Tag Archives: Islam

“Ok, Salman, where was the Prophet (PBUH) born?”

15 Jan

While my friend S. was finishing her history dissertation at Harvard back in the day, she was hired by a Saudi family in Boston to be their developmentally challenged son’s private teacher in Arabic and Islam. So they’d meet at the family apartment in what was then the Boston Ritz (now Taj Mahal or Mandarin Oriental or something) and over the course of a few months his reading in Arabic improved greatly and he pretty much got the architecture of prayer down — for the most part. He continued to have one problem that even S. couldn’t solve. When that moment in Muslim prayer comes when men put their hands to their ears, Salman would hold them out and flap them back and forth like elephant ears. It was rough on S., because she’s Iraqi-American, politically way to what was then the left of the scale and asking her to be your kid’s faith-nanny is like leaving him with Cruella Deville for catechism.

The worst, however, he saved for an oral test, with parents and other relatives present. He made it through everything perfectly, when S. asked him the $64,000 question.

“Ok, Salman, I know you know this one. Salman, what’s the name of the city where the Prophet (PBUH) was born?”

And he closed his eyes, took a breath, threw his arms up in the air and shouted:

“N-E-W! Y-O-R-K! C-I-T-Y-Y-Y-Y!!!”

Poor kids. And poor connections they have to make between the bricolage we throw at them incessantly.

Who knows where or how often he heard “New York City” pronounced like that? So, he must’ve figured, well, this guy (PBUH) you’re all always talking to me about twenty times a day, somebody that important must have been from a city that sounded like THAT!

The assembled family all bent over themselves in laughter, which made it even harder for Salman to ever say “Mecca” ’cause it never got him the laughs that “N.Y.C!” got him, but eventually he understood issues like this aren’t παίξε γέλασε

Except for us and S.’s παρέα. Literally, for years afterwards, none of us could say “New York City” in any other way but Salman’s.

*********************************************************************************************************

Point of this post. I was going to post this cool map of he city that I’ve had sitting on my desktop forever. So I did. And thought of Salman. :) The map is cool because despite its small scale, it’s incredibly detailled! There is not a single mews, alley, driveway, missing. If anyone can find its original size please let me know.

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

“France is a symbol…”

28 Dec

See my selections of Tom Holland article: NikoBako reads: Tom Holland on secularism, France, Islam…

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

Photo: Mughal painting of Christ and the Virgin Mary

24 Dec

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

NikoBako reads: Tom Holland on secularism, France, Islam…

23 Dec

My money quotes:

Ibn Khaldun, the great medieval historian, noted with surprise that the Gospels consisted largely of sermons and stories, “and have an almost complete lack of laws”. It was this lack, in the opinion of medieval Muslim jurists, that served to condemn Christianity as an inadequate and superceded revelation. Unlike the Jews, who at least had a written law from God, Christians were forever changing their minds, devising new law codes, revising the ones they already had. How were such people possibly to be taken seriously? […]

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that Islamist radicals, when they look at the history of France, should see in it a sinister continuum. In 2015, when the Islamic State issued a statement claiming responsibility for the murderous attacks on the Bataclan and a range of other atrocities, it readily conflated the era of Louis IX with the vices of a more recent and godless materialism. Paris was condemned both as “the carrier of the Banner of the Cross in Europe”, and as “the capital of prostitution and obscenity”. […]

The Islamic State, when they identified France as the capital of everything that it most hated, were not so far wrong. Eldest Daughter of the Church and the home of revolution, the land of saints and philosophes, Catholic and laique, it is her fate — and perhaps her privilege — to serve, more than any other country, as the very embodiment of the West.

Full article below…

*********************************************************************************************************

The age-old tension between Islam and France

A profound antipathy reaches back beyond the Enlightenment

BY Tom Holland

Tom Holland is a writer, popular historian and cricketer. He is not an actor. His most recent book is Dominion

November 2, 2020

In 1798, Napoleon embarked on the first French invasion of Egypt since the era of the Crusades. He prepared for it with his customary attention to detail. Conscious that he was travelling to a predominantly Muslim land, he sought to make a careful study of Islam. Top of his reading list was, of course, the Qur’an. Raised as he had been to view the Bible as the archetype of scripture, he found it a surprising text. The character of Muhammad’s revelations, he realised, was radically different from that of the New Testament.

The Qur’an did not content itself with what Napoleon had been brought up to think of as “religion”. Its scope was much broader than that. From fiscal policy to sumptuary laws, it offered prescriptions for entire dimensions of what, in Europe, had long since come to be defined as “secular”. Napoleon, sorting out the library in his cabin, duly catalogued it, not under “Religion”, but under “Politics”.

Continue reading

Hagia Sophia: a picture is worth a thousand words

14 Dec

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

From Ahval: “Rediscovering and re-evaluating the new Turkey” by Constantinopolitan Greek analyst Hercules Millas: Erdoğan and “Christianophobia” — yes, you read right — and the “limited ingredients” we have to work with.

6 Dec

Not optimistic, my emphases:

What is new is not the negative image of the West; “Christianophobia” in the East is as old as the Ottomans and it is the flip side of “Islamophobia” of the West. These prejudices are the historical legacies of centuries-long crusades and jihads. What is sad is that the parties see only what lies in front of their eyes; they do not look at a mirror.  It is also heartbreaking that paranoia cannot be demonstrated to the obsessed. There is also a high probability that Erdoğan’s extreme anti-West rhetoric is not a tactical choice, but a sincere conviction. 

The meaning attributed to the persistently used term “international law” is probably the most indicative sign of the big changes that have taken place in Turkey as of late: it is a self-proclaimed and nationally interpreted “justice” and “our right”. In other words, this is a blatant nationalist declaration of arbitrariness with which “international” law is openly defied on a “national” basis.    

If this is the situation, i.e., if in Turkey there is a deep anti-Western conviction and a nationalist alliance, then an expectation of reinstalling Turkey of the past may prove to be a chimera. The changes that occurred in Turkey in the last few years are not some “manoeuvres on policies”; the core body of decision-making has been replaced. The old state has been toppled.

This is a new Turkey that needs to be re-discovered and re-evaluated. Limited ingredients necessitate new recipes. 

See whole article: “Rediscovering and re-evaluating the new Turkey

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

Video tour of recently restored Rüstem Paşa mosque, Istanbul

1 Dec

*********************************************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

Arabs and the classics: “Am I gonna have to put up with this preposterous idea forever?” Probably yes…

12 Nov

…unfortunately. Or at least for as long as our fear of being labelled an un-p.c. racist makes us overcompensate in the other direction in terms of how we view the history of Arabs/Islam. And for as long as our post-Christian Christianophobia makes us unable to relate to Byzantine civilization and ignore the extent to which it was the keystone civilization of western Eurasia for a millenium and a half.

Yes.

************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

The Conversation: “Iran’s secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs”

10 Sep

Don’t know anything about The Conversation or what its agenda might be in publishing this article (does anybody else know?) but, well, it’s good news.

And the photo is hot. “…σαν τα κρύα νερά.”

Article tweeted by @AlirezaNader

Iran is becoming more secular. Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA

P.S. “‘68% agreed that religious prescriptions should be excluded from legislation, even if believers hold a parliamentary majority, and 72% opposed the law mandating all women wear the hijab, the Islamic veil.'”

************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

Much more effective in the war against Covid than just a flimsy mask

30 Aug

Ultimately we have to look to the ONE and ONLY God for our salvation.

************************************************************************

Write us: with comments or observations, or to be put on our mailing list or to be taken off our mailing list, contact us at nikobakos@gmail.com.

%d bloggers like this: