House of Wisdom Book Club


House of Wisdom BookClub is an initiative to facilitate love of knowledge and books. It is a reading and discussion program of some of the latest book publications related to Islam and Muslims. A list of ten books are compiled by Dr Mehmet Ozalp from a pool of books he aims to read in 2019. A book will be read each month for 10 months in 2019.

If you love books, learning and would like to be part of a group of booklovers, join this collective reading and discussion quest and expand your knowledge.




The House of Wisdom BookClub will operate with the following simple steps.

STEP-1 Register for the House of Wisdom BookClub below. 

STEP-2 When registering you are required to choose at least five books from the 10 books listed below. 

STEP-3 Purchase the first book for February and finish reading it by the end of the month. Setting daily reading goal is recommended (If a book is 270 pages, daily reading goal will be 9 pages each day for a month).

STEP-4 Participate in the discussion, analysis and review session about the book and its content facilitated by Dr Ozalp after reading the book at the end of the month. See the schedule below.

Steps three and four will be repeated for each of the 10 books targeted for reading in 2019.

 

The 10 books selected for reading in House of Wisdom BookClub are listed follows:

1-      February Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid Clash of Empires by Juan Cole (2018)

Many books mention in passing that Islam emerged in a geography where there was a clash between Sasanian and eastern Roman Empires, but they rarely provide that historic context. This book examines the historical context in which Islam emerged. It was a hostile world. Not only Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers had to survive but they also had the create a message of peace.

2-      March The First Islamic Reviver: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and his Revival of the Religious Sciences by Kenneth Garden (2014)

This book offers a new account of the last 20 years of Imam al-Ghazali’s life and activism. By examining new evidence, it argues that he was the first major scholar who talked about a vision of revival. This vision was not a Sufi one as thought but a wholistic approach to not only Islamic sciences but also how religious activism should be done.

 3-      April The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason by Christopher de Bellaigue (2017)

This book contends to tell the story of forgotten Islamic Enlightenment in the last two hundred years of Muslim history. Starting with the dramatic clash on Napoleon’s arrival in Egypt, it takes the reader on a journey of how the major centres (with particular focus on Cairo, Istanbul and Tahran) of the Muslim world negotiated Islam with modernity.

4-      May The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qur’anic Principle of Wasatiyyah by Mohammad Hashim Kamali (2015)

This book examines the important concept of wasatiyyah, moderation as the overriding Qur’anic principle in Islam. It traces the definition and scope of this principle in the Qur’an and hadith and demonstrates its long and well-developed history in Islamic law.

5-      June The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design by William A. Dembski (2004)

Intelligent Design has been put forward as an alternative notion to Evolution Theory in explaining biological life on earth. This book not only gives a coherent explanation of Intelligent Design but also contends to answer major objections to it. Intelligent Design concept is an important support for the argument from design of God’s existence.

6-      July Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought by Asma Afsaruddin (2013)

 This book examines the range of significations ascribed to Islamic concepts of jihad and shahid (martyrdom) from the earliest period to the present. Asrafuddin contends to show not only that there were competing connotations of the two concepts but she also questions the militant interpreters’ claim to preserve the earliest and only authentic understanding of jihad and shahid in Islam. 

 7-      August Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus by Andrew F. March (2009)

This book examines the contentious issue of Muslim residence in a non-Muslim state. It lays out and analyses Islamic objections to citizenship in non-Muslim liberal democracies along with what it means to have a social contract in a modern society. The subject matter of this book concerns every practicing Muslim living in Western societies including Australia.

8-      September Defiant Earth: The fate of Humans in the Anthropocene by Clive Hamilton (2017)

Anthropocene is the new phenomena that claims human activity on earth is the most significant factor shaping the very geology of the planet. Australia’s leading climate science thinkers, Clive Hamilton, examines this concept in relations to human activity on earth and how it is shaping not only planet’s future but also the very future of humans. This book will give a new awareness of our role and significance in relation to earth and its natural environment.

9-      October Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism by Alexander Knysh (2017)

This is a comprehensive new history of Sufism from the earliest centuries of Islam to present. It examines the key concepts and how they are understood. It charts the way Sufism grew from simple ethical principles of Islam to become a powerful influence in classical Muslim societies and its decline in the last century and modern revival. It also examines the roots of the conflict between Sufis and their main critics Salafis.

10-   November Caliphate Redefined: The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought by Huseyin Yilmaz (2018)

This new book traces how a new conception of caliphate emerged under the Ottoman Empire. Yilmaz challenges conventional narrative and argues that Ottoman practice of caliphate has transformed Muslim understanding of authority, sovereignty and political ideals that has influenced Muslim thought in present time.

 The schedule for the book discussion and review sessions are as follows:

Book Reading Month

Book Title

Discussion Session Date

Discussion Session Time

February

Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid Clash of Empires

Sat, 2/3/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

March

The First Islamic Reviver: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and his Revival of the Religious Sciences

Sat, 6/4/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

April

The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason

Sat, 4/5/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

May

The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qur’anic Principle of Wasatiyyah

Sat, 1/6/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

June

The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design

Sat, 6/7/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

July

Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought

Sat, 3/8/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

August

Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus

Sat, 7/9/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

September

Defiant Earth: The fate of Humans in the Anthropocene

Sat, 5/10/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

October

Sufism: A New History of Islamic Mysticism

 

Sat, 2/11/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

November

Caliphate Redefined: The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought

Sat, 7/12/19

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

 

Where will the discussions be held? 

You can either join in person at the ISRA Centre in Auburn, Sydney or you can join online. Please choose your mode of attendance when you register. 

Once you register, you will receive details on where to purchase the books and reminders about each discussion session.

Contacts:

Enquiries about the books:         Dr Mehmet Ozalp (mozalp@isra.org.au)

For all other enquiries:                 Mathew Phillips (matthew@isra.org.au)


Register below for the BookClub!

Thank you for registering! You will be contacted with further details.

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