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Books and Documents

Islamic Personalities

Perhaps no religion is more misunderstood than Islam, by those who do not follow it. In Europe, for instance, we find a deeply-rooted prejudice against Islam, which is based on ignorance of that which is disliked. It is the duty of the followers of Islam to spread through the civilised world, a knowledge of what Islam means — its spirit and message. They should spread a knowledge of the teachings of the great Prophet, and not allow the more ignorant to narrow down the limits of his teachings. Islam is misunderstood. because of ignorance; and I propose to preface my address with the nature of the prejudices requiring to be met:

1). The first objection against Islam is, that it was spread by the sword, is fanatical, leads to persecution and religious wars and causes blood-shed. Such accusations come from the Christians, who have been notorious for their persecutions. The Inquisition, the Crusades and various forms of persecution employed by the Christians deprive them of the right to attack another faith. -- Annie Besant

When the banner of the great Prophet was first carried to Europe, it came at a period of intellectual darkness. When the Roman catholic faith was a persecuting faith, and when the Moors invaded Spain and founded wonderful Universities, when they brought the light of science to Europe and for six centuries carried a torch of illumination to the European nations — in that time they were looked upon less as scientific teachers than as religious heretics; and because the Crescent instead of the Cross was blazing on their standards, their teaching was banned and they themselves were regarded as enemies.

It is well to remember that from the 8th century to the 14th it was from the Mussalman source that the light of knowledge spread over Europe, that the Muslims revived the knowledge of Greece and of Alexandria as it had been advanced and strengthened in the great University of Baghdad, sending out its messengers in all directions. From that entry into Europe there arose a prejudice against Islam as Islam which was not due to a knowledge of its religious teachings, but as a heretical faith; and therefore all its teachings of every kind were to be banned by good Christian people. -- Annie Besant

Ali’s letter to another of his faithful ally Malik bin Ashter, governor of Basra which is considered as masterpiece of principles of governance. He advised Malik ”do not say, ’I am your overlord and dictator, and that you should, therefore, bow to my commands”, as that will corrupt your heart. He further writes to him, “Let your mind respect through your actions the rights of God and the rights of human beings…for otherwise you will be doing injustice to yourself and injustice to humanity.”

 He also advises Malik Ashter to”Care for them with tenderness with which you care for your children, and do not talk before them of any good you might have done to them, nor disregard any expression of affection which they show in return…” -- Asghar Ali Engineer

 

The internationally renowned Egyptian Koran expert Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd was one of the leading Islamic reformist thinkers of our time. His discourse analytical study of the Koran paved the way for a contemporary understanding of Islam. Abu Zayd recently passed away in Cairo at the age of 66. Loay Mudhoon looks back on the life of this important man

"If the message of Islam is to be valid for all humanity, regardless of place and time, a variety of interpretations is unavoidable," said Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd

 

For Dr. Abdus Salam, his work as a scientist was entirely in obedience to the message of the Quran, and the injunctions of the Holy Prophet. He would say, “The Holy Quran enjoins us to reflect on the verities of Allah’s created laws of nature; however, that our generation has been privileged to glimpse a part of his design is a bounty and a grace for which I am my thanks with a humble heart”. He was referring, of course to the recent advances in the Theory of Relativity, and Quantum Theory, which give us a fresh insight into creation.

During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, he quoted from the Quran; “Thou seest not in the creation of the All-Merciful any imperfection. Return thy gaze, seest thou any fissure? Then return thy gaze again and again. Thy gaze comes back to you dazzled, aweary.” – Asif Merchant

The assumption that Iqbal did not believe in democracy rests largely on a verse he wrote in which he said that democracy was “that form of government in which persons are counted, not weighed”. In a democracy, everyone counts for one and no one counts for more than one. This is both the most obvious advantage (in the sense that it prevents monopoly of power and privilege) and disadvantage (in the sense that numerical equality is stressed at the expense of unequal merit) of democracy. That Iqbal should have pointed out something obvious by no means indicates that he was against democracy. -- Dr Riffat Hassan   

 

Instead of colouring Iqbal red or green, Faiz has tried to contextualise Iqbal's message. Placing Iqbal among "poets of affirmation'' like Dante, Milton and Goethe, Faiz described Iqbal as a product of his period whose "work reflected all the inner intellectual contradictions, all the conflicting impulses, all the confused dreams and aspirations of the middle strata of Indo-Pakistani Muslims.'' "It is precisely because of this," says Faiz, "that his work is popular among progressives and reactionaries alike.'' -- Farooq Sulehria

 

There are different legends on how Khwaja Qutub got the title of Bakhtiar Kaki. The most accepted one narrates that his wife used to take provisions on credit from a nearby grocer to feed her starving family. One day, the grocer taunted her, saying that her family would have starved had it not been for his kindness. Khwaja Qutub learnt of the remark and forbade the taking of provisions on credit. Pointing to a niche in the wall, he told his wife to recite “Bismillah” and take bread from it. The kak, bread, continued appearing miraculously till his wife revealed the secret to others. -- Sadia Dehlvi

By Farooq Argali

By Farooq Argali

 

 

The Aligarh movement launched by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan influenced the Muslims in the country, particularly in South India. The Souvenir brought out on the occasion of the Centenary Celebration of Ambur Muslim Educational Society on 4th September 2006 mentions as follows inter-alia: Sir Syed organised the Mohammedan (later Muslim) Educational Conference. Its branches were established in cities and towns to report on the educational needs of the community. This conference used to meet annually at several important cities in the country and carried the message of modern education far and wide.  The 5th session of the Conference was held at Madras in 1901 and set in a brainwave all over the South. Like their brethren in other parts of the country the Muslims of the Madras presidency were also antagonistic towards the English education and therefore they were far behind their other fellow countrymen in public service. Nawab Mohsinul Mulk Mohsinud Dowla from Aligarh inspired the Conference. -- Azhar Mohammed K

By Farooq Argali

 

 

Following the 9/11 attacks on the United States when the world turned upside down for Muslims around the world, Dr Naik stepped up his battle of hearts and minds by travelling around the world and offering lectures, talks and interviews, to distinguish the original faith of peace from the hateful death cult championed by extremists like Osama bin Laden. He has delivered at least 1200 public talks in the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East and Asia since 9/11, not to mention countless others held in India.  Over the past few years, this one individual has done more to promote Islam and its view of a just world than numerous Muslim organisations with millions of followers and countries with infinite resources at their disposal have ever managed to. -- Aijaz Zaka Syed

Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq was a great scholar and educationist, a man of superior thinking and superb understanding of Islam and its teachings. His heritage needs in depth study, to exclude whatever is in conflict with his attitude and scholarship. In the matter of fiqh, Imam Ja'far Al-Sadiq relied on ijtihad based on the Qur'an and authentic hadith and rejected analogy as a basis of evidence to deduce rulings. Ijtihad therefore forms a distinctive part of his school of law. -- Adil Salahi

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Imam Jafer Al-Sadiq: The Father of Modern Science and Philosophy

The grace and wisdom of Muhammad (SAW) emanates from his pure household, who we are told to follow and love to then succeed in this world. It is therefore of no surprise to see that such a household comprises some of the greatest religious leaders, philosophers and scientists the world has ever seen. -- Noor Youth Committee

 

Yes we should, every moment

And every month and every week

And every hour and every moment:

 Dr. `Isa al-Mani` al-Humayri,

Department of Awqaaf, Dubai

Emulate Prophet's Character,

Says Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak

Benazir: A song half-sung

ON a cold winter evening, an explosion from hell ushered in the permanent permafrost in ordinary lives. One assassin, one macabre moment of madness, one frightening flash and the dawn of hope faded, as her spirit sailed into the sunset. On December 27, 2007, in the blink of an eye, lives had sunk into an abyss of darkness. I mourn today a woman who to me was more than a first cousin. Hers was a presence powerful and pervasive; she remained an all-embracing blanket of security and strength. She filled so many vacuums in one’s life that the thought of life without her is yet to crystallise into accepted reality. -- Tariq Islam

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), the great pioneer of Muslim reform in the 19th century is remembered every year around this time of his birthday (October 17). His contribution is all the more important, given the Muslim clergy’s utter hostility to modern education. A Tribute by former union minister Arif Mohammed Khan

SINGAPORE: Singapore President S. R. Nathan on Tuesday conferred on the former President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, an honorary degree of engineering at a solemn convocation at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) here.

 

What is jihad?  From an India-Pakistan perspective, few people can answer this question better than Pakistani-American writer and Mary Richardson professor of history at Tufts University, Ayesha Jalal. Her latest book, Partisans of Allah: Meanings of Jihad in South Asia (2008), puts this core concept of Islam in perspective for the subcontinental audience. Jalal began her India tour last week with a talk on the subject at New Delhi’s India International Centre. By Zia Haq, Hindustan Times

 

Raising his voice amidst interruptions, Omar said: “ I am a Muslim, and I am an Indian, I see no distinction between the two……. I see no reason why, I as a Muslim, have to fear a deal (nuclear) between India and the United States……….. This deal is between two countries”. He then elaborated the point, saying the enemies of Indian Muslims are not Americans, and the enemies of the Indian Muslims are not “deals” like this.

ROKKIAH MALIK’S carefree teenage days ended years ago, when she and some friends accidentally ended up watching an adults-only Malayalam movie in the local cinema hall. She was stopped from going to school and couldn’t even step outside her home. Not many people, especially a teenage girl full of zest for life, could have endured that kind of ‘punishment’, writes M. C. Rajan in Chennai.

 

Saddam Hussein's survival instincts were not dulled by prison, according to one Iraqi judge who faced the former president in a courtroom and recalls his cunning and rhetorical posturing.

 "Are you an American or a foreign judge?" Raid Juhi Hamadi al-Saedi remembered Hussein quizzing him during a pre-trial hearing in July 2004.

 The youthful judge was unfazed by the self-styled Sword of the Arabs.

Nora Boustany of the Washington Post Foreign Service profiles the Iraqi Judge.

 

That the book has won such an overwhelming mandate flies in the face of all assumptions about what people like to read. As a fully paid-up member of the Salman Rushdie fan club I am, of course, delighted at the latest triumph of Midnight’s Children which, last week, was voted as the best of all Booker prize-winning books of the past 40 years in a global readers’ poll. But I am also a little surprised that a novel which, like Ulysses, has been more talked about and discussed than actually read should have proved such a hit with the public in a day and age when nobody, we are told, has time for “serious” literature, writes Hasan Suroor in The Hindu, New Delhi.

 

BRITISH author Salman Rushdie won the Best of the Booker prize on Thursday to mark the 40th anniversary of one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards. Midnight’s Children won the Booker Prize in 1981, and the Indianborn writer was hot favourite to take the award decided by the public from ashortlist of six in an online poll. The 61- year- old, whose 1988 novel The Satanic Verses outraged many Muslims and prompted death threats against him, also won the 25th anniversary Booker prize in 1993. “Ithink it was an extraordinary shortlist and it was an honour to be on it,” Rushdie said in arecorded message from the US, where he is on a book tour.

 
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NEW COMMENTS

  • I proudly because I m indian muslim I sea jio or jine do thanks '
    ( By Shahid Ahmad )
  • Dear hats off! Why not read the article and post a comment on it, rather than turning the debate to another direction. What Islam....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • Is Javed Ghamidi also delusional? Or Is Ghulam Mohiyuudin sb a determined obstructer of the truth? According to Javed Ghamidi, the following ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • what was allowed for the prophet was not allowed to others. no one was allowed to marry the widows of the prophet.....
    ( By hats off! )
  • First you need to do something about your own hate speech.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Yunus sahib, I do not know whether explanations of the fighting verses have the effect of Islam being seen as a less violent religion or ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • The article is based on the principle of exceptionalism - what was allowed to the Prophet and why but is not allowed to his followers ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Dear Ghulam Mohiyuddin Sahab, Agreed! In fact the Qur'an asks the Muslims to seek the best meaning in it and to focus ....
    ( By muhammd yunus )
  • i am going to learn how to get the good meaning out of hate speech and...
    ( By hats off! )
  • Excellent article
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Good article! However if the time and effort that our ulema have spent over the past century...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • There is a good way to read the book and there is a Saudi/Hats-Off way to derive the worst meaning out of it. Giving vent ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Hats Off's hatefulness has blinded him to the fact that the Muslim community is not one homogenous mass. Moderate Muslims have their moderate opinions ....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Muslims are not as pre-occupied with kufr as Naseer sb. thinks. Muslims hate Shias, Sunnis and Ahmadis a lot more than...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Very good lecture.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • the saudi barbarians are merely asserting what their holy book tells...
    ( By hats off! )
  • The fight against sexual abuse necessarily entails more respect for women as equals with the same rights...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • the pretended surprise of "moderate" muslims is the grass in which the snakes of extremism hide and bite the kuffar.'
    ( By hats off! )
  • As a society, we need to critically reflect on our practices that deny basic human rights to some individuals. Likewise...
    ( By Meera )
  • Rightly said, women’s right to assert themselves in matters of marriage should not be denied. These....
    ( By Meera )
  • Why is this so-called Capt. Safdar’s bigotry surprising? Replace Ahmadi with Hindu, Safdar with Jinnah and the rest of the speech ...
    ( By South Asian )
  • Jai Shree Ram'
    ( By Rajkumar )
  • GM Sb says: “His claim that he is dealing a deadly blow to the extremist ideology is not only grossly exaggerated but is delusional” The definition ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Let us introduce common civil code in India, we can forget all such nonsenses.Let all married couples have two children in all let us ...
    ( By dr.A.Anburaj )
  • Sorry sisters, men do not like to self police so they do all short ps of thing with women on matter of clothing. Last peace ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • The simple answer, he was. He wanted Muslim to educate to dominate Hindus, if two nations theory cannot came into realisation.
    ( By Aayina )
  • Easy way to is that called themselves as new Qadyian relgion and Gulam Mirza Ahmed as their prophet. Just start to lie like Mulism do that ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Its may be true that Muslim may not need to sexually assault. I have witnessed lots of my Muslim friends that Muslim girls are reach to ...
    ( By Aayina )
  • Convertion might be not limited to bride but for kids certainly Muslim kid. Hypocrates have no answer ....
    ( By Aayina )
  • a shameless member os the most persecuted sect in islam revels in his stockholm syndrome and crows about it. he never...
    ( By hats off! )
  • As is typical of him, Naseer sb again resorts to abuse and insults. The fact remains that he has been trying to make a huge point ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Giving the spouse-to-be freedom of choice in matters of faith would be the right way to prove one's love and respect. There should be no ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Well Done, keep it up...'
    ( By vgf )
  • the rag that goes by the name of "the independent" is now owned by a saudi arabian. one saudi ....
    ( By hats off! )
  • All religions teach hatred and violence. Religious scrptures are full of bigotry. We should not be apologetic and there is no need to lie or, ...
    ( By Ashok Sharma )
  • What Wahiduddin Khan, Javed Ghamidi and Muhammad Yunus have been saying is what Yunus sb said in his article “Hindus are Not the Mushrikin Mentioned ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • dictionaries are inherently islamophobic. and arabic does not have a word...
    ( By hats off! )
  • @Manzar Khan By the way, I am not suggesting any changes in Islam. Only a new Islamic ...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • @Manzar Khan Who authorised theologians to create their theology. In Islam, there is nothing between a Muslim and his...
    ( By Sultan Shahin )
  • Who authorized u Mr Shahin to suggest changes in Islam?'
    ( By Manzar Khan )