making sense of islam with tarek Elgawhary

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2 May 2020

God & Caesar

What role, if any, does and should religion play in politics? In an age when we see many, many religious leaders linked with politics and political parties, I make the argument that this is dangerous and a misuse of religion.

15 April 2020

On Keeping a Ramadan Journal

Ramadan is the biggest event in the Muslim liturgical calendar. It lasts an entire month (the 9th lunar month), and there are extra devotional acts performed every day and every evening. It is the month in which we commemorate the revelation of the Quran, providing a special evening (the Night of Power) sought out in the last ten days-a mega event inside a mega event. It is the month of great spiritual benefits, forgiveness, and opportunities for renewal.

9 April 2020

Time in the Age of COVID-19

There is a well-known quote by the famous jurist and polymath Imam al-Shāfi‘ī (d. 204/820): “I learned from the Sufis that time is like a knife. If you don’t cut it first, it will cut you.” This quote, perhaps more than any, was always a source of fascination for me.

6 April 2020

The Eve of the 15th Sh’aban

The eve of the 15th of Sh‘aban is one of the most significant and spiritually important times in the Muslim liturgical calendar. It is a night that the salaf used to seek out and honor with intense devotion and sweet supplication.

25 July 2019

What is Usuli Islam?

In The Clock of the Long Now, Stewart Brand argues that religion is one of the most durable institutions of civilization that helps ground us all in timeless values. In his concept of the forces of innovation (rapidly changing) and durability (slow changing) of civilization, religion would definitely be amongst the more slow adapting forces.

13 January 2020

Devotional Acts for Ashura (10th of Muharram)

This is a short, convenient list of devotional acts for the occasion of ‘Ashura, the 10th day of the month of Muḥarram: 1. Fast the ninth and tenth of Muḥarram.1 2. Expand on yourself and your family by way of making some extra food, buying small presents, inviting family over for dinner, etc.

13 January 2020

A Framework for Understanding Violence and Extremism within the Family of Islam

Since I first confronted the subject of violence and extremism as a research topic about two years ago, I noticed that there was no coherent framework dealing with extremism arising from within the “family of Islam.” It has been difficult to wrap my head around this topic due to a lack of clear definition of terms, boundaries, etc.

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