by Imran H. Khan

Today is nearly the middle of Ramadan, a month of reflection and fasting for Muslims. It is also an appropriate time to reflect upon how Muslims are doing in America.  They are certainly getting more than their due share of attention in the media and in the political arena of this country.  One of the purpose of this post is to capture a snapshot of what is happening to American Muslims at this time for posterity. It is my intention to do this every year to gauge the trajectory of how this American group is doing.

While considerable progress has been made since 9/11 to educate the Americans in terms of Islam, the American public is still quite confused as to what Islam really is and Muslim practices like fasting in Ramadan.  With the upcoming mid year elections and strained economy, political leaders have found Islam and Muslims as a convenient scapegoat for furthering their chances of election. One of the positive change is that the current President understands Islam and has initiated different efforts to bring about harmony between the US and the Muslim world.

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by Imran H. Khan

It is interesting that in reading the Quran there is no mention of a number of things that are commonly intimately linked to Islam. There is no mention of Sharia, Caliphate, Imam or for that matter any preference of forms of governance. The core message seems to be individual responsibility for his or her actions.  Since there is no Imam or organized religion within Islam, it is difficult to talk about separation of State and Religion.  The basic message is of compassion and morals, with legislation occupying a secondary place. Of the Quran’s 6,000 verses, fewer than 700 deal with legislation and only 200 of these are directly concerned with regulation of social matters.

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by Fakhr Alam

To all you Pakistanis all over the world, our country is unquestionably faced with the worst crisis of all times. I cannot express the grief and the sorrow that I am witnessing. I want you all to understand that this is worst then the 2005 earthquake.  Do not use the death toll to quantify the scale of the disaster. Believe me the misery and the pain is much much more. The aftermath of the floods will be far more devastating then the floods themselves. Today official figures claim 20 million displaced affected people, but this figure can take a severe climb. As I write this secondary flood warnings are flashing on all local news channels.

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by M. Salahuddin Khan

Weeks of wrangling and public media controversy have seen every manner of argument tried and discarded in favor of the next, in order to secure a legal blockage of the proposed Cordoba Initiative mosque project in lower Manhattan, just 2 blocks from Ground Zero.

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by Imran H.Khan

The Almighty in Quran set up trajectories of social transformation and not absolute law. This was the balance to make the social change realizable in a society suffering from so many social evils and to make it a source of guidance for all times to come. One of the great misunderstandings over the Muslim history has been the inability to understand this basic fact. I will try to explain this in the context of slavery and woman’s rights.

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by Imran H. Khan

One of the distinct sense that I got in reading Quran was that God is not owned by any one religious group. Instead He relishes belonging to all different groupings.

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. Quran 49:13

Then He goes further on to state that He sends a messenger to all nations and therefore will not judge any nation without having given them adequate warning.

Surely We have sent thee with the truth good tidings to bear, and warning; not a nation there is, but there has passed away in it a warner“. Quran 35:24

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by Imran H. Khan

Water was not what I had in mind this early in my read of Quran, but with so much going on related to it, I decided to discuss it earlier than later. Water as we know it is the source of life. When NASA sends its probes to different heavenly bodies, one of the key pieces of information is the presence of water. Indeed one of the key recent discoveries recently have been the presence of water on the poles of the Moon and the possibility of it on Mars. So it is not surprising to find multiple references to water in different contexts in Quran.

“We have made every living thing out of water.” (Sura 21 The Prophets, ayat 30).

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by John Briscoe

Anyone foolish enough to write on war or peace in the Indus needs to first banish a set of immediate suspicions. I am neither Indian nor Pakistani. I am a South African who has worked on water issues in the subcontinent for 35 years and who has lived in Bangladesh (in the 1970s) and Delhi (in the 2000s). In 2006 I published, with fine Indian colleagues, an Oxford University Press book titled India’s Water Economy: Facing a Turbulent Future and, with fine Pakistani colleagues, one titled Pakistan’s Water Economy: Running Dry.

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by Imran H. Khan

Before I try to approach the Quran from a rational perspective, it is worthwhile considering if God in the Quran wanted us to approach it this way. Religions in general are a belief systems in which metaphysical and other worldly issues are expounded upon.  Or is it that God wanted it us to take a dogmatic approach in which reason has little to no play. I could not have found a greater emphasis on understanding than the strong words of the following suras.

“Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are the deaf and dumb who do not use reason..” [8:22]

“We have made it a Quran in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand (and learn wisdom)” [43:3]

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by Imran H. Khan

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim “In the name of God, most Gracious, most Compassionate”

Today is the first day of the Islamic month of Ramadan. It is the ninth month of the lunar based Islamic calendar and has a special place, as it is in this month the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad PBUH (Peace Be Upon Him). It is also the month when all Muslims fast from dawn to sun set.  Ramadan is a time of reflection, practice of greater self-discipline, self-control,  sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate; thus encouraging actions of generosity and charity.  I have for many years taken time to read the meaning of the Quran in order to understand what God was trying to convey. To my surprise I uncover new meanings every time I read it. One year I decided to approach the Quran as an engineer, and to make things more interesting, as a non Muslim. So this year I am going to write, what I understood as a non believing engineer, about the  Quran for both Muslims and non Muslims; Believers and Non-Believers. Since this blog is also about human affairs, there could be nothing more relevant than covering this month, as 1.4 billion humans will be fasting during the long days of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

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