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Ep. 76: Hena Khan

Hena Khan is an award winning Pakistani American children’s author. Her middle grade novel Amina’s Voice was named a Best Book of 2017 by the Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, NPR, and others. She is the author of the Zayd Saleem: Chasing the Dream series: Power Forward, On Point, and Bounce Back. Hena has written several acclaimed picture books including Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, Night of the Moon, It’s Ramadan Curious George, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets and Under My Hijab. Her newest book, More to the Story, is a middle grade novel inspired by Little Women.

Hena began writing for children with Scholastic book clubs, publishing books for a number of popular series. She went on to write several choose-your-own format books including adventures to Mars and the Amazon. But, as a young mother, Hena yearned to see books that represented kids like her children, and decided to write them. Today, Hena writes full time, often highlighting aspects of her culture, faith, community, friendship and family, and she draws heavily from own experiences. She enjoys presenting to children, educators, community members and others, and being a mom to two now teenaged boys. Whenever she gets the chance, Hena travels with her family, bakes, and reads books written by her favorite children’s authors.

You can connect with Hena through her website here:

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Understanding the Muslim Mind

If we could take all of Islamic intellectual history, what sort of patterns and principles could we deduce? More importantly, if we found someone who actually knew all this information, what would they look like, think like, talk like, etc.?

Truth, Lies, and Social Media
29 July 2020
Truth, Lies, and Social Media

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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