Thursday, April 27, 2006

Seerah Seminar with Dr Jackson

(my first topic !)

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

American Learning Institute for Muslims (ALIM), NYU Office of the Chaplain and ICNYU presents

Seerah Seminar: The Meccan Period
: Dr. Abdal Hakim Sherman Jackson

Purpose:The focus of this course will be to understand the Prophet's(as) sayings, actions and concerns within a broader context of his life so that his experience may resonate both in our mind and in our heart.

Date: Saturday May 20th and Sunday May 21st
Location: NYU Vanderbilt Hall
Duration: 9am – 5pm
Cost: $50 (includes Breakfasts and Lunches) Babysitting will not be provided
Registration: ( limited seats available!)
Email: for any questions and information

about Dr. Abdal Hakim Jackson


Come through guys and lets make this successful event. Tell all your friends and families !

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reza Shah-Kazemi on Pluralism

Defining Without Confining:reflections on a prophetic usage of sacred space.
Reza Shah-Kazemi

The Qur’an is categorical in its rejection of religious nationalism. If we look, for example, at the Qur’anic riposte that follows the exclusivist claims of the People of the Book:

And they say: None entereth paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian. These are their own desires. Say: Bring your proof if ye are truthful.
Nay, but whosoever submitteth his purpose to God, and he is virtuous, his reward is with his Lord. No fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve. (II: 111-112)

The reply given to the claim of the Jews and the Christians comes as a concrete rebuttal not just of a particular chauvinistic claim, but of that whole style of discourse. The verse does not contradict the exclusivist claims of the Jews and the Christians with an exclusivism of its own, that is, with a claim that only “Muslims”, in the narrow sense, go to Paradise. On the contrary, salvation is universalised: paradisal reward is promised those who have submitted wholeheartedly to God and are intrinsically virtuous. Faithful submission and virtue – these are the two indispensable human requisites for salvation, together with the foundation and consummation of both, namely the mercy of God. Thus, the verse does not respond to exclusivist or nationalistic claims by making an equally illogical exclusivist claim of its own: it is the submission of one’s being to God and the consequent practice of virtue that is salvific.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


The Origins of Occidentalism
By: Ian Buruma
excerpt: "The Occidentalist view of the West is of a bourgeois society, addicted to creature comforts, animal lusts, self-interest, and security. It is by definition a society of cowards, who prize life above death. As a Taliban fighter once put it during the war in Afghanistan, the Americans would never win, because they love Pepsi-Cola, whereas the holy warriors love death. This was also the language of Spanish fascists during the civil war, and of Nazi ideologues, and Japanese kamikaze pilots"

see also the Deenport Review by Shamim Miah who points out some shortcomings with the thesis.

what do you guys think?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

zizek on terrorism, violence

Some Politically Incorrect Reflections on Violence in France & Related Matters
Slavoj Zizek

excerpt: "The fundamentalist Islamic terror is NOT grounded in the terrorists' conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of the global consumerist civilization: the problem with fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that THEY THEMSELVES secretly consider themselves inferior (like, obviously, Hitler himself felt towards Jews) - which is why our condescending Politically Correct assurances that we feel no superiority towards them only makes them more furious and feeds their resentment. The problem is not cultural difference (their effort to preserve their identity), but the opposite fact that the fundamentalists are already like us, that they secretly already internalized our standards and measure themselves by them. (This clearly goes for Dalai Lama who justifies the Tibetan Buddhism in WESTERN terms of the pursuit of happiness and the avoidance of pain.) Paradoxically, what the fundamentalists really lack is precisely a dosage of "true" "racist" conviction into one's own superiority."

Also, Zizek gives a very interesting reminder: "One should bear in mind that the philosopher's task is not to propose solutions, but to reformulate the problem itself, to shift the ideological framework within which we hitherto perceived the problem."

Monday, March 20, 2006

preliminary thoughts

we all live inside images or archetypes and it is how we live in these images that determines our sense of self/who we are (or metaphysically speaking, how much of Being we manifest).

the 'image' in which we are located in, according to our religious language is 'God's form' or 'imago Dei' or 'the surat of Allah' and we cannot escape this fact.

in popular culture studies (anthropology), the 'image' which we inhabit is that which is broadcasted through media (which is an image producing process). so the individual interacts with and lives within a socially constructed image of him/herself.

these are two radically different perspectives of how to view the human though they both say something about how your existence is fundamentally about how you occupy the space inside a self-enclosing image. we are all living in images. we are all living images.

i obviously have in mind the views of ibn arabi, who says that all existence is imaginal (khayal). i hope these initial reflections stimulate some reflection on your own part. i will try to revisit this later on, if god so wills.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Identity Politics

So after listening to another horrendous khutba, I noticed some idiots had a flyer about protesting in front of City Hall today about the comic nonsense about cartoons. The fools don't know their audience nor their supposed enemy. And they seem to think the Prophet has something to do with Alfred Nobel, not being Noble. Most Muslims in N. America are rich and intelligent, but oh-so ignorant and dumb. It all seems to be predicated on justifying the identity that they maintain. Religion is a vehicle for achieving PR about identity. And seeing how identity politics seem to be all the rage round the world currently, here's an irrelevant excerpt from stuff I should have read 3 years ago.

Excerpt from Cornel West, "A Matter of Life and Death," in The Identity in Question as taken from "Identity and Admission into the Political Game" by Srikanth in the 99/00 Amerasia Journal.

* * *
For me, identity is fundamentally about desire... How you construct your identity is predicated on how you construct desire...: desire for recognition; quest for visibility...; the sense of being acknowledged; a deep desire for association--what Edward Said would call affiliation. It'sthe longing to belong, a deep visceral need that most linguistically conscious animals who transact with an environment (that's us) participate in. And then there is a profound desire for protection, for security, for safety, for surety. And so, in talking about identity, we have to begin to look at the various ways in which human beings have constructed their desire for recognition, association, and protection over time and space, and always under circumstances not of their own choosing.
* * *

Saturday, February 18, 2006

echelon of silence

So, i remain an agitated muslim, but everyone is apathetic. Perhaps, I should remain apathetic as well.

Should I care when muslims assert themselves into things where they neednt be talking.

I just heard from someone that some email list was comtemplating whether or not to support this guy for congress...

they were making judgements as to his religiosity, but not for the sake of religion, but as to who would represent them. They felt it better to elect someone who didnt have a muslim sounding name so as to be precluded from judging them.

And amidst me cursing at the idiocy which pervades, I began to think is it even worth it trying to explain to these folks how stupid they are.

And must I couch it in terms that they understand? It seems ever more ridiculous the more I think about it. But other folks who think like me, don't want to care. Or choose to do nothing. Perhaps that's the right idea.