The Princeton event I spoke at earlier this month was not recorded. But here are the first couple of questions I was asked and the gist of my responses:
Q: What is your mission as the “Muslim Skeptic”?
A: Simply put, I want traditional Islam — as an intellectual tradition, as a spiritual tradition — to be taken more seriously in the world today, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Why? Because many Muslims have major obstacles crippling their faith, e.g., liberalism, secularism, scientism, etc. Many non-Muslims, too, have these obstacles preventing them from accepting Islam or, short of that, respecting the Prophet (s) and the Quran and the Islamic way. So let’s take down these obstacles. From our perspective as Muslims, we see the Prophet, the Quran, and Islam as beyond anything commonplace or within the realm of purely human, natural possibility. Imagine something of such beauty, power, and awe-inspiring splendor that to merely look upon it, one knows this is from beyond…this is from the Creator. This is the level of enchantment, amazement, and love we have or should have for our deen. The question then becomes, why isn’t everyone else seeing what we see? Why is everyone seeing barbarism and incivility, etc.? And there are a variety of reasons, but a major reason is these obstacles. So let’s address that problem in the best way.
Q: What is the origin/meaning of your last name?
A: “Haqiqatjou” is Persian, pronounced: ha-QEE-qat-joo. My parents are from Shiraz, Iran and immigrated to the US, where I was born and raised. Haqiqat is Arabic and Persian for “Truth” and Jou means “Seeker.” My great-great grandfather was a qadi (judge) in Shiraz, so that is what he was known by and that became the family name.