Suffering in Silence: The Convert Identity

From the virtuous days of Dhul Hijjah to momentous Eid mornings, we treasure these precious days and the acts of worship, celebratory preparations, and communal moments that are all part of the tapestry of Muslim culture across societies. Western Muslims—mostly immigrants or family of immigrants—reminisce upon the Islamic holidays spent in their homeland, yearning to make equally satisfying observances in their new home. At the … Continue reading Suffering in Silence: The Convert Identity

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

Spiritual Lessons From The Lion King

Recently reproduced in theaters, The Lion King is a movie that the average child who grew up in the 90’s Disney era can recall almost from memory. The movie is almost unanimously held in high esteem by adults and children alike. The Lion King even sees praise from critics of the Disney model as a whole–and there is something to be said about this. It … Continue reading Spiritual Lessons From The Lion King

Is Toxic Masculinity Islamic?

A standout moment from early Islamic history is that of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who upon being challenged by a woman in a public place, famously declared, “The woman is right, and Umar is wrong.” Muslims, when affirming the position of women in Islam, often repeat this event, which took place when Umar was the Khalifa. The pre-colonial Muslim world is littered … Continue reading Is Toxic Masculinity Islamic?