Literature

On Friendship as the Essential Teachings of the Qur’an

On Friendship as the Essential Teachings of the Qur’an

On Friendship as the Essential Teachings of the Qur’an The Qur’an is a book of great wealth and knowledge, guiding over a billion of its followers every year towards salvation. Despite this, wars, feuds, torture, and oppression have been claimed to be justified by the text itself.[i] I propose, however, that the very elemental aspects(…)

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On the many Exegesis of the Qur’an

On the many Exegesis of the Qur’an

On the many Exegesis of the Qur’an Despite being the direct word of God, the Qur’an has continued to be interpreted by human scholars across a wide range of factors. Some believe the text should be understood by the prophet Muhammad’s own action, while yet others herald the tradition set over the last 1300 years.(…)

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On the Qur’an as a Web

On the Qur’an as a Web

On the Qur’an’s moral order

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Cinema and Society in Iran: 1900s to Present

Cinema and Society in Iran: 1900s to Present

Ever since the humble beginnings of Iranian Cinema in the early 1900’s, directors have used the movie screen as a platform to make commentary on Iranian politics, religion, and everyday life. In the fifties, sixties, and seventies, Iran was one of the most prominent countries in the Middle East for cinema. After a brief decline(…)

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Islamic Art as Visual Literature

Islamic Art as Visual Literature

Fundamental to the expression of the spiritualism of Islam is the idea that its essence rests within one’s soul. In poetry and prose, that expression is rendered in literature, a reflection of the language of scholarly discourse that has endured since the religion’s founding moments. Though the application of that scholarship has changed, the Sufi(…)

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Jorge Kalil: Alike in Origin and Expression

Jorge Kalil: Alike in Origin and Expression

The 16th century was a flourishing period for the European continent; Portuguese explorers had rounded the tip of Africa, Francisco Pizarro had conquered the Incan empire, and Europe was well into its cultural renaissance. Things were no different for the Muslim world to the East, which experienced the rise of three great empires that thrived(…)

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Christian Bolles: Who Started the Renaissance? It’s About Optics (And Much More)

Christian Bolles: Who Started the Renaissance? It’s About Optics (And Much More)

In modern colloquial discourse, there has been a broad erasure of Muslim contributions to European society to further a narrative of otherism. This skewed perspective ignores not only the sheer sophistication of pre-Renaissance Muslim civilization, but also the significant cultural, literary, and scientific exchange that defined the relationship between the Muslim and European worlds –(…)

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Jorge Kalil: Muslim Influence on the European Renaissance

Jorge Kalil: Muslim Influence on the European Renaissance

Following the fall of Roman Empire in the 5th century CE, Europe entered what is known as the dark ages, a period characterized by cultural and economic deterioration. Thankfully, this eventually led to a phase of rediscovery and scientific innovation, today known as the Renaissance. Contrary to popular belief, this was only made possible due(…)

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Hayley Segall: Muslims as the foundation to the European Renaissance

Hayley Segall: Muslims as the foundation to the European Renaissance

Between the 10th and 11th centuries, an Islamic renaissance flourished in which Muslim scholars and scientists elaborated on existing works and established new ideas regarding philosophy, science, literature, and faith. The depth and impact of such contributions reached beyond the borders of Arabia and the geographical origins of Islam. Through the spread of Islamic reign(…)

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Delaney Meyers: Akbar the Great: Pluralism, Stability, Power

Delaney Meyers: Akbar the Great: Pluralism, Stability, Power

Diana Eck—Harvard Professor, interfaith advocate, and creator of The Pluralism Project— defines pluralism as “not diversity alone, but the energetic engagement with diversity”. She says pluralism goes beyond passive tolerance, requiring “the active seeking of understanding across lines of difference” (What is Pluralism?). Akbar ruled over an emperor with immense diversity, and he embodied tolerance(…)

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Britta Janssen: “The Lordly Wind:” Eco-Spirituality in the Poetry of Jalāl Al-Dīn Rūmī

Britta Janssen: “The Lordly Wind:” Eco-Spirituality in the Poetry of Jalāl Al-Dīn Rūmī

“The Lordly Wind:” Eco-Spirituality in the Poetry of Jalāl Al-Dīn Rūmī The role of nature in the religion of Islam can be observed in multiple ways. Those interested in the human nature relationship can look at the way governments and religious leaders talk about the environment, or alternatively, the opposing views of dissenting non-profits and(…)

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Leo Hochberg: Comparing Archaic Revivalism and Islamic Traditionalism in “Persepolis” and “The Mantle of the Prophet”

Leo Hochberg: Comparing Archaic Revivalism and Islamic Traditionalism in “Persepolis” and “The Mantle of the Prophet”

“My mother and the servants who had been brought from Iran would tell me the deeds and fates of our legendary kings and heroes. To them these fearless champions had really existed and were part of our history. Hence my surprise when in grade two in the French Lyceé of Beirut (I was six years(…)

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Adam Jussila: Calligraphy: The Art of Andalusia and Maghreb

Adam Jussila: Calligraphy: The Art of Andalusia and Maghreb

For the Islamic people, calligraphy is more than a means of communication. It is an art form, a way to connect with and honor the divine, which has been widely practiced for over a thousand years. The first words that the angel Gabriel said to the prophet Muhammad were, “Recite: In the name of thy(…)

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Adam Jussila: A Common Heritage: Mughal, Ottoman, and Safavid Empires

Adam Jussila: A Common Heritage: Mughal, Ottoman, and Safavid Empires

Three empires rose out of the Islamic societies in the Middle East and Central Asia, all coming into existence around the end of the 15th century into the beginning of the 16th century. They were the Ottoman Empire in the west, the Safavid Empire mostly in Iran, and the Mughal Empire in the east, covering(…)

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Leo Hochberg: Diversity and Art in the Three Medieval Muslim Empires

Leo Hochberg: Diversity and Art in the Three Medieval Muslim Empires

Even the greatest of historians could not successfully document all the many commonalities between the three medieval Muslim empires. However, two stand out in their descriptions of imperial culture, the first being responses to internal diversity. Each empire met its own struggle to maintain central authority throughout its expansion without risking the alienation of its(…)

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Camille Backman: Engaging Community in Art

Camille Backman: Engaging Community in Art

  Language, community, and art largely influenced pre-modern societal Muslim Interfaith relations. Further, a large trend of translation and cross-cultural pollination provide support to positive and understanding alternative narratives of pre-modern interfaith relations. Respect out of similarity defined the initial relationship between Judaism and Islam, particularly before the spread of colonialism. Due to the gradual(…)

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