I am Beginning My Blog

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

I am beginning my blog, though it was something that I had actually been resisting for a long time because I am not really a “computer person.” And I am troubled by a lot of the so-called social networking: Facebook, Twitter, and all of the other social networks because I am committed to and believe in real community, not virtual community—in actually interacting with human beings in conversations. A lot of these social networks are taking people away from time spent in leisure alone or with others in social communion. In fact, studies are now showing that young people are spending more and more time in these virtual worlds and less with family and friends. I go to UC Berkeley on occasion, and I see young people everywhere with their ears plugged into increasingly smaller gadgets, listening to God-knows-what, oblivious to the people and the stunning nature around them, seemingly in another world. I would like to see more human interaction and discussions that are not limited to pixilated images on computer screens.

On the other hand, I am, in essence, submitting to the very real fact that people are deeply involved in social networking, and I suppose in some ways it is akin to the Qur’anic verse, “Resist with the same weapons with which you are being aggressed upon.” So, here I am doing what I never thought I would be doing—blogging.

In this blog, I hope to address some of the issues affecting our community in the West, and on occasion, add my bean to the hill of beans concerning events occurring in other places also. I would also like to reflect publically on matters that I experience at any given time. For instance, I recently had a horrible experience at San Francisco airport that resulted in a formal apology and an on-going investigation sparked by Senator Feinstein’s response to my letter of complaint.

Furthermore, I know that I am very fortunate in having many people respond to the messages that I have been trying to convey over the years, and I have been really overwhelmed by the general goodness in our community. There are always naysayers and critics. Criticism is not a bad thing, and I am always open to criticism. However, I am disturbed by the harshness that we find in some segments of our community and with how much cruelty some people react when they come across others who may not share their views.

I would also like to discuss some of the books I am reading at any given time. For instance, I am currently reading Robert George’s The Clash of Orthodoxies and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities with my two older boys. And in Arabic, I am reading Sidi Ahmad Zarruq’s biography of his teacher Abu al-’Abas al-Hadrami as well as a new commentary of Sidi Khalil’s Mukhtasir in Maliki fiqh.

These are all areas of interest that I can write about. This is my first entry, and I hope to continue to blog and see what type of response I get. I am certainly open to suggestions of topics that people are interested in. All that I request is that we maintain the civility of our tradition, which is what we call adab.