Markers of Sectarian Divide in Early Post-Prophetic Islam

A basic paper I wrote for my Sectarian Movements class at DePaul University, highlighting the trends and events that provided a setup for the very first sectarian divides in Islamic history.

The life of the Prophet, at least as imagined by current Muslims, was a period of struggle marked by a rise to the ideal state of the Muslim community in both the legal and spiritual aspects. The heavy moral decisions made in what we would now call the “Meccan” period, as well as the political and social construction work that was done in the “Medinan” period, in which the Islamic state attained a level of stability that would be vied for and mourned for centuries to come, were precedents that would have to be taken into account at the death of the Prophet and the following turmoils. Continue reading

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?

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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.
Continue reading