Do Muslims Belong in the West?

In this discussion, Talal Asad identifies the problematic ways in which the presence of Muslim communities in Western contexts has been characterized in response to outbreaks of violence such as the recent events in Paris. Asad argues that many of the critiques to which Muslims are subjected, namely their dependence on transcendent forces, also inhabit the intellectual assumptions of secular and atheist commentators.  He further expresses the need to examine Islam as a “tradition” in order to avoid precisely the types of sweeping generalizations and focus instead on the complexities and particularities of the various ways in which Islam is lived. The inability to historicize Islam as a tradition has played into the calls for a “reform” of the religion and resulted in the inability to confront the underlying causes of the recent eruptions of violence. This interview was conducted in New York on 17 January 2015. It was later transcribed for publication. Click here

 

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Weekly Dhikr Majlis

zikrShaykh Shazad KhanKhalifah of the late Shaykh Syed As`ad Madani (rahimahullah) – recently started a weekly Dhikr majlis in Birmingham.

The majlis takes place every Sunday night at 6.oo pm;

the venue is:

Madrasa Taleemul Quran
12 Freer Road
BIRMINGHAM
B6 6ND

The Majlis starts with a short talk based on a commentary of Shaykh Ibn `Ata’ Allah’s “al-Hikam,” followed by a session of jahri (loud) Dhikr, consisting in the “Bara Tasbih” (12 tasbihat) of the Chishti Sabiri Tariqah.

Brothers only.

Spiritual Lineage of the Tariqas

Sincerity%20Tatton%20Red%20RugIn Sufism, as in hadith studies, there exists a lineage that connects each disciple with their shaykh, who has also taken it from his shaykh, and so on, in a continous chain back to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). The spiritual lineage of my own teacher, Shaykh Asad Madani, comes from its prophetic origin through a number of tariqas. The main ones are given below: Continue reading “Spiritual Lineage of the Tariqas”

Habermas’ ‘Religion in the Public Sphere’

I wish to show the theoretical underpinnings of Habermas’ ‘Religion in the Public Sphere’. Namely, I want to highlight that Habermas’ work is underpinned with a binary position of religion versus the secular; of metaphysical claims against non-metaphysical ones. I want to show that the constraints of defining religion in secular terms presumes religious values to be speculative and therefore as less real than the materiality of other concepts. I want to show that Habermas implicitly suggests that religious reasoning and viewpoints are intrinsically and diametrically opposed to secular reasoning and it is only with the condition of institutional translation proviso that they are relevant in the legislative domain. This is based on a certain definition of religion and is neither based on a sociologically unified political formation nor on a singular religious logic (Mahmood 2009). This dichotomy of characterising religion as such is based on an a priori epistemological assumption of the nature of religion. Continue reading “Habermas’ ‘Religion in the Public Sphere’”

No Gain Without Pain

mathnawiTo show that there is no gain without pain in the path Mawlana Rumi tells us the following tale in his ‘Mathnawi’:

The strong men of Qazwin were accustomed to have themselves tattooed. One customer calls for a lion to be emblazoned on his shoulder. The tattooist starts work on the lion’s tale; but the pain is too much for the customer who insists that the tale be left out. The same happens when the tattooist begins to draw an ear and again with the lion’s belly. Enraged, the artist flings down the needle: ‘Whoever saw a lion without a tale, ear and belly? Allah Himself never created such a lion.’ 

Continue reading “No Gain Without Pain”

Hot Punch Recipe

punchThis punch recipe is very good for a cold night. It was given to me by my English teacher Mrs Smethurst. I have retained and used it ever since. Never fails to leave a smile on all who drink it.  Enjoy!

Measure 1/4 pint of blackcurrant cordial into a pan and add 1 pint of water. Thinly peel rind of lemon, take two level teaspoons of brown sugar, 3 cloves, and grating of nutmeg. Heat and bring to the boil slowly. Switch off heat and allow to cool and infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and serve just before serving.

Add halved oranges for extra taste.

Food Rules

fr-3If we can’t rely on the marketers or the government or even the nutritionists to guide us through the supermarket, then who can we rely on? Well, ask yourself another question: How did humans manage to choose foods and stay healthy before there were nutrition experts and food pyramids or breakfast cereals promising to improve your child’s focus? We relied on culture, which is another way of saying: on the accumulated wisdom of the tribe. (Which is itself another way of saying: on your mom and your grandma.) All of us carry around rules of thumb about eating that have been passed down in our families or plucked from the cultural conversation. Think of this body of food knowledge as samizdat nutrition: an informal, unsanctioned way of negotiating our eating lives that becomes indispensable at a time when official modes of talking about food have suffered a serious loss of credibility.

Continue reading “Food Rules”

Sufism: Distinguishing the Kernel from the Shell

sufism Any sane person would agree that having upright good-moral character is an objective of Islamic Law; that Ikhlas (sincerity) is a noble trait; that jealousy and pride are blameworthy characteristics. All and sundry would agree that ridding oneself of blameworthy traits and adorning oneself with praiseworthy traits are Shariah-countenanced aims. Yet the moment the word Sufism, Tasawwuf or any other of its synonyms is mentioned it becomes a bidah or reprehensible innovation.

Continue reading “Sufism: Distinguishing the Kernel from the Shell”

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