What even is this?

English-language Muslim discourse on the internet is pretty low-grade. Everyone knows it, yet no one seems to do anything about it.

The religiously-learned folks often seem clueless about wider society, preferring the comfort of the ivory minaret. Self-proclaimed “reformer” types somehow manage to be boring and cringe at the same time (but you gotta hand it to them, it’s one hell of a grift). Geopolitically, economically, and culturally, the Muslim millat finds itself caught between the powers of both the West and the East while trying to retain Islam and achieve development. All the while, technomodernity continues to march us towards a dehumanizing singularity. The time will soon come when our descendants won’t know how to differentiate between salat and a samosa.

This state of affairs made us sad. Like, whistfully-staring-into-the-distance-as-your-civilization-crumbles-before-you-last-Emir-of-Bukhara sad. So we decided to start a newsletter to make us unsad, and to hopefully make others unsad along the way, too. Islam, regardless of how good or bad things are, remains the capital-T Truth.

That is why The Dragoman has arisen. Considering opening the doors of your inbox and laying out a dastarkhan for him.

Why are you a pseudonymous coward?

Call me whatever you want, but there are a few reasons as to why I decided to write as a pseudonymous Muslim, a pseudonymuslim.

It is increasingly difficult to speak the truth on the internet today without a mob of zindiqs cancelling you or the security state tracking your every word. And even if neither of these were happening, whatever we write online today tends to define and follow us in a way that just wasn’t true in the past. I think it healthy to separate your personal identity from your opinions on ideas. When the two are intertwined in a public arena like the internet, we tend to second-guess and self-censor our most raw and untested thoughts.

But it is precisely those thoughts which are often the most interesting and potential-laden. It’s usually these ideas—once released into the world—which get taken up and refined by well-meaning peers, critics, and interlocutors. I pray for a community and readership like that.

Writing this way will not hamper engagement. I would love to be in touch at any time for collaboration / gupshup via email or Twitter.

Fine. But what’s up with the name?

I’ll get to writing this soon.

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Anglophone Muslim discourse analysis. By Dragoman and friends.


A mischievous Muslim with Underground Man tendencies.