Indonesia’s Moderate Islam Forum and the BJP

On Friday, August 26, 2022, The Print published an article regarding a summit planned by the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest population of Muslims, hoping to “quell the ideas of radical Islam and extremism and promote moderatism.” Language like this already rings alarm bells, considering the notorious Prevent and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)’s strategy of delineating arbitrary markers of radicalization, and entrapping Muslims under what becomes effectively a police state. The nail in the coffin, so to speak, is the presence of a central committee member, Ram Madhav, a BJP politician who once served as General Secretary of the party and is a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The BJP is India’s ruling party, and current Prime Minister Modi was an architect of the 2002 Gujarat massacre of Muslims. Continue reading Indonesia’s Moderate Islam Forum and the BJP

Seerah in English: Martin Lings’ “Muhammed: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources”

The late Martin Lings’ (also known as Abu Bakr Siraj al-Din) Muhammad ﷺ: His Life Based On The Earliest Sources is among the seerah books written in English that have received widespread acclaim. Originally published in 1983, the book continues to be among highly-ranked seerah literature in the English language and read by scholars and laypeople alike. Continue reading Seerah in English: Martin Lings’ “Muhammed: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources”

Andy Weir’s Artemis: Muslims in Science Fiction

A number of movies in recent years like Dune, Interstellar, and The Martian thrust science fiction back into the media-consumer American consciousness. Andy Weir, the author of The Martian (which the movie was based on) has become a household name for more ardent fans, and duly so. The Martian and his recent Project Hail Mary are excellent science fiction stories of a man’s last efforts to survive against all odds. Both feature a tight plotline epitomizing the struggle against the forces of nature and humorous narrators. He writes with wit and weaves these tales with remarkable fluidity by contrasting humor with impending doom, and the vast swathes of space and nature with man’s frailty against a backdrop of highly technical ingenuity. In comparison, his 2017 novel Artemis fell short. However, the addition of a Muslim character warrants further analysis and the potential of Muslim science-fiction. Continue reading Andy Weir’s Artemis: Muslims in Science Fiction

Religion and Pork: Issues With Alternative Meats

In a previous article, I outlined some issues ‘ulema have discussed with cultured (also known as lab-grown) meat. One is the impossibility of a blanket replacement of meat with lab-grown meat in light of religious obligations and recommendations of slaughter on certain occasions. The American Fiqh Academy’s fatwa (ruling) from Mufti Abdullah Nana, Abrar Mirza, and Sohail Bengali also note the current procedure’s use of impermissible animal products (mainly Fetal Bovine Serum [FBS]) and the source cells (derived from living animals), which constitutes maytah (carrion) and is haram for consumption. Continue reading Religion and Pork: Issues With Alternative Meats

Menstruation and Worship

In recent years, this has been another rung of debate in Muslim women’s related issues – and events to talk about women’s spirituality whilst menstruating are plentiful especially in Ramadan. I was a panelist among other wonderful women this Ramadan for an event tackling the topic from multiple angles: fiqh (jurisprudence), a lack of proper understanding of ritual impurity away from negative cultural baggage, jahil (ignorant, foolish) behavior towards menstruating women, imposing secular notions of gender equality onto worship, separating the form of rituals from the spiritual, and the metaphysical from the physical. I want to offer my brief reflections on them one by one prior to circling back to the question posed above. Continue reading Menstruation and Worship