Anti-Racism: A Reflection on the Islamic Tradition

Alienation The Masjid is a sanctuary of protection from forgetting Allah. It is a house of worship, education, community, friendship, and wisdom. While the Coronavirus has spread across the world, prompting travel restrictions and unprecedented bans on movement, Muslim communities worldwide have been painfully severed from their Masajid. To many, this has been an awakening of gratitude and appreciation, how thankful the best of us … Continue reading Anti-Racism: A Reflection on the Islamic Tradition

Until Death Do Us Part?

Divorce parties among Bidan communities across north-west Africa stoke intrigue in Muslims from other parts of the world where divorce is shunned. These events, even at times arranged by a suitor interested in a divorced woman, celebrate a woman’s “return to marriageability.”[1] Sometimes as lavish as weddings, this tradition understands divorce not as the end of the world but rather an opportunity for a fresh … Continue reading Until Death Do Us Part?

Ramadan Traditions in the Casbah of Algiers

While traveling is not feasible during the coronavirus pandemic, a strong imagination can take us anywhere we want. The casbah (citadel) of Algiers offers a meaningful way to reflect on the Ramadan traditions of the pre-colonial Maghrib.  Before the arrival of the French and even under their rule, women scrubbed the walls of their house and tied raffia— fiber from palm tree leaves— to the … Continue reading Ramadan Traditions in the Casbah of Algiers

The Coronavirus: A Muslim’s Perspective

This current pandemic and global crisis brought about by the novel Coronavirus strain has been a source of panic and worry for many, but it is also an opportunity for great reflection. There are important parallels between the necessary steps to combat the spread of COVID-19 and our Islamic tradition. God-willing, we can take advantage of social distancing to deeply appreciate our religion in ways … Continue reading The Coronavirus: A Muslim’s Perspective

Art as a Reflection of Civilization

“Islamic art” is broadly understood as all the arts that have been produced in the Muslim world. However, it does not simply denote the crafts of Muslim patrons. “Islamic art” is qualified as “Islamic” because its contents often refer explicitly or implicitly not just to scripture but religious values as a whole. Orientalist art historians in the 19th century began to treat “Islamic art” as … Continue reading Art as a Reflection of Civilization

The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in American Islam

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 The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in American Islam

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