All posts in Pax Islamica


Libyan opposition flag with tags generated from ( By Mohammed Shamma.*

February 17, 2011. It was Libya’s turn to rise against the sociopath that has been ruling them for the past 42 years, Qaddafi’s time is almost over, and soon, insha’Allah, he will be joining his brothers Bin Ali and Mubarak in the trash bin of history.

The day of the Libyan uprising has arrived. Read more…

Alexandrian Graffiti

by M. Butcher

We have all seen it in our travels, on the sides of the road, on bridges, buses, and overpasses. Almost everywhere a spray can may reach. As with art, graffiti is subjective, what some consider to be art, others consider it to be trash. Our modern idea of Graffiti has changed and we are seeing more beauty in the designs on the street.

Graffiti is the name given for images or letters scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any method on public property. Graffiti and graffito come from the Italian word graffiato meaning scratched. It has existed for long time going all the way back to Ancient Greece and even the Roman Empire. Read more…


Opposition supporters wave flags amid the crowd in Tahrir Square in Cairo February 9, 2011. Egyptians counted the economic cost of more than two weeks of turmoil on Wednesday as re-invigorated protesters flocked again to Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand President Hosni Mubarak quit immediately. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

by Islam El Shazly

For the first time in history a revolution has been organized as a public event with an open invitation, more like a date between two lovers, the time and the place was known almost two weeks in advance. Without further confirmation, people from all over Greater Cairo started converging onto Midan Al-Tahrir – Tahrir Square – and it was not just left at that, people started gathering at major squares in every governorate in the country. A new day was dawning on Egypt. A new era that no one saw coming. The date was January 25, 2011. Read more…


The flag of Tunisia. By gablackburn, Flickr.

By Islam El Shazly

Since Tunisia gained independence from France and it has been known all over the world as a beacon of freedom and economic stability in the Arab world; it was more liberal than Lebanon and with a stability that Lebanon cannot achieve in the near future.

But that was an illusion, the “freedom” that Tunisia enjoyed was not real. The stability it revelled in masked a different reality. When France moved out, they left behind a group of people bred to rule in favour of their masters in Paris. Read more…


Egypt: Partly submerged palms above Nile dam, Upper Egypt. Lantern Slide Collection, Brooklyn Museum.

By Islam El Shazly

The people of Egypt are for the most part gentle emotional people, they have been deprived of their right to participate in the way this great country is being governed. From the time of Mohammed Ali Pasha, through the British occupation then the calamity that was the Coup d’état of 1952 and its disastrous after-effects, the people have not been able or allowed to voice their concerns about their country. Read more…


A long time ago in Cairo, with the pyramids in the distance, farm lands and the aqueduct. From the book "The Grand Street".

By Islam El shazly

The Grand Street of Historic Islamic Cairo, the heart of the once capital of the Fatimid Empire; as old as Cairo, it saw its fair share of kings and vagabonds. Walking through it amidst the ancient villas and the architectural marvels left behind by four dynasties, is like being transported into the world of the Prince of Persia – without all of the sand demons.

Taking a turn into one of the little alleys that spring out throughout the length of the street on a quiet day, stop for a moment and close your eyes, you can almost feel the ghosts of all the people who walked through here over the ages. There are shadows here. The time of the Fatimid also gave rise to their cousins, the Assassins. They lurked in the shadows. Read more…


Mecca During Hajj, National Geographic magazine, January, 1966.

by Islam El-Shazly

It’s 6:15 AM on the 10th of Dhul-Hijja, 1431, 16 November, 2010. Outside the words: Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, La Ilaha Illa Allah; Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar wa Lillah Al-Hamd (الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر لا إله إلا الله. الله أكبر الله أكبر و لله الحمد) – is all I can hear. Every mosque everywhere in the world is echoing the same call that has been heard on the same day for the last 1431 years.

Today is Eid Al-Adha, the day of sacrifice. Yesterday was the Day of ‘Arafah. More than 3 million Muslims stood on Mount ‘Arafat, from 181 countries. It is the most important day in Hajj. Read more…


by Islam El Shazly

Unlike his depiction in Michael Critchton’s Eaters of the Dead, or Antonio Banderas’ incarnation of him in The 13th Warrior, Ahmad ibn Fadlan was not expelled from the Court of the Abbasid Caliph because he courted one of the harems; he was actually favoured by the Caliph. His scholastic, literary, religious, and martial qualifications made him the primary candidate to lead a political and religious expedition. Its record would later be one of the earliest detailed descriptions of the Vikings.

Volga Bulgaria in the Eurasian world of AD 1200. Wikipedia.

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by Islam El Shazly

When asked who were the first world-class Navigators are, Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama are first names that come to mind for almost anyone who read a bit of history.   But there’s one that predates both of them, with a fleet that put both their fleets combined to shame. His fleet was proof that at times bigger is better and stronger.

A replica of Zheng He’s treasure ship in Nanjing’s Baochuan Shipyard. Courtesy of

Over 300 large treasure ships, troop ships, horse ships, water and store ships, and smaller escort or attack vessels. 28,000 crewmen and soldiers. Read more…


Ramadan Kareem. By Mohamed Youssef.

by Islam El Shazly

Surah Al Baqarah (the Cow) 02: 183 O you who believe! Observing the fast is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar; the traditional definition of the month is abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activity during the day (from dawn), and breaking the fast each sunset. Muslims are encouraged to read/recite the entire Quran as much as possible and contemplate on its meaning, to give freely to those in need, and strengthen their ties to Allah through more voluntary prayer than regular. The goal of the fast is to teach humility, patience and sacrifice, and to ask forgiveness, practice self-restraint, and pray for guidance in the future. Read more…