Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah comes to Durban | 14 November 2017

Dr Umar Faruk Abd-Allah to be guest of Islamic Forum

Durban welcomes renowned international Islamic scholar, Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah to give a public lecture titled “Islam and The Cultural Imperative”, Tuesday 14th November at the Suleman Lockhat Auditorium insha-Allah. He will be accompanied by Shaykh Muhammad Hydara al-Jilani of the Gambia.

Many in our community today look askance at culture but with only the vaguest notions of what culture actually is and the fundamental role it plays in human existence. For them, “culture” is a loaded word, something dangerous, inherently problematic, and “un-Islamic” (a deeply ingratiated Islamist neologism). Culture, for them, is a toxic pollutant that must necessarily be purged, since Islam and culture are mutually exclusive in their minds. Some foolishly or ahistorically regard Islamic culture—legacies like the Taj Mahal, for example – to have been chief causes of Muslim decline and fall in history. Their mindset reflects the general malaise of the modern period and the breakdown of traditional Muslim cultures, leaving chronic existential alienation and cultural dysfunction in its wake. Such cultural phobia is untenable in the light of classical Islamic jurisprudence and is antithetical to more than a millennium of successful indigenous Islamic cultures and global civilization. Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah will talk about the necessity of establishing an authentic indigenous Muslim culture. He argues that we must insist upon the traditional wisdom of Islamic law and deconstruct the counter-cultural paranoia among us. We must engender a Muslim culture that gives us the freedom to be ourselves.


Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Wymann-Landgraf) is an American Muslim, born to a Protestant family in Columbus, Nebraska. He grew up in Athens, Georgia, where both of his parents taught at the University of Georgia. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Missouri with dual majors in History and English literature. In his last year there, he won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and entrance to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York to pursue a Ph.D. program in English literature.

Shortly after coming to Cornell, Dr. Abd-Allah read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which inspired him to embrace Islam. He subsequently altered his field of study and transferred to the University of Chicago, where he studied Arabic and Islamic Studies and received his doctorate with honors for a dissertation on the origins of Islamic law, “Malik’s Concept of ‘Amal in the Light of Maliki Legal Theory.” He taught at the Universities of Windsor (Ontario), Temple, and Michigan.

He then went to Spain to teach Arabic in Granada. Two years later, he was appointed to the Department of Islamic Studies at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah, where he taught Islamic Studies and Comparative Religions for several years. During the time he spent in Jeddah, Dr. Abd-Allah was able to study with a number of traditional scholars. He then returned to the United States in 2000 under the auspices of the Nawawi Foundation (Chicago). He taught Islamic Studies at Darul Qasim Institute (Chicago) from 2012 to 2013. He is currently engaged in independent research, writing and teaching activities with institutions across the United States, Europe and Africa with a focus on Islamic Theology. Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah has authored:

“The Islamic Struggle in Syria”

“A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb”

“Malik and Medina: Islamic Legal Reasoning in the Formative Period”

His published articles include:

“Abu Hanifa” in Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1:295-301.

“Theological Dimensions of Islamic Law”

“One God, Many Names.”

“Islam and the Cultural Imperative.”

“Living Islam with Purpose.”



The Role of Women in Islam’s House of Worship


At a time when misogyny and hostile attitudes towards women are plaguing Muslim Communities throughout the world, Dr Jasser Auda presents a timely and vital challenge to the contentious issue of women’s access to the mosque, expounding the Islamic perspective.


The initial rights that Islam made sacrosanct for women have been tarnished over the centuries by patriarchal structures and cultural limitations which are far removed from Islamic Ideals. Using multiple references to the Quran and the Prophetic traditions, Auda builds a provocative and eye-opening narrative which tackles the issue of women in the mosque head on.

Auda explores the controversial interpretations that arise from so called “problem” hadiths, and address the topic of female leadership from both theological and social angles, as well as tackling the ongoing issue of gender segregation.

Reclaiming the Mosque is a crucial response to the current trials facing Muslim Communities, and moreover it offers a clear and cohesive call to action that harks back the to Islamic principles of freedom, justice and human rights.

Look out for the book review in next edition of The Islamic Forum News.


Books are vailable from Baytul Hikmah Online Islamic Bookstore. Contact 031 207 3871

eMail: [email protected] – website: https://hikmah.co.za

About the author:

JASSER AUDA is the Chairman of the Maqasid Institute, a global think tank with educational and research projects. He is a Professor and Al-Shatibi Chair of Maqasid Studies at the International Peace College in South Africa and a Visiting Professor for the Study of Islam at Carleton University in Canada. Jasser Auda is a Member of the Executive Board of the Fiqh Council of North America, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research Fellow of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India. He was the Founding Director of the Maqasid Center in the Philosophy of Islamic Law in London; Founding Deputy Director of the Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics in Doha; and a Professor at the University of Waterloo (Canada), Alexandria University (Egypt) and Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (Qatar). He has a PhD in the Philosophy of Islamic Law from the University of Wales (UK) and a PhD in System Analysis from University of Waterloo (Canada). Early in his life, he memorised the Quran and studies Fiqh, Usul and Hadith in the study circles of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo. Dr Jasser has lectured on Islam, it law, spirituality and ethics in many countries across the world. He has written 25 books in Arabic and English, some of which have been translated into twenty five languages.


NINETY MINUTES on AL-ANSAR profiles Ebrahim Vawda

NINETY MINUTES – is a Friday night (8.30pm) talk show on Radio Al-Ansaar hosted by author, journalist and commentator, Farook Khan. Guests that feature talk about their family history, personal life journey and discuss relevant topics, which affect Muslims in South Africa. This week his guest was Ebrahim Vawda


he South African Muslim community needs to unite and urgently map out the future, according to civil society activist, Mr Ebrahim Vawda. Vawda is of the view that the Muslim community urgently needs to engage in a scenario planning exercise which, having regard to current developments and trends, will give an indication of where the community will be in five to ten years’ time as opposed to where we would like to be and what needs to be done to realize our vision. He believes that the Muslim Community cannot continue in the manner in which it is doing at present.

Vawda is a business development expert and Islamic Banking expert having travelled extensively to Muslim countries to acquire the knowledge and expertise which enabled him to be among the pioneers in these fields. His call comes in the light of developments since the organisation Muslim Vision 20:20 organized a historic and landmark conference in 1999 to address the question of identity and a vision for the Muslim Community in South Africa and its role within the broader environment.He said that present day Muslims were fragmented demographically and ideologically. He pointed out that the Muslim community had changed considerably and that now there were more people of all races and from other countries who were part of Ummah in South Africa. He noted that while at times many individuals and organisations were doing good work and there certainly were pockets of excellence, their contribution did not necessarily have the desired impact because they worked in isolation without the benefit having an overall strategic framework in place for the Muslim Ummah in South Africa

“If we are to be a force, we need to stop the kind of debates which divide us. We need a common vision so that we can become a united Ummah, one that can make a meaningful contribution to education, economics, health, politics and other spheres of life in South Africa,” said Mr Vawda. He said that Muslims already had a long history of working in the greater South African community including the liberation struggle. Vawda added, “I see no other way but for us to engage in a scenario planning exercise that will enable us to put in place a strategy that will in turn enable us to be proactive and to make the decisions which will promote unity of action towards a common purpose. Most importantly in doing so we will also be creating a space where we as Muslims would be able to practise our faith freely and solely for the pleasure of Allah Ta’alla.” Vawda, who is the current Chairperson of Muslim Vision, revealed that discussions were already underway to initiate a scenario planning process which Insha Allah will build on the conference that took place at the turn of the New Century.

Ebrahim Vawda has a science and business background. He was the first chief executive officer of Al-Baraka Bank for 14 years. He served as first deputy president of the South African Haj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) and also as vice president of the South African Halaal Authority. He was the chief financial officer of the Iqraa Trust and was involved with the Association of Muslim Accountants and Lawyers (AMAL) during its formative years. Currently among his other activities, he is Chairperson of Muslim Vision 20:20, vice president of the the Minara Chamber of Commerce and is a leading member of the Islamic Forum.

Farook Khan – Al Ansaar, Friday 3 Nov 2017

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