Friday, April 30, 2010

ending of "Islam Between East and West" - a beautiful book

Recognition of destiny is a moving reply to the great human theme of inevitable suffering. It is the recognition of life as it is and a conscious decision to bear and to endure. In this point, Islam differs radically from the superficial idealism and optimism of European philosophy and its na├»ve story about “the best of all possible worlds.” Submission to God is a mellow light coming from beyond pessimism.
As a result of one’s recognition of his impotence and insecurity, submission to God itself becomes a new potency and a new security. Belief in God and His providence offers a feeling of security which cannot be made up for with anything else. Submission to God does not imply passivity as many people wrongly believe. In fact, “all heroic races have believed in destiny.” [4: Emerson: n.p.d.] Obedience to God excludes obedience to man. It is a new relation between man and God and, therefore, between man and man.
It is also freedom which is attained by following through with one’s own destiny. Our involvement and our struggle are human and reasonable and have the token of moderation and serenity only through the belief that the ultimate result is not in our hands. It is up to us to work, the rest is in the hands of God.
Therefore, to properly understand our position in the world means to submit to God, to find peace, not to start making a more positive effort to encompass and to overcome everything, but rather a negative effort to accept the place and the time of our birth, the place and the time that are our destiny and God’s will. Submission to God is the only human and dignified way out of the unsolvable senselessness of life, a way out without revolt, despair, nihilism, or suicide. It is a heroic feeling not of a hero, but of an ordinary man who has done his duty and accepted his destiny.
Islam does not get its name from its laws, orders, or prohibitions, nor from the efforts of the body and soul it claims, but from something that encompasses and surmounts all that: from a moment of cognition, from the strength of the soul to face the times, from the readiness to endure everything that an existence can offer, from the truth of submission to God. Submission to God, thy name is Islam!

-Islam Between East and West by 'Alija 'Ali Izetbegovic, pg. 291-292

(Just finished it alhamdullilah. What a book, what a book! A real treasure, I really haven't read something by a Muslim author writing in the contemporary period as in touch with what's going on, creative and brilliant. I think the dichotomy created throughout the book  sometimes was a bit too simplistic (in order to argue for Islam's "bipolar unity"), but otherwise I really enjoyed this. The author is amazing in his comprehensiveness and the various sources he draws from. Thanks to Dr. Jackson for recommending this to me, inspiring me to pick it up again after I had put it down a while ago.)

"However, some travelers’ accounts were more perceptive and fair-minded.

 For example, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), wife of Britain’s ambassador to the Ottoman empire in 1717-1718, wrote letters to friends in England which were widely circulated and later published to much acclaim. Said to be the first Englishwoman to travel in, and publish her observations of, the Ottoman lands, she took the trouble to study Turkish and had access to (and befriended) not only the male members of the Ottoman elite but also – unlike European men – the female members of their households. She derided earlier travel writers and Orientalist scholars whose descriptions of Ottoman society (and especially of Ottoman women) were, she insisted, based on ignorance or gross distortion. “They never fail,” she wrote, “giving you an account of the Women, which ‘tis certain they never saw, and talking very wisely of the Genius of men, into whose company they were never admitted,” and offered a much more nuanced and balanced perspective. Countering widespread Western images of veiled Ottoman women as oppressed and miserable, she argued that “[‘t]is very easy to see they have more Liberty than we have….there is no distinguishing the great Lady from her Slave, and ‘tis impossible for the most jealous Husband to know his Wife when he meets her, and no Man dare either touch or follow a Woman in the Street. This perpetual Masquerade gives them entire Liberty of following their Inclinations without danger of Discovery….I think I never saw a country where women may enjoy so much liberty, and free from all reproach as in Turkey.”
 [19. Quoted in Billie Melman, Women's Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 1718-1918 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992), pp. 86-87. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu also used her popularity as a writer to promote the practice of inoculation against smallpox, which she first witnessed being practiced among the Ottomans; this method was used widely in Europe and beyond until replaced by vaccination at the beginning of the nineteenth century.]

-Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism by Zachary Lockman, pg. 64-65

Thursday, April 29, 2010

describes this blog? :)

Because this idea that the Internet's gonna become incredibly democratic? I mean, if you've spent any time on the Web, you know that it's not gonna be, because that's completely overwhelming. There are four trillion bits coming at you, 99 percents of them are shit, and it's too much work to do triage to decide. 
So it's very clearly, very soon there's gonna be an economic niche opening up for gatekeepers. You know? Or, what do you call them, Wells, or various nexes. Not just of interest but of quality. And then things get real interesting. And we will beg for those things to be there. Because otherwise we're gonna spend 95 percent of our time body-surfing through shit that every joker in his basement - who's not a pro, like you were talking about last night....

pg. 87-88 [sorry about the language]

david foster wallace quote

I think one of the reasons that I feel empty after watching a lot of TV, and one of the things that makes TV seductive, is that it goes the illusion of relationships with people. It's a way to have people in the room talking and being entertaining, but it doesn't require anything of me. I mean, I can see them, they can't see me. And, and, they're there for me, and I can, I can receive from the TV, I can receive entertainment and stimulation. Without having to give anything back but the most tangential kind of attention. And that is very seductive.
The problem is it's also very empty. Because of one of the differences about having a real person there is that number one, I've gotta do some work. Like, he pays attention to me, I gotta pay attention to him. You know: I watch him, he watches me. The stress level goes up. But there's also, there's something nourishing about it, because I think like as creatures, we've all got to figure out how to be together in the same room.
And so TV is like candy in that it's more pleasurable and easier than the real food. But it also doesn't have any of the nourishment of real food. And the thing, what the book is supposed to be about is, What has happened to us, that I'm willing to derive enormous amounts of my sense of community and awareness of other people, from television? But I'm not willing to undergo the stress and awkwardness and potential shit of dealing with real people.
And that as the Internet grows, and as our ability to be linked up, like - I mean, you and I coulda done this through email, and I never woulda had to meet you, and that woulda been easier for me. Right? Like, at a certain point, we're gonna have to build some machinery, inside our guts, to help us deal with this. 
-Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace pg. 85-86

A Moment In Your Love - Acapella - Nader Khan

Wajahat Ali: "South Park": The controversy continues

'Legacy of the Qur'an: Beauty of the Words'

via Wajahat

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Trustworthiness of Beards

A Life Designed for Purpose - Sheikh Jihad Hashim Brown


"The defamation of Islam, Arabs, and Muslims has even compromised justice in some courtrooms. Explains California attorney Stephen B. Mashney: Jurors' judgements cannot help but be influenced by a "media portrayal that Arab Muslims are [our] enemies and culturally backward." The facts of the vast majority of Arab and Muslim Americans' lives, however, could not be more diametrically opposite."

-Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs After 9/11by Jack G. Shaheen, p. 8-9

"Is Facebook behind today's girl crisis?"

via Imam Tahir

"Jury to Be Anonymous in Trial of Ex-Student Accused of Aiding Al Qaeda"

Roger Cohen: Beating the Mideast’s Black Hole

Privilege Pulls Qatar Toward Unhealthy Choices

Monbiot: A Ginger Revolution - Grassroots campaigns could break Britain’s corrupt political system

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Not surprisingly, then,

coming out of this discourse, we find that another very common way to trying to psychologize the monster-terrorist is by positing a kind of failed heterosexuality. So we hear often the idea that sexually frustrated Muslim men are promised the heavenly reward of sixty, sixty-seven, or sometimes even seventy virgins if they are martyred in jihad. But As'ad Abu Khalil has argued, "In reality, political - not sexual - frustration constitutes the most important factor in motivating young men, or women, to engage in suicidal violence. The tendency to dwell on the sexual motives of the suicide bombers belittles these sociopolitical causes." [18] Now of course, that is precisely what terrorism studies intends to do: to reduce complex, social, historical, and political dynamics to various psychic causes rooted in childhood family dynamics. As if the Palestinian Intifada or the long, brutal war in Afghanistan can be simply boiled down to bad mothering or sexual frustration! In short, these explanatory models and frameworks function to (1) reduce complex histories of struggle, intervention, and (non)development to Western psychic models rooted in the bourgeois heterosexual family and its dynamics; (2) systematically exclude questions of political economy and the problems of cultural translation; and (3) attempt to master the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty of a form of political dissent by resorting to the banality of a taxonomy. [19]

-Jasbir K. Puar and Amit Rai, "Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots," pg. 124

Greenwald on South Park Controversy

Eric Foner's letter to the editor re: Henry Louis Gate's piece in the NYT