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Books and Documents
Books and Documents

The Smiling Face of Iraq’s Islamic State

The magazine carries pictures of crowds cheering IS militants as they parade through Syrian and Iraqi towns with the black flag, graphic photos apparently of Sunni civilians slain by the “Rafidhi,” a derogatory term for Shias, and of Shia soldiers “heroically” killed by the Mujahideen. Dabiq also features a long and complex theological article essentially justifying the caliphate and Baghdadi’s position as both religious and political leader.....

Dialogue in a Pluralistic World

Desiderio Pinto’s essay covers a wide historical canvas, focusing particularly on noted Indian Muslim figures who promoted interaction with, and understanding of, people of other faiths. These include early Arab and Persian scholars who translated Buddhist and Hindu texts into Arabic and Persian, and several Sufis who unhesitatingly adopted certain ‘Buddhist’ and ’Hindu’ practices, not seeing this as in any way contradicting Islam.....

 

The Sufi Movement: East and West

Hazrat Inayat Khan was a man with a mission to bridge the gap between East and West and between people who claimed to follow different religions. This he sought to do through the message of mysticism that transcends humanly-constructed barriers of communal, ethnic and national differences. He was the one called to bring Sufi wisdom to the West, as was made clear by his Murshid or guru, Hazrat Abu Hashim Madani.  Hazrat Inayat Khan described Sufism as “a mother of the coming reform in the religious world.”.....

 

Hafeez Naumani: My Story of Captivity
Hafeez Naumani

As is obvious from his autobiographical account the policy of harassment, intimidation, humiliation and implication of Muslims (specially the youth) in fabricated and baseless cases has been in place since 1947 and continues to be followed till today no matter which government is in power......

 

The Pashtun Enigma

In recent years the Pashtun regions have been defined by the complicated counterinsurgency campaigns more than 300,000 NATO and Pakistani troops have been waging in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With the imminent withdrawal of most Western combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, the Pakistani army is in the midst of what it calls a “comprehensive operation” in North Waziristan. These complicated struggles require a new understanding of what afflicts the Pashtun homeland in Afghanistan and Pakistan….

 

Review and Excerpts from Wael Hallaq's The Impossible State: Islam, Politics, and Modernity’s Moral Predicament
Wael Hallaq

The proposition that a modern Islamic state is impossible and evens a contradiction in terms contains at least two hidden questions that must be stated at the outset. First, if this state is inconceivable, then, one might ask, how did Muslims, having in the past commanded a great civilization and built many empires, rule themselves? What form of governance did they practice? And second, with this impossibility in mind, what type of political rule are Muslims presently adopting or likely to adopt in the future?....

 

The Animals’ Lawsuit Against Humanity: A Remarkable Work of Great Spiritual and Literary Merit

Imagine a team of Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and Christians from different lands closely collaborating with each other on a joint project for global goodness? Difficult, or even almost impossible, isn’t it? But this is something that actually happened, believe it or not, around a thousand years ago, leading to the production of a remarkable work of great spiritual and literary merit: The Animals’ Lawsuit against Humanity.....

Shorish Kashmiri, Azad and Partition
Yasser Latif Hamdani

Nehru and Patel, more rightly than wrongly, were the architects of partition, not Jinnah. Maulana Azad’s book, India Wins Freedom, seconds that. Indeed, he says so very clearly that it was Patel and company who were the flag-bearers of partition and not Jinnah. He calls Nehru’s decision to torpedo the Cabinet Mission Plan a Himalayan blunder……

 

The World Before Her: Two Women, Two Worlds
Sudhish Kamath

As the film cuts between their lives (Ruhi's tense training days in the run-up to the finale of the beauty pageant and Prachi's training days at the Durga Vahini camp), we first see how different they are and yet slowly see that their lives are not all that different after all. They are both chasing dreams that actually live out fantasies of men and that too defined in a system, by the rules laid down by men.......

The Holy Vedas: Part - 4
Edited and Prepared By Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: Part - 4

The divine light of cosmic intelligence, which has golden radiance and a sweet voice, descends from heaven to inspire us thrice at our assemblies. Mayest Thou accept, O Lord of Divine Light, the praises recited by the eulogers and thereupon fulfil all our aspirations.  (Rig.3.54.11) …….

 
The Holy Vedas: Cosmic Yajna - Part 3
Edited and Prepared By Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: Cosmic Yajna - Part 3

The refreshing glow of Divine Consciousness sends forth each busy man to his pursuit; she knows no delay. O Dawn, rich in opulence, when you come, birds that have flown forth rest no longer.....

 

The Hijab of Cambodia

Most of the 60 Cham Muslim women interviewed tried to hold on to religious tenets by modifying some of their religious practices. The issue of ritual purity was especially sensitive, because the communal kitchens often served pork meat and soup, while some of the agricultural work involved feeding and washing pigs. Some women would try to avoid eating pork as much as possible, which was not easy because there was not enough food to eat in the first place. Others would secretly prepare and eat whatever items they could find……

 
The Holy Vedas: 'Vedic Concept of Creation - Part 2
Edited and Prepared By Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: 'Vedic Concept of Creation - Part 2

The theory of evolution is one of the greatest revelations of modern scientific thought. Various philosophers, physicists and scientific men, working independently of one another and in different domains of Nature, have, have established the truth of this theory, so that, instead of remaining a theory, there are evident signs of its soon becoming a proven fact. The theory enunciates the great truth that all complexity came out of simplicity, heterogeneity out of homogeneity, perfection out of imperfection, variety out of uniformity. All this beauty and grandeur with apparent paradoxes is the result of the struggle which Nature wages towards the attainment of order and perfection. In the beginning of the present order of things, in some far-off period, in some distant point of time, the whole universe existed in a state of Paramanu…..

The Holy Vedas: A Golden Treasury - Part 1
Prepared By Pandit Satyakam Vidyalankar

The Holy Vedas: A Golden Treasury - Part 1

Hymns of Creation

In the beginning was Hiranyagarbha (Golden Womb).

The seed of elemental existence,

The only Lord of all that was born.

He upheld the heaven and earth together

To what God other than Him, could we dedicate our life?

(A tharva.4.2.7)

Humanity is proud of this most ancient heritage and it has been the most amazing accomplishment of man-kind to have preserved this divine literature to this day under all hazards and vicissitudes of history. The Vedas constitute the back-bone of our entire culture and development through the millennia not only in India but also abroad. For most of us, they constitute the first literature that dawned on us at the earliest time of man's appearance on this globe. In India, we regard them as the revealed knowledge. What the effulgent sun is to animate and inanimate activity on the terrestrial earth, the Vedic enlightenment is to the prestigious life of man on this planet for the majority of humanity. Man with his most highly evolved physico-psychic complex is a gem in our divine creation, much above animal level. For his fulfilment, the necessary code of conduct is incorporated in the Vedic texts. It is the most precious gift to humanity from our benign Creator and Lord. ....

The Pakistani Woman
Mehr Tarar

“There are two powers in the world: one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women” — Muhammad Ali Jinnah…..

 

Dispatches from War- Torn Afghanistan
Carlotta Gall

This was the idea that made Taliban supremo Mullah Omar take on the US because he was ready to sacrifice everything rather than befriend non- Muslims as that was against his belief and religion. This is precisely the idea that so many Pakistanis espouse everyday in their writings, TV programmes and what have you. And yet if the US thought it would be able to get Pakistan to play along, then surely the Americans were taken up the garden path by the Pakistanis with their eyes wide open.....

 

India’s Islamic Traditions

The religious environment was syncretic in nature. But the fact remains that Muslims remain a force to reckon with today whatever the plusses and minuses of their cultural heritage. What this book provides is a background to the past in all its convolutions. Muslims in India today seem rudderless, but under the new political dispensation they may yet get into the mainstream and become a force to reckon with......

Plato recommended that young men witness the battlefield as part of their essential grooming for adulthood. Graeme Smith was an idealistic 26-year-old reporter for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper when he was sent to southern Afghanistan in 2005, and the next six years he spent in the country was certainly an education, with Smith confiding at one point that “the charred flesh of suicide bombers got stuck in the treads of my shoes.” His education was also a painful process of disillusionment, as he witnessed all the ideals about the West’s grand vision for reconstructing the country…..

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 62- On Concentration
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There are two aspects of life: the audible life and the silent life. The value of silent life is independent. We are inclined to attach a value to something which concerns our outer life. The silent life does not give us a special benefit but a general benefit. In other words, if there is a minor wound on the body an external application of a certain medicament can cure it. But there are other medicines which can cure the general condition, and this is more satisfactory than the external cure, though it is less spectacular……

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 61- On Strength for Positive Living
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Sufi sees both the Creator and the creation in man. The limited part of man's being is the creation, and the innermost part of his being is the Creator. If this is true, then man is both limited and unlimited. If he wishes to be limited he can become more and more limited. If he wishes to be unlimited he can become more and more unlimited…..

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 60- On the Control of the Mind
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The tendency to be worried over nothing, to become anxious about little things, to be fidgety and restless, to be afraid, to be confused, the tendency of moving about without any reason, the tendency of speaking without purpose, the tendency of being sad without motive, all these things come through lack of control of the mind. Have they also any other effect besides the effect that is made upon one's own personality? Yes; all weakness, errors, and mistakes that man makes against his own wish, all these come from lack of control over his own mind. And if there is a secret of success the key to it is the control of the mind.....

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 59- On the Control of the Body
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Many people think that the physical has little to do with the spiritual. Why not, they ask, cast the idea of the physical aside in order to be entirely spiritual? If without the physical aspect of our being the purpose of life could be accomplished, the soul would have not taken a physical body and the spirit would not have produced the physical world. A Hindustani poet says, 'If the purpose of creation could have been fulfilled by the angels, who are entirely spiritual, God would not have created man.'….

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 58- On the Distinction between the Subtle and the Gross
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Imagine the life of Abraham, of Moses, the life of Jesus Christ; and again the life of Muhammad in war and battles, and yet as exclusive and remote, as spiritual as anyone could be. And Krishna, picture him in Kurukshetra fighting in the battle, giving a world-scripture. If they had all lived in mountain caves we would not have been benefited by them. What is the use of those holy ones who never see, never experience from morning till evening the tests and trials of the dense world, where at every move there are a thousand temptations and difficulties, a thousand problems? .....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: 57- On Going from Imperfection to Perfection
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The process of going from limitation to perfection is called mysticism. Mysticism means developing from limitation to perfection. All pain and failure belong to limitation. All pleasure and success belong to perfection. In one's own surroundings, one will find that those who are unhappy and dissatisfied with life and who make others unhappy are those who are more limited. Those who can help themselves and help others, who are happy and bring pleasure into the lives of others, are nearer to perfection…..

Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism
Nancy Graham Holm

"The opposite of fundamentalism is feminism." It might be inappropriate to call a 342-page book about atrocities a page-turner, but this one is. You might not agree with every comment and conclusion Bennoune makes but her message cannot be ignored…



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