Why The One Thing Suicide Bombing Cannot Be Is Islamic

Let me begin with a definition of Islam. Islam is… I’ll give you a second to complete that sentence in your head. If you said peace, then you’re likely getting your knowledge of Islam from main stream media and/or well-intentioned Muslims who likely have Peace Train on loop (love that song). And that’s all very cool. The only problem with it is that it waters down the discourse of Islam as a religion followed by an individual for his/her individual salvation. From an Islam 101 standpoint, Islam does not mean peace. Islam can include a rich discussion of peace. Morphologically, it is very closely linked to the Arabic word for peace. That word is Salaam. In fact, it is so closely linked to Salaam that some say it may as well just mean Peace. But the fact remains: Islam does not mean peace. Let me pause again while you battle with that idea, revel in it, or shrug it off, as may be your case. The word, Islam, is classified as a masdar in Arabic grammar. That is the equivalent of a gerund in English, i.e. a verbal noun. For instance, the verbal noun of “to sleep” is “sleeping”, as used in the sentence: “Sleeping is my favorite pastime.” Islam comes from a four letter verb: As-la-ma (the four letters being Alif Seen Laam Meem). Aslama means to submit. The gerund of Aslama is Islam. Hence Islam means submitting. This works better than submission because submission has a quality of […]

Ekphrasis of Meghan Tutolo’s “Young Night”

My free verse entry for Rattle’s November 2015 Ekphrasis contest. On Meghan Tutolo’s Young Night. Hand in hand, we take it all in: The babble of the river, The whisper of the wind, The fading scream of a police siren Somewhere on the other side of town Making a play for the night’s attention, But the night only has eyes for us: You and me, Standing hand in hand, Taking it all in. I squeeze your hand, You smile that I’m not going to smile smile That you often wield on nights like this, And I squeeze your hand, Again. The night is young And ours, All of it.

Before And After

Two halves of a freshly baked bun Sandwiching your #moment patty. Savor it, my friend.


Dawntime in the fall: When beauty spies you Admiring its bare, silent splendor, It whispers, “And you thought you knew me.”

The Ghazali Children’s Project by Fons Vitae & Hamza Yusuf

This is an awesome venture. Support this effort by the amazing Aisha Gray Henry and her team at Fons Vitae. I just did! I would love this for my kids. Getting them exposed to the Ihya at a young age will help prepare their hearts to receive this knowledge more comprehensively in a classroom setting when they’re ready for it – one that immerses them in the great Imam’s magnum opus. I know Darul Qasim has this on their radar. This is such a great service by Fons Vitae and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Here’s a poem I wrote some years back, inspired by a lecture delivered by Shaykh Amin in an Introductory Theology class at Darul Qasim in which he alluded to Imam Ghazali’s ingenious allegory for tauheed (divine unity). THE ANT AND THE QUILL Behind a generous well of ink,There stood an ant so wee,And nothing was around him thatWas littler than he.He watched with great amazement asA giant feather quillDescended into blackness, thenRemained to drink its fill.And thus the quill withdrew beforeReturning for its sips,Which made the ant to wonder whatTranspired tween the dips;He ventured round the glassy wellAnd out his head did pokeTo find the quill make strokes on whatReminded him of oak,And marveled at the written work,Extolled the feather quill:How utterly magnificentWas its creative skill,But as he watched, his eye did catchFive fingers, slender, longThat grasped the feather quill with care:A grasp so firm and strong,And so the ant was overcomeWith admiration trueFor how the hand […]


Wisdom is the father of intelligence: Indulges and disciplines child Till it rebels and runs away Leaving him without a say.


You can help By keeping out of the way, But vanity is to stand out While doing so, Like a pinky tilted up At afternoon tea.