“When we think how few men of real religion there are, how small the number of defenders and champions of the truth—when one sees ignorant persons imagining that the principle of Islam is hardness, severity, extravagance and barbarity—it is time to repeat these words: Patience is beautiful, and God is the source of all succour. (Sabr jamîl, wa’Llâhu’l-musta‘ân—Qur’an, XII: 18)”
The Emir Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri
If the words quoted above were true in 1860, when the Emir wrote them, they are sadly even truer today. In the aftermath of the earth-shaking events of September 11 many in the West and in the Muslim world are rightly appalled by the fact that the mass-murder perpetrated on that day is being hailed by some Muslims as an act of Jihad. Only the most deluded souls could regard the suicide-attacks as having been launched by ‘mujâhidîn’, striking a blow in the name of Islam against legitimate targets in the heartland of the enemy. Despite its evident falsity, the image of Islam conveyed by this disfiguration of Islamic principles is not easily dislodged from the popular imagination in the West. There is an unhealthy and dangerous convergence of perception between, on the one hand, those—albeit a tiny minority—in the Muslim world who see the attacks as part of a necessary anti-western Jihad; and on the other, those in the West—unfortunately, not such a tiny minority—who likewise see the attacks as the logical expression of an inherently militant religious tradition, one that is irrevocably opposed to the West.
Although of the utmost importance in principle, it appears to matter little in practice that Muslim scholars have pointed out that the terror attacks are totally devoid of any legitimacy in terms of Islamic law and morality.
More: Recollecting the Spirit of Jihad by Reza Shah-Kazemi – the Ismaili Web.
“Ibrahim was of the self-same faith (as Noah) and came to his Lord with a pure heart. He said to his father and to his people, ‘What are these that you worship? Would you serve false gods instead of Allah? What do you think of the Lord of the Creation?’
He lifted up his eyes to the stars and said, ‘I am sick!’ Then, his people turned their backs and went off.
He stole away to their idols and said to them, ‘Will you not eat your offerings? Why do you not speak?’ With that, he fell upon them, striking them down with his right hand.
The people came running to the scene. ‘Would you worship that which you have made with your own hands,’ he said, ‘when it was Allah who created you and all that you have made?’
They replied, ‘Build up a pyre and cast him into the blazing flames.’ Thus they schemed against him, but we balked their schemes.
He said, ‘I will take refuge with my Lord; he will guide me. Grant me a son, Lord, and let him be a righteous man.’
We gave him news of a gentle son. And when he reached the age when he could work with him his father said to him: “My son, I dreamt that I was sacrificing you. Tell me what you think.’
He replied: ‘Father, do as you are bidden. Allah willing, you shall find me faithful.’
Zayn Kassam, Professor of Religious Studies at Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University in California, examines how Muslim women are framed in western discourse and explores how Muslim thinkers historically situated in patriarchal contexts interpreted the Qur’an’s verses dealing with women and the family for legal and social purposes. She explores some of the challenges facing Muslim women as they struggle for gender justice and considers how Muslim gender activists have turned their attention to reading the Qur’an from a fresh perspective to ascertain whether it can be read as a women-friendly document.
MP3 audio at the source: http://rels.ucalgary.ca/2011_Peter_Craigie_Memorial_Lecture
All related, Zayn Kassam
In this insightful essay – a must read from start to finish – the late Dr. Martin Lings provides traditional proofs of Islam, with the emphasis being on the certainty in the soul. He writes that “God never sends a new religion without proofs that it comes from Him; and a man has a right to these proofs.” What then were the proofs that contemporaries of the Prophet Muhammad sought for Islam as a true revelation?
What are the proofs for later generations? The essay is written with beauty and clarity, combined with the writer’s scholarly and intellectual rigour.
Proofs of Islam by the late Dr. Martin Lings « Simerg.
By Jamil Karim
There are many misperceptions of Islam, just like there used to be with the aboriginals. The West thought the aboriginals were bad guys. In the movies, long time ago, there were stories about cowboys and Indians. They made the Indians look like bad guys. Now we are respecting First Nations and learning about them. We even celebrated their culture in the 2010 Olympics.
Today we have the same thing with Islam. There are many misperceptions that sometimes come from media reports. Often, people are ignorant about the faith of Islam.
The Quran tells us that mankind was created by a single Creator “from a single soul.” That means we were once all together. It would be nice to go back in time and restructure the harmony. But now all we can do is learn about each other’s common humanity.
via St. David’s United Church » Blog Archive » Karim Family service.
They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
Watch the video at the source: http://myfellowamerican.us/
See this film beginning October 13, 2011 on Independent Lens on PBS
Islamic Art: Zap! Pow! Islamic Superheroes to save the day.
Date: September 1, 2011 – 7:00pm – 8:00pm Speaker: Dr. Hussein Rashid
Join us for a presentation and discussion with scholar Hussein Rashid. As part of our programming surrounding the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11th, 2001, this webinar will explore the issues of Islamophobia with a focus on the progress and challenges that have developed in the ten years since Sept. 11th, 2001.
Register for this webinar here.
Dr. Rashid is an academic, activist, and lecturer. He received his MA and PhD from Harvard’s Near Eastern Languages and Cultures where his dissertation focused on the role of music as a means of integration amongst South Asian immigrants to the US and the UK. His larger research interest is the representation and self-representation of Muslims in America. Learn more about Dr. Rashid’s work here.
Once registered, participants will be given a URL for the virtual classroom location.
via State of Muslims in America: One-Session Webinar | The Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University.
Beauty and Islam explores the aesthetic dimension of art within the context of Islamic civilisation, with an emphasis on its experience and interpretation. Concentrating on the field of aesthetic phenomenology and artistic production, Gonzalez examines aesthetic theory as well as its application. The work, hailed as an “emblem of a new era in the field of Islamic art”, breaks earlier dichotomies of separating “Western” methodologies with “Islamic” data and synthesizes the thinking of a wide range of philosophers from Ibn Sina and Ibn Hazm to Wittgenstein, Husserl and Derrida, amongst others.
via The Institute of Ismaili Studies – Beauty and Islam: Aesthetics in Islamic Art and Architecture.
As Muslims worldwide prepare to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, TheIsmaili.org is pleased to offer its email greeting card service. The free service makes it easy to send Eid ul-Fitr greetings to up to 50 friends and family members at a time. Choose from a selection of unique eCard designs, and customise your card with a personal message.
The Ismaili: Send an Eid eCard greeting.
This article provides a brief introduction to the Islamic Calendar and the major Muslim Festivals and Religious Observances.
A Brief Introduction to the Muslim Calendar and Major Muslim Festivals and Religious Observances « Simerg.
Over the two decades that I have been teaching at Harvard I have been asked many questions about Islam, but I was ill prepared when, a couple of years ago, a student asked me over dinner at a restaurant in Harvard Square: “How can anyone who is rational and intelligent believe in and practice a religion that promotes violence, terror, [and] suicide bombings and is blatantly against fundamental human rights and freedom?”
Exacerbating the lack of knowledge about Islam and Muslim cultures in the United States is a widespread illiteracy about the nature of religion in general.
via A glimpse of Ali Asani’s courses on Islam studies | Harvard Magazine Sep-Oct 2011.
America has always been a melting pot, but in the post-9/11 world the environment can be downright hostile. Recent mosque protests and congressional hearings on American Muslims are all unfortunate examples of a rising tide of fear. This climate of suspicion towards our fellow Americans compromises the great values that our country was founded upon. We’ve put together a video teaser in response which you will be interested in sharing, watching, and discussing:
Islamopedia Online presents another installment of Islam & the Media, a series of conversations between scholars and journalists aimed at improving coverage of Islam. In this installment, Professor Ali Asani and Boston Globe City Editor Michael Paulson discuss the various challenges and lessons of covering Islam in the United States.
By Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi
In this article the author intends to show ways in which the Islamic conception of Rahma can be seen to serve a function similar to compassion in Mahayana Buddhism, which comes to play a determinative role, elevated as the very principle, cosmological and not simply ethical, which motivates the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
The author analyses how Islam and Buddhism are not so far apart from each other as regards the role of this quality of compassionate love. Despite their very different conceptual starting-points, both traditions stress this human quality as a key ethical trait; and for both traditions, this human quality is inseparable from the Absolute—from Allah in Islam, and the Dharma, or the Void (Shunya) or Nirvana in Buddhism.
More: The Institute of Ismaili Studies – Loving Compassion in Islam and Buddhism: Rahma and Karuna
The Western Muslim Intitative (WMI) in partnership with the Ismaili Muslim Community of Calgary present a Lecture by Naif Al-Mutawa, the creator of The 99, a group of superheroes based on Islamic archetypes who are now a global phenomenon and have even teamed up with DC Comics’ Superman and Batman. Dr Al-Mutawa has been hailed by President Obama and by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and, in Calgary, he will talk about his vision for using comic book heroes to present positive, pluralist, peaceful role models rooted in Muslim culture but accesible to all.
The lecture will be held as follows:
Wednesday, June 1
6:30 p.m. (Doors Open)
Location: Craigie Hall C 119, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW
Tickets: $12 ($15 at Door) available at http://www.thewesternmuslim.com/
When: 7 Jun 2011 – 17:30
Where: THE TEMPLE CHURCH, OFF FLEET STREET, LONDON EC4Y 7 BB
There will be ample time for Q & A; the discussion will be followed by refreshments in the Round Church
Following a series of public discussions on “Islam in English Law”, 2008-9, we are very pleased to welcome Professor Ali Asani (Harvard) to the Temple Church in June.
via A Lecture and Discussion: “Islam: Beyond the Headlines” – Professor Ali Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University | Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN).
Article by By Norreddin Mahammed.
INTRODUCTION: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” An abundance of myths, religious doctrines and scientific theories have been developed to answer these fundamental questions about the world and man’s place in it.
Read at the source: http://simerg.com.
By Joseph A. Kechichian
At the time of his death a few months ago, professor Mohammad Arkoun (1928-2010) was probably one of the most influential contemporary Muslim scholars who pioneered the field of Islamic humanism and produced critical studies that chartered new arenas for scholars and politicians who availed themselves of his erudition.
A modest individual with a generous heart, Arkoun, over a period of three decades, educated students anxious to delve into serious investigations on the reasons why dogma clashed with modernising forces in the faith. He identified tensions in rote thinking, which stifled originality and prevented the emergence of rationalised analyses that advanced political reforms. Remarkably, he challenged interlocutors to appreciate conflicting views and defied them to explore neglected questions. As such, he called on his readers and listeners to expand their horizons, look both in their souls and their environments and judge only after thorough assessment.
via gulfnews : Mohammad Arkoun, scholar of reason
All related Mohammed Arkoun