The Study Quran Review: Gibril Fouad Haddad

[The Muslim World Book Review, 36:3, 2016, pp. 2025]
 
Seyyed Hossein Nasr et al., ed. The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary. New York: Harper Collins, 2015. Hardback. lix + 1988pp. Maps. ISBN: 9780061125867.
 
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 (19071998) as head of the Maryamiyya Order, a universalist movement based on the socalled 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 wellcrafted, mostly North American project that lumps several works in a single hefty volume printed on extrathin India paper: an original English rendering of the Qur’n; a firstever, 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).
[Featured image source: CNN]

Al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt li man Yuṭāliʿu al-Mirqāt by Shaykh ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm al-Nuʿmānī

Bilal Ali Ansari

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:

Al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt li man Yuṭāliʿu al-Mirqāt

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The Reluctant Fundamentalist

HaroonSidat

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 …”

The…

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What is a Madrasa? By Professor Ebrahim Moosa: Book Review

HaroonSidat

In The Name of God, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful

What is a Madrasa?

By Professor Ebrahim Moosa

Review by Haroon Ibn Ebrahim Sidat

Given the context of spurious accusations of links to terrorism and the “us versus them” dynamic being played out in the West, this is a rare contribution from an “insider,” as it were, of madrasas in South Asia. Moosa challenges sensationalist stereotypical narratives by providing a nuanced and richly textured account of the place and importance of madrasas in Islam both historically and in the contemporary moment. Madrasas refer to the institutions of higher lslamic learning in South Asia and are equivalent to seminaries, where religious functionaries and experts in Islamic law and theology are trained. Blending with his own life experiences, Moosa lays bare his objective at the outset; the book “is a primer about the role madrasas play in the cultural, intellectual, and…

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A Suggested Curriculum of Study for the Hanafi Student of Hadith

Bilal Ali Ansari

In our shaykh Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm al-Nuʿmānī’s invaluable foreword to Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī’s Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ – modestly entitled al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt li man Yuṭāliʿu al-Mirqāt (Scanty Merchandise for the One who Studies the Mirqāt) – the erudite hadith scholar Imam ʿAbd al-Bārī ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Anṣārī al-Laknawī is quoted from a passage of his prolegomena to his al-Taʿlīq al-Mukhtār ʿalā Kitāb al-Āthār. In the lengthy passage, al-Laknawī provides the following suggested curriculum of study for the “Ḥanafī muḥaddith”:

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Book Review: Bukhari Publications’ Two Arbaʿīn Collections on the Virtues of the Prophet and Prayers on Him

Bilal Ali Ansari

It has been over a month since I received three recently published books by a new and exciting publishing house, Bukhari Publications. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the time yet to give the books the detailed and meticulous review they deserve. That said, I have for a long time considered the necessity of producing less formal reviews that might not stand up to the standard of an academic journal but nevertheless satisfy the need of the common reader to get basic feedback on a new book and answer the pressing question of whether or not it is worth buying.

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