Futures, 42, 5, June 2010
All that was ‘normal’ has now evaporated; we have entered postnormal times, the in between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have not yet emerged, and nothing really makes sense. To have any notion of a viable future, we must grasp the significance of this period of transition which is characterized…read more
Book Of The Week
The Idea of Justice, By Amartya Sen
Reviewed by Ziauddin Sardar
Take three kids and a flute. Anne says the flute should be given to her because she is the only one who knows how to play it. Bob says the flute should be handed to him as he is so poor he has no toys to play…read more
A lush, green beautiful valley. In Chingiz Samedzadeh and Yulya Rusyayeva’s photograph, which features in British Council’s Close to Home http://www.britishcouncil.org/bulgaria-living-together-close-to-home.htm
exhibition, the natural beauty of the scenery is spoiled by a road that runs right through the valley. But there is more in the photograph than meets the eye. The road is also a border; it divides two warring states, Azerbaijan and Armenia. One…read more
“As you surf the Net, read newspapers, blogs and tweets, watch YouTube and merge yourself in gossip, consider how little all the multiplicity of information available tells you about anything that is not of the West, derivative of the history, ideas, experience and technology of that dispensation. There is a coherent historic narrative out there – but it is the narrative of the gradual expansion of consciousness, will…read more
I close my eyes and think of a future world. A visionary world, thirty, forty years from today. A world not of new humanity but a plethora of old and new humanities. A world where more than one of way of being human is not only the norm but is considered essential for the very survival of our species. This is the world as a garden.…read more
One cannot have a revolt on behalf of reason in Islam because reason is central to its worldview: reason is the other side of revelation and the Qur’an presents both as ‘signs of God’. A Muslim society cannot function without either.
Ziauddin Sardar on the shadow cast over Islamic culture by the Enlightenment.
What Enlightenment? It may have been good for Europe, but
Black Skin, White Masks by Franz Fanon, Pluto, London, 2008
I think it would be good if certain thing were said: Fanon and the Epidemiology of Oppression
(Direct quotations from Black Skin, White Masks are set in italics)
The opening gambit of Black Skin, White Masks ushers us towards an imminent experience: the explosion will not happen today. But
31st Corbishley Memorial Lecture, London – 27th November 2008
(written text of the lecture prepared by Professor Sardar)
Ladies and gentlemen, I feel honoured to be invited to deliver this year’s Corbishley Lecture. I must begin by taking issue with my assigned subject. Far from talking or shouting, it seems to me organised religion is in retreat in Britain’s public
The headline in the Bulletin of the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa announces a staggering discovery. Canadian scholar confirms Quran and Ahadith on Human Embryology (1). The story tells us that a certain Dr Keith Moore, Chairman of the anatomy department of the University of Torontos School of Medicine, has discovered the happy marriage between the Islamic revelation and contemporary human developmental anatomy. I am
I. I hate winters.
The one in 1962 was particularly bad. Months of sub-zero temperatures, they skated on the frozen Thames that year – just as Dickens wrote. And the snow! It piled up everywhere and refused to budge, week after week. How on earth could one play guli danda in weather like that? Try as I might it was impossible to shape
I am sitting in my study, in front of my PC, writing this article on how we perceive children nowadays. Behind me my daughter Maha, 7 this month, is drawing on my ‘reporter’s pad’. Whenever I get stuck, which is about every other sentence, I turn around to ask Maha a few questions. ‘Maha’, I say at one juncture, ‘What would you like to see in the future?’…read more
I discovered the meaning of globalisation in Singapore. Indeed, the moment one arrives at the city-states Changi Airport, one can see globalisation running riot in an impersonal consumerist cornucopia of designer labels. Changi Airport is also dedicated to being the worlds premier transport hub. From here you can go anywhere ushered along by the ubiquitous Singapore Girl, as the much advertised stewdardess of the national airline are known…read more
Long before the advent of computers, the French mathematician Laplace (1749-1827), proclaimed: Give me the past and present co-ordinates of any system and I will tell you its future.
This was not an aberration, a jerk reaction in a moment of drunken arrogance. It was a statement of faith. When the history of science and mathematics took a wrong turn and landed in Europe
I am not an easy person to pin down. I am several things; yet none of them. I was born in Pakistan but, as many Pakistanis would be eager to point out, I am not Pakistani. I am, however, an eager consumer of Pakistani culture and even retain my original Pakistani accent: it has been responsible for some serious setbacks in my career as a
P ` The devastatingly beautiful Esme is innocent. But in Yashar Kemal’s brilliant novel, ` To Crush The Serpent` , she is accused of collaborating with her former suitor in the murder of her husband, Halil (1). Everyone known that Esme is guilty; and the villagers, led by Halil’s family, are ebullient about revenge. Esme must be killed. Again and again, Halil’s old and
Where was the city, the first imagined central place? In what enclave of human aggregation did the meaning of the city first take shape? Around which bustling, still centre did the world come to turn? Not here, not in the western world was the confection created, the sights, smells, sounds of all the world jostling and rubbing shoulders. If first is important then first city
Serious rethinking within Islam is long overdue. Muslims have been comfortably relying, or rather falling back, on age-old interpretations for much too long. This is why we feel so painful in the contemporary world, so uncomfortable with modernity. Scholars and thinkers have been suggesting for well over a century that we need to make a serious attempt at ijtihad, at reasoned struggle and rethinking, to
Something that is of concern to me is ‘sameness’. We have become more monolithic and this is a problem. The things that cause stress, the things that we never pay attention to, the things that are part of our subconscious, the things that are moving our lives, the things that dominant our lives – all of these things have been remade in the image of
Three billion lives ended on 29 August 1997. Survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgement Day. They lived to face a new nightmare – the war against the machines. The computer which controlled the machines, SkyNet, sent two Terminators through time. Their mission to destroy the leader of the human resistance, John Connor – my son. The first Terminator was programmed to strike at me in…read more
They are everywhere. Terrorists. A few are easily recognisable. They blow up buildings, kidnap innocent people, and turn their bodies into bombs. But most terrorists go about their mundane, apparently peaceful, lives. But these ordinary terrorists are just as irrational, cruel, and obstinate as the all too visible types.
Who are the vast majority of terrorists? Well, it is you and me, ordinary people consuming much…read more
The poet Robert Frost argued memorably good fences make good neighbours. It was a quintessential statement of New England values, only slightly removed from the old English original. He was articulating a cultural ethos based on individual identity, the home as personal castle, the concept of respect for personal space refined into a basic cultural concept of individualism. This notion has deep resonance in all aspects…read more
A great deal has been written about the clash of civilisations. But to have a clash we need at least two civilizations. If it is supposed to be a clash of western and Islamic civilisations then civilisation as a coherent entity with a worldview embedded in humane values are conspicuous by their absence on both sides. The Muslim civilisation as a coherent entity has not existed for at…read more
All reformist work must start with recognition of the world as it is. We must see and understand the world as it exists and not as we would like it to be. Only when we appreciate the true dimensions of contemporary reality, can we contemplate reforms that will create the world we want.
Most Muslim scholars and professionals view the world not as it is but…read more