Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950

9780226001302 In Reading Darwin in Arabic, Marwa Elshakry questions current ideas about Islam, science, and secularism by exploring the ways in which Darwin was read in Arabic from the late 1860s to the mid-twentieth century. Borrowing from translation and reading studies and weaving together the history of science with intellectual history, she explores Darwin’s global appeal from the perspective of several generations of Arabic readers and shows how Darwin’s writings helped alter the social and epistemological landscape of the Arab learned classes.

Providing a close textual, political, and institutional analysis of the tremendous interest in Darwin’s ideas and other works on evolution, Elshakry shows how, in an age of massive regional and international political upheaval, these readings were suffused with the anxieties of empire and civilizational decline. The politics of evolution infiltrated Arabic discussions of pedagogy, progress, and the very sense of history. They also led to a literary and conceptual transformation of notions of science and religion themselves. Darwin thus became a vehicle for discussing scriptural exegesis, the conditions of belief, and cosmological views more broadly. The book also acquaints readers with Muslim and Christian intellectuals, bureaucrats, and theologians, and concludes by exploring Darwin’s waning influence on public and intellectual life in the Arab world after World War I.

Reading Darwin in Arabic is an engaging and powerfully argued reconceptualization of the intellectual and political history of the Middle East.

The Meaning of Eid-Ul-Fitr

Mudassar Aziz looks at the meaning of the Arabic name ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’ which is the celebrations Muslims offer at the end of Ramadan.


He reads from Chapter 110, verse 3 of The Holy Quran and takes a deeper look at the words to determine the true meaning of the name and why it is important for all Muslims to understand what it actually means.

[Video] New Technology

How should it be determined what is haraam (an arabic word meaning ‘forbidden’) and what is not?

This question was out to us as a consequence of a web casting of a funeral which took place in the UK allowing people from all over the world to take part.

The Promised Messiah’s solution was to say that we should look at the use of something new and not at the thing itself. If it is used to benefit humanity then it cannot be against Islam if not then whatever use it is put to is against Islam.


Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage

This eighty-fifth volume in Brill’s Handbook of Oriental Studies Series attempts to fulfill the long-standing need for an Arabic-English dictionary of Qur’anic usage. Adding an important resource for the study of the Qur’an, the Dictionary is distinguished by many features: It brings to English-speaking readership contextualized interpretations of the Qur’anic vocabulary through the works of classical scholars; it follows the Arabic root system, devoting one section to each of the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet; roots are alphabetically arranged with special attention given to the classification of roots with geminated second and third radicals, which are classified unlike the tradition followed by by Western lexicographers such as Lane and Wehr (thus the root s-b-b appears after the root s-b-‘ and not after it); cross references provide easy access to roots of certain foreign words which could be thought of as arising from more than one possible combination (e.g. A-z-r and a-z-r); an inventory of the basic concepts covered by the root provides a broad framework of what it encompasses; it recognizes that abstract derivatives in Arabic are derived from concrete ones, rather than the other way around (jamal, beauty, comes from jamal, camel, not the other way around); and it presents all morphological derivatives of a given root which are found in the Qur’an, along with their frequency. Continue reading