Elsewhere, Home

I absolutely loved this collection of short stories about people who straddle cultures or homes in different countries and how difficult that is. Some of the stories deal with major life events, but others are about quiet, everyday moments and how being half this and half that and living half here and half there affects even those moments. The majority of the characters are Egyptian or Sudanese women living in England or Scotland.  View Post

The Quran and its Study

The Quran and its Study is an exhaustive textbook on the sciences of the Quran, or the discipline known as ulum al-Quran. It was written by Adnan Zarzour and translated by Adil Salahi (the author of the famous biography Muhammad: Man and Prophet).  Weighing in at more than 500 pages, this tome is carefully organized and is probably best suited to serve as a textbook or a reference book for students of the Quran and Islamic studies. The contents are divided into chapters, sections, and subsections that are carefully numbered and named. It is easy to locate specific topics and then to peruse the headings and subheadings of each chapter to find an exact point or opinion. View Post

Unmarriageable

If we women decide to marry according to standards, then we are gold diggers, but when you weigh us in terms of looks and chasteness, then you’re just being smart. I can’t stand these double standards.

I have frequently thought about the similarities between Jane Austen’s regency era and Muslim life, so I’m always glad to see an Austen reboot with a Muslim spin. Unfortunately, I found the Muslim representation in Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable offensive and the writing mediocre. View Post

Signs on the Earth

There are too many of us now wanting much, much more than past generations. Contentment is now a scarce commodity.

Corruption has appeared in the land and sea,
for that men’s own hands have earned,
that He (Allah) may let them taste some part of that which they have done,
that perhaps they may return. (Quran, 30:41)

Signs on the Earth: Islam, Modernity and the Climate Crisis is a wake-up call and a call to action by one of the world’s leading Muslim environmentalists—Fazlun M. Khalid. Khalid tells the story of how money, power, and culture have created the current environmental crisis. While this book is full of information specifically about climate change and other topics, where it really shines is as a beginner’s text to talk about the interconnectedness of environmental issues, world economics, and world hegemony. For example, the development of modern day banking and colonialism (from the 1500s until today) are two of the major topics Khalid contextualizes in relation to the catastrophe that is our management of the Earth. Khalid even tackles the fact that I just alluded to the “management” of the Earth: we have dissociated ourselves from nature in order to rule over it. In reality, we are a part of nature and cannot survive separate from it. Quranic verses throughout the fact-heavy text show that environmentalism is as much a part of Islam as we are a part of the Earth. View Post

Escape from Syria

Escape from Syria, written by Samya Kullab and illustrated and colored by Jackie Roche and Mike Freiheit, is a graphic novel following the journey of a girl and her family from their home in Syria to a refugee camp in Lebanon to resettlement in Canada. View Post