Islamic Finance and Prohibition

The idea of a financial environment driven by the principles of Islam have been around since the revelation of this religion to Muhammad (d. 632) in the Arabian Peninsula. Ever since, the foundations and evolution of financial theory have been introduced in the various Traditions of the prophet, direct injunctions in the revealed Qur’an, and in scholarly discourse leading up to the present. As a result, Muslims around the globe have endeavored to hold tight to this tradition by opening financial institutions that abide by its principles.

In the West, there has sprung a fascination with the idea of a financial system governed by religious principles, in no small part due to its particular restriction on usury and general disfavor of credit-based economies. This has led some to characterize Islamic finance as a ‘prohibition-driven’ institution. As we will see, there is some truth to the matter, as prohibition is an integral part of the religion of Islam, but positive commands (which are very much the opposite of prohibitions), play a large part in ensuring the ethical bases of the financial system.

Continue reading “Islamic Finance and Prohibition”

Shi’a-Sunni Joint Seminar 2015: The Martyrdom of Imam Hussain

The following panel was delivered on Sunday, November 1st, 2015 at The Muslim Education Center (The Muslim Community Center Full Time School) in Morton Grove IL.

Featured panelists include Sayyid Sulaiman Hassan Abidi from the Ahl-al-Bayt Islamic Seminary Program and Bait-ul-‘Ilm Mosque in Streamwood, IL, and Loyola University Muslim Chaplain Professor Omer Mozaffar.

Panel topics included: the topic of Imam Husayn ibn ‘Ali’s Martyrdom in each sect’s traditions, the differences and similarities in methodologies between the traditions, and the way in which each tradition regards certain personalities.

I have posted the audio below in a SoundCloud playlist, but in separate files so that others who were not present may benefit from what was discussed in the panel without being forced to listen to the entire thing in one sitting. There may be some minor speaker interference due to microphone issues at the panel.

Modern Perceptions of Historic Islamic Sectarianism

The contemporary Western perception of the world Muslim population is plagued by a frame of intense polarization, whether of Sunni or Shi’i, progressive or secular, modern or traditional. This drastic view, in which sects exist only in opposition to each other, governs our negotiations with the historical realities of sectarian divide. Although imaginings of Islam’s sectarian past are less concerned with “what actually happened,”and more with mythical ideas, such as that of inherency (in both vice and virtue), it is still important to assess the stark contrast between our simplistic and uncomplicated narrative around sectarianism and early historical self-positioning by scholars. Doing so can provide us with a far more rich, complex, and meaningful picture of Islam’s sectarian past, where lines were once not-so-clearly defined.

Continue reading “Modern Perceptions of Historic Islamic Sectarianism”