Monday, November 19, 2007

Suggested Reading (articles)

I got lucky these past couple hours and have been on a creative streak. The sketch/reflection to the right is a production of another recent one of these. And, fyi, all the images I use on this blog are my own.

Anyway, since I'm up and I meant to post this before, here are 2 articles that I highly suggest reading:

1.) "What It Will Take to Build a Sustainable U.S."
(by Kenny Ausubel)

-This is a very well-written and I think somewhat inspring article on where our country needs to go. It's the best environmental article I've read for some time. Here's a taste:

Andrew Revkin reported in the New York Times that "The physical Earth is increasingly becoming what the human species makes of it. The accelerating and intensifying impact of human activities is visibly altering the planet, requiring ever more frequent redrawing not only of political boundaries, but of the shape of Earth's features themselves."

Mick Ashworth, editor-in-chief of the annual Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World, said his staff of 50 cartographers now updates their databases every three and a half minutes. Commented the editor, "We can literally see environmental disasters unfolding before our eyes."

2.) "The Roots of Islamic Reform"
(by Ali Eteraz)

-Another exceptionally well-written article that I think addresses the idea of "Islamic Reform" in a very comprehensible way. It's much more concise than anything I've ever read, particularly in mainstream sources like Newsweek, the New York Times, etc. Some of the terminology might be strange to you - but many of the references he uses are linked to explanations (or you can just ask me). And it's relatively short! Summarized, really- but if you want more he's written a series on the topic for you and has links to it. So read it! Here's a taste:

Islamic reform occurs when a Muslim dissents from this traditional orthodoxy, and provides an alternative which he or she believes more accurately captures the spirit of Islam. Some dissenters argue that their view was part of the orthodoxy all along - just overlooked - while others agitate for the orthodoxy to open up and assimilate views from the outside.

There are various reasons for Muslim critiques of traditionalism. Some critics are dissatisfied with traditionalism for being liberal, citing its connection to Sufism and its receptivity to local customs. Others accuse it of conservatism: primarily its views towards women, minorities, and freedom of conscience. Others agitate against its political quietism, arguing that it does not speak out against terrorists or tyrants enough. Many critics have a problem with traditional conceptions of religious hierarchy, believing that Islam should be democratic and not install de facto priests in the guise of scholars. Others complain about traditionalist monopoly on methodology, arguing that there are other methods of deriving a "way" or "Sharia" than the usul method invented in the 9th century. Finally, some simply believe that traditionalism is anachronistic, should be deconstructed and replaced by radically individualistic ijtihad.

Most of these critiques are in conflict, not just against traditionalism, but against one another as well. However, in terms of history, all critiques against traditionalism stems from Ibn Taymiya, a largely self-taught scholar in the 13th century, who challenged the traditionalists of his time. His views are worth examining.

Enjoy :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many people talk about the need to reform Islam. Now you can stop talking and start helping.

With the help of our readers we went through the Koran and removed every verse that we believe did not come from Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. However, it is possible that we missed something, and we could use your help. If you find verses in the reformed version of the Koran that promote violence, divisiveness, religious or gender superiority, bigotry, or discrimination, please let us know the number of the verse and the reason why it should be removed. Please email your suggestions to

When we finish editing process, we would like to publish Reform Koran in as many languages as possible. If you could help with translation or distribution of the Reform Koran, please email us at If you could provide financial support, please visit our support page.

In Memoriam of Aqsa Parvez.