Translation of the Manual of Islamic Sacred Law

English translations of religious and other texts commonly exclude sections in the original language that might be offensive to Western readers. Understandable as this is, such omissions hide important material needed to understand the author’s work, and each other. 

Reliance of the Traveler is the classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d 1368 AD). For those of us who do not know Arabic, Nuh Ha Mim Keller provided a revised edition which shows Arabic and English in parallel (Amana publications 1991).  It is an essential resource for people studying Islam and is an important part of the Shariah, including the Quran and the Hadiths (the words and example of Mohammad). According to Wikipedia, many countries in the world use at least part of the Shariah in their legal system, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gaza Strip, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, West Bank, and Yemen.  Organizations such as the Islamic State (ISIS) base their law on a strict fundamentalist version of Shariah, and there are strong movements to implement Shariah in the rest of the world, including the West.

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The Year in Disaster and Emergency History

16 Jan – In the Marcellus Flood, also known as the Grote Mandrenke (“great drowning”), up to 100,000 people died across the British Isles, the Netherlands, northern Germany, and Denmark (1362).

17 Jan – Kobe, Japan was demolished by a 7.2 (Richter scale) magnitude earthquake, resulting in almost 7000 deaths and 300,000 people left homeless (1996).

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Hellenization After Alexander – What was it, and Why Did it Matter?

When conquerors want to subdue a foe, they crush their armies. If they want to rule a conquered land, however, they must displace the culture of that land. Alexander the Great knew this, and as he wanted an empire that would outlive him, he needed to displace conquered cultures with his own. This was especially urgent to him due to the diversity of his empire, including Assyrians, Jews, Egyptians, Persians, Parthians, Armenians, and a host of others. Hellenism is Greek culture, and is the primary weapon, even more than his armies, that Alexander used to influence Middle Eastern and European history for millennia.

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