Bilal Ali is a student of the sacred Islamic sciences with a special interest in Hadith, Hanafi law, and Education. He works currently as a researcher, translator, and instructor in Arabic and Islamic studies at Darul Qasim (Lombard, IL) and Darul Hikmah (Westmont, IL) and serves as Chairman for the Muslim spiritual health institute, Khalil Center.
As the new Islāmic academic year approaches, students of knowledge are moving into the higher years at every Islāmic institute of learning (dār al-ʿulūm). Many are prone to becoming overwhelmed by the volume of their studies and speed of their teachers’ lectures. At this point, they fall prey to making a ‘rookie mistake’ they later realise and regret. That is, the error of taking inefficient notes.
Every dār al-ʿulūm has a broad range of students taking notes. Some, in the process of attempting to write every word emanating from the teacher’s mouth verbatim, miss the core content of the lecture. Others, on the other hand, give up writing completely and hope to rely on a classmate’s notes. As with everything in life, success lies in creating a balance.Read More »
Professor Guillaume is not merely offering a translation of the received text of the biography of Muhammad, as recorded by Ibn Hisham from al-Bakka’i, from Ibn Ishaq. His work is a translation of his own reconstruction of Ibn Ishaq ….
… one gathers from the concluding words on page v that the translator hopes that his translation will ‘help to further cooperation and friendliness between my country and the Islamic world.’ This is an aim which is, of course, more expedient than academic, but it is nevertheless a commendable one, formulated as it is by a student of Islam who is at the same time an Anglican clergyman. It is difficult, however, to see how a profane transformation of the received text of the life of Muhammad such as is attempted by Professor Guillaume is likely to commend itself to the Islamic world.Read More »
Fārūq, Muḥammad, Janāb Gurū Nānak Jī ؒ awr Islām, Maktaba Maḥmūdiyya, UP (1431/2010), 80 pages, paperback.
Review by Shahin-ur Rahman
Concise and easy to read, this succinct treatise on comparative religion offers a profound insight into the life of Gurū Nānak, who is believed to be the founder of the Sikh religion. Targeting the objective Sikh observer, the author presents a well-referenced Urdu biography of Gurū Nānak, proving him to be not only a Muslim, but a knowledgeable Muslim leader.
It should be known that the objective of the book was not to celebrate Gurū Nānak and boast that he adhered to the same religion as the author does. Rather, quite the opposite is true: the author’s intent behind this work was to bring forth anecdotes of Gurū Nānak’s biography, which can assist the objective researcher in identifying the true teachings of Gurū Nānak as he himself taught. This would, in turn, be a means of guiding the Sikh brethren to reconsider their perception of Sikhism, and, thereby, adopt the religion that Gurū Nānak had truly preached. This is evident from the ‘food for thought’ at the end of the booklet, where the author requests the Sikh brethren to read this book side by side with the original sources and compare the two to reach an unbiased conclusion.Read More »
[The Muslim World Book Review, 36:3, 2016, pp. 20–25]
Seyyed Hossein Nasr et al., ed. The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary.New York: Harper Collins, 2015. Hardback. lix + 1988pp. Maps. ISBN: 978–0–06–112586–7.
This book is the magnum opus of Iranian University Professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University Seyyed Hossein Nasr (b. 1933), an expert on Islamic philosophy and the history of science and the heir apparent of the syncretist Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998) as head of the Maryamiyya Order, a universalist movement based on the so–called Traditionalist School. (“Traditionalism” is a Western adaptation of Hinduism that negates claims of Truth by any religion through relativizing all of them; I will refer to its ideology in this review by the term Perennialism.) It is a well–crafted, mostly North American project that lumps several works in a single hefty volume printed on extra–thin India paper: an original English rendering of the Qur’n; a first–ever, rich anthology in English from 41 works of Quranic commentary with an embedded 42nd, original commentary on the part of Nasr, who terms it “not simply a collage of selections but a new work” (p. xliii); and the mismatched last part, 15 essays on the Qur’n by a mixed group of academics—three of whom are also the book’s general editors— “included… at the suggestion of the publisher… the essays are in a sense a separate book… an independent work” (p. xlv).
After a recent post in which I quoted from my ustādh’s work, I received a number of requests for the book and some feedback about its unavailability. Subsequently, I requested a colleague, Mawlana Kamil Uddin, to help me scan the 92 page work so that I could share it with others even though a new edition (likely with significant changes) is expected to be published sometime soon.
To my surprise, he not only took on the task but he completed it the same evening. May Allah reward Mawlana Kamil for his contribution and bless him in both worlds. For everyone’s benefit, below is linked Mawlana Nuʿmānī’s Al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt:
Despite my reading and writing commitments, I have managed to ‘flick channels’ and read The Reluctant Fundamentalist. For those of you haven’t read it yet, I won’t spoil it for you. Well, not too much.
The janissaries of the Ottoman empire captured Christian boys trained to fight against their own people, which they did with singular ferocity. This interesting class of warrior is described during a business lunch to Changez, the young hero of Mohsin Hamid’s second novel, at a moment of crisis over his own identity. Born in Pakistan, educated at Princeton and currently the hottest new employee at a New York firm specialising in ruthless appraisals of ailing companies being targeted for takeover, Changez recognises himself in the description. “I was a modern-day janissary,” he observes, “a servant of the American empire at a time when it was invading a country with a kinship to mine …”