The Qarawiyyin Newsletter: June Round Up

Reviving Islamic Discourse among Muslim Women

وَالۡعَصۡرِۙ‏  - اِنَّ الۡاِنۡسَانَ لَفِىۡ خُسۡرٍۙ‏ اِلَّا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡاوَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالۡحَقِّ ۙ وَتَوَاصَوۡا بِالصَّبۡرِ

“By the declining day, indeed mankind is in loss, except for those who believe, do good deeds, urge one another to the truth, and urge one another to steadfastness.”


Welcome to The Qarawiyyin Newsletter!

Subhan’Allah how time flies, we have already hit the halfway mark of 2021! We hope everyone is well on their way to hitting their targets and meeting their goals for this year, but if not, it is a good time to take a step back and evaluate so you can power through the second half. We have some exciting plans currently underway at TQP so keep an eye out on your inbox for updates.

In looking back on the past month, we also mark the death of two eminent scholars of the Muslim Ummah: Sheikha Hind Shalbi from Tunisia and Mufti Muhammad Taha Karaan from South Africa. Well known for her expertise in Quranic studies, Sheikha Hind was also famous for wearing a traditional Tunisian al-Safsari in defiance of the hijab ban imposed by President Bourguiba in 1981. Mufti Taha’s legacy is similarly illustrious, as the head mufti of the Muslim Judicial Council and a scholar who regularly addressed post-modernity, Islamic economics and finance, the old and new Orientalisms, and fiqh issues affecting diaspora Muslim communities. We pray that Allah raises their status in the Hereafter and makes their contributions a source of ongoing guidance for future generations.

Have a read on for our latest articles, a new podcast episode with a very special guest and some recommendations from our team.

NEW: In pursuit of forgiveness

The guilt of sinning can weigh heavy upon the believer, leading one down a road of hopelessness and dejection, feeling unworthy of Allah’s forgiveness. Yet we should seek solace in knowing that Allah is Al-Ghaffar, the forgiving, and Al-Raheem, the merciful. In our latest article, Sarah Masri reflects on the path to repentance.

NEW: The problem with Vernacular Islam

Vernacular Islam tries to paint Islam as something that needs to be empirically confirmed. This frames the core of Islam as a culture, rather than a creed. Nayla Majestya writes on the emerging scepticism of Islam as a belief system.

Iz – A Uyghur poem

Zulkayda Mamat reflects on the poem Iz by Abdurehim Ötkür, a poem that narrates the Uyghur struggle with a reminder to never forget her Uyghur identity. She translates Iz as ‘trace’ and vows to make sure the narrative of the Uyghur’s is heard, and that these traces will live on for the next generation to discover.

Podcast Ep. 16: The Devil Wears Zara | Iman Masmoudi

In this months episode, we are joined by Iman Masmoudi, President of ethical clothing brand TŪNIQ, for a conversation on ethical fashion, production, and consumption. We discuss our role in the global capitalist economy, addressing the gruesome realities of exploitative labor and environmental degradation. As the havoc wreaked by capitalism becomes more plain to see, we grapple with where to place Islam on the spectrum of economic ideologies, as well as practical steps to disengage from unethical chains of production.

INTERVIEW: Q&A with Aisha Hasan of The Qarawiyyin Project

The Traversing Tradition team invited Aisha Hasan, Founder and Editor of The Qarawiyyin Project to discuss the background of the project, Muslim communities in the west and the importance of ensuring the parameters of our discourse are defined by Islam.

Here are a few titles that have featured in our previous booklists, relevant to our published content this month:

1. Deglobalization: Ideas for a New World Economy - Walden Bello
Deglobalization is a succinct yet comprehensive overview of the crises of global capitalism and some proposed reforms to the international system. The author, Walden Bello, is a Filipino academic and politician known for his critique of development initiatives by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Centering the global south in his analysis, Bello addresses how development programs of the twentieth century have often further mired developing nations in economic dependency, and proposes a reversal of the system of global capitalism.
2. A Brief History of Neoliberalism - David Harvey
Author David Harvey details the history of Neoliberalism as a doctrine and how it has come to dominate economic policy globally. He criticizes Neoliberalism as being a “vehicle for the restoration of class power”, namely a class of financiers and heads of multinational corporations. Harvey’s critique of Neoliberalism focuses on the rise of finance and how this has destroyed social infrastructure, basing much of his argument on the theories of Antonio Gramsci and Karl Polanyi.
3. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power - Shoshana Zuboff
'Surveillance capitalism', a force that is as profoundly undemocratic as it is exploitative, remains poorly understood—an ignorance that is central to its strategy. Zuboff uncovers the hidden contracts behind our technology, from the plethora of Pokemon at commercial hotspots to direct players of Pokemon Go, or the nefarious uses Facebook puts our data to.  And by placing her analysis within economic theory and a wider history of both capitalism and totalitarianism, Zuboff introduces a new angle to the discussion on technological progress, posing this dichotomy as the defining challenge for the next generation.
4. Reformation of Character - Mawlana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar
Shaykh Tamim Ahmadi’s translation of Mawlana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar’s book details the characteristics of the virtuous and the blameworthy character, as well as practical ways to reform oneself. Part One covers nineteen sections on the characteristics and methods to obtain noble character. Similarly, Part Two covers thirty sections related to evil character.
5. Purification of the Heart -  Hamza Yusuf
In order to monitor one’s own spiritual development and relationship with The Creator, we must be aware of which spiritual diseases afflict the heart and how to combat them. Each chapter of Purification of the Heart deals with one of these diseases, its symptoms, and its remedies. This book serves as a practical guide for tazkiyyah that students on the path to Allah should revisit regularly.

As well as periodically updating our resource bank, here we share some other insightful contributions from prominent Muslim figures and organisations.

RESOURCE: The Oasis Journal - TŪNIQ
Alongside the ethical clothing brand, the TŪNIQ team have established The Oasis Journal, with the hopes that their words will 'repair both the internal world of our hearts and the external world of humanity.' With content focusing on the global economic order, consumerism and spirituality - its is a means for us to educate ourselves, reflect on personal accountability and bring about change in our communities. 
PODCAST: Miracles, Awliya & Tariqas | Danish Qasim - Boys In The Cave
Danish Qasim, founder of In Shaykh's Clothing, joins the Boys in the Cave Podcast to share his experience studying the traditional Islamic sciences and tackling spiritual abuse in the Muslim community.
RESOURCE: Khutbah Template #Stand4Uyghurs - Islam21c
With so much misinformation disingenuously being spread about the Uyghurs, from whitewashing crimes to straight out genocide denial, it is incumbent on us Muslims to spread the truth and speak out on behalf of our Uyghur brothers and sisters suffering at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Dr Salman Butt has prepared a template for Imams and Khatībs to use when preparing their Jummu'ah sermons, however it proves a useful tool for ISocs, MSAs and Madrassahs too. 
VIDEO: Quran recitation and reflection with Hafidha Rawan Dwaik - Shaykha Maryam Amir 
Ustadha Maryam Amir speaks with Hafidha Rawan Dwaik, the first recorded woman with Down syndrome to memorize the whole Quran. A huge example for every single one of us, this interview will leave you in awe, inspired and with a full heart. May Allah shower his blessings upon our blessed hafidhaat. 
ARTICLE: Shaykh Amin Kholwadia on Theology and Ontology in Medical Ethics - Traversing Tradition
The TT team have provided a transcript of Shaykh Amin Kholwadia's lecture: Theological and Ontological Consideration for an Islamic Ethics of Medicine, delivered at a workshop for the Initiative on Islam and Medicine in 2017. 

If you have any questions, feedback or would like to feature in our next newsletter, let us know. Email us at or visit our website to find out more about our article submission process.

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Until next time, Assalaamu Alaykum.