Review of “From the Ruins of Empire” by Pankaj Mishra


My first thought after reading this book was to be mad at myself for not having read this earlier. As someone who follows world politics very closely, especially the regions whose history is covered in this book (which can broadly be described as “Asia”), knowing the history of this region is essential. There’s no way to understand what’s happening in the world today without understanding “how we got here” – and that’s this book’s #1 contribution and why I think it’s a must-read.

The book starts out with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, which is often given as the moment when modernity arrived to the Muslim world. It then talks about India & China, before pivoting to Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani and giving a detailed picture of his life and evolution. Continue reading “Review of “From the Ruins of Empire” by Pankaj Mishra”

Review of “The Anarchy” by William Dalrymple

The Anarchy front cover

Book Summary

The book starts its narrative when the British East India Company was founded around 1600 CE. It also talks about what India was like in this time, describing the later parts of Mughal rule. It then focuses on Bengal, talking about how the British established themselves there and slowly spread their influence. The battles of Plassey and Buxar are discussed in detail, as well as the social and political changes that followed them, such as the great famine.

Continue reading “Review of “The Anarchy” by William Dalrymple”

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


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.

Continue reading “Review of Dr. Jonathan Brown’s Book on Slavery and Islam”

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



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.

Continue reading “[For Men] Thoughts, Desires, and Male-Female Interactions”

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.

Continue reading “How To Learn Arabic As A Non-Arab Muslim”

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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