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.