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?

Faithless Fasting: Ramadan in the Modern Political Economy

One of the biggest challenges for corporate America today is diversity: racial, religious, ethnic, sexual, etc. The holy trinity of corporate professions–management consulting, investment banking, and corporate law–make substantial effort to hire “underrepresented” minorities and portray themselves as more “inclusive” to potential clients and the public. Undoubtedly, there are sincere concerns about improving the kinds of people that are hired as a way to grow … Continue reading Faithless Fasting: Ramadan in the Modern Political Economy

The Selfie Epidemic

For centuries, we have measured ourselves against Greco-Roman standards of perfection. While the tendency to live up to powerful cultural expectations predates Ancient Greece, the historical foundations of western individualism is often traced back to this period, where ecological factors helped nurture a proto-entrepreneurial guile amongst citizens, eventually contributing towards a culture of self-sufficiency where people viewed themselves as individuals rather than part of a … Continue reading The Selfie Epidemic

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad on Riding the Tiger of Modernity

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, also known as Professor Timothy Winter, is one of the foremost public Muslim intellectuals of this era. Involved in a number of projects, from heading a college in the U.K. to lecturing around the world and authoring works of scholarship and polemics (we reviewed one of his books here), his analysis is worthy of attention. Three years ago, he gave a … Continue reading Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad on Riding the Tiger of Modernity

Traversing Tradition: Exploring the Foundations

The modern world is rapidly changing, with transformations that affect all facets of life including family, the economy, the environment, war, politics, and religion. Understanding how the world operates allows us to take ownership of who we are, why we think the things we do, and why we do the things we do. Failing to understand modernity is like being the passenger in a car, … Continue reading Traversing Tradition: Exploring the Foundations

Ideology and Globalization

Defining “ideology” is a burdensome feat, as the term is used in a plethora of diverse contexts. Friedrich Engels, a prominent German philosopher, used the term to refer to abstract ideas that were independent of tangible existence. Later, Marxists described it as a malicious veil blinding the masses to the reality of their exploitation. Ultramodern colloquial usage takes a simpler approach by imposing the term … Continue reading Ideology and Globalization

The Aesthetics of Islamic Law

When Islamic law is discussed, particularly in a polemical context, it is usually evaluated from either a moral or a practical angle. Those who espouse its virtues tend to say something along the lines of: God, being our creator, deserves our obedience (aka, a moral argument); and His ordinances are best attuned to human nature (aka, a practical observation). Very rarely are purely aesthetic considerations … Continue reading The Aesthetics of Islamic Law