Doha Consultation

I am in Doha at a consultation hosted by the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) in order to devise a vision and intellectual agenda for bioethics. CILE is a member of the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies. I have had the opportunity to meet distinguished scholars like our host Dr Muhammad al-Ghaly, a specialist in Islamic law and bioethics. Also in attendance among others are Dr Muhammad al-Bar from Said Arabia, Prof Muhsin Abul Fadl Ebrahim from South Africa, both distinguished scholars and pioneers of Muslim biomedical ethics. Among the scholars is the astrophysicist from the American University in Sharjah, Prof Nidhal Guessoum, author of Islam’s Quantum Question, a great book that I had the opportunity to review. My review of his book done more than a year ago is attached here for those of you who might not have seen it.

MoosaGuessomReview

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Sunni Orthodoxy in Critical Muslim

I have just published a piece in Critical Muslim . I am one of the associate editors of this journal. Please subscribe to this journal
MoosaSunniOrthodoxy

Posted in Ethics, Islamic Law/Ethics, Madrasas, Middle East, middle east, Pakistan, South Asia | Tagged | 2 Comments

Walking Egypt back from the brink of anarchy by Ebrahim Rasool and Ebrahim Moosa, Friday, August 16,

Washington Post op-ed “Walking Egypt back from the brink of anarchy” by South African Ambassador to the United States Mr Ebrahim Rasool and Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University.

Posted in Africa, Ethics, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Muslim Ethics, South Africa, US Politics | Tagged | 2 Comments

Return to Dictatorship in Egypt

Today Egypt returned to the previous 50 years of dictatorship with the declaration of the state of emergency by the military and the killing of dozens of protesters. The Egyptian army liberated Egypt from imperfect democratic rule and replaced it with dictatorship, reversing the gains of the 2011 revolution with the consent of the cheering Tahrir masses who welcomed the army takeover in July. So much for those who complained of the Islamofascism of the Muslim Brotherhood! What is the name of this fascism? What about unalloyed fascism?

The tragedies of July and August and the loss of life were all avoidable.

Still wishful thinking in Western political circles claim it is not a coup. Heard of an ostrich? Western governments expressed “regret” at the killing of non-violent protesters and called for “restraint.” Really? What restraint if there are no consequences for the military junta in Cairo with dollars and euros flowing into their already lush coffers.

Don’t expect any condemnation from the White House for the catastrophe in Egypt. A President and a White House that prefer extra judicial killings of people around the world via drone attacks can hardly be torchbearers for the rule of law and human rights!

Yes, the situation in Egypt is complex. The Muslim Brotherhood are no angels. They have to take their share of blame for the tragic state of affairs. But undermining the democratic process created an alternative that is infinitely worse.

It might be apt to take a leaf from the pages of history.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”

It does not require rocket science to configure what will happen in Egypt in months and years to come, following Niemöller’s reasoning. Based on Egypt’s record of dictatorship and authoritarianism one can anticipate a scenario, heaven forbid, that goes like this.

“Today they came for the Muslim Brotherhood, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, for they were not from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Then they came for the liberals, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not liberals.
Then they came for the democrats, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not democrats.
Then they came for the workers, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not the workers.
Then they came for the people, and the right thinking people of Egypt said nothing, because they were not the people.
Then they came for the right thinking people of Egypt, and there was no one left to speak for what is “right,” for “thinking,” and for the “people.”

Darkness descends on Egypt!

Seeing their folly of at first blessing the military junta, Egypt’s religious leaders, Shaykh al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb and Coptic Pope Tawadros II are only now condemning the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Seeing the writing on the wall honorable sirs? One way of showing remorse is for these religious leaders to ask General Abdelfattah el-Sisi to step down and be held accountable for his deeds. Then they should each resign for their massive errors of judgment that have irreparably harmed Egypt.

Morsi blundered horribly, if not criminally. But the coup by the military junta has created a worse situation. More distressing is, of course, the failure of Egyptian intellectuals, the majority of whom have swung in favor of the military junta, following the logic of being “Sultan’s Jurists” -Fuqaha al-Sultan. Long live the courageous intellectuals who have offered balanced criticism and not succumbing to beguiling rhetoric and flawed logic.

Posted in Africa, Foreign Policy, Islam & Democracy, Middle East, middle east, Muslim Ethics, US Politics | Tagged | 16 Comments

End of Ramadan

End of Ramadan.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

End of Ramadan

Saudi Arabia، Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia have announced the end of Ramadan and the celebration of `Id al-Fitr or Eid al-Fitr tomorrow, Thursday 8 August, 2013 as a the first of the Arabic month of Shawwal 1434 AH. Oman, however, will continue to fast on Thursday and will hold the feast on Friday. In South Africa too the crescent was not sighted so the Muslims there will have to fast out the month of Ramadan to the maximum of 30 days and the 1st of Shawwal will be on Friday.

Now we will have a scenario where Oman and South Africa will have a lunar calendar at variance from those of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. I do not have an update on Egypt. All this will impact 70 days later with the calendar for hajj. Again those countries that ended Ramadan later will most likely be out of sync with the hajj calendar. India and Pakistan have yet to announce their sightings on Thursday. It is not clear what US Muslims who follow sighting will do. They might follow the Middle East’s sighting or they might insist on local crescent sighting and that decision will be made in several hours time. The Islamic Society of North America had announced in advance the beginning and end dates for Ramadan based on calculation and accordingly `Id al-Fitr is tomorrow Thursday 8 August 2013.

It is not even clear to me whether the crescent was sighted in the Gulf. The Minister of Justice of the UAE said “that after a number of legitimate measures, as well as several contacts with neighboring countries, it was established that Wednesday was the last day of Ramadan.” No mention was made of sighting. However a Qatari source reports that sighting took place

Islamic lunar calendar confusion continues until proper scientific conventions are adopted and the lunar calendar is predictable and certain and not subject to the vagaries of sighting.

Posted in Islamic Law/Ethics, Middle East, Muslim Ethics, Pakistan, South Africa, Uncategorized, US Politics | 1 Comment

Ramadan 2013 Early Crescent Flutters

Today Gulf News reported that the Saudi Supreme Court, the judicial authority charged to announce the new based on testimonies of crescent sightings, met on Tuesday in order receive news of sightings. This surprised many observers since if there were testimonies of crescent sightings it would result in the anomaly of a 28 day Ramadan lunar calendar. No such crescent sighting was reported and Ramadan moves to 29 days. If there is sighting on Wednesday 7 August 2013 then `Id al-Fitr will take place on Thursday 8 August. This is the calendar based on naked eye sightings. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) in recent years adopted a scientifically based lunar calendar and according to that calendar Wednesday 7 August is the last day of Ramadan. With this sensible approach this Ramadan and the entire Islamic calendar for decades will be predictable and certain. Unfortunately, this remains a minority view. A good number of US mosques still follow either sighting or follow the decisions of the Middle East. This year Turkey and some European countries began fasting on Tuesday 9 July 2013 which synchronized with the ISNA/FCNA calendar.

A very energetic discussion took place on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ebrahim.moosa.92

An article of mine promoting the views of Shaykh Ahmad Muhammad Shakir, a leading jurist and hadith scholar is available at http://ebrahimmoosa.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/ashakirmoosa.pdf

Posted in Islamic Law/Ethics | Leave a comment

Brain, mind and culture in Muslim theology

http://blogs.nd.edu/contendingmodernities/2013/04/11/brain-mind-and-culture-promptings-from-muslim-theology/

Posted in Ethics, science, South Asia | 2 Comments

Timbuktu Manuscripts: Civil War and the Documents of Civilization

Image

 

“There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” Walter Benjamin

Today I received an update on the status of the Ahmad Baba library in Timbuktu following news that it might have been torched as the rebels retreated.

 

Dr Shamil Jeppie, who heads the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project (www.tombouctoumanuscripts.org) and is also associate director of the Huma (Institute for humanities in Africa) University of Cape Town, released the statement below. It is reassuring until further eyewitness testimony confirms or denies what he has learnt at this point.ImageImage

Posted in Africa, Foreign Policy, literature, Mali, Timbuktu, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Morsi’s Last Chance: by EBRAHIM MOOSA for ISLAMiCommentary on DECEMBER 8, 2012:

President Mohammad Morsi of Egypt should scrap his tough guy image and appetite for power grabs. In canceling the decree that gave him sweeping powers, he took a step in the right direction tonight. But he is not out of the political woods yet. He should show that he cares more about Egypt than he cares about his own power. If not, his days are numbered, and Egypt’s future is in danger.

Army rule and authoritarianism lurk in the shadows. Military circles are already rumbling. If Morsi threatens to enforce marshal law in future, he will only hasten his own decline. Yes, the opposition are a cantankerous and obstructionist bunch of losers, but it was Morsi who handed them a cause and made them look like winners.

First Morsi should get the word out to the opposition that he is serious about forming a government of national unity. He should give people like Egypt’s Conference party leader Amr Moussa, Constitution party founder Mohamed ElBaradei, and other key figures positions in his cabinet and use them optimally. ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, should be given a ministerial position to fast-track science and technology development so that Egypt can compete with India and China and create jobs. Moussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and past Arab League head, could be given the health ministry.

Continue reading …

Posted in Foreign Policy, Islam & Democracy, Middle East, Muslim Ethics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment