4 May 2005


Indeed an interesting place. For some reason, I just felt like going there tonight. I was planning to go to an AUC concert with A. and S. but the latter cancelled, so we all called the whole thing off. I think this worked best for A. and myself actually. We didn't really feel like going, but just were doing it as a social gesture for S. who desperately wanted to go out, girls only! Ok. I am not a social gesture girl all the time, but I have been ignoring S. for a long time now that I felt guilty. I mean, if she is my friend then I shouldn't be avoiding her. Anyways, she cancelled it.

Instead of the concert, I walked to Diwan and sat there for a while, browsed through the history books there. I have never done this before, this browsing attitude, but it appealed to me tonight. Could be because I couldn't get myself to read as of late for some reason. Need to change places and get off the routine of my reading habbit.

Anyways, I found my victim waiting for me at Diwan's new arrival. Bernard Lewis books. They are not new books by any means. Old ones that I read before when I was doing my Masters and later when reading for my thesis. I never enjoyed B.L's writings, although a great scholar, as everyone claims. He sure is a great researcher but I didn't enjoy his analogy at times. I worked with his sects analysis a on some level during my various thesis preparation. Thank God didn't have to use them though.

On the shelf there were couple of his famous books. 'What went wrong?', 'Unholy terror', 'sematics anti sematics', 'multiple muslim identity'. Not the type of books I would buy--except maybe Muslim identity--and certainly not the author. I never imagined buying B.L.'s book. However, aganist all odds, I decided to get the whole collection. How strange is that?

Part of my logic was Z. oriented. I know he would like this stuff, especially 'unholly terror' which discusses the concept of Jihad extensively. En plus, these type of books are not really academic but rather commerical history like books. Introduction. Don't require you to be a well versed in Middle East history. Story, incident teller. Simple analysis, yet can leave a tremendous impact. Well, it depends on how and why you read him and what are you looking for in the first place. Anyways, I bought them. Time to have books for people I dislike in my library. Bernard Lewis next to Madelung, Cook, Watt and Hings.

Walking home, I start thinking that it might actually be unfair for me to dislike B.L. Everyone has and will continue to have his biases and point of view. For instance, I love W. Madelung, who is very much pro-shi'a, very clear in his writing especially when pondering on the issue of succession. I guess, you can never be objective. In fact, what makes a book a success or not is its professional biaseness. Otherwise, it will be too mellow. Too lame. Tasteless. Democratic. Politically correct. Khaldun hints that as long as there are no struggles, there will be no prosperity, no strive to fix, and explore.

Maybe he didn't say that exactly, but I choose to see it this way.

*I need to be a little more accurate in what I write


Anonymous Egyptchampion said...

I think Bernard Lewis's books are very informative. U also should read Islam and Democracy (Noah Feldman), and an Iranian guy, Sayyid Hussein Nasr's books especially Islam and the plight of modern man. Just a suggestion.

5/04/2005 07:10:00 am  
Anonymous Egyptchampion said...

I was reading thru ur other posts just now and saw that u lived in the states for a while. Where? I spent the 5 happiest years of my chilhood in Virginia. How old r u by the way? Thx for this interesting, fair, and openminded blog.

5/04/2005 07:24:00 am  
Anonymous Egyptchampion said...

By the way, as long as ur interested in Islamic issues, here's a really good one, though i don't agree with all he says but still he has some very interesting input. All his movies and books are downloadable for free, and I would personally advise u to download and watch his movie 'The Truth of the Life of This World'.

5/04/2005 07:40:00 am  
Blogger Mohamed said...

This post is abit weird to me. Lewis doesn't have much to do with it though. Someone out there will know what I mean.

5/04/2005 09:25:00 am  
Anonymous Haal said...

Thanks for the recommendations. I will check them out. B.L. books are informative, well, yes, I never said the opposite. But I see him as anti-arab. Maybe because he is a little sarcastic in some subtle way.

S.H.N. is interesting, and philisophical too. Great teacher. I also like Abdulkarim Serouj.

5/04/2005 11:27:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

W. Madelung is not anti-sunni, but pro-shi'a especially (a little different)in relation to the issue of succession.
And I too agree re/ B.L. I didnt read except Muslim identity, and I thought it was not bad. But the rest of the books didnt interest me.


5/04/2005 01:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Khaldun hints that as long as there are struggles, there will be no prosperity, no strive to fix, and explore.'

I think you meant the opposite of this statment.


5/04/2005 01:56:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

Yes, I meant the opposite in Khaldun statment. Thanks.

I agree regarding your Madelung comment. Sunni as a group didnt really appear, in the way we know of today, except during the Abbasids, but sure not during this initial period.

5/04/2005 02:43:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

Just out of curiosity, are you Mae who commented earlier?

5/04/2005 02:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Mae said...



5/04/2005 03:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Hameed said...

Diwan is an 'invention' in egypt. I was thrilled when I first went there. together with Sakia they form a great culture couple.

Diwan reminds me of B&N but on a small scale.

Regarding Islamic/History books, I feel Diwan lack this kind of books. To my knowledge this is the first time to know that they have B.L or watt or Madelung stuff. I always see Spirituality and sufi books (not that many still) and only recently did they make a section of Ed. Sa'id.

However, positive thinking, Diwan is great.

5/04/2005 06:43:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...


I agree. Diwan is not into Islamic history books...at least not that early period. But still, they are doing a good job and you can order whatever you want. BL books print are really bad quality! But better than nothing.

5/04/2005 08:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we are blessed for having b&n, tatnucket, chapters in n.a, and amazon all around us. i am sure you know u can find almost anything there. i have been reading about rumi recently. he is the new trend around here for sometimes now. also hafiz as well. there is this spiritual tendency at least where i live.

glad to find someone, muslim i guess, with some christian knowledge, and more spiritual feeling. i assume u are back to cairo for good. where in the states did you live. u sound a little like bostonian.

5/05/2005 05:47:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

So Mae, where you there at Diwan on Wednesday? Eh! I think I might remember what you look like.

Were you sitting on the big chair, reading GUNS, GERMS and STEEL book. You probably took the last book.

Brown, highlighted straight hair. Cool Coupe. Archtype, classy, attractive look. Wearing red scarf on jeans. If this was you, then I was the one who talked in french to this other slacker sharing my chair.

5/05/2005 11:25:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

just to spice things up a little, do you go to MJ in zamalek. I saw you there couple of times.

5/05/2005 11:31:00 pm  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

She knows what you look like Haal. Don't worry.

5/06/2005 12:17:00 am  
Anonymous Mae said...

yes, I was wearing a red scarf, took the last copy of g.g.s. Wow! Good observation. And yes too, I go to MJunior in zamalek. World is so small.

I remember the couple sitting on the chair. the black curly haired (spanish gypsy) look girl?

Now I am very curious!

5/06/2005 05:16:00 am  
Blogger Mohamed said...

The world is not that small Mae. She's darn good though, isn't she. Doesn't miss any details, eh.

5/06/2005 09:06:00 am  
Anonymous Mae said...

Yes. Very observant, detail oriented, connecting and relating things together. A little scary though, but sure very unique.

I am not surprised. Most scorpios are like that.


5/06/2005 11:26:00 am  
Anonymous Mae said...

Btw, a friend of mine thinks that you are just passing a friendly compliment re/your description of me.
How rude is that? My friend, that is. What can I say, friends!


5/06/2005 11:34:00 am  
Blogger haal said...

No it was not a compliment. Why everyone thinks I am complimenting him/her.

This was my impression. You do have an 'archetype'look, original one... something your friend won't really understand ;)

5/06/2005 12:29:00 pm  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Stop it you two! :) Mae, I was just teasing. Ofcourse you're classy and attractive. Don't let strangers get between us.

What does archetype mean aslan?!

5/06/2005 05:59:00 pm  
Blogger haal said...

Will you 2 invite me? I will attend this occasion only ;)

Well my friend, archetype means, apart from dictionary definition, a face that carries the features of many role models. Can easily be felt as a sister, mother, friend, lover, seducer, playful, funny, harsh, serious, .... The master copy! :)

Here you go, more compliments. But, Mae he wont understand still.

5/07/2005 01:42:00 am  
Blogger Mohamed said...

I sure won't understand Haal.

One difference about that archetype, is that this one is not harsh or heartless ;)

Which occasion r u talking about?

5/07/2005 09:12:00 am  
Blogger haal said...

OK. Good that this one is not harsh or heartless. How lucky! Although, I think everyone must have harsh, heartless face. Different degrees of course.

What occasion?! Well, not the simonds occasion for sure.

5/07/2005 09:30:00 am  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Hmm.. very interesting. That simonds location was changed in the last minute ofcourse, not my place --only archetypes.

Lucky indeed.

5/07/2005 09:44:00 am  
Anonymous mae said...

Thanks Muh'd, Haal. I am lucky indeed to have friends like you two.

5/07/2005 09:56:00 am  
Blogger Mohamed said...

You two should get together. I only want to hear about it.

5/07/2005 10:00:00 am  

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