Maryam Jameelah, the American-Jewish convert to Islam and prolific writer on the religion and its community spoke recently with Biju Abdul Qadir of Young Muslim Digest. Covering a wide range of issues from her conversion to Islam, her leaving her American homeland for life in an Asian country, to her interest in the works of other European converts to Islam, the US War on Terror, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, this interview reveals interesting aspects of the thinking of this Muslim intellectual who despite her 71 years still remains active and alive to the developments in the MuslimUmmah.
YMD: We have always known about your conversion through contacts with Mawlana Mawdudi, but nothing about how in the first instance you got interested in Islam. Would you like to throw some light on your initial days of interest in Islam?
MJ: Like Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss), I first became interested in Islam by a fascination with everything Arab. I read all the books about Arabs I could find and loved to listen to recordings by Umm Kalsoum. Then, as now, most of these books were by Orientalists or missionaries and presented a very negative view which I knew was unjustified. Only years later, I acquired knowledge about Qur’an Majeed through Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall’s translation which inspired me with the desire to convert to Islam.
YMD: You have settled in Pakistan since 1962. How different has been the experience in this shift of cultures, indeed, of ideologies, as in your case? Of course, your expectations of Muslim culture would have been quite high, and there must have been some disappointments especially in the beginning. Was it a lack of alternatives or, satisfaction with what you found in Pakistan or merely familial bindings that led you to remain in Pakistan, perhaps never traveling out once?
MJ: I settled in Pakistan at the invitation of Maulana Maudoodi with whom I had been corresponding for two years. He not only gave me emotional support as a new convert but also a permanent home in Pakistan, and helped me find a good husband. I have been on such good terms with his family. I never wanted to go anywhere else, convinced there was nothing for me in America. My first impression of Pakistan was that it was a very good Muslim country. Disillusions with its numerous shortcomings only came later.
YMD: Have you performed Hajj and what has been your impression. Do you travel for‘Umrah and if you do, do you find changes in Arab adherence to Islam in the two holyHarams?
MJ: I talk with everyone I know who has returned from Hajj and read everything about it that I can. I deeply regret that the expansion of the Haram and the Masjid-an-Nabi could only be accomplished by the massive destruction of nearly all the Ottoman structures of the Holy Cities including numerous historic places associated with the Holy Prophet. Everything has been modernized/ westernized including much inappropriate technology. However, the comforts and physical accommodations have been vastly improved. Despite all this, returnees who have returned to tell me their experiences insist that the Hajj was the greatest spiritual experience of their lives.
YMD: You have known the late Mawlana Mawdudi well in your close association with him. How relevant are his ideas for the future of the Muslim community today? How do you view the policies and practices of the Jamat-e-Islami in Pakistan today? How has its policies changed since the time that it was first launched in 1941?
MJ: At the beginning in 1941 Maulana Maudoodi was concerned with cultural matters in Islam’s relation with the West. Now everything is politics. Placing politics at the centre of the Islamic mission is contrary to the traditions of Islam. However, Jamat-e-Islami deserves all the credit for restraining the worst excesses of secular military dictatorships.
YMD: It has been said that the logic of your discursive approach has recently led you away from current forms of Islamic revivalism and even from the Jamat-e-Islami itself. It has also been said that increasingly aware of revivalism’s own borrowing from the West, you have distanced yourself from the revivalist exegesis and have even criticized your mentor, Mawlana Mawdudi, for his assimilation of modern concepts into Jamat-e-Islami’s ideology. How much do you agree with this?
MJ: I became disillusioned about the Maulana’s disdain for the necessity for beauty in the lives of his followers, of traditional Islamic philosophy and Islamic art and his whole-hearted acceptance of industrialism, technology and evolutionism. But now I am less critical. Maulana Maudoodi, Sheikh Hasan al Banna and Syed Qutb devoted their entire lives to the Islamic cause and sacrificed all their time, energy and resources and even their lives towards that end. They strictly abided by Shariatall their lives and inspired many others to do so.
YMD: You once said that you were totally in disagreement with what Allama Iqbal wrote in his ‘Reconstruction of religious thought in Islam.’ Can you please explain the basis of this disagreement?
MJ: In his ‘Reconstruction of religious thought in Islam’ Allama Iqbal attempted a most unconvincing reconciliation with certain 19th century western philosophies. The entire book is based on evolutionism and progressionism. It will remain one of the most well known classics of Islamic modernism.
YMD: You have known the late Muhammad Asad through his writings and perhaps also in his capacities in the foreign ministry of Pakistan. Were his works like ‘The Road to Makkah’ and ‘Islam at the Crossroads’ instrumental in your own conversion to Islam? Did you ever perceive a certain evolution in his thought: an evolution to which you couldn’t reconcile yourself in later years? If so, can you please explain where you differed from his viewpoints? What is your opinion about his Commentary (on the Qur’an)? Would you recommend its inclusion in Islamic studies, either private or institutionalized?
MJ: Muhammad Asad’s ‘The Road to Mecca’ inspired my desire to live in a Muslim country and ‘Islam at the crossroads’ determined my entire literary career. However, his ‘Message of the Qur’an’ is almost entirely based on ‘The Manar’ by Shaikh Muhammad Abduh. It is filled with modernism and naturalism. Muhammad Asad was a great admirer of Shaikh Muhammad Abduh and was much influenced by him.
YMD: Alija Ali Izzetbegovich, the former President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, has been one of the most unsung Muslim intellectuals in modern European history. What has been your own assessment of his life and works? How would you rate his work, ‘Islam between East and West’?
MJ: Having only read a brief biography and obituaries and not ‘Islam between East and West,’ (I may say that) Alija Ali Izzetbegovich is renowned as the most distinguished Bosnian Muslim statesman.
YMD: Writing in as far back as 1969, you had stated that the Muslim Ulema (with honourable exceptions) ‘had become like the Pharisees against whom Jesus Christ devoted his entire mission. In their extremes of verbal hair splitting, some of our Ulema have outdone the Talmud and put the Rabbis to shame.’ How much has the situation progressed for the better today, some thirty-five years later?
MJ: Although certain Ulema have shortcomings the righteous amongst them uphold the Shariat, combat bid’ah or innovations and can be regarded as the indispensable pillar of traditional Islamic civilization.
YMD: Do you see a marked difference in approach on the part of the Orientalists in view of the spread of Islamic knowledge, and in view of questions of their intellectual integrity raised now and then, especially by Norman Daniel?
MJ: Even the most ‘sympathetic’ Orientalists think Islam should change in conformity to the demands of modern life; some of them even propose that Qur’an and Hadith be subjected to ‘Higher Criticism’ like Biblical studies, (and that) a search (be made) among modernists for one who could play the part of a Muslim Martin Luther and ‘updating’ Islam like Vatican II.
YMD: Some years back when Frithjof Schuon was criticized in the Impact for his Sufi practices, you had reacted strongly. Do you agree with the ideas presented by him, and the practices he tried to promote?
MJ: I was utterly shocked by the article in Impact condemning Frithjof Schuon and considered it (and still do) the worst character assassination. When dissatisfied with revivalist books, I was at first greatly impressed with Schuon’s writings. The writings of his school were alone in emphasizing the necessity of beauty and Islamic art, strongly condemned industrialism and modern science and upheld traditional orthodox Islamic civilization in every aspect of a Muslim’s life. Schuon’s writings remained my favourite books until I met with his divorced third wife. We became best friends and she related all her experiences in her 30-year life with Schuon. So Impact’s article turned out to be true after all. My new found friend disclosed even more shocking facts about Schuon which utterly disqualified him as a spiritual guide. She disclosed that Schuon lived with three women without proper Nikah. He loved nudity and was accused in court of sexual child abuse. He hugged dozens of beautiful, bare-breasted young girls clad in only a transparent loin-cloth. He painted fifty pictures of his youngest wife in the nude. As entertainment, he and his followers danced native Indian dances. Outside Schuon’s house was a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary. Worst of all, he forbade his followers to befriend other Muslims. I still have all Schuon’s books; they still attract me but I cannot look at them without a profound sense of shame.
YMD: What, in general, is your assessment of the neo-apologists and propagators of Sufi ideas such as Schuon, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Martin Lings, or others of this class? Do you think that, in effect, they offer pantheism rather than impress about Islam’s unique ideas and strict tawhid perspectives?
MJ: Like Schuon, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Martin Lings are my favourite writers. More profound criticism of Western philosophy, science and technology is not found among any of the revivalist writers. Martin Lings Seerat is by far the best in English – based entirely on Qur’an and Hadith.
YMD: How do you rate Rene Guenon’s writings? Do you think his obsession with the cyclic explanation, did away with whatever good criticism he made against the Western culture, and contributed nothing, despite his long stay in Egypt, to the projection of Islam as primarily rational?
MJ: No modern writer attacked modern civilization and all it stands for more than Rene Guenon. Next to him the revivalist figures appear childish. His all-out attack on evolutionism and progressionism is decisive and irrefutable. He proved the cyclic and disproved progress. No sensitive, intelligent mind can study Rene Geunon’s ‘Crisis of the Modern World’ and ‘Reign of Quantity and Signs of the Times’ without being changed forever.
YMD: How would you explain the exclusion of many powerful Muslim personalities of not only our own times, but even of the first half of the last century from the ‘Encyclopedia of Islam’ produced at Braille, when you find entries on other less influential men of the past?
MJ: The ‘Encyclopaedia of Islam’ is entirely an Orientalist work. The exclusion of these powerful Muslim personalities of the past and present serves their own nefarious purposes of keeping serious scholars ignorant about them.
YMD: In your opinion, how effective is the present educational system in the Muslim world? Will a piecemeal attempt at making conventional western-style education conform to Islamic requirements suffice in effecting a lasting transformation amongst the Muslim youth today? Or will a wholesale shift in paradigm be necessary before a new edifice of education is built on premises that are strictly in keeping with the founding principles of the Islamic worldview?
MJ: The present educational system in Muslim countries results in imitation of Westerners. It destroys faith in Islam and the Islamic way of life. Maulana Maudoodi was most concerned about this when in 1939 he wrote Talimat and Tanqihat. Despite all their defects, I am most opposed to the secularization or closing down of the Deeni Madaris – all that is left of traditional Islamic education for the young today.
YMD: While the Jews have always disowned the ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’ever since it was first discovered in the early years of the twentieth century, there is a widespread belief that the ‘Protocols’ form the blueprint for Jewish world domination. What is your own view on the ‘Protocols’ and the Zionist movement in general?
MJ: Nobody knows if the ‘Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’ is authentic or not (?). If so, it was probably written by Theodore Herzl at the first Zionist Convention in Basle, Switzerland in 1897. Literary similarities between the ‘Protocols’ and ‘The Jewish State’ (1896) are striking. Racial anti-semitism produced by the ‘Protocols’ which fail to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism is a Western import into the Muslim world previously unknown. Orthodox Judaism and Zionism conflict and are irreconcilable.
YMD: The WTC attacks of September 11, 2001, have had a profound impact on the prospects for Islamic revival in the 21st century. How historic do you think is this development? What has been your assessment of global developments with regard to Islam and the Muslim world in the four years since the event? Do you perceive an attempt at neo-colonization of the energy-rich Muslim lands by the Western Powers led by the US as sufficient justification for those Muslims who have picked up the gauntlet and have responded in kind to the oppression that has become the staple fare of innocent Muslims in several parts of the globe?
MJ: The USA under President Bush is engaged in an all-out war on Islam: the same colonialism and imperialism as the British and French a century ago. But insurgency and suicide bombers are no effective response. Shocking disregard for human life, especially women, children and the elderly – all innocent non-combatants cannot qualify the struggle as Jihad. Jihad must be waged according to Shariat.
YMD: Your views on the future of the Muslim people and the prospects for the Islamic faith in the 21st century? Do you see a vision of hope which bases itself on the inherent strengths – howsoever negligible – of the Muslim Ummah today, as against one which has for its premises the myriad weaknesses of the community?
MJ: As despair and hopelessness are forbidden in Islam, I view the future with great caution. The destruction of most of the outward signs of traditional environment and atmosphere in Islam, particularly architecture and Islamic dress for males as well as females is a catastrophic loss.Taqwa will remain in the next century although it will grow less and less and harder and harder to find. Many signs of the Last Days predicted by Hadith are now present. When asked what to do at the approach of the Last Days, the Holy Prophet replied: ‘Separate yourself from the evil ones, concentrate on your own affairs and cling to the roots of the tree (of Islam) until death overtakes you in that state…’
Why I embraced Islam
MARYUM JAMEELAH (formerly Margret Marcus)
I trace the beginning of my interest in Islam when as a child of ten , while attending a reformed Jewish “Sunday School” , I became fascinated with the historical relationship between the Jews an the Arabs. From my Jewish textbooks, I learned that Abraham was the father of the Arabs as well as the Jews. I read how centuries later when in medieval Europe, Christian persecution made their lives intolerable, the Jews were welcomed in Muslim Spain and that it was the magnanimity if this same Arabic-Islamic civilization which stimulated Hebrew culture to reach its highest peak of achievement. Totally unaware of the true nature of Zionism, i naively thought that Jews were returning to Palestine to strengthen their close ties of kinship in religion and culture with their Semitic cousins. Together i believed that the Jews and Arabs would cooperate to attain another Golden Age of culture in the Middle East.
Despite my fascination with the study of Jewish history, I was extremely unhappy at the “Sunday School”. At this time i identified strongly with the Jewish people in Europe, then suffering a horrible fate under the Nazis and I was shocked that none of my class-fellows nor their parents took their religion seriously. During the services at the synagogue, the children used to read comic strips hidden in their prayer books and laugh to scorn at the rituals. The children were so noisy and disorderly that the teachers couldn’t discipline them and found it very difficult to conduct the classes. At home the atmosphere for religious observance was scarcely more congenial. My elder sister detested the “Sunday School” so much that my mother literally had to drag her out of bed in the mornings and she never went without the struggle of tears and hot words. Finally my parents were exhausted and let her quit. On the Jewish holy days instead of attending Synagogues and fasting on Yum Kipper, my sister and i were taken out of school to picnics and gay parties in fine restaurants. When my sister and i were convinced our parents how miserable we were both at the Sunday School they joined agnostic, humanist organization known as the ETHICAL CULTURE MOVEMENT.
The Ethical Culture Movement was founded late in the 19th century by Felix Adler. While studying for the rabbinate, Felix Adler grew convinced that devotion to ethical values as relative and man-made, regarding and supernaturalism or theology as irrelevant, constituted the only religion fit for the modern world. I attended the Ethical Culture “Sunday School” each week from the age of eleven until i graduated at fifteen. Here i grew into complete accord with the ideas of the movement ad regarded all traditional, organized religions with scorn.
Throughout my adolescence i remained under the influence of humanistic philosophy until, after i began to mature intellectually and atheism no longer satisfied me, I began a renewed search for my identity. For a time i joined a bahai group in New York called the “The caravan of East and West” under the leadership of a persian by the name of Mirza Ahmed Sohrab (D.1958) who told me that he had been the secretary of Abdul Baha, one of the founders of the Bahai. Initially i was attracted to the Bahai because of its Islamic origin and its preaching about the oneness of the mankind, but when I discovered how miserably they had failed to implement this ideal, I left them a year later bitterly disillusioned. When i was eighteen years old, I became a member of the local branch of the religious Zionist youth movement known as the Mizrachi Hatzair, but when i found out what the real nature of Zionism was, which made hostility between Jews and Arabs irreconcilable, I left several months later in disgust. When I was twenty and a student in New York University , one of my elective courses was “Judaism in Islam”. My professor, Rabbi Abraham Issac Katsh, the head of the Department of Hebrew Studies there, he spared no efforts to convince his students — all Jews many of whom aspired to become Rabbis– that Islam was derived from Judaism. Our textbook, written by him * took each verse from the Quran , painstakingly tracing it to its alleged Jewish source. Although his real aim was to prove to his students the superiority of Judaism over Islam, he convinced me diametrically the opposite. I was repelled by the sub-ordination of the Hereafter, so vividly ported in the Holy Quran, to the alleged divine right of the Jews to Palestine. The Jewish God in the Old Testament and in the Jewish prayer book appeared to me distorted and degraded into some kind of real estate agent ! The fusion of Parochial nationalism with religion, I thought had spiritually impoverished Judaism beyond redemption. The rigid exclusiveness of Judaism I felt had a great deal of connection with the persecutions the Jews have suffered throughout their history. I reflected that perhaps these tragedies wouldn’t have happened if the jews had competed vigorously with other faiths for converts. I soon discovered that Zionism was merely a combination of the racist, tribalistic Judaism with modern secular nationalism. Zionism was further discredited in my eyes when i learnt that few if any of the leaders of the Zionism were observant Jews and that perhaps nowhere is orthodox, traditional Judaism regarded with such intense contempt as in Israel. When i found nearly all important Jewish leaders in America uncritical supporters of Zionism who felt not the slightest twinge of conscience because of the terrible injustice inflicted on the Palestinian Arabs, i could no longer consider myself a Jew at heart.
One morning in November 1954, Professor Katsh during his lecture, argued with irrefutable logic that the monotheism taught my Moses (PBUH) and the Divine laws related to him at Sinai were indispensable as the basis for all higher ethical values.If morals were purely man-made as the Ethical Culture and other agnostic and atheistic philosophies taught then they could be changed at will according to mere whim, convenience or circumstance. The result would be utter chaos leading to individual and collective ruin. Belief in the Hereafter as the Rabbis in the Talmud taught, argued Prof. Katsh. was not mere wishful thinking but a moral necessity. Only those he said who firmly believed that each of us will be summoned by God on judgment Day to render a complete account of our life and rewarded or punished accordingly, will possess the self-discipline to sacrifice transitory pleasures and endure hardships and sacrifice to attain lasting good. While Prof. Katsh was lecturing thus, i was comparing in my mind what i had read in the Old Testament and the Talmud with what was taught in the Quran and Hadith and finding Judaism so defective , I was converted to Islam.
Although i wanted to become a Muslim as far back as in 1954, my family managed to argue me out of it. I was warned that Islam would complicate my life because it is not like Judaism and Christianity, part of the American scene. I was told that Islam would alienate me from my family and isolate me from the community. At that time my faith wasn’t sufficiently strong to withstand these pressures. Partly as the result of my inner turmoil, I became so ill that i had to discontinue college long before it was any time for me to graduate so that i never earned any diploma. For the next two years i remained at home under private medical care, steadily growing worse. in desperation from 1957-1959, my parents confined me both to private and public hospitals where i vowed that if i ever recovered sufficiently to be discharged i would embrace Islam.
After i was allowed to return home, I investigated all the opportunities to meet Muslims in New York City and it was my good fortune to make the acquaintance of some of the finest men and women anyone could ever hope to meet. I also began to write articles for Muslim magazines and carry on an extensive correspondence with Muslim leaders all over the world. I corresponded with the late Sheikh Abrahimi, the leader of the ulema in Algeria, Dr, Muhammad El-Bahay of Al-Azhar, Dr. Mahmud F Hoballah , then the director of the Islamic center in Washington D.C., Dr. Hameedullah of Paris, Dr. Said Ramadan, the director of the islamic center of Geneva, and Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maudoodi.
Even before i formally embraced Islam, i found the integrity of the faith in the contemporary world greatly threatened by the so-called modernist movement which aimed at adulterating its teachings with man-made philosophies and reforms. I was convinced that had these modernizes had their way , nothing of the original would be left ! As a child I had witnessed with my own eyes in my own family how the liberals had mutilated what had once been a Divinely revealed faith. Having been born a Jew and reared in a Jewish family ,i had seen how futile was the attempt to reconcile religion with atheistic environment. “Reformed Judaism” not only failed to check the cultural assimilation of the Jews i knew but actively encouraged the process. As a result they had become Jews by label only. None had any religion worthy of the name. Throughout my childhood, the intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy and superficiality of “reformed” Judaism was a vivid experience. Even at that early age i knew that such a watered down, half-hearted compromise could never hope to retain the loyalty of its members, much less their children. How dismayed i was when i found among the muslims, the same threat! How shocked i was when i found certain scholars and some political leaders within the Muslim community guilty of the identical sins for which the God in our Holy Quran has vehemently denounced the Jews! Convinced that God wouldn’t spare us from calamity and doom us to the same fate the Jews have suffered unless we sincerely repented and changed our ways, I vowed that i would devote all my literary struggle to combating this menace from within before it was too late.
Thus in his first letter to me of January 1961, Maulana Maudoodi wrote:
“While i was scanning your essays. I felt as if i were reading my very own ideas. i hope your feeling will be the same when you have the opportunity to learn Urdu and study my books. And that despite the fact there has been no previous acquaintance between you and me, this mutual sympathy and unanimity in thought has resulted directly from the fact that both of us have derived our inspiration from one and the same source– Islam ”
Source: Quoted from her book “Islam and Modernism”
Maryam Jameelah (May 23, 1934 – October 31, 2012) was an author of over thirty books on Islamic culture and history and a prominent female voice for conservative and fundamentalist Islam, known for her disparaging writings on the west. Born Margret Marcus in New York to a non-observant Jewish family, she explored Judaism and other faiths during her teens before converting to Islam in 1961 and emigrating to Pakistan. She was married to and had five children with Muhammad Yusuf Khan, a leader in the Jamaat-e-Islami political party, and resided in the city of Lahore.
Jameelah was born Margret Marcus in New Rochelle, New York, to parents of German Jewish descent, and spent her early years in Westchester. As a child, Marcus was psychologically and socially ill at ease with her surroundings, and her mother described her as bright, exceptionally bright, but also “very nervous, sensitive, high-strung, and demanding”. Even while in school she was attracted to Asian and particularly Arab culture and history, and counter to the support for Israel among people around her, she generally sympathised with the plight of Arabs and Palestinians. Another source describes her interests as zigzagging from Holocaust photographs, to “Palestinian suffering, then a Zionist youth group and, ultimately, Islam.”
She entered the University of Rochester after high-school, but had to withdraw before classes began because of psychiatric problems. In Spring, 1953, she entered New York University. There she explored Reform Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Ethical Culture and the Bahá’í Faith, but found them unsatisfactory, especially in their support for Zionism. In the summer of 1953, she suffered another nervous breakdown and fell into despair and exhaustion. It was during this period that she returned to her study of Islam and read the Quran. She was also inspired by Muhammad Asad‘s The Road to Mecca, which recounted his journey and eventual conversion from Judaism to Islam. At NYU she took a course on Judaism’s influence on Islam which was taught by Rabbi and scholar Abraham Katsch, which ironically strengthened her attraction to Islam. However Marcus’s health grew worse and she dropped out of the university in 1956 before graduation; from 1957-59 she was hospitalized for schizophrenia.
Returning home to White Plains in 1959, Marcus involved herself with various Islamic organizations, and began corresponding with Muslim leaders outside America, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Society) in Pakistan. Finally, on May 24, 1961, she converted to Islam and adopted the name Maryam Jameelah. After accepting Mawlana Maududi’s invitation she emigrated to Pakistan in 1962, where she initially resided with him and his family. In 1963, she married Muhammad Yusuf Khan, a member of Jamaat-e-Islami, becoming his second wife. She had five children: two boys and three girls (the first of whom died in infancy). Jameelah regards these years (1962–64) to be the formative period of her life during which she matured and began her life’s work as a Muslim defender of conservative Islam.
Jameelah started writing her first novel, Ahmad Khalil: The Story of a Palestinian Refugee and His Family at the age of twelve; she illustrated her book with pencil sketches and color drawings. She also studied drawing in Fall 1952 at Art Students League of New York, and exhibited her work at Bahai Center’s Caravan of East and West art gallery. On her emigration to Pakistan she was told that art was un-Islamic by Maududi, and abandoned it in favor of writing. Her writings are supplemented by a number of audio and video tapes.
Jameelah was a prolific author, offering a conservative defense of traditional Islamic values and culture. She was deeply critical of secularism, materialism and modernization, both in Western society, as well as in Islam. She regards traditions such asveiling, polygamy, and gender segregation (purdah) to be ordained by the Quran and by the words of Prophet Muhammad, and considers movements to change these customs to be a betrayal of Islamic teachings. Jameelah’s books and articles have been translated into several languages including Urdu, Persian, Turkish, Bengali and Bahasa Indonesia. Her correspondence, manuscripts, bibliographies, chronologies, speeches, questionnaires, published articles, photographs, videocassettes, and artwork are included in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library collection of the New York Public Library. Jameelah’s life is the subject of a book by the biographer Deborah Baker.
- Books by Jameelah
- A great Islamic movement in Turkey: Badee-u-Zaman Said Nursi
- A manifesto of the Islamic movement
- A select bibliography of Islamic books in English
- Ahmad Khalil: the biography of a Palestinian Arab refugee
- At home in Pakistan (1962-1989) : the tale of an American expatriate in her adopted country
- Correspondence between Abi-l-A’La Al-Maudoodi and Maryam Jameelah
- Islam and Modernism
- Islam and orientalism
- Islam and the Muslim woman today
- Islam and our social habits : Islamic manners versus Western etiquette
- Islam and modern man : the prospects for an Islamic renaissance, the call of Islam to modern man
- Islam versus Ahl al-Kitab: past and present
- Islam versus the West
- Islamic culture in theory and practice
- Islam face to face with the current crisis
- Is Western civilization universal?
- Memoirs of childhood and youth in America (1945-1962) : the story of one Western convert’s quest for truth
- Modern technology and the dehumanization of man
- Shaikh Hassan alBanna & al Ikhwan al-Muslimun
- Shaikh Izz-ud-Din Al-Qassam Shaheed : a great Palestinian mujahid, (1882-1935) : his life and work
- Shehu Uthman dan Fodio, a great mujaddid of West Africa
- The Generation Gap – Its Causes and Consequences
- The Holy Prophet and his impact on my life
- The resurgence of Islam and our liberation from the colonial yoke
- Three Great Islamic Movements in the Arab World of the Recent Past
- Two great Mujahadin of the recent past and their struggle for freedom against foreign rule : Sayyid Ahmad Shahid ; Imam Shamil: a great Mujahid of Russia
- Westernization and Human Welfare
- Western civilization condemned by itself; a comprehensive study of moral retrogression and its consequences
- Western imperialism menaces Muslims
- Why I embraced Islam
- The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism, Deborah Baker, Macmillan, 2011.
- Jump up^ “Maryam Jameelah, 1934-2012”. Thefridaytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Jump up^ Esposito Voll, pp. 54,58
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e “Maryam Jameelah Papers”. Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.
- Jump up^ Esposito & Voll 2001, pp. 54–55
- Jump up^ A New York Jewish Girl Becomes an Islamist, book review By LORRAINE ADAMS, 20 May 2011
- Jump up^ Esposito & Voll 2001, p. 56
- Jump up^ Esposito & Voll 2001, pp. 56–57
- Jump up^ Esposito & Voll 2001, pp. 55,57
- Jump up^ Haddad, Smith & Moore 2006, p. 149
- Jump up^ Feener 2004, p. 115
- Jump up^ Esposito & Voll 2001, pp. 54
- Jump up^ Adams, Lorraine (20 May 2011). “Book Review – The Convert – By Deborah Baker”. The New York Times.
- Voll, John Obert; Esposito, John L. (2001). “Maryam Jameelah: Voice of conservative Islam”. Makers of contemporary Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 54–67. ISBN 0-19-514127-X.
- “Maryam Jameelah Papers”. Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library.
- Rozehnal, Robert (2004). “Debating orthodoxy, contesting tradition: Islam in contemporary South Asia”. In R. Michael, Feener. Islam in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-57607-516-8.
- Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck; Smith, Jane Bandy; Moore, Kathleen Dean (2006). Muslim women in America: the challenge of Islamic identity today. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517783-5.
- Baker, Deborah (2011). The Convert, A Tale of Exile and Extremism. New York: Graywolf Press. ISBN 978-1-55597-582-1.
I have been reading about Human Evolution for some time now. In this blog I will share some thoughts on the topic.
I have read some books on the subject like ‘Selfish Genes’ by Richard Dawkins and Darwin’s Origin of Species. Also read ‘The Language of God’ by Francis Collins. Before that I had been reading books by Harun Yahya on this topic. The last book I read was ‘Quran and Human Evolution’ by Dr. Ahmed Afzaal.
Richard Dawkins is probably the most famous contemporary evolutionist. His book ‘Selfish Gene’ is considered by some scholars as the best modern scientific explanation of how humans evolved from lower life forms. He is a proponent of gene-centric view of biological evolution. Apart from being a biologist, he calls himself a militant atheist; militant because he is very vocal about being atheist and also preaches it, urging others to relinquish faith too. I read his another best-seller book ‘The God Delusion’ in which he asserts how theory of evolution explains everything and it refutes the idea of God.
Harun Yahya is other side of the coin. He rejects the theory absolutely. He has produced a huge wealth of material on this topic including high quality documentaries and large collection of books. Besides pointing out gaps in the theory of evolution, he also wrote about the historical disasters this theory has brought to humankind. How racism got a boost as people started thinking that they are more evolved then others, hence a better race. Harun Yahya also pointed out that evolution has now taken a form of religion, citing the cases where scientist deliberately tempered with the fossils to prove evolution.
Now, Francis Collins, he is a believing Christian and a biologist, who was the head of Human Genome project. The purpose of the project was to map of all genes in Human DNA. I read his book ‘The Language of God’, again a best-seller. He theorizes that humans have evolved from lower life forms but it is God who started the process of evolution and He has control over it. Dr. Ahmed Afzaal in his book ‘Quran and Human Evolution’ also presents a similar point of view.
So there are three distinct point of views on Human Evolution:
- God created us and all other life forms individually, separate from each other.
- All life forms are created through evolution and there is no reason to believe in a creator.
- Evolution is God’s way of creating things (living or otherwise) in this world. For instance, God created the universe through big bang and then the earth and other planets evolved over time.
I would also like to present here views of few Pakistani religious scholars. Obviously, they believe in either first or the third view point.
Dr. Israr usually remains neutral on this topic, he presents both first and the third point of view. Though I feel that he is more inclined towards the third one.
Maulana Maududi didn’t believe in evolution so he supported the first view, where as, his fellow Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Amin Ahsan Islahi used to believe in evolution, set in action and controlled by God. I heard a story regarding Dr. Israr and these two leaders of Jamaat. Dr Israr was also in Jamaat as a young member when these two were the main Jamiat leaders. Dr Israr used to ask questions to Maulana Maududi regarding evolution. Then he used to come to Maulama Islahi and argue with him on the subject using Maulana Maududi’s arguments. He used to go back and forth like this, pitting the arguments of two scholars against each other without letting them know. Finally some senior member of Jamaat stopped Dr Israr from doing this as this could create divisions within the leadership.
Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, who is a student of Amin Ahsan Islahi, does not believe in evolution and says that there is no scientific evidence in support of this theory.
I have heard that Allama Iqbal and Dr. Muhammad Rafiuddin also believed in evolution.
Personally, I believe that ‘Theory of Evolution’ comes nowhere near to explain the creation of life and different species on earth. It has a lot of gaps and shortcomings. Allah Almighty created us and everything else around us and we have to learn a lot more to understand how He actually did it.
Allah knows best….