Saturday, November 10, 2007

Worthy of Being Repeated

By Laura Maddock - Dawgnet- Butler University - Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A.
Thursday, November 8

Visiting Writer talks about history and ethics of Islam

Carl Ernst, author of several works about the Islamic religion, spoke about "Islamic Ethics from the Pre-Modern to Post-Colonial" at Butler on Nov. 5.

The event was co-sponsored by the change and tradition department and the Visiting Writers Series.

Ernst first discussed the process of writing his most recent book, the award-winning "Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World."

He chose as his editor a poet, who was ruthless in improving his work and the language he used.

"It made me think that writing in a clear and direct fashion is an important goal," Ernst said of the experience.

The book was written for Americans and Europeans who wanted to learn more about Islam. Ernst realized in the process that many Muslims are deeply concerned with how Americans view the religion.

"Ethics…would be a term for a right or correct behavior," Ernst said. He further defined this as "the practices, the habits, and the customs that are correct, admirable and worthy of being repeated."

Ernst identified two basic aspects of ethics: authority and reason. Ethics based on reason are deemed correct because they make sense. Ethics based on authority are correct because an authority, such as God, the Prophet or Jesus, said that they were correct.

The Quran, a major Islamic text, deals with ethics. Ernst identified the Quran as one of the most influential books in world history. He also said that history is essential in understanding religion.

The thesis of Ernst's lecture was -- even when people look to the same authorities to determine ethics, or what is right and wrong, they can come to different conclusions.

One interesting fact that Ernst mentioned is that 15 percent of American slaves were Muslims. In fact, one of these Muslim slaves in the Carolinas wrote an autobiography in the Arabic language. Ernst also spoke about the history of coffee.

"Mocha" is actually a place in Yemen, an Arabic country, and "Java" is a predominately Muslim island in Indonesia.

According to legend, a shepherd in an Islamic civilization discovered that his goats became unusually energetic after eating coffee leaves.

People who practiced Sufism, a branch of Islam, later began to use coffee to stay awake longer into the night so that they could meditate.

"This is an interesting question about ethics," Ernst said.

Muslims debate whether or not coffee should be considered an intoxicant and therefore banned. Some Muslims believe that coffee, like alcohol, causes an alteration of the mind, and its use should not be allowed. Others feel that if it is not expressly forbidden in the Quran it is allowed.

However, coffee is not banned in Islamic societies today.

Ernst's books, including "Sufi Martyrs of Love," "Sufism" and "Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World" were available for purchase at the event. Ernst held an informal question and answer session on Nov. 6, as well.


Sufi Books at: The Sufi Book Store http://astore.amazon.com/wilderwri-20

1 comment:

mehfil said...

My site on Indian classical music, sufi kalam, qawwali and Hindustani classical and related music: http://mehfiltube.magnify.net/search/?search=Qawwali

Languages: Dari, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi
Seraiki. Should there be any any interest in the Subcontinents Sufism
and its relation to music, you are welcome to have a look.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Worthy of Being Repeated
By Laura Maddock - Dawgnet- Butler University - Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A.
Thursday, November 8

Visiting Writer talks about history and ethics of Islam

Carl Ernst, author of several works about the Islamic religion, spoke about "Islamic Ethics from the Pre-Modern to Post-Colonial" at Butler on Nov. 5.

The event was co-sponsored by the change and tradition department and the Visiting Writers Series.

Ernst first discussed the process of writing his most recent book, the award-winning "Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World."

He chose as his editor a poet, who was ruthless in improving his work and the language he used.

"It made me think that writing in a clear and direct fashion is an important goal," Ernst said of the experience.

The book was written for Americans and Europeans who wanted to learn more about Islam. Ernst realized in the process that many Muslims are deeply concerned with how Americans view the religion.

"Ethics…would be a term for a right or correct behavior," Ernst said. He further defined this as "the practices, the habits, and the customs that are correct, admirable and worthy of being repeated."

Ernst identified two basic aspects of ethics: authority and reason. Ethics based on reason are deemed correct because they make sense. Ethics based on authority are correct because an authority, such as God, the Prophet or Jesus, said that they were correct.

The Quran, a major Islamic text, deals with ethics. Ernst identified the Quran as one of the most influential books in world history. He also said that history is essential in understanding religion.

The thesis of Ernst's lecture was -- even when people look to the same authorities to determine ethics, or what is right and wrong, they can come to different conclusions.

One interesting fact that Ernst mentioned is that 15 percent of American slaves were Muslims. In fact, one of these Muslim slaves in the Carolinas wrote an autobiography in the Arabic language. Ernst also spoke about the history of coffee.

"Mocha" is actually a place in Yemen, an Arabic country, and "Java" is a predominately Muslim island in Indonesia.

According to legend, a shepherd in an Islamic civilization discovered that his goats became unusually energetic after eating coffee leaves.

People who practiced Sufism, a branch of Islam, later began to use coffee to stay awake longer into the night so that they could meditate.

"This is an interesting question about ethics," Ernst said.

Muslims debate whether or not coffee should be considered an intoxicant and therefore banned. Some Muslims believe that coffee, like alcohol, causes an alteration of the mind, and its use should not be allowed. Others feel that if it is not expressly forbidden in the Quran it is allowed.

However, coffee is not banned in Islamic societies today.

Ernst's books, including "Sufi Martyrs of Love," "Sufism" and "Following Muhammad: Rethinking Islam in the Contemporary World" were available for purchase at the event. Ernst held an informal question and answer session on Nov. 6, as well.


Sufi Books at: The Sufi Book Store http://astore.amazon.com/wilderwri-20

1 comment:

mehfil said...

My site on Indian classical music, sufi kalam, qawwali and Hindustani classical and related music: http://mehfiltube.magnify.net/search/?search=Qawwali

Languages: Dari, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi
Seraiki. Should there be any any interest in the Subcontinents Sufism
and its relation to music, you are welcome to have a look.