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2 years ago  ::  Sep 23, 2013 - 4:13AM #31
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Here is a nice article on history...



                Byzantium and Islam            


                Age of Transition            

           [ Source: ]

March 14–July 8, 2012


Accompanied by a blog, a catalogue, and an Audio Guide       

Moderated by Merope on Dec 20, 2013 - 12:30PM
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1 year ago  ::  Oct 26, 2013 - 6:04AM #32
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This new book opens a untold story of American history. How the founding fathers of America shown great respect to Islam. This openess of founding fathers made America a great country with unique values.


Check it out....


Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders

 In this original and illuminating book, Denise A. Spellberg reveals a little-known but crucial dimension of the story of American religious freedom—a drama in which Islam played a surprising role. In 1765, eleven years before composing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson bought a Qur’an. This marked only the beginning of his lifelong interest in Islam, and he would go on to acquire numerous books on Middle Eastern languages, history, and travel, taking extensive notes on Islam as it relates to English common law. Jefferson sought to understand Islam notwithstanding his personal disdain for the faith, a sentiment prevalent among his Protestant contemporaries in England and America. But unlike most of them, by 1776 Jefferson could imagine Muslims as future citizens of his new country.

 Based on groundbreaking research, Spellberg compellingly recounts how a handful of the Founders, Jefferson foremost among them, drew upon Enlightenment ideas about the toleration of Muslims (then deemed the ultimate outsiders in Western society) to fashion out of what had been a purely speculative debate a practical foundation for governance in America. In this way, Muslims, who were not even known to exist in the colonies, became the imaginary outer limit for an unprecedented, uniquely American religious pluralism that would also encompass the actual despised minorities of Jews and Catholics. The rancorous public dispute concerning the inclusion of Muslims, for which principle Jefferson’s political foes would vilify him to the end of his life, thus became decisive in the Founders’ ultimate judgment not to establish a Protestant nation, as they might well have done.

 As popular suspicions about Islam persist and the numbers of American Muslim citizenry grow into the millions, Spellberg’s revelatory understanding of this radical notion of the Founders is more urgent than ever. Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an is a timely look at the ideals that existed at our country’s creation, and their fundamental implications for our present and future.

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1 year ago  ::  Oct 29, 2013 - 12:48PM #33
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Prof. Intisar Rabb on Harvard Law Faculty

September 19, 2013 by  

By Sophy Bishop

Intisar Rabb, a newly named faculty member, photographed in the Law LibraryIntisar A. Rabb, a leading expert on Islamic Law and legal history, will join the faculty of Harvard Law School beginning Spring 2014, with an appointment as a tenured Professor of Law.

Rabb is currently associate professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Law at New York University School of Law, where she holds a joint appointment at the NYU Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Department and the NYU School of Law. At HLS, she will be a faculty director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program.

Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow said: “Intisar is a first-rate scholar; she engages across historical and present-day legal issues and materials with nimbleness and contagious curiosity. We are delighted she is joining this community and look forward to supporting her keen interest in using the web and other tools for sharing accurate information about the Middle East and Islamic legal traditions with students, scholars, journalists and people all over the world. Generations of students and colleagues at HLS, at Harvard, and beyond will benefit enormously from her expertise, her teaching, and her wonderful way of engaging others in discussion of important issues.”

In 2012, Rabb served as a visiting associate professor of law at Harvard Law School. From 2011 to 2013, she was a fellow at HLS’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where she worked with a team to develop an online database aimed at connecting legal scholars and media producers with credible, authoritative information about trends in Islamic law. In 2010, she was named a Carnegie Scholar for her research on “Islamic Law and Legal Change: The Internal Critique,” which examines criminal law reform in the Muslim world.

Said Rabb: “I am thrilled to be joining Harvard Law School: the ideal community in which to further explore and teach concepts of Islamic law, legal history, and comparative law in an interdisciplinary way. My colleagues at HLS are stellar scholars and teachers; I found the students I taught there to be consistently sharp and engaged; and the library resources—especially for the study of Islamic and Middle Eastern law—are unparalleled in any North American law school. In addition to continuing down the many avenues of intellectual engagement there, I look forward to coming back to the HLS classroom and to the library. I also look forward to building the Islamic Legal Studies Program to its full potential.”

Rabb holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies (with a focus on Islamic Law) from Princeton University. Her dissertation, which won the Princeton NES Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Thesis Prize for Best Ph.D. Dissertation, focused on the history and function of legal maxims in Islamic law. In addition to her Ph.D., Rabb earned a B.S. from Georgetown University in Government and Arabic in 1999, a M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 2005 and a J.D. from Yale Law School, in 2006.

She served as a law clerk to the Hon. Thomas L. Ambro of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, from 2006 to 2007, and subsequently worked with members of the bench and bar in the United Kingdom as a Temple Bar Scholar through the American Inns of Court. Rabb speaks Arabic and Persian and has reading proficiency in French, German, and Spanish.

Her publications include: “The Burden and Benefit of Doubt: Legal Maxims in Early Islamic Law” (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2014); “Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought,” co-edited with Michael Cook, Najam Haider, and Asma Sayeed, (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and “Qāḍī Justice: Courts and The Administration of Justice in Early Islamic Law and Society” (Cambridge University Press, under contract).

Currently, Rabb serves on the board of the Journal of Islamic Law and Society and as an executive Board Member on the Section on Islamic Law and as chair-elect of the Section on Comparative Law for the American Association of Law Schools. In the past, she has served as a guest editor of the Journal of Law and Religion.

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on Sep 22, 2014 - 12:31AM
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1 year ago  ::  Dec 11, 2013 - 8:30AM #34
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The Queen is to appoint aristocrat who converted to Islam as her High Sheriff

The Earl of Yarborough, who took the name Abdul Mateen after he became a Muslim, has been nominated as the Queen's High Sheriff of Lincolnshire

While the Prince of Wales has been praising the unifying strengths of the Commonwealth, the Queen is preparing for an eye-catching appointment back home.

Mandrake hears that an aristocrat who converted to Islam has been nominated to be the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire, the monarch’s representative in the county.

The Earl of Yarborough, who uses the name Abdul Mateen, will take the unpaid role next year.

On the death of his father in 1991, he inherited the bulk of the £68 million estate, which includes Brocklesby Park in Lincolnshire, 27,500 acres of farmland, and one of Britain’s finest private art collections.

His father was quite a character. At his village carol service, he once read the lesson about the shepherds deserting their flocks to see the baby in Bethlehem.

“I’d just like to say,” he told the startled congregation, “that if these men had been my shepherds, I’d have sacked them.”

A Mandrake plant?

Her husband's ancestral home, Alnwick Castle, pictured above, doubles as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, but the Duchess of Northumberland could be the new J K Rowling.

Rowling’s publisher, Bloomsbury, is to publish a series of novels inspired by the duchess and the Poison Garden she created at Alnwick.

The books will be about a half-human, half-plant creature called Weed, who is given miraculous powers by innocuously eating poisonous and hallucinogenic herbs, which he uses to fight evil.

Bloomsbury is also in talks about a possible television series and a film dramatisation. Sounds wizard.

Moderated by world citizen on Dec 20, 2013 - 11:05AM
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13 months ago  ::  May 01, 2014 - 3:08AM #35
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Genital Mutilation Is Anti-Circumcision
4/24/2014 - Religious - Article Ref: IC1404-5727

By: Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Female genital excision has been banned in Egypt since 2008. Now, for the first time, a doctor is about to stand trial for carrying out the procedure, with a court date set for April 24, 2014 in Aga.

Human rights organizations fought for prosecution in this case, believing that the death of a thirteen year old girl last June offered the chance for a precedent-setting verdict against an ingrained custom, which supporters generally refer to as female circumcision.

It is totally false to compare the custom of female genital mutilation to the religious practice of male circumcision.

First, while there are great medical benefits from removal of the foreskin of a male, especially in reducing the spread of HIV; there is no medical benefit to a female from the removal of her clitoris and labia.

In Africa, Jewish and Muslim men have much lower rates of AIDS than uncircumcised Christian men.

Second, there is no evidence that female genital mutilation promotes chastity and preserves a woman's virtue. Having a considerate, loving and faithful husband does much more to promote a woman's virtue than female genital mutilation.

Third, male circumcision is a religious requirement; female genital mutilation is only a tribal custom, originating in sub Sahara Africa; which is now being spread by religious extremists to Asia and the West as part of a reaction against the rising rate of girls going to school and woman going to work outside the home.

Evidence that female genital mutilation is a only a custom comes from the fact that in rural Egypt even Coptic Christians mutilate their daughters genitals.

Also female genital mutilation had been denounced by all the major Islamic scholars in the Muslim world.

Finally, male circumcision is derived from the God inspired practice if Abraham and Muhammad.

God said to Abraham (Genesis 17:7): "I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you...

(8-12) "And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God. And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

"You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. Throughout your generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old,

And Allah ordered Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to follow the religion of Ibrahim (peace be upon him). When Allah said (Qur'an 16:123) "Then We inspired you: 'Follow the religion of Ibrahim, the upright in Faith'." And part of the religion of Ibrahim is, as is evident from the verses cited above, to practice circumcision.

Abraham was an old man when he circumcised himself, thus becoming a good example that one is never to old to do God's will. As a Hadith says: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: " Prophet Ibrahim circumcised himself when he was eighty years old and he circumcised himself with an axe." (Related by Bukhari, Muslim & Ahmad.)

Abraham's first born son Ishmael, was a young boy when he was circumcised, so Muslims do not have to circumcise their son's on an exact date. A Hadith states: When Ibn Abbas was asked "How old were you when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) died?" He replied, "At that time I had been circumcised. At that time people did not circumcise boys till they attained the age of puberty (Baligh)." (Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad himself selected the 7th day after birth to circumcise his own grandsons: Abdullah Ibn Jabir and Aisha both said: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed the Aqiqah of al-Hasan and al-Hussein (the prophets grandsons) circumcising them on the 7th. Day." (Related in al-Bayhaq & Tabarani)

Thus, for Jews circumcision is a sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham and his sons Ishmael and Isaac and their descendants for future generations.

For Muslims it is a sign or their close connection to Abraham which is also celebrated each year at the annual Hajj ceremonies.

For both Muslims and Jews it is a sign that one who submits to God's commandments and covenant cannot expect a life without some pain and suffering. When endured for the right reasons it always leads eventually to great spiritual benefits.

Female genital mutilation is the exact opposite of circumcision both medically and religiously.


Rabbi Allen S. Maller retired after serving for 39 years as Rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, California. His web site is

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on Sep 22, 2014 - 12:29AM
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10 months ago  ::  Jul 24, 2014 - 6:36AM #36
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Little known fact from history.

The First Muslim-American Scholar: Bilali Muhammad

Feb. 24 African History, Featured, Islam in the Americas, Modern History no comments

An unfortunate misconception among today’s American Muslim community is that Islam has only been present in America for less than 100 years. Many American Muslims are children of immigrants who came to the United States from the Middle East and South Asia in the mid-nineteenth century, and thus wrongly assume that the first Muslims in America were those immigrants. The reality, however, is that Islam has been in America for far longer than that. Besides possible pre-Colombian Muslim explorers from al-Andalus and West Africa, Islam arrived on America’s shores in waves through the Atlantic slave trade from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. While hundreds of thousands of slaves arrived in America during this time, the stories of only a few have been preserved and are known today. One of the most enduring and unique is that of Bilali Muhammad.


The Slave Trade

A slave auction advertisement from Charleston, South Carolina in 1769.

As European nations began to colonize the New World in the 1500s, a demand for cheap labor arose. Plantations, mines, and farms needed workers throughout North and South America, and the native population of the New World proved unsuitable due to their lack of immunity to European diseases. As a result, European powers such as Britain, France, Portugal, and Spain looked south, towards Africa, for a source of slave labor they could exploit.

Thus, European slave traders began arriving at ports in Africa, looking to buy slaves. Generally, Europeans did not go and capture slaves themselves. Instead, they would commonly pay local rulers to go to war with other African states, capture warriors, and sell them to be taken to America. The African rulers would be paid commonly in weapons, which would further perpetuate the cycle of violence and enslavement. The entire system worked to handicap Africa’s social, political, and economic development, and the results of this genocide are still felt in Africa today.

Estimates vary, but over 12 million Africans were probably forcibly taken from their homelands to serve as slaves in America, with as many as 20% of them dying on the trans-Atlantic journey known as the Middle Passage. Since much of the slave trade was focused on West Africa, a large number of those slaves were undoubtedly Muslim. The savanna kingdoms of Mali and Songhai had long been centers of Islamic civilization in West Africa and a huge Muslim population existed in the region


Bilali Muhammad

One of the many Muslim slaves taken to America was Bilali Muhammad. He was from the Fulbe tribe and was born around 1770 in the city of Timbo, in what is now Guinea. He came from a well-educated family, and received a high level of education himself in Africa before being captured as a slave some time in the late 1700s. He was fluent in the Fula language along with Arabic, and had knowledge of high level Islamic studies, including Hadith, Shari’ah, and Tafsir. How he was captured is unknown, but he was originally taken to an island plantation in the Caribbean, and by 1802, he arrived at Sapelo Island, off the coast of Georgia in the southern United States.

At Sapelo Island, Bilali was fortunate enough to have Thomas Spalding as a slave owner. While conditions across the South were horrendous for slaves, who were forced to work throughout the day and were commonly denied such basic necessities as clothes and stable shelter, Spalding gave certain freedoms to his slaves that were absent elsewhere. He did not push the slaves to work more than six hours per day, had no white slave drivers, and even allowed his Muslim slaves to practice their religion openly, a rare freedom in the deeply Christian South. Bilali was even allowed to construct a small mosque on the plantation, which very well may have been the first mosque in North America.

Because of Bilali’s relatively high level of education, he rose to the top of the slave community, and was relied upon by his owner to take care of much of the administration of the plantation and its few hundred slaves. Perhaps the most remarkable account of Bilali Muhammad’s leadership and trustworthiness occurred during the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. Spalding reportedly left the plantation with his family, fearing a British attack, and put Bilali in charge of the plantation’s defense. He even gave Bilali 80 muskets to defend the island with, which were distributed among the plantation’s Muslim population. Bilali kept true to his word and managed the plantation while his owner was gone and turned it back over to Spalding after the war. The fact that a slave owner trusted his slaves so much as to give them control of the plantation along with weapons speaks volumes about the character and trustworthiness of Bilali Muhammad.

The Bilali Document

As a well-educated Muslim from West Africa, Bilali no doubt brought his Islamic education with him to America. This is evidenced by a thirteen-page manuscript he wrote and gifted to a southern writer, Francis Robert Goulding, before he died in 1857. The manuscript was written in Arabic, and was thus unreadable for most Americans for decades. It made its way eventually to the Georgia State Library by 1931, who attempted to decipher the manuscript, which was popularly believed to have been Bilali’s diary.

For the rest of the article, please click here.

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on Sep 22, 2014 - 12:26AM
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10 months ago  ::  Jul 24, 2014 - 6:58AM #37
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Non-Muslim Rights in the Ottoman Empire

Much like previous Muslim Empires, the Ottomans showed great toleration and acceptance of non-Muslim communities in their empire. This is based on existing Muslim laws regarding the status of non-Muslims. They are protected, given religious freedoms, and free from persecution according to the Shariah. One of the first precedents of this was the Treaty of Umar ibn al-Khattab, in which he guaranteed the Christians of Jerusalem total religious freedom and safety.

The Millet System

The first instance of the Ottomans having to rule a large number of Christians was after the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. Constantinople had historically been the center of the Orthodox Christian world, and still had a large Christian population. As the empire grew into Europe, more and more non-Muslims came under Ottoman authority. For example, in the 1530s, over 80% of the population in Ottoman Europe was not Muslim. In order to deal with these new Ottoman subjects, Mehmed instituted a new system, later called the millet system.

Under this system, each religious group was organized into a millet. Millet comes from the Arabic word for “nation”, indicating that the Ottomans considered themselves the protectors of multiple nations. Each religious group was considered its own millet, with multiple millets existing in the empire. For example, all Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire were considered as constituting a millet, while all Jews constituted another millet. 

Each millet was allowed to elect its own religious figure to lead them. In the case of the Orthodox Church (the biggest Church in the Ottoman Empire), the Orthodox Patriarch (the Archbishop of Constantinople) was the elected leader of the millet. The leaders of the millets were allowed to enforce their own religion’s rules on their people. Islamic law (Shariah) had no jurisdiction over non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire.

In cases of crime, people would be punished according to the rules of their own religion, not Islamic rules or rules of other religions. For example, if a Christian were to steal, he would be punished according to the Christian laws regarding theft. If a Jew were to steal, he were to be punished according to Jewish laws, etc. The only time Islamic law would come into account was if the criminal was a Muslim, or when there was a case involving two people from different millets. In that case, a Muslim judge was to preside over the case and judge according to his best judgement and common law.

In addition to religious law, millets were given freedom to use their own language, develop their own institutions (churches, schools, etc), and collect taxes. The Ottoman sultan only exercised control over the millets through their leaders. The millet leaders ultimately reported to the sultan, and if there was a problem with a millet, the sultan would consult that millet leader. Theoretically, the Muslim population of the Ottoman Empire also constituted a millet, with the Ottoman sultan as the millet leader.


The Ottoman Empire lasted from 1300 to 1922. Throughout most of this history, the millet system provided a system of religious harmony and belonging throughout the empire. As the empire expanded, more millets were organized. Separate millets existed for Armenian, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians, for example, with each sect being divided further into more specific regional churches.

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9 months ago  ::  Aug 20, 2014 - 10:44AM #38
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KACST scientist wins US physics award

Dr. Ibtesam Saeed Badhrees, a leading woman research scientist in experimental particle physics at the National Center for Nanotechnology, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) Riyadh, has been selected as the first non-American woman for ‘Women Physicist of the Month’ award for August 2014 given by the American Physical Society (APS).
“APS, the world’s second largest organization for physicists with a non-profit membership, has chosen Dr. Badhrees as the first non-American woman-physicist to be granted the ‘Woman Physicist of the Month’ for August 2014 for her enriching role and positive impact on the physics community,” an official at KACST media department said on Tuesday.
APS has also nominated Dr. Badhrees to be a referee for scientific posters at APS international conference in April, the official said.
Moreover, she has received an invitation from the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP), founded in 1972 to address the encouragement and career development of women physicists, to take part in its program entitled, “Development of professional skills of woman-physicists” which it will organize at Savannah, the oldest city in the US state of Georgia.
Confirming the distinguished honor, APS in a statement on its website said, “Ibtesam Saeed Badhrees, a leading research scientist in experimental particle physics, is not only a distinguished fellow of New Westminster College, but also the first Saudi woman with a PhD
to work in the National Center for Mathematics and Physics at KACST.”
“Her role with CERN, the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics, as the first and only Saudi woman to join the organization as a user researcher in 2006 is notable, apart from her service as a CERN courier in 2006 as in this role, she was published in several magazines and journals and participated in several interviews nationally and internationally.”
CERN, the European organization for nuclear research, is headquartered in Geneva.
Dr. Badhrees has received many awards throughout her career and gained much recognition including the Saudi Arabian cultural mission academic excellence award in 1996, 1997 and 2007.


[ Source: ]

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1 day ago  ::  Apr 18, 2015 - 9:05AM #39
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There are some misconception about role of Muslim women in Muslim communities. Actually most of the barriers are imposed by local culture (In most cases) rather than Islam.

Islam gave women many rights. Today many Muslim women around the world are active in many roles. Here is a short article from a news anchor of BBC.



BBC Muslim Presenter Named Broadcaster of the Year


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