The Artist and the Nafs in Modernity

This epitomizes the phenomena of the modern artist, marketing themselves as a part of the art, rendering the art and its meaning as secondary. The commercialization of art and the aggrandization of the self become imperative in propelling the artist’s quest for financial gain. In essence, art is now judged on its ability to be marketed to a wealthy audience who will pay top dollar to feel a sense of belonging to an upper echelon of society that is supposedly able to comprehend the deep significance of an inherently meaningless piece of art.  Continue reading The Artist and the Nafs in Modernity

Towards An Islamic Theory of Culture Part I: On Culture & The West

While the term “cultural studies” would not emerge as a distinguished academic discipline until the 1960s (with the establishment of the Centre for Cultural Studies in Birmingham), culture as an aspect of social life was first given serious consideration in the nineteenth century. During this period, many of the thinkers occupying the academic sphere of Europe — and by extension America — observed what they believed to be distinct and radical shifts in the social and intellectual currents of their respective societies. By the early twentieth century, these observations of “culture” were explained as symptoms of a new historical era. Continue reading Towards An Islamic Theory of Culture Part I: On Culture & The West

Paranoia of Islam in Literary Orientalism

As Islamophobia pervades the world, invading minds and infecting intellect, Muslims have arisen as a target for collective crucifixion and condemnation. It’s a tradition of hate with a hoary past, the complexities of which can be navigated through a sustained investment in critical thinking. Amidst the tumult of the Lebanese Civil War and the Iranian Revolution, the Islamist uprising in Syria, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, emerged Edward Said’s groundbreaking work: Orientalism. The book unmasks how Western literature and scholarship have created a civilizational binary through the presentation of the Orient (the East) as the cultural antonym of the glorious West. Continue reading Paranoia of Islam in Literary Orientalism