Showing posts from October, 2012

Morality and Sources of Income

Here's an interesting question. What does a Muslim chef do for work when a lot of restaurants serve alcohol or pork?  Alcohol and pork are both generally considered illegal in Islam and so working in such a place where a lot of the business comes from the sale of these illegal products. Does that not taint the salary of the chef?

I won't go into the answer to the question. There are lots of rulings by various religious leaders.
It is allowed as long as you don't serve or prepare alcohol and porkIt is allowed by neccessity, but one should seek alternate employment as best as possibleYou are not allowed to work places that serve Haram items... A quick search on the internet is filled with Muslims asking these kinds of the questions.
What I want to point out is that Muslims do think about the morality of their source of income when it comes to such places.

Social StigmaIndeed, there is a social stigma that would be associated with a Muslim working in an establishment where the…

Thomas Jefferson and the Islamic Golden Age

It is fascinating these days to watch the American focus on the founding of their great nation.

A Great Christian Nation they might say. Yet, we read history and see what great debates actually occurred back then.  Just imagine the following words coming out of the mouth of any current US president. Imagine if Obama were caught writing such things. The scandal it would create.

"The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me. . ."  But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my poc…

Don't blame the Taliban - Call the spade a spade

Perhaps there is hope that some Muslims are getting it. This is in reference to the Taliban killing of the 14 year old girl for speaking out for her rights.
The reality is that if you believe in the Koran and Sunnah as something to be followed as the vast majority of Muslims do, then your ideal society is that of Taliban or Saudi Arabia or Iran. Just what do people think happened 1400 years ago in the desert of Arabia?  Same thing that happened in Christian or Aztec or Hindu lands 1400 years ago.  Your average person alive back then would seem like immoral, uneducated, savage, misogynistic brute compared to today. Not everyone was an ancient Greek philosopher.  This is especially true of very tribal based societies which the Arabs were. The rules and norms would have been applied to them.
Yet, you wish to follow them for day to day living?
You just need to look at Islam&#…

Why do we trust Crypographic Hashes for Uniqueness


A cryptographic hash is a way to get a unique digest of an input.  As you can see in the example above, the digest is always the same size. In the picture above, the input changes and the input can be as large as it wants up to millions and billions of letters and the digest will always be the same.

To give a bit of a metaphor to it, suppose you want to a hash for a book.  A possible hash might be the first 1000 letters in the book. You could probably identify a book by the first 1000 letters.

Let's go with this example and see how useful such a hash would be:

The ideal cryptographic hash function has four main or significant properties:
it is easy to compute the hash value for any given messageGrabbing the first 1000 letters is pretty easyit is infeasible to generate a message that has a given hashIt is too easy... just make sure the first 1000 letters are the same it is infeasible to modify a message without changing the ha…

The Prophet's Last Sermon - progressive today?

The Prophet's last sermon if often used as an example of progressivism.

All human beings are equal, racial supremacy is unacceptable, women have rights, socio-economic inequality is despicable and should be fought against and so on ... We still have so much to learn from this 1,400-plus-year-old cry and we are so much in need of this message of Muhammad in our broken time where we continue to struggle with almost identical issues in our global human community. We need to go back to these core teachings and examples of Islam and similarly strive for achieving an ethical and moral society, wherever we live, where no one inflicts nor suffers inequity, unfairness and in justice. 
What's strange is just how this sermon has become popular in the past few decades. It certainly was not as popular during the time of our parents and their grand parents.

Let us example the sermon as quo…

End of Economic Growth

Might growth be ending? This is a heretical question. Yet an expert on productivity, Robert Gordon of Northwestern university, has raised it in a provocative paper. In this, he challenges the conventional view of economists that “economic growth . . . will continue indefinitely.” ...
Yet unlimited growth is a heroic assumption. For most of history, next to no measurable growth in output per person occurred. What growth did occur came from rising population. Then, in the middle of the 18th century, something began to stir. Output per head in the world’s most productive economies - the U.K. until around 1900 and the U.S., thereafter - began to accelerate. Growth in productivity reached a peak in the two and a half decades after the Second World War. Thereafter growth decelerated again, despite an upward blip between 1996 and 2004.
This is a great article on t…