Vol. 13    Issue 16   01 - 31 May 2019
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The Spider’s Home

Minaret Research Network

The likeness of those who choose
protectors other than Allah is as
the likeness of the spider, who builds
(to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest
of houses is the spider’s house – if they but
knew” (Quran 29:41).

The Quran repeatedly urges Muslims to observe and reflect over the ‘Signs of Allah’ (Ayat Allah) that are writ large in the universe and in the human psyche. These signs are found in the heavens and the earth (3:190; 10:6, 101; 12:105; 41:37;), in the alternation of days and nights (17:12; 36:37; 170:12), in the clouds (2:164), in the change of the winds (45:5), in the ships that sail through the oceans (42:32), in the creation and behaviour of animals, birds and insects (16:69; 88:17), in the creation of human beings (5:86; 30:20; 45:4), in the human psyche 98:30; 41:53; 21:51; 30:8), in the variations in languages and skin colours (30:22), in ancient peoples and civilizations and historical events (2:219; 12:7; 18:9; 24:10; 37:15).   Read more


Jewels of Sufism

Professor A. R. MOMIN

A Balanced View of Life Ser

One of the distinctive features of the Islamic faith is its espousal of moderation and a balanced approach to life. This pervasive sense of balance and moderation is reflected in the Islamic conception of human nature, in worship and prayers, in its legal system, in the institutional structure and in matters relating to day-to-day living. The Prophet is reported to have said, “The best of all matters lies in their moderation”.

Many societies around the world encourage excessive self-gratification and over-indulgence. Some individuals and communities, on the other hand, are drawn to world-renunciation and self-mortification. An unbridled, reckless pursuit of affluence and prosperity contains the seeds of its own nemesis. It breeds some of the worst qualities in human character, including avarice, pride, selfishness, aggression, and jealousy. It leads to the concentration of wealth in a few hands and strengthens economic and social inequalities. It encourages the tendency to exercise domination and control over others and promotes rivalry and unscrupulous competition. It stifles some of the most sublime qualities in human nature such as concern for the underprivileged, selflessness, altruism, sincerity and sacrifice. It undermines the fabric of human relationships. A compulsive drive for prosperity is often accompanied by high levels of stress, which have adverse consequences for health and wellbeing. The ascetic way of life, on the other hand, is against the grain of human nature.   Read more


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


Professor A. R. MOMIN

The ritual of fasting on certain days or for extended periods of time has existed in many parts of the world since ancient times. The motives for fasting differ from society to society and include cleansing of the body, restoration of energy, penitence and spiritual purification. Ancient Egyptians, for example, believed that fasting for three days in a month would ensure good health and youthfulness. The ancient Greeks fasted on certain days in order to purify their bodies and to sharpen their mental faculties. The Greek physician Hippocrates, who lived in the 5th century BC and who is generally regarded as the father of medicine, prescribed fasting as a means of combating illness.   Read more


Indonesia’s Fragile Festival of Democracy

Krithika Varagur

Jakarta, Indonesia—Democracy in Indonesia always seems to come at a high price. At least a hundred people died while keeping the polls open on Election Day last week, from causes such as heat-stroke and exhaustion. The Indonesian islands straddle the Equator and most of them are hot, at least eighty degrees, every day of the year. They are home to 264 million people and are the stage for world’s largest single-day election, which is deeply impressive in its logistics. Seven million citizens volunteered to keep the polls running last Wednesday across more than 800,000 polling stations. Ballots were distributed to the periphery via planes, canoes, and elephants. The voting booth volunteers who died have been dubbed locally as “martyrs of democracy.”   Read more


The Arab World's Silent Reproductive Revolution

Changing household structures, economic growth and contraceptives prompt dramatic drop in fertility rate, study finds.

by Inaara Gangji & Muhammad Chaudary

Doha, Qatar - When Maryam al-Badr, 20, a Qatari female student at Northwestern University in Qatar, began her journey as a journalism major in August 2017, she had aspirations of completing her degree and being in a position to be independent, especially financially.   Read more

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