Reviving Writing

(This article is a follow-up to last week’s “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— gives us … 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

Legitimizing Indigenous Ancestral Knowledge in American Islamic Discourse

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 Legitimizing Indigenous Ancestral Knowledge in American Islamic Discourse

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

The Modern Presence of Shari’ah in English Civil Law

In the spring of 2013, a debate on the legal status of the Shari’ah (Islamic law) in England and Wales took place in the British House of Commons (1). Several issues were brought into question, seemingly in need of further clarity from the then-Conservative party and Liberal Democrat coalition government. Firstly, it was demanded that the government state whether there was only one law in … Continue reading The Modern Presence of Shari’ah in English Civil Law

Scientific Naturalism and the Abortion Debate

Diagnosing Modern Moral Debate Incommensurability, the idea that there is no rational method to weigh claims between two conceptual frameworks, is a core feature of morality today and the source for moral confusion (1). Even though moral positions take the form of logical validity, two competing valid arguments result in an interminability which denies a rational closure to the debate. But why is this so? … Continue reading Scientific Naturalism and the Abortion Debate

Technology as a Mode of Secular-Liberal Theology

“Through all his technical inventions and celebrated innovations, man has made himself useless. In recent years technological progress has been explosive: humanity has been successful in obliterating the roles of producer, refiner, transporter, distributor and serviceman. When we manage to also rid ourselves of the role of the consumer, everything will be over. A clanking of robots for some time; then, only deep silence.” Pentti … Continue reading Technology as a Mode of Secular-Liberal Theology

Remade in the Vernacular: The BJP’s Right to Dominate Kashmir

Sick men flock here from many lands, And go back home in health; But my own men, racked with hunger and disease, Lie dying on my roads … If Mahjoor, compelled by love, Lays bare some bitter truths, The lovers of my beloved land Should not take it to heart! “Naalay Kashmir,” Mahjoor One of Kashmir’s most beloved poets, Mahjoor began his life as a … Continue reading Remade in the Vernacular: The BJP’s Right to Dominate Kashmir