Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education

The Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) is a non-profit, tax exempt, religious and educational organization dedicated to serve Islam with a special focus on Tasawwuf(Sufism),

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Masnavi Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi(r.a), Professor Tahir ul Qadri

Shaykh As'ad Saeed as-Sagharji (Syria)and Professor Tahir ul Qadri

Excellent Introduction to Masnavi of Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi in English by Shaykh ul Islam Professor Tahir ul Qadri,Patron in Chief Minhaj ul Quran International recorded at al-Hidayah
The Mathnawi of Maulana Jalaluddin Roomi (r.a) 1/28
Video Lectures 1--28 What is 'Al-Hidayah'?
Al-Hidayah is a movement which aims to bring about spiritual and educational renewal of individuals through the means of the Qur'an and the Way (Sunnah) of the beloved Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Through this renewal, individuals will be able to achieve balance and moderation in their personalities in order to live purposeful and wholesome lives in their societies as well as fulfil their primordial trust with their Creator.
Central to this renewal process is not only establishing a solid link with the Creator but also a state of intense love and reverence for His beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Too often the younger generation, especially in the West, is exposed to shallow religious rhetoric in the guise of Islamic teachings, and Al-Hidayah aims to rectify this by organising gatherings in the company of Islamic scholars who follow in the classical tradition of Islam.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Daniel Abdal Hayy Moore's Poetry at Mawlid un Nabi Conference 2005, Chandle AZ

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore Reading Poetry at NFIE Mawlid un Nabi Conference 2005,Chandler,AZ
Video Part 9

Born in 1940 in Oakland, California, his first book of poems, Dawn Visions, was published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964. In 1972 his second book, Burnt Heart, Ode to the War Dead, was also published by City Lights. He was the winner of the Ina Coolbrith Award for poetry and the James D. Phelan Award for the manuscript of poems in progress that became Dawn Visions. From 1966 to 1969, Mr. Moore wrote and directed ritual theatre for his Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company in Berkeley, California.
When he became a Muslim in 1970, he took the name Abd al-Hayy, and began traveling extensively in Europe and North Africa (Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote of this period: “Moore [became] a Sufi and, like Rimbaud, renounced written poetry.”). After ten years of not writing, however, Moore “renounced” his renunciation and published three books of poetry in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980's, The Desert is the Only Way Out, The Chronicles of Akhira, and Halley's Comet. He also organized poetry readings for the Santa Barbara Arts Festivals and wrote the libretto for a commissioned oratorio by American composer, Henry Brant, entitled Rainforest, which had its world premiere at the Arts Festival there on April 21, 1989.
In 1990 Mr. Moore moved with his family to Philadelphia, where he continues to write and read his work publicly. He has received commissions for two prose books with Running Press of that city, the best selling The Zen Rock Garden and a men’s movement anthology, Warrior Wisdom; his commissioned book for The Little Box of Zen was published in 2001 by Larry Teacher Books. Daniel Moore's poems (sometimes under the name Abd al-Hayy Moore) have appeared in such magazines as Zyzzva, the City Lights Review, and The Nation. He has read his poetry to 40,000 people at the United Nations in New York at a rally for the people of Bosnia during that war, and has participated in numerous conferences and conventions at universities (including Bryn Mawr, The University of Chicago and Duke University in 1998, the American University at Cairo, Egypt, in 1999, and the University of Arkansas in the year 2000). His book The Ramadan Sonnets, co-published by Kitab and City Lights Books, appeared in 1996, and his book of poems, The Blind Beekeeper, distributed by Syracuse University Press, in January of 2002. To date (2004), he has over 50 manuscripts of poetry which make up his present body of work.
In March of the year 2000, and October of 2001, Mr. Moore collaborated with the Lotus Music and Dance Studio of New York, performing the poetic narration he wrote for their multicultural dance performance of The New York Ramayana, and recently revived his own theatrical project in The Floating Lotus Magic Puppet Theater, presenting The Mystical Romance of Layla & Majnun with live-action and hand-puppets. He wrote the scenario and poetic narration and directed a collaboration between traditional Mohawk and modern dancers for The Eagle Dance: A Tribute to the Mohawk High Steel Workers, which was to be presented in New York on September 22, 2001, postponed for a performance on March 16, 2002 at the Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem. He has participated in The People’s Poetry Gathering of New York, narrating a cabaret version of The New York Ramayana at the Bowery Poetry Club and participating in a panel on The Poet in The World: Words in Community. He continues to give many public readings during the year, often accompanying himself on specially tuned zithers.

"Inner and Outer Aspects of Sunnah" Professor Arthur Buehler

"Inner and Outer Aspects of Sunnah" Professor Arthur Buehler,Lecture delivered at NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi conference,Chicago.(Video Part 2 starts with translation of Shaykh Masum's Keynote Address & then Dr.Buehler's Lecture)

Professor Arthur Buehler
PhD (Harvard University)Senior Lecturer ,Victoria University of Wellington,NZ
Art Buehler, a scholar of transregional sufi networks and the transmission of Islamic revivalist ideas, is senior editor of the Journal of the History of Sufism. He began his career teaching Arabic in Yemen for the British Council. After five years in the Arab world he entered the History of Religions Program at Harvard University specialising in South Asian Islam under the tutelage of the late Annemarie Schimmel. His subsequent two books are the result of four years of fieldwork in Indo-Pakistan.
Current Research Projects
The Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya sufi lineage
Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624 in Sirhind northern India) is the founder figure and renewer (mujaddid) of a transnational sufi lineage, the Naqshbandiyya, named after Baha’uddin Naqshband (d. 1389 near Bukhara, Uzbekistan), the patron saint of Uzbekistan. Presently Art is working on translating a book-length portion of Ahmad Sirhindi’s Collected Letters from the Persian and Arabic into English.
Sufi studies in general
Sufism does not always translate easily into the problematic category of “mysticism.” The focus in Art's research is on the mechanisms and directions occurring in the transformation of Sufi activities, whether spiritual or political, from pre-modern to modern societies, or from modern to post-modern societies.
Contemplative/transformative practices
Our knowledge of these practices runs something like this (as said by Baker roshi of San Francisco) – “Enlightenment is an accident and meditation just makes one accident prone.” Scholars should be able to do better than this.
Selected Publications
Sufi Heirs of the Prophet: The Indian Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the Mediating Sufi Shaykh, Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1998 (with a Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel)- explores the sources of authority in Islamic societies, Naqshbandi contemplative practices in detail, and the historical transformation of the Naqshbandi sufi lineage in the modern period
Analytical Indexes for the Collected Letters of Ahmad Sirhindi [in Persian], Lahore: Iqbal Academy, 2001- enables scholars reading Persian to find connecting threads in the 536 letters of Sirhindi’s Collected Letters
"What is the Primary Social Responsibility of Sufis in the Modern World?" Paper given at the International Association of Sufism conference in Philadelphia, PA USA 20 May 2007.

Purification of the Heart:Shaykh Muhammad Masum Naqshbandi (r.a)

"Purification of the Heart" Keynote Address delivered at International Mawlid un Nabi Conference,Chicago. in Persian,Translation by Professor Arthur Buehler,University of Victoria,Wellington,NZ

Naqshbandiya Foundation for Islamic Education: Naqshbandis of ...

Shaykh Muhammad Ma'sum Naqshbandi(rahmat Allah alayhi)-d.2007
Eminent Shaykh of the Naqshbandiya Tariqa and Islamic Scholar from Kurdistan. Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra), grandson of renowned Shaykh 'Umar Ziauddin (ra), was the last of his Naqshbandi spiritual sublineage. He was born in Biyara, Iraq, and completed his Islamic theological study under the guidance of renowned scholars Upon completion of his studies, he was granted the permission to serve both as a guide and teacher in both the Qadiri and Naqshbandi Sufi lineages by his renowned uncle, Shaykh Ala'uddin Naqshbandi, the last of the great masters (khwajagan) mentioned in the Naqshbandi litany, Khatm-i khwajagan. In the 1940's Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) was granted an official teaching certificate in the Islamic religious sciences from the Iraqi Ministry of Awqaf.
Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) spent the major part of his life in the city of Mahabad, Iran, and left Iran at the time of the 1979 Iranian revolution. After going to Europe and Iraq, he eventually migrated to the United States in 1991. There he continued to inspire, educate, and inform people about the universal message of Islam to the end of his days as an esteemed spiritual guide. Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) was the spiritual guide of the Naqshbandiyya Foundation for Islamic Education (NFIE) for several years. As a highly influential spiritual guide and Islamic scholar renowned for his depth of spiritual wisdom, Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra) radiated a sincere, humble, and uncompromising piety like that of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This extraordinary, yet down-to-earth man transformed the lives of people meeting him for over six decades. He himself was the living example of the hadith saying, "The learned scholars of my community are the heirs of the prophets." Shaykh Muhammad Masum (ra), left this world one year ago, leaving his loved ones and followers with a vacant place that cannot be filled. He was an exceptional spiritual figure who faithfully trod the path of his forefathers, who in turn upheld the highest principles in the most difficult of circumstances. This is a legacy that has continued for over a thousand years and which has transformed the lives of many. In this present age there seem to be very few who can match the impeccable faith in God, undisputed moral virtue, and depth of spiritual wisdom that their exemplary forefathers have embodied. May Allah bless us with the knowledge and ability to follow the path with a faithful adherence to the Sunna of our beloved Prophet (pbuh). All praise is due to Allah alone. Peace and blessings be on our Prophet, Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), his family, and companions.
Shaykh Masum's Naqshbandi Lineage:
Shaykh Muhammad Masum Diyai Naqshbandi (d. 2007)
Shaykh Jamil Naqshbandi (d. 1931)
Umar Diya al-Din (d. 1901)
Muhammad Baha al-Din (d. 1873)
Uthman Siraj al-Din (d. 1868)
Mawlana Khalid (d. 1827)
Abdallah (Shah Ghulam Ali) al-Dihlawi (d. 1824)
Shams al-Din Habib Allah (Mirza Mazhar) Jan Janan (d. 1781)
al-Sayyid Nur Muhammad al-Badauni (d. 1723)
al-Sayyid Muhammad Sayf al-Din (d.1684)
Muhammad Masum (d.1668)
al-Imam al-Rabbani al-Shaykh Ahmad al-Faruqi ( d. 1624).

"Supersession and Intercession: Why Humanity Needs Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam)

KEYNOTE ADDRESS at NFIE International Milad-un-Nabi Confrence 1998 ,Chicago

"Supersession and Intercession: Why Humanity Needs Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam)." By Dr. Abd-al Hakim Murad (TJ Winter),

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
Born Timothy J. Winter in 1960, Abdal Hakim studied at the prestigious Westminster School in London, UK and later at the University of Cambridge, where he graduated with first class honours in Arabic in 1983. He then lived in Cairo for three years, studying Islam under traditional teachers at Al-Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world. He went on to reside for three years in Jeddah, where he administered a commercial translation office and maintained close contact with Habib Ahmad Mashhur al-Haddad and other ulama from Hadramaut, Yemen.
In 1989, Sheikh Abdal Hakim returned to England and spent two years at the University of London learning Turkish and Farsi. Since 1992 he has been a doctoral student at Oxford University, specializing in the religious life of the early Ottoman Empire. In 1996, he was appointed University Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge.
Sheikh Abdal Hakim is the translator of a number of works, including two volumes from Imam al-Ghazali Ihya Ulum al-Din. He gives durus and halaqas from time to time and taught the works of Imam al-Ghazali at the Winter 1995 Deen Intensive Program in New Haven, CT. He appears frequently on BBC Radio and writes occasionally for a number of publications including The Independent and Q-News International, Britain's premier Muslim Magazine.
He lives with his wife and children in Cambridge, UK.

Sufism (Tasawwuf) and Problems of the Modern World. Professor Sulayman S.Nyang

"Sufism (Tasawwuf) and Problems of the Modern World"
Lecture delivered at NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi Conference 1998,Chicago

Professor Sulayman S. Nyang,
Sulayman Nyang teaches at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he serves as Professor of African Studies. From 1975 to 1978 he served as Deputy Ambassador and Head of Chancery of the Gambia Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Following his diplomatic stint, he immigrated to the United States and returned to academic life at Howard University, where he later assumed the position of department chair from 1986 to 1993. He also serves as co-director of Muslims in the American Public Square, a research project funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Professor Nyang has served as consultant to several national and international agencies. He has served on the boards of the African Studies Association, the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. He is listed on the editorial boards of several national and international scholarly journals. He has lectured on college campuses in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Professor Nyang has written extensively on Islamic, African and Middle Eastern affairs. His latest book, Islam in America, is scheduled to appear this fall. His best known works are Islam, Christianity and African Identity (1984), A Line in the Sand: Saudi Arabia�s Role in the Gulf War (1995), co-authored with Evan Heindricks, and Religious Plurality in Africa, co-edited with Jacob Olupona. Professor Nyang has also contributed over a dozen chapters in books edited by colleagues writing on Islamic, African and Middle Eastern subjects. His numerous scholarly pieces have appeared in African, American, European and Asian journals.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prophet of Islam as "The Living Quran".saws. Professor Vincent Cornell

Prophet of Islam as "The Living Quran" saws

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Video Part 6

Lecture delivered at NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi Conference Chicago
Vincent Cornell is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1989. Professor Cornell has taught at Northwestern University (2 years), the University of Georgia (1 year), Duke University (9 years), and most recently the University of Arkansas, where for the past six years he served as Professor of History and Director of the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. He has lived and worked in Morocco for nearly six years, and has spent considerable time both teaching and doing research in Egypt, Tunisia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Professor Cornell's pre-modern interests cover the entire spectrum of Islamic thought from Sufism to philosophy and Islamic law. He has published three books: The Book of the Glory of the Black Race: al-Jahiz’s Kitab Fakhr as-Sudan 'ala al-Bidan (Waddington, New York: The Phyllis Preston Collection, 1981) , a translation of a short treatise on the virtues of the blacks over the whites by the premier Arabic literary figure of the ninth century C. E.; The Way of Abu Madyan: Doctrinal and Poetic Works of Abu Madyan Shu'ayb ibn al-Husayn al-Ansari(ca. 509/1115-16— 594/1198) (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1996), the first detailed study of a highly influential Sufi of the western Islamic mystical tradition; and Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1998), the first study of Muslim sainthood utilizing the methodology of the sociology of sainthood, and the first detailed historical study of the Moroccan Sufi tradition.
Professor Cornell has also published a number of journal articles and book chapters, including most recently "Ibn Battuta's Opportunism: the Networks and Loyalties of a Medieval Muslim Scholar," in Miriam Cooke and Bruce B. Lawrence, Editors, Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip Hop (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2005); "Practical Sufism: An Akbarian Foundation for a Liberal Theology of Difference," in Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society (Vol. 36, 2004); and "Listening to God through the Qur'an," in Michael Ipgrave, Editor, Scriptures in Dialogue: Christians and Muslims Studying the Bible and the Qur'an Together (London: Church House Publishing [Archbishop's Council, Church of England], 2004). He is currently working on Voices of Islam, a five volume set which he is editing for Praeger Press due out in 1996, as well as a book length monograph of the North African Sufi Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, a work on Hermetic philosophy in Islamic Spain, and a history of Islamic moral philosophy.

Islam and the New Millennium:Abdal Hakim Murad

Islam and the New Millennium© Abdal-Hakim Murad
Video Part 1 (NFIE International Mawlid un Nabi Conference,Chicago)
Video Part 2
Video Part 3
Video Part 4
Video Part 5
Video Part 6

Whoever is not thankful for gracesruns the risk of losing them;and whoever is thankful,fetters them with their own cords.(Ibn Ata'illah, Kitab al-Hikam)
'Islam and the New Millennium' - rather a grandiose subject for an essay, and one which, for Muslims, requires at least two caveats before we can even begin.
Firstly, the New Millennium - the Year 2000 - is not our millennium. Regrettably, most Muslim countries nowadays use the Christian calendar devised by Pope Gregory the Great, and not a few are planning celebrations of some kind. Many confused and secularised people in Muslim countries are already expressing a good deal of excitement: in Turkey, there is even a weekly magazine called Iki Bin'e Dogru(Straight to 2000). This semi-hysteria should be of little interest to us: as Muslims we have our own calendar. The year 2000 will in fact begin during the year 1420 of the Hijra. So why notice the occasion at all? Isn't this just another example of annoying and irrelevant Western influence?
This point becomes still sharper when we remember that according to most modern scholars, Jesus (a.s.) was in fact born in the year 4 B.C. Thus 1996, not 2000, marked the second millennium of his advent. The celebrations in two years time will in fact mark an entirely meaningless date: a postmodern festival indeed.
The second, more imponderable reservation, concerns our ability to speak reliably about the future at all. In this paper I propose to speculate about the directions which Islam may take following the great and much-hyped anniversary. But the theological question is a sharp one: can we do this in a halal way? The future is in the ghayb, the Unseen; it is known only to Allah. And it may well be that the human race will not reach the year 2000 at all. Allah is quite capable of winding the whole show up before then. The hadith of Jibril describes how the angel came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) asking when the Day of Judgement would come, and he only replied, 'The one questioned knows no more of it than the questioner.' But as the Holy Qur'an puts it, 'the very heavens are bursting with it.' It may well be tomorrow.
Apocalyptic expectations are not new in Islamic history: they appeared, for instance, in connection with the Islamic millennium. Imam al-Suyuti, the greatest scholar of medieval Egypt, was concerned about the nervous expectations many Muslims had about the year 1000 of the hijra. Would it herald the end of the world, as many thought?
Imam al-Suyuti allayed these fears by examining all the hadith he could find about the lifetime of this Umma. He wrote a short book which he called al-Kashf an mujawazat hadhihi al-umma al-Alf ('Proof that this Umma will survive the millenium'). He concluded that there was no evidence that the first millenium of Islam would end human history. But rather soberingly for our generation, he speculates that the hadiths at his disposal indicate that the signs which will usher in the return of Isa (a.s.), and the Antichrist (al-Masih al-Dajjal), are most likely to appear in the fifteenth Islamic century; in other words, our own.
But all these speculations were submissive to the Imam's deep Islamic awareness that knowledge of the future is with Allah; and only Prophets can prophesy.
What I shall be doing in the pages that follow, then, is not forecast, but extrapolate. Allah ta'ala is capable of changing the course of history utterly, through some natural disaster, or a series of disastrous wars. He can even end history for good. If that happens in the next three years, then my forecasts will be worthless. All I am doing is, in a sense, to talk about the present, inasmuch as present trends, uninterrupted by catastrophe, seem set to continue in the coming few years and decades.
Why is it useful to reflect on these trends? Because I think we all recognise that the Muslims have responded badly and largely unsuccessfully to the challenges of the twentieth century; in fact, of the last three centuries. Faced with the triumph of the West, we have not been able to work out which changes are inevitable, and which can be resisted.
For instance, in the early nineteenth century the Ottoman empire lost a series of disastrous wars against Russia. The main reason was the superior discipline and equipment maintained by modern European armies. But the ulema, and the janissary troops, resisted any change. They believed that battles were won by faith, and that firearms and parade grounds diminished the virtue of futuwwa, the chivalric, almost Samurai-like code of the individual Muslim warrior. To shoot at an enemy from a distance rather than look him in the eye and fight with a sword was seen as a form of cowardice. Hence the Ottoman army continued to sustain defeat after defeat at the hands of its better-equipped Christian enemies.
Another case in point was the controversy over printing. Until the eighteenth century a majority of ulema believed that printing was haram. A text, particularly one dealing with religion, was something numinous and holy, to be created slowly and lovingly through the traditional calligraphic and bookbinding crafts. A ready availability of identical books, the scholars thought, would cheapen Islamic learning, and also make students lazy about committing ideas and texts to memory. Further, it was thought that the process of stamping and pressing pages was disrespectful to texts which might contain the name of the Source of all being.
It took a Hungarian convert to Islam, Ibrahim Muteferrika, to change all this. Muteferrika obtained the Ottoman Caliph's permission to print secular and scientific books, and in 1720 he opened Islam's first printing press in Istanbul. Muteferrika was a sincere convert, describing his background and religious beliefs in a book which he called Risale-yi Islamiyye. He was also very concerned with the technical and administrative backwardness of the Ottoman empire. Hence he wrote a book entitled Usul al-Hikam fi Nizam al-Umam, and published it himself in 1731. In this book he describes the governments and military systems prevailing in Europe, and told the Ottoman elite that independent Muslim states could only survive if they borrowed not only military technology, but also selectively from European styles of administration and scientific knowledge.
Ibrahim Muteferrika's warnings about the rise of European civilisation were slowly heeded, and the Ottoman state set about the controversial business of modernizing itself, while attempting to preserve what was essential to its Islamic identity.
Muteferrika's story reminds us that unless Muslims are conscious of the global trends of their age, they will continue to be losers. My own experience of Muslims has suggested that we are endlessly fascinated by short-term political issues, but are largely ignorant of the larger tendencies of which these issues are simply the passing manifestations.
This ignorance can sometimes be astonishing. How many leaders in the Islamic world are really familiar with the ideas which underpin modernity? I have met some leaders of activist factions, and have been consistently shocked by their lack of knowledge. How many can even name the principal intellectual systems of our time? Structuralism, post-modernism, realism, analytic philosophy, critical theory, and all the rest are closed books to them. Instead they burble on about the 'International Zionist Masonic Conspiracy', or 'Baha'ism', or the 'New Crusader Invasion', or similar phantasms. If we want to understand why so many Islamic movements fail, we should perhaps begin by acknowledging that their leaders simply do not have the intellectual grasp of the modern world which is the precondition for successfully overcoming the obstacles to Islamic governance. A Muslim activist who does not understand the ideologies of modernism can hardly hope to overcome them.
A no less lamentable ignorance prevails when it comes to non-ideological trends in the late twentieth century, and which are likely to prevail in the new millennium. And hence I make no apologies for discussing them in this paper. Like Ibrahim Mutefarrika three centuries ago, I am concerned to alert Muslims to the realities which are taking shape around them, and which are moulding a world in which their traditional discourse will have no application whatsoever. It is suicidal to assume that we will be insulated from these realities. Increasingly, we live in one world, thanks to a mono-culturising process which is accelerating all the time. There is a mosque in Belfast now, and there is also a branch of MacDonalds in Mecca. We may be confident in our faith and assumptions, but what of many of our young people? What happens to the young Muslim student at an American university? He learns about post-modernism and post-structuralism, and that these are the ideologies of profound influence in the modern West. He asks the Islamic activist leaders how to disprove them, and of course they cannot. So he grows confused, and his confidence in Islam as a timeless truth is shaken. Under such conditions, only the less intelligent will remain Muslim: a filtering process which is already painfully evident in some activist circles.
It is, therefore, an obligation, a farida, to understand the processes which are under way around us.
To summarise the leading trends of our age is beyond the ambitions of this short paper. I will focus, therefore, on just a few representative issues, not because I can deal with them fully, but simply to suggest the nature of the challenges for which the Umma should prepare over the next few decades. These three issues are: demography, religious change, and the environment.
Let me deal with the demographic issue first, because in a sense it is the most inexorable. Population trends are easily extrapolated, and the statistics are abundant for the past hundred years at least. Projections are reliable unless catastrophe supervenes: epidemics, for instance, or destructive wars. I will assume that neither of these things will assume sufficient proportions to affect the general picture.
Here are some figures taken from D. Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia, published by Oxford University Press in 1982. I will set them out in text rather than tabular form, in case the format does not survive Web downloading.
In 1900, 26.9% of the world's population was Western Christian, while Islam accounted for 12.4%. In 1980 the figures were 30% and 16.5% respectively. The projection for 2000 is 29.9% and 19.2%. Percentages for other religions are fairly static, and since 1970 the total of atheists has, surprisingly perhaps, experienced a slow decline.
These figures are of considerable significance. Over the course of this century, the absolute proportion of Muslims in the world has jumped by a quite staggering amount. This has come about partly through conversion, but more significantly through natural increase. And the demographic bulge in the modern Muslim world means that this growth will continue. Here, for instance, is the forecast of Samuel Huntington in his new and resolutely Islamophobic book The Clash of Civilizations (pp.65-6):
"The percentage of Christians in the world peaked at about 30 percent in the 1980s, leveled off, is now declining, and will probably approximate about 25% of the world's population by 2025. As a result of their extremely high rates of population growth, the proportion of Muslims in the world will continue to increase dramatically, amounting to 20 percent of the world's population about the turn of the century, surpassing the number of Christians some years later, and probably accounting for about 30 percent of the world's population by 2025." It is not hard to see why this is happening. America and Europe have increasingly aging populations. In fact, one of the greatest social arguments of the new millennium will concern the proper means of disposing of the elderly. Medical advances ensure an average lifetime in the high seventies. However active lifetimes have not grown so fast. At the turn of the century, a Westerner could expect to spend an average of the last two years of life as an invalid. Today, the figure is seven years. As Ivan Illich has shown, medicine prolongs life, but does not prolong mobility nearly as well. These ageing populations with their healthcare costs are an increasing socio-economic burden. The UK Department of Health recently announced that a new prescription drug for Alzheimer's Disease is available on the National Health Service - but its cost means that it is only available to a selected minority of patients.
In the West's population is top-heavy, that of Islam is the opposite. Today, more than half the population of Algeria, for example, is under the age of twenty, and the situation is comparable elsewhere. These young populations will reproduce, and perpetuate the percentage increase of Muslims well into the next millennium.
Hence, to take an example, in the Maghrib between 1965 and 1990, the population rose from 29.8 million to 59 million. During the same period, the number of Egyptians increased from 29.4 million to 52.4 million. In Central Asia, between 1970 and 1993, populations grew at annual rates of 2.9 percent in Tajikistan, 2.6 percent in Uzbekistan, 2.5 percent in Turkmenistan, and 1.9 percent in Kyrgyzia. In the 1970s, the demographic balance in the Soviet Union shifted drastically, with Muslims increasing by 24 percent while Russians increased by only 6.5 percent. Almost certainly this is one reason why the Russian empire collapsed: Moscow had to detach its Muslim areas before their numbers encouraged them to dominate the system. Even in Russia itself, Muslims (Tatars, Bashkirs, and Chuvash, as well as immigrants) are very visible, accounting for over 10 percent of the populations of both Moscow and St Petersburg.
This reminds us that the increase in the Muslim heartlands will have a significant impact in Muslim minority areas as well. In some countries, such as Tanzania and Macedonia, the Muslims will become a majority within twenty years. Largely through immigration, the Muslim population of the United States grew sixfold between 1972 and 1990. And even in countries where immigration has been suppressed, the growth continues. Last year, seven percent of babies born in European Union countries were Muslims. In Brussels, the figure was a staggering 57 percent. Islam is already the second religion of almost every European state - the only exceptions being those European countries such as Azerbaijan and Albania where it is the majority religion. If current trends continue, then an overall ten percent of European nationals will be Muslim by the year 2020.
What is the significance of this global change? Does it in fact entail anything at all? After all, there is a famous hadith narrated by Abu Daud on the authority of Thawban, which says that the day will come when the Muslims will be numerous, but will be like froth and flotsam (ghutha') carried along by a flash-flood.
It is true that sheer weight of numbers counts for much less today than it did, say, a couple of hundred years ago, when military victories depended as much on numbers as on technology. Napoleon could say that 'God is on the side of the larger battalions' - but nowadays, when huge numbers of soldiers can be eliminated by push-button weapons, this is no longer the case; a fact demonstrated by Saddam Hussein's hopeless and absurd defiance during the recent conflict over Gulf oil supplies.
The rapid increase in Muslim numbers does, however, have important entailments. But for this, the UN would not have chosen Cairo, the world's largest Muslim city, as the site of its 1994 Population Conference. There is still some safety in numbers. But more significant than mere numbers is the psycho-dynamic of population profiles. Aging populations become introspective and flaccid. Young populations are more likely to be energetic, and encourage national political assertiveness.
The new millennium will dawn over a Muslim world with disproportionately young populations. Moreover, these populations will be increasingly urban. And such situations historically have always bred instability, turmoil, and reform. One explanation for the Protestant reformation in Europe is based on the preponderance of young people in urban sixteenth-century Germany, the result of new agricultural and political arrangements. The growth of fascism in Central Europe in the 1930s is also attributed in part to the growth in the number of young people. And in Islamic history, one thinks of the example of the Jelali rebellions in the sixteenth and seventh century: once the great Ottoman conquests had ceased, the young men who would have been occupied in the army found themselves at a loose end, and launched a variety of sectarian or social protest movements that devastated large areas of Anatolia.
The Islamic revival over the past few years has faithfully reflected this trend. One of the first Muslim countries to reach a peak proportion of youth was Iran, in the late 1970s (around 22% of the population), and the revolution occurred in 1979. In other countries the peak was reached rather later: in Algeria this proportion was reached in 1989, just when the FIS was winning its greatest support.
Following the millennium, this youth bulge will continue in many Muslim societies. The number of people in their early twenties will increase in Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and several other countries. As compared to 1990, in the year 2010 entrants to the jobs market will increase by about 50% in most Arab lands. The unemployment problem, already acute, will become intolerable.
This rapid growth is likely to render some states difficult to govern. The bunker regimes in Cairo and Algiers are already confronting rebellions which have clear demographic as well as moral and religious dimensions. So the first probable image we have of the next millenium is: in the West, aging and static populations, with stable, introspective political cultures; and in the Islamic world, a population explosion, and established regimes everywhere under siege by radicals.
The next consideration has to be: will the bunker regimes survive? This is harder to comment upon, although many political scientists with an interest in the Islamic world have tried. Before the modern period, peasant revolts stood a good chance of success, because manpower could carry the day against the ruler's army. Today, however, advances in technology have made it possible for military regimes to survive indefinitely in the face of massive popular discontent. Spend enough money, and you can defeat even the most ingenious infiltrator or the most populous revolt. This technology is becoming cheaper, and is often supplied on a subsidised basis to the West's favoured clients in the Third World. Similarly, techniques of interrogation and torture are becoming far more refined, and have proved an effective weapon against underground movements in a variety of places.
Let me give you an example. Last year's Amnesty International report explains that in January 1995, the US government licenced the export to Saudi Arabia of a range of security equipment including the so-called 'taser' guns. 'These guns shoot darts into a victim over a distance of up to five metres before a 40-50,000 volt shock is administered. These weapons are prohibited in many countries, including the UK.
Another example, also documented by Amnesty, is the export in 1990 of a complete torture chamber by a UK company, which was installed in the police special branch headquarters in Dubai. This is known in the Emirates as the 'House of Fun'. The Amnesty report describes it as 'a specially constructed cell fitted with a terrifyingly loud sound system, a white-noise generator and synchronized strobe lights designed to pulse at a frequency that would cause severe distress.'
These are just two examples of the increasing sophistication of torture equipment now being supplied to the bunker regimes. One could add to this list the improving techniques of telecommunications surveillance.
But what about the Internet? Isn't the Internet the ultimate freedom machine, allowing the pervasion of all types of dissent, from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world?
At the moment the Internet is only available in a few Muslim countries. Already there are indications that monitoring of the phone lines which carry the signals is in progress. The centralizing nature of the Internet is in fact tailormade for intrusive regimes. A fairly straightforward programme on a mainframe computer logged on to the telephone net can inform the security forces instantaneously if a forbidden site is being accessed. Once that is established, investigation and arrest are a matter of course.
I believe that as technology improves, including ever more massive surveillance systems, it seems quite likely that the regimes will be able to suppress any amount of dissent, on one condition - that it does not spread to the armed forces. The Shah fell because his army turned against him, not because of the protests on the streets. But in Algeria the revolution has been suppressed, largely because the radicals think they can overwhelm a modern state without support from the armed forces.
The societies governed in this way are now experiencing severe traumas and cultural distortions. They are sometimes called 'pressure-cooker cultures'. The consequences for the human soul of being subjected to this kind of pressure are quite alarming, and already in the Muslim world we see manifestations of extreme behaviour which only a decade ago would have been unthinkable.
This is not the context for providing full details of the problem of 'extremism', or what traditional Islam would call ghuluww. But it is clearly a growing feature of our religious landscape, and I will have to deal with it in passing. In early Islam the movement known as Kharijism fought against the khalifa Ali for the sake of a utopian and purist vision of Muslim society. Today, tragically, the Khawarij are with us once more. I have in mind incidents such as the 1994 shooting in Omdurman, when Wahhabi activists opened fire on Friday worshippers in the Ansar al-Sunna mosque, killing fourteen. Ironically, the mosque was itself Salafi, but followed a form of Wahhabism that the activists did not consider sufficiently extreme.
In Algeria, too, throat-slittings and massacres of villagers, and fighting between rival groups, have transformed large areas of the country into a smoking ruin.
We sometimes like to dismiss these movements as marginal irrelevancies. However, the signs are that until the conditions which have bred them are removed, they will continue to grow. The mainstream Islamic movements are seen to have failed to achieve power, and desperate young people are turning to more radical alternatives. It is fairly clear that a growing polarisation of Muslim society, and of the Muslim conscience, will be a hallmark of the coming century.
What is the defining symptom of Kharijism? In a word, takfir. That is, declaring other Muslims to be beyond the pale, and hence worthy of death. This tendency was attacked vigorously by the ulema of high classical Islam. For instance, Imam al-Ghazali, in his book Faysal al-Tafriqa bayn al-Islam wa'l-Zandaqa explained that it is extremely difficult to declare anyone outside Islam for as long as they say La ilaha illa'Llah, Muhammadun rasulu'Llah. And today, Sunni schoolchildren in many countries still memorise creeds such as the Jawharat al-Tawhid of Imam al-Laqqani, which include lines like:
idh ja'izun ghufranu ghayri'l-kufri fa-la nukaffir mu'minan bi'l-wizri since forgiving what is not unbelief is possible, as we do not declare an unbeliever any believer on account of a sin.
wa-man yamut wa-lam yatub min dhanbihi fa-amruhu mufawwadun li-rabbihi Whoever dies and has not repented of his sin, his matter is turned over to his Lord. The legitimation of differences in fiqh was rooted in the understanding of ijtihad. And differences in spiritualities were justified by the Sufis in terms of the idea that al-turuq ila'Llah bi'adadi anfas al-khala'iq ('there are as many paths to God as there are human breaths'). As Ibn al-Banna', the great Sufi poet of Saragossa expressed it, ibaraatuna shatta wa-husnuka wahidun, wa-kullun ila dhak al-jamali yushiru ('our expressions differ, but Your beauty is one, and all are pointing towards that Beauty').
Diversity has always been a characteristic of Islamic cultures. It was only medieval Christian cultures which strove to suppress it. However, there is a growing tendency nowadays among Muslims to favour totalitarian forms of Islam. 'Everyone who disagrees with me is a sinner, cries the young activist, 'and is going to hell'.
This mentality recalls the Kharijite takfir, but to understand why it is growing in the modern umma, we have to understand not just the formal history, but the psychohistory of our situation. Religious movements are the expression not just of doctrines and scriptures, but also of the hopes and fears of human collectivities. In times of confidence, theologies tend to be broad and eirenic. But when the community of believers feels itself threatened, exclusivism is the frequent result. And never has the Umma felt more threatened than today.
Even in the UK, the takfir phenomenon is growing steadily. There are factions in our inner cities which believe that they are the only ones going to Heaven. 99% of people who call themselves Muslims are, in this distasteful insult to Allah's moral coherence, not Muslims at all.
We can understand this psychic state more easily when we recognise that it exists universally. Not just in Islam, but in Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, there is a conspicuous tendency towards factional excluvisism. In Christianity, one has to look no further than the Branch Davidians of David Koresh, 89 of whom died when their ranch in Texas was stormed by US troops three years ago. The Davidians believed that they were the sole true Christians - everyone else would burn in Hell.
In Japan, even the usually peaceful religion of Buddhism has been re-formed by this tendency. In early 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo sect released Sarin nerve gas onto the Tokyo underground system, killing eleven people and sending 5,500 to hospital. Their guru, Shoko Asahara, had for ten years been preaching the need to overthrow the corrupt order in Japan, and transform the country into the true Shambala. As he said, 'Our sphere shall extend throughout the nation, and foster the development of thousands of right-believing people.' In his book From Destruction to Emptiness he explains that only those who believe in authentic, pristine Buddism as taught by Aum can expect to survive the corruption and destruction of the world. Non-Aum Buddhists are not true Buddhists at all.
On the basis of this kind of takfir, he and his 12,000 followers bought a factory complex on the slopes of Mount Fuji, where they successfully manufactured nerve gas and the botulism virus. The sinners of Japan's un-Buddhist culture would be the first to suffer, they thought, but they also laid extensive plans for terrorist actions in North America. It is claimed that had the sect been allowed to operate for another six months, tens of thousands of people might have died from the sect's attacks in the United States, which was seen as the great non-Buddhist source of evil darkening the world.
It is important to note the close parallels between Aum Shinryo-kyo and the modern takfir groups in the Middle East. The diagnosis is the same: the pure religion has been ignored or distorted by an elite, and the process has been masterminded by Americans. Hence the need to retreat and disown society - the idea of Takfir wa'l-Hijra that informed Shukri Mustafa's group in late 1970s Egypt. In secretive inner circles, the saved elect gather to plan military-style actions against the system. They are indifferent to the sufferings of civilians - for they are apostates and deserve death anyway. Such attacks will prefigure, in some rather vague and optimistic fashion, the coming to power of the true believers, and the suppression of all other interpretations of religion.
This idea of takfir wa'l-hijra is thus, in structural terms, a global phenomenon. Its members are usually educated, almost always having science rather than arts backgrounds. Technology is not disowned, but sedulously cultivated. Bomb-making becomes a disciplined form of worship.
I believe that this tendency, which has been fostered rather than eliminated by the repressiveness of the regimes, will grow in relative significance as we traverse the end of the century. It will continue to besmirch the name of Islam, by shooting tourists, or blowing up minor targets in pinprick attacks that strengthen rather than weaken the regimes. It will divide the Islamic movement, perhaps fatally. And it will provide the regimes with an excuse further to repress and marginalise religion in society.
The threat of neo-Khariji heresy is thus a real one. It will exist, however, against the backdrop of an even more worrying transformation. It is time now to look at the last of our three themes: the apparently disconnected subject of the degradation of the natural environment, one of the great neglected Islamic issues of our time - arguably even the most important of all.
There are a whole cluster of questions here. Clearly, as we leave the second millennium, the planet is in abjectly poor physical shape as compared to the year 1000. Materialism, enabled by Reformation notions of the world as fallen, and by protestant capitalistic ethics, has presided over the gang rape of Mother Earth. Everywhere the face of the planet is scarred. Megatons of tons of toxic waste are now circulating in the oceans, or hovering in the stratosphere. Hormone and plastics pollution has resulted in a 50% drop in male fertility in the UK. Every day, another 12 important species become extinct. Every form of life apart from our own, and perhaps domestic animals, has been decimated by the holocaust of modernity. The BSE disaster is a hint of what may be in store: Government analysts have confirmed that as many as 30,000 British people may contract Creuzfeld-Jakob disease as a result of eating contaminated beef. As technology advances, similar scientific blunders may well wipe out large sections of the human race.
But the most urgent and undeniable environmental issue which we carry with us into the new millennium is that of global warming. For a hundred years we have been pumping greenhouse gases into the skies, and are now beginning to realise that a price has to be paid. We need to focus close attention on this issue, not least because it will affect the Islamic countries far more radically than the West. Worryingly few people in the Muslim world seem interested in the question; and it is hence urgently necessary that we remind ourselves of the seriousness of the situation.
For years government scientists mocked the idea of global warming. But the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 revealed to an anxious world that the scientific facts were now so clear as to brook no argument. The world is heating up. The industrial gases in the atmosphere are turning our planet into a greenhouse, reflecting heat back in rather than allowing it to be dissipated into space.
Here in England, global warming is noticed even by the ordinary citizen. Temperature records go back over three hundred years, but the 10 hottest years have all occurred since 1945, and three of the five hottest (1989, 1990 and 1995), have been in the past decade. Water supply is equally erratic. January of 1997 was the driest for 200 years. Storms at sea have become so bad that the North Sea oil industry is now laying pipelines because the seas are too rough for tankers.
What are the exact figures? Surprisingly, they seem tiny. The rise in average temperature between 1990 and 2050 will be 1.5 degrees Centigrade, which appears negligible. But the temperature rise which 4000 years ago ended the last ice age was only 2 degrees Centigrade. Research has proved that the polar ice caps are already beginning to melt, which is why the sea level is now creeping up by five millimetres a year. In places like the North Norfolk coast the EU is spending millions of pounds on new concrete defences to keep the sea out. How long even the most elaborate defences can be maintained is not clear.
However, for the West, the bad news is mixed with good. Rising temperatures would probably be welcomed by most people. It will, in thirty years, be possible to grow oranges in some parts of southern England. Already, the types of seeds bought by farmers reflect the awareness that summers are warmer, and winters are dryer. But no great catastrophe seems to threaten.
What is the situation, however, in the Muslim world? At the Rio summit, many Islamic countries showed themselves indifferent in the issue. In fact, the countries which campaigned most strongly against environmental controls were often Muslim: the Gulf states, Brunei, Kazakhstan and others. The reason was that their economies depend on oil. Cut back emissions on Western roads, or switch electricity generating to sustainable sources like tidal or wind power, and those countries lose out.
There is still inadequate awareness in Muslim circles of the great climatic calamity that is looming in the next millennium. But just consider some precursors of the catastrophe that have already come about. In the Sahel countries of Africa - Chad, Mali and Niger, which have over 90% Muslim populations, rainfall is declining by ten percent every decade. The huge Sahara Desert is becoming ever huger, as it overwhelms marginal pasture and arable land on its southern fringes. The disastrous drought which recently afflicted the Sudan ended with catastrophic floods.
Any climatic map will show that agriculture in many Muslim countries is a marginal business. In Algeria, a further 15% decline in rainfall will eliminate most of the remaining farmland, sending further waves of migrants into the cities. A similar situation prevails in Morocco, where the worst drought in living memory ended only in 1995. The Yemen has suffered from the change in monsoon patterns in the Indian Ocean - another consequence of global warming. In Bangladesh the problem is not a shortage of water - it is too much of it. Floods are now normal every three or four years, largely because of deforestation in the Himalayas which limits soil retention of water.
Dr Norman Myers of Oxford University predicts that by 2050 'the rise in sea level and changes in agriculture will create 150m refugees. This includes 15m from Bangladesh, and 14m from Egypt.'
However, this figure does not include migrants generated by secondary consequences of climatic change. These huge waves of humanity will destabilise governments and produce wars. The modern nation-state does not facilitate migration: Bangladeshis before 1948 could move to other parts of India, but with Partition, they are stuck within their own borders. Epidemics, also, are likely to be widespread. Some island nations, such as the Maldives or the Comoros, will disappear completely beneath the waves, and their populations will have to be accommodated elsewhere.
Again, I repeat that these forecasts are not doomsday scenarios. Those are much worse. I merely cite the predictions of mainstream science, as set forth in European Union and UK Department of the Environment reports. It is true that measures are beginning to be taken to limit greenhouse gas emission. But even if no more gases were to be released into the skies at all, temperatures would continue to rise for at least a hundred years, because of the gases already circulating in the atmosphere.
Let me close with some reflections on the above three themes.
Are these developments on balance cause for optimism, or for disquiet? Well, we know that the Blessed Prophet (s) liked optimism. He also taught tawakkul - reliance upon Allah's good providence. However, he also taught that tying up our camels is a form of relying on Allah. So how should Muslims consider their options over the next few decades?
There are a number of issues here. Perhaps the most important is the cultivation of an informed leadership. I mentioned earlier that most Muslim leaders cannot provide the intellectual guidance needed to help intelligent young people deal with the challenges of today. Ask the average Muslim activist how to prove a post-modernist wrong, and he will not be able to help you very much. Our heads are buried in the ground. However, it is not only intellectual trends which we ignore. The environment, too, is an impending catastrophe which has not grabbed our attention at all. Perhaps our activists will still be choking out their rival rhetoric on the correct way to hold the hands during the Prayer, while they breath in the last mouthful of oxygen available in their countries. They seem wholly oblivious to the problem.
All this has to change. In my travels in the Islamic world, I found tremendous enthusiasm for Islam among young people, and a no less tremendous disappointment with the leadership. The traditional ulema have the courtesy and moderation which we need, but lack a certain dynamism; the radical faction leaders have fallen into the egotistic trap of exclusivism and takfir; while the mainstream revivalist leaders, frankly, are often irrelevant. Both ponderous and slightly insecure, trapped by an 'ideological' vision of Islam, they do not understand the complexity of today's world - and our brighter young people see this soon enough.
Institutions, therefore, urgently need to be established, to train young men and women both in traditional Shari'a disciplines, and in the cultural and intellectual language of today's world. Something like this has been done in the past: one thinks of the Nizamiyya madrasa in Baghdad where Ghazali taught, which encouraged knowledge not only of fiqh, but of philosophical theology in the Greek tradition. We need a new Ghazali today: a moderate, spiritually minded genius who can understand secular thought and refute it, not merely rant and rave about it.
The creation of a relevant leadership is thus the first priority. The second has to be the evolution of styles of da'wa that can operate despite the frankly improbable task of toppling the bunker regimes. The FIS declared war on the Algerian state, and has achieved nothing apart from turning much of the country into a battleground. Unless the military can be suborned, there is no chance of victory in such situations. Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and the rest are similar cases.
An alternative da'wa strategy already exists in a sense. In many of these countries, particularly in Egypt, the mainstream Ikhwan Muslimin operate a largescale welfare system, which serves to remind the masses of the superior ethical status of indigenous Islamic values. That model deserves to be expanded. But there is another option, which does not compete with it, but augments it. That is the model of da'wa activity to the West.
New Muslims like myself are grateful to Allah for the ni'ma of Islam - but we cannot say that we are grateful to the Umma. Islam is in its theology and its historical practice a missionary faith - one of the great missionary faiths, along with Christianity and Buddhism. And yet while Christianity and Buddhism are today brilliantly organised for conversion, Islam has no such operation, at least to my knowledge. Ballighu anni wa-law aya ('Convey my message, even though a single verse') is a Prophetic commandment that binds us all. It is a fard ayn, and a fard kifaya - and we are disobeying it on both counts.
Ten years ago a book appeared in France called D'Une foi l'autre, les conversions a l'Islam en Occident. The authors, both career journalists, carried out extensive interviews with new Muslims in Europe and America. Their conclusions are clear. Almost all educated converts to Islam come in through the door of Islamic spirituality. In the middle ages, the Sufi tariqas were the only effective engine of Islamisation in Muslim minority areas like Central Asia, India, black Africa and Java; and that pattern is maintained today.
Why should this be the case? Well, any new Muslim can tell you the answer. Westerners are in the first instance seeking not a moral path, or a political ideology, or a sense of special identity - these being the three commodities on offer among the established Islamic movements. They lack one thing, and they know it - the spiritual life. Thus, handing the average educated Westerner a book by Sayyid Qutb, for instance, or Mawdudi, is likely to have no effect, and may even provoke a revulsion. But hand him or her a collection of Islamic spiritual poetry, and the reaction will be immediately more positive. It is an extraordinary fact that the best-selling religious poet in modern America is our very own Jalal al-Din Rumi. Despite the immeasurably different time and place of his origin, he outsells every Christian religious poet.
Those who puzzle over the da'wa issue in the West generally refuse to take this on board. All too often they follow limited, ideological versions of Islam that are relevant only to their own cultural situation, and have no relevance to the problems of educated modern Westerners. We need to overcome this. We need to capitalise on the modern Western love of Islamic spirituality - and also of Islamic art and crafts. By doing so, we can reap a rich harvest, in sha' Allah. If the West is like a fortress, then we can approach it from its strongest place, by provoking it politically and militarily, as the absurd Saddam Hussein did; in which case we will bring yet more humiliation and destruction upon our people. Or we can find those areas of its defences which have become tumbledown and weak. Those are, essentially, areas of spirituality and aesthetics. Millions of young Westerners are dissatisfied both with the materialism of their world, and with the doctrines of Christianity, and are seeking refuge in New Age groups and cults. Those people should be natural recruits for Islam - and yet we ignore them.
Similarly, and for the same constituency, we need to emphasise Islam's vibrant theological response to the problem of conservation. The Qur'an is the richest of all the world's scriptures in its emphasis on the beauty of nature as a theophany - a mazhar - of the Divine names.
As a Western Muslim, who understands what moves and influences Westerners, I feel that by stressing these two issues, Islam is well-placed not merely to flourish, but to dominate the religious scene of the next century. Only Allah truly knows the future. But it seems to me that we are at a crossroads, of which the millennium is a useful, if accidental symbol. It will either be the watershed which marks the final collapse of Islam as an intellectually and spiritually rich tradition at ease with itself, as increasingly it presides over an overpopulated and undernourished zone of chaos. Or it will take stock, abandon the dead end of meaningless extremism, and begin to play its natural world role as a moral and spiritual exemplar.
As we look around ourselves today at the chaos and disintegration of the Umma, we may ask whether such a possibility is credible. But we are living through times when the future is genuinely negotiable in an almost unprecedented way. Ideologies which formerly obstructed or persecuted Islam, like extreme Christianity, nationalism and Communism, are withering. Ernest Gellner, the Cambridge anthropologist has described Islam as 'the last religion' - the last in the sense of truly believing its scriptural narratives to be normative.
If we have the confidence to believe that what we have inherited or chosen is indeed absolute truth, then optimism would seem quite reasonable. And I am optimistic. If Islam and the Muslims can keep their nerve, and not follow the secularising course mapped out for them by their rivals, or travel the blind alley of extremism, then they will indeed dominate the world, as once they did. And, we may I think quite reasonably hope, they will once again affirm without the ambiguity of worldly failure, the timeless and challenging words, wa kalimatuLlahi hiya al-ulya - 'and the word of God is supreme'.
This essay is based on a lecture given at the Belfast Central Mosque in March 1997.

Tawhid & Risala, Dr.Arthur Buehler

Tawhid and Risala: Two inseparable aspects in Submitting to Allah
Professor Arthur Buehler,University of Victoria,Wellington,NZ
(Presented at NFIE Mawlid un Nabi Conference 1998,Chicago)

We seek refuge in Allah the one and only sustainer. We seek refuge in Allah from ourselves from our anger our hastiness, selfishness, pettiness our differences . We seek refuge in Allah from our desires, from our self-righteousness, from anything other than God, and we say b-ism-Allah ar-rahman ar-rahim in the name of God who is mercy compassion and love. The love within all love the one who is seeing in everything that sees; one who is knowing in everything knows; the only life living in everything alive, One who is love beyond all limitation.
Yet every cell in our body says I. Every thought centers on a self-centered script. Paraphrasing a prophetic hadith, No one can call him or herself a muslim unless one is concerned with the needs of others like they were one’s own needs. When one exits the program that is centered on self one not only gets closer to God but to the rest of creation. The boundary between you and me, I and God, dissolves in the Oneness of Allah, the declaration of which is often called tawhid. What separates us from God also separates us from other human beings.
Let’s see how the Kalima or shahada [La ilaha ila Allah wa Muhammadun rasulullah] relates to this. There is a deliberate tension in the first part of the shahada: La ilaha and ila Allah:
La Ilaha – our ideas even true ideas, personalities or identities, experiences, even spiritual experiences, all are not God. Everything I am saying and you are thinking, this room, is not God. The Ila Allah – love, compassion and patience, are a few of His attributes. People say Allahu akbar as if he is a Power beyond all other powers. In a sense this is true, yet He is the only power, He is the only cause, genderless, endless, beyond all qualification. He has given these attributes as gifts for people to follow the way but is beyond all this.
The process of moving from la ilaha to ila Allah, in a sense, is the process of submitting what is not-God to God. This is how one becomes closer to God, becoming a muslim. In God’s divine mercy we are permitted as a creature of His to know Him as infinite love to the extent that we become that love. Samnun, a tenth-century sufi living in Baghdad, exclaimed: "A thing can be explained only by something that is subtler than itself. There is nothing subtler than love – by what, then shall love be explained?
So how do we become close to God? If we take a step toward Allah He comes to us at least ten steps for every step we take toward Him. How do we take one of these steps ? Muhammad [S]is the model for how to take those steps. Following his model is following the prophetic sunna. We have come here today to honor the last in the long line of human prophets [S]. He is the model that shows us how to differentiate and transform ourselves, to move from the la ilaha and to realize the ila Allah. One can eliminate the veils between the ego and God. This can be done! Muhammad is the example, as all the other prophets and their heirs, so we can know that each person can be perfected. The la ilaha, the multiplicity of the universe, is the school we attend so that we can come to experience the oneness of Reality, ila Allah. Muhammad [S] is our teacher and guide in this school. The totality of the negation, the affirmation and the means between the negation and affirmation is beautifully expressed in the shahada: La ilaha ila Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah. Thus the school, the goal, and the teacher.
But Muhammad [S] is not in a human body to easily guide us, although some are fortunate enough to have his disembodied guidance in dreams. There are prophetic hadith but which one of these thousands of sayings and examples applies to our situation? The ego and the intellect are very sly. Most of us need to rely on an heir of the Prophet, a pious individual, often called a sufi or a pious religious scholar who is qualified to monitor the manifold ego games that people play. These individuals have gone on an inner mystical journey analogous to the Prophetic ascension. Abu Yazid al-Bistami complained, "`O God, with my egoism there is no way to You nor is there [any way] I can escape from egoism. What should I do?' God replied, `O Abu Yazid your deliverance from your ego [will result from] following My beloved [Muhammad]. Anoint your eyes with the dust of his feet and follow him continually.'. . . Sufis call this Bayazid's ascension (mi`raj), meaning [his] proximity [to God]. The ascension of prophets manifests outwardly with the [physical] body while that of the friends of God manifests as an inward journey of the spirit. The bodies of the prophets resemble the hearts of God's protégés in their purity and nearness [to God]."
From a sufi point of view, a believer without a personal guide runs the risk of never progressing past the stage of belief (iman) to become a muslim, i.e., a person who has submitted his or her ego to God. The situation is similar to Iblis who, believing himself to be superior to a being of clay, refused to bow down to Adam (Q. 38:71-85). This would be equivalent to accepting the first half of the Muslim profession of faith, "There is no god but God," without also fully accepting the second half, "and Muhammad Is His messenger." Identifying only with the transcendental aspect of Islam, as Iblis did, makes one susceptible to the danger of pride. The human capacity for self-deception is such that people could easily think they were good Muslims on the basis of their love for an invisible, distant, and impersonal God and their fulfillment of ritual obligations. It is precisely this tendency, "Iblisian Tawhid," of deviating from the teaching of the prophets, that eventually requires new prophets or heirs of the prophets to remind people of the "original" message.
The function of the spiritual master is to bring divine trials to those who have not submitted their egos to God. Abu Yazid, in the example above, was advised to follow the Prophetic path to escape from egoism. The personal authority of a shaykh, who himself follows the sunna, will continually utilize the skillful means at his disposal to challenge, entrap, and ultimately transform the egos of his disciples. It is easy to be complacent and proud while worshiping a Transcendent God, or even venerating the Prophet. But there is nowhere to hide under the piercing gaze of a sufi pir. People who proudly believe they are really exemplary Muslims, on the basis of memorization of the Qur'an, hadith, and other knowledge obtained from books, and who reject any need for personal guidance would, from a sufi perspective, be considered under the influence of Iblisian Tawhid. Through the master's example and guidance one learns how to tame the ego (nafs) and experience what it means to worship God in an unassuming fashion. These heirs of the Prophet have arrived at their stations by following the Prophetic example and have achieved perfection in this endeavor to the extent that they have annihilated their egos by loving the Prophet in the depths of their hearts.
Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (d. 672/1273), whose compendium of mystical poetry in the Mathnawi-yi ma`nawi has been called "the Qur'an in Persian," continually emphasizes the need for submitting one's ego to an heir of the Prophet. Underlining the functional equivalence of the Prophet and the friend of God, he writes: "God made prophets intermediaries in order that envious feelings arise through anxiety [of the ego]. Since no one was shamed by God, no one was envious of God. [However] the person whom he considered like himself would be [the object of his] envy -- [precisely] for that reason. When the greatness of the Prophet became established, from [his] acceptance [by the Muslim community] no one became envious of him. Thus in every time a friend of God (wali) exists to [act as] a continual test until the Day of Judgment." Since God sent the Prophet to guide humanity personally, sufis believe there will always be heirs of the Prophet to guide succeeding generations.
May the love of Muhammad resonate in our hearts and the peace that comes from that resonate in our hearts. May our intelligence understand the miracle of God and we may treat other’s life as our own life. May the divine Wisdom fill us with love. May we live like true human beings so that we may be examples of what human beings can achieve. All praises are due to Allah alone. May all the pure intentions expressed today be magnified and fulfilled in the name of the Prophet Muhammad(saws).
Kalma Shahadah Video Lecture Part 1
Kalma Shahdah Video Lecture Part2

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Qadiriyya,Chishtiya,Soharwardiya & Naqshbandiya in Bangladesh

The advent of Sufism in Bengal may be dated to the mid-eleventh century with the arrival of Muslim and Sufi preachers. For the next six centuries, learned Sufis and saints continued to arrive in Bengal from Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia and north India. Among the prominent Sufis who came to Bengal during the 11th-12th centuries are Shah Sultan Balkhi (Bogra), Shah Sultan Rumi (Mymensingh), Shah Niamatullah Butshikon (Dhaka), Shah Makhdum Ruposh (Rajshahi), Shaikh Fariduddin Shakkarganj (Faridpur) and Makhdum Shah Daulah Shahid (Pabna). Baba Adam Shahid was another Sufi saint who came to Bengal in the 12th century.
According to tradition, Hazrat Shah Sultan Rumi arrived in Madanpur in the Netrakona district along with his spiritual guide, Syed Shah Surkhul Antia. Wanting to test the Muslim saint, the king of the region invited him and offered him some food that had been poisoned. Sultan Rumi ate the food without suffering any ill effects. The king was amazed at this miracle and accepted Islam along with the members of his court. The king presented the saint with some land as a token of his devotion and respect. Later on, several people of the area were converted to Islam. Shah Sultan Rumi died probably in 475 Hijri (1075 AD).
Every Sufi preacher was not so lucky. When Baba Adam Shahid arrived in Vikramapura near Dhaka in 1119 AD, Vallalasena, the king of Vikramapura, ordered his troops to attack the saint. In the ensuing fight Baba Adam Shahid was killed. The king, along with the members of his family, died shortly afterwards, tradition ascribing the deaths to the king's ill treatment of the Sufi saint.
The spread of Islam was accelerated in Bengal after the victory of Bakhtiyar Khalji in 1203 AD. Many Sufis accompanied the conquerors and devoted themselves to spreading the message of Islam and Sufism. Among those who played a significant role in this regard were Shah Jalal Tabrizi, Ismail Khan Ghazi and Shaikh Alaul Haq in Gaur Pandua, Shah Jalal Yameni in Sylhet, Khan Jahan Ali in Khulna, Jafar Khan in Hughli Pandua, Shah Daula in Bagha, in the district of Rajshahi, Shaikh Sharfuddin Abu Tawama in Sonargaon, Badruddin Shah Madar in Chittagong and Shah Fariduddin in Faridpur.
The Sufi scholar, Shaikh Sharfuddin Abu Tawama was born in Bokhara (c 610 AH/ 1210 AD), then a centre of learning. Around 1260 AD, Abu Tawama arrived in Delhi, drawing the attention of the people by his knowledge and spiritual power. Giasuddin Balban (1265-87), the Sultan of Delhi, felt threatened by Abu Tawama's popularity and requested him to go to Sonargoan to preach Islam. Abu Tawama acceded to the king's request. He arrived in Sonargaon in 1278 and set up his khanqah there. He was interested not just in preaching Islam, but also in disseminating knowledge. For this reason he established a madrasah, which attracted students from home and abroad. Abu Tawama played a pioneering role in imparting Islamic knowledge through Bangla.
Shaikh Jalaluddin Tabrizi was born in Tabriz in Persia (c 560 AH /1159 AD). He visited many Arab countries before arriving in India. He visited Multan and met two renowned Sufis, Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya and Khawja Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki (R). He then travelled to Pandua and settled down there. Impressed by Shaikh Jalaluddin's humanitarian activities and miraculous power, King Laksmanasena and gave him some land and permission to build a mosque. Shaikh Jalaluddin set up a khanqah which later turned into a centre of Islamic learning.
According to some accounts, Hazrat Shah Jalal Al-Mujarrad (R) was probably born in Yemen (c 671 AH/1271 AD), though some historians suggest that he was born in Turkey. He achieved kamaliyat (spiritual perfection) after thirty years of study and meditation. At the advice of his spiritual guide, he left Yemen with 750 kamel-awliya-e-kirams (Sufi saints). When he arrived in Bengal his companions had been reduced to 360. Gaur Govinda, a tyrannical king reputed to have magical powers, was the ruler of Sylhet at the time. Shamsuddin, the Sultan of Gaur, sought help from Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) to subdue Gaur Govinda. Shah Jalal reached Sylhet along with his disciples and defeated Gaur Govinda. He then set up his khanqah in Sylhet and settled. People of different castes and religions used to come to see him. Shah Jalal (R) was a lifelong bachelor; hence he was called Mujarrad. In 1345 AD, Ibn Batuta came to Bengal and met Hazrat Shah Jalal (R), whom he described as being tall and thin. Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) died in 746 AH (1347 AD) and is buried in Sylhet. Many people visit his mazar every day. Hazrat Shah Jalal's (R) followers and disciples were scattered in different parts of the country and helped to spread Islam and disseminate the philosophy of Sufism. His disciples Haji Daria, Shaikh Ali Yemeni, and Shah Paran settled in Sylhet, Shah Malek Yemeni in Dhaka, Syed Ahmad Kolla Shahid in Comilla and Syed Nasiruddin in the region of Pargana Taraf.
The Sufis taught tawhid or monotheism, that is, the oneness of Allah, the Holy Quran and the Hadith. Before the advent of the Sufis, most of the inhabitants of Bengal were Hindus and Buddhists. Sufis were able to convert large numbers of people to Islam by preaching the essence of Islam and Sufism: love, brotherhood and equality. Many of these Sufi preachers became renowned as saints. Their tombs are still respected as holy places, with people from all walks of life visiting and praying for earthly prosperity and spiritual salvation.
Sufi Saints are believed to possess miraculous powers, and there are several legends about the miracles they performed. Shah Makhdum Ruposh, who arrived in Rampur Boalia in Rajshahi in 1184 AD, is said to have crossed the river wearing a pair of wooden sandals (kharam). The conversion of several people to Islam is ascribed to this miracle. He is also said to have crossed the river on the back of a fish. Shah Makhdum is believed to have died around 1190 AD. Another story relates to Hazrat Shah Jalal (R) who is said to have crossed the river into Sylhet along with his disciples on a jainamaz (prayer rug). Reaching the opposite bank, he ordered the azan to be sounded, at which the magnificent palace of Gaur Govinda shattered. A legend ascribed to Hazrat Shah Paran relates how a piece of dead wood miraculously produced six different trees, which are still giving shade to his tomb.
Sufism not only helped the spread of Islam in Bengal, but it also influenced the indigenous religions. The ideal of Sufism, attaining the love of God through love of His creation, has greatly influenced the devotional doctrines of Vaisnavism as well as the mysticism of the Bauls. At times Sufism in Bengal has been transformed into a folk religion with many of the Sufis being regarded as saints or folk deities. During a maritime journey, for example-specially if a storm arises- sailors pray to Pir Badar, repeating his name, 'Badar Badar'. The names of different Sufi saints are inscribed on the bodies of buses, trucks, launches, and steamers to ensure safe journeys.
Sufism has also influenced the literary and cultural life of the land. Innumerable songs and stories, for example, have been written on the miraculous stories of the Sufi saints. Murshidi and marfati songs, gazir gan, the poem of Gazi Kalu-Champavati, the songs of Madar Pir, Sona Pir etc are based on the lives of these Sufis or developed from the Sufi ideals of their teaching. [ANM Raisuddin]
Bibliography TW Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, Lahore, 1956; Golam Saqlayin, Purba Pakistaner Sufi Sadhok, Dacca, 1961; RA Nicholson, 'Mystics of Islam', in Sidney Spenser ed, Mysticism in World Religions, Harmondsworth, 1963; ME Haq, A History of Sufism in Bengal, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dacca, 1975.

Qadiriyya in South Africa

 Soofie Mosque Ladysmith South Africa The Qadriyyah order has been wide spread on the African continent. A section of the Qadriyyah operated at the Cape for a number of generations. During the latter half of the 20th century many internationally respected shaykhs came to South Africa. Amongst these were Maulana Abdul-Alim Siddiqi al-Qadri who came in 1935 and 1952 respectively, Hazrat Pir Zainul Abidin who visted in 1961, 1973 and 1983, Maulana Ibrahmi Khustar al-Qadr who lectured in 1968, Maulana Fazlur-Rahman Ansari who delivered lectures during 1970 and 1972 respectively, and Shaykh Sharif Umar al-Qadri of the Comoros came during the early 1980s. Each and every one of these individuals in one way or the other contributed to the spirituality in South Africa. In fact, Maulana Ansari delivered a series of inspiring lectures that have been edited and published and broadcast on the local Muslim Radio 786 station. The Qadri tariqah has remained very vigilant although it only seemed to have blossomed during the last three decades. The reason for this was that it was under a steadfast leader; he was a local artisan who was very much attracted to the sufi practices and cultivated these amongst his family and friends. He was Mr. Abdurahman Da Costa. The Cape branch is however not the same as found in Kwa-Zulu Natal and represented by the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy ; and since this is the case, concentration will only be on the group as it is at present in the Cape. It must also be pointed out that the order has members who are located in other towns and cities beyond the Western Cape province; here mention must be made of the cities of Kimberly and Mafeking respectively. A very interesting overview has been given in an unpublished manuscript by Da Costa’s son, ‘Adil during the early part of 2003; ‘Adil is at present one of the leading exponents of this traiqah. The Qadriyyah tariqah at the Cape is currently under the leadership of Imam Farid Manie. The Imam Ahmed Raza Academy was established in 1983 and has since grown rapidly. It considers itself to be the largest ‘Ahle Sunnah organization in South Africa;’ it protects and promotes the cause of the Ahli Sunni wa Jama’ah. The foundation of the academy was laid by Shaykh Abdul-Hadi Al-Qaderi Barakaati in 1986 with the purpose of uplifting the Muslim community academically and spiritually. The members of this academy follow the path of the Qadriyyah silsila. The Academy has listed a number of objectives amongst which are: the propagate and promote the teachings of the Ahl Sunni wa al-Jama’ah; to promote the celebration of the maulud of the prophet and the urs of the awliya; to adopt ways to improve the quality of life of Muslims locally and abroad; to serve as a centre of learning and produce memorizers of the Quran; to formulate and implement a simplified syllabus; to initiate schemes for Muslims; and offer guidance to the Muslims.The academy consists of a variety of departments such as the Fatwa, Welfare and Educational Departments. The latter sees to the preparation and printing of textbooks, and the housing of the Mustapha Raza lending and an audio-visual library. The Welfare department extends its services to the community and the Fatwa department responds community queries regarding dietary laws and other related concerns.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Qadiriyya in Gambia

Sunni Muslims constitute more than 90 percent of the population of the Gambia. The vast majority are Malkite Sufis, of which the main orders represented are Tijaniyah, Qadiriyah, Muridiyah, and Sufi orders pray together at common mosques. A small percentage of Muslims, predominantly immigrants from South Asia, do not ascribe to any traditional Islamic school of thought.
Qadriyya Association for the Revival of the Sunnah in The Gambia
Lecture given in The Gambia on December 27th, 2008 by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Chairman of the Board & Scholar-in-Residence at the Nawawi Foundation. The title is “Reflections on Surat Al-Quraysh - Loving the Companions and the House of the Prophet (PBUH) and the Sunnah of Bringing Muslim Hearts Together”.

Qadiriyya in Tanzania

The largest brotherhood in Tanzania is Qadiriyya which is divided into many independent branches. The origin of this order is connected to the Somali sheikh Uways bin Muhammed who, having been invited by the sultan, arrived in Zanzibar in the 1880's. Shehu Awesu, as sheikh Uways is called in Swahili, payed several lengthy visits to Zanzibar and initiated many disciples into his order, who afterwards spread the order to the mainland as far as the Congo area.
One of the most renowned khalifs of the Uwaysiyya branch of Qadiriyya was sheikh Zahur bin Muhammed who lived in Tabora between 1894 and 1908 where he laid the foundation stone to the brotherhood by teaching newly converted Moslems the typical Sufi "chanting" feature which in Swahili is called dhikiri (Ar. dhikr = recitation). His successors then officially established the brotherhood in Tabora and started initiating new disciples. Further east in Bagamoyo north of Daressalaam, the Qadiriyya branch, which today is probably the biggest, started its activities in 1905. Under the leadership of khalif Yahya bin Abdallah, of slave origin and generally known as sheikh Ramiya, this brotherhood expanded in the area around Bagamoyo and Tanga and further north. In the west sheikh Ramiya's influence was felt as far as Ujiji at Lake Tanganyika.

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in Kyrgyzstan

 Mosque at Naryn, Kyrgyzstan The Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school of law, but the degree to which the north and south adhere to religious practices must be considered when understanding the role of Islam in Kyrgyzstan. The distinction is often made between the religious practices of Islam and the everyday cultural practices of Islam. Islamic mosques and madrassah were built by the sixteenth century in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan. One of the most important holy places for Muslims in Kyrgyzstan is the Throne of Suleyman in the southern city of Osh. It is sometimes referred to by Soviet Muslims as the "second Mecca." By contrast, Islam infiltrated northern Kyrgyzstan in a slower, less encompassing manner. Many ancient indigenous beliefs and practices, including shamanism and totemism, coexisted syncretically with Islam. This split between the northern and southern Kyrgyz in their religious adherence to Muslim practices can still be seen today. Likewise, the Sufi order of Islam has been one of the most active Muslim groups in Kyrgyzstan for over a century. The four Sufi tariqas (paths to God, or Sufi brotherhoods) that brought Islam to the Kyrgyz and remain in Kyrgyzstan are: the Naqshbandiya, which is Bukharan and very popular and powerful; the Qadiriya, an ancient tariqa; the Yasawiya, a south Kazakhstan tariqa; and the Kubrawiya, a Khorezm tariqa. In addition, there are two newer indigenous orders that sprang from the Yasawiya. The earlier of the two is the Order of Lachi, which formed in the late nineteenth century. It opposed the older orders and was oppressed by them in return. As a result of this enmity, the Lachi initially supported the Bolsheviks but later came to oppose them. The Lachi went underground, and the Soviets could not find them again until the 1950s. Several villages in the Osh Oblast are composed entirely of Lachi members. Another indigenous Sufi order is the Order of the Hairy Ishans, which formed in the 1920s and was intensely anti-Soviet. As a result of its opposition, the Soviets attacked them in 1935-1936 and again in 1952-1953, killing some of their leaders. The Hairy Ishan order, unlike other Sufi orders, allows women to participate in the zikr (prayers) and to form their own female-only subgroups. On the whole, however, under the Soviets the practice of Sufism became highly secretive, even to the point that the silent zikr has replaced the zikr said aloud. Under the Soviets, religious activity and belief were strongly discouraged, although not eradicated. The Soviets printed anti-Islamic books for Kyrgyz consumption (sixty-nine titles between 1948 and 1975) and gave antireligious lectures (45,000 in Kirghizia in 1975 alone). Antireligious propaganda was seen or heard in the opera, the ballet, the theater, and over the radio. The Soviets also formed motor clubs, whose task it was to bring antireligious propaganda to isolated regions. Reforms in the 1980s made open religious observance possible for the first time in many decades. A significant number of Kyrgyz observe Muslim practices in their everyday lives but not in a religious sense. Kyrgyz women do not wear veils, nor do they avoid men to whom they are not related.

Qadiriyya & Naqshbandiyya in Tajikistan

Certain roles were really played in Tajikistan by Sufi brotherhoods. The Naqshbandi branch of Sufism has always been very popular in our country. But in some parts of the country the Qadiri order is also very important. Today prominent religious figures such as Ishani Turajan, Ishani Abdulhaliljon, Ishani Nuriddin and others are followers of Qadiriya. The followers of Naqshbandi are Domullo Mukhammadi, Domullo Hikmatullo, Makhsumi Ismoil and others. Since the Sufi movements had fewer conflicts with the policy, they could survive even the Soviet repression. Of course during a certain period of time, they were also suppressed and their representatives were sent to Siberia. For instance, in the 1940s, all members of Turajanzoda family were sent to Siberia. Part of them died there and the others returned only after Stalin's death. Sufi orders had the biggest authority among the population especially since people didn't have any respect for the formal, state-laced clericals. Sufi for them personified true Islam.If we look at the Southern part of the Republic, it is all divided into spheres of influence of various Sufi families. I produced a map of the zones of influence of various Sufi families in the Republic. It is interesting, because we understand Sufis not only in the traditional way with all their paraphernalia. We lost a lot with regard to Sufism, theological and philosophical Sufism is very weak in Tajikistan, but practical and ritual parts of it were preserved, especially the moral side of Sufism.During the Soviet times they managed to preserve Islam. All modern Islamic leaders like Nouri and Turajansoda admit that Sufis really kept this historical legacy alive and passed it to the hands of the contemporary leaders. They really played a key role and even today they have a very big influence. (From Islam in Tajikistan by Abdullo Hakim Rahnamo, who has completed his education in engineering, political studies, and theology, is a professor at Tajikistan National University)