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A Revisioning of the DRC website - Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Deen Research Center website is under going a revision of its contents. Our research focus will be reformulated into "Research into the humanistic elements in classical and contemporary Islam", whereby we try to make our own and other writings available of the (semi-)academic study of Islam and especially the contemporary developments in Islamic thought. The objectives of this website are:

  • To provide a platform for authors and researchers to share their blogs and writings on classical and contemporary Islam and Muslim societies.
  • To provide an overview of important authors, scholars, activists, conferences, organizations, researches, and publications in an online library.
  • To organize conferences on important topics and developments in Islam, and to provide an academic online journal.
  • To host and promote important projects on Islamic thought and Muslim societies.
 
   
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Deen Research Center

 

Research of Humanistic Elements and Development in Classical and Contemporary Islam and Muslim societies

 

Welcome to the Deen Research Center. We are an online research center whereby we make our own and other writings available of the (semi-)academic study of Islam and especially the contemporary developments in Islamic thought. The objectives of this website are:

  • To provide a platform for authors and academic researchers to share their blogs and writings on Humanistic elements and development in classical and contemporary Islam and Muslim societies.
  • To provide an overview of important authors, scholars, activists, conferences, organizations, researches, and publications in an online library.
  • To organize conferences on important topics and developments in Islam, and to provide an academic online journal.
  • To host and promote important projects on Islamic thought and Muslim societies.

 

With mankind's complexity in different cultures and beliefs, it is vital to create a democratic, pluralistic global ethical system wherein every individual can live in peace, freedom and prosperity regardless of background or understanding of reality and have their human rights protected and ensured. This complex and beautiful universe contains countless celestial phenomena, stars and planets. On one such planet, the human species has emerged through millions of years of evolution to form cultures, each with its own respective language, expression and understanding of the universal framework. This diversity has resulted in the most beautiful achievements of mankind; however it has also caused conflicts that spring from a difference in their worldview still prevalent today. Within the history of mankind a leap was taken 1400 years ago creating one of the most developed societies in earth's history in the fields of science, philosophy and humanism. The main source of this leap was a message collected into a book called the Qur'an, which is claimed to come from the Absolute Creator of all reality. The main focus of DRC is to study the Qur'anic theology and cosmology and the way Muslims have understood its message. The Qur'an's emphasis on human universalism while acknowledging its ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, together with ethical monotheistic message, inspired many Humanistic concepts in Islamic thought which both can provide Muslims new inspiration as mankind in general. 

 

 

ولكل وجهة هو موليها فاستبقوا الخيرت اين ما تكونوا يات بكم الله جميعا ان الله على كل شىء قدير 

And for everyone there is a direction to which he turns. Then strive together toward all that is good for all (al-Khayrat: to surpass in goodness). Whatever stand you take, God will bring you all together. Indeed, God has infinite Potential over all things (2:148).

 

 

One of the most important consequences envisioned in Islamic theology as God being the Absolute Source of creation (28:88, 6:103, 112:4, 42:11) and Free of any Need (al-Ghaniyu, 10:68. al-Samad, 112:2), revelation was seen as only been sent for the benefit and welfare of mankind (al-Maslaha).  

 

انزل الله من كتب وامرت لاعدل بينكم

"I acknowledge all that God has sent down of revelation (Kitab), and I was commanded to create equality between you (umurtu li-‘Adila baynakum) (42:15)."

 

  

"Whenever God speaks (i.e. communicates with Revelation), He does so for the welfare of mankind." [famous Mu'tazilah scholar Abd al-Jabbar, al-Mugnhi. b.414 AH]

 

 

"The revealed laws and ways (of the Qur'an)[...] are intended for the welfare of this world." [famous Hanbali scholar Ibn Aqil, Muntazam, b.431 AH]

 

This online research center wants to provide a platform on the development of Islamic thought and Muslim societies, with a focus on humanistic thought and contemporary developments. We invite authors and academics specialized in Islamic studies, Religious studies, and Human Rights to share their thoughts and research.

 

      

State of Mankind: Introduction in Qur'anic Universalism
by Arnold Yasin Mol

A detailed study of the Qur'anic inclusive message which calls for a cooperation between all people on earth who want to create and maintain peace and welfare. The Qur'an induces people on two levels. Al-Islam is the universal and natural thought and behaviour system (al-Deen 30:30, 2:62, 41:33, 3:64) which represents a pluralistic ethical value system that induces cooperation between different groups among mankind. While al-Iman is the system of the people who accept the truthfull origins of all religions and the Qur'an, are responsible for maintaining peace (amina) and encourage dialogue and justice among all the groups. As expressed in this essay:

"The potential of the Qur’an as a universal guide towards peace and progress can thus manifest itself more clearly. It unites mankind in purpose and direction, while respecting their differences."

The essay can be read in full here:

State of Mankind Quranic Universalism (PDF)
   
  
      

Rethinking the Qur'an: Towards a Humanistic Hermeneutics

by prof. Nasr Abu Zayd

This ingenious study shows the importance of the Qur'an being expressed to mankind as an oral communication. Using the prophet Muhammad as a vehicle for His revelation, God addressed several audiences: mankind as a whole, the Arab polytheists, the Arab jews, the Arab christians, muslims in the Meccan stage, muslims in the Medinan stage etc. To understand the Qur'an correctly, we must understand how these plural audiences were spoken to and what God tried to change or discuss with them. Abu Zayd's study makes us understand the Qur'an again not only as God's speech, but as God's conversations.

Read the book here:

Rethinking the Quran (PDF)
   
  
      

The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism
by prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina

This study tackles the most significant issues facing Muslims today. As Islam and Muslims enter the 21st century, Sachedina argues, it is necessary to re-open the doors of religious interpretation - to re-examine and correct false interpretations, replace outdated laws and formulate new doctrines that respond to changing social contexts. Always using the Quran as a yardstick, Sachedina demonstrates how and why Islamic law came to reflect political and social influences, leading to regulations that violate the spirit and the letter of the Quran. He critically analyzes Muslim teachings on issues of pluralism, civil society, war and peace, violence and self-sacrifice, the status and role of non-Muslims, and capital punishment. He show how the Qur'anic philosophy is democratic in its nature, but also completely pluralistic and universal.

To purchase the book, go to:


The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism by Abdulaziz Sachedina


   
  
      

Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam
by Dr. Amina Wadud

This book is a result of Dr. Wadud's more then 20 year long participation in the feminist movement of Islam. Herself being one of the founders of using Islamic reasons, and not Western ones, for reform, her books stand as the foundation of the modern movements. In this study, Dr. Wadud explains her own journey as a woman, wife, mother and more then all, as a human, how she has explored Islam and how she uses Islam to explore itself. Her insights into the Qur'anic purposes, historical limitations and unlimited potentials as being a guide beyond the text itself, are fascinating and show a deep and long experience of her engagement with the text. The "Tawhidic Paradigm" which she presents in the book, is that all humans are equally united with Allah. The Tawhidic unity thus means that no one is more or a lesser human then anybody else, since all are part of the same unity. The implications of this insight on Qur'anic interpretation and human rights are enormous and groundbreaking. This book is an important introduction into the feminist movements, the personal life experience of an important scholar and new insights into the study of the Qur'an.

To purchase the book, go to:


Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam by Amina Wadud


   
  
      

Exploring Islam in a New Light: An Understanding from the Quranic Perspective
by Dr. Abdur Rab

This Islam is spiritual, humane, and scientific, far from its fanatic and militant image it carries in the West. It shows how man can evolve spiritually to lead an enriched, progressive, and blissful life. It advocates tolerance and peaceful co-existence and disapproves of gender or human discrimination and harsh punishments. The topics are laid out well and the author's approach is very professional. Next to laying out some well-known issues, Abdur Rab also brings in some fresh ideas on Qur'anic interpretation. Good use of footnotes and quoting of Qur'anic verses makes this a very good work and important for Muslims to have.

To purchase the book, go to:


Exploring Islam in a New Light: An Understanding from the Quranic Perspective by Abdur rab



Read an article by Dr.Abdur Rab on being tolerant according to Qur'anic teachings:

On being Tolerant (PDF)
   
  
      

 

 

Islam and Human Rights Institute (IHRI)

 

DRC is leading a groundbreaking project in the development of an Islam and Human Rights institute. Together with the late professor Nasr Abu Zayd (Leiden University, ISIM, University of Humanistics) DRC's Arnold Yasin Mol devised the idea of an Islamic human rights project for the research and development of human rights discourse from both classical and modern Islamic thought to serve as a basis for a renewed Islamic engagement of human rights. After the passing away of professor Abu Zayd the project was joined by professor Abdulaziz Sachedina (IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies, George Mason University) for its further development into a research institute (Islamandhumanrights.institute (IHRI)) as a platform for Muslim scholars and Islamicists focused on this subject. 

 

   
  
      

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd    

نصر حامد ابو زيد

July 10, 1943 – July 5, 2010

 

In 2010 the great Qur'an scholar, inspiration, DRC researcher and dear friend, professor Nasr Abu Zayd passed away. Professor Abu Zayd was a couragious and groundbreaking voice, calling for a new appriciation and insights of the Qur'anic message, so its intended pursuit of justice and human equality could be rediscovered in its original historical context. He was a true academic, searching for the truth, dedicated to his students, and always made his knowledge available to everyone. DRC will keep pursuing his legacy of Islamic reform and enhancing his groundbreaking insights.

 

See here his legacy page, with all his writings and articles, memorials, video's and studies on Nasr Abu Zayd.

   
  
      

The Qur'an, Morality and Critical Reason: The Essential Muhammad Shahrur

Dr.Muhammad Shahrour is one of the most important modern thinkers in Islam. His analytical and systematic research on the Qur'an has showed the many important, and also many times, neglected messages and potentials of the Qur'an. His scientific, pluralistic, ethical and universal approach to the Qur'an is groundbreaking and has opened new doors for understanding the Qur'an as a guidance for mankind. This book is the first in English to present Shahrur's main ideas and discoveries in detail. It is a complete summary of his 3 books translated and edited by Dr.Muhammad Shahrur and prof. Andreas Christmann. It is the most comprehensive and evidence supported scientific approach to Islam as a universal guidance for mankind.

To purchase the book, go to:


The Qur'an, Morality and Critical Reason by prof. Andreas Christmann



Read the full book here:

Quran-Morality-Critical-Reason.pdf
   
  
      

Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights
by prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina

"A searching investigation questioning the dilemmas facing Muslim thinkers with respect to human rights and a critique of the Western configuration of human rights as universal. Sachedina explores the possibility of an inclusive doctrine of human rights and he does so with passion and sensitivity. This book deepens our appreciation of human rights and also opens new frontiers of inquiry." --Ebrahim Moosa, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University

To purchase the book, go to:


Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights by Abdulaziz Sachedina



Read an article here by prof.Sachedina on Islam and the Common Good:

A Vision of Inclusivity: Islam and the Common Good of Humanity
   
  
      
The Qur'an; A Reformist Translation
by Dr.Edip Yuksel
Layth Saleh al-Shaiban
Dr.Martha Schulte-Nafeh

A modern and social scientific translation of the Qur'an by a Turkish-American Muslim reformer and philosophy professor, in cooperation with Muslim reformer Layth As-Shaiban and professor of Arabic Martha Schulte-Nafeh, thus making this unique translation a result of 2 males and 1 female. Many of its commentary deals with controversial issues and misunderstandings of Quranic verses. A very good presentation and one of the best translations of the Qur'anic text.

The translation can be read in full here:

The Qur
   
  
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