Lessons on the Pitfalls of Modernity in ‘The Road to Mecca’

Muhammad Asad’s autobiographical account The Road to Mecca (1954) is a fine work that moves between various genres, including historical narration, adventure tale and conversion story, presenting numerous entertaining anecdotes. More intriguing, however, is the unique and fascinatingly nuanced insight that Asad (formerly Leopold Weiss), gives into a soulless and lost Europe of the early twentieth century juxtaposed by his discovery of a strikingly different world. This was a world which had preserved a connection to the Divine throughout spheres in human life, predominantly infused by Islam, i.e. the lands which are now widely known as the MENA region. Continue reading Lessons on the Pitfalls of Modernity in ‘The Road to Mecca’

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

Exploring Love Through Poetry: The Question of Happiness

The term ḥubb possesses the term khamr (wine) as a synonym, and khamr, in turn, was referred to as Umm Laylā by the Arabs. Laylā, in this context, refers to ecstasy and intoxication, and umm is present for it induces a state of ecstasy, begetting it as a mother begets a child. Love, likewise, intoxicates the lover, and, in cases, overwhelms and maddens him, as was the case with Majnūn, whose very name refers to one who has been maddened; in this case, by love. Other terms used for the state — ḥuzn, sadam, kamad, and shawq, among others — all have similar implications, in that they portray the emotions experienced by lovers upon separation. Continue reading Exploring Love Through Poetry: The Question of Happiness

A Book Review of ‘The Case Against The Sexual Revolution’ 

Perry’s book is a powerful critique of the sexual revolution, charting its negative impact on Western society. Throughout my reading, I could not help being struck by the raw honesty and piercing insight of her words. In her analysis, Perry exposes the damage inflicted upon the traditional family structure and the values that underpin it, arguing that contrary to popular perception, the sexual revolution was not a liberating force and had many negative consequences, particularly for women. Continue reading A Book Review of ‘The Case Against The Sexual Revolution’ 

A Book Review of ‘Infamies of the Soul and Their Treatments’

Matters of the body are relatively straightforward: if an organ or limb or tissue is afflicted, medical expertise is sought, and then one hopes for an effective treatment, perhaps in the form of a pill or medical procedure. Humans understand the consequences and pain of neglecting a physical ailment. We intuitively recognize the necessity of preserving physical health to better experience life (and worship Allah), pouring millions of dollars into understanding the mechanisms underlying diseases. The acute awareness of our fleeting mortality only fuels fastidious research. But in matters of the soul and their ailments, popular prescriptions seem to float in the realm of self-care books and gimmicks or models of mental health care that reject the role of spirituality altogether, unable to combat increasing spiritual deterioration. Continue reading A Book Review of ‘Infamies of the Soul and Their Treatments’

Halal Consumption and Our Spiritual Health

We must be scrupulous in what we eat because the rest of human civilization depends on us. The actions of non-Muslims are not as important as the actions of Muslims — it is the actions of Muslims that govern the welfare of the entire planet. We are responsible for what happens in the world. Our good deeds have a good impact and our bad deeds have a bad impact — not only on the physical environment but on people. Continue reading Halal Consumption and Our Spiritual Health

رمضان: شهر مناهضة الإمبريالية

لقد عتاد المسلمون على العيش في حالة دفاع دائمة كثمن لوجودهم، ونشروا بسهولة تفسيرات لممارساتهم الدينية والثقافية. قد تكون هذه صفقة مقبولة وحتى مستحسنة للحفاظ على السلام في المجتمعات الحديثة المتنوعة، ولكن مع حلول شهر رمضان المبارك، لا يمكن للمرء أن يتجاهل الصبغات الحديثة المميزة في التفسيرات المتداولة لفوائدها العديدة. يتجاهل الخطاب المعاصر حول هذه الفوائد بشكل متزايد جوهرها الأخلاقي والميتافيزيقي، ويقدم تفسيرات مادية بدلاً … Continue reading رمضان: شهر مناهضة الإمبريالية

Mustafa Briggs’ Beyond Bilal

A Book Review of Beyond Bilal by Mustafa Briggs How did the Yoruba, an ethnic group of southwestern Nigeria, become Muslim? How did Islam gain such widespread prominence throughout Black Africa? Growing up as a Muslim Nigerian-American, these were questions I had from a very young age. In masajid halaqat (spiritual gatherings in mosques to discuss the Qur’an and Sunnah), Islamic elementary and middle schools, … Continue reading Mustafa Briggs’ Beyond Bilal