Muslim Scholars in Japan: Contemplating Islam in a Non-Muslim Society

I suspect most people are not familiar with Islamic history in East Asia, despite the region being home to one of the world’s oldest masjids, built in 7th or 8th century China. More recently, in 20th century Japan, the Kobe Masjid was built and mostly supported by foreign Tatar, Turkish, and South Asian Muslims. (You can see a South Asian influence in its architecture.) Japan has one of the youngest Muslim communities in history, making East Asia home to both the oldest Islamic traditions established by a non-Arab and the youngest. Continue reading Muslim Scholars in Japan: Contemplating Islam in a Non-Muslim Society

Towards An Islamic Theory of Culture Part II: On Islamicates and Third Ways

The modern history of the Balkans region presents a great analogy for the West’s anxieties towards the Islamic world, an uncanny image of an Islamic heritage which the heirs of Christendom wished to forget. From the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 1920s, through to the rise and fall of Yugoslavia such an image would remain. During the Bosnian civil war of the 1990s, Serbian nationalist propaganda would evoke this Islamic past in order to alienate the Bosnian Muslim population, pejoratively referred to as “Turks,” to illustrate their supposed foreignness and therefore lack of belonging to the region. [5] In this light, Bosnia finds itself in geographical and cultural limbo. Such was the world which Alija Izetbegovic (1925-2003) was born into, and such was the world molded him. Continue reading Towards An Islamic Theory of Culture Part II: On Islamicates and Third Ways

Language is a Grandmother: The Long and Torturous Death of Urdu in America

Language is a Grandmother is a reckoning with the inheritance of Urdu for Muslims in America, seeking to provoke devastating self-interrogation in a critical moment: What will be the legacy of Urdu in America? What should be its legacy? What is Urdu’s relationship to Islam? The essay twins the life of Urdu with the life of the author’s grandmother— that language cannot escape the breath, and the death, of its heirs, while also rivering into the Islamic tradition to unearth the project of language and revelation vis-à-vis the Quran and the Prophet ‎ﷺ: How should Muslims live joyfully with wahy in their own language? Continue reading Language is a Grandmother: The Long and Torturous Death of Urdu in America

Seerah Book Recommendations 2022

We are nearing the end of the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, the 3rd month in the Islamic calendar. This month has a special connection to the Noble Messenger of God ﷺ: both his arrival into and departure from this temporal world occurred in this month. Surely, it is most appropriate to devote ourselves to learning about the Beloved of God ﷺ in Rabi al-Awwal. The following compilation of English works on the Prophetic life and personality have been thoughtfully selected to help readers cultivate an intimate sense of knowledge and reverence for the Messenger ﷺ. Continue reading Seerah Book Recommendations 2022

Ilhan Omar, Representation and Muslim Political Organizing in the West

Ilhan Omar’s recent invite to a prominent Muslim convention in America sparked an intense debate around representation calling into question the successes or failures of Muslim activists who have allied themselves with the left in the West. While these are two separate discussions, Omar, as a Muslim political figure represents, the overlap between these two debates. As someone who has been involved with political organizations in the UK, although Omar is a figure on the American left, I will use the politics of the UK as my primary reference point in this piece.  Continue reading Ilhan Omar, Representation and Muslim Political Organizing in the West

7 Modern Deadly Sins and Misunderstandings: Inequality

In any given society, there are certain common sense moralisms ingrained within that culture. Certain aspects of ethical life and sentiments may be universal in nature and span multiple countries and continents, as part of a generalized weltanschauung. Yet, the particular way in which that ethic is practiced is always subject to cultural conditions and specifics. The key part to this common-sense morality is that you do not think much about these things: they are simply the immediate ethical context one engages with and considers as obvious. As a result, one of the main arenas where we see a stark shift from pre-modern to modern societies, and from religious to liberal societies, is in ethical sentiments and “common sense.” Continue reading 7 Modern Deadly Sins and Misunderstandings: Inequality

The Historical Nursing Event: Rufaidah bint Sa’ad

As October is Islamic Hertiage Month, it is befitting to discuss an important Muslim figure in the history of nursing: Rufaidah bint Sa’ad. Muslim civilization boasts a rich tradition of medicine; the science of medicine, known in Arabic as Al-Tibb Al-Nabawi (Prophetic Medicine), began with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and continues to be practiced today. Due to Islam’s emphasis on ethics such as taking care of others, altruism, cleanliness, seeking cures, and holistically taking care of one’s body and health as it is a trust from God, it is no surprise that women also took to learning methods of healing and care.  Continue reading The Historical Nursing Event: Rufaidah bint Sa’ad

Los horóscopos, la manifestación y la religión secular

Antes de que el reloj diera las doce y nos despediéramos del año 2019, mucha gente comenzó a “manifestar” riqueza, éxito, y viaje para el año 2020. Dejando la ironía de lo que sobrevino después, ha habido un énfasis creciente en el poder que cada individuo tiene para dar forma a su propio futuro. Si bien uno podría bromear diciendo que la manifestación es solo … Continue reading Los horóscopos, la manifestación y la religión secular

Khawla Nakata Kaori, the First Japanese Female Muslim Scholar

Khawla Nakata Kaori may not be known in the Muslim world at large, but her contributions to Islam in Japan and the Muslim community especially, cannot be understated. I, for one, personally benefited from her works and ideas, and the many who knew her were touched by her personality and intellectual grace. A dedicated Muslima to the promotion of ‘Ilm, she continued this effort up until her very last breath. It is my hope that Muslims around the world receive the opportunity to learn about another scholar of ours who often gets very little attention due to the obscurity surrounding Islam’s presence in East Asia. Continue reading Khawla Nakata Kaori, the First Japanese Female Muslim Scholar

Hijab Laws and State Violence in Iran

In the past week, a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died in Iranian custody after allegedly being arrested for wearing improper garments. The government reports that she died from heart failure or stroke; her family maintains she was beaten to death by police. We ask Allah ﷻ to have mercy on her soul, and reunite her and her family in the lush gardens of the afterlife. Continue reading Hijab Laws and State Violence in Iran