Vol. 13    Issue 15   01 - 15 April 2019
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Vasco da Gama’s Voyage to India and the Ibn Majid Connection

Professor A. R. MOMIN

The period between the decline of the Greco-Roman civilization and the Renaissance, which spans nearly 1000 years, is generally described as the Dark Ages in European history, in which no note-worthy developments in science, medicine and technology took place. This period roughly coincides with the Golden Age of Islamic science.

During the Golden Age of Islamic science, between the 9th and 16th centuries, Muslim scientists made original, wide-ranging and enduring contributions to botany, chemistry, medicine and surgery, optics, anatomy, astronomy, mathematics, technology, cartography and geography and navigation. There is now a substantial, and growing, literature on the subject in English, German, French, Spanish and other European languages as well as in Arabic, Turkish and Persian.   Read more


Is Tunisia Ready for Gender Equality?

Ursula Lindsey

On January 14, the eighth anniversary of the Tunisian revolution, I joined the crowds passing through metal detectors to gather in Tunis’s Avenue Habib Bourguiba. A few people carried pictures of protesters killed in 2011. Children waved little Tunisian flags. At one end of the avenue, a concert was taking place. Most political parties had set up stands, and there were speeches about how much the revolution had accomplished so far (from parties in the government) and how little (from the opposition). Strangers in the street engaged in polite but animated political arguments, and small groups leaned in to listen. Eight years after the Arab Spring began in Tunisia, this is the only country in the region where such scenes of spontaneous public debate can still be witnessed.   Read more


New Zealand: Combating Islamophobia and Healing the Wounds

Minaret Research Network

New Zealand is an island country in the Pacific Ocean, with a population of less than 5 million. The Maoris are the country’s indigenous inhabitants. New Zealand became a British colony in 1840, following which a large number of Britishers and other Europeans migrated and settled in the country. New Zealand gained independence in 1947. The majority of New Zealanders (74.4%) are of European descent while the Maoris constitute 14.9% of the population. The rest are migrants from dozens of countries from around the world.   Read more

Monogamy and Polygamy in Islamic Perspective

Professor A. R. MOMIN

Monogamy refers to the marriage of a man with one woman at a time while polygamy involves a man or woman having more than one spouse. Monogamy is the legal norm in Europe, North America, India, Australia and New Zealand. In India, the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 stipulates that a Hindu man can have only one wife at a time. Polygamy is divided into polygyny, in which a man has more than one wife, and polyandry, in which a woman has more than one husband. Sometimes the terms polygyny and polygamy are used to describe the marriage of a man with more than one woman at a time. Polygyny has been widely prevalent across large parts of the world since ancient times. Many Jewish prophets had multiple wives. According to the Old Testament, David had 300 wives and Solomon had 700. In his sample of 565 societies from around the world, George P. Murdock found that 193 of them practiced some kind of polygyny as a preferred form of marriage. Polygyny was prevalent in Hindu society since ancient times and was outlawed with the passing of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955. Polygynous marriages continue to be widespread across large parts of Africa and Asia. More than 40 countries, all of them in Africa and Asia, officially recognize polygynous marriages. In many African societies, where women work on farms, having many wives is seen as an economic asset as well as a matter of prestige. A distinction is made between sororal polygyny, in which the wives are sisters, and non-sororal polygyny, in which the wives are not biologically related.   Read more


Marriage and Family in Islam

Minaret Research Network

Islam disapproves of celibacy and views marriage as a religious and moral obligation and a social necessity. It is a means to emotional fulfillment and sexual gratification, legitimate procreation, inter-familial alliance and community solidarity. In Islamic view, marriage represents an enduring, permanent arrangement rather than a temporary kind of relationship. Islam considers marriage a public matter and a not a secret affair between the bride and the groom. In his celebrated work, Ihya Ulum al-Din, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali has dwelt at considerable length on the purposes and functions of marriage. According to him, marriage fulfills five main functions: (i) procreation, which ensures the survival of the human race (ii) a legitimate outlet for the regulation and gratification of the sexual drive (iii) companionship between the spouses (iv) relief from household chores (v) the control and taming of one’s lower self – which is a repository of evil and base sentiments and urges – through love, affection and care for the wife and children.   Read more

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