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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Plot: At mid-thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert seeems to have everything that a woman can ever desire: a successful carrer, a loving husband, a beautiful house and wonderful charm and beauty. However, she is not happy with her life. Suffering depression from a recent nasty divorce and disastrous relationship, Liz decides to travel abroad to Italy, India and Indonesia for a year. The memoir is divided into three sections based on the three country she visited. In Italy, she found all the possible worldly pleasure and expressions of beauty with its rich culture of arts, philosophy, languages and cuisine. In India, she found the true expression of happiness and a spiritual relationship with God. In Bali of Indonesia, she finds a balance between enjoying worldly pleasures and spiritual serenity. Through this year of travel, she is able to rediscover and refine her identity.

Why read? With its exotic description of each country and the author’s intriguing experiences, it is hard to believe that it is a non-fiction work. The explicit description of different cultures are very alluring and interesting. Besides, the author also talks about her change of feelings as she learn about how to deal with her life’s ups an downs, which makes you want to laugh and cry with her.

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Published by Macmillan Reference USA

The reference literature for Islam has long consisted of either a densely academic, multivolume encyclopedia or several, often specialized, single-volume works with brief definitions. Happily, there is now a reference work falling between these two extremes. The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World is a scholarly work “about Islamic cultures, religion, history, politics, and the like as well as the people who have identified with Islam over the past fourteen centuries.”

A team of international scholars is responsible for the 515 entries, which are arranged alphabetically and range from 200 to 5,000 words in length. Many include some sort of illustration and end with helpful see also references and excellent supplemental bibliographies. A useful index completes the set. Coverage includes the religious dimensions of Islam as well as the development of the tradition in various parts of the world (e.g., Africa, South Asia, U.S.). Cultural issues of importance to the history of Islam (e.g., architecture, calligraphy, language) are also treated. Entries such as Political organization and Political thought demonstrate the historical completeness for which the encyclopedia strives, tracing developments from the life of the Prophet to the present day. Even topics of contemporary interest include a historical perspective. The entry for Jihad describes the many meanings of the term, including its contemporary association with violence, and how the concept has developed historically. The treatment of secularization in the Muslim world includes a comparison to historical events in the West, thereby helping the reader to understand that it cannot be understood solely from a Western perspective. Finally, the biographical entries include important figures from the religious, cultural, and political history of the Muslim world.

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Two teeens, a Mulsim from New Jersey and a Christian from near Boston learn about each other in the post 9/11 world. Learn about Islam, Muslims and the month of Ramadan.

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DUSHANBE, September 8

The Times of Central Asia

Addressing a meeting dedicated to the 17th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence, President Emomali Rahmon announced that the year of 2009 will be Year of Imama Azam in Tajikistan.

The president noted that separation of Islam from Tajik national culture and separation of Tajik national culture from Islam is erroneous.

The Tajik head of state noted that 1,310 birthday anniversary of Al-Imam al-A’zam, “The Greatest Imam” Nu’man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mahan, better known by his kunya as Abu Ḥanīfah, who was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence.

Al-Imam al-A’zam, “The Greatest Imam” Nu’man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mahan, better known by his kunya as Abu Ḥanīfah, (699 — 767 CE / 80 — 148 AH) was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence.

Abu Hanifa was also one of the Tabi’een, the generation after the Sahaba, because he saw the Sahabi Anas ibn Malik, and transmitted hadiths from him and other Sahaba.

Abu Hanifa (699 — 767 CE / 80 — 148 AH) was born in Kufa, Iraq during the reign of the powerful Umayyad capilph Abdul Malik bin Marwan.  Acclaimed as Al-Imam al-A’zam, or Al-A’dham (the Great Imam), Nu’man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mah was better known by his kunya Abu Hanifa. It was not a true kunya, as he did not have a son called Hanifa, but an epithetical one meaning pure in monotheistic belief. His father, Thabit bin Zuta, a trader from Kabul, part of Khorasan in Persia, (the capital of modern day Afghanistan),was 40 years old at the time of Abu Hanifa’s birth.

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The Associated Press, The New York Times

Published: August 19, 2008

The city council of Cologne has voted to allow construction of what will be one of the largest mosques in Germany, a plan that has drawn protests from residents and Cologne’s Roman Catholic archbishop.The vote late Thursday by most of the city’s political parties cleared the way for the Ditib Turkish-Islamic umbrella group to build a new house of worship – complete with two 55-meter-tall, or 177-feet-tall, minarets – in the city’s Ehrenfeld district.

Sardi Arslan, the leader of Ditib, said Friday that construction of the mosque would begin immediately, and he expressed hope that it would facilitate communication between Muslims and non-Muslims. “We are building for all citizens of Cologne, not just for the Muslims,” Arslan said in a statement.

For the past 20 years, Ditib has used a converted warehouse as a house of worship. That will be torn down to make way for the new building, which the group hopes to finish by 2010.

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Part 1/4

Nasfim Haque is a film-maker at the BBC, conceiving program ideas and working as a producer/director. A Cambridge graduate, she joined the BBC in 2003, and her film projects have included “A Muslim in Wales: Qu’ran and Country” – she herself is Cardiff-born and of Bengali heritage.

In 2006 she won a BBC competition for first-time directors for her film “Don’t panic, I’m Islamic”, on attitudes towards Muslims in Britain. Nasfim notes that “as a Muslim myself, I feel Islam has recently been saddled with an image problem, quite unfairly in my opinion, so I wanted to twist this around to ask the real questions about religion in secular society.”

 

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 One of the first things that most people think about when preparing for or thinking about marriage, are the characteristics or qualities of the person they would like to marry. Some people think about how they want their potential husband or wife to look – perhaps they think about such things as hair and skin color. Some men may look for a wife who is an excellent cook, and some women may look for a husband who is very religious.

Many Muslims nowadays look for a wife or husband that is conversant in the Arabic language, or someone that is at least a student of Arabic.

Nonetheless, most people, Muslims included, seem to go to great lengths to make elaborate lists, either on paper or in their minds, about all the things they want or expect from their potential husband or wife. And while this is good and perhaps a very necessary part of the marriage search, few people ever sit down, and with the same purposefulness and care, enumerate their own qualities and characteristics or think about whether they, themselves, are the kind of people that someone else with just as high expectations or ideals would want to marry.

Think outside of yourself for a moment: If you were someone else, would you marry you? I don’t mean you, as you would like to see yourself weeks, months or even years from now. Nor do I mean you as you imagine yourself after you have had a chance to change a few of your bad habits, improve your character, fix yourself up, or you after you begin to practice your religion more seriously. I mean you, as you are TODAY.


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This story touched me… I hope that it has an effect on you too…

“My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students & teachers to support the family. There was this one day during elementary school and my mom came. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I threw her a hateful look and ran out.

The next day at school: “Your mom only has one eye?!?!”…eeeee said a friend. I wished my mom would just disappear from this world. So I said to my mom, “Mom… Why don’t you have the other eye?! If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?!!!”

My mom did not respond. I guess I felt a little bad, but at the same time, it felt good to think that I had said what I’d wanted to say all this time. Maybe it was because my mom hadn’t punished me, but I didn’t think that I had hurt her feelings very badly.

That night, I woke up, and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. My mom was crying there, so quietly, as if she was afraid that she might wake me. I took a look at her, and then turned away. Because of the thing I had said to her earlier, there was something pinching at me in the corner of my heart. Even so, I hated my mother who was crying out of her one eye. So I told myself that I would grow up and become successful.

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A series of intimate, 10-minute portraits, explores the lives and beliefs of six young people whose usual places of worship are beautiful and historic mosques across the Muslim world. The films accompany them as they leave their homes and families, follow them as they travel to Saudi Arabia, and share their responses to the culmination of their journey of a lifetime – the pilgrimage to Mecca, where the prophet Muhammed was born.

Within decades of the death of Muhammed, Islam spread fast and its history can be traced through the flowering of exquisite Muslim architecture. Over the next few hundred years, fabulous mosques from Spain to Iran, and from Turkey to Mali formed a focus of Muslim life, as they continue to do today. The Seven Wonders of the Muslim World starts its journey at six of these locations and completes it at the mosque towards which all practising Muslims turn when they pray.

The seven wonders

1. The Grand Mosque in Mecca is the largest mosque in the world. At its centre is the Kaaba, a cubic building covered in a gold-embroidered black cloth towards which Muslims turn as they pray. Every year, millions of people perform the Hajj – the pilgrimage during the 12th month of the Islamic year – and many others make the pilgrimage at other times of year, which is called the Umrah.

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