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Books and Documents

Islamic Culture

Gazan Artists, Intellectuals Seek To Revive Culture Cafes
Tamam Mohsen

While Areeny holds the cultural meetings in historical places, writer Yousri al-Ghoul has chosen to hold his own cultural salon at a cafe in southern Gaza City. Writers, poets and artists gather there as music plays in the background. The scene brings back memories of cultural salons in the 1960s in the Arab world and Palestine, which encouraged liberation movements to organize against the colonization at the time....

 

'Gaza Tourist' Journeys Through Heritage And Lives
Tamam Mohsen

The Gaza Strip, with an area of some 140 square miles, is something of an archaeological gem, with more than 15 archaeological sites, 20 ancient mosques and three ancient churches. Yet much of this is crumbling due to government neglect. Zraiee says he wants to exploit social media to create awareness and encourage visits to what remains of Gaza's heritage....

 

Until the end of 1979, the Saudi television aired songs for the Star of the East Umm Kulthoum and other singers like Fayza Ahmad, Samira Toufic, Najat al-Saghira and Farid al-Atrach. It also aired Samira Saeed’s songs when she first started singing during concerts in the 1970’s and when she appeared wearing the Moroccan outfit. This is in addition to the airing of songs for Saudi folk bands and Saudi female singers like Toha and Ibtisam Lutfi…

 

South Asia’s Apostle of Secular Humanism – Josh Malihabadi (Part Two)
Josh Malihabadi

Josh’s clear-headed, secular thinking was not shared by most Indians, Muslim or Hindu. Religious reasons competed with secular ones for fighting the British. The “Sepoy Mutiny” of 1857 was triggered when the British introduced new rifle cartridges rumoured to be greased with oil made from the fat of animals. The fat of cows was taboo to Hindus while Muslims protested the pig fat. Although Muslims had suffered more than Hindus, they tended to oppose the British for religious reasons more than Hindus....

 

South Asia’s Apostle of Secular Humanism – Josh Malihabadi (Part One)
Josh Malihabadi

For Josh as a libertarian, what one eats, drinks, wears, or does in private is a matter of personal freedom and not for any state or society to decide or regulate. This is opposite to how our world actually works: heinous crimes frequently go unpunished but an individual may be pillorized, publicly humiliated, and stripped of dignity for actions that have harmed no other....

 

The Hui Muslims came from this lineage, a unification of Arabia and China to form this unique position of authentic Chinese culture, infused with the Islamic tradition, the likes of which can still be seen to this day in various parts of the country, though mostly concentrated in the north-western parts of China. The practise of martial arts still takes place in various Masajid (mosques) around the country, with Islamic sciences being taught at the same time...

The Price of Love: Valentine’s Day in Egypt and Its Enemies – Concluding Part
Aymon Kreil

The women and men celebrating Valentine’s Day tend to blur its origins, insisting on the universality and beauty of love. None of my interviewees evoked religion as linked to the holiday, either positively or negatively. “If a holiday is beautiful, it doesn’t matter to me if it is of Indian, Chinese, or Western origin,” stated a woman wearing a headscarf in her forties from a rich southern Cairo family....

 

The Price of Love: Valentine’s Day in Egypt and Its Enemies – Part One
Aymon Kreil

Today, what I call “love modernism,” the linking of love marriage with imaginations of progress,[iii] is still a living ideal in Egypt. Egalitarian ideals, however, are no longer part of state ideology. Two wars and four decades of economic reform dislocated the remains of Nasserite socialism. Consequently, economic constraints often jeopardize marriage plans.

In the mid-2000s, for instance, Muslim Brotherhood students tried to organize a holiday of love of God (‘id al-Hubb fi Allah) and later a Muhammad Day [xxvi] on 14 February....

 

Obama’s Stellar Effort to Preserve Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
Franklin Lamb

But there is one major, if not widely heralded, Obama Administration achievement which relates to Syria and the Middle East that has not gained much public recognition but for which the Obama Administration deserves great credit. That subject is Obama’s leadership and achievements, working with a divided Congress, in taking new and concrete measures with respect to Protecting and Preserving Syria’s Endangered Heritage which we all share as our common cradle of Civilization....

 

What’s Missing in the Teaching of Islam
Kishwar Rizvi

Such narrow focus misses out on the cultural exchanges during this period. For example, in medieval Spain, the Troubadour poets borrowed their lyrical beauty from Arabic. Arabic was the courtly language of southern Spain until the 15th century. Similarly, the 12th-century Palatine Chapel in Sicily was painted and gilded in the imperial style of the Fatimids, the rulers of Egypt between the 10th and 12th centuries....

It’s Harder than Ever to Teach Islamic Art — but Never More Important
Kishwar Rizvi

In my first class, on Islam’s holiest site, the Kaaba in Mecca, I couldn’t avoid showing images of the sacred monument overshadowed by towering hotels. Old photographs and verbal descriptions have to stand in for the hundreds of Ottoman and early Islamic sites destroyed by the Saudi government to make way for ambitious commercial ventures....

 

When Muslims Ruled the Civilised World
Hamid Dabashi

Generations and centuries have passed since the time Khaqani visited Taq-e Kisra and composed his unforgettable poem. Today those ruins are either viciously destroyed as the ISIL did in Palmyra or else carefully or competently curated in museums like this one....

 

Najaf, Karbala and Baghdad: The Exalted Cities
Sadia Dehlvi

Yazid had declared himself the head of the Islamic caliphate and ordered Imam Hussain to give allegiance to him. Imam Hussain fought with just 72 companions against a huge well-equipped army. After they were martyred, the Prophet’s beloved grandson stood alone, suffering a volley of arrows but fighting bravely till his head was severed from his body, while he prostrated in prayer. Imam Hussain preferred to die, rather than legitimise oppression and injustice in the name of Islam. His sacrifice and courage against the face of evil, is what continues to inspire the Iraqis to fight the ISIS.....

 

Pakistan’s Mughal Heritage: Chinese-Style Modernisation Draws Perilously Close To Brilliant 17th-Century Landmarks

For centuries Lahore was the heart of Mughal Hindustan, known to visitors as the City of Gardens. Today it has a greater profusion of treasures from the Mughal period (the peak of which was in the 17th century) than India’s Delhi or Agra, even if Lahore’s are less photographed. The walled old city is anchored at one end by the red sandstone and white marble bulbs of the huge Badshahi mosque, and fixed at the centre by the polychrome mosque....

 

The Ottoman Legacy in Palestine
Aziza Nofal

According to Riwaq, 50,320 historical buildings were identified in 1994 in Palestine. Bechara said that only a few of those were built before the Ottoman era. This is because Palestine was rebuilt in the last 500 years according to Ottoman architecture based on the existing infrastructure from previous eras. For instance, the architecture in the Old City of Nablus was mostly Byzantine, but the buildings were destroyed due to the 1927 earthquake and rebuilt with an Ottoman character....

 

Drawing the human form from live models was long considered a rite of passage — and an academic requirement — for aspiring artists in the West, but Turkish artists under Ottoman rule had to do so clandestinely, Ms. Antmen said, under threat from the authorities or conservative groups.

 

A Cultural Revolution in Malaysia
Tash Aw

In a country wary of Islam — the Chinese government has a fractious relationship with its ethnic Uighur minority in the western province of Xinjiang — Ms. Amzah’s popularity, which verges on superstardom, is remarkable. ...

 

Preserving Manuscripts: Faith’s Archivists

The vast majority of the Mali manuscripts are Korans, Hadiths, and studies on grammar and rhetoric. But the scanners capture everything, including those dealing with human rights, health and law. Paper was precious, so rare glimpses of daily life were jotted in the margins, before Europeans ever set eyes on Saharan cities. There they remained for centuries, preserved by the desert’s dryness.

 

Using Laser Scanners to Preserve Antiquities in ISIS’ Cross Hairs
Stephen Farrell

“The idea is to have a virtual reunification of the archaeological objects extant in Babylon and Berlin,” Dr. Hilgert said. “This is what is so important about the time we are experiencing. We have to learn again that cultural objects, elements of culture, have very much to do with who we are, what we identify with, how we orient ourselves in this world.”

 

Muhammad Iqbal on the Spirit of Islamic Culture
Muhammad Iqbal

The fourth dimension of “freedom”, in the eyes of Iqbal, is emphasis of the spirit of Islamic culture on man to be “creative” in possibly all aspects of his life. Obviously in this sphere poets, writers, artists, scientists etc. are all included. Since Iqbal believes that God has breathed His spirit in man, He expects man to be creative like Himself.

 

Germany's Muslim community is bracing for a culture shock when masses of Arab migrants join millions of residents of Turkish origin. But experts suggest the change could be positive for it could broaden outlook, and say fears of religious radicalism may be overblown. For a Syrian refugee family, attending Friday prayers in a German mosque can be a headache.

 

Sarfarosh to Phantom – Educating Indians About Pakistani Jihad

On 28 August, Bollywood released Phantom, a reality check on this hopeful human emotion,in which an Indian Muslim goes underground to avenge the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai. Acted by Saif Ali Khan, the daredevil blows up a Pakistani terrorist’s house in London, gets himself arrested to get into Chicago’s jail where he poisons David Headley for his involvement in the 26/11 attack.....

 
Joyful ‘Islamic’ Wall Art!
Nigar Ataulla, New Age Islam

Joyful ‘Islamic’ Wall Art!

Working quietly from their home, Adeela and Junaid have created Sawab, an online store featuring contemporary framed art prints, stretched canvas prints and wall stickers. These products, with styles, themes and motifs derived from the rich Muslim cultural heritage, add aesthetic appeal to your home or office and make elegant gifts.....

Is Music Prohibited In Islam?
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

Is Music Prohibited In Islam?
Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

We see or hear only what our brains are capable of comprehending and the keenness or sharpness with which we see, hear, smell, feel or taste is what gives us the different talents. Our ability for focusing or paying attention is also determined by our cognitive abilities or what our brain is able to make of the stimuli. Now if God or nature has given some people musical ability and great natural talent for it, then God or nature has meant it to be used. The Quran clearly frowns on people who prohibit to themselves what God has not prohibited. ….

Come Eid And ISIS Fighters Will Get Slave Girls As Prize For Memorizing Surahs Of The Holy Quran: What Do Our Ulema Say To This?

There cannot be a greater contempt of the holy Quran that guaranteed respect, honour and equal rights to women. During the month of Ramzan, the ISIS held Quran memorization contest for its fighters. The winners of the contest will get slave girls as prize and as encouragement for memorizing the Quran. The verses chosen for the contest are the Makkan verses that speak of Qital and fighting with the ‘Kafirs’. The verses are Surah Muhammad, Surat al-Tawba, Surah Fath and Surah Anfal. The ISIS is doing this to revive the Arab tribal tradition of ‘Sibya’ in which human beings are given away as prize.....

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