Taqwacore: rise of the Muslim punks

I discovered Michael Muhammad Knight while searching for some obscure punk bands on the internet. Clicking through different portals, spam pages and search engines I ended up on a page that stated The Taqwacores, with a drawing of a bearded man with a Mohawk sitting in the jalsa position saying his prayers.

Shaheryar Popalzai July 11, 2010
I discovered Michael Muhammad Knight while searching for some obscure punk bands on the internet. Clicking through different portals, spam pages and search engines I ended up on a page that stated The Taqwacores, with a drawing of a bearded man with a Mohawk sitting in the jalsa position saying his prayers.

Muslim punks was a term I never thought I’d hear, but here it was, a fictitious manifesto depicting a person caught between rebellion and Islam, choosing both.

I got hold of the book and went through it within a day. The book is written well enough to keep you engrossed through to the end. The narrator of the book is a young engineering student who moves into a house full of muslim punks who party every night yet wake up to say their Fajr prayers in the morning.

Shocked, intrigued, I searched for more.

Where Knight's first book on punk spoke about their day-to-day life and the setting up of a Woodstock of muslim punks, the second book talks about muslim punks is an entirely fictional piece featuring Knight himself and the real world taqwacore band The Kominas.

This book, while not as engaging as The Taqwacores, is a decent read. It follows one of the characters from the previous book, Amazing Ayyub, on a mission to kill a pop punk band who have taken the term muslim punk and turned it into a commercial venture.

Knight seems to know what he’s writing about, his experiences in Pakistan as a muslim and then moving back to the US after being advised not to leave for Jihad can be a possible explanation of him creating characters who look towards an Islam that is not limited to a geographical location.

The two books by Knight that I’ve read were an equally enlightening and shocking experience, and they would definitely be shocking for the majority of Muslims the world over, yet there is a quality to them which lends to re-affirming one's faith. Overall, his writing style keeps you engaged and his works are curiously fictitious enough to be real.
WRITTEN BY:
Shaheryar Popalzai A sub-editor on the web desk of The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (8)

Ghausia | 10 years ago | Reply Oh wow, really? I'm surprised. Liberty's really using its value for me, I had to get Trainspotting all the way from Dubai, thank God Borders had it. What I don't understand is that real Taqwacore bands like The Kominas, they don't think they're doing anything wrong with their blasphemous lyrics. Half-agnostic I may be, but I respect every religion. The Dead Bhuttos, I like their single because of the message it conveys, more political than religious. I'll check out Liberty else I'm ordering it off Amazon like you.
Shaheryar Popalzai | 10 years ago | Reply Hey Ghausia, Very true about Liberty Books not carrying such books, but surprisingly I did find 'Osama Van Halen' at the store carefully tucked away between some books. They also had a couple of other Knight books they had sold out so I couldn't get hold of those. I got my book via Amazon, if you choose the quickest delivery method it ensures the book reaches you by giving you a tracking code. So you don't hhave to worry about paying and losing the book. As for your mention of The Kominas, absolutely right. The real world Taqwacore scene is nothing like the one in the book. Like I mentioned, the book was very enlightening for me, probably had the reverse effect rather than the one the author was trying to achieve. I hope you get hold of a copy and enjoy the book.
VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ