Category Archives: Islam

MURTAZA MUTAHHARI
(1920-1979)

The Martyr: On Jihad, Suicide, and Martyrdom

  Ayatollah Murtaza Mutahhari (also spelled Morteza Motahhari or Motah-hary), a traditional Shi’ite mujtahid and scholar influential in the Islamic Revolution of Iran (1978–79), was born in a small town in the province of Khorasan, Iran, and studied at the … Continue reading

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Filed under Islam, Middle East, Mutahhari, Murtaza, Selections, The Modern Era

RAMMOHUN ROY
(1774–1833)

from Translation of a Conference Between an Advocate For, and an Opponent Of, the Practice of Burning Widows Alive

  Raja Rammohun Roy (also spelled Ram Mohun) was born in Bengal in an ancient Brahman family in 1774, or, according to some sources, 1772. Roy was a religious and social reformer during the British colonial period and founder of … Continue reading

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Filed under Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Roy, Rammohun, Selections, The Early Modern Period

ABU’L FAZL IBN MUBARAK
(1551–1602)

from Biography of the Emperor Akbar: On Jauhar and Saka

  Abu’l Fazl was born in Agra, the second son to the Indian scholar and teacher Shaikh Mubarak, who educated Abu’l Fazl from an early age in the Islamic sciences, Greek philosophy, and mysticism. At age 23, Abu’l Fazl was … Continue reading

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Filed under Abu'l Fazl ibn Mubarak, Asia, Hinduism, Islam, Mass Suicide, Military Defeat, Success, Strategy, Selections, The Early Modern Period

ABU HAMID MUHAMMAD AL-GHAZALI
(1056-1111)

from Revival of the Religious Sciences

  A native of Khorasan, of Persian origin, the Muslim theologian, sufi mystic, and philosopher Abu-Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali is one of the great figures of Islamic religious thought, as well as a critical figure in the debates over the preservation … Continue reading

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ABU HAYYAN AL-TAWHIDI
(c. 923-1023)

from Borrowed Lights: On Suicide

  Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi, probably of Persian origin, was born in or around Baghdad sometime between 922 and 932. He was a man of letters and a scholar, influenced by Sufism and the neo-Platonic philosopher Abu Sulayman. Although said to … Continue reading

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AHMAD IBN FADLAN
(fl. 920s)

from The Risala: By the River Volga, 922: Viking Ship-Burial

  Ahmad ibn Fadlan, a Muslim diplomat and secretary to an ambassador for the Caliph of Baghdad, was sent in 921 to the Khaganate of Bulgars along the Middle Volga. His account of his travels with the embassy, The Risala, … Continue reading

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Filed under Ancient History, Ibn Fadlan, Ahmad, Islam, Middle East, Selections

HADITH: THE SAYINGS OF MUHAMMAD
(7th-9th centuries)

  The hadith, speech or tradition, record the Sunnah (“practice”), the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and actions, which Muslims believe were memorized and recorded by his companions and handed down from generation to generation. Many hadith are found in the biography … Continue reading

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THE QURAN
(traditional date c. 632-c. 650)

Surahs 2.54, 2.154, 2.195, 2.207, 3.145, 3.169-70, 4.29-30, 4.66, 4.74-80, 9.111, 18.6

  The Quran (meaning “recital” in Arabic) is the sacred scripture of Islam, and Muslims believe that it is the direct word of God given through the archangel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad over a period of about 23 years, … Continue reading

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Filed under Islam, Middle Ages, Middle East, Quran, Selections, Sin