Monday, July 07, 2008

I found myself trying to read almost every book that interests me. Bras Basah complex is the ish. It's the heaven of books and its way cheaper than any bookstore I have went to. I have a few books on my reading list already.

The first that I really want to get my hands on is 'Hikayat Abdullah'. I was ecstatic when i found the book in Bishan library only to know that it's not for loan. All i got is the introduction which discusses the main theme of the book. It discusses almost everything about the Malay society, in a logical and even stingingly criticising the malay culture at that time. What's more embarrasing is the matters addressed by Munshi Abdullah almost a decade and a half ago still bugs the malay society to this day.I'm trying to find the english version since i had trouble comprehending the classic malay prose used by Munshi Abdullah. I wasn't a sastera student. So that should be forgivable:).

The second book would be 'People of the book' written by Geraldine Brooks. It is discusses the issue of the three Abrahamaic faiths i.e. Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The term 'ahlil kitab' have always puzzled me and i really hope that this books explains if not all, a part of my doubts.

And lastly would be 'Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths' by Karen Armstrong. Somehow, this city is the central of the three monotheistic faiths. So much similarities yet so much conflicts. I'd really love to know Karen Armstrong's perspective on this.

Currently I'm reading 'The Siege of Mecca' by Yaroslav Trofimov. It recounts the historic uprising in the heart of the Islamic civilisation. More than that, it exposed the inefficiencies, worms, warts and all of the dark side of Saud's kingdom. A history book with hints of political discussions.

Before i end off, i got this from my sisters blog,

" We should pause to consider the question of the hijab, and the Muslim institution of the veil. It is often seen in the West as a symbol of male oppression, but in the Qur'an it was simply a piece of protocol that applied only to the Prophet's wives. Muslim women are required, like men, to dress modestly, but women were not told to veil themselves from view, nor to seclude themselves from men in a separate part of the house. These were later developments and did not become widespread in the Islamic empire until three or four generations after the death of Muhammad. It appears that the custom of veiling and secluding women came into the Muslim world from Persia and Byzantium, where women had long been treated in this way.In fact the veil or curtain was not designed to degrade Muhammad's wives but was a symbol of their superior status. After Muhammad's death, his wives became very powerful people: they were respected authorities on religious matters and were frequently consulted about Muhammad's practice (sunnah) or opinions. Aisha became extremely political and in 656 led a revolution against Ali, the Fourth Caliph. It seems that later other women became jealous of the status of Muhammad's wifes and demanded that they should be allowed to wear the veil too. Islamic culture was strongly egalitarian and it seemed incongruous that the Prophet's wives should be distinguished and honoured in this way. Thus many of the Muslim women who first took the veil saw it as a symbol of power and influence, not as a badge of male oppression. Certainly when the wives of the crusaders saw the respect in which Muslim women were held, they took to wearing the veil in hope of teaching their own menfolk to treat them better."

Karen Armstrong: "Muhammad: A biography of the Prophet"

Thats all folks.


S said...

Hello Zul,

It's great that you're getting into theology and all that good stuff. Just beware of your sources. Karen Armstrong was a Catholic nun who denounced her religion to become a free-thinker. Her views on the hijab totally clashes with the Quran; just thought you might wanna know.

Zulqarnain MN said...


It's great to know that you are reading my blog. Thank you very much indeed. As for your comment, i refer to the quran for the injunction of women wearing the hijab, and i will post my findings. And maybe you can identify yourself. I'd love to know who reads my blog. Heh. Thank you again and keep reading.

Peace unto you.