Nawawi Foundation Papers
Read, download or purchase Dr. Umar's published works below.
mercy, the stamp of creation
This paper examines the role of mercy in the Islamic tradition and eternal salvation, and its imprint on all affairs of the universe. Although Islam is often proclaimed as the ‘religion of peace,’ theologically, it is more accurate to refer to it as the ‘religion of mercy.’
one god, many names
This paper addresses the primordial origin of the divine names of God in order to establish the equivalency of the Biblical ‘God’ to Islam’s ‘Allah’ and the need for American Muslims to embrace both.
Islam and the cultural imperative
This article addresses the fundamental need for American Muslims – among the most promising, wealthiest and educated Muslim minorities in history – to consciously establish a new, unique cultural identity. To lay down roots and survive, Islam must reflect the good in America’s diverse races and ethnicities.
Innovation & Creativity in Islam
This article examines two fundamental concepts essential to the dynamic application of Islam: bid‘a (innovation) and ijtihad (critical thinking for solutions to new problems). Both concepts are meant to preserve continuity with Islam’s original sources while renewing the religion’s vitality as a dynamic faith.
seek knowledge in china
This paper casts light on Islam’s long history in China and the cultural genius of its indigenous Muslims, who fashioned a way of life that preserved their Islamic identity, while making them active participants in the highly developed non-Muslim civilization around them.
Turks, Moors, & Moriscos in Early America
This paper focuses on the first British colony in the New World, the so-called “lost colony” of Roanoke (1585-1590). Roanoke was established for the primary purpose of attacking Spanish ships bearing large amounts of gold and silver from Spain’s American colonies to imperial Spain, which, at the time, constituted England’s primary military, political, and religious rival.
Malik and Medina
Malik and Medina constitutes a comparative study of early Islamic legal reasoning and provides a broad survey of law in the formative period as reflected in Medina as well as in other centers of early Islamic legal thought such as Kufa, Basra, Mecca, and Syria. This book studies the legal reasoning of Malik ibn Anas. It emphasizes that the Sunni schools of law emerged during the formative period as independent legal methodologies.
A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb
In this first-ever biography of Webb, Umar F. Abd-Allah examines Webb's life and uses it as a window through which to explore the early history of Islam in America. Except for his adopted faith, every aspect of Webb's life was, as Abd-Allah shows, quintessentially characteristic of his place and time. It was because he was so typically American that he was able to serve as Islam's ambassador to America (and vice versa). As America's Muslim community grows and becomes more visible, Webb's life and the virtues he championed - pluralism, liberalism, universal humanity, and a sense of civic and political responsibility - exemplify what it means to be an American Muslim.
Al-Iman Fitra: A Study of Primordial Faith in the Qur’an and Sunna
The understanding of this primordial nature in Islam is broad, and the book undertakes to elucidate that. But special focus is given in particular to primordial faith, with respect to its being—in light of the Qur’an and the Sunna—a primordial nature implanted in all of humanity. The book’s discussions then transition from primordial nature in the Book and the Sunna to an investigation of the phenomenon of faith in ‘primitive’ and ‘civilized’ sects and creeds, ancient and modern, in order to compare what is affirmed about primordial faith in Islam with what other peoples’ experiences have borne witness to. The book occasionally takes up the phenomena of faith rejection, such as the positions of the disbelievers among the ancient Indians, Chinese, and Greeks, and the schools of scepticism and atheism in the modern era.