Religion

Religion: A ‘modernist’ Muslim for all those who think they’ve never existed

Saiyid Ahmad Khan was the founder of Islamic modernism, that is, the development in Islamic thought which bears comparison with the development of higher criticism and modernism in Christian thought. He was deeply concerned that Islam should make sense in the light of Western science; he was no less concerned that Muslims should be reconciled…… Continue reading Religion: A ‘modernist’ Muslim for all those who think they’ve never existed

Personal · Religion

Benjamin Franklin’s Case for Pluralism

We can gain a sense of young Benjamin Franklin’s thoughts on religion in A Witch Trial at Mount Holly, which raised the concern of his Puritan parents that he held ‘erroneous’ religious opinions.  Franklin was not himself an emphatically religious man; while he believed in God, he did not subscribe to one particular creed.  What we do…… Continue reading Benjamin Franklin’s Case for Pluralism

Religion

Vital passage: Misunderstanding and understanding Islam

… [T]here is so much misunderstanding of Islam.  The debate on Islam that is in full cry in the West since September 11 is too often little more than a parading of deep-rooted prejudices.  For example, the critics of Islam ask: ‘If there is such an emphasis on compassion and tolerance in Islam, why is…… Continue reading Vital passage: Misunderstanding and understanding Islam

Religion

The “free” in Murfreesboro bugs me

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Muslims are hoping to celebrate Ramadan in the much-anticipated opening of their Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM). While it seems they will be able to do so, a most unfortunate story is lurking in the shadow.  A group of non-Muslims who filed suit seeking a restraining order to end the Centre’s construction has…… Continue reading The “free” in Murfreesboro bugs me

Religion

An easy way to debunk a common myth (‘kill the infidel’) of Islam

Muslim Americans are often harassed and forced to defend themselves against controversial verses in their holy text – the Qur’an.  One of these verses is Surah 9:5 (the ‘kill the infidel’ verse).  I am not a Muslim, but I still have concerns over how ‘experts’ say Muslims kill because the Qur’an tells them to (Representative…… Continue reading An easy way to debunk a common myth (‘kill the infidel’) of Islam

Religion

Boston Imam leading the charge to help Somali youth off the streets

When Somali youth have made story-lines over the last few years, they have generally done so for the most unfortunate of reasons, mainly that some are going to Somalia to join and fight for Al-Shabaab.  A different perspective, however, appeared today in the Washington Post about the challenges Somali youth face while growing up in…… Continue reading Boston Imam leading the charge to help Somali youth off the streets

Fieldwork · Religion

Religification of Pakistani-American youth

Note: Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher’s research here is quite similar to my own.  I want to share with you her important findings. One of Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher’s explications examines a cultural production process called religification, in which religious affiliation, rather than race or ethnicity, has become the core category of identity for working class Pakistani-American youth in the United…… Continue reading Religification of Pakistani-American youth

Religion

The Pakistani scientist behind the ‘God particle’

Most of you have probably heard by now of the recent news on the groundbreaking Higgs boson or ‘God particle’.  Most of you, however, probably have no idea that the physicist who helped develop the God particle’s theoretical framework is Adbus Salam.  Salam, who died in 1996, of Pakistani origin and Pakistan’s only Nobel laureate.…… Continue reading The Pakistani scientist behind the ‘God particle’

Fieldwork · Religion

Thick and thin religion

Kavirah (2010) argues that the growing religiosity in many parts of the world is quite different from our traditional understanding of religion (in his writing, he refers to rising Hindu identity and nationalism).  He argues that we need to distinguish between ‘thick and thin religion’.  Thick religion encompasses traditional rituals, practices, and beliefs, whereas thin…… Continue reading Thick and thin religion

Religion

Sufism and the Virgin Mary

The author of Blessed Virgin Mary is a Sufi master of Turkish descent named Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, who passed away in 1985.  He is considered by Sufis as a Waliullah, or intimate friend of Allah (God). The book is designed in a nonlinear fashion, ‘transcending the usual laws of logic and habitual experience which the Virgin…… Continue reading Sufism and the Virgin Mary

Poems · Religion

Prophet Muhammad on the Importance of Mothers

After Sheikh Muzaffer A companion once asked the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH)): Who is the most important person for the soul in Islam?’ The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied: ‘The mother’. The companion pressed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for more information. ‘Who is the next most important person?’ Once more, the Prophet Muhammad…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad on the Importance of Mothers

Religion

Religion: Meet Christophobia

In his book The Cube and the Cathedral, George Weigel turns to Joseph Weiler’s ‘Christophobia’ theory to discuss the ‘European problem’ (or the struggle for cultural and moral supremacy between atheistic humanists (secularists) and Christians).  ‘Christophobia’, which resists any acknowledgement of the Christian sources of Europe’s democracy, has eight key features, as outlined by Weigel,…… Continue reading Religion: Meet Christophobia

Religion

Call to wander

Abraham makes the leap and thus secures his reputation for all time. The text is so matter-of-fact it almost masks the significance: ‘Abram went forth as the Lord had commanded him’.  He does so silently, joining the covenant with his feet, not his words.  The wandering man does what he does best, he walks.  Only…… Continue reading Call to wander

Religion

This is Why People Love Sufism

Sufis are very inclusive and open-minded.  They believe that God is everywhere.  They quote Qur’anic passages like, ‘Wherever you turn, there is the face of God’ (2: 115).  If God is everywhere, then God can be seen in all religions too.  A Sufi would not only be comfortable praying at a church or synagogue or…… Continue reading This is Why People Love Sufism

Poems · Religion

The Source of Rumi’s Inspiration

Rumi’s inspiration progresses from the inner to the outer, from spiritual impulse to verbal expression.  Thus, the more we are able to penetrate the outer form of his words, the closer we may come to catching a glimpse of the Source from which they came.  This requires a considerable mental leap.  Rumi is aware of…… Continue reading The Source of Rumi’s Inspiration