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Books and Documents
Books and Documents

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  The Purpose of Life (2) – 41
Hazrat Inayat Khan

There are two different temperaments that we generally see in the world. One says, 'I will not hear music on Sunday, it is a religious day. The liking for colours is emotional. Do not look at pictures, it excites.' To enjoy any perfume, to like fragrance, he thinks is sensual. And then there is another temperament that feels the vibrations of the colors, that enjoys delicious food, that admires the straight line and the curve that is touched and moved by music that feels exalted by the beauty of nature.……

 

At a time when Bangladesh is beset with a deadly conflict between fundamentalist and liberal forces, raising a serious concern over the election-bound country's fate, not only there lies the question of ultimate identity for a nation that once attained sovereignty by placing its linguistic and cultural self above the religious status, but there also looms the danger of terror-linked Islamic fundamentalist movement that has gained immense strength after being nourished for political interest during the past regime of Khaleda Zia…..

 

'Afghan Rumour Bazaar' Provides Glimpse into Afghanistan's Secret Subcultures, Hidden Worlds
Nushin Arbabzadah

Underground converts to Christianity, shadowy male cross-dressers, and gay bloggers are not usually associated with Afghanistan. And yet they are part of the real but often unseen world Afghans live in.  That unknown side of Afghanistan is the topic of a new book, "Afghan Rumour Bazaar: Secret Sub-Cultures, Hidden Worlds, and the Everyday Life of the Absurd," by Nushin Arbabzadah, an Afghan-born writer. ....

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 40: Humanity and Community
Ziauddin Sardar

Qur'an goes on to make some more explicit points. All human beings, whatever their creed, race, class, and culture, are equal, we are told. And it is not just the individuals who deserve respect. The "diversity of your tongues and colours", we read in 30:20, are "his signs". So discrimination is forbidden not just on the basis of colour, but also on the basis of language and culture. The Qur'an insists that all languages and cultures are equal, equally important for maintaining diversity, and have to be valued equally. Thus Arabic is as important as, say, Swahili and Urdu, one language cannot claim superiority over the other.....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  The Purpose of Life (1) – 40
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The first thing that a seeker after truth must realize is the purpose of life. No sooner does a soul begin to feel sober from the intoxication of life, than the first thing it asks itself is, 'What is the purpose of life?' Each soul has its own purpose, but in the end all purposes resolve into one purpose, and it is that purpose which is sought by the mystic. For all souls, by the right and the wrong path, either sooner or later, will arrive at that purpose, a purpose which must be accomplished, a purpose for which the whole creation has been intended….

 
Jesus: The Man and the Metaphor
Inas Younis, New Age Islam

Jesus: The Man and the Metaphor
Inas Younis, New Age Islam

Once upon a time,   there was a man named Jesus, and the rest, according to Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot,   is history. When Reza Aslan treats us to the un- romantic version of Jesus of Nazareth who walked on land, as opposed to the romantic version of a Jesus Christ who walked on water,   I have a blasphemous urge to ask, what does reality have to do with it? I am not saying that religion is myth;   I am just saying what Reza Aslan himself confirms.  That history is about facts,   not truths....

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  On the Five Kinds of Spiritual Souls – 39
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Those who live the inner life have to adopt a certain outer form of living in the world amidst people of all kinds. There are five principle ways known which the spiritual souls adopt to live life in the world, although there are many more ways. Very often these souls are found in such forms of life that one could never imagine for one moment that they were living the inner life. It is for this reason that the wise of all ages have taught respect for every human being, whatever be his outward character, and have advised man to think who is beneath that garb, and what it is….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 39: Truth and Plurality: Part 2
Ziauddin Sardar

I find the idea that Islam will somehow reign supreme and dominate the world, perpetuated by certain non-Muslim groups, and believed by some Muslims, to be a ridiculous nonsense from the perspective of the Qur'an. The Qur'an does not expect, or indeed suggest, that everyone will accept Islam or that the world will become a monolithic religious entity- under the tutelage of an imagined global "Islamic caliphate", as some Muslims would have us believe. But it does expect that everyone should have the freedom to believe what they wish - let there be no compulsion in religion….

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  The Angel-Man – 38
Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Hindu word Deva denotes an angel-man, and the Sufi term for this is Firishta Khaslat. Every soul has as its first expression angelic life, and therefore it is not surprising if man shows angelic traits in his life, for it is in the depth of his soul. The soul coming through different spheres and planes of existence partakes of different attributes; and the attributes of the lower world become so collected and gathered around the soul, that it almost forgets its very first experience of itself, its purest being….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 38: Truth and Plurality: Part 1
Ziauddin Sardar

The plurality of religion is a constant and recurring theme in the Qur'an. Far from adopting a hostile attitude to other religions, the Qur'an promotes acceptance of religious plurality and treats other religions with equality. It recognises that different faiths have different laws and ways of knowing and understanding God but emphasises the common ground of "doing good": values and morals that promote goodness, virtue, and peace are integral to all faiths and more basic than differences in outward form and rituals. 

2:625:443:113-1153:19922:464:12440:4922:616:109;13:729:4617:5325:6320:41-4216:125-12829:4622:68-69109: 1-6…….

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  The Attainment of the Inner Life – 37
Hazrat Inayat Khan

In the attainment of the inner life there are five things necessary. The first thing that is necessary is the mastery of mind; and this is done by unlearning all that one has learned. The inner knowledge is not gained by adding to the knowledge one has already achieved in life, for it requires a rock foundation. One cannot build a house of rocks on a foundation of sand. In order to make the foundation on rocks, one has to dig into the sand and build the foundation on the rocks below….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 37: Interlude: A New Translation Of The Qur'an
Ziauddin Sardar

We look for two things in any new translation of the Qur'an. How close does it get to communicating the meaning of the original, that inimitable oral text, the very sounds of which move men and women to tears and ecstasy? And does it offer something more: a new perspective, perhaps; or an innovative rendering?...

 
Muslim Spain: A Vanished World
Inas Younis, New Age Islam

Muslim Spain: A Vanished World
Inas Younis, New Age Islam

The Golden age of Spain was an age where merit and reason prevailed,   where religion transcended doctrinal beliefs, and where Jews were afforded security and opportunities which encouraged the emergence of the brightest Jewish intellectuals of that time. 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 36: Models for Humankind: Part 2
Ziauddin Sardar

Given his character, his spiritual enlightenment and the fact that he is the recipient of revelation, the prophet is the ideal model of behaviour for the Muslims. Indeed, the Qur'an tells us that "in God's messenger you have a fine model for someone who looks forward to (meeting) God and the last day, and mentions God frequently' (33:21)....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals: The Object Of The Inner Life – 36
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Does such a person sacrifice all interests in life, or does he consider the different objects that people have in their lives as something leading astray? Not at all. No doubt his object is the highest that any soul can have, but all other objects which he sees before himself in life do not necessarily hinder him on his path; they become as a staircase on his way, making his path easy to tread….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 35: Models for Humankind: Part 1
Ziauddin Sardar

Prophecy brings "good news", it makes us aware of humanity's potential for advancement, to be uplifted and ultimately even perfect our existence while it warns of the possibility that we can sink, as individuals and communities, into the depths of ignorance and barbarity. The function of prophecy is to keep humanity on the right track, both physical and morally, to inspire nobler and higher sentiments and instil in men and women virtues that take them closer to the divine....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: More on the Inner Life – 35
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Those who live the inner life begin to see a law which is hidden from the average man. There is the law of nature which is known as science, and that of life which is called moral law; but beyond science and morals there is another law. It may be called occult law, or in other words inner law; a law which can be understood by an open heart and an awakened soul. This law manifests to the view of the seer in many and varied forms; sometimes it appears in a quite contrary form to the effect that it has later on in its manifestation….

 
The Ulema and the Modern Age
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The Ulema and the Modern Age
Ulema Aur Daur e Jadeed

In this essay, I have made a critical examination of the leadership role of the Ulema in the contemporary age. For this sort of critical examination, the Shariah requires one to make a clear distinction between two things: people’s intention, faith and sincerity, on the one hand, and their course of action with regard to particular matters, on the other. According to the Shariah, it is wholly impermissible to make someone’s intention, faith or sincerity a subject of debate. But, on the other hand, it is permissible to debate about the course of action or policy that someone adopts with regard to a particular matter.....

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 34:  Peeling Back the Layers
Ziauddin Sardar

Ostensibly, we have only read two chapters of the Qur'an: al-Fatiha and al-Baqura. But they are sufficient to communicate its essential message, illustrate the extraordinary nature of the text and the special character of its style. Indeed, al-Baqura, as I explained in the previous blog, serves as an overview that encapsulates the whole of the Qur'an: the themes, injunctions and principles addressed in this chapter are further discussed, expanded, and elaborated in the rest of the text....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: More on the Inner Life – 34
Hazrat Inayat Khan

In the Quran it is said, 'He who taught with the pen, taught man that which he knew not.' And what does that mean? It means that to the man who lives the inner life, everything that he sees becomes a written character and this whole visible world a book. He reads it as plainly as a letter written by his friend. And besides this, he hears a voice within which becomes to him a language. It is an inner language; its words are not the same as the words of the external language….

 

With courage and empathy, she takes readers to hardscrabble streets where Islamist militias unleashed a wave of almost indiscriminate butchery....

 

Twelve Minutes of Freedom in 460 Days of Captivity
A House in the Sky

Our captors practiced a fundamentalist form of Islam, interpreting the words of the Quran in the most literal way possible. Most of the boys, we learned, had gone to insurgent training camps in rural areas. They were part of a loosely organized movement that was fighting their country’s own faltering transitional government and Ethiopian troops, who were sent over the border in 2006 to support Somalia’s attempts at democracy. They described this fight as their jihad. Nigel and I came from what they termed “bad countries.” We belonged to the Western world, which to them was inscrutable and immodest and ruled over by Satan….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 33: At the End, a Prayer
Ziauddin Sardar

We have reached the end of al-Baqura (verses 284-286), and it is time for me to admit I have found this exercise rewarding in ways I had not expected. Engaging with the Qur'an in this verse by verse, week by week wrestle with words and meanings has shown me what years of reading have not quite pieced together in such a clear way. Let me explain. We began our blogs with the opening chapter, al-Fatiha, which is known as the "mother of the book"…

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On Laws and the Inner Life – 33
Hazrat Inayat Khan

As man grows through the inner life, so he feels a freedom of thought, speech and action which comes as a natural course through his spiritual journey. And the reason why this freedom comes and whence it comes can be explained by the fact that there is a spirit of freedom hidden within man, covered by outward conventionalities. When man grows out of the outward conventionalities, then the spirit of freedom, which was closed in so far, becomes manifest….

 

A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising
Farooq Sulehria

Instead of over-optimistically glorifying the uprising or pessimistically ridiculing the temporary lull as ‘Arab winter’, he views the Arab spring as a protracted or long-term revolutionary process which may continue to unfold for another couple of decades. In fact, the recent coup in Egypt weeks was a timely endorsement of Achcar’s thesis on the Arab spring….

 


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