Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Revival of Islamic Thought

Author: Murtada Mutahhari
Translator: Mansoor Limba
ASIN: B07BRM73YD
Price: US$3.99

Table of Contents:
About the Author
Preface
Chapter 1 – Iqbal and the Revival of Religous Thought
The absence of the Islamic spirit among Muslims
The logic of railway train
Solidarity as a sign of life

Chapter 2 – Past and Present Thought of Muslims on the Role of Action in Man’s Felicity
Pathology
The roots of distortion of our way of thinking about Islam
Action as the bedrock of Islamic training and education
The role of the Umayyads in the emergence of this distortion
Why the idea of holding action in contempt came into being
What is faith [īmān]?
The Murji’iyyah
Two accounts
Twisted way of thinking
The issue of sanctuary
Two Prophetic traditions

Chapter 3 – Dull vis-à-vis Vibrant Thinking
Physical and spiritual life
Fiṭrah or the essence of human life
Life means to have insight and ability
Life itself as not identical with its characteristics
Self-reliance
Reliance on Allah [tawakkul] as a vibrant and dynamic concept
Distorted and twisted tawakkul
Asceticism [zuhd] in Islam
Negative asceticism
The issue of guardianship [wilāyah] of a tyrant
Asceticism as a spiritual strength and not an economic weakness
Our ascetics as morally bankrupt as well as economically handicapped
The Imam and Productive works

Chapter 4 – Islamic Thought on Asceticism and Abandonment of the World
Asceticism and abandonment of the world
Is asceticism a natural disaffection?
Two types of asceticism unacceptable to Islam
Another misconception about asceticism
The real meaning of asceticism
Aims of Islamic asceticism
1. Self-sacrifice
2. Sympathy
Tradition on the philosophy of asceticism

Chapter 5 – The Philosophy of Asceticism (zuhd) in Islamic Thought
Story about sympathy
3. Freedom and liberty
Naturally essential conditions
Conditions within man’s freewill
Habit brings about attachment and attachment leads to captivity
Freemen always lead simple life
The philosophy of modesty and simplicity in the life of leaders
Pretensions, or limitations, restrictions and captivity
Asceticism of Gandhi
4. Consistency with the demand of time
5. Apprehension of spiritual pleasures
The enlightened ascetic according to Abu ‘Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna)

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The Power of International Quds Day in the Cyberspace – In Amazon Now!

Alternative Title: “Barry Barnes’ Theory of Power as Social Order: The Case of International Quds Day in the Cyberspace”
Author: Mansoor Limba
Pages: 237
eBook Price: US$4.99
An Excerpt of the Book: http://mlimba.com/barry-barnes-theory-of-power-in-the-conte…

Amazon Link: www.amazon.com/author/mansoorlimba

Table of Contents

Preface
Chapter 1 – Research Design
Statement of the Problem
Review of Related Literature
Power and Social Order
Cyberspace and International Quds Day
Secondary Questions
Hypotheses
Objective and Significance of the Study
Theoretical Framework
Scope and Limitation of the Study
Research Methodology
Outline of Contents

Chapter 2 – Power and Social Order: The Theoretical Framework
Nature of Power
Approaches to Power Analysis
Cyberpower or Power in the Cyberspace

Chapter 3 – International Quds Day
Prior to Announcement of International Quds Day
The Announcement of International Quds Day
Subsequent International Quds Day Messages

Chapter 4 – Demonstrations on International Quds Day: The Routine (Afghanistan, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States, Zimbabwe)
The Routine
The Anti-Routine

Chapter 5 – International Quds Day as Demonstrations: The Knowledge
Cyber-Demonstrations: Their Various Forms
1. Messages/Statements
2. Invitations
3. Feature articles
4. Web sites and pages
5. News and Audio/visuals
Cyber-Demonstrations: Their Merits and Demerits
Merits
1. Global
2. Real-time
3. Permanence
4. Virtual freedom
5. Anti-hierarchy
6. Variety of demonstrations
Demerits
1. Limitation of participation and audience
2. Censorship and control
3. Illusion of permanency

Chapter 6 – International Quds Day as Muslim Holiday: The Social Order
Social Order and Holiday
Quds Day as Muslim Holiday—the Social Order
Campaign for Removal of Quds Day from Online Calendars—the Counter-Current

Chapter 7 – Empirical Data: The Results of Opinion Survey

Chapter 8 – Conclusion

Appendices
Appendix 1: Questionnaire
Appendix 2: Calculation of Mean
Appendix 3: Calculation of Standard Deviation
Glossary
References
Bibliography
Webliography

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Fitrah: Man’s Natural Disposition

Author: Murtada Mutahhari
Translator: Mansoor Limba
Number of Pages: 192
eBook Price: $3/Php150

About the Book:

“Fitrah: Man’s Natural Disposition” is a translation of the Persian book “Fitrat” (Tehran: Sadra Publications, 2006) by the great Muslim thinker and reformer, Ayatollah Murtada Muttahari. “Fitrah” is the theme of a 10-session lecture series given the martyred thinker in 1976-77 in the presence of teachers in Nikan School in Tehran, and apparently due to his involvement in the Islamic movement and his increasing social activities, it was not continued. With ample citations from the Qur’an and other traditional Islamic sources, Mutahhari discusses the concept of ‘fitrah’ or man’s natural disposition. The author does not confine himself to Islamic references as he continuously engages with the views of a wide range of philosophers including Plato, William James, Russell, Nietzsche, Marx, Feuerbach, Auguste Comte, Spencer, Will Durant, and Durkheim, among others. Mutahhari’s ontological discussion covers a range of issues, including the literal and technical meaning of ‘fitrah’, sacred inclinations, love and worship, and the evolution of human originality. He also examines materialism and provides a theistic approach to some issues pertaining to the theories on the origin of religion, evolution of human society, intrinsic and acquired guidance, and intuitive and sensory dispositions.

Murtada Mutahhari was a leading theoretician of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. As an accomplished scholar of Islamic sciences, he played a pivotal role in forming the modern Islamic discourse which served as the foundation of the revolution. With close to ninety works to his credit, he is considered one of the leading thinkers of the global Islamic movement in the twentieth century.

Table of Contents

Translator’s Foreword
About the Author
Preface
Chapter 1 – The Meaning of Fiṭrah
Chapter 2 – Man’s Dispositions
Chapter 3 – Sacred Inclinations
Chapter 4 – Love and Worship as Proof of Human Inclinations
Chapter 5 – Spiritual Love: Marxism and the Permanence of Human Values
Chapter 6 – The Evolution of Human Originality
Chapter 7 – The Foundation and Origin of Religion
Chapter 8 – Love and Worship
Chapter 9 – The Innate Nature of Religion
Chapter 10 – An Examination and Refutation of Durkheim’s Theory
Chapter 11 – The Qur’anic View on the Origin of Religion

Read more »

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My Magic Wand While Lecturing on Federalism in Maguindanao

As the 2018 Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA) International Conference draws to a close, last weekend I reluctantly accepted – as I’m still recovering from a minor surgical operation – the invitation to be the resource person of a three-hour “Municipal Orientation on Federalism” of a Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-recognized Drug-free municipality in Maguindanao and a recipient of 2017 Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) Award.

When I grabbed the microphone, the sound system turned to be uncooperative! What a timing! So, the attention of the person in charge was immediately called upon to fix the problem. While everybody was anxiously waiting and sitting idly, I suddenly stood up again in front and shared a Maguindanaon ‘bayuk’ (proverb):

NELATAN SU LAGAT SA TIMPU NA KABPAGULUG, NA NANGITIS SU KALUDAN SA BASA NA KAPEMBALAT.

(Translation: “The sea dried up at the time of high tide, while the ocean turned into a draught during rainy season.”)

I was trying to allude that sometimes something undesirable happens at the most unexpected moment – an uncooperative sound system at the beginning of a program, as a good example. 

“Now, what shall we do?” I rhetorically asked the audience. Then I answered it myself through another ‘bayuk’:

PAGAWANG KA SA SABAL NA SAN KA SA KAPAGIMAN, KA BETAD NA PAPEDTAYAN I MAPAMATALU.

(Translation: “Ride on the boat of patience and take asylum in faith, for it is but natural for the darling to be tested.”)

As I sensed that the audience’s silence transformed into smile, laughter and even giggle, I pulled another ‘bayuk’ out of my sleeve, so to speak, followed by another, until the problem with the sound system was fixed.

Apart from a general overview of the federal system of government, I also informed the 250 or so members of the audience – including the mayor, vice mayor, municipal councilors, employees, barangay officials, civil society organizations’ (CSOs) representatives, and military and police personnel – of the current proposals and debates on federalism at the national level, particularly the PDP-Laban Party’s proposed constitutional amendments.

“Let’s not think of federalism – the upcoming carabao in the national political field – as an automatic panacea. It’s not necessarily ‘manna and quail from heaven’. It’s up to us to make a paradise or hell, as the case may be, out of it,” I concluded. 

During the open forum, the time for the transition mechanism, the possible scenarios if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) lags behind the government’s agenda for federalism, and the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) vis-à-vis the so-called Equalization Fund were among the issues and concerns raised by the audience.

As I was reflecting on the lecture while on board the aircraft in my way to co-facilitate a conflict analysis workshop in another city the other day, I realized the importance of the law of connection in public speaking. In the said experience, just a few lines of Maguindanaon proverbs unexpectedly served as a magic wand for me to catch the Maguindanaon audience’s attention, and more importantly, their sympathy.

In short, when you are invited to speak, do not ever forget to bring your magic wands.

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Philosophy of Ethics

Author: Murtada Mutahhari
Translator: Mansoor Limba
Number of Pages: 272
eBook Price: $3/Php150

Table of Contents

Translator’s Foreword
About the Author
Preface
Part One
Chapter 1 – What is Ethics?
Chapter 2 – Natural Action and Moral Action
Chapter 3 – Theory of Emotionalism and the Muslim Philosophers’ Theory
Chapter 4 – Conscience Theory
Chapter 5 – Theory of Beauty
Chapter 6 – Theory on Worship
Chapter 7 – Islamic Ethics and Morality
Chapter 8 – Self and Non-self
Chapter 9 – Knowledge of the Self
Chapter 10 – Spiritual and Moral Crises in the Present Age
Part Two
Chapter 11 – The Criterion for Moral Action
Chapter 12 – Communist Morality and Russell’s School of Morality
Chapter 13 – Question of the Self in Ethics

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The Mystical Sound of Maguindanaon ‘Palendag’

MAKATI CITY (19 March) – Though for only a short while, yesterday I was able to drop by the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new social enterprise in Cotabato City, led by no less than the incumbent city mayor, Atty. Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, as the guest of honor.

Beyond its acclaimed feat of “brew and books,” Café Mindanaw is indeed a showcase of Mindanao coffee and foods, books and old photos, traditional music and artifacts. In short, it is a perfect place to nourish one’s body, mind and spirit combined together.

While savoring native cuisine for free, the most refreshing for me was the rare presence of Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan-awardee (National Artist) Bapa Mael as he fascinatingly serenaded the jubilant visitors with the mystical sound of his ‘palendag’.

Also called ‘pulalu’ (among the Manobos and Mansakas), ‘palandag’ (among the Bagobos), ‘pulala’ (in Bukidnon), and ‘lumundeg’ (among the Banuwaens), the ‘palendag’ is a kind of bamboo flute in the Philippines, the largest being used by the Maguindanaons. Being a lip-valley flute, it is regarded by music experts as the toughest of the three bamboo flutes (the others being the ‘tumpong’ and the ‘suling’) to play due to the way one must shape his or her lips against its tip to make a sound. Accordingly, the construction of the mouthpiece is such that the lower end is cut diagonally to accommodate the lower lip and the second diagonal cut is made for the blowing edge.

In the parlance of Maguindanaon and other vernaculars, ‘palendag’ literally means ‘wailing,’ ‘lamentation’ and ‘crying for grief’. It symbolizes the cry of the bamboo stalk (which was turned into a flute) as it was cut off from the bamboo ‘tree’. It symbolizes complaint of separation and longing for return to one’s roots. It represents uneasiness for being driven away from one’s comfort zone and the corollary desire to regain this lost comfort. Simply put, it is a litany of unwanted rupture and yearning for union.

What’s the secret behind the melancholic sound of ‘palendag’?

In Islamic mysticism (‘irfan), this flute’s lamentation is a symbol of the soul’s sorrow at being parted from the Divine Beloved. This is exactly the subject of the first poem – “The Song of the Reed” – of the four-volume Mathnawi-ye Ma‘nawi (Spiritual Couplets), which is the Persian magnum opus of the classical Muslim poet-mystic Mawlana Jalaluddin al-Balkhi, better known in the Western world as ‘Rumi’.

Rumi thus sings:

Listen to this reed, how it makes complaint,
Telling a tale of separation:

“Ever since I was cut off from my reed-bed,
Men and women all have lamented my bewailing.

I want a breast torn asunder by severance,
So that I may fully declare the agony of yearning.

Everyone who is sundered far from his origin
Longs to recapture the time when he was united with it.”

Everyone who is sundered far from his origin
Longs to recapture the time when he was united with it.”

The reed (flute) also reveals that it expresses its sorrow to everyone, and everyone attentively listens to but none is capable enough to understand the secret behind the agony:

“In every company I have poured forth my lament,
I have consorted alike with the miserable and the happy:

Each became my friend out of his own surmise,
None sought to discover the secrets in my heart.

Body is not veiled from soul, nor soul from body,
Yet to no man is leave given to see the soul.”

Body is not veiled from soul, nor soul from body,
Yet to no man is leave given to see the soul.”

For Rumi, the reason behind this failure to perceive is the human beings’ wrong assumption that the reed’s sound is just sound wave, where in fact it is a glowing fire! And one cannot truly perceive fire unless he himself is set ablaze:

This cry of the reed is fire, it is not wind;
Whoever possesses not this fire, let him be naught!

It is the fire of love that has set the reed aflame;
It is the surge of love that bubbles in the wine.

It is the fire of love that has set the reed aflame;
It is the surge of love that bubbles in the wine.

Whoever is not a fish is soon satiated with His water,
He who lacks his daily bread, for him the day is very long.

None that is inexperienced comprehends the state of the ripe,
Wherefore my words must be short, and now, farewell!

***

Click below to listen to ‘palendag’:

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