Category Archives: science

On Educating Oneself

Conditions of death and destruction force us to ask the question: what is wrong with human beings? What is the human condition? In other words, what dehumanizes our souls, minds and sensibilities to commit such unspeakable acts to each other? Why do some of these muscular devotees of Islam produce teachings that violate human dignity at every turn? I need not be reminded that their super power adversaries are equally craven. … Is it not time that conscientious Muslims produce what can be called the “violence critique?” ….While I concede my education was imperfect, but from somewhere I acquired the sensibility to question the unquestionable. The example of the hierodules, those slaves who served the ancient Greek temples come to mind. The hierodules had the advantage over the priests when it came to the secrets of the cult (Calasso 2005). They were surely no less knowledgeable than the priests, but because they were servants they were prepared to take risks and were more willing to expose, question and explore the secrets of the cult. I too behaved like the hierodules. Continue reading

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Posted in Ethics, Islam in America, Islamic Law/Ethics, Islamic studies scholarship, literature, Madrasas, Middle East, middle east, Muslim Ethics, Personal, scholars, scholarship, science, South Africa | Leave a comment

Brain, mind and culture in Muslim theology

“Many Medieval and early modern Muslim theologians who offer startling insights about perception, ideas which sometimes even resemble trending topics like neuroplasticity….So the riddle of metaphors and the brain makes me wonder, as a humanist, whether Shah Waliyullah’s explanations imply that the brain is also culturally wired. And, if so, then what about claims that the brain is a closed system? And, if it remains a closed system, then how does the culture seep into it?” Continue reading

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Posted in Ethics, science, South Asia | 2 Comments