Fatwa on Suicide Bombings and Terrorism - By Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri
A historical work of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, one of the topmost Muslim scholars today, this book is a fatwa or ruling on the suicide bombings and terrorism being spread today in the Islamic world by a few extremists.
The Quranic Foundations & Structure of Muslim Society
by Dr. Muhammad Fazl-ur-Rahman Ansari Qadri
The renowned scholar and Sufi master, the late Dr Martin Lings (Shaykh Abu Bakr Siraj ad-Din) was working on a full translation of the Qur’an when he passed away last year. His translations of verses from the Qur’an were extracted from these previously unpublished writings, and from all his other publications, both books and articles. Among the translations are the all-important first chapter of the Qur’an (al-Fatihah); the Verse of Light (Ayat al-Nur); verses from the Chapter entitled Ya Sin which is regarded as ‘the heart of the Qur’an’; numerous verses from seventy-six other Chapters; and full translations of nine of the short Chapters at the end of the Qur’an including the often-repeated last three Chapters. Occasionally, Dr Lings translated a particular verse in more than one way; all the different versions have been retained. On the one hand, this is a reflection of the fact that there can never be a definitive translation of the sacred text; and, on the other hand, this brings out the multiple meanings that may exist in one verse. In addition, there is an appendix of Dr Lings’ translation of the Ninety-nine Beautiful Names of God with the original Arabic. The Holy Qur’an: Translations of Selected Verses is a short and accessible introduction to the Qur’an with the additional benefits of the profound learning of a best-selling author and the beautiful language of a published poet. This translation emphasises the spirituality at the heart of the Qur’an and its universal message; and, on a personal note, the choice of verses used by Dr Lings in his own daily prayers. Will be of interest to all those who wish to read the Qur’an, to non-Arabic speaking Muslims, to students of Arabic, to those working on translation from Arabic, and to all admirers of the writings of the late Dr Martin Lings.
About the Author
Dr. Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Siraj ad Din) passed away on 11 May 2005. He is best known for his English language biography of the Prophet Muhammad, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.
He was born in Lancashire in 1909. He received his degree in English at Oxford in 1932, and became a Lecturer in Anglo-Saxon at the University of Kaunas. In 1939, he went to Egypt to study Islam and Arabic, and converted to Islam. The following year he was given a lectureship in Cairo University. He returned to the UK in 1952, and got a degree in Arabic from London University. He was a student and friend of C.S. Lewis, and in turn, became a teacher and friend to Le Gai Eaton.
From 1970-74 he was Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books at the British Museum where he had been in special charge of the Qur'an manuscripts, amongst other treasures, since 1955. Besides being a well respected biographer and a translator and author of texts about Sufism, Dr. Lings was a modern day authority on William Shakespeare. During Autumn 2004, he put forth his thesis that Shakespeare may have been influenced by Sufism.
Attributed variously to the Companion Abdullah Ibn Abbas (d. 68/687) and to Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub al-Firuzabadi (d. 817/1414), Tanwîr al-Miqbâs is one of the most pivotal works for understanding the environment which influenced the development of Qur’anic exegesis. Despite its uncertain authorship and its reliance on the controversial Isrâ’îliyyat or Israelite stories, Tanwîr al-Miqbâs nevertheless offers readers valuable insight into the circulation and exchange of popular ideas between Islam, Judaism and Christianity during the formative phase of Islamic exegesis.
About the Translator
Mr. Mokrane Guezzou is a British-Algerian translator of major Islamic works. He is currently preparing translations of Al-Wâhidî’s Asbâb al-Nuzûl (Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought) and Ibn 'Atâ Allâh al-Iskandârî’s al-Qasd al-Mujarrad îi Ma'rifat al-Ism al-Mufrad (Fons Vitae).
About the translator
Mr. Mokrane Guezzou is a British-Algerian translator of major Islamic works. His translation of Tanwīr al-Miqbās min Tafsīr Ibn 'Abbās also appears in the Great Tafsirs of the Qur'an series. He is also the translator of Ibn 'Atā Allāh al-Iskandarī's Al-Qasd al-Mujarrad fī Ma'rifat al-Ism al-Mufrad (forthcoming with Fons Vitae).
by Sahl bin Abd-Allah al-Tustari
A collection of the long-unavailable tafasir, or commentaries on the Qur'an, which help to properly explain and contextualize the revelation, this series aims to make leading exegetical works—in translation, unabridged, and faithful to the letter and meaning of the Arabic—widely available for study and research. The earliest surviving Sufi commentary on the Qur'an, this record is not only one of the few authenticated works in Tustari's name but is also a key source for understanding the mystical thought and teachings of this important and influential Sufi. In addition to insights into the spiritual significance of almost 1,000 verses of the Qur'an, this commentary, presented in complete English translation for the first time, includes numerous references to traditions of the Prophet, explanations of the ethical and mystical dimensions of the religious life, stories of the prophets, and anecdotes about earlier mystics. Generously augmented with explanatory footnotes throughout, the book will provide readers with an invaluable introduction to the Sufi tradition of Qur'anic interpretation and acquaint them with spiritual doctrines fundamental to the later development of Sufism.
About the Translators
Annabel Keeler obtained her doctorate from Cambridge University in 2001. Her dissertation, revised and expanded, was published in 2006 under the title "Sufi Hermeneutics: The Qur'an Commentary of Rashid al-Din Maybudi." She recently completed a research fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge, where she now continues her work in the field of Islamic mysticism with a particular interest in the Sufi interpretation of the Qur'an. Apart from her book on Maybudi's Qur'an commentary, she has published a number of articles in the field of Islamic mysticism and Sufi hermeneutics. She is currently preparing a monograph of the 9th Century mystic Abu Yazid al-Bistami.
Ali Keeler has spent almost ten years in the Middle East, firstly in the Yemen and then in Damascus, where as well as teaching English, he has studied Arabic, the art of Qur'anic recitation, aspects of the traditional Islamic sciences, and has read through several classic works of Islamic mysticism with living Sufi masters. He has translated a number of books into English, including "Selected Prayers of the Prophet Muhammad and Great Saints" and "A Tourist Guide to Craq de Chevalier."
Title: Islam to the Modern Mind
Author: Dr Moulana Muhammad Fazl ur Rahman Ansari al-Qadri (RA)
This is a collection of lectures delivered in the 1970's by Dr Moulana Muhammad Fazl ur Rahman Ansari al-Qadri, an unparalleled intellectual giant of his time - known for his unique mastery of both classical theology as well as contemporary science. This book, available for the first time ever online by consent of the compiler Mr. Mahdie Kriel - to whom we humbly express our heartfelt gratutide - is a must read for modern seekers of the Truth!
The Sunni Path is a book in the refutation of Wahhabiya published by Hakikat Kitabevi Turkey in multiple languages.
Al-Mustasfa min 'ilm al-usul. (On Legal theory of Muslim Jurisprudence) - (المستصفى من علم الأصول)
By Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (450-505 AH)
A celebrated work of al-Ghazali on Usul al-Fiqh is considered one of four works that all isul work revolve around and they are: 1. The mu`tazalite `Abd al-Jabar (d. 415) al-Qadi's al-`umad; 2. abu al-Husain (d. 473) al-Basri's al-mu`tamad (commentary on al-`umad); 3. al-Imam al-Harmian abu al-Ma`ali (d. 478) Juywani's al-Burhan and 4. this book.
- Bulaq Edition in two volumes reprinted in Beirut: Volume 1, 2 (pdf)
- Recent edited edition in 4 volumes, edited by H. Z. Hafiz, Jeddah, n.d.: (pdf)
- al-Mustasfa min 'ilm al-isul. (Arabic link), a 'complete' text edition (Arabic word) Seems to have the printed text's page numbers. (zipped)
- Vol. 1 was translated in: ABU HAMID AL-GHAZALI'S JURISTIC DOCTRINE IN 'AL-MUSTASFA MIN 'ILM AL-USUL' WITH A TRANSLATION OF VOLUME ONE OF 'AL-MUSTASFA MIN 'ILM AL-USUL'. HAMMAD, AHMAD ZAKI, PHD. THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, 1987. (T-30177) (part-1-PDF) is a study of al-Ghazali's contribution to Usul one of the first in the English language. (part 2: translation of volume 1-PDF).
Tahafut al-Falasifa (Incoherence of philosophers)
By: Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (450-505 AH)
This is the most famous philosophical work of Imam Ghazali.
- Critical edition: (Tahafot al-falasifat / Algazel ; texte arabe etabli et accompagne d'un sommaire latin et d'index par Maurice Bouyges.) (PDF)
- Text (with an introduction and notes by S. Dunya) (Arabic PDF)
- Arabic E-text in word format -partially proofread.
- M. Bejou's Arabic edition. (Arabic PDF)! This edition includes a lecture by Mahmoud ‘Abbas al-‘Aqad and a postscript by Dr. Hikmat Hashem, Dean of Philosophy department at Damascus University. (Damascus, 1994).
- English translation by S. A. Kamali (1963) (PDF) also in html (Thanks to a volunteer) Read online on Scribd
- Second English Translation by a prof. of Islamic Theology: Marmura, Michael E. The incoherence of the philosophers: Tahafut al-falasifah: a parallel English-Arabic text (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1997). Note Prof. Marmura did his PhD thesis on this book!
- Abu Ridah, Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Hadi. Al-Ghazali und Seine Widerlegung der griechischen Philosophie (Tahafut al-Falasifah), Madrid: 1952.
- Turkish: Filozoflarin tutarsizligi tr. Bekir Karliga, Istanbul: Özdem Kardesler Matbaasi, 1981. xxxi, 381 p.
- Book Review: General overview. (link)
- Book Review: From Khasf az-Zunun By Hajji Khalifia (In Arabic)
Two Poles of a Critical and Creative Faith
AL-Ghazali: The Incoherence of the Philosophers. Tr. By Michael E. Marmura. Brigham University Press, Provo, Utah, 1997. Pp. 260. ISBN 0-8425-2351-0.
Al-Ghazali: The Niche of Light. Tr. By David Buchman. Brigham University Press, Provo, Utah, 1997. Pp. 79. ISBN 0-8425-2351-7.
Abu-Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali (450-505/1058-1111) was the greatest scholar and saint of classical Islam who wrought a veritable and enduring synthesis of theology, philosophy, law and mysticism in a universal science of Islam. The paths of harmony and accord, however, are paved with the cobblestones of compromise and conciliation and the acquisition of half a loaf by those who demand a full one is seldom gratifying. Little wonder that Al-Ghazali’s opponents accused him of being all things to all men. Ibn-Rushd, the great antagonist and adversary of Al-Ghazali who was born after his death, for instance, claimed in a vein of unkind polemics that “Abu Hamid … adhered to no single doctrine in his works, but he was an Ash´arite with the Ash´arites, a Sufi with the Sufis, and a philosopher with the philosophers, so that he was like the man in the verse:
One day you are a Yamanite, when you meet a man of Yaman
But when you meet a man of Ma´add, you assert you are from ´Adnan”
These two new translations of such disparate and conflicting texts again raise the question of the unity and coherence of Ghazali’s teachings, viz. whether all meaningful understanding of his works is premised on the establishment of a chronological order, or whether his ‘true’ doctrine is to be found only in his esoteric treatises. Whatever the academic discomforts of resolving these controversies, there is no doubt that the re-issue of these two, celebrated but also scandalized, texts in a scholarly collection is a singularly salutary event that is a source of joy and comfort to every student of Islamic philosophy and mysticism. Indeed, the relevance of Ghazali’s seminal critique of the metaphysical axioms and postulates of philosophy stretches far beyond the confines of medieval polemics in which it was historically situated and reaches right down to the heart of the contemporary debate over the truth and ideology of scientism, to the thorny question of the relationship between scientific knowledge, which by its very empirical nature is reductionist, and man’s search for meaning, which is unable to shun the ‘unscientific’ questions of totality and ultimacy.
Before any discussion of the contents of these texts, however, a few introductory remarks about the academic project, Al-Hikma: Islamic Translation Series, that, I believe, are not without interest to the readers of this journal. ‘The Islamic Translation Series: Philosophy, Theology, and Mysticism’ is designed, in the words of Parviz Morewedge, the Editor-in-Chief of the series, ‘to further scholarship in Islamic studies but, by encouraging the translation of Islamic texts into the technical language of contemporary Western scholarship, to assist in the integration of Islamic studies in Western academia and to promote global perspectives in the disciplines to which it is devoted. If this goal is achieved, it will not be for the first time: Historians well know that during the so-called Middle Ages, a portion of the philosophical, scientific and mathematical wealth of the Islamic tradition entered into and greatly enriched the West. Even Christian theology was affected, as is brilliantly evidenced in the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and other scholastics.’ Cosponsored by the Institute of Global Cultural Studies, Bringhamton University, State University of New York, under the direction of Professor Ali Mazrui, Al-Hikma project appears to enjoy the patronage of a number of reputable scholars, including some Muslims. Nevertheless, judging from the present texts that have been translated and introduced by a veteran scholar of Islamic philosophy, Michael E. Marmura, and a promising young student, David Buchman, any significant Muslim contribution to the academic output – just as to the funding of the Series itself - is yet to be made. That such scholarly, and handsomely produced volumes with bilingual texts, have seen the light of day is however a source of great satisfaction and inspiration for all.
There is little doubt that The Incoherence of Philosophers is a very sophisticated piece of polemics, a highly original and stimulating text occupying the borderland of philosophy and theology that constituted the most cogent intellectual argument of the monotheistic faith in medieval times. Not surprisingly, it was a source of inspiration even for the protagonists of other Abarahamic traditions. The principal claim of Maimonides’ great apology for Judaism, The Guide of the Perplexed, that the God of religious faith possesses a free will in the exercise of which He is not bound to act in accordance with the order of nature, and the God of Aristotelian philosophers, who is hamstrung by the immutability of this order, ‘owes’, according to Shlomo Pines, Maimonides’ modern translator, ‘a great deal to Al-Ghazali.’ Of course, there’s no denying that Al-Ghazali’s argument – which is certainly not to be construed as an anti-philosophy - inhabits the mental universe of Aristotelian logic and syllogism. And yet, he is also surprisingly ‘modern’ in his insight that certain claims of First philosophy are nothing but the dogmatic tenets of an unsubstantiated and unverifiable ‘cosmology’, a non-philosophical attempt to impart meaning to the human situation from the standpoint of an ‘All’, the ever-existing and eternal ‘world’. Thus, there is every reason to agree with the editor of this series that Al-Ghazali’s seminal text needs to be dusted off the medieval shelf and brought to the debating hall of modernity. Following the Ghazalian insights, it would appear that even attempts by modern physics to generate a cosmology, to deliver an authoritative account of all by a theory of the origin, are spurious and unscientific. The putative ‘cosmology’ of physics, whatever its claims to analogical reasoning, is nothing but an ideology!
Mamura’s translation is eminently lucid and readable. If one may have any quibble with it all, it would be about its excessive transparency which suggests far too generous an empathy with modern consciousness! For instance, al-dahriyya, is rendered, in conformity with the usage adopted by the earlier translator Van Den Bergh, as ‘the materialists.’ While this choice may be conceptually and philosophically unimpeachable, the literal rendering of the term would be ‘the temporalists’. The very canny adaptation by Muslim writers of this term would seen to suggest, however that the duality of ‘spirit’ and ‘matter’ is conceived by them as the antithesis of ‘time’ and ‘transcendence’. Islamic consciousness does not, accordingly, devalues ‘matter’ but is opposed to the nihilistic pretensions of the temporalists who, like the postmodern relativists, find no values beyond and outside of time and history. Uncannily, the Islamic labeling of nihilism as ‘temporalism’ also strikes at the heart of philosophical and metaphysical variety of modern secularism, which is quintessentially historicist and immanentist. Be that as it may, Mamura has done a great service not only to the scholarly community but also to all lovers of Ghazali and the would-be critics of Enlightenment reason. Not only is his translation far more eloquent and gratifying, his commentary also lacks the gratuitous polemics and supercilious Eurocentism of Orientalist precursors, just as the presence of the parallel Arabic text is a real boon that for many readers is likely to provide a doorway to the intricacies and beauties of classical Arabic itself.
The Niche of Light is a text of a different complexion and character altogether. It forms a mystical reflection and esoteric commentary on the celebrated Qur’anic Light Verse (Ayat al-Nur; 24:35), and the hadith, thematically related to this, that is known as the ‘Veils Hadith’. Ghazali explains their meaning, according to the translator, ‘by establishing a metaphysics of light - which includes an ontology and an epistemology- and interrelated cosmological and psychological schemes based upon this metaphysics.’ Thus, contrary to his strictures on the axiomatic claims of philosophy, which enunciate a cosmology, as it were, gratuitously and insidiously, Ghazali here proffers a cosmology and a worldview – ‘a way of giving meaning to reality though presenting an interrelated cosmology and psychology’ – that derives from the Qur’anic revelation. This brief tract on the metaphysics of light, full of spiritual beauty and mystical splendour, is regarded as a gem of Sufi literature and as such has elicited much traditional reflection and modern commentary. By his competent scholarship and labour of love, Buchman has thus put everyone, scholars and truth-seekers alike, in his gratitude. Nor may one forget that lovers of Sufism would be particularly delighted at the appearance of this bi-lingual edition of such a key text of the Islamic mysticism.
These magnificent texts reflect the two, ostensibly opposite, sides of Al-Ghazli’s personality. In one, he refutes - on the ground of reason itself - the claim of reason to provide an account of ‘everything that is’; in the other he himself discovers, from the light of the Revelation, such a source of ultimate meaning and reality. If these disclose tensions and inconsistencies, they do so within a splendidly critical and creative human soul.
S Parvez Manzoor