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Samuel Davidson: The Abbassid House of Wisdom

Samuel Davidson: The Abbassid House of Wisdom

Too often, we place faith and science on opposite ends of a spectrum. However, this does not always need to be the case, as demonstrated by the Abbasid House of Wisdom. Built circa 800 AD by Caliph Harun al-Rashid, this place of great academic prowess is the best example of a space for intellectual and(…)

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Samuel Davidson: Islamic Society’s Struggles with Modernism

Samuel Davidson: Islamic Society’s Struggles with Modernism

When we imagine modernism, we tend to have a very western-centric image in our minds. Being “Modern”for most people in the United States means having access to civil services, a western-style democracy, and high-powered consumerism. Modernism does not necessarily gel well with any world religion (many of Christianity’s tenants would be considered socialist if followed(…)

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Samuel Davidson: Gunpowder Empires (?) Shared Characteristics

Samuel Davidson: Gunpowder Empires (?) Shared Characteristics

The Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughal empires: Together, they represent the height of Islamic civilization, spanning much of western Asia, north Africa, and eastern Europe. Their martial prowess with early firearms has earned them the collective title ‘the Gunpowder Empires”, a shorthand used to describe the three of them. While their military might is(…)

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Sam Davidson: Pillars of Islamic Ethics

Sam Davidson: Pillars of Islamic Ethics

While it will never be possible to classify the key elements of all Islamic Ethics as different Muslims believe in different things, there are certain beliefs which transcend these bounds. Central to ethics that could be considered “Islam” is an understanding of one’s relationship with God, and to be humbled by it. From this humility(…)

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Sam Davidson: Science in Hearts and Minds

Sam Davidson: Science in Hearts and Minds

“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” The achievements of a single scholar can bring about more change and help more people than the sacrifice of any individual. This idea permeated Islamic Civilization, a place centuries ahead of Europe in its education and understanding of the Scientific Method.(…)

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Sam Davidson: Character of The Prophet

Sam Davidson: Character of The Prophet

History can count on its fingers (we are assuming of course history possesses a human sized proportioned hand with 5ish fingers) it’s leaders who could balance the struggles of building and revolutionizing a faith while also leading a country of followers. The Prophet Muhammad is one of these leaders. By spreading the word of God(…)

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Sam Davidson: The Qur’an’s Open Heart

Sam Davidson: The Qur’an’s Open Heart

“We do not teach him poetry, nor does this befit him, It is nothing but a Remembrance, and a manifest Qur’an, Therewith to warn him who is living, And to fulfil the Word against the unbelievers.” These verses from the 36th sura of the Qur’an “Ya Sin” exemplify the beautiful and eloquent language of this(…)

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Sam Davidson: Keeping an Idea Alive

Sam Davidson: Keeping an Idea Alive

There has been much debate on what it means for something to last eternally. Is something truly eternal if it ever changes, or is it then something new? Are there certain things that can be changed about an ideology or belief, while still maintaining the same heart and core that it once held?  This quandary(…)

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Sam Davidson: The Qur’an’s Bonding Force

Sam Davidson: The Qur’an’s Bonding Force

In class, we once discussed the etymology of the word religion. Simply put, religion means “of relations”, a direct reference to the sociability inherent in religions (a religion without social interaction is like dry water). The Qur’an strives to incorporate the social aspect of religion into its own practice from many perspectives and tries to(…)

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Sam Davidson: Forgiveness,

Sam Davidson: Forgiveness,

Too often, we tend to focus on virtues that are deemed “Heroic” while ignoring or pushing to the side those that are more holy and good. Courage, Intellect, and Strength are all revered and respected, sometimes with self destructive results. How often has somebody been unwilling to allow a minor transgression, or back down from(…)

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Sam Davidson: Our Relationship with God

Every time someone performs an action, they undergo a cost-benefit analysis of how much it will help them in the long run. Oftentimes, people will only factor in the effects an action will have on their life in the immediate and foreseeable future, not taking into account how these actions may carry over to the(…)

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Sam Davidson: Kufr and Salih, Strengthening a Dialogue with God

Oftentimes, Islam is wrongfully considered to be far removed from the other Abrahamic faiths, Judaism and Christianity. Because the three faiths focus on different aspects of Human’s relationship with God, and believe in fulfilling their relationship with God in different ways, we often forget that in many ways they are similar in their core beliefs(…)

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Samuel Davidson: Evolution and Context in the Qur’an

    Like all religious texts, the Qur’an may seem weakened by its context. Written by the prophet Muhammad in the mid 600’s in medieval Arabia, the Qur’an is full of idea and language meant to appeal to the tribes and traveling Bedouins of the author’s birth region. Allusions to Oases, Jinn, and aspects of(…)

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Sam Davidson: Signs of God’s Virtue

To view the world as simply a collection of parts is to undersell its value, and what it can tell us about the universe. As Fazlur Rahman wrote, “First, although a “sign” in the religious sense points beyond itself to its author, and the transition is in this sense rational and reasonable, it is nevertheless(…)

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Samuel Davidson: Prophets Are Made, Not Born

Samuel Davidson: Prophets Are Made, Not Born

  Muhammad was a prophet who exemplified understanding, honesty, mercy and unwavering faith in his interactions in Qur’anic scripture. Muhammad remains steadfast with these virtues even in times of hardship and stress, as we see both with his interactions with God and his treatment of his followers. The environment surrounding his birth, his upbringing, and(…)

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