Scandals, and What They Convey About Us

Recently, the Muslim community has had some problems involving Nouman Ali Khan and Tariq Ramadan. (This is a major understatement.) NAK has been in questionable correspondence with certain women, and TR has flat-out been committing rape. I will refrain from discussing NAK excessively because he has seven children and an ex-wife and they do not... Continue Reading →


Anonymity, Jannah, and Random Musings

Niqab is most definitely not religious obligation, and actually contradicts the Qur'an on multiple counts. Regardless, I can see the appeal of the garment. There is a certain vision of empowerment in veiling oneself, masking oneself--myself--rendering myself anonymous, away from prying eyes. I can see the advantage of a niqab at the Delhi subway station, where I have... Continue Reading →

Method of Address, Part II

Taken from an anonymous commentator on Orbala's previous blog, Islam and Gender: "When it's obvious that men specifically are being addressed in the Qur'an, it's almost always as a commandment, or a lesson, that goes counter to the popular practice of the time -- like in your example. It's trying to teach men lessons that... Continue Reading →


Do not attempt to implement Qur'anic commands until you are sure that you fully understand them. The Quran instructs us not to follow that of which we have no knowledge (17:36). Even the Prophet was told to recite/teach "what was easy for him" from the Qur'an (73:20). "And do not pursue that of which you... Continue Reading →

Asma Barlas on Qur’anic Exegesis

Taken from Believing Women in Islam by Asma Barlas, emphasis mine: ...In a reference to the Book given to Moses, God condemns those who make ‘‘it into (Separate) sheets for show, While ye conceal much (Of its contents)." The Qur’ān’s warning against reading it in a decontextualized, selective, and piecemeal way emerges also from its criticism of... Continue Reading →

The Erasure of Jahiliyah, Part II, and Notes on the Prophet’s Wives: Reflections on the Power of Rhetoric

Methodology and History The study of history is part and parcel of studying the Quran. Problems only arise when politically charged and largely fabricated sayings are elevated to the position of Scripture. This is prohibited. Learning about history itself, however, is not prohibited at all. The Quran's commandments were clearly contextual and intended primarily for a... Continue Reading →

For My Prophet: A Song of Redemption

Written on the day of a full solar eclipse coast to coast: 8/21/17. Inspired by a conversation with a mermaid. I have never been to Makkah, but I will, for Hajj, inshallah--at some point in the future. The city's turrets beckon me. It lies in the hands of a corrupt empire, a kingdom wrought with deceit... Continue Reading →

Translations of the Quran

They aren't actually translations. Many 'translations' of the Qur'an are not translations at all. Even the most commonly used and cited 'translations,' such as Abdullah Yusuf Ali's, are replete with grammatical and conceptual errors, conflated with the individual scholars' personal opinions--but a few are actual propaganda, subsidized, marketed, and propagated by foreign governments. A contemporary scholar of... Continue Reading →

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