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

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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.

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

[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.

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

Review of Ertugrul Season 1

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EDIT: March 24th, 2019

Welcome to my blog! This review has become popular and is bringing lots of visitors. After you’re done reading this post, I’d recommend also checking out one of the following:

  • Thoughts after reading The Brothers Karamazov (link)
  • Artificial Intelligence and What It Means To Be Human (written for Traversing Tradition – link here)
  • My series on human evolution – starting with part 1

Anyway, continue with the Ertugrul review for now!


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

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

I just finished watching the first season of the Turkish TV series Dirilis: Ertugrul, which is available on Netflix with English subtitles. In this post, I’ll summarize what this series is about, who the main characters are, what I liked and what I didn’t like. I’ll end with my overall thoughts about the show and its role in the media landscape, especially for Muslims, and then I’ll list other shows people who like Ertugrul might also like.

Please note that while I will attempt to keep spoilers to a minimum, there will naturally be some spoilers in this post. If you’re going to read it, don’t complain about spoilers later. You were warned.

Continue reading “Review of Ertugrul Season 1”

Dr. Jonathan Brown on Historical Criticism of Islamic Primary Texts

Screenshot from 2018-02-08 23:10:32

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

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

This blog post is adapted from my notes taken from Dr. Jonathan A. C. Brown’s lecture on the topic of historical criticism and how it’s been applied to Islamic primary texts, especially the hadith collections. Watch the lecture here: part 1part 2part 3. Note that it’s about 3 hours long including the Q&A, so be warned. It’s definitely worth a watch though, from beginning to end.

The lecture was given around the time that the UK government-sponsored documentary Islam: The Untold Story by charlatan historian Tom Holland was in the news. Basically, the documentary tries to tell a speculative revisionist story of the origins of Islam. Dr. Brown’s lecture is not a direct response to the documentary, but it contextualizes some of the assumptions being made in this documentary and other revisionist pieces that are claiming to examine Islam from a “critical” lens. Anyway, I’ll end the introduction here and start the portion based on my notes. Note that the section “My Thoughts” at the end of this post is not based on the lecture; those opinions are strictly mine.

Continue reading “Dr. Jonathan Brown on Historical Criticism of Islamic Primary Texts”

The Diversity of Religion

بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

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

Human beings follow many, many religions, and each one claims to be the truth. Obviously, these claims to absolute truth are, for the most part, irreconcilable. Christianity and Hinduism can’t be true at the same time. Same for Islam and Zoroastrianism. Either there is one God, or many deities, or none. The mutual exclusivity of the world’s religions (and for the purposes of this post I’ll count atheism/agnosticism as a “religion” even though they’re technically not) should be quite clear to most people, hopefully.

So how do we explain this diversity? Continue reading “The Diversity of Religion”

An anecdote about the Khawarij

بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

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

The Khawarij (a.k.a. “Kharijites” – literally, “those who leave”) are the only deviant sect in Islam that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ specifically warned about in detail. I don’t want to get too deep into their ideology here but I’d recommend seeing this very detailed video by Imran Mansur which explains the Khawarij, who they are, and how ISIS are from among them. Continue reading “An anecdote about the Khawarij”