The Fountain Magazine The Fountain en (C) 2012 Hidden Oceans in Frozen Worlds - The Fountain Hidden Oceans in Frozen Worlds

Saxena P. et al. Relevance of tidal heating on large TNOs. Icarus, December 2017.

Searching for alien life, a new study from NASA suggests that some icy worlds in our outer solar system, including Pluto, Eris and other trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) may harbor liquid water oceans beneath the surface. These frigid worlds are too cold to have liquid water on their surfaces, where temperatures are usually below minus 200 degrees. But new evidence shows that there may have layers of liquid water beneath their icy crusts. Underground oceans have been previously suggested in a number of icy worlds such as the Saturn satellites Titan and Enceladus. It is considered that these subsurface oceans stay liquid as a result of a mechanism called "tidal heating." The powerful gravitational pull of these worlds' giant parent planets result in the stretch and flex of their interiors which heat up because of the friction. The NASA team used the equations for tidal heating and calculated its contribution to the “heat budget” for a wide variety of discovered and hypothetical TNO-moon systems. Their analyses revealed that tidal heating can be a tipping point that may have preserved oceans of liquid water beneath the surface of large TNOs like Pluto and Eris to the present day. Tidal heating is believed to be only a "tipping point" as there's another factor in play: the heat produced by the decay of the objects' radioactive elements. These subsurface oceans are potential reservoirs of water and life, which are two critical elements for extraterrestrial life. This study further supports the idea that our solar system may harbor many more potentially habitable worlds than previously thought.


Reading Aloud Boosts Memory

Noah D. et al. This time it’s personal: the memory benefit of hearing oneself. Memory, December 20...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 System Blindness and the Lifespan of a Society - The Fountain Question: It usually is inevitable to lose motivation in good works, which, like other things, may become ordinary and monotonous in time. Is this a consequence of system blindness? What can be done to prevent such blindness?

Answer: The credit for all of our achievements is first and foremost due to the Divine favors that shower abundantly over those who seriously endeavor for their lofty ideals. For these achievements, which are but the results of Divine favor, to continue, the sincerity of purpose and commitment to the core ideal of this issue must remain. We have no right to ignore these showers of blessings and lay a personal claim to the achievements, nor can we let the means replace the purpose; for then we will also fall like all previous societies did.

For a comparison, there are many who devote themselves to humanity and travel around the world for good work. Although they do not suffer for the good of humanity to the degree of forgetting their way home, their spouse’s face, or their children’s names, they are welcome in every land they go to, and receive appreciation for the services they fulfill. However, the endeavors they make in the places they go are becoming a means for good works with worldwide benefit. So, failing to recognize the Divine support, guardianship and protection behind all of these beautiful services, laying personal claim to them or thinking that what has come about as a result of Divine grace and favors will always continue, even without keeping up our spiritual state, is a serious kind of blindness.

Rising to an esteemed position, becoming institutionalized, or establishing a well-built system, might cause a person to become blind to the truth. In addition, people affected by such blindness might then fail a Divine test or fall for a Divine stratagem by laying personal claim to the graces granted by God. Thus, instead ...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 I See No Difference - Zuleyha B. Ozturk “I do not see color, or culture, or any sort of difference about anyone because that leads to discrimination; everyone is the same anyways.”
My ears picked up on this conversation right before a crowded organic chemistry lecture. Why students in the organic chemistry section ended up discussing deep ethics, embedded within the complexities of social diversity, is beyond me. Yet, this sentence lingered in my mind, and for longer than I would have anticipated. I wanted to stop the professor from speaking about aldehydes, and turn everyone’s attention to the sentence I’d heard. I had not seen the person who voiced this opinion; it was a faceless opinion. Yet the urge to address this mentality festered in my whole self, until I was able to let it cook for a while before writing about it.
Do not get me wrong. I am a supporter of equality, and an activist when it comes to human’s rights. If there is injustice or discrimination anywhere on this Earth, it eats away at my core until I let people know about it and can take action-based steps. However, equality does not equate to the sameness of all people. Ideally, it would be great if the human race believed in one set of morals, with one culture, and everyone was the same; or if no one saw the differences between each culture, race, religion, gender, etc.
Except, hold on a second: this would actually be agonizingly boring! This is the human race, and with it comes the complexities of identity and diversity.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, diversity has two definitions. One is “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.” The second is “the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.” Both definitions let us reach the conclusion that people are different. Depending on your location in the world, every...]]>
2016-10-20 08:00:00
Prejudice and Ways to Avoid It in Education - Esra Akdogan Prejudices are attitudes that may lead to the stereotyping of and discrimination against certain groups, usually minorities. Psychologists have conducted detailed studies on prejudice. In this article, we’ll approach prejudice, especially in education, from a psychological perspective.
What is psychological prejudice and discrimination? How does it occur? What factors are associated with it?

Prejudice involves, 1) a stereotypical idea that can be defined as an unfounded belief against a group of people; and 2) it is accompanied by strong emotions (Quillian, 2006).

In one of the first psychological studies of prejudice, Allport (1954) said prejudice is “incorrect or based on an inflexible generalization dislike.” Since Allport’s study, the psychological theories of bias have become more sophisticated. The name of the group being discriminated against, the words used against them, and the methods of discrimination may vary, but prejudicial attitudes are the common axis. The most common are nationalism, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Unfortunately, prejudice is deeply ingrained in humans. For example, the social perception of anger has been shown to lead to more stereotypes and prejudices (Bodenhausen, Sheppard & Kramer, 1994). Anger affects our ability to be rational. Irrationality provides fertile ground for the blossoming of prejudice.

Prejudices are used, in thoughts and behaviors, without realizing it. Most of the time we do not accept that we, ourselves, are prejudiced, even though it is likely we hold, consciously or not, some prejudiced ideas. Becoming conscious of our own prejudices is an important step towards eliminating them.

Among many possible sources of prejudice, the following come forward more prominently than others:

Prejudice is learned in childhood: Children often learn prejudice from their parents or other adults in their co...]]> 2018-01-05 08:01:52 Teenagers and Eating Disorders - Gunel Mehraliyeva “You look great. Have you lost weight?” Most of us enjoy such compliments. Our culture’s messages maintain the importance of being slim. Dieting, exercising, skipping meals, body dissatisfaction, and a desire to lose weight are the norm for 70 percent of teenagers (Siegel and et al. 5). When these problems become more serious, they can be classified an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are not problems with food. Eating problems start out when someone wishes to lose weight, and this wish turns into behavior that is out of control. An eating habit becomes an eating disorder when it satisfies the psychological need of that person. Eating disorders are a combination of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is a purposeful attempt to stop eating. Bulimia nervosa is eating a large amount of food in a short time and then making one’s self ill, “purging” one of the food they just ate. Binge-eating is using food to deal with emotional distress. Eating disorders can be symptoms of other psychological problems; a study in 2003 found that people with anorexia are 56 times more likely to comment suicide than people without anorexia (Polivy and Herman). Some teenagers develop eating disorders because of familial influences, psychosexual problems, or sociocultural factors.

Familial influences, such as using food as rewards, parental critical comments, and biological factors, can cause eating disorders in teenagers. Some problematic behaviors can seem innocent. For example, many parents use food to comfort their children after a stressful day. Food can act as a drug and calm a child’s anxiety (Siegel and et al. 32). In this case, the food may become a problem for teenagers who do not know how to deal with stress and painful feelings.

If over-indulgence is a problem, so is total prohibition. If parents try to limit their children&...]]> 2018-01-05 08:01:52 On Bodies - Justin Pahl 1.
Having a body is a strange thing – stranger, still, when you think about how rarely we consider our bodies and what goes on inside of them. When was the last time you stopped while taking the stairs two at a time and thought, How remarkable? When did you last give thanks for ease with which you sunk into a chair, or slung a bag over your shoulder? Like with many things, we tend to appreciate our bodies only when they break – forgetting, of course, that life itself is one long, gradual breaking.
On a cold, crisp, sun-kissed day last January, I went with two friends into the mountains outside my home, in Juneau, Alaska. The past week had brought rain in the city valley but snow up in the mountains – perfect conditions for skiing. Many of Juneau’s residents live for such weather: they suffer through long, mild winters when no snow falls just for these brief, glorious periods when the weather cooperates and the slopes are draped in soft, untouched powder.
Having grown up on the flatlands of the Midwest, skiing was still a curiosity to me. I’d only been a half dozen times – most recently on the gentle, eroded hills of the Poconos, in Central Pennsylvania. My knees still wobble when I pick up too much speed; my life still flashes before my eyes. But the speed is exhilarating. I love the way my eyes water in the cold, and the wind rushes over my ears.
I was excited to finally ski in Alaska, too. And throughout the morning, my excitement was justified. I picked my way down the mountain, falling occasionally, but generally avoiding disaster. By noon, I was ready to join my friends for some more difficult runs.
It was on one of these runs that my body broke – not seriously, mind you, but enough to recalibrate how I look at myself in the mirror; how casually I treat things like climbing the stairs or putting my shoes on.
We were going down a steep slope, part black diamond and pa...]]>
2011-07-04 05:32:23
Is There an American Muslim Song? - Zara Khan Islam in America presents a growing field of research for social scientists who explore Muslim societies and the contentions that arise around them, given the current political and cultural context in the United States. Only around 10% of the new immigrants to the US are Muslims; thus a great majority of those who subscribe to Islam are already the ones who have been here for generations. African American Muslims make up the largest percentage of Muslims in America (around 40%). Whether immigrants or indigenous, younger generations of Muslim communities in the US are facing challenges of identity formation, just like any other minority group, where values at home, especially as they are understood by earlier generations, do not always go hand in hand with the constantly transforming set of values that are imposed by the dominant culture outside the doorstep and in the palms of their very hands (i.e. personal devices and the universe of social media). With its capacity to nurture personal and communal identity, religion is an important dynamic in this equation in which habits, prejudices, dress codes, entertainment and many other social components have a major role to play.

With an inaugural conference titled “Islam in America: Civic and Religious Youth Identities” on October 21-22, 2017, Respect Graduate School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has made an important academic contribution to this field. Respect is an institution of higher education which grants Master’s degree in Islamic Studies. Founded in 2014, Respect has slowly grown indigenous roots in the Lehigh Valley’s various communities of faith and academic and artistic institutions. The vision with which Respect enthusiastically launched its Inaugural Academic Conference, “Islam in America: Civic and Religious Youth Identities,” was two-fold.

On the one hand, Respect aims to be an integrative learning platform for Isla...]]> 2018-01-05 08:01:51 Arteries and Veins – How and Why Are They Different? - Omer Yildiz The human body is an ideal example of the perfect harmony between structure and function; every part serves a purpose.

Arteries and veins differ in many ways, including diameter, strength, durability, and valves. Arteries have thick walls that can withstand high pressure. When the heart pumps blood, there is high pressure in the arteries, which we call blood pressure. High blood pressure is necessary for the heart to pump the blood to parts of the body, especially to the brain. In fact, in order to send enough blood to the brain, the sympathetic nerves press against the muscles around the walls of the arteries, by which the pressure is raised further and blood carried to every part of the body. The walls of arteries are thus created thick and strong so that they can resist such high pressure. When the system breaks down and the pressure is higher than necessary, the arteries may tear, resulting in bleeding in the brain, paralysis, or even death.

The walls of the veins, in contrast, are created thin. The arteries are vessels that feed us, while the veins shuttle used blood back to the heart. The arteries do not expand much, nor do they store much blood. No more than 15% of the blood in the body is found in the arteries.

The veins can expand due to their thin walls and store more blood. A total of 65% of the blood is found in the veins. While the arteries are equipped with features to function with little blood and high pressure, the veins are built to hold more blood, but at a lower pressure. The veins function as a blood tank that is tapped immediately in times of bleeding, especially to delay the death of the brain. In case of bleeding when the brain cannot get oxygen, the body declares a state of emergency. The sympathetic nerves convey messages to the arteries and veins. The muscles in the arteries constrict and stop unnecessary flow into organs and tissues other than the brain and the heart. ...]]>
2018-01-05 08:01:51
Stem Cell Treatments A Breakthrough in Medical Science - Rafiq Ebrahim There have been certain moments in human history that have stunned humanity and changed the way we thought. Some have even altered the very course of civilization. The late twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century have seen the realization of the fantastic dreams of scientists, researchers, and technological gurus. These dreams have changed how humans have lived and made us see and experience things we never believed to be possible. Humanity has crossed frontiers that were unknown before, enjoying the benefits of a myriad of advancements in technology. We have even found the cures for once incurable diseases.  

We have seen tremendous transformations in every field of human scientific study including artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, robots, animal cloning, computers, innovative internet devices, and thousands of other gadgets. Researchers and scientists constantly discover new technologies for the benefit of mankind. One of the most revolutionary breakthroughs has been the discovery and usage of stem cells.

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can be differentiated into specialized cells and can divide, through mitosis, to produce more stem cells. These new cells can be used to treat diseased human organs. They destroy the diseased cells and grow healthy cells within the organ until the organ becomes disease-free.

The discovery of stem cells
From 1961 to 1963, Doctor James Till and Doctor Ernest McCullach did pioneering research on hematopoietic (production of blood cells in the bone marrow) stem cells. Though they are called the discoverers of stem cells, some scientists are of the opinion that researchers were working on stem cells as early as 1918. Soon after Till and McCullach “discovered” stem cells, other scientists discovered ways to derive stem cells from mouse embryos. Scientists are now able...]]> 2014-03-14 00:00:00 Ghayba (Absence) - The Fountain Literally meaning disappearance and no longer being existent, ghayba (absence) denotes that the heart has cut its relationship with the corporeal world in order to give itself to exclusive devotion to God. Although derived from the word ghayb, which means being not present, ghayba (absence) signifies self-annihilation and no longer having a relationship with the surrounding world, despite being present.

Travelers to the Ultimate Truth experiencing absence no lon­ger have any interest in the laws that are in force in the life of existent beings and the conditions in which they find themselves. They have completely freed themselves from the states that belong to the carnal soul under the dazzling shower of the Divine gifts which have come uninterrupted to invade their hearts. In this state they are unaware of how and where they are or even of their own existence. Because of the intensity of the Divine manifesta­tions that they experience, they no longer can see although they look, they can no longer hear although they listen, and they are lost in feelings of wonder while thinking. For them, there is no difference between presence and absence. This can be partly explained by the analogy of the women who, when they saw Prophet Joseph, were so struck by his beauty that they cut their hands. Joseph’s beauty could only be a shadow of the shadow of the Divine Beauty, reflected from beyond many veils. If seeing Joseph’s face caused presence to change into some degree of absence, it does not require much explanation how the burning manifestations of the Divine Beauty can dazzle the eyes and bewilder minds.

Presence and absence change places, one turning into the other, only when initiates separate themselves from everything else other than the lights of His Essence. In this state, they feel and think of Him only and restrict their eyes to observing His manifestations exclusively. By so doing, t...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 Saadi Shirazi’s Influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson - Mubina Muftc “To Baron von Hammer Purgstall, who died in Vienna in 1856, we owe our best knowledge of the Persians,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson (d. 1882) in his essay “Persian Poetry.” Thus, it was an Austrian Orientalist who introduced Saadi (d. 1292) and his poetry to Emerson in the mid-1840s. Although Emerson read only a translation (which is inevitably deficient in comparison to the original), the intricate poetry of this 13th-century Persian became one of the major oriental influences on Emerson’s work.

Even though the dominant figure in “Persian Poetry” is Hafiz (Saadi is mentioned only once), Emerson showed quite clearly his admiration for Saadi in the Preface he wrote for the American edition of Gulistan (1865). In addition to this, he also wrote a poem entitled “Saadi” (1899) in which we can read the poetic similarities between Emerson and Saadi, or what was the distinguishing quality of the latter that proved such a powerful inspiration for Emerson.

Emerson seems to appreciate Saadi’s “wit, practical sense, and just moral judgments,” which are shown throughout his most famous work Gulistan, a collection of stories in prose and verse combined whereby each story appears to stand on its own; however, each chapter has its own topic, which also provides a connection between the given stories. In Sufi poetry, gul (or the rose) is one of the central motifs. Every rose represents the glory of God, and every rose is perfect in its own sense.

The stories are mostly comprised of Saadi’s personal experiences on his numerous travels,  and this is one of the aspects of Saadi’s poetry which could have been attractive to Emerson, especially because it is congruent with Emerson’s own ph...]]> 2017-01-06 11:20:00 Awesome Inspirations from SHARK SKIN - Adam Allison There are more than 500 species of sharks that have been identified. They can live both in the sea and in fresh water. According to the fossil records obtained to date, sharks have been around for about 400 million years. The average life span of sharks is 20-30 years, although there are species living up to 100 years. The whale shark (Rhincodon typus), which is not predatory and feeds on plankton, is the largest shark, with a length of 17-18 meters and a weight of approximately 36 tons. The white shark is the largest predatory shark, with a length reaching 6 meters. The egg of sharks is also a record holder: the size of the largest egg, found in 1953, was 30.5 centimeters, while the size of the embryo was measured at 35 centimeters. The smallest shark observed so far is only 14 centimeters long, and it was found on the shores of Louisiana in 2010.

Sharks are categorized in three groups according to their feeding style: those that feed on 1) plankton, 2) floating creatures, and 3) creatures on the sea floor. Although sharks are known as the best hunters in the sea, one out of two of their hunts ends with success. The prey is very unlikely to escape when caught by a shark.  The great white shark has about 300 sharp teeth that bite with a force predicted to be as powerful as 18,000 Newtons, whereas a human bite can be as much as 1,300 N. Sharks use a sonar system (sound waves) to locate prey.  The absence of swim bladders and the fact that their skeletons are cartilaginous rather than bony allow them to move quickly and swiftly underwater.  Sharks also have an acute sense of smell. Their nostrils are only for smelling, not for breathing. 

The unique design of their skin is part of what makes sharks such effective predators. In fact, suits made to imitate shark skin are banned at international swimming competitions. If you touch shark skin from front to back, it has a silky texture; but if you touch it from ...]]> 2016-10-20 08:00:00 In A Different Light - Lawrence Brazier Our cause is not the acceptance or rejection of religion, or the debate of Faith against Reason. We wish to make faith a matter of reason because, if the mystics are right, reason is not necessarily a matter of thought. We are concerned with the claim of the mystic, who would negate mood, which can be the enemy of objectivity. We must at least attempt to achieve the "other" state the mystics have told of, a state independent of mood or feeling or emotion, in which one "sees" with dispassion, but not coldly, for we agree with Jung who told us that coldness is also a passion. We wish to see things with objectivity, without self-applied coloring. We may consider, methinks wrongly, the mystic state to be something unrelated to logic or the empirical. On the other hand we may wish to consider the "state" a reality, perhaps the way to perceive reality. If we acknowledge the mystics’ claim, we are bound not to ignore it and are thus obliged to investigate it, perhaps for the same reason that Everest was climbed – simply because it is there. 

Our aim is not the application of a supposed objectivity, ours is the aim of first “being” objective. Our investigation should be undertaken empirically. It may be possible that reason will result from the empirical endeavor. A philosopher may first need to be in the right state for philosophy. Could this be the reason to be? If, as Goethe maintains in Faust, "...round and round we go, our teachers lead us by the nose" – could it be that both teacher and pupil haven't a hope of arriving at any verifiable answer? Must we unlearn rather than learn? We may well be concerned, here, with demystifying the mystic, which we hope will not irritate them. On the other hand, how could it?

We consider infinity. But we can’t define it. We are only able to use the word figuratively. Infinity is the stuff of the hypo...]]> 2014-06-06 08:55:33 Ethics: A Principle in Islamic Epistemology - Ali Gomaa Islam has been ordained for higher objectives designed to refine the conduct of those who endeavor to follow its guidance. The hope is to yield benefits both for society and individuals. These honorable objectives aim at providing safety and peace by ensuring the security of one’s life, freedom to practice one’s faith, right to obtain property and have a family, and safeguarding one’s intellect. 

God has prescribed us to act mercifully and charged us with the responsibility of getting to know one another and living together in peace so that religion is practiced for God alone, and no human is given authority over another. The purpose of this prescription is to ensure that everyone is free to practice their faith, is safe, doesn’t worry about their financial interactions, and can express one’s beliefs. In fact, all the rules, laws and regulations of Islam have actually been placed in order to secure, guarantee, and regulate these freedoms.

Community freedoms are different; some are shared by all, and some are agreed upon. While some are mutually inclusive, some might conflict or oppose the freedoms of others. By reminding of possible consequences and promises of rewards in the hereafter, Islam aims to prevent such conflicts by commanding virtue and prohibiting vice.

A truly free human being is one whose presence in a community is respected. A free individual can enjoy the opportunities of advancement and development, in realms both material and immaterial. Therefore, what befalls upon such a free person is to observe and respect the rights and freedoms of others and to defend these rights just like his own rights are defended. Free individuals seek equality.  

It is among one’s rights to discuss and debate with others regarding their thoughts and creeds; even to raise objections in light of one’s faith and creed. However, one is not allowed to cause any harm ...]]> 2018-01-05 08:01:50 Water Management and the Qur’an - Harun Avci Water is a unique blessing, given to all living beings. It needs to be used with balance, harmony, economy, and justice. Agriculture, industry, and ecology depend on our water sources. What happens in one country may affect another. The Nile river and its branches pass through nearly 10 countries. The Danube passes through 15. The pollution of water sources has a devastating impact on the entire ecosystem.

There are two essential problems around water sources: 1) the inability to meet the increasing need for water, and 2) pollution. Beginning in the mid-19th century, these problems grew in parallel with industrialization and an increase of urban populations. In time, nations started facing colossal problems concerning how to develop and manage their water sources.

The Dublin Statement
Particularly after the 1980s, worldwide water organizations as World Water Council and Global Water organization were founded to bring together state leaders, ministers, and scientists to seek solutions. Among these, the World Water Forum meetings were started in 1997, and the seventh was held in 2012, and the eighth one will be in Brazil, March 18-23, 2018.

Along with trying to find common, reasonable, and balanced ways for water management, these meetings sought to raise public attention to the issue of water conservation. One of the most important of such meetings was the United Nations Water and Environment Conference, held in Dublin, in 1992. The World Water Council and Global Water organization were founded thanks to this conference. The Dublin conference was organized to discuss the danger that if water sources were not managed wisely, human health, food safety, economic development and ecosystem would all be under risk.

In the conference, essential new approaches for utilizing, developing, and managing fresh water sources were demanded, and it was emphasized that these approaches must be supp...]]> 2003-11-12 10:13:24 Perhaps One Day We, Too, Will Be Revived - M. Fethullah Gulen In our gloomy lands, we have waited years for a breeze of revival, expecting the momentous sound of a resurrecting trumpet. Though we hope God will not make us wait any longer, we are determined to actively wait until the day we find our lost values. But I wonder, are we qualified for such an expectation? Is our spiritual enthusiasm high enough? And are we able to stand before God as duly required?

If not, obviously such a passive stance is everything but being in expectation. If the resurrection we are awaiting is a revival during which we become ourselves in our feelings, thoughts, spiritual lives, and lives of the heart – and there is no doubt that it is – then it is necessary to once more review our situation and our expectations. For according to the principle of causality, there is a proportional relationship between our current attitude, behavior, and our expectations.

This great expectation is not a task for the ignorant, those without ideals, those bereft of a cause, or those poor in wisdom. It is an ideal for those spirits who possess knowledge and wisdom and who are dedicated to the truth. If one day our ill-fated fortune is to change, it will change with God’s permission by the hands of these heroes, and anything other than God’s will is an unnecessary condition (shart al-adi). To date it has always happened like this – God knows best, after all, but it will be like this again, and attacks from both inside and outside will continue. Loyalty that is normally expected from friends will not be shown. Destruction will follow destruction. Our spiritual roots that make us who we are will constantly be harmed. Our hearts will long for love, and moans of death will be heard from all sides. But, despite all these negative things there will always be the vanguards of revival who will blow life in every direction.

Our society has suffered from many different ruptures and disintegra...]]> 2003-11-12 09:02:38 Is There an American Muslim Song? - The Fountain This question, posed by Dr. Ingrid Mattson during her address at the conference “Islam in America: Civic and Religious Youth Identities,” stresses the need for Islam to start feeling at home in the so-called “new world.” Despite its universal claim, many still view Islam as a religion of the Middle East, a faith presumed to be practiced only by Arabs. They view it as an alien phenomenon for Americans. These misperceptions do not reflect the truth for those who are more familiar with the facts about Islam’s history and demographics in America. Muslims have been a part of America for hundreds of years. Islam is not the only religion that originated in the Middle East, nor do Arabs consist of the great majority of Muslims, who live and practice their faith peacefully in the Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia – and, yes, the Americas. Yet, many feel American Muslims still need to form their identity. In this issue of The Fountain, Dr. Zara Khan, from Respect Graduate School in Pennsylvania, analyzes this issue and the conference where Dr. Mattson posed her question. Can American Muslims produce more holistic, nuanced, and embodied forms of celebration, culture, and sanctified expression? Can American Muslims generate cultural forms that give importance to music, joy, celebration, and community? Can they use the American land, language, experiences, and tradition to produce songs and rituals?

Another perspective about Islam comes to us from Cairo, one of the earliest centers of human civilization. Ali Gomaa, the former grand Mufti of Egypt, writes about the main principles of ethics Islam offers to mankind. While reading his essay, one cannot help but realize how the image of Islam that is often portrayed in the media is diametrically opposite the real Islam, which is based on freedom, security, and the protection of human rights. According to Ali Gomaa, for a perfect manifestation of religious life, the f...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 How to Face a Disaster? - The Fountain Hurricanes, tropical storms, earthquakes … More people are being affected by more natural disasters. But life’s challenges do not only come in the form of natural disasters – individuals have to face all sorts of disasters in their personal lives. Sometimes it’s the loss of a loved one or a job, a first gray hair, a failed class, getting passed over for a promotion. These challenges make up the theme of this year’s essay contest: How to Face a Disaster?

Tell us how you survive difficult times. Give us your best advice. Share your greatest life lesson. For details, go to our website:

As a highly competitive and commodified industry, sport is not only a weekend, sit-on-the-couch pastime, but is also a political arena where ideologies fight. The recent “take a knee” protest in the US is not a standalone incident. From the ancient Olympic Games to modern-day World Cups, sports have been a means of national pride, and the athletes are considered heroes. Their lifestyles, opinions, and choices are always newsworthy, even if these choices mainly relate to their home countries thousands of miles away.  

One striking recent case is that of Enes Kanter, NBA’s Turkish star, who is at odds with the current Turkish government. Kanter (25) has been an open critic of the government’s corruption. After the July 2016 coup attempt, he started speaking up even more loudly to protest the government’s persecution of tens of thousands of innocent citizens. Justin Pahl talked with Kanter on his life as a devout Muslim in the NBA and on his struggle as an advocate for the oppressed in his home country.

As a follow-up to the story of Abraham (pbuh) in the previous issue, here comes the story of Joseph (pbuh). Two authors, one Muslim and the other Christian, shares their respective scripture’...]]> 2003-11-12 10:03:42 “Pen” diagnoses cancer in 10 seconds - The Fountain Zhang J et al. Nondestructive tissue analysis for ex vivo and in vivo cancer diagnosis using a handheld mass spectrometry system. Science Translational Medicine, September 2017

A team of engineers and scientists has developed a “pen” that accurately identifies cancerous tissues during surgery within 10 seconds. This handheld instrument could one day be used by surgeons to quickly determine what tissue to cut and preserve. The instrument, called MasSpec Pen, was tested on tissue from 253 patients and found to distinguish between cancerous and healthy tissue with ~ 96 % accuracy. When a patient undergoes surgery to get rid of a tumor, a surgeon tries to remove all cancerous tissue while preserving the healthy tissue. Although maximizing cancer removal is critical to improving patient survival, removing too much healthy tissue can also have profound negative consequences for patients. For example, breast cancer patients could experience higher risk of painful side effects and nerve damage. Thyroid cancer patients could lose speech ability or the ability to regulate the body’s calcium levels in ways that are important for muscle and nerve function. The current technology is called frozen section analysis, and it takes 20-30 minutes for a pathologist to prepare and analyze the sample. Because the metabolites in rapidly dividing cancer and normal cells are so different, MasSpec Pen extracts molecules from the patient’s tissue with a tiny amount of water and then sends them through tubes to an instrument that can identify the molecular fingerprint of cancer. When the analysis is complete, the words “Normal” or “Cancer” automatically appears on a computer screen. For certain cancers, such as lung cancer, the name of a subtype can also be predicted. MasSpec Pen seems to be a big improvement on current methods, and the researchers hope to start testing it during oncologic surgeries in 2018.

2003-11-12 10:03:42
Why are yawns contagious? - The Fountain Brown BJ et al. A Neural Basis for Contagious Yawning. Current Biology, August 2017.

Why do we yawn if someone else does? Ecophenomena drives us to imitate other people's actions, but it's also found at excessive levels in neurodevelopment disorders such as Tourette’s, autism, and epilepsy, for which scientists have been intensely trying to find treatments. A new study suggests that the human propensity for contagious yawning is triggered involuntarily by primitive reflexes in the primary motor cortex, an area of the brain responsible for motor function. In the study, 36 adults who viewed video clips showing someone else yawning were asked to resist the act. Results showed that the ability to suppress a yawn after someone else does it is "limited" and becomes more difficult if someone tells a person not to do it. This study demonstrates that the “urge” is intensified by trying to stop yourself. Moreover, increasing brain excitability in test subjects using electrical stimulation was found to increase the propensity for contagious yawning. This experiment suggests that reduced excitability in Tourette’s might reduce the tics (repetitive involuntary movements) and vocalizations in affected individuals. Scientists are still puzzled by the reasons why we yawn when we're tired. For example, one theory suggests that we yawn when we lack oxygen or need to cool our brains. Another theory for the cause of contagious yawning is that it is linked with empathy for others, mimicry, and social bonding. But the evidence for these theories remains very weak, and more research is needed to understand the function and biology of yawning.

2003-11-12 10:03:42
Eat fat, live longer? - The Fountain Roberts MN et al. A Ketogenic Diet Extends Longevity and Healthspan in Adult Mice. Cell Metabolism, September 2017.

As more people live into their ’80s and ’90s, scientists focus more on the issues of healthy aging. A recent study proved controversial when it demonstrated that a high fat, or ketogenic, diet not only increases longevity but also improves physical strength and memory. In the study, scientists raised three groups of mice: a high-carb diet, a low carb/high-fat diet, and a ketogenic diet. Researchers found that not only did the ketogenic diet significantly increased the median life span of the mice but it also augmented memory capacity and motor function and reduced age-related markers of inflammation and tumor incidences. A 13% increase in median life span for mice corresponds to 7-10 years in humans. Importantly, it’s not simply an extension, but a higher quality of life, too. The ketogenic diet is basically an extreme version of a low-carb/high-fat diet, in which your carb intake must not exceed an equivalent of a single apple per day. A typical ketogenic diet includes seafood, low-carb vegetables, cheese, avocados, nuts, seeds, and beef and poultry. The ketogenic diet exploits the natural metabolic response: when mammals like humans or mice run out of glucose, a process called ketosis starts and the body starts to burn fat as a primary energy source. One important challenge of the "keto diet" is that it contains few vitamins or other vital nutrients, making dietary supplements necessary. Despite the exciting findings, nutritionists warn that our bodies can't run on fat alone and everything, including carbohydrates, should be eaten and enjoyed in moderation.

2003-11-12 10:03:42
Sincerity - M. Fethullah Gulen “Always intend to earn God’s good pleasure when performing your deeds, for God accepts deeds that are done purely for Himself.”[1]


How can we purely seek God’s good pleasure in our deeds and become conscious and attentive about this endeavor?

Answer: Real believers who truly love God, may His glory be exalted, need to seek God’s good pleasure in all of their attitudes and behaviors; they should take no notice of themselves, even for a moment; they should not say “I spoke, I did, I achieved…” and they should erase what they achieved even from their memories. If believers are to speak for the sake of expressing the truth, their words must definitely echo the voice of their hearts. When something is achieved in the end, they must not lay the slightest claim to it.

Lifeless words without a visa from the heart

A consciousness as mentioned above is not something that can be attained in just a moment, of course. A person must constantly train to efface oneself to the degree of saying, “I wonder whether I exist or not,” and attain a state of being oblivious of oneself in the long run. Otherwise, the effect of the good deeds realized will be restricted to a very narrow sphere, and will not become fruitful. Even if at first there is some activity, it will be temporary and the services carried out will not likely be lasting.

Today, preachers constantly make speeches in places of worship and on TV shows; they keep preaching on and on. In Muslim countries, call to prayer resonate all over the land. Recitations and supplications in mosques are performed in a way that was never as ceremonial, even in the time of the Prophet. However, these speeches and recitations do not affect the hear...]]> 2003-11-12 09:02:38 Enes Kanter - A Dervish in the NBA - Justin Pahl Enes Kanter is unique among American athletes. He is one of the few practicing Muslim players in the NBA, and in a league known for its political activism, Kanter is still one of the most outspoken players.

It wasn’t always that way. Born in Zurich to Turkish parents, Kanter spent most of his childhood in Van, a lakeside city in Eastern Turkey. He played basketball for Samanyolu College in Ankara before being signed by Fenerbahce, one of the “big three” teams in Istanbul. When he moved to the USA, he broke Nike Hoop Summit records for field goal attempts, field goals made, and points scored, topping Dirk Nowitzki’s 12-year-old record. After being drafted by the Utah Jazz with the third pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015, where he later re-signed. We had this interview with him before he was recently traded to the New York Knicks.

Were it not for the political situation back in Turkey, Kanter may have had a solid but quiet NBA career. But on the night of July 15, 2016, Turkey was rocked by an attempted coup. He is a vocal member of the Hizmet movement, one of the largest educational social movements in the world, and that originated in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan falsely blamed Mr. Fethullah Gülen, the Muslim cleric who inspired Hizmet, for the coup, and Kanter soon became persona non grata in his homeland. In May, when he was traveling to promote his Enes Kanter Light Foundation, which works primarily with children, he was denied entry into Romania. His passport had been canceled by the Turkish government, which claimed Kanter was a member of a terrorist organization.

Despite being labeled a terrorist by the Turkish government and being threatened with arrest if he returned to Turkey, Kanter has been unbowed in his criticisms of the Turkish government – and especially of P...]]> 2011-07-04 05:32:23 Wet Cupping Therapy - Prof. Omer Serranur Wet cupping (hijama) – an ancient practice – is a form of alternative medicine that might be effective at treating certain medical conditions.

It was not an extraordinary thing when Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, won six medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The weird thing was he had dark circles in his back, on the shoulders and legs. At first many thought it was some sort of a rash; later it was learned that they were the temporary scars of a cupping therapy.

Usually practiced as an ancient form of alternative medicine, and criticized by some scientists as pseudoscience, according to recent research, cupping may have possible useful effects in removing heavy metals from the body [1] and on cardiac rhythm in terms of heart rate variability (HRV) [2].

An earlier study [3] also showed that wet cupping significantly reduced infarction. According to this paper, wet cupping therapy could help with recovery from strokes. The researchers had caused a stroke by tying up certain veins and then performed cupping on the animals. At the end of the study they examined the muscle layer of the heart that experienced the stroke and found that there was a significant reduction and recession in the area where heart muscle cells had died after the stroke. Equally interesting was the finding that the heart rhythm of the animals recovered after cupping.

"A recent animal study investigated the effects of wet cupping on hemodynamic variables, cardiac arrhythmias, and infarct size after myocardial ischemic reperfusion injury in male rats. Its results show that cupping did not change baseline heart rate or mean arterial blood pressure. Ischemic reperfusion injury caused an infarct size of 50%, whereas dry cupping and single and repeated wet cupping significantly reduced infarct size to 28%, 35%, and 22% of the area at risk, respectively. The rate of ischemia-induced arrhythmias was significantly modified by wet cupping." [3]...]]> A Tale of Two Ends - Salma Hany Abdel Fattah My pen is heavy and my words are messy; is the world I know gone already? I miss the rhythm of listening to predictable news and the certainty of a life that was once secure. I miss staying up for no reason and feeling the weather change, declaring a new season.

What stories are still there to be told? Everything in my life is on hold. Tomorrow is a big promise to behold; I’d rather speak of how I feel extremely cold or how, in just a few months I became so old. How did my memories fade into complete despair? That is definitely not fair!

I fled home for no reason, except staying would put me in danger. My status is unknown and I have no right to use a phone. Who will I call? Nobody is left at home.

I have given up standing with high respect to peep behind people’s necks; I’d rather disappear before anyone notices that I am here. Will I cross the sea in hopes of a better tomorrow, so that I might be able to see? Or will I stay to struggle and get sympathy?

How did my heart become so bold? Is it because of my neighbor who died in a boat? Because of the bomb that smashed everything on the road? I wish this was a dream or just one more bad thought.

I did not want to interrupt other people’s daily lives. I did not seek to be a burden about which everyone would speak. I wanted to help those in need rather than becoming the one who needs help, indeed. I wanted to celebrate the ‘Eid’ and have a nice photo with my friend Saed.

I am left alone with nothing to say except that my heart still beats anyway. Should I give up on having a real life or should I continue to strive? What are my best options? To live in distortion? Why did my smile go away? Where are my friends? I still want to play. I begged my dear uncle to stay, but he left the other day. My rainbow’s colors have turned black and grey, but all I can do is continue to pray. My only hope left is my mom, who is still okay.

How Do Ants Find Their Way? - Fatih Bera Aslan Desert ants cover great distances in search of food, and yet they always manage to find their way home. How do such small creatures accomplish such a difficult feat?  

Imagine you are a desert ant. You get out of your nest to search for food in the white sands of Tunisia. You don't know where to find food and thus proceed randomly around the desert. Moving in a widening course away from your nest, you keep searching until you find food. Let us say that you do, eventually, find some food. Well, how will you return to the nest now?

In their observations, scientists noticed that ants do not follow the same long, meandering track they walked in search of food, but walk directly back to their nest. Given that ants do not have cell phones with navigation apps, how can an ant know the shortest way back to its nest? 

It is known that red forest ants leave chemical signs which serve as landmarks for them. These ants find their way home by leaving behind smells or visible signs as reminders of where they passed. In a desert, however, this sort of marking is nearly impossible. The structure of desert sands, and other circumstances, do not allow such chemical marks to survive. If such marks were left in the desert, the situation would resemble that of Hansel and Gretel, who saw that the breadcrumbs they had left behind were nowhere to be found. 

Accordingly, desert ants must be equipped with some other cognitive mechanism to help them get home. Black desert ants (Cataglyphis fortis) leave their nests and cross sands whose temperature reach 70 degrees Celsius. They can only remain on the hot sands and under the scorching sun for up to an hour. In short, they have to find their food within an hour and return to their nest – all without getting lost. If things go even a little wrong, it will cost their lives. 

Scientists conducted research on a colony of ants in the hot deserts of Tunisia. The first thing the re...]]> Joseph: Islamic and Christian Teachings from the “Best of Stories” (Part 2) - James Jackson What to learn from the story of Joseph: A Christian perspective

James Jackson

The Biblical accounts indicate that the name Joseph means, “The Lord will add” (Genesis 30:24). It was a very common name in Biblical times. Although there are many different Josephs mentioned in the Bible, there is one Joseph whose story stands out — that of the son of Jacob. Despite facing many difficult circumstances and evil people, Joseph remains true to God and generous to other people. As a result, God makes him extremely successful and uses him to save the whole Hebrew race.

Joseph is somewhat of an unusual figure in the Hebrew Bible. He is one of a few figures in which his story is told from birth to death (Genesis 37:1-44:9). Joseph is especially important because his relationship with God starts at an early age. From the beginning of his story, God seems especially interested in him and begins to communicate with him, by way of dreams, at a very early age. Joseph, for his part, believes, trusts, and has faith in his God.

As the story is told in the Hebrew Bible, as Joseph grows and develops from later adolescence to early adulthood and then to middle adulthood, he will face trials, tribulations, and, eventually, triumphs.

However, through it all, Joseph remains faithful, honest, and true to the principles established by God. Thus, he serves as an almost perfect role model for young – and old! – adults.

The story 

The story begins with Rachel, the mother of Joseph, who is unable to have children (Genesis 30:24). She is not a young woman, but she is of childbearing age. She herself serves as a role model, because in her hardship she turns to God for help. Joseph will be the eleventh son to Jacob. However, Joseph was special: he was the first born to Rachel. Then Rachel prays to have another son, “May the Lord add to me another son!” ...]]> Joseph: Islamic and Christian Teachings from the “Best of Stories” (Part 1) - Suleyman Cifci Joseph is one of the most important, revered figures in both Islam and Christianity. What lessons can be learned from the Qur’anic and Biblical accounts of his life? 

“When we are being told a story … [n]ot only are the language processing parts in our brain activatedbut any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.”


This comment on storytelling, by Leo Widrich, sets a useful framework as to why our kids love listening to stories before going to bed. It is also probably why Holy Scriptures present us with many stories from past nations and prophets. The story of Prophet Joseph is one such story. It’s one we learn from our early childhood years. Describing it as “the best of narratives,” the Qur’an has a full chapter dedicated to the story of this messenger of God, whose name is still one of the most popular names, with some linguistic variations, across the Abrahamic traditions. The following article details how this story is told in the Islamic and Christian traditions, and what moral lessons, especially on abuse of power, can be drawn from it.


Both the Bible and the Qur’an narrate the story of Joseph extensively. While the story in the Bible is in the Book of Genesis, the Qur’anic account is in the chapter of Yusuf. It is an exception in the Qur’an: while the different aspects of the stories of other Prophets are told in more than one chapter, the entire story of Joseph is told in a single chapter.



What to learn from the story of Joseph: A Muslim perspective 

Suleyman Cifci

Though both the Biblical and Qur’anic accounts agree on much of the core elements, there are minor differences in the details. Joseph is one ...]]> Istighraq (Immersion) - M. Fethullah Gulen Literally meaning absorption, diving into, becoming deeply involved in, istighraq (immersion) denotes transportation by joy, oblivion of the world, the cleansing of the heart from worldly worries enabling one to turn to God wholeheartedly, and, in consequence, going into such deep ecstasies that one becomes unaware of even oneself and one is filled with wonder. Those who have acquired love and friendship of God and who have been honored with His special nearness and compliments, travel between love and witnessing the truths that pertain to Him. They throw away whatever exists in their hearts other than Him, fixing their eyes on Him only, becoming absorbed in the observation of His beauties.

Initiates in this state, with the inner perceptions and feelings that come from self-annihilation in God, see everything annihilated in God also. Those who are enraptured with the pleasure arising from such a state cannot help but utter sayings such as “I am the Truth!” or “Glory be to me, how exalted my being is!” Although such sayings issue from mouths under the influence of the spiritual state and pleasure that pervades the being, they have sometimes been taken to be true. It sometimes occurs that initiates cannot distinguish between what is substantial and what is apparent and, confusing their drop-like being with the infinite ocean of Divine Existence, utter unbecoming words of pride that are incompatible with the rules of Shari‘a and irreconcilable with the self-possession that one must have before God. Even if every initiate cannot experience such a depth of self-annihilation and the pleasure that issues from it, most of them feel and experience this state. Some of them are regarded as being directly taught by a great saint who already died or even the Prophet, without needing another teacher or guide; this is called “the way of Uwaysu’l-Qarani.”Impacts of Excessive Social Media Use on Our Psychology and Facebook as an Exemplary Case

Social media has become an important part of our lives. It has led a communication revolution, making it far easier for large, diverse groups of people to communicate. However, social media has also brought about many complications and psychological side-effects.


Facebook was the first big social media site. It’s been followed by Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and so on. There are more than 60 social media platforms today, and all have added different layers and functions to our social media interactions.


Although other platforms have reached hundreds of millions of users, Facebook is the most popular: it is closing in on 2 billion users, as of 2017. In 2012, researchers in Norway published a psychological scale to measure Facebook addiction, and their findings confirm that social networking is a “modern” addiction. Here, I will focus on the case of Facebook and I want to examine the psychological consequences and implications of extensive social media use.


Facebook is the largest online entity with the capacity to have direct access to the most extensive and in-depth information about its members. Imagine a state that has the capacity to know what an ordinary person ate on a certain day; with whom he or she has recently become friends; what his or her likes and dislikes are; and what his or her views are on a wide spectrum of issues. A state with that much knowledge would be terrifying.


With the degree and content of data that Facebook has access to, it is awfully similar to this theoretical authoritarian “state.” Through a systematic analysis of this large amount of data,...]]> Early Islamic Culinary Art - Lawrence Brazier How do we alleviate the harshness of our daily routine? One may contend that the true purpose of art is to offer readers, viewers, and listeners the opportunity to forget themselves, which means a quietening of the mind, perhaps even permitting wonder to arise. This is what true artists, creating from their souls, give us.

In this same spirit, here is a work for lovers of books, fine art – and food! Early Islamic Art – based on Prophetic traditions – is a joy to have and behold.

M. Omur Akkor is a practiced chef and author of note. His books on the culinary traditions within the Islamic canon have been deservedly honored with a number of awards.

The recipes in this book are often astonishingly simple, yet they manage to be magnificent. They’re accentuated by dazzling color illustrations throughout the 277 pages of the book. As a writer and ceramist, and also as one who appreciates alleviation from the self, something affirming arose from my soul when this book fell to my hand. 

Together with the food, shown here in gorgeous color, there are full-page photographs of early Islamic ceramic table wares. The designs and patterns, often decorated with marvelously stylized calligraphy of the plates, bowls, and dishes, are purely within the tradition. There are two pictures, among many others, of 10th-century dishes from East Persia that are breathtaking in their simplicity and effect. In the preface it is noted that all the plates presented in the book “have been selected after two years of research from the collections of museums within the Islamic geography and belong to the era between the 6th and 12th centuries. The selected plates were specially made for this book in the workshop of Frig Ceramic within a two-year time span.”

We are offered texts pertinent to early Islamic culinary culture, as well as descriptions of kitchen utensils and foods mentioned in the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions. T...]]> 2014-06-06 08:55:33 Animals That Sense Earthquakes - Atif Yorulmaz In 1975, Chinese scientists successfully predicted a major earthquake. How did they do it? By paying attention to animal behavior. Might careful observation of animals be the key to predicting future quakes?

Certain phenomena can be known after deliberation, as they occur within the limits of our current knowledge. Other phenomena may be known eventually, although we cannot yet penetrate them with our present knowledge and technology. Certain things can be known partially by employing guesswork about, say, the parameters that impact changing climate and environmental conditions. Other phenomena, such as the blossoming of trees or predicting the route of a hurricane using satellite photographs, can be predicted with great precision. However, there are still many other things that we cannot predict precisely. Earthquake is one of them.

It is not difficult to predict the possibility of a future earthquake, which can be done by measuring the stress and plasticity of rocks or monitoring micromovements in faults. In countries located between active tectonic continental plates, an earthquake might strike at any moment – yet it is impossible to say when and where. Although it is possible to measure stress, pressure, and vibrations using devices like seismographs, it is not possible to predict which plate will break when and with what force. We may not know when it will strike, but still we can be prepared for it and minimize the destruction. Erecting high-rise buildings on a ground which is not solid enough and with insufficient construction techniques is certainly not a good preparation for earthquakes.

Although humans cannot predict earthquakes in advance, there has been an increase in the number of laboratory studies into animals predicting earthquakes. This isn’t a new phenomenon: former generations are known to have made extensive observations about the matter, yet none were presented as scientific evidence...]]> 2017-06-06 07:04:37 Globalized Islam and the Muslims in the West - Al Strong All immigrants face challenges in their new countries. For Muslim immigrants or their offspring in the West, these challenges are heightened. How can Muslims successfully integrate without losing their rich, unique religious heritage? 

We are living in a globalized world. Different communities live side by side more than any other time in history. The transition comes with many challenges such as language barrier, culture shock, differences in work, family ethics, and religious traditions. The experience of the Muslim communities living in the West offers many case studies for those who research globalization and its effects on the host countries as well as the new comers. While some Muslim groups live in isolated towns, some groups try to develop projects to be an active part of the society. While some host countries have passed harsher regulations that lead to alienation of Muslims, others have been able to develop a smoother transition through more integrative policies. On the other hand, radicalization of marginalized Muslim youth presents a challenge to all the host countries. Hence, concepts like European Islam or Globalized Islam are here with us which need to be explored.

According to Roy (2004, xi), “[g]lobalised Islam refers to the way in which the relationship of Muslims to Islam is reshaped by globalization, westernization, and the impact of living as a minority.” Roy (2004) defines global Muslims as those who have either settled in the West permanently or are trying to distance themselves from a local version of Islam by identifying with the worldwide Muslim community (the Ummah).

In studying Muslims in the West, one must take into account “the instances and places of reciprocal [historical] influence between the cultural constructs of the European and Muslim worlds” and the transcultural space created by this mutual influence in “the context of globalization, characterized by th...]]> The Heart and the Miraculous Blood Flow in Our Body - Prof. Omer Serranur One of my patients came one day with her daughter and complained about her being too weak to do anything. The child looked very thin. After our checks, she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and had surgery. She recovered. Her immobility, which had seemed to be laziness, was because her blood did not flow properly to her organs. 

Our circulatory system is how blood reaches our organs and muscles. The necessary blood flow for each organ is precisely adjusted to its needs. Failure in the proper flow of blood may cause many problems in our health and worsen the conditions of our overall wellbeing. The brain and heart are vitally important for our body, so the design of their mechanisms feature even more complexity than any other organ. For example, when you try to solve a difficult mathematical problem, the problem-solving area of the brain starts to work immediately. We can understand this by using fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) films. Using fMRI, it is possible to see where ctivity increases in the brain. As activity increases, so, too, does blood flow to that part of the brain. Conversely, when we are asleep, brain blood flow significantly decreases. 

At rest, the amount of blood that goes to our muscles is around 1.2 liters per minute. Certain muscles can receive up to 20 times as much during intense sports activity. While doing sports, the organs of the abdomen, the kidneys, and the skin rest, allowing more blood to flow to the muscles, thus reducing the amount of blood they use. While exercising, the amount of blood pumped by the heart, to compensate for the excess blood needed by the muscles, is tripled. 

The heart is equipped with mechanisms that can adjust the amount of blood pumped according to the working quantities of the organs – and therefore, their blood needs. This is a complete automatic arrangement; it requires no thought or awareness from us.

If the heart cannot pump enough blood, it is c...]]> Souls Devoted to the Path of Truth - M. Fethullah Gulen Devoting oneself to communicating the truth is an expression of humanity’s privilege of having “the perfect pattern” in creation; it is an unparalleled rank for those who can attain it. There are devotees who take every opportunity to speak of God and to endear Him to others. They work hard to open the doors of people’s hearts to God and to His Beloved Messenger, peace be upon him, who is a trustworthy avenue to attaining the Divine. He is an avenue, but as worthy as a destination. These devotees may not be aware of it, but they are being, and will be, applauded by the denizens of the celestial abodes.

The travelers on this path endear their beloved to those they reach through the tongues of disposition and representation, their most powerful arguments. They always inhale the truth and spread it wherever they go. Hence, they attain Divine love, stage by stage. They constantly repeat the statement of the Prophet, the Master of Discourse: “Endear God to His servants, so that God may love you too!” They travel to the farthest corners of the globe, carrying “talk of the Beloved” on their lips. This is a Divine rejoinder, as vast as oceans, that rewards drop-like kindness. The expression “worth the world” fails to state it befittingly.

Being under the tutelage of the Prophet and following his footsteps is one of foremost ways and means that lead a person to endear the Almighty. All who know and accept Him and enter His spiritual atmosphere are saved from inattentiveness as far as they internalize and live according to His light-diffusing scriptures, which are messages coming from His attribute of speech. Hence, they start seeing everything through the lens of insight. While their eyes watch the signs in the temple of the universe, their ears effervesce with zeal when they hear the miraculous word of God reciting the laws of creation in the huge sanctuary of events. T...]]> 2003-11-12 09:02:38 Hizmet Is a True Embodiment of the Islamic Ideals of Love and Service to the Other - Ahmed Rehab I have seen many un-Islamic cults play out in the word today: ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabab. Hizmet is not an un-Islamic cult. From my interaction with the volunteers, it is anything but.

The Islamic intellectual, the honorable Fethullah Gülen, is one of the distinguished scholars of our century. He is one of Allah’s blessings for us. When we look at his personal life, his social life, and his services to the Islamic world, we only see his good deeds. With his notion of service, which hasn’t only been restricted to the Islamic world but has spread to 160 countries, Mr. Gülen has had an extraordinarily positive impact.

We’ve read Mr. Gülen’s books and have gotten to know him through his friends and his followers. As opposed to what some people keep repeating, we have not seen anything even hinting at terrorism in any part of his life.

This man lives a life – alhamdulillah - in close connection with Allah, which leads to a reconciliation with the hearts of the people surrounding him.
Hizmet Embraces the Entire Human Family - Imam Omar Shakir I'm saddened to hear that the Hizmet Movement here is being categorized as a terror group. 

I've been working with them now for the past eight years. I've had an opportunity to work closely with them and to travel with them overseas, and I see no foundation for this. 

As a matter of fact, when I look at their zeal and their enthusiasm for the religion, and I look at how they practice the Qur'an and the life example of Muhammad the Prophet (upon him be peace), I'm inspired by what they do. 

And they not only focus and center upon Muslims, they have great relationships with the non-Muslim community. And I would consider them to be like ambassadors for Islam. 

They share Ramadan, they share neighborly needs, etc.

Muhammad the Prophet (upon him be peace) said he was one time talking with one of his companions, and he asked them if he knew one of the brothers. And then, he said, “Yes, I know so and so.”


And then the Prophet (upon h...]]> "Ours Is Not a Caravan of Despair" - The Hizmet Movement of Fethullah Gülen and the Common Good – A Perspective from the UK - Ian Williams The Hizmet (service, in Turkish) movement associated with the Turkish teacher Fethullah Gülen [b. 1941] is part of the emerging “European Islam” which has its own diversity in the expression of Turkish-Muslim identity.  The movement is active globally in education, media, inter-religious dialogue, finance, and relief work. In Britain, Hizmet has been particularly active in education and interfaith dialogue, and has made a significant contribution to the common good over the past twenty years. Hizmet is a living expression of Mevlana Rumi’s assertion that faith in the One God is far from being “… a Caravan of Despair” (Citlak & Bingul 2004, 8).

This article is being written at a time of national stress in the UK and Turkey. In the latter, following the July, 2016, coup attempt, Hizmet followers have faced extraordinary pressure, most of it illegal, from the ruling AKP government. Without providing any evidence, the government has claimed Hizmet – a hitherto benign, pro-social, pro-democratic, and apolitical movement – plotted and carried out the coup attempt. Thousands of citizens suspected of association with the Hizmet movement have been imprisoned, exiled, or dismissed from their professions by the AKP government. A critical analysis of such hostility is essential.