Tag Archives: islam in conversation week

Comedian Baba Ali At Memorial Chapel

As Part of 2009’s Islam in Conversation series, Comedian Baba Ali will perform tonight at the Memorial Chapel. With a unique touch of humor, Baba Ali’s work has found its way to television on the Islam Channel (Broadcast in the UK). His efforts have been featured in The New York Times and USA Today.

Date: Friday, February 27th
7PM- refreshments from Haveli, 8PM- show
Memorial Chapel

Environmental Ethics and Islam Lecture

The events of Islam in Converation 2009 continue, with a lecture by Faraz Khan on environmental ethics in Islam:

On Friday February 20, at 4:30 PM in PAC 001, Faraz Khan will deliver a lecture entitled, “Environmental Ethics and Islam: Providing a Pragmatic Model.”

Khan is now a senior wetland scientist for the State of New Jersey, but he started his professional career as a teacher of Islamic Studies. He obtained a degree in Quranic Recitation (Qira’at) from the University of Damascus before then earning his B.A. in Environmental Geology at Rutgers University. Khan later became certified in wetland science through a program at Cook College – Rutgers University, and he taught as an adjunct professor of environmental science at Passaic County College. In addition to his wetlands work, he currently serves as an advisor to the Muslim Student Associations at both Rutgers University and Princeton University.

Khan will discuss the Islamic concept of khalifa, or “stewardship” over nature, as a potential remedy to our modern-day “waste culture.” …“Secular” environmental ethics, according to Khan, assumes a dichotomy between humans and other living organisms and therefore frames all ethical questions in either biocentric or anthropocentric terms. Khan compares this approach to the holistic “sacred ethics” of sharia (Islamic law): “In essence, the nature or environment is a creation of God and any deviation from natural way (fitra) is a divergence from the way of God. This natural way or fitra is a Qur’anic concept that takes into an account the harmony in creation and the balance that exists between living and nonliving creatures.”

Come to the lecture and find out more!

Date: Friday February 20
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: PAC 001

Islamic Solutions to the Global Financial Crisis

Sara Swetzoff ’09, on behalf of the Muslim Student Association, sends in some information about an event in the “Islam in Conversation 2009” series:

Taha Abdul-Basser, Chaplain of the Harvard Islamic Society, will lecture on Islamic solutions to the global financial crisis, on Monday February 16 at 7:00 in PAC002. Abdul-Basser has been teaching Islam in the Boston area since graduating from Harvard in 1996 with a degree in comparative religion. He is currently finishing his doctoral dissertation in post-formative Islamic ethics and traditional Arabic literary theory, in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.

Islamic banking is often described as “ethical banking” and proponents claim that the current financial crisis would not have occurred under the Islamic model. The two most basic principles of Islamic banking are the prohibition of usury (means: no charging interest!) and sharing of profit. In compliance with Islamic law (shariah), Islamic banking must also discourage investment in companies that provide products or services prohibited by Islamic law (such as alcohol and gambling). But the moral compass extends beyond simple prohibitions: in Islamic banking, profit and risk are always shared by the borrower and the lender. A recent article on Islamic banking explains the mortgage system under Islamic law: “A Sharia-compliant mortgage is like rent-to-own: There is no note, or mortgage, but typically part of each month’s payment is held toward the ultimate purchase. The property is titled to an individual trust, or limited liability corporation.” (Michigan bank operates by Islamic law, San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, January 21, 2009)

Islamic banking is becoming more mainstream worldwide. Five Islamic banks operate successfully in the UK and their popularity is not without controversy. Some people have voiced their wariness of Islamic banking and its motives. But “Western” banking and Islamic banking are not so dissenting: they even have shared ancestry! The earliest forms of capital and capital accumulation, checks and promissory notes, loaning and trusts were innovated by medieval Islamic banking and spread to Europe by the thirteenth century. Come to Monday’s lecture and learn more on Islamic banking and the future of the global economy.

When: Monday, February 16 at 7:00pm
Where: PAC 002