Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dr. Jamillah Karim: Narratives of Black Muslim Women, Part 2: From Sunni Islam to the Nation

Imam Zaid Shakir: Black Lives Matter

"None of my discoveries was at all original.

The growing number of theologians who, overcoming an allergy to ‘Semitism’, were prepared to set ancient misunderstandings aside and acknowledge the integrity of Judaism (and now, more slowly, Islam), proved a source of real encouragement, and was clearly a historical shift of immense importance. It seemed to reflect some deep sea-changes in the way Christians perceived virtue. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred pastor of Berlin, was so horrified by his hierarchy’s insistence on Luther’s doctrine of non-intervention in politics that he issued his famous call for a ‘Christianity without religion’. And I myself, growing up when memories of the war were still all around me, often heard of the martyred Stauffenberg’s attempt to kill Hitler, but could not name a single German bishop who was remembered for rebelling against the Reich.[12] Certainly for my own spiritual journey, the old images of Christ, solace of pacifists and ineffectual dreamers, were less impressive than the new icons of a truly socially responsible human being drawn by Bonhoeffer and, more especially, the liberation theologians. Sometimes I believe that there is significance in the fact that I was baptised by Father Jack Putterill (1892-1980), best known of all radical priests in his day, who insisted that true religion is not pacifist or apolitical, but must be a revolutionary challenge to the rich and the autocratic.[13] Putterill, to my knowledge, went to his grave without knowing the Prophet whose Lord was Lord of the Poor, who actively championed their cause and adopted their way of life, who challenged great empires instead of meekly submitting to them. That Prophet, hailed by the socialist Bernard Shaw as ‘a princely genius’,[14] turns out to be a spiritual type close to the urgent but hidden needs of a comfortable, bourgeois consumer culture, which in its heart yearns not for faint chanting in distant oratories, but a willingness to engage in a virile way with the real issues of poverty and injustice. Such, of course, was the motivation which drove Roger Garaudy, whose Communism was of the empathetic kind, and who therefore broke with Stalinism and entered the free, non-hierarchical space of Islam. For Garaudy, like Putterill and Shaw, secularity could only produce freedom within the confines of the ‘cage of steel’. True freedom lay beyond, but it had to be promote itself, and therefore incorporate a willingness to challenge those who degrade God’s earth and His servants. Faced with radical evil, preaching and witnessing alone are tragically inadequate.

-Abdal Hakim Murad, "Quicunque Vult, or, A teenage journey to Islam" (reproduced courtesy of www.lastprophet.info) [October 2008] 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

New Book!: Islamic Intellectual History in the Seventeenth Century: Scholarly Currents in the Ottoman Empire and the Maghreb (just came out July 8, 2015) by Khaled El-Rouayheb

For much of the twentieth century, the intellectual life of the Ottoman and Arabic-Islamic world in the seventeenth century was ignored or mischaracterized by historians. Ottomanists typically saw the seventeenth century as marking the end of Ottoman cultural florescence, while modern Arab nationalist historians tended to see it as yet another century of intellectual darkness under Ottoman rule. This book is the first sustained effort at investigating some of the intellectual currents among Ottoman and North African scholars of the early modern period. Examining the intellectual production of the ranks of learned ulema (scholars) through close readings of various treatises, commentaries, and marginalia, Khaled El-Rouayheb argues for a more textured - and text-centered - understanding of the vibrant exchange of ideas and transmission of knowledge across a vast expanse of Ottoman-controlled territory.
http://amzn.to/1MjA6Rv

Someone buy me a copy! :)

John Vidal: Explosive intervention by Pope Francis set to transform climate change debate

In a recent speech widely regarded as a curtain-raiser to the encyclical, Turkson said: “Much of the world remains in poverty, despite abundant resources, while a privileged global elite controls the bulk of the world’s wealth and consumes the bulk of its resources.” 
The Argentinian pontiff is expected to repeat calls for a change in attitudes to poverty and nature. “An economic system centred on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it,” he told a meeting of social movements last year. “I think a question that we are not asking ourselves is: isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature? Safeguard creation because, if we destroy it, it will destroy us. Never forget this.”

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Franklin Graham on Muslims and Immigration to the U.S....

Four innocent Marines (United States Marine Corps) killed and three others wounded in ‪#‎Chattanooga‬ yesterday including a policeman and another Marine--all by a radical Muslim whose family was allowed to immigrate to this country from Kuwait. We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled. Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized--and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad. During World War 2, we didn't allow Japanese to immigrate to America, nor did we allow Germans. Why are we allowing Muslims now? Do you agree? Let your Congressman know that we've got to put a stop to this and close the flood gates. Pray for the men and women who serve this nation in uniform, that God would protect them.

International Symposium on Ottoman Kalam: Call for Papers

Thursday, July 16, 2015

From an older article on Tim Winter

"Despite all the stereotypes of Islam being the paradigmatic opposite to life in the west, the feeling of conversion is not that one has migrated but that one has come home.
"I feel that I more authentically inhabit my old identity now that I operate within Islamic boundaries than I did when I was part of a teenage generation growing up in the 70s who were told there shouldn't be any boundaries." The challenge, he feels, is much harder now for young Muslims trying to integrate with British life. 
"Your average British Asian Muslim on the streets of Bradford or Small Heath in Birmingham is told he has to integrate more fully with the society around him. The society he tends to see around him is extreme spectacles of binge drinking on Saturday nights, scratchcards, and other forms of addiction apparently rampant, credit card debt crushing lives, collapsing relationships and mushrooming proportions of single lives, a drug epidemic. It doesn't look very nice. 
"That is why one of the largest issues over the next 50 years is whether these new Muslim communities can be mobilised to deal with those issues. Islam is tailor-made precisely for all those social problems. It is the ultimate cold turkey. You don't drink at all. You don't sleep around. You don't do scratchcards. Or whether a kind of increasing polarisation, whereby Muslims look at the degenerating society around them and decide ‘You can keep it'." 
It is not this, though, that contributes to some young Muslim British men's radicalism, he says, since their numbers are often made up of "the more integrated sections". "The principle reason, which Whitehall cannot admit, is that people are incensed by foreign policy. Iraq is a smoking ruin in the Iranian orbit. Those who are from a Muslim background are disgusted by the hypocrisy. It was never about WMD. It was about oil, about Israel and evangelical christianity in the White House. That makes people incandescent with anger. What is required first of all is an act of public contrition. Tony Blair must go down on his knees and admit he has been responsible for almost unimaginable human suffering and despair." 
He adds: "The West must realise it must stop being the world's police. Why is there no Islamic represenation on the UN Security Council? Why does the so-called Quartet [on the Middle East] not have a Muslim representative? The American GI in his goggles driving his landrover through Kabul pointing his gun at everything that moves, that is the image that enrages people."
"Timothy Winter: Britain's most influential Muslim - and it was all down to a peach" (August 20, 2010), the Independent.

Ibn Rajab on Parting with Ramadan

The hearts of the righteous people are filled with longing, lamenting from the pain of departure. How can a believer not shed tears upon its [Ramadan] departure when he does not know if he will live to see it again? O Ramadan! Be gentle, the tears of your lovers are pouring out. Their hearts are torn from the pain of your departure. Perhaps standing to bid you farewell will extinguish the burning fire of longing. Perhaps taking a moment to repent will mend everything that has been torn in fast. Perhaps one cut off from the procession of those whose fast has been accepted will be joined with them. Perhaps the one imprisoned by his sins will be freed. Perhaps one deserving to be punished in Hell will be liberated. Perhaps the mercy of the Lord will be granted to the sinner.
-Ibn Rajab, Lata'if al-Ma'arif, translated by Imam Zaid Shakir
http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/ramadan_lessons_true_liberation#sthash.XQdfPnFR.dpuf 

Article I wrote: Said Nursi, Theology, Tradition and Contemporary Muslim Educational Institutions