The Spiritual Crisis of Man and Nature

A Book Review of Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man by Seyyed Hossein Nasr It is often said that the first step to quitting a personal addiction is to acknowledge that one has an addiction. The corporations in charge of our carbon-based global economy are fixated on drilling and guzzling away the Earth’s natural resources in direct defiance to the Quranic verse … Continue reading The Spiritual Crisis of Man and Nature

Mughal India: The Role of Law in Life

The Shari’ah is best distinguished from Islamic law. Islamic law, usul-al-fiqh, consists of four separate sources: the Qur’an, Hadith, the consensus of the Islamic community and analogical reasoning. The Arabic linguistic definition of Shari’ah is the “path” to water. Shari’ah is the immutable divine will of God and a comprehensive metaphysical philosophy to Muslims, while fiqh is a tool that Islamic jurists have utilised to … Continue reading Mughal India: The Role of Law in Life

Parallelizing the Past to the Present

A Book Review of My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk In his book My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk tells a story of miniaturists in sixteenth century Istanbul that provokes reflection on contemporary events in the world. [1] While the connection between the ideologies in the 16th and 20th/21st centuries are implicit, Pamuk’s book offers a metaphoric reading on political, cultural, social, and religious … Continue reading Parallelizing the Past to the Present

Fitrah in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Monty Python is hardly the place for great philosophical epiphanies, but sometimes inspiration can be found in the strangest of places. In a particularly humorous sketch of Michael Palin’s character, a spectacled and rather drab accountant comes to ask John Cleese’s character for career advice. Palin’s character is told, after a careful analysis of his personality based on an aptitude test, that the best career … Continue reading Fitrah in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

Reviving Writing

This article is a follow-up to the previous week’s piece “The Lost Art of Writing”. The Print Culture and Dar al Islam A brief gloss on print culture would be instructive in understanding the historical relationship between oral cultures and the written word. The Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan’s  (1911 – 1980) The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962)—a study of “print culture” in pre-modern Europe through Gutenberg’s innovations— … Continue reading Reviving Writing

The Lost Art of Writing

Read, O Prophet, in the Name of your Lord Who created— created humans from a clinging clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who taught by the pen— taught humanity what they knew not. Qur’an 96:1-5 [Dr. Mustafa Khattab translation] The qualitative weightiness of the pen (qalam) is measured by the fact that it has been worded in the first verses revealed to … Continue reading The Lost Art of Writing

The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in American Islam

We often limit “Muslim history” to the periods and regions in which caliphates and dynasties were established following the spread of Islam. While this history is important, the history of Muslims is not merely the Umayyads, the Ottoman Empire, or Andalusia. The history of Muslims transcends these borders and valuing its existing traditions in other parts of the world can break down the barrier that … Continue reading The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in American Islam

The Devil You Know, Or Thought You Knew

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. — The Usual Suspects With Halloween finally behind us (at least for another eleven months), I am reminded of the one article regarding this festival that stood out most to me in the slurry of bickering over its status in the shari’ah. Rather than delving straight into the matter of its … Continue reading The Devil You Know, Or Thought You Knew

Papicha: The Muslim Damsel in Distress

The film Papicha is based on a binary vision of the Civil War in Algeria, the Black Decade, which followed a military coup rejecting the 1991 Islamist electoral victory. The opening scene shows Nedjma, an aspiring fashion designer, and her friend Wassila getting ready inside a taxi for a night out at the club. They apply their makeup, put on their heels, and plug in … Continue reading Papicha: The Muslim Damsel in Distress

God’s Lonely Man: Taxi Driver and the Onslaught of Modernity

Has there ever been a film as influential and provocative as Taxi Driver? It may seem a strange choice at first. Even among director Martin Scorcese’s filmography, it is hardly the most acclaimed (Raging Bull, GoodFellas), nor the most controversial (The Last Temptation of Christ, The Wolf of Wall Street). And yet it is Taxi Driver, above all the others, that has struck a nerve … Continue reading God’s Lonely Man: Taxi Driver and the Onslaught of Modernity