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Home > Islam > Brief Essay


Islam and Modern Science

A Lecture by Seyyid Hossein Nasr

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The following is a lecture by Seyyid Hossein Nasr entitled, ``Islam and Modern Science'', which was co-sponsored by the Pakistan Study Group, the MIT Muslim Students Association and other groups. Professor Nasr, currently University Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, is a physics and mathematics alumnus of MIT. He received a PhD in the philosophy of science, with emphasis on Islamic science, from Harvard University. From 1958 to 1979, he was a professor of history of science and philosophy at Tehran University and was also the Vice-Chancellor of the University over 1970-71.He has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Princeton Universities. He has delivered many famous lectures including the Gifford Lecture at Edinburgh University and the Iqbal Lecture at the Punjab University. more...

Circle of devotion: Students and Islam in the US.

-- Sarah Shehabuddin

“Avoid any religious organizations. They are full of fundamentalists. Nothing but trouble” With this advice, my father sent me to the US from France. His words made sense to me. I had spent my adolescent years in a school where the discussion of any religion, let alone Islam, was forbidden. The French are extremists when it comes to the separation of church and state – secularism or as they call it, laicite. more...

Perils of Neglect: a comparison of Islamic modernism and fundamentalism.

-- Sarah Shehabuddin

In the Quran, God scolded Muhammad on one occasion for wooing the powerful while neglecting a poor man. Although Muhammed generally surrounded himself with the poor and dispossessed, the Quran records and responds to this lapse in Muhammed’s attention towards the non-elite. Centuries after the Quranic reprimand, the near failure of Islamic modernism confirms the danger of focusing a movement on the attitudes and concerns of the elite. While modernism shares with Islamic fundamentalism its origins and anti-traditionalist methodology, it emphasizes a figurative reading of the Quran, educational reform, and heavy borrowing from Western civilization; it has tried to persuade the educated, westernized elite of Islam’s compatibility to the modern world. more...

A Caricature: Female Leadership in Islam

-- Sarah Shehabuddin

There is the woman
My mother, sister, daughter
She stirs in me the most sacred emotions
How can the holy book regard her unworthy
This most noble, beautiful creature
Surely the learned have erred
To read this in the Quran.
-- Muhummad Ibn Tumart (1077-1130)

As Ibn Tirmudh’s poem suggests, the debate over the status of women in Islam is neither a product of modernity nor the sole concern of outsiders to Islamic civilization.  more...

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