Archive for March, 2023

when i’m gone

know that i was never truly here

for i thought so much of that other world

and the days were filled with planting

so now has come the time

to reap what i had sown


when i’m gone

don’t cry for me

because i have gone ahead

to the land that i have dreamed of

in pursuit of the company

of the men who have inspired me

to follow their footsteps


when i’m gone

know that i will still love you

and i will carry the hope

of our reunion

in gardens underneath which rivers flow


when i’m gone

and there are no more breaths left to take

and no more plans left to make

know that the freedom i have craved

is finally within my grasp


for my Lord has made a promise

based on the exit from non-existence

that brought about my short stay here

and if I cannot trust the promise of the Lord

and my own experience of existence

then trust does not exist


there are journeys still unthought

and dreams for which i have fought

as time unravels and space starts to bend

in a somewhere without end

when i’m gone

لا إله إلا الله

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I distilled some of my observations on trying to live Islamic Law (sharīʿa/fiqh/al-aḥkām al-islāmī/etc.) in the United States of America into an academic article.

Some of my main points are the following:

  • Islamic law in the USA is choice, whereas American law is not. To give one of many possible examples, I am forced to pay income tax by the Federal government based on worldly threats for disobedience, but if I pay zakāt and/or khums it is purely voluntary.
  • Muslims in the USA do not reflect very much on the myriad ways in which they accept the legal and economic foundations of daily life, which I have termed the “civic.” Only occasionally does an issue arise that causes Muslims to question the civic. A good example is the ubiquity of interest (ribā) in home financing, which has given rise to an entire industry of sharia-compliant home finance products. But most of the rest of the legal structure of American real estate law is completely ignored.
  • Muslims in the USA do not have the ability to force non-Muslims to do anything based on Islamic law. The Islamophobic notion of “creeping sharia” is ridiculous when the truth is that American religious freedom means that any Muslim in the USA can renounce Islam altogether at any given moment.
  • Muslims in the USA are default capitalists, because they are consumers and producers in the world’s pre-eminent capitalist economy. Unlike a mid-20th century theorist like Bāqir al-Ṣadr, who could actually contemplate how to deal with the encroachment of USA-led Capitalist models and USSR-led Marxist models on Iraqi society, 21st century American Muslims are already participants in a system not of their own creation and in which they have minimal agency.
  • If all of this is true, then Islamic ethics in the USA needs to begin to develop a more robust engagement with and critique of American law and economics to create maximum space for Muslims to live their sharīʿa convictions to the fullest extent possible.

If you would like to read the entire article, it is available both online and in pdf format:

One Out of Many: The Civic and Religious in American Muslim Life (Religions 202314(2), 170)

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