On Thursday, August 27, 2015, the first part of Iran’s most expensive movie trilogy, “Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah,” opened nationwide in Iran. It took more than eighty months for this movie to be completed. Its primary goal, according to its director Majid Majidi, “is to reclaim the . . . . Continue Reading »
We all hear about the supposed “God of Wrath” in the Hebrew Bible, and the supposed “God of Love” of the New Testament. Those who draw that distinction don’t know their Bibles very well. For the Hebrew Bible celebrates human sexual love, underwritten by the Hebrew Bible’s God, in its . . . . Continue Reading »
The author of this book, a professor of history at the University of Delaware, is an academic of diverse interests, having published volumes on the maritime communities of colonial Massachusetts and the origins of fervent Protestantism in the American South. She is also married to a retired Pentagon official who survived the terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001.
ISIS is only the latest (and certainly most barbaric) interpretation of a current in Islamic thought known as Salafism—an originalist approach to Islamic law and creed that relies exclusively on a narrow reading of the Qur’an and the hadith. In Saudi Arabia, these ideas were first introduced by a man living at the end of the eighteenth century: Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.
How can ISIS’s Caliph al-Baghdadi vindicate such deeds, raping and enslaving non-Muslim women? The answer is most likely that he cites sacred texts to support his acts, along with revered precedents. Continue Reading »
Birmingham University has announced that it possesses what could be the world’s oldest fragments of the Muslim Holy Quran. We cannot be certain yet whether it is the oldest, as we have other sets of old Qur’anic manuscripts, such as those investigated by IRCICA in Turkey and the palimpsest ones found in the Great Mosque of Sana’a, Yemen, in 1972. But using radiocarbon dating, the Birmingham researchers suggest that this parchment fragment, written on sheep or goat skin, may date to sometime between 568 and 645. This could place this parchment within the first three decades of Islam, taking us back to the days of Muhammad or his immediate followers. Continue Reading »
Hijab. Al-Amira. Shayla. Khimar. Chador. Nikab. Burka. In the words of the Eaglet from Alice & Wonderland, “I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!”What forms of Muslim “veiling” exist and how do they relate to rights? Why has clothing taken . . . . Continue Reading »
In the 1970s, the radical Islamist organization al-Gamāʿah al-Islāmiyah (Islamic Group) stormed onto the scene in Egypt, calling for Egyptians to return to the correct form of Islam by waging jihad and applying Shari’a. However, on July 5, 1997, the Gamāʿah did something extraordinary in the history of radical Islam. It issued “Initiative to Stop the Violence,” a formal statement declaring its renunciation of all violence. Continue Reading »
At the Center for Law and Religion Forum today, I interview historian Christian Sahner about his recent book, Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present. In the book—the subject of a First Things event last winter—Sahner recounts his time as a student in Syria before the Arab . . . . Continue Reading »