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A Case Study
The Korea-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (KSFTA) is Korea’s first comprehensive FTA involving any ASEAN member country and provides a framework for building a strong strategic and economic partnership between Korea and the ASEAN countries. It is therefore designed to be a building block in the process of community building efforts towards an East Asian Community in the long run as well as towards global free trade.This book analyses and documents the rationale behind the agreement and its impact on the economies of Korea and Singapore, underpinning the growing economic linkages between the two countries that have become stronger since the enforcement of the agreement.
The history of Arabic writing spans a period of eight hundred years in sub-Saharan Africa. Hundreds of thousands of manuscripts in Arabic or Ajami (African languages written with the Arabic script) are preserved in public libraries and private collections in sub-Saharan Africa. This ëIslamic Libraryí includes historical, devotional, pedagogical, polemical and political writings, most of which have not yet been adequately studied. This book, Non-Europhone Intellectuals, studies the research carried out on the Islamic library and shows that Muslim intellectuals, in West Africa in particular, have produced huge literature in Arabic and Ajami. It is impossible to reconstitute this library completely. As the texts have existed for centuries and are mostly in the form of unpublished manuscripts, only some of them have been transmitted to us while others have perished because of poor conservation. Efforts toward collecting them continues and the documents collected thus far attest to an intense intellectual life and important debates on society that have been completely ignored by the overwhelming majority of Europhone intellectuals. During European colonial rule and after the independence of African nations, Islamic education experienced some neglect, but the Islamic scholarly tradition did not decline. On the contrary, it has prospered with the proliferation of modern Islamic schools and the rise of dozens of Islamic institutions of higher learning. In recent years, the field of Islamic studies in West Africa has continued to attract the attention of erudite scholars, notably in anthropology and history, who are investing in learning the languages and working on this Islamic archive. As more analytical works are done on this archive, there will be continued modification in terms of the debate on knowledge production in West Africa.
Introducing Islam's Holy Book
Opening the Qur'an can be a bewildering experience to non-Muslim, English-speaking readers. Those who expect historical narratives, stories, or essays on morals are perplexed once they pass the beautiful first Surah, often shocked and then bogged down by Surah 2, and even offended by Surah 3’s strictures against nonbelievers. Walter H. Wagner “opens” the Qur’an by offering a comprehensive and extraordinarily readable, step-by-step introduction to the text, making it accessible to students, teachers, clergy, and general readers interested in Islam and Islam’s holy Book. Wagner first places the prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an, and the early Muslim community in their historical, geographical, and theological contexts. This background is a basis for interpreting the Qur'an and understanding its role in later Muslim developments as well as for relationships between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. He then looks in detail at specific passages, moving from cherished devotional texts to increasingly difficult and provocative subjects. The selected bibliography serves as a resource for further reading and study. Woven into the discussion are references to Islamic beliefs and practices. Wagner shows great sensitivity toward the risks and opportunities for non-Muslims who attempt to interpret the Qur'an, and sympathy in the long struggle to build bridges of mutual trust and honest appreciation between Muslims and non-Muslims.
From Islamic Empires to the Taliban
This pioneering study of the evolution of blasphemy laws from the early Islamic empires to the present-day Taliban uncovers the history and questionable motives behind Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and calls for a return to the prophet Muhammad’s peaceful vision of social justice.
Ibn al-Farid and the Poetry of Recollection
Explores the work of beloved Sufi poet 'Umar Ibn al-Farid and its context. Provides many translations of Ibn al-Farid's poetry. Umar Ibn al-Faµrid| (1181–1235), author of two classic works, the Wine Ode and the Poem of the Sufi Way, is considered the greatest Sufi poet to write in Arabic. In this study, these and other poems by Ibn al-Faµrid| are considered within the context of Islamic mysticism, Arabic literature, and Sufi poetry. Th. Emil Homerin uncovers the literary and religious intent of these poems and their aesthetic and mystical content, showing them to be a type of meditative poetry. Indeed, Ibn al-Faµrid| often alludes to the Sufi practice of “recollection,” or meditation on God, to evoke a view of existence in which the seeker may be transformed by an epiphany of love revealing an intimate relationship to the divine beloved. Homerin provides elegant translations and close readings of Ibn al-Faµrid|’s poetry, highlighting the beauty of his verse, its moods, meanings, and significance within Islamic mysticism and Arabic poetry, where Ibn al-Faµrid| is still known as the “Sultan of the Lovers.”
Massignon, Corbin, Guenon, and Schuon
An introduction to four Western figures influenced by Sufism who wrote about an "inner," esoteric Islam. Pathways to an Inner Islam provides an introduction to the esoteric or spiritual “inner Islam” presented by Western thinkers Louis Massignon, Henry Corbin, René Guénon, and Frithjof Schuon. Particularly interested in Sufism—the mystical tradition of Islam—these four twentieth-century authors who wrote in French played an important role in presenting Islamic spirituality to the West and have also had an influence in parts of the Muslim world, such as Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan. Patrick Laude brings them together to argue that an understanding of their inner Islam challenges reductionist views of Islam as an essentially legalistic tradition and highlights its spiritual qualities. The book discusses their thought on the definitions of spiritual Islam and Sufism, the metaphysical and mystical understanding of the Prophet and the Qur
Contesting Mulid Festivals in Contemporary Egypt
Mulids, festivals in honor of Muslim “friends of God,” have been part of Muslim religious and cultural life for close to a thousand years. While many Egyptians see mulids as an expression of joy and love for the Prophet Muhammad and his family, many others see them as opposed to Islam, an expression of a backward mentality, a piece of folklore at best. What is it about a mulid that makes it a threat to Islam and modernity in the eyes of some, and an expression of pious devotion in the eyes of others? What makes the celebration of a saint’s festival appear in such dramatically different contours? The Perils of Joy offers a rich investigation, both historical and ethnographic, of conflicting and transforming attitudes towards festivals in contemporary Egypt. Schielke argues that mulids are characterized by a utopian momentum of the extraordinary that troubles the grand schemes of order and perfection that have become hegemonic in Egypt since the twentiethcentury. Not an opposition between state and civil society, nor a division between Islamists and secularists, but rather the competition between different perceptions of what makes up a complete life, forms the central line of conflict in the contestation of festive culture.
Islamic Mortgages in the United States
Owning a home has always been central to the American dream. For the more than one million Muslims in the United States, this is no exception. However, the Qur'an forbids the payment of interest, which places conventional home financing out of reach for observant Muslims. To meet the growing Muslim demand for home purchases, a market for home financing that would be halal, or permissible under Islamic law, has emerged. In Pious Property, anthropologist William Maurer profiles the emergence of this new religiously based financial service and explores the ways it reflects the influence of Muslim practices on American economic life and vice versa. Pious Property charts the development of Islamic mortgages in America, starting with Islamic interpretations of the prohibition against riba—literally translated as "increase" but interpreted as "usury" or "interest." Maurer then explores the different practices that have emerged as permissible options for Islamic homebuyers—such as lease-to-own arrangements, profit-loss sharing, and cost-plus contracts—and explains how they have gained acceptance in the Islamic community by relying on payment schemes that avoid standard interest rate payments. Using interviews with Muslim homebuyers and financiers, and in-depth analysis of two companies that provide mortgage alternatives to Muslims, Maurer discovers an interesting paradox: progressive Muslims tend to use financial contracts that seemingly comply better with the prohibition against interest, while traditional Muslims seem more inclined to take on financing very similar to interest-based mortgages. Maurer finds that Muslims make their decisions about using Islamic mortgage alternatives based not only on the views of religious scholars, but also on their conceptions of how business is supposed to be conducted in America. While one form of Islamic financing is seemingly more congruent with the prohibition against riba, the other exhibits more of the qualities of American mortgages—anonymity and standardized forms. The appearance that an Islamic financing instrument is legal and professional leaves many Muslim homebuyers with the impression that it is halal, revealing the influence of American capitalism on Muslim Americans’ understanding of their religious rules. The market for halal financial products exists at the intersection of American and Islamic culture and is emblematic of the way that, for centuries, America's newcomers have adapted to and changed the fabric of American life. In Pious Property, William Maurer explores this rapidly growing economic phenomenon with historical perspective and scholarly insight.
Sex, Law, and Medicine in Khedival Egypt
Policing Egyptian Women delineates the intricate manner in which the modern state in Egypt monitored, controlled, and "policed" the bodies of subaltern women. Some of these women were runaway slaves, others were deflowered outside of marriage, and still others were prostitutes. Kozma traces the effects of nineteenth-century developments such as the expansion of cities, the abolition of the slave trade, the formation of a new legal system, and the development of a new forensic medical expertise on these women who lived at the margins of society.
A Progressive View
Challenging the conservative framers of Islamic law who accorded a lesser status to women, Mohammad Ali Syed argues that the Quran and the Hadith—the two primary sources of Islamic law—actually place Muslim women on the same level as Muslim men. Syed provides an overview of both sources and explores their respective roles in Islamic law, emphasizing the Quran’s role as the supreme authority and questioning the authenticity of some of the alleged sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). From these texts, he elaborates women’s rights in a variety of areas, including treatment by God; marriage, divorce, financial provisions, and custody of children; coming out of seclusion (purdah), and taking part in social, economic, legal, and political activities. Rather than presenting what is practiced today, the book covers the theoretical position of Muslim women as sanctioned by the Quran and the authentic Hadith and offers a glimpse of the exalted position of honor and dignity enjoyed by Muslim women in the early days of Islam. This well-researched book is made more distinctive by the author’s personal experience. Raised in Bengal, India, Syed was inspired by his family, who valued men and women equally. As he grew up, Syed realized that most Muslim women lived very differently than the women of his family. According to the author, his family was egalitarian because his father and male relatives were not only devout Muslims but also very knowledgeable about Islam. This book is a culmination of his lifelong concern for women’s rights under Islam.