Thoughts on Zakat
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One of the unique features of Islam as an intellectual system is that it possesses a mechanism for renewal and revival within itself. This mechanism is the instrument of ijtihād- independent legal reasoning- that allows a trained and licensed jurist to develop new rulings and judgements for situations that are unprecedented, nuanced, and, in a way, of a troublesome nature. There is a lot of literature within Islamic legal tradition that explains the vast contours of ijtihād. Familiar discussions outline the common set of must-know legal rules and principles, interpretive tools used to unlock meanings within the primary texts, and auxiliary disciplines needed in order for one’s ijtihād to be effective and within the broad limits of orthodoxy. These are standard in any work that discuss the instrument of ijtihād. There are other discussions, however, that one comes across from time to time that shed a little more light on the phycology and mindset behind the person engaging in ijtihad, namely the mujtahid. One interesting description, courtesy of Imam Ghazali (d. 505/1111), is the need for the mujtahid to have vast amounts of creativity. The more creativity a mujtahid has, the more creative thinking they can bring to bear on a particular issue, the better they will be able to come up with right solutions and right answers; especially solutions that will last the test of time. To be creative in this context, therefore, is to think outside the box and dare to be innovative. It is to ask the right questions, not just memorize standard answers.

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Truth, Lies, and Social Media
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One of the unique features of Islam as an intellectual system is that it possesses a mechanism for renewal and revival within itself. This mechanism is the instrument of ijtihād- independent legal reasoning- that allows a trained and licensed jurist to develop new rulings and judgements for situations that are unprecedented, nuanced, and, in a way, of a troublesome nature. There is a lot of literature within Islamic legal tradition that explains the vast contours of ijtihād. Familiar discussions outline the common set of must-know legal rules and principles, interpretive tools used to unlock meanings within the primary texts, and auxiliary disciplines needed in order for one’s ijtihād to be effective and within the broad limits of orthodoxy. These are standard in any work that discuss the instrument of ijtihād. There are other discussions, however, that one comes across from time to time that shed a little more light on the phycology and mindset behind the person engaging in ijtihad, namely the mujtahid. One interesting description, courtesy of Imam Ghazali (d. 505/1111), is the need for the mujtahid to have vast amounts of creativity. The more creativity a mujtahid has, the more creative thinking they can bring to bear on a particular issue, the better they will be able to come up with right solutions and right answers; especially solutions that will last the test of time. To be creative in this context, therefore, is to think outside the box and dare to be innovative. It is to ask the right questions, not just memorize standard answers.

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Innovation & Creativity: How to Get Islam Moving Forward
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One of the unique features of Islam as an intellectual system is that it possesses a mechanism for renewal and revival within itself. This mechanism is the instrument of ijtihād- independent legal reasoning- that allows a trained and licensed jurist to develop new rulings and judgements for situations that are unprecedented, nuanced, and, in a way, of a troublesome nature. There is a lot of literature within Islamic legal tradition that explains the vast contours of ijtihād. Familiar discussions outline the common set of must-know legal rules and principles, interpretive tools used to unlock meanings within the primary texts, and auxiliary disciplines needed in order for one’s ijtihād to be effective and within the broad limits of orthodoxy. These are standard in any work that discuss the instrument of ijtihād. There are other discussions, however, that one comes across from time to time that shed a little more light on the phycology and mindset behind the person engaging in ijtihad, namely the mujtahid. One interesting description, courtesy of Imam Ghazali (d. 505/1111), is the need for the mujtahid to have vast amounts of creativity. The more creativity a mujtahid has, the more creative thinking they can bring to bear on a particular issue, the better they will be able to come up with right solutions and right answers; especially solutions that will last the test of time. To be creative in this context, therefore, is to think outside the box and dare to be innovative. It is to ask the right questions, not just memorize standard answers.

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Islam is Greater than the Muslims
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What role, if any, does and should religion play in politics? In an age when we see many, many religious leaders linked with politics and political parties, I make the argument that this is dangerous and a misuse of religion.

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Expressing Gratitude
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What role, if any, does and should religion play in politics? In an age when we see many, many religious leaders linked with politics and political parties, I make the argument that this is dangerous and a misuse of religion.

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God & Caesar
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What role, if any, does and should religion play in politics? In an age when we see many, many religious leaders linked with politics and political parties, I make the argument that this is dangerous and a misuse of religion.

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On Keeping a Ramadan Journal
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Ramadan is the biggest event in the Muslim liturgical calendar. It lasts an entire month (the 9th lunar month), and there are extra devotional acts performed every day and every evening. It is the month in which we commemorate the revelation of the Quran, providing a special evening (the Night of Power) sought out in the last ten days-a mega event inside a mega event. It is the month of great spiritual benefits, forgiveness, and opportunities for renewal.

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Time in the Age of COVID-19
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There is a well-known quote by the famous jurist and polymath Imam al-Shāfi‘ī (d. 204/820): “I learned from the Sufis that time is like a knife. If you don’t cut it first, it will cut you.” This quote, perhaps more than any, was always a source of fascination for me.

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Islam is More than Just the Muslims
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One of the most important things I learned throughout my studies is that religion as a concept and discipline is much greater and more expansive than what practitioners make it out to be. This is certainly true for Islam and Muslims.

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