Friday, March 5, 2010

I love this title!

It was in the ninth century that the humanist Jahiz (d. 255/869) wrote his treatise Fi Madh al-kutub wa 'l-hathth 'ala jami'iha ('On the Praise of Books and the Promotion of their Collection').
-George Makdisi, The Rise of Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West, p. 54


Urgent Appeal for Risala Institute

The Harsh Reality - An Appeal to the Community

The harsh reality is that The Risala Institute, the organization which has been striving to make quality Islamic education accessible and affordable to underserved communities, is very close to possibly having to close its doors.

Risala may have to shut down very soon due to its lack of funding and support.

The approximately 80 students from pre-k through eighth grade, who attend the school, may not even get the opportunity to finish out this school year unless something is done.

Due to the population that we serve, much of the tuition is very often either late or not paid at all. In our various attempts to reach out to the wealthy members of the community for help, we have come out empty handed. Our attempts at establishing lucrative businesses to fund the school have been unsuccessful due to not having the seed money to get them started on an effective level. Therefore, the school has reached such a financial deficit that it can no longer survive.

The harsh reality is that in order for our community to have something like this, which has the potential to make a tremendous positive change for us and our children, it must be supported.

Risala needs $5,000 by the end of this week (3/5/10) in order to stay open and an additional $10,000 by the end of this month (March) in order to at least finish out the school year. In order for us to be able to go further, we need funds that can go towards the businesses and new programs which would allow us to be self-sufficient and not have to rely upon donations and unstable tuition.

Any amount that you can give will be greatly appreciated, whether it's $10 or $10,000. You may donate online at

Jazakullah Khair,

Please support this worthy Islamic institution!
Source: Lamppost Productions

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Constituents Confront GOP Rep. Myrick Over Muslim-Bashing At Tense Town Hall

via islamicate

Edward Said is the man!

I'm reading him for 3 of my classes this semester! (ok, we read just maybe two passages for one class (Immigration and Identity), but literally right now, for this week, in two of my classes - Imagining the Middle East and Intro to Social and Cultural Analysis (SCA), we're reading from his Orientalism and in the SCA class from the Edward Said Reader as well (one of the co-editors btw is Moustafa Bayoumi - the author of How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America)

I'm loving the SCA class, and having read some of Gramsci and Foucault for SCA helps in understanding Said as he draws from them

We watched this video in class yesterday:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Canada: New rights group head warned of Muslim immigrant threat

CNN: Chile quake may have shortened days

via Amir Sulaiman

Farid Esack: "Palestine Through South African Eyes"

Saturday March 6: "Palestine Through South African Eyes"

Speaker: Professor Farid Esack
Location: Harris Seminar Room, Oriel College, Oxford
Time: 7:30pm

Dr. Farid Esack is a South African Muslim theologian who cut his teeth in the South African struggle for liberation. He is currently writing a book titled, "Palestine Through South African Eyes," comparing his experience as an activist against apartheid in South Africa with that of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Dr. Esack has taught at various universities around the world, most recently serving as the Prince al-Waleed bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islam at Harvard University. He currently resides in South Africa, where he is Professor in the Study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Major Themes of the Qur'an by Fazlur Rahman

Just finished Major Themes of the Qur'an by Fazlur Rahman! I would highly recommend it (and no book is perfect and there are points of disagreement, but still I think there is a lot of benefit to be gained from it (as from his Islam)

My copy is an older 1994 copy...The newer 2009 edition includes a foreword by Ebrahim Moosa! (which you can read here on google books) :)

Islam and/in/of the West Pt. 2

Talk by Tariq Ramadan - 15 February 2010 - Cambridge - 43 mins 28 secs

The second part of this week's loosely-themed audio triptych, this talk was delivered by Prof. Ramadan at last month's CU ISoc Experience Islam Week. In 'Hostility, Loyalty and Change: the Future for Muslims in the West', he analyses the current situation of Muslims in the West and offers his thoughts on the future.

"This emerging conception of the West as a distinct civilization

was based on the assertion of an essential continuity and coherence across vast stretches of time and space, from the purported birth of that civilization in ancient Greece through almost twenty centuries to its re-emergence and flowering in the modern age, in the very different setting of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century western Europe. To claim this kind of unbroken cultural continuity required presuming that the West as a civilization had some essence, some core, which had always remained basically unchanged, intact and unsullied by contamination from "outside" sources. It also required assuming that as a civilization the West was unique and essentially different from all other cultures. Accepting these premises had the effect of defining the West and framing its history in such a way to render invisible many of the cultural, economic, and political interactions, linkages, and processes which helped shape what would later come to be called the West - for example, what the ancient Greeks and Romans had borrowed from other peoples and the powerful impact which (as we have seen) Arab culture had had on medieval Europe. It also meant ignoring the many aspects of European history, society and culture that could not be made to fit with the new story Europeans began to tell themselves about the West and its transcendent values. As the same time - and most crucially for our purposes here - it also made it difficult for early modern Europeans (and their successors) to grasp how it was they had come to see themselves as inhabitants of a distinct and superior West. [13]

"There were no degrees in pedagogy or education

per se in medieval Islam. The licence to teach (al-ijazah bi'l-tadris) [54] provided evidence of mastery of the subject taught. But those who held such licences could not be assumed to possess any intimate understanding of child psychology; nor could they be assumed to have any innate love of or compassion for every student. Nor could they, as teachers, be assumed to be motivated purely by a love for knowledge, with pecuniary interests falling beneath their dignity as men of learning. Nor could it be assumed that every student, especially at the elementary level, would approach his studies with the dedication, humility and respect for his teachers necessary for success. Yet, if Muslim educational institutions were to accomplish their mission, these and countless other realities would have to be recognized and addressed. Ibn Hajar al-Haytami's Taqrir al-maqal shows the extent to which medieval Muslim jurists, in their capacity as the veritable school boards of medieval Islam, did just that. Indeed, this work strongly suggests that while the success of Muslim educational institutions was undoubtedly indebted to the brilliance and dedication of the Ghazalis, Ibn Taymiyahs and Ibn Rushds - both as teachers and students - it was no less the result of the contributions, as jurists, to pragmatic, flexible, and ever-evolving school administrative policies.
-Sherman Jackson, "Duty and Discipline in a Medieval Muslim Elementary School: Ibn Hajar al-Haytamî's Taqrîr al-Maqâl," Studies in Muslim Education in Honor of Professor George Makdisi ed. D. Stewart, S. Toorawa and J. Lowry (Great Britain: E.J.W. Gibb Memorial Trust, 2004), 32.

"When one thinks of medieval Muslim institutions of learning,

one is apt to be visited by images of bearded sages, impeccably turbaned, pouring over tattered tomes into the wee hours of the morning, pondering the subtleties of the latest intellectual fad, or attacking the doctrines of their opponents with reed pens emboldened by scripture and dipped in lethal logic. This is only natural, given that the achievements of the Ghazalis, Ibn Taymiyahs, Ibn Rushds and countless others are what draw us to the subject of Muslim education to begin with. Yet, to see the products of this system only in their mature form is to miss an important aspect of what these premodern Muslim institutions were really up against and what, therefore, they should be credited with having achieved. For, while it may be difficult to imagine a staunch Ibn Taymiyah failing to carry out a homework assignment, or a calm and sensitive al-Ghazali engaged in a clandestine spit-ball fight during hadith dictation, or a punctilious Ibn Rushd playing hooky for days on end, virtually all of those who emerged as the great scholars of Islam began their careers as young boys in privately endowed elementary scholars. [1] And in this capacity, they were prone to all the frivolity and rambunctiousness normally associated with youth. If their teachers and their childhood alma maters were to succeed in their educational mission, they would have to develop clear and concrete policies to deal with disciplinary and countless other challenges. [2]
-Sherman Jackson, "Duty and Discipline in a Medieval Muslim Elementary School: Ibn Hajar al-Haytamî's Taqrîr al-Maqâl," Studies in Muslim Education in Honor of Professor George Makdisi ed. D. Stewart, S. Toorawa and J. Lowry (Great Britain: E.J.W. Gibb Memorial Trust, 2004), 18.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chris Hedges on ‘The Death and Life of American Journalism’

A Giant Passes Away: On the Legacy of Gai Eaton (rahimullah)

Robert Reich: The Enthusiasm Gap

Thanks Khalid!

Glenn Beck's eliminationist attacks on progressives: How long before someone acts on this violent rhetoric?

via Informed Comment

Stop at the End and Be Safe

The Mawlid: a Season of Thanks and Celebration