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Books and Documents

Debating Islam

Islamic Televangelism: The Salafi Window to Their Paradise
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Dr. Ibrahim Saleh has explained that The Window to Paradise is a very popular programme in the Salafi Islamic televangelism. It has also greatly helped the Salafist preachers in propagating an anti-pluralist theology and exclusivist religious ideas.

Abolish Personal Laws: Patriarchy Remains Deaf to The Quran’s Call For Justice, Equality And Compassion
Sadia Dehlvi

Debates over the validity of pronouncing Talaq, divorce, three times in one go or over three months offer no solutions. Both methods find permissibility in schools of Islamic Fiqh, jurisprudence. Unilateral divorce allows men to commit grave injustices by stripping women of honour and dignity, inalienable rights both in Islam and the Indian Constitution. It is unwise to expect reform from the community whose religious leaders have historically treated women as subjects and not equals.....

Why It’s No Conspiracy If Courts Intervene in Muslim Personal Law
Tahir Mahmood

This is what the Quran says about divorce: “al-Talaqu Marratan” (divorce twice) – and after that “either cohabitation as per the law or parting of ways in kindness.” In pre-Islamic society, men used to torment their wives by pronouncing and revoking Talaq again and again. The Quran abolished the mean practice by proclaiming that a Talaq can be revoked only twice, and that it should be pronounced the third time only if the marriage has irretrievably broken down and must be dissolved in the interest of both parties....

Related Article:

Reform Muslim Personal Law, Use Debate on Triple Talaq as an opportunity to Breach the Stagnation in Muslim Religious Thought

Chanting 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' Is Against Islam, Says Darul-Uloom Deoband, But Other Islamic Scholars Disagree
Mohammad Ali, The Hindu

Amid an ongoing debate in the country over “Bharat Mata ki jai”, Darul-Uloom Deoband, the leading Islamic seminary of the Indian subcontinent, on Friday said that chanting of the slogan was against Islam. …

But scholars like Sultan Shahin, editor of NewAgeIslam.com, a website which talks about advocating reforms in Islam, slightly disagreed with the way the seminary interpreted the slogan 'bharat mata ki jai'. While the Darul-Uloom Deoband said chanting the slogan means “hailing and worshipping” the goddess “bharat mata', Mr. Shahin said, the slogan did not amount to worshipping 'bharat mata' and hence did not go against the idea of 'tauheed' (the belief in oneness of God).

“Primarily the idea of tauheed is believing into one God. However, there is a variety of interpretation of god and tauheed in Islam. The idea of tauheed (oneness of god) is vast enough to accommodate the idea of praising the motherland and showing love for her. I would not like to go into literal translation of Vandana or saying 'bharat mata ki jai' because I find the controversy unnecessary and irrelevant as there are enough controversies around the idea plaguing us,” said Mr. Shahin.

Talking about a variety of interpretations of 'tauheed', Mr. Shahin presented the instance of Sufis traditions in Islam and said that “a section of Islamic scholars, find even Sufi practices like going to Sufi Dargahs and praying to Sufi saints as against the idea of tauheed. Does that make Sufism un-Islamic? I do not think so. All versions of oneness of God are right but none should be forced on anybody”.

But Mr. Shahin also said that the slogan 'bharat mata ki Jai' should not be forced on anyone as the Constitution did not require anyone chant the slogan.

A Net Assessment of the Middle East
George Friedman

The collapse of the Soviet Union energized Islam, both because the Mujahideen defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan and because the alternative to Islam was left in tatters. Moreover, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait took place in parallel with the last days of the Soviet Union. Both countries are remnants of British diplomacy. The United States, having inherited the British role in the region, intervened to protect another British invention — Saudi Arabia — and to liberate Kuwait from Iraq....

 

To Beat ISIS, Kick Out US-led Coalition
Sharmine Narwani

With the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the US inadvertently extended Iran’s arc of influence in a direct geographic line to Palestine, leaving the Israeli colonial project vulnerable. Former President George W. Bush immediately took on the task of destroying this Resistance Axis by attempting to neuter Iranian allies Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas – and failed....

 

Overcoming a Resilient Islamic State
Vijay Prashad

Da’esh will not be defeated on the battlefield alone. It will have to be suffocated by lack of resources. Grievances of the sect were set in motion by the bloody Lebanese Civil War, which lasted 15 years and left the country exhausted into peace. A police officer of the time told me that the Lebanese Civil War has not ended but is “at half time”. Even an intermission would be a relief for the people of Syria....

 

In addition to airstrikes, Saudi efforts to build a Yemen military force to defeat the Houthi insurgents is lagging and, Riedel notes, “even if this approach gains momentum, it will only lead to a brutal civil war in Yemen much like Libya, Syria and Iraq in which al-Qaeda and its offshoots will be the main beneficiaries....

 

Brutal Truths about ISIL Victories
Afzal Ashraf

The fight against ISIL is in many ways a fight between the idea of a nation state and the idea of a revolutionary ideological empire. Lessons learned about the intrinsic strengths of revolutionary insurgencies in comparison with the strengths of conventional armies are not being applied....

 

ISIS’ capture of Ramadi: Setback or Turning Point?
Chris Doyle

ISIS will be counting on the militias doing just that. Its currency is fear and panic. It trades off an Iraqi Sunni Arab population who believes that they are the only force capable of protecting them. Its brutality is designed to polarize and divide. Any Shiite militia crimes will likewise serve their immediate ambitions of securing permanent control over Anbar….

 

In this kingdom, where it is common for royalty to study in foreign universities, this son has not. Little is known about this favourite son—even his age is a matter of debate. In the debate, his age varies between 27 and 35. Even the higher figure is about half the average age of the office-bearers of the king’s ministry. This son quickly prosecutes a war in a neighbouring country, to the south, a war that soon leaves thousands dead in aerial strikes alone....

 

Is ISIS Really on the Run?
Patrick Cockburn

Many news outlets across the world republished the map as evidence of the success of air strikes by the United States and its allies in support of the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. The capture of Tikrit after a month-long siege is cited as a further sign that a re-energised Iraqi state is winning and one day in the not too distant future will be able to recapture Mosul in the north and Anbar province in the west....

 

It seems that in secular India, religious beliefs cannot be overstretched.  Are people afraid that permitting young Muslim boys to grow a beard is a step towards “Talibanisation” of the country and hence this practice should be nipped in the bud....

 

Three Reasons to Read Classical Muslim Philosophers
Ibrahim Kalin

The Muslim philosophers, who read Aristotle mostly through the eyes of Plato, were already familiar with the term "wisdom" (Hikmah) from the Quran and the sayings of the prophet of Islam....

 

IS — A Baathist Brainchild?
Linda Heard

A recent report by the German magazine Der Spiegal, drawn from documents smuggled from Syria to Turkey, is eye-opening. Separating fact from fiction is an almost impossible task but if young Muslim men and women were being indoctrinated and manipulated by people with a very different agenda, it wouldn’t be the first time....

 

The question is what “Islamic economy” refers to. One thing to note is that the Islamic economy is not just another name for Islamic finance. From a commercial perspective, it naturally encompasses all the sectors driven by the Muslim population’s adherence to some form of faith-based activity that has a market impact....

 

A fatal conceit exists on the left in its use of Islam.  It’s this: leftists are in every way superior to Muslims.  Islam, violent and useful, though dangerous, is primitive and no match for the great minds and godless certitudes of “progressivism.”  Islam can be used and then dispensed with.  But the left underestimates the power of an ancient faith -- and its faithful -- at its own peril....

 

The religious dimension at its core is obvious. However much we may point to absent permits and municipal laws, these were not the concerns of the 50 protesters. They were reacting, maybe irrationally, to the possibility that their faith and that of Muslim youths’ might somehow be challenged or compromised by the inanimate cross symbol....

 

Defending the Right to Offend
Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Those who want to silence the debate on Islam -- on what is explicitly done in the name of Muhammad, and according to the instructions of the Quran -- are not only threatened with physical assassination, but must also endure systematic attempts at character assassination. But I will not be silenced by threats. How can I be silent? Has the threat from radical Islam diminished since 2005? Am I to say nothing when Ethiopian Christians are brutally beheaded by supporters of the so-called Islamic State in Libya? Am I to be silent as the mayhem caused by the Jihadists drives thousands to risk their lives....

What India Can Teach Us about Islam and Assimilation
Shikha Dalmia

The late Mohammad Rafi, a Muslim singer who is a household name in India, sang bhajans so poignant and soul stirring that they bring tears to the eyes even of a Hindu-turned-atheist like me. Iqbal, a Muslim poet, wrote the lyrics of arguably the most patriotic song in India that celebrates “Hindustan” as the best nation in the world. More recently, A.R. Rahman, an observant Muslim composer who won an Oscar for his score in Slumdog Millionaire, has recorded the most goose-bump-inducing rendition of Vande Mataram — an ode to the Hindu Motherland....

 

Faux moderate Muslims like the Muslim Council of Britain (which is the UK's CAIR) keep on telling us that Islam and politics are utterly separate. It often says, for example, that "Islam isn't the same as Islamism". Yet Islam itself has always been political in that Sharia law is at the heart of Islam and Sharia law covers all aspects of life....

 

Islam and Tribalism
Irfan Husain

Wahabi influence and money has thus transformed the social and religious landscape across much of the Muslim world. This vision has fuelled extremism by excluding other, less-rigid interpretations of Islam, deeming followers of different sects non-believers....

 

Why are People Flocking to the Islamic State?
Shakir Mumtaz

A majority of Muslims are sceptical of IS’s coming into existence and then gaining tactical and financial strength. On the other hand, there are many who would love to join hands with it blindly and sacrifice their lives for its cause – which, in their eyes, is an utmost sacred cause. Ahadith (sayings) of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) regarding Jihad and the establishment of Caliphate usually obviate any counter/critical-narrative for those in favour....

 

The Quest for Islamic 'Reformation'
Saleem H. Ali

While most Madrasas or Islamic schools are not militant to this extent, and many can function without this kind of radical activism, some of the underlying teachings of Islam that can easily be taken out of context need to be more explicitly and universally addressed. The only way for this systemic change to occur is for the Ulema (Islamic scholars) to pass clear and unified Fatwas and injunctions in these matters to inculcate tolerance and the rule of law....

ISIS’s Turkish Brothers
Burak Bekdil

The Turkish ISIS is an ideological inspiration by an Islamist poet, who happens to be President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s favourite. If a “mere” 11.3% of Turks think so generously of ISIS, it means there are nine million Turks sympathetic to jihadists....

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