To Arrakis and Back: Frank Herbert’s Dune in Retrospect

It’s not uncommon to hear Herbert’s name alongside other pioneers in modern genre fiction, the likes of J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis.

The book, however, is not lauded on all fronts. It has its critics as well as its fans and even so, much of what people tend to enjoy about the novel has to do with the wider project of Herbert’s literary Universe and the depth of craft in his worldbuilding, as opposed to the narrative alone.  Continue reading To Arrakis and Back: Frank Herbert’s Dune in Retrospect

The Activist Economy

A number of celebrities, including Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, were recently invited onto a new TV series named “The Activist” where six individuals compete against one another to promote a particular cause. These include health, education and the environment. Online engagement was one of the metrics by which the impact of different causes was to be measured; however, after backlash, CBS announced changes to the format. Despite this, the existence of such a show raises questions about the way celebrities and major brands use social media activism to boost their profile. Continue reading The Activist Economy

Social Constructs and The Politics of Shame

emotional impulse to do so is reasonable. Shame is distinguishably uncomfortable and brings us to the miserable realization of our own weakness. The harsh reality is that shame, though unpleasant, is a vehicle for order that seeks to maintain certain morals, some of which are deemed unimportant in the modern world. However strong the push is to dismantle the need for inhibition, shame rarely evaporates. The escape people have found is to broadcast their embarrassments and preen themselves while doing so. The hope is that, the more vulgarity diffused, the less taxing shame will be for all. The collective swims in their open cesspool of unfettered satisfactions in perfect mutual distraction. Continue reading Social Constructs and The Politics of Shame

Why the Likes of Naseeruddin Shah Are in the Wrong

Muslims under the rule of the Indian state are perhaps facing their worst crisis in the seven decades of the country’s existence. India has not only failed to put an end to massacres of it’s religious minorities, it has doubled down and democratically awarded a pogromist with the most powerful office in the land. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in the summer of 2014, dozens of Muslim men have been lynched. Laws and policies that threaten the statehood of Muslims have been enacted (National Register of Citizens and Citizenship Amendment Act). In addition, abolition of article 35 (a) has enabled settler-colonialism in the Muslim-majority Kashmir, part of a UN-recognized disputed region. Continue reading Why the Likes of Naseeruddin Shah Are in the Wrong

Scriptural Reasoning: Healing the Divide Between the Self and the Other

The purpose of this piece is to bring attention to the field of scriptural reasoning which, among other approaches, proposes the use of logic of relations and a constructive-critical engagement with the Other. These approaches help curb the colonial instinct, or what has been identified as the subsuming nature of the Western philosophical thought, that stems from Enlightenment prejudices. The healing nature of these approaches can lead to possibilities of mediation and peaceful coexistence in the contemporary world order and the interaction between Islam and the West. It will help understand the needs of both the Other and the Self without delegitimizing or oppressing either one, because upon losing sight of the aim of peaceful coexistence one is bound to fall into the colonial instinct — as is the case with Enlightenment reasoning. Continue reading Scriptural Reasoning: Healing the Divide Between the Self and the Other

Al Aqsa is The Heart of Every Muslim

As social media displays horrific visuals showing catastrophe in Gaza, the public is beginning to understand the extent of Israel’s barbaric aggression. This has led to the large number of human lives lost, and stripping of basic rights in the Old City of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, there remains a bleak sight in the future for Palestinians who notice no sign of it ending to this date. Continue reading Al Aqsa is The Heart of Every Muslim

Pious Voyage and the Unconscious Pilgrims of an Exacting Belief

“Pious Voyage and the unconscious Pilgrims of an exacting belief,” reviews Joseph Conrad’s 1900 novel, “Lord Jim,” which depicts some fascinating facts about Muslim pilgrims and their pilgrimage. Conrad introduces Hajj pilgrims and their unshakable trust in God as “Unconscious.” This article probes the cohesion of the “unconscious” with facts and discusses how the pilgrims differ from tourists. Ultimately, the article critically examines the historical narrative at the root of Lord Jim. Continue reading Pious Voyage and the Unconscious Pilgrims of an Exacting Belief

The Fountain of Youth

Across the ages, continents and sciences, Muslims, even teenage Muslims, contributed to the scholarly fabric that has been passed down to us from generation to generation.

‘Take advantage of your youth before your old age’. This statement of the Messenger ﷺ was not lost upon the Muslims of the past. Taking advantage of time and youth can be done in several ways. One of these ways is embedded in the culture of teaching and learning that permeates throughout the Islamic world. The contributions of scholars of the past in the Islamic world across the various religious and secular sciences are far too many to be enumerated. Such contributions and advances were only made possible by the underlying social infrastructure, intellectual meritocracy and collective social concern. Continue reading The Fountain of Youth