Posts Tagged ‘History’

Science & Islam on BBC4

// December 31st, 2008 // 10 Comments » // Blog

blue_circle_blueprintThe first episode of a new three-part documentary on Science and Islam comes out next Monday, 5th January 2009, on BBC4, at 9pm (if you miss it, catch it on BBC iPlayer):

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries.


A Leech is Born

// November 14th, 2008 // 8 Comments » // Blog

I assigned myself the somewhat derogatory title of “The Leech” during my PhD years, when I noticed a potentially annoying personal behaviour.

When faced with a problem, I used one of two 'extreme' paths in my search for a solution.

Where I suspected that I knew enough to fix the problem myself, I was very secretive, independent, and head strong. Even if someone offered me advice (though it would not have been requested), I'd politely listen to them, but in my head I was thinking:

“Yeah, yeah, I already knew that.

“No, that won't work.

“Please, just let me get on with it!”.

I think it had something to do with trying to 'prove' myself; either to my supervisors, or just as an ego rush. This behaviour lead to me wasting six months on an experiment, that never yielded any results. I kept repeating and repeating the assay, and I would report my work regularly, but I never actually thought to sit down and talk to someone about why I was failing so consistently; I was that determined to solve the problem myself.

One supervisor openly chastised me for this, and I think the embarrassment from that experience, combined with the frustration of having clearly wasted so much time, caused me to swing the other way completely. Thus, 'the Leech' was born.

Now, every time I had a problem, even a tiny one, I would seek human intervention. It didn't matter whether there were manuals written on the subject, or in-depth how-tos posted online; I still needed reassurance from someone more experienced in that field, to make sure that I didn't mess up to that extent again. I am surprised no-one ran away from me in the hall ways, screaming:

“Noooo… I have given all I have to give! You have sucked my brain dryyyy!”.


DR Congo… Rwanda Rerun

// November 13th, 2008 // 3 Comments » // Blog

I've been reading about the Rwandan Genocide for the past hour… I can't describe how I feel right now. My guts… feel liquid.

To think that anyone in power could sit back and allow anything close to that to happen again… words fail me.

Maybe this time, it's not about ethnic genocide.
Maybe it's just about diamonds and coal.

But right now, dark-skinned women are having to make a choice:
Stay in squalid camps and let their babies starve.
Or return to rebel-controlled lands and face gang rape.
Some have already faced both.

Subhanallah… how?

How do they sleep?
How do they sip their morning coffee?
Kiss their wives on the cheek, and pat their children goodbye.
Sit in leather-clad offices.
And do absolutely nothing to stop this madness.

I… just don't know what to say.


Make dua. Now. Please.

Welcome President Elect Barack Hussain Obama

// November 5th, 2008 // 7 Comments » // Blog

Okay, I'll admit… I am happy that Obama won. McCain's concession speech was dignified. Muslim “democracies” could learn a lesson from that aspect of the campaign.

Now, can I go to bed please?

SS Free Gaza: They Made It!

// August 25th, 2008 // No Comments » // Blog

Allahu akbar! Read Sr Yvonne Ridley's account of this momentous event:

Well, you would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know that I am writing to you today from Gaza.

I really was too overwhelmed yesterday to put pen to paper after the magnificent welcome I and my fellow peace activists from SS Liberty and SS Free Gaza received as we entered the port of Gaza … the first ships to sail in since 1967.

Continue reading…

Egypt – What Can I Say?

// August 16th, 2008 // 9 Comments » // Blog

It seems the government of Egypt still feels indebted to the Children of Israel, for all that nasty slavery business back in the day of Moses, peace be upon him. Which means they are now willing to do anything to make it up to them; including helping to maintain the oppression of another group of innocents, by denying the transport of essential medical supplies into Gaza via their border with Israel.

Well, better late than never, eh guys? {shakes head}

Taken from a press release written by “EGYPT LET THE Scottish VAN CROSS TO GAZA NOW & End the Siege” Facebook group:


Apparently, I have an ‘Ijaza’ in Biology!

// July 14th, 2008 // 9 Comments » // Blog

That is according to a wikipedia article that I looked up to establish the significance of the title, “Doctor of Philiosophy” (i.e., Ph.D):

History of the Ph.D.

The origins of the doctorate dates back to the ijazat attadris wa 'l-ifttd (“license to teach and issue legal opinions”) in the medieval Madrasahs from the 9th century, though it was limited to Islamic law at the time, as in a Doctor of Laws degree.[4] The doctorate was later extended to philosophy in the European universities in the Middle Ages which generally placed all academic disciplines outside the professional fields of theology, medicine and law under the broad heading of “philosophy” (or “natural philosophy” when referring to science). The degree of Doctor of Philosophy was a doctorate, generally granted as honorary degrees to select and well-established scholars.[citation needed]

[4] Makdisi, George (April-June 1989), “Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West”, Journal of the American Oriental Society 109 (2): 175–182 [175–77]

How cool is that?

Muslims in Australia: Interview with Amir Colan

// January 24th, 2008 // No Comments » // Blog

Another entry for MuslimMatters, this time a podcast interview with the director of the film documentary, “Muslims in Australia”:

It seems that I am gradually becoming MuslimMatters' unofficial media correspondent, as I now blog about yet another documentary concerning a Muslim minority community. But perhaps the readers would be pleased to note that this film is not in fact more sensationalist propanganda designed to divide society, but rather the exact opposite. Continue reading…

While In Rome…

// October 3rd, 2007 // 4 Comments » // Blog

Or in this case, South Kensington.

Gosh, i missed London. Not smelly East London, where i live. Real London… the beautiful architecture, the museums, the universities, the posh folks, the suits, the random tourists… I missed it all! So, after i submitted my thesis (i've written that phrase so many times today, in numerous e-mails and text messages!), i popped into the Victoria & Albert Museum on my way home, to check out their Islamic Middle Eastern art exhibit.

I apologize for the poor photo quality. It was an unplanned visit, so i only had my camera phone, and add to that low lighting = noisy, grainy pics… but maybe it'll inspire you to see the real thing for yourself! Entry to the museum is free, alhamdulillah. Except for my foreign readers, who may have to pay for the airfare to come over to London. {wink}


The Muslim Jesus

// August 20th, 2007 // 3 Comments » // Blog

One of the British terrestial channels, ITV1, broadcast a programme called “The Muslim Jesus”, last night. It contains interviews with lots of notables from the UK Muslim community, as well as Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. One of the few TV programmes i have watched about Islam that did not make me wince once! māshā’Allāh. Shame it was shown so late (11.15pm). The only “negative” was that it contains depictions of Jesus Christ and his blessed mother, Mary (peace be upon them both), but overall, it is an excellent production, and highly recommended viewing.

And some lovely person has already put it up on YouTube, so you haven't missed out:

The Muslim Jesus – Part 1

The Muslim Jesus – Part 2

The Muslim Jesus – Part 3

The Muslim Jesus – Part 4

The Muslim Jesus – Part 5

Update: the full-length version of The Muslim Jesus has been uploaded to Google Video – jazakallah Manas for the heads up.

I was amazed by one piece of information that i learnt through the film – that there is a space reserved next to the grave of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon, for the burial of Jesus Christ, when he eventually returns to Earth. That gave me goosebumps! Had no idea! It reminded me of how families and couples reserve plots of land so they can be buried side by side. Some would think this morbid, but to me, it is such a loving statement: I want to be near you in life and in death, and on the Day of Resurrection, yours is the first face i was to see. Alhamdulillah.

Abu Huraira reported from Allāh's Messenger (peace be upon him): I am most close to Jesus, son of Mary, among the whole of mankind, in this worldly life and the next life. They said: Allāh's Messenger, how is it? Thereupon he said: Prophets are brothers in faith, having different mothers. Their religion is, however, one, and there is no Apostle between us (between I and Jesus Christ). [Bukhari]