In the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is the ninth month. During this month, Muslims spend daylight hours fasting every single day. Fasting is identified as one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan consists of no food, drink, and other physical needs such as smoking or sex. However, it is not just about the absence of these things, it is also a time that should be dedicated to purifying the soul, paying attention to God, and practicing sacrifice as well as self-discipline. The point of fasting is for Muslims to feel what those who are poor, homeless, or have become refugees feel throughout the year.


“During Ramadan, every part of our bodies must be restrained. The tongue must be restrained from backbiting and gossip. The eyes must restrain themselves from looking at unlawful things. The hand must give in charity, and not touch or take anything that does not belong to it. The ears must refrain from listening to idle talk or obscene words. The feet must refrain from going to sinful places. In such a way, every part of the body observes the fast.”


source: http://islam.about.com/od/ramadan/f/ramadanintro.htm

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Jinns in Pre-Islamic Arabia

The Arabs believed in demons and shadowy beings (spirits), which they called the jinn. Some people believed that the word meant covered or hidden, implying that they were unable to be seen by the human eye. Arabs thought of them to be crafty, mischievous, malevolent, and fearful. The jinn were supposed to haunt places either because they were lonely or because of their unhealthy cli­mate. Since people feared the jinn, this lead to a rise of various stories in which the spirits are said to have murdered or abducted human beings. The Arabs also believed in demonical possession. They believed the jinn could enter human and animal bodies and possess them. “According to the testimony of the Qur’an, the Meccans believed that there was a kinship between Allah and the jinn, and that they were his partners. Accordingly they made offerings to them and sought aid from them” (Inayatullah, 1).



source: http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/hmp/9.htm

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Aga Khan Museum in Toronto helps preserve Syrian art history


The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto has 48 pieces of art originating in Syria that vary in ages, some thousands of years old. As the museum collects more artifacts, it hopes to preserve much of the artistic beauty being lost in the Syrian Civil War. One artifact is a lion’s head carving from the 8th or 9th century.


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Protecting art in war zones


Representatives of around 40 countries have approved plans to establish a fund to protect heritage sites in war zones and a network of safe havens for endangered artworks.

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Interesting Take on Scheherazade Story (Modern Version)

I rented Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story this past weekend as a source for my paper, and I highly recommend it. It’s available to stream on Amazon. You can also purchase the DVD. It’s in Arabic, so, if you don’t understand Arabic you’ll need to read the subtitles. The movie is also a bit graphic at points and covers some sensitive topics.

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Top Headlines

These stories are the top headlines in Haaretz and Al Jazeera. Very obviously, our election is important all around the world.

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First Fitna Explained by Shahrzad Ahmadi

This website gives 15 minute podcasts about History and there was a podcast about the First Fitna explained by “Shahrzad Ahmadi, Doctoral Student, Department of History”.


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Death of Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres 1923-2016

So, this isn’t really relevant to the time period we’re studying, but it’s important to the region today, and I think Peres is a fair figure to show that although he wanted peace on Israeli terms, he evolved into a more willing to compromise figure later in his life.

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Bodleian Libraries Book of Curiosities Video

I found this video while researching the book of curiosities.  It is from the Bodleian Libraries YouTube channel. Its a nice supplement to the Muslim heritage article.

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Huntington on YouTube

Hi, all. Since I like to both read and listen to as much of my course readings as I can, I looked for a free version of Huntington’s CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS and I found 1 on YouTube. This is the link where you can find it. https://youtu.be/t2eRSQqSXn0

See you all tomorrow.

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