LOST ANCIENT MUSLIM CITY DISCOVERED IN ETHIOPIA COULD REVEAL DETAILS OF ISLAM’S HISTORY IN AFRICA

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A lost city thought to be more than 1,000 years old has been discovered in Ethiopia and may offer insight into Islam’s origins in the country.

The settlement, located near Ethiopia’s second largest city of Dire Dawa, in the east of the country, consisted of buildings constructed with large stone blocks, which gave rise to a local myth that giants lived there. Researchers believe it may date back as early as the 10th century.

Archaeologists discovered a 12th-century mosque in the settlement at Harlaa, as well as evidence of Islamic burials and headstones. The team, from the University of Exeter and the Ethiopian Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, also found artifacts from as far afield as India and China, suggesting that the region functioned as a hub for foreign traders.

Prophet Muhammad died in the mid-seventh century, and Islam is thought to have spread to the East African coastline sometime in the eighth century. But an earlier tradition holds that the Prophet Muhammad sent some of his first followers to Abyssinia—modern day Ethiopia—in the early seventh century.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK

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A Vision of Inclusivity: Islam and the Common Good of Humanity

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By Abdulaziz Sachedina

A disclaimer is in place before I proceed to predict the future of millions of Muslims from various cultures and nationalities who adhere to Islamic tradition. I cannot claim to be comprehensive in my assessment, since I am dealing with different manifestations of religiosity among Muslims. My field work in various Muslim cultures warns me against overgeneralizations that can take away the peculiarities of different peoples that make up the Umma — community.

I am both an “insider” and an “outsider” to the tradition and to the community. As an insider, I face specific challenges in my assessment because of an inclination to look at my inherited perspectives and allegiances uncritically. The major challenge to me is to step outside my own community in ways that allow me to explore normative Islamic tradition and evaluate its ability to expand its hermeneutical horizons. How supple is the retrieval and interpretations that are sometimes implicit and at other times explicit in the scriptural sources for application in the modern age? How much of the tradition is relevant to the contexts in which the community finds itself? As an “outsider” academician, I am able to transcend my ties with the Muslim religious establishment and offer honest assessment of the future of the tradition and the community.

FULL ARTICLE FROM PATHEOS

Muslims Condemn: A Collection all the Times Muslims Have Publically Condemned Terrorism

A list of over 5700 instances of Muslims publically condemning terrorism.  Next time someone wonders aloud why they don’t do it, send them here:

ISLAM AGAINST TERRORISM

MUSLIMS CONDEMN 

A collection of all the cases where Muslims have condemned wrongdoings done falsely in the name of Islam. Inspired by this tweet.

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Muslims in America: Separating fact from fiction

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The words “I think Islam hates us,” “True hatred among Muslims is too great,” “Over 80 percent of mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams,” “Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization” from prominent U.S. politicians, brand Muslims as un-American, unassimilable, and potential societal and security threats to the United States.

In the minds of the likes of President Donald Trump, Representative Peter King, and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Muslims have an utter indifference to human life as well as to “American values.” Clearly, the relationship between Islam, Muslims and American national identity has reached a boiling point. Separating fact from fiction is more important than ever.

The facts surrounding Muslims in America present a drastically different picture than the aforementioned claims by U.S. politicians. Muslims have lived on American soil before the United States even existed. The Founding Fathers of the United States welcomed the migration of Muslims to U.S. soil. American Muslims are far from monolithic and represent one of the most diverse religious populations in the country. Muslims are among the most educated populations in American society. Islamic organizations in the United States regularly participate in interfaith dialogue and civic national projects. Muslims are not responsible for the majority of terrorist attacks in America. U.S. Muslims do not prefer to be governed by Islamic law (Sharia). All of the preceding statements are facts. These facts are verified by the actions of U.S. Muslims as well as by research carried out by leading academic units and advocacy organizations across the country.

FULL ARTICLE FROM DAILY SABAH

ARE THE MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN RIGHT NATURAL ALLIES? HE SAYS YES

128918_othmanelhammouchi1 (1)He often wears suits, has thick glasses and when he talks, he starts out in an informal, teenager-like tone but then quickly recovers into academic language. Othman El Hammouchi is on his way to becoming one of Belgium’s most prominent philosophers, but he’s still an 18-year-old college student. “My choice to study mathematics had nothing to do with politics,” El Hammouchi laughs when I ask him about his choice of study, amid his first-year exams at the Free University of Brussels. “I’m just interested in certain questions and how they relate to things like the relativity theory and Kantian philosophy.”

When he was 17, El Hammouchi won an essay contest for high school students and in his own words entered the “circuit” of writing opinion pieces, doing interviews and giving talks. Since then he has been featured in most of Belgium’s newspapers, and one of the country’s most important philosophers, Etienne Vermeersch, called him “brilliant.”

At first sight, his conservatism seems to be quite traditional. “For me, conservatism is a complete world view that places emphasis on traditional structures such as religion, marriage and hierarchy,” El Hammouchi says. Yet at the same time, he moves away from commonly held positions on the right, such as doubting the existence of man-made climate change. “As a conservative, you shouldn’t deny science,” he says.

THE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE WAS A SORT OF CONTRACT IN WHICH THE WOMAN EXCHANGED SEX FOR STABILITY. YET THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION UNDERMINED THAT.

OTHMAN EL HAMMOUCHI

His most obvious clash with today’s right? El Hammouchi is a religious Muslim at a time when European conservatives are moving toward hard-line positions on identity, often critical of Islam. It’s not just far-right groups. A leader of the conservative New Flemish Alliance, Belgium’s biggest party, Bart De Wever this year told a local newspaper: “Muslims want a place in the public space, in education, with their external religious symbols. That causes tension.”

This kind of rhetoric, argues El Hammouchi, means “conservatives in Belgium are throwing away the votes of 7 percent of the population who are Muslim.” He rather argues for a “conservative grand alliance” between Christians and Muslims. “One of my goals is to take away this irrational hatred toward Islam,” he says. His work has elicited little reaction from conservative politicians, but recently he joined Doorbraak, a prominent publication in conservative circles, as a regular contributor.

FULL ARTICLE FROM OZY.COM

Hajj: How the true face of Islam in unity is reflected in this once-in-a-lifetime journey

1281136-326978879RIYADH: Hajj is an epic experience that can truly change a person through a spiritual cleansing that is profound. Islam came to eliminate racism and tribalism, and in due process slavery. Hajj reflects the true face of Islam in unity, as all Muslims, regardless of their nationality or status, wear the same cloth before Allah.

This is reflected in the extremely simple clothing: Men wear two white cloths that cover their bodies, while women wear a long robe with and headscarf. (The face should be bare when performing Hajj.)

One of the aspects of Hajj is to cleanse our souls from all earthly possessions and luxuries that cling to one’s heart, reminding us that we shall return to the ground from which we were created.

A vast sea of people can be witnessed walking in unison to perform the rituals. It is a place free of discrimination and filled with appreciation.

In a small spot in Makkah, close to 3 million stand in prayer before Allah, to repent from sins and gather blessings from the Almighty. At that moment when they stand together atop Arafat Mountain, it really does feel like it’s a small world after all.

FULL ARTICLE FROM ARAB NEWS 

Lost legacy of female scholars of Islam

Islam empowered women in the Arabian Peninsula in a way that could never be imagined before the arrival of the Quran. The stories of the many female scholars who graced the Islamic world need to be remembered

645x344-lost-legacy-of-female-scholars-of-islam-1530735122342When Imam Zuhri, a famous scholar of the Sunna (the Prophet Muhammad’s prescriptions), indicated to Qasim ibn Muhammad, a scholar of the Quran, a desire to seek knowledge, Qasim advised him to join the assembly of a well-known woman jurist of the day, Amara bin Al-Rahman. Imam Zuhri attended her assembly and later described her as “a boundless ocean of knowledge.” In fact, Amra tutored a number of famous scholars, such as Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Hazama and Yahya Ibn Said. Amra was not an anomaly in Islamic history, it actually abounds with famous female narrators of jurisprudence, starting with Ai’sha, Muhammad’s wife. A conservative count would reveal at least 2,500 extraordinary women jurists, narrators of Muhammad’s sayings (hadith), and poets. Yet, their stories are not always well-known or widely acknowledged.

FULL ARTICLE FROM DAILY SABAH