Pakistan’s future is with China. We should be clear about this… Our country’s progress and development is linked with China… We’re lucky that it’s currently the world’s fastest growing economy, I don’t see any country challenging it in the future.
This line of thinking represents not just Imran Khan and his party, but rather the entire political and military leadership of Pakistan. However, it should not be believed uncritically. These leaders often prioritize their short term political gains over the long-term well-being of the country, so it’s possible that being so closely linked with China will end up being bad for Pakistan.
In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the China-Pakistan relationship. I’ll start by laying out Pakistan’s priorities, and I’ll show how China hasn’t helped much except a little. I’ll then discuss CPEC, and demonstrate that it’s a one-sided project that doesn’t significantly benefit the Pakistani people. After that, I will discuss the US-Pakistan relationship and point out why it’s important for this relationship to expand in the future. I’ll end by pointing out historical parallels with the Pakistan-China relationship and the warnings they might provide.
One of the most controversial issues these days related to Islam is that of war and violence, i.e. does Islam as a religion promote violence, are Muslims inherently or especially violent, and is it legitimate for Muslims to have waged war in the past to spread their religion (although more sophisticated critics these days have recognized that there weren’t forced conversions).
This debate has produced a lot of literature, and people have responded to the issues in various ways. The main focus has been on the why: for what reasons did Muslims wage war, what motivated them, and what role did wanting to spread or glorify Islam play – as opposed to responding to aggression, defending the oppressed, and so on.
But there’s been much less focus on the how. Clearly, the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions achieved tremendous military success. They took down the Persian Empire and much of the Byzantine Empire, the great powers of their age. It’s worth asking: what was their military strategy? How did they manage to march against enemies much stronger than them and still win? These people were not trained in fancy military academies and did not have experience fighting against great powers. Ultimately, even on the battlefield, they looked to their religion for guidance and inspiration.
In this post, I’ll look at 3 different primary sources that hold theological weight for Muslims: the Quran, the ahadith (sayings) of the Prophet, and the actions of the Companions, especially the rightly-guided Caliphs. From these, I’ll draw some broad principles for how Muslims should wage war. I’ll also give examples from history, both Islamic and general, of these principles being used or ignored and how it led to victory or defeat.
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.
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)
My review of Dr. Jonathan Brown’s book on slavery (link)
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.
بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Islamic history is a fascinating subject. And one of the most interesting things to read is an account of a foreign land written by a traveler. This book excerpt combines both of those elements.
The book is called The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. It’s an autobiography first published in 1789 by a former slave. He traveled and experienced a lot in his life, but here I want to focus on Equanio’s visit to the Ottoman Empire.
The source for this excerpt is courtesy of Project Gutenberg. A link can be found here.
Instead of using the block-quote feature, which would become inefficient for a very long excerpt, I just added lines before and after the quote. I also added my notes using a superscript (like this0) which you can read at the bottom. And I split up some long paragraphs as well. Enjoy! Continue reading “Olaudah Equiano on the Ottomans”→