Thursday, April 30, 2009

Performing salat seated

I have been pretty ill for a couple days, and my daughter is even worse off than I am... I am all upside down about it, but we are going to see a doctor today after I get off work.

When I am ill like this, I have trouble standing up for more than a couple minutes (even then it is a lot of effort) and I have headaches and my skin is super-sensitive all over. As well, I have this awful throat ache that makes it hard to swollow. My daughter is only 2 so I don't know exactly what she is going through, but she is so weak... Not eating much and not trying to get up by herself... She had the flu last week but was getting better, and then after her 2 year appointment at the doctors, she started feeling like this. That's the same time I started to, too. I don't know what is wrong with that place! And it sucks that I have to go back to the same exact place today to get her checked out...

To get to the actual topic I was meaning to talk about though... Performing salat seated. I was thinking about how, if I were to pray, I *could* stay standing for the whole of it. I would be dizzy and it would be difficult, but I could do it if I really wanted. I think a lot of Muslims would probably want to do it as correctly as possible, and would want to stay standing if there was a way they could. Especially if this is a condition that is not making salat difficult for their entire life (like an old person) but making it difficult for the week or so they are ill.

But I was thinking about myself doing salat... And how it would be impossible to have the full connection with God when I need to put so much effort and concentration into staying standing.

I think most people might feel that the effor they are making to stay standing is for God, but I feel that the position a young person puts themselves in praying seated (people ask questions, wonder why a young person is praying seated, etc.) is something that he or she does and puts themselves through for a better connection with God. And I think that in this very specific situation, praying seated is the better option. I think that when you are sick to the degree that praying seated would help you concentrate and connect with God better, that is the moment to do it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Friends of the opposite sex

I think it's no problem for a Muslim to work with people of the opposite sex, but an actual friendship can be something different. Can two people of the opposite sex really be just friends? I think so, but that considering the temptation, it's not worth it to go out and look for opposite sex friends! Just like I feel it's OK for someone to celebrate Christmas as long as they're clear about what it means to them (celebrating with family or something similar, NOT celebrating Jesus). But I think it would not be a good idea for someone who has no Christian background to just go ahead and start celebrating Christmas!

I was thinking about when my male friend came over to visit me a bit back. My husband would not leave us alone! I thought it was totally annoying!! He is really just a friend and nothing else, and I hadn't seen him in a really long time. My husband tagged along everywhere we went. He kinda stayed back and out of the conversations, which made it even weirder. I mean, he decides he needs to tag along and then he makes himself look like he can't socialize at all and doesn't care about anything that is being said.

I understood later that this was his way of being a chaperone. I guess I kind of appreciate it. It is the most proper way for me to have a male friend, I suppose.

Do you believe that in Islam, it can be OK to have a friend of the opposite sex? What are the conditions to be able to hang around together?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Things I wanna say. Random and not interesting!

I don't have that many of these posts about my personal life, but I have things on my mind I want to get out!

1) I have to say it, even if I'm the only one who knows and understands. I have a new office! Our office just moved today and we saw our the newone for the first time. And it is WOW! So luxurious and spacious and inviting. I felt depressed when I got to my apartment, really! We spent the day just visiting, unpacking our stuff, eating, talking, etc.

We recently (1 month ago) hired a new employee and were 4 in the office that is really suitable for no more than the 3 we had been. Now we are 2 in a space that is bigger than what we had before. There are big windows letting in a lot of light, nice frames on the walls. And I got a new filing cabinet to put all the crap that had been on the shelves beside me for so long! Our kitchen is really nice and comfy, and we have a full-size fridge (for 6 employees -- we used to have a small one) and a dishwasher and new TV in that kitchen. We have a new living room too for our breaks and lunch time that has a TV too. And a fish tank! I named the fish Edward and Bella and it caught on, hahaha.

2) My fridge died a couple days ago... It really sucked and I was really bummed. I just bought it! Used, yes, but still it wasn't an old fridge when I got it about 8 months ago or anything! So we just bought a new one that will be delivered here tomorrow. And I bought the table we had in our kitchen at the old office. It's one of those square, high tables with 4 chairs. Got a pretty good deal. So I'm getting that tomorrow too.

3) My husband hates used stuff though, he thinks everything used is crap. Well, there's the used fridge that just broke. And the oven I bought at the same time has an element that is burnt or something so that is not good either. Then there's our daughter's bed and bureau... The bed broke. I blame that on my husband's weight because he slept there. And he's not light in any way! But that bureau is good for the trash, the drawers are all broken... Funny that the drawers on a bureau I've had since I was 3 broke the same week! I couldn't believe it! Other used thing that broke is my husband's stupid front-loading washer. And the dryer burnt stuff. Lucky I hadn't sold my perfectly functional ones yet. Other thing: our bed frame. Again, broken. I'm sure that's because of his weight though. He breaks a lot of things. A chair from our current dining set (I got used), a chair my cousin gave us, and 2 chairs from my grand-mother. One of the couches now has springs popping out too. He broke 2 chairs while I was in Egypt though so he cannot blame Canadian quality!

4) My daughter is sick... It has been a tough week because of that... I missed half a day of work. I wish I could have missed more to be there for her but it's difficult with my work. I took a day off but then she felt better so I worked the next half. The day after was the packing day for the big move so I had to be there... It's my stuff afterall! My husband took care of her, thankfully, so she was able to stay home. He's starting to really come through for me when I need him.

5) I need my daughter to sleep in her bedroom and I need to decorate my apartment! But where will I store my husband?!

This post was in no real order... Just what was on my mind in the order in came in.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Converting to Islam

This is a short post about converting to Islam. The title is not meant to be the end of the sentence "I am converting to Islam" :p Not right now...

I *am* thinking about converting to Islam though. I see it in my future, let's say. But I am still not clear. Something that is keeping me away is the lack of passion, I guess we could say. I have mentionned my difficulties in finding a connection with God and it's still part of my struggle.

I see a lot of converts on blogs and vlogs and they are all so passionate about Islam, and seem to be so strict in following Islam. I might have a different view of things than they do, but they are strict in what they believe in. As for me, I believe in certain things about Islam, and I don't even I could be strict about *those* things. Praying, for example. I cannot imagine myself praying 5 times a day. It would be too difficult. I don't have the devotion for that, I think... I don't think I would wear hijab, at least not at the beginning. It's too big of a step for me.

Are these concerns that should be keeping me away from being Muslim, or are they things that other converts feel? Did you wait to have these things figured out before converting or did you convert and slowly continue your journey in Islam after the conversion? What does it take for a person to actually call themselves Muslim? (I have written a post about this, but obviously I'm not 100% on where I stand!)

Traditional Roles - 2nd Try...!

It took me about an instant after I posted to remember where I was going with this previous one. I will write it out in one sentence so I don't forget again. I wanted to talk about how traditional roles are ideal, but not reality for many women, especially here in the West.

In my case, my husband is new to this place. He has been here for just over a year, but he's learning French full time so he hasn't had a chance to work full time. I have been the one providing for the most part. I don't feel that Islam is against women being in a providing role, seeing as women are allowed to own things and have their own money as well. It's not an Islamic ideal to have the woman out of the house all the time, especially when there are kids, but it's something that sometimes has to happen.

I personally would love to work just part time. I don't think I'd be able to be a housewife with a bunch of kids. I wrote about it earlier... And I think I might just be a one baby kind of woman. It might cause me some tough decisions later on since I don't think it's a great thing to stay on birth control forever... Someday I'm sure I will be stable enough to be *able* to have other children without worrying that I wouldn't provide well enough for them financially, emotionally, etc. Right now I feel like I have enough to offer my daughter, but not quite enough for another child!

What I wanted to get to, and am still not at, is that I don't see much stuff on Islam that deals with this reality some families have where roles are either switched, or more often than not, the woman takes on both roles. There is so much out there about being a good wife, but I feel that there is not as much out there about being a good husband. There are articles all over the place about women doing things for their husband, having extra patience with him, showing respect, being thankful, obeying him even. But I don't see things about how men need to be extra supportive to a wife who works full time while raising the kids. Helping her by doing the dishes once in a while maybe. Or having extra patience with her when she has a tough day and is being a bit "bitchy".

It would be nice to see these types of articles once in a while... Something that tells a man the qualities he needs to have and show in his daily life... An article just on that last one could go over MANY topics and not only marriage...

Anyway, that was kind of what I wanted to say... I want a better marriage, a more Islamic marriage, but not necessarily one with the most traditional roles...

Traditional Roles


I'm all for traditional roles. I think that they are traditional for a reason. Because men are better suited for certain things and women for certain (different) things. I also believe that people shouldn't be limited to doing things that fall into the traditional role for their sex, though, and I believe in equal opportunity for all people regardless of their sex. Some men are more nurturing than the average woman and some women are more the "provider" type than the average man. I think that people should do what they are suited to do.

I was always kind of boyish when I was young. I didn't hang out with the guys though; I was always more sensitive and shy than they were. But I was sporty and could overcome my shyness when it came to things I felt comfortable with. I never had a problem being the leader when it came to these things. And I was not much of a nurturing type. I didn't care for dolls much, really... I had a more mechanical mind. Good for solving problems, etc.

I would say I still am most of these things... Except that once I started becoming an adult, which, funnily enough, started at around 18 years old, I found my nurturing side. Not directly. I still didn't have any contact with kids or the elderly, but I found myself thinking differently than I had. Maybe it was just maturity, but my feminine side really developped. This tiny experience of mine makes me think that we really were made a certain way. Men and women differently. And it works out that we perfectly compliment each other!

I forget where I was going with this so I'll leave it at that and post anew when and if I remember (and it still makes sense).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Respect

I was kind of getting on this topic in my previous post. Last night, after going to my cousin and after the part of our conversation where I tried to make her see that women who dressed provocatively were not as respected as ones who dressed modestly, I asked others (my parents) about what they thought. I didn't get any clear response. They really try hard to be open about things... Like what kind of music we listen to even if they think it's too "heavy", what we do with our hair (like streaks or something), piercings we got. And more recently, my trip to Egypt to meet this man who was then a stranger, my relationship with a Muslim, getting pregnant, etc. They are the most supportive and open parents. And I guess that's why they didn't want to tell me a straight answer... they did not want to seem to judge the women who dress provocatively. They just said it's their choice and they wouldn't do it or want their kid to do it!

I still think it's hard to see someone who is dressed like that and respect her fully. When I see her, I might wonder things like if they sleep with guys on the first date. If I see a woman dressed modestly, I might wonder what she does, if she's a lawyer, etc. Where she went to school. Or another if she made that purse herself... What kind of other art does she do? I might not wonder anything because I didn't notice her! And that's not a bad thing!

I think they can end up being respected, of course, but that they are not putting odds in their favour by not respecting themselves...

Conversation with my cousin

I went to my cousin's house yesterday for the afternoon. We hung out a bit while our daughters played together outside on the farm and talked about various subjects. Her pregnancy, the kids, my marriage, religious stuff...

We talked about mosque and so I said that when I go, I wear the hijab. It's not that they "force" me to, but that I do it as a sign of respect, and that I don't mind at all to wear hijab when I go there. I explained that I had a friend who came with us to the mosque once and did not wear hijab and the women just saw her as a non-Muslim visitor and were not offended by her showing her hair at the mosque so it's not about "forcing" hijab on people.

She asked if my husband has ever tried to force me to wear it. I said that no, he didn't. Especially seeing as I was not Muslim. If I were, he'd probably encourage me to wear it, but it would be my personal choice. So she made a face and was like, "He's not going to want Nora to wear that thing, will he?!" and I told her that yes, he will encourage her to wear it, but again, it will be her choice.

She didn't really seem to get that it was a woman's choice to wear hijab or not to. That yes, there were instances where a father, or sometimes husband, would force a woman to wear it even if she didn't want to. The case I personally knew of and told her about was close to the way a father doesn't let a teenage daughter go out in a mini-skirt here even if she wishes she could. And she might even go ahead and wear it behind her father's back. She's forced to wear a longer skirt in that way, just like a teenager might be forced to wear hijab by her dad. I told her there were cultures that forced hijab, like in Saudi Arabia, but that Islam didn't. And respecting Islam meant respecting the woman's choice to wear it. It was up to her to follow what is an Islamic requirement.

She gave me an overall look at how she viewed it with this comment: "Basically the hijab covers the woman's hair and everything from anyone except the husband... That's such jealously!"

So I tried to make it clear that it was not the husband forcing the woman to wear it because he was jealous, and I tried to show her the beauty of hijab as well as I could... I told her it was a requirement in Islam because of what it said in the Qur'an, and that it did in fact have many benefits. It was a completely different view than our's that a woman should dress up and look sexy for her husband while keeping her appearance modest for others when we here often hang out in sweats at home with no make-up and then show off the boob crack to go out with strangers. And I tried to show her that a woman does get more respect when she's dressed modestly (without necessarily wearing hijab, but just regular modest clothes for the example) than when she's wearing a mini-skirt with a crack-exposing halter top.

She mostly seemed offended at this point because she shows her crack and wears short skirts. But she defended herself with the fact that she doesn't wear both in the same outfit. Well, it *is* more modest so I'll give her that. She's not "slutty" though overall, she's just not ashamed of her body and likes to go out.

I'm not sure she understood fully. It's hard to until you really open your mind to it, but maybe she is closer to it at least!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sins erased and hajj - continuing the other part of my "tattoo" post

This is just a randomly written thought about sins being erased (which I spoke a tiny bit about in the tattoo post).

I read the hadith earlier about sins being erased for:
1) conversion
2) hijrah
3) hajj

I have seen the attitude from some people that since they are going to get their sins erased when they do hajj, which they plan on doing in their advanced adulthood, that they need not make efforts to submit to God NOW. I think they understand that they could die at any moment, but see it as such a slight possibility that they do not care to consider it. I imagine hajj as being an act of worship and an act of repentance for ones sins as well... So if it's true about sins being erased, this is simply because the person is considered having repented, and was forgiven.

I understand the importance and greatness of forgiveness, but does it satisfy the requirements of forgiveness to simply be someone who knew what was being done was wrong, did it for a long time, never wanting to better himself even if he knew it was wrong every single day, and then decided it was time to go to hajj to start life on that promised slate free of sins?

I guess anyone can be forgiven, but I feel like a lot of people in the situation I described are not repenting truly enough. Yes, they might turn around at mean everything 100%, in which case I can see why they'd be forgiven. But if they knew all along that it was wrong and shouldn't be done, and they had the intention of repenting "later", only to excuse themselves into more activities that are forbidden... Then does deciding to go to hajj really make them repent for real? Why is that particular moment the one when they will repent and truly mean it from the bottom of their heart?

They should have made efforts to be better before and not relied on hajj... I think they will be accountable for their sins despite the hajj...

*I must apologize for the incoherance. I can't fully put it into words right now... The thoughts are not clear!

Piercings... just to continue on with this type of topic


It is generally considered quite OK for women to pierce their ears and wear earrings to beautify themselves. But it is generally considered NOT ok for men to pierce their bodies and for women to pierce anything else. Why?

Here is a link I found asking about body piercings and their permissibility. It says that women's ear piercings are permissible, but that any other piercings are not. It says:

"As to the piercing of the nose, it isn't allowed for both sexes because it is a type of deformation to Allah’s creation."

How is a tiny nose stud so much different than having both ears pierced if we're talking "deformation"? The only way I could see it being different is by considering that the ears are being covered by hijab. So if coverage is a factor, then the bellybutton should be no problem! No one ever sees that except the person and her husband! And it's no bigger or more deforming than having both ears pierced either!

Goes on to explain further about women's ear piercings and why they are considered permissible:

"The only exception some scholars and jurists have made in this context is the case of ear piercing specifically for females. This is so because of the specific need of women to wear jewelry."

Seriously?! I really don't see women as having a specific need to wear jewelry! In fact, that's a pretty ridiculous statement. We women might enjoy adorning ourselves more than men, but this is not a specific need. No one needs to wear jewelry. We could easily live without it.

I do not buy any of the reasons to say that ears are OK for women and all other piercings are forbidden. It's either they are forbidden, ears included, or they are allowed! If they are allowed, I could imagine some restrictions for important reasons like nipples since they can cause problems breastfeeding, the clitoris for the high risk of losing all sensitivity, major stretching of any piercing for the quite apparent and irrevesible deformity they cause, etc. I believe that we are not to deform our bodies or risk changing its function, but if an ear piercing is not deforming, then neither is the cartilage of the ear, the nose, the lip, the bellybutton, the eyebrow, etc.

Personally, I don't feel it's something forbidden so long as it's not going to be permanent and the risk is low. But I think it best not to have any at all to assure that you are staying far from ateration of God's creation, something that is clearly forbidden.

To finish, I should say that I have my ears pierced, but that they are my only remaining piercing. I had and eventually removed some ear cartilage piercings, navel (bellybutton) piercing, tongue piercing and lip piercing. And that none of them have left me feeling like I have altered my body... but I was very careful to care for them and keep the jewelry small.

Received Twilight!


Amber, the kind blogger from Little Steps Home, sent me the book Twilight and I got it yesterday. I'm excited to read it, woohoo! So thank you to Amber!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tattoos and sins being erased


I love tattoos as a form of art and self-expression. I would love to have a tattoo. But I will not.

I try to stay fully honest with myself, as I've posted about a couple times, in order to avoid "kidding myself" into things; basically to keep myself as close to possible to this pure state, knowing what is culture and what is nature.

Tattoos is one of those things I want but would not get because, being honest with myself, I know that I would just be kidding myself into thinking it's OK in Islam (and in general, I guess). I know I'm not Muslim, and it's always said that all your sins disappear after converting, but I don't see converting as one moment that will erase everything. I don't really agree with this view in full.

I feel like even if I have not converted, I am responsable for my own actions. I think that a moment of realization that a person might have could be counted as many "good deeds" that counter the "bad deeds" a person has accumulated. And I think that anyway, a conversion is a process... It can take a while, and when you're in it, knowing that certain things are wrong and others are necessary while being unclear about others... You will be judged based on what you do know and a simple statement like the shahada will not erase that. You were responsable for that part because you were fully aware. Basically, you were "converted" about this subject. If that makes an sense! Does it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lover, you should've come over

This is my favourite song. I just want to cry when I listen to this song and even though I haven't listened to it in a long time, the lyrics themselves just make me live the song in every way. Here is a part:

Lover, you should've come over (Jeff Buckley)

Its never over, my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
Its never over, all my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against her
Its never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
Its never over, she’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever

Please go listen to this song! :D

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sex Toys between partners

I'm not going to put up a picture of a dildo for this one. haha.

So I was on http://pinkislam.com and I was just browsing around and got to the fatwas about marital relations. I clicked on this one here about the use of sex toys between a husband and wife. I was kind of laughing! See the note at the bottom about how the sheikh didn't even seem to understand the question. His response left me with more questions than answers, which is a strange thing for a fatwa! I really don't think it should be there. In fact, I don't think the response is really worth being used at all. He should have been clarified further, poor man.

What I got from his answer was that to use sex toys to make yourself orgasm is not permissible, since it's really no different than using your own hand, which is not permissible.

BUT I do not know of any ruling on a husband using HIS hand on HIS WIFE to satisfy her sexually. I know that it is a man's obligation to sexually satisfy his wife, and we all know that can't always be done through penetration alone. That's not enough for some women! And some men need that extra touch too sometimes. So to satisfy each other, from what I know about Islam, it should be permissible for them to touch each other's private parts. Right? Or wrong? Because I honestly have read nothing for or against the touching of your spouses genitalia.

If it is not permissible for spouses to touch each other's parts, then of course, I would conclude that it is not permissible to use sex toys on each other. But then a woman, and even a man, could risk being left unsatisfied sexually by their partners!

But if it is permissible for spouses to touch each other's parts, then it should be permissible for them to use something else, like some lubricant, warming lubricant, a vibrator, etc. since this is not the same as mastubating since the other partner is holding it.

A dildo becomes another question entirely since it is in the shape of a man's parts and also, is often not used only for touching but also inserting, and so becomes comparable to a man inserting his fingers into his wife... Is that permissible? I know that of course, insertion into a man is NOT permissible and so no dildo should be used on him in that way!!

The sheikh did not understand the ways people can use sex toys on each other, and was only thinking of masturbation from what I can see in his answer. And so the question was not answered entirely. Does anyone actually have an answer for me?

My own conclusion is that it is permissible for the spouses to use toys on each other as foreplay, but that the man should not have an orgasm from it. And that it is permissible for the woman to have an orgasm from it if she did not have one from the penetration with her husband. Agree? Disagree? I could easily change my mind based on what you bring to the table.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Both Christian and Muslim??! Seriously, no.

Ann Holmes Redding considers herself both Christian and Muslim... You can see this article if you want to know the story about her. I do not understand how that's possible, though. My conclusion is that she has a completely different definition of Christian and Muslim than most people do, because they simply are not compatible. A Christian and Muslim can be compatible as friends, spouses, co-workers, etc, but not as ONE PERSON!

In the most basic definition, you can find that you can't be both.

1) A Christian believes in Jesus as the son of God, and as divine. Muslims believe him to be a man like any other, except that he was born from a virgin mother and is a prophet (these two things are common to both religions). He is not divine to Muslims, and not the direct son of God. Ann Holmes Redding has managed to mix both of these beliefs into one by saying that Jesus is not God, but that he is divine, although not any more divine than any other human since we are all made of God.

Sounds like it could make a tiny bit of sense, even though both religions are not pantheistic like her beliefs are.

2) Muslims believe that the Christian scriptures have been corrupted, and that the Qur'an was delivered by God to correct these previous scriptures. I can only imagine that she believes that they are both unchanged and perfect. In that case, why the need for the Qur'an? And if she believes in the Qur'an, how can she believe that the Bible is the word of God?

It seems to me that she is just very confused. If she really believes in Islam; that is that there is only one true God and that Muhammad was his messenger (bringer of the Qur'an, the word of God), then she is not Christian. She just wants to hold onto it because of the people she knows through it or the love she has for Jesus because of all she has learned. (something like that)

If she really believes in Christianity, then she does not believe in the Qur'an or Muhammad as the messenger. She just finds some things about Islam appealing, like the connection with God in praying five times a day, the connection she feels with God when she prostrates herself, etc. Things that are not against Christianity, but that do not make her Muslim by any means.

I think she'll need some time to figure it out, but I figure it'll be something like one of these two options, because her personalized definitions of Christian and Muslim are just not right. You can make a word mean whatever you want it to, but if others are not using the same definitions, then you're just talking for nothing.

Does anyone think it's possible to be Christian and Muslim?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ya Seen: My questions (Part 2)

36:38 - It says that the sun runs its course... Reading it gives me the impression of the sun orbitting around the earth and not the other way around. What we *see* is the sun going from one side to the other, but that is an illusion and not the truth since the Earth is the one running its course around the sun. Is there another clear way I could see this that makes more sense to me?

36:53 - What is this "single blast" exactly? This is out of curiosity after it being referred to a few times in the surah. Just a natural disaster that will kill the disbelievers?

36:66 - It seems to mean that if God wanted to make them blind to the straight path, He could have. Meaning that he didn't even if He had the power to. But didn't He, in other parts of the Qur'an, seal their hearts, make them blind, all this??

I often have feelings of deja-vu, like I was in this exact situation before. I just got one. I was finishing the surah with this same phrase, putting down the Qur'an and looking at what I had written, which was this same question I just wrote. I honestly hate this deja-vu feeling... It happens too often, leaves me feeling like I've lived my life before and just forgotten it.

Anyway. The only other thing I wanted to say is that there are lots of things I don't understand in the surah, but they are mostly things I will want to learn about in the future if I become Muslim and that are not in a big way affecting my doubt of the Qur'an. So of course, these 6 questions I have posted about Ya Seen are not the only ones I could have come up with! There would be too many to count!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My little beauty, Nora

I wanted to introduce my little girl, Nora aka Noonie. She is my precious baby and the love of my life. She's 23 months old, so almost 2 now! Times goes by so fast!!! She still doesn't have all her teeth (her first tooth came in at 19 months), but she's a healthy thriving toddler, as you can see.


Nora is such a little lady. She loves to get a purse and my shoes and pretend to leave the apartment for her very important meetings. :)

Smiling as always. She's a huge joker, always trying to get a laugh out of us.


She looks so calm in this one... What I sweety, I wanna go wake her up only to give her a hugeungous kisseroo!! I go gaga for this child.


Note: This is my 100th post! Congrats to me, I think! Maybe I should be ashamed? Too many posts too fast! lol.

My Jumah

This is a picture of the mosque we went to in St-Leonard Montreal. The "Centre Islamique Badr"

Me and my husband went to Montreal today since it was a day off for me at work, and the babysitter was open. After a nice bit of morning with my cutie Noonie (my daughter, real name Nora), I brought her to the babysitter in late morning and me and the husabnd went off to the city. We went to a mosque there for Jumah. It was much bigger and better set up than the one we have in our little town. That area of Montreal has a lot of Muslims, it seemed. There were many in stores around there and on the street. And the parking lot was FULL at the mosque. They had volunteers directing the traffic near the entrance and exit to make it go smoothly.

There were about 25 women and my husband said there were about 100 men. Women and men have different entrances and sections and cannot see each other at all in the mosque. What I found weird was that we were not at all behind the men, technically, since we were in a room on the other side of the mosque. So we were looking forward at a TV that showed the front of the men's section (the imam) but in reality, we were beside them. I think they had like an L-shaped section that went all the way behind us... Not 100% sure, but kids were the only ones to go through the door at the back of our section and I figured it was to have access to their dads. Most kids stayed in the women's section, especially little girls, which made me think it was probably not a play room.

I had a good experience there, really. I prayed with them. I didn't forget to make us close to one another and at first even had feet touching, but after going down the first time, I kind of forgot about doing it. I think most did, I could see a woman at one point in a semi-split trying to make sure her feet touched the other women's!

One thing that made me feel embarassed was that I accidentally moved my feet while in prostration and hit the woman's head who was behind me. All these women are so short around me and beside that woman but I think we were two of the taller ones so there was a tiny conflict once. I was careful afterwards... :S When I told my husband he said he did it to the person behind him too!

Anyway... How was your Jumah?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obedience to our husbands

I just read this article: http://www.al-ibaanah.com/articles.php?ArtID=63

I did not enjoy that much at all! I'm all about respecting a respectable man, but this was about nothing else than obedience. It did not talk about the man and what he needs to be. It did not talk about instances where a woman should not obey. It did not address modern issues like the need for two incomes in certain situations.

This part here got me a bit mad:
____
The great scholar, Ibn Al-Qayyim, said: “Those who say that it is obligatory for the woman to serve the husband use (this ayah) as proof in that those who Allaah directed His Speech to (on this occasion) considered this to be from al-ma’roof (good). But as for the woman relaxing and having the husband serve her, sweep, grind the flour, knead the bread, wash the clothes, fix the bed, and serve the household, then that is from al-munkar (evil).

And Allaah says: ‘And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar to those (of their husbands) over them.[Surah Al-Baqarah: 228]
And Allaah says: ‘Men are the protectors and maintainers over women.’ [Surah An-Nisaa: 34]

So if a woman doesn’t serve her husband, but instead he acts like a servant to her, then this means that she is the protector and maintainer over him.”
___

Obviously not the Qur'an parts, which are perfectly fine and describe the role of men. But the comment at the bottom... What does it even have to do with it? If a woman doesn't serve her husband for unknown reasons, and the man serves her for unknown reasons, then she is protecting and maintaining him? Seriously, there is no logic present in that sentence!

And he uses these two ayahs as some sort of proof that women must obey their husbands, when it doesn't have anything to do with it (at least in no direct way!). The first is about them having similar rights over each other. To me, it does mean that they have different roles, but are equal nonetheless (since they have similar rights over each other). I see these two ayahs and I feel like men and women are equal partners with different and equally important roles in life.

This article searches really really hard to find any sort of link to ayahs and hadiths that could mean that a woman is to be obedient to her man. I believe in respect from both sides of the relationship and I don't see a marriage as needing a captain! Any marriage where the woman respects her husband and the man respects his wife, they will find a compromise to any issue between them. No one needs to *tell* the other and make final decisions for the relationship. Each view is as worthy as the other.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Conversion/Reversion


I wanted to put my opinion in on the two terms. People use both of these pretty freely, sometimes even interchangingly, but they are obviously not the same thing. I think both can be used for a person who has become Muslim though.

A revert to Islam is a person returning to Islam. If the person has converted out of Islam and then back in, he/she is a revert, 100% (they are re-converting!). But most people calling themselves reverts have never been known as Muslim, but consider themselves as returning to their natural state, which is Islam. Since they consider that they were born Muslim, revert is the right term for them.

A convert to a religion is someone going from one religion to another different religion. I think that the term can be correctly used for someone who was a certain religion and then became Muslim. They did convert afterall! And even though it's a belief in Islam that we are all born Muslim by nature, if the person using the term does not consider this natural state a religion, and just considers it a state of being, the term convert is right for them!

So to summarize: It depends on the person's perception of things! Both terms are equally fine to me! People using both terms have good reason to. :)

Other comment I have:

The term revert really gives off the feeling that the many people using this term believe that Islam is the truth and part of all of us. At least once you understand that the people calling themselves reverts are not people who left Islam for another religion and came back to it later. The term convert makes it seem like someone simply twitched religions. It makes it seem more like a group they want to belong to at the moment.

For me: Which term do I feel would be right?

I am actively trying to get back to my natural state of being. Trying to find the line between what is culture, upbringing (etc... all influence) and what is the truth of life. It's in this way that I consider myself already "Muslim". I wrote a post on that quite some time ago... I feel like I am and have been trying to get back to this original state of submission to God. This is without the Qur'an or the Hadith or the scholars or anything else than my mind. This is why I don't consider myself Muslim publicly or openly or anything like that.

If I were to take my shahada and start following the Message of the Qur'an, would I be a revert or a convert? Seeing as I would have been making efforts to return to this original state for some time, why would saying my shahada make me a revert when really, I had been reverting for months or years? Maybe when I get to this point, I will feel that my "reversion" had been a long process ending with the acceptance of the Qur'an as the word of God. I can't know because I don't feel that way right now. I feel now, looking at this possible future that the point in time would make me a convert to Islam. I wouldn't want to erase my life before the shahada as having been less right, less OK in my life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Alcohol


Muslims don't drink alcohol, and I respect that. I don't drink alcohol myself and most of my friends don't drink or don't drink much either. I think it's the way to go! I want to be clear of mind at all times.

I just think that Muslims often go overboard with the whole idea! The Qur'an says not to get intoxicated, and it's part of Islam to stay away from anything that might cause temptation, so even if one drink will not get you intoxicated, it is haram (or at least approaching haram!) to have that one drink. But seriously... not adding a teaspoon of vanilla to a cake, not using perfume that contains alcohol, etc. That is ridiculous to me. It is not an intoxicant. You do not risk getting intoxicated with these products! Seriously!

Use vanilla freely!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Introduction to my Qur'an translation

I mentionned wanting to read the introduction to get a feel for the translator. It's not written by the translator afterall. But nonetheless, it was a worthwhile read. It really echoed a lot of my feelings.

I talk a lot about what is most important to me and what the only thing I see as truth is. It's what I've been calling our inner sense of right and wrong. I feel that this is something that was given to each and every human, by God. And that essentially, a person stripped of this life's influences will have all the truth he needs. All he really needs is to follow this inner knowledge to be a submitter to God. It's not an easy thing to do, because we are all influenced, but I feel it can be sufficient to base our lives on this.

This is how I come to the conclusion that anyone, Muslim or not, can submit to God and find Heaven (whatever Heaven really is). Anyone can please God, whether or not they are part of the "right religion".

Here is something from the intro that kind of echoed this feeling of mine:

"This means that the Divine Reality, explained by the Quran on a conscious plane, pre-exists in man at the level of the subconscious. The message of the Quran is not, therefore, something which is alien to man. It is in fact a verbal expression of tht same divine Reality which is in consonance withman's own nature and with which he is already familiar."

It goes on to talk about God's "first address" to humanity. That the Quran is a reminder of what we already know naturally. I wish I could go into more detail but I really must be going to bed! Hopefully more to come about this subject, too.

Ya Seen: My questions on this surah (Part 1)

As you all know, I got my Qur'an translation. I read the introduction, as I said I would, and I read a random part of it in the middle. I fell on Surah Ya Seen, and read it. I quite enjoyed it! I enjoyed the translation itself, worded so much more eloquently than the other I had (which contained English errors of all sorts). I just want to go over it, all of it, and ask any questions I might have over things I don't understand. I'm feeling closer and closer to the Qur'an, and I know it will be impossible to get through it all, answering ALL of my questions, but I want to try to get everything out on this one surah, with a chance that I get everything satisfactorarily answered.

Get your Qur'ans (physical ones will be more handy since I will not be posting whole ayahs, just referring to them), Islamic knowledge, and your personal views out and ready!

36:1 - Starts with Ya Seen. Not sure anyone in the world really knows what the initials are there for, but if you have any ideas, please go for it! (I don't really want to hear "Code 19" though, I think it's crap. lol)

36:6 - There are people whose forefathers have not received any warning. Isn't there another part in the Qur'an that says that there has been a prophet sent down to every nation? Or is this *after* Muhammad, who is getting, with time, the message and warning out to all nations?

36:10 - If it is the same to warn or not to warn... Why warn at all? Lots of verses about Allah sealing their hearts, making them blind, etc. It makes me have trouble understanding the concept of free will. It seems like you only end up getting what Allah wants you to have. Why would Allah will you to stay blind and deaf to his message?

I will just start with that for now because I wanted to post another short thing before going to bed. More to come.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Haircut!

I got a haircut today! Yesterday, I was pretty decided, but then again, I always am. And I never actually get the haircut. So this morning, I took the scissors and chopped off my ponytail,to make sure I would actually call and make the appointment, and make the arrangements to get my daughter taken care of for that hour or so.

And so after work, I went to get my haircut! It's really short and cute. Longer than what most would consider a pixie cut though.

Anyway, my husband doesn't know yet, and he loves long hair. Wonder what he'll think. hah...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I just saw the movie Twilight...


... and I surprisingly loved it! It really makes me want to read the books. I don't really read novels, I mostly read books about a certain subject, like Islam, psychology, philosophy... But I used to read novels pretty regularly and thinking of the movie in book form made me remember how great novels can be. So much better than movies, always. I wish I had easy access to English books. I can read (speak, write, whatever) fluently in French, that's not the problem... I just don't find it as good as English and that's my personal taste. I dislike proper French. I love proper English. It's so much more varied in style. French is too structured and snobby to me. I love structure, but I want to be able to decide how much is just right.

Back to the movie, who saw it? It was seriously interesting, this love story between human and vampire... I could feel how much he wanted her, even if it was to eat her. That sentence seriously sounds nuts. How did this person think up this weird love story? It totally works anyway.

The beginning of the movie was boring and just bad though. The acting was weird (the girl especially kind of over-playing the "unsure" or "uncomfortable" feeling with her eyes and breathing), and the lighting and style, which fits the rest of the movie, did not fit this part. The sort of bluish pastiness all round. It could not have been done in any other style or it would not fit the movie, but it was still weird for me.

Then it picked up as the love story really got more serious, and the action started as well. I was left feeling really good, but *obviously* there's a sequel coming! I kinda hate these unfinished endings, but I could see it coming considering this is the first book of the series put into film. And because of where the story was by the time we were nearing the end of a regular movie time-wise. I really felt that it was a book though with the way the story kinda flipped around quickly. That's what makes me want to read the book so much.

My Qur'an translation is by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

If anyone has any info about the translator I'd really be intrested in hearing it!

I love to read the back covers of books. I don't read that many books, honestly, not because I don't want to, because I love to read, but mostly because of time. A bit because of laziness because I could very well be reading right now and I'm just posting... But anyway, I love to read covers. I feel I learn just from reading a back cover. If it's of a novel, it puts my imagination to work imagining what the complete story could be like. In other types, it can spike interest in a subject. And I just love a glimpse into a book. I wish reading and writing the back cover of books could be my profession. Haha. So I will leave you with the back cover of this Quran translation.

The Quran is a book of divine warning -- a combination of lessons and admonitions. It stresses the importance of man's discovery of truth at the level of realization.

Every book has its objective and the objective of the Quran is to make man aware of the Creation plan of God. That is, to tell man why God created this world; what the purpose is of settling man on earth; what is required from man in his pre-death life span, and what he is going to confront after death.

Man is born as an eternal creature. When God created man as such, He divided his life span into two periods, the pre-death period, which is a time of trial, and the post-death period, which is the time for receiving the rewards or punishments merited by one's actions during one's lifetime.

The purpose of the Quran is to make man aware of this reality. This is theme of this divine Book, wihch serves to guide man through his entire journey through life into the after-life.

I received my Qur'an


I got my Qur'an from freequran.ca. I didn't really start reading it yet though. It is the translation only, with no Arabic script, which I'm a bit disappointed about but I have an Arabic Qur'an and I have a translation that includes the Arabic script so I am covered still.

I want to read at least the introduction to get a feel for what kind of translation this might be (and soon, because I ordered a bunch of books from amazon.ca due to arrive Friday)... It is not stamped with approval from Al-Azhar or anything, which makes my husband not want me to read it. I do wonder what type of translation it is. It helps to know where the translator stands on things... like... If it's a Sufi translation, it will have a few differences than a Sunni, I'm sure. And I would not know it just by reading it. I don't mind it, but I want to read it all the while being "in the know".

Anyone know about freequran.ca's translators??
Other thing I wanted to add was the design of the Qur'an. It's plain, some sort of bright blue colour and written "The Holy Quran" and nothing much else. More appealing to a curious non-Muslim than would be something with calligraphy or a strange look like the zipper pocket one I have. It makes it seem like it has more possibility of being real because it looks more modern.

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