Why reading lists might be harming your intellectual growth

The reading list; every line in this humble assembly represents a yearning for knowledge. As useful as these may be, perhaps the reading list silences the dynamism of curiosity. When finishing a book, the reader moves onto the next item on their list. The list represents what the reader wants to read at a particular…

Children Wearing Hijab – Are They Being Indoctrinated and Sexualised?

Recently, a top-ranking primary school in Newham decided to ban the hijab for young children. The ban was later reversed following quite a backlash. Discussions around the hijab followed, reviving the notion that the hijab is a form of indoctrination. The argument goes; girls are forced to don a cloth, sexualising them by treating them…

Society’s Canvass: On Art as a Projection of Social Values

I’m no artist. I’m rather prosaic. But it is difficult to deny the strength of art as a means of self-expression, political resistance, therapy, or as a projection of social values. The blank canvass holds endless possibilities; from ink to paint, surreal to abstract, dusky or vibrant, art provides an unparalleled mode of expression. What…

Multi-dimensional: On the Different Uses of Zakat

Whilst walking down Whitechapel Road during Ramadan, it was hard not to notice the sheer number of adverts by Muslim charities, attracting Zakat payments. And almost without exception, the adverts featured a miserable but endearing child, dressed in rags, with large deer-like eyes, inviting warmth and sympathy from beholders. In doing so, the link between…

The Need to Address Women’s Rights in the Muslim Community

One of the most common critiques against Islam is that is oppresses women, burdens them with a sundry of pedantic and outdated legislative shackles, restricting their self-determination to a point of destructiveness. The hijab is viewed as a patriarchal institute, sexualising women by defining them only according to their sex. The traditional nuclear family is…

Smokeless Fire: On the Plausibility of Believing in the Supernatural

Djinn. Beings described in the Quran as made of smokeless fire, are a favourite topic of discussion among Muslims. The mysterious entities often feature in hear-say stories, frivolously passed around. The stories vary from genuinely frightening – possession leading to near-fatal acts of self-harm – to laughable – a man saw a ‘demon’ sitting in…

Protagonist Syndrome: On Narcissism

Yesterday I was on the train home and saw a lone sock on the tube floor. I suggested to my friend, an aspiring play write, that he write a story about a series of very ordinary happenings that led to the sock’s current position; maybe somebody was running late, and hurriedly put their baby’s sock…

When Islam Eradicated Poverty: Umar-bin-Abdul Aziz and Zakat

The potential of Zakat as a source of poverty eradication is optimistic and positive. However, the gulf between theory and reality can often be significant. In South and South East Asia, this gulf unfortunately exists. Zakat implementation has had limited success and suffers from significant inefficiency. The woes of modern day Zakat are in stark…

Poverty’s Bane: On Zakat as a Developmental Funding Source

Zakat – the Islamic obligation of alms giving – is said to have once eradicated absolute poverty under the rule of the caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz. Centuries later, with the swelling Muslim populace, perhaps Zakat once again offers the potential for mass poverty reduction. This article will explore the potential of Zakat as a…