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

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

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

Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

The history of the modern Middle East is often narrated as a story of power struggles between competing ideologies. One such set of competing ideologies is Islamism and secularism. The aim of this paper is not to explore these ideologies in the light of Middle Eastern history and argue in favor of either one of the two; instead, this essay will attempt to explore one of the factors that enables this dichotomization in the first place. The conceptualization of Islam as a “religion” creates the possibility of characterizing actors as “Islamists” in opposition to those characterized as secularists. I argue that this “religion-making” is intricately linked to the workings of the modern state which makes “religion” essential to its existence as secular. Continue reading Conceptualization of Islam as a ‘Religion’ and the Possibility of the Secularist/Islamist Binary

A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part III: The Reign of Quantity

In the previous part, the notion of what I call ontological apathy was explored, which occurs when the reality of our place as humans in relation to God and nature is dissolved. In the worldview of Islām, we operate with the hierarchy of “ontology-epistemology-axiology-politics-economics,” and I have asserted that in the modern West, this hierarchy is inverted and thus it moves in the opposite direction, “economics-politics-axiology-epistemology-ontology,” which is what we will examine in more detail. Continue reading A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part III: The Reign of Quantity

A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part II: Ontological Apathy

This article is part two of a series, you can find the part one here and part three here .  In the last part, we established how the Islāmic civilization is built on a worldview that deems ontology as the highest determinative factor. This ontology, or pure metaphysics as Guénon calls it, concerns the Ultimate Reality, Allāh, and how everything else is contingent upon Him. … Continue reading A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part II: Ontological Apathy

A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part I: Inversion

How do we make sense of reality? This is inarguably the most difficult question one can pose because it amounts to giving an explanation of everything. Even if we concede to the Heideggerian claim that metaphysics is inevitably nihilism, nihilism’s fundamental claim that there is no such thing as reality does constitute itself as an explanation of everything (which to them is nothing!) regardless of whether we agree or disagree with it. Continue reading A Study of Worldviews: Islām and the Modern West, Part I: Inversion

近代性という「猛獣」を手懐ける―イスラーム的アプローチ―

ティモシー・ウィンター教授としても知られるアブドゥルハキーム・ムラド師は「虎を乗りこなす」という表現を用いて、近代性から退却するのではなく、敵対的あるいは友好的なアプローチをもって立ち向かうことを論じた。 Continue reading 近代性という「猛獣」を手懐ける―イスラーム的アプローチ―

Dekonstrukcija zapadnih predstava o političkom islamu

Za zapadne posmatrače je nepoželjno postojanje političkog djelovanja sa metafizičkim referencama, jer je upečatljiva karakteristika savremenog doba to što je ono desakralizirano. Budući da je tako, islamsko političko djelovanje se, skoro po klišeu, posmatra u vezi sa bremenitim i analitički beskorisnim terminima kao što su „radikalizam“ i „fundamentalizam“. U najgorem slučaju, u vladajućim predstavama je politički islam – patologija. Paradigmatski primjer za to je teza … Continue reading Dekonstrukcija zapadnih predstava o političkom islamu