In the current age of increasing anti-Muslim sentiment, it has become routine to hear ignorant pundits and bigoted political activists make baseless claims regarding the reality of Islam. A conscious effort is underway to paint Islam as inherently violent and its legal system as archaic and prehistoric. Far more alarming for Muslims, the greatest avenue for introduction to the faith, the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is caricatured as a warlord by using false historical narratives and taking other true reports out of historical context. These claims could not be further from the truth. The immense canon of Islamic History from the pluralistic societies of medieval Cordoba to the small British Muslim community of Abdullah Quilliam in the early 20th century testify to the fact that Islam is a powerful force for peaceful coexistence and social equality.
As Muslims, it is now incumbent upon us to remove the falsities from the truth and show that our faith is peaceful and fair, our legal system just and equitable and that our founder was “a mercy for the worlds”.
Is there slavery in Islam? When people pose this question they usually assume it’s the Islam part that needs clarification. The real problem is trying to pin down what we mean by slavery. We all think we know what slavery is, but would we really know slavery if we saw it?
Dr. Jonathan Brown discusses this and more in his talk on Slavery in Islam. Learn more on this topic here: http://bit.ly/32Sqo4a
In our extremely polarized time, where do Muslims fall in on conservative or progressive values, especially when it comes to gender roles and masculinity in particular? Dr. Brown discusses where Islam fits in with modern issues around gender.
The popular images of Islamic law today are either about the terror of infidel beheadings or about exoticism of polygamy. These images immediately depict this Islamic legal tradition as a constellation of barbaric customs that are incommensurable with modern notions of justice, equality, law and human rights. But what is Islamic law truly about? How was it reconfigured over the course of modern history? And why is it so controversial today? This talk will steer the conservation towards understanding Islamic law in its own terms.
Muslims are diverse and come from many parts of the world where culture varies. How do we reconcile these cultural differences with our religion of Islam. What is accepted and what isn’t? How do we determine this? As Islam spreads to new areas of the world where the cultury differs, how do they assimilate into an Islamic lifestyle?
Dr. Jonathan Brown, a professor at Georgetown University, is the son-in-law of a former political prisoner Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Dr. Brown spoke at an event called “Caged & Forgotten: Muslim Political Prisoners in Post 9/11 America”, July 19, 2018. Sponsored by the Coalition for Civil Freedoms.
Professor Jonathan AC Brown of Georgetown University gives a lecture on the great diversity that enriches the Muslim world yet is all to often ignored in the face of an errant yet popular perception of a “monolithic Islam” that seemingly is confined to the Middle East.
How should Muslims deal with practices reprehended by the shariah? If enjoining good and forbidding evil is a central Islamic shariah concept and a duty on Muslims in general, what are our limits in implementing it and the etiquettes we need to observe?
How do we collaborate with individuals and organizations with whom we might have clear differences in beliefs and practices? If Muslims are always asked to encourage what is good and eradicate what is bad, then how do we follow this creed in times of differences with our collaborators?
When the Shariah is mentioned, many immediately focus on the laws and punishments. However, the Shariah is a complete way of life. Often times, the ethical standards that the Shariah places on Muslims to conduct our everyday Muamalaat (various interactions with people) are overlooked. In this lecture, Dr. Johnathan AC Brown will discuss our responsibility as Muslims in maintaining a high ethical standard towards society.
The portrayal of Muslims and other minorities has led many to be confused about Muslims, Islam, and other minority groups, who are at the receiving-end of discrimination and prejudice in this country. However, discrimination not only affects marginalized groups, but affects all Americans whether or not we realize it, and only perpetuates fear and misunderstandings of the ‘other’.
Brown’s presentation addresses not only Islamophobia, but other forms of discrimination that takes place–whether it is at your local grocery store or on campus–and how education alone will not work to change the current situation. Brown’s talk sheds light unto how Islamophobia–or any other type of marginalization — is detrimental to a pluralistic society and in addressing broader issues plaguing our society. Brown speaks on how, especially as Americans, it is essential that we have the same fervor our Founding Fathers envisioned towards respecting and ensuring our inalienable rights and freedoms — for all.
What does it mean to follow the Shariah in the West? Is the Shariah in the West different from the Shariah in the East? Is the Shariah in a Muslim country different than the Shariah in a country where Muslims are the minorities? In this lecture, Dr. Johnathan AC Brown will clarify these points and elaborate on the role of the Shariah in a Democratic government.
The vast majority of controversial issues that Muslims encounter come from Hadith tradition. It is controversial because it is an important source of Islamic law and belief that if not properly studied/analyzed, will be very confusing. Dr. Brown discusses a few pointers to keep in mind when coming across hadith.
Dr. Jonathan Brown is the Director of Hadith Research at Yaqeen Institute. Dr. Brown is Associate Professor and Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University. He is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law, and the author of several books including Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy.
The American Muslim community is under pressure to conform and let go of its morals and beliefs. Due to the negative climate and constant barrage of Islamophobia, many Muslims lose hope or suffer trauma and anxiety. This session will help up to identify this crisis and offer solutions.
The concept of an ideal, universal “Islamic State” has been in existence for a long time. Religious reformers in countries as diverse as Egypt, India and Indonesia have advocated for the establishment of Islamic states during the twentieth century. The acquisition of territory in Iraq and Syria by ISIL, (also known as ISIS or Daesh), in 2015 has brought the issue increasingly to our collective thoughts and to media headlines. This group’s claims are often presented by diverse media outlets and others, including academics, as an established fact in Islam. Such presentations give a monopolistic legitimacy to groups such as ISIL (or ISIS) and lock out traditional religious views and historical realities from the public square.
Dr. Jonathan Brown and Dr. Mohammad Shafi will present their clear analysis of why there is no claim for a universal Islamic State in the Qur’an or the normative practice and tradition of the Prophet. Historically, the Caliphate after the Prophet fell apart soon after Umar, claims of legitimacy by the Umayyads were constantly challenged and the presumed unity was shattered very early. The lived history of the Muslim peoples over the centuries shows that the idea is not practical or feasible.
A key tenet of belief in Islamic civilization was that God’s law, the Shariah, was the most just and perfect system of law for mankind. The primacy of the Shariah in the minds of many Muslims today remains strong, and an enduring tension in Muslim communities is negotiating the legitimacy of legal systems outside of the Shariah. This presentation will explore how classical Muslim scholars understood the relationship of the Shariah to justice, and how they reconciled their belief in the rule of law with the urgings of equity.
He (Muhammad) does not speak of his own desire. It is no less than an Inspiration sent down to him. (Surah Najm, 53:3-4)
The Qur’an repeatedly commands every Muslim to follow the Prophetic example. The Traditions (Ahadith) of the Prophet, often more than the Qur’an, govern Muslim life in their ability to articulate practice of the faith. The Hadith provide the information to follow the example of the Prophet as a spouse, a parent, a neighbor, a leader, and when needed, a warrior. In sum, Muhammad as the paragon of perfection, as enshrined in Islamic doctrine and spirituality, hinges on his words. How are Muslims to understand not only his words but the spirit from which they emanate? More directly, what are the practices in our emulation that lead us to follow his example and not speak from mere desire? How do we infuse our spirits and words with those inspired by the scripture and its revealer?
Finding a hard time to accept hadith? Dr. Jonathan brown discusses hadith and criticism of hadith. From the Zaytuna conference, Reclaiming Our Faith: Negotiating Modern Theological Fault Lines held in Anaheim, California on May 25, 2013.
Islam and Authors welcomes Jonathan A. C. Brown, author of Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. Brown’s Hadith book is new, comprehensive and accessible introduction to hadith- the transmitted reports about Muhammad’s words and actions. The bulk of Islamic law rests upon hadith reports. With the current controversies over sharia, Brown’s Hadith book is extremely relevant. It explains both Western and traditional Islamic approaches to hadith, has extremely informative charts and an easy-to-read format, and covers both Sunni and Shia views of hadith.
Jonathan Brown examines the historical misunderstandings about the Prophet Muhammad’s life to kick off the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies Spring 2011 Lecture Series. Recorded on February 15, 2011.