Showing posts with label west. Show all posts
Showing posts with label west. Show all posts

Monday, January 7, 2019

Islam and the West: Beyond Identity


More than ever before, individual and social identities are in flux. Ways of life as understood in both tradition-bound societies, and also in the advanced industrialized nations, are shifting under the strong currents of economic globalization and associated transformations. The usual lense of 'spiritual' East and 'materialist' West does not really explain the creeping changes around the world. In his Friday Sermon of 04 January 2019~ 27 Rabi’ul Aakhir 1440 AH,  Imam- Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius spoke about the growing churning happening in the Arab-Islamic world and in the West, pointing to a deep irony: whereas a 'god-less' Europe increasingly appreciates the values of diversity and humanitarianism at the root of a spiritual outlook; the rich-Arab States-despite their claims of faith in God- are increasingly turning to materialism and are virtually indifferent to the solidarity obligations of core Islamic valuesPointing to the inherent limitations of synthetic materialism to sustain human interest over the longer term and the profound appeal of the spiritual path in the inner quest of people for lasting happiness; Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) highlights the major opportunity it represents for Islam to fill the growing 'emptiness' in the West, even as the Speech underscores the profound need for the Muslim societies' in our times to appreciate and reclaim their pure faith/spiritual legacy from corrupting influences that grip their social orders: the 'worship' of riches;  denial of human rights; mindless extremism, internecine violence, etc. 

Read the Friday Sermon Below:   

SPIRITUALITY AND MATERIALISM

There is a common belief among us that the Arabs and Muslims in general are spiritual while the West, i.e. industrialist and capitalist American and European societies, is materialistic. But how true is this claim?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

'Muslims, Stand Up for Refugees'

THE THREAT TO ISLAM

Islam does not accept the idea, widespread amidst the West (mainly the non-Muslims), of a boundary between the inner life of man and his public actions. This belief (i.e. the Islamic belief that there is no boundary between the inner life of man and his public actions) may become a sure force that will convince non-Muslims to rediscover the link between daily life and a moral order. But in doing so it goes against the current conventional Western wisdom. For some time already, the very notion of Islam makes the non-Muslims tremble. They think that the Muslim world is heading towards a confrontation with the other parts of the world who do not share its beliefs. This thus makes the European and even the US (Americans) very nervous. A quick analysis of the current situation where Islam is seen as a blood-thirsty religion only reinforces this fear. But they forget the many wrongs, the murders of poor and defenceless Muslims which they committed in order to conquer lands and properties, but primarily to eradicate Islam from these places.

In Europe, more than twenty years ago, Bosnian Muslims were, for a long brutally mistreated by the Serbians who theoretically are Christians. On the border between Europe and Asia, Armenians Christians annihilated Azerbaijanis (Azeri) Muslims, and Jews and Muslims to this day continue to kill each other in Palestine. Further to the East, there is the brutality of the Indian army in Kashmir, and the destruction in 1992 of the Ayodhya mosque by the Hindus. Such bitter experiences suggest to the Muslims that the world is against them. If this is the case, so they are against the world. This explains the xenophobia that foreigners are murdered by terrorists who brandish Quranic verses in Iraq and Syria and in other Islamic states.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When the Qur'an spoke English

The earliest direct English translation of the holy book is a testament to its translator's resourcefulness

The first Muslim member of Congress assumed office in January 2007. For his swearing-in ceremony, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., chose to pledge on the Quran. The copy he used, specially loaned by the Library of Congress for the occasion, had once belonged to Thomas Jefferson. [Inset: The Qur'an once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Photo by  Haraz N. Ghanbari /AP] 

Why did Jefferson own a copy of the Quran? The third president was interested in Islam for many reasons, as Denise A. Spellberg explains in her book “Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an.” He was able to read the holy book of Islam in the first place, however, only thanks to a recent translation, the first direct one from Arabic into English, a copy of which he purchased as a law student in 1765. That translation, by a young English lawyer named George Sale, would prove to have an outsize role in the Western study and understanding of the Quran. 

European interest in Islam

Long before Europeans governed Muslim colonies, interest in Islam and its cultures ran high in Europe. Part of the reason was political. Three Muslim empires dominated large parts of Asia: the Ottomans in Anatolia, the Mediterranean and Arabia; the Safavids in Persia; and the Mughals in India.

These Muslim dynasties were not just powerful but were also admired for their refined arts and culture — music, poetry, gardens, ceramics and textiles. Moreover, books in Arabic offered knowledge of many fields to those who learned the language. Not just the sciences and philosophy but even Arabic literature enticed European translators. Thus, in 1704 a Frenchman first translated the “1001 Nights,” whose tales soon became an enduring classic of European as well as of Arabic letters.

Above all else, the religion of Islam itself seemed an especially compelling field of inquiry to a variety of European scholars and thinkers. How had a handful of Muslims emerged from the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century to conquer so much of the known world? This was one of the great questions of world history, as both the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire and the English historian Edward Gibbon agreed. In addition, philosophers and freethinking Christians deemed the central tenet of Islam, the unity of God, more rational than the mystery of the Christian Trinity. Thus, many different Europeans attributed singular importance to Islam and the language of its revelation, Arabic.