701 - 001

ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, was the first name that was given to the organization since its territory was in Iraq and Syria.  The acronym in Arabic “Dae’sh,” has four Arabic letters, D, A, E’, Sh. D stands for al-Dawla (state), A stands for al-Islamiya (Islamic), E’ stands Iraq and Sh stands for Sham (Levant).


701 - 002

After the Iraq War, most Americans want to avoid creating a Vietnam-style scenario in the Middle East.  We have learned that we can no longer apply colonial remedies or strong arm our enemies in a conflict. 


701 - 003

After Muhammad’s death in 632 AD, the struggle over who should succeed him made Islam’s next half-century very turbulent.  In fact, three of Muhammad’s first four successors were assassinated.  The Sunni-Shi’a division goes back to that early conflict.


701 - 004

Every few days, we seem to wake up to another massacre committed by ISIS.  And these are, of course, only the ones that the media reports. ISIS, with all its cells around the world, in reality, is committing massacres on a daily basis.  We have become familiar with their crimes in Syria and Iraq since last summer.  But now their latest play ‘field, we are learning, is Libya.  And their latest scapegoats are the Copts of Egypt.


701 - 005

False Messiah Beheaded In Mecca 37 Years Ago

An event took place on November 20, 1979, that most people have either forgotten, or never heard about in the first place.  Islam’s most holy place, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, was seized by unknown gunmen.  It was Day One of the 15th century on the Islamic calendar, and Al-Juhayman al Oteibi, surrounded by approximately 400 rebels, said he had found the Mahdi — a redeemer.  


701 - 006

All Muslims believe Muhammad received his first divine revelations in Mecca and consider the city’s Kaaba the “House of Allah.”  The Qur’an says Abraham and his son Ishmael built the Kaaba (Q 22:26-29), though many Muslims believe Adam and Eve built the original.  


701 - 007

There are typically two responses to ISIS.  ‘ISIS has nothing to do with Islam’ or ‘ISIS are the real Muslims.’  It’s easy to understand why so many Muslims — especially in western contexts — dissociate themselves from ISIS.  They are thoroughly embarrassed to think that non-Muslims around them might assume that because they are Muslims, they must have some sympathy with ISIS and all that it is doing.  


701 - 008

Terrorism on one side begets a reaction of war from another.  Enemies change.  At times they are the ones we don’t like.  At other times, they are the ones who don’t like us.  Often an enemy might be a whole group of people, like “those Muslims.”  Or it could be those closest to us.  


701 - 009


Islamic music goes back to the Middle Ages and can be examined as a performing art, a branch of science, and a medium of spiritual devotion. Middle Eastern and North African musicians sing and play a wide variety of instruments to intricate rhythms and melodies.  


701 - 010


Discoveries and Inventions

A well-known adīth of the Prophet says that “The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.  Acquire knowledge, because he who acquires it in the way of the Lord performs an act of piety; who speaks of it, praises the Lord; who seeks it, adores Allah; who dispenses instruction in it, bestows alms; and who imparts it to its fitting objects, performs an act of devotion to Allah.” 


701 - 011

Muslim Women:

7 Things That Might

Surprise You

Muslim women are one of the most talked-about groups in the world. Yet most Muslim women are very different from the stereotypes.


701 - 012

Great Leaders’ Comments

On Islam

“It is utterly impossible to appreciate social values at all or to discriminate between what is socially good and socially bad unless we appreciate the utterly different social values of different wars.  The Greeks who triumphed at Marathon and Salamis did a work without which the world would have been deprived of the social value of Plato and Aristotle, of Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thucydides.  The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because of victories stretching through the centuries from the days of Miltiades and Themistocles to those of Charles Martel in the eighth century and those of John Sobieski in the seventeenth century.  


701 - 013

The Characteristics Of The

Islamic Society

The reformer Sayyid Qub (1906–1966) promoted an uncompromising interpretation of the Qurʾan and of the role of Islam in society.  As the editor for the Muslim Brotherhood’s weekly newspaper, al-Ikhwān al-Muslimūn, Qub openly criticized Gamal Abdel Nasser and the leaders of the coup that overthrew the Egyptian monarchy in 1952.  In Qub’s view, Nasser’s refusal to institute the canonical criminal punishments in Islamic law, and his perceived acquiescence to the demands of the British colonial authorities, were a betrayal of the faith.  


701 - 014

Islamic And Christian

Views Of Jesus


Do Muslims believe he was a Messenger of One God? 

Do Muslims believe he was born of a Virgin Mother?

Do Muslims believe Jesus had a miraculous birth? 

Do Muslims believe Jesus spoke in the cradle

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 015


Political secularism has distinct European roots.  It emerged in response to the problem of religion in political life.  Islam has long been viewed as a religious tradition that is uniquely anti-secular.  Influential scholars in the social sciences have argued that Islam’s early formative historical experience and its inner theology have prevented secularism from developing.  The strength of these arguments was enhanced by the writings of political Islamists in the twentieth century who rejected any separation between dīn wa-dawlah (religion and government) in their normative theories on what constituted a just political order.

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 016

Human Rights

The term “human rights,” or uqūq al-insān in Arabic, has only recently come into common use, as have the analogous terms uqūq-i insān in Persian, insan haklari in Turkish, and hak asasi anusia in Bahasa Indonesian.

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 017

Women At The Rise

Of Islam

Women played a critical role in the early history of Islam.  The Prophet Muammad was born in the city of Mecca in approximately 570 A.D. and began receiving revelations at the age of forty, in 610 A.D.  He was extremely distressed by his first revelatory experience and feared he was going insane.  In confusion and distress, he turned to his wife Khadīja.  aī al-Bukhārī, second in authority only to the Qurʾān for the majority of Muslims, contains the description of how Khadīja comforted and counseled Muammad, eventually convincing him that his was a true calling from Allah.  In doing so, she became the first person to accept the revelations received by Muammad and the first follower of Islam.  

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 018

Changing Representations

Of Islam

In Popular Culture

Many Muslims may feel as though American popular culture only discovered an interest in the topic of Islam on September 11, 2001. Indeed, after 9/11, representations of Muslims and Islam increased dramatically in news media, books, television, film, and online.  However, many of the trends witnessed after 9/11 — representations of Muslims as terrorists, of Muslim men as violent extremists, of Muslim women as victims — have their roots in longstanding mythologies about Islam. These trends, I would argue, are especially problematic in the twenty-first century, when major political events seem to be shaped at least partly by popular culture depictions and social media conversations. Even the most media-literate individuals may find their ideas about race, religion, class, gender, and any number of other topics that relate to identity influenced by popular culture.

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 019

Islamic Culture In Danger

Born in Damascus, Shahrur studied in Damascus and Moscow, and he earned a doctorate at University College in Dublin, Ireland.  A civil engineer, he joined the faculty at the University of Damascus in 1972. In 1990, Shahrur published The Book and the Qur’an, an 800-page treatise, which became a best-seller in the Arab world, calling upon Muslims to reinterpret Islam through a fresh reading of the Quran that is not shackled by medieval interpretations and jurisprudence. Thus, his basic approach is to reread Islam in the context of historical developments.  Labeled by some an Islamic Martin Luther, he has also provoked much criticism.

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 020

Islamic And Christian

Views Of Jesus


Do Christians believe Jesus was a human being

and Messenger of God? 

Do Christians believe he was born of a Virgin

Do Christians believe he had a miraculous birth?  

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 021

Muslims And Christmas

At least two Muslim countries — Brunei and Somalia — have officially banned Christmas celebrations, Saudi Arabia — has had a long-standing ban in place against them. 


Pakistan is doing somewhat better by not officially banning celebrations of religious holidays of minority communities, and the leadership too has seen it fit to participate on a few occasions, demonstrating some semblance of openness tolerance at a time of general upheaval in the Muslim world. 

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 022


In the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001 anti-Muslim hate crimes significantly increased, including physical assaults, verbal abuse, and property damage to mosques and Muslim-owned businesses.  In 2004, a report for the Islamic Human Rights Commission in Britain found that 80 percent of Muslims felt harassed or discriminated against in some way, compared to 45 percent in 2000 and 35 percent in 1999.

DATE LAST EDITED:   01-2020 

701 - 023


Early modern European observers of Ottoman court procedures often marveled at the efficiency of Ottoman courts, especially in matters of criminal law.  They claimed that the Ottoman practice of reaching legal decisions in the course of a single session stood in sharp contrast to the practices of European courts.  There, similar procedures were prolonged affairs, mainly due to professional lawyers, whose relentless advocating and pleading on behalf of their clients could cause significant delays in court procedures.  These European visitors reasoned that since Ottoman court protocols did not allow either litigants themselves or their legal agents to advocate for their causes in open court, verdicts were reached swiftly and in an uncomplicated manner.


701 - 024

Are There Any Divisions

In Islam?

As a world religion, Islam is practiced in diverse cultures in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and America.  Differences in religious and cultural practices are therefore wide-ranging.  There are over 40 denominations in Islam (Sunni, Shi’a, Sufi, etc.), each with dozens of sects, just as there are many in the Christian faith (Roman Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, Baptist, Southern Baptist Converge Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.).  Like all faiths, Islam has developed divisions, sects, and schools of thought over various issues.  While all Muslims share certain beliefs and practices, such as belief in Allah, the Qur’an, Muhammad, and the Five Pillars of Islam, divisions have arisen over questions of political and religious leadership, theology, interpretations of Islamic law, and responses to modernity and the West.


701 - 025

What Does Islam Say


 Poverty And Social Justice?

One of the most striking and controversial elements of the Qur’an at the time when it was revealed was its firm commitment to social justice, a significant threat to the tribal power structures in place Rather than accepting the principle that the strongest are the most powerful, the Qur’an emphasized the responsibility of Muslims to care for and protect each other, regardless of socioeconomic status. 



701 - 026

Fundamental Ideas

Of Contemporary

Islamic Economics

In his full life of religious and political involvement, Khurshid Ahmad has participated in the creation of the contemporary discipline of Islamic economics.  This has not been done in addition to his other activities but as a direct part of his active involvement in the Islamic movement.  Like other contemporary Islamic activist thinkers, Khurshid combines theory and practice, not because he believes that this is the most efficient or effective way of operating but because he believes that it is the only way for a Muslim professional.  His life as a believer, as a member of the Jamaat-i-Islami, and as an economist are combined in many important ways.


701 - 027

From Shariah To Taqwa:

Islam And Ethics

In addition to upholding the Five Pillars of Islam, Muslims are exhorted to go beyond the minimum.  For example, they should practice good deeds or active virtue (ihsan) to enrich their spiritual lives.  In 1905 beggars gathered near the tomb of the great Persian poet Saadi in Shiraz in the expectation of receiving munificence from their brethren.


701 - 028

Wood And Metal Works

Despite the scarcity of the raw material and the virtual absence of domestic furniture, woodwork occupied an unusually important place among the arts of the Islamic world.  The mountain forests of Syria, North Africa and Spain were famous for their stands of cypress, cedar and pine, but Iraq and Egypt, equally important as woodworking centers, had to import wood from Syria, the Sudan or India.  Only in Central Asia, northern Iran, Anatolia, the Balkans, Morocco and Spain was wood available in sufficient quantity to allow its free use for timber-frame construction.  It was widely but sparingly used throughout the region for ceilings, lintels, doors and screens, and the high cost of the material encouraged techniques such as marquetry and grillwork that minimized waste through the use of small pieces of wood. 


701 - 029

Understanding Shari’a’s

Role In The War

When told that Al Qaeda has never misquoted Islamic Law (Shari’a) in furtherance of what it is doing, a four-star general replied, “If that is true it would completely change the nature of how we are fighting this war.”  In fact, it is true.  Shari’a is the enemy’s stated threat doctrine and we need to know it.  Not to know it is to lose this war – the primary reason we defeated the enemy on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet lost those wars.


701 - 030

Criticism Of Islam

John of Damascus viewed Islamic doctrines as nothing more than a hodgepodge culled from the Bible.