‘Then you came here as I ordained’

Surah Taha (chapter 20 of the Quran) has a strong focus on Moses, one of the central figures of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The wisdom found in Surah Taha thus has tremendous reach, sweeping across the Abrahamic frontier. The kernel of wisdom that I found in Surah Taha’s telling of Moses’ origins and confrontation with…

Perverse at Heart: On the Abuse of Scripture

In previous years, ISIS and their ilk have dominated media headlines. The public’s conscious has been loaded with affiliations between nefarious terrorist groups, and the religion of Islam, or at least some interpretations of it. ISIS are well aware of this, and exploit this through their toxic propaganda, in which they attempt to claim the…

Delivered in Comfort: Thoughts on the Sleepers of the Cave

The Sleepers of the Cave is a story of much importance in the Quran, as is the rest of the narrative espoused in Surah Kahf (the Cave). It is to be recited every Friday, so God must have wanted to imprint these particular stories and lessons deeply into our psyche. The story is a short…

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…