Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Medieval Muslims treated Greek philosophy

Medieval Muslims treated Greek philosophy rather as modern theologians treat modern secular philosophy. They recoiled at some of its conclusions, and enriched their thought-worlds by constructing imaginative refutations, but they displayed an abiding fascination with its mindset and its methods.
-Tim Winter, Cambridge Companion, p. 14 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Celebrating Goodness: Shaykh Abdallah Adhami on Imam Siraj Wahhaj

 Over twenty five years ago, a dynamic generation of African-American Azhar graduates came back home all ready to inspire the Muslims in North America with the richness of knowledge that they had gained. They were the first Americans to go overseas in pursuit of sacred knowledge, and the last echelon to have had the unique privilege to study with the late, eminent scholar of our era, Dr. Suleiman Dunya (1407/1987). When they returned home, and as direly as the community needed them, the masses did not have the lexicon to understand their noble message—nearly two decades before any American pontiff started talking about a “sacred tradition.” However, none could have had any success without fifteen years of Imam Siraj Wahhaj going around the MYNA camps, igniting the imagination of young people, creating a yearning in their hearts for something more, preparing the soil for the seeds of blessed scholarship that would change their lives. 
  Long before “traditional” sacred sciences captured the imagination of a generation, imam Siraj was inspiring people to know themselves through the profound simplicity of Islam. 
Few—(if any)—servants of sacred knowledge have the right to be called 'imam' in our day. Siraj Wahhaj is an imam in charity; an imam of bridge building between people; an imam in the way that he is a visionary; in the way that he is a man. 
        Siraj Wahhaj paved the road for all of us to build on. He has always encouraged people to strive for a higher level of competence. All of that will, we pray, sprout into eternal fruits of radiance for him wherever he is. Siraj Wahhaj is the voice of the spirit of Islam in America and its pride.

Monday, April 10, 2017


was the most consistent element in the personal relationships of the shaikhs. It figured prominently in a description of the ideal behavior of the Sufis written by Rashid Ahmad as a young man: "They were to be humble, warm, and forebearing toward others, and completely free of anger, sympathetic and self-abnegating, generous, forgiving, open, happy, informal; trusting in God, satisfied with very little, abstemious, free of anger or envy, unconcerned with status, devoted to keeping their word, farsighted, full of love for their fellows, generous to Muslims." [98]
Barbara Daly Metcalf, Islamic Revival in British India Deoband, 1860-1900. (Princeton University Press, 1982), p. 167.  

"When Muhammad Qasim

heard the Prophet's name he would tremble. [92] When Rashid Ahmad read the Qur'an alone at night, he would be overcome with joy at the sections on God's mercy; and he would weep and shake and appear terrified at the sections on God's wrath. [93] During Ramazan, Shaikh 'Abdu'r-Rahim would be so absorbed in devotion that he would meet no one, but spend day and night reciting the Qur'an.
-Barbara Daly Metcalf, Islamic Revival in British India Deoband, 1860-1900. (Princeton University Press, 1982), p. 166. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Resource for Teaching & Learning about anti-Muslim Racism in the United States

Junaid Rana: Terrifying Muslims: Race and Labor in the South Asian Diaspora

Terrifying Muslims highlights how transnational working classes from Pakistan are produced, constructed, and represented in the context of American empire and the recent global War on Terror. Drawing on ethnographic research that compares Pakistan, the Middle East, and the United States before and after 9/11, Junaid Rana combines cultural and material analyses to chronicle the worldviews of Pakistani labor migrants as they become part of a larger global racial system. At the same time, he explains how these migrants’ mobility and opportunities are limited by colonial, postcolonial, and new imperial structures of control and domination. He argues that the contemporary South Asian labor diaspora builds on and replicates the global racial system consolidated during the period of colonial indenture. Rana maintains that a negative moral judgment attaches to migrants who enter the global labor pool through the informal economy. This taint of the illicit intensifies the post-9/11 Islamophobia that collapses varied religions, nationalities, and ethnicities into the threatening racial figure of “the Muslim.” It is in this context that the racialized Muslim is controlled by a process that beckons workers to enter the global economy, and stipulates when, where, and how laborers can migrate. The demonization of Muslim migrants in times of crisis, such as the War on Terror, is then used to justify arbitrary policing, deportation, and criminalization.
About The Author(s)

Junaid Rana is Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.