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Rediscovering the lost soul: Renewal of the Muslim Mind

January 22nd, 2012

The Muslim scholarship has been tied into the idea of ‘coming to know God’, and thus this, historically, led to the expansion of knowledge, research and development in all areas of the known sciences. By the absorption of different cultures and further development of their knowledge, along with the development of great knowledge centres like Baghdad, Egypt and elsewhere; the Muslim scholarship took a great leap forward and with it took humanity into a new era of discovery and innovation. These centres attracted scholars from all over the world, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, as they provided a space in which students of knowledge and scholars were free to advocate their thinking, develop their ideas and pursue all sorts of lines of inquiry. These centres allowed for an intellectually reasoned and rational debate of their ideas and modes of thinking that were ultimately accepted or rejected. All this took place in an atmosphere of safety, security, freedom and culture of intellectual pursuit as Read more…

Article, Knowledge, Reflections , ,

Human interpretation of divine legislation

August 8th, 2011

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali in his book ‘A thematic commentary of the Quran’, while commenting on surah Al-Ma’idah verse 48, which states:

“And to you [Muhammad] We have revealed the Book with the truth. It confirms other books that have come before it and prevails over them. Therefore rule over them according to God’s revelations and do not follow their whims and fancies in deviation from the truth that has come to you. We have ordained for each [community] a system of laws and assigned them paths to follow.”

Explores, while maintain the authority of God -the Creator; the responsibility of the free-thinking, rational human mind and its elevated position in the sight of the One that ‘taught him the signs’; as to how it should approach the legislative commands within the text.

Commenting on this verse, al-Ghazali makes a distinction along the doctrinal and belief matters -which were perfected and concluded with the Read more…

Article, Politics, Reflections, Religion, Shari'ah

Jihad – The Real Perspective

March 30th, 2011

Professor Tariq Ramadan delivered a speech at yesterday’s (29th March 2010) Association of Muslim Police Officers (AMP) conference entitled “The Impact of Islam in Today’s British Society – Part 2”, which was captivating, thought provoking but above all challenging the audience of around 70 to 80 people made up of, mainly Police Officers, but including members from across the community.

Ramadan started by first speaking about the need for ‘intellectual humility’ when attempting to unravel complex concepts which have so many different dimensions, faces and meanings. Ramadan then went onto to reject the prevailing idea that Jihad is somehow synonymous with ‘holy war’ of the crusades, but rather Jihad, in its simplest meaning, is the idea of “making an effort/striving to get something done”. He Read more…

Article, Politics, Reflections ,

Cameron blames 2 million British Muslims for lack of Britains national identity

February 5th, 2011

David Cameron is to deliver a talk in Germany today where he will put the 2 million British Muslims in the dock and imply that they are the key stumbling block to Britain’s national identity. It is interesting that this talk is being delivered in Germany where not too long ago the world went to war with people who held these xenophobic attitudes. The rhetoric is the same that built Hitler’s Germany into an extreme nationalistic state Read more…

Article, Politics

Hajj – a spiritual journey of rebirth

November 2nd, 2010

Labaikh Allah huma labaikh; I am here, I am here my Lord –the words that resonate throughout the city of Makkah, as the pilgrims march on a mission of submission towards One God; men, women and children –people of all races, colours and nationalities; the rich and the poor, the princes and the paupers; together, all dressed in two sheets of white –the army of God, armed with sabr (patience), shukr (gratitude) and salah (prayer), with a single pre-occupation to register their attendance –heart, mind and soul, in the earthly court of the All-Mighty the One.

Answering the call of Abraham –khalilullah, circumambulating the Kabah –an empty cube built by Abraham and his son Ismail; all, insignificant Read more…

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God’s rejoinder to my contention

October 4th, 2010

My contention

have You not made me a Czar -a burdensome master of my own destiny?
while You shaped in me a swaying heart -the sway’er of intense desire to love, seek and grasp
then, why do You mock and play with me -checking my thoughts, actions and decisions?
depriving me of the sensual delights by warning me of an inevitable perdition?
or am I the weaver that weaves a pernicious web -a fool’s paradise made from the sweakest thread?
and thus, with ravel thoughts I bolt a sigh; why, cleave Thou should I?!

28th September 2010 (last line added 2nd September 2010) Read more…

Article, General, Reflections , ,

The Big Society – Part 2

July 25th, 2010

In many cases the donors carry an even larger name in history. Harun al-Rashid, Saladin, Suleiman the Magnificent, all the great figures in Islamic history, made their contribution to the everyday welfare of the community. But they were not alone. Charity to one’s fellow man, one of the five fundamental principles of Islam, brought countless thousands of anonymous shopkeepers, farmers and other ordinary citizens to make their small contributions as well. Wherever, in fact, one travels in the Islamic world, from West Africa to the Philippines, wherever there is an established Muslim community, one finds the waqf.

-Jon Mandaville, Give to the waqf of your choice

The waqf’s contribution to the shaping of the urban space can hardly be overestimated… A major part of the public environment in (Islamic) towns actually came into being as a result of endowments.

-Miriam Hoexter, The Public sphere in Muslim Societies

The concept and vision of ‘The Big Society’ from a Muslim perspective is easy to understand. This idea is intertwined with Muslim belief system and stands as one of the major contributions of the Muslim Civilisation. A civilisation that started out in Hijaz in the Arab Peninsula and very quickly absorbed the whole of Arabia, spreading to Greater Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Persia and Central Asia, moving into Turkey and the Indian Sub-Continent, Southeast and Inner Asia, while also absorbing Africa and finally entering Europe through East and West. Read more…

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The Big Society – Part 1

July 24th, 2010

As soon as public service cease to be the main concern of the citizens and they come to prefer to serve the state with their purse rather than their person, the state is already close to ruin.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

I have been meaning to write a blog entry ever since Monday when I first heard of this on the morning news. ‘The Big Society’ is a flag ship idea put forward by David Cameron and the current UK Government.

There appears to be a lot of talk (and substantial fear of a smokescreen for savage spending cuts) about ‘The Big Society’ forming a basis through which social services can be delivered by the general public on voluntary basis while at the same time public sector staff are being made Read more…

Article, Politics, Religion , ,

Avi Shlaim: Israel’s Insane Attack on the Freedom Flotilla

June 2nd, 2010

Israel’s Insane Attack on the Freedom Flotilla
Wednesday 2 June 2010, by Avi Shlaim

My heart sank when I heard the news of the IDF’s insane attack on the unarmed boats carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in which ten international volunteers were killed and many more were wounded. It was with great patriotic pride that I served in the IDF in 1964-1966. In those days the IDF was true to its name: the Israel Defence Force. Sadly, over the last four decades, my army has been subverted into the brutal police force of a savage colonial power.

The Israeli army receives its orders from the democratically-elected government. The present government, however, is the most irresponsible, right-wing and racist in Israel’s history. It seems to think that Israel is above the law and its Read more…

Article, Politics , ,

God’s Love through the eyes of an 18 month child

May 30th, 2010

A week ago today I experienced a moment in which I understood the love of God and His Mercy through the eyes of an 18 month old child. I understood why God has said that he would destroy sinless people and replace them with those who would commit sin and ask Him for forgiveness. I understand why God loves to forgive those of His servants who call upon Him for forgiveness, even if their sins are as great as the heavens and the earth, and if the servants were to commit the sin again and again and again, He would continue to forgive as long as the servants continued to ask for His forgiveness.

Obviously, God’s love and forgiveness is an archetype of our understanding of what love means, or forgiveness is. Without this earthly Read more…

Article, Reflections, Religion , ,

Rethinking Islamic Reform: the outcome

May 27th, 2010

Yesterday I attended the much anticipated conference on ‘Rethinking Islamic Reform’ delivered at the famous 17th Century Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford with internationally recognised guest speakers -Sheikh Hamza Yusuf Hanson and Professor Tariq Ramadan. It was attended by a diverse group of people -academics, politicians, media persons, and general interested parties from the UK and across the world.

The conference started with a welcome address by Myriam Francois-Cerrah who in pointing out the beautifully painted ceiling of the Sheldonian Theatre -that depicts how truth descends upon the intellectual pursuits of Arts and Sciences to dispel ignorance; spoke of it as a fitting symbol since the Quran states that “God is the Truth that makes all things manifest” (24:25). Read more…

Article, General, Politics, Religion , , ,

Gulen on Muraqaba

April 30th, 2010

M. Fethullah Gulen, leader of the Gulen movement in Turkey, has been listed by Foreign Policy / Prospect magazine as the worlds top public intellectual out of a list of 100 public figures. Gulen’s excellent article, Muraqaba (published in Fountain Magazine (issue 72)), is provided below.

Muraqaba

M. Fethullah GULEN

Muraqaba has been defined as watching, supervising, controlling, and living in the consciousness of being controlled (by God). Sufis take this further, by defining it as setting one’s heart solely on God, abandoning any attachment to that Read more…

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Shocking: Stealing from an Ambulance

April 12th, 2010

Yesterday a relative of mine was telling me about how one of our aunts had suddenly suffered a heart attack in the early hours of the morning. My uncle immediately called the emergency services that, after taking the relevant details, dispatched an ambulance. After waiting for, what seemed to be an eternity (about 10 minutes) and with no ambulance in sight another call was made to the emergency services, which contacted the dispatched ambulance and also, due to the nature of the situation dispatched another ambulance. Within a short space of time both ambulances were on the scene.

The paramedics rushed into the house to provide emergency assistance to my aunt’s deteriorating situation. What happened next shocked me Read more…

Article, General, Reflections , ,

Ramadan’s Theory of the Seven ‘Cs’

March 27th, 2010

Tariq Ramadan’s new book entitled ‘What I believe‘ is a must read for those who want to cut through the media hype and controversy surrounding Tariq Ramadan due to his transformational agenda for Europe; and to get to know the man that Time Magazine placed in their list of 100 most important innovators of the 21st century while both British Prospect and American Foreign Policy magazines ranked him eight amongst 100 most contemporary intellectuals in 2008.

Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss born academic who holds a chair as Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University. Through his Read more…

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Prison Break – the Malcolm X way

March 19th, 2010

Yesterday I met a lady who worked at the prison. We spoke generally for a while about society, her family and how different the society is now from when ‘we were young’. She spoke of how her daughters, growing up in present day environment, are constantly bombarded with immoral and inappropriate messages and values. And it is this amorality that is creating a milieu in which young people are finding themselves turing to alcohol, drugs, self-harm and socially distructive criminal activities.

Our conversation than moved onto speak about the demographic makeup of the prison, in particular what percentage of the prisoners would she say were Asian (and by extension Muslims). She responded, with what I think is a shocking figure, to say around a quarter (25%) of the prisoners were Muslims (and that does not include the fast growing prisoner population that is becoming Muslim).

After speaking further about why such a high proportion (after all UK Muslim population is only around 3%) of Muslims were convicted of crime we discussed the Read more…

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