Thanks to the superior audio-visual editorial skills of Hatim Eujayl, I look forward to publishing higher quality long-form and short-form content on YouTube. The focus of my channel continues to be the two main areas I work on academically:
1) Islamic intellectual history of Muslim theology, philosophy, and mysticism;
2) Islamic philosophy of religion, with a focus on highlighting the historical and intellectual contributions of Islamic Neoplatonism including Ismaili thought.
The name "Thinking Islam" conveys double meaning. First, "Thinking Islam" is an invitation to think about Islam - to think critically, historically, and philosophically about Islam through rigorous academic inquiry. Second, "Thinking Islam" refers to particular constructions, interpretations or readings of Islam centered on intellect and spirituality that the channel showcases and expounds.
Why now? First, my experience on Clubhouse over the last 3 years has led me to take a more active role in the public discourse about Islam including interfaith engagements. Throughout my intellectual exchanges with Muslims, Christians, and thinkers of all backgrounds, it has become obvious to me that the intellectually curious public requires more exposure to the philosophical and mystical dimensions of historical Islam - as manifest in Shi'i Islam (including Twelver and Ismaili traditions), Islamic Philosophy (Hikma, Falsafa, Ishraq), and Sufism (tasawwuf). Second, the loudest and most public face of Islam on the web up until now has been Salafism and, more recently, "Neo-Atharism" (a Salafi cocktail of scriptural literalism, Ibn Sina, and analytic philosophy; see recent theological concoctions of Muhammad Hijab and Jake Brancatella). These Salafi/Athari discourses distort the image of Islam and marginalize the rich intellectual tradition of Islamic thought and spirituality. Third, there is also dire need to clarify the theological views and ritual praxis of Shi'i Ismaili Islam, as many Muslims and still a fair number of academics continue to harbor distorted understandings of the Ismaili tradition of Islam.
I also plan to publish more short-form academic commentary on this blog in the spirit of sharing snippets from my academic and teaching projects in progress.
Our "First Episode" comes out within the next two weeks. In the meantime, check out our new Channel Trailer below.
Do you have any suggestions for YouTube content on Islam that you would like to see? Feel free to leave a comment below.