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Islamic Society

Thomas Aquinas regarded blasphemy a major unforgiveable sin, more grave than murder. Meanwhile, blasphemy against God and the Church was a crime punishable by death in much of the Christian world. The Quran and the authentic teachings of the Prophet Muhammad describe the practice of showing disrespect or mockery to God and His messenger as acts of ignorance, deliberate provocation or hatred….

When we make an ‘other’ out of people, and distance ourselves from them, we drive out empathy and respect, an act that then makes violence against others possible. To get rid of terrorism in Pakistan, we have to first realise that with our words, we are all parents in its conception and midwives present at its birth....

Qalandar rose up in defiance when some forms of Sufism were adopted by kings' courts and saints were awarded state titles. Damadam mast Qalandar is a raging cry of rebellion against tyranny of established orders.....

 

Yet, during the period in which I had begun to somewhat discover the inner workings of what came to be known as Muslim Modernism, I continued to frequent the shrines of Sufi saints and joyfully partake in ceremonies such as the Dhamal. ....

 

Pakistan created Mujahideen during the US-sponsored anti-soviet war in Afghanistan from 1979-89 paving way for more deadly terrorist organisations like Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Pakistan had become a frontline state again during the war the US again sponsored, this time against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda after 9/11 attacks in 2001. Among the allies in the war against terrorism, Pakistan cannot be easily characterised as either friend or foe. The 3As are the pivotal power handling institution in Pakistan i.e. Allah, Army and America....

 
The Commercialisation of Islam
Khadija Ahmed
The Commercialisation of Islam
Khadija Ahmed

Music now also plays a big part in the commercialisation of Islam. Not so long ago, I discovered a group which identify themselves as the “Deen Squad”, a Canadian-based hip-hop duo, who are known for their Muslim covers of popular mainstream hits. Much of Muslim community disapprove with their use of music, dancing and the fact that their songs are remakes of mainstream songs usually associated with drugs, sex and money which they then convert and replace with ‘Halal lyrics’ I fear that in attempting to eradicate stereotypes, we may just be slowly eradicating our identity and creating our own new narrative where instead of self-expression, we’re self-moulding simply because it sells.....

Yemen: Art, Love, Bombs And Bans
Dorian Geiger
Yemen: Art, Love, Bombs And Bans
Dorian Geiger

Yemen's revolution, which unfolded on streets across the country on the heels of the Arab Spring just over six years ago, largely inspired his brand of artistic activism. Subay was there with the people, protesting in the streets of Sanaa. Those blissful but fleeting moments were short-lived, as the revolution would soon turn into a full-blown civil war....

 
Listen To Sonu Nigam, Please
C. M. Naim
Listen To Sonu Nigam, Please
C. M. Naim for New Age Islam

Undistorted and un-amplified, an ordinary human’s voice was perfectly able to do the task in the days when few people had alarm clocks or, for that matter, even a wristwatch. But now, even the tiny mosque in my neighborhood that can accommodate no more than 50 or 60 people has two loudspeakers tied to its minaret, and a sound system that sends its call out to a body of people 50 times larger than its capacity. But one cannot suggest a change. Apparently, the people who attend the neighborhood mosque can do perfectly well without an amplified alarm in all aspects of their daily lives except when it comes to reaching the mosque to form a congregation. Their grandfathers could do without loudspeakers but not these stalwarts of the 21st century. ….

First and foremost it is interesting to note that each of the 5 biggest issues that you selected fall under our ‘values’; the aspects that govern our day-to-day lives, the aspects we dedicate time in our lives to; i.e. the ‘intrinsic’ stuff, the stuff that makes us ‘compatible’ or not. To understand this further I tend to use the phrase: “Matching / Mapping of Values is where compatibility occurs; personality is where attraction occurs; when opposites attract we attract NOT at the values level but at the personality level....

 

Islam is much more than a religion; it is a way of life.  Islam is guidance from God that directs us through life, and God willing into the next life.  It is for this reason that God also guides us through the process of death and dying.  Death will come to each and every one of us; however there are things we can do to make our passing easier for those we leave behind.  One of those things is to make sure we leave an Islamically sound will. ....

Tradition goes that the Kaaba was ordained by Allah (swt) to be built in the shape of the House in Heaven called Baitul Ma’amoor. Allah in his infinite Mercy ordained a similar place on earth and Prophet Adam was the first to build this place. In the Chapter of Genesis from the Bible, it describes the building of the Kaaba to be the occasion in which God ordained Abraham to erect a Shrine for worship. This was when Abraham was ordered to go to the Southern desert with his wife Hagera and infant son Ismael....

 

"There is an urgent need for these laws to be amended. It's like a sword hanging over everyone's head. If you disagree with some religious point of view, then it's very easy to accuse someone of blasphemy."....

Coming to the crux of the matter, the Muslim leadership must take lesson from the Christians and non-Muslims who are protesting against the travel ban on their behalf since the signing of the Executive Order just a few days ago. They are taking to streets, flocking the airports, carrying banners against the ban and giving speeches with fury and passion to show their solidarity with the Muslims. Therefore, the Muslim leadership worldwide must take any instance of a terror attack against the non-Muslims very seriously, organise massive protest rallies condemning and outlawing terrorism, and showing their deep concern for and solidarity with the victims and offering mass prayers for the them. ...

Communal Mindset versus Islamic Mindset
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
Communal Mindset versus Islamic Mindset
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam

The greatest mistake of present-day Muslims is that they have abandoned this Sunnah or practice of the Prophet. Instead of positive planning, they have adopted the method of negative actions based on reaction. Today, Muslims throughout the world are engaged in such actions. Almost all Muslim orators and writers today are doing just this one sort of thing. Without any doubt at all, this is a destructive Bidʿah...

Is Modern Man Religious?
Dr Muhammad Maroof Shah

...the book calls for a response and not a reaction as it presents what is the case for majority in practice in these trying times when the sacred has been largely exiled from our lives. God can’t be absent but how He chooses to reveal Himself when He is denied normal channels of communication by Promethean-Faustian sensibility of the moderns remains a difficult question that may have diverse answers, all equally orthodox....

Tale from Rumi
Dr A Q Khan

The philosopher who disbelieves in the moaning pillar is a stranger to the senses of the saints. The philosopher comes to deny the existence of the Devil, and at the same time he is possessed by a devil. Whosoever hath doubt and perplexity in his heart, he in this world is a secret philosopher. “He is professing firm belief, but some time or other that philosophical vein will bring him to shame. Take care, O ye Faithful! For that is in you: in you is many an infinite world. In thee are all the two-and-seventy sects: woe if one day they gain the upper hand....

As evidenced by historical facts, Zakat (alms) is supposed to have an effect on the transformation of Mustahiq (the recipient) to Muzakki (the giver). Zakat is capable of eliminating poverty, as happened during the reigns of Umar bin Al Khattab and Umar bin Abdul Aziz, when it was hard to find an eligible recipient of Zakat....

Saudis have continued to cultivate their constituency within Pakistan since then. As a result, they can rely on three kinds of friends within the country. They get the support of Islamists of different kinds — the Jamaat-e-Islami in the past and currently, the Deobandi and Ahl-e-Hadith groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose leader, Hafiz Saeed, was trained in Saudi Arabia. These groups, and a bunch of madrasas, benefit from funding by Saudi charities...

 

The recently attacked Sufi shrine in Pakistan, Dargah Lal Shahbaz Qalandar is equally venerated and visited by Pakistan’s Sufi-oriented Muslim majority and the Hindu minority. Inevitably, not only Muslim devotees, but even a considerable number of non-Muslims were killed in the suicide blast. Regrettably, it is quite ironic to see the Prophetic ideals being brazenly violated by the puritanical Islamists in Pakistan, given the state was created in the name of Nizam-e-Mustafa (the Prophetic system of governance)with its constitution loudly being claimed to follow the model of Misaq-e-Madina….

Today some scholars issue fatwas based on circumstances and conditions that were prevalent in previous times. Such fatwas do not fit our time and usually do more harm than good. Scholars play an important role in our daily lives and represent Muslims to the entire world. When we get confused about a certain issue, we ask renowned scholars to help us understand and clear things up according to Shariah....

 
Morocco: The Everlasting Belief in Saints and Spirits
Dr Mohamed Chtatou
Morocco: The Everlasting Belief in Saints and Spirits
Dr Mohamed Chtatou

After the marginalization of Moroccan Sufis under his father, King Hassan II, King Mohammad VI has made steps to reconcile with them. There has been a marked revival of Moroccan Sufism under the current monarch. Many activists praised King Mohammad VI when he appointed Ahmed Toufiq, a Sufi, as Minister of Awkaf and Islamic Affairs in 2002. Many believe the move to be a signal to encourage the growth of Sufism in response to the increased threat of Islamists in Morocco...

 

A prophetic tradition states, "an honest merchant will be ingathered in judgement day with the prophets." The Quranic verse if taken together with the Hadith gives us epistemological foundation for Islamic economics. Here, Islamic economics and commercial engagement in this world is centred on paving the way to secure the real profit by being in the company of the prophets. In this sublime aspiration is the metaphysical foundation for Islamic economics....

A unique feature of the Holy Qur’an as a religious scripture is the verse that proclaims “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256).  Even when the Muslims were compelled to take up arms in self-defence, the verse that first granted this permission states that the purpose for fighting in self-defence was the preservation of freedom of religion (22:40).  Not just for Muslims, but for everyone as these verses specifically mention the preservation of synagogues and churches in addition to mosques....

Mourning Our Culture Illiteracy
Dr Muhammad Maroof Shah

How Islam has been such a great cultural force and in fact has “conquered” the world – Rumi, Hafiz, Ghalib, Ibn Sina, Ibn Arabi, Khayyam are world phenomena – needs to be understood at a time when the question of Muslimness has been more ideologically or politically framed. Culture literacy will counter fundamentalism on the one hand and nihilism that lurks in secularization project on the other....

The good manners of Prophet Mohammad are legendary. When it came to laughter, it is well known that “his laughter was his smile”, nothing more. He was never heard actually laughing out loud. But at times, he would smile to the point where his teeth would show as well, and that is when people around him knew that he is finding something very funny. The Prophet and the imams were exemplary in all of their behaviour, including their playfulness and good demeanour.....

 


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