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

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 Dr. Jonathan Brown’s Book on Slavery and Islam

d-jhowexuaaq8fz

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

brain

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”

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”

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

nasa-earth-rounding-sun-high-wallpapers

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.

Continue reading “Human Origins Part 4: Some Evidence for a Unique Human Origin”

Will America Become Great Again?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

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

Civilizations decline. And then fall. It’s happened again and again throughout history. Of course, their decline and falls don’t always follow set patterns and the course of events isn’t predictable. But what’s guaranteed is that no civilization will last forever, and everything comes to end, one way or another. This is how Allah created this world.

Continue reading “Will America Become Great Again?”

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”