The issue of dress codes for women has been a debating point for long. Some Islamic scholars believe that there is no such decree in the holy books, while others interpret it counter-wise to make their case. Even with so much new research conducted on the subject, there is no consensus among Islamic scholars and clerics as to the relevance and value of dress codes for women. The Niqab and Hijab in particular are two dressing items that have come to focus in Islamic critical discourse. Scholars such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Fatima Mernissi have helped bring about great clarity to the problems. Based on their writings, it is possible to argue that the Niqab and Hijab were incorporated into the Islamic code due to exceptional and temporal circumstances; and that their continued usage in modern times is subject to the demands of changed sensibilities. The following passages will offer evidence from the readings in support of this thesis.
. . . Read More
Mormonism is a new religion that emerged in early 19th century United States and has its roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Officially called the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, the religion is founded on a disillusionment with existing denominations of Christianity. Joseph Smith is credited as the founder of the religion and it was during his life-time that the religion established itself. And by the time Brigham Young led the mass migration to Salt Lake City in 1847, the religion has attracted substantial following in the United States.
Mormon faith derives from the Bible, which is one of the holy books. During the 1840s and 1850s, the other holy books such as the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants came into prominence. During this time, the Pearl of Great Price was also included in the pantheon of holy books. Legend has it that in the year 1820, Joseph Smith had had a vision of . . . Read More
Religion has long been an integral part of human civilization. Religion effectively started when humans realized the power of nature and their subordination to this power. And being the most intelligent species on earth, human beings conceived the notion of ‘appeasing’ the Gods in return for favorable natural events. For example, offering animal and human sacrifices would comprise of such acts of appeasing the Gods. It these early days of religion, Gods were sought after as a matter of survival of the tribe or clan; and religious beliefs as they existed had little to do with morality. Irrespective of whether there was a cause-effect relationship between religious rituals and natural events, it is fair to say that primitive religious practices were done as a matter of survival and morality found no consideration. (Taliaferro, 2006)
In wasn’t until the rise of organized religion around two thousand years ago that the importance of morality to human . . . Read More
Galileo Galilei was one of the most influential scientists of the modern era. His discovery and development of telescopes and his study of the cosmos revolutionized scientific understanding of the day. But his discoveries and inferences were disliked by the dominant religious institutions of his time, for they challenged the Christian theocratic view of the Universe and its origins. As a result, Galileo was subject to threat, coercion, torture and ultimately confinement for a significant portion of his later life. In some ways these controversial aspects of Galileo’s life have overshadowed his brilliant scientific discoveries.
Dana Sobels’ book titled Galileo’s Daughter: A Drama of Science, Faith and Love makes accessible to the reader key facts about the life of Galileo. The primary source material for the book is the compendium of letters written by Sister Maria Celeste, the eldest of Galileo’s daughters. The reciprocal letters sent by Galileo to . . . Read More
The Judeo-Christian religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have several common characteristics. All three of them originate from what is presently referred to as the Middle East and thus share a common cultural and geographic heritage. Islam being the most modern of the religions has derived some of its precepts from its immediate predecessor Christianity. The evidence for this assertion could be found in respective holy books The Koran and The Bible. It is in this context that we will be comparing the characters of Sulayman (Koran) and Solomon (Bible). Though the characters of Sulayman and Solomon are essentially the same, although there are a few factual inconsistencies between the two accounts. This paper will argue that the portrayal of Sulayman in the Holy Koran is more generous and reverential when compared to that of Holy Bible.
Before moving to the central points that support the thesis, a brief overview of the basic . . . Read More
Archbishop Oscar Romero, who served the Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador, is an important public figure in Latin American socio-political history. He was appointed as the Archbishop of San Salvador in late 1970s. Though he was assassinated in 1980, his legacy lives on still today, mainly due to the preservation of his political and religious discourses, that survive today as tapes and transcripts. The four pastoral letters comprise an integral part of his preachings to his followers. Consistent with his role as the pastor of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Romero sought to provide moral and spiritual guidance to his followers through his four letters.
As El Salvador was one of the poorest countries in the world, the issue of poverty had deeply moved Archbishop Romero. Although theology per se is not tied to politics and economics, the Archbishop “never ceased to condemn the social and economic structures that oppressed the poor, and the murderous violence used to . . . Read More
Khalid Muhammad was the former leader of Nation of Islam (NOI), which is a radical black nationalist movement founded in the last century. This organization has close links with the New Black Panther Party, which is distinct from the original party of the Black Power movement. Khalid Muhammad is right about many of the grievances against mainstream America. Starting from the education system and continuing into judicial, legislative and executive institutions, the systems prevailing in the United States undermines progress and equality for blacks and other minorities. This is most evident from the high rates of incarceration and conviction of blacks. I also agree with Khalid Muhammad view that the white dominated American society had obliterated the native, indigenous cultural, religious and linguistic heritage of black Americans of African descent. In his interviews with talk show hosts Sean Hannity and Phil Donahue, Muhammad iterates the founding principles of Nation of Islam . . . Read More
To understand how Islamic jihad gained support in Southeast Asia, it is important to gain cognisance of its founding principle. And the present wave of Islamic revivalism and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Southeast Asia originated during the 1970s. The movement started as a reaction to the disillusionment and failure associated with modern neo-liberal economic policies. The first world has had longstanding association with Muslim-dominant nations that are oppressive, authoritarian and dictatorial. A prime example of this would be Saudi Arabia, with whom the United States and its allies (including Australia) don’t seem to have a problem, in spite of copious evidence of severe human rights violations within its borders (Smith, 2002, p.34). This apparent hypocrisy of the west had induced a sense of discontent and anger within the wider Islamic community. That is when influential Muslim thinkers such as like Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb involved themselves in . . . Read More
The study of the history and origins of support for Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia is highly relevant in the contemporary world. From a study of the rationale and motive of such groups, we can arrive at the security implications for the Australian government and the preventative measures that could be taken to thwart any possible terrorist attacks.
To begin with, the term ‘terrorist organization’ should not be interpreted to mean a formal hierarchy of personnel who are assigned fixed responsibilities and duties. On the other hand they imply propaganda and support mechanism whose aim is to recruit willing individuals from the Islamic world to participate in the holy war, also known as ‘Jihad’. Consistent with this fact, the term ‘Al Qaeda’ was not Christened by Osama bin Laden; rather, it was the United States intelligence agency CIA that referred to the Islamic activists led by bin Laden in this manner in the mid-1990s. Al Qaeda, translated from Arabic, literally . . . Read More
The Pentateuch is an important historical and legal document in the Christian tradition. They essentially depict the lives of the “Chosen People”, right from the origins up till the demise of Moses. In doing so, these sacred scriptures inform the followers of Christian faith about the rules and laws governing the lives of Israelites during this significant passage in the history of Christian theology. Each of these great books have their own special introduction. . . . Read More