Monday, December 31, 2012

Articles by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

These articles mostly were published in Seasons, Zaytuna's journal which is no longer really in existence:

The introduction to The Creed of Imam al-Tahawi can also be found here.

ALIM Winter Program 2013 – Orange County, CA - Spiritual and Cultural Authenticity: American Muslim Realities and Our Way Forward

Friday, January 18th – Sunday, January 20th, 2013.
MLK Holiday Weekend (Monday is a Federal Holiday).

This year’s ALIM Winter Program will be in Orange County, California during the Martin Luther King Weekend in January 2013 in sha Allah.
The ALIM Winter program will explore how American Muslims can become positive contributors to this culture while remaining true to their values as Muslims. By looking at “Muslim Identity,” “Islamic Culture,” and the question of Muslim involvement in American Society, we will look to our tradition to inspire a future embedded in an authentic spiritual and cultural identity.
Join us for a thought provoking discussion with our scholars on transcending basic consumption of dominant culture in the pursuit of creating a dignified American Muslim voice.

Confirmed Scholars:


Confirmed Artist Panel: 

Sunday, December 30, 2012


IMAM AL-GHAZALI (may God's mercy be on him) wrote in his book The Beginning of Guidance:

You should not neglect your time or use it haphazardly; on the contrary you should bring yourself to account, structure your litanies and other practices during each day and night, and assign to each period a fixed and specific function. This is how to bring out the spiritual blessing (baraka) in each period.

But if you leave yourself adrift, aimlessly wandering as cattle do, not knowing how to occupy yourself at every moment, your time will be lost. It is nothing other than your life, and your life is the capital that you make use of to reach perpetual felicity in the proximity of God the Exalted.

Each of your breaths is a priceless jewel, since each of them is irreplaceable and, once gone, can never be retrieved.

Do not be like the deceived fools who are joyous because each day their wealth increases while their life shortens. What good is an increase in wealth when life grows ever shorter?

Therefore be joyous only for an increase in knowledge or in good works, for they are your two companions who will accompany you in your grave when your family, wealth, children and friends stay behind.

(quoted in the back of The Prophetic Invocations, Starlatch Press).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book VIII: Attributes Leading to Perdition

Habib Ali's talk at RIS: What the World Needs Now is Love

محاضرة اليوم الأول: ما تحتاجه الأمة اليوم هو الحب الحقيقي
صوتية مسموعة - ترجمة الشيخ عبدالكريم يحيى من أمريكا - مع تحيات: إدارة الصفحة
Habib Ali spoke on the topic of "What we need is love, sweet love." He spoke about the centrality of love in the faith of a Muslim and how the perfection of faith is to have love, elaborating on the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad in which he said, upon him be peace, "None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." Habib Ali explained how love is attained through knowledge of the beloved, and how love can be nurtured through the aide of the intellect, senses, and various acts of worship known to a Muslim, but how its origin lies deep within ourselves. Habib Ali concluded his address by emphasizing the point that the expression of faith through love is not a weakness, as some Muslims have misunderstood it to be and who instead call for sternness and anger. He said that it is through the universal and unconditional love of good for all human beings, regardless of their religion, gender, and ethnicity, that the power of faith resonates

"لو أدرك المؤمن معنى محبة الله ورسوله...

"لو أدرك المؤمن معنى محبة الله ورسوله لوجد أنها الآلة التي بها يتوصل إلى ثمرة الإيمان في الدنيا والآخرة."
الحبيب عمر بن حفيظ

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"We could say using the Islamic vocabulary that the state [as in condition in the modern world] is

"شغلتنا الأدلة عن المدلول"

All the pointers have distracted us from what is being pointed to [the ineffable].

-Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Tim Winter)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Insights with Dr. Sherman Jackson

Check out this new video with Dr. Jackson about how some misunderstand his views on being an American Muslim.

Also, this is the poem that he shares as one of his favorites:

ذلك الطّفل الذي كنتُ, أتاني 


وجهًا غريبًا. 

لم يقل شيئًا. مشينا 

وكِلانا يرمقُ الآخرَ في صمتٍ. خُطانا 

نَهَرٌ يجري غريبًا. 

جمعتْنا, باسْمِ هذا الورقِ الضّارب في الرّيح, الأصولُ 


غابةً تكتبها الأرضُ وترْويها الفصولُ. 

أيها الطّفل الذي كنتُ, تَقَدَّمْ 

ما الذي يجمعنا, الآنَ, وماذا سنقولُ? .



"That child who once was me 
came to me once in a strange face, 
he didn't say anything,
we just looked at each other and then walked along the way
we were joined together in the name of that leaf that dangles in the wind by our roots,
then we departed
and we went into a jungle whose author is the earth and whose narrator is the seasons,
O child who once was me,
come forward now,
what is it that joins us together still
and what shall we say together?"

-Adonis, translated by Dr. Jackson.

Tradition: Concept and Claim by Josef Pieper

Hope to read in sha Allah.
Josef Pieper’s Tradition: Concept and Claim analyzes tradition as an idea and as a living reality in the lives and languages of ordinary people. In the modern world of constant, unrelenting change, tradition, says Pieper, is that which must be preserved unchanged. Drawing on thinkers from Plato to Pascal, Pieper describes the key elements and figures in the act of tradition and what is distinctive about it.
Pieper argues that the handing down of tradition is not the same as discussing or teaching, despite its similarities to those activities. It means accepting something as true and valid with the intent of handing it down again, unmixed with alien intrusions and yet kept alive for each new generation via imaginative reformulations. In the beginning, there is sacred tradition, founded on a revelation of God to man, yet secular tradition is important too. Tradition offers liberation from the prison of the present. “Understanding what tradition really means makes one free and independent in the face of conservatisms,” notes Pieper. At the same time, it links us to the past and is essential for a meaningful future.
“This is a profound reflection on contemporary understandings and misunderstandings of what tradition is. Pieper argues powerfully that the modern scientific situation, and the zeal for the new, do not and cannot supersede the human need of tradition if we are to orient ourselves in the world and find meaning. Pieper’s quest for the reconciliation of reason/science with tradition/revelation suggests Thomas Aquinas speaking in the language and context of our time.” – Timothy Fuller, Lloyd E. Worner Distinguished Service Professor, Colorado College
“Josef Pieper, in this lucid translation, shows that tradition is not the same as ‘traditionalism’; nor is it the mindless repetition of a past no longer understood. Rather, tradition is the handing down and the reception, generation after generation, of unchanging truths that originate vin a primal revelation. Pieper shows in a brilliant, paradigm-shifting way, how philosophy, theology, science, and the arts interact with tradition, and how a sense of unchanging sacred tradition is necessary for human community.” – Gene Edward Veith, Patrick Henry College


"The grandeur of the human state

is not that human beings can make complicated machines or conceptualize complex theories, but in that men and women are worthy of being addressed by God and being considered worthy of receiving His revelation and guidance. [...] To be human is to be capable of hearing the Word of God and being led back to Him.
-Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Garden of Truth, pg. 16. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Unavoidable Question

Wherever we are and in whatever time we happen to live, we cannot avoid asking the basic questions of who we are, where we came from, what we are doing here, and where we are going? In everyone's life, especially when one is young, these basic questions arise in the mind, often with force, and demand answers from us. Many simply push them aside or remain satisfied with established answers provided by others in their family or community. In traditional societies such answers always came from the teachings of religion, and to a great extent they still do for the majority of people in many parts of the world. But there have always been and still are today the few who take the question "who am I?" seriously and existentially and who are not satisfied with answers provided by others. Rather, they seek to find the answers by themselves, trying with their whole being to delve into the inner meaning of religion and wisdom. They continue until they reach the goal and receive a response that provides for them certitude and removes from them the clouds of doubt. In any case, how we choose to live in this world - how we act and think and how we develop the latent possibilities within us - depends totally on the answer we provide for ourselves to this basic question of who we are, for human beings live and act for the most part according to the image they have of themselves.
-Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Garden of Truth, pg. 4

Exclusive: LoonWatch Interview with Haroon Moghul


The most formative educational influence in my life was a great high school teacher named Charlie. At Brooklyn Prep, Charlie Winans simultaneously taught a group of us history, literature, art and music - and he was master of all of them. For three years, three hours a day, five days a week, he led us from the cave paintings of Altimira and the sounds of simple percussion to Jackson Pollock and Aaron Copland. To him, the word "boundary" had no meaning. After the Jesuits who ran our school followed the heinous example of Walter O'Malley and pulled out of Brooklyn, Charlie taught for several years at a yeshiva and today, at the age of 82, he volunteers at Mother Teresa's hospice for AIDS patients. Thank you, Charlie, for being in my life.
-John Sexton, "Installation Address."

"The central challenge

facing the academy in our time will be the discovery of the proper balance between preservation and adaptation - between maintaining the hallowed essence of what we have been and creating what we must become in a world that day to day hardly remains the same.
-John E. Sexton, "Installation Address," September 26, 2002.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Charlie quote

"Then, too, he spoke earnestly to the boys about the importance of choosing the right girl. "Of course you want beautiful girlfriends, but gentlemen, gentlemen, with today's methods any young female can be made to look good. You know what they say: 'powder and paint make a woman what she ain't.' No, find someone who is intelligent - smarter than you, even--and try hard to make it work. Because if you're lucky, she'll take you the distance."
-pg. 99-100 of Charlie's Prep by Steven Englund and Vincent Curcio

Charlie, my namesake, was John Sexton's mentor at Brooklyn Prep.

"The earlier texts

discuss worship and servanthood largely in terms of a moral imperative. Many later texts, especially from 'Ibn Arabi onwards, ground the moral imperative in what can be called an "ontological imperative". This perspective includes discussion of the Divine Being, the structure of the cosmos, and the reality of the human soul. In modern times, most well-known Muslim authors have continued to cling to the moral imperative, but they have lost touch with the ontological imperative. Indignantly denying "the death of God", they nonetheless go along with its implications by embracing the demise of metaphysics. Instead of standing on the solid ground of Being, they attempt to root the moral imperative in the shifting sands of empirical science, political ideology and critical theory.
 -William C. Chittick, "Worship" in The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology, edited by Tim Winter, p. 219.

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad's lesson on Imam Malik: Sage of the City of Light

Four great legal theorists dominate the history of Islamic Sacred Law. In this lecture, we meet Imam Malik ibn Anas (d.795), celebrated as the ‘Imam of the City of Emigration’ (Imam Dar al-Hijra).
Revered for his great love of the Sunna of the Chosen One (a.s.), Imam Malik dedicated his life to preserving the great treasure of Prophetic wisdom for future generations. As the honoured scholar of the City of Light, he knew that the Sunna was to be learned not only from the Hadith, but from the lived practice of the great people of Madina. His fiqh is therefore rooted in community practice, which gives it great flexibility and humanity.
Close to many of the Second Generation (the Tabi’un), he narrated the famous ‘Golden Chain’: his own teacher Nafi had learned hadiths from Ibn Umar, who reported directly from the Holy Prophet himself.
A sage who always made wudu before quoting a hadith, the Imam once remarked: ‘Allah places the gift of knowledge wherever He will. It does not consist in narrating a large amount.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

"If it is the case

that an implicit tension between body, mind and spirit provided a point d’appui for secularist tendencies which ultimately allowed the collapse of Christian commitment in Europe, [43] then it is necessary to acknowledge that through modern influences the same fissiparous tendency is shaping some of the most significant of contemporary Islamic movements. The contemporary turn away from kalam and spirituality, and of the great synthetic renewals which reintegrated Islam’s various disciplines, has produced a fragmented and impoverished Muslim intellectuality and spiritual style which, one may foretell, will not long resist the same secularising tendencies which have caused the atrophy of European Christianity. Islam, which seems called to be Europe’s spiritual and intellectual deliverance following the postmodern collapse of Enlightenment reason and the rise of the new barbarian principle of hedonistic individualism and predatory capitalism, must overcome this internal degeneration as a matter of urgency. Providentially, with a Sunni revival evident on all sides, the atmosphere currently gives reason to believe that the normative will prevail.
-from pg. 12 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"Europe, picking up on a late Hellenic tendency

to combine intellectualism with celibacy and other forms of ‘mortifying the flesh’, proved unstable, and at the Renaissance the latent instability detonated, producing the split between sacred and profane which ultimately led to the almost complete triumph of the latter. [...] The end result of this radical body-mind-spirit disjuncture is a feverish reaction against one or a combination of these three principles (every substantial form of youth culture now exemplifies this imbalance), and the secularity which generates this is in turn reinforced, so that sociologists can now write books with titles like The Death of Christian Britain. [41]
-from pg. 11 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"Real rationalism,

that is to say, reverence for the miracle of 'aql, must include a belief in innate knowledge, since the experiences of the senses are inadequate in explaining how we have come to know certain things. There are certain truths, such as the mathematical, which we experience as intuitive and rooted in an innate knowledge. Ethical knowledge also seems to be a priori: [38] it proceeds from 'aql as understood as the wise perception of the human totality (kamil), including the corporeal (what Merleau-Ponty calls the ‘body-subject’). True reason, 'aql, is therefore a knowledge by recollection (dhikr); and again this calls Plato to mind. [39]  What we know, where it matters, is what we have managed to remember, which is why the Prophet is ‘only a reminder’ (88:21), and the Qur’an is ‘a reminder; and whoever wishes, will remember’ (84:54). To achieve this ‘remembering’, and therefore to account for the apparent mystery of our a priori knowledge of axioms and ethics, [40]  we are required to exist in a harmonious balance which incorporates body, intellect and soul into a single human subject, an omnium, al-insan al-kamil. Only such a being is capable of true reason, of 'aql.
-from pgs. 10-11 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"Ghazali’s warm polemic

against those who ‘alter the terminology of the sciences’ is moved by a fear of Islamic fragmentation. The jurist who peddles his rulings at the courts of kings; the philosopher or theologian whose sophistry dazzles patrons but is polluted by vainglory; the Sufi who is delighted by miracles and patched robes, but neglects God’s law – all these are symptomatic of an atomised religious consciousness; and the solution, or revival (ihya’), can only take the form of a rediscovery of the original integrative genius of the Prophetic way. Thus should we understand his debate against Avicenna’s pupils: far from rejecting reason as a path to truth, Ghazali is advocating it, but a reason that, as with the 'aql of the first Muslims, is detached, versatile and sober, rather than schematic, proud and indifferent to other indispensable dimensions of the human totality.
-from pg. 10 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"In primal Islam,

the word 'aql thus had a supple, comprehensive meaning. In a hadith, the Holy Prophet provides a principle that later underlay juridical definitions of human accountability (taklif): ‘The Pen does not record the works of three people: one sleeping until he awakes, the one who is mentally unsound until he regains his sanity (hatta ya'qil), and the child before maturity.’ [28] In a similar hadith we read: ‘Four [types shall be excused] on the Day of Resurrection: a deaf man who could hear nothing, a stupid person [ahmaq], a senile man, and someone who died in the period [fatra] between the decline of one religion and the arrival of the next.’ [29] Here the prophetic voice explains that consciousness is what defines our status as human beings. 'Aql is what makes us human, and distinguishes us from other orders of creation for which there will be no judgement.
-from pg. 8-9 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"Does this complex

and sometimes apparently polarised picture help us to answer our question about rationality as ‘balance’? Clearly, thinkers such as Ghazali, who are normative in Sunnism, will speak of kalam as a valid discipline within its own, essentially apologetic and even therapeutic space, as a useful tool against formalistic error, notably that of the falsafa practitioners and the Mu'tazilites. As though to refute those who characterise Muslim theology as denying the rationality of God, he insists that the formal rules of logic have an objective validity which must characterise God’s power and acts. [23] As his own career implies, however, he regards experience, or what he calls ‘tasting’ (dhawq) as superior; although it can never challenge the truths known in theology; rather, it supplies a more authentic proof for them.
-from pgs. 7-8 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"The Qur’an, then, seems to be the authentic root

of two disciplines whose mutual relations are controversial: formal systematic theology (kalam), and Sufism (tasawwuf). Sufism is typically absent from the madrasa curriculum, which gives pride of place to kalam. And kalam presents itself as a fiercely rationalistic discipline, according to some more so even than Islamic philosophy (falsafa). [19]  A standard kalam text such as Taftazani's (d.1390) Shar al-'Aqa’id devotes three quarters of its length to systematic metaphysics (ilahiyyat), with the remainder dedicated to issues of prophecy and the afterlife which can only be demonstrated through revelation. Such texts defined orthodoxy; yet they seem to have been less influential upon the minds of most Muslims than the passionate Sufism of the likes of Rumi, whose pessimism about kalam is evident.
 Here we are faced with an evolving tension within classical Islamic intellectual life and society of a kind which required – and occasionally delivered – brilliant reformers. It is striking that only in a few texts do we observe an attempt to provide a grand synthesis of the two approaches, which we might, to borrow European terminology, describe as the logical and the passional. Ghazali (d.1111) is the most obvious, and successful, example. Other claimants would include Ibn 'Arabi (d.1240), Ibn Kemal (d. 1534), Shah Wali Allah al-Dihlawi (d.1762), and Said Nursi (d. 1960), before we enter the purely modern period, where such synthetic theologies have been challenged by modernists and fundamentalists, both of whom, for different reasons, are uneasy with mysticism and kalam.
This synthetic renewal, which often draws in individuals acclaimed as the ‘renewers’ (mujaddid) of their centuries, [20]  is a key dynamic in Islamic religion and history. Hence tendencies perceived as erroneous, or even heretical, may be helpfully understood as the result of an imbalance towards one type of epistemology at the expense of the other. Sachiko Murata and William Chittick have reflected extensively on this inner Islamic metabolism, identifying kalam with the principle of drawing inferences about God as Transcendence (tanzih); and Sufism with the principle of experiencing God as Immanence (tashbih); the dyadic categorisation of divine names as Names of Rigour and Names of Beauty is one outcome. [21]  Their conclusion is that these two inexorable consequences of the postulate of monotheism run like twin constants through Islamic religious history. Each is allocated its own realm, form of discourse, and even, on occasion, ritual life and structured authority. 
-from pg. 6-7 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"Islam has a historic hospitality to Platonism,

regretted by modernist advocates of a supposed Averroist rationalism, but noted in detail by Henry Corbin and others; and this is to be attributed, not only to the Platonic resolution of all diversity to the One Source, so congenial to Islam’s rejection of a triune or other differentiation within the Godhead; but also to the sense that, as in the Timaeus, the One is manifest aesthetically and, particularly, musically, in the ground of creation. Ion, in the early dialogue with Socrates, acknowledges that as a singer of poems he is an instrument played upon by a supernatural power. And the Prophet Muhammmad, like him, is an Aeolian harp: the wind plays him, while his personhood contributes nothing; the Voice is therefore the pure sound of the Unseen. The Qur’an, a web of ‘signs’, is in this rather Platonic sense understood as the voice of the divine substrate of creation; it is the true music of the spheres. The ascent to the One, therefore, is not through the logic chopping powers of our ‘dingy clay’, but through acquiring a true and loving ear that can properly hear this music.
-from pg. 5 of Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Reason as Balance: the evolution of 'aql" (a paper for the Cambridge Muslim College)

"Authentic Islamic thought is dying;

or so argues William Chittick in this profound new book. Whilst many may say that Islamic studies thrives as a subject, Chittick points to the words of one of his former Professors when describing young colleagues: they know everything one can possibly know about a text, except what it says. Indeed, Chittick states that it is impossible to understand ancient Islamic texts without the years of contemplative study that are anathema to the modern education system.

While modern intellectuals with faith often treat their studies and faith in two separate spheres, Chittick argues that it is essential to return to the ways of the ancient Sufis, who saw the quest for knowledge of the soul, the world, and God as an extension of the same thing. Chittick maintains that the study of Islamic texts cannot be treated separately from self-understanding. Fascinating, radical, and a true challenge to modern trends in academic study, this book opens a new debate in Islamic thought.

The Documentary: “In Search of Bengali Harlem” | Bengali Harlem

Naqli & 'Aqli

Much of the book develops implications of a distinction between two ways of knowing that is basic to the great religions under a variety of nomenclature, though it is typically ignored in discussions of contemporary issues. Islamic sources speak about it in a variety of ways. Here I focus on a standard differentiation that is made between "transmitted" (naqli) and "intellectual" ('aqli).
 Transmitted knowledge is characterized by the fact that it needs to be passed from generation to generation. The only possible way to learn it is to receive it from someone else. In contrast, intellectual knowledge cannot be passed on, even though teachers are needed for guidance in the right direction. The way to achieve it is to find it within oneself, by training the mind or, as many of the texts put it, "polishing the heart." Without uncovering such knowledge through self-discovery, one will depend on others in everything one knows.
-William C. Chittick, Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul: The Pertinence of Islamic Cosmology in the Modern World, viii. 

Quote from Dr. Umar's "Innovation and Creativity in Islam"

It is unrealistic and even undesirable to hope for meaningful restitution of the classical tradition and sophisticated application of concepts like bid‘a and ijtihad without the revision and renewal necessary to make that tradition relevant to present-day needs. Only then can we be able to draw upon the classical legacy in a manner that is constructive and not retrogressive. The tradition must be reviewed with an eye to what it originally meant in its historical and anthropological context. Putting the tradition in proper context is the key to enabling Muslims to use it in the manner that al-Qarafi and Ibn al-Qayyim emphasized. 
Without enlightened educational institutions that attract talented students and in the absence of curricula that impart a mature understanding of modern thought and realities, it is unlikely that a sophisticated understanding of the Islamic religious tradition can ever be fostered. Without careful examination of their original historical context, the thousands upon thousands of dusty manuscripts and old books preserved in Islamic libraries will remain little more than interesting fossils of history. Until classical Islamic learning is made meaningful to contemporary Muslims, it is difficult to fault those who question its relevance.
-Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah, "Innovation & Creativity in Islam"

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dr. Nasr's upcoming talk at RIS: "Philosophy Matters"

12/22 @ 2:00PM - 2:45PM
"Philosophy Matters"
Modernism; relativism; atheism; ideologies of governance, such as socialism, communism, monarchy, liberal democracy, and despotism; culture; ethics; education; and every other element of society that impacts us arises out of philosophical positions articulated by someone, somewhere, at sometime. To ignore the centrality of philosophy in our lives is to suffer being victims of the impact of others who philosophize for us. This lecture, delivered by one of the greatest living philosophers, will examine the importance of restoring the centrality of philosophy – whether legal, ethical, spiritual, environmental, or theological – to the Islamic faith and its educational tradition.
Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Via Rashid Dar

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ebrahim Moosa quote on Innovation of Thought in Islam Today

Indeed, studying the Muslim classical authors who wrote on law and moral philosophy will reveal their creativity and ingenuity for their time.  This discovery should serve as an inspiration for modern Muslims to realize that innovation in thought is not proscribed in Islam. But that is precisely the purpose that a Ja`far al-Sadiq, Shafi’i, Ghazali, Ibn Rushd, Mulla Sadra and others serve: exemplars of inspiration.  The innovation in thought is the responsibility of every age.

The contemporary thinker and scholar engaged in ijtihad, must take the knowledge of our time in its broadest framework seriously.  Most often, scholars only take the canonical authority of the past not only seriously, but reverentially, and dismiss knowledge of the present.  This kind of approach is fairly injurious to any serious effort to understand faith, tradition, self and society.  One cannot do ijtihad by revamping old knowledge. That is not ijtihad, that is like admiring monuments, in itself an admirable disposition, but it should not be mistaken as an intellectual effort to resolve the challenges of the present. Walking through the arcades of the past will make one nostalgic and give one a sensibility for history.  But one has learnt nothing about the past if one duplicates the past into the present. 
 -Ebrahim Moosa, "Sharia, Theology and Modernity"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"In the namaz,

 there was the ancient simplicity of surrendering the ego to Abraham’s God, Alone, without partner. The complexities were stripped away by the ‘light words’ of the Witnessing, and I felt that I now had the reality of what I had once only claimed to have: a personal relationship with God. The beloved had lifted her Greek veil.
-Abdal-Hakim Murad, "Quicunque Vult, or, A teenage journey to Islam"

"Islam is making progress, as it always does.

Yet no-one should assume that our present task is an easy one. Humanity is now being programmed from an early age by an insistent materialistic culture, driven ultimately by the greed of large corporations, and to join Islam has become a more radical, absolute step than ever before. Yet human nature has not changed, and those religious needs which were so central to the lives of our species for ninety-nine percent of our history have certainly only been suppressed, not removed. Monotheism is the most coherent form of the religious life; and Islam is its purest expression. Given human need, God’s good intentions, and the miraculous preservation of the divine gift, there are immense grounds for optimism.
-Abdal-Hakim Murad, "Quicunque Vult, or, A teenage journey to Islam"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

New Book: A Treasury of Virtues Sayings, Sermons, and Teachings of Ali, with the One Hundred Proverbs, attributed to al-Jahiz

A Treasury of Virtues is a collection of sayings, sermons, and teachings attributed to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 40H/661AD), cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, first Shi’a Imam and fourth Sunni Caliph. ‘Ali was an acknowledged master of Arabic eloquence and a renowned sage of Islamic wisdom. Through proverbs and aphorisms, sermons and speeches, prayers and supplications, epistles and contracts, testimonials and homilies, verse and dialogues, it provides instruction on how to be a decent human being. And it combines these ethical teachings with religious exhortations and preparation for eternal life in the hereafter. Moreover, the lessons of the text are clothed in the cadenced parallelisms of a consummate oral culture, and the vivid metaphors of the Arabian desert. Appealing to the addressee’s higher nature, they also beguile his aesthetic sensibilities, integrating art and edification in an exquisite package of verbal ingenuity.

Of the many compilations of ‘Ali’s words, A Treasury of Virtues arguably possesses the broadest compass of genres, and the largest variety of themes. The shorter One Hundred Proverbs is also a compilation of ‘Ali’s words. Attributed to al-Jahiz (“the father of Arabic prose”), it has a celebrity status in its own category and its pithy one-liners are quotable quotes of the finest order. This volume presents the first English translation of both these important texts, with a new critical edition based on several original manuscripts.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

"Have they not heard His statement

'That He may question the truthful about their truthfulness'? [33:8] If He is going to question the truthful about their truthfulness, shall those who make pretentious claims be left without being questioned?"

-Ibn 'Ata Allah, Taj al-'Arus, pg. 123

Muslims Pitch In!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

NYU President John Sexton's new book: Baseball as a Road to God (March 7, 2013)

Release Date: March 7, 2013
A love letter to America's most beloved sport and an exploration of the deeper dimensions it reveals
For more than a decade, New York University President John Sexton has used baseball to illustrate the elements of a spiritual life in a wildly popular course at NYU. Using some of the great works of baseball fiction as well as the actual game's fantastic moments, its legendary characters, and its routine rituals—from the long-sought triumph of the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, to the heroic achievements of players like the saintly Christy Mathewson and the sinful Ty Cobb, to the loving intimacy of a game of catch between a father and son—Sexton teaches that through the game we can touch the spiritual dimension of life.
Baseball as a Road to God is about the elements of our lives that lie beyond what can be captured in words alone—ineffable truths that we know by experience rather than by logic or analysis. Applying to the secular activity of baseball a form of inquiry usually reserved for the study of religion, Sexton reveals a surprising amount of common ground between the game and what we all recognize as religion: sacred places and time, faith and doubt, blessings and curses, and more.
In thought-provoking, beautifully rendered prose, this book elegantly demonstrates that baseball is more than a game, or even a national pastime: It can be a road to a deeper and more meaningful life.
Amazon link

The John Taylor Gatto Medical Fund - Home

RIS 2012 Trailer - Amr Khaled - Tariq Ramadan - Habib Ali AlJifri - Sami Yusuf - Nouman Ali Khan -

Check out this video on YouTube:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Gai Eaton quote

"The question as to how celestial realities may be communicated to the human mind has been touched on several times in this book. We are obliged to return to it again and again because this is the field upon which the most important battles are fought, particularly in the present age. Blind and unquestioning faith is becoming increasingly rare."

-pg. 234 of Islam and the Destiny of Man by Charles Le Gai Eaton (Hasan 'Abd al-Hakim) - God have mercy on him!

"Speaking of the distrust

of anything that might be described as 'romantic' or 'picturesque' which is so common in our time, Frithjof Schuon remarks that 'the "romantic" worlds are precisely those in which God is still probable; when people want to get rid of Heaven it is logical to start by creating an atmosphere in which spiritual things appear out of place; in order to declare successfully that God is unreal they have to construct around man a false reality, a reality that is inevitably inhuman because only the inhuman can exclude God. What is involved is a falsification of the imagination and so its destruction ...' 
[footnote: Understanding Islam, Frithjof Schuon (London: Allen & Unwin, 1963), p. 37. ]

-pg. 210 of Islam and the Destiny of Man by Charles Le Gai Eaton (Hasan 'Abd al-Hakim) - God have mercy on him!

"Existence is pure gift.

Consciousness is pure gift. Our eyes and ears, our hands and our feet are gifts, as are our sexual organs. Mountains and rivers and the blue sea are gifts, as is the air we breathe; so too is light, and the darkness given us for rest. The nourishment which comes from the earth, or which - by a very special concession to our weakness - we are permitted to take from the bodies of the animal creation and from the fish of the sea, is a gift. But above all, the awareness which brings these together in consciousness and in enjoyment, and the power we are given to acknowledge their source and to give praise, are divine gifts.
To be ungrateful is to close ourselves off the supreme gift, greater than all these; the gift of the divine Mercy and, ultimately, of Paradise, where all such gifts are incalculably magnified. In a mortal body and in a dying world, we praise and give thanks. It is for this, says the Muslim, that we were created.
-pg. 192 of Charles Le Gai Eaton's Islam and the Destiny of Man

“The agnostic has a very curious notion of religion.

He is convinced that a man who says ‘I believe in God’ should at once become perfect; if this does not happen, then the believer must be a fraud and a hypocrite. He thinks that adherence to a religion is the end of the road, whereas it is in fact only the beginning of a very long and sometimes very rough road. He looks for consistency in religious people, however aware he may be of the inconsistencies in himself.
 -Charles Le Gai Eaton in his fascinating book “Islam and the Destiny of Man”

RISTalks: Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr - Islam & The Environment

Check out this video on YouTube:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Book: Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question

Book Description

May 3, 2012
Can non-Muslims be saved? And can those who are damned to Hell ever be redeemed? In Islam and the Fate of Others, Mohammad Hassan Khalil examines the writings of influential medieval and modern Muslim scholars on the controversial and consequential question of non-Muslim salvation.

This is an illuminating study of four of the most prominent figures in the history of Islam: Ghazali, Ibn 'Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya, and Rashid Rida. Khalil demonstrates that though these paradigmatic figures tended to affirm the superiority of the Islamic message, they also envisioned a God of mercy and justice and a Paradise populated by Muslims and non-Muslims.

Islam and the Fate of Others reveals that these theologians' interpretations of the Qur'an and hadith corpus-from optimistic depictions of Judgment Day to notions of a temporal Hell and salvation for all-challenge widespread assumptions about Islamic scripture and thought. Along the way, Khalil examines the writings of many other important writers, such as Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Mulla Sadra, Shah Wali Allah of Delhi, Muhammad Ali of Lahore, James Robson, Sayyid Qutb, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Farid Esack, Reza Shah-Kazemi, T. J. Winter, and Muhammad Legenhausen. Islam and the Fate of Others is both timely and overdue.

Also see this recording of a talk by the author at Princeton (Thanks Faraz Khan!)

Universities Welcome Muslim Students Through Interfaith Efforts | Center for American Progress

Via KL

Habib Kadhim Al Saqqaf khutbah at Lakemba Mosque خطبة صلاة الجمعة

Check out this video on YouTube:

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Coping with Tragedy" Teleconference tonight 8 PM EST with Dr. Umar F. Abd-Allah

Beyond the devastating physical effects of natural disasters, it is the emotional burden that can be the hardest to bear. Rebuilding our lives in the aftermath is often more difficult and taxing than riding out the storm itself. To overcome the challenges of impatience, anxiety and depression, the cornerstone of the rebuilding process requires deep spiritual effort, an effort which can begin by reminding ourselves what our religion teaches us about calamity. Join Dr. Umar Abd-Allah as he discusses how to cope with personal tragedy in Al-Madina Institute's live free teleconference call.

Abdal-Hakim Murad talk: Universality and Particularity

Monday, November 5, 2012

Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America

“The same rebellion, the same impatience, the same anger that exists in the hearts of the dark people in Africa and Asia,” Malcolm X declared in a 1962 speech, “is existing in the hearts and minds of 20 million black people in this country who have been just as thoroughly colonized as the people in Africa and Asia.” Four decades later, the hip-hop artist Talib Kweli gave voice to a similar Pan-African sentiment in the song “K.O.S. (Determination)”: “The African diaspora represents strength in numbers, a giant can't slumber forever.”
Linking discontent and unrest in Harlem and Los Angeles to anticolonial revolution in Algeria, Egypt, and elsewhere, Black leaders in the United States have frequently looked to the anti-imperialist movements and antiracist rhetoric of the Muslim Third World for inspiration. In Black Star, Crescent Moon, Sohail Daulatzai maps the rich, shared history between Black Muslims, Black radicals, and the Muslim Third World, showing how Black artists and activists imagined themselves not as national minorities but as part of a global majority, connected to larger communities of resistance. Daulatzai traces these interactions and alliances from the Civil Rights movement and the Black Power era to the “War on Terror,” placing them within a broader framework of American imperialism, Black identity, and the global nature of white oppression.
From Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali to contemporary artists and activists like Rakim and Mos Def, Black Star, Crescent Moon reveals how Muslim resistance to imperialism came to occupy a central position within the Black radical imagination, offering a new perspective on the political and cultural history of Black internationalism from the 1950s to the present. 


"Timely and provocative, this globe-trotting book takes you down an almost forgotten road of Black freedom: the one that connects the struggles of the burning ghettos of America to the rage against imperial power in Muslim lands. Shining light on the artists and activists who helped pave that road, Black Star, Crescent Moon vividly shows that Black freedom struggles, whether through art or politics, are always global in scope. Written with an urgency that our times demand, my man Sohail does what we in hip-hop have been doing for decades: uncovering histories, drawing connections, and trying to make people move. Rebel reading for right now!" —Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def)

"Sohail Daulatzai’s Black Star, Crescent Moon is a pathbreaking, genre-shattering work of breathtaking scholarship. It is a work of poetic verve and brilliant analysis that will forever change how we view the international implications and global sites of black freedom struggles." —Michael Eric Dyson

"Black Star, Crescent Moon is a tour de force that has restored my faith in cultural studies. The book is a stunning achievement and Daulatzai reveals an intellectual virtuosity and originality few can match. His formulation of a ‘Muslim International’ alone compels us to rethink Muslim Third World opposition and its relationship to the black freedom struggle." —Robin D. G. Kelley

About the Author

Sohail Daulatzai is associate professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Program in African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is the co-editor of Born To Use Mics: Readings Nas’s Illmatic. 

Sohail Daulatzai: Respect the architect: Malcolm X, the elections and the politics of empire

via Masoud

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ibn 'Ata Allah on comprehensive supplications and sending blessings on the Prophet

"Whoever approaches the end of life and wants to make up for what he has missed, let him busy himself with comprehensive supplications. For if he does this, his short life will become long in effect. For example, he might say, "Glory be to God Almighty, and may He be praised, as plentifully as the number of His creatures, in proportions that please His self, on a magnitude as great as His Throne, and as expansively as the scope of His words. Likewise, one who has failed to engage in much fasting and night vigils should preoccupy himself with sending blessings upon the Prophet. For should you fulfill God's every commandment throughout your life then God should send a single blessing upon you, this single blessing would outweigh all of the acts of obedience that you have performed throughout your entire life. This is because you send blessings upon the Prophet in proportion to your capacity, while He sends blessings upon you in proportion to His lordship. This is the case if He sends a single blessing. So what if, as indicated in the sound hadith, He was to send ten blessings upon you every time you send a single blessing upon the Prophet? How beautiful a life is when lived in obedience to God or sending blessings upon the Prophet!

-Ibn 'Ata Allah al-Sakandari, Sufism for Non-Sufis? Taj Al-'Arus (The Bridge-Groom's Crown)trans. Sherman Jackson, pg. 59-60.

1 Billion Salawat Day Initiative - Nov 4th, 2012 (tomorrow)

Worldwide Salawat upon Muhammad Day

Sunday, November 4, 2012 / 19 Dhu'l Hijja 1433
ﺑﺴﻢ ﺍﷲ ﺍﻟﺮﲪﻦ ﺍﻟﺮﺣﻴﻢ

Whereas, the sanctity of Islam and Muslims is being violated in myriad ways -innocents are being killed, graves are being desecrated, the social fabric of many Muslim societies is being torn asunder, and the honorable life and legacy of our Prophet, Muhammad, peace upon him, is being assailed in unprecedented and increasingly egregious ways; whereas, collectively, these outrages demonstrate a lack of mercy, compassion and empathy, along with a demeaning of the prophetic legacy; whereas, one of the greatest means we possess to invite the mercy of God into our lives and into our world is the Salawat on the Prophet (peace upon him); we declare Sunday, November 4, 2012, Worldwide Salawat upon Muhammad Day.

To commemorate this day, we encourage all Muslims to gather in their mosques, centers and homes for Magrib prayers and then to individually or collectively recite 2,000 Salawats on the Prophet (peace upon him) using the following formula:

اللّهُمّ صَلّ عَلَى مُحَمّدٍ

Allahumma Salli 'Alaa Muhammad

(O Allah! Bless Muhammad)

We believe that by collectively sending tens of millions, if not billions of Salawats on the Prophet (peace upon him), the silent majority of the world's Muslims can make an unprecedented appeal in the real theater of power. By so doing, we will, Insha Allah, invite the direct aid of our Lord, bring about a cosmic shift that will affect the balance of worldly power and bring about a divine opening that will bring comfort and healing to the hearts of the believers. Join us in this historic event.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dictionary of the Qur’an Project

Exciting to find out about:

The Centre is compiling the first comprehensive, fully researched and fully contextualised Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage, intended to help translators and scholars of Qur’anic Studies alike. The dictionary is being compiled in accordance with modern lexicographical methods.

Friday, October 5, 2012

NYT Op-Ed: The College Rankings Racket

Not long ago, I saw an article written by a recent graduate of Stuyvesant High. Stuyvesant, widely considered the most prestigious public high school in New York, has just been through a cheating scandal — one driven in no small part by the imperative of its students to get into a prestigious college.
The author, who was not part of the cheating scandal, had succeeded in getting into a “Desirable University,” as she put it, but her parents had been unable to afford the tuition. She wound up, deeply embittered, at a state school. Whenever people would bring up the subject of college, she wrote, she would “mutter something about not wanting to talk about it.” Although she claimed to have made her peace with her education, she ended her article by vowing to save enough so that her children wouldn’t have to suffer the same fate.
How sad. Maybe someday she’ll understand that where you go to college matters far less than what you put into college. Maybe someday the readers of the U.S. News rankings will understand that as well.

Jim Wallis: God's Politics Blog 'Love Your Neighbor' Wasn't Just a Suggestion

NYT: Pro-Muslim Subway Ads to Hang Near Anti-Jihad Ads

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

To Bigotry No Sanction: Responding to Anti-Muslim Subway Ads

"Savages Unite: a public forum" with Imam Talib and Mark Gonzales; Tuesday 10/9 7-8:30 PM

Artists and community members examine the impact of racism on our communities.

Savages Unite will present artistic and academic perspectives on the history of hate speech within racial & religious discrimination specifically, and colonialist & imperialist propaganda more generally. This forum will examine the connections and solutions to Islamophobia, xenophobia, White supremacism, and institutionalized discrimination in the forms of surveillance, infiltration, predatory policing and war.

Savages Unite will be an open space for community members to share concerns and ideas for countering hate and war and becoming part of the solution.


IMAM AL-HAJJ TALIB 'ABDUR-RASHID is the religious and spiritual leader (Imam) of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. The mosque , located in Harlem, New York City, is the lineal descendant of the Muslim Mosque Inc. founded by the late El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), in 1964. Imam ‘Abdur-Rashid is also the Amir (President) of the Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of Metropolitan New York. Nationally, he serves as the Deputy Amir (Vice President) of The Muslim Alliance in North America.

MARK GONZALES has been described as ‘Khalil Gibran meets Pablo Neruda.’ He is a HBO Def Jam poet who has shared his writing on stage around the world, including the first TEDxRamallah talks held in Palestine, which led him to trend worldwide on Twitter. As a community builder he was an invited speaker at the United Nations tribunal on Social Exclusion. He is currently a Visiting Professor and Artist in Residence at the Institute of Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. Mark’s work breaks borders to wage beauty across continents of language and culture, which has earned him respect for his creative approaches to suicide prevention, human rights and human development.

More speakers and co-sponsors to be announced soon...

via Dustin

TRAILER - Limits of Allegiance: Featuring Michael Krasny, Zaid Shakir & ...

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Homeland Is the Arena: Religion, Transnationalism, and the Integration of Senegalese Immigrants in America by Ousmane Kane

Just found out about this book:
As Senegal prepares to celebrate fifty years of independence from French colonial rule, academic and policy circles are engaged in a vigorous debate about its experience in nation building. An important aspect of this debate is the impact of globalization on Senegal, particularly the massive labor migration that began directly after independence. From Tokyo to Melbourne, from Turin to Buenos Aires, from to Paris to New York, 300,000 Senegalese immigrants are simultaneously negotiating their integration into their host society and seriously impacting the development of their homeland. 
 This book addresses the modes of organization of transnational societies in the globalized context, and specifically the role of religion in the experience of migrant communities in Western societies. Abundant literature is available on immigrants from Latin America and Asia, but very little on Africans, especially those from French speaking countries in the United States. Ousmane Kane offers a case study of the growing Senegalese community in New York City. By pulling together numerous aspects (religious, ethnic, occupational, gender, generational, socio-economic, and political) of the experience of the Senegalese migrant community into an integrated analysis, linking discussion of both the homeland and host community, this book breaks new ground in the debate about postcolonial Senegal, Muslim globalization and diaspora studies in the United States. A leading scholar of African Islam, Ousmane Kane has also conducted extensive research in North America, Europe and Africa, which allows him to provide an insightful historical ethnography of the Senegalese transnational experience.

Professor Sherman Jackson on Egypt on MSNBC

Prof. Sherman Jackson talks about the anti-American protests in Egypt and whether they signify big troubles ahead for the country.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New Book: Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False

September 26, 2012
The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.

Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such.

Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative. In Mind and Cosmos, he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic.

In spite of the great achievements of the physical sciences, reductive materialism is a world view ripe for displacement. Nagel shows that to recognize its limits is the first step in looking for alternatives, or at least in being open to their possibility.
Thomas Nagel is University Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Law at NYU. His new book, Mind and Cosmos, is published this month. (September 2012).

via Rashid