Truth needs evidence, or some recourse to reality. Nowhere is this more evident than in the struggle to come to terms with incredible successes of the Trump presidential bid and the Brexit campaign.

He does not come across as your run-of-the-mill infidel. In an interview just before his untimely death, widely available on YouTube, Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd (1943–2010) sports an affable smile. He is mild-mannered and erudite. One would be hard-pressed to imagine how such a genial man can be deemed devilish rather than a dervish.

Islamic doctrines have been frequently expressed and negotiated through literature. The works of Middle Eastern writers such as Jalal ul-din Rumi and Naguib Mahfouz that deal with Islamic theology are widely known. A lesser known fact is that intimations of Islam were keenly expressed through the cultural landscape of Muslim Southeast Asia, or the Nusantara.

Somewhere in the Gobi desert lurks a wormlike creature so elusive that no one can fully describe its attributes properly. Some say it spews acid when threatened. Others allege that it dispenses electric charges, or even explodes at will. While it has not yet been proven to exist, the Mongolian death worm is nevertheless ‘real’ to many who live in that part of the world.