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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Obama and the Muslim “Smear”

posted by ajamali

Note: Aziz will be returning soon.  It has been a pleasure and an honor to fill in for him.  If you enjoyed my writing (or didn’t and are looking for further avenues to lambast me), my own blog can be […]

Good Grief

posted by ajamali

Note:  I continue to fill in for Aziz Poonawalla on this site for the next couple of weeks.  For those who are interested, these posts will also be available on my own blog Notes from The Heartas well. Recently, I […]

Calling a Spade a Spade

posted by ajamali

Note:  I will be filling in for Aziz Poonawalla on this site for the next couple of weeks, while he is off gallivanting around the world.  These are undoubtedly big shoes to fill (even though technically  I’m a size 13 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Who fears the global Caliphate?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Dean Esmay. There has been some talk in religious and political circles lately raising fears that recent explosions of protests against dictatorships in the Middle East and the overthrow of dictators like Hosni Mubarak […]

The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This guest post is an excerpt from the memoir, The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson. THE BUTTERFLY MOSQUE A Memoir by G. Willow Wilson PROLOGUE In the upper reaches of the Zagros Mountains, the air changed. The high altitude […]

Ramadan Blues by Wajahat Ali

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This guest post is a short story by Wajahat Ali, reprinted with permission. “I promise.” The young boy – ashamed, dishonored, and fearing the wrath of a vengeful, omnipotent Allah – promised his Pakistani immigrant father with conviction and resolve. […]

Muslim Americans: the Next Generation

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Willow G. Wilson. I wonder if there might be an inherent flaw in the trajectory of American Islam/American Muslims as it is envisioned by young muslim leaders and political activists. The airtight integration of […]

Liberté, fraternité, but not égalité: a note from Istanbul.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by my friend Joshua Treviño. The American relationship with religion in public life is not as simple as the phrase “separation of church and state” implies. The American concept of liberty is deeply rooted in […]

Pakistan’s identity: Media Matters

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Manas Shaikh. One of the major factors leading to the collapse of the Soviets was their bad handling of the media. Few are worse off than those whose minds are images of others- even […]

Gender as the Focal Point of Cross-Cultural Dialogue

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Asma T. Uddin, Editor-in-Chief of AltMuslimah.com. Louise Cankar, an assistant professor of sociology at Marquette University, recently published a book in which she argues that, while anti-Muslim suspicion existed prior to 9/11, 9/11 created […]

Be thankful this Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha M Raja. If you believe that the more thankful you are then you will receive more, then this Ramadan is a good time to fundamentally change the way we live. The past 25 […]

Receiving Ramadan, the esteemed guest

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha M. Raja. Ramadhan arrives like a guest, an esteemed guest. Families prepare to receive the guest in many ways. Houses get cleaned, talk of fasting and prayers are abound, preparation to go to […]

An ideal husband

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by G. Willow Wilson. Asra Nomani’s recent essay in Marie Claire, My Big Fat Muslim Wedding, lays out a scenario that has become familiar to everyone in the post-9/11 world: despairing Muslim woman is forced […]

a Chinese-American reader comments on the Uyghur

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following was a comment left by reader Gerald of Atlanta on my previous post. I am reproducing it in its entirety. UPDATE: I misidentified the reader as an Uyghur, actually he is descended from Chinese Hui muslims. I apologise […]

Women’s Islamic Initiative in Equality and Spirituality Conference (WISE)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Dilshad D. Ali. In 2006 I received an invitation from Daisy Khan, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement to attend the first ever Women’s Islamic Initiative in Equity and Spirituality Conference (WISE) […]

The Myth of Secular Inevitability: Iran, Islam, America, Israel and Palestine

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Haroon Moghul. Not surprisingly, in the days since Iran’s election fiasco, Western media have attempted to fit the events inside the Islamic Republic into a convenient framework. I call this the myth of secular […]

Republican Town Hall on health care reform in Houston

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha Raja, who recently attended a “town hall” meeting on July 30th, 2009 about health care reform hosted by Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas, Senator John McCain of Arizona, and Senator Mitch McConnell […]

Iran: If scholars and politics collide

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Haroon Moghul. Events over the last few days have deeply concerned me. Watching the Grand Ayatollah at the top of the Islamic Republic deliver a sermon in which he made no meaningful concessions to […]

Amalek and Jihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Jonathan Edelstein. The topic is especially relevant today, because Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just made explicit his view that Iran represents a modern-day Amalek, so it is worth understanding just what the theologic […]

What is Shi’ism?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Hussein Rashid In the contemporary period Shi’ah is the standard short form for Shi’ah Ali, the Partisans of Ali. The Shi’ah have a history that goes back as far as the time of Prophet […]

horror and hope of Zimbabwe: Roy Bennett

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Joe Trippi. I’ve talked about Roy Bennett and his imprisonment for weeks, talked about his courage, about Roy really being the heart and soul of the MDC opposition to Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and rejoiced […]

reflections on technology and the hajj

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by my friend Taha Raja. Part one in a series. How has technology affected the Hajj? For many hard core believers, Hajj represents a pilgrimage that needs to be preserved for what it was envisioned […]

The terrorists must not win

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Zeba Iqbal, a real estate development advisor who lives and works in NYC. In her free time she is active in supporting and promoting causes that are close to her heart. As a Muslim American […]

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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