Philosophy

Philosophy of Religion – In Amazon Now!

Author: Muhammad Taqi Ja’fari
Translator: Mansoor Limba
Pages: 464
eBook Price: $5.994
The one-volume encyclopedia concisely, yet profoundly, deals with such subjects as definition of religion (essentialist, psychological-sociological, utilitarian-moralist, etc.), scope of religion, scope of jurisprudence, historical roots of secularism, science and religion, physics and metaphysics, and religious pluralism by meticulously examining the pertinent views of a wide array of Muslim and Western philosophers including, but not limited to, Aston, Geisler, Spencer, Muller, Bonhoeffer, Ellis, Spengler, Tylor, D’Holbach, Santayana, Otto, Cassirer, Sartre, Dewey, Oxford, Jastrow, William James, Jung, Herder, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Kaufmann, Samuel King, Goldziher, Rainach, Rupele, Frazer, Koestenbaum, Freud, Bultmann, Durkheim, Feaver, Jefferson, Barth, Ritschl, Tillich, Martin, Whitehead, and Johnson.

Excerpt of the Book: http://mlimba.com/metaphysical-foundation

Categories: Interfaith and Intra-faith Dialogue, Philosophy, Translated Books, Translation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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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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Time for Government’s ‘Self-Reinvention’?

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews /18 October) – Early morning after my short presentation at the ‘terror’ in Marawi forum held last June 30 in Ateneo de Davao University (see “Is ‘terror’ Marawi’s single story?” https://www.facebook.com/mansoor.limba/posts/1739728119661013), I received an unexpected email from one of the forum’s organizers. Part of the message thus reads:

“Upon hearing your presentation, constructivist and postmodern lessons and lectures from my ‘Theories in IR’ class came back to me in waves – and I cannot agree more that indeed, the ‘terror’ in Marawi is a result of a ‘construction’ designed to shape opinions and views. Thank you for reminding me that… to focus only on one aspect of an incident/case/situation is folly… Your insights have awoken a more sensitive Atenean in me.”

More surprising to me, however, was the foresight in this question of one of the young participants during the Q&A session: “After the Marawi Crisis, in what way should the government ‘reinvent’ itself in order to defeat violent extremism?”

Literally means “to produce something new that is based on something that already exists” (Cambridge Dictionary), or “the act or an instance of replacing a product with an entirely new version” (Collins Dictionary), ‘reinvention’ was originally solely used in the field of science and technology. Later on, the concept of ‘personal reinvention’ has found its niche in psychology, particularly in the subfield of personal growth and personality development. Soon after, we also began to see the notion of ‘self-reinvention’ in political anthropology and sociology. In digital media studies, our age is also sometimes dubbed the ‘Age of Reinvention’.

In Islamic philosophy, there is a classic theory of transubstantial motion (al-harakat al-jawhariyyah) by Mulla Sadra (c. 1571-1640), who considers substantial motion to be a gradual existential transformation occurring in the very inner structure of things, and therefore, a thing or substance which is currently in a certain ontological state is undergoing a continuous and gradual inner transformation until it reaches a new ontological state.

Going back to the question, two points must be borne in mind in any attempt to answer it. First, violent extremism is both a social ill and a symptom of other social ills. As a social ill, violent extremism’s ideology as well as its pull factors (what attract a potential recruit) must be truly uprooted. As a symptom of other social ills such as endemic corruption, social injustices, economic deprivations, and moral decadence, among others, violent extremism must be vigorously addressed alongside those other social ills.

Second, winning the battle in Marawi does not necessarily mean winning the war on violent extremism. The former is basically a military fight while the latter is a wide-ranging combat. The victor in the former’s arena is not necessarily triumphant in the latter’s zone. The end of the siege is not a safety guarantee for another city not to be under siege in the near future. Neither the deaths of Isnilon and Omar could preclude the rise of Isnilons and Omars in the days to come.

In view of these two points, the government is supposed to ‘reinvent’ itself in the best possible way in at least six areas, namely: (1) Marawi rehabilitation, (2) violent extremism’s nature, (3) violent extremists’ definition of ‘enemy,’ (4) regional cooperation, (5) military doctrine and strategy, and (6) comprehensive framework on PVE-CVE.

(1) Marawi rehabilitation

In the Marawi rehabilitation program, the government is supposed to faithfully observe the 30 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement laid down by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), particularly Section V on durable solutions (principles 28-30 related to return, resettlement and reintegration); otherwise, the reported new armed group describing itself as ‘Maranao Victims Movement’ (MVM) will eventually turn into a full-blown armed organization (see “New armed group born in Marawi, Lanao Sur,” http://www.ndbcnews.com.ph/…/new-armed-group-born-in-marawi…).

(2) Violent extremism’s nature

The government’s concerned agencies are supposed to understand that violent extremism is an interfaith as well as intrafaith issue. For instance, the ISIS upholds a takfiri ideology which declares other Muslims as non-Muslims and apostates. It is a threat not only to non-Muslims but also to Muslims; in fact, most number of their victims around the world, and in Marawi, for instance, are Muslims. In its official English magazines Dabiq and Rumiyah, Muslim personalities and entities are vehemently castigated. Hence, what we have here is a war of all against a common enemy.

(3) Definition of ‘enemy’

Upholding a particular ideology, these violent extremists have an extended definition of ‘enemy’ or ‘combatants’. As such, civilians are prone to become victims of bombings and kidnappings that may happen in the aftermath of the Marawi Crisis.

(4) Regional cooperation

As the current chairmanship holder of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippine government is supposed to forge serious regional cooperation in dealing with non-traditional security threats such as transnational non-state actors. The identification of a certain Malaysian university professor, Dr. Mahmud Ahmad, as the next leader of the remaining ISIS fighters in Marawi – some eight foreigners and 20 locals – certainly shows the urgency for such cooperation.

(5) Military doctrine and strategy

There is really an urgent need for the government to review and revise its national military doctrine and strategy in order to competently deal with non-traditional security threats. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s many inaccurate ultimatums on the end of war in the course of almost five months since the siege obviously show his and his top generals’ lack of real ‘appreciation’ of the intricate spatial-temporal nature of urban warfare in the information age.

(6) Comprehensive PVE-CVE framework

Most important of all, the government is supposed to come up with a comprehensive framework on both preventing and countering violent extremism (PVE-CVE). An ASEAN-wide forum on preventing violent extremism (PVE), for instance, simply misses the point that ‘prevention’ implies that the thing to be avoided or prevented is not yet around. In the case of violent extremism, however, it is already here in our backyard; nay, it has already burned down a whole city. Hence, it requires fire-fighting, not fire-prevention. Nevertheless, in areas where there is no burning yet, fire-prevention is in order.

Moreover, any comprehensive framework to be developed must contain two essential elements that must go hand in hand, viz. all-inclusive development, and tolerance and respect for diversity. It is very difficult to teach tolerance and respect for diversity to a person who is hungry, economically disenfranchised, politically and historically wronged, or ideologically disoriented. In the same manner, for someone to be financially well off is not a guarantee for his being tolerant and honoring diversity. One may be rich and at the same time, intolerant of others. In fact, an affluent that subscribes to an ideology of hate, bigotry and violent extremism is far more damaging than a pauper who subscribes to the same.

Conclusion

To wrap up, what is even more fundamental than this ‘self-reinvention’ by the government is the personal reinvention of each of us along this line. Everybody is supposed to come out of the cocoon of his or her own indifference and passivity, and to morph into an active participant. Everybody must be a gallant warrior in countering the narratives of violent extremism in all arenas and platforms. All reservists are called for duty. Nobody must remain inside the barracks.

Now is the time to enlist. Now is the time to ‘reinvent.’

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]

Photo via ericbrown[dot]com

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Retreat and Silence

Retreat does not only mean withdrawal from the hustle and bustle of daily life; it is an encounter — an encounter with solitude and silence; it is an encounter with your Darling; it is a rendezvous with your Beloved; it is meeting with your Favorite.

Retreat is finding space. It is an exclusive tete-a-tete with you Best Friend.

Silence means the lack of noise and voice. It is the special fast observed by Prophet Zachariah and Blessed Mary. It could be a noisy silence or a voiceless one. It is a definite immunity from oral mistake.

Silence means freedom from the menace of the most dangerous flesh on earth (tongue). It means not only not talking but it is speaking through a voiceless language; it is hearing noises within; it is listening to the voiceless voice within.

Silence means knocking at the door of solitude. It means initially entertaining tumults and agitations of the heart. It is the speaking engagement of the heart.

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My Tai Chi Learning

Attended by 30 participants from South and Southeast Asian countries as well as China, the eight-day intensive Asia-China Peace and Leadership Training Workshop organized and hosted by Jinan University’s Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies included not only modules ranging from conflict analysis and mapping, and international negotiation and conflict resolution to intercultural and non-verbal communication and China’s economy and culture, but only a crash course on Tai Chi.

Referring to a philosophy of the forces of yin and yang in relation to its movements, Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art 武術 practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. And we are lucky enough to have Master Fan Yanwei as our teacher.

Master Fan is a professor of Physical Education in Jinan University and the chief coach in the Chinese martial arts dancing training base. Since 1984 when the Martial Arts Team of Jinan University was founded, Prof. Fan has made significant progress with her team and gained more than 500 medals (including more than 200 gold medals). She is continuously gaining rich international experience through her visits to many countries such as the United States, Germany, France, Japan, and Singapore, among others.

In the four days of morning reflection and Tai Chi exercises, Master Fan would introduce us to the philosophy of the martial art and the meanings of each movement.

At the end of the crash course, what I learn in Tai Chi is that I know nothing about it. It’s an ocean, nay a universe in itself.

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Searching for that Etymological School

The etymological school

A screen shot from the film “3 Idiots”

Mansoor L. Limba on February 10, 2017

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 10 February) – The other day, I attended a convocation program of a high school student.

It was the third in the series for this school year.

As usual, it was a gathering of students, parents and teachers in which ‘top’ students were given recognition. Implicitly, their parents were accorded that recognition, as well. The names of the ‘best’ students in each academic subject were announced, too.

Such a scenario is known to all and sundry, I’m sure. And there are no limits to its concomitant clichés.

Perennial School

At the back of this gathering are the indescribable pressures to all stakeholders – the students, parents, and teachers. The students have to burn the midnight candle in order to keep their respective ranks or even improve the same. The ‘mediocre’ among them have to strive hard so as not to fail in each periodical examination. The parents are so religious in monitoring their kids’ nocturnal rites of studying their lessons, and even in becoming their own kids’ instant tutors. The teachers have to check the test papers and compute the students’ grades most meticulously, for even less than one percent grade difference between that of the ‘first’ and the ‘second’ rank matters a lot.

In this typical set-up, there are the ‘first,’ the ‘second’ and of course, the ‘last’ rank. These ‘lower’ ranks will be seated in front rows, but in public roll call, they would be called last. There seems to have common acknowledgment that the ‘honor’ students are ‘brilliant’ while the ‘average’ are intellectually ‘poor’. The former are impliedly deemed ‘famous’ while the latter ‘infamous’.

Etymological School

This educational setting, regrettably, is too much alien to the etymology or origin of the word ‘school’. Dictionary indicates that the word ‘school’ is derived from the Greek word σχολή (scholē), which originally means ‘leisure’ and also ‘that in which leisure is employed’. In turn, dictionary also tells us that ‘leisure’ means ‘free time when a person can choose what to do’.

Etymologically, therefore, a school is supposed to be a place for play and joy. It is a playground where learning and leisure are rolled into one. It is a tryst for the lovers of Sophia and logos. It is a rose-garden where the learners are jolly bees, untiringly sipping the nectar of knowledge and wisdom.

In that ‘etymological’ school, Dr. Howard Gardner’s 1983 theory of multiple intelligences is truly acknowledged not only theoretically, but more importantly, in practice. It is duly recognized there that every student is talented; that he or she is ‘intelligent’ with respect to the subject or activity he or she is good at and passionate about. In the end, the student will be advised to follow his or her own calling.

Moreover, that school is an arena where the teacher is a ‘leisure-giver’, and not as a ‘lecturer’ and ‘terror’. Far from being pedantic or doctrinaire, she is a provider of free time and breathing space for her co-players who are conventionally called ‘students’ or ‘pupils’. She is a motivator, rather than an intimidator. She is a mentor, rather than a dictator.

Simply put, in that school, pedagogy is playing.

This is why while still perennially searching for that elusive school, I do not find any motivation to post by myself in any social media platform the ‘honors’ of that high school student I mentioned above, who graduated Valedictorian in pre-school, Salutatorian in elementary, and is the consistent Rank 1 this school year.

For me, every student is Top 1 in his or her way.

Whether that etymological school exists or will exist, or not, and whether my quest for it is an exercise in futility or not, only time can tell.

 

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]

Categories: Education, Jargons and Terminologies, Philosophy | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Forthcoming Publication: “Philosophy of Ethics”

PhilosophyofEthics

Murtada Mutahhari, “PHILOSOPHY OF ETHICS,” trans. Mansoor Limba (London: MIU Press, forthcoming), 272 pages.

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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Paying Respects to a Cultural Bridge

Makati City (Mindanews / 30 May) – Recently, wings of circumstances inadvertently brought me along with a small band of dedicated field educators to the inauguration of the unprecedentedly culturally sensitive T’boli Senior High School program in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Thereafter, we proceeded to the nearby Sitio Tukolefa, Barangay Lamdalag.

T'boli Senior High School          Department of Education Secretary

In particular, we went to the Manlilikha ng Bayan Center to pay respects to the late Lang S. Dulay, the T’nalak Master Weaver and National Living Treasure Awardee, who passed away exactly a month ago.

Lang Dulay

Starting with the pounding and stripping of the abaca stems to produce fibers and make them even thinner by coaxing, to the manual dying of the strands and meticulously arranging them on a bamboo frame, and to the month-long backbreaking weaving process, T’nalak fabric is indeed a product of love and passion.

T’nalak is undoubtedly woven by the passionate hands of a fervent lover who is captivated by the charming countenance of beauty, enamored by the enticing glances of arts, and enthralled Lang Dulayby the warm embrace of craftsmanship. It is a lasting canvas of Beauty, the Beautiful and the Beautiful-lover.

Lang Dulay is the Dreamer of not only the more than a hundred T’nalak designs, but also of the more important design to preserve her people’s ethnic identity and to pass on the cultural heritage to the generations to come.

She is an eloquent interlocutor with her people about the simultaneous processes of globalization and localization, of homogenization and heterogenization, of fusion and fragmentation. As she weaves, she is most expressively dialoguing, engaging in the perennial dialogue between the logos of tradition and that of post-modernity; between the logos of preservation and that of adaptation; between the logos of isolation and that of integration.

Gawad ng Manlilikha ng BayanLike a translator who serves as a cultural bridge between the original (text) language and the target (translation) language, the late Master Weaver is a cultural bridge between historical past and the fast-changing future of the T’boli tribe.

As a cultural bridge, her litany is weaving; her voice is her nimble hands; her slogan is silence and concentration; her banner is the roll of T’nalak; and her hymn is the praise for immortality and transcendence.

After bidding farewell to the Center’s attendants before noontime as I had to catch my flight from Metro Manila via Davao City, an adjacent old mosque caught my attention. I asked permission from a young man sitting in front of a small store for me to take a picture of the aging house of worship. And I learned from Faisal Dulay, a Sitio Tukolefa MosqueMuslim great grandchild of the late Dreamweaver and T’boli icon, that their clan members, numbering around two hundred, who peacefully live side by side in Sitio Tukolefa are followers of different faiths – Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam.

As I was on board the aircraft, I had one more realization: Lang Dulay’s bamboo-built Center is also a school of a parallel living tradition – the ideal tradition of religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding.

MindaNewsMINDANEWS>MINDAVIEWS>MARGINALIA: http://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2015/05/30/marginalia-paying-respects-to-a-cultural-bridge

 

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Learning Logic: A Short Course

Learning Logic: A Short Course

Newly Published: LEARNING LOGIC: A SHORT COURSE

Muhsin Gharawiyan, LEARNING LOGIC: A SHORT COURSE, trans. Muhammad-‘Ali Savadi and Maryam Savadi, ed. Mansoor Limba (Manila: AIF, 2015), pp. 176.

About the Book:
Thinking is the movement and attempt of mind between the known and the unknown. It is considered one of the advantages of the human being. For this reason, nāṭiqiyyah which means the power of thinking and intellection is regarded as the distinctive differentia (faṣl) that man has over other animals. No doubt, a human being does not always conclude correctly; rather he sometimes arrives at wrong conclusions. This can be proved by some reasons. The power of thinking, therefore, is something which is basically God-given and inherent, yet human beings may do wrong in utilizing and applying this power to discover the unknown.

Logic, which this book deals with, is like a guidebook that shows us the way of correct thinking, and its rules specify cases of mistakes in thinking. So, logic was born out of the necessity to avoid the occurrence of mistake in thinking.

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