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City of Brass

City of Brass

Bio

Aziz Poonawalla is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, and currently lives in Verona, WI with his wife and two children. City of Brass is his weblog, which was founded in 2002 under the name UNMEDIA. Aziz is actively involved in projects throughout the Islamic blogsphere (aka "the Islamsphere") including the communal discussion portal Talk Islam and the annual Brass Crescent Awards.

The name City of Brass refers to the Story of the City of Brass in the
Thousand and One Nights, and the poem by Rudyard Kipling of the same
name:

Here was a people whom, after their works, thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion;
And in this palace is the last information respecting lords collected in the dust.
-- Thousand and One Nights, Story of the City of Brass


IN A land that the sand overlays, the ways to her gates are untrod,
A multitude ended their days whose fates were made splendid by God,
Till they grew drunk and were smitten with madness and went to their fall,
And of these is a story written: but Allah Alone knoweth all!
-- Rudyard Kipling, The City of Brass (1909)

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This happens almost every day in Pakistan – fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder fellow Muslims in cold blood. This time, the target was my own community, the Dawoodi Bohras. KARACHI: Two people were killed in an explosion that […]

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Proof denies faith

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Reddit, someone posted the following question: “What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?” I think this is precisely the wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly and elegantly addresses this question. In the […]

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Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since […]

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is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, “What does ISIS Really Want?” that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils […]

The Price of Extremism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form […]

Can atheism drive someone to murder? #muslimlivesmatter #chapelhillshooting

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Like everyone else, I am in shock at the horrible tragedy in North Carolina last night, where three young Muslim Americans were brutally executed. The police are investigating and the murderer is in custody and cooperating. The family of the […]

Halal Italian and Mexican catering in Chicago

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Whitney Gaspar. I am not Muslim. I am not any religion, really. I was baptized as a Catholic to please my grandma and raised as an atheist by my mother. I am spiritual and […]

the State of the Ummah, 2014/1436

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I tuned into President Obama’s 2014 SOTU for a while last week – mainly because my daughter was tasked to watch 15min minimum for school, a limit to which she adhered to precisely – and was struck by how futile […]

je ne suis pas Charlie #IamNotCharlie

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I fully support the right, and I also deeply appreciate the sentiment, of the cartoonist Luz, who is one of the survivors of the despicable attack on the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that was attacked by Al Qaeda […]

Merry Milad and Happy New Year

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year, Milad al Nabi is closer to the New Year than Christmas! By the Fatimid calendar, Milad (or Mawlid) is today, 3rd January 2015 – which fittingly also coincides with the perihelion of the Earth. However you reckon the […]

Have a very Muslim Merry Christmas

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of […]

Vote now in the (delayed slightly) Brass Crescent Awards!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Voting in this year’s Brass Crescent Awards is now underway, after a few months’ delay. Here’s the explanation from the official site: We would like to sincerely apologize for the delay in this year’s voting. The reason for the delay […]

Midamar halal beef – charged with fraud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is disturbing news – the company Midamar, well known for its halal meat products, has been charged with fraud for falsely advertising its beef as halal to Muslims: The indictment said the companies told customers its cattle were slaughtered […]

men should accept blame; women should assert agency

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following rant was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, and I have her permission to reproduce it in its entirety. Systems of patriarchy are sometimes so entrenched, we just accept them as part of normal daily interactions. […]

My first day of wearing rida to school

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Zainab Jamali is a teenaged Muslim American girl in Los Angeles. As a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community, she recently took her misaq (an oath marking the symbolic passage to adulthood) on the hand of the community’s spiritual leader, […]

Muslims en masse for Modi at Madison Square

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a huge crowd of Indian expats in New York City on Monday night, outlining his vision of India’s future and making an explicit appeal to the NRI community to support their home […]

Hussein Abdullah gets a penalty for doing sajda in the endzone on Monday Night Football

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What's the difference? pic.twitter.com/2Je8PSJ8GW — NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) September 30, 2014 As a (very) recent convert to the joy of American Football, I am fascinated by the penalty issued to Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Hussein Abdullah for performing a sajda […]

the NFL, concussions, and domestic abuse #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A lot of my friends who aren’t into football have remarked upon my newfound interest in football as being somewhat out-of-character (true, at first glance, but i’ll address that later) and also critiqued the sport for all its attendant social […]

13 years after 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I honestly don’t have much left to say that I have not said already. But it is worth at least remarking on this, the anniversary of the attacks, that the global challenges facing the world today have almost nothing to […]

Saudis propose to relocate the Prophet’s (saw) tomb from Masjid al-Nabawi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The above photo of the Mecca clock tower, or as I like to call it, “Big Bin”, was during my hajj a few years ago. It is part of my general observations of the “Meccahattan”-ization of the holiest place in […]

Post-Ramadan reflections

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Welcome back, readers My apologies for being so AWOL from blogging. This past Ramadan I had genuinely been able to ramp up my ibadat and one of the ways I achieved that was by letting go of digital distractions. A […]

Tweeting the Qur’an #ttQuran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Hussein Rashid launched the idea of Tweeting the Qur’an a few years ago and the idea has steadily caught on, and even attracted press attention. To participate, just tweet an excerpt from the Qur’an that moved you and […]

The Criterion: reading the Qur’an is the foundation of ibadat in Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan is one-third over. Unlike past years, I’ve not written as much about my observances this year because I’ve been dedicated to improving my ibadat (worship). I completely concur with my friend Shahed Amanullah’s concerns that Ramadan is beginning to […]

Nominations now open for the 11th Annual Brass Crescent Awards

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Brass Crescent Awards is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners. Founded in 2004 by […]

Ramadan Kareem from the Democratic Party and President Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The official twitter handle of the Democratic Party (@TheDemocrats) just posted this Ramadan Kareem message quoting President Obama: Ramadan Kareem. pic.twitter.com/XDgL95yTlz — The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) June 28, 2014 “Ramadan reminds us of our shared responsibility to treat others as we […]

Ramadan is coming – or has already arrived

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan Mubarak! By the lunar Fatimid calendar, today (Saturday 28th June) is the 1st of Ramadan. The Mecca-centric calculations of The Fiqh Council of North America (affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America) also concur with the lunar calendar […]

Creekstone beef is certified halal – and supplies top tier restaurants around the United States

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A new blog has just burst onto the Muslim blogsphere scene, Muslim Eater (http://muslimeater.com) – with a magnificent debut post about how a major, top-tier beef supplier in Kansas is actually fully halal certified. That supplier is Creekstone Beef and […]

a victory for toilets and holograms: Narendra Modi is India’s new Prime Minister

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As predicted by everyone, Narendra Modi has won the election and is India’s new Prime Minister. Some essential background on the Indian elections here, by John Oliver on HBO (because American news media FAIL): Modi won with substantial support of […]

the silver lining to the Iraq War

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s an article by a defense industry analyst that goes out of its way to avoid mentioning who and what political party was responsible for the Iraq War while assidously making the case that said war has paralyzed American military […]

Video: (muslim) Mehdi Hasan interviews (atheist) Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is an excellent debate between the most emphatic atheist of our time, Richard Dawkins, and political journalist Mehdi Hasan. Hasan is brilliantly prepared for the debate and treats Dawkins with utmost respect, but methodically defends belief and religion as […]

Two Bohras come to aid of Frenchwoman attacked in Mumbai

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the past two months I’ve traveled to India three times, to attend the funeral and other events after the passing of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (ra). This quite shocking story happened in the Fort area of Mumbai, which is quite […]

Amidst the grief, solace in the succession of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Durriya Badani The forty day period of mourning has now elapsed, but the profound sadness at the loss of the beloved head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a spiritual mother and father, His Holiness, […]

NYPD’s illegal spying on Muslims was legal, says legal system

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is profoundly disappointing but not entirely unexpected: In a decision filed Thursday in federal court in Newark, U.S. District Judge William Martini dismissed a lawsuit brought in 2012 by eight Muslims who alleged that the NYPD’s surveillance programs were […]

Valentine’s Day and Islam – the virtues of mohabbat (love)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Happy Valentine’s Day! I am biased towards appreciating Valentine’s Day not just for it’s Gujarati origins but also because it’s my birthday. However, not all Muslims share my appreciation. Here’s a typical example: In its official Friday sermon text distributed […]

Farewell to Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (RA)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Friday, January 17th, his holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA passed away in Mumbai. Syedna Burhanuddin RA was a visionary intellect and pious guardian of the Deen of his followers, the Dawoodi Bohra community, to which I proudly belong. In […]

Have yourself a very Merry Mawlid al-Nabi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Mawlid, also known as Milad al-Nabi, is the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed SAW. In celebrating Mawlid, Muslims express their love for the Prophet SAW, with recitation of salawat, processions, and congregating with family and friends, as […]

Siri knows about Milad #creepingsharia

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ask Siri today the following question and you will get the following answer: (via Ayesha Mattu on Twitter – try it yourself!)

a case study for paternalism and good intentions

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a true anecdote: A hijabi chooses the bottom platform of a quiet staircase in her college’s library to pray. While she is deep in prayer, a white, male classmate walks by and stops to console her by putting […]

PROOF that Santa Claus is a Muslim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As we suspected all along! It’s not just Secret Santa anymore – it’s Secret Shari’a Santa. Ho, Ho, Ho… Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas, Isa Nabi milad mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is Christmas Eve, and it is time to put the Christ back in Christmas. The title “Christ” is derived from a greek word, Khristos, which means “to anoint” – anointing being the process of pouring perfume, oil or water […]

Halal Turkeys for Thanksgiving

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Thanksgiving is the singularly American tradition of family, friends, and food – and the mighty turkey reigns supreme. In fact, founding father Benjamin Franklin thought the turkey was a better candidate for our nation’s National Bird than the bald eagle: […]

the silence libel: Muslims do not need to condemn

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Patheos blogger Dan Peterson has a moving and well-intentioned post in which he exhorts the Muslim American community to speak more loudly and denounce terrorism: But you have to speak up more loudly. Others — I promise you this, from […]

Vote now in the 10th Annual Brass Crescent Awards!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What are the Brass Crescent Awards? Founded in 2004 by myself and Shahed Amanullah, the Brass Crescent Awards are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Islamsphere is forging a […]

beautiful crescent moon and evening star

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As Muslims, we are instructed in the Qur’an to contemplate the beauty of Creation… To Allah belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth; and Allah hath power over all things. Behold! in the creation of the heavens and […]

Madonna is studying the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am surprised no one else caught this – From an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Reddit, pop queen Madonna let this interesting tidbit drop: This seems to be a natural progression for her. Her early music was heavily influenced […]

12 years later – the post 9-11 world

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, again is the 12th anniversary of 9-11. I honestly think I’ve already said everything I’ll ever want to say about it. We are living in a post-9-11, post-global-terrorism, post-boots-on-the-ground, even a post Osama bin Laden world. Terrorism nowadays is […]

Gulf muslims almost had a 28-day Ramadan this year

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Arguably there is more drama surrounding when Eid starts than when Ramadan starts, because after a month of fasting the issue is a little more urgent This year was no different, but there was added drama in the Gulf region […]

Statement by President Obama on the Occasion of Eid al-Fitr

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What is notable about this year’s remarks are the specifics in terms of dollar amounts. This isn’t likely to change anyone’s mind, but I think that it does show a responsiveness to the criticism. Michelle and I send our warmest […]

a quote for Eid ul Fitr (Nelson Mandela)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The season of Eid is upon us, and I’d like to share this quote from Nelson Mandela that came my way early this morning: “There is nothing like returning to a place unchanged to find the ways you yourself have […]

Remember Oak Creek – 1 year anniversary of the Sikh Temple shooting

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the Sikh Temple shootings near Milwaukee, in which 6 members of the Sikh community were killed. Here’s a short film in memoriam of the victims: Also, see this excellent buzzfeed article titled, “a Year […]

Ramadan wanes: The Final Countdown

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There are just a handful of prayers left. These are the last hours and days of Ramadan, the end of the appointed time when our prayers and acts of piety are amplified. Our consciences weigh heavily with the thought of […]

teaching the message of Ramadan by example – at 3:40am

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Fatema Baldiwala. “Aw, mom, I cant get up says my younger son, snuggling more deeply into his blanket, shielding his eyes from the bright light. “Its too hard”, mumbles my elder son, as he […]

Message to Muslims of the world from Pope Francis

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Pope Francis has sent a message of goodwill to Muslims worldwide. The text is available in multiple languages including French and Arabic on the Vatican website. Unfortunately, some Muslims tend to view this sort of gesture in a cynical way. […]

Laylatul Qadr: The Night of Power, Ramadan 1434

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what will explain to thee what the night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the […]

VIDEO: Qira’at of Sura al-Rahman recited by Al-Shaikh Murtaza Ga’far Ali

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yesterday, 27th July 2013, Egyptian National Television aired Qira’at of Sura Al- Rahman recited by Al- Shaikh Murtaza Ga’far Ali. Here is a video of his beautiful recitation. Shaikh Murtaza bhai is an ustaad at Jamea tus Saifiyah, in Surat […]

a Muslim American agenda: speaking truth to power and “standing firmly for justice” (Qur’an 4:135)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am enjoying the debate with Professor Omid Safi of UNC about the White House Iftaar controversy and recommend his follow-up piece: 6 points towards a principled action of solidarity. In that piece, Omid argues that we have a religious […]

Secretary Kerry’s remarks on religious freedom and America at the State Dept Iftar #WhiteHouseIftar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The transcript of Secretary Kerry’s remarks at the State Dept Iftar (to which I was invited but was sadly unable to attend) are now posted online and I found this section to be particularly moving: I want you to know […]

Honored to be invited to the State Department Iftar – and grateful for the #WhiteHouseIftar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am grateful and honored to have been invited to the State Department Iftar hosted by Secretary John Kerry, which will take place tonight in Washington D.C. It is with sincere regret that I am unable to attend due to […]

Ramadan 1434: inflection point, reflection point

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In mathematics, an inflection point is a point on a curve at which the curvature or concavity changes sign from plus to minus or from minus to plus. What better description of the midpoint of Ramadan? Regardless of your reckoning, […]

Ramadan as a meditation on nothingness (essence vs existence)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Most of the religious obligations of a Muslim are positive actions: pray, strive, donate, go. Prayer is a physical action of movement, zakat is a positive action of donation, jihad is an explicit struggle towards a difficult ideal, and the […]

Tisha B’av: Jews fasting in Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’d like to wish my Jewish friends Tzom kal (easy fast) on the occasion of Tisha B’av, which is a day Jews are obligated to fast in observance of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Here’s […]

Nominations now open for the 10th Annual Brass Crescent Awards

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What are the Brass Crescent Awards? Founded in 2004 by myself and Shahed Amanullah, the Brass Crescent Awards are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Islamsphere is forging a […]

Ramadan Mubarak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan is coming, says the sheik in the North

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m in sunny California, on the obligatory summer vacation with my family for the 4th of July. But there is also an air of quiet desperation to our barbecue and beach and pool exploits. If ever my House had Words, […]

liberté, égalité, fraternité: pregnant muslim woman in France violently attacked over hijab; loses her baby

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a horrific story and the first thought should be duas for the grieving family for their loss: A young pregnant Muslim woman, who was allegedly attacked in the street for wearing a veil has lost her baby, her […]

The Day of Elevation – 27th Rajab

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

We are almost done with the holy month of Rajab al-Asab, which as I noted a few years ago is a herald for the impending arrival of Ramadan. Today is the 27th of Rajab, which means last night was the […]

Full transcript of President Obama’s speech on national security: drones, the war on terror, and Guantanamo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(as prepared for delivery; while Obama gave the speech, he was repeatedly interrupted by a heckler, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink) It’s an honor to return to the National Defense University. Here, at Fort McNair, Americans have served in uniform […]

American barbarism, civilization, and decadence (and Star Trek)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I came across a lengthy excerpt online from the book, “The Next Hundred Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century” by George Friedman and found it quite insightful. I say this as someone who probably is indeed an American barbarian […]

Bishnu Shrestha and the 40 thieves (and one khukuri)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a khukuri, a curved Nepalese-style blade issued as standard equipment to members of the Gurkha, which are famed Nepali units of the Indian Army (and the British Army of India before Independence): In 2010, a retired Indian Gurkha […]

Muslims in Bradford, UK rally to save synagogue

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is one of those great stories that often gets overlooked by the mainstream press and deliberately ignored by the Islamophobes: With only just over thirty members and an extravagant Grade II listed Moorish building, the tiny Jewish community of […]

Obama still wants to close Guantanamo #Gitmo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

From today’s press conference: 8:15 AM PT: Bill Plante of CBS asks about the Guantanamo hunger strike. Obama says he still wants to close it. “It’s not necessary to keep America safe. It’s expensive. It’s inefficient. It hurts us” with […]

open-source, lone wolf terrorism: different ideologies, shared methodologies

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

To summarize what is known at this time, the main suspects for the Boston marathon bombing are two brothers who immigrated from Chechnya to America years ago and have grown up here. How they became radicalied, and what their motive […]

The muslim world sends love to Boston

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Just wanted to share these two moving images – the first, from two women in Kabul: and the second, two boys in Iraq: Next time you hear or read the Islamophobes’ claim that muslims “dance in the streets” when there […]

Saudi national cleared of suspicion in #Boston marathon bombing

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yesterday I posted some facts about a young Saudi national, a student on scholarship, who was injured in the marathon bombings but was “tackled” by another bystander for appearing “suspicious”. Today comes word that he has been cleared of all […]

The Boston marathon bombing and the Saudi national

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: the Saudi national has been cleared of all charges by police. For the American public, the horrific images out of Boston yesterday were far more explicit than images from warzones and conflicts around the world. This attack was not […]

Easter in the Qur’an: Jesus AS was raised to Heaven and will return

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Happy Easter to my Christian friends! Fundamentally, Easter is the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ. As I’ve noted before, in Islam there is no direct analogue to Easter, but there are some very important points of agreement. […]

Iraq War retrospective: not convinced by Colin Powell at the UN #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Feb 5th 2003, Colin Powell gave a speech at the United Nations that supposedly laid out the case for WMD in Iraq and the argument for invasion. After the war began and WMDs were not found, this speech destroyed […]

Iraq War retrospective: How does attacking Iraq solve the problem of terrorism? #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following post was written in late October 2002, after my earlier post about the Bali bombings, where I was still trying to work out just how the Iraq War would be related to terrorism. As the post makes clear, […]

one liberal’s case for war and subsequent repudiation #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. I began realizing how wrong I was the day of the invasion. One of my main reasons for supporting the war — after initial skepticism — was Iraq’s alleged stockpiles of chemical, […]

Iraq War retrospective: the liberal case for war #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The debate over the Iraq war was not polarized according to liberal/conservative fault lines, but stretched across them. In fact, many liberals found themselves reluctantly swayed by the arguments for war, especially after Kenneth Pollack’s book <a href="The Threatening Storm: […]

Iraq War retrospective: the Bali bombings #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following post was written shortly after the Bali resort bombings, which killed over 200 people, of which 88 were Australian tourists, 38 Indonesians, and 27 citizens of UK. At the time, the case for war against Iraq was in […]

10 Years after Iraq: a retrospective #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Precisely ten years ago, the Iraq War began, as limited strikes against Iraqi palaces in an attempt to initially “kill the head of the snake” and killing Saddam Hussein. These attacks were unsuccessful and so on March 21st, whose 10-year […]

Pope Francis! The new Pope is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina #HabemusPapam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The new Pope has been announced as (former) Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina. He has chosen the name Francis, the first to do so. Congratulations to all the world’s billion Catholics, be they practicing, lapsed or anywhere in between. […]

The Gujarati origins of Valentine’s day: Velan-time Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s Valentine’s Day today, and also as it happens my own birthday, so I thought I’d share a classic Internet myth for both amusement and a not-so-subtle warning, which given the state of gender relations in India recently might also […]

The Pope resigns

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is astonishing news – Pope Benedict has informed his brethren at the Vatican that he will be retiring due to “advanced age”. I honestly thought that this was a hoax until I saw it was making early morning headlines […]

Milad al-Nabi Mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

By the Fatimid calendar, Mawlid al-Nabi (also known as Milad al-Nabi) starts tonight at sunset. Mawlid is the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed SAW, and is an occasion to express our mohabbat (love) for him and our […]

honoring Jesus as a Muslim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Merry Christmas! In honor of the Prophet Issa AS, on this day where my Christian cousins in faith celebrate the life and Message of the Lord, I will share this excerpt from a new piece by my friend Haroon Mogul […]

musing about morality and faith

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A dear friend wrote something quite moving on Facebook, to which I’d like to respond publicly (keeping their privacy, of course). They wrote, Over the past week, I have heard many people blame the shooting in Connecticut on (among other […]

Chris Christie defending Muslim Americans

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is just an amazing video from last year of Chris Christie, governor of Jew Jersey (and likely contender for the Republican nomination in 2016): Suhail Mohammed is an Indian-born American Muslim lawyer who was appointed as a judge by […]

on the dangers of male theorizing about hijab

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

“The truth is that the traditional image of the veiled Muslim woman as sheltered and docile sexual property of her husband is just as misleading and simpleminded as the postmodernist image of the veil as the emblem of female freedom […]

thanking you

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am back from Ashara in India and like everyone else, trying to settle back into the routines we abandoned two weeks ago. I didn’t get any time to write while in India at all, so if I put any […]

giving thanks on Ashura

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am currently in Surat, India for the annual observances of the martyrdom of Imam Husain AS. Imam Husain AS sacrificed himself and his family for the cause of Islam, against the hypocrisy and perversion of the tyrant Yazid LA. […]

passenger to India

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Apologies for the lack of posts of late – what with the election and all, I’ve been recuperating I am literally seated on a plane about to leave for India. So, I’ll be doing some India blogging over the next […]

Why Muslim Americans should vote for Barack Obama – 10 reasons #MuslimVOTE

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Arguably, the outcome of the Presidential Election tomorrow in the United States matters to every person in the world, not just Americans. As a supporter of Barack Obama, I have laid out my own personal reasons for supporting Barack Obama. […]

Arafat: a rebirth

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today I am fasting in observance of the Day of Arafat, as are hundreds of millions of muslims worldwide, with the notable exception of those lucky few million who are performing the hajj. On this day, the hajjis stand in […]

A Muslim American meets Paul Ryan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last week, I met Paul Ryan at an apple farm. My conversation with him was pretty brief: I was wearing my traditional topi headcap and I have a fair amount of beard on me, so it was rather obvious that […]

Statement and Twitter Campaign regarding violence against #USEmbassies in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

American Muslims stand by President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton in strongly condemning the attacks on the US Embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. At this time, American […]

11 after 9-11: a look backwards

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s Patriot Day, the anniversary of Black Tuesday, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 (9-11). Eleven years later, I still feel the need to say something about it, suggesting that on some level I am still not “over it” […]

does the hijab protect women from harassment?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The image above is a billboard in Tehran which makes a clumsy case for wearing the hijab – it “protects” the woman like a candy wrapper from the attention of men. The degrading analogy of a woman as a piece […]

Eid intolerance

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

While the decision of when to observe Eid can be messy at times, that messiness is at least the process of honest decisions and judgement by Muslims free to make their own religious choices. However, not all Muslims have that […]

Mumbai muslims’ Eid confusion

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My position on moonsighting vs calculation has always been simple: to you be your way, to me mine. Muslims should not squabble over the differences that arise every year about the start of Ramadan and the date of Eid, but […]

Hitler wants a united Eid

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A classic video from Mr. Moo – even if we can’t agree on Eid, we can certainly agree that this is funny Eid mubarak!

an Imperial Eid

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eid al Fitr Mubarak! The Empire State Building in New York City is lit green in honor of Eid from August 16-19th, as they traditionally do every year: The most beautiful building in the world, in the greatest city in […]

The Final Fast

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As per the Fatimid calendar, it is the 30th of Ramadan, and my final fast has begun. I spent the night engaged in ibadat – praying Nisf al-Layl and the tahajjud, doing tasbih (also known as dhikr) and Qur’an, praying […]

President Obama’s remarks at the White House Iftaar Dinner

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama hosted the traditional Iftaar Dinner at the White House yesterday evening. Among the attendees was Huma Abedin, aide to Secretary Clinton and who was the target of vicious Islamophobic attacks by prominent Republicans such as Michele Bachmann and […]

Politics interlude: Romney selects Ryan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As a brief aside, I am also doing political blogging at Patheos.com’s Faith and Politics portal – anyone interested in my take on Chick-fil-A, or my thoughts on Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan for veep? Do stop by and […]

Laylatul Qadr 1433 is upon us

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Once again, the apex of Ramadan is upon us – the Night of Power, Laylatul Qadr. The Holy Qur’an describes this night in just five verses – We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what […]

more domestic terrorism in Ramadan: mosque in Missouri burned to the ground

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A second fire in less than five weeks occurred at a mosque in Joplin, Missouri early Monday morning. The cause of the latest inferno is still unknown, but Monday’s flames were much more devastating than those that occurred July 4, […]

Curiosity Rover lands on Mars – magnificent!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last night I returned from masjid at just the right time to tune into the live stream of the final ten minutes of the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. The description of how the rover landed is astonishing […]

the Sikh shooting in Wisconsin: call to dua

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today there was a shooting at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, and early reports are that seven people are dead. This details of this horrific tragedy are yet to emerge in full, but is is possible that the Sikhs were […]

Enchanting crescent moon photo with Jupiter system conjunction

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a gorgeous photo of a conjunction of the crescent moon with the Jovian system. It’s from NASA’s Astronomy Photo of the Day (APOD). Everything in this photo, including the clouds, is brilliant solely due to reflected light from […]

Running To Stand Still

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Aamer H. Jamali. Halfway. What an incredibly loaded word. On the one hand, it emobdies a sense of accomplishment as we realize that it is all downhill from here. On the other hand, we […]

Fasting for Ramadan with Diabetes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If you’re Muslim, and you have diabetes, can you still fast? That’s a question that more and more Muslims ask themselves each year, as the diabetes epidemic in America and worldwide continues. According to a 2011 report by the Centers […]

my plans and Allah’s plans

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taher Suratwala. On my commute home this week, I passed a warning sign that read “503 traffic deaths this year”. That is just for the short stretch of road on my daily trip. I […]

Photos from around the world on the beginning of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Every year, the Boston Globe does a photo feature on the start of Ramadan, as part of their “Big Picture” series. They pick photos that really try to capture teh diversity of muslims and Islam around the world, engaged in […]

Nominations now open for the 9th Annual Brass Crescent Awards

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s that time of year again – to nominate your favorite blogs and bloggers for the Brass Crescent Awards! The nomination phase will end shortly after Eid al-Fitr, and polls will be open shortly thereafter. Inshallah, winners will be announced […]

The fasts are slow

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Regardless of when most muslims began Ramadan this year, everyone has been fasting for a few days and today everyone is fasting together. Since we are still early in the month, most of the Internet chitchat about Ramadan still centers […]

President Obama’s Ramadan Mubarak wishes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Direct from the White House: Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan. […]

Oh Allah! This is the month of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan mubarak to everyone starting their fasts today (and advance mubarak to those beginning their fasts tomorrow!). Still related: My primer on the moonsighting vs calendar debate that happens every year, and my contribution to that debate in favor of […]

Tweeting the Qur’an 2012/1433 #ttQuran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Join me in another annual Islamsphere tradition: Tweeting the Qur’an: Anyone is welcome. You do not have to be Muslim. The point is to provide greater access to the Qur’an, so please tweet in English, regardless of the language you […]

Preparing for Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The entire Islamsphere is focused upon the imminent arrival of Ramadan – I follow the Fatimid calendar, so my first fast will be Thursday, as will most moonsighters; those muslims following the the FCNA calculation will begin on Friday. This […]

if the Supreme Court says no to Obamacare, time to say yes to Medicare for All

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If the Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) today, then I for one am not too worried, even though I’m a liberal supporter of the bill and the President. The reason is simple: it will be proof […]

A Thousand and One Bytes: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Allow me to admit upfront that author G. Willow Wilson is a dear friend, and so perhaps you may assume that my review of her astounding novel Alif the Unseen is biased. Instead, however, you should assume that I am […]

27th Rajab al Asab: The Night of Ascent and the Day of Elevation

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The holy month of Rajab al Asab draws to a close – by the Fatimi calendar this is the night of 27th Rajab, which is when the Prophet Mohammed SAW ascended for a tour of Heaven. For more details about […]

Action Alert – Follow Friday #ThankYou Campaign on Twitter for NYPD Lawsuit

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Wednesday, Muslim Advocates launched Hassan v. The City of New York, a lawsuit seeking to prove that the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey is unconstitutional. Several lawmakers have also petitioned the Department of Justice […]

Murfreesboro mosque construction halted on a legal technicality

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The muslim community in Murfreesboro, TN (ICMTN) has been trying to build a mosque for several years now, in the face of vicious Islamophobic opposition from locals who have repeatedly insisted that Islam is not a religion but a political […]

Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly for I Speak for Myself: All American (and last chance to pre-order)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Publisher’s Weekly just gave our forthcoming book a coveted starred review in the Religion section! All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim Edited by Wajahat Ali & Zahra T. Suratwala. White Cloud (PGW, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (238p) ISBN 978-1-935952-59-6 […]

“The veil is on my face, not my mind” #Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Sometimes, Twitter’s forced succinctness produces the most insightful commentary: Almost fell over when a niqabi in Luxor told us she voted for Hamdeen Sabahi. “The veil is on my face, not my mind,” she said. #Egypt — Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) […]

Muhammad Asad and Islam as a rational faith

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s a lengthy essay by Talal Asad of his father, Muhammad Asad (b. Leopold Weiss 1900 d. 1992), a convert to Islam from Judaism and one of the 20th century’s great Islamic thinkers. I found this part particularly resonant about […]

Mubarak, Facebook! and shukran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, Facebook goes public, and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange at 11:00am Eastern time (the truly addicted stockwatchers may want to bookmark this). Amidst all the noise about IPOs and investments and whatnot today, I think it’s […]

Islam and Star Wars Day: Allah is the Force

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Jumah Mubarak, and May the 4th be with you! Today is Star Wars day, the day we remember with fondness the three greatest movies of our childhood and tolerate three others that were loosely related. The Jedi order has always […]

the post-Osama world, Year One

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s the one-year anniversary of the successful killing of Osama bin Laden. Having gone through the requisite 5 stages of emotion over the act long ago, I find that looking back at it now, it feels as though little has […]

the new Exodus: Christians flee the occupation of the Holy Land

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The narrative among Islamophobes and other partisans is that Islamic intolerance and Palestinian terrorism has forced Christians out of the Holy Land, but the reality is quite different, as reported by CBS’ 60 Minutes: The report is only 15 minutes […]

FBI’s PATCON investigations and relevance to muslim surveillance

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yesterday I posted about the anniversary of the OKC bombing, and had some comment about the relevance to today’s investigations and surveillance of muslims. There’s a lengthy article in Foreign Policy that talks about the PATCON investigations by the FBI […]

Captain Jack Sparrow was (based on a real) muslim pirate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier I’d linked to an amusing graphic making the case that Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean fame was possibly a crypto-muslim. As it turns out, though, Suhaib Webb has a much more indepth analysis of the real […]

17 years later: The Oklahoma City bombing

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On April 19th 1995, Timothy McVeigh carried out the first major successful domestic terrorist attack on United States soil: the total destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in downtown Oklahoma City. Looking at Twitter today I see some […]

pink slime is not Halal

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The controversy over so-called “pink slime” ground beef is repulsive on one level but also serves as a teaching moment about the value of eating halal. Here is how the beef industry defines pink slime: The lower-cost ingredient is made […]

Out of India

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve returned from my two-week trip to India and I’d like to thank Aamer for doing such an amazing job as guest blogger in my absence! This isn’t Aamer’s first time at City of Brass; he has also written two […]

extrajudicial killing, Batman and the Joker

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Should Batman kill the Joker? There is actually an ethical debate about this, which is quite relevant to our own national security debate over the question of extrajudicial killing. I was in favor of the targeting of radical cleric Anwar […]

a religion of Peace vs a religion of Justice

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected […]

TWITTER ACTION ALERT for #American #Muslims – Follow Our Lead on Friday And Say #Thank You #ff

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Muslims and non-Muslims in New York City and across the country have been upset by the news about the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims. The news is disturbing and deeply concerning to say the least. However, we are heartened by and […]

Tenth Anniversary of the Gujrat riots

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ten years ago, muslim extremists attacked civilians on the Sabarnati Express train at Godhra. The attackers were brought to justice later, but the attack spurred large-scale communal violence, murder and rape against muslims in Gujrat that was horrific and savage […]

Sean bin Oliver Stone converted to Islam?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Did Sean Stone, the son of famed director Oliver stone and a director in his own right, convert to Islam while filming in Iran? Sort of. He did an interview with CNN about it and here’s a portion of the […]

The NYPD spied on muslims in Newark

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Associated Press’ investigative series on NYPD spying continues: Americans living and working in Newark were subjected to surveillance as part of the New York Police Department’s effort to build databases of where Muslims work, shop and pray. The operation […]

A Muslim for Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have long argued that as muslims, we must avoid allowing ourselves to declare an allegiance in politics. The Democrats have never seen Muslims as anything other than yet another swing vote to be courted when convenient, and in the […]

The NYPD has gone rogue

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is outrageous and obscene: The New York Police Department monitored Muslim college students far more broadly than previously known, at schools far beyond the city limits, including the Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, The […]

Muslim Informants prevent domestic terror: the data

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As Americans, Muslim Americans have the same vested interest in preventing terrorism as any other fellow citizen. In fact, since 9-11 woke all of us (muslim and non-muslim alike) to the reality of terrorism against our homeland, American muslims have […]

I Speak for Myself volume 2 available for pre-order

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The second volume of I Speak or Myself is now available for pre-order on Amazon: The book, like its predecessor, is a collection of essays from American Muslims, in this case men. I am honored to be a contributor to […]

Liam Neeson is (not) converting to Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yes, it’s true that famed Irish (and Catholic) actor Liam Neeson said the following while filming a movie in Istanbul: The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then […]

#Tahrir Square on #Jan25Two in pictures

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the one-year anniversary of the uprising in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, the heart of the Arab world and the pulse of the Arab Spring. Thousands and thousands of people are thronging the square. Below are some images from the […]

Letter from a Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther King, Jr.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this letter while incarcerated on a charge of parading without a permit. It was in response to prominent white religious leaders of the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches, and Reform Judaism, […]

Gordon Hirabayashi and the legacy of (indefensible) internment

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Gordon Hirabayashi died a few days ago. Mr. Hirabayashi was one of just a handful of Japanese-Americans who refused to comply with the detention order during World War II, and served time in prison for his principled stand. There are […]

Stealth Halal Jihad Turkeys

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Wajahat Ali, who was lead author on the Center for American Progress’ “Fear Inc.” Islamophobia report, has a satirical bit out about Pamela Geller’s lunatic ravings about halal turkeys (which Charles Johnson ably mocked at LGF earlier with […]

Winners of the 8th Annual Brass Crescent Awards!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The winners are announced – head over to BrassCrescent.org and check them out! Congratulations to all winners, runners-up, and nominees!

Anwar al Awlaki is dead (again)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the third time that radicalized Al Qaeda celebrity Anwar al Awlaki has been reported killed, but this is the first time it has been confirmed by the US as well as “tribal sources”. According to NYT: In a […]

Transcript: text of address to the United Nations by Mahmoud Abbas

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This speech is quite simply a tour-de-force. President Abbas lays out the clear grievance: the settlements, are the sole obstacle to peace. He reiterates the commitment of the PLO and the Palestinian people to the peace process, and continuing diplomacy […]

supersocial versus supernatural beliefs and human agency

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At his Gene Expression blog, Razib writes about what atheism and autism have in common. Something he said struck me: humans live in a universe of other actors, agents, which we preoccupy over greatly. Additionally, we can conceive of agents […]

I will not condemn Islam or America

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A commentor (and person I consider a friend) took serious issue with my 9-11 tenth anniversary post, commenting: I have to say I am quite disappointed by this post. It seems you just want to sweep the horrors of the […]

Harvest moon rising

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The first full moon of September is known as the Harvest moon – it’s a gorgeous, ethereal beacon in the sky. There’s a serenity about the full Harvest moon that captivates the eye and the mind. For months, we’ve watched […]

9-11 after 10: I resolve

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I spent this day ten years ago in front of televisions and computer screens, transfixed and afraid. We were pregnant with our first child. But it was the day after I remember better, driving to work on a Houston highway […]

The Lion of Panjshir – Ahmed Shah Massoud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Two days before September 11th, 2001, Ahmed Shah Massoud was assassinated by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. This man was the most celebrated warrior and hero of Afghanistan – a true strategic genius, who outfought first the Soviets and then the […]

“The Domestic Crusaders” returns to NYC! buy your tickets NOW

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This award-winning two-act play was written by my friend Wajahat Ali and is returning to NYC for a special performance commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The play is a day in the life of a modern Muslim Pakistani-American family […]

Muslims at Daily Kos Radio

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yesterday, I was invited for a 20 minute segment with Armando Llorens and David Waldman on Daily Kos Radio (SiriusXM Channel 127). I was joined by Faiz Shakir of the Center for American Progress, and the main topics of discussion […]

Nominations for Brass Crescent Awards open until Sep 6th

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s only a week left before the nominations phase for the Brass Crescent Awards ends on Tuesday, Sep. 6th – so be sure to visit BrassCrescent.org and register your picks! Here are this year’s categories: BEST MUSLIM BLOG: This category […]

Eid Forever

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eid al Fitr mubarak! I spent literally the last 15 minutes of Ramadan, furiously reading Qur’an at top speed, trying to eke out as much of the barakat amplification factor as I could before the azaan sounded and the last […]

The American Islamophobia Industry exposed

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m proud to share with you today a report that my friend Wajahat Ali has been working on for more than 6 months with the DC-based think tank, Center for American Progress, entitled “Fear Inc., The Roots of the Islamophobia […]

Zakat – in God we Trust

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Aamer H. Jamali. By now, the regular reader of this space knows that Ramadaan is about a lot more than fasting. Prayers, purity, and the reading of the Quran all play a role. But […]

Congratulations to David Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

David Ramadan has won the Republican primary for the 87th District in Virginia. David is a conservative Republican and I probably disagree with him on most issues, but he deserves kudos for his victory especially in the light of a […]

Ramadan endgame

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s just a week left in Ramadan. In reading my earlier posts, I realize I give an impression that Ramadan is like a vacation from the real world, but of course it isn’t – the additional demands of prayer, Qur’an, […]

Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Night of Power is described in just five brief, magnificent verses of the Qur’an: We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what will explain to thee what the night of Power is? The Night […]

Who is Ali (as), the universal hero of Islam?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Hussein Rashid. Thinking about the beginning of Ramadan. Thinking about the beginning of the Qur’an. Thinking about the line of Imams. Everything has a beginning. The Qur’an begins with the fatihah. There is a […]

Ramadan in 1955

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Mertze Dahlin. Does the first experience of Ramadan begin the same for everyone? It all depends on the time and where this all takes place. Consider the time to be during the year 1955 […]

Brookings Institution Iftaar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. On August 9, 2011, the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World hosted the Brookings Institution’s first Iftar dinner. The Iftar dinner, has been an annual tradition in Washington, D.C. since […]

Inflection Point, Reflection Point

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Regardless of your reckoning, Ramadan is about halfway over. This means that we are now leaving, not entering Ramadan – that the divine window is closing, not opening wider. The believer must ask themselves, how have they spent Ramadan thus […]

The Commercialization of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Samya Ayish. When I was in high school in the late 1990s, Ramadan was all about high spirituality, good food, and intimate family time. I remember when I was 10; I wished the whole […]

The Israeli Iftaar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It looks like Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was one of the attendees at the White House Iftar a couple days ago, which is pretty cool in its own right. But now comes word that Ambassador Oren […]

The 8th Annual Brass Crescent Awards – nominations now open

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What are the Brass Crescent Awards? They are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Islamsphere is forging a new synthesis of Islam and modernity, and is the intellectual heir […]

a lifetime between one adhaan and one salaat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

“When we are born adhaan is given but no salat. When we pass away salat is prayed but no adhaan. The adhaan given at the time of our birth is the adhaan for the salat prayed at the time of […]

Transcript: President Obama’s remarks during White House Iftaar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

These are the remarks by President Obama last night during the White House Iftaar dinner. Inshallah I’ll get an invite one of these years President Obama again reiterated the commonality and the inclusion of Muslim Americans as part of teh […]

Ramadan: the month of Jihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Jihad is one of those words that we Moderate MuslimTM types tend to shy away from. This is a shame, and a self-imposed tragedy, because jihad is a beautiful word and an inspiring, noble concept. It is the embodiment of […]

the devil’s iftaar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

No, not President Obama’s planned White House Iftaar! But rather, the humble samosa, a fried pastry filled with meat and/or vegetables, a staple in south Asian cooking, and as much a feature of the “default” iftaar as the date. It […]

Ramadan Rituals

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Zahra Somani. Day 1 of Ramadan holds a lot of excitement and promise. It is the first day of a month that I, along with so many of my brothers and sisters in faith, […]

Khalid Latif, “Ramadan Reflections”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In my earlier round-up of Ramadan blogging I somehow neglected to include Imam Khalid Latif, currently the muslim chaplain for the NYPD, who is writing a series called “Ramadan Reflections“. He literally starts out with his foot in the sink!

Fasting in the sky

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I suppose it’s inevitable that most blog posts during Ramadan focus on food and fasting in some way. After all, that is the defining act of piety in Ramadan. The act of fasting also tends to dominate most news stories […]

Memories of a (friend’s) college Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by my dear college friend, Araven. Aziz has been my friend for more years than surely either of us can believe. We were fortunate to land on the same floor in Sellery Hall as UW-Madison […]

Ramadan realities

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Hesham Hassaballa. As Ramadan approached, I had no small amount of dread. Fasting, of all the ritual practices of Islam, is the most difficult for me to do. I am not happy to admit […]

What I do During Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Irfan Rydhan. For the past 25 + years, I have been participating in the holy month of fasting – called Ramadan in Arabic, for Muslims. Of course my levels of participation have increased over […]

The athlete in Ramadan: working out, training and diet

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Kulsoom Abdullah. Ramadan 1432/2011 is here. It makes me reflect to last year, which has similar themes to years before that which is I workout and train during Ramadan. Many think I am insane, […]

Fast, Pray, Cook: Ramadan in the Kitchen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by G. Willow Wilson. The week before Ramadan, I ordered a $65 jumbo box of medjool dates. “By the grace of God, 100% organic,” the advertisement read. “Highest quality.” I find myself thinking ‘at that […]

3 Stages of 30 Days – My Journey Through Ramadhan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha M. Raja. Here we are in the middle of summer, dog days of August knocking on my door step and with it Ramadhan! For the past decade plus, living in Houston, we have […]

Ramadan blogging

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m not the only one blogging during Ramadan – my friend and muslim media polymath Wajahat Ali is doing a series called Spiritual Appetite for Patheos.com which will definitely be worth bookmarking. His first post, A Ramadan State of Mind, […]

Why do I fast?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Aamer H. Jamali. Every year around this time, as I begin preparations for Ramadaan in my personal and professional lives, I am asked that perennial question: “Why do you fast?” I am asked this […]

#TTQ #Quran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Hussein Rashid launched the idea of Tweeting the Qur’an a few years ago and the idea has steadily caught on. To participate, just tweet an excerpt from the Qur’an that moved you and include the hashtags #TTQ and […]

the paradox of time in Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One fast down, 29 to go! Fasting certainly makes a day crawl past. During a fast, every hour is magnified and elongated. This is why the days are long… but suddenly after Iftar, it seems as though there was no […]

President Obama welcomes Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here is the full text of a statement released by the White House from President Obama, commemorating the start of Ramadan. He also notes that he will again host an iftaar at the White House again this year. As Ramadan […]

The days are long, the days are short

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taher Suratwala. This week marks the beginning of Ramadan, a month of fasting. I have been dreading the impending fast full of long, long summer days, the absence of coffee and missed summer lunches. […]

Ramadan 1432 – the longest days, the shortest month

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan unfolds! By the Fatimi calendar, today (Sunday) is the first of Ramadan 1432 and the first fast, though by other methods Ramadan begins either tomorrow (Monday) or the day after (Tuesday). I am observing the first fast myself, with […]

a humble suggestion for balancing the budget and eliminating the national debt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What if we simply abolished our entire active duty military? Well, not entirely of course. In a nutshell, we abolish the active duty standing Army and Air Force, fold the JSOC (SEALs and Marines) back into the Navy proper, and […]

Jamaat-i-Islami in Pakistan and the rape/adultery fallacy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I found this argument by Munawar Hassan of the political party Jamaat-i-Islami to be unbelievably disgusting and fundamentally blasphemous in the way he invokes the Qur’an to justify blatant misogyny: Here is the most disturbing part of Hassan’s comments: Anchor: […]

why a muslim welcomes the summer solstice

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I was surprised and then pleased to see today’s Google Doodle: It commemorates the Summer Solstice, which is today (June 21 2011). The occasion of the summer solstice was of course important to all those pagans of antiquity, exactly the […]

Previous Posts

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community
This happens almost every day in Pakistan - fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder fellow Muslims in cold blood. This time, the target wa

posted 8:22:26am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Proof denies faith
On Reddit, someone posted the following question: "What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?" I think this is precisely the wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly

posted 9:33:46am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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