Advertisements

A Muslim View of the Rushdie Affair

A Muslim View of the Rushdie Affair

March 1989


1 Preliminaries

All praise is due to Allah alone, the Creator, Sustainer and Nourisher of the Worlds. I seek the protection of God from the mischief that is in my soul and the evil consequences of my deeds. Those whom God leads to guidance, none can lead astray; those whom God leads astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no God except Allah; He is One and has no partners. I bear witness that Muhammad is his slave and his messenger.

As a Muslim, my sole concern is to please my Creator. If my actions and beliefs please God, it matters not at all if the entire world condemns me. If I am disobedient to God, the praise and approval of the entire world gains me nothing. Why then should I seek to explain the behavior of myself and my fellow Muslims to a non-Muslim audience? My efforts are directed to removing obsta-cles to understanding Islam created by slanders and lies. After the last prophet Muhammed, this duty of conveying the message of our Creator to mankind has been assigned to all his followers .

Unfortunately, the task is enormous. Starting with the Crusades, and contin-uing through the era of Colonialism, a tremendous amount of grossly distorted or completely false information about Islam and Muslims has been taken as axiomatic in the West. The misunderstandings regarding Rushdie are but a trivial manifestation of the widespread ignorance (combined with fear and hate, in many cases) about Islam. For a good introduction to Islam written from a Western perspective, see Islam and the Destiny of Man by Charles Le Gai Eaton.

2 Freedom of Speech?

I and my fellow Muslims are perplexed at Western defence of Rushdie in terms of freedom speech. Muslim see the Westerners as acting in bad faith in this issue; freedom of speech is invoked where it suits them, and ignored when it does not. For example,
• The American press was, in general, mildly amused at the discomfiture of the British Government when they banned the book ‘Spycatcher’ by Peter Wright recently. There was no impassioned outrage at the restriction of free speech by Mrs. Thatcher (as opposed to the Ayatollah)

• When Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder uttered remarks offensive to blacks, he was dropped from all major TV networks, and has not been seen since. Presumably, he has suffered serious loss of income. No one has defended his right of free speech.

• A research center in Southern California responsible for propagating the idea that the Holocaust never happened, or else that the numbers involved have been exaggerated, was bombed and burned down. Death threat were made to the personnel. No national outrage at this denial of free speech was visible.

• Very recently, a Chicago art exhibit required people to step on the flag, apparently to properly view the exhibit. The Daughters of the American Revolution promptly came in with the requisite bomb threats. A rec-onciliation was reached by restricting the viewing of the exhibit. Again, the incident (and its relation to free speech and the Rushdie case) went unnoticed in national press.

• During the Nixon adminisitration, General Brown uttered remarks about the excessive influence exercised by Jews in America. This influence can easily be substantiated by reading the memoirs of Kissinger, Nixon, and the more controversial ‘They Dare to Speak Out’, by Senator Paul Find-lay. Ironic proof of his own statement was provided by the subsequent demotion of General Brown.
The list goes on and on, but the above should be sufficient as a sampler. The point is that Muslims regard invocations of freedom of speech as merely a pretext by Westerners to freely heap insults on Muslims and Islam.

We take the view that just as my freedom to move my arm is restricted by your nose, freedom of speech is restricted by the need to avoid damage to society. Libel laws protect individuals from verbal attacks which hold them up to ‘ridicule, hatred, or contempt’. The concept of banning the book (or removing its offensive portions) to prevent this libel is not as ‘alien’ to Western principles as Westerners claim. Indeed, a previous book by Rushdie, which made false allegations about Mrs. Gandhi, was successfully sued and subsequently edited to remove the offensive portions. Again no complaints were registered regarding Rushdie’s right to freely insult Mrs. Gandhi. How then does Rushdie have the right to freely insult deeply the approximately one billion Muslims of the world? In my view, an appropriate resolution to this problem would be for Rushdie to revise and eliminate the sections offensive to the Muslims, showing us the same courtesy shown to Mrs. Gandhi.

3 Who is the Terrorist?

From the strong horrified reactions to Khomeini’s death sentence, one would think that such behavior is unknown in the West. Nobody was horrified about Ronald Reagan’s attempted assassination of Muammar Khaddafi, which suc-ceeded only in killing his adopted child. The murder of a PLO official in his bedroom in Tunis by Isreali commandos did not inspire horrified comments. In both cases, Westerners feel that the murdered men were terrorists and de-served to die, and legal niceties are not relevant. They take upon themselves the ‘White man’s burden’ of trying, judging, and executing these men, but don’t feel anybody of a different race can take similar liberties.

Westerners see Khomeini as a terrorist, while they regard Rushdie as an innocent. In fact, the terrorist in this affair is really Rushdie, and not Khomeini. Whereas nobody has been killed (yet) as a consequence of Khomeini’s edict, well over fifty people have been killed in riots in India and Pakistan directly caused by publication of ‘Satanic Verses’.

Should Rushdie be held responsible for the rioting and deaths that have occured in response to the publication of his book? There is ample evidence (supported by Rushdie’s own comments from his interview on Nightline) to suggest that the book is deliberately provocative. Exactly like the producers of ‘The Last Temptation’, he and Penguin Press counted on such adverse reaction to boost sales.

Let us however, give Rushdie the benefit of the doubt. Suppose that he was indeed surprised by the rioting and deaths that occurred in India and Pakistan, in the violent reaction over his book. How then can we explain his appeal to Rajiv Gandhi to lift the ban on his book, and move towards making India a ‘less repressive society?’ Even a casual observer should realize that if the publication of the book in America caused over 50 deaths in riots, there would be considerably greater violence if it was actually published in India. My own estimate is the number of deaths would range in thousands if we are lucky, and could easily reach the hundred thousand level.

What kind of man is willing to let so many die, for personal motives? Rushdie has a tremendous hatred for Muslims2. Those who are unyielding in their sup-port of Rushdie are also unmoved by the numerous deaths of Muslims. We should remember that the Holocaust was caused by the great hatred of one man for Jews combined with the indifference of many to deaths of Jews.

Many Americans incorrectly categorize Rushdie along with Scopes as being persecuted for expressing his beliefs, which are contrary to religious dogma. Thus they feel the Muslims ‘should read the book before condemning it’, or else, simply ‘not read it if they find it offensive’ etc. It must be emphasized that Rushdie is not expressing a point of view, or a belief. Fantasizing about our Prophet and his companions in demeaning situations (completely out of the boundaries of historical probability), and using derogatory and pornographic language, is insulting to us, regardless of the context (i.e. within a dream) in which this occurs. We do not feel it is appropriate for Westerners to dictate to us what we should or should not find offensive. The correct analogy regarding Rushdie is not Scopes, but for example, trashy pornography regarding the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

4 Should Rushdie be Killed?

Because of deep insults to our religion contained in Rushdie’s book, many Mus-lims are so outraged that they wish to kill him. The teaching of Islam is that in this and all matters, we must surrender our wills to the will of Allah. Thus the question of whether or not Rushdie should be killed becomes, for the Mus-lim, strictly a question of Islamic Law. When we look for precedents, we find examples of all kinds. When during the reign of Omar (the second Caliph in Islamic History), a Christian was slapped by a Muslim for uttering insults about Mohammed, the Christian took the case to court! The ruling went against him, in that the Qazi (Judge) found that civil liberties did not include the right to insult Mohammed, but no penalties were imposed. In Muslim Spain, there was a period during which Christians would come in, publicly abuse the Prophet, be executed, and thereby achieve martyrdom. Eventually Muslims negotiated with the Church to prevent this nuisance. The Church then revoked the status of ‘martyrdom’ for those executed for the abuse of Muhammed, and this stopped.

Why should abuse of the Prophet be punishable by death? Exactly as the Rosenbergs (who may have been innocent) were executed for the crime of treason to the state, so treason to Islam is punishable by death. Rushdie’s case vis-a-vis Islamic law is complicated by the fact that he is a citizen of Britain, a non-Muslim country which has diplomatic relations with Muslim countries. In complex situations, scholars of Islamic law issue rulings (called fatwa’s) which give their opinion regarding the matter. The completely misunderstood ‘death sentence’ of Khomeini, is no more or less than a scholarly finding that ‘Islamic Law sanctions death penalty for Rushdie’; scholars at Al Azhar University in Cairo have issued an opposite ruling. Khomeini did not, contrary to popular impression, put a price on Rushdie’s head (this was done by private citizens in Iran). He did not, unlike Reagan or the Israelis, send out a commando team to execute Rushdie. Surely Khomeini’s freedom of speech, which may result in the death of one man, is as valuable as Rushdie’s, which has already resulted in deaths of over 50. Finally, it must be clarified that his sentence is not binding on Muslims. If by strange happenstance, Rushdie were to enter Iran, he would not be killed on the spot. Rather, he would be tried in an Islamic court. The judge would (probably) take into consideration Khomeini’s fatwa, but may well call for other fatwas from other experts. Incidentally, Khomeini is not, as some have suggested, the worlds greatest authority on Islam. There are many scholars of greater eminence. Khomeini is merely the one best known to the West for obvious reasons.

5 Love of the Prophet

The key to understanding Muslim reactions to Rushdie is the love that all Muslims have for the prophet Mohammed. This and similar statements are routinely misinterpreted by Westerners to be expressions of piety or theological dogma. While the commandments to ‘love God’ and to ‘love our neighbors’ are more remote, love of our Prophet is a concrete reality in the lives of Muslims. One aspect of this love is demonstrated in the following of Sunnah, or the way of the Prophet. The Sunnah includes all aspects, even seemingly trivial ones, of the Prophet’s behavior.

I despair of conveying the nature of our love for the Prophet to a non-Muslim audience. Both in terms of its intensity and its universality among Muslims, it is a phenomenon outside the range of Western experience. It is this love which binds Muslims of different races, cultures, and social status. Odes to the Prophet constitute a special genre of poetry in Muslim languages, and good ones are capable of moving large audiences to tears.

Perhaps it would be more effective to illustrate the kind of effect that the Rushdie book has had on lives of ordinary Muslims. On the eve of the demon-stration in Manhattan against ‘Satanic Verses’, we received a call from an elderly Muslim lady, urging us to go. When she heard of our distaste for demonstra-tions, she began weeping. Her sentiments were ‘that our Prophet should be so insulted in public, and that no one should speak on his behalf, or come to his defence, this is unbearable’. Out of deference to the lady’s tears, I went to the demonstration, which was attended by about ten thousand Muslims. In another incident, I attended a meeting of Muslims to discuss responses to the Rushdie affair. One hotheaded youth was infuriated by our ‘lukewarm’ discus-sion regarding pamphlets, talks, demonstrations, etc. He challenged us, “ Are you cowards or men? That our mothers be called prostitutes, and we should sit on our hands and look the other way?”. It took great effort by the rest of us to persuade him Islam teaches us restraint, and we must obey Allah and not act on our baser impulses. Yet another index of Muslim feelings about this matter is in the (private) responses of the large immigrant Muslim population. Many have had deep regrets, and second thoughts about their decision to settle here, given the obvious hostility to Islam, Islamic values, and Muslims displayed by the Western response on this issue. I have no doubt that among the many Muslims I know who have been toying with the idea of going back, some will be spurred into action as a consequence of this event.

Who was Mohammed, and why does he inspire such affection? We have a wealth of detailed information about his life. Over the short span of twenty three years, he changed the course of history. His achievement was the transformation of a semi-barbaric culture to sublime heights of civilization Our Prophet (and all prophets, including Abraham, Moses, and Jesus) personified the most excel-lent character achievable, and taught us by word and deed how to achieve this ideal. He was compassionate, gentle, soft-spoken, and humble. Until his death he lived a life of great austerity, even though Muslims became quite affluent following political successes. He never turned down a request for assistance, to the extent of giving up the shirt on his back, or his only meal for the day.

6 Closing Prayer

When the prophet Abraham (may Allah shower his blessings upon him) refused to renounce his faith in one God and his opposition to idol worship, King Nimrod had him thrown in a huge fire. God ordered the fire to be cool, and it did not burn Abraham. This story, like all others reported in the Quran, are taken literally as historical events by all Muslims.

A Sufi parable (not to be taken literally) relates the story of a bird attempting to put the fire out using drops of water carried in its beak. The bird explains that its efforts are directed towards God; it does not wish to be accused of standing by idly, while a beloved prophet of God was burning.

I feel much like the bird. I pray that God will accept my efforts, and forgive my errors. I pray that he may heal the rifts between us. I pray that he may lead us all to the love of God, from which springs the love of all creation. All praise is for Allah, the Merciful and the Compassionate.

Download: RUSH6.pdf - on Jun 4, 2010 5:31 AM by Asad Zaman (version 1)
89k View Download.

The Path to National Destructions

The beauty of hadith has been well-defined by a Western author and commentator: Many of these [hadith] seem as if they were written just yesterday to deal with today's problems and issues." (The highlighted part serves as the basis for the fact that Islam is much about social sciences as such.)

Today's hadith struck my mind when I was turning pages of Essential Sufism (Suhail Academy Lahore). Please read and share your immediate reflections.
"Generations before you were destroyed because they declined to punish the powerful thieves yet were relentless in punishing the small pickpockets."
Some years ago, my brother's friend hit a plan and attempted to steal his car with one of his uncles. Praise be to Allah, the car was recovered within hours. My parents had the opportunity to take severe legal action beyond registering FIR, and other short-term legal action. But because the "friend" had some social influence, they influenced our relatives to let go of the 'poor souls' who had attempted to steal car by inviting my brother to their place!

Resultantly, we let go of them! Because they were "powerful"! Allah! This is not a suitable example, I know, but the one I know. See Musharaf! Look at Bush! Look at Mr. Madoff, who plundered so much money, yet only house-arrested! Look around yourself in Pakistan... Countless stories that unfortunately show that we're destroying ourselves. If some poor guy had stolen mere 1000 Rs/- surely my father and brother would have forgiven him - but no society would have pleaded in favor him, they'd only suggest penalizing him. Because they beat a pickpocket in a street so brutally why won't they hesitate suggesting breaking his backbone privately... But I still see hope!

wa ma taufiqi illa Billah!

True Content of Modeling

I despise female modeling. Its near to prostitution for it commoditizes female body, and all commodities are salable. Hence if money can be a price for the evocative splendor of female body it is prostitution in Islam, argues Hamza Yusuf.

I love these expressions of my nephew; I've absolutely no idea from where did he borrow these exotic visual details and modeling.

Ayyan, age 4, height N/A.

* Pictures taken by Noor.

Humiliation doesn't exit, as such

(Present) Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission told the following tale to a group of young Pakistani researchers going abroad:

“A man planned to work for an insurance company. He heard about another man in the profession who was very, very successful.
He visited him to seek his advice and left. After 15 days, he came back to him, and said: “I can’t do it.”
The successful one asked, “Why can’t you do it?” The first person replied, “There is too much humiliation in it. People don’t listen to me, they quarrel, they push; they are too humiliating.”
The successful one replied: “I’ve been doing this thing for the last 15 years. People often didn’t listen to me. Sometimes they pushed me. Some even slapped me on my cheeks. But nobody ever humiliated me!”

The moral?

Of Happiness

Curious isn't it, often how little things bring happiness to the heart. Getting the old theme of this blog (it's changed, you know?) has produced little startling sparks of merriment to heart! I'm happy. This has faded in a day. True contentment and satisfaction shouldn't. Search is on.

Chemistry Quiz, Kafka's Diaries & the Need for Islamic Worldview

Even in this blooming mosam (weather) my Chemistry quiz has gone sour... Part of the blame goes to my brain cells usurped while understanding mysterious, highly subjective, 'psychotic' and at times shameless diaries of someone known as Kafka, full of despair, dissolution, hopelessness, blame games, arrogance, but also full of deep reflection, inner investigation and mystery.

After learning the lessons from the 'chemical' battle, I was not satiated, and hence opened up a dictionary on Post-Colonial studies terms.

We should not accept any world-view, whether it is plain medicine or any other physical sciences, let alone humanities, without investigating its world-view. Things are tied with the method of 'discourse' and world-views. This book on colonial studies taught me a revealation which we seldom invoke. The Western medicine is incompitable with Chinese medicine, it said, because in discourse of Western medicine the 'positivistic' view of the body rules. We can also add that modern science is cut off from notions of sacred and Divine (see Seyyed hossein Nasr's Need for a Sacred Science). Hence, it can't accept any part of Chinese medicine until the latter fully is streamlined with the former*.
The book also taught me the (often inseparable) relation between knowledge and power. Those who have brutal power today define which world-view operates in the world, and which view be rejected. Only the offical world-view is the 'truth'; rest are garbage. A person coming from alien system, needless to say, today don't really bother to check and weigh the assertive claims of Western world-views, the dominant power in today's world-view, or whether its claim to 'objective truth' is justified. Such is the dilemma of many, many Muslims today who study science, economics, language, literautre, and other sciences in West and do a very poor diagnosis and propose really irrelevant, and often wrong medicines to their native lands, producing catastrophic results. This at least has been the case in economic policies implemented in Pakistan borrowed from West (read, The War Against the Poor for evidence).
__________________________
* This is what Nasr has been saying for decades that modern science has its own world-view which is anti-thetical to Islamic world-view. Hence, we cannot accpet its assertive claims and absorb its world-view into our system, else we lose potentiality of our system.

Are you retiring?

On the news, they're informing inhabitants of this 20th century "nation-state" (a dubious invention of moderns) about the retirement schedule of its giants and men of courage and honour (and this and that), namely, Lt. Generals of Pure Pakistan Ltd. dot-com - "Give me cash, Give me extension", the company site says.

As a corollary, being a "self-examining" person, I wondered if I had any retirement schedules waiting for me. Then, as I recalled and shared with my home's care-takers, I too would be retiring from university education in 2012. They became happy about it, as many of the generals, burden of nation, would be retiring from their (hunting and killing) job in 2012. We have a match, at least.

Let us pray that our generals live long. May Allah provide them best of the garments and food and drinkable stuff as per their likings. May they sleep and we protect them. May we never use 'fear-tactics' to curtail their civil rights and their liberty. May we never create problems for them traveling freely from one province to the other. May we never kill their rabbits and pet animals in northern areas and Baluchistan. May we never allow India to supply its dirty ammunition through our roads, and never allow private companies to provide it logistic support, to win Russia's praise. May we never create situation in which bad people can bribe them and loot and pillage their stuff. May we become shields in the sky to help foreign bombs avoid hitting their camps and cantonment areas, even if we have to become carpets to avoid carpet bombing our their units. But we would never make apologies over the civilian deaths, and kill all "Islamist militants" that come their way. Ameen! Ameen! *tears*

A Very Brief History of B. Russell

Following is a short introduction to Russell, a famous British philosopher, that I had to give in a critical review of one of his essay, in one literature class I was attending.

Bertrand Russell (d. 1970), a British writer, wrote on various significant issues concerning humanity, philosophy, literature, linguistics and sciences. He was a ‘world-view’ builder of modern world. He was given Nobel Prize in Literature for his contribution to the issues of humanitarianism, liberty and freedom of thought. He despised religious ideals and considered all revelations to be same as ‘gospel truths’[1], meaning fiction. Thus, he joined hands with moderns, who divorced reason from revelation, in an intellectual effort to provide alternative world-views and answers to issues which religion answered.[2] This essay has imprints of such anti-traditional, anti-religious attitudes. Nonetheless, it is not much about religion itself. It is about the social issue of work-ethics and rights of workers to have leisure. There is an agreement between this view and other religions, especially Islam, as we shall see later in the paper. Russell also visited USSR to study socialism[3].

[1] This is taken for granted for in one of his letters, he was asked whether he has read Qur’an, Holy book of Islam, to which replied that all gospel truths are alike, although he had not read the book.
[2] See Asad Zaman, “The Origin of Western Sciences,” available on his personal website: http://sites.google.com/site/asaduzaman, in which he traces the West’s disenchantment of religion and how social sciences and humanities attempt to answer five fundamental questions which religion answered for centuries, Christianity and Islam, primarily.
[3] Visit Bertrand Russell’s page on Nobleprzie.org website.

"Tragedy of Morals and Birth of Science in the West"

Dr Asad Zaman, Islamic International University, Islamabad, is writing a research paper on the topic quoted in this post's title. Below, I'd produce the abstract and sources, and link to the page from where I got this open information. you may like to comment or write Dr. Zaman about it (at asadzaman@alum.mit.edu).
Tragedy of Morals and Birth of Science in the West
(under preparation) (by Asad Zaman)
Abstract: How Birth of Science in conflict with religion gave strong methodological bias to the way science was viewed in the West. In particular, the exaggeration of the potential of science of settling ethical, moral and human problems led to a very distorted foundation for social sciences. The social sciences have been ideologically constituted in the sense that they were based on false beliefs about what the physical sciences are. The upshot is that there is room for a thoroughgoing revolution in the received ideas of science natural and social (quote from Manicas).
It is only after such re-organization that room for a reasonable foundation for Islamic Economics would emerge. In this paper, we hope to provide such foundations.
Sources:
Peter Manicas: A History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Part I: details historical circumstances that led to an easy victory for empiricism/positivism even though realist alternatives were available
Part II: Details special circumstances leading to emergence of modern social sciences in USA.
Hans Kung: Does God Exist?
Himmelfarb: De-Moralization of the West.
Tawney: Religion and the Rise of Capitalism
Reuben, Julie: The Making of the Modern University: Intellectual transformation and the marginalization of morality. 1996 University of Chicago Press.
Read his paper On Improving Social Science Education in Pakistan and The Origins of Western Social Science to get insight into the thought of Dr. Zaman.

Orchestration

If you want to witness and take pleasure from free orchestra, just visit a mosque and watch Muslims praying congregational prayer, whether the 'formation' consists of 2 or 2000 people.

"When it comes to science, Nobel not Noble"

Dr. Zaman Khan, MBBS, Pakistan, on returning from attending Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates in science, has made an amusing comment on his new blog about Laureates. He writes:
Let the Laureates fight in the battle of ideas for they've received their Nobel Prize for science, not for peace.
It makes one smile... Read rest of the blog-post here.

Iranian Militia Parade

Came across this military parade in Iran, attended by its supreme leader, the sign of God. In middle is a beautiful Quran recitation by one of their soldier.

Implementation

Today I'd talk about what I just implemented: a thought. I may become too dogmatic in your falconian eyes. But I fear nothing than my own sins. You cannot enjoy and appreciate the quality of this manly act unless you know a little bit about 'neo-classical' (capitalistic) economics that is being completely implemented today from the pulpits of Western stupidity and enterprise, accepted blindly by those who read economics in Western or Westernized universities, usually.

In a nutshell, it began my mental acceptance of what Prof Dr Asad Zaman has shown through his research that modern economics, like other western social sciences, is simply wrong from Islamic point of view and observable evidence. In this lecture he produces evidence that can demolish some of the basic tenets of western economics, and is being demolished in West as well*: The Crisis in Islamic Economics. Judging the arguments, following words of Dr Zaman struck me:
"4. Data on Firms, Consumers CONTRADICTS theories in Samuelson.
That is, economic theories as presented in leading conventional textbooks (Mankiw, Varian, etc.) are basically wrong – these theories do not describe the realities of economics in the real world. That means we can throw it all away without any loss in knowledge to us. What pretends to be concrete and factual is simply incorrect." [Emphasis mine.]
Then he goes on to give a set of examples of the incorrectness of the concepts presented in such books which render it entirely useless.

I took a bold step. And in afternoon today threw two books by Georgy N. Mankiw in the big dustbin near my home's gate, which I had read in economic courses and which I used to refer to in case I needed to know something about economic principles. Next thing I want to do is to inform Mr Zaman of this act of intelligence coupled with a leap of faith.

How do you feel?

Update: I just informed Prof Dr Asad Zaman in one of his discussion forums. you read the thread here.

* For instance, in an article in recent Harvard Business Review, two fundamental doctrines of capitalism/economics have been ruthlessly destroyed by their own scholars in light of evidence of recent global financial crisis: a) Humans behave rationally, b) invisible hand of market leads people to the good of society at large.

A most shocking historical fallacy

It is a myth that medieval people used to believe that earth was flat which was invented in 19th century. This is the finding of a book by Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor Emeritus, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, called: Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and Modern Historians (1997).

I came across this paper which briefly documents evidence against what may turn out to be, as information of the research of professor trickles down, one of the biggest historical lies taught at school and wide-spread in public discourse in the world. Author goes on to write:
A curious example of this mistreatment of the past for the purpose of slandering Christians is a widespread historical error, an error that the Historical Society of Britain some years back listed as number one in its short compendium of the ten most common historical illusions. It is the notion that people used to believe that the earth was flat--especially medieval Christians.

[...]

In my research, I looked to see how old the idea was that medieval Christians believed the earth was flat. I obviously did not find it among medieval Christians. Nor among anti-Catholic Protestant reformers. Nor in Copernicus or Galileo or their followers, who had to demonstrate the superiority of a heliocentric system, but not of a spherical earth. I was sure I would find it among the eighteenth-century philosophers, among all their vitriolic sneers at Christianity, but not a word.
Read rest of the short article here.

A quote on the endeavor of Ijtihad in Islamic Law

Hamza Yusuf writes in his historical-juristic essay on the rulings of Islamic law on chess:
Contrary to the Orientalists’ claims that the gates of ijtihad were closed in the ninth century CE, ijtihad has always been an active endeavor of the community of jurists throughout the Muslim world.[4]
In the foot-note # 4, he writes:
The only closure—if there was one—was on what is known as “absolute ijtihad” that historically was achieved by a handful of scholars in the early part of Islam and later considered impossible to achieve. However, although many consider this door closed and locked, it has always been viewed as a door that is possible for one to enter, if one has the key. [Emphasis added.]

Indiscriminate Violence: A Prophetic Tradition

Toward the latter days of indiscriminate violence, be like the first and better of the two sons of Adam who said, “If you raise your hand to kill me, I will not raise mine to kill you; surely I fear God, the Lord of the worlds.”

- From a sound tradition of the Prophet Muhammad
narrated by Imam Tirmidhi.

Academics & Fun

[I'm sorry I published the raw outline! Allow me some time to complete, meanwhile, you're requested to be patient.]

Problem Statement: why is that 'school work' (or in my case university work) doesn't come naturally to many? Why do I keep seeking something other than it to do, but something important and urgent, like, a worldcup football semi-final match, or a lenghty complex lecture by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad [give link to his page on Masud.co.uk], some research paper of Dr Asad Zaman [give link to his website] , or some deep, important topic for presentation in English Prose course? This brings us to the idea of making serious things enjoyable and fun-doing. And when it becomes fun-doing, it comes all naturally. People say it with experience not with their fantasy.

Let's just contain ourselves to academic work at different levels, beginning from school level.

KG-Preschool

its made all fun-you develop through play-[give link to when play is work]-need to kill academic morbidity

School-High-School

imagination must be targeted-problem solving/test preparation [no conclusion]-ansar's saying: use of intellect-problems of math: stereotyping as 'difficult'-difficult here stands for use of intellect, that's all!-battling weapons of distractions-spiritual training-spiritual/religious people in medical universities.

Higher education

Pain is necessary-new theme I came across-
Distractions: Nafs is the problem-story of an alim, how his father beated him on missing hadith class in favor of optional ibadah, as a case study-

Road to Interest-free Economy: Power of a singular bold step

Today is major day in life. It is so because one firm has decided to give up earning interest on funds of its employees, and to adopt halal way of making profit. It is an HR firm that outcourses thousands of low-level employees to companies. Its clients gives it a large sum of money for its employees as 'gratuity'. Because of inflation or salary increases the reserve for gratuity gets low (I can explain if you want in comments section). This is what they call short-fall. To meet this short-fall they need money, which is earned by putting that alrge sum in bank, on which they get interest. This is haram. Although the firm never used the interest for itself, but nonetheless it earned interest to make up for its shortfall in money. But this is no excuse for the company to indulge in such haram a transaction as earning interest or riba.

The point of mirth and shukar (gratitude to Allah) is that I pointed out this 'moral ambuity; to CEO, who has a deep relation with me, as he explained me what I have explained to you about gratuity and all that stuff. And although I'm no employee or board of directors, he was moved saying he 'has been caught red-handed'... He is a man of action. He took a bold step and is ready to make things in conformity with Sharia'.

Long story short, CEO immediately called his CFO and asked him to suggest new, 'healthy' ways to get out of it. As a first step, he has ordered to shift millions of money from bank deposits to 'current account' on which the depositor gets no money/interest/profit. That is huge, actually. Till December they'll have to come up with ways to earn profit on millions of rupees. It can be risky, nay, clearly it is. And here CHANGE MANAGEMENT is involved. This is a major paradigm shift. Some key people in the organization are disturbed by this decision. And I fear a covert resistance that may undermine the project. Here we're not left alone. Alhamdulilah, there's a vast body of literature on change management. It tells all about this science, what change means, how do people in organizations can react to it, how to implement a successful change program, what pitfalls to avoid, etc., etc.

One important book has been written in the cultural context (2 Cs) of Pakistan by former Dean of my university's school of management. It's called, simply, Managing Change, by Dr. ZIQ. (Managing Change is both a text-book in which frameworks are given to solve case-studies, each theoretical chapter is followed by case-studies of purely Pakistani companies.

I am rambling too much! Because. I feel so indebted to Allah that a few words of mine have seemingly changed substantially business life of a firm. I've been asked to propose solutions and not just pin-point messy problems... So... Tomorrow after jumma prayer I intend to meet one of my professors who'd guide me to alternatives, inshaAllah! For you, if you're Muslim business-student or -man, it's your duty to help your brother in faith by suggesting brilliant ideas for profit-earning ventures. Judgment criteria: We always need every year more than 1.7m in our reserves to pay the gratuity of employees in order to meet expected short-falls. If you've problems understanding, please mention inshaAllah I'd clarify.

To Dr. Asad Zaman: On Social Sciences

I wrote following mail to Dr Asad Zaman, alumni MIT (BS Mathematics) & Standford (MS Stats; PhD Economics), professor at IIIU. Visit his website for all of his works and data: http://sites.google.com/site/asaduzaman/home. He is a leading Islamic scholar on Islamic economics, critic of western social scientist, an educationist, Islamic political theorist, and a sea of knowledge and TAQWA

Assalamualaekum!

I am Umer Toor, BSc Business, FC College, Lahore. I've been reading your papers and writings on your website; at first I read your interview in Intellect mag which led me to discover you and your thought.

I'm particularly interested in critique of yours on Western Social Science. One of my professors at F.C. is thinking of introducing Islamic Sociology course there. Your paper on Origins of Western Social Sciences [also see Nature of Social Science page] enumerates some foundational works, which we would be reading.

We seek your guidance on this matter. Do you have ideas on Islamic social science courses that may serve to be an inspiration and yardstick for our us?

Moreover, I've a bunch of students learning in elite universities who have launched amongst themselves the Revival of Islamic Intelligentsia Program [they work as members of ESEF] - can you groom us by giving some lectures, or best, can we visit you personally in Islamabad, which is our dream?

JazakAallh!

Of Assets


Today, I ended up gifting my 9th grade friend Einstein's book on relativity, a subject which no students gets to study in Pakistan's school before 2nd year in high school (read: F.Sc.). Although it's written in a very lucid and clear prose, but chances of his fully understanding quantum mechanics, lengthy proofs of relativity, 'mysteries' of general and special relativity seem bleak, but not beyond the bounds of possibilities. I know a friend, regarded as genius by the world, who wrote a very original and authentic book on mathematics and physics in tenth grade!

Nonetheless. For him as for everyone, tomorrow is never the same. I have books in my Philosopher's Corner (my room) as old as 14 years that I inherited from my father. When young, I used to wonder and fantasize about the lengthy books which are part and parcel of my life today. I can recall how oceanic all of it seemed - just too tremendous to get hold of. I rarely understood a word. Today, by just remaining in its company for so long, has helped to open up the treasures of knowledge to me. Maybe the same could work for him. As a long-term asset, its payback period won't be short, but the fruits - may Allah wills it - be immensely sweet and plentiful.

With these 'hopes and prospects', when he asked whether he could own it, I instantly gifted him this pillar of modern science (the book), without a second-thought, although I intended him to see it for a day or two.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Advertisement

MuddleHead Signs Off!!

MuddleHead Signs Off!!