emel Magazine Out Now: Imam Ghazali Feature

Features: Imam Ghazali, by Tam Hussain
'Nine hundred years after the death of Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazali, we find ourselves in a conundrum. We live in a world fraught with bloodshed, economic strife, and social disintegration. We live in an abundance of material wealth side by side with abject poverty – often in the same country, the same city; we are technologically advanced but emotionally infantile – often within the same person; our desire for more scorches the Earth, and in the process we hasten our own termination. Our soul flutters uncomfortably as it searches for satisfaction – often in transient forms that only succeed in heaping greater misery. We confuse ugliness with beauty; have difficulty discerning between right and wrong; eschew justice in the pursuit of pragmatism. In such circumstance, can anyone provide an antidote to our modern world?' {Continue reading about Imam Ghazali on emel}

Editorial: The First Racist, by Sarah Joseph
“I am better than he.” These are the fatal words spoken by Iblis to God regarding Adam, and led to him being accursed by God.

Iblis knows that God exists. It is not a question of faith for him. Yet, despite knowing and being before God, his absolute arrogance and feeling of superiority over Adam led to his fall, and ultimately to his despair.

Those five words of Iblis are constantly found within the human experience. It seems that it is so easy for us to feel superior over our fellow human beings. History shows us, from the slave trade to South African apartheid, from Aboriginal annihilation to the de-facto extermination of the native Americans, that the feeling of racial superiority has led to the most horrific brutality and injustices. Man has too often said of others “I am better than he” to the degree where he found it possible to treat human beings of a different race and colour as chattels and property. Islam’s absolute and unambiguous refutation of such a position is clear to see. The Qur’an says, “We created you into nations and tribes so that you could know one another not so that you can hate one another,” and the Prophet was clear in his last sermon, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white, except by piety and good action.” Yet racism is prevalent within the Muslim community. Before I was married, as an Englishwoman I had offers of marriage because I was ‘fair’; but I have seen men and women being rejected for marriage because they were dark, or not of the right race. The treatment of ‘guest workers’ in some of the Gulf states is appalling. And even the perception of an Arab being superior to a Turk or a Pakistani being superior to a Bengali is prevalent within the practice of Muslims.

Racial superiority is not the only expression of Iblis’ attitude towards Adam. In Britain, there are problematic issues of class divisions based upon the old feudal system. Wealth and the attendant issues of status manifest the grave words of Iblis. And of course, the issues of beauty superiority, particularly with the ever-increasing attention on looks from global advertising and the celebrity industry are pervasive. There is another form of superiority that is on the rise but is against the very ethos of the body from which it springs - and that is the feeling of religious superiority... {Continue reading 'The First Racist' on emel}

Green Sleeves - Eco Fashion
Eco is the new black. Stepping into the New Year with sustainable style, London students Hannan Ahbut and Shabbir Merali explore the ‘luxe-cycling’ market for a more earth friendly take on fashion.
Photography - Hannah Rajah, Steven Lawson. Stylist Fatema Zehra

Freedom To Choose, by Lucy-Bushill Matthews
'There has been much fascination with the recent conversion to Islam of Lauren Booth, Tony Blair’s sister-in-law. Muslims are almost universally delighted that yet another ‘sister’ has chosen to embrace the faith; in contrast, by Booth’s own account, many people have reacted with “shock and horror.” But, don’t we all have the freedom to choose? The Qur’an upholds the principle: “Let there be no compulsion in Religion.” (2:256) Article 18 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human rights states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” It includes the freedom to choose which religion to enter - if any, the freedom to choose how to live out our lives with that faith as a guiding compass, the freedom to bring up our children within that framework, and – controversially - the freedom to leave that faith... {Continue reading 'Freedom To Choose' on emel}

Art profile: The World Enlightened
Light, calligraphy and graffiti merge into one with Julien Breton’s work. Fatema Zehra explores the artist also known as {Kaalam}. {Kaalam's Art Profile on emel}


More:
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Islamic Fashion Festival 2010
Iconic Muslim: Zohra Sarwari
The Power Of An Image: The Narcicyst

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