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Lecture explores Islamic binaries

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first_imgKroc Institute Luce Visiting Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding SherAli Tareen delivered a lecture titled “Beyond Good Muslim/Bad Muslim: Debating the Boundaries of Innovation in Islam” on Tuesday afternoon at the Hesburgh Center for International Studies. Tareen focused on polemics over the ethical question of “bid’a,” or heretical innovation, among two major modern Muslim reform movements in South Asia: the Deobandis and Barelvis. The lecture began with a brief overview of the two major reform movements: the Deobandis and the Barelvis. Tareen said both are Sunni groups in India and that, being so similar, it made the polemics “bitter and more caustic because they were so personal.” He elaborated on the groups and explained how the two are usually assigned to a binary with the stereotypically more law-focused Deobandis on one end and the stereotypically more peaceful and mystical Barelvis on the other.“This kind of binary is intimately intertwined with the larger discourse of, which today is a very insidious and well-funded discourse, of what we might call the good Muslim-bad Muslim discourse,” he said. “Goodness is often measured by what is most proximate to a modern Western interpretation of what is a legitimate religion and, frankly, what is most conducive to American foreign policy at that moment in time.” Tareen said innovation in Islam refers to changes within Islam itself.“‘Bid’a,’ or heretical innovation, is the inverse of what is known as the normative model of the prophet, or sunna,” he said. “‘Bid’a’ consists of new, unsanctioned practices.” To explain the differences in the Deobandi and Barelvi definitions of “bid’a,” Tareen used the definitions as defined by two Hanafi Muslim jurists and Sufi masters who were involved in the founding of both groups. Quoting Ashraf ‘Ali Thanvi, one of the founders of the Deoband Madrasa, Tareen said, “Bid’a” is an innovated practice in religion that simulates the “sharia” in the intensity and discipline in which it is undertaken. “In other words, such conventions were kept alive and perpetuated by the invisible pressure to societal expectations and norms, rather than to divine law and divine will,” Tareen said. He added something can be considered heretical when it’s treated as being obligatory without a historical context to back it up. Tareen also read an extract from the writings of Ahmad Raza Khan, the founder of the Deobandi school, on “Bid’a,” which compared Islam to Muhammad’s garden which he said becomes “blanketed with breathtaking flowers, leaves and fountains, as each generation of scholars and saints added new layers of beauty to what they had inherited from their predecessors.” “Unless a practice was forbidden in Muslim law, ‘sharia,’ that practice is permissible,” Tareen said. “In other words, the default value of practices that have not been explicitly forbidden in the ‘sharia’ was that of permissibility.” Ultimately, Tareen said that by trying to compare the two groups within the context of a binary was harmful and fails to fully explain the traditions of each. “Rather than approaching debates on normative practice through the lens of a law-Sufism binary, or other binaries like good Muslim-bad Muslim, liberal-conservative and so forth, it might be more productive to look at the internal logics within the tradition,” he said.Tags: International studies, Islam, Kroc Institute, lecturelast_img read more

Team Nigeria Finishes Ninth as Australia Wins 2018 C’wealth Games

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first_imgBy Femi SolajaAt the end of 2018 Commonwealth Games  yesterday in Gold Coast , Australia, Team Nigeria won nine gold, nine silver and six bronze medals to finish ninth on the overall medals table.The feat though achieved through personal efforts of most Team Nigeria athletes, was a spot below the eighth placement at the Glasgow Games four years ago when we won 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals.Aruna Quadri won Team Nigeria’s last medal at the 2018 Games edition  after clinching silver in the men’s  table tennis singles event, losing to Ning Gao of Singapore on Sunday morning.South Africa emerged Africa’s best team as they finished in the sixth position with 13 gold, 11 silver, 13 bronze medals.Kenya were 14th with four gold, seven silver, six bronze, Uganda 15th with three gold, one silver, two bronze, Botswana occupied the 16th position on three gold, one silver, one bronze and Namibia with two gold ended in the 19th position.Cameroon who had one silver and two bronze finished in the 32nd position, Mauritius were in joint-34th position with one silver while Ghana and Seychelles who only won one bronze, were joint-39th in the medal table.Hosts Australia, were the overall winners at this year’s games after amassing 80 gold, 59 silver, 59 bronze to bring their medals total to 198.England who were champions at the 2014 edition, came second with 45 gold, 45 silver, 46 bronze, India clinched third spot with 26 gold, 20 silver, 20 bronze.Canada came fourth with 15 gold, 40 silver, 27 bronze and New Zealand finished fifth after securing 15 gold, 16 silver and 15 bronze medals.Meanwhile the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, commended the team for not just doing the nation proud but better the performance at the last edition in Glasgow. “ I thank you very much for making us proud. We have done a comparative analysis and looked at the size of our contingent when we went to Glasgow. How many sports we competed in and how much money was voted? These are the factors which will confirm whether we have done better here or not. From the average knowledge of what I have, we have done better here than what we did in Glasgow.”The Minister also announced that arrangements to host those available back in Nigeria has been put in place.“This will enable us to interface, interact, cross pollinate ideas and enjoy ourselves. I don’t want us to access our success with medals. We should assess our success by participation and the way we conducted ourselves during the Games.It is also time to begin to invest in our athletes if we want to do well in sports,” he remarked. The next edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2022, will be hosted in Birmingham, England, from July 27 to August 7.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more