Syed Haider

A PhD candidate at SOAS and English teacher.
38 Articles

Making Change Happen

2 Min Read

  Abstract: This paper looks to assert the centrality of social activism as a necessary and important mode of activity by which changes in society and our own selves is engendered. It begins by laying a religious foundation for social activism drawing on the Qu’ran and Ahadith to posit that theologically, social activism is an Islamic obligation that is part of faith. By locating the significance of social activism in religion, the author suggests one can abstract a spiritual solace for when one may experience moments of despair as a result of drawbacks. The paper then moves more firmly into

Syed Haider

0 Min Read

A PhD candidate at SOAS and English teacher.

Reflections on Ramadan

7 Min Read

It is well established in Islam that eeman is not simply a conviction of the heart – what in normative terms would be classified as belief. Rather actions are an integral part of eeman and, as Hasan Al-Basri wrote, ‘belief…is that which settles in the heart and is confirmed by one’s actions’. Yet there is a persistent and underlying tension at play in the emphasis that Islam places on actions and this is evinced most strongly by the frequency with which Islam’s primary texts address the issue of hypocrisy. The tension, I suggest, is borne from the nature of “action”

Create me a Folk Devil

12 Min Read

More than 200 years after the emergence of modern politics there are signs of decay exemplified by low voter turnout and party memberships. But this condition of contemporary politics in Britain is also a sign of something more profound. Whereas once grand ideologies provided the fuel for building political visions, today these have less of a claim on rallying people to the ballot box and so like religions of old, secular politics is confronted by a secular disenchantment. This disenchantment, however, is not born from the emergence of a new way of seeing the world as posited in the narrative

Decolonising the Mind

25 Min Read

‘My dear doctor,’ said Flory, ‘how can you make out that we are in this country for any purpose except to steal? It is so simple…the British Empire is a device for giving trade monopolies to the English…’ ‘My friend, it is pathetic to hear you talk so…while your businessmen develop the resources of our country, your officials are civilising us, elevating us to their level, from pure public spirit…you have bought us law and order. The unswerving British Justice and the Pax Britannica.’ ‘Pox Britannica, doctor, Pox Britannica.’ George Orwell, Burmese Days There is without doubt a sense of

Thinking Through the Riots

6 Min Read

All riots have ‘preconditions’ and ‘precipitants’ wrote Nick Jewson two decades ago and it is an attempt to try and discover these that is needed, as well as the need to curb the excesses witnessed on the streets of London these past few days. The latter is the immediate concern of the Police but the former ought to be concerning politicians, journalists and academics alike. And while the tactic to handle the riots sensitively is the tightrope the Police must walk, the need to frame the events of this weekend in a comprehensive and judicious manner is the effort that

Darwin’s Displacement of Religion or Grounds for a New Religious Experience

2 Min Read

What this paper will propose is that, pace Freud, science over time evolved into a type of creed itself in which Darwin's theory (which Freud held in esteem) became a totalising factor. Thus Darwin's displacement of traditional religion does not mean the removal of the agency of religion, instead, science, which began as one means of deciphering the world which traditional religion demanded exclusive powers to order, conflicted only on the level of Truth, which is basic to any system demanding rights to powers of determining. Over time then, science began to emerge with its own totems and taboos and

Viva la revolucion? Insha’Allah.

7 Min Read

The protests on the streets of Egypt have captivated many for the past few days. Before then it was the scenes that unfolded in Tunisia that captured our imaginations. Protest, rebellion and revolution are in the air; dictators take note. Reporting from Sanaa on January 28th, James Swann and Catrina Stewart noted how, 'tens of thousands of protesters took to the demand the end of the three-decade rule of the President in the latest sign of rebellion sweeping the Arab world.' Indeed the winds of revolt (as the headline on their article reads) seem to be raging. For so

First came the Criminals, then came the Imbeciles

8 Min Read

Mohammed Liaqat and Abid Saddique are criminals, that much is clear. Their actions were morally reprehensible and a sad reminder that there exist individuals in the world who allow their animal passions and devilish reasoning to rule their actions causing irreparable harm to others. All decent and clear thinking individuals would not hesitate to condemn such behaviour as both immoral and criminal. Yet something more curious has developed alongside the arrest and sentencing of those involved in the child sexual exploitation ring in Derby. Jack Straw, for example, made a statement on Newsnight (07/01/2011) in which he postulated a link

Israel’s Colonial Mentality

22 Min Read

The extermination of the Native Americans can be admitted, the morality of Hiroshima attacked, the national flag publicly committed to the flames. But the systematic continuity of Israel’s 52-year oppression and maltreatment of the Palestinians is virtually unmentionable, a narrative that has no permission to appear. Edward Said, The Last Taboo The ‘post’ in postcolonialism does not specify – and this point has been made well by several academicians – periodicity, as in the period after colonialism.1 Instead, the term as a whole signifies a practice of locating the colonial dimensions in the formation and experience of our modern world.