Books and Documents
Islamic Society

Urdu and I: A Love Affair
Nabeel Jafri

Much as I loved English, the lack of adjectives and even pronouns was bothersome. There is a well known cliché about how everyone is addressed as ‘you’ in English but Urdu does the job better for different relationships; ‘aap’, ‘tum‘ and ‘tu‘ all convey the same meaning, but cannot be used interchangeably....

Parenting Courses for Muslims Aim To Untangle Culture from Religion
Saba Salman

"It's a manmade concept to suppress people," Naeem explains, "it's not Islam … from childhood there are feelings we're told to suppress. So if boy's crying we say 'don't cry – you're not a girl, you need to be brave and strong'. A lot of people think they must suppress anger, this is what we teach our children, so in youth today there's a lot of anger." The course encourages people to recognise their frustration and deal with it in a positive way, through negotiation, for example.


Hasan, who is perhaps best known for several tangles with Richard Dawkins over matters of faith, has garnered some criticism for this latest piece, especially for its belated acknowledgement of youthful homophobia. But rather than quickly consigning Hasan’s story to the dustbin of tortured and not especially convincing arguments, it’s worth doing a close read because the religiously-tinged argument, like many others before it, eventually makes a case against the faith it is ostensibly promoting....


The typical Pakistani Shaadi is no longer an intimate affair between two people about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. In fact, it has all the elements of a roaring circus! In the midst of it is the beautiful bride, a.k.a the ringmaster, simultaneously juggling tight budgets, short deadlines, entertaining wedding guests and the roaring lions, i.e. the interfering in-laws. By the time the actual wedding day arrives, the stress and anxiety have turned the bride into an oddity, more ballistic than blooming....

New Study on Forgiveness in the Arab World
Ilham Nasser and Mohammad Abu-Nimer

The two of us, Dr Ilham Nasser and Dr Mohammad Abu-Nimer, who specialise in early childhood education and conflict resolution respectively, embarked on a comprehensive three-year study in 2010 on the topic of teaching forgiveness in four Arab countries – Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. This pioneering study concluded its initial phase earlier this year and contributed to the understanding of forgiveness and reconciliation in the region both conceptually and how it can be applied practically to stop violence and build trust.....

As A Muslim, I Struggle With the Idea of Homosexuality – But I Oppose Homophobia
Mehdi Hasan

The truth is that Islamophobia and homophobia have much in common: they are both, in the words of the (gay) journalist Patrick Strudwick, “at least partly fuelled by fear. Fear of the unknown . . .” Muslims and gay people alike are victims of this fear – especially when it translates into hate speech or physical attacks. We need to stand side by side against the bigots and hate-mongers, whether of the Islamist or the far-right variety, rather than turn on one another or allow ourselves to be pitted against each other, “Muslims v gays”....


They may have officially converted to Islam, but adapting to this new faith, integrating its precepts into daily life, can be a long process. Sofia, Lili, and the dozens of other converts, who pass through the Islam Presentation Committee, stay in touch with teachers at the facility for months—sometimes years—after conversion....


There are more or less seven occasions on which the Quran stresses on the feeding of the poor, the hungry, the orphans and the captives. Though some of the verses recommend the feeding of the poor as an act of penitence for some sins or skipping some religious injunctions like fasting or not keeping an oath, the other verses generally require Muslims to feed the hungry and the poor as a social duty regularly or whenever required. In fact, the stress with which the Quran instructs Muslims to feed the poor, it seems that feeding the poor should be one of the social habits of the Muslims. If not done, the Muslims may invite the wrath of God both in this world and in the Hereafter....


Islam in Dubai: It's Not Just For Arabs
Haroon Moghul

It is one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk. For example: I am in love with Istanbul, which is possibly the Muslim world's only rival to Dubai, in terms of potential, significance to the global economy and dynamism - in many ways, Istanbul is a much more critical city. Size has a big part to do with it. But good luck getting around Istanbul in English; though things are changing, it is still, reasonably enough, a Turkish city....


Homosexuality Is Haram across Most of the Middle East
Badar Salem

“I thank God that my family and friends know nothing about my homosexuality, and I prefer things to stay the way they are,” he says. Homosexuality does not go down well with most Palestinians, with many viewing it as sinful and unnatural. Islam, the religion of the majority of Palestinians, views homosexuality as a deviation from the norm, with Islamic scholars consenting that all humans are “naturally heterosexual”....


Importance of Friday Sermon: Why does it have to be in Arabic
Dr. Mohammad Ghitreef, New Age Islam

Moreover, we live in an information age. Information technology and fastest growing communication means are ruling the roost. The world media is being run most probably by some Jewish hands who rule the world by proxy. Muslims around the world, have no say in this sad state of affairs, except a few new initiatives as Al Jazeera and the likes. This situation is worse in India as a whole Muslim community has no role in national media....

The Beauty of Palestine: Olives, Women, and Scarves
Rick Steves

Three-thousand-year-old terraces and olive groves provide a peaceful pathway near Bethlehem. The olive tree, a symbol of steadfastness and faith in the future, has great significance in Palestinian society. The tree of poor people, it gives without taking. You plant it for your children, knowing that they will plant it for their children, too....


Makkah is the only place that is able to utilise the gathering of Muslims on an annual basis for Haj to unify their voice after they are done uniting their hearts. Such a gathering can be used for presenting economic and political agendas and coordinating among one another the implementation of these agendas for their own benefit without intruding on a country’s sovereignty or internal affairs. This will make unity among Islamic nations a reality....


What Muslim Parents Tell Their Children
Naazish YarKhan

I fear there may be a time when we aren’t there to be a sounding board for our kids. As my son takes in every word, I quietly hope I’m not scaring him. Frustrated, my son asks, “Why do some Muslims have to go and mess it up for the rest of us?” “Because, somehow, they’ve come to believe that their actions are justified,” I respond. “But they aren’t,” I am quick to add.......

Shrine-Visitors are not Grave-Worshippers
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

Shrine-Visitors are not Grave-Worshippers
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

The practice imbibes some significant moral values and draws spiritual influences on the minds of people. Looking at a silent graveyard where everybody, whether poor or rich, weak or powerful, is buried with only three pieces of a cloth, a grave-visitor finds abundant  opportunity to purify his mind and heart and can overcome evils of greed, malice, avarice, pride and other worldly desires....

Saudi Commission for (Destruction Of) Tourism and Antiquities Tries To Misguide UNESCO with Ambiguous Statement on Preservation of Heritage Sites

The prince has very carefully worded his statement avoiding the use of the word ‘preserving’ and ‘maintaining’ while giving out his government’s plan of ‘investing’ and ‘conserving’ the national heritage for ‘future development’ by wiping out their past. The prince speaks of a ‘comprehensive national program to rediscover national culture, its renovation, development’. The word ‘Rediscovering and renovation’ has been used to indicate the massive expansion plans to boost its economy apparently but at the root, the Wahhabi agenda has been at its work that wants to wipe out all the historical sites associated with Islam because they believe that the historical sites lead Muslims to shirk (worship of false gods). Why we say that the statement of the Saudi representative in the UNESCO conference is a lie is that fact that they had made a similar statement in 2005 in a conference in Oman and had acted otherwise…….

Change in Madrasa Curriculum is a Must, Whether Or Not the Ulema Support It

Every year hundreds of thousands of graduates pass out of these seminaries holding degrees of Aalim, Fazil and of Mufti in their hands. But alas, when these madrasa graduates come out of their madrasa boundaries and step into the real cruel world, they get bewildered, having no clue where to go.  ...

Omar Ali Grant, a convert to Shia Islam, from London, has had around 13 temporary marriages but argues that he was just trying to find the right person to spend his life with. He conceded they could be used as a cover for premarital sex. But he said: "Sex is not Haram per se. In Islam sex doesn't have negative connotations; it is not impure and is not dirty.....

Our Ulema do not have any creativity in dealing with and presenting the messages of the Quran or the Hadiths. In almost all the programmes, the Ulema or the Maulanas harp on the same oft-repeated verses or quotations and they discuss the same oft-repeated issues. I remember the Meelad Mahfils of our childhood days in which the Maulanas would repeat the verse which meant in Urdu, ‘Aurat tumhare ghar ki kheti hai, usme jis tarah se chaho aao’(Women is your tillage, so enter in her as you wish) ignoring that minor children were also among the audience. Even to this day, the Maulanas often quote this verse in Milads in a hoarse voice. To them there are no other issues which they should have dealt, in a gathering which was full of young people and children. They could have discussed the importance of education and knowledge stressed in the Quran and Hadith, good behaviour, health and other relevant issues....

Is Music Forbidden in Islam?
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Is Music Forbidden in Islam?
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

Many Islamic scholars believe that one of the reasons the Quran is so unique is that its poetic form cannot be emulated. Its language is described as “rhymed prose”, meaning it contains both prose as well as poetry. Poetry is nothing but music. So if music is forbidden then reading the Quran too becomes forbidden....

Muslim Genetic Studies Show India is in Our DNA
Saif Shahin, New Age Islam

Indian Muslims are much more closely related to other Indians than they are to Arab populations in the Middle East and Central Asia, according to a series of genetic studies of Muslims from around the country. This growing body of research establishes that the spread of Islam in India was primarily a cultural fusion rather than a case of genetic inflow from “the Muslim world.” Indian Muslims are just as “Indian” as the Khatris, Kurmis, Brahmins and Thakurs amidst whom they live…….

The Need for an Arab Cultural Revolution
Tariq Ramadan

Reconciliation with self, liberation from intellectual and cultural colonialism, not to mention the emergence of an “Arab subject” can only take place when new life is breathed into our relationship with meaning and with ultimate goals, only when imagination, art, literature, painting and music are reclaimed....

What Muslim Women Really Want In The Bedroom
Shelina Janmohamed

I see this pattern often repeated of Muslim women leading their male counterparts in the discussion about sexuality and intimacy. According to Islamic law, sex is limited to between those who are married. But when it comes to exactly what you can do, and how sex is generally discussed, Islam itself is quite open. Sex is of course for procreation, but it’s also for pleasure....


What Do the Quran And the Sunnah Tell Us about Being a Muslim in an Islamic State
Dr A Q Khan

These are the basic fundamentals of our constitution, but many so-called ‘enlightened’ intellectuals have started a debate on the explanation of the ideology of Pakistan in accordance with their own likes and dislikes. In other words, attention is now focused on the lengths of beards and Shalwars and the edicts of Allah and His Holy Prophet (pbuh) have been shelved. Articles 62 and 63 are discussed without considering their essence.....

Prompting Laughter in Society
Dr. Khalid Al-Seghayer

This observation is based on the fact that Islam discourages such universal social practices and maintains that Saudi culture in particular, and Arab culture in general, frowns upon laughter.  As such, Saudi society is indeed classified as a society of solemnity. However, neither Islam nor Saudi cultures explicitly reject laughter, as long as it does not promote immorality and indecency…..

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