Random Characters In My PDFs?

Over the years, a number of people have asked me regarding the PDFs found here on my blog and the seemingly random characters they contain within. Since not many people venture to the My Work … page (links located in the menu bar at the top of the page and also at the top of the sidebar on the right), I thought I’d post up this notice and sticky it so that it’s the first post people see when they visit my blog.

So, if you’re seeing some seemingly random characters throughout the PDF articles I post here, it’s because you’re missing the font needed for it to display correctly. The usual culprit is the Arabesque II font, which is a font set that contains symbols for Arabic phrases such as subhanah wa ta’ala‘azz wa jallsallallah ‘alaih wa sallamradiyallah ‘anhu/ha/hum/huma, rahimahullah, and many others. Another possible culprit, but one which I haven’t heard being a problem, is the Times Ext Roman font. This is an extension to the Times New Roman font, which is pretty standard for all computers and devices. It contains diacritically marked characters (dots, squiggles and other accents over or above the characters) that aren’t included in the regular Times font set.

If you’re missing either of these fonts, head over to the aforementioned page (My Work …). You’ll find a link to a zip file containing the Arabesque TrueType (.ttf) font file and a link to an exe file that will install the Times Ext Roman font onto your computer.

Install both these font sets and the PDFs should display as they’re intended to.

Do You Know How to Read a Book?

A few months ago, my wife received an email from one of the homeschooling mailing lists she’s subscribed to about a lecture titled “How to Read a Book”. The lecture’s by Hamza Yusuf Hanson (yeah, yeah, I know. Hamza Yusuf’s a Sūfî. I’m well aware of that) and is based on a book by Mortimer J. Adler by the same title (Chapters-Indigo, Amazon). When my wife first told me about it, I kind of laughed thinking “who doesn’t know how to read a book?” and dismissed it as a waste of time. Since then, a few of my friends (all Salafi) have mentioned this lecture and mentioned that it’s pretty beneficial. After some thought and contemplation (especially with regards to taking truth from wherever it comes), I made the decision that I’d check it out if I had the time.

I’ve listened to most of the two part lecture (I’ve got about about an hour left to go; the two parts together is just over 3 hours long), and although he’s mentioned several things about how to read a book that I already knew (e.g., the types of reading, the levels of reading, etc.), I’ve found it very beneficial so far. I also think that it contains enough benefit that I’d want to share it with my readers, especially with regards to specific things he mentions, like understanding the terms and the language the writer is using in his/her work (this has been the source and cause of so many disputes and misunderstandings, not only among the laity, but also among scholars), as well as the importance of critical and analytical thinking (which, sadly, so many Salafis–a group who supposedly hold academics in high esteem–seem to be utterly devoid of).

In any case, for those of you interested, check out the lectures. Videos after the jump.

Read more of this post