Spiritual Insights and Reading in the Age of Distraction

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Booksellers' Desk

Salaam dear Reader,

Last Monday, we kicked off this year's book club with an illuminating pre-reading session. Prof Ibrahim Zain, Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, gave us a peek at the meticulous scholarly effort he and his colleagues have carried out in the wake of John Andrew Morrow's groundbreaking work, The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World.

Dr Morrow's work brought the world's attention to the Prophet's ﷺ abiding commitment to peace. As Prof Ibrahim Zain put it,

the covenants are unique in world history because, among other things, they document the founder of a religion calling for respect and protection of the dignity and rights of people who are not his own followers.

The theme of this year's book club is 'Islam and Other Civilisations' and a study of the covenants is such a fitting point of origin and reference. The book club is reading the primary documents published in the book Six Covenants of Prophet Muhammad With the Christians of His Time. Those who missed the session can still read along with the book club because our post-reading session is not until 8 February 2021.

Here's a short excerpt from an article detailing the work of Prof Ibrahim Zain and Ahmed El-Wakil on the covenants:


As the religion of Islam remains subject to various forms of Islamophobia and counter-narratives, it has now become commonplace to accuse Islam of being at its very core an intolerant religion. According to El-Wakil, while Muslims indeed may have done unfavorable things in history, it remains important to try and understand the Prophet’s vision in trying to build bridges between people of all faiths. He believes that sufficient grounds can be made in favor of the historicity of the covenants....
The covenants reveal the Prophet and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs’ vision in encouraging and respecting interfaith relations. “The covenants clearly outline that the lives, property, wealth, and faith of the non-Muslims are all to be revered. Non-Muslims living in Muslim societies must always be treated with kindness and abusing their rights is a big sin before God,” said El-Wakil. “In that regard, the Prophet is frequently quoted to have stated ‘whoever harms a person living under our protection, then I shall be his foe on the day of Judgment’.”

Click here to read the full article.

Booksellers' Desk

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