Latest articles

Shaker al-Nabulsi, 1940-2014

It is with profound sadness and regret that we announce the passing of Shaker al-Nabulsi, who passed away the morning of 14 January 2014.

The news of his death has come as a grievous blow. Shaker was a prodigious and indefatigable author (over 60 books) and a courageous voice of reform. He was a founder signatory of the 2007 St Petersburg Declaration that called for Islamic societies to oppose Sharīʻa law and was a conspicuous figure in the media promoting the cause of religious freedom and tolerance.

Shaker was instrumental in helping the Almuslih site get off the ground, and was always a vital source of advice and information, while his constant recommendations for authors and themes helped maintained the site’s focus and originality. We will always remember his enthusiasm for our first Conference at Rome and his personal commitment to our work. This loss only spurs us on to redouble our efforts to promote the work of progressive Arab thinkers and increase the influence of their voice of enlightenment in a fast darkening age.

Director, Almuslih


Hashem Saleh

But let us turn back to Orientalism in the literal sense of the word. We can see that its major upsurge began in the middle of the 19th century or shortly before. From then until now, that is for a century and a half, we have seen the rise of a number of waves of great Orientalists. The first wave was represented by Sylvester De Sacy, Edward William Lane, Reinhard Dozy, Michael Jan de Goeje, Heinrich Fleischer, Krachkovsky in St Petersburg and others.[1]


Mohammed al-Sanduk

At the beginning of the 20th century the first motor car entered Baghdad arriving from Aleppo, and at the wheel was the Scotsman David Forbes[1]. An event like this was not an easy undertaking in a society that had been isolated from the world. The Iraqi sociologist Ali al-Wardi[2] described the arrival of this first motor car in 1908 and how the inhabitants of Baghdad came out to view it, how ‘some began to look underneath the car to uncover what they maintained was the horse hidden inside it, since it was against reason to expect that a carriage could move itself without a horse to pull it.’


Tal’at Radwan

Islamists frequently make use of the term Isrā’īliyāt when responding to those who differ with them in interpreting a Qur’ānic verse or the circumstances concerning its revelation. An example of one of these commentaries is the reference to verse 44 of the sūrat al-Naml contained in the Jalālayn[1] commentary: It was said unto her: Enter the hall. And when she saw it she deemed it a pool and bared her legs. [Qur’ān XXVI,44] and since Sulayman was on his bed in the centre of the palace he saw her fair legs and feet.