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Books and Documents

Spiritual Meditations

Meditation, Not Dogma, Leads to God
Dr Irshad Rabbani, New Age Islam

Many leaders of the Bhakti movement observed meditation to attain spiritual elevation of soul and being. In Sufism, the Muslim saints had the concept of Dhikr and Fikr through the Quran but in the Bhakti sect, the idea of meditation reached to them through the ancient religious traditions and scriptures that preached monotheism. This concept of monotheism was revived among non-Muslims by the spread of Sufism in India. Thus the practice of meditation found a confluence in both Islam and Hinduism......

Return To The Centre: Ramadan As The Month Of Meaning
Tariq Ramadan

Most of the classical religious teachings regarding the month of Ramadan insist on the rules being respected as well as the deep spiritual dimension of this month of fasting, privations, worship and meditation. While thinking about it more closely, one realises that this month marries apparently contradictory requirements which, nevertheless, together constitute the universe of faith….

 

The point of all this is that stopping the religious right is a global issue. The harm they do in America isn’t trivial, but they do far greater harm in developing countries where constitutional protections aren’t as strong, and where American money exerts an outsized influence. If we can’t stop them here, there are people all over the world who will suffer much worse repercussions…..

 

'Atheism Is, Contrary to What It Intended, a Powerful Factor in Nihilism'
Bernardo Cervellera

Yet, a religious revival of sort is underway in number of places, too often in partial forms through subjective values within a secularised mode, or as a form of religiosity that is detached from the Church, or through the reassertion of traditionalism or fundamentalism For Botturi, it is important to think about Christianity "after secularisation" so that through their contributions Christians and Muslims are not reduced to "passive receptors or adversaries" of modernity....

 

Descended from Berber, Arab and African slaves who once answered the Islamic call to prayer, generations later Wadud would be born to an open-minded Methodist pastor. She grew up witnessing African Americans sawing off the shackles of racial inequality during an often brutal period of US history. As a 16-year-old, Wadud would have watched in horror the assassination in Memphis of Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.....

 

"Discover for yourself what Islam is and what it stands for", was the suggestion of Fr. Paul Jackson SJ, as he introduced us, to the world of Muslims.  With an anxious heart I, along with my companion, set out for Phulwari Sharif, (Patna, the capital of Bihar, a state of India) to discover Islam in its followers, which had been an alien religion to me.  In this paper I would like to deal with some profound truths that I discovered in my search into the ways of Muslims, whom I met in Phulwari Sharif...

 

Atheism Has Failed, Only Religion Can Defeat the New Barbarians
Jonathan Sacks

I have not yet found a secular ethic capable of sustaining in the long run a society of strong communities and families on the one hand, altruism, virtue, self-restraint, honour, obligation and trust on the other. A century after a civilisation loses its soul it loses its freedom also. That should concern all of us, believers and non-believers alike....

‘Converted' Gitmo Guard Turns Guardian of Inmates
Narayan Lakshman

Where does his passion for this cause come from? Not only conversations with inmates that showed their enduring faith but from the “atrocities” that he said he had witnessed committed at Gitmo. The long list of such acts that Mr. Abdullah describes supplies further context to the hunger strike that more than 100 of the inmates in the prison went on this year....

 

He wanted me to eventually go there to use my position in the country to talk to Muslim women and encourage the fledgling women’s rights movement. I thought this was a great idea. I had seen the Muslim women on TV; I knew they were a poor oppressed group, and I wanted to lead them to the light of 20th century freedom....

 

How Religions Change Their Mind
William Kremer

Once upon a time, animal sacrifice was an important part of Hindu life, Catholic priests weren't celibate and visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad were part of Islamic art. And soon some churches in the UK may be marrying gay couples. How do religions manage to change their mind?...

 

Power Creates Knowledge: A Case of Islam
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

With the continuous spread of the power of petrodollar Islam, a new kind of knowledge is being developed, challenging the true spirit of Islam. These “powerful” people are leaving no stone unturned in bringing about a “radical” change in the understanding of Islam. They have the power hence they are creating the knowledge that Islam is about dominating the world and subjugating people and forcing others to convert to Islam....

The Joy of Sorrow
Sadia Dehlvi

The Joy of Sorrow
Sadia Dehlvi

The truly enlightened soul realises that both affliction and bounties come from God and a friendship with Him requires that you embrace both with gratitude and patience. Those afflicted with a severe calamity should take comfort from the fact that those with the strongest faith are given harder trials....

Dangerous Emotions, Liberating Spirituality
Tariq Ramadan

Distancing ourselves from our selves whilst at the same time striving to achieve deep insight is, therefore associated with elevating consciousness above the physical dimension of the elements with a view to understanding their metaphysical meaning and their inscription within the cosmos....

 
Homes Are Peaceful Abode for Muslims
Sheikh M. Salih Al-Munajjid

If you think about those who are homeless, who live in shelters, or on the streets, or as refugees scattered in temporary camps, then you will realize the blessings of having a home. If you listen to a distressed homeless person saying, “I have nowhere to settle, no fixed place to stay. Sometimes I sleep in others’ house, sometimes in a café or park or on the sea-front, and I keep my clothes in my car,” then you will realize the disruption that results from not having the blessing of a home....

 

Here is a person singing the praise of his Lord. But the Lord he praises is not the Lord of any particular race or community or religious group but Lord of all the worlds, Rabb ul-Aalameen, the source of sustenance and mercy uniformly for all mankind. The devotee invokes God in the name of His attributes....

 

Surviving the Vicissitudes of Life with Aplomb, the Shah Rukh Way
Shah Rukh Khan

...a dying man, gasping for breath, desperately gestured to the priest by his side for a piece of paper. With great effort, he then wrote a few words on it, handed it to the priest and passed away. The priest kept the paper in his pocket and forgot all about it until the final service. Here he suddenly recalled the dead man’s last scribble. Unfolding the paper, he told the funereal congregation that he was about to read great words of inspiration to them. The piece of paper had these words on it – “You are standing on my oxygen tube…fool.” ....

Hand of God or A Coincidence?
Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam

Belief in fate causes all the human abilities to rust, that what is written on the forehead will definitely happen someday, and that all the details of the human life have already been written in a Book. This belief destroys the mentality of the students, labourers and officers. As they believe in the fate, they do not do hard work to achieve progress. Such a belief cannot give birth to extraordinary and talented people.....

Truthfulness Is a Vast Curriculum
Salman Al-Awdah

Truthfulness in speech expresses a dignified personality, manhood, insight and generosity. No one would resort to lies unless he has a wicked nature, a wicked Nafs (self), and a weak personality. A good-natured individual denounces lie and rebukes it, which is why all of the previous revelations agreed upon the prohibition and admonition of lie. How about the Islamic preachers’ then, can you imagine them lying!....

 

The broad humanitarianism, the pioneer declaration of women’s rights, these and other factors of the teachings of the man of Makkah, were to me among the first obvious evidence of a practical religion so tersely and so aptly epitomized in the cryptic words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): ‘Trust in God and tie your camel.’….

"If people are able to see something outside of themselves, they tend to do better in general, so that's not surprising," Puchalski said. "From my own clinical practice, I certainly see that if people are able to have some sense of transcendence, they often have better responses." Part of what makes this a fascinating area of study is that spirituality can take so many different forms, which means it can have diverse implications for patient care, Puchalski explained....

 
Making Sense of Suffering
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Making Sense of Suffering
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

God’s ways are mysterious, far beyond our limited human comprehension, Tina explained. Everything that happens—including her mother’s gruesome death—has a reason behind it, and, ultimately, all things happen for the best, she continued. Nothing—not even a leaf falling from a tree—happens but in accordance with God’s will. Suffering is a means that God uses to bring people back from heedlessness, and it, too, is part of God’s plan for us....

Whither Moral Courage? Asks Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie

It’s a vexing time for those of us who believe in the right of artists, intellectuals and ordinary, affronted citizens to push boundaries and take risks and so, at times, to change the way we see the world. There’s nothing to be done but to go on restating the importance of this kind of courage, and to try to make sure that these oppressed individuals — Ai Weiwei, the members of Pussy Riot, Hamza Kashgari — are seen for what they are: men and women standing on the front line of liberty. How to do this? Sign the petitions against their treatment, join the protests. Speak up. Every little bit counts

In India, You Are Free To Go To Your Mosques and Temples

India, like most developing countries, has a host of problems ranging from corruption and poverty to female foeticide. Fortunately though, religious intolerance is not on this list of issues that ail India.....

 

In the present day men are prone to become atheists when asked to subscribe to dogmatic and intolerant beliefs, and there is doubtless a craving for a religion appealing to the intelligence as well as to the sentiments of men. Whoever heard of a Muslim turning atheist? There may have been some cases, but I very much doubt it....

Love Us, Not Eat Us!
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

Love Us, Not Eat Us!
Yoginder Sikand, New Age Islam

‘God has given us an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables to eat. Be content with that! Turn vegetarian!’ it was titled. The leaflet so inspired a monk in the local monastery that he made it a point to stress love and compassion for animals in every discourse he delivered, pointing out how eating animals ran counter to the very first precept of the Buddha—which is to abstain from taking the life of any living being….

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