Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Environment


I was thinking today (again) about how difficult it all is. Or would be if I was Muslim. The praying, fasting, wearing hijab, attending Friday prayer are all difficult things to do in the West. Praying is difficult because of work and schedules. Same for fasting, along with the fact that there is food *everywhere*, and wearing hijab because of the way people react. Whether it be strangers, family, the workplace, there's probably not one hijab-wearing Muslimah who hasn't faced some sort of "adversity".

I was imagining what I might be like if I was living in a Muslim majority, for example, Egypt, just because I have lived there (shortly) before. It would be much more motivating to pray, considering it's seen as a GOOD thing to do so no being shy about saying you want to pray. And even if you're out on the go, there are mosques EVERYWHERE to go pray in. And jobs are generally accomodating (at least more than here).

For hijab, I personally don't imagine myself without it there even without being Muslim. Although about that, I think we are judged not only on the wearing of the headscarf, but also general modesty, and just wearing loose 3/4 pants with a loose 3/4 shirt here in Canada is, relatively, more modest than wearing the same thing in Egypt. You will get FAR MORE glances in Egypt wearing that same outfit, and thus, you NEED to cover up more to maintain the same modesty.

I think a person can be a very good Muslim living here in the West. And in some ways, I think it is a benefit to be brought up here. I guess it's because I do love my country and province and the values we are taught, at least as we get educated. It's the cultural part that is sometimes lacking. In Islamic countries, because of the poverty there, the education is sometimes sub-par. And unislamic traditions that are seen as Islamic have a more negative impact than some of the things going on here, I think. Because at least here it's obvious that it's not Islamic. Much more to be said, I just don't have the ideas straightened out or the time. So anyway...

My husband has found it difficult here. He loves food, and not being able to easily find halal food has been tough for him. He is now eating halal as much as possible, but normally eats non-halal since that's what I find at the grocery store and what I make at home. And it's making a downward spiral. For him, it's as though halal food was the base of his religiosity and having it crumble has made everything else crumble.

Question for anyone who has gotten to the end of this post:

- Do you believe I will be held responsable for this? (Or even partly?)
- Do you believe he will be held responsable for making be feel far from Islam? (By not being a good example/ By discouraging me from learning at times probably because of his personal guilt)
- Which is worse, do we cancel each other out? :p

10 Comentários:

Sarah said...

Is it so hard to find halal meat over there? In the UK there are halal butchers in every city! You could stick to vegetarian/ pescetarian I guess? It must be difficult though, probably neither of you want to give up meat.

I know some Muslims that insist on halal meat but don't do ANYTHING else regarding religion. My husband prays and fasts but has been known to eat non-halal meat, if circumstances make it difficult not to. Personally I think his approach makes more sense as halal is not one of the pillars.

Sarah said...

Oooh.. can you get kosher meat? I remember reading somewhere that it was an acceptable alternative for Muslims?

Candice said...

I guess Quebec is a bit different... We have one halal restaurant in my city, but it's not even advertised as such. We only know because I knew he was Marocan and when my husband came to Canada, I wanted him to meet other Arabs and Muslims (although I didn't know if he was for sure). Turned out he was, the meat was halal, and the mosque was co-started by him and his brother.

My husband would be unable to do the whole vegetarian thing! He loves meat waaaaay too much. He's a big guy, eats LOTS and loves to. :p And I don't think kosher works since what makes it halal is to kill it with a slash of the artery in throat, something I'm not sure even kosher does, as well as saying the name of God, which they definitely don't... Kosher is not mixing meat and dairy, I think. Something weird like that, anyway. And of course they don't eat pig either.

As for me, I will not make halal a priority in any way if I do convert some time. I'd just say bismillah before eating anything. Something I really could and should do even now. It's just not in my habits.

khany said...

i feel that we should not needlessly involve ourselves in the calculus of sins. sometimes it is truly beneficial to rank sins, e.g. in order to deliver justice, or to prioritize habits that we need to eliminate on our journey back towards god, etc.

however, very often it becomes an exercise in trying to assign another person responsibility of our own transgressions, or it might turn into an attempt to belittle our sins by comparing them to greater offenses committed by another individual.

(006:119)
And what reason have you that you should not eat of that on which Allah's name has been mentioned, and He has already made plain to you what He has forbidden to you-- excepting what you are compelled to; and most surely many would lead (people) astray by their low desires out of ignorance; surely your Lord-- He best knows those who exceed the limits.

(006:164)
Every soul draws the meed of its acts on none but itself: no bearer of burdens can bear of burdens can bear the burden of another. Your goal in the end is towards Allah: He will tell you the truth of the things wherein ye disputed.

أم ترافيس said...

Why not read up first on some of the reasons why Allah ordered us to eat halal meat? For example, off the top of my head, I can tell you, that having the animal cut at the throat, means he bleeds out first, and rather quickly and not into the body. I believe all the diseases and germs of the animal are in his blood so if he is cut elsewhere or died otherwise, the diseases go into the meat, and thus you are eating/intaking a lot of disease. That is just one reasons. Nevermind the mercy of the animal with regard to this kind of slaughter. You should hear the horror stories that some other animals go through when not killed in the Islamic manner! Similarly with pigs, a pig does not even have a neck! Which is one of the reasons it is unhealthy for us, nevermind what it is eating. Anyhow, you could eat fish and find a butcher, simply to get the meat halal. It is much healthier and Allah will reward you for your efforts, every single effort out of your way for His sake and the health of you and your husband (physical and spiritual for him)

I know a a Muslim in a small town where I grew up and he travels two hours to Toronto to the halal butcher. It is really amazing what some people will do to follow the right path, ma shaa Allah.

Sarah said...

The kosher slaughter process is the same - cut the throat and drain the blood out. I was quite surprised when I came across that in the Old Testament. Their rules are a lot more restrictive than halal. No mixing meat and dairy, yes, but why is that weird? It's all done in reverence to God's revealed rules which I think is the point in both religions.

I believe there's a tradition that kosher is OK for Muslims where halal is not available, but I don't know if it's generally accepted as right.

Maybe you could find out where the restaurant gets its meat from, although I guess it's probably wholesale only.

Another option I know of here is mail order, sounds strange but it gets delivered frozen. I don't know whether there are things like that in Canada. Probably quite expensive anyway, but if a few people ordered together the cost might come down. There is one in the UK that sells meat that is organic, traceable, naturally-reared, halal and slaughtered personally by this one guy... I would love to buy from there! We can't buy in bulk right now as we don't have a freezer!

Candice said...

I'm really not in a place where I feel at all concerned with halal meat. I know about it, but I will not be the one to go out of my way for it. If I go out to Montreal where they have some, I don't mind getting a bit of a reserve, but I go a couple times a year. And I refuse to have anything to do with that restaurant owner.
About mixing dairy and meat, I just don't understand the reason for it. Is there something unhealthy about doing this? I understand the reasons for halal (Umm Travis just posted) but not for that part of kosher. I probably need to read up on it.
Khany, I agree that it's not really necessary to try to calculate sins all the time... And you're right, it probably just encourages us to put blame. Not something I want to do.

Sarah said...

Well I really don't know that much about kosher. I was just struck by how similar they are. I had a Christian friend who told me halal slaughter was cruel, but then I found the exact same thing commanded in the Bible!

My understanding has been that slaughter rituals are all to do with respect for the animal, whose life you're taking (the milk and meat thing is something about not cooking a young animal in its mother's milk). Remembrance of God being to remind you that it's something serious you're doing and you have to follow the rules. I'm skeptical about the health reasons.

Animals should be treated well during their life too, and it's hard to verify that the halal meat we buy really is halal in this sense. That's why I like that mail-order company I mentioned before.

Just my 2 cents as usual. :)

Aalya said...

I have to agree that halal is very good and we should be doing it ...but as a previous poster said it is not a pillar of Islam.
Personally I try to concentrate on Prayer and Charity... as these two things are emphasized several times in the Quran - so I can't go wrong there! Praying in the office is a challenge for sure...believe me as I know because I work in an office where they do not know I am Muslim - so just imagine - and it is a small office where I will be 'missed' if I disappear for 5-10 minuites...but lately somehow through the Grace of God I have been able to say the prayers. Hijab is an on-going issue but as this is not one of the pillars either, I feel it will come in time - although I have been dressing and trying to 'talk' more modestly (I have a quick temper (blush))

I have also felt that in a more Islamic country I would probably wear the headscarf and feel that it would be much easier and accepted to pray on time - anywhere!

It really is a struggle that we go through. My husband was not very vocal about Islam, when we met he never forced it or even talked about it too much. This was a good thing really because I am strong-headed and I may have just rejected his thinking...so you see God knows how to guide and lead us. He made me to find Islam on my own and am thankful for that!

Candice said...

Sarah: I ended up doing a quick morning research about the meat and dairy kosher thing. It's not a bad thought. As someone explaining it had put it, it's not to "add insult to injury". Jews go beyond and do not mix even chicken with dairy, but I guess that's to be on the safe side, something people in every religion does. I'm a bit skeptical of the health reasons too, really.
Aalya: My husband also told me he felt he wanted me to learn about Islam and embrace it on my own terms. But he has not responded to my interest in Islam much and I feel that it's good to let me get there myself, but once I'm at a place where I want more, it's good to step in...
And oh, my main problem is my temper too. *blush*

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