Just Wanna Know

Revolutionary Propaganda Organ

Monday, January 23, 2006

Taqwacore, not Muslim Punk

Michael Muhammad Knight refuses to define Taqwacore, but he does give a short summary for how he came to popularize the term. Taqwa means, roughly, fear or reverence for God. In the comments to his post, Cihan 8Bit explains very articulately what's going on, why "Taqwacore" and "Muslim (sub)culture(s)" are not equivalent. I thought it needed to be reposted here:

"These little ethnographic subsections of Islam that revolve around a certain geographies culture, whether it be wearing a veil or wearing an Ashford and Simpson hawk vest, whether listening to made-up prayers or to Rakim espousing on supreme mathematics, this is all-good for remembrance (dzikr) and through the repetition of this remembrance we can technically transcend our lower selves which is the point — (we should all read up more on esoteric and marginal traditions, teach our brothers and sisters, bring our adapted view into the world) — however, Islam, to me and my ghostbusting buddies, is bigger than a boundary of habits and the art of repetition. It’s even bigger than religion to most of us. It’s both non-existing and participating, refinement and blunting. This leads into this idea of ethnic consensus (or when these ethnographic subsection all start acting one way within a coded decision matrix) and to the question of what is ideal refinement for each community; desi’s, turk’s, malaysians, yemeni, etc, etc. Glyph structures, symbolism, traditions all put a tint on truth — thats should be an explation of why the term 'Muslim Punk' sucks big donkey dick."

I believe Cihan's objecting less to the "Muslim" in "Muslim Punk" than to the "Punk," which he thinks shouldn't be about dhikr alone--about subculture?--but rather about something much more active and significant.


At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you use the following link with the image for The Taqwacores? It'll allow your readers to read the inside of the book. Thanks, Ben / Autonomedia

At 4:37 AM, Blogger 8 said...

In short John, "I don't want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member."

Once you label yourself ethnically something than religiously something you're already two layers too far into a managed schizophrenia to get further into the actual practice of a post-dzikr transcendance. I was saying "Taqwacore" and "Muslim Punk" or "Muslim Subculture" are the same as "Algerian Muslim" or "Saudi Muslim" or even "Wahabi" for that matter. It's class consciousness versus race consciousness except your playing with a consumerised language where one thing get's attached to another for spectacle. For instance, Muslim Punk is as catchy as Shock and Awe or $10 VCR for that matter.

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed, in a BBC programme, that TaqwaCore completely avoided the southern states.

I would really like to know why, they almost seem scared of them.

I mean, surely they would like to educate people in the southern states aswel as people in the northern states?

I only wish I could point that out to a larger audience

At 4:50 AM, Blogger John said...

Yes, MMK cancelled his blog, and this one is no substitute. But cheer up! This single entry gets more hits than any other on my blog...

I don't know why the tour stayed in Yankee country. Usually musicians go where they feel like the club owners will promote them, so perhaps this time they just didn't have the professional contacts in the south. I would be patient if I were you and just keep on asking them to come.

At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Ansar al-Zindiqi said...

I know that this is an attempt to give out yet another candy-coated version of Islam. I dare anyone to take on the crew at faithfreedomdotorg about this. Especially those who are still in the punk lifestyle.

P.S.: But while I'm at it here's a quote from anarchist Emile Henry just before being guillotined:

"Beware of believing anarchy to be a dogma, a doctrine above question or debate, to be venerated by its adepts as the Koran by devout Moslems.

No! The absolute freedom which we demand constantly develops our thinking and raises it toward new horizons (according to the turn of mind of various individuals), takes it out of the narrow framework of regulation
and codification. We are not 'believers!"

*Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, trans. Mary Klopper (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970) 13.

At 7:42 AM, Blogger John Schaefer said...

Dear Ansar,

Thanks for stopping by! The website looks a little worrisome--how does Ali Sina avoid being used and co-opted? That would seem to be a real danger.

As to fears of its being a "candy-coated version," you really must read the book. No candy coating there!

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