“فان قيل امكان الوجود له من ذاته ووجوده من غيره فكيف يكون ما له من ذاته وما له من غيره واحد. قلنا و كيف يكون وجوب الوجود عين الوجود ويمكن أن نيفى وجوب والوجود و يثبت الوجود. والواحد الحق من كل وجه هو الذي لا يتسع للنفى والاثبات اذ لا يمكن أن يقال موجود وليس بموجود او واجب الوجود و ليس بواحب الوجود و يمكن أن يقال موجود و ليس بواجب الوجود كما يمكن أن يقال موجود و ليس بممكن الوجود. و إنما تعرف الوحدة بهذا. فلا يستقيم تقدير ذلك في الأول أن صح ما ذكروه من أن امكان الوجود غير الوجود الممكن”—If it is then said, “The possibility of existence beongs to it from itself, whereas its existence derives from another; then how would that which belongs to it from itself and that which it has from another be the same?” We say, How can the necessity of existence be identical with existence, when the necessity of existence can be denied and existence affirmed? The true one in every respect is the one not subject to simultaneous affirmation and negation, since it cannot be said of it that it exists and does not exist and that it is necessary of existence and not necessary of existence. But it is possible to say that something exists but is not necessary of existence, just as it can be said that it exists and is not possible of existence. It is through this that unity is known. Hence, it would be incorrect to suppose this identity of the necessity of existence and existence in the case of the First, if what they say-namely, that the possibility of existence is other than existence that is possible-is true.
“كرم المرء دينه ، ومروءته عقله ، وحسبه خلقه”—"The nobility of a man is his religion, while his manliness is his discernment, and his regard is his character." Abu Hurayrah via al-Bayhaqi in his as-Sunan al-Kubra.
An Ancient Middle Eastern Lamb Spice Rub Recipe That My Wife Made Up
1 onion Juice of a small lemon 8 cloves of garlic 1 Tbs of rice vinegar 1 Tbs of olive oil 1/2 tsp of pepper corn 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes 1/2 tsp of whole allspice 1 tbs of sea salt 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp of cinnamon 1 tsp of garlic powder 1 tsp of onion powder 1 1/2- 2 tsp of dried mint1 tsp of parsley.
Freshly grind the allspice, peppercorn and pepper flakes. Mix in the rest of the spices. Puree the onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice mixture. Add spice and herb mixture mix until it makes a thick paste. Rub spice mixture on lamb. Insert mixture into slits in the meat mixture. Marinate 3 hours before roasting.
“The user of amorphous plastic words is much more likely to be a slave to the words. He cannot check them; instead he may have the illusion of viewing a territory in a comprehensive way.”—Uwe Poerksen, Plastic Words.
There are numerous important terms known in the Islamic languages for which the Chinese authors had to find equivalents. What should be done, for example, with the word Allah? In Persian, the word is part of everyday speech, though people are just as likely to use the Persian equivalent (khuda). But there is no equivalent in Chinese. According to Tanaka, to render the concept of God Muslims used “heaven” in the Tang period (618-907) and both “heaven” and “Buddha” in the Sung dynasty (960-1279). At the end of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), when they had begun writing books in Chinese, they used words like “Real Lord” (chen-chu), “Real One” (chen-i), “Real Ruler” (chen-tsai), and “Lord” (chu).
"Real Lord" is especially interesting because Christians employed the expression "Heavenly Lord" (t’ien-chu). The very name of the Christian divinity would have caused difficulties for metaphysically minded Chinese, given that heaven and earth are inseparably linked, while the supreme principle must lie beyond the two. As it happens, the Koran frequently refers to God as "creator of heaven and earth," and the common Chinese expression "heaven, earth, and the ten thousand things" has its Koranic equivalent in "heaven, earth, and what is between the two," which occurs in some twenty verses.
”—Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light, by Sachiko Murata.
“In short, it should not be surprising that the Chinese Muslim authors avoided using Arabic words. But this made their task unique in the Islamic world. Everywhere else, authors could simply employ the Arabic terms in their own languages, without having to worry too much about getting the exact meaning across. The Chinese ulama had to use pre-existing Chinese words to render Islamic ideas, and every one of these words had precedents and connotations in one or more of the three Chinese traditions—Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. The paucity of reference in the Chinese works to the great personalities of Islamic history, unparalleled in Islamic literature, is tied directly to the difficulty of representing their name in Chinese characters.”—Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light, by Sachiko Murata.
“It is worth remembering that the Chinese ulama were faced with a problem that was not present in any of the other languages used to express Islamic teachings. It would be next to impossible to write scholarly Chinese in the Arabic, and only slightly less difficult to write Arabic in the Chinese script. When a language does employ the Arabic script, any Arabic word can be made part of it, so languages like Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Sindhi, Gujrati, and Malaysian have numerous Arabic loan-words, and indeed, a language deserves to be called an “Islamic” language largely because of the massive carryover of Arabic terminology. Even the European languages allow for a relatively simple transliteration of Arabic words. But the Chinese script simply does not permit transliteration except in an enormously awkward and even grotesque manner. Thus the name Muhammad, which obviously had to be spelled out in Chinese at least on occasion, ended up being written in a half-dozen different ways, each of them a cumbersome attempt to present the word phonetically.”—Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light, by Sachiko Murata.
Here are the facts; 80% of American Muslim converts are African American, and African Americans are dead last in virtually every socio-economic category that measures wellbeing; unemployment, access to health care, illiteracy, education, single parent households, broken families, incarceration rates, diabetes, hypertension, home ownership, and infant mortality, and the list goes on and on.
Indigenous African Americans have been converting to Islam for decades; however, the phenomena of massive and continuous conversion amongst African Americans to Islam has not evolved generationally into indigenous Muslim families, extended families or home grown institutions that reflect our faith and it’s principles, and serve the best interests of the new Muslim. Why is this important? Well, it matters because as each subsequent generation of practicing Muslims evolve within the family, the moral and religious values of Islam takes hold and are reinforced within the family unit and the extended family.
I wrote a response to his post, with the comments below:
As-Salaamu ‘alaykum Imam Luqman. You have drawn our attention to some disparaging numbers and statistics. As a native of Philadelphia, you are all too familiar with these realities. The question is, when is Muslim leadership in Philadelphia and points beyond – and here I mean Blackamerican Muslim leadership – going to address these disparities? As we spoke when you were here, so much of the indigenous imagination has been colonized by a make believe Islam, an Islam that has never really existed anywhere, and in doing so, has syphoned off an incredible amount of our creative energy. We no longer look to solve our existential crises with Islam, but instead, actually seek to perpetuate them in the name of Islam. We lack faith in ourselves: We’ve come to doubt blackness and Americaness as equally viable contenders to the authenticity of Islam. It will require, as Dr. Jackson said, a paradigm shift, though without a pair-of-dimes to rub together (a la your aforementioned “socio-economic” discrepancy), that shift is going to remain aloof and unobtainable.
Again, I point to the same question: What occupies our imagination as a group? It is not attacking truancy, it is not attacking joblessness, it is not attacking a moral contrariness on a social level; it is none of these. It is occupied instead with putting all efforts into hyper-individualistic attempts to gain a short cut path to glory: “I don’t have to address any of my personal and social ills to be a Muslim, I’ll just put on a special costume and voilá!, I’m a bona fide Muslim!” We have become so deficit in our self-esteem that we are desperate to cling to that which will provide us a sense of identity. What is most even more tragic is that these feelings are not blameless; to the opposite, they’re quite natural. As a people who had their languages, their cultures, their religions, their histories taken from them, while being kept in the status of an irrevocable “other”, it is no wonder that so many of us sought an identity-based redemption in Islam. I do believe that there is something comprehensively holistic in Islam for us (and for all people for that matter), but when identity trumps devotion, when identity becomes a tool to coerce an articulation of Islam that is, as a first priority, pleasing to our nafs, and not as an effort to please God, then we wind up with what we have today: The verge of a secularized, nihilistic bastardization of Islam. The blowback from this is the continued descent into existential oblivion.
When we look at the immigrant Muslim community, we can see that they too are fraught with challenges. However, the one thing that works in their favor is the family unit. While not a not a monolith and all discrepancies withstanding, immigrant Muslims succeed in the areas we do not primarily because of their family units and how that unit functions as a safety for members of the family. Their families have stigmas which demand a certain amount of appeasement on the part of all family members. This is not to foist immigrant Muslims up as the paragon of Muslim family achievement, but there are many important lessons that might be learned; from them, and from other religious and ethnic communities as well. Until we demand the best from amongst our own families, we will continue to produce the same results, albeit, on a downward slope.
In a recent set of notes from a gathering of various Muslim scholars about Muslim life in America, one of the under riding themes was that of loneliness and isolation. There are so many Muslims who long for a healthy community life as well as a healthy private life. We can see now that our numbers for divorce are coming into line with those of the dominant culture. We are coming to see that while we are Muslim, we are not immune to the effects of modernity, of which one of its primary characteristics is loneliness and isolation. This is not simply backwash of what’s in the drinking water; it is a byproduct of modernity’s mechanisms: They churn night and day to produce human beings, who at the cost of all else, become individuals. We see this manifested in our pop culture, which relishes and rewards “the rebel”, the “cowboy”, the “self-made man or woman.” Modernity is, at its heart, anti-community and anti-human. It makes of Bani Adam isolated blips on 18% grey screen, individuals floating through life, latching on to this or that object or ideology which can temporarily deaden the angst of nihilism.
So we must strive to find a way to build not just communities, for that has become another meaningless plastic word, but lived-in communities, that raise and build and support and love!, real God-fearing, God-loving people, who strive both within and without, for God’s sake and in hope of God’s Mercy. With so many of us spread out, especially the link-minded ones, how do we begin to tackle this quandary?
The Tradition of Tajdid in Western Bilad al-Sudan: A Study of the Genesis, Development and Patterns of Islamic Revivalism in the Region. Phd. Thesis by Dr. Usman Muhammad Bugaje [pdf]. A real worth while read.
“I’m the person that said the only difference between Detroit, in terms of the culture of corruption, and a third world nation is the goats on the street. And I understand Detroit may have some goats.”—Sam Riddle, political consultant to incarcerated former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick. See the video interview here.
For reasons I cannot explain, cab drivers love talking to me. Perhaps it’s from my own days as a cabbie. This particular character, Tommy Taylor, was really something else. Animated and firery, he told me about his time as a musician, playing with such bands as The Coasters. All this took place on the way in his cab, recorded on my cell phone.
The New York Times, liberal bastion that it is, did a “wonderful job” of show casing Muslim artistic talent: Illume magazine, Zaytuna, Wajahat Ali’s plays; but no Black folks. I guess there aren’t many Blackamerican Muslim artists. Thanks, NYT’s for keeping all of us informed.
“In his new book, Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, [Ibrahim Abdul-Matin] challenges Muslims and non-Muslims to be stewards of the earth. He hopes the book will help rebrand Muslims from terrorists to environmentalists.”—As appauling as the notion might seem at first blush, the term “branding” is worth taking a closer look at. Perhaps, if not re-branding, going back to the idea of narrative. Reader on.
“Fabian argued that the repression or denial of the real contemporaneity of so-called savage cultures with that of Western explorers, colonizers, and settlers is one of the pervasive, foundational assumptioms of modern anthropology in general.”—John Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction.
“Ethnology could have been born as a science only at the moment when European culture … had been dislocated, driven from its locus, and forced to stop considering itself as the culture of reference”—Jaques Derrida, Writing and Difference, from John Rieder’s Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction.
PKD’s universe is consistent to some extent. You can see him revisiting themes over and over: the idea of precognition; worm-like aliens; women as objects [yeah…]. I am intrigued at his inclusion of Black Muslims as a resistance group [in Tennessee of all places].
Philip K. Dick covers a lot of ground in this one: Black Muslims as mankind’s last hope against a race of space worms. Old world racism in the future. Human civilization. It’s definitely worth a read for the PKD reader.
Simply put, I don’t like Jamaica Kincaid or her writing. While she may make powerful critiques against the English and their former colonial power, she’s just as intolerant of Antiguans - an intolerance based on the same prejudices as the English she claims to abhor.
Do you ever wonder how we obtain some of our common understandings of Islam? Ustadh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a resident scholar at Zaytuna College, examines this issue and explores the distinction between ‘interpretation’ and Islam! Very important for a clear perspective on Islamic Law. Listen to this sample of a this session with Ustadh Abdullah. The full session is available at Lamppost Productions
“The importance of [Cyrano de Bergerac’s] satire has far less to do with Copernicus’s taking the Earth out of the center of the solar system than with Cyrano’s taking his own [French] Culture out of the center of the human race, making it no longer definitive of the range of human possibilities.”—John Rieder - Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction.
“JUSTIN BIEBER is stunned at the lengths fans will go to in order to meet him - four female followers hid in a dumpster to evade security at a German TV show last week”—What would you do to meet your god?
a great white light dawns across the
as we fawn over our failed traditions,
often kill to preserve them
or sometimes kill just to kill.
it doesn’t seem to matter: the answers dangle just
out of reach,
out of hand, out of mind.
the leaders of the past were insufficient,
the leaders of the present are unprepared.
we curl up tightly in our beds at night and wait
it is a waiting without hope, more like
a prayer for unmerited grace.
it all looks more and more like the same old
the actors are different but the plot’s the same:
we should have known, watching our fathers.
we should have known, watching our mothers.
they did not know, they too were not prepared to
we were too naive to ignore their
and now we have embraced their
ignorance as our
we are them, multiplied.
we are their unpaid debts.
we are bankrupt
in money and
there are a few exceptions, of course,
but these teeter on the
at any moment
tumble down to join the rest
the raving, the battered, the blind and the sadly
a great white white light dawns across the
the flowers open blindly in the stinking wind,
as grotesque and ultimately
our 21st century
struggles to be
”—Something’s Knocking At the Door, by Charles Bukowski.