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Books and Documents

Islamic Personalities

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's Contribution and Relevance Goes Much Deeper
Yasmin Saikia

Anecdotes point against the narrow understanding of Sir Syed whose liberality and cosmopolitanism warrant a deeper look to rethink and appreciate his contribution and relevance in our times, as India embarks on the path of joining the community of developed nations. Sir Syed is one the 19th century leaders who paved the way for this transformation of India into an enlightened member of the global human community....

Misreading Sir Syed: He Is Erroneously Believed To Be A Proponent Of The Two-Nation Theory
Faizan Mustafa

“This man (Sir Syed) is erring and causes people to err. He is rather an agent of the devil and wants to mislead Muslims. It is a sin to support the college. May God damn the founder! And if this college (MAO College which in 1920 was converted into Aligarh Muslim University) has been founded, it must be demolished and its founder and his supporters thrown out of the fold of Islam,” declared the Imam of Mecca in his fatwa against Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. On the 200th birth anniversary of this great educationist and social reformer, particularly in the context of the current wave of aggressive nationalism, an effort should be made to understand his vision of India....

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: From Ruins to Reform – I

.... Mirza Ghalib essentially asks him such questions: “What worth is there in these ancient texts? Why are you engaged in worshipping the past and nourishing the dead? Come out of it and see the variety of amazing scientific inventions the savants of the West have pioneered like the ship, the electric wire, the matchstick, steam-powered machines and even greater than these a code, a law and a system!”....

 
Invoking Bibi Zainab (RA)
Dr Shenila Khoja-Moolji

Invoking Bibi Zainab (RA)

Bibi Zainab’s (RA) sermon also highlights the gendered nature of violence as she narrates the ways in which Yazid and his armies humiliated the women of the Prophet’s (pbuh) family:

“O progeny of the freedman of the Prophet (pbuh)! Is this your justice? Your daughters, your slave girls, your dear women are all sitting behind the curtain and the daughters of the Prophet (pbuh), in shackles, unveiled, stand before you. Your men take us from town to town where all sorts of people, whether they be residents of the hills or of riversides have been looking at us.”....

 

Exalted Sacrifice: Hazrat Abbas Typifies the Height of Islamic and Indeed Human Values
Qasim A. Moini

Requesting Imam Hussain to let him fetch water, he fought his way to the banks of the Euphrates, and despite the scorching heat of the Iraqi desert and the toll the battle had taken on him, he refused to drink until the women and children were satiated. However, as he was returning to the Hussaini camp, Hazrat Abbas was ambushed by the Syrians, who were under orders to prevent water from reaching Imam Hussain. The enemy cut off both his hands, and upon finding Hazrat Abbas wounded Imam Hussain is quoted to have said, “My spine is broken”.....

 
Reunifying Rumi
Farahnaz Zahidi

Reunifying Rumi
Farahnaz Zahidi

There are many versions of the legendary first encounter between Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and his spiritual mentor Shams of Tabriz. Most describe the moment as Rumi, the religious scholar, sitting by a pond, immersed in his scholarly reading, when Shams, a stranger to him, comes by and asks him what he is doing. “You will not understand,” Rumi is reported to have replied, upon which Shams throws all of Rumi's books in the pond. But the books spring back up dry, defying the laws of physics. At this point, Shams is reported to have said, “But you do not understand.”  This was the moment, then, when Rumi began fathoming Allah not just with the mind but also with the heart....

 

Let the Life of Imam Hussain Guide Us
Dr Syed Areeb Uddin

Same were the circumstances at the time when the Imam thought to raise voice against it and blessed history with the example that it’s better to die of dignity rather than living in suppression. They were just a hundred people in front of the Lakhs of armed men sent by Yazid yet Imam defended his viewpoint and maintained the dignity of his view that was backed up by several others who requested him to come to Kufa....

 

Why Prophet Muhammad Is Said To Be the First Sufi
Rana Safvi

In a world that is becoming more and more materialistic and aspirational by the day, material desires are mounting and the inability to realise them leads to frustration. Do people flock to Dargahs, ashrams and even retreats seeking the fulfilment of desires, or does Sufism offer something more? As someone who does visit Dargahs, I would like to examine the relevance of Sufism in our time....

 

Hazrat Umar (RA): An Ethical Leader
Dr A Q Khan

Hazrat Umar (RA) once again had tears in his eyes. He turned towards the graves of our Holy Prophet (pbuh) and Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA), the first caliph, and said: “O Almighty, before I am tempted into luxury, please take my life and allow me to be with these two honourable colleagues. O Almighty, please do not embarrass me in front of these two worthy colleagues”....

Ashraf Ali Thanvi re-established the connection between Shariah and Tariqah and made Tatbeeq (reconciliation) between various subtle issues of mysticism and the sacred text. He considers Abdiyat as the final stage of mystical path. A novice, according to him, should struggle to attain this final stage. The cornerstone of his mystical ideology is the formation of God-conscious personalities. He used to say, “If you want to be saint, Qutb, Ghaus, go somewhere else; if you want to be a human being come here”. He believed that the one who causes pain to any human heart could not attain spiritual experience....

 

The purity and humbleness of Fatima placed her among the world’s best of women, as per a saying for the prophet, which narrates as: “The best women in the entire world are four: the Virgin Mary, Aasiya the wife of Pharaoh, Khadijah Mother of the Believers, and Fatimah daughter of Mohammed.”....

As part of his endeavours towards the purification of Islam, Ahmad Sirhindi vehemently rejected Ibn Al-Arabi’s ontological expositions and ‘Wahdat-ul-Wajood’ and promoted the Qur’anic doctrine of Tawheed. He stated that God is far and far above the grasp of our faculty of reason and ‘Kashf’. “Allah is beyond the beyond, and again beyond the beyond. Neither His being nor His attributes are directly knowable.”...

Abul Hasan Nuri’s Philosophy of Divine Love
Sadia Dehlvi

Having said that Nuri lost his senses and overpowered with yearning for God, he walked into the freshly harvested reed beds. The reeds pierced Nuri’s feet and with every drop of blood that fell, the word Allah appeared. Unconscious of the pain, Nuri bled profusely. Some fellow Sufis bought Nuri to his home and realising he had little time, asked him to recite the declaration of Islamic faith, “Say, there is no god but God…”“Why, I am on my way there,” he replied. And thereupon he died....

 
How Great Minds Read Great Minds
Dr Muhammad Maroof Shah

Allama Anwar Shah (Allama is now a day s applied to street scholars – Ilm being taken from inferior minds is according to a Hadees, a symptom of approaching Doomsday) had second thoughts regarding his life work spent in defending Fiqh of a certain kind – his enormous resources could perhaps have been better spent in developing Muslim philosophy, especially Sadrean and Iqbalian streaks, with both of which he shared much. ....

 
The Piety of Caliph Umar
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

The Piety of Caliph Umar
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

The second caliph in Islamic history, Umar Farouq remains a shining comet of piety .He led a very austere life. On several occasions’ foreign envoys and messengers deputed to Umar by their rulers and generals found him resting under a palm tree or praying in the mosque with common people. It was impossible to distinguish the Caliph from the general crowd. Such was the simplicity and earthiness of Umar….

Song for Mohammed
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Tr. Emily Ezust

Song for Mohammed
Emily Ezust

Behold this rocky spring,

bright with joy

like a twinkling star;

above the clouds

its youth was nourished

by good spirits

among the cliffs in the bushes....

 
The Beloved Prophet in the Words of Non-Muslims
Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

The Beloved Prophet in the Words of Non-Muslims
Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

“Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spread awareness concerning character and manner towards one’s parents, relatives, friends, family, humanity, animals, plants and other inanimate objects in a full fledge manner. It is impossible for the human mind alone to grasp all of that teaching or to come up with similar ideologies and ideas”....

The Pious Kingdom Of Caliph Umar
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

The Pious Kingdom Of Caliph Umar
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

The second caliph in Islamic history, Umar Farouq remains a shining comet of piety .He led a very austere life. On several occasions’ foreign envoys and messengers deputed to Umar by their rulers and generals found him resting under a palm tree or praying in the mosque with common people. It was impossible to distinguish the Caliph from the general crowd. Such was the simplicity and earthiness of Umar.... 

Fatima al-Fihri: The Muslim Lady Who Founded World’s First University
Moin Qazi, New Age Islam

Fatima al-Fihri migrated with her father Mohamed al-Fihri and sister Maram    from al-Kairouan (al-Qayrawan) in Tunisia, to Fez in Morocco. She was well versed in classical Islamic learning such as fiqh (jurisprudence) and Hadith (Islamic traditions based on Prophet’s life) Fatima inherited a large fortune from her father whom she used to build a mosque and university. Mariam, Fatima's sister, was the sponsor of the Al-Andalus mosque, also in Fes.....

Before Islam, Khadija was the Princess of Makkah. When the sun of Islam rose above the horizon, Allah was pleased to make her the Princess of Islam also. Allah was also pleased to make her the Mother of the Believers, as He says in His Book: “The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers.” (Chapter 33; verse 6)....

 

Rumi, the Beloved Mystic Poet
Sadia Dehlvi

The following lines of Rumi were inscribed on a wooden epitaph over his tomb, now placed over his father’s grave that speak of how even the physical structure of the grave is full of life. “If wheat is grown on the clay of my grave, and if you bake bread of it; your intoxications will increase, the dough and the baker will go mad and the oven will begin to recite verses out of ecstasy. When you pay a visit to my tomb, it will seem to be dancing, for God has created me out of the wine of love and I am still the same love even if death may crush me.”....

 

Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Teachings Added a New Dimension to the Understanding of Islamic Ideals
Sadia Dehlvi

Hazrat Nizamuddin’s teachings added a new dimension to the understanding of Islamic ideals. He emphasised that looking after the destitute had greater value than mere formal religious practices. He taught that although many ways lead to God none was more effective than bringing happiness to the human heart. He reiterated that the love of God should be the sole motivation for the righteous and not the desire for heaven or the fear of hell....

 

Maryam, of course, is also celebrated for the birth of her son, Isa/Jesus. For many people, December 25 is the date that now represents the anniversary of this auspicious birth. In the Quranic version of this nativity we read: "And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, ‘Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.’ " (Sura Maryam, Verse 23). For me, the appeal of Maryam is that she represents the mother. Wise, caring and compassionate: rosa sine spina (a rose without thorns). There will always be Maryams....

 

The unravelling of the moral fabric in today’s society must weigh heavily on the minds of individuals with insight. They can draw personal solace and inspiration from the Prophet’s life.  The Arab tribal society of the Seventh century, whose structure was based on greed, debauchery, and violence, was changed in a very short time, by the Prophet, into a society with one of the highest moral standards in history....

 

There is no house for me that may be ruined, no property which may be destroyed, no child who may die, and no wife who may become sad. I enter into the morning while there is nothing for me and enter into the night while there is nothing for me, and I am the wealthiest person among the children of Adam.”....

 
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