Category Archives: Articles

Articles du jour

“Religion without God: “Cults,” Pious Atheists, and Our Own Human Bodies

“What this means more broadly is that the tired old Protestant-inflected definitions of “religion” are losing hold in diverse Western nations. And it’s about time. Religion can no longer be seen as a “set of beliefs in God,” as conventional wisdom might put it. A global, plural view of religion must rid itself of emphasis on both “belief” and “God.” Instead, we need to look toward those definitions, culled from decades of in depth observations of cultures and societies around the world that point toward the networked systems of myths, symbols, rituals, and concepts that orient communities of people toward meaningful and valued living. Religion refers to behaviors and practices as much as, and often more than, belief.”

To be clear, I don’t agree with this article, but I think it’s interesting. I think the problem begins with the definition of “religion.” I know that religious studies is a relatively new field, and one that is often dominated by a Western “Judeo-Christian,” and as it says here a notable Protestant, bias. The definition of religion as opposed to philosophy is a complicated one as well. Greek, Confucian and Indian “philosophy” are divorced as separate disciplines from their polytheistic traditions in Greece, China and India. “Philosophy” as I have encountered it is usually related to an outlook on the world that is closer to atheism, reflecting on metaphysics without a “God” figure per se. “Religion” is therefore defined as a belief in God somehow… So where do we draw the line? Why do we consider Buddhism a religion, when so much of it is related to a non-theistic view? What of the heavy influences of Neo-Platonism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam? I don’t have an answer for this, but it peeves me that so many VERY DIFFERENT systems of belief, thought, practice, etc are all reduced to the label “religion.” It is hardly scientific, and I think that stripping away the complexity of various religious “systems” for the sake of simplicity is a slap in the face to serious study. /rant

“10 Things Pope Francis Has Done that Make Me Consider Being Catholic”

“It’s not Catholicism that is so attractive to people. It’s looking like Jesus.”

I thought that was the point… Too bad the papacy, among other religious leaderships, have been off-track for so long…!

Abd el-Kader Education Project: A town in Iowa named after an Algerian freedom fighter of the 1800s.
Not an article, but an interesting fact 🙂

SNOW in the Middle East

“Muslims can draw many lessons from the life of Mandela”

“Another great principle was that Mandela was not merely concerned with his own people. He experienced the pain of oppressed people throughout the world, regardless of race, colour, nationality or religion. He supported the Palestinian cause, for example.”

THIS is one of my biggest issues with the Muslim community, which unfortunately is reinforced by this article: Nothing is relevant to Muslims until we can see a parallel with the Muslim community, or someone who engaged with the Muslim community. Where is the blind compassion for others who are not Muslim that Muslims adore so much from others? “They cared about us!” This is a serious double standard in my opinion. There is no doubt that there are a great many Muslims of different backgrounds who are suffering who deserve our attention and help, but it is dangerous in my opinion for one’s compassion to stop there. I know I don’t know much, but how many of the Sahabah were not part of Muhammad’s (pbuh) family, tribe, etc? Sure, they became part of his family, and part of the Muslim movement, but I am still convinced that there is greater harm in looking out only for one’s own rather than holding fast to principles of truth. I would always rather associate with Islam than Muslims if I had to make a choice. So many people mention Bilal and Salman alFarsi but the continuing racism within the Muslim community undermines such arguments. When Islamophobes use words like “Islamo-fascist” I don’t think they are entirely wrong to point out near-fascist trends within the Muslim community which start with a supreme dedication to one’s own group to the exclusion of others entirely. This small-minded, tribal mentality, in my opinion, has no place in a religion that deems itself to be the “universal religion” with a “universal message” for humankind, it is in fact extremely antithetical. /rant

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Articles du jour, Dec 13

“Islam as a Culture of Knowledge”–Qantara.de

“…The Koran is not a reference work for social behaviour. Many people assume that all of Islam’s norms can be found in the Koran. But that is not the intention behind the Koran. The Koran was a proclamation to people who were familiar with other norms and were willing to call these norms into question. The Koran highlights discussions about various norms. The fact that the relatively small number of legally relevant instructions were then put together in a system and made part of the Islamic canon of norms, the Sharia, is a different matter altogether.”

Al Madina Institute’s “Are You one of those Sufis?” by Mohamed Ghilan

“The heart of Sufism is about setting on the path of fulfilling the Quranic commands to leave the outward of sin as well as the inward of it (Al-Anaam 6:120). It’s about having a constant concern over the state of one’s heart, because when all is said and done, only a sound heart will be of benefit (Ash-Shuara’ 26:88). Sufism is about taking the recitation of the Quran with the tongue and turning it into a recitation with the heart. It’s about adhering to the Sharia not because of an ulterior motive of obtaining Paradise or avoiding Hell, but because God is deserving of it. It’s the ultimate realization of the love of God and fearing not His punishment, but His not accepting our always deficient prayer and fasting. It’s the hope that He accepts our repentance for not being able to fulfil his due rights upon us.”

The Guardian’s “Materialism: A system that eats us from the inside out” by George Monblot

“Materialism forces us into comparison with the possessions of others, a race both cruelly illustrated and crudely propelled by that toxic website. There is no end to it. If you have four Rolexes while another has five, you are a Rolex short of contentment. The material pursuit of self-esteem reduces your self-esteem.

I should emphasise that this is not about differences between rich and poor: the poor can be as susceptible to materialism as the rich. It is a general social affliction, visited upon us by government policy, corporate strategy, the collapse of communities and civic life, and our acquiescence in a system that is eating us from the inside out.

This is the dreadful mistake we are making: allowing ourselves to believe that having more money and more stuff enhances our wellbeing, a belief possessed not only by those poor deluded people in the pictures, but by almost every member of almost every government. Worldly ambition, material aspiration, perpetual growth: these are a formula for mass unhappiness.”

“21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis” and the Tumblr it came from

“This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves. Often, they are never meant to hurt – acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects. Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult. Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.

This project is NOT about showing how ignorant people can be in order to simply dismiss their ignorance. Instead, it is about showing how these comments create and enforce uncomfortable, violent and unsafe realities onto peoples’ workplace, home, school, childhood/adolescence/adulthood, and public transportation/space environments.”

Articles à lire
Decolonizing the Heart: From the Mind-Centered Egolatry of Colonial Modernity to Islam’s Epistemic Decolonization through the Heart“–Dustin Craun

Decolonial Translation Group’s articles

A series of blog posts “My Journey from Salafi to Sufism”

Another blog post “A Sunni Muslim prays at a Shia mosque”

Alternet’s “Why Atheists should listen to Pope Francis” 

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Dec 4: Articles of the day

America & the ‘West’

“Life Advice for Men that went Viral in the 1850s”

This sounds a lot like the advice I hear on a regular basis given by Muslims now…

“Why Atheist Libertarians are part of America’s 1% Problem”

“Learning to Deal with Diversity”

World: Middle East & North Africa

“The High Price Egyptians pay for Opposing their Government”

“In Taking Jobs, Women take on Saudi Taboo”

Islam

Sufi Comics: “In Search of Water”

 

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