The rise of online dating across the world in the past two decades seems to have changed the way Muslims in the United States meet and get married. Frustrated with the arranged marriages their parents attempt to broker, and the restrictions their faith and tradition impose on them, as well as the pressure from their families to get married at an early age, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have embraced the new technology.
An informed and nuanced debate about the marriage of Aisha and Muhammad among Muslims would allow us to better reckon with the prophet’s legacy, and would better inform debates across the Muslim world, as governments consider the ways that their interpretations of religious laws impact the lives of women and children.
The provocative plot of the newly released show “Dahaya Halal” (Halal Victims) — an allusion to the operation’s apparent compliance with religious law, since none of the victims was committing adultery or fornication — has stirred drama, with people from across the Arab world going as far as calling for it to be pulled off the air. It was already taken off when it first began airing in 2020, but it returned this month.
As the proud owner of a 12-year-old white Havanese, Malik, I have experienced these conflicting views about dogs in the Middle East. I wondered, as the author of several books on contemporary Islam, what these views say about the religion today and Islam as a lived tradition.
Erika López Prater, a former adjunct professor at Hamline University, showed students medieval depictions of the Prophet Muhammad for an art history class. Her contract was not renewed and the incident became the center of a nationwide controversy. Alongside Islamic art historian Christiane Gruber, she joins New Lines magazine’s Rasha Elass to discuss the rich variety of artistic traditions within Islam and unpack the complicated web of factors behind the current controversy.
The Hamline furore underscores how critical it is to liberate historical Islamic art from today's polarized politics, in the interests of students and the overarching scholarly quest for knowledge.
The uproar about paintings of the Prophet Muhammad on campus shows legacy media need to interrogate the entrenched ideas that shape their coverage.