I decided to write this article primarily to document my thoughts on some readings I have completed recently on contemporary hermeneutics (critical theory being one of them) and secondly to provide a source of information and critique for those looking for a more sober and non-hysterical understanding of a topic often subject to caricatures & … Continue reading Preliminary Thoughts on Adorno’s ‘Critical Theory’
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم Knowing your enemy’s plan of attack is extremely important for understanding in how to defend against it. Through teaching theology and counseling young people & adults with doubts in their faith, I think I have identified a major part of Shaytan’s plan for causing Muslims to doubt in their faith. Doubts … Continue reading How Shaytan makes you doubt your faith
One segment of the ‘practicing’ Muslim population that often is overlooked are those (usually youth) from non-practicing or more secular families who are brought into the light of guidance by Allah. We often talk about the challenges of converts and those who grow up Muslim, but we don’t often talk about these people. This is … Continue reading The Challenges of Becoming a ‘Practising’ Muslim in a ‘Muslim’ family
Basic theology, or Usul-ul-Din, is usually a simple extraction of the beliefs that a Muslim should have based on the Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah. In Sunni Islam, we attempt to attain orthodoxy in our beliefs by ensuring that our interpretation of the sacred texts in matters of religious belief is as close as ideally possible … Continue reading What is Kalam?
Most people go through school, college or university learning a lot, but often learning little to nothing about HOW to learn. We might figure out how to study for a test, do an assignment or carefully select our courses, but we often don’t pick up on the skills necessary for us to learn independently outside … Continue reading How To Learn Anything
Note: this post has not been written to dissuade anyone from being involved in protests or activism for Palestine. Please continue to do so, may Allah reward you and may He rectify our ummah’s affairs. In university, I used to take part in protests and helped to organize political events. A few of them were … Continue reading Taqwa For Palestine
This is a common phrase uttered by those who are against the madhhabs and the concept of taqlid in fiqh. On the surface such an approach seems very simple, straightforward and directly inspired from passionate faith & piety, which is why people who advocate for it find it difficult to let go of. However, despite … Continue reading “Follow Allah & His Messenger ﷺ, Not People” – Misunderstanding The Concept Of Taqlid
Some people asked about this, so I was reflecting over whether or not I should chime in on the current ‘Aqidah Wars’ phenomenon on Muslim social media. I was tempted to because I sense genuine confusion on many of these issues, but I decided against it. I’ll probably just make things worse. Instead, I want … Continue reading The Futility of Online ‘Aqidah Wars’
If you’ve been following my page for a while, you’ve probably seen me mention the word ‘epistemology’ and ‘pedagogy’ more than a few times. Why do I talk about it so often? One of the most important crises human beings are facing today is what I like to call epistemic dysfunction. This is a disease … Continue reading Why I’m Still Talking About Epistemology
I have refrained from addressing the issue of feminism & Islam for a long time on this blog, mostly because I feel Muslim discourse on this subject has reached an irrational false détente where you are either pro-feminism and thus a Muslim ‘liberal’, or you are anti-feminist and a ‘toxic Muslim male’. With the added … Continue reading Muslims & Feminism
In university and throughout my 20s, my drive to improve in faith, taqwa, ibadah and ilm was fueled by raw ambition for the hereafter and Allah’s company. That zeal & energy took me abroad to study and battle through countless difficulties in my quest to become a better Muslim. But at the age of around … Continue reading Maintaining & Nurturing Imān In Our 30s
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم Often on this blog, I talk about learning and the levels of knowledge in a subject. But an important ‘flip side’ to talk about are the levels of ignorance. They are incredibly important to know about, and while classical books have often stuck to a simple/compound ignorance dichotomy, I want to … Continue reading The Levels Of Ignorance
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم There exists a phenomenon of some Muslims who study hadith but do not emphasize the study of fiqh using a madhhab. Although I may still hold some individuals who do this in high regard, I no longer view their understanding of the enterprise of hadith authoritative in comprehensive terms unless they … Continue reading The Problem of Studying Hadith Without the Madhabs
As someone who also has a public page with some following, I have some important advice for Muslims doing da’wah online that I have picked up along the way and try to apply on myself. I thought I would share some of these for those willing to listen: 1) Beware the content creation trap – … Continue reading Doing Da’wah Online? Some Advice
Many Muslims today expect that Islamic education should be a community service. It should be offered at the cheapest possible price and the teacher is expected to be paid little to nothing for their work. Their reward is in the akhirah, after all. If they are sincere, then they should not be expecting any material … Continue reading Stop Being Cheap & Pay Your Teachers
What is ‘modernism’ in the Islamic context? The term ‘modernist’ has become a sloppy critique that religious Muslims use to dismiss views they feel are too ‘liberal’ or see as catering too willingly to the Western world and its beneficiaries. But the vast majority of people who make this accusation don’t understand what it means … Continue reading Is Modernism Bad?
Are Linguistic Interpretations of Sacred Texts Arbitrary?
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم As Muslims we need to ensure that our understanding of Islam is grounded in knowledge and scholarship. It is not about what we ‘feel’ to be right or are outraged about. There is no better way to attain this understanding than looking to our scholars and scholarly tradition and seeing how … Continue reading Shirk, Takfir & The Fuqaha
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم A Muslim must ensure that they are learning their religion or taking fatwa from those who are qualified to do so. Especially in today’s social media and online landscape where amateurs can barely be distinguished from experts, this has become a priority more than ever before.1 Whenever I have written or … Continue reading How to Identify Authorities in Islamic Knowledge
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم In the past few years I’ve seen more seekers of knowledge and du’āt talk about ‘making Islam a natural part of our lives’, in that it integrates seamlessly into our personality and worldview to the point where it doesn’t feel forced and unnatural. I was one of these people for a … Continue reading What Does it Mean to Make Islam a Natural Part of Your Life?
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم I recently skimmed through the relied-upon study text in Hanbali theology ‘Qala’id Ul-Iqyan’ by Imam ibn Balban al-Hanbali. Although the text itself is quite basic and at a beginner level, I was very impressed by the inclusion of an entire chapter on ‘calling to good and warning from evil’ in a … Continue reading How to Call to Good and Warn from Evil
Before marriage, I would daydream and imagine what my life would ideally look like in the future. I would be the perfect husband, the perfect father, the perfect employee, the perfect student of knowledge, and the perfect worshipper of Allah. My goal was to be the Bruce Wayne or Jason Bourne of living the Muslim … Continue reading Of Superheroes and Sahabah
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم This started as a replacement for some of my outdated articles on studying Islam, and as a means to answer questions about books and study tips I am often asked about in private messages. It has now resulted in what is the most important article on my blog I have written … Continue reading How to Study Islam: A Guide
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم I noticed this very small text by Izz-ul-Din ibn Abdis-Salam (~577AH – ~670AH) being taught and explained by members of the global Muslim community, and liked it so much that I decided to temporarily suspend my current Islamic Studies curriculum and teach this to my students instead. I want to share … Continue reading 17 Benefits of Adversity & Affliction
An advice I give my high school students is to toughen up and start preparing mentally and spiritually for what looks to be a rocky future. Although I usually do this when they complain about assignments and tests, its also a theme I discuss in Islamic History and the tough times that people went through … Continue reading The Value of Struggle
It is understandable why some Muslims view the modern/Western academic study of Islam with faithful suspicion, while others look down on traditional study as some bygone relic of the past. Both mindsets are at some level justified, yet it is important to realize they are also reductionist. I think it is inaccurate to assert that … Continue reading Studying Islam: Traditional vs. Modern Academic methods
So it should be no secret that I’m not fond of du’āt overstepping their abilities and authority. Some people interpret this as me trying to discourage people from doing da’wah. I can understand why it comes across that way, and that might be my fault as I keep trying to hammer in the point of … Continue reading Epistemic Responsibility in Da’wah
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم I am sharing this story because firstly, I know how lonely it is for those suffering from mental illness and how comforting it is for us to hear from others who have had similar experiences. Secondly, I’ve learned a lot from the past 4 years that I think will be useful … Continue reading A Student of Knowledge and Mental Illness
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم Like many Muslim parents involved in this discussion, I think about this subject constantly, as I don’t earn a lot and thus devote a significant amount of my pay to send my kid to Islamic school. It would be very easy for me to send my daughter to public school and … Continue reading Should I send my kid to an Islamic school?
Do the ‘relied upon’ or mu’tamad/mashhur positions of the madhhabs have any epistemic significance? This question is an interesting one that I have been reflecting over for a while. You often hear (esp. on social media) one of two views: that these are epistemic absolutes that students or scholars of that madhhab MUST abide by … Continue reading The Mu’tamad
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم This is a very important piece that I should have written a long time ago, but in the end Allah’s will is supreme. Traditionalism as understood in this article is the collective amalgamate of Sunni theological, legal and spiritual traditions. In theology, the Ash’ari, Maturidi and Athari traditions in theology, the … Continue reading Traditionalists vs. Traditionalism
I am mostly writing this because I don’t want to invest valuable time in writing rebuttals to specific articles addressing issues outside of my field, although a recent one irked me because it included a very poor attempt to construct an ‘Islamic’ definition of a social concept while simultaneously attempting to de-legitimize the work of … Continue reading The problem with ‘Brute-Force’ polemics
This is a fallacious belief that is common among quite a lot of Muslims of Pakistani/Indian subcontinent origin (especially those that study with certain unmentioned international organizations) as well as the understanding of a few contemporary Muslim figures (usually from the same region). Many are the basements in which amateur exegetes claim to interpret the … Continue reading “To understand the Qur’an, you only need tafsir”
Along with an academic, traditional and formalist study of fiqh, It is important to have a natural understanding of fiqh as well. What is a natural understanding of fiqh? It is an understanding of fiqh that seamlessly integrates with real people and their real experienced lives. What is a formalist understanding of fiqh? It is … Continue reading Fiqh Naturalism
This is something I’ve wanted to write for a few months now. Although I have begun to lean in very strongly towards understandings that would be typified as ‘Sufi’ over the past few years, there is a strand of thought in the ‘Sufi’ community that genuinely makes me uncomfortable. I’m sure it could be stated … Continue reading Does Wahhabism = Terrorism?
This is a translation of an Arabic post I made on The Usuli’s Facebook page. It came out much longer than the Arabic original so I put it here instead as an article. The scholars of Kalam and Usul were known for their realization that responding to groups such as the Mu’taziliah and those who … Continue reading Taking Inspiration from the Imams in Addressing Modern Issues
Note: I’m not a qualified counselor or psychotherapist, but given that part of understanding mental health is experiential – and I’ve read quite a bit on it to understand it for myself – I don’t mind making more critical comments on this topic. To be on the safe side I did get a psychiatrist who … Continue reading Stigma and Beyond: Stop Using Your Anxiety or Depression as a Crutch
So you’re the cream of the theological crop. You’ve been studying or researching Islamic theology, whether basic or advanced, and you’ve become familiar with what a big fat lie atheism has turned out to be. Whether it’s been through YouTube videos and bloggers, or tomes on epistemology, ontology and theology, or you were blessed to … Continue reading Beyond Yaqeen – How to Connect With Allah and Not Just Believe in Him
This was a question I was asked via the anonymous Q&A system of my school. It was by someone who was wondering why the gender interaction rules at the high school were a little more lenient than at the elementary/middle school of the same organization, and this was an attempt to answer it as well … Continue reading A Quick Guide to Gender Interactions for Young Muslims
Witnessing the presence of Allah in our actions and worship is important to acquire a ‘taste’ of spirituality in Islam. It is from the routes in recognizing the love of Allah for us and recognition for our efforts in this life. It is one of the ways to also prove Allah’s existence to ourselves, although … Continue reading Barriers to Witnessing Allah’s Presence in this Life
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم There are three reasons that have compelled me to write this short article. The first is that of Muslim researchers and academics in social science disciplines in which their thoughts on Islam and Islamic issues are influenced by the -isms primarily forming the governing principles of their usually Western academic faculties, … Continue reading Islamic Thought and the Problem of -isms
So the Surah FaQaf video came up in my social circles, and I want to address it not only because it has almost reached 10k views, but as someone for whom the answer is so obvious, I feel a sense of service to the average sincere Muslim who may watch it and feel lost and … Continue reading The Qur’an and the Ex-Muslim YouTuber
I spent an hour or so pondering over the Ash’ari/Athari polemics and realized the massive impact this has on the perception and importance of tradition between these two theological groups. The only way I could get myself to stop the flow of thoughts was to write them, hence this article. At any rate, this is … Continue reading Atharism, Ash’arism and Tradition
I originally wrote this to help me deliver a talk in my local mosque on the same topic. They were a bit more detailed than my notes usually are because they were to be used as a script by the sign language translator attending. It turns out they also made a quick and useful read. … Continue reading Brief notes on the miraculous nature (i’jāz) of the Qurān
As growing numbers of young practicing Muslims (especially students of knowledge or enthusiasts of scholarly discussions) make the decision to abandon Salafism due to either finding it or it’s conclusions intellectually inferior or practically problematic, there are a number of important things to take note of: 1) Do not belittle your reasons for finding Salafism … Continue reading On Salafi ‘Burnout’
I just watched this latest NBC interview with Dr. Jordan Peterson, and boy do I have a lot to say about it. First of all, I have a lot of respect for Dr. Peterson in his easily demonstrated expertise as a clinical psychologist and a scientist. Perhaps he also has a lot of credibility in … Continue reading Dr. Jordan Peterson: the blind ideologue?
From a Facebook group where someone asked about important books in learning Arabic: Learning Arabic consists of three steps: 1) Learning basic language skills (can take 1-3 years depending on student) 2) Studying Arabic as a science (can take 2-4 years depending on student) 3) Intensive Academic expertise/research (Lifetime) The first step consists of one word: … Continue reading A Sample Study Ladder for Mastering the Arabic Language
Never let yourself or others determine your intelligence, knowledge and scholastic capability based on your grades in school and university. I hope this brief essay serves as a source of learning and benefit about the pitfalls and shortcomings of the modern formalized education system. This is an experience I hope not just to share with … Continue reading A Journey in Education
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم Many Muslims are keen to learn the Arabic language. It is, after all, the key to unlocking the doors of the knowledge of Qur’an and Sunnah. However, most people unfortunately give up soon after starting. While this is often attributed to laziness or a lack of motivation, a lot of the … Continue reading How to Learn Arabic 2.0
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم Here is a brief guide to the different types of texts that one can study with a teacher in the Islamic Sciences. Much of this is from my personal experience so I hope other students and teachers can comment with their own suggestions and advice. Introductory texts I found that the … Continue reading A Brief Primer to Different Texts in the Islamic Sciences
بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم Here is some foundational adab when discussing an academic issue of knowledge online (or otherwise). May Allah (عز وجل) make it beneficial: Situation 1: You have studied the related topic in question via a teacher or text and you do not know the level of knowledge of the other individual. As … Continue reading Some adab while discussing issues of knowledge online