Posts Tagged ‘Prophet’

A Palestinian plan to attract Muslims back to Al-Aqsa

June 28th, 2012 Comments off

A Palestinian plan to attract Muslims back to Al-Aqsa | Reuters "The grand mosques in Mecca and Medina, the two holiest in Islam, draw millions of pilgrims annually. Al-Aqsa, the last of the three sacred sites the Prophet Mohammad urged Muslims to visit, sees only a few thousand foreign worshippers a year."
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Hans Christian Andersen in Istanbul

May 22nd, 2012 Comments off

When most of us think of Hans Christian Andersen, we think of fairy tales. But here’s something rather different: an account of a visit by Andersen to Constantinople (Istanbul) and a descirption of celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday.

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But Are They “The Good Muslims”?

May 16th, 2012 Comments off

What we talk about when we talk about Egypt’s Salafis
By Haroon Moghul, Religion Dispatches, May 3, 2012

After their strong showing in the Egyptian elections, Salafis are a hot topic. But despite all the talk of Salafis, we still have a difficult time defining Salafism. Take Wendell Steavenson’s recent New Yorker piece, “Radicals Rising,” a portrait of Salafi politicians in Alexandria, Egypt.

Steavenson defines Salafism as “a strain of Islamic fundamentalism that emphasizes the original tenets and practices of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions.” Steavenson’s essay is worth reading—don’t get me wrong. But her definition doesn’t actually distinguish Salafis from most other Muslims.

Islam is rooted in the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad. This applies to Salafis (usually considered Sunni) as much as it does to Shi’a Muslims. For both, Muhammad embodies the Qur’an, and they in turn try to embody Muhammad.

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Another Saudi posts insulting tweets about Prophet

February 24th, 2012 Comments off

Now, another Saudi Arabia national has courted controversy by posting tweets that insult Prophet Mohammad.
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Malaysia deports tweet row Saudi

February 12th, 2012 Comments off

Malaysian authorities deport a Saudi journalist who left his country after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a tweet.
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The Saudi writer who fled for his life

February 9th, 2012 Comments off
An apology by Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari over his controversial tweet about Prophet Muhammad failed to dampen a Salafi campaign against him prompting him to flee his home country.  The issue has turned from a spontaneous reaction into an organized campaign run by a group of disturbed Salafis, which has included death threats.  That’s how a series of attacks quickly escalated against Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari following his tweets on the Prophet Mohammad’s mawlid(birth), which was celebrated on Saturday. Kashgari fled in the wake of the campaign. There are conflicting reports about his current whereabouts. A new twitter account believed to be his claims he headed to Canada while other news reports say he is in Southeast Asia.  The Saudi writer, who wrote for al-Bilad newspaper, did not only receive a deluge of threats. His address and phone number were circulated so that his opponents would know how to find him.

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Behold the Huthis

February 5th, 2012 Comments off

Huthi political rally near Sa’da this week

The ongoing political turmoil in Yemen has been overshadowed, and understandably so, by the increasing bloodshed in Syria, soccer riots in Egypt and lingering resistance by a few Qaddafi supporters in Libya. The past year of protests and revolution, unprophecied by political pundits, reminds me of a giant tire with so many holes that it is impossible to stop the air from escaping, even when one hole seems to be plugged. Meanwhile the road gets bumpier and bumpier in Yemen. Now for the latest recap… about-to-be-former President Ali Abdullah Salih is still in New York receiving medical treatment. He is in principle immune from prosecution, but certainly not immune from the continuing opposition to the excesses of his long rule in Yemen. A recently infused political form of Islam, known as Ansar al-Shari’a (with its own Facebook page) has all but replaced the infamous name Al-Qaida, in the south. The upcoming election, with one emerging compromise candidate for President, hardly seems headed for a democratic exercise apart from name only. Several aid workers were captured earlier this week and then released. And, behold the Huthis…

Al-Jazeera posts a video of a celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday in a remote area outside of the northern city of Sa’da. There on a platform etched against a barren landscape, a region less vibrant after almost eight years of conflict with the government that has left the ancient town of Sa’da in tatters, stood Abd al-Malik al-Huthi, the leader of the rebellion. Reports of his death at the hands of a government raid in 2009 are, as Mark Twain once noted about a premature obituary for himself, greatly exaggerated. While I do not doubt the sincerity of those present who celebrated the birth of the Prophet, the political flavor of the event certainly dominated the scenes shown on al-Jazeera.

Abd al-Malik al-Huthi speaking near Sa’da this week

To most outside observers the various political voices raised in Yemen against the regime of Salih tend to be merged into a bundle called “Islamism” with a strong sense that the real culprits are those die-hard al-Qaida agents. [For an excellent appraisal of al-Qaida in Yemen, see the report published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point]. Yemen being a Muslim-majority, overwhelmingly so, it should not be a surprise that Islam is a major form of identity. But politics contort the values of every kind of faith, not just that of those who celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Anyone who studies the historical sweep of Islam can readily see that there was never a time since the death of the Prophet when there was clear agreement within the Umma. How could it be otherwise, given the diverse forms of identity socially and culturally constructed? The same can be said for any major religion. Even if you think Marx was off the mark in claiming that man makes religion, you must admit that man (and occasionally a woman) distorts religion all the time.

The Huthi rebellion is very much about a travesty of justice, at least for those who belong to the movement. It is not about reviving the millennial experience of the Zaydi Imamate, nor about establishing a new caliphate. Yemen is not about to host a second Shi’a-dominated theocracy. The anti-American rhetoric is there, with good reason given that Salih used much of America’s military aid against his political foes and not on the “terrorists” for whom it was targeted. Unlike Bin Laden, whose original Al-Qaida was headquartered in a foreign land, the leader of the Huthi movement has a stake in rebuilding his own country. Their problem is with the Salih regime, not their fellow Yemenis. Thus, it is not surprising that the Huthis recently formed a political party to participate in the evolving political process. Their activities can be followed online on the website

The media focus on Al-Qaida in Yemen obscures the complicated dynamics of the evolving political processes in Yemen. Yes, there are former allies of Bin Laden who happened to be Yemeni and returned to their homeland, but the few who have tried to carry on the fight have not made much headway in damning the United States as the number one problem. Whatever you want to call the various political groups chanting “Allahu Akbar,” remember that their primary goal is to free Yemen from the oppression of the dictatorial state which Salih ran. There is a long list of grievances in the south, as there are in the north. Yemen is also an extremely poor country on an extremely rich peninsula, unemployment is staggering and human development indicators have tanked. No one cause can explain the current turmoil, nor be used to predict the outcome of the revolution that has brought down, almost, the Salih regime. But, do not count out the Huthis as a major player in the coming year.

Daniel Martin Varisco

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NOWYou know: ‘Imam Ali was the Prophet’s son!’

December 7th, 2011 Comments off

Two idiots writing for MEOWLebanon decide that Imam Ali bin Abi Taleb was the ‘Prophet’s son’!

“… “Let’s go hit Haidar,” say the young men in white capes. They stand in contrast to the other attendees who wear black to mourn but who do not perform the bloody ritual. “Hitting Haidar” is the popular name of the bloodletting ritual in which the young men cut the skin on their foreheads and hit it with swords to make it bleed more while chanting “Haidar! Haidar!”—which means lion in old Arabic, one of the nicknames of Imam Ali, the prophet’s son and Imam Hussein’s father. …”

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The haram that is not sacred

November 6th, 2011 Comments off

There is a dangerous dualism that has haunted Islamic societies since the very start of the faith. I am speaking about the haram that results from individuals and groups that seek to enforce a distinction between haram and halal through violence. The recent waves of sectarian killings are a chilling reminder of the harm that can be caused in the name of stamping out haram. In the north of Nigeria, as reported by al Jazeera, as many as 150 people may have been killed in a single day by Boko Haram, a militant group whose name means “Western education is sacrilege.” The irony of this name is tragic. When I think of the hadith “Seek Knowledge even unto China,” I do not think that the Prophet only meant to look eastward for knowledge. When I think of the extraordinary contributions Muslim scientists and philosophers made to the earlier classical heritage of knowledge, I do not think the Prophet would have disapproved. When I think of sacrilege, I remember that the Prophet forbade his followers to violate the truce of the sacred month and prohibited those who fought for him from mutilating the bodies of those who fought against him. There is much that is haram in this world, but it appears that the value of human life is not as sacred for some Muslims as it is for Allah as the Merciful One or for Muhammad as a Prophet for peace.

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Tabsir Redux: Ibn Ab? Bakr al-Azraq on Massage Oils: #1

November 4th, 2011 Comments off

The Yemeni physician Ibr?h?m ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ab? al-Azraq, wrote an important medical text near the end of the 9th century A.H./fifteenth century C.E. This is his Tashh?l al-man?fi‘ f? al-?ibb wa-al-?ikma, which was published in Cairo in the late 19th century and has been republished many times since then. One of his chapters deals with adh?n, that is oils and lotions that were rubbed on the body either in the hot bath or just for general health. Here is my translation of his account on oils.

Section on the Benefit and Influence of Oils (adh?n)

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him salvation, said: “Eat olive oil (zayt) and rub it on the body.” It is a remedy for seventy illnesses, one of these being leprosy (judh?m). He said: “For forty nights, Satan will not come near anyone who has olive oil applied.” Zayt is the extraction of the olive, according to al-D?w?n. Cold and wet, but said to be hot. It softens (yadbughu) the stomach, strengthens the body, energizes movement, and there is benefit for one in old age in applying it to the eyes against dimming of vision. According to Ibn ‘Amr the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him salvation, said: “Use it to season bread and rub it on the body, because it comes out of the blessed tree (al-shajara al-mub?raka).

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