Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New direction for the blog...

I'm totally new to this and at first I thought I could write a bunch of really intersting posts showing both sides of what I found were very interesting topics in Islam. Both sides of things that most Muslims don't question. Just because these are questions I asked myself and read up about in trying to learn.

And I still plan on doing that...

But if that's all my blog is, I will have entries like every month! Or else it will be poorly written and thought out like it has been so far. I have too much on my mind and too much going on in my life in many ways to be able to think things out clearly and do the research necessary for a truly decent essay. So I will keep this blog a bit more "random", but on purpose this time.

I will write about whatever I am going through spiritually, questions I wondered about that day, conversations I had with people about spiritual issues, articles I may have read and thought about... And when I'm ready to post something decent or semi-decent, then I will definitely do it. I don't want to let that idea go because it helps me think clearer and really analyse things, and hopefully at least one person will read my blog someday and if they can spend a second thinking with me and commenting about what they believe; sharing their thoughts, I'll be really glad!

;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What I am hoping to cover with time.

I wrote some ideas on what I wanted to cover in the immediate future. These are sort of "base" ideas for people to get an idea of what I believe and to get a base idea of the different views of Islam out there. After that groundwork has been done, I plan on going to some more specific topics that are of interest and confusion in the media. These include:

- different views on hijab and jilbab
- hitting a non-cooperative wife
- death penalty for adultery/ stoning

This is also a reminder for myself :p Thanks.

Reasonable Accomodation Debate

People here in Quebec, where I live, are in general, against religion. This attitude can be explained historically. I'm not the most informed person, but I will try to explain what I do understand. Catholicism was a way of life and it was imposed some time ago. Moreso at my grand-parents' time, but my father went to a Catholic school all his life and not because he really wanted to! He would get hit with a ruler for writing with his left hand in class. It's stupid things like this that obviously brought people away from religion as they grew up. (How can this be RIGHT?!) They used to eat fish every Friday (fasting from meat, but I don't think anyone really knew why, it just *was*)... Lots of small things like that, as well as there being "big things" (huge scandals as well as theological ideas that many people didn't "get"). And it's hard to ask real questions in this religion, I find. It's complicated and no one really understands. People wanted to be free from this way of life!

Once they were actually able to get rid of Church in their lives, they did not feel the need to replace it with any sort of organized religion. I do know of some families that converted to another denomination, which is basically to a Church that interprets things slightly differently, but not many. Most just rejected all of those rituals and decided they wanted nothing to do with religion. A lot of those people just want to be "good people". I respect that, even though I feel it's useful to have a more structured approach to better focus your intentions. And if you do believe in God and the Bible (or whatever source), that you should follow it completely, as I wrote in my other post.

Trying to get back on topic now... People in Quebec want to be free from religion, because of what their religion has done to them. They don't feel connected in any way, and feel good about this fact. And because of not being especially educated about other religions and beliefs, they believe everyone would do better this way; that everyone would be better off free from their religion.

There was a lot going on recently about what they called "reasonable accomodation". A ridiculous media circus!! It was basically about how far we "born and bread" Quebeckers should go towards accomodating our immigrants who practice different religions. Hijab was obviously a big issue, especially with influence from France. And women's rights in general.

I will just go over some of the stories that were big:
- woman wanting to vote without showing her face;
- woman who wanted to wear hijab in a soccer tournement;
- woman wanting to work as a jail guard wearing hijab;
- Quebecker man being asked not to watch his kid doing swim lessons because a Muslim woman was taking a class in that pool and she didn't want to be seen;
- a gym fogging up the windows where people work out so that the children attending the Jewish school outside wouldn't see them;
- a group of Muslims praying together in a "sugar shack" (Quebeckers feeling uncomfortable);
- menu at "sugar shack" being adapted so there is no pork;
- Sikh kid granted the permission to wear his kirpan in school;
- Sikh (I think) policeperson wanting to wear a turban on the job;
- Muslims getting the birthing courses to refuse the husbands to attend.

So... people just don't think much of religious practices and with all the effort it took to get rid of it in their lives, they don't want it back -- for anyone. They don't understand most of the practices and see much of it as step backwards in the society. Some people, on the other hand, are TOO tolerant. Like the pool manager who actually agreed to ask the man to leave the pool when all he wanted to do was support his son. He didn't want to seem intolerant, but it would have been perfectly fine to tell the woman that the man was within his rights to be there and that if she felt uncomfortable, it was her own problem. Of course, with every similar incident, the whole religion was blamed. Not the person who asked for the unreasonable accomodation or the person who granted it.

This thought is linked to the statement in my previous post. I really just wanted to say that with a little bit of education and understanding, people would stop trying to free others from religion and just let them be free in their religion.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wanted to share this thought

From article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/magazine/07wwln-essay-t.html?_r=3&emc=eta1

Not sure what to think about Abdulkarim Soroush and his idea that the Qur'an was just inspired but not authored by God... I don't fully like that thought, actually. But I will read up on it when I can. But what the author of the article wrote about Abdulkarim Sorouch, "He seeks freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." Now that is a statement I can say I fully accept. And people have a hard time seeing the difference sometimes, as hard as it is to believe. I will write about that in a seperate post, just because I want people to see this statement stand alone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Randomness... There's so much information out there

If Islam is the truth, then EVERYTHING in it is truth. I feel the need to accept everything in it as a complete package, so to speak. Not pick and choose what suits me. If I did that, I might as well just make myself a custom religion and go with it. But even if I don't believe in picking and choosing as I like, I do believe in interpretation. I don't think that I need to accept what most people believe just for the mere fact that it's what "most people" believe. I believe in the concept of ijtihad (click here for definition/explanation). Not only for scholars, but for everyone. I think that people are able enough to make their own interpretations with the resources they have today.

Information is so readily available because of the Internet and books are better researched because of it too. There's a lot of crap out there, so people do need to be careful, but because of how education is changing with the arrival of the Internet and the problems it creates, young people are better equipped to deal with and discard the crap that can be found online. I see the Internet as a great tool. It becomes so easy to research different views on one topic and compare them to understand a topic in a well-rounded way. And that's how you can then make an informed decision. It's so true that most people could not just sit with the Qur'an and the Ahadith and make Islamic rulings. That really *is* too difficult for most people and it really does take someone with vaste knowledge to be able to take different parts of a huge database to make a ruling. I figure that's why ijtihad was reserved for scholars. But we've all gained independance from the wonderful tool we call the Internet and although we still need guidance from people with more knowledge, like we always did, we can now do a better job of thinking for ourselves and questioning things before accepting them, as the Qur'an itself teaches.

The first person to open my eyes to this Islamic concept was Irshad Manji, who I'm sure I will speak about and reference to in future blog entries. She is very dedicated to human rights, and to modernizing Islam. I may not agree with everything she says, but I respect her a lot for what she does. You can go to her website here. She is active on myspace and youtube as well, so you can look her up.

I think this will be it for this entry, but I do have topics in mind for future entries. I hope to learn to write a more complete entry with time, but I do this at work while the phone rings and I'm waiting for an answer so my ideas are broken up a lot. Future entry topics will include:
- Sunni Islam vs. Qur'an Only Islam (Qur'an Only Islam will take more than one entry to cover)
- different perspectives in learning about Islam
- Being a Submitter. Who is a Submitter?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Introduction

This blog will basically be about my ideas on life as I journey towards truth. I will basically be exploring my beliefs within an Islamic frame. Or exploring my beliefs with comparison to the Islamic beliefs where/if needed.

I am not Muslim. I have been interested in the religion for some time, however, and I'm pretty familiar with it and its people and their beliefs (in general). I don't know much about Shia or Sufi, or about the schools of thoughts and how they came to be. I will hopefully learn more with time. No one knows everything, they can just hope to learn more.

Now back to my situation with Islam. I have been learning about it for quite some time. Met a Muslim online and it got me curious to see how dedicated he was to his religion. I spent a lot of time in my childhood thinking about religion and what it all meant. I was only exposed to the Catholic religion, and not to anyone particularily serious about practicing it, so it left me feeling lost. If it's the truth, why are we not following it better? If it's not the truth, why are we supposed to believe that it is? If there are other alternatives, why hasn't everyone learned about them and why don't I know about them? So when I met this Muslim online, I was given a chance to learn about an alternative: Islam. We didn't talk about religion much, but I knew he felt strongly about his religion and so I set out to learn about it by reading various books and websites.

From the very beginning of the journey, I felt... like, *wow*, this is all so simple! I didn't have all the questions about Islam that I did about Christianity. It was really was just simple. Follow the Qur'an, an unchanged book, and follow the example of the prophet who brought this Qur'an, as documented very carefully and methodically. So all I had left was to figure out if I really felt that the Qur'an was from God. If so, I had no other choice but to follow it in its entirety just like my friend did. If not, then I was back to just learning about it to better understand my friend. I continued to learn, and have continued to learn since then, about 3 years ago. I have gotten married to a Muslim since then. I still have not converted.

The road to truth is a lot less simple than it seems and that's what I'll be exploring in this blog. I'll go over the questions I asked myself and conclusions I made... Or haven't yet made. It'll be about my thought-process while I try to find God.

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