Archive for the ‘Extracts’ category

the hijacked caravan

May 17, 2007

www.livingislam.org

Ihsanic Intelligence, the think tank behind a highly controversial study, have spent two years studying suicide bombings by Islamist terrorists and their conclusions are both timely, controversial and intended for a global readership.

Titled ‘The Hijacked Caravan: Refuting Suicide Bombings as Martyrdom Operations in Contemporary Jihad Strategy’, the study systematically analyses al-Qaeda’s literature for recruiting the potential suicide bomber, refuting the Islamic evidences used in their favour and provides greater evidences from fourteen centuries of the Islamic legal tradition to refute the suicide bombings as a whole.

The study concludes on the landmark ruling, to be presented at the United Nations Social and Economic Council, which Islamic scholars worldwide are being urged to become signatories to: “The technique of suicide bombing is anathema, antithetical and abhorrent to Sunni Islam. It is considered legally forbidden, constituting a reprehensible innovation in the Islamic tradition, morally an enormity of sin combining suicide and murder and theologically an act which has consequences of eternal damnation.”
The Hijacked Caravan
[567kb]

Some of the major findings of the study into suicide bombings are:

  • ‘The Hijacked Caravan’ is the first and only Islamic legal ruling which unequivocally condemns suicide bombing in all circumstances.
  • Suicide terrorism has no precedent in fourteen centuries of Sunni Islamic tradition
  • Islamist terrorist groups like al-Qa’eda have adopted the use of suicide bombings from the Hindu-Marxist terrorist groups like the Tamil Tigers and kamikaze pilots from Japan
  • Islamist terrorists killing Muslims are considered to be in the tradition of the khawarij, an ancient Islamic heretical sect which also assassinated Prophet Muhammad’s cousin, Imam Ali
  • Suicide bombings invoked under the rubric of Islamist terrorism, outside Israel and the Palestinian Territories, grew three-fold within the space of three years after 9/11, killing twice as many people as had been killed over two decades.
  • Within the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, a case often given global exception by some scholars for using this tactic, suicide bombings doubled as did the number of people killed in the three years after 9/11 compared to the previous seven years of suicide terrorism. Worldwide, in merely three years after 9/11, the number of suicide bombings had increased three-fold than it had over two decades, whilst the number of people killed had doubled.
  • Worldwide, for every person who undertook a suicide bombing prior to 9/11, 18 people were likely to be killed. After 9/11, this figure fell to killing of 14 people on average, which was only as a result of the disproportionate rise in the “export” of this practice to groups worldwide.
  • Suicide bombing in the name of Islam has occurred in more than 20 countries: Lebanon [1981], Kuwait [1983], Argentina [1992], Panama, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories [1994], Pakistan, Croatia [1995], Saudi Arabia [1996], Tanzania, Kenya [1998], Yemen, Chechnya [2000], USA, Kashmir, Afghanistan [2001], Tunisia, Indonesia, Algeria [2002], Morocco, Russia, India, Iraq, Turkey [2003], Uzbekistan and Spain [2004] – and possibly United Kingdom [2005].

If you would like more information about Ihsanic-Intelligence or provide feedback for The Hijacked Caravan, please email us at info@ihsanic-intelligence.com

Definitive articles and statements within the Islamic tradition, condemning suicide bombing:

1. “Examination of an article claiming to legitimise suicide bombings” Bookwright, Denmark
http://www.bogvaerker.dk/suicide.html

2. “Bombing Without Moonlight: The Origins of Suicidal Terrorism” Abdal-Hakim Murad, UK
http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/moonlight.htm

3. “RE: Accusations on Shaykh Hamza Yusuf” Gibril Haddad, SunniPath.com
http://www.sunnipath.com – Ask'”RE: Accusations on Shaykh Hamza Yusuf”

4. “America’s Tragedy- An Islamic Perspective” [transcript] Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, zaytuna Institue,
http://www.zaytuna.org, 30 September, 2001. Formerly at http://www.zaytuna.org/tragedy.html

5. “Recapturing Islam From the Terrorists” Abdal-Hakim Murad, UK
http://www.masud.co.uk/ISLAM/ahm/recapturing.htm

6.Wide Angle. Suicide Bombers | PBS
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/shows/suicide/transcript.html

7. Conference for Civilisational Dialogue held at University of Malaya,
15-17 September, 1997
Professor Syed Hussein al-Attas, Malaysia “Such suicide bombings are unIslamic. How does anyone justify throwing a bomb into a bus filled with people who are non-belligerent, let alone kill oneself in the process? And we know from the primary sources [Qur’an and Hadith] that women and children, the old and the sick are to be spared during battle. These suicide bombers are different from the Japanese kamikaze, [whereby] the latter would commit an act of selflessness, brought about by desperation against legitimate military targets.”

8. Tenth Session of the OIC, Putrajaya, Malaysia, October 16, 2003, Dr Mahathir bin Mohammad, outgoing Malaysian Prime Minister “Is there no other way than to ask our young people to blow themselves up and kill people and invite the massacre of more of our own people?”

10.Fatwa on Suicide as a Tactic
Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir As-Sufi, UK

“Suicide bombing is a terrorism.”

A comprehensive fatwa from an eminent Islamic leader condemning suicide bombing by Muslims against all.

http://www.shaykhabdalqadir.com/content/articles/Art001_17022004.html

“Every terrorist act and every self-exploding suicide is the licence for the continued fascistic control of the world’s masses in the name of democracy.”

http://www.shaykhabdalqadir.com/content/articles/Art035_02022005.html

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Defending The Transgressed By Censuring The Reckless Against The Killing Of Civilians

May 17, 2007

Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti

Defending The Transgressed By
Censuring The Reckless Against The Killing Of Civilians

Mudâfi’ al-Mazlum bi-Radd al-Muhâmil
‘alâ Qitâl Man Lâ Yuqâtil

Introduction by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad

Fatwa Against The Targeting Of Civilians

© 2005 Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti

This text is also in pdf < O >
It has been published by Amal Press in a volume with other authors entitled 'The State We Are In: Identity, Terror and the Law of Jihad', and published seperately as a booklet by Aqsa Press and Warda Publications.

http://www.livingislam.org 

From ‘The Spy of the Heart’ by Robert Darr

May 7, 2007

  The Meeting of Two Satans

Again the world-devouring wolves met face to face
and plans of darkest treachery they’ve set in place.
Either one of them could teach the very Devil
tricks of treachery, murder, falsity and evil.
Through some new magic they numb the mind;
Instead of peace, give humanity war in kind.
They meet to tell the world that they possess
All that people need, not more and no less.
They say our weapons’ fire will certainly dry
those tears the anguished eyes now cry.
“We must with bullets stitch the wounds,” they say
“to cure the mourning hearts, their pain allay.”
“Well yes we’re wolves but also shepherds tried.
What can the weak do? That flock is terrified.”
They say they’re doctors yet their work is killing;
These devils violate all rights of the ailing.
They’re pleased with any who play the slave,
bitter enemies of any who as free men behave.
They’re at the head of impiety, cruelty, and degeneracy;
They guide the local tyrants and cause their ascendancy.
They’ve no heart, just Satan in the cage of their breasts,
No wonder their every action is from demonic pests.
For the Muslim people, both of them are executioners
Both of them are tricky, they’re divisive trap-setters.

The White House and the Red House

The White House is not the seat of a worthy advisor:
There’s no promise there but evil for men of goodwill.
It is as red as the Kremlin in the blood of people;
It’s a Black House of conspiracy not the White House.
The white and red palaces are palaces of terrible crimes;
Whoever places their hopes in them will find no hope.
The gardener grafting in a marsh of red blood
Shouldn’t hope to pick flowers from weeping willows.
O wayfarer of our tribe, if you’re a real Mujahid,
know this road is not the pure road of the martyr.
Reagan is a Gorbachev with a different face;
Cutting short the words: you don’t need his words.
He will bar you from jihad a hundred times;
The stage cannot be set properly by such a demon.
Look at history: from this old experienced thief
there is only highway robbery, nothing new.
Look into the blood-wet eyes of the orphans
and see a blood-Red Sea that has no shore.
This sea of blood of the faithful of Islam feeds
the killers which are none other than these two ghouls.
O followers of brave Hussein, don’t complain
about one demon to the very leader of demons.
Don’t dress up the shop for any business but God’s;
The blood of the martyrs is not for buying and selling.

Abdul Ahad presented me with this collection of poetry upon my return from northern Afghanistan in 1989. I asked him about the interethnic fighting I had witnessed throughout the north. He too was shocked by this, since it went against all that he believed in.

“These people fighting against other Muslims are committing a very great crime, greater than the crimes of the Marxists,” he lamented. “Because they are Muslims killing Muslims and God has said that He curses such people.”

Abdul Ahad’s ideals were very high and, I think, easy to dash in this power-hungry environment. He would often lament the lack of honesty and integrity in the ranks of the Mujahideen. He admitted openly that many people were taking advantage of the resistance to Soviet and Marxist occupation. Abdul Ahad even seemed a bit suspicious of some of the Mujahideen commanders that I was working with. He asked me what happened to the large sums of money I had taken in with Commander Nurullah’s help to be distributed to internal refugees. I told him more about my recent experiences while traveling to the north of Afghanistan

Avialble online www.spyoftheheart.com the book can also be downloaded from the same website, Sidi Robert Darr has also contrabuted to Seasons Journals an article on the Court of Lions’ in al-Hambra Palace

SELECTIONS FROM CONTENTIONS AHM

May 3, 2007

93. To attribute the maqam of da‘wa to one’s self is to be open to the Divine ruse.

94. Wonder is the first passion.

95. The Qur’an shows, it does not just explain.

96. Courtesy and knowledge are like two hands washing each other.

97. Without the inward whom can we worship? The Outwardly Manifest?

98. No-one is uncircumcised, for the bezm-i alast was too joyful to be forgotten entirely.

99. Truth is the further shore of love.

100. Only in Unity can suffering find no place.

1. Activism will only succeed when it remembers that history is in good hands.

9.Modernity: an accelerating attempt to shovel matter into the growing hole where religion used to be

100. ‘May I not prove too much of a skunk when I shall be tried.’ (Wittgenstein)

15. Islamic modernism: a danse macabre flirting with the spiritual death of the Enlightenment.

8. ‘There is no God at all, and Atatürk is His prophet.’

17. The radicals are announcing only one thing: ‘Attention! This vehicle is reversing!’

19. Followers of Antichrist see with only one eye, whose name is Zahir or Batin.

27. ‘The English lack nothing to make them sound Mussulmans, and need only stretch out a finger to become one with the Turks in outward appearance, in religious observance and in their whole character.’ (The Fugger Letters.)

31. Hagar, that ‘root out of a dry ground’, the most fertile woman in history.

32. Hagar is the matriarch of liberation because, unlike Sarah, she fends for herself

35. Liberal Protestantism: God is no longer the Father, but an occasional and indulgent Grandfather.

55. The lottery: a way of exploiting the weak-willed in order to reward the undeserving.

56. The lottery: a tax on stupidity.

57. The Law: all freedom is difficult

59. The femininity of the crescent, the masculinity of the cross. (Max Ernst, Men shall know nothing of this.)

60. Layla: the chador of God on earth.

61. Islam is the religion of women because Madina had no place for Oedipus

65. Stay home during the peek season.

68. It is the economy of desire which shows that Law is pure mercy.

Exclusivism is less oppressive to the oppressed than to the oppressor.

70. Bacon, like a pious pasha, has blurred our faces. Is this the condition of postmodernity? To be a two-dimensional cartoon without a face?

73. It’s called the consumer society because it consumes us.

74. ‘The fact that it is so difficult for present-day man to pray and the fact that it is so difficult for him to carry on a genuine talk with his fellow men are elements of a single set of facts.’ (Buber)

75. ‘Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can’t help but cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.’ (Mariah Carey)

76. The Sunna is suluk, for the Divine Other may only be intuited. ‘Perception does not attain Him, but He attains perception.’

77. The proof of God is the form of the proof.

78. Natural theology is the blind man’s stick.

The Age of Access, By Jeremy Rifkin

May 26, 2006

The Age of Access
We're entering an era in which lifelong customer relationships are the ultimate commodities market
> By Jeremy Rifkin
This article, excerpted from Jeremy Rifkin's upcoming book by the same title, appeared in The Industry Standard, March 20,2000.
Think of waking up one day only to find that every aspect of your existence has become a purchased affair, that life Itself has become the ultimate shopping experience. The capitalist journey, which began with the commodification of material goods and places, is ending with the commodification of human time and duration. E-commerce and networked ways of doing business are giving rise to the "Age of Access," a new economic era as different from Industrial capitalism as the latter was from the merchantalist era that preceded it.

The transformation from the old economic era to the new has been long in the making. The process started in the 20th century with a shift in emphasis from manufacturing goods to providing basic services. Now the commercial sphere is making an equally important shift from service-related to experience-oriented. In the Internet Economy, the commodification of goods and services becomes secondary to the commodification of human relationships. Holding clients' and customers' attention In the new fast-paced, ever-changing networked economy means controlling as much of their time as possible. By shifting from discrete market transactions that are limited in time and space to establishing relationships that extend in an open-ended way over time, the new commercial sphere assures that more and more of daily life is held hostage to the bottom line.

THE CUSTOMER IS THE MARKET
In the Industrial economy, with its emphasis on mass production and the sale of goods, securing a share of the market was utmost in the minds of every entrepreneur. In the Age of Access, with its emphasis on selling specialized services and providing access to expertise of all kinds, the role played by suppliers changes markedly. "We are shifting from being box sellers to becoming trusted advisers," said Hewlett- Packard's Wim Roelandts in Don Tapscott's The Digital Economy. The new idea in marketing is to con- centrate on share of customer rather than share of market. What these ideas boil down to is the commodification of a person's entire lifetime of experiences. Marketing specialists use the phrase "lifetime value," or LTV, to emphasize the advantages of shifting from a product- oriented to an access-oriented environment in which negotiating discrete market transactions is less important than securing and commodifying lifetime relationships with clients.

Automobile dealers estimate, for example, that each new customer that comes through the door of a Cadillac dealership represents a potential LTV of more than $322,000. The figure is a projection of the number of automobiles the customer is likely to purchase over his or her lifetime, as well as the services those automobiles will require over their lifetime. The key is to find the appropriate mechanism to hold on to the customer for life. To calculate the LTV of a customer, a firm projects the present value of all future purchases against the marketing and customer-service costs of securing and maintaining a long-term relationship. Credit card companies and magazines. which rely on subscriptions and memberships, have long used LTV cost-accounting projection! Now the rest of the economy is beginning to follow suit. The commercial potential of capturing a share of customer is directly proportional to the projected duration of his or her consumer lifetime. For that reason, many companies try to capture customers at an early age to optimize their potential LTV.

Hyatt Hotels features Camp Hyatt and a newsletter aimed at its youngest LTV customers. A&P provides children's shopping carts to accustom youngsters to making their own selections in the store. Determining a person's LTV is possible with the new information and telecommunications technologies of the networked economy. The Web's continuous flow of consumer behavior information, combined with retailers' ability to track their every bar-coded purchase, give companies detailed profiles of customers' lifestyles their dietary choices, wardrobes, states of health, recreational pursuits and travel patterns.

With appropriate computer modeling techniques, it is possible to use this mass of raw data on each individual to anticipate future desires and map out targeted marketing campaigns to lure customers into long-term commercial relationships.

Many in the information sciences suggest that these new technologies be thought of as relationship technologies, or R-technologies, rather than information Technologies. "We need to turn away from the notion of technology managing infor- mation and toward the idea of technology as a medium of relationshiops," said Michael Schrage, codirector of the MIT Media Lab's eMarkets Initiative, in Kevin Kelly's New Rules for the New Economy.

French economist Albert Bressand in 1996 was quoted in Wired saying that R-technology is an appropriate way to Describe the new technologies because "relations rather than material products are what is processed in these machines."

What is becoming clear to management and marketing experts, and a growing number of economists, is that the new computer software and telecommunications technologies allow for the establishment of rich webs of interconnections and relationships between suppliers and users, creating the opportunity to quan-tify and commodify every aspect of a person's experience in the form of a long-term commercial relationship. Says Bressand, "The time has come to shift from the engineering approach of information technology, which was totally warranted at the beginning, to the human and relationship approach."

In marketing circles, using R-technologies to commodify long-term commercial relationships is called "controlling the customer." Continuous feedback allows firms to anticipate and service customers' needs on an ongoing, open-ended basis. By turning goods into services and advising clients on upgrades, innovations and new applications, suppliers become an all-pervasive and indispensable part of the experiential routines of customers. To borrow a Hollywood term, companies serve as "agents." The goal is to become so embedded in a customer's life as to become a ubiquitous presence, a customer's appendage that operates on his behalf in the commercial sphere.

Agents in the new schema are "systems integrators," a phrase coined by Robert C. Blattberg, professor of retailing at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and Rashi Glazer, professor of marketing at the Haas School of Business. Systems integrators coordinate an increasing share of the commercial life of their clients. In a sense, agents serve as go-betweens. They manage the continuous flow of information between the global economy and end-users. The function of the agent is a marketing one–to find the most effective way of establishing, maintaining and enhancing relationships with clients.

The kinds of relationships these technologies conjure up are, by their very nature, one-sided. Despite the fact that the Internet provides a modicum of counter-surveillance power back to the individual consumer and allows for inter-activity, the company knows far more about the customer than he will ever glean about the company. The algebra of the new electronic marketplace still favors the corporate players.

Critics of the indiscriminate use of R-technology argue that potential customers should be compensated by any firm that uses their personal data for commercial purposes. James Rule, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has proposed that everyone has a right to "withhold, sell or give away rights to commercial sale or exchange of information about himself or herself."

In the old industrial economy, each person's labor power was considered a form of property that could be sold in the marketplace. In the new networked economy, selling access to one's day-to-day living patterns and life experiences, as reflected in purchasing decisions, becomes a much sought-after intangible asset.

FROM PRODUCTION TO MARKETING
The shift from manufacturing and selling products to establishing and maintaining long-term commercial relationships brings the marketing perspective to the forefront of commercial life. The production imperative, which reigned supreme in the industrial era, is increasingly viewed as a back-office function of marketing.

Establishing relationships with consumers is critical when goods become platforms for managing services and services become the primary engines driving global commerce. Marketing in the new networked economy becomes the central framework, and controlling the customer becomes the goal of commercial activity.

Controlling the customer is the next phase in a long commercial journey marked by the increasing wresting away of both ownership and control of economic life from the hands of the masses and into the arms of corporate institutions. Recall that in the early stages of a production-oriented capitalism, economic tasks in the homes and craft shops were spirited away and placed in factories by capitalist entrepreneurs.

Frederic Taylor introduced his properties of scientific management to the factory floor and front office, revolutionizing the organization of production. Using a stopwatch, Taylor timed workers' movements with an eye toward improving their efficiency. The goal was to gain near-total control over the worker in the production process.

Today, as the marketing perspective gains ascendancy and commodifying relationships with consumers becomes the essential business of business, controlling the customer takes on the same kind of import and urgency as controlling the worker did when the manufacturing perspective prevailed. In the new century, organizing consumption becomes as important as organizing production was in the last century.

In the industrial economy, discrete market transactions and the transfer of property between seller and buver afforded the customer a high degree of control over each consumption decision. In the Age of Access, however, customers risk slowly losing control over the process as short- term market decisions give way to long- term commercial relationships with trusted intermediaries, and the purchase of goods gives way to the contracting of a range of services that extend to virtually every aspect of one's life experience. The customer becomes embedded within a dense web of ongoing commercial relationships and may become totally dependent on commercial forces that he little understands and over which he has less and less control.

Consider financial planning. Many investment companies have begun to make the transition from trading stocks and bonds and managing customer portfolios to becoming a full-service provider–a systems integrator. Clients are looking to companies like Merrill Lynch to help them create customized investment packages for their specific needs and goals. Some financial Institutions are acting like customer agents, providing complete financial-planning services that include yearly business plans, personal budgeting plans, retirement income plans, estate planning, tax and accounting services, legal assistance and other services.

The idea is to bring the client into an all-encompassing relationship with an agent. The financial institution handles every aspect of the client's financial dealings for a lifetime. The client gains access to specialized expertise and trusted advisers who act on his behalf, often as his agent, surrogate or advocate.

In the Age of Access, while the clients make the ultimate choice to enter into or leave these long-term, multifaceted relationships, the complexity of rendered services and the expertise needed to perform those services can become difficult to understand and even baffling after a while, especially if the customer cedes those tasks over to a third party early on.

Not ever needing to be personally engaged in the details of these services, the client often remains untutored and ignorant of the forces at work and may become increasingly dependent on the "expert" agents over time to manage his affairs. The agents, in turn, become the gatekeepers, controlling the channels of supply and distribution that connect each consumer to the global market-place and the out-side world.

One of the first to see the significance of the shift from a production to a marketing prospective was Peter Drucker, the father of modern business-management practices. In The Practice of Management in 1954, he wrote; "The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence. Because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation."

Business consultants began to urge their corporate clients to spend less time focused on production and more on marketing if they wanted to capture market share. In a landmark 1960 article in Harvard Business Review titled "Marketing Myopia," Theodore Levitt, professor emeritus at the Harvard Business School, argued that companies are too concerned with the products they produce and not concerned enough about their customers.

Levitt argued that businesses should develop their business plans backward from the customer rather than forward to production. The goal of business, he suggested, is to capture customers, not simply produce goods and services.

NEW KINDS or COMMUNITIES
R-technologies reach out to encompass the whole of a person's life experiences. The power of these marketing tools lies In the ability to create a comprehensive environment for organizing personal life and restructuring social discourse. Because thev increasingly become a primary means by which people communicate with each other, R-technologies can be used to reconfigure the most fundamental categories of social existence. Already, in marketing circles the talk runs to ways of using R-technologies to create new kinds of communities made up of like-minded people who come together because of a shared interest in a particular commercial endeavor, activity or pursuit. There's a growing awareness among management and marketing experts alike that establishing so-called communities of interest is the most effective way to capture and hold customer attention and create lifetime relationships. The companies become the gatekeepers to these newly defined communities and – for a price – grant customers access to these coveted new social arenas.

Marketing consultants Richard Cross and Janet Smith in Customer Bonding list several critical stages in the creation of communities of interest. Stage one is awareness bonding. The idea is to make the customer aware of your firm's product or service with the expectation of negotiating a first sale. Stage two is identity bonding. The customer begins to identify with your firm's product or service and incorporates it into his sense of self. It becomes one of the many ways he differentiates himself in the world.

Stage three is relationship bonding.. which we've previously explored. The firm and the customer move from an arm's-length relationship to an interactive one. This is where R-technologies begin to play an important role. They help create what marketers call customer intimacy.

Stage four is community bonding. The company brings its customers into relationships with one another based on their shared interest in the firm's products and services. The company's task is to create communities for the purpose of establishing long-term commercial relationships and optimizing the lifetime value of each customer. "This bond is extremely durable," say Cross and Smith. "To break it, competitors must actually disregard social ties among friends, colleagues or family."

The key to creating communities of interest is to plan events, gatherings and other activities that bring customers together to share their common interest in your company's brand. Backroads is an upscale tourist company that organizes bicycle and walking tours to some of the most scenic areas of the world. The company provides tents, prepares food and shuttles guests to the various sites by van.

The value of the Backroads service, say authors Larry Dowries and Chunka Mui in their book Unleashing the Killer App, lies in "the quality of its network of customers, who pay, in part, for the opportunity to interact with and be entertained by each other." Backroads, say Downes and Mui, is about "creating communities of value by valuing community." Companies like Backroads will increasingly rely on R-technologies in the future to search out prospective customers based on consumer profiles, lifestyles and spending patterns. As software profiling becomes even more sophisticated, it will be possible to match specific lifestyle interests of prospective customers with particular trips, ensuring a more meaningful experience and the likelihood of creating effective community bonding among the guests.

The transformation in the nature of commerce from selling items to commodifying relationships and creating communities marks a turning point in the way commerce is conducted. In the 21st century, the economy is the arena in which we live out much of our day-to-day experiences. In this new world, ownership of things, while important, is less important than securing commercial access to networks of mutual interests, webs of relationships and shared communities. To belong is to be connected to the many networks that make up the new global economy.

Being a subscriber, member or client becomes as important as being propertied. It is, in other words, access rather than ownership that increasingly determines one's status in the coming age. The commodification of human relationships is a heady venture. Assigning lifetime values to people with the expectation of transforming the totality of their lived experience into commercial fare represents the final stage of capitalist market relations. What happens to the essential nature of human existence when it is sucked into an all-encompassing web of commercial relationships?

The growing shift from the commodification of space and goods to the corn- modification of human time and lived experience is everywhere around us. Every spare moment is filled with some form of commercial connection, making time itself the most scarce of all resources.

The fax machines, e-mail, voice-mail and cellular phones; 24-hour trading markets; instant around-the-clock ATM and online banking services; all-night e-commerce and research services; 24-hour television news and entertainment; 24-hourfood services; pharmaceutical and maintenance services — they all cry for our attention. They worm their way into our consciousness, take up much of our waking time, and occupy much of our thoughts, leaving little respite.

When every endeavor is transformed into a commercial service, we run the risk of falling into a kind of temporal Malthusian trap. Although a day is limited and fixed to 34 hours, new kinds of commercial services and relationships are limited by the entrepreneur's ability to imagine new ways of commodifying time.

Already, even in the early stage of the transition to the Age of Access, the commodification of time is becoming saturated. Every human being and institution is courted and connected to some form of commodified service or relationship. And while we have created every kind of labor- and time-saving device and activity to service one another's needs and desires in the commercial sphere, we are beginning to feel that we have less time avaliable to us than anyone else in history. That is because the great proliferation of labor- and time-saving services only increase the diversity, pace and flow of commodified activity around us.

The networked economy increases the speed of connections, shortens durations, improves efficiency and makes life more convenient by turning everything imaginable into a service. But when most relationships become commercial relationships and every individual's life is commodified 24 hours a day, what is left for relationships of a noncommercial nature–relationships based on kinship, neighborliness, shared cultural interests, religious affiliation, ethnic identification, and fraternal and civic involvement?
When time itself is bought and sold and our lives become little more than an ongoing series of commercial transactions held together by contracts and financial instruments, what happens to the kinds of traditional reciprocal relationships that are born of affection, love and devotion?
The fact that marketing professionals and corporations are seriously engaged in developing what they call long-term "customer intimacy" and are actively experimenting with a host of vehicles and venues for establishing deep "community bonding" is disturbing enough. What is more worrisome is that these large-scale efforts to create a surrogate social sphere tucked inside a commercial wrap are, for the most part, going unnoticed and un-critiqued, despite the broad and far-reaching potential consequences for society.

We're in the middle of a grand experiment in which virtually every aspect of our lives is becoming a paid-for activity. We have yet to explore the implications of living in an era in which human life itself becomes the ultimate commercial product, and the commercial sphere becomes the final arbiter of our personal and collective existence. o

Jeremy Rifkin is an author and a fellow at the Wharton School Executive Education Program. He is president of the Found- otion on Economic Trends in Washington. Excerpted from The Age of Access; The New Culture of Hypercapitalism Where All of Life Is a Paid-For Experience, to be published this month by Tarcher/Putnam.

Marmaduke Pickthall

May 9, 2006

 The translation duly appeared, in 1930, and was hailed by the Times Literary Supplement as ‘a great literary achievement.’ Avoiding both the Jacobean archaisms of Sale, and the baroque flourishes and expansions of Yusuf Ali (whose translation Pickthall regarded as too free), it was recognised as the best translation ever of the Book, and, indeed, as a monument in the history of translation. Unusually for a translation, it was further translated into several other languages, including Tagalog, Turkish and Portuguese.
In 1935 Pickthall left Hyderabad.

In 1935 Pickthall left Hyderabad. His school was flourishing, and he had forever to deny that he was the Fielding of E.M. Forster’s novel A Passage to India. (He knew Forster well, and the charge may not be without foundation.) He handed over Islamic Culture to the new editor, the Galician convert Muhammad Asad. He then returned to England, where he set up a new society for Islamic work, and delivered a series of lectures.
Despite this new activity, however, his health was failing, and he must have felt as Winstanley felt:

‘And here I end, having put my arm as far as my strength will go to advance righteousness.  I have writ, I have acted, I have peace: and now I must wait to see the Spirit do his own work in the hearts of others and whether England shall be the first land, or some other, wherein truth shall sit down in triumph.’ (Gerrard Winstanley, A New Year’s Gift for the Parliament and Army, 1650.)

He died in a cottage in the West Country on May 19 1936, of coronary thrombosis, and was laid to rest in the Muslim cemetery at Brookwood. After his death, his wife cleared his desk, where he had been revising his Madras lectures the night before he died, and she found that the last lines he had written were from the Qur’an:

‘Whosoever surrendereth his purpose to Allah, while doing good, his reward is with his Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them, neither shall they grieve.’

Marmaduke Pickthall; a brief biography, by Abd al Hakim Murad

From Sufis of Andalusia, by Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi

May 1, 2006

Beshara Publications
Extracts
Al-'Uryani, Abu Ya'qub, and Nunah Fatimah
From Sufis of Andalusia, by Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi

He was staunch in the religion of God and in all things blameless. Whenever I went to see him he would greet me with the words, 'Welcome to a filial son, [12] for all my children have betrayed me and spurned by blessings [13] except you who have always acknowledged and recognized them; God will not forget that.'

55: Nunah Fatimah Bint Ibn Al-Muthanna

She lived at Seville. When I met her she was in her nineties and only ate the scraps left by people at their doors. Although she was so old and ate so little, I was almost ashamed to look at her face when I sat with her, it was so rosy and soft. Her own special chapter of the Qur'an was 'The Opening'. She once said to me, "I was given The Opening and I can wield its power in any matter I wish."

I, together with two of my companions, built a hut of reeds for her to live in. She used to say, "Of those who come to see me, I admire none more than Ibn al-'Arabi." On being asked the reason for this she replied, "The rest of you come to me with part of yourselves, leaving the other part of you occupied with your other concerns, while Ibn al-'Arabi is a consolation to me, for he comes to me with all of himself. When he rises up it is with all of himself and when he sits it is with his whole self, leaving nothing of himself elsewhere. That is how it should be on the Way."

Although God offered to her His Kingdom, she refused, saying, "You are all, all else is inauspicious for me." Her devotion to God was profound. Looking at her in a purely superficial way one might have thought she was a simpleton, to which she would have replied that he who knows not his Lord is the real simpleton. She was indeed a mercy to the world

disclaimer: Perennial philosophy is not where we stand, hence the else of the website is disgarded by us. the only excellent book by them is The Sufis of Andalusia,