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Thinking honestly about Islam and the Message of The Qur'an



Klikk her om du ser etter islam-relatert stoff på norsk (i.e., click here for Norwegian material about Islam).


Many Muslims, as well as non-Muslims, would do well in having a closer look at some of the core teachings of Islam.

Please refer to this compilation of some 500 thematically ordered Quranic verses:

This compendium is based on The Message of The Qur'an by Muhammad Asad.


From Fanaticism to Faith

In the Netherlands, the political climate was toxic with anti-Islam bigotry when Joram van Klaveren made a name for himself as a prominent and ambitious politician. He helped to lead the Party for Freedom, with its central platform hostile to Islam and Muslims in the Netherlands. When he set out to write a book that would ground his rhetoric against Islam, he would discover that he neither knew much about Islam nor was convinced of the basic tenets of Christianity, the religion he was fighting for. As Joram pored over books to inform his own, his intentions changed from a close-minded diatribe to a man in search of God and in search of meaning. His is a story of the dangers of fanaticism but also the courage to follow truth even when it is unpopular and life altering. Renovatio, Journal of Zaytuna College, From Fanaticism to Faith.


The need for "renovation" in the House of Islam

Hamza Yusuf is a leading proponent of classical learning in Islam and president of Zaytuna College, a Muslim liberal arts college in Berkeley, California. He is also editor of Zaytuna's journal Renovatio (established in 2017). In the inaugural issue he wrote Letter from the Editor Why "Renovatio?". Here are some brief excerpts (boldface emphasis added by me):

It is an unusual name for a publication, but we chose the Latinate term renovatio, from which we derive our English word "renovation," as an aspirational title for the ambitious project we have in mind. The prefix re means "again," and the base word is derived from the Latin novus, "new": "to make new again, to restore to good condition as if new again, to repair, to reinvigorate, to refresh, revive."


It is our contention, that, in essence, the foundations of the Abode of Islam are sound, but the house that harbors this civilization has fallen into deep dereliction. It is in need of renovation, not reformation. To try the analogy further, the foundation is solid, but the walls are crumbling, the amenities are in disrepair, the plumbing no longer works, the water has been shut off, and many of the inhabitants are truly suffering. How then do we begin?


The essence of Islam is a triad of faith, action, and being: imān, islām, and iĥsān. Each relates to the qualities of truth, goodness, and beauty, which are at the core of every great civilization in human history. Imān (faith) is a commitment to the truth once realized through the intellect, which is the prerequisite of faith; islām (submission to the will of God) is to act according to that faith with good deeds; and, finally iĥsān (beauty) is to be in a state of witnessing beauty and majesty that will be reflected in our words and deeds during our time on earth.


Many of us who straddle two great civilizations, the Judeo–Christian and Muslim, see a deep crisis in our own Western culture. [...]

Islam, in its profound legal, spiritual, and cultural glory, faded as it might appear today, has much to offer the Western world as it confronts its own troubles. For many, Islam appears old and decrepit, evidenced by the dire straits of most Muslim societies that have fallen far from its dynamic and living traditions that they once embodied. But for those steeped in its intellectual and spiritual heritage, Islam is viable and relevant, and contains time-tested guidance and wisdom that can help us navigate contemporary challenges, including those dealing with tensions between science and faith, as well as ethics, justice, and pluralism. Just as Muslim civilization once helped nurture a backward and desperate European civilization out of its malaise, now both civilizations need each other's help to make well the world again.

We hope, in our own modest attempt with this publication, to be part of the desperately needed "renovation" of our own personal faith, of the tragically derelict Abode that today houses almost a fourth of humanity, and of this marvelous globe that we all share and inhabit as God's creatures. And though it may look like it is dying, "it's hardly been born;" for now, it is the best and only one we have.

Read the entire article at the Zaytuna website.





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