Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

And now for something rather different…’How to Kill Mugabe’

Dear Friends,

So here’s something that I quite thoroughly enjoyed, that was put together by a classmate of mine from university (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in case anyone is interested) and a couple of her friends.

Expletives aside (please take this as a warning!), I think the underlying message is rather cleverly (though certainly not subtly) conveyed. I don’t know if a SOAS education (and alas, a couple of drinks probably – NO, I don’t condone this) contributed to this particular piece; I quite enjoyed how they lampooned this liberal postcolonial idiocy of looking at ‘Africa’ as a project and a playground, in the most crude and overt of senses.

Mo’ammed was perhaps my favourite character. His sentiments seem to echo a certain ‘type’ (though I don’t like typecasting) of person who I’m fascinated by and cannot in the least understand.

This was a pilot episode. If you enjoyed it, please share. If you have any feedback, I’d be happy to forward it on. Please excuse the somewhat poor production value (at this point I wonder if the subdued laughter track of sorts was cleverly intended…)

How does God Relate to Time?

I’ve seldom come across a philosopher more accessible and clear in speech than Dr Stump. This is well worth the watch and a think about.

Can anyone recommend any of her texts (so I can add it/them to my ever increasing-in-length reading list!)

Seyyed Hossein Nasr – “Sunnism and Shi’ism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

Here is an awesome lecture delivered by a scholar that I admire a great deal – he is perhaps the most important Islamic philosopher (certainly the most prolific, as far as I know) of the last century.

This talk outlines the theological differences between the two schools of thought, and he goes out of his way – and rightly so – to demonstrate that in terms of jurisprudence and for a great deal, theology, the differences in the schools of thought are quite minimal. He clearly demonstrates how the major theme in Islamic Thought today (especially that which is promulgated by certain state with petrodollars) resembles far less traditional Sunni orthodoxy than we in the West might think.

The fact that more books exist today about the Shi’a than traditional ‘orthodox’ Islam (which comprises the largest majority as a percentage from within any major religion today) tells me, at the very least, that our faith is being highjacked in favour of a more ‘puritanical, rationalistic’ Islam. Moreover, his analysis of the modern state that is now Saudi Arabia is very astute – especially in his reference to the transfer of technology from the US to SA.

If you can take an hour out of your day to watch this lecture (and even take notes), I would certainly attest that it would be well-worth your time. We need more people like Dr Nasr who will try to highlight how similar the competing narratives of Islamic thought actually are, and that how historically we, as Muslims, lived in very congenial circumstances – and to a large degree still do. Predominantly, the great cause of this discord within the community is proliferated by the Islam that al-Qaeda tend to promote – not by those very minimal theological and jurisprudential differences orthodox (Sunni) Islam has hen compared to mainstream Shi’ism.

In fact, the major point of this talk is that we as Muslims can continue to coexist despite these differences, and despite the catastrophes and humanitarian disasters being created in the Middle East today; efforts are still ongoing today to build bridges and continue to acknowledge one-another – but I fear that to a large extent these efforts are being undermined by that new, puritanical form of Islam which underpins a tyrannical regime which is actively creating discord in the Muslim world.

As a Muslim who tends to fall closer to the Shi’i tradition, I still hurt when I read about the highjacking of the faith because no doubt do these people commit a great injustice to the Sunni tradition – I call on the Shi’a (though many already do this) to equally rise up to the challenge of defending the Sunni orthodoxy for all its beauty and contributions, as well as academic integrity and diversity. It is our duty as a community to not let the legacy of or beloved Prophet – the Mercy for all the worlds – to be desecrated in the name of these illegitimate ideologies; we ought not be divided at their hands and their colonial masters. Islam has so much good to contribute to our world – without unity and the acceptance of each other, we will fall short of creating the best possible world. The Shi’a tradition emphasises heavily our duty to the Mahdi – we cannot be fatalists and let our creed, and the dignity of our brothers, be destroyed from within.

Piers Morgan meets Ahmadinejad

I think that this is a fantastic interview – for the most part, Ahmadinejad was very clear, very forthright. Whatever you make of his politics (and I’m considerabely more ‘Leftist’ than he is), I must give him credit for being one of those few political leaders who speaks honestly, makes no apologies for his beliefs and isn’t polemical in the way you see Western Leaders are.

If you have the time to spare, do watch this interview, please! The translator did a very good job too.

Best,
I.

PS – I know some will not watch this because they’re not fans of Piers Morgan (I don’t like him much, but prefer him to Larry King in a way because he’s more honest about what he doesn’t know) – but this was a fairly sympathetic and friendly interview. Just wait for the bit where Ahmadinejad tells him off (in his usual quiet fashion) for demanding answers based of what the former believes are false premises!

Seen it…? What did you think?

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