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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

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More on ‘Dyakatla’

Jakarta (Photo via Wikipedia.com)

Jakarta (Photo via Wikipedia.com)

 

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (MindaNews /20 November) – While waiting in the NAIA departure area last Tuesday (November 15), I posted this marginalia in my FB wall:

“‘DYAKATLA’. Our oldfolks would say, “So-and-so had been in Dyakatla.” (‘Dyakatla’ is understood to mean a far-flung place.) Or, one of them would threaten, “Once I’m fed up, I will leave you all and go to Dyakatla and you will never see me again!” We would realize later that by ‘Dyakarta’ they actually meant ‘Jakarta’ – a relatively far-flung place then. Heading toward Dyakatla now, if He wills, to share an idea on behavioral economics, personal finance and a transmitted supplication text…”

Around five hours after my post, a young history professor, who is a friend of mine both online and offline, commented thus: “The old name of Jakarta is Batavia.” This short comment gives the impression, to me at least, that the timeline of the names of the city is just divided into two: the old (Batavia) and the recent (Jakarta), and therefore, to link ‘Dyakatla’ (a term of the oldfolks) to Jakarta (which is a ‘recent’ name) is historically inaccurate.

“Noted Prof. Yes, we must always be students,” I replied.

In additional to the fact that I had no time to give a long reply as I had just arrived in the Soekarno-Hatta Airport then, with this short reply of mine I wanted to convey that we are all supposed to be always open to correction and criticism, as research work – or, studying, you may say – is always ‘a work in progress,’ constituting both learning and unlearning.

Yes, it is true that Jakarta was called ‘Batavia’ during the Dutch colonial rule of Indonesia (1619-1942).

At the same time, it should not escape from our attention the following points:

  1. The city has been named differently in various times.
  2. Prior to the coming of the Dutch, it was called Jayakarta, Djajakarta or Jacatra (1527-1619) (during the short period of Banten Sultanate and even afterward). It is interesting to note that ‘Jacatra’ is perhaps the closest to ‘Dyakatla’ (with just the letter ‘r’/’l’ variance).
  3. The city was known as Djakarta from 1942 to 1972.
  4. Finally, it has adopted its present spelling of ‘Jakarta’ since 1972.

As such, prior to be known as Batavia during the Dutch colonial rule, it was already called by various names – Jayakarta, Djajakartar, Jacatra, Djakarta, and Jakarta – which would be pronounced ‘Dyakatla’ by our oldfolks.

Moreover, even during the time when Jakarta was called ‘Batavia’, it was not unlikely that people still kept on calling it by its previous name or names (Jayakarta, Djajakartar, and/or Jacatra), especially in view of the fact that ‘Batavia’ is a Dutch coinage and therefore a colonial name. (Batavia originally refers to a land inhabited by the Batavian people during the Roman Empire, and which today forms part of the Netherlands.)

Even today, Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati City is still known to all and sundry as Buendia. So is Claro M. Recto in Davao City as Claveria. And similar cases are as many as the frogs during rainy days.

In conclusion, although Jakarta is now relatively near, thanks to the modern-day revolution in transportation and communication, ‘Dyakatla’ remains part of vocabulary of our vernacular to mean ‘any remote or hard-to-reach place’.

It’s the grandiose Garuda’s home.

[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.]

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Dwindling Power, or Lack of Political Will?

dwindlingpower

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews/22 April) – Attending “Titayan: Bridging for Peace” Symposium-Workshop which formally kicked off yesterday in Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City, is yet another good opportunity to extensively discuss inclusive political transitions in the Bangsamoro at this critical moment of national leadership transition.

Culled from the Maguindanaon, Maranao and Iranun word for ‘bridge’ (titayan), the symposium-workshop is jointly organized by Friends of Peace and Ateneo de Davao University’s Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia and University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC), and it was formally opened by Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, president of the host university.

In his 25-minute keynote address, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, OMI, the Archbishop of Cotabato and Lead Convenor of Friends of Peace, passionately shared his personal understanding of the ‘apparent failure’ of the BBL, gains of the peace process, doable steps in the future, and most importantly, his personal vision of peace.

In the Panel Session 1 about the protection and implementation of peace agreements during political transitions even without legislation, Dr. Chetan Kumar of India and currently the Advisor on Peacebuilding for the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in the country, gave his 20-minute presentation on global experiences of conserving peace agreements during political transitions, and it was followed by another presentation on good practices and lessons learned in ‘grounding’ peacebuilding in Mindanao by Prof. Rufa Cagoco-Guiam of Mindanao State University – Gen. Santos City Campus.

One thing worthy of reaction was the point raised after the first panel session by a political negotiations advisor and former chief negotiator of the GRP that one of the challenges facing the current peace process is the dwindling of the chief executive’s power in the existing more open democratic space and in the information age wherein every domestic issue has international repercussions due to the social media.

Accordingly, one of the theses of the peace process in the Philippines is its reliance on the power of the chief executive – the power of the President – to deliver and implement a peace agreement, and his thesis is that compared to the governments of Marcos and Cory, there is the gradual decay or the gradual lessening of the power of the chief executive if gleaned from the government-sponsored legislation.

In reaction to this, first of all, the government advisor preferred not to mention that the same chief executive was the chief agent – real or perceived – in unprecedentedly pressuring an ombudsman to resign, impeaching a chief justice, and putting the then incumbent senate president and other senators behind bars.

Second, as astutely pointed out by the first panelist, Dr. Kumar, the very same forces and elements that have allegedly been weakening the chief executive’s power could also be utilized by him or his government to wield more power and leverage, and demonstrate his sincerity and political will to push forward the peace process.

Third, has the power of the chief executive really dwindled to such a point that he could no longer certify the BBL draft submitted to the Congress as ‘urgent’ as he is supposed to do?

Given these three points, we cannot help but ask, “Is it indeed dwindling of the chief executive’s power, or sheer lack of political will and sincerity?”

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, 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, 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/]

(Source: http://www.mindanews.com/…/marginalia-dwindling-power-or-la…)

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Forthcoming Publication: “Fulfillment of Trust”

Fulfillment of Trust

Sayyidah Tahirah Aghamiri, “FULFILLMENT OF TRUST,” trans. Mansoor Limba (London: MIU Press, forthcoming), 108 pages.

Table of Contents

Foreword 
Preface

Chapter 1 – The Status of Trust in the Qur’an and Sunnah 
Qur’anic injunctions to shun away from treachery 
The best of repositories and trustees 
The need to fulfil trust to non-Muslims

Chapter 2 – Divine Trusts 
Divine guardianship and vicegerency 
Life and soul 
The heart as a Divine trust 
Intellect 
Bodily limbs 
The asset of youth and age 
Intellectual awareness 
Family, spouse and children 
Children’s proximity to God

Chapter 3 – Spiritual Trusts 
Islam and religious laws 
Divine duties 
The Qur’an as a trust from God 
The concept of speculative interpretation (tafsīr bi’r-rayy) according to Imām Khomeinī 
‘Alawī guardianship (wilāyah) and Muḥammadan vicegerency (khilāfah)

Chapter 4 – Material Trusts 
The world and material things 
Methods of fulfilling financial and monetary trusts 
1. Endowment (infāq) 
2. Interest-free loan (qarḍ al-ḥasanah)

Chapter 5 – Government Trust and Sense of Responsibility 
Government and sense of responsibility 
Observance of propriety in assuming responsibility 
Trustworthiness as criterion for assuming responsibility 
Service to the people 
Keeping the secrets of people 
Giving importance to public property 
Protection of public property 
Personal profit from responsibility 
Trustworthiness as distinctive trait of the leaders in society 
The Islamic Republic 
Freedom 
People’s vote 
Unity of expression

Bibliography

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