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The Diaspora surrounding Caricatures

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By Dawood Mehmood

The attacks in Paris against Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish community are horrific and wholly against the teachings of Islam. After the attacks, the magazine published more caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, as Muslims we must also condemn this vindictive and hateful act.

The debate of freedom of speech has come into light in the past week, and many have said that it is justifiable for Charlie Hebdo to publish the caricatures. However, many feel that there is dual-standard and hypocritical behaviour surrounding this argument. The same people who argue for this on the one hand say it is free speech to draw the Prophet Muhammad, on the other hand, do not draw Prime Minister Netanyahu, as it may be anti-Semitic, as proven in 2013, when the Daily Telegraph retracted their caricature. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his “sharp reservation”, with Rupert Murdoch stating “we owe [a] major apology for [the] grotesque, offensive cartoon”. If it is grotesque to draw Netanyahu, then how can it be freedom of speech drawing the Prophet Muhammad? The question that should be debated is what are the limits to the freedom of speech?

Muslim Contributions to Western Civilisation

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By Shaykh Rehan Ahmed Raza Al-Azhari

In modern times, the contribution of Muslim civilization and culture to the development of Science has hardly received the measure of recognition it deserves, despite the pioneering and courageous works of such scholars as Sarton[1], Briffault[2] and Le Bon[3]. Draper’s A History of the Intellectual Development of Europe and the joint publication of the late T.W. Arnold and Alfred Guillaume also deserve credible mention.

The aim of this discourse is to draw attention to the unique aspects, whose presence is a strong argument in support of the fact that Muslims have had the capability of establishing a civilization that is superior and perfected, in comparison to the present time.  It also serves to remind the younger generation of the Muslim Ummah, the need to establish such an exalted civilization as it was founded by our ancestors. The need to raise this reminder is currently most appropriate due to the Muslim Ummah stepping into a new era with great enthusiasm and fervor, and it possesses the liability to build a better and superior future.

The Muslim Ummah still retains the habits, disposition and talents of their ancestors.  Thus when Muslims hear of their stories of excellence, eminence and respectability, they are motivated into constructive work.

It was not possible to elaborate on the tremendous achievements accomplished by the Muslims in the past in such a short article, therefore I will choose certain fields and give details on the achievements of various Muslim Scholars in their respective fields.

We will be discussing the fields of Mathematics, Physics & Technology, Astronomy, Chemistry and Medicine.

Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil

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By Shaykh Rehan Ahmed Raza Al-Azhari

It is fitting to state that gratitude is due upon us, in the name of the All-Powerful, who created us as human beings, with intellect. Who created us with limbs and emotions, of senses and abilities. Most importantly, He created us from the Nation of His most Beloved – Prophet Muhammad (Peace & Blessings). This short article will discuss the major duty of enjoining good and forbidding evil and the evil consequences of abandoning this Prophetic duty.

Women and Education in Islam

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By Dr Raheeq Abbasi

Gender inequality is a common accusation made against Islam and a disparity in educational opportunities between men and women in many Muslim countries is often cited as a primary example of this. Education is seen as one of the pivotal factors in determining the economic, social and political advancement of a society and if, those making up over fifty percent of that society, are denied such a basic fundamental right then needless to say human rights activists will seek to find reasons for this disparity. Religion, particularly Islam is cited as a major stumbling block for women’s advancement. Studies have shown that in many parts of Africa and South East Asia women’s acquisition of knowledge is either fervently opposed; regulated to secondary importance as compared to men or encumbered with so many restrictions as to make it almost impossible for female students to acquire a decent standard of education.

40 points on the Significance of Transmission of Sacred Knowledge

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In today's day and age many people think they are authorised to speak for Islam. The printing press, television and internet have disturbed the natural order of seeking knowledge which was not merely from books and speeches but rather by sitting day-in-day-out, years on end, at the feet of the learned authorities who were themselves well trained intellectually and spiritually by their predecessors. This process continued from the time of the early Muslims who were adamant on ensuring that the true Islamic teachings were correctly transmitted to the coming generations. The chain of transmission was by them introduced to carefully scrutinise who is transmitting the truth and who falsehood. Each and every aspect of the people in the chain were carefully scrutinised to identify the authenticity of that knowledge conveyed; to identify who is an authority in relating faith. A scholar was recognised not merely by the information he had but rather the chain from where he is connected and from where he received his intellectual and spiritual training therein. When the teacher qualified the student - he was now ready to be a torch-bearer of knowledge; a true inheritor of Prophet (peace & blessings be upon him). The significance of Isnad (chain of authority and transmission of knowledge) is fundamental to understanding that who is an authority in Islam. Below are 40 points from the book al-Minhaj-us-Sawiyyi-Minal-Hadithin-Nabawi by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri which demonstrate its shari' basis:

Tafsir Surah al-Fatiha and the concept of Tawhid

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Below is a translated extract by Mohammed Iqtedar from the Urdu book ‘Tafsir Surat-al-Fatiha awr Ta’mire-Shakhsiyyat’ by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri.

From the dawn of humanity, people have been the victims of a variety of errors in matters of belief which is often due to ignorance in the following fundamental truths:

  • Tawhid (belief in the oneness or unity of Allah)
  • Risalah (belief in the Messengers of Allah)
  • Akhirah (belief in life after death)

Post-Radical Islam and the West

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By Shahid Mursaleen

The tragic events of 9/11 have changed the world scene and the gap between Islam and the West has widened further. Radical Islamists have been held responsible for the horrific events and once again due to flawed journalism, anti-Islamic sentiments have been promoted in the West. Consequently Islam is now one of the most misunderstood religions and furthermore the contribution of medieval Islam on which modern western civilisation is based on is being ignored.

Interestingly Prince Charles in his lecture at Oxford University also recognised this fact and said, “If there is much misunderstanding in the West about the nature of Islam, there is also much ignorance about the debt our own culture and civilisation owe to the Islamic world. The medieval Islamic world, from central Asia to the shores of the Atlantic, was a world where scholars and men of learning flourished. But because we have tended to see Islam as the enemy of the West, as an alien culture, society, and system of belief, we have tended to ignore or erase its great relevance to our own history."

Philosophy of fasting

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By Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

One of many purposes to be realized by religion is the purification and purgation of self, soul and beliefs. It is for this purpose that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that he was raised as a Prophet for the perfection of moral excellence. It is in this context that the ideal before the mankind is the attainment of highest moral standards, which is possible through purification of self. Going by the teachings of religions of the world, it becomes certain that every religion has highlighted the importance of spiritual purification and moral edification in one form or the other.

Concerning the death of the Prophet (peace & blessings be upon Him)

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By Osman Riaz

The Objection: It is claimed that the Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessings be upon Him) is dead like the common bodies which are lying dead in their graves having no concern with the affairs of the world. That he is not alive in his grave. He is, therefore, unaware of the state of his ummah and the world in general. It is, thus, wrong to seek anything from the dead through intermediation, nor is there anything special about visiting Madinah (that many Muslims yearn for) since the Prophet (peace & blessings be upon Him) is not alive and is unaware of our presence when we visit his grave.

Answer: This idea stems from an atheistic, secularist and western orientalist approach to Islam which some Muslims have assimilated and marketed as "pure Islam". This concept had never existed for over a thousand years of Islamic history until recent centuries. This allegation has, however, been rejected by the majority of Muslims across the globe and they refuse to accept this creed. Quite frankly, since it is a deviation from the original Islamic belief. The actual belief concerning this matter is that the Prophet (peace & blessings be upon Him) did die but this does not mean that he is not alive in his grave; fully informed. The true Islamic belief will be proven through Quran, Hadith, and sayings of religious authorities:

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