott. They would abuse him and warn him of dire consequences for negating their idols. But Noah and his followers would stick to their faith. They would not budge an inch for fear of insult, abuse and boycott. Noah would consistently, patiently and peacefully persuade his people to become monotheists and abandon their polytheistic practices. Noah’s wisdom lies in the technique of persuasion when faced with falsehood....

 

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and Humanity
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi

Rumi asserts that understanding each other requires openness and humility. He discourages scholastic vanity which leads to stagnation. Rather, the great sage prefers the disciple to explore commonalities among people. According to Rumi, negative thoughts that lead to hatred, violence, greed, etc hinder the human potential to actualise. Therefore, negative thoughts, considered the darkness of the human heart, need to be removed in order to understand the inner meaning of human life....

 

Shirin Ebadi - The Campaigner Who Has Become an International Figurehead for Women's Rights
Shirin Ebadi

If there is a single face identified with the defence of women’s rights in Iran it is that of Shirin Ebadi. Her influence has spread across the Muslim world, after she became the first Iranian, and the first Muslim woman, to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Since winning the prize in 2003, she has used the power of her global platform to continue to campaign in favour of human rights in Iran, at some considerable risk to herself.....

 

Asghar Ali Engineer’s Islam: the Reformist as Pacifist
Asghar Ali Engineer

“History is full of instances of people who challenged the mighty forces of evil and they were not only fighting a lonely battle but were left alone to die. If somebody asked me about achievement I would have to talk qualitatively because my forces have depleted. So what? People who were swearing by my values finally succumbed. I have been ex-communicated.”...

 

The Mystique of Mai Sahiba
Sadia Dehlvi

The Dargah of Mai Sahiba at Adchini near Mehrauli is one of my favourite Sufi spaces in Delhi. Her Urs, death anniversary, was celebrated last week. Along with hundreds of devotees, I sought blessings at her threshold. Each time I visit her Dargah, I am reminded of Mai Sahiba’s unwavering faith in God through all her trials and tribulations. Bibi Zulekha, popularly called Mai Sahiba, is the mother of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya....

 

(I have seen nothing but the grace – of God),” The above phrase is proof enough of the identity of the Great Lady whose birthday we mark on the 5th of Jamadi al-Awwal every year with celebrations for her nurturing Islam back to life after history’s most heartrending tragedy. She expressed this phrase not in a state of ease, comfort, joys, and amenities, but in a state where the weak of heart, mind and soul, would wish death to be a welcome relief….

 

Imam Ghazali The Renowned Islamic Scholar
Sketch of Imam Ghazali

Imam Al-Ghazali is one of the greatest Islamic Jurists, theologians, entitled as Hujjatul Islam, (Ornament of the Faith)," Sharaful A'emma (Honor of the Scholar), Zainuddin "Great Siddîq," absolute Mujtahid, a major, a debater and expert in the principles of doctrine and jurisprudence. Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the renowned scholar of our time, states that, like ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and Imam al-Shafi‘i for their respective times, al-Ghazali is unanimously considered as the Renewer (Mujaddid) of the Fifth Islamic Century....

Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya: The Compassion Master
Sadia Dehlvi

Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya is also known as Mahboob-e-Elahi, meaning the Beloved of Allah. According to the Islamic calendar, this year the 709th Urs celebrations of this great Chishti Sufi master commence on the eve of February 28. The Dargah is representative of Delhi’s language, poetry, food, music and architecture. Just as in the life of Hazrat Nizamuddin, the Dargah continues to attract people from all sections of society, irrespective of class, creed, gender and faith.....

The Prophet Mohammed from Western Eyes
Sarwat Husain

Lamartine, in his history of Turkey published in 1854, wrote, “If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who would dare to compare any great man in modern history with Mohammad? “The most famous men create arms, law and empire only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers ... This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, people and dynasties, but millions of men in the one third of the then-inhabited world.”....

Rebranding Faiz Ahmad Faiz
Faiz Ahmad Faiz

February 13 marked the birth anniversary of one of the most prolific Urdu poets, Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Faiz sahib stands out in the rich tradition of Urdu poetry as an ideologue who never shied away from taking up the momentous task of conveying the message mainly inspired by politics of the Left. That too in such a spellbinding manner that no other poet........

But a careful examination shows that the percentage of people killed in these wars relative to the number of the people who participated in them amounted to about 1.5 percent. Since the Messenger of Mercy was victorious in most of these battles, the numbers of casualties indicate that he is not to be counted among the ruthless and barbaric warlords, conquerors, and military generals of human history – and in fact, far from it....

Prophetic Muhammad (pbuh)’s Prophetic Model and Legacy
Sadia Dehlvi

In just 23 years of his life as prophet, Muhammad united nomadic warring Arab tribes into submission to One God. The revelations of the Quran alone did not transform them for they were largely illiterate. It was essentially the Prophet’s character that appealed to the rough Arabs. After humiliating and battling the Prophet for years, they handed him the keys of their hearts after recognising his qualities of honesty, humility, justice, compassionate and generosity.....

The Prophet Muhammad (saw), A Great Humanitarian
Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was one of the greatest humanitarians that ever walked on the earth. In fact he must be called the saviour of humanity. George Bernard Shaw insists that “if a man like Muhammad were to assume dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.”[The Genuine Islam] Similarly, a great historian, Lamartine argues that “as regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?”[Histoire de la Turquie] According to Michael H Hart, he leads the list of the Most Influential Persons in History’ (The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History’)

As a result, at the turn of the twentieth century, Maulvi Abdullah Chakralavi floated the idea of supremacy of Quran as the only comprehensive and divine source of guidance for Muslims in their religious beliefs and practices. He denounced Hadith and the practices of the Prophet (PBUH) ritualized in the form of Sunnah - the second most important source of religious guidance according to the consensus of Muslim scholars for many centuries - as irrelevant....

 
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