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Islamic Society

Islamic fundamentalists are not anti-imperialists because they are not anti-capitalists. Whereas anti-imperialism symbolises liberation, Islamic fundamentalism is oppressive. In fact, it theologises oppression of women, religious minorities, ‘heretical sects’, sub-nationalisms and every kind of opposition. But it is also not Islamic fascism – as fashionable academics or Islamophobic politicians in the West lazily label it....

 

There are Sufists with different identities. Someone can be peaceful Sufi in a mosque and violent Jihadi with the feeling of the Ummah being oppressed outside it. Someone can give Fatwas of war using Hanbali School of jurisprudence in the circle of his students and be devout Sufi when in isolation. But most of the Sufists are peaceful with the thinking that lesser Jihad (taking arms) is not for everyone. The greatest Jihad is personal struggle, for everyone....

 

The blood money demanded by a victim’s family recently reached 55 million riyals, which is really shocking. It is a huge amount and there is no way a murderer’s family could raise this. It is like blackmailing for some. Some people have turned blood money into something like public auctions. Such thing is unacceptable in our Muslim society....

 

The Prophet, whom Muslims are trying to protect, was — in his lifetime — cursed, abused and ridiculed. However, there is no historical tradition of him ever subjecting to death the people who abused him. On personal attacks, he just looked the other way and, in fact, forgave his persecutors. Ironically the so-called “protectors of the faith” will kill in the name of the very faith they call the religion of peace...

This is where Muslim leadership comes in. Unfortunately, that leadership is nested within often sensationalist activists who scream the loudest, or with imams who are not scholars or experts in field. To be very clear, activists who represent a Muslim identity are often not informed sufficiently on the faith they’re advocating for. Similarly, imams are also not well-studied theologians; yet they are expected to serve as scholars.....

Three years ago was when Aceh implemented stricter Shariah laws, including on adultery, homosexuality, gambling and public display of affection outside marriage. Even non-Muslims can be punished. So far, at least five of them have been caned in the province for violating Islamic criminal laws. Now, almost 20 years after Indonesia granted Aceh the right to apply Shariah law, questions are being asked about how far the country’s most conservative province will go in its efforts, and whether more harm than good has been done.....

 

The major character of the Medina state was that it despite all resistance and odds of tribal, religious and ethnic differences defined the existing population as one community (Ummah). Medina was a ethnically, tribally and religiously divided with Muslims, Jews and Pagans living in it. Jewish and Pagan tribes were always at neck to neck with one another. By being defined as one Ummah it restored not only law and order situation but enhanced its protection against outside intruders in years to come. The notion of Ummah centuries later on assumed the concept of national integration. It was designed to promote pluralism....

Why isn’t it possible, I wonder, to spend less money on Qurbani and do something to alleviate poverty? It is said that the regular prayer is the command of Allah, which is the first pillar of Islam. Those who passionately sacrifice animals to the name of Allah, what fraction of them actually prays five times?...

 
Haj: Mixing With Millions Is an Incredible Experience
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
Haj: Mixing With Millions Is an Incredible Experience
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

You just never know what to expect when you get eye-to-eye and shoulder-to-shoulder with people from all over the world. All follow the same call and move towards the same goal — at the same time. It is an amazing feel of unity of purpose and strength of attachment. I admired the way most security men treated us. They were helpful, kind and understanding. An Egyptian elderly person was distributing cups of cold water. When done, his smile was shining like the sunny day of Arafat....

 

Other critics say Mecca is already at capacity during the hajj, and expansion efforts have come at the cost of Islam’s cultural heritage and the spirituality of the pilgrimage. Several historic Islamic sites were destroyed in recent years to make way for luxury high-rise hotels and malls that cater only to wealthy pilgrims. These developments dominate the Kaaba, the cube like structure at the centre of the Grand Mosque that is circled by pilgrims and that is considered to be the House of God....

The fact that millions of Muslims, transcending geographical, linguistic, level of practice, cultural, ethnic, colour, economic, and social barriers, converge in unison on Mecca attests to the universality of the Hajj. In this regard, a lot is expected from Ethiopian pilgrims, who are take part in the rituals, to make efforts in getting a proper place in the world for the noble contribution the country has made for Islam....

 

But while Muslims in Sweden may be rejoicing over the decision, the prospects for no-handshake Muslims are not looking quite so good in Switzerland. So it is in the small city of Lausanne, where a Muslim couple case came up for consideration. In the interview the couple refused to shake hands with the opposite sex. The canton voted to reject their application for citizenship because they felt that their views revealed an inability to integrate into Swiss society. They would never become Swiss citizens because they did not want to shake hands with the opposite gender....

Mr. Alam’s work over the decades has captured some of the most important political and ecological questions in Bangladesh and the region around it. A friend remembers waking up to the tragedy of the Rohingya people from Myanmar after seeing an exhibition of Mr. Alam’s photographs in New York. I first encountered his work after a cyclone in Bangladesh in 1991. I was involved in the relief effort and visited the affected area after the storm. Mr. Alam’s photographs captured the reality of my experience...

 

He wrote in Urdu which I am translating into English, “No religion can be greater than fellow-feeling and empathy. You were our esteemed guest and we knew that you never touched meat in your life. It would have been terribly uncomfortable for you, had we sacrificed a goat during your stay at our place. Allah understands the intentions and makes concessions. Moreover, we sacrificed our ardent wish to sacrifice on Eid-al-Adah because Allah says in the Quran, ‘Sacrifice what is closest to your heart and dearest to you.’”...

 

Makkah is constantly going through changes. The biggest is the expansion of the Holy Mosque itself, but many advancements have been made in the form of logistics, hospitality, security, and medical care. Some traditions and methods, however, have remained the same. A balance of tradition and progression that has the Saudi government recognizing Islamic customs while taking into consideration pilgrims’ primary needs of safety and security....

 

Few Saudis are brave enough to tell Prince Muhammad when he is making mistakes. His allies ought to speak up, but they are silent too. This is a grave mistake. Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab economy and home to Islam’s holiest sites. Successful reform there would help stabilise the whole Middle East. Foreign leaders should advise Prince Muhammad to calm down and stop damaging his country and his reputation. ...

 

“Indian Ulema issued fatwa of Jihad against Britishers occupying the country. As a result, millions of religious leaders and followers peddled this idea of Jihad to fight for the freedom of India and thus most of them attained the rank of martyrdom.” He said this was true Jihad as Islamic Jihad is the name of giving such sacrifices.  This way both the leaders openly discussed terrorism, expressing their concern over the current troubling situation that the anti-Islamic people link the word “terrorism” with Islam and Muslims, for institutionalizing certain conspiracies, while terrorism has no place in Islam....    

The Politics of Darul Qaza
Dr. Qaiser Shamim, New Age Islam
The Politics of Darul Qaza
Dr. Qaiser Shamim, New Age Islam

The lack of political wisdom in announcing it when Lok Sabha elections are nearing, has given yet another issue to BJP to divert attention, whose government has failed to keep its election promises and is faced with general discontent. The timing of the announcement is significant because earlier, just weeks before the UP assembly elections, the Board, in its press conference at the Press Club of Delhi, had announced a countrywide agitation beginning from Lucknow.  A sizable section of Muslims have been accusing the Board for providing fuel to the Sangh Parivar on such occasions....

Related Article:

Darul Qazas or Sharia Courts: Why both must be Opposed?

Here what becomes evident is that Dr Maroof is either misinformed about the subject or has not seen the complete syllabus of Islamic Studies, taught at various Colleges and Universities, globally. His claim that “Islamic Studies as a discipline and Islam as a Tradition” which includes “proper engagement with the whole legacy of Islam” is “absent in much of the Muslim world and its institutions” is not genuine....

Related Article:

Exploring Contributions of Seyyed Hossein Nasr to Islamic Studies

 

Barzakh is a Qur’anic term that designates the metaphysical space between life and the hereafter that contains both even as both are absent. Similarly, suspension, meeting and separation between tribal and modern characterize Arab Gulf culture today. Retaining independence and specificities, each shapes the other in a dynamic, cultural-political field that allows neither compromise nor erasure....

 
The Journey of Faith to Perform Haj in Yesteryears
Khalid Bashir Ahmad
The Journey of Faith to Perform Haj in Yesteryears
Khalid Bashir Ahmad

At one point in time, women in Kashmir were reluctant to submit their photographs for travel documents as taking a lady’s picture did not carry social approval. In 1937, Amir Gul Khan from Anantnag Tehsil submitted an application to the Governor of Kashmir seeking passport for his mother, Gul Bibi, wife of Sarwar Khan Pathan to go on Haj pilgrimage with two other women who had already obtained travel documents and were now "anxiously waiting" for her. Khan was asked to produce a photograph of his mother to complete the formalities. In response, he informed the Governor that her mother was a "Pardah Nasheen Aurat"...

 
The Myth of Jahiliyyah
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam
The Myth of Jahiliyyah
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

And just as Enlightenment delivered Europe into modernity through the dark ages, Islam delivered geography and its people through darkness into a new dawn. In its modern reading according to Syed Qutb and Maududi, large parts of the world are still in the age of Jahiliyyah and are waiting for Islam to deliver them from their self-imposed darkness. Just as the Europeans convinced us that colonialism was good for us, Islamists are out to prove that Islam will be good for the entire world. The claim rests on the assertion that Islam brought humanity to the Arabs and one measure of that humanity was its treatment of women....

The Idea of ‘Me and the Other’ Is Emphasised Too Much In the Islamic Education
Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Idea of ‘Me and the Other’ Is Emphasised Too Much In the Islamic Education
Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi

Islamic education at the primary, secondary and tertiary level is still trapped in a parochial framework that does not take into account the idea of the global society and multi-cultural and multi-faith co-existence. The result is the production of graduates who feel Islam is not part of the bigger society of mankind....

Exploring Contributions of Seyyed Hossein Nasr to Islamic Studies
Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Exploring Contributions of Seyyed Hossein Nasr to Islamic Studies
Dr Muhammad Maroof Shah

Islamic Studies as a discipline and Islam as a Tradition in the integral sense of the term that includes proper engagement with the whole legacy of Islam – aesthetics, metaphysics, ontology, art and architecture, esoterism, a host of traditional sciences and much more – are absent in much of the Muslim world and its institutions. There are very few students formally trained by Islamic Studies/Comparative Religion Departments/Madrasas who are interested in or have resources for proper comprehension of works written by Muslim scholars in most of the disciplines, religious or “secular.”...

 

What is peddled today as moderate Islam by scholars, popular writers, public speakers and liberal intellectuals is a product necessitated by the needs of will to power not will to knowledge. Now the proponents of liberal and Islamist narratives are trapped in the straight jacket of binary logic. Both see the world in black and white, and thereby close the possibilities for emergence of critical reason and creative imagination....

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