Thursday, 30 May 2013

Islamic Stores

Islamic Stores History

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Prophet Muhammad ﷺ promised that every century, a re-newer of the faith of Islam will arise. Throughout history, great Muslim intellectuals, rulers, generals, and artists have come and managed to rejuvenate faith in the Muslim world and help Muslims deal with the problems of that age. For each one of these great figures, a specific historical context was necessary for them to accomplish what they did.

One of the greatest renewers of the faith in history was the 11th century scholar Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. Today, he is known as Hujjat al-Islam, the Proof of Islam, because of his efforts in intellectually fighting against some of the most dangerous ideas and philosophies that plagued the Muslim world during his time. From the ubiquitous nature of ancient Greek philosophy to the rising tide of political Shi’ism, Imam al-Ghazali did not leave a stone unturned in his effort to bring back serious Islamic scholarship in the face of heterodox threats.

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The al-Aqsa Mosque Through the Ages: Part 2
May. 19 Art and Culture, Crusades, Featured, Modern History, Ottoman History, Palestine 2 comments
In Part 1 of this article, we saw the early history of the third holiest site in Islam: the al-Aqsa Mosque. From a Roman and Byzantine dumping site to a modest mosque built by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, to a giant complex crowned by the Dome of the Rock in Umayyad times, Islam played a major role in the history of the Haram al-Sharif complex in the early centuries of Islam. As the Fatimids came to power in the 900s, however, orthodox Islam was replaced with extremist Ismailism and Fatimid propaganda.

In the second part of this article, we will look at the threat the Crusaders posed to the mosque and the subsequent history of the area in Mamluk and Ottoman times.

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The al-Aqsa Mosque Through the Ages: Part 1
May. 14 Featured, Palestine 9 comments
When Prophet Muhammad ﷺ received the command from God to lead the Muslim community in five daily prayers, their prayers were directed towards the holy city of Jerusalem. For Muslims, the city of Jerusalem is an important site. As the home of numerous prophets of Islam such as Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), and ‘Isa (Jesus), the city was a symbol of Islam’s past prophets. When Prophet Muhammad ﷺ made the miraculous Night Journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and the Ascent into Heaven that night (known as the Isra’ wal-Mi’raj), it acquired an added importance as the place where the Prophet ﷺ led all the earlier prophets in prayer and then ascended to Heaven.

For Muslims, however, Jerusalem would remain a far-off symbol during the life of the Prophet ﷺ and the years immediately after his death. As Muslims came to control Iraq and then Syria in the 630s, however, Jerusalem would become a Muslim city, and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem would become one of the most important pieces of land in the Muslim empire. Throughout the complex and war-torn history of this city, the Mosque has been a center-piece of the struggle for Jerusalem. With Muslims, Christians, and Jews all considering the land under the Mosque as especially holy, the importance of understanding the history of this land is of utmost importance.

Part 1 of this article will look at the history of the Mosque before the arrival of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and the early Islamic period until the coming of the Crusaders in 1099. Part 2 will describe the al-Aqsa Mosque’s history from the Crusades to the modern day.

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Pioneers of Aviation: 17th Century Flight in Istanbul
Apr. 26 Math and Science, Ottoman History 2 comments
One of the most enduring (and incorrect) accusations made about the Ottoman Empire is that it was intellectually stagnant. Orientalist historians claim that the Ottomans saw science and religion as mutually exclusive and incompatible, unlike earlier Muslim dynasties. While this accusation may be true for some time periods in Ottoman history, there were many examples of Ottoman scientific and intellectual progress. One notable example is the attempts at human flight made by a pair of brothers in the 1600s in Istanbul.

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The Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948
Apr. 23 Featured, Modern History, Ottoman History, Palestine 5 comments
One of the most jarring and important events of recent Islamic history has been the Arab-Israeli Conflict. This conflict is multifaceted, complex, and is still one of the world’s most problematic issues in international relations. One aspect of this conflict is the refugee problem that began in 1948, with the creation of the State of Israel. Over 700,000 Palestinians became refugees that year, in what is known as the “Nakba”, which is Arabic for catastrophe. 
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How Do We Know the Quran is Unchanged?
Apr. 13 Featured, Islamic Sciences 36 comments
The awakening of Europe from the Dark Ages and the subsequent intellectual enlightenment of the 1600s-1800s was one of the most powerful movements in modern history. It brought to Europe a dedication to empirical science, critical thinking, and intellectual discourse. Much of this was imported from the Muslim world’s intellectual history, through Muslim entry points into Europe such as Spain, Sicily, and Southeast Europe.

This rise in intellectual work coincided with a period of European imperialism and colonialism over the Muslim world. European nations such as England, France, and Russia slowly conquered portions of the Muslim world, dividing it among themselves. Thus the intellectual enlightenment, coupled with imperialism over the Muslim world, led to what the Europeans saw as a critical study of Islam, its history, beliefs, and teachings. This movement is known as Orientalism. One of the greatest shortcomings of Orientalism, however, is the analysis of Islamic history on European terms, discarding the centuries of academic work put in by great Muslim minds since the time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

One of the most dangerous aspects of Orientalism was the European study of the origins of the Quran. Since it is well accepted in academic circles that both the Torah of the Jews and the New Testament of the Christians have changed over the centuries, European academics erroneously believed the same must be true about the Quran. Their efforts to prove their belief that the Quran has been changed and is not authentic led to studies and works of questionable intention and low scholarly merit. This article will critically analyze the origins of the Quran, its transmission, and its compilation, to understand why Muslims accept the copies of the Quran they have in their homes to be the exact same words that were spoken by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the early 600s AD.

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The Last Great Caliph: Abdülhamid II
Apr. 06 Featured, Modern History, Ottoman History 36 comments
Throughout Islamic history, one of the uniting aspects of the Muslim world was the caliphate. After the death of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, his close companion, Abu Bakr, was elected as the first khalifah, or caliph, of the Muslim community. His job as leader combined political power over the Muslim state as well as spiritual guidance for Muslims. It became a hereditary position, occupied at first by the Umayyad family, and later by the Abbasids. In 1517, the caliphate was transferred to the Ottoman family, who ruled the largest and most powerful empire in the world in the 1500s.

For centuries, the Ottoman sultans did not place much emphasis on their role as caliphs. It was an official title that was called in to use when needed, but was mostly neglected. During the decline of the empire in the 1800s, however, a sultan came to power that would decide to revive the importance and power of the caliphate. Abdülhamid II was determined to reverse the retreat of the Ottoman state, and decided that the best way to do it was through the revival of Islam throughout the Muslim world and pan-Islamic unity, centered on the idea of a strong caliphate. While Abdülhamid’s 33-year reign did not stop the inevitable fall of the empire, he managed to give the Ottomans a final period of relative strength in the face of European encroachment and colonialism, with Islam being the central focus of his empire.

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Al-Biruni: A Master of Scholarship
Apr. 02 Featured, Islam in India, Math and Science 1 comment
When learning about Islamic history, it’s hard to not be amazed at the scientific and intellectual accomplishments of Muslims in the past. From medicine to mathematics to philosophy to art to physics, during their golden age, Muslims were at the forefront of almost all sciences, making new discoveries and building on earlier ones. Names like Ibn Sina, Ibn al-Haytham, Ibn Khaldun, and al-Farabi come to mind when people think of the giants of Islamic science.

One man who is in this elite group of the greatest scholars of all time is the Muslim Persian polymath, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni. He lived from 973 to 1048 and spent most of his life in Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. During his illustrious career, al-Biruni became an expert in numerous subjects, including history, physics, mathematics, astronomy, linguistics, comparative religion, and earth sciences. Despite the unsettling political problems the Muslim world was dealing with during his life, he managed to rise above the instability and become one of the greatest scholars of history.

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The Importance of Studying History According to Ibn Khaldun
Mar. 29 Islamic Sciences, Philosophy no comments
The following is a translation from the opening pages Ibn Khaldun’s book of world history, Tarikh ibn Khaldun, written in 1377 in North Africa.

Ibn Khaldun was a scholar of history, economics, sociology, and historiography. His summary of history and particularly its introduction, the Muqaddimah,  is seen by many as the basis for modern historical philosophy.

“Know that the subject of history is a noble science that can be very beneficial only if it gives us a proper understanding of:

1- Previous nations’s morals and character

2- The stories of the Prophets

3- Government and politics

For whoever embarks on the study of history, they will end up in a beneficial imitation of the mindset of previous peoples in the subjects of religion and worldly matters.

This subject is dependent on studying numerous sources, understanding diverse subjects, having the best insight and analysis, and being able to verify the truth of sources as they can deviate and be filled with mistakes. Historical research must not be dependent on bare copying of all reports. It should instead be based on an understanding of local customs, politics, the nature of civilization, and the local conditions of where humans live. You must also be able to compare primary and secondary sources, as they can help you differentiate between the truth and falsehood, helping derive conclusions that are believable and honest.”

Source: http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-12320#page-11

Translation by Firas Alkhateeb.



 

What Was Special About Pre-Islamic Arabia?
Mar. 25 Featured 10 comments
In the early 600s, a new religious and political force arose out of the deserts of Arabia. Islam, spearheaded by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, quickly became the way of life for the entire Arabian Peninsula within a few years of the first revelations. By the end of the reigns of the first four caliphs, the Islamic realm extended from Libya in the West to Persia in the East. And just 100 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Muslims had expanded the empire into Spain and India.

Throughout world history, no other movement has grown as fast as Islam did in its first 100 years. What was special about Islam and the conditions it was born into that allowed it to grow so rapidly? Some historians attempt to offer simplistic explanations about why Islam spread so fast such as drought in the Arabian Peninsula, constant in-fighting among the Arabs, and Arab pride/nationalism. The truth is of course much more complex and nuanced than a simple one-line slogan. In fact, the Arabian Peninsula and the surrounding lands were perfectly prepared for the arrival of a powerful monotheistic and uniting force. The culture, language, geography, and politics of the Middle East could not have been better situated for the arrival of Islam in the early 600s.


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