Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.
It is now three years since my late father, (Al-Hajj Al-Haafidh) Syed Shahid Ali, passed away. (Interested readers might want to read the tribute I wrote to him on Friday 24 May 2013.)
Much has happened in the intervening period, some of it good and some of it not so good, but all of it as viewed from my limited human perspective.
Last year, I reflected upon some of the apparent good in a post entitled ‘REFLECTION: Of Death, Time and Certainty‘, where I referred, among other things, to the development and presentation of a short course in Granada, Spain in April 2014 entitled “Towards an Islamic Decoloniality“.
Since I wrote that post, I have been blessed by God/Allah with a number of opportunities to further develop and apply my (Islamic) decolonial thinking in various settings.
- I gave a presentation entitled “Orientalism and/as Information: The Indifference That Makes a Difference” at The Difference that Makes a Difference (DTMD 2015) conference which took place on Friday 5 June as part of the International Society for Information Studies (IS4IS) 2015 summit in Vienna, 3-7 June 2015.
- I was invited to participate in a panel discussion entitled “Islam Between Inclusion and Exclusion” which took place on Saturday 6 June as part of the International Society for Information Studies (IS4IS) 2015 summit in Vienna, 3-7 June 2015.
- Following the panel discussion, I was contacted by IS4IS President, Wolfgang Hofkirchner, and invited to submit a paper developing the arguments I presented during the panel discussion for inclusion as a chapter in a forthcoming two-volume collection of selected papers from the IS4IS summit. (A pre-publication draft of the paper I submitted is available here.)
- I was invited to deliver a keynote address entitled “Further Towards an Islamic Decoloniality” at the Muqaddimah Academic Summit organised by SIO (Students Islamic Organisation), Kerala which took place in Kannur, India between 23-24 December 2015. The slides are available here, while the YouTube recording is here.
- I delivered the Granada short-course “Towards an Islamic Decoloniality” as a visiting scholar at the Ibn Khaldun Institute of Social Sciences in Kerala, India between 31 December 2015-1 January 2016. The course was attended by over 40 participants which included graduate students, postgraduate students and activists.
- I gave a presentation entitled “Algorithmic Racism: A Decolonial Critique” at ISSRNC 2016: Religion, Science and the Future, a conference sponsored by the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture which took place at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida between 14–17 January 2016. The abstract is available here and I hope to publish a journal article based on the presentation in the near future, God-Willing (insha’Allah).
- I participated in a SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) panel discussion entitled “The Decolonization of The Caliphate” on 18 March 2016.
- I was interviewed about various matters associated with “Islamic Decoloniality” by Shameer K S, who is associated with the Kerala-based online magazine Interactive (Part 1, Part 2).
- I was invited to contribute a short article entitled “A Brief Introduction to Decolonial Computing” for ACM Student Magazine XRDS: Crossroads which is scheduled to appear in the Summer 2016 issue of the magazine.
I would very much have enjoyed sharing these developments with my late father – especially my trip to Kerala, a state in South India on the Malabar coast which has a long history of confronting European colonialism and imperialism; in this connection, I should like to refer interested readers to Tuhfat al-Mujahidin fi ba‘d Akhbar al-Burtughaliyin (often shortened to Tuhfat al-Mujahidin), a historical work by Shaikh Zainuddin Makhdum (b. 1517 CE) , a historian and religious scholar from Ponnani, on the struggle (jihad) between the Mappila Muslims of Malabar and Portuguese colonial forces in the 16th-century. During my trip to Kerala, I was fortunate enough to visit the masjid of Shaikh Makhdum.
Regarding my trip, it is somewhat sad to note that while I managed, after some difficulty, to visit the sub-continent from which my father hailed, he never returned to India after migrating to Pakistan following partition. It would have been interesting to note his response to my account of the warm reception, kindness, generosity, respect, etiquette (adab) and strong sense of brotherly and sisterly love (akhuwwat) that I and my wife (zawjah) experienced during our stay in Kerala, from our gracious ‘extended family’ hosts, SIO (Students Islamic Organisation) leadership and membership, and students who attended and participated in the Muqaddimah Academic Summit and workshop on ‘Islamic Decoloniality’.
Truly a huge barakah from The Most High.
Earlier today, I visited the grave of my father at the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery with my mother, my wife, and my mother-in-law where we made supplications to God/Allah on his behalf and reflected on the fleeting nature of human existence in this, “the nearer world” (ad-dunya). On this occasion, I was reminded of two statements attributed to the Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), the possibily interconnected meaning of which I have explored in the following previous posts to which I direct interested readers: