Many of us confuse reality with religion. That is why it is important for me to explain how Islam is not “religion” but reality.

Islam is Al-Haqq. Translation: Reality.

Islam is divine, from beginning to end. Religion is man-made.

Religion is presided over by priests and pundits. Islam has no priests or pundits. Only scholars who may choose to be students of Islam.

That is why Islam is reality, from God Almighty.

And that is also why I am not a “Religion” writer – just because I choose to write about Islam.

Nor am I a “Faith” scholar, as some people may think.

I am a student of Islam, Muslims and the World. And that is what I write and speak about.

And that means everything that there is, was or can be: now or forever; here, there and everywhere else.

For, that is Islam. [...]

The current turmoil in the Middle East is not about jobs and bread. It is about the fight of the people of the Middle East for their basic humanity, liberty and dignity.

And Middle East will be free from its Colonial masters and their native stooges and proxies, when the people of the “Middle East” will rise up, as they are doing now, and will get rid of all their tyrants, military or hereditary or civil.

The Middle East will be free when its people are able to start their life over in a transparent, tranquil, peaceful and fair and democratic political structure with freedom, justice, equal rights and dignity for all.

And when, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, every Middle Eastern man, woman and child will reclaim their basic and “inalienable rights,” with which each and every single one of them is “endowed by their creator.”

First of all, let me explain a simple fact about life – and about science, to the extent I understand science, if I do at all: As a rule, a univariate model of reality is dead on arrival.

Meaning: Any attempt to understand or explain reality – any reality, meaning anything in this world – using only one variable or factor as its cause or explanation is almost always misleading – if not downright wrong.

So, there is not one single reason why “They” hate Islam – and Muslims. But there is a whole set of them: a whole lot of reasons and motivations why “They” hate Islam.

And often these reasons and causes work in concert with one another – work in tandem that is.

But Islam is nothing if not systematic – and from that point of view absolutely and positively scientific.

So, let me take first things first. And let me tackle them, one thing at a time.

Within Islam it is both legitimate and right to ask the question: "Why Islam?" Every tenet in Islam is subject to analysis and contention. No other religion is willing to subject its basic fundamentals of faith to such questioning. For example, Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most rational of Christian theologians, stopped the use of reason when it came to the basic fundamentals of Christian faith. He then tried to justify faith. So to ask "why Christianity?" is an illegitimate question. However, Allah invites the question as to "why Islam?".

I feel I am trivializing it by putting it this way, but that is the image that comes to mind. And it is not even apt or appropriate, really.

But when I see people falling over themselves, and not even minding if they trample each other, to get to their coveted bargains in all these sales, I say: All right, here is another sale for all you sale lovers of the world. [...]

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what or where you are. And I have no idea what you do or don’t do. But regardless of all that, I would still like you to read that book – the most amazing and incomparable Al-Qur’an!

For, there is no other book quite like that book in the world! There never was, and there never will be. Not to belittle, disparage or put any other book down. But simply to tell you that this is a book you owe it to yourself to read.

This book – I mean that book – is quite unlike any other book you may have read. [...]

These days, they are all experts: on Islam and Muslims I mean. And in as many cases as not, instant experts, I must point out.

Drive-by Experts is what I call this crop of instant cognoscenti that flood the market – and the airwaves – and the media in general – in these troubled times. Those in policy portals are somewhat different. Often, many of them know their stuff even though they may choose to twist truth to fit policy parameters and political agendas.

And the factors that breed this mushroom cloud of Drive-by Experts on Islam and Muslims are many. Not the least among them is the money that can be made by a claim to expertise on Islam, no matter how tenuous or precarious. And the perks and privileges that go with it.

There is name, fame and fortune to be made by saying you are an Islamic Expert and then letting loose on Islam and Muslims, left, right and center. Poor Muslims – barring the blackguards and charlatans among them – wouldn’t know what hit them or how to respond to this onslaught in a truly meaningful, effective, civilized, rational and peaceful way. And if they did make some noises of the legitimate and appropriate variety, no one will pay any attention to them anyway.

But it is good that fewer and fewer buses seem to suffer the wrath of angry and frustrated Muslim mobs in parts of Islamistan. The fury seems to be headed for the jugular now as evidently angry and frustrated agents of powerful money and politics – both domestic and foreign – have developed more of a penchant for blown up bodies than for burned buses. [...]

I trust you are doing well. And having fun.

"Islam and fun?" you may raise your eyebrows.

"What an oxymoron!" Some may exclaim in disbelief, even disdain.

Others may simply say Astaghfirullah and move on.

But some others may think - and that is what really matters: "Subhaanallah! What a Deen! What a beautiful miracle this Deen of Allah is that it attends to every human need. That it even lets people have fun!"

Provided, of course, I must hasten to add, both to set the record straight as well as to set at rest my readers' apprehensions and skepticism, it is done within the boundaries of Allah.

Just like everything else.

The fact is that there is no life without fun. It is all a question of what kind of fun you have and how. Fun, Islam teaches us, must be pursued within the boundaries prescribed by Allah.

Just like everything else.

The basic principle is this: You do things within the prescriptions and boundaries of Allah, they are right and good. They are a boon for you.

You do them outside Allah's boundaries and contrary to Allah's commands and prescriptions, they are wrong; they are bad; and they become the bane of your life.[...]

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What exactly is the issue? The teacher in England should not have her mouth and face hidden behind a veil when teaching English language to students? Is that the issue?

If it is, then to me it is a nonstarter. For, how else do students learn to associate sound, intonation, voice fluctuation and proper pronunciation with lip movement, mouth position and facial expression?

What about the radio then? Well, then, what is the point of having a classroom with a real teacher in it? Why not we all go back home and turn on our radio sets?

Does the teacher have a choice? Of course she does. She can either remove her veil while teaching or resign.

She can always go to a school that would allow her to teach with the veil on. But such a school will be doing its pupils a signal disservice. And I, though a fairly proud Muslim, would hesitate to send my son or daughter to a school where teachers cover their faces in veils when teaching. [...]