First things first : I am happy that Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London. Nothing could be cooler than having someone who shares your last name become the Mayor of a global city. This incident has been commented upon, quite a lot. Well meaning people point out that this is an indication that the… Continue reading What is wrong with the ‘Islam and the West’ discourse
As a young scholar, I am amazed at how easily such a question can be posed towards Islam and Muslims, without second thought – as if it is the most normal and banal question that one can ask – indeed, many of my close friends and associates have asked me this question, in the past.… Continue reading The problem with the question : ‘Is Islam a Violent Religion’
Popular discourses about Islam don’t normally include the ‘service’ component of the faith. Even though Islam considers charity to be central part of faith. Charity is very broadly defined in Islamic terms – for instance, there are prophetic Hadith that suggest that even a kind word or smile to a stranger can be considered an… Continue reading Renewing Islam through service?
In International Relations, Development theory as well as cultural analysis, often one hears that ‘tradition’ ideas are evil, and must be gotten rid of, on our way to ‘modernity.’ Indeed, if one looks at the development of the West, on is way to Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries, much of the tension was… Continue reading Do we need to re-think the definition of Tradition?
Ibn Battuta is one of my heroes. He is what Americans would call ‘badass’. He sits well on top of the list of people I have admired and loved – for their generosity of spirit, sense of adventure, or sheer bravery. What started as the journey of a 20 yr old man to go to… Continue reading How to travel like Ibn Battuta?
Marxism can be considered the exact mirror opposite of Islamic values, when it comes to ideas of materialism. On surface, this statement seems true. While Karl Marx’s idea of society can be considered purely materialistic, and his notions of political economy deeply rooted in notions of wealth, Islam is a more egalitarian and ‘socialist’ system,… Continue reading Philanthropy: Where Marxism and Islam agree
I am truly upset and angry that more than 12 people have died because of some vile cartoons. It should not have been, but it is so. I think the important task for people in France now, as well as around the world is to come to terms with it and deal with the aftermath.… Continue reading Does Islam need ‘reform’?
In the study of religion, is ‘thought’ more important than the everyday reality of those who practice religion? By ‘thought’ I include all the teachings, conceptions of ‘ideal society’ and life that every religion teaches. This is a hard question to answer, as ‘orthodoxy’ and ‘orthopraxy’ are two sides of the same coin, but in… Continue reading Why focus on praxis, rather than on thought?
I read a lot of books this year. Like a LOT. Part of the reason is that I am preparing for my prelim exams (part of the PhD process) where you prove to your committee that you know your stuff. Additionally, I presented a few papers at a few conferences, many of them outside my… Continue reading Top ten books I read this year
Are the pundits (or experts) on TV actually making us more ignorant? I am starting to wonder if all this explosion of ‘experts’ around us is really helping us understand the complex issues in front of us, or are they ‘dumbing down’ things, in order to reach us, and in essence not really helping us… Continue reading Why you should be Skeptical of Media Pundits’ Commentary