Category Archives: Islamic

World Affairs – Turkey turns Hagia Sophia back into Mosque; Bad move by Erdogan?

People in Turkey and around world have reacted with mixed feelings after the Turkish government announced its controversial decision to turn Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia back to a mosque. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declaration on Friday came after a Turkish high court stripped the sixth-century Byzantine site’s museum status, paving the way for it to be converted into a mosque. Is it a bad move by Erdogan?

Kitaab Video: A Tale of Two Literary Friendships – Goethe & Marianne and Allama Iqbal and Emma

Narrated by Zafar Anjum, the author of “Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician” (Penguin Random house, 2014), this video describes the literary friendships (or some would call it literary romances) that the two great poets of the West and East, Goethe of Germany and Dr. Mohammad Iqbal (Allama Iqbal) of India, espoused in the 19th and 20th century respectively–that of Goethe and Marriane von Willemer, and of Iqbal and his German tutor, Emma Wegenast.

There was a connection between Goethe and Iqbal too. Allama Iqbal, not only a great poet but also considered to be the spiritual father of Pakistan, greatly admired Goethe.

What was the nature of these literary friendships? How did they come to be? How did they end? What impact these relationships had had on the poetic outputs of Goethe and Iqbal, especially in the context of the Goethe’s East West Divan? This video touches upon all these points.

Source: TLS and “Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician” (Penguin Random house, 2014)

Book Review: Be Present in Every Moment: Life Lessons from Moinuddin Chishti

By Dr Usha Bande

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Title: Be Present in Every Moment: Life Lessons from Moinuddin Chishti

Edited by Babli Praveen.

Aleph, 2018.

Moinuddin Chishti is a familiar and revered name across religious faiths. This Sufi saint, originally from Central Asia, made India his home; served the needy and the poor for more than five decades and became one of the venerated figures of the subcontinent. Be Present in Every Moment has selected nuggets from Moinuddin Chishti’s preaching  translated  into English. The slim volume is full of everyday wisdom and imparts practical knowledge to help enhance our potential for happiness through tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

The editor, Babli Praveen, who teaches at Delhi University, specializes in Medieval Indian History and has researched on Sufi saints and Sufism in South Asia. The book, published by Aleph under their “Life Lessons” series, is a handy compilation of the great Master’s penetrating yet straightforward teachings that emphasize renunciation, tolerance, generosity and spiritual transformation.

The organization of the book is simple; the introduction gives relevant biographical information about Chishti; it is followed by his teachings arranged thematically. This allows the reader easy access to the key issues highlighted by his insights on the oneness of being, personal piety, music, charity, compassion and spiritual cleanliness.

Hazrat Sheikh Khwaja Syed Moinuddin Hasan Chishti, commonly referred to as Khwaja (sufi teacher) was a mystic, scholar, philosopher and poet known for introducing and establishing the Chishti order in India. Born to Khwaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan and mother Syeda Bibi, in 1142 CE, Moinuddin was an heir to the spiritual legacy of his parents’ lineage. Even at a very young age Moinuddin showed spiritual inclinations. Read more

Book Review: She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Roberts

By Mitali Chakravarty

She Wore Red Trainers

 

Title: She Wore Red Trainers
Author: Na’ima B. Roberts
Publisher: Kube Publishing Children’s Books
Published in 2014
Total number of pages: 261
Price: US$ 12.95
ISBN 978-1-84774-065-6

 

 

Published in 2014, She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Roberts is a young adult novel set in South London. The arena is a Muslim community that is closely knit and believes Islam to be the saving grace in a world devoid of morality, where only married love is ‘halal’ and therefore acceptable and 18-year-olds are encouraged to succumb to their ‘emotional’ needs and tie the knot. As one of the characters, Auntie Azra, contends,

‘…if a young person feels that they are physically and emotionally ready to be in a relationship, Islam encourages them to do it the right way, with honour. Why do we see nothing wrong with 13-year-olds having sex — which they do — but have such a problem with the idea of an 18 or 19 year old getting married?’

Perhaps, this is a valid concern in a society where dating is the norm from early teens.

The hero Ali and the heroine Amirah are 18 and live by Islamic precepts. They are different from others in their community at the start of the novel as they have dreams of doing something beyond marriage. Amirah feels, ‘If there is one thing I’ve learnt in my short time on earth, it is you don’t have to look, behave or think like everyone else to achieve. Just be sincere, work hard…’ Through the course of the novel the youngsters, in the tradition of Young Adult fiction, journey to a discovery – in this case, ‘halal’ (or accepted) practices of Islam suit them the most.

Read more