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Books and Documents

Books and Documents

Matters of Faith, Peace and War
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

A couple of days after I started reading Fatah’s book, I received a couple of books penned by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, as soft-spoken a man as one can come across. Also, a proponent of enduring peace who never tires of reminding Muslims – and the world – that Islam stands for peace, he is an intellectual who believes that Jihad begins not with fighting the enemy in battle but overcoming your own ‘nafs’. This does not necessarily mean that everybody within the community or the larger polity happily soaks in what he says....

 

Muslims Won’t Listen To Hirsi Ali
Tarek Fatah

Hirsi Ali identifies her audience as “Mecca Muslims”, her label for non-radical, religious Muslims, a category few Muslims will understand unless they read her book. She writes: “I hope to engage (Mecca Muslims) … in a dialogue about the meaning and practice of their faith. I hope that they will be one of the primary audiences for this book....

Heresy Based On Hearsay
Ziya Us Salam

Does it strike her that in Islam no woman is expected to change her name following marriage and she can even walk out of it without giving any reason whatsoever? The prophet’s wives retained their maiden names. And a woman enjoys three times the rights of the man over her children. These nuances would not have struck her mind. In the season of Islam bashing, she adds to the din. Full of contradictions and anomalies, low on facts....

Related Article:

Salam! Maulana Ziya Us Salam

 

Zakaria, then a 10-year-old, is baffled when her aunt Amina's husband, Sohail, takes a second wife, something unheard of in their family till then. Zakaira tells parallel stories of Amina's polygamous marriage and Pakistan's hopes and betrayals through this book....

 

The Broader Notion of Din Al-Islam: Chapter 7, Essential Message of Islam

There can be no debate that din al-Islam is the religion of the followers of the Prophet Muhammad: Islam. However, the Qur’an also uses the generic word Islam, and its different roots, and the word din, with various shades of meaning. Thus the Qur’an uses the word ‘din’ to denote judgment (1:4), divine law (2:193), law (of the land) (12:76), obedience or devotion (39:3), faith, religion, moral responsibility (107:1), religion in the conventional sense (110:2) etc. Based on these Qur’anic illustrations, the term din would appear to embrace the broader notion of obedience (to God) or compliance (with God’s commandments), as against religion in its popular sense.....

 

This book is not without its flaws. A drawback of the anecdotal style in which it is written is that Ahmad’s life is presented with neither chronological nor thematic consistency. Comprehensive indices would make this a minor irritant, but since the index here is rather incomplete, reviewing material on any particular event or subject necessitates paging through the entire book....

 

Qur’anic Reflections on Nature: Chapter 4, Essential Message of Islam
Muhammad Yunus

The Qur’an is alive with reflections on the beauty and harmony of nature and on its relationship with life as part of its ontological debate. These reflections are in the form of statements, which capture the laws of the cosmos in expansive open ways that captivate and beguile us by their beauty, majesty and accuracy. Thus for example, the following Qur’anic observations are picturesque and imaginative, and at the same time clearly indicative of the axial and the orbital rotations of heavenly bodies that science discovered many centuries later…..

Book Review: The Upstairs Wife - Hopes and Betrayals
Rafia Zakaria

According to Pakistani law, a man can have up to four wives, which could leave a woman devastated and publicly humiliated after her husband decides to exercise this legal right. It’s this interplay between the private and public that journalist and human rights activist Rafia Zakaria explores in her first book, The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan….

 
Culture of the Cosmos Is a ‘Culture of Peace’
Belinda F. Espiritu for New Age Islam

Culture of the Cosmos Is a ‘Culture of Peace’

Maulana Khan explains that the culture of the cosmos is a ‘culture of peace’, which enables the cosmos to function for millions of years without witnessing any confrontation that could have impaired its functioning. In his thoughts, “if a ‘culture of violence’ had informed the cosmos, by now it would have been devastated, and there would have been no possibility for human life to exist”....

 

With the authorities having loudly and repeatedly declared the word off-limits to all non-Muslims, especially in their Malay-language religious texts, arguments, counter-arguments and outright displays of obstinacy have come (and will probably keep coming) from all sides in the past decade....

 

Imagining Pakistan as an Islamic State
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

In the liberal-Marxist intellectual environment in which I received my political grooming in the Lahore of the late 1960s, the standard view was that the Muslim League, especially its supreme leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, wanted a separate state for the Muslim nation to escape exploitation at the hands of the Hindu moneylenders....

 

Correct the focus. The US must take a firm stand to ensure that the Wahhabi philosophy does not get propagated disproportionately in Muslim countries around the world particularly in Pakistan. The US must ensure that the philosophy of Sufism is given the share of voice that it deserves as the belief system of the majority....

 

Veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn (65), who has reported from the Middle East since 1979, has three full-length books on Iraq already to his credit. This monograph on the rise of the ultra-jihadist Islamic State builds on his reportage for The Independent and long-form writing for the London Review of Books....

 

Madrasas controlled by militant Pakistani groups who work for al Qaeda continue to function freely. One of the largest extremist groups in the country, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, has members who have helped al Qaeda. It now operates under a new name and has even changed the look of its largest Madrasas complex to become a model it can show to the Western press....

 

“By Allah’s grace no other official, semi-official or non-official institution of Pakistan has been so attached and devoted to Islam in thought and action as the armed forces of Pakistan....

 

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Heretic’
Susan Dominus

Hirsi Ali has strong thoughts on what form that change should take for Muslims: a major overhaul of their religion. “Without fundamental alterations to some of Islam’s core concepts,” she says, “we shall not solve the burning and increasingly global problem of political violence carried out in the name of religion....

The Sufi Islamic traditions evolved over history with a degree of interaction with Hinduism on the sub-continent. It is a school that includes philosophers and mystics. Sufism embraces the Koran and most of Shia and Sunni Islam's beliefs. Sufis believe that Sufi teachings are the essence of every religion, and indeed of the evolution of humanity as a whole….

 

The book is comprised of four chapters; the first presents an analytical critique of this elitist current. El-Sharif explains that Islamic feminism searches in religious texts, the Quran, the Prohet's sayings and in Islamic Fiqh(jurisprudence) with the purpose of presenting new readings and interpretations of some matters regarding women....

 

Religious minorities like Hindus and Christians also complain of discrimination and have periodically been subjected to violent attacks by extremists. The extremist violence is beginning to impact intra-Sunni factions such as the Deobandis and Barelvis. This may also be a result of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) policy of divide and rule in the Sindh....

 

In the sixteenth century during the Mughal emperor Akbar’s time the curriculum in Indian Madrasas blended the teachings of Islam and Hinduism. Hindu and Muslim students would together study the Quran (in Arabic), the Sufi poetry of Sa’adi (in Persian), and the philosophy of Vedanta (in Sanskrit), as well as ethics, astronomy, medicine, logic, history and the natural sciences....

 

Why Islam Needs a Reformation
Ayaan Hirsi Ali

It is not just al Qaeda and Islamic State that show the violent face of Islamic faith and practice. It is Pakistan, where any statement critical of the Prophet or Islam is labelled as blasphemy and punishable by death. It is Saudi Arabia, where churches and synagogues are outlawed and where beheadings are a legitimate form of punishment. It is Iran, where stoning is an acceptable punishment and homosexuals are hanged for their “crime.”…

The Ottoman Empire: Heading Towards Disaster

The Ottomans had lost wars before, but never the empire itself. This time it was different. The demands imposed by the Allies provoked a revolt by Mustafa Kemal, the hero of Gallipoli, who pushed the Greeks and Italians out of Anatolia, deposed the sultan and abolished the caliphate. ....

 

The Rise of Political Islam in Turkey

After 1970, Turkey was rocked by a series of socio-economic shifts. Urbanization that had been ongoing for decades accelerated throughout the 1980s, prompted largely by an economic restructuring plan recommended by the IMF after the military coup d’état of 1980….

 

Today, whenever we talk about a group of young Muslim men travelling across borders and fulfilling a religious responsibility, the discourse is about fighting what is popularly referred to as jihad, culminating in grotesque violence in the name of religion. And, whenever we talk about the caliphate--of which the Ottoman was the last, abolished in 1924-- the discourse is about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), known for its atrocities in West Asia, proclaiming its re-establishment....

Understanding Islamism through History
Talmiz Ahmad

Islamism is the movement that seeks to achieve a reformed political order that is founded on a reconciliation of Islamic principles and those of modern political theory, such as constitution, parties, elections, representative government, human rights, freedom, justice, and social and economic welfare. It emerged, not in the 1920s as Mr Owen says, but in the early 19th century, in response to the total defeat suffered by the Arabs at the hands of the western colonialists……

 
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