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  • On the Origins of the Hijrī Calendar: A Multi-Faceted Perspective Based on the Covenants of the Prophet and Specific Date Verification

    Ibrahim Zein; Ahmed El-Wakil (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    There has been much speculation as to the type of calendar that was used by the pre-Islamic Arabs and the early Muslim community. The Hijrī calendar is said to have been adopted by ‘Umar b. al-Khaṭṭāb during his Caliphate despite evidence suggesting that it was instituted as soon as the Prophet emigrated to Madīnah. In this paper, we argue that a number of competing Arabian calendars existed up until 17 AH/AD 638, after which the Hijrī calendar was adopted as the definitive calendar of the Muslims. We propose that attempts at reconciling dates emanating from different calendars for major events in the Prophet’s life led to miscalculations which subsequently affected the chronology of the <i>sīrah</i>. This study ultimately argues that a purely lunar calendar was used by the pre-Islamic Arabs in parallel to a lunisolar calendar, and that specific dates reported in the covenants of the Prophet and in the historical works could shed new light in reconstructing the chronology of major events in the Prophet’s life.
  • NGOization of Islamic Education: The Post-Coup Turkish State and Sufi Orders in Africa South of the Sahara

    Ezgi Guner (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    This article analyzes the recently formed transnational networks of Islamic education between Turkey and Africa south of the Sahara through the study of the neglected case of Erenköy Cemaati. The expansion of the schools affiliated with Erenköy Cemaati cannot be divorced from Turkey’s Africa strategy and the growing importance of education within it since the late 2000s. Although Sufi orders and state institutions historically represent two divergent and conflicting streams of Islamic education in Turkey, the analysis of Erenköy Cemaati’s schools in Africa south of the Sahara reveal their rapprochement in novel ways. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Turkey, Tanzania, and Senegal, this article shows that the complex relations between the Turkish state and Sufi orders in the field of education in Africa are facilitated by a constellation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Situating ethnographic data in historical context, it argues that the Islamic schools of Erenköy Cemaati are produced by the overlapping processes of the NGOization of Sufi orders in response to earlier state repression in Turkey and the NGOization of education in the wake of the neoliberal restructuring in Africa. While contributing to our understanding of post-coup Turkey and its evolving relations with Africa south of the Sahara, this article provides at the same time a new window into the NGOization of Islamic education on the continent.
  • DMin as Practical Theology

    Stuart Blythe (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
    The Doctor of Ministry is a professional degree accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. As delineated by ATS, the theological program requires to meet specific learning outcomes in a minimum of 30 credit hours with a culminating project that contributes to the understanding of ministry practice. Practical theology is a discipline that seeks to take “both practice and theology seriously”. As a consequence, the DMin can be generally conceptualized as practical theology. However, this paper demonstrates a number of the specific ways in which this general claim can be substantiated. It does this with reference to a number of theoretical discussions within practical theology as to the discipline’s nature. It then examines the implication of this for the status of the DMin, student learning, program design, and the nature of the DMin project.
  • Religiosity and Depression at Midlife: A Prospective Study

    Micheline R. Anderson; Priya Wickramaratne; Connie Svob; Lisa Miller (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    <b>Objectives:</b> Previously, authors found high personal importance of religion/spirituality (R/S) in early adulthood to predict a 75% decreased risk of recurrence of major depression in middle adulthood. Here, the authors follow up the original study sample to examine the association between R/S and major depression from middle adulthood into midlife. <b>Method:</b> Participants were 79 of 114 original adult offspring of depressed and non-depressed parents. Using logistic regression analysis, three measures of R/S from middle adulthood (personal importance, frequency of religious service attendance, and denomination) were used to predict Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in midlife. <b>Results:</b> High R/S importance in middle adulthood was prospectively associated with risk for an initial onset of depression during the period of midlife. Frequency of attendance in middle adulthood was associated with recurrence of depression at midlife in the high-risk group for depression, as compared to the low-risk group. <b>Conclusion:</b> Findings suggest that the relation between R/S and depression may vary across adult development, with risk for depression associated with R/S at midlife potentially revealing a developmental process.
  • The Missing Orientation

    Paul Levinson (MDPI AG, 2021-12-01)
    Humans last walked on the Moon in 1972. We not only have gone no further with in-person expeditions to places off Planet Earth, we have not even been back to the Moon. The main motive for getting to the Moon back then, Cold War competition, may have subsided, but competition for economic and scientific advantage among nations has continued, and has failed to ignite further human exploration of worlds beyond our planet. Nor has the pursuit of science, and the pursuit of commerce and tourism, in their own rights. This essay explores those failures, and argues for the integration of a missing ingredient in our springboard to space: the desire of every human being to understand more of what we are doing in this universe, why we are here, our place and part in the cosmos. Although science may answer a part of this, the deepest parts are the basis of every religion. Although the answers provided by different religions may differ profoundly, the orientation of every religion is to shed some light on what part we play in this universe. This orientation, which also can be called a sense of wonder, may be precisely what has been missing, and just what is needed, to at last extend our humanity beyond this planet on a permanent basis.

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