Searches for Noah's Ark have been made from at least the time of Eusebius (c. 275–339 CE), and believers in the Ark continue to search for it in modern times, but no confirmable physical proof of the Ark has ever been found. No scientific evidence has been found that Noah's Ark existed as it is described in the Bible. More significantly, there is also no evidence of a global flood, and most scientists agree that such a ship and natural disaster would both be impossible. Some researchers believe that a real (though localized) flood event in the Middle East could potentially have inspired the oral and later written narratives; a Persian Gulf flood, or a Black Sea Deluge 7,500 years ago has been proposed as such a historical candidate. (Full article...)
Malcolm spent his adolescence living in a series of foster homes or with relatives after his father's death and his mother's hospitalization. He engaged in several illicit activities, eventually being sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1946 for larceny and breaking and entering. In prison he joined the Nation of Islam (adopting the name MalcolmX to symbolize his unknown African ancestral surname while discarding "the white slavemaster name of 'Little'"), and after his parole in 1952 quickly became one of the organization's most influential leaders. He was the public face of the organization for a dozen years, advocating for Black empowerment and separation of Black and white Americans, and criticizing Martin Luther King Jr. and the mainstream civil rights movement for its emphasis on nonviolence and racial integration. Malcolm X also expressed pride in some of the Nation's social welfare achievements, such as its free drug rehabilitation program. Throughout his life, beginning in the 1950s, Malcolm X endured surveillance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (Full article...)
The Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe. After crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. The main Western Christian source, Odo of Deuil, and Syriac Christian sources claim that the Byzantine EmperorManuel I Komnenos secretly hindered the crusaders' progress, particularly in Anatolia, where he is alleged to have deliberately ordered Turks to attack them. However, this alleged sabotage of the Crusade by the Byzantines was likely fabricated by Odo, who saw the Empire as an obstacle, and moreover Emperor Manuel had no political reason to do so. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and participated in 1148 in an ill-advised attack on Damascus, which ended in their retreat. In the end, the crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately have a key influence on the fall of Jerusalem and give rise to the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century. (Full article...)
The Oran fatwa was a responsumfatwa, or an Islamic legal opinion, issued in 1504 to address the crisis that occurred when Muslims in the Crown of Castile (in Spain) were forced to convert to Christianity in 1500–1502. The fatwa sets out detailed relaxations of the sharia (Islamic law) requirements, allowing the Muslims to conform outwardly to Christianity and perform acts that are ordinarily forbidden in Islamic law, when necessary to survive. It includes relaxed instructions for fulfilling the ritual prayers, the ritual charity, and the ritual ablution, and recommendations when obliged to violate Islamic law, such as worshipping as Christians, committing blasphemy, and consuming pork and wine.
The fatwa enjoyed wide currency among Muslims and Moriscos (Muslims nominally converted to Christianity and their descendants) in Spain, and one of the surviving aljamiado translations was dated at 1564, 60years after the original fatwa. The fatwa has been described as the "key theological document" to understand the practice of Spanish Muslims following the Reconquista up to the expulsion of the Moriscos. The author of the fatwa (mufti) was Ahmad ibn Abi Jum'ah, a North African scholar of Islamic law of the Maliki school. The fatwa was termed the "Oran fatwa" by modern scholars, due to the word "Al-Wahrani" ("of Oran") that appears in the text as part of the author's name. (Full article...)
In the 1980s he started a bottom-up community development initiative of Orangi Pilot Project, based in the outskirts of Karachi, which became a model of participatory development initiatives. He also directed many programmes, from microcredit to self-finance and from housing provision to family planning, for rural communities and urban slums. It earned him international recognition and high honours in Pakistan. Khan was fluent in at least seven languages and dialects. Apart from many scholarly books and articles, he also published a collection of poems and travelogues in Urdu. (Full article...)
Fakih Usman (Alternatively spelled as Faqih Usman; [faˈkɪh ʊsˈman]; 2 March 1904 – 3 October 1968) was an Indonesian Islamic leader and politician of the Masyumi Party. He twice served as the Minister of Religious Affairs under the cabinets of Abdul Halim and Wilopo from January until September of 1950, and again from 1952 until 1953. In his early years, Fakih was criticized by conservative Muslims for his involvement with the modernist Islamic Muhammadiyah organization, though he is remembered fondly by the group. Born to a merchant and his wife in Gresik, Dutch East Indies, Fakih studied with his father and at a series of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) until the 1920s.
In 1925 he became involved with the Muhammadiyah, rising quickly through the leadership until he became the head of the Surabaya branch in 1938. He was also active in local politics, in 1937, he became the treasurer of the Indonesian Islamic Assembly. He continued to be involved in politics and Islamic groups during the Japanese occupation and the ensuing national revolution. Following the end of war, he was appointed Minister of Religious Affairs. As minister, he oversaw educational and institutional reform, growing in prominence within the Muhammadiyah. He also served as deputy chairman of the organization under several different leaders before being chosen as its chairman in late 1968. He died several days later. (Full article...)
The first mosques were simple places of prayer for Muslims, and may have been open spaces rather than buildings. In the first stage of Islamic architecture, 650-750 CE, early mosques comprised open and closed covered spaces enclosed by walls, often with minarets from which calls to prayer were issued. Mosque buildings typically contain an ornamental niche (mihrab) set into the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca (qiblah), ablution facilities. The pulpit (minbar), from which the Friday (jumu'ah) sermon (khutba) is delivered, was in earlier times characteristic of the central city mosque, but has since become common in smaller mosques. Mosques typically have segregated spaces for men and women. This basic pattern of organization has assumed different forms depending on the region, period and denomination. (Full article...)
Image 1A Bedouin woman in Jerusalem, sometime between 1898 and 1914, dressed in Palestinian costume, the traditional clothing worn by Palestinians. Many of the handcrafted garments were richly embroidered and the creation and maintenance of these items played a significant role in the lives of the region's women. Until the 1940s, traditional Palestinian costumes reflected a woman's economic status, whether married or single, and the town or district of origin, and a knowledgeable observer could glean such information from the fabric, colors, cut, and embroidery motifs (or lack thereof) in a given woman's apparel.
Image 9A young woman from Ramallah, c. 1898-1914. Until the 1940s, women of Palestine wore elaborate handcrafted garments. The creation and maintenance of these items played a significant role in their lives. A knowledgeable observer could determine a woman's village of origin and social status from her clothing. The circular band near this woman's forehead is a ring of coins made from a portion of her dowry money, and indicates that she is unmarried.
Image 10The Sixty Dome Mosque is a medieval mosque located in Bagerhat, Bangladesh, built by Muslim saint Khan Jahan Ali in mid 15th century. This unique masonry mosque with 81 domes (including 4 corner domes) is a UNESCO world heritage site.