Shaykh Arif Abdul-Hussain meets Ayatollah Alireza Arafi, the Principal of the Hawza Ilmiyya, during their recent visit to Iran. As they discussed the function and objectives of religious seminaries in the 21st century, Ayatollah Arafi proposed a collaborative venture between AMI and the Hawza Ilmiyya working on issues of contemporary concern. He acknowledged and appreciated AMI’s research work and its efforts to promote critical Islamic scholarship and believed that working together would be extremely fruitful.
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Shaykh Arif deliver’s Eid Sermon focused on the importance of unity amongst all Muslims, regardless of differences between sects. It is evident through the lives and conduct of the holy Imams that they would not endorse the divisions created in their names. The Muslim Ummah is akin to the human body; when one limb is hurt, the entire body feels the pain. It is now time to put aside any ritual practices or juristic rulings that create disunity and come together as one community. At times our intuition and common sense can guide us better than years of pedantic studies of legal theory and jurisprudence. It is the grass-roots who can bring about the change that we desperately need.
During the blessed month of Ramadan, AMI hosted a series of events on the topic of the philosophy of dua (supplication).
Shaykh Arif Abdul-Hussain spoke of dua as an intimate and genuine form of communication with God where an individual is not constrained by formalities. Dua, goes far beyond the rote recitation of prescribed supplications and is a means to attaining God Himself.
The guided dhikr sessions gave an opportunity to clear the busy mind from all the stresses of the day and focus through the chanting of the names of God. “And surely through the remembrance of God, the hearts find peace.”
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Shaykh Arif Responds to Shaykh Alidina’s WF Exco presentation
‘Quran and Religious Pluralism’ delivered by Shaykh Arif at the Organisation for Islamic Learning, Toronto in Muharrum 2018 has been Summarised by Arsheen Devji
Shaykh Arif argues, using Quranic verses, that the din- religion of Allah through which salvation is attained does not refer to ‘Islam’ as a formal religion but rather it refers to submission to God and His teachings, which are designed to bring about human flourishing. The specific formulations and rulings can change in accordance with context as they are not what is essential. The essence is shared equally within humanity at large, and in particular, by the monotheistic faiths, especially the Abrahamic faiths, who in one way or another, concur upon the notion of God-centricity and spiritual morality.
Devji concludes by sharing her own critical reflections on the lectures and suggestions on how to move forward.
The summary can be downloaded here
Shaykh Arif presents on the “Muslim Perceptions of the People of the Book from the Perspective of the Quran and Prophetic Teachings” at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Leicestershire.
According to Shaykh Arif, the Quranic verses revealed before the hijra speak favourably of the people of the book, affording them a high status and salvation. The later verses, post-hijra, describing the regulations pertaining to Jews and Christians are context bound and relate to specific historic instances, for example the plots against the Prophet. Any negative Muslim attitudes at present towards the people of the book are a consequence of factors such the hadith literature, jurisprudential rulings and tense socio-political relations. However, the Muslim outlook ought to be shaped in accordance with the earlier verses, which delivered the essential message.
With his strong commitment to inter-faith dialogue Shaykh Arif was able to illuminate new ways of considering Muslim relationships with people of the Jewish and Christian faiths based on the care and consideration devoted to them by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).Markfield Institute of Higher Education