Ziauddin Sardar honours the life of anthropologist and writer Merryl Wyn Davies, Shabana Mir discovers transcendence, Jeremy Henzell-Thomas looks into his DNA, Robin Yassin-Kassab retires for a new life in Mossland, Medina Tenour Whiteman recounts the Sufi years of singer Richard Thompson, poems by the celebrated Ruth Padel, and last Words by Merryl Wyn Davies.
Shanon Shah examines recent biographies of the Prophet, Josef Linnhoff thinks that Mohammad Asad is a neglected thinker, Taha Kehar is mentored by Aamer Hussein, Hassan Mahamdallie revisits his anti-racist days, Mohammad Aslam Haneef on Anwar Ibrahim’s Humane Economics, Amina Atiq on being a Yemeni–Scouse artist, and C Scott Jordan’s list of stolen and fabricated lives.
We celebrate ten years of Critical Muslim, Robert Irwin puzzles over the memoir of the seventeenth-century writer and storyteller Hanna Diyab, Hilman Fikri Azman endorses the nineteenth-century Malaysian writer Munshi Abdullah, Bina Shah has a surprising encounter with the Algerian-French novelist Yasmina Khadra, Boyd Tonkin is not sure whether he has really seen the Taj Mahal, Faisal Devji is sceptical about a new biography of Edward Said, and Saimma Dyer on suspicious Muslims.
Anwar Ibrahim reconsiders the ummah, Colin Tudge plans a greener and humane economic system, Ahmad Adedimeji Amobi is optimistic about emerging young Nigeria, Naomi Foyle would like the world order to resemble a tree, Shanon Shah scrutinises soft power, Peter Mandaville rethinks world order thinking after Black Lives Matter, and poems by Halimah Adisa.
Abdelwahab El-Affendi suggests we are moving towards radical evil, Samia Rahman engages in cultural wars, Jerry Ravetz reflects on how we have moved from postnormal science to postnormal times, James Brooks rebukes President Emmanuel Macron, Kanchana Mahadevan dissects the order of Covid-19, Iftikhar H Malik on Islamic empires, and five poems and a short story by Salah Badis.
C Scott Jordan dissects the notion of ‘world order’, Yuri Prasad argues that racism and imperialism are intrinsic to the world order, Christopher B Jones reads manifestos anticipating the end of the world system, Jasmin Mujanovic fears the re-emergence of fascism in Serbia, Andrew Brown is fed up with Twitter and mob cruelty, Iason Athanasiadis on how Ottoman architecture shaped Europe, Sari Omer’s photographs of displaced lives in Darfur, and Jordi Serra lists ten things that will increase the disorder in an already disordered world.
Bruce B Lawrence is enthralled by Sufi satire, Robert Irwin enjoys old Arab gags, C Scott Jordan is astonished that comedy and news have merged into a single entity, Shanon Shah is impressed by Arab political humour, Ziauddin Sardar defends the integrity of put-upon pigeons, and Deena Mohamed’s superhero Qahera.
Hussein Abdulsater explores the Islamic approach to humour, Boyd Tonkin relishes the wordplay in Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg Over Leg, Leyla Jagiella dissects the old theory of biological and psychological humours, Shazia Mirza has a good laugh, Rachel Dwyer hands out Bollywood Comedy Awards, Giles Goddard on Christian–Muslim relations, and a short story by Medina Tenour Whiteman.
Hassan Mahamdallie remembers the comedy and comedians of his youth, Gilbert Ramsay and Moutaz Alkheder dissect Jihadi jokes, Eric Walberg explores Muslim comedy in America, Hussein Kesvani half regrets his viral tweet, Mevlut Ceylan retells Nasreddin Hodja tales, Samia Rahman takes a sip from the famous drink of Abu Nawas,and Hodan Yusuf watches the first feature film from Djibouti.
Colin Tudge dissects the biology and metaphysics of viruses, Vinay Lal takes a hammer to viral corona capitalism, Chandrika Parmar mourns the lockdown-induced plight of India’s migrant workers, James Brooks faces his existential terrors, Ebrahim Moosa urges Muslims to develop some cognitive immunity, Josef Linnhoff on white Muslims, and poems by Carol Rumens.
Anwar Ibrahim wants to see true justice in a post-pandemic world, Usama Hasan wrestles with fate, Nidhal Guessoum is concerned about pseudoscience spread all over social media by mad mullahs, Leyla Jagiella has viral dreams, Osama Siddique on memoirs of a historian, poems the late, great female Iraqi poet Nazik al-Malaika, and our ten lessons of the pandemic.
Ehsan Masood unravels the connections between Covid science and geopolitics, Syed Nomanul Haq examines epidemics in Islamic History, Iftikhar Malik shifts through the Ottoman letters of Mary Montagu, Lila Randall tackles the dilemmas facing the regime in Iran, Samia Rahman reads a collection of Covid essays, Sara Mohr on images and idols, and a short story by Uzmah Ali.
C Scott Jordan takes a long, meandering, walk around Kuala Lumpur; Amro Ali plans the future of Arab exiles in Berlin; Natalya Seitakhmetova (et al) recount the recently discovered multicultural history of Kazakhstan; Tamanna Rahman is (almost) trapped in Covid-19 Cuba; Iason Athanasiadis is disillusioned by developments in his native Athens; Katharina Schmoll considers if ISIS widows can be forgiven; and Shehnaz Haqqani decries patriarchy.
Ebrahim Moosa considers the influences that affect our choices of destinations; Shanon Shah charts his Qur’anic expeditions; Boyd Tonkin traces the diverse histories of Thessaloniki; Eric Walberg meets his fellow Canadian Muslims; Ziauddin Sardar has a princely encounter in Assisi; Abdullah Geelah visits Britain’s mosques; and Mevlut Ceylan and a string of Turkish poets, from the nineteenth century to the present, reflect on delights of Istanbul.
Samia Rahman explores potential directions of travel; Hafeez Burhan Khan waxes lyrical about his wanderlust; Robert Irwin joins European travellers to Muslim lands; Saimma Dyer explores inner dimensions; Chandrika Parmar looks for directions in disaster stricken areas; Zainab Rahim watches ‘Baghdad Central’; the last poems of Abdel Wahab Yousif, the young refugee who died crossing the Mediterranean; and our guide to ten synthetic wonders.
Amandla Thomas-Johnson returns to his ancestral homeland in Senegal; Tahir Abbas wrestles with terrorism; Abdul-Rahman Malik sees the Muslim Atlantic as a cultural eco-system; Tanya Muneera-Williams witnesses the history of slavery in her native Bristol; Samia Rahman is enchanted by the narratives of great Muslim women; Hassan Mahamdallie is distressed by inequalities highlighted in the spread of Covid-19; an extract from Reginald Edmund and Ronnie Malley’s new play ‘American Griot’; and poems by Mosad Abu Toha.
Aisha Khan explains how a Muslim Atlantic can be realised; Sohail Daulatzai argues for a Muslim International; Shirin Khan is anxious about security; Juliette Galonnier is horrified at the racism within diasporic Muslim communities; Aina Khan vexes lyrical about Black Muslim female MCs; Emre Kazim reads a nuanced work on Islam and authoritarianism; a short story by Tamim Sadakali; and Kayla Renée Wheeler’s list of ten key quotes by Malcolm X.
Daniel DeHanas and Peter Mandaville pin down the notion of Muslim Atlantic; Ahmed Younis castigates the locked mentality of American Muslims; Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed connects with her grandparents; Rasul Miller reconsiders black radicalism; C Scott Jordan is unsettled by the treatment of Muslim politicians in US and UK; a short story by Sameer Rahim; and a poem by Naomi Foyle.
Abdelwahab El-Affendi castigates sham (un)belief; Emre Kazim struggles with digital ethics; Esra Mirze Santesso is tired of false feminism; Liam Mayo thinks modernity is as fake as the plastic pollution washing on his beach; Khuda Bushq is bored with Covid-19 entertainment; poems by Mozibur Rahman Ullah; and Samia Rahman faces the music of postnormal times.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas tries to pin down the numerous meanings and perceptions of artificial; John Sweeney finds common ground between AI and Covid-19; Christopher B Jones explores four potential earths; James Brook is angry at science propaganda spewing from universities and research institutes; Wendy Schultz provides ten sparks for thought on AI; Arsalan Isa reads a short story about Palestine; and a short story by Shah Tazrian Ashrafi.
C Scott Jordan reflects on life, death and whether or not authenticity is possible; Robert Irwin plays with medieval Muslim machinal devices; Colin Tudge wonders if it is bad to be artificial; Hassan Mahamdallie discovers multi-layers of real and artificial identities in his family history; Naomi Foyle writes a short story about Palestine; and Marie Michalke reads a short story about Palestine.
Aaron Tugendhaft exposes the veneration of certain relics; Leyla Jagiella visits Poland’s hidden mosques; Yovanka Paquete Perdigao performs the pilgrimage to Touba; Sahil Warsi goes back to disappearing Allahabad; Iftikhar H Malik has dinner at Pompeii; Liam Mayo deconstructs the relics of modernity; Josef Linnhoff hangs out with online Muslims; and a short story by Aamer Hussein.
Boyd Tonkin meanders through Sicily; Andrew Petersen explores what lies beneath ancient Muslim graves; Nur Sobers-Khan puzzles through manuscripts; Aaftaab Haider makes footprints across Europe; Alev Adil uses relics to explore memory and identity; C Scott Jordan is unimpressed by emerging tomes on eugenics; inhabitants of adjacent neighbourhoods in Tunis tell their stories to Iason Athanasiadis and Dalia De Gondi; and our list of ten rather surprising Muslim relics.
Samia Rahman is concerned about her personal relics; Rita Sonal Panjatan is unable to shake the scent of old Hyderabad; Hafeez Burhan Khan is enchanted with Jerusalem; Tam Hussein embraces his relic self; David Shariatmadari is focused on words; Daniel Marwecki is concerned about Israeli policies towards Palestine; and a short story by Shahbano Alvi.
Ziauddin Sardar witnesses the annihilation of the famous Qawwali ‘Mustt Mustt’; Shanon Shah retraces the highs and lows of his pop career; Hafeez Burhan Khan shows off his (rather extensive) knowledge of Led Zeppelin; Zia Chaudhry is trapped between his parents’ love of Urdu songs and his own fascination with Western cultural products; Shaizir Aly is enthralled to see his hero Bruce Springsteen glorified on the big screen; C Scott Jordan argues that K-Pop is little more than child abuse; Elma Berisha is enchanted with the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak; a short story by Ari Haque; and hip hop in action by Wasi Daniju and Azeezat Johnson.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas suggests music opens hidden windows to the soul; Stefan Williamson Fa discovers the Sufi-Flamenco fusion of Aziz Balouch; Estrella Sendra listens to Senegal sounds; Rim Jasmin Irscheid takes us raving in Tehran; Katharina Schmoll ponders the burqa; and a short story by Nadira Babayev.
Samia Rahman is lost in music; Hassan Mahamdallie remembers his punk days; Leyla Jagiella invokes the legendary Indian actress Meena Kumari as the patron saint of the broken-hearted; Mohammad Shahid Alam compares the idea of God in monotheistic religions; music and poetry by Paul Abdul Wadud Sutherland; poems by Latifa Nur; and our list of ten non-Western one-hit wonders.
Giles Goddard denounces Western attitudes to the environment; Gordon Blaine Steffey exposes the deceit and bullshit of climate deniers; Shanka Mesa Siverio attempts to build prosperous communities; Scott Jordan wants to negotiate the meaning of sustainability (by watching films!); Samia Rahman ponders polygamy; a short stories by Uzma Ali; poems by Helen Moore; and Mohammed Aidid and Fareha Rahman issue a call to arms.
Medina Tenour Whiteman sings the praises of water; James Brooks joins the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations; Tawseef Khan worries about the plight of climate refugees; Muhammad Akbar Notezai witnesses the impact of climate change on Pakistani villages; Greenpeace illustrate plastic pollution; Gazala Khan can’t get India out of her mind; poems by Farid Bitar; and we list seven climate-denying wonders of the world.
Ehsan Masood fears a coming mass extinction; Christopher Jones deliberates on global weirding; Hafeez Burhan Khan experiences the dry heat of Wadi Rum; Moiz Bohra watches the gas and oil flares in Qatar; Yovanka Paquete Perdigao suggests Game of Thrones is a climate allegory; Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton samples the delights on offer at the Venice Biennale; a short story by Hafsa Abdurrahman; and M Iqbal Asaria remembers S M Idris, the legendary peoples’ champion of Malaysia.
Henry Brefo laments that we were once friends; Hafeez Burhan Khan thrills with tales of book smugglers in Timbuktu; Hang Zhou sees potential in the African Yuan; Tam Hussein on his encounter with Jihadis; Samia Rahman learns about giants of an Islamic past; poems by Victoria Adukwei Bulley; and the Last Word on my generation by Oluwagbemileke Joy Jegede.
Shanka Mesa Siverio relates her experience of architecture, culture and identity; Peter Griffiths takes a tour of West African cities; Kalaf Epalanga gets his Afrobeat groove on; Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed has the perfect answer to the endless questioning of her identity; Shanon Shah decolonises the book of kings; Gemma Edom goes fishing in Akure; and a short story by Dzekashu MacViban.
Yovanka Paquete Perdigao and Henry Brefo navigate the rich cultural and political geography of West Africa by telling the Lion’s story; Jean-Ann Ndow explores West Africa’s history through the song and dance of Griots; Estrella Sendra is at the cinema with Ousmane Sembène; Nouriah Bah finds evidence of the legacy of Pan-Africanism today; Ngadi Smart introduces us to faces of Abissa; Natasha Koverola Commisiong finds Africa in Somerset House; a short story by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim; and Yovanka Paquete Perdigao has some stern words of advice on what not to do when visiting West Africa.
Jordi Serra del Pino chops his career as a futurist into five neat scenes; Richard Appignanesi exposes seven deadly virtues of postnormal times, or (as he calls it) ‘postculture’; Andrew Burke claims that ‘decolonial scientia’ should inform our future understanding of race and identity; Harris Irfan is convinced cryptocurrencies are the future of Islamic economy; Mothiur Rahman marches with the Extinction Rebellion; Misha Monaghan is unconvinced the future belongs to one Muslim woman; a scenario-based short story by Umar Shiraz; and Samia Rahman contemplates sex with a robot!
Mirza Sarajkić shows that the Qur’an is a future-oriented text; Sohail Inayatullah thinks futures can be explored through stories; Iacopo Ghinassi wonders if a digitised Qur’an retains its sacred nature; Linda Hyokki joins a futures studies workshop; Jim Dator suggests that accelerating technological and social change is infusing individuals and collectives to create a new entity – ‘Indivollectivity’; Tamim Sadikali fails to stand still on the shifting ground of British Muslim identities; a scenario-based short story by Naomi Foyle; and our list of Ten Emerging Issues.
Ziauddin Sardar argues that our survival depends on taking alternative futures seriously; Christopher B Jones illuminates the importance of trends and emerging issues; Maya van Leemput explores future cities; Cesar H Villanueva looks for peace in typhoons (and everywhere else); Scott Jordan dissects Afrofuturism; Nur Sobers-Khan visits the new Islamic galleries at the British Museum; and a scenario-based short story by Medina Whiteman.
James E Montgomery takes us on a journey of travel storytelling; Irna Qureshi relates the forgotten histories of halwa-loving folks; Nicholas Masterton listens to the stories that architecture and buildings reveal; Onaiza Drabu asks Muslims how they see Islam and how Muslim they feel; Shanon Shah reads a new biography of Ibn Khaldun; Samia Rahman mythologises family narratives; Misha Monaghan on being British; a short story by Tam Hussein; and Shazia Mirza’s non-list of Muslim comedians.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas explores the complexity of simple stories; Burçin Mustafa struggles with translations; Giles Goddard recalls how he was indoctrinated in the narrative of British imperialism; Sabrina Stallone extolls the courage of the women of Rawabi; Boyd Tonkin wonders why, two millennia later, Antigone still captivates us; and Sahil Warsi on representations of Afghanistan.
Merryl Wyn Davies argues that narrative, the weaving of information into world pictures, is integral to cultures; Brad Bullock suggests that the foundation for the emergence of President Trump was laid decades ago; Leyla Jagiella claims that heart is more sacrosanct than beliefs and rituals; Nur Sobers-Khan dreams some pleasant and not so pleasant dreams; C Scott Jordan dissects the lie that keeps America together; Hassan Mahamdallie heeds an urban legend from the streets of Baghdad; and the art of Norhayati Kaprawi.
Doris Behrens-Abouseif reads the extensive Islamic literature on beauty; Hasina Zaman contemplates a beautiful death; Henry Brefo castigates high fashion; Avaes Mohammed is enchanted with the beauty of his Sheikh; Giles Goddard estimates the price of a rainforest; a poetic short story by Alev Adil; and poems by Mustafa Abu Sneineh.
Samia Rahman refuses to take a selfie; Mahmoud Mostafa meditates on the Most Beautiful Names of God; Irum Shehreen Ali is sick of wellness; Nima Nasseri checks in to an Iranian nose job clinic; Sahil Warsi ponders the skull of Alum Bheg; Ricci Shryock joins a female wrestling match in Senegal; and our list of Ten Unexpected Makeovers.
Shanon Shah goes in search of beautiful Muslims; Nadia Mohd Rasidi asks ‘am I beautiful?’; Jonas Otterbeck listens to ethical sounds; Yovanka Paquete Perdigao is horrified by skin-whitening products; Misha Monaghan is unimpressed with pious fashion; Yasmin Desouki watches classical Egyptian films; and poems by Brandino Machiavelli.
Timothy Bartel is transformed by a visit to Willowbrook Farm; Sami Zubaida recalls the Baghdad kitchen of his childhood; Boyd Tonkin meets Claudia Roden; Hussein Kesvani defends halal fried chicken shops; Mohammed Ali remembers the forgotten Bangladeshi pioneers of the ‘Indian restaurant’; Misha Monaghan has difficulty digesting Ugly Food; Vicky Bishop tucks into Halal Snack Packs (chips with layers of doner kebab sprinkled with ‘Holy Trinity’ sauces); Becky Trow on the colonial fantasy of Victoria and Abdul; and three (foodie) poems by Shadab Zeest Hashmi.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown returns to Uganda to recover her taste buds; Charles Upton reads (and ‘transcreates’) Sufi wine poetry; Shanon Shah becomes a part-time vegetarian; Tahir Abbas wakes up to the smell of Arabica beans; Yemisi Aribisala invokes Nigerian love stews; C Scott Jordan has dinner at a restaurant in the jungle of Calais; Irum Shehreen Ali is intoxicated with the eighth-century poet Abu Nuwas; a short story by Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi; and our list of Seven Wonderful Future Foods.
Merryl Wyn Davies shreds foodie culture as the construct of affluence and essence of abundance; Jeremy Henzell-Thomas is convinced that the rise of celebrity chefs spells the end of (western) civilisation as we have known it; Colin Tudge suggests that the future belongs to those who can conjure up gourmet meals; Gunel Isakova laments the loss of Azerbaijani food rituals; Imran Kausar launches a new brand of halal fare; Laych Koh on the plight of the Rohingya; and Mimi Khalvati’s ‘Zereshk Polow’.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas measures the circumference of the Umma; Christopher de Bellaigue charts modern Muslims’ struggles with faith and reason; Esra Mirze Santesso has an encounter with Kamala Khan the American-Pakistan superhero; C Scott Jordan is disturbed by the rise of artificial intelligence; Samia Rahman comes to terms with traditional values; Alasdair Donaldson weighs diplomatic baggage; and Sheba Saeed meets the beggars of Lahore.
Rowan Williams explores Islam, Christianity and pluralism; Mohammed Hashas explains why he is still a Muslim; Maurice Irfan Coles teaches compassion; Shaista Aziz is fed up with everyday bigotry; Tahir Abbas encounters Generation M; Khidr Collective’s ‘other voices’; and poems by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat.
Merryl Wyn Davies tries to make sense of values in the post-truth age; Kabir Helminski provides a primer on Islam and human values; Boyd Tonkin welcomes strangers; Mohammad Moussa urges us to embrace pacifism; Gail Boxwell learns the meaning of ‘givenness’; Hannah McClure whirls into ecstasy; a story by the father of Catalan literature, Anselm Turmeda; and Maha Sardar’s list of ten persecuted communities.
Abdelwahab El-Affendi fears Europe is returning to the Dark Ages; Gordon Blaine Steffey dissects American populism; Raza Ali goes in search of ‘the people’ in Pakistan; Eric Walberg observes the emergence of populism in Cairo; Hassan Mahamdallie has a crash course in the art of futures studies; Alia Masood enjoys a debut novel; short stories by Muddasir Ramzan; and Merryl Wyn Davies collects some vox pops.
Ashis Nandy tackles populism’s double-bind; Sindre Bangstad presents three propositions on right-wing populism in Europe; Leyla Jagiella argues that Germany is no stranger to far-right sentiments; Sughra Ahmed visits the US Bible belt; Shanon Shah reads a new assessment of Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami; short stories by Hasan Manzar; poems by Omair Bhat; and our list of ten populist moments.
Ziauddin Sardar dismembers post-truth angst; Richard Appignanesi mourns the loss of world; Barnaby Rogerson traces the history of the word demagogue; Bhavik Doshi is disturbed by the populist rhetoric of the Indian diaspora; Scott Jordan watches anxiety-drenched movies; Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton is unimpressed by 2017 Venice Biennale; and poems by Carole Smith.
Zeeshan Khan asks real Bangali Muslims to raise their hands; Irum Shehreen Ali refuses to take sides in the battle of the Begums; Sharbari Z Ahmed juggles her identity as an American Bangladeshi writer; a short story by Ahsan Akbar; poems by the award winning Kaiser Haq; Laych Koh meets Yuna, the enigmatic Malay pop singer; and our list of top ten Bangladeshi cultural delights.
Hassan Mahamdallie has strange encounters in Dhaka; Dina M Siddiqi visits garment factory workers; Onjali Q Raúf is angry at the plight of the female victims of the Independence war; a short story by Rajib Rahman; a poem by the late Shaheed Quaderi; Giles Goddard thinks there is nothing unique about challenges facing Islam; and Samia Rahman is besotted with Nadiya Hussain.
Shanon Shah tries to unravel the paradox of Bangladesh; A Qayyum Khan thinks Bangladeshi politics is trapped in a fraudulent circle; Anato Chowdhury laments the murder of gay activists; Sadaf Saaz comes to terms with home; poems by Lalon Shah, the great Baul saint and mystic of Bengal; Maria Chaudhuri longs for home in other places; and Tamim Sadikali reads a brilliant anthology of British Muslim writers.
Hassan Mahamdallie joins the community of Findhorn; Nazry Bahrawi reflects on the Islamic legacy of utopian thought; Colin Tudge seeks a utopian transformation; Merryl Wyn Davies tunes into (operatic) utopian melodies; Shanon Shah is captivated by the Palestinian singer Reem Kelani; Fatimah Ashrif is enchanted by the supernatural art of Islam; and poems by Peter Stockton.
Bruce Wannell explores the Gardens of Paradise; Medina Whiteman’s parents escape to Andalucía; Yasmin Khan reads contemporary Muslim utopian fiction; Noor Iskandar photographs utopian landscapes; Sarah Pickthall discovers her uncle Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall; an extract from Rehan Khan’s fantasy novel Last of the Tasburai; and Reem Kelani’s list of Top Ten Palestinian Inspirations.
Boyd Tonkin surfs the coast of utopia; Marco Lauri dissects ibn Tufayl’s utopian masterpiece; Sadek Hamid dissects Khilafatopia of Hizb-ut-Tahrir; Naomi Foyle locates utopia in her ordeal of illness and recovery; Halima Gosai Hussain is scared by BBC’s ‘Muslims Like Us’; a short story by Sharbari Z. Ahmed; and poems by Hodan Yusuf.
Syed Nomanul Haq follows classical scholars seeking royal patronage; Benedikt Koehler highlights how the Italian scholar of Islam Leone Caetani saw East/West Relations; Elma Berisha is horrified by the spread of homogeneity; Ayisha Malik goes on a date in full hijab; poetry by Mohja Kahf; Nadiah Ghani on Muslim fashion; Hassan Mahamdallie on the holy ignorance of Salafis and Islamists; and Henry Brefo’s Last Word on African Chiefs.
Aamer Hussein looks back on his affectionate bonds with the great Urdu writer Qurratulain Hyder (aka ‘Annie’); Annalisa Mormile traces the roots of disunity in the EU family; Mohammed Moussa explores family ties in Japanese politics; Saulat Pervez sets out to cultivate reading habits; a short story by Muddasir Ramzan; Safeena Razzaq’s illustrated guide to the ‘Problems of a Brown Girl’; and our List of the Top Ten relationship break-ups.
Samia Rahman is perplexed by our complex network of relationships; Piro Rexhepi crosses borders in the Balkans; Julian Bond and Fatimah Ashrif engage in a (loving) interfaith dialogue; Michael Vicente Perez suggests that feminism is for everybody; Ziauddin Sardar fails to cope with a troublesome Auntie; poetry by Perzada Salman; and Aysha Garaeva on Soviet ‘death journeys’.
Roger van Zwanenberg explains how the West became a dominant world power; Shiv Visvanathan imagines India’s rise to a second rate power; Boyd Tonkin is not impressed by the narratives of rise and decline; Avaes Mohammad dissects ‘the clash of civilisations’; Hassan Mahamdallie needs radical hope to survive a PostWest world; Tamim Sadikali on Britain through Muslim eyes; a short story by Imaan Irfan; and Jim Dator declares ‘the West is Dead’ – get over it!
Jasper M Trautsch explores the concept of the ‘West’; Amrita Ghosh goes in search of the ‘East’; Jalal Afhim marvels at China’s balancing act; Andrew Brown insists that liberal democracy is a (partial) fraud; Scott Jordan argues the West as the valiant cowboy will not ride into the sunset; Ana Maria Pacheco’s ‘Dark Events’; poems by Fawda Suleiman; and Samia Rahman’s list of top ten PostWest films.
Shanon Shah suggests PostWest is a speculative concept that obscures as much as it explains; Gordon Blaine Steffey suffers from PostWest anxieties; Julia Sveshnikova comes to terms with Russia’s identity crisis; Carool Kersten analyses the ‘post-everything’ thought of the American-Iranian scholar Hamid Dabashi; Giles Goddard thinks it is the beginning of the end of capitalism; Bina Shah on Thar women and Pakistani art; and poems by Amir Darwish.
Laura Hassan studies how Muslim philosophers approached science and nature; Naomi Foyle seeks nature in Palestine; Shanon Shah discovers nature caters for more than two sexes; Samia Rahman walks the tightrope on the mountains of Dagestan; a short story by Tam Hussein; poems by Tommy Evans; and Ziauddin Sardar’s list of Twelve Postnormal Plagues.
James E Montgomery reads some classical texts; Munjed M Murad sings the virtues of ibn Arabi; Lali Zaibun-Nisa suggests we should all slow down; Daniel Dyer writes a book for children; C Scott Jordan watches ‘The Revenant’; Merryl Wyn Davies remembers the ‘Green, Green Grass of Home’ (which in her case is Merthyr Tydfil); and poems by Paul Abdul Wadud Sutherland.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas goes for a long walk ‘out in the open’; Charles Upton delineates basic Islamic concepts and symbols for the contemplation of nature; Mohammed Hashas explores the geopoetics of nature; Zeshan Akhter goes wild in the forest; Emma Clark designs an Islamic garden; Rabia Barkatulla explores ‘Sea Change’; a short story by Aamer Hussein; and poems by Michael Wolfe.
Robert Irwin is impressed by intellectual developments in Medieval Basra; Javaad Alipoor is haunted by utopias in Tehran; Paul Vallely investigates the complicated financial system of the Vatican; Irna Qureshi and Syima Aslam organise a literary festival in Bradford; S Parvez Manzoor on Obstinate Sovereignty (again); four poems by the Australian hip-hop artist Zohab Khan; and Stuart Schaar’s Last Word on the late Fatima Mernissi.
Peter Clark thinks that Istanbul is the eternal capital of the world; Eric Walberg finds friendship, authoritarianism and Islam in Tashkent; Jeremy Henzell-Thomas tries to make sense of city rankings; Martin Rose recounts the history of Rabat – the ‘pearl of Morocco’; a short story by the novelist Maria Chaudhuri; Muddasir Ramzan on a bold new novel about Kashmir; and our list of Ten Cities to Visit Before You Die!
Hassan Mahamdallie discovers shoots of hope in the wastelands of Detroit; Boyd Tonkin is unimpressed by off-the-peg culture in Persian Gulf cities; Nimra Khan visits the transgender community of Lahore; Irfan Yusuf takes us on a guided tour of mosques in Sydney; VMK photographs the migrant workers of Dubai; and Zina Mamouni watches Abderrahmane Sissako’s brilliant film Timbuktu.
Raza Ali is anxious about his love for the Prophet; Gordon Blaine Steffey wrestles with the terminology that defines the terrorists; Jerry Ravetz tackles extreme corruption; Rahul Jayaram relates the heart-wrenching story of the Indian labourer who escapes Saudi Arabia by hiding in the aeroplane toilet; Naima Khan on the English rendering of the Pakistani play Dara; poems by Ghassan Hassan and Medina Whitman; and the Last Word on ‘Happy Muslims’.
John A Sweeney studies ‘extreme weirding’ – the life-threatening changes in geology and ecology of the planet; Benedikt Koehler investigates attempts to distribute wealth in early Islam; Samir Younés is troubled by mean thoughts in the Arts; Andrew Brown is disgusted with the New Atheists; Talat Ahmed reads Arun Kundnani’s The Muslims Are Coming; a short story by Navid Hamzavi; and Shanon Shah’s Top Ten Jihadi Janes.
Ziauddin Sardar and Samia Rahman suggest that extremism is an expected product of our complex and chaotic postnormtl times; Anne Alexander traces the origins of ISIS; Farouk Peru castigates the ‘Islamofascists’; Elma Berisha takes a tour of religious sites of Southeast Asia; Sunny Hundal laments the rise of Sikh extremism; C Scott Jordan forces himself to watch American Sniper; a comic strip by Ivan Carromero Manzano; and S Parvez Manzoor on sovereignty.
Charles Allen Scarboro listens to local stories; Suzanne Mordue on Turkish coffee; Edip Asaf Bekaroglu on the ambiguity of Turkish secularism; Charles Allen Scarboro on memory and forgetting in Istanbul; and Merryl Wyn Davies gives us the last word on 'Turkish delight’.
Ahmet Kuru discovers Turkey’s political history; John Crofoot revisits the Seljuk era; Yusuf Sarfati weighs in on the headscarf debate; Aamer Hussain gives us an insight into his Istanbul; and Abdullah Yavuz Altan sheds light on Orhan Pamuk’s legacy.
Tahir Abbas explores the enigma of modern Islamist Turkey; Nagihan Haliloglu gets tangled in Turkish heritage wars; Rebecca Soble witnesses a killing; Sophia Panda on the Edrogan-Gulen breakup; and a short story from Tam Hussein.
Ebrahim Moosa rethinks the whole idea of the madrassas; Nejatullah Siddiqi thinks Islamic economics is passed its ‘sell by’ date; Marodsilton Muborakshoeve considers universities in Muslim contexts; Ruqayyah A. Karem makes the case for fictional Islam; and three poems from Ilona Yusuf.
Richard Pringle discusses the purpose of education; Abdulkader Tayob argues that issues of identity are intrinsically linked to Islamic educational reform; Moneef R. Zou’bi suggests ways that science education can be improved in the Muslim world; Sindre Bangstad highlights the problems in researching Islamophobia; and a short story from Cheli Duran.
Jeremy Henzell-Thomas argues that educational reform is the biggest challenge facing Muslim societies; Abdelwahab El-Affendi suggests ways that Muslim education should be reconfigured; Farid Panjwani is convinced that conventional approaches to education in Islam are deeply flawed; Paul Ashwin wants to improve student engagement; and three poems from Marilyn Hacker.
Boyd Tonkin highlights the power of words; Aamer Hussain reads the fiction of the Turkish Sufi novelist Samiha Ayverdi; Sejad Mekic on Bosnia-Herzegovina; Salim Nafar on another Eid in Gaza; and our list of ten most powerful women in Islam.
Barnaby Rogerson is enchanted with the notion of governance in the life of Prophet Muhammad; Nader Hashemi on the geo-politics of the ‘Arab Spring’; Abdelwahab El-Efendi travels to ‘Londonistan’; Jeremy Henzell-Thomas on the power of education; and Nader Hashemi reviews ‘Reasoning with God’.
Ziauddin Sardar explores the limits of power; Kecia Ali surveys sexual politics of Muslim groups; Mohamed Bakari get involved with the struggle for power in Turkey; Hussain Ahmed reflects on the Peshawar attacks; and a poem from Avaes Mohammad.
Jim Wolfreys is appalled by the rise of Islamophobia in France; Gary McFarlane examines the career of the American anti-slavery fighter John Brown; Sa’diyya Shaikh finds that ibn Arabi can help us become more human and humane; Ruth Waterman taps into the memory of Bosnia; poems by Elmi Ali; Samia Rahman discovers cool Muslim women; and a list of Ten Xenophobic Political Parties to Avoid.
Hugh Kennedy relates the story of the revolt of the Zanj slaves; Ziauddin Sardar denounces the bigotry of the Gulf states; Avaes Mohammad revisits his home town of Blackburn; Abdelwahab El-Affendi drives the leaders of the Arab Spring around London; poems by Dorothea Smartt; Declan Ryan is enchanted by Ruth Padel; and the Last Word on Trinidad.
Hassan Mahamdallie thinks that the colour line will blight the twenty-first century; Shanon Shah argues that Islam and race have combined to produce a complex identity; Robert Irwin exposes the dark side of The Arabian Nights; Barnaby Rogerson performs the pre-Islamic hajj; Tasnim Baghdadi plays with her hybrid identity; a short story by Aiysha Jahan; and Naima Khan accuses South Asian Muslims of looking down on blacks and Africans.
Abdelwahab El-Affendi dissects the thought and politics of the Sudanese reformist Mahmoud Taha; Nazry Bahrawi defends the interpretations of the Egyptian scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd; Eva Hoffman suggests that dissidents should be as mindful as the Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz; Johan Siebers explains why the pen is the chosen instrument of the dangerous freethinker; Hanan al-Shaykh recalls the freethinking women who shaped her life; Suhail Ahmad watches a film that is not a film; and our list of ten freethinkers to think about.
Bruce Lawrence thinks that Al-Biruni is the greatest freethinker of all time; Aziz al-Azmeh explores Abbasid culture and the universal history of freethinking humanism; Stefan Weidner looks at the notion of the Divine in Adonis’s poetry; Mohammed Moussa is unimpressed by the neo-modernity of the Iranian freethinker Abdolkarim Soroush; a short story by Peerzada Salman; ghazals by Marilyn Hacker; and Merryl Wyn Davies on why freethinkers are mad, bad and dangerous.
Ziauddin Sardar argues that freethinkers can be dangerous in numerous ways; James E Montgomery examines the radical freethought of the ninth-century thinker Jahiz; Oliver Leaman wrestles with Ibn Rushd’s dangerous idea; Robert Irwin explores the myths surrounding the great Sufi mystic al-Hallaj; Alev Adil struggles with ‘the Aisha Project’; Mohamed Bakari’s encounter with V S Naipaul,
Ross Burns is concerned about the loss of cultural property; Brigid Waddams remembers Old Damascus; Hania Mourtada has a disturbing encounter on Skype; Boyd Tonkin finds it difficult to distinguish between volunteers and terrorists; Maysaloon chides Syrian drama for its complicity; and poems by Moniza Alvi and Ruth Padel.
Malu Halasa samples the local lingerie of Aleppo; Afra Jalabi agonises over a photograph of a lost child; Amal Hanano recalls the massacre of Hama; Frederic Gijsel visits a pre-revolution House of Poetry; Fedda and Daniel Gorman praise the underground cinema of defiance; and five very short stories by Zakaria Tamar.
Peter Clark explores the roots of the Syrian crisis, Robin Yassin-Kassab explores revolutionary culture; Sam Hamad dissects the Islamist opposition; Rasha Omran rejects the notion that sect can be a homeland; Ella Wind pursues an inside perspective on the Syrian uprising; Itab Azzam gets the refugee women involved in a production of ‘Trojan Women’; Laurens de Rooij reads two recent books on Syria; and Ehsan Masood’s concerns on Mass Extinction and ten things you ought to know about Syria.
Robin Yassin-Kassab traces the origins of the Alawis of Syria; Hassan Mohamedallie has a conversation with Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Caliph and spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community; A. Faizur Rahman spends some quality time with the puritan Deobandis of India; Yasmin Saikia is angry at the Sectarian violence unleashed in the name of Islam; Johan Sibers argues that heretical sects can usher enlightenment; and Peter Mandaville asks: why can't we all just get along simply as 'Vanilla Muslims'.
Francesco Cavatorta thinks the Salafis represent the greatest danger to Islam; Zacharias Pieri joins the evangelical Tablighi Jamaat on a religious retreat; Jamie Gilham asks why converts tend to be over-zealous; Mohamed Nawab Osman joins the Caliphate movement of Hizb-ut-Tahrir; a short story by Carole Smith; and Barnaby Rogerson's list of nineteen Islamic numbers.
Merryl Wyn Davies is appalled by the sectarian divisions in Muslim societies; Ebrahim Moosa suggest the Sunnis, the majority Muslim sect, need a little self-reflection; Faisal Daviji explores the historic contribution and present predicaments of the Ismailis; Imranali Panjwani explains what it means to be a Shia; and Baheyya accuse anti-Morsi campaigners.
John Liechty attempts to get a US visa for his Moroccan wife; Jamal Bahmad watches some revolutionary films; Anita Hunt tackles Mauritanian social norms; Barnaby Rogerson goes souk shopping; a poem by Sarra Hennigan; and our list of ten Moroccan oddities.
Julia Melcher explores the absurd world of exiled western writers in Tangiers; Hicham Yezza examines the role of the Berbers in the Arab Spring; Louis Proyect spends some time with the Jews of the Maghreb; a fresh short story by Aamer Hussain; poems by George Szirtes; and Samia Rahman on 'Wadjda'.
Robin Yassin-Kassab has an enlightening sojourn in Morocco; Marcia Lynx Qualey is dazzled by the transformative power of Maghrebi poetry; Cécile Oumhani provides a daily account of the Tunisian revolution; Robert Irwin wonders if Ibn Khaldun had a mystical vision of history; extracts from a new novel by Lina Sergie Attar; and Naziha Arebi's photographs of Libya after the revolution.
Tanjil Rashid argues that Islamists like Sayyid Qutb are complex men; Stefani Bigliardi suggests that men who follow the flat-earth ideology of Turkish creationist Haroon Yahya need psychotherapy; Leyla Jagiella relates her painful experiences as a woman who was a man; Claire Chambers is engrossed by John Siddique's achingly personal love poems; our list of ten species of angry Muslim men; and poems by the widely-acclaimed Mohja Kahn and Imtiaz Dharker.
Kecia Ali is exasperated with the omnipresent male scholar; Asma Afsaruddin argues that the history of Islam includes people who were not men; Mohamed Saleck Val is impressed by traditional female commentators on the Qur'an; Shamim Miah is disgusted by Pakistani men who groom vulnerable teenage girls; M.A. Qavi is enthralled by Dervla Murphy's sojourn in Gaza; a short story by Tam Hussain; and poems by the widely-acclaimed Mark Gonzales.
Ziauddin Sardar confesses his shortcomings as a Muslim man; Merryl Wyn Davies asks what exactly is the problem with men; Abdennur Prado grapples with Muslim masculinities; Ziba Mir-Hosseini tries to get out of the dead-end of male superiority justified by the Sharia; Alev Adil extolls the beauty of men; Jenny Taylor think it's time both men and women were a bit more chaste; Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton is bowled over by the Iraqi pavilion at the Venice Biennale; and Hassan Mahamdallie is captivated by Ayad Akhtar's award-winning play.
Rossie Indira laments the loss of classical Indonesian music; Jo Kukathas weeps at the emergence of religious intolerance in Malaysia; Iftikhar Salahuddin visits the Dome of the Rock; Samia Rahman watches Argo; three poems by Marilyn Hacker; and the top ten Malaysian obsessions.
Ahmad Fuad Rahmat dissects a Malaysian demigod; Andre Vltchek thinks Indonesian Islam is anything but ‘tolerant’ and ‘moderate’; Shanon Shah dabbles with Malay magic; Mohammad Moussa laughs at Christopher Hitchens; a short story by Nabeela M. Rehman; and Vinay Lal questions Malaysia’s claims to be a genuinely pluralistic society.
Merryl Wyn Davies unravels the paradox that is Malaysia and Indonesia; Ziauddin Sardar reads the history of Kuala Lumpur from the window of his apartment; Carool Kersten engages with a string of Indonesian intellectuals; Nazry Bahrawi reads some classic Southeast Asian texts; Linda Christanty ponders the genealogy of her (Muslim) name; and Hassan Mahamdallie is bowled over by a new biography of Malcolm X.
Brad Bullock seeks to empower women; Marvine Howe meets the new Muslims of Iberia; Jordi Sarra del Pino wows to resist Spain’s new Reconquista; Zara Amjad and Gulzar Haider reimagine the Cordoba Mosque as a sacred space for all religions; four poems by the enchanting Rowyda Amin; and a short story by John Liechty.
Emilio Gonzalez-Ferrin argues that al-Andalus is not just a time past also a time present; Matthew Carr explores the plight of Muslims who were forced to convert to Christianity; David Shasha describes the achievements of Sephardic Jews; Cherif Abderrahman Jah tunes into the musical legacy of al-Andalus; Alev Adil and Aamer Hussein receive nine postcards from Andalusia; Barnaby Rogerson reprimands the Muslim aversion to dogs; and Merryl Wyn Davies gets the shivers while listening to the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras belting out ‘Granada’.
Ziauddin Sardar sides with the philosophers of al-Andalus in their struggle with orthodox theologians; Robin Yassin-Kassab goes on a poetic journey; Nazry Bahrawi reveals how the Andalusi philosophers tamed the secular; Gema Martin Munoz is dismayed by the works of the Spanish Orientalists; Boyd Tonkin is captivated by a book festival in Granada; Vinay Lal explores Gandhi’s attitude to Palestine; and a dozen luminaries of al-Andalus we should all admire.
Samia Rahman sets out in search of love; Khola Hasan has mixed feelings about her hijab; Sabita Manian promotes love between India and Pakistan; Irna Qureshi’s mother finally makes a decision on her final resting place; Alev Adil takes ‘a night journey through a veiled self’; Ahmad Khan explores the colonial history of The Aborigines’ Protection Society; Syrian scenarios by Manhal al-Sarraj; and Merryl Wyn Davies’s ‘last word’ on love and death at the movies.
Jalees Rahman reflects on Nazi doctors who took delight in deathly experiments; Ramin Jahanbegloo is incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison; Hamza Elahi visits England’s Muslim graveyards; Shanon Shah receives valuable guidance on love and sex from the ‘Obedient Wives Club’; Naomi Foyle reads the first novel of a British Palestinian; poems by Sabrina Mahfouz and Michael Wolf; and Rachel Dwyer’s list of Top Ten Muslim Characters in Bollywood.
Aamer Hussein takes love to its logical conclusion; Robert Irwin traces the origins of the ghazal (love lyric); Christopher Shackle recites epic Panjabi poems of sacred love and lyrical death; Imranali Panjwani mourns the massacre of Karbala; Martin Rose is taken hostage by Saddam Hussein; Boyd Tonkin discovers that dead outrank the living in Jerusalem; Parvez Manzoor throws scorn on a nihilistic, revisionist history of Islam; and a short story by the famous Fahmida Riaz.
Bina Shah asks if there is boom in Pakistani literature; Bilal Tanweer listens to ‘Coke Studio’; Muneeza Shamsie discovers the literary secrets of her family; Taymiya R. Zaman overcomes her fear of talking about Pakistan; poems by Ghalib, John Siddique and Zehra Nigah; and Shazia Mirza tells rude jokes in Lahore.
Mahvish Ahmad tracks down the separatist in Quetta; Ehsan Masood watches Pakistani television; Merryl Wyn Davies deconstructs ‘imaginariums’ of Pakistan; Aamer Hussein discusses Pakistani modern classic fiction; a new story by Yasir Shah; and ‘Ten Things We Love About Pakistan’.
Ziauddin Sardar questions the question mark that is always placed in front of Pakistan; Robin Yassin-Kassab asks why Pakistan has not imploded; Taimur Khan breaks bread with the gangsters and bookies of Karachi; Muhammad Idrees Ahmad revisits Peshawar; Ali Maraj assesses Imran Khan, plus a new translation of an old short story by A R Khatoon.
Fanar Haddad on the sectarian schisms in the Arab world; Gary McFarlane on Tottenham Riots; Farouk Peru on self loathing Muslims; Claire Chambers on ‘Four Lions’, and Ziauddin Sardar on his pet hate: the beards of Islam.
Vinay Lal on Hindus who love Hitler; Gordon Steffey on Christian fundamentalism; Anita Sethi’s dangerous bus ride through Iran; and Ten Top Techs for Muslims.
AbdelWahab El-Affendi on Islamophobia and Orientalism in the age of liberal paranoia; Arun Kundnani on the English Defense League and the rise of the far right in Europe; Peter Clark on Bernard Lewis; Peter Moray on Irshad Manji; plus a short story by Suhel Ahmed and six poems by Stéphane Chaumet.
Ben Gidley on what keeps Muslims and Jews apart and what can bring them together; Stuart Sim takes a sledgehammer to the ‘profit motive’; Andy Simons argues that Jazz is just as Muslim as it is American; Said Adrus visits a Muslim cemetery in Woking; Vinay Lal assesses the legacy of Edward Said, and Merryl Wyn Davies takes a train to 9/11.
Michael Muhammad Knight explains his taqwacore beliefs; Soha al-Jurf has problems with orthodoxy; Carool Kersten suggests that critical thinkers and reformers are often seen as heretics; Hassan Mahamdallie explores what it means to be an American; Jerry Ravetz discovers the Arabic Maimonides; Plus a brilliant new story from Aamer Hussein and four poems by the celebrated Mimi Khalvati.
Ziauddin Sardar argues why Islamic reform is necessary; Bruce Lawrence sees Muslim cosmopolitanism as the future; Parvez Manzoor declares jihad on the idea of ‘the political’; Samia Rahman gets to the root of Muslim misogyny; Robin Yassin-Kabbab meets the new crop of Iraqi writers in Erbil; Ehsan Masood confesses he spent his youth reading the extremist writer Maryam Jameelah; and Iftikar Malik dismisses pessimism about Pakistan.
Shadia Safwan asks how long could Assad last; Jasmin Ramsey joins activists in Tehran; Jerry Ravetz ponders the significance of Ibn Khaldun to the Arab Spring; Rose Aslan on Najaf; a new short story from Bilal Tanweer; Saffi-Ullah Ahmad on new Muslim cool ; and Merryl Wyn Davies gives the last word on Saudi women drivers.
Anne Alexander tunes into the digital revolution; Fadia Faqir joins women protesters; Jamal Mahjoub contemplates the future of the Sudan; Rachel Holmes visits the Palestinian Festival of Literature; Taus Makhacheva takes affirmative action; and Aasia Nasir accuses Pakistan.
Ziauddin Sardar tries to understand the significance of the Arab Spring; Robin Yassin-Kassab spends some quality time in Tahrir Square; Ashur Shamis dodges the bullets of Gaddafi's henchmen; Abdelwahab El-Affendi traces the roots of the uprisings; S. Parvez Manzoor asks if Turkey is a good model for the Muslim world; Muhammad Idrees Ahmad is overwhelmed by leaks; and revolutionary poetry from Nizar Qabbani, Abu al-Qasim al-Shabi, Ayat al-Qormezi, Naomi Foyle and Tawfiq Zayyad.