Parables from Plymouth Rock: A Book Review of “Liberty’s Jihad” by Munawar Ali Karim

The book in question is prefaced with what could be described as a defiance of Barthesian attitudes towards literature (i.e. an irreverence towards authorial intentions and context) . The author audaciously suggests the order in which he would like his book to be read. Such direction might seem archaic in an era in which authorial intent is often cast to the wayside. However, in following his suggested formula — beginning in the middle of the book before returning to its start and eventually the conclusion — I believe I benefited from the book in a wholly unique way. Continue reading Parables from Plymouth Rock: A Book Review of “Liberty’s Jihad” by Munawar Ali Karim

Islamophobic Narratives: Meccan and Medinan Resistance

The Kunta federation played an important political and economic role in Maghribi history. Shaykh Bāy al-Kuntī founded a great number of zawiyas (religious schools) and sent missionaries to preach Islam in the Middle Niger and Western Saharan regions. Bāy al-Kuntī called people to jihad against the carnal soul, which the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ designated the greater jihad, as well as the return to the fundamental sources of Islamic jurisprudence. He believed he was the mujaddid (one who brings renewal) of the thirteenth century whom Allah called upon to restore the umma to its glorious past not only in West Africa but throughout the whole Muslim world. [1] The wide range of territories that encompassed his influence is said to be the largest area ever to come under the wing of an African Muslim without military conquest.  Continue reading Islamophobic Narratives: Meccan and Medinan Resistance

A Christmas Conundrum

Last night I sat with my grandmother as she flipped through the TV channels, until a Christmas segment caught her eye. She halted at DMC, a local ‘general entertainment’ and news channel. Although not evidently in cahoots with the State, one needn’t really confirm that in Egypt. (Surviving) independent channels toe the State line regardless. If they really want to thrive, they’ll accommodate its propaganda. … Continue reading A Christmas Conundrum

Paranoia of Islam in Literary Orientalism

As Islamophobia pervades the world, invading minds and infecting intellect, Muslims have arisen as a target for collective crucifixion and condemnation. It’s a tradition of hate with a hoary past, the complexities of which can be navigated through a sustained investment in critical thinking. Amidst the tumult of the Lebanese Civil War and the Iranian Revolution, the Islamist uprising in Syria, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, emerged Edward Said’s groundbreaking work: Orientalism. The book unmasks how Western literature and scholarship have created a civilizational binary through the presentation of the Orient (the East) as the cultural antonym of the glorious West. Continue reading Paranoia of Islam in Literary Orientalism

The Secularization of Christmas

I have a vivid memory from a time in middle school when I begged my parents to let me partake in our school’s annual Christmas celebrations. Every year, classes were canceled on the last Friday before winter break and all the students would be ushered to the school gymnasium to listen to Christmas music, have some snacks, and watch the drama students from the nearby … Continue reading The Secularization of Christmas

Reimagining Politics Amidst the Global Pandemic

As someone allergic to what government authorities have to say, I felt an unexpected change of heart during my three dedicated years of life in studying Public Policy and Management at university. Much to my surprise, I found widespread apolitical behavior in the presumably political environment of the faculty of Social and Political Sciences at my university. Although I saw tragic events like racially-charged police shootings bring about the rise of political expression on social media, political disengagement among the youth is the norm in our everyday lives. What could be the driving force? Continue reading Reimagining Politics Amidst the Global Pandemic

Horoscopes, Manifestation and Secular Religion

Manifestation ignores the will of God and reducing the human spirit to “energies” tells us enough about the extent to which we can reconcile these concepts with Islam. Some Muslims have tried to co-opt the essence of manifestation by adding in sha Allah to their self-affirmations. It is argued that, by adopting this oral practice, the remembrance of Allah as the ultimate bearer of fate is simply underlined with an extra source of motivation. In other words, “speaking things into existence” is a virtue that can be embodied with the help of God. The issue here is that God becomes secondary. Continue reading Horoscopes, Manifestation and Secular Religion