Friday, 26 October 2007

Zionism, Israel and Peace

I have recently been accused of being a 'Zionist' for my progressive views that peace should be established between Israelis (who can be Jews or otherwise), Muslims, the Arab world. I firmly believe that by visiting Israel every year I am not 'losing my faith' but infact strengthening it. To be of faith demands us to promote peace wherever we can. Every year when I go to Israel I meet so many different people, some are anti-Israel, or anti-Arab but deep within them they all yearn for peace. Peace cannot prevail unless they rid themselves of these prejudices and take steps towards the other, offering a hand of friendship and humanity, easier said than done but I have hope that the love of God will prevail in the Holy Land and it will become a land for all in the very near future.

Some very courageous views from the Egyptian American writer, Nonie Darwish, on Arabs, Muslims and Israel. Some may find my decision to promote her a little confusing as Darwish is a convert from Islam to Christianity. Shock horror! Yea, yea, we all know the apostacy laws of Islam. Converts do not bother me in the least as a Muslim I believe that everyone has the right to choose whatever religion and path to God as they wish. At the end of the day it is not I, or you, who judges individuals, thank the Lord for this! However, I do believe that as a Muslim one must grapple and struggle (Jihad) with all that humanity has made ugly within Islam in order to experience the beautiful which God had intended it to be.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Liberal, Bahraini - Dhiyah al-Musawi

Here is a brave man who is speaking out against the way Islam has been hijacked by those promoting a political Islam. Such views are a welcome breath of fresh air at a time when all we smell and see is the ugly.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Short Listed - University of Glasgow Teaching Excellence Award 2007

This may sound a tad big headed but I thought I'd gloat a little about being short listed for the University of Glasgow Teaching Excellence Award 2007! (Since the uni website only seems to be promoting the winners...ahem ahem:)

Breaking a number of 'firsts' -
the First to be short listed in Theology/Islamic Studies,
the First to be short listed who is Muslim/Ethnic Minority/Scot,
the First to be short listed who is a Doctoral Candidate and NOT a full time member of staff.
the First to be short listed who has had his teaching reviewed and featured three times in The Herald Newspaper (Scotland) and the Times Educational Supplement.

Although not winning this prestigious award, my teaching was commended by the selection committee and a letter from Professor Andrea Nolan, Vice Principal for Learning and Teaching at the university, stated how the committee were impressed 'with the considerable amount of time and effort put into promoting Islamic Studies and the enthusiasm shown and achievements in such a short period of time'.

It has been a pleasure teaching at the University of Glasgow and I hope that this will continue. Now all I need is for the University to offer me a permanent post in teaching! ;-)

Gravity and God

Can theology answer the law of gravity? Yes! :)

I was thinking about this one the other day during a lecture at university. When God created the first human being he called him Adam. The Arabic word is adim-al-ard -- literally means 'something from earth'. God creates human beings who must dwell on earth and remain associated with earth. And so the laws of gravity strengthen this association as we are unable to move away from earth! A believer’s submission to God is both earthly and divine. This is why every Muslim has an obligation to God and then to their fellow human being. I believe the human being in this instance is a metaphor for 'earth'. The earth demands a right from us. Of course we do move away from the earth when we die but interestingly we leave behind our earthly body which was only of use and significance on earth, after death the soul and life that God has given us moves away to a different world, for the believer a world which is not controlled by the law of gravity.

The 19th Century poet Mirza Asadullah Ghalib from India says,

"The pleasures of the world are nothing but dust before my eyes,
Except for blood in the liver, there is nothing left in the liver."