Podcast

Can We Come To Love Ritual Again?

In today’s world where efficiency and competitiveness create a culture of racing to the bottom, there’s a temptation to view everything in our lives through the lens of performance. As Elisha and Stefanie Goldstein write,

“Your practice isn’t a performance. Judgment about whether a meditation session was ’good’ or ‘bad,’ or whether mindfulness is ‘working’ or not, isn’t helpful. In fact, this performance-based mindset misses the point entirely. If there is a goal to any of the practices it’s simply to learn. Bringing a learning mindset to this practice is the fastest route to growth and mastery”1.

Similarly, the prayer (or du’a, or dhikr) is not performance. That is not to say that the how-to of it is inconsequential (number of raka’at, the order in which things are said, the times in which they may be performed, etc.). This is where Islam departs from mindfulness, or any other philosophy, in that the how-to does matter but it still should not be mistaken for being all about a particular emotional experience (such as happiness, for example) or that if the salah is executed properly that this will guarantee us safety, protection, or our heart’s desire.

1. Goldstein, Elisha. “An Invitation To Mindfulness”. Mindful, 21 July 2017, pp. 2-3.

Podcast

The Sherman Jackson Reader – On Belief and Rationality For Muslims in the West

In this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, we share some more insights into our Saturday class, The Sherman Jackson Reader, this time discussing such topics as belief, non-belief, and the hegemony of western constructs such as rationalism, and what are its consequences for Muslims and what our potential reactions might be. Full length clip at the bottom.

Excerpts

On Sensationalism, ISIS and Liberalism


[Direct download]

Revelation and Talking About Revelation


[Direct download]

On Prophetic Authority


[Direct download]

Belief vs. Religion

ما تَعبُدونَ مِن دونِهِ إِلّا أَسماءً سَمَّيتُموها أَنتُم وَآباؤُكُم ما أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِها مِن سُلطانٍ ۚ إِنِ الحُكمُ إِلّا لِلَّهِ ۚ أَمَرَ أَلّا تَعبُدوا إِلّا إِيّاهُ ۚ ذٰلِكَ الدّينُ القَيِّمُ وَلٰكِنَّ أَكثَرَ النّاسِ لا يَعلَمونَ

“If you don’t serve Him, then you’re serving nothing more than names that you and your ancestors made up, and God gave no one permission to do that. The right to command is for none save God, and He has commanded that you serve nothing besides Him. That’s the straight way of life, but most people don’t understand.” — Qur’an, 12: 40


[Direct download]

On Being A Good Person and Being A Non-Muslim


[Direct download]

On Modern Understandings of Religion


[Direct download]

On the Hegemony of Western Norms: Wudu, Rationalism, and the Significance of Ritual


[Direct download]

For other khutbahs and podcasts, see the Middle Ground Podcast.

Notes

Kahn, Jonathan S., and Lloyd, Vincent W. Race And Secularism In America. New York, Columbia University Press, 2016.

Cavanaugh, William T. The Myth Of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict . Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Podcast

The Sherman Jackson Reader: Literalism Part 5

We continue with The Sherman Jackson Reader, a class taught on Saturdays by Imam Marc Manley at Middle Ground after Fajr prayer.

“I think that there’s this fine line between accepting that there are standards, but standards don’t come at the price of erasing human experience” — Imam Marc Manley

Link to the article here.

Podcast

The Sherman Jackson Reader: Literalism Part 4

The following are a few notes to the audio lecture, The Sherman Jackson Reader: Literalism Part 4. The Sherman Jackson Reader is a class Imam Marc teaches every Saturday morning after Fajr prayer at Middle Ground.

On the topic of juristic induction and textual empiricism:

The way that Islam has typically been taught is if there’s a hadith, or a textual source, it is the solution to everything, and I must continue to bang my head against the wall until I can make it (the textual source) do what I want it to do.

We tend to look at textual sources as the solution to a problem versus a solution to the problem.

Link to the article here.

Podcast

The Sherman Jackson Reader: Literalism Part 3

We continue in this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, discussing our new class (Saturday mornings after Fajr!), The Sherman Jackson Reader.

You may download the PDF here.

[Direct download]

Podcast

The Sherman Jackson Reader – Literalism Part 2

We continue in this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, discussing our new class (Saturday mornings after Fajr!), The Sherman Jackson Reader.

You may download the PDF here.

[Direct download]

Podcast

The Sherman Jackson Reader – Literalism Part 1

In this episode of the Middle Ground Podcast, I discuss our new class (Saturday mornings after Fajr!), The Sherman Jackson Reader.

You may download the PDF here.

[Direct download]

Blog

Establishing Deep Roots

In a phone conversation today with Dr. Sherman Jackson we exchanged thoughts on Andalus (Muslim Spain) and that despite its architectural beauty, it was unable to firmly establish roots such that, when the tide of adversity came at them, they were washed away. This is in comparison to the Muslims in the former Soviet Republic, who also faced tremendous brutality, but once that tide washed back out, the Muslims came back and their identity was still intact. Reposted here from the article originally entitled, Muslim-Americans and the Need to Establish Deep Roots.

Muslim-Americans and deep roots (part I):

A video posted by Marc Manley (@sonofpierre) on

Muslim-Americans and deep roots (part II): A video posted by Marc Manley (@sonofpierre) on

Muslim-Americans and deep roots (part III):

A video posted by Marc Manley (@sonofpierre) on

Muslim-Americans and deep roots (part IV): A video posted by Marc Manley (@sonofpierre) on

Muslim-Americans and deep roots (part V):

A video posted by Marc Manley (@sonofpierre) on

Muslim-Americans and deep roots (part VI): A video posted by Marc Manley (@sonofpierre) on

Muslim-Americans and deep roots (part VII):

A video posted by Marc Manley (@sonofpierre) on

Food for thought.