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Books and Documents

The Quran: The Test of Science and a Standing Challenge (Part II A)
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

There are two scientific facts mentioned in this one verse: first, about the big bang and second, that every living thing being is made from water. In the deserts of Arabia where there is scarcity of water, the Quran says that every living thing is made up of water (unless mentioned otherwise- like Jinns from fire and angels from light). Today, science confirms that the cytoplasm which is the main component of the cell, it contains around 70 to 90% water 6. .....

 

Wadjda and the Saudi Women Fighting Oppression From Within
Rachel Shabi

Some of Saudi's multiple, choking, all-encompassing controls over women are thereby exposed: the prohibition on women driving or mixing with men; the taboos over laughing or talking in public, or riding bicycles as these might defile virginity. However, the women in Wadjda…

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 29: Justice in Giving, Justice in Trade: Part 1
Ziauddin Sardar

The overall theme of communal transformation continues in this passage (al-Baqura 261-281) where the focus is on two agents of social change, one positive and one negative: charity and usury. The Qur'an is concerned that we understand the nature and purpose of charity, and hence that there are right and wrong ways in which it can be dispensed. For believers, it is a way of "affirmation of their own faith”…

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  On the Fulfillment of Life’s Obligations – 31
Hazrat Inayat Khan

THE position of the person living the inner life becomes like that of a grown-up living among many children. At the same time there seems outwardly no such difference as is apparent in the ages of the children and the grown person, the difference lying in the size of his outlook, which is not always apparent. One who lives the inner life becomes much older than those around him, and yet outwardly he is the same as every other person……

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 28: God, the Life-Giver
Ziauddin Sardar

At first glance these stories (al-Baqura 258-260) seem unclear. So I am not surprised that Madeleine is flummoxed. And yet these verses deal with the most central issues of religion and the most enduring subject of human fascination. To believe in a creator is to accept not only that life and death exist, but that there is a power beyond the natural processes of which we are aware, a power that not only created life and death but can bring about life after death….

The Quran: Test of Time and a Standing Challenge (Part I)
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

First of all, the Quran is a miracle of miracles. According to Sir William Muir, who was one of the staunchest critics of Islam said “There is probably no other book in the world which has remained twelve centuries (now fourteen) with so pure a text”1. Almost a billion people read this book and millions have memorised it. The memorizers range from ages 6 and up; whether it is males or females, black or white, rich or poor, Arab or non-Arab. ...

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On the Aim of the Sufi Journey – 30
Hazrat Inayat Khan

In every relationship we must place God before us, and become conscious of that relationship so that it will no more remain an imagination; because the first thing a believer does is to imagine. He imagines that God is the Creator, and tries to believe that God is the Sustainer, and he makes an effort to think that God is a Friend, and an attempt to feel that he loves God. But if this imagination is to become a reality, then exactly as one feels for one's earthly beloved sympathy, love and attachment, so one must feel the same for God…….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 27: The Heart and Soul of the Qur'an
Ziauddin Sardar

Here we come to the passage (al-Baqura 255-257) that for me is the heart and soul of the Qur'an. It begins with the verse that is second only to al-Fatiha in its familiarity to Muslims. Known as Ayat al-Kursi, the verse of the throne, it was considered by classical commentators to be the most excellent verse in the Qur'an….

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: On Preparing for the Sufi Journey – 29
Hazrat Inayat Khan

THE inner life is a journey, and before starting to take it there is a certain preparation necessary. If one is not prepared, there is always the risk of having to return before one has arrived at one's destination. When a person goes on a journey, and when he has to accomplish something, he must know what is necessary on the path and what he must take with him, in order that his journey may become easy and that he may accomplish what he has started to accomplish. The journey one takes in the inner life is as long as the distance between the beginning of life and death,….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 26: Lessons from History
Ziauddin Sardar

Once again, in this passage (al-Baqura 243-254) we come across the requirement to fight in the cause of God. The use of this term has multiple connotations that are not confined to warfare. Where self-defence in the face of aggression is called for, fighting for one's survival is permitted, though this has to be interpreted according to certain conditions. The end of this passage (verse 254) makes it abundantly clear that the struggle must also be applied to peaceful efforts to build societies...

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  On Sufism – 28
Hazrat Inayat Khan

It should be clear that the religion of the Sufi is not separate from the religions of the world. People have fought in vain about the names and lives of their saviours, and have named their religions after the name of their saviour, instead of uniting with each other in the truth that is taught. This truth can be traced in all religions, whether one community calls another pagan or infidel or heathen. Such persons claim that theirs is the only scripture, and their place of worship the only abode of God. Sufism is a name applied to a certain philosophy by those who do not accept the philosophy;…..

 

‘Iraq Invades the United States,’ and Other Headlines from an Upside Down History of the US Military and the World
Eduardo Galeano

This lightning incursion is the only invasion the United States has suffered since its wars to break free from England. In contrast, the United States has invaded practically every country in the entire world.  Since 1947 its Department of War has been called the Department of Defence, and its war budget the defence budget....

 

The document, expose the deep commitment of first Saudi King to the United Kingdom and his assurance to British authorities to give Palestine to the Jews....

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 26: Intoxicating Passions: Part 3
Ziauddin Sardar

There are three verses in this passage (al-Baqura 219-242) that have generated some controversy. What the verse is trying to point out is that sex during menstruation can be painful for some women and it is thus best avoided. But if one were to read the word "cleansed" in a pejorative rather than literal sense, then it probably has a great deal more to do with one's cultural background than anything else....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals:  On the Sufi - 27
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Hence every person can be called a Sufi either as long as he is seeking to understand life, or as soon as he is willing to believe that every other human being will also find and touch the same ideal […] All beliefs are simply degrees of clearness of vision. All are part of one ocean of truth. The more this is realized, the easier is it to see the true relationship between all beliefs, and the wider does the vision of the one great ocean become……

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals: On Alif- 26
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Every form seems to be derived from another, all figures being derived from Alif, which is originally derived from a dot and represents zero, nothingness. It is that nothingness which creates the first form Alif. It is natural for everyone when writing to make a dot as soon as the pen touches the paper, and the letters forming the words hide the origin. In like manner, the origin of the One Being is hidden in His manifestation. That is why Allah, whose name comes from Alif, is hidden under His own manifestation….

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 25: Intoxicating Passions: Part 2
Ziauddin Sardar

The pre-Islamic Arabs were into binge drinking. Wines were made in most households and drinking was seen as a sign of high culture - drunkenness was valued as a sign of wealth and eminence. Gambling came a close second to drinking. The Qur'an sought to transform Arab society and most of this passage (al-Baqura 219-242) is devoted to elements of social transformation....

 

Excerpt from 'The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy'
Erick Stakelbeck

“I’m the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was a fact and is a fact and which is well known,” Ramadan told me, barely masking his annoyance. “And even when I was invited [to the United States] by the State Department, this is the way they were introducing me. So, this is something which is known. I’m not a member [of the Muslim Brotherhood], I never was a member—so this is something also which is known.”…

 

Blogging the Qur'an by Ziauddin Sardar- Part 24: Intoxicating Passions: Part 1
Ziauddin Sardar

This long passage (al-Baqura 219-242) deals with a number of seemingly disconnected topics of different moment. Once again, I suggest, we need to think across the disjunctions to find a link. Submitting ourselves to the effort of thinking and questioning is, as I have argued consistently, the essence of reading, and the necessary requirement for understanding....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals: On the Masters – 25
Hazrat Inayat Khan

All the Teachers who came before taught for whatever community or group of people they were born, and prophesied the coming of the next Teacher, foreseeing the possibility and the necessity of the continuation of the Message until its fulfillment….

 

The treasures of world literature include several classic Sufi treatises in the form of stories and anecdotes that embody Islamic wisdom that have a universal appeal, their message not being restricted to Muslims alone. Stressing the spirit of religion, while not ignoring the form in which it is embodied; Sufis have not hesitated to use new methods of conveying the timeless message of God.....

 

At first sight, I tend to agree with Madeleine. Al-Baqura 204-218 is a complex passage and it is not easy to discover what exactly it is about and what it means. But then who said I had to understand everything? Or indeed that anyone had to understand everything when there is always something more to think about in the Qur'an?....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses On The Unity Of Religious Ideals:  On the Meaning of Life – 24
Hazrat Inayat Khan

It is therefore that the Sufi seeks God as his love, lover and beloved, his treasure, his possession, his honor, his joy, his peace; and his attainment in its perfection alone fulfils all demands of life both here and hereafter....

 

The Sufi Message: Excerpts From Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals:  On Ten Principal ‘Sufi Thoughts’ – 23
Hazrat Inayat Khan
The God of the Sufi is the God of every creed, and the God of all. Names make no difference to him. Allah, God, Gott, Dieu, Khuda, Brahma, or Bhagwan, all these names and more are the names of his God; and yet to him God is beyond the limitation of name. He sees his God in the sun, in the fire, in the idol which diverse sects worship; and he recognizes Him in all the forms of the universe, yet knowing Him to be beyond all form; God in all, and all in God, He being the Seen and the Unseen, the Only Being…..

 

 

These verses institute the hajj as the climactic point of Muslim existence. But they also make clear the theme of continuity, an important aspect of the mindset of Islam. The hajj was an ancient rite established in Arabia long before Islam. Evident in the reference to its being "performed during well-know months": these are the Islamic months of Shawwaal, Dhul al-Qidah and Dhul al-Hijjah. The point being made is that they should not be altered. At the time of the prophet Muhammad, it was completely assimilated into Arabian pagan practices....

 
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