Review of Dr. Jonathan Brown’s Book on Slavery and Islam

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Dr. Jonathan Brown recently wrote a book about slavery and how it relates to Islam. In this post, I’ll give an overview of what the book is about, some general thoughts on the book, as well as my take on the topic as a whole.

Slavery and Islam focuses on two broad areas. The first is analyzing how Islamic law and classical Islamic civilization dealt with slavery, and the second is discussing the moral dimension of slavery and the questions it raises. At times these threads are interwoven and at times they are separate, but I’ll deal with these two areas one at a time.

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[For Men] Thoughts, Desires, and Male-Female Interactions

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Bismillah.

There’s a widespread problem among men that needs addressing. This problem exists among women too, but since I’m a man I’ll speak to my fellow brothers. I don’t expect to solve the problem but if even a handful of people make some improvement after reading it, I’ll consider that a success.

The problem is that a lot of men harbor sexual thoughts and fantasies about women who they’re not married to. These are often people they know and interact with, such as their colleagues and coworkers, or are from the internet such as Instagram and Facebook, and so on. Celebrities and pornography can also be considered an extension of this problem.

In this post I will first argue that harboring these sexual thoughts is bad in and of itself, and shouldn’t be seen as something that only becomes bad if they’re “acted” upon, e.g. by masturbating to them, or not lowering one’s gaze, or engaging in physical contact. Then I will give 3 good ways to help fix this problem, and 2 bad ways to try to fix this problem.

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The Importance of Memorization

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone! May Allah make this a month full of peace, barakah and good deeds.

I recently wrote this article for Traversing Tradition on the importance of memorization. Make sure to read, share and leave feedback. In Sha Allah I’ll continue posting on my personal blog after Ramadan.

Traversing Tradition

One time, Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah) was traveling when he was robbed by highway bandits. He asked them to leave his books and notes, saying that they would be of no use to the robbers and that they contained knowledge he had spent a lot of effort in obtaining. One of the robbers replied, “How can you claim that you obtained their knowledge when we took it away from you and left you devoid of knowledge?” Regardless, he returned the books and because of this experience, Imam Ghazali spent years committing everything he had learned to memory [1]. Considering some Islamic scholars memorized all the books they had in their collection, it’s clear that memorization is an important part of knowledge.

Memorization and Knowledge

Memorization does not equate to acquiring knowledge by itself. However, Muslims have always valued memorization as part of and prerequisite to knowledge. This starts with the Quran…

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How To Learn Arabic As A Non-Arab Muslim

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, and peace and blessings on the most honorable Messenger.

This post is about Arabic learning among Muslims who aren’t native speakers of the language, along with some personal reflections and experiences with Arabic, with tips and techniques added along the way. I hope you share this post with anyone you know who has been trying to learn Arabic, and leave your own thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Note that I’m skipping justifying the need for us to learn Arabic. This post is already too long, so I’d direct you to this khutbah by Dr. Sohaib Saeed which does a good job with that.

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Bitcoin and Technological Progress

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Salaam all,

I recently wrote this post about Bitcoin, the blockchain and cryptocurrencies for Traversing Tradition. I explain what the technology is, the idea and justification behind it, and some of the issues it comes with. I also talk about how we often get taken in by hype related to technological progress, which arguably applies to other things such as AI and Internet of Things as well.

Anyway, read, share and leave your feedback!

Traversing Tradition

The rise of cryptocurrencies in 2017 brought attention to the technology powering them, called “blockchains” or “the blockchain.” This article will assess why this technology became popular and what kinds of problems it both solves and creates.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is best explained through analogy. Think of the website of a newspaper like The New York Times. The contents of the site are stored on servers in a centralized location. Imagine if instead of that, everyone had a full copy of the site stored on his computer with no central server. Every article, comment, and image was there. If a reporter wanted to submit a new article, he would have to get the approval of the rest of the journalists (perhaps in some automated way).

Let’s say one journalist contacts another and submits his post. The other journalist would verify this post using a mathematical technique known as

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A Brand New Path

Excellent article by Diverging Thoughts, do check it out! And very relevant to the current American/Western Muslim discourse. DT is an intelligent, articulate young man and definitely worth following.

Also a quick update on the evolution post series: I’m currently working on part 5, which will probably be the final part, but it won’t be out till after Ramadan In Sha Allah.

Diverging Thoughts

INCREASINGLY, the premier voice of Muslims in the West is being filled by an unlikely group– sportsmen. It seems I cannot open my social media feed anymore without seeing a post celebrating a Muslim athlete’s success in their chosen field. Whether it’s Khabib Nurmagomedov celebrating a win by performing the prostration of gratitude (sajdat shukr), or Ousmane Dembele using his World Cup earnings to fund a masjid in Mauritania in the name of his mother; my heart swells with pride at the sight of my brothers’ success, both in this life and the life hereafter. But while these stories are frequently held up by liberals as examples of successful multiculturalism, they more often display its failures and contradictions, and the inherent tension present in being a practicing Muslim in the West. Take the example of Mesut Ozil, the Turco-German footballer who made headlines this summer after he quit…

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Human Origins Part 4: Some Evidence for a Unique Human Origin

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

So far (in parts one, two and three), I have analyzed the evidence brought forward to support human-chimp common ancestry. Taking a bird’s eye view of the situation, it’s apparent that the idea of common descent with chimps is essentially a hypothesis and not a proven fact. If you’re trying to answer the question of human origins, and restrict what you look at to purely materialistic explanations (i.e. that we originated from within this universe itself), then it may be the best hypothesis out there, and this is why many scientists have accepted it.

That being said, the evidence brought forward in its favor can have other explanations. Here’s a quick summary of this evidence, as mentioned in the past 2 articles, with the other explanation after the colon:

  • Human-chimp similarities: we were created for a common environment and our bodies need to carry out similar functions
  • Non-functional similarities: these are actually functional, and the above argument applies
  • The fossil record: no evidence for an ape-to-human transition
  • Population genetics: based on unprovable assumptions
  • Evolutionary psychology: anecdotes, speculation and bad science
  • Neanderthals etc: they’re either races of humans, or similarities are due to function

In the next section, I will point out specific empirical evidence which is better explained by humans having a unique origin, than by humans being descended from another species.

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