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Islamic spirituality – the forgotten revolution

July 16th, 2009 No comments

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By Shaykh Abdul-Hakim Murad

The poverty of fanaticism

‘Blood is no argument’, as Shakespeare observed. Sadly, Muslim ranks are today swollen with those who disagree. The World Trade Centre, yesterday’s symbol of global finance, has today become a monument to the failure of global Islam to control those who believe that the West can be bullied into changing its wayward ways towards the East. There is no real excuse to hand. It is simply not enough to clamour, as many have done, about ‘chickens coming home to roost’, and to protest that Washington’s acquiescence in Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing is the inevitable generator of such hate. It is of course true – as Shabbir Akhtar has noted – that powerlessness can corrupt as insistently as does power. But to comprehend is not to sanction or even to empathize. To take innocent life to achieve a goal is the hallmark of the most extreme secular utilitarian ethic, and stands at the opposite pole of the absolute moral constraints required by religion.

There was a time, not long ago, when the ‘ultras’ were few, forming only a tiny wart on the face of the worldwide attempt to revivify Islam. Sadly, we can no longer enjoy the luxury of ignoring them. The extreme has broadened, and the middle ground, giving way, is everywhere dislocated and confused. And this enfeeblement of the middle ground, was what was enjoined by the Prophetic example, is in turn accelerated by the opprobrium which the extremists bring not simply upon themselves, but upon committed Muslims everywhere. For here, as elsewhere, the preferences of the media work firmly against us. David Koresh could broadcast his fringe Biblical message from Ranch Apocalypse without the image of Christianity, or even its Adventist wing, being in any way besmirched. But when a fringe Islamic group bombs Swedish tourists in Cairo, the muck is instantly spread over ‘militant Muslims’ everywhere.
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Dalai Lama urges understanding of Islam

July 12th, 2009 No comments

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO

Dalai Lama embraces religious tolerance
Buddhist leader urges understanding of Islam and other faiths

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The gathering was organized by a volunteer group of individuals and several organizations, including the Myers Group, Fons Vitae, the Kirlin Foundation and the Zaytuna Institute

Referring to himself as one of the “defenders of Islam,” the Dalai Lama, the world’s most influential Buddhist leader, urged an interfaith gathering in San Francisco on Saturday to promote a pluralistic view of religion.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner said that the era of “one truth, one religion” was reserved for ancient times in which many of the world’s religions were founded. But not today.

The Dalai Lama said all believers need to learn understanding for other faiths — particularly for Islam, because, he noted, oil from the Middle East fuels economies around the world.

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Challenging Sex Taboos, With Help From the Koran

June 6th, 2009 No comments

The Saturday Profile – Challenging Sex Taboos, With Help From the Koran – Biography – NYTimes.com
By ROBERT F. WORTH

WEDAD LOOTAH does not look like a sexual activist. A Muslim and a native Emirati, she wears a full-length black niqab — with only her brown eyes showing through narrow slits — and sprinkles her conversation with quotes from the Koran.

Yet she is also the author of what for the Middle East is an amazingly frank new book of erotic advice in which she celebrates the female orgasm, confronts taboo topics like homosexuality and urges Arabs to transcend the backward traditions that limit their sexual happiness.
The book, “Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples,” is packed with vivid anecdotes from Ms. Lootah’s eight years as a marital counselor in Dubai’s main courthouse. It became an instant scandal after it was published in Arabic in the Emirates in January, drawing praise from some liberals and death threats from conservatives, who say she is guilty of blasphemy or worse.

Ms. Lootah, a strong-willed and talkative 45-year-old, is one of a small but growing number of Arabs pushing for more openness and education about sex. Unlike earlier generations of women who often couched their criticism in a Western language of female emancipation, Ms. Lootah and her peers are hard to dismiss as outsiders because they tend to be religious Muslims who root their message in the Koran.
Ms. Lootah, for instance, studied Islamic jurisprudence in college, not Western psychology, and her book is studded with religious references. She submitted the text to the Mufti of Dubai before publishing it, and he gave his approval (though he warned her that Arab audiences might not be ready for such a book, especially by a woman).
“People have said I was crazy, that I was straying from Islam, that I should be killed,” Ms. Lootah said. “Even my family ask why I must talk about this. I say: ‘These problems happen every day and should not be ignored. This is the reality we are living.’ ”

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The right to change one’s religion

May 30th, 2009 No comments

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From the Code of Hammurabi to the Code of Maimonides, most major systems of law have affirmed that apostasy must be punished.

In the renowned code of the Roman emperor Justinian (483-565 CE), corpus juris civilis – the basis of all Roman canon law and of modern civil law — apostasy was “to be punished by death” and there was “no toleration of dissent”.

The Biblical codes stipulate that the “one who doubts or ridicules one word of the Torah— or of the rabbinical authors — is a ‘heretic’ in the fullest sense, an infidel … and there is no hope for him.” The laws concerning such an unbeliever are very strict: “he may be killed directly,” or as Maimonides, the 13th century Andalucian rabbi and philosopher, advised regarding navigating the abeyance of apostasy law in his era, “his death may be caused indirectly.”

Islamic law (shari‘a) likewise stipulated killing in cases of established public apostasy. Though there is little literature on the emergence and application of apostasy law in the early periods of Muslim history, its actual application usually depended upon whether its declaration was public or private. Within the Islamic state, what minorities — religious and otherwise — did in their private lives was left to their discretion, even if it may have been technically termed “deviant” or against Islamic teaching.
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Another Mother of the Believer

April 17th, 2009 4 comments

By Hamza Yusuf

The land of Chinguett, more commonly known to the English-speaking world as Mauritania, is renowned for producing great scholars, saints, and erudite women of note. Scholars traveling to Mauritania have observed that “even their women memorize vast amounts of literature.” Mauritanian women have traditionally excelled in poetry, seerah, and genealogy, but some who mastered the traditional sciences were considered scholars in their own right.

Maryam Bint Bwayba, who memorized the entire Qur’an and the basic Maliki texts, was one such Mauritanian woman worthy of note. I had the honor of knowing Maryam, a selfless and caring woman, and the noble wife of Shaykh Murabit al-Hajj, having first met both of them twenty-five years ago in a small tent in the remote spiritual community of Tuwamirat in Mauritania.

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Madrasah of Al-Murabit Al-Hajj(The Desert University) at Tuwamirat

My journey to that destination began four and a half years earlier, in 1980, at a bookstore in Abu Dhabi, where I met Shaykh Abdallah Ould Siddiq of the renowned Tajakanat clan. I knew immediately he was from West Africa, given the dir’ah, the distinct West African wide robe he was wearing, as well as the turban, a rare sight in the Gulf at that time. I had met scholars from West Africa when I was in Mali two years before and was interested in studying with them, so I asked the shaykh if he knew anyone who taught the classical Maliki texts in the traditional manner. He affirmed that he himself was a teacher of that very tradition, gave me his number, and said I was welcome anytime to come to his house for lessons. That began my Islamic education in earnest.

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Mystical power

February 3rd, 2009 No comments

Why Sufi Muslims, for centuries the most ferocious soldiers of Islam, could be our most valuable allies in the fight against extremism
By Philip Jenkins
January 25, 2009

THIRTY YEARS AGO this month, the collapse of the Shah’s government marked the launch of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, and since that point the topic of Islam has rarely been out of the headlines. All too often, we hear about Islam in the context of intolerance and, often, violence — of Al Qaeda savagery, of Taliban misogyny, of nuclear weapons in Pakistan and perhaps in Iran itself. Even in Europe, many fear the growth of a radical Islamic presence. For three decades, Western observers have worked fervently to comprehend Islam’s global power and appeal, its ability to inspire the poor and to topple governments. But in all that intense attention, most observers have missed a crucial part of the story: a global web of devout religious brotherhoods that by all logic should be a critical ally against extremism.

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Habib Umar Bin Hafiz -End of Year/New Year Message

January 4th, 2009 No comments

The following is summarised from a talk given by Habib Umar bin Hafiz (Allah preserve him):[1]

We bid farewell to another year of the Hijra of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), a year which contains a number of days and nights which are what makes up your lifespan. If a day passes then a part of you has passed. You are but a body and spirit existent in a limited time period. When that period comes to an end you come to an end. It is only those of sound intellect who realise the true value of these days and nights that pass. They know that it is He Who made the Night and the Day to follow each other: for the one who wishes to reflect or to show gratitude.[2] Whatever anyone has achieved throughout the days and nights that has not increased them in reflection and gratitude has missed the purpose and fundamental wisdom for which these days and nights were created and for which mankind was created.
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Biography – Imam al-Haddad

January 4th, 2009 No comments

‘Abdulllah bin ‘Alawi al-Haddad is best known as ‘Imam al-Haddad’ or ‘Qutb al-Irshad’ (The Pillar of Guidance). He was born in a Subair on the northern outskirts of Tarim in Hadramaut on the night of Sunday 5th Safar, 1044H, corresponding to 1st August 1634 ce. Allah took his sight at the age of four, after which his parents paid special attention to his Islamic education.

Despite his young age and the loss of his sight, he was known for his sharp memory, comprehension and recall. He memorised the Quran and several other texts while still a child and then went on to study under a number of the prominent scholars of his time. Among the 140 scholars he studied under were:

  • Abdul Rahman bin Shaykh, known as Mawlay Aidid
  • Abdul Rahman’s son, Shaykh bin Abdul Rahman
  • Aqil bin Abdul Rahman al-Saqqaf
  • Umar bin Abdul Rahman al-Attas
  • Abu Bakr bin Abdul Rahman al-Saqqaf
  • Shaykhan bin Hussain bin Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Salim

Imam al-Haddad corresponded with his Shaykh, the Imam, Muhammad bin ‘Alawi bin Muhammad al-Saqqaf in Makkah and travelled to the town of Shihr to study under, Ahmed bin Nasir bin Ahmed bin Shaykh Abu Bakr bin Salim.
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AQEEDA (THE CREED) OF IMAM AL-HADDAD r.a.

December 26th, 2008 No comments

Translated by:
Dr. Mostafa al-Badawi

This is the Creed of al-Habeeb ‘Abdullah bin ‘Alawai al-Haddad al-Hazrami al-Shaafi’i, r.a. (1044-1132 AH).

“Praise belongs to Allah alone. May Allah bless our master Muhammad, and his Family, and Companions, and grant them peace. We know, assent, believe, confess with certainty, and testify, that there is no god but Allah, Alone without partner. He is a Mighty God, a Great King. There is no lord beside Him, and we worship none than He. He is Ancient and Pre-Existent, Eternal and Everlasting. His firstness has no beginning, neither has His lastness any end. He is Solitary, Self-Subsistent, neither begetting nor begotten, matchless, without partner or peer. There is nothing that resembles Him, and He is the Hearer, the Seer. [Qur’an 42:11]
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Mecca Bucks: Why Saudis invited Starbucks to Islams holiest city

November 15th, 2008 No comments

Read the full text to see the shocking actions and statements by the Saudi regime.

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Zvika Krieger, The New Republic Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Multinational capitalism and its edifices rise in the shadow of Meccas Grand Mosque.

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