Searches for Noah's Ark have been made from at least the time of Eusebius (c. 275–339 CE), and believers in the Ark continue to search for it in modern times, but no confirmable physical proof of the Ark has ever been found. No scientific evidence has been found that Noah's Ark existed as it is described in the Bible. More significantly, there is also no evidence of a global flood, and most scientists agree that such a ship and natural disaster would both be impossible. Some researchers believe that a real (though localized) flood event in the Middle East could potentially have inspired the oral and later written narratives; a Persian Gulf flood, or a Black Sea Deluge 7,500 years ago has been proposed as such a historical candidate. (Full article...)
Muhammad took keen interest in capturing Meccan caravans after his migration to Medina, seeing it as repayment for his people, the Muhajirun. A few days before the battle, when he learnt of a Makkan caravan returning from the Levant led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Muhammad gathered a small expeditionary force to capture it. Abu Sufyan, learning of the Muslim plan to ambush his caravan, changed course and took a longer route away from Muhammad's base at Medina and sent a messenger to Mecca, asking for help. Abu Jahl commanded an army nearly one-thousand strong, approaching Badr and encamping at the sand dune al-'Udwatul Quswa. (Full article...)
Malcolm spent his adolescence living in a series of foster homes or with relatives after his father's death and his mother's hospitalization. He engaged in several illicit activities, eventually being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1946 for larceny and breaking and entering. In prison he joined the Nation of Islam (adopting the name MalcolmX to symbolize his unknown African ancestral surname while discarding "the white slavemaster name of 'Little'"), and after his parole in 1952 quickly became one of the organization's most influential leaders. He was the public face of the organization for a dozen years, advocating for Black empowerment and separation of Black and white Americans, and criticizing Martin Luther King Jr. and the mainstream civil rights movement for its emphasis on nonviolence and racial integration. Malcolm X also expressed pride in some of the Nation's social welfare achievements, such as its free drug rehabilitation program. Throughout his life, beginning in the 1950s, Malcolm X endured surveillance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (Full article...)
The Oran fatwa was a responsumfatwa, or an Islamic legal opinion, issued in 1504 to address the crisis that occurred when Muslims in the Crown of Castile (in Spain) were forced to convert to Christianity in 1500–1502. The fatwa sets out detailed relaxations of the sharia (Islamic law) requirements, allowing the Muslims to conform outwardly to Christianity and perform acts that are ordinarily forbidden in Islamic law, when necessary to survive. It includes relaxed instructions for fulfilling the ritual prayers, the ritual charity, and the ritual ablution, and recommendations when obliged to violate Islamic law, such as worshipping as Christians, committing blasphemy, and consuming pork and wine.
The fatwa enjoyed wide currency among Muslims and Moriscos (Muslims nominally converted to Christianity and their descendants) in Spain, and one of the surviving aljamiado translations was dated at 1564, 60years after the original fatwa. The fatwa has been described as the "key theological document" to understand the practice of Spanish Muslims following the Reconquista up to the expulsion of the Moriscos. The author of the fatwa (mufti) was Ahmad ibn Abi Jum'ah, a North African scholar of Islamic law of the Maliki school. The fatwa was termed the "Oran fatwa" by modern scholars, due to the word "Al-Wahrani" ("of Oran") that appears in the text as part of the author's name. (Full article...)
In 1838, Syed Ahmad entered the service of East India Company and went on to become a judge at a Small Causes Court in 1867, retiring from 1876. During the Indian Mutiny of 1857, he remained loyal to the British Raj and was noted for his actions in saving European lives. After the rebellion, he penned the booklet The Causes of the Indian Mutiny – a daring critique, at the time, of various British policies that he blamed for causing the revolt. Believing that the future of Muslims was threatened by the rigidity of their orthodox outlook, Sir Ahmad began promoting Western–stylescientific education by founding modern schools and journals and organising Islamic entrepreneurs. (Full article...)
Official portrait, 1956
Fakih Usman (Alternatively spelled as Faqih Usman; [faˈkɪh ʊsˈman]; 2 March 1904 – 3 October 1968) was an Indonesian Islamic leader and politician of the Masyumi Party. He twice served as the Minister of Religious Affairs under the cabinets of Abdul Halim and Wilopo from January until September of 1950, and again from 1952 until 1953. In his early years, Fakih was criticized by conservative Muslims for his involvement with the modernist Islamic Muhammadiyah organization, though he is remembered fondly by the group. Born to a merchant and his wife in Gresik, Dutch East Indies, Fakih studied with his father and at a series of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) until the 1920s.
In 1925 he became involved with the Muhammadiyah, rising quickly through the leadership until he became the head of the Surabaya branch in 1938. He was also active in local politics, in 1937, he became the treasurer of the Indonesian Islamic Assembly. He continued to be involved in politics and Islamic groups during the Japanese occupation and the ensuing national revolution. Following the end of war, he was appointed Minister of Religious Affairs. As minister, he oversaw educational and institutional reform, growing in prominence within the Muhammadiyah. He also served as deputy chairman of the organization under several different leaders before being chosen as its chairman in late 1968. He died several days later. (Full article...)
Image 3A young woman from Ramallah, c. 1898-1914. Until the 1940s, women of Palestine wore elaborate handcrafted garments. The creation and maintenance of these items played a significant role in their lives. A knowledgeable observer could determine a woman's village of origin and social status from her clothing. The circular band near this woman's forehead is a ring of coins made from a portion of her dowry money, and indicates that she is unmarried.
Image 4The Sixty Dome Mosque is a medieval mosque located in Bagerhat, Bangladesh, built by Muslim saint Khan Jahan Ali in mid 15th century. This unique masonry mosque with 81 domes (including 4 corner domes) is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Image 14A Bedouin woman in Jerusalem, sometime between 1898 and 1914, dressed in Palestinian costume, the traditional clothing worn by Palestinians. Many of the handcrafted garments were richly embroidered and the creation and maintenance of these items played a significant role in the lives of the region's women. Until the 1940s, traditional Palestinian costumes reflected a woman's economic status, whether married or single, and the town or district of origin, and a knowledgeable observer could glean such information from the fabric, colors, cut, and embroidery motifs (or lack thereof) in a given woman's apparel.
Uzair is a figure who is mentioned in the Quran, Surah At-Tawba, verse 9:30, which states that he was revered by the Jews as "the son of God". Uzair is most often identified with the biblical Ezra. Modern historians have described the reference as "enigmatic", since such views have not been found in Jewish sources. Islamic scholars have interpreted the Quranic reference in different ways, with some explaining that it alluded to a specific group of Jews. According to Ibn Kathir, Uzair lived between the times of King Solomon and the time of Zachariah, father of John the Baptist. Some Quranic commentators viewed Uzayr as a learned scholar who sought to teach the people the forgotten laws of God. The modern Quranic exegesis of Abul Ala Maududi states,"Uzair (Ezra) lived during the period around 450 B.C. The Jews regarded him with great reverence as the revivalist of their Scriptures which had been lost during their captivity in Babylon after the death of Prophet Solomon. So much so that they had lost all the knowledge of their Law, their traditions and of Hebrew, their national language. Then it was Ezra who re-wrote the Old Testament and revived the Law. That is why they used very exaggerated language in his reverence which misled some of the Jewish sects to make him 'the son of God'. The Qur'an, however, does not assert that all the Jews were unanimous in declaring Ezra as 'the son of God'. What it intends to say is that the perversion in the articles of faith of the Jews concerning Allah had degenerated to such an extent that there were some amongst them who considered Ezra as the son of God".