: Rom Landau

16-09-2012, 06:24 AM
Rom Landau (18991974) He was born in Poland but later became a British citizen whilst serving as a volunteer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War (19391941) and was subsequently a member of the Arab Committee of the Intelligence Department of the British Foreign Office (19411945). He was appointed a lecturer of Morocco in the Universities of Columbia, Princeton, Bale and other American Universities from 1952-1957. He was a sculptor, author, educator, Foreign Service officer and specialist on Arab and Islamic culture. His particular area of interest was Morocco and he first visited it in 1924. From that time he became a student of Islamic culture. Landau taught himself Arabic and spent as much time as he could afford living and traveling in North Africa and the Middle East. Following a lecture tour to the United States (19521953), Landau was settled in San Francisco where he was employed by Alan Watts' American Academy of Asian Studies. The Academy soon affiliated itself with the University of the Pacific (United States), Stockton, CA (1954) and Landau subsequently became a professor of Islamic Studies at the university (19561968).
His writings include: Minos the Incorruptible (1925); Pilsudski: Hero of Poland (Biography) (1929); Paderewski (Biography) (1934); God is My Adventure (1935); Seven: An Essay in Confession (Autobiography) (1936); They Kingdom Come: Twelve Chapters on the Attainment of Truthful Living (1937); Arm the Apostles (1938); Search for Tomorrow (1938); Love for a Country (1940); Of No Importance: A Diary of a Private Life (1940); Hitlers Paradise (1941); We Have Seen Evil: A Background to War (1941); The Fools Progress: Aspects of British Civilization in Action (1942); Islam Today (with Prof. A. J. Arberry) (1943); Letter to Andrew (1943); The Brother Vane (Fiction) (1944); The Wing: Confessions of an R.A.F. Officer (Autobiography) (1945); Sex, Life and Faith, a Modern Philosophy of Sex (1946); The Merry Oasis and Other Stories (Fiction) (1947); Human Relations (1948); Odysseus (Fiction) (1948); Personalia (1949); Invitation to Morocco (1950); The Beauty of Morocco (1951); The Sultan of Morocco (1951); Moroccan Journal (1952); Portrait of Tangier (1952); Among the Americans (1953); France and the Arabs (1953); The Arabesque: the Abstract Art of Islam (1955); The Moroccan Drama 19001955 (1956); King Mohammed V (Biography) (1957); Arab Contribution to Civilization (1958); Islam and the Arabs (1958); The Philosophy of ibn Arabi (1959); Hassan II: King of Morocco (Biography) (1962); The Arab Heritage of Western Civilization (1962); History of Morocco in the Twentieth Century (1963); Morocco (1967); and Kasbas of Southern Morocco (1969).

From Islam and the Arabs:
In one blow
Much of the power of Islam may be found in this simple yet vital creed that, in one blow, cuts away the dead wood of idolatry and affirms the unity of God. The grip that this short statement has on a Muslim is shown in the many ways it is included in daily conversation and devotion. Islam is essentially practical. The regulations laid down in the Qur'an are not inflexible but have been modified as circumstances necessitated. This policy is supported by many Muslims when they quote the Qur'anic statement that God wishes to make things easy for man. The Muslim finds it possible to fulfill the dictates of his religion and thus gain security and peace of mind. The Muslim can attain the ideal of his religion here on earth. A religion that is uncompromisingly monotheistic yet realistic and all-embracing.[1] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn1)
The Qur'an is Arabic
Because the job of translating the Qur'an in all of its rhythmic power into another language requires the service of one who is a poet as well as a scholar, not until recently has there been a good rendering that has captured anything of the spirit of Muhammads revelation. Many of the early translators were not only unable to retain the beauty of the Arabic but were also so filled with prejudices against Islam that their translations suffered from bias. However, even the best possible interpretation of the Qur'an in a written form is not able to retain the compelling cadence of the srahs as they are chanted by Muslims. It is only when the Westerner hears portions of the Qur'an recited in its original language that he comes to appreciate something of the grandeur and power of its words.[2] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn2)
No distortion
The first document of prose literature was the Qur'an itself. When there were signs that the number of reciters or of those who knew best the sayings of the Prophet was dangerously diminishing, it became the task of Muhammad's secretary, Zayd ibn Thbit, to bring these sayings together in textual form. Abu Bakr had directed the work and, later, after a revision at the command of Uthmn, the Qur'an took its standard and final form that has come down to us unchanged.[3] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn3)

And We have rehearsed it to you in slow, well-arranged stages to be recited with measured recitation
The older or short srahs were revealed in Makkah before the Hegira and the newer or long srahs belong to the Madnah period. The short ones seem far more inspirational than the long as their sentences have a rhythmic connection even though there is no regular meter. To hear the srahs recited in the original Arabic often produces something akin to a spellbinding or hypnosis effect. the Koran was intended to be recited aloud, and it must be heard to be judged fairly and to be appreciated. As the actual word of God, it was beyond imitationthere simply was nothing like it.[4] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn4)
We must fail
Western civilization from philosophy and mathematics to medicine and agriculture owes so much to that (Islamic) civilization that, unless we have some knowledge of the latter, we must fail to comprehend the former.[5] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn5)
Science and religion
Islamic science, as we have seen, never separated itself from religion. In fact, religion provided its chief driving force and inspiration. In Islam, both philosophy and science came into existence not to supplant the 'primitive' theism of religion, but to explain it intellectually, prove and glorify it. It is thus not surprising that Islamic science never became dehumanized as it did in the West but always was at the service of man. Likewise, while Western science, at a comparatively early age, was forced into specialization, each of its branches functioning more or less in isolation, Islamic science remained universalist and striving towards unity, a unity in which not only the physical universe but both God and man played their decisive parts. Nevertheless, the historical fact remains that, for half a millennium, the Muslims succeeded in making decisive advances in the various sciences without turning their backs on religion and its truths and found the fusion quickening rather than frustrating.[6] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn6)
Religion is an incentive for science
In Islam, religion and science did not go their separate ways. In fact, the former provided one of the main incentives for the latter.[7] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn7)
They were thimmis
Unlike the Christian Empire which sought to enforce religion uniformly on all its citizens, the Arabs recognized and accepted religious minorities. Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians were known as thimmis, or protected peoples. Their freedom of worship was assured by the jizya, a capitation tax which later became a tax paid in lieu of military service. This tax, in addition to the Gharaj or land tax, were both still far lower than the taxes levied under Byzantine rule. Each of the religious sects was treated as a milet, that is, as a semi-autonomous community within the state. Each milet was under its religious leader who, in turn, was responsible for its behavior to the Arab government.[8] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn8)
Muhammad, the Messenger of God
Muhammad was religious by nature and evidently predisposed to the message of reform that he received in his visions. In addition to his spiritual nature he was essentially a practical man who knew the weaknesses and strengths of the Arab character. He also realized that the necessary reforms would have to be taught gradually to both undisciplined bedouins and pagan townsmen. At the same time, he had an uncompromising faith in the concept of one God an idea that was not entirely new in Arabia and an unflinching determination to eradicate every vestige of idolatry that was rife among the pagan Arabs.[9] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftn9)

[1] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref1)Rom Landau, Islam and the Arabs, 33-35, 141.

[2] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref2)Ibid. 24-25.

[3] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref3)Ibid. 199.

[4] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref4)Ibid. 199-200.

[5] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref5)Ibid. 7.

[6] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref6) Ibid. 187-188.

[7] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref7)Ibid. 164-165.

[8] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref8) Ibid. 79-80.

[9] (http://islamstory.com/en/node/36656#_ftnref9) Ibid. 22.