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TAFSIR

TAFSIR. Exegesis of the Qur'an is known as tafsir. The focus in this article will be on Sunni tafsir, but Shi'i tafsir will also be discussed. The Qur'an, regarded as the word of God, needed tafsir-elucidation, explanation, interpretation, or commentary-for an obvious reason: it ha ...more
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TABLIGHI JAMA`AT

TABLIGHI JAMA`AT. The Tablighi Jama'at of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, also variously called the Jama'at (Party), Tahrik (Movement), Nizam (System), Tanzim (Organization), and Tahrik-i Iman (Faith Movement), is one of the most important grassroots Islamic movements in the contemporary Muslim world. From a modest beginning in 1926 with da'wah (missionary) work in Mewat near Delhi under the leadership of the Sufi scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (18851945), the jama'at today has followers all ove ...more
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TABLIGH

TABLIGH. Qazi Muhammad Sulaiman Mansurpuri (d. 1930), an Indian scholar known for several works defending Islam against criticism by non-Muslims, defined tabligh in Tabligh al-Islam (Simla, 1928, p. 4) as "a call toward one's religion by one nation to another." He argued that Islam was the only religion whose scriptures obliged its followers to proselytize others. Mansfirpuri's definition was a rebuttal to Christian missionaries who contended that Islam was not a missionary religion. Max Muller ...more
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SYRIA

SYRIA. The Muslim population of Syria is composed of a Sunni majority and four minority Shi'i sects. Exact figures are unavailable, but informed estimates place the Sunni population, found throughout the country, at roughly 70 percent. The largest Shi`i sect, the `Alawis, is concentrated in the northwestern province of Latakia and comprises around 12 percent of the population. The Druzes are only 3 percent of the population but form a dominant majority in the southwestern province of Suwayda. Is ...more
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SYNDICATES

SYNDICATES. Professional syndicates-like labor unions (which are not treated here)-have arisen in the Islamic world in the past century in new or significantly altered occupations which emerged in response to farreaching socioeconomic change. Although loosely influenced by earlier guild practices (such as calling their leader "nagib"), the syndicates took their main models from the West. Often subsumed in the "bourgeoisie" or "new middle class," professionals have received scant study, and compa ...more

SYNCRETISM

SYNCRETISM. Syncretism is the phenomenon by which the practices and beliefs of one religion fuse with those of another to create a new and distinctive tradition. By the terms of this definition, all religions, and most certainly all those that have come to be known as world religions, can be regarded as syncretic in their origins, since each was shaped in dialogue with other faiths. In modern scholarship, however, the concept of syncretism is usually restricted to th ...more

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SURROGATE MOTHERHOOD

SURROGATE MOTHERHOOD. Surrogate motherhood is a contractual agreement whereby a woman agrees to be impregnated by a man, or implanted with a prefertilized embryo, and then surrenders the resulting baby to the man and his wife after its birth. Gestational surrogacy is the term used when the fertilized egg of a legally married couple is implanted in another woman's uterus. She also bears the child and surrenders it to its biological parents. The surrogate mother may or may not be financially compe ...more
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SURINAME

Suriname officially known as the Republic of Suriname (Dutch: Republiek Suriname [ˌreːpyˈblik ˌsyːriˈnaːmə]), is a sovereign state on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers (64,000 square miles), it is the smallest country in South America Suriname has a population of approximately 566,000, most of whom live on the country's north coast, in and aroun ...more
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SUNNI ISLAM

SUNNI ISLAM. Historical Overview Practiced by the majority of Muslims, Sunni Islam refers primarily to the customary practice of the prophet Muhammad. The term Sunni (sometimes rendered "Sunnite") derives from sunnah and has the general meaning of "customary practice." This practice, this sunnah, is preserved in the hadiths, the Tradition, which consists of the accounts of what the Prophet said or did and sometimes of his tacit approval of an action. The Tradition, in addition to the Qur'an ...more
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SUNNAH

SUNNAH. The Arabic term sunnah since pre-Islamic times has signified established custom, precedent, the conduct of life, and cumulative tradition. In a general sense, such tradition encompasses knowledge and practices believed to have been passed down from previous generations and representing an authoritative, valued, and continuing corpus of beliefs and customs. In the context of early Muslim juridical and theological development, the word sunnah came to connote a more specific notion: that th ...more
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