Islam and the Humanities

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Islam and the Humanities

Postby vivian maxine on April 13th, 2015, 6:49 am 

I have been wondering something. We hear a lot about how the ancient Islamists had great learning centers and scholars who helped preserve knowledge of the sciences and philosophy. But we never hear whether they studied and practiced the humanities. I have read about their architecture but what about literature, history, paintings, sculpture, music, etc.

Does anyone know how much they contributed to the humanities? I'd like to read about it if I could find anything. Especially literature. Thank you.
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities

Postby Percarus on April 13th, 2015, 12:14 pm 

I am afraid the Qu'ran is a book of law that supersedes all marginal logic in secular morality and ethics. That is why we don't hear much of it. You try counting the amount of times the Qur'an states to 'smite the infidel' in the Qur'an, it is shocking. In 2005 I was psychoanalysing the Qur'an to build a website that slandered the religion. However I gave up when I learnt that the MAJORITY of Muslims see such passages as a fight with words and not violence (this as stated on my eBook @ http://bookbooster.com/newage.htm.

It is indeed very hard for a Muslim person to contribute to humanities in a country with Sharia law simply because by the changing the laws as set out by the holy prophet Mohammed (through reasoning) is basically seen as an act of treason. What is beautiful about Islam is the culture is restricted by ancient tradition that further glorifies God's cause in this Earth by bringing diversity in certain areas of the globe. If there are any Muslims that contributed to Humanities they would be seen as 'moderate Muslims' and would never be respected fully in countries such as Saudi Arabia - they would be seen as a Westerner or if a sole citizen of the country then as trouble makers.

The way to open Islam to the world of new age Ethics, humanities, and morals, would be to get into the frame of mind of such strict nations' leaders that acts such as witchcraft, sorcery, and pagan beliefs that these simple acts do not hold any scientific credence and that they are just roleplaying for fun for the sake of what the afterlife would bring. Isa/Jesus needs to be recognized to a greater extent by Muslims simply because he was a martyr whereas Mohammed was not. Mohammed preached a way of living, a noble one, one that God desired for the people in certain regions of the world and no more. If we managed to maintain ethical diversity in this globe than by all means I believe that humanist Islamists stand a good role to play - such an incumbent, should one surface, could be seen as the new age messiah (sorry, I mean prophet) of the 21st century.

On a side note... I believe that Jesus was the messiah, but I also believe the Jews will attain their holy messiah one day - it could be years from now. Does anyone know any Jewish humanists?
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities

Postby Homunculus on April 13th, 2015, 12:34 pm 

I think here you may have confused 'Islamism' with either someone living in an Islamic society or someone practising Islam. Although there is dispute over this, it is generally accepted that Islamism refers to the political identity of an individual who wishes to implement a particular reading of the Quran over society. It is sometimes associated with fundamentalism. I don't mean to appear pedantic. In the current climate it can be useful to distinguish between the two.

Also, in response to your question, there are many eminent Islamic poets (how well they read when translated is another matter!). Here is a link to some: http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/material.htm
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities

Postby vivian maxine on April 13th, 2015, 2:34 pm 

Homunculus » April 13th, 2015, 11:34 am wrote:I think here you may have confused 'Islamism' with either someone living in an Islamic society or someone practising Islam. Although there is dispute over this, it is generally accepted that Islamism refers to the political identity of an individual who wishes to implement a particular reading of the Quran over society. It is sometimes associated with fundamentalism. I don't mean to appear pedantic. In the current climate it can be useful to distinguish between the two.

Also, in response to your question, there are many eminent Islamic poets (how well they read when translated is another matter!). Here is a link to some: http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/material.htm


Thank you for the link to the poets. As for the rest, perhaps I am using the wrong word. When I speak of the humanities, I am not speaking of morals or ethics although I suppose they could enter in depending on how one writes or paints. I simply mean did they have poets, story writers, paintings, carvings, etc. Maybe I am wrong but I think you can have any one of those without offending your religion, whatever it is, by avoiding what your religion forbids. I recently read a historical fiction by an Islamist (Maasouf, if I remember rightly) that told the story of the crusades from an Islamist's point of view. Unless I am terribly dense, I don't think that novel would offend anyone, Islamist or Christian. Some might disagree with his details but it was not offensive. And it was a very, very well-written book. On my best-seller list, for certain.


So, my question was much simpler than it sounds. I just keep wondering why we hear so much about what their scholars did with the sciences but nothing about what they did with the humanities.

Except I now have a link to poets. Thank you again.
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities

Postby Homunculus on April 13th, 2015, 4:42 pm 

No problem :) maybe that will lead you on to other literature.

Sorry I'm not sure I was clear, the point I was making was that you misused the word "islamist".

Islam = religion
Muslim = a follower of the religion
Islamic = relating to Islam
Islamist = someone who wants to force people to live under one specific reading of the religion.
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities

Postby vivian maxine on April 13th, 2015, 5:13 pm 

Homunculus » April 13th, 2015, 3:42 pm wrote:No problem :) maybe that will lead you on to other literature.

Sorry I'm not sure I was clear, the point I was making was that you misused the word "islamist".

Islam = religion
Muslim = a follower of the religion
Islamic = relating to Islam
Islamist = someone who wants to force people to live under one specific reading of the religion.



Isn't that pretty much true of most religions- as well as politics? But that's off-topic. Yes, I knew "Islam" should really be used for only the religion but I got called once for calling the people in that area Arabs. Hard to be PC, isn't it? :-)
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities

Postby Homunculus on April 13th, 2015, 5:19 pm 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by it being true of all religions. One can be muslim and not an islamist in the same sense as one can practise any faith but not require that their particular interpretation be implemented as law. The term "islamist" refers to this political identity. So "ancient islamists" doesn't mean what I think you intended it to mean :) make sense?
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities & New Prophets

Postby Percarus on April 13th, 2015, 7:10 pm 

Thanks Homunculus...

I never saw that distinction in the word 'Islamist' before. But pointing out the dictionary definition for reference sakes:
1. An Islamic revivalist movement, often characterized by moral conservatism, literalism, and the attempt to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life.

2. The religious faith, principles, or cause of Islam.

In other words an 'Islamist' is not necessarily a terrorist and instead they just want to live in a nation where they have like minded individuals. The ones that want to propagate their faith abroad are indeed terrorists. I believe Islamists play a vital role to keeping diversity in this planet and they need a home too so world citizens have a place to live to suit every taste.

In many ways I now see Islamists as equitable to the Amish people. Definition: The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology.

In that sense Islamists are the Muslim version of Amish and are greatly misunderstood primarily because they come from less developed nations and to that effect may be more ignorant to matters of the heart in contrast to the Amish.

I often wonder, if Islamists got a fair share of land, fertile land for that matter, with the resources to live in comfort, and the two child policy was implemented world wide. Would there ever be a need for a cultural world war/battle between religions? If the transference of religious faiths (to and fro) happened in equilibrium thus keeping all levels constant would the world not be a better place?

The problem with Islamists is that they 'may' perceive the word 'infidel' in their holy Qur'an on a more literal interpretation than Muslims or moderate Muslims. I hope I live long enough to see the New World Order fix this whole mess up someday and prosper a world era of peace and equality.

Does anyone know if there are any Muslim or Islamists that happen to be Freemasons btw?

PS: Any thoughts on this New Age Prophet anyone?: http://www.evangelicalendtimemachine.com/
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Re: Islamists and the Humanities

Postby vivian maxine on April 14th, 2015, 5:56 am 

Homunculus » April 13th, 2015, 4:19 pm wrote:I'm not sure I understand what you mean by it being true of all religions. One can be muslim and not an islamist in the same sense as one can practise any faith but not require that their particular interpretation be implemented as law. The term "islamist" refers to this political identity. So "ancient islamists" doesn't mean what I think you intended it to mean :) make sense?


That's all right. I'm not sure how we got off onto this semantic discussion. I only wanted to know if they did as much study and preservation with the humanities as they did with the sciences. Finding the poetry partly answers my question. I truly enjoyed those.
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Re: Islam and the Humanities

Postby vivian maxine on April 14th, 2015, 8:30 am 

Here is an excellent article that covers the topic. Note the part about the universities. This is the time period that I was referring to. There is also a good bit about the names and how they have been used. But my question was about their so-called "Golden Age" where university scholars concentrated on philosophy and science --- plus architecture. I noted that most of the humanities seem to be missing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age
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Re: Islam and the Humanities

Postby mtbturtle on April 14th, 2015, 8:33 am 

Philosophy is usually categorized as a Humanity.
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Re: Islam and the Humanities

Postby mtbturtle on April 26th, 2015, 11:22 am 

Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy: Islam and Science Have Parted Ways
This interview talks about the modern relationship between Islam and Science and at the end he talks about film, music, drama being frowned on in Pakistani Universities.
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Re: Islam and the Humanities

Postby vivian maxine on April 26th, 2015, 11:28 am 

mtbturtle » April 14th, 2015, 7:33 am wrote:Philosophy is usually categorized as a Humanity.



Is it? I've often wondered about that - why it appeared with sciences. But it did start out as the only science, didn't it? It is more suitable as a humanity. Right.
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Re: Islam and the Humanities

Postby mtbturtle on April 26th, 2015, 11:36 am 

vivian maxine » Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:28 am wrote:
mtbturtle » April 14th, 2015, 7:33 am wrote:Philosophy is usually categorized as a Humanity.



Is it? I've often wondered about that - why it appeared with sciences. But it did start out as the only science, didn't it? It is more suitable as a humanity. Right.


In the beginning, there was no distinction between science and philosophy and at one time what we would consider science was known as natural philosophy.
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Re: Islam and the Humanities

Postby vivian maxine on April 26th, 2015, 11:41 am 

mtbturtle » April 26th, 2015, 10:22 am wrote:Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy: Islam and Science Have Parted Ways
This interview talks about the modern relationship between Islam and Science and at the end he talks about film, music, drama being frowned on in Pakistani Universities.


Thank you. That is good reading.
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Re: Islam and the Humanities

Postby whyme on May 20th, 2015, 6:25 am 

Wow - avery interesating and diverse link, worth to read, I just dropped in, have to read it fully, but anyway, and vivian do you know why in the Golden Age there were so many humanities missing, any reason?
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