An Observation on Muslim Peer-Peer Relationships

In observing some Muslim peer-peer relationships:

If you’re a guy, a quick way to get kicked out of your guy-circle of friends is to “not do” something common. That’s because guys are used to being able to do whatever they want without much restriction. Why impose that on yourself?

If you’re a girl, a quick way to get kicked out of/ignored by your girl-circle of friends is to “do” something uncommon. That’s because girls are used to being unable to do whatever they want, in the face of much restriction. Why expose yourself like that?


Never Meant To Die Here: Interstellar, Prometheus, and the Dual Myths of Humanity

Warning: the following review contains SPOILERS.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

The above poem is repeated in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (2014) several times, inspiring our hero Cooper (played by¬†Matthew McConaughey) to cast his personal desires, responsibilities, and property aside and journey into the stars. It also inspires Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), researcher and daughter of a famed scientist, to spring for love in moments where her cold, calculating science would do her well.

Interstellar may seem like a movie about Space, Technology, and The Future, but it’s more than that. It’s an allegory to another, older story, which it unfortunately butchers with impunity by the time the credits roll by: The Promethean Myth. Various reviews have claimed, in the weeks following its release in theaters, that Interstellar is really all about religion, or, adversely, really all about opposing religion. But really, it’s about us. More specifically, us, here, in the United States and in 2014.
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Ahl Al-Bayt Forum 2014: Introduction to Western Sufi Movements by Dr. Prof. Marcia Hermansen

Below are some notes I took during the Ahl al Bayt Forum 2014 in Streamwood, IL at the Bait-ul-Ilm center.

Sufism: Islamic “Mysticism?”

If this definition is to be believed, one must properly define mysticism. Culturally and popularly, the word invokes several other terms:

-Mystery and occultism

-Popular religion and cultural relevance (note that this point lies in contrary to the first)

-Deviance and innovation to a monolithic reality

There are obviously stark differences in the way that people treat Sufism, depending, of course, on the time and place they are witnessing it, the ways it is being manifested in its own cultural milieu, and the public exposure to Sufi practices and practitioners. Most of the time, the topic of Sufism as a particular and separate issue is regarded as “bid’ah” in Sunni circles, but in Shi’i circles, the criticism is of another nature: “They don’t work! They are lazy!” Shi’is usually don’t take issue with some of the practices that make Sunnis uncomfortable, such as calling upon the dead or visiting their shrines. Continue reading