Saturday, January 14, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
SHARIAsource is a flagship research venture of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Its continuing mission is to organize the world’s information on Islamic law in a way that is accessible and useful. Working with a global team of editors, we provide a platform to house primary sources of Islamic law, organize the people to critically analyze them, and promote research to inform academic and public discourse about Islamic law. Our research portal offers cutting-edge content and context on Islamic law to academics, journalists, and policy makers. Our other programs serve generally interested readers through a blog, newsletter, and special events. SHARIAsource adheres to common principles of academic engagement including attention to diverse perspectives, peer-reviewed analysis, and the free and open exchange of ideas. We are not a religious organization or an advocacy group. SHARIAsource was developed with support from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and from the Luce and MacArthur Foundations.http://ilsp.law.harvard.edu/shariasource/
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
In 1894, on the eve of the French conquest of Morocco, a young Muslim mystic named Muḥammad al-Kattānī decided to abandon his life of asceticism to preach Islamic revival and jihad against the French. Ten years later, al-Kattānī mobilized a socially diverse coalition of Moroccans who called for resistance against French colonization.
In 1909, he met a violent death at the hands of the same Moroccan anti-colonialists he had empowered through his activism. Today, the government of Morocco regards al-Kattānī’s story as subversive, and he has virtually disappeared from the narratives of the early Moroccan anti-colonialism and nationalism. Despite this silencing, al-Kattānī’s remarkable personal transformation and sacrifice is at the heart of the events that, although ultimately failing to prevent French rule, gave birth to Moroccan nationalism and to modern concepts of Moroccan political power and authority.
Forgotten Saints draws on a diverse collection of previously unknown primary sources to narrate the vivid story of al-Kattānī and his virtual disappearance from accounts of modern Moroccan history.
Alhamdullilah, we were blessed to Shaykh Dr. 'Abd al-Hakim al-Anis in Istanbul in the summer of 2015. Ma sha Allah, he is a dedicated researcher and scholar of ḥadīth and tafsīr. See his works published here.
Monday, January 9, 2017
New Brookings Institute Report: Islamism after the Arab Spring: Between the Islamic State and the nation-state Shadi Hamid, William McCants, and Rashid Dar (January 2017)
Five years after the start of the Arab uprisings, mainstream Islamist groups—which generally seek to operate within the confines of institutional politics—find themselves brutally repressed (Egypt), fallen from power (Tunisia), internally fractured (Jordan), or eclipsed by armed groups (Syria and Libya). Muslim Brotherhood and Brotherhood-inspired movements had enjoyed considerable staying power, becoming entrenched actors in their respective societies, settling into strategies of gradualist democratic contestation, focused on electoral participation and working within existing state structures. Yet, the twin shocks of the Arab Spring—the Egyptian coup of 2013 and the rise of ISIS—have challenged mainstream Islamist models of political change.
The first section of the paper analyzes how recent developments in the region are forcing a discussion of the various fault lines within Islamist movements in Muslim-majority countries. The second brings out the challenges faced by Islamist parties, which, once admitted into the halls of power, have had to play politics in circumscribed contexts and make difficult compromises while not alienating their conservative constituencies.
The third section considers how Islamist groups have made sense of ISIS’s rise to prominence. The fourth takes a closer look at the state-centric approaches of Brotherhood-linked movements and how these are either coming under scrutiny or being challenged from various quarters, particularly by younger rank-and-file activists. The paper concludes by briefly considering to what extent Islamist movements will be able to “see beyond the state” in the years (and decades) to come.https://www.brookings.edu/research/islamism-after-the-arab-spring-between-the-islamic-state-and-the-nation-state/
Prof. Mona Hassan's Book: Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History (Princeton University Press, 2017)
In the United States and Europe, the word “caliphate” has conjured historically romantic and increasingly pernicious associations. Yet the caliphate’s significance in Islamic history and Muslim culture remains poorly understood. This book explores the myriad meanings of the caliphate for Muslims around the world through the analytical lens of two key moments of loss in the thirteenth and twentieth centuries. Through extensive primary-source research, Mona Hassan explores the rich constellation of interpretations created by religious scholars, historians, musicians, statesmen, poets, and intellectuals.
Hassan fills a scholarly gap regarding Muslim reactions to the destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad in 1258 and challenges the notion that the Mongol onslaught signaled an end to the critical engagement of Muslim jurists and intellectuals with the idea of an Islamic caliphate. She also situates Muslim responses to the dramatic abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 as part of a longer trajectory of transregional cultural memory, revealing commonalities and differences in how modern Muslims have creatively interpreted and reinterpreted their heritage. Hassan examines how poignant memories of the lost caliphate have been evoked in Muslim culture, law, and politics, similar to the losses and repercussions experienced by other religious communities, including the destruction of the Second Temple for Jews and the fall of Rome for Christians.
A global history, Longing for the Lost Caliphate delves into why the caliphate has been so important to Muslims in vastly different eras and places.
Mona Hassan is an assistant professor in the departments of Religious Studies and History and the International Comparative Studies program at Duke University.
"No other book considers so deeply the afterlife of the caliphate as a literary, religious, and political theme in Islamic history. Mona Hassan provides vivid chapters on the lamentations for the destruction of Baghdad by the Mongols and the murder of the last of the Baghdadi Abbasid caliphs, and gives a lucid account of the judicial theory of the caliphate in Mamluk-era Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. Hassan shows that in the world of nation states, the caliphate remains an expression of the yearning for a universal religious identity."--Ira M. Lapidus, University of California, Berkeley
"How do religious communities imagine and sustain relationships with their pasts? What are the politics of cultural memory? What work do nostalgia and romance perform in the service of reimagined futures? These are the questions that the burgeoning scholarship on religion and collective memory poses. Into this field comes Mona Hassan’s Longing for the Lost Caliphate, an ambitious and sweeping exploration of the complex ways in which practices of memory and memorializing shape historical and contemporary political and communal imaginaries."--Elizabeth Castelli, Barnard College
"A significant achievement, this should be the first book given to those who ask why the caliphate is important to Muslim culture."--Francis Robinson, author of The Mughal Emperors
"A remarkable feat of interdisciplinary scholarship, this innovative book examines the persistence of the caliphate as a cultural symbol."--S. Sayyid, author of Recalling the Caliphate
Sunday, January 8, 2017
PDF of the book covered in the series
Egyptian national Mahmoud Hussein – a news producer for Al Jazeera Media Network – has been held for nearly two weeks after being accused of "spreading chaos" by the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Hussein is the latest Al Jazeera journalist detained by Egyptian authorities. Al Jazeera's Baher Mohamed and Abdullah Elshamy both spent hundreds of days in prison in Egypt.
On Sunday they discuss the continued crackdown on the media in the country.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar departed this life in 852. His funeral was attended by ‘fifty thousand people’, including the sultan and the caliph; ‘even the Christians grieved.’ He was remembered as a gentle man, short, slender, and white-bearded, a lover of chess and calligraphy, much inclined to charity; ‘good to those who wronged him, and forgiving to those he was able to punish.’ A lifetime’s proximity to the hadith had imbued him with a deep love of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), as is shown nowhere more clearly than in the poetry assembled in his Diwan, an original manuscript of which has been preserved at the Egyptian National Library. A few lines will suffice to show this well:
By the gate of your generosity stands a sinner, who is mad with love,-Shaykh Abdal-Hakim Murad, "Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani and his Commentary." http://masud.co.uk/testing/
O best of mankind in radiance of face and countenance!
Through you he seeks a means [tawassala], hoping for Allah’s forgiveness of slips;
from fear of Him, his eyelid is wet with pouring tears.
Although his genealogy attributes him to a stone [hajar],
how often tears have flowed, sweet, pure and fresh!
Praise of you does not do you justice, but perhaps,
In eternity, its verses will be transformed into mansions.
My praise of you shall continue for as long as I live,
For I see nothing that could ever deflect me from your praise.