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Efraim Barak

Egyptian Muslim shaykh and well-known preacher, was born on 10 March 1933 in Shibrakhit, which is located in the Al-Bahira district of Egypt, near Alexandria. A poor grocer’s child, his full name was ʿAbd al-Hamid ʿAbd al-ʿAziz Muhammad Kishk. At the age of six he was afflicted by a severe infection in his eyes and as a result of mistreatment he became completely blind. After spending several years at the traditional kuttab in his hometown, he began his studies at the Alexandria Religious Institute. In 1952, after spending two years trying to regain his eyesight, Kishk decided to continue his education at the Al-Azhar Secondary School of Religious Studies in Cairo. Because of his great success at school, he was admitted to the Al-Azhar Faculty of Religion Principles (Kuliyyat Usul al-Din), from which he graduated in 1962 Right after graduation Kishk was appointed as imam and ...

Article

J. Scrimgeour

Born Malcolm Little (and later also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) in Omaha, Nebraska, on 19 May 1925, Malcolm X was the fourth of eight children of the Reverend Earl Little and his wife, Louise. Soon after Malcolm's birth the Littles moved to the outskirts of East Lansing, Michigan. When Malcolm was six, his father died, presumably murdered by the Black Legion, a violent racist group similar to the Ku Klux Klan, and the Little home life became more and more difficult. Louise was eventually placed in the state mental hospital, and her children were declared wards of the state. In 1941 Malcom moved to Boston to live with his half sister, Ella He became caught up in the nightlife of Boston and later New York After a few years in the underworld of Harlem selling drugs and working for call girl services Malcolm began a burglary ...

Article

Ellis Goldberg

Egyptian author, literary critic, and activist who helped shape contemporary political Islam, was born in the Upper Egyptian village of Musha in Asyut province on 9 October 1906. His father, Qutb Ibrahim, was a farmer and member of the nationalist Watani party led by Mustafa Kamil. Qutb attended a state-run primary school, but had also memorized the Qurʾan in its entirety by 1916. Qutb experienced the massive 1919 revolt against British rule as a teenage activist. He left the village in 1921 and lived in the Cairo suburb of Zaytun with his mother’s brother for four years, while attending a high school associated with the modernist educational institution Dar al-ʿUlum (founded 1871). In 1929 he entered Dar al-ʿUlum itself and graduated in 1933.

After graduation Qutb first appeared on the Egyptian intellectual scene as a poet and literary critic He was then thought of as a ...

Article

Steve Howard

Sudanese philosopher, author, and Islamic religious reform leader, was born in the Blue Nile town of Rufa’a in the Gezira, the heart of Sudan’s Sufi establishment. Mahmoud Muhammad Taha, known to his followers as “Ustadh Mahmoud” (“teacher”), was the founder of Sudan’s preindependence Republican Party, which he subsequently led to become a religious reform movement known as the Republican Brotherhood. The movement advocated a moderately progressive approach to the role of Islam in the contemporary world, with an emphasis on social equality, particularly for women in the context of rethinking sharia law. His best known book, The Second Message of Islam (1968; trans. Abdullahi An-Na’im, Syracuse, 1987), detailed his understanding of a modern conceptualization of Islam. He married Amna Lotfi and had a son (deceased) and two daughters, Asma and Somaya.

Taha s education was the religious then secular mix that became increasingly common as the British introduced formal schooling ...