The Perplexing Status Quo for Muslim Fiction

In the category of young adult (YA) fiction, one can find a relatively solid number of Muslim-oriented novels, some of which are consistently championed in the Muslim novel-reading community for their positive representation of Muslims. Through mass marketing, these portrayals are lauded and viewed as authentic. Though I do not personally read young adult fiction, it recently occured to me that I could perhaps curate a small Muslim fiction collection in the library of the school where I work. I began to research the most popular YA novels which were repeatedly garnered praised across social media. The project was exciting, I hoped that teenagers seeing themselves in such novels would not only lead them to read more books, but also aid them in feeling proud and confident in their identities. Continue reading The Perplexing Status Quo for Muslim Fiction

Of Pharaoh and Thamud

A few hundred kilometers northwest of Medina lies the valley of Al-Hijr, where Thamud, the tribe of Saleh (pbuh), once dwelt. All that remains of the land they once inhabited is marvelous architecture — towering, ornately carved stone outcrops that survive to this day. When the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions passed through this valley on their way to the Battle of Tabuk, he instructed them saying, “Do not enter the ruined dwellings of those who were unjust to themselves unless (you enter) weeping, lest you should suffer the same punishment as was inflicted upon them.”[1] Continue reading Of Pharaoh and Thamud

A Critique of Islamism

Islamism, in current contexts, connotes a political order based on and around Islam. However, these connotations are primarily negative, ranging from a vile and violent overthrow of the modern political system to a petty abuse hurled at Muslims. [1] Professor Salman Sayyid appears to have taken cue from this, and attempts to displace the negative connotations that the term possesses by presenting Islamism in a different light. Although it is a hopeful exercise, exercises like this are susceptible to failure, and at times even dangerous. In this article, I argue against Sayyid’s attempt, elucidating the negative consequences that result from and further the overall employment of Islamism as concept and term. Continue reading A Critique of Islamism

Remembering Ustadha Hind Shalabī

On June 24th, 2021, the Tunisian scholar Hind Shalabi passed away and returned to her Lord. She became a hafidha (someone who has memorized the entire Qur’an) at a young age, and later attended the University of Zitouna where she became a professor. She authored multiple books in the Qur’anic sciences. Considering the environment she grew up in, Shalabi’s intellectual and academic achievements are all … Continue reading Remembering Ustadha Hind Shalabī

The Historical Nursing Event: Rufaidah bint Sa’ad

As October is Islamic Hertiage Month, it is befitting to discuss an important Muslim figure in the history of nursing: Rufaidah bint Sa’ad. Muslim civilization boasts a rich tradition of medicine; the science of medicine, known in Arabic as Al-Tibb Al-Nabawi (Prophetic Medicine), began with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and continues to be practiced today. Due to Islam’s emphasis on ethics such as taking care of others, altruism, cleanliness, seeking cures, and holistically taking care of one’s body and health as it is a trust from God, it is no surprise that women also took to learning methods of healing and care.  Continue reading The Historical Nursing Event: Rufaidah bint Sa’ad

Khawla Nakata Kaori, the First Japanese Female Muslim Scholar

Khawla Nakata Kaori may not be known in the Muslim world at large, but her contributions to Islam in Japan and the Muslim community especially, cannot be understated. I, for one, personally benefited from her works and ideas, and the many who knew her were touched by her personality and intellectual grace. A dedicated Muslima to the promotion of ‘Ilm, she continued this effort up until her very last breath. It is my hope that Muslims around the world receive the opportunity to learn about another scholar of ours who often gets very little attention due to the obscurity surrounding Islam’s presence in East Asia. Continue reading Khawla Nakata Kaori, the First Japanese Female Muslim Scholar

Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

Recently, deadly protests have broken out across Iran after authorities supposedly detained a woman, Mahsa Amini, and eventually killed her for violating Iranian laws regarding the Hijab. The killing of this woman and the brutal nature of Iranian authorities is surely horrifying and detestable — if it indeed happened as they say. Initial reports stated she died in police custody and soon escalated to state that she was brutally beaten. Continue reading Musings on Iran, Hijab, and the Western Muslim

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