Saturday, December 19, 2015

Who am I?

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. [...] 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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Take off the sandals if you come
to this valley, for therein is Our Holiness.
Of the two world divest yourself,
and lift the veils of in-betweenness." (Aj).

-Ibn 'Arabī in TSQ, p. 791.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"His contemplativeness was inward,

while outwardly he had to face nearly every possible human situation. He experienced being an orphan, living the life of a merchant, suffering persecution. He grieved deeply the loss of his beloved wife Khadījah and his two-year-old son Ibrāhīm, but he also knew the happiness of family life and of final triumph in the world. He, who loved solitude and contemplation, had to deal with the affairs of men and women, with all their frailties and shortcomings. He had to rule over a whole society and to sit as judge in cases of one party's complaints against another. One might say that his mission was to sanctify all of life and to create an equilibrium in human life that could serve as the basis for surrender and effacement before the Divine Truth.
-Seyyed Hossein Nasr, The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity, p. 34. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Prayer

O Author of the book of existence and of the Divine Word that is the Quran, we thank Thee for having given us the opportunity to live day and night for all these years with Thy Word and to be transformed by this indescribable experience. Whatever we have been able to achieve is the result of Thy Succor, and for whatever imperfection exists in our work we take full responsibility, asking Thy Forgiveness before the Throne of Thy Mercy. Absolute Perfection belongs to Thee and to Thy revealed Word alone, and no translation or commentary on Thy Word by human beings can share in a Quality that is Thine alone. Nevertheless, we pray that our efforts be acceptable in Thy sight and that this work becomes a guide for those who wish to navigate upon the ocean of Thy Word, which, although in human language, opens inwardly unto the infinite expanses of Thy Reality. Thou art the First and the Last, the Outward, and the Inward. Amen.
-The Study Quran, pgs. xlix-xlx.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Saudi Arabia to Build World's Tallest Tower..

"وجعل كل قديم حديثاً في عصره."

فأما ابن قتيبة فقال: لم يقصر الله الشعر والعلم والبلاغة على زمن دون زمن، ولا خص قوماً دون قوم، بل جعل الله ذلك مشتركاً مقسوماً بين عباده في كل دهر، وجعل كل قديم حديثاً في عصره.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Opening of Abdal-Hakim Murad's "Ishmael and the Enlightenment’s crise de coeur"

If the modern West is the civilizational climax of the profane and the material, then Islamic civilization, when it existed, was probably the civilizational climax of the sacred. This function need not be attributed to a spiritual eminence, which Muslims might wish to claim but which is certainly undemonstrable; nor can it be shown that any given Muslim artifact or text was more refined than a cognate production of, say, Hinduism. Rather, Islam's civilizational eminence stemmed from a spectacular plenitude. Of the other religions of the pre-Enlightenment world, only Buddhism rivaled Islam in massively encompassing a range of cultures; however Islam, uncontroversially, was the foundation for a still wider range and variety of cultural worlds. In particular, we may identify distinctive high civilizations among Muslim Africans, Arabs, Turks (including Central Asians), Persians (including, as an immensely fertile extension, Muslim India), and the population of the Malay Archipelago, radiating from the complex court cultures of Java.
-Tim Winter, ‘Ishmael and the Enlightenment’s crise de coeur: a response to Koshul and Kepnes,’ in Basit Bilal Koshul and Stephen Kepnes (eds.), Scripture, Reason, and the contemporary Islam-West encounter: studying the ‘Other’, Understanding the ‘Self’ (New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 149-175. 

Outer vs. Inner Modernity

This idea that Asia's failure to conquer Europe can be seen as a sign of its being more, not less, advanced than Europe is shattering to our materialist and militarist preconceptions. But if we go deeper, we can find a valuable consolation. For us to understand the nature of Tibet's inner modernity, we must analyze the five main transformations that Europe went through from Reformation to Enlightenment: 
(1) the unification of the life-world by the process of removing the sacred as relevant to human purpose, leaving an all-absorbing secular realm;
(2) the disenchantment of the natural world, removing traditional concerns that had restrained its exploitation;
(3) the rationalization of all human effort in the goal of maximizing human comfort during the temporary existence in the secular realm;
(4) the absolutization of material progress; and
(5) the destruction of the channel of effort toward the sacred (represented by monasticism and its organized striving for perfection), which had been the institutional brake against materialism, industrialism, and militarism, leaving all human enterprise focused on those three pursuits.
Each of these strands in the Western process of outer modernization corresponds, in the reverse, to a strand in the process undergone by Tibet in its inner modernization:
(1) Instead of the life-world being unified by secularization, Tibet unified it by what we can call "sacralization" -- the sacred gradually absorbing the secular. The ultimate perfection of the individual the society, and even the buddhaverse became the prime concern of the whole society. The modernist unit of the sacred/secular dichotomy was achieved at the sacred, not the secular, pole;
(2) instead of disenchantment, the whole of reality became reenchanted. The magical/ordinary dichotomy was resolved by all becoming magical, opposite from all becoming routine and mechanical. Since the inner science of the Buddhist curriculum is based on a sense of the mind's natural power over nature, the transformation of the mind became the main avenue of progress toward the transformation of nature;
(3)  actions and goals were totally rationalized in Tibet as in the West, but in Tibet the rational made everything in life instrumental for the individual's attainment of evolutionary perfection in buddhahood, perfect wisdom and complete compassion;
(4) spiritual progress was the goal of absolute concern--the development of human perfection was industrialized--turning the whole of society into one vast school for enlightenment; and finally
(5) while commercial materialism was always a part of the seminomadic Tibetan economy and lifestyle, monasticism became completely dominant over all other institutions, disarming the military, transmuting the warrior spirit of Tibetan militarism into the ascetical heroism of monastic and contemplative adepts.  
-Robert Thurman, Inner Revolution, pgs. 245-7.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Notes from the the Introduction to the Essential Tibetan Buddhism by Robert Thurman

[From the wisdom of the terrible things that happened to Tibet in the second half of the twentieth century is] "to challenge the Tibetan Buddhists to let go of the trappings of their religion and philosophy and force themselves to achieve the ability to embody once again in this terrible era their teachings of detachment, compassion, and wisdom, and to scatter the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist teachers and disseminate their teachings throughout the planet among all the people, whether religious or secular, at this apocalyptic time when humanity must make a quantum leap from violence to peacefulness in order to preserve life on earth." (8)

[The Buddhist Enlightenment Movement] "is rational, guided by a critical inquiry into the nature of the reality of self and of the world, and experimental, proceeding from solid conclusions to the experiential verification of those conclusion." (11)

"He [Buddha] knew that the only means for beings to gain freedom was their individual understanding of their unique situation, He was forced to try to help them come to such an understanding. [...] Buddha was thus compelled to create methods of education for beings, "education" in the true sense of eliciting in beings the understanding of which they are capable, without indoctrinating or conditioning them....[Buddhas] do not transmit their understand into others' minds; They introduce beings to freedom by educating them about reality." (12)

"The monastic organization was a kind of inversion of the military organization: a peace army rather than a war army, a self-conquest tradition rather than an other-conquest tradition, a science of inner liberation rather than a science of liberating the outer world from the possession of others." (14)

"Atisha upheld the master's personal precept as the lifeline of the true Dharma, more important even than the authoritative canonical texts. He said that the "instruction of the Mentor" was more important than knowledge of all the Scriptures and their commentaries. This is because the authentic guru, lama, master, or spiritual mentor, is the representative of the immediate applicability of the teachings of an individual who needs methods to put into practice. General knowledge of doctrine is useful but does not automatically come with the skill to apply it. The mentor is the key element that makes the teaching practicable." (23)

"This rule of interpretation means the enlightened mentor is necessary to extract the instructional bottom line from the discourse or Scripture, since it is his or her job to decide which teaching applies to which practitioner." (23)

"It does a sick person no good to have a suitcase full of medicines if he does not know which one to take for his condition." (23)

-Robert Thurman, Essential Tibetan Buddhism (New York: HarperOne, 1995), 1-47.

Monday, November 16, 2015


You've found your own afflictions similarly
And from the mystics gained the remedy:

Often your limp would disappear again,
Your soul would also be relieved from pain.

Tie up you legs and feet, forgetful one,
Lest you become lost just as they have done--

Forgetfulness and lack of gratitude
Made you forget that you've gained special food.

The way is blocked now to keep you apart,
Since you've made weary every mystic's heart.

Find them and beg forgiveness desperately
Just as a heavy cloud weeps bitterly,

So that their roses bloom in your direction
And ripened fruits burst forth for your selection.

Rush there now! Don't act worse than dogs, you knave,
You fellow slave of that dog in the cave!

Since even dogs at times advise another,
'Attach your heart to your first home, my brother.

Cling to the door where you first ate a bone
And pay the debt for kindness that was shown.'


Don't ever break the pledge of loyalty.
Don't spread disloyalty so thoughtlessly.

It's through their loyalty that dogs earned fame,
So don't shame them and give them a bad name.

-Rumi, The Masnavi, Book Three, Trans. by Jawid Mojaddedi (New York: Oxford World Classic, 2013), pgs. 22-3.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

55. The Benevolent One

In the name of God, the Benevolent, the Merciful

1. The Benevolent One
2. taught the Recital,
3. created man,
4. taught him expression.
5. The sun and the moon
follow calculated courses,
6. and *the stars and the trees bow down.
7. The Benevolent One
has raised the sky,
and set the balance,
8. so you would not
overstep balance.
9. So establish weight justly,
not letting the balance
give short measure.
10. And the Benevolent One
has set the earth for creatures,
11. with fruit there,
and date palms with spathes,
12. and grain with stalks,
and fragrant herbs.
13. Now which of the blessings
of your Lord do you deny--
14. having made man
from clay, like earthenware,
15. or having created the sprites
from a mixture of fire--
16. which of the blessings
of your Lord do you deny?
17. Lord of the two Easts
and Lord of the two Wests--
18. which of the blessings
of your Lord do you deny--
19. having loosed the two
bodies of water to meet
20. without overflowing
a barrier between them--
21. so which of the blessings
of your Lord do you deny--
22. from them come pearls and coral--
23. so which of the blessings
of your Lord do you deny--
23. owner of the ships
under sail over the sea
like mountains--
25. which of the blessings
of your Lord do deny?
26. Every being on earth perishes,
27. yet there remains
the design of your Lord,
sublime and honorable:
28. so which of the blessings
of your Lord do you deny?
29. All beings in the heavens and the earth
ask of the One who's in charge every day--
30. now which of the blessings
of your Lord do you deny?

(The Qur'an, trans. by Thomas Cleary).

Friday, November 13, 2015

"Unfortunately, three negative forces retarded the founding of an Orthodox rabbinical college.

First in importance was the low prestige and the lack of power and economic security which plagued the East European Orthodox rabbis in America, largely a result of the poverty of their congregations. The rabbis were so harried with maintaining their positions that they lacked the time, energy and vision to create a uniting force. Because of their own personal insecurity, they were more critical than constructive and most hesitant to merge forces where the yielding of individual sovereignty was involved. The dissension that characterized their relationships was described by a prominent East European Orthodox rabbi in the following manner: "There is no unity and no agreement among them as to how and by what means to raise the prestige of religion....Each decides and acts as of he were the only one in the world." [43] [...]
The sorry position of the Orthodox rabbinate was further aggravated by a lack of aggressive, and imaginative leadership to rise above the sordid conditions of the day. There was no Orthodox rabbi with the perseverance and consecration to inspire a following, to create a movement, to evaluate a problem, and to devote his life to improving the status of his fellow immigrants. [...]
The second factor was the absence of an upper class that had the means and the leisure to sponsor a rabbinical seminary. [...] The main obstacle, however, was the absence of a proper organization and structure to sponsor and support such a school. [...]
To sum up, therefore, the efforts of East European Jews to create a rabbinical school were hampered initially by the weak position of its rabbinate, by the limited and undeveloped financial resources, and by the absence of a congregational union to sponsor and support such an effort.
-Gilbert Klaperman, The Story of Yeshiva University: The First Jewish University in America, (Toronto: The Macmillan Company, 1969), pgs. 46-47.

e: I wonder how far one could make the analogy with the Muslim community in America today. We certainly have a lot of scholars and folks who have studied and it perhaps remains to be seen if they can work together and muster their resources together, instead of each one trying to have his/her own institute/seminary.

On the other hand, Muslims in America are spread around the country and so all the scholars don't necessarily have to be tied to one specific institution in a single geographic area. However, in a certain region, shouldn't folks pool their resources together and collaborate, even if they have differences?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"This is an empty fancy, yet it is prevalent among most men.

Thus, whenever you trace back a statement and attribute it to a speaker of whom they have a good opinion, they accept it, even thought it be false; but whenever you attribute it to someone of whom they have a bad opinion, they reject it. even though it be true. This they always know the truth by men, not men by the truth--which is the ne plus ultra of error!"
-Al-Ghazālī, Deliverer from Error, p. 40.

Imam al-Ghazālī on Specialized Expertise

"A person skilled one one field is not necessarily skilled in every field. Thus a man skilled in jurisprudence and kalām is not necessarily skilled in medicine, nor is a man who is ignorant of the speculative and rational sciences necessarily ignorant of the science of syntax. On the contrary, in each field there are men who have reached in it a certain degree of skill and preeminence, although they may be quite stupid and ignorant about other things."
-Al-Ghazālī, Deliverer from Error, p. 32. 

Shaikh Abdulhakim Murad Winter - Master Classes on Imam Al Ghazali - 1

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

AL-GHAZALI: REASON AND REVELATION, Zaytuna College 3rd Annual Islamic Higher Education Conference

March 4th-6th, 2016


"a politics of enlightenment"

Siddhartha left his throne to seek a precise understanding of reality in order to serve society better. After experiencing that comprehensive awareness which he called awakening or enlightenment, he did not float away on a cloud of bliss into some otherworldly realm. He stood up and began a sustained campaign of social action, offering all people in all nations a chance to improve their moral, emotional, and intellectual lives, while creating a greater world for future generations. By founding institutions of education, he initiated, on the cultural and social levels, a politics of enlightenment.
[...] A revolution that transforms the outlook and behavior of many individuals and thereby slowly transforms a society can be called a 'cool' revolution. It educates people to think critically, to enter that realm of nonconformity that has always been the source of change.  When people have transformed their minds, they will naturally and cooly act to transform the society and eventually the polity. Shakyamuni turned politics on its head and proved that best way to build a healthy society was from the bottom up -- through the development of individual - not from the top down.
-Robert Thurman, Inner Revolution, pgs. 94-95. 

"We are the savages of outer modernity."

We have imagined our world to be tamed, or civilized, since we live in cities and seem to have nature under control. It is hard for us to think of ourselves as wild and untamed. But 'civilized' should mean something more than just living in cities. It should mean that we are wise, gentle, just, and even artistic in our dealings with the world and with other animals and humans. Our civilization is what I call an 'outer civilization'; its modernity is an outer modernity. It is based on turning the full force of human reason on the enterprise of conquering and taming the outer universe -- the universe of matter and energy, lands and continents, materials and products--and on viewing people as resources to be managed and developed for production. [...]
And what we have not controlled? We have not tamed our own minds very much at all. Our religions did do something of a taming job up to the modern period. They kept our world picture wholesome and made it meaningful for us to restrain our more bestial impulses most of the time. [...]
We are the savages of outer modernity. We have reached the point where the lethal passions are emerging as planetary enemy number one.  [...]
The middle way between the two extremes of authoritarian repression and self-defeating nihilism is to take our systematic and scientific cleverness, enthusiasm, and ingenuity and turn our attention toward the inner self the way we have turned in to so successfully on outer nature.  Why not engineer spiritual balance and harmony? We can investigate the lethal passions and their institutional foundations, find out precisely how they work, how they take hold of us and use us as their instruments. Then we can devise technologies and arts to conquer them and to transmute them into useful energies. Or we can use the technologies of the adepts who have gone before.
-Robert Thurman, Inner Revolution, pgs. 216-218. 
"Despite appearances, and the urgent but mistaken desire of many Muslims to engage in dialogue with purely secular thinkers and ideologies, we are primarily called to speak to the ‘People of the Book’."

"Religion is about truth, and unless truth be properly discerned and defended, nothing else will come right." -AHM

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The echo chambers of today...

This atomization and polarization have been exacerbated by the decline in the news audience share captured by the three major networks, which for decades at least tested against some standards the accuracy and completeness of the information we received, and which provided a common information template shared by Americans even of divergent views. Today, viewers have been drawn to niche channels, attractive to them precisely because they echo their preconceptions. A common canon of information has been supplanted by an echo chamber in which people pick a particular news source to fit their views, and their views then are validated and reinforced by the new information they receive, information tailored and targeted for them – and untested for its accuracy against any meaningful standard.
The general tendencies are reflected in the increasingly impoverished quality of what is said by our political leaders in the public forum. Candidates for public office now relentlessly employ slogans, talking points, simplistic messages and attack ads. We have moved far from the Athenian ideal of participatory, dialogic democracy. This led Fortune’s Matt Miller to write:
Is it possible in America today to convince anyone of anything he doesn’t already believe? If so, are there enough places where this mingling of minds occurs to sustain a democracy? The signs are not good. Ninety percent of political conversation amounts to dueling “talking points.” Best-selling books reinforce what folks thought when they bought them. Talk radio and opinion journals preach to the converted. Let’s face it: the purpose of most political speech is not to persuade but to win, be it power, ratings, celebrity or even cash. By contrast, marshaling a case to persuade those who start from a different position is a lost art. Honoring what’s right in the other side’s argument seems a superfluous thing that can only cause trouble, like an appendix. Politicos huddle with like-minded souls in opinion cocoons that seem impervious to facts.
"Dogmatism and Complexity"

"Rediger was a good writer.

He was clear and concise, and occasionally humorous, as for example when he derided a colleague--no doubt a rival Muslim intellectual--who had coined the phrase 'imams 2.0' to describe imams who made it their mission to reconvert French you from Muslim immigrant backgrounds. It was time, Rediger countered, to launch imams 3.0: the ones who'd convert the natives. Rediger was never funny for long; he always followed up with an earnest argument. He reserved his bitterest scorn for his Islamo-leftists colleagues: Islamo-leftism, he wrote, was a desparate attempt by moldering, putrefying, brain-dead Marxists to hoist themselves out of the dustbin of history by latching onto the coattails of Islam. Conceptually, he wrote, they'd stolen everything from the so-called Nietzcheans of the left. Rediger was obsessed with Neitzche, but I didn't have much patience for his Neitzchean mode--no doubt I'd read too much Nitzche myself. I knew and understood Neitzche too well to find charming. Bizarrely enough, I found myself more drawn to Rediger's Guénonian side. René Guénon is boring, if you try to read him straight through, but Rediger offered an accessible version-Guénon lite.
-Michel Houellebecq, Submission, pgs. 223-4. 

"And I don't guess you're really an atheist, either. True atheists are rare."

"You think? On the contrary, I'd have said that most people in the Western world are atheists."
"Only on the surface, it seems to me. The only true atheists I've ever met were people in revolt. It wasn't enough for them to coldly deny the existence of God--they had to refuse it, like Bakunin: 'Even if God existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.' They were atheists like Kirilov in The Possessed. They were humanists, with lofty ideas about human liberty, human dignity. I don't suppose you recognize yourself in this description."
No, in fact, I didn't; even the word humanism made me want to vomit...
-Michel Houellebecq, Submission, p. 204. 


Guénon mentioned in Houellebecq's new novel

The two bottom shelves were full of bound photocopies. These were dissertations from various European universities. As I browsed the titles, my eye was drawn to a philosophy dissertation, presented at the Catholic University of Loivain-la-Neuve, entitled "René Guénon: Reader of Nietzche," by Robert Rediger. I was just pulling it from the shelf from Rediger came back into the room. I jumped, as if I'd been caught doing something wrong, and tried to slip it back in place. He walked over to me, smiling. "Don't worry, there are no secrets here. And besides, why shouldn't you be curious about the contents of a bookshelf? For a man like you, that's almost a professional duty."
Coming closer, he saw the title. "Ah, you've found my dissertation." He shook his head. "They gave me my doctorate, but it wasn't much of a thesis. Nothing like yours, anyways. My reading was, as they say, selective. In retrospect, I don't think Guénon was influenced b Nietzche especially. His rejection of the modern world was just as vehement as Nietzche's, but it had radically different sources."
-Michel Houellebecq, Submission, pgs. 199-200.

Upholding the Prophetic Character in a Divided World – Shaykh Abdal Haki...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Upholding the Prophetic Character in a Divided World – Shaykh Abdal Haki...

"Chesterton and Belloc and their ideas appear in “Submission” as a kind of secondary sound, a Greek chorus."

Houellebecq takes very seriously the enterprise, in which Huysmans is also implicated, of rejecting Enlightenment modernity in favor of some kind of mystical-spiritual nation reëstablished on a foundation of faith. There is a passage in “Submission”—by Houellebecq’s own account the key scene in the book—in which the narrator goes south to contemplate the Black Madonna of Rocamadour and has a moment of blissful vision, one that he wishes to sustain but can’t. Islam rushes in to fill the absence. Houellebecq makes the entente of Islam and Catholicism attractive. “My book describes the destruction of the philosophy handed down by the Enlightenment, which no longer makes sense to anyone, or to very few people,” he said in an interview. “Catholicism, by contrast, is doing rather well. I would maintain that an alliance between Catholics and Muslims is possible.” 

"only religions can fight efficiently against other religions."

Q. Because a novel doesn’t have the power to do that?
A. Yes. People can read all the novels they want. That will never change political opinion. It’s striking. The response to jihadism — it’s a religious sect from start to finish, it’s a variation, a deviation of a religion — it’s never easy to fight against a religious sect. The police are useful, but in principle, only religions can fight efficiently against other religions.

'To return, though, to Houellebecq.

For him, self-becoming requires separation from bourgeois false consciousness, and only two such separations are currently available: Islam and idealistic hedonism. His option is for the latter, but only because the former is alien to him. But perhaps in that very alienness lies an authentic Otherness, an option which would enhance our free separation from the monoculture. Another Frenchman, Rene Guenon (1886-1951), who during the period portrayed by Proust had experimented with a range of alternative lifestyles, exercised his own freedom in favor of the Islamic Other. Guenon entered Islam at the hands of an Egyptian Sufi, and spent the remainder of his life writing and praying as a semirecluse in Cairo. [28] In his numerous books, which constitute an absolute apostasy from the modern doctrines of progress and humanism, he advocated Islam as the most appropriate religious choice for Westerners who seek freedom from the monoculture, both because Islam is radically unsecular, and because it is spiritually proximate to the Christian genius which the Enlightenment had suppressed. "This Islamic civilization," he wrote, "with its two aspects, esoteric and exoteric, and with the religious form which the latter is clothed in, comes nearest to being like what a traditional Western civilization would be." [29]
-Tim Winter, ‘Ishmael and the Enlightenment’s crise de coeur: a response to Koshul and Kepnes,’ in Basit Bilal Koshul and Stephen Kepnes (eds.), Scripture, Reason, and the contemporary Islam-West encounter: studying the ‘Other’, Understanding the ‘Self’ (New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 158.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Be Attentive

Many mistakes in reasoning are explained by the fact that we are not paying sufficient attention to the situation in which we find ourselves. This is especially true in familiar situations. That very familiarity causes us to make careless judgments about facts right before our eyes. We misread a situation because we are skimming it, when what we should be doing is persuing it. Often, we assume that a familiar situation will be but a repeat performance of a similar situation we've experienced before. But, in the strictest sense, there are no repeat performances. Every situation is unique, and we must be alert to its uniqueness.
The phrase 'to pay attention' is telling. It reminds us that attention costs something. Attention demands an attentive, energetic response to every situation, to the persons, places, and things that make up the situation. It is impossible to be truly attentive and passive at the same time. Don't just look, see. Don't just hear, listen. Train yourself to focus on details. The little things are not to be ignored, for it is just the little things that lead us to the big things. 
-D.Q. McInerny, Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking, p. 3.

We were blessed to read through this book in the first year of the Zaytuna seminary program with Imam Zaid, alhamdullilah.

Good training in logic and critical reasoning is essential to building independent people who think for themselves and are not just 'groupies.' Being critical doesn't have to mean having bad adab.

We should make sure we have spaces in which dissent and disagreement and alternative viewpoints are welcomed, if not at least tolerated.

God help us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

New book: Shaping Global Islamic Discourses: The Role of Al-Azhar, Al-Medina, and Al-Mustafa

Claims abound that Saudi oil money is fuelling Salafi Islam in cultural and geographical terrains as disparate as the remote hamlets of the Swat valley in Pakistan and sprawling megacities such as Jakarta. In a similar manner, it is often regarded as a fact that Iran and the Sunni Arab states are fighting proxy wars in foreign lands. This empirically grounded study challenges the assumptions prevalent within academic as well as policy circles about hegemonic power of such Islamic discourses and movements to penetrate all Muslim communities and societies. Through case studies of academic institutions the volume illustrates how transmission of ideas is an extremely complex process, and the outcome of such efforts depends not just on the strategies adopted by backers of those ideologies but equally on the characteristics of the receipt communities. 
In order to understand this complex interaction between the global and local Islam and the plurality in outcomes, the volume focuses on the workings of three universities with global outreach, and whose graduating students carry the ideas acquired during their education back to their own countries, along with, in some cases, a zeal to reform their home society. 
About the series: Exploring Muslim Contexts seeks to address the salient and urgent issues faced by Muslim societies as they evolve in a rapidly globalising world, bringing together the scholarship of leading specialists from various academic fields, representing a wide range of theoretical and practical perspectives. 

New Book: "Arabs Without God"

In Arab countries, openly declaring a disbelief in God is a shocking and sometimes dangerous thing to do. Many have been imprisoned for it, some have been forced into exile and others threatened with execution. And yet, in a region where the influence of religion is almost inescapable, growing numbers are claiming a right to believe – or disbelieve – as they see fit. Social media have given them a voice and the uprisings that toppled Arab dictators have emboldened them to speak out. In this ground-breaking book, journalist Brian Whitaker looks at the factors that lead them to abandon religion and the challenges they pose for governments and societies that claim to be organised according to the will of God.

Also see:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"Few ideas are more foreign to modernity

and the Enlightenment than the idea of divine revelation. Subjectivity and individual freedom are usually celebrated as cornerstones of modernity. Claims that God created man and woman in His image, that He spoke authoritatively to mankind, and that human life and death have a transcendental purpose seem irreversibly outdated. The acid of criticism -- that essential ingredient of mankind -- has not only eaten away metaphysical certainty. It has also succeeded in abolishing metaphysical questions. Instead, modernity reflects its own continuously changing crisis in a form of self-criticism that tautologically installs this very permanently changing criticism as the essence of a never completely achievable modernity."
-Stefan Wild, "Why self-referentiality?" Self-referentiality in the Qur'an, (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 2006), 1.

Imam Zahid al-Kawthari by Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad

Muhammad Zahid ibn Hasan al-Kawthari al-Hanafi al-Ash‘ari (1296-1371), the adjunct to the last Shaykh al-Islam of the Ottoman Caliphate and a major (mujaddid) of the fourteenth Islamic century. He studied under his father as well as the scholar of Qur’an and hadith Ibrahim Haqqi (d. 1345), Shaykh Zayn al-‘Abidin al-Alsuni (d. 1336), Shaykh Muhammad Khalis al-Shirwani, al-Hasan al-Aztuwa’i, and others. When the Caliphate fell he moved to Cairo, then Sham, then Cairo again until his death, where the late Shaykhs ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda and ‘Abd Allah al-Ghumari became his students. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gideon Levy: Does unconditional support for Israel endanger Israeli voices?

Thanks Sidi Namee Barakat

The Long Distance Revolutionary - Chris Hedges with Larry Hamm

Published on Aug 18, 2015

In this episode of Days of Revolt, Hedges sits down with founder of the People’s Organization for Progress Larry Hamm to dissect periods of American resistance, and explain how shifts in political climate have and will shape new modes of community organizing.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Right Mind, Right Heart


Friday November 6th after Isha 7:45pm
Saturday November 7th @ 1-6pm.
NBIC 1330 Livingston Ave, North Brunswick NJ

Iman is right belief. Islam is right action. Ihsan is right state. 

Friday night Shaykh Salek will be discussing critical aspects of belief that need to be revived.

Saturday is a day-long lecture 1-6pm on ihsan. The science of tasawwuf is from the Quran & Sunna. All else is rejected. The culture of tasawwuf is sometimes it's own worst enemy. Shaykh Salek seeks to bring it back to its origins and fundamentals.

Shaykh Salek b. Siddna was born and educated in Mauritania. He is a master of fiqh, language, and many other sciences. He has been teaching between Mauritania and California for the past decade. 

$10/child 3-13 (three or more children $25)

Child-minding will be provided.
Food vendors will be present at event.
To have a booth/table at the event, contact

Friday, October 23, 2015

Newly Discovered Letter from Malcolm X from Mecca dated April 25, 1964

In regards to the legitimacy of this letter, Zaheer Ali, an oral historian who served as the project manager and senior researcher of the Malcolm X Project at Columbia University, says it's likely this letter was actually written by Malcolm X. 
"Based on everything I've seen, handwriting and context, I can confidently say that yes, this letter is his letter," he told the Huffington Post. 'The content is consistent, this isn't uncommon. He was very prolific." 
Ali explained that the pilgrimage to Mecca had a profound effect on Malcolm X and that he often sent letters about it as a way to "broadcast" his message. 
However, Ali doesn't believe this letter should be for sale. "I don’t think you can put a price tag on this," he explained. "Even though this is his personal correspondence, his intention was that this was to be made available to the public." 
Regardless, Ali believes the letter's message, addressing race and religion, is particularly timely today.  
"However this letter surfaced, it surfaced at the right time."

"To put it bluntly,

Islamic civilization died quite some time ago, unlike Islam which is very much alive; we will thus be concerned with the wider civilization only when it is relevant to features of the enduring religious heritage. The other reason is that a major component--perhaps the major component--of pre-modern Islam was Ṣūfism. Today Ṣūfism is by no means dead, but it is not at the cutting edge of the developments that concern us; instead its role is mainly that of a target for movements that see themselves as propagating pure Islam." 
-Michael Cook, Ancient Religions, Modern Politics, p. xiv.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Passion of Imam Husayn: A Passion Play by Ustadh Ali Ataie

The oft-repeated statement “Every day is ‘Aashurah and every land is Karbala” captures succinctly the metamorphic and cosmic significance of Imam Husayn’s (al-Mazlum) stand against corruption and tyranny. His struggle is seen as transcendent and transhistorical; a reminder for the human consciousness that unless one is willing to suffer and die for the sake of his/her principles or beliefs, one has not really lived. Many in the Shi’a community understand the ta’ziyyah to function in exactly such a way, yet theological and/or jurisprudential concerns have severely limited Sunni experience of the passion narrative of the Ahl al-Bayt. 

IN ISRAEL, DE BLASIO PARSES WORDS - Times's Michael Grynbaum:

"His 48-hour trip to Israel, which concluded on Sunday, was conceived as a standard-issue outreach to Jewish groups. It quickly morphed into a tricky political balancing act, as Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, found himself arriving here amid an outbreak of violence, casting his words and actions into an unusually harsh glare...I don't want to pretend to understand the nuances of the situation," said Mr. de Blasio, who visited with Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday. "I think it's important as an outsider to not claim to know more than I do. I think this is a larger human reality, that peace is necessary, attacks on civilians are unacceptable, and no civilian leaders should ever condone attacks on civilians."
via Azi Paybarah, Jimmy Vielkind and Mike Allen [] 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chris Hedges and Cornel West in Conversation - Wages of Rebellion | The ...

Imam Zaid Shakir: Eid Al-Adha 2015 Sermon at Hartford Seminary

"In this age the truth is posited precisely

 where the power structures of the day would say it is not; God is not to be found with the well-fed investment bankers but with the seemingly impoverished taxi drivers that drive them around. These are the inheritors to the Ishmaelite tradition, for God is with the outcast, the downtrodden, the despised. 
-Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad (Tim Winter) 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dallal on 'Uthmān Ibn Fūdī (1754-1817) & Scholars

The religious scholars were also part of Ibn Fūdī's reform of the social disorder. It is through the spread of education that Muslims may recognize and apply the proper Islamic codes of social behavior. Well-educated and committed scholars recognized by Muslims are essential to this project. Ibn Fudi sharply criticizes those 'ulamā' who seek prestige and power in their teaching, and are interested only in increasing the number of their students while failing to teach their wives and children the basic tenets of Islam. [181] He is also critical of those scholars who neither study nor teach Arabic, and instead dedicate their efforts to justifying the abuses of pagan rulers. [182] Ibn Fūdī evaluates scholarship in terms of its social functions, and opposes the establishment of a class of elitist clerics who lack dedication to communal obligations. [183]
 -Ahmad Dallal, "The Origins and Objectives of Islamic Revivalist Thought, 1750-1850," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1993), p. 353.  

The intellectual synthesis of Shah Wall Allah

Shah Wall Allah's formidable attempt to reconcile the conflicts between the different facets of the Islamic intellectual legacy, and to forge a new synthesis of gnostic, inductive, and transmitted forms of knowledge, was conducted with an eye on the community, its power and well-being. Perhaps the greatest achievement of this intellectual synthesis was in its ability to argue, without being reductive or simplistic, for the community's right to wrench the use of the intellect from the exclusive monopoly of the professional zealots of Islam.
-Ahmad Dallal, "The Origins and Objectives of Islamic Revivalist Thought, 1750-1850," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1993), p. 349.  

Ahmad Dallal on Shāh Walī Allah on history

Walī Allah develops other unconventional readings of history. The superiority of the first community, he argues, is a functional concept, but not necessarily an exclusive one. For later generations to accept the transmitted tradition, they had to develop an idealized view of its transmitters. Later generations, however, are not doomed to be inferior to earlier ones, and they are capable of producing people who are, in some respects, better than their earlier counterparts. [80] This reading is clearly inspired by a strong commitment to the living community of Muslims. 
-Ahmad Dallal, "The Origins and Objectives of Islamic Revivalist Thought, 1750-1850," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1993), p. 346-7. 

e: See discussion and commentary [by al-Mūnāwī for ex. in Fayḍ al-Qadīr] on ḥadīth:
(مثل أمتي مثل المطر لايدرى الخير في أوله أو آخره )
See some discussion about the takhrīj of this ḥadīth at

Ahmad Dallal on Shāh Walī Allah of India (1703-1762)

Although he [Shāh Walī Allah] was concerned with political division and disintegration, the solution he prescribed was to be found outside the immediate realm of politics. He believed that political authority is important for practical purposes, but what ultimately counts is society. While the outward caliphate (khilāfat al-ẓāhir) is in charge of implementing superficial order, the inward one (khilāfat al-bāṭin) is responsible for social order in all its details. [24] The guardians of the inward order are the scholars ('ulamā'), and it is their duty to ensure that daily life is conducted in harmony with God's created nature (fiṭra). [25] Political corruption is but an outcome of the scholars' neglect in performing their duties properly. [26] Extreme intellectualism or "profundity" (ta'ammuq), [27] severity, [28] false consensus, [29] opportunism, [30] and claiming monopoly over truth [3l] are some aspects of this neglect.
-Ahmad Dallal, "The Origins and Objectives of Islamic Revivalist Thought, 1750-1850," Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 113, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1993), p. 343. 

Ḥikam Ibn Ata 'Allah Resources

Book on the virtues and excellences (fadail) of the Prophetic Household, the Ahl Al-Bayt, from Sunni Hadith Scholars

Selections were made from the writings of only the best and most widely respected of hadith scholars including Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim, Imam Nasa'i, Ibn Shahin, Imam Nawawi, Hafidh Ibn Kathir, Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and Imam al-Suyuti.  The book includes an outstanding foreword by Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi about the importance of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Thanks to David for referring me to this! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

NYT Thursday Briefing: A monumental endangered list

The World Monuments Fund today announces its 2016 list of endangered architectural and cultural sites from around the world.
Its last watch list, two years ago, included the entire country of Syria, threatened by war; the city of Venice, at risk from cruise-ship tourism; and the St. Louis arch, in jeopardy because of corrosion.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

NYPD Muslim Surveillance Case Reinstated: New Jersey Muslims Commend Ruling Affirming Their Constitutional Rights

Scott MacLeod: "All-American Sheikh"

Religious scholar Hamza Yusuf discusses the arc of Islamic civilization, the causes of Middle East conflict, and running the first Muslim liberal arts college in the United States.

June 4, 2015: CFR: A Conversation With Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah (with Shaykh Hamza translating) [Video and Transcript]

Transcript of CFR event from 2007 Conference Call with Hamza Yusuf on Islamic Education in America

Articles by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf in PDFs

New Khutba by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad: The Fully Integrated Life

The Fully Integrated Life

Jum'ah khutba - Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad - Cambridge - 9 October 2015 - 25 mins 16 secs


'Allah bears witness that there is no god except He, and the Angels and the ones endowed with knowledge, upright with equity (bear witness). There is no god except He, The Ever-Mighty, The Ever-Wise...
(Surah al-Imran, Verse 18)

As the new academic year begins the Shaykh talks about how one should approach the balance needed in life, to put everything where it deserves to be put. How should one manage the different influences and complexity of life as a student. How does one find the right balance between what may seem Deen and what may seem Dunya. The Shaykh explains how we must strive for the fully integrated life and shares some useful tips from the works of Hujjat ul-Islam Imam Al-Ghazali.

Listen to this talk

Download this talk (MP3, 23.1MB)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Video Recording of Schomburg Event on European Powers, Islamic Movements, and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Thu, Oct 8 2015 7:00 PM EDT — Thu, Oct 8 2015 8:30 PM EDT


In the 18th century, Senegambia was bitterly contested by France and Great Britain for its slave-trading. But a third power, the Islamic theocracy of Futa Toro, rose to prominence and opposed both foreign powers while seeking to put an end to the slave trade and slavery. Please join Christopher L. Brown, Professor of History at Columbia University, and Rudolph Ware, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, for a fascinating conversation on this intricate story. This event, which will be held at the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is presented in collaboration with The Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and The Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.


  • Watch the recording at:

Dr Recep Sentürk brief bio

Dr Recep Sentürk is Director of the Alliance of Civilizations Institute at the Fatih Sultan Mehmet University in Istanbul. He is also Director of ISAR in Istanbul and was previously Professor of Sociology at Fatih University. He holds a PhD from Columbia University, Department of Sociology (1998), and specializes in sociology of knowledge, human rights and Islamic studies with a focus on the Ottoman Empire, Egypt and Turkey. He authored in English Narrative Social Structure: Hadith Transmission Network 610-1505 (Stanford University Press, 2005), and in Turkish Sociology of Turkish Thought: From Fiqh to Social Science (2008); Islam and Human Rights: Sociological and Legal Perspectives (2007); Malcolm X: Struggle for Human Rights (2006); Social Memory: Hadith Transmission Network 610-1505 (2004); Sociologies of Religion (2004); Modernization and Social Science in the Muslim World: A Comparison between Turkey and Egypt (2006). He edited Ibn Khaldun: Comtemporary Readings (2009) and Economic Development and Values (2009). His recent book is Open Civilization: Cultural Foundations of Pluralism (2010). Dr Senturk was a visiting research fellow at Emory University Law School during the academic year 2002–2003 as part of Islam and Human Rights Project.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Seek Knowledge In China: Thinking Beyond the Abrahamic Box

Nietzche: "What has ever uplifted your soul"

On her great blog, Brain Pickings, Maria Popova quotes a passage from Nietzsche on how to find your identity: “Let the young soul survey its own life with a view of the following question: ‘What have you truly loved thus far? What has ever uplifted your soul, what has dominated and delighted it at the same time?’ ” Line up these revered objects in a row, Nietzsche says, and they will reveal your fundamental self. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Multidisciplinary Conference on Islamic Theology, Law, and Biomedicine

Addresses the discursive and scholarly knowledge gaps impeding Islam and Science discourses through a 3-day multidisciplinary conference on the intersections of Islamic Theology and Law with Biomedicine.

Who: The Initiative on Islam and Medicine of the Program at the University of Chicago
When: Friday, April 15th - Sunday, April 17th
Where: University of Chicago - Ida Noyes Hall 1212 E. 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637 
Link to promotional flyer (pdf) 
Call for Abstracts 
The conference invites participants to share their work—be it using empirical, historical, theological, ethico-legal, social scientific, or other research methods—at the intersection of Islam and biomedicine. Papers will be grouped thematically into panels according to field of inquiry—scholastic theology (kalam), moral theology (usul al- fiqh), ethics/law (fiqh, adab, ahklaq), epistemology, empirical health research, and biomedical practice—and each panel will be brought to a close by a scholarly respondent commenting on the implications for cross-disciplinary dialogue and research that emerge from the presented work. While abstracts on any topic of relevance are welcome, presenters should consider the following two questions to be the primary focus of the conference. 
How might scientific notions of harm and risk relate to, and work with, Islamic constructs of necessity and benefit in the context of biomedicine? 
What is an Islamic ontology of the soul? How does it relate to, and how might it work with, modern neuroscientific data, in order to inform a better understanding of death and care for the dying? 
CLICK HERE to submit an abstract. All proposals are due December 16, 2015.
Via Shaykh Omar Qureshi 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The central Buddhist concept of emptiness or voidness

"In essence, Vimalakīrti clears up the confusions surrounding the central Buddhist concept of emptiness, or voidness--presenting it not as nihilism but rather, in the translator's words, "as the joyous and compassionate commitment to living beings born from an unwavering confrontation with the inconceivable profundity of ultimate reality."

-Robert Thurman (translator), The Holy Teaching of Vimalakīrti: A Mahāyāna Scripture (First published in 1976).

Sunday, October 4, 2015

cambridge khutbas etc. Muslim sermons and talks in English by Abdal Hakim Murad

Politico NYC: Activists urge de Blasio to avoid federal counterterrorism program

The signers, including officials from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Lawyers Guild, among others, said the program will "brand" Muslims as "inherently suspicious and somehow less American than others.” 

Dr. Jamal Barzinji (1939-2015): In Memoriam by SAMI AL-ARIAN

Prof. Hallaq's Impossible State book in Arabic

AP: Aya Batrawy: The hajj journey of black Americans 50 years after Malcolm X (Oct. 2, 2015)

Recording of Prof. Wael Hallaq's talk on "God’s Word: Between the Intentional and the Political"

2015 AAR Annual Meeting • Atlanta, Georgia • November 21–24

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bill Blum on Scalia, Thomas and Alito missing the Pope's address to Congress

How many pope watchers and admirers, I wonder, noticed that only four of the high court’s members—Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor—showed up to hear the pontiff address a joint session of Congress last week? 
Among the missing were the tribunal’s three most conservative voices, all hard-core Republicans and ostensibly devout Catholics—Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. You might think they would have wanted in on the celebration to demonstrate their fidelity, to see history in the making, or perhaps just to receive a personal blessing or two. Then again, you might be wrong. 
So what gives? Was the nonappearance of the three judges a coincidence or the result of unavoidable scheduling conflicts? Or was the right-wing judicial troika sending a message of disapproval to Francis? After all, they’ve done much the same in recent years to President Obama by boycotting his State of the Union addresses.
-Bill Blum, "Supreme Court Preview: The Pope Casts a Long Shadow Over the New Term," September 29, 2015, Truthdig.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shaykh Abdallah Bin Bayyah 2015 UNGA Speech (English)

Zoom in on the Birmingham manuscript of the Qur'anic page

Thanks to my classmate Andrew for this!

[This is from this chapter of the Qur'an.]

Earlier in the summer, news about this made 'a big splash' in the New York Times as Prof. Cook said in class today, as this article was featured on the front page. According to Prof. Cook, there is no reason to doubt the writing of this manuscript as one of the Uthmānī codexes. The doubt of the Saudi researcher about the dots could be explained as something that was added [at a later time] on top of the letters.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Dr. West - the Matrix

While in Sydney for the movie shoot, Dr. West said he and the Wachowskis had bonded over ''wrestling with the meaning of life and the purpose of human existence.'' They share an affinity for plucking ideas from religion, philosophy, pop music, television and movies, and synthesizing them into a prophetic, liberating message. They want to make the world a more philosophical place. (The brothers even gave reading assignments to all of the principal actors in the movie.) 

"Interpretations of The Matrix often reference Baudrillard's philosophy to demonstrate that the film is an allegory for contemporary experience in a heavily commercialized, media-driven society, especially in developed countries."

Robert Frost

~The Fear of God~

If you should rise from Nowhere up to Somewhere,
From being No one up to being Someone,
Be sure to keep repeating to yourself
You owe it to an arbitrary god
Whose mercy to you rather than to others
Won’t bear to critical examination.
Stay unassuming. If for lack of license
To wear the uniform of who you are,
You should be tempted to make up for it
In a subordinationg look or toe,
Beware of coming too much to the surface
And using for apparel hat was meant
To be the curtain of the inmost soul.
via Shaykh Hamza in "The Critical Importance of Al Ghazali in Our Time"

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

(Book) The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics

Search the full text of this book

Revised and Expanded Edition

George Lipsitz

Outstanding Books Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America, 1999
"[A] valuable resource for middle school, high school, and college level students."
Multicultural Review
In this unflinching look at white supremacy, George Lipsitz argues that racism is a matter of interests as well as attitudes, a problem of property as well as pigment. Above and beyond personal prejudice, whiteness is a structured advantage that produces unfair gains and unearned rewards for whites while imposing impediments to asset accumulation, employment, housing, and health care for minorities. Reaching beyond the black/white binary, Lipsitz shows how whiteness works in respect to Asian Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.
Lipsitz delineates the weaknesses embedded in civil rights laws, the racial dimensions of economic restructuring and deindustrialization, and the effects of environmental racism, job discrimination and school segregation. He also analyzes the centrality of whiteness to U.S. culture, and perhaps most importantly, he identifies the sustained and perceptive critique of white privilege embedded in the radical black tradition. This revised and expanded edition also includes an essay about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on working class Blacks in New Orleans, whose perpetual struggle for dignity and self determination has been obscured by the city's image as a tourist party town.



Praise for the First Edition:
"Traversing a remarkably broad terrain of American social, political, and cultural history from the colonial period to the present, ... Lipsitz takes a variety of angles on the workings of whiteness... All of these discussions are productive; some of them are dazzling... This is a terrifically important book."
Matthew Frye JacobsonAmerican Historical Review
"The Possessive Investment in Whiteness is the product of painstaking research and rigorous analysis.... [Lipsitz's] spirited writing recaptures a fire that has come close to being extinguished in this era."
Brenda Gayle PlummerThe Annals of the American Academy
"If we could only take one book with us into the 21st century, this is the one I would choose. With lucidity and passion, George Lipsitz reveals that so-called 'color-blind' public policy actually contributes to the maintenance of racism; that white privilege and the demonizing of colored people are two sides of the same coin; and that whiteness is both a huge subsidy as well as a noose around the necks of working-class white folk. His insights into how the color line works in the realm of public policy, politics, and culture, and what we must do to destroy it, can save our lives." 
Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Yo' Mama's Disfunktional! Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America
"George Lipsitz is one of the few historians of the U.S. who commands an audience eager to read what he writes on virtually any subject. What sets his work still more remarkably apart is the discipline never to abuse that trust...This book is a case in point. As rigorous as it is creative, this collection combines a firm grasp of the material roots and consequences of white supremacy with striking cultural criticism. Its extensive treatment of Asian-American and Latino/a experiences breaks decisively with the tendency of studies of whiteness to reduce race to a black-white binary. Few works on whiteness discuss past and present together with such subtlety, care and passion."
David R. Roediger
"Lipsitz is best known for showing how popular culture and the changing fortunes of the working class and people of color transformed the United States after World War II. This new book brings together his fierce passion for racial justice with his talent for cultural analysis."
The Progressive
  Also available in e-book


Introduction: Bill Moore's Body
1. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness
2. Law and Order: Civil Rights Laws and White Privilege
3. Immigrant Labor and Identity Politics
4. Whiteness and War
5. How Whiteness Works: Inheritance, Wealth, and Health
6. White Desire: Remembering Robert Johnson
7. Lean on Me: Beyond Identity Politics
8. "Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac": Antiblack Racism and White Identity
9. "Frantic to Join . . . the Japanese Army": Beyond the Black-White Binary
10. California: The Mississippi of the 1990s
11. Change the Focus and Reverse the Hypnosis: Learning from New Orleans

About the Author(s)

George Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of A Life in the Struggle: Ivory Perry and the Culture of Opposition (Temple), Rainbow at Midnight: Labor and Culture in the 1940sDangerous Crossroads, and Time Passages.

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