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In the Name of God بسم الله
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About this blog

Ideas about modern issues from an Islamic perspective.

Entries in this blog

Freewill, viruses & opportunities

Whether Covid-19 is a naturally occurring virus or whether as some claim (unconvincingly, so far) it is a bioweapon, in my opinion its spread is the result of free will [15]. If it is naturally occurring, then it was human actions that led to its migration from animals to humans. We know that some viruses can do this and we have had previous experience with ones (e.g. SARS) that have created far less havoc [1]. By the same measure this one could be seen to be a dry run for worse epidemics to com

Haji 2003

Haji 2003

The problem with beliefs is one that is not specific to religion

Despite the prevailing data indicating that the majority of journeys undertaken by drivers in the United States span 50 miles or less, there persists a notable hesitation among many to embrace electric vehicles (EVs). This reluctance is largely attributed to "range anxiety," a term used to describe the fear that an EV will not possess sufficient battery life to cover long distances on a single charge. This phenomenon serves as a compelling example of how beliefs, often diverging from empirical r

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Rationality

All this on a Ford factory worker's wages

Why has the West seen falling living standards? Variations on this question are commonly asked on social media. The common theme is that living standards in the West used to be so good but what happened? Popular answers to the following tweet include: But they didn't have internet and dad worked 50-60 hours a week Our rulers sent jobs overseas Women thought it would be a good idea to work Bigger government Inflation I think the real answers ar

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Speculation in the absence of information

Summary Iran is often accused of sponsoring groups such as Hamas. But what form is any help likely to take? Some speculative answers in the absence of any tangible proof. Background A short period after the Iranian revolution in 1979, Saddam Hussain, the Iraqi President decided to invade the country. He was funded by the Saudis and Kuwaitis amongst others and supplied by various western countries. Iran was embargoed. So they had to develop their own capabilities both in terms of h

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Politics

The predictability of violence

Summary After October 7th 2023, there has been horror as to what happened on that day, with the rebuttal that the history of the conflict provides explanatory context. This article examines historical analysis which suggests that the violence that occurred in the region 90 years ago was entirely predictable due to uncontrolled immigration. The Source This is a letter published by The Times newspaper on October 14 1936. The writer was a well-known academic/ historian who had visite

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Politics

The Ismail (عليه السلام) & Isaac (عليه السلام) accounts. Comparisons.

Summary Using a decision theory framework, according to the Biblical account Abraham's decision-making is a direct response to a divine command, showcasing a hierarchical obedience. In contrast according to the Qur'anic version Ibrahim's decision-making involves communication and consensus, reflecting a more collaborative form of obedience. Introduction I was having a general chat with GPT4 about social science perspectives on the Qur'an and we ended up at a point where it seemed

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Qur'an

Immanent concepts within the Qur'an

The conversation started in relation to the navigation thread, and the focus here is on immanence more broadly Thank you, I wanted to check the following. It is said that the notion of risk is immanent within the concept of trust because in order to demonstrate trust in someone you have to take a risk with them ... Are there any other pairs of concepts within the Qur'an that are more or less explicitly immanent within each other?   The Qur'an frequently presents concepts in p

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Qur'an

One day we'll all be philosophers

[This was originally written on November 25 2017 and was updated on Sept 13 2023, to include the graphic, headings and a summary] Summary There is an inverse relationship between human labour for any activity and the moral and ethical issues related to it. The less we work, because we have automation, for example, often the more we need to exercise moral and other consideration related to that work. As a result automation and AI won't necessarily make people unemployed, they'll simply

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in God Hypothesis

Ships and the Qur'an and the epistemology of navigation

Summary Ships are an interesting phenomenon that are referred to in the Qur'an on a number of different occasions. For the Arabs at the time of revelation they would likely have been considered as an object that people made and used. The Qur'an points out that the source of the innovation is God and that they are an example of His Mercy. My belief as a layperson is that this supports the contention that Islam is supportive of product innovation. Once we s

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Qur'an

Unintended consequences of veganism

[This blog was first written in 2018 and has been updated] A vegan professor writes https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/sep/07/scientific-self-experiment-vegan-diet-meat-diet The vegan position in a nutshell Raising animals to be eaten is cruel Killing animals prematurely is cruel And there are environmental issues as well My counter-vegan proposition The cruelty arises in terms of how the animals are raised - there can be humane m

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Ethics

Behaviour - semantic relationships vs. thematic links in the Qur'an

Summary  Assessing our behaviour and making modifications to it in order to improve our welfare are significant aspects of human life. I explored this concept with gpt4. In addition to various insights this time the discussion also touched on the distinction between dealing with semantic relationships based on root derivations and those conceptual relationships that are based on more thematic or narrative connections. So, for example, GPT4 identifies the relationship between the r

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Qur'an

'Loss' in the Qur'an & associated constructs

Introduction This was an interesting exercise. My initial prompts encouraged gpt4 to focus on the English word 'loss' in the initial root analysis that it did. I had to reset the analysis to focus on the relationship between Arabic words. Summary (partial, a reply to this post will contain the second set of analysis and associated summary) In essence, the interconnectedness of these roots F-Q-D, D-N-Y, and ‘-Q-L in the Qur'an underscores the idea that an excessive focus on the

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Qur'an

Qur'an - the epistemology of travel

Summary (TLDR) In summary, while the Qur'an acknowledges various sources and forms of knowledge, the association of "آيات" with travel underscores the value of experiential and observational knowledge. It emphasizes that traveling and exploring the world is not just a physical endeavor but also a deeply intellectual and spiritual journey that offers unique insights and lessons.   Are there any other roots that consistently appear in close proximity (same or neighbouring ayats) to

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Qur'an

Mercy and Destruction in the Qur'an

Summary (TLDR) The following is from the conclusions to this exercise: While these are just a few examples, they showcase the interconnectedness of these roots (replacement, destruction and succession) and their themes in the Qur'anic narrative. The roots, while distinct in their primary meanings, often overlap in the broader thematic context, emphasizing the cyclical nature of history, divine justice, and the consequences of human actions. These examples showcase the Qur'an'

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Qur'an

Nahjul Balagha for Managers - Chapter One - Leadership

The following text is AI generated, based on prompts that I provided. The text is based on an English translation of Nahjul Balagha uploaded to chatpdf.   Chapter 1: Leadership   Leadership is a critical component of effective management, and Nahjul Balagha offers valuable insights into the qualities and characteristics of effective leaders. According to Imam Ali ((عليه السلام).), true leadership is not about power or authority, but about service and humility. In t

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Management

Nahjul Balagha for Managers - Introduction

The following text was written by AI, which was prompted to generate these insights based on an uploaded translation of Nahjul Balagha. Subsequent posts will pick up on the different topics identified below.   Introduction In today's fast-paced and ever-changing business world, managers face a wide range of challenges and complexities. From managing teams and projects to navigating organizational politics and dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity, the demands of modern management

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Management

Satan's slipstream or the good in evil

[Originally posted in 2021, updated with a summary and small corrections] Summary Good people can focus on doing good. Bad people who are motivated by the nafs can be told of the harms in engaging in it. Sometimes however evil leads to some positive outcomes - good people can benefit from these, while still maintaining the wrongness of the initial action.  The slipstream Where you have two runners or cars, for example, the runner/car who is second benefits from the slipstream

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Ethics

Perception - Semantic Field Analysis

Summary In this post, I report a conversation with GPT4 where we undertook a semantic field analysis of various roots from the Qur'an that are related to the notion of perception.   My questions are in red and GPT4 answers are in black text. This conversation was informed by a previous discussion on this subject that I had with @Chaotic Muslem on this forum some years ago. Subsequent analysis in this post focuses on ayats where the Qur'an refers to the ways by which perception can

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Rationality

Trust in the Qur'an and comparisons with Luhmann

Summary There are a lot of attempts to link Qur'anic insights with the physical sciences. There's less in the area of the social sciences. For this post, I conversed with GPT4 about some semantic field analysis related to trust references in the Qur'an. Then I asked it to compare these to the work of the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann. The purpose of the latter exercise was not to 'validate' the Qur'an as some analyses of its references to the physical sciences attempt to do, but ra

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Ethics

Measurement in the Qur'an - the association with precision

Summary This post and the replies to it explore the notion of measurement in the Qur'an and the range of meanings that it conveys, from the mundane to the more esoteric and divine. These posts then focus on the association between measurement and precision in the Qur'an and how intertwined the two concepts are. Given that improvements in precision are associated with technological development - it is hypothesised that the latter could be considered a 'good' thing. Introduction A p

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Ethics

Money, markets and minorities Pt2

Background In the following blog post, I argued that minorities can economically outperform majorities in a society and that this may require actions to protect the interests of the majority. Overall this discussion picks up issues around Islamic regulations around the rights and obligations of minority communities in an Islamic society, where minorities are referred to as 'dhimmis'. In contemporary Western society where there is an overarching interest in 'equality' these regulations

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Measurement - Izutsu's methodology applied to "ك-ي-ل" (k-y-l) in the Qur'an

Summary I asked GPT4 to apply the methodology of Izutsu's semantic field analysis of the Qur'an to the root k-y-l. For those of you who are not familiar with Izutsu, at the end of this post is a link to a Shiachat thread about him that I created sometime ago. Following the root analysis, the AI came to this conclusion:  The root "ك-ي-ل" and its derivatives contribute to a Qur'anic worldview where justice, truth, and fairness are paramount, both in worldly transactions and in the u

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Ethics

Prophet Nuh (عليه السلام) an early social entrepreneur V2

Same methodology as before, but more specific prompts on my part - and better answers   Summary An important motivation for exploring this topic was my previous blog post about Prophet Yusuf's ((عليه السلام).) policy options. The overall theme of that post was the role of the State (Egyptian) that would intervene in the national grain market on the advice of Prophet Yusuf ((عليه السلام).). That was an example of how (in my opinion) Islam presented a non-market based solution to an

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

A counterpoint to the Great Replacement Theory

[This post was initially published as 'A little conspiracy theory of mine' on Oct 25 2016. I've now retitled it and linked some of the text with the notion of the Great Replacement Theory.] Summary Britain, after the Second World War ostensibly recruited workers from various developing countries in order to fill skill shortages. However, around the same time, there was a concerted effort by Australia to recruit working-class Britons. A possible explanation to this anomalous situation i

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Politics

Whichever option you choose - you lose

[updated in May 2023 to include the Nvidia example and refine the argument overall].   Summary When you are in a weak position, all the choices you have are bad ones. Your opponent who dominates you due to more and/or better resources will ultimately prevail. It has historically been easy to 'blame' the Palestinians and other indigenous groups for their loss of territory. But we are fortunate enough to live through a period where erstwhile powerful nations are being made to s

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

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