Islam

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b. 1926) is a Sunni Muslim theologian and one of the most highly respected scholars in the Arabic-speaking world and the wider Muslim world. He is considered by his followers as a moderate thinker and part of the Muslim reformist tradition, continuing the work of early reformists such as Muhammad ‘Abduh and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, though unlike them, he does not argue that Islam must update itself to meet modern needs. Rather, he argues that Islam already provides genuine answers to modern questions. His position is consistent with the wave of revivalism triggered by...

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Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera is a Qatar-based television network which began broadcasting in 1996. Al Jazeera grew in notoriety in the West for its highly critical coverage of the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan and, especially, Iraq. Connections with Islamists facilitated access to people that other networks didn’t have, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Not only was Al Jazeera the first global network on the ground in Afghanistan, it could offer interviews with Taliban leaders. It was also the first network during the war that could bypass Pentagon restrictions on images of violence, which are normally...

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Islam in Brazil

Islam is practiced by over 200,000 Brazilians—making it the largest Muslim community in Latin America—most of whom are Arab in origin, with smaller but growing numbers of Brazilian converts. The Brazilian Muslim community includes both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims.

Islam arrived in Brazil with West African slaves, including Hausa, Malinkes, and Yoruba....

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The Malê Uprising

The Malê Uprising was a slave revolt in Salvador, Bahia, organized by Muslims—known as Malês—during the last ten days of Ramadan in January of 1835. Captured rebels wore Muslim dress, including head coverings and long white tunics, and carried prayer beans as well as Qur’anic amulets on their bodies for protection. The revolt was organized primarily by ...

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Prophet

A Hebrew word meaning “called by God”. There are several prophets in the Hebrew Bible who are interpreted by most Jews, Christians, and Muslims as speaking the word of God to the people. Examples include Abraham, Moses, and David.

Circumcision

The surgical removal of the foreskin covering the head of the penis. In Judaism, this is a ritual practice traditionally undertaken eight days after birth.

Orientalism

In 1978, the literary theorist Edward Said (d. 2003), a Palestinian Arab and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, published Orientalism, outlining a post-colonial theory showing how imbalanced power relations between “The West” and “The East” has dictated the representation of Arabs, Muslims, and others, in particular ways. In literature and the arts, orientalism refers to a European convention of portraying “The East” as exotic, historically frozen in time, sensual, feminine, weak, dangerous, eccentric, irrational, and undeveloped.

Said...

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Jihad

Muslims are sharply divided among themselves in their understandings of the term jihad, an Arabic term meaning "struggle." This is evident in the fact that over the centuries they have come to distinguish between different forms of jihad with varying nuances. In one reading, jihad might refer to legally-sanctioned defensive armed combat against one’s enemies. For example, the early Muslim community invoked this reading of jihad when besieged by the Quraysh, the dominant tribe in the city of Mecca when Muhammad began preaching a...

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Islam in France

Islam is the largest religious minority faith in France at approximately 9% of the population. Most Muslims in France today are immigrants or descend from immigrants from Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, and smaller populations from ...

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Jamaat-e-Islami (JI)

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is an Islamist political party founded in Lahore in 1941 by Abul A’la Maududi, a prominent Islamist thinker who viewed Islam as providing a political ideology beyond strictly a religious path. The JI was influenced by models such as Maududi’s vision of the early Islamic Prophetic community, 1930s socialist political parties, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Maududi himself would go on to influence the Brotherhood...

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The Ahmadiyya Movement in Pakistan

The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded in British India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1836-1906), an Islamic reformist and mystic who in 1891 claimed that he was a prophet, revivalist (mujaddid), and the messiah (mahdi) anticipated by Muslims. The movement split in two following the death of Ahmad’s successor, Maulana Nur ad-Din in 1914, with one group affirming Ahmad’s messianic status (The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam) and a second group regarding him as a reformer, but otherwise adhering to mainstream Islamic beliefs that understand Muhammad to have been the final prophet (the...

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Abul A’la Maududi

Abul A’la Maududi (1903-1979) was an influential Islamic revivalist, Islamist thinker, prolific author and political activist, and founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist political organization that has profoundly shaped the Islamic character of Pakistan. Among Islamists globally, Maududi was one of the first to articulate a modern Islamic political vision and to forge a path independent of both traditional Islamic leadership (the ‘ulama) as well as nationalist leaders. His writing and political life had an...

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Shi'ism in Qatar

Qatar is remarkable in the region for its well-integrated Shi’a Muslim community, which makes up roughly 5-20% of the population and which represents some of the nation’s most prominent merchant families. Most of the Shi’a immigrated from Iran during the waning days of the Qajar period in the late nineteenth century, or during the 1960s and 1970s. Though Shi’a Muslims participate in various institutions across society, the government regards them warily, particularly following anti-government protests in neighboring Bahrain led by the nation’s large and disempowered Shi’a community during...

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Islam in the Philippines

Islam is practiced by roughly 5% of Filipinos from a variety of ethnolinguistic groups, over half of whom live on the large southern island of Mindanao.

Islam arrived in the Philippines in the late 14th century with Arab and Malay merchants following Southeast Asian trade networks, propagating Sunni Islam with a variety of Sufi traditions. Muslims were dubbed “Moros” by the Spanish, a reference to the Muslim “Moors” encountered in Spain and North Africa whom...

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