Monday, March 29, 2010

SIGN THIS PETITION (please)

(I took this directly from Stylish Muslimah)


Their cause: The arrest of over 100 people who demonstrated last year against the Israeli invasion of Gaza, the charging of 78 of them with violent disorder and the imprisonment of many of them for up to two and a half years is completely disproportionate. This police operation amounts to the persecution of protesters. It is made more alarming by the fact that almost all of those charged are from Muslim backgrounds. We, the undersigned, demand:


The release of all those imprisoned;


That all further charges are dropped;


An independent investigation into the many complaints about police behaviour at the demonstrations which have all been rejected by the IPCC;


The right to protest for all.



Friday, March 26, 2010

I want a little farm

Here is my dream:

To have my husband working a decent job outside the home in his chosen field (computers) while I am a stay-at-home-mom making a side income/reduce food costs with a small farm that I am able to manage myself (or with the help of my then teenage daughter!). I would love something that is within 15 minutes of driving from the city here. I was thinking a farm with a decent-sized garden so I'd be able to have fresh fruits and vegetables during the season, and sell and give some to friends and family. I'd also like a chicken coop that would ensure we didn't have to buy eggs, and that would also ensure I would know exactly what was being fed and how the chicken we eat was treated (and could also sell and give some to friends and family). But the main part would be a stable that could accommodate some horses for people who don't have place for their horses, so they'd stay at my place where I'd make sure they have a clean area to sleep in and food and water and I'd make sure they get outside every day. What the heck do they call this service? Anyway, that would be a bit of an income-bringer, and of course a pretty big job.

Man, I want a faaaaaarm! :'( I don't know how realistic my dream is... Farms are expensive and my husband has only gotten a small jobs here and there since he got here 2.5 years ago. It's hard to imagine him making enough money some day to support us being able to buy a farm, but with some years of hard work by both of us, whenever that happens, we could save some money for a good down-payment that would make our mortgage manageable.

Anyway, I don't need everything all at once. We can give up the closeness to the city and get 20-30 minutes out and buy a small house with lots of land and both work, and with time add a chicken coop and small garden. And with more time I could drop my job and build a stable :)

DREAMS :) So fun.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Survey (for fun)

Took this from Banana Anne

Name: Candice

Age: 23

Location: Quebec, Canada

Background: On both sides (maternal and paternal) we have been in Quebec for a few generations so it's a big mish-mash (Irish, Swedish, French, German)

Spouse (if so, name and background): Ahmed, Egyptian

How long have you been married?: 4.5 years

Kids? Yes. Nora, almost 3 years old.

Are you a revert? Yes!

Have you been to Hajj or Umrah? No, but someday insha'Allah.

How many masaajid have you been to? 2 or 3.

Have you ever been involved with a masjid? No.

Who are some of your favorite lectures by? I don't listen to much, but I have enjoyed some by... OK, I just searched for like 15 minutes and I can't find his name. Sorry!

Who are some of your favorite recitors? Mishary Ben Rashid. I don't know any others by name.

Some of your favorite Islamic books? I mostly read articles or very short books.

Describe your most memorable Eid: Only had one Eid since I converted and it was not memorable...

When did you first start fasting? Fasted a couple days in 2007.

When did you start hijab? I haven't started.

What's your usual outift like when you go out? Jeans, a long tank top and a baggy-ish shirt on top that usually happens to be shorter than the tank. Often a scarf around my neck and over my chest.

What do you like about blogging? I love that it does everything a diary does, but is interactive. I learn so much from my commentors.

Describe your first feelings wearing hijab. I have worn hijab out, but I knew it was not permanently, so I just felt normal. A tiny bit self-concious and worried that it would slip off.

How do you pin your hijab? One end longer than the other goes around the head to be pinned in the back and usually tucked at the chin and the short end is pinned on the shoulder so a triangle covers my chest.

What was on the last prayer mat you made salah on? A blanket.

What's your ideal iftar? Anything I normally like!

What type of adhaan really gets to you? Yusuf Islam's adhan.

What's something that annoys you at Jummah: Folks that won't stop talking, and crying children.

What was the last surah you read? (not recited in salah) Can't remember. I like to flip through and read whatever I fall on.

Do you dry yourself after wudu? Yes, I don't like wetness.

Do you brush your teeth for fajr salah? Sometimes.

Whats the last Islamic thing you've been involved with? I signed up for Celebrate Mercy online event and watched it.

What was the last convention you went to? None, unfortunately.

Have you ever been part of an Islamic matrimonial site? No.

What color is the rug in the masjid you usually attend? Don't know.

Is the masjid you usually attend separated? Yes.

Have you ever stood in a minbar? No.

Have you ever washed a dead body before? No.

What's the last thing you ate in the masjid? Lamb.

Where's the strangest place you've seen a Muslim working? I haven't seen enough to find a strange one.

Have you ever posted a flier in the masjid? No.

Rate your masjid's bathroom: It's OK, I guess.

Have you ever used a bidet for istinja?: Yes, in Egypt.

What's the weirdest thing that happened to you in salah? A baby jumped on me. It was mine! :P

Isn't it annoying when the imam tells everyone to shut off their cell phones and someone's phone rings in the middle of salah? Whether or not it was mentioned, it's annoying.

What's some of the best halal food you've had (from a non Muslim country)? Lebanese food. Shawarma and all that.

What was it like when you found out skittles were haram? No reaction. Don't really care about Skittles!

What's something haram that you think most people don't know? It's not my place to be the haram police/Can't think of anything.

What's the craziest hijabi fashion you've seen? In real life, the Egyptian style. The layers and layers of hijab and tight clothing! Online, the HUGE poofs some Emiratis put in. They look like they have 2 heads.

What did you like about this survey? It's a Muslim survey!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Telling my parents

I have been thinking a lot about "coming out" since my brother caught me in hijab at the resto. Since the time change, I've been going to bed later and having to wake up at the same time, so I'm a bit more tired, which makes it harder for me to fall asleep and so I think.

I was thinking about telling my parents and how that would go. The more I thought about it, the less scary it became. My parents are the most accepting people! The love they have for me and my brother is nothing else than unconditional. I *know* that me being Muslim would not change anything for them. They'd be a bit upset for sure and scared of the unknown that is Islam and I know that. My biggest fear is them misunderstanding Islam and thinking that I believe things that I don't but when I think about it, I realize that for sure telling them such news will be followed by a period of questions and answers. I'd have time to explain what I believe and what Islam is so it should go fine as long as they listen and *try* to understand (which I really think they would).

When I think of how hard some converts have it with their parents because of their conversion, I feel like such a chicken for not having told mine yet!

Can you believe that my mom actually asked me this week if it was OK to get my daughter some Easter chocolate? She is very considerate of my position even without knowing that I am Muslim. Same with pork... She will make us a different meal if we are there and they are having pork. There is never the slightest push to make me or my daughter eat pork because she just accepts that we don't and that's it.

Wow, I'm really SO blessed! Of course I know it... I want to be for my daughter exactly what my parents were for me - only Muslim :P

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"A mekkah of..."

Is this expression offensive to any Muslims?

At work someone had a book called The Bible of Shooters for all sorts of hard alcoholic drinks. I thought to myself that this book title could be offensive to Christians.. I mean, the Bible is their Holy book and it's being used when talking about shooters! I wouldn't like it if they called it the Quran of Shooters!

It got me thinking of the expression "a Mekka of..." which I never found offensive... But really it's not that different than a "Bible of..." They are both important and Holy for people in each religion. Maybe the reason I don't feel offended is that I feel much more for the Qur'an than Mekka. And also that when the Mekka expression is used, it's mostly positive and not tryign to make the thing sound holy. I found the "Bible of Shooters" was like a way of saying that it was a great resource for shooters, but also saying that alcohol is very important... kwim?

What do you think?

Not much except work

I have things going on, but not a lot to say. It has been nice these days with the change of time and the great weather. I've been able to go outside with my daughter in the evenings even after work and supper! So much fun! And it feels so great to get moving again after nothingness for about 4 months of winter.

At work it's crazy lately with a new project started by the boss that we are envolved in and will get bonuses for. But it leads to so much gossip around the office and it's so hard to stay away from it. I have been joining in the talk and I feel bad, but I'm also trying to stop it by going to the boss and talking to him directly, and finding out what the people around the office need are to do so we can stop all the yacking. It's not working that well but things will fall into place.

The project is exciting for fincancial reasons, but I'm starting to think of opting out. One reason is that I work for a loans company, which I am already not 100% OK with because of (high) interest, but I figure that I am an employee and I am paid for what I do, not because of interest. I don't like that I am supporting the business by working there, but it's something I have to do. This project will have bonuses, as I explained, and the amounts will be a certain percentage of profits from this, which come of course from interest so I'm iffy about that. It's not something I really have to do. And the second reason is the one I just talked about with the gossip. It would be nice to have the extra amount on my pays though since we're a one-income family and I know the gossip will die down when we settle into this thing.

So today's question: Is it worth it?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Polygamy

When I think of whether or not something is true and right, I think of whether or not this is the best path for humanity. I believe in an ultimate balance in life, which is one reason for me following the Quranic way of polygamy and not the cultural one.

It bugs me to think that the common view held by Muslims on this issue is that polygamy is allowed at any time just as long as the man tries his best to be equal between them. I see the Quran and what it says about polygamy and feel even more confident that this is from God. It's so practical and just plain *right* for polygamy to exist in time of war when many men have died and made widows and orphans. These women would not find anyone to marry them and take care of them and their children because there is a lack in men to marry! What an amazing solution to have them marry a man who is married and who is willing to have a second wife. He has the benefits of a married man (being taken care of in the home, having sex, etc.) and the responsabilities of a married man (financial care and being kind and nice, etc.). And he has the benefit of having taken care of orphans and helped a person.

Does it really make sense to have men take 2, 3 or 4 wives when there are the same number of men and women in a society?! In these cases, the main reason for the man to marry a second wife is sexual and in these cases, there ends up being too few women to marry, and a bunch of men with NO WIVES. Is this not the most ridiculous thing?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coming out

I walked around Gay Village in Montreal yesterday night with some friends. Just a fun outing for us. It's so rare that I go out without my daughter so it was nice to eat out and have an adult evening in the City (our nearest large city) with the girls. So anyway, we were in Gay Village, a sector of the city that is gay. Kind of like China Town has Chinese people and Little Italy has Italians, the Village has gays!

It got me thinking of how "coming out" as a Muslim is the same as "coming out" as a homosexual. You are admitting to friends and family that you are *blank* (Muslim/homosexual).

Here is a link to an article about coming out. Replace "homosexual/gay" by "Muslim" and a lot fits into what a new convert goes through! The fear, the loss of contact with people who don't accept it, the discrimination you might face, the isolation...

It doesn't matter if you live in a small town or a large metropolitan city, nothing can be more isolating than first coming out. You can be surrounded by familiar people and still feel you are the only one that is "different."

Doesn't that ring true to some of you converts? Here is another part from the article, but I have replaced the terms for Muslims:

Many Muslims don't fit into existing stereotypes associated with Muslims, but feel the pressure to do so by society or even other Muslims. Rest assured, the Muslim community is just as diverse as any other community and each Muslim is an individual.

This sounds a lot like the phase Muslims have of following Arab culture and/or following a certain sect/denomination in Islam in trying to be Muslim. With time, they learn that there are lots of different views in Islam and so many different people. Not all Muslims are Arabs. Not all Muslims are Sunni or even Shia. There are certain differences of opinion and you can carve your own way based on who you are/what you believe and don't have to completely change who you are!

For converts having trouble finding others who are going through the same thing in telling their loved ones, they could easily get support from homosexuals going through their own coming out!

Thought

If you can understand it, it's not God.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Got my order!!

I got my order from Veiled By Design and I am so very pleased with my experience with them!

I was looking for some al-amiras and underscarves online and wanted it to be from North America (to avoid mega charges on shipping) and I found this site. I put everything I wanted in the cart and checked out and saw the flat-rate shipping for Canada was 25$! I was like -- woah! There must be a way to send it slower, but cheaper so I took a chance in e-mailing the owner. She sent me a message back, willing to work something out for a better shipping rate and arranged a way for me to order and check out with this special deal we made.

My experience in summary:

1) great customer service
2) product as described/shown (everything is exactly like the pictures!)
3) very fast to ship (was shipped the business day after I placed the order)
4) good prices for the quality (2 small thread/stitch problems -- all underscarves are perfect, two of the 5 or so hoodshave small issues I will easily fix)

I will definitely order from them again! Super turstworthy company. And very creative ideas on how to wear the hijab on the website too!

What is a...? It's all in the definition

What is a husband exactly?

It's kind of accepted that women should obey their husbands . Or at least respect them by consulting them for things (like a haircut, going out with friends, etc). But what if the husband does not fulfil the responsabilities of a husband? We all know that humans will still call him a husband. Like, "Her husband does not support her financially. Her husband beats her and the children.". So yes, we still call him her husband. Legally, here on earth, he is. But by not fulfilling the obligations of what a husband is, would God consider him a husband to this woman? Would a woman be required to obey this man? Or is it possible that this is only a legal definition, and not all that being a husband is in the real sense?

Hair cut!

http://www.shariahprogram.ca/islam-qa-women/women-cutting-hair.shtml
and
http://books.themajlis.net/node/136

I don't know if they are joking in these articles or not. I think probably not, which is so pathetic it makes me laugh uncomfortably. Basically, these men believe a woman is not allowed to cut her hair.

Quote from the second one: "Whether the intention is to beautify themselves for the sake of their husbands or for some other ulterior and immoral motive is a different matter. While the former intention will not justify the haraam act of hair-cutting, the latter motive will aggravate the prohibition."

The reason for this "prohibition" on cutting a woman's hair is that cutting hair is immitation of the kuffar and also because of the fact that beauty is not allowed (from the second article). The first article also adds the reason that cutting hair equals immation of men. The first article is pretty mild compared to the second one, saying:

"It should be noted that, if the hair is cut, then it should be well below the shoulders, and this permissibility is only to cut it slightly. If the woman is married, then this should be done with the consent of her husband."

Basically only a trim is permissible but even then better to avoid and the husband has to approve of the trim. That's the liberal of opinions. After reading the second article fully, I seriously find them VERY liberal. The second article ends with:

"The views and opinions of those who conflict with the Accepted Opinion of the Shariah is utterly baseless. The consequence of such baatil is the Wrath and Punishment of Allah Ta'ala."

Even if I don't accept this opinion, my voice probably doesn't count, I'd bet.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spiritual supplement (UU)

*Post inspired by discussion in comments from one of LK (Ink Blots and Blue Abayas)'s posts.*

I love Islam for what it is to me, but it's sometimes so far from what it is to others. The beliefs are there so I am Muslim but my emphasis is not on all the little rules people think of when they think of Islam. It's on the big picture.

I have so much to figure out spiritually, and even though I will figure it out in Islam, I cannot figure it out in a very strict interpretation of Islam. People who believe it's obligatory to follow Islam in this way are still my brothers and sisters in Islam as long as they can accept me for what I believe and do, and I really feel I can learn from this, but I don't think it's wrong to learn from more unconventional sources. Whether it's an unconventional approach to the Qur'an, or even being able to learn something valuable outside Islam (like from Buddhism, for example).

I appreciate the Universal Unitarianist approach of being open-minded and searching for truth and meaning from a variety of sources, altogether, even if they don't all believe the same things. For someone who doesn't believe there's somehow *more* truth in another religion, this is a full and complete religion for them, but for me, if I were to join UU, it would be more of a supplement to Islam, where I'd be able to learn and grow (in Islam).

Now, I'm not UU. I haven't even attended the UU church. And even if I have a great experience there, I wouldn't be able to go regularly because it's not exactly nearby... So this post could apply to any community or even just to friends who want to think about these things if I had any. I feel lately that UU is the nearest thing I could find that would satisfy this though so it's why I mention it.

Sometimes things need to happen with force

I'm a very peaceful type of person and I hate confrontation of any kind. I try to avoid it as much as possible in my own life and that works out quite well for me. And normally when I see a situation, whether it's small or important, I think that there could be a peaceful way to go about it. But I'm starting to realize that there are times when force is needed. Yes, it ends up being violence, but there *are* times that violence is needed. Self-defense is a time when violence can be necessary and OK. I think anyone would agree about that. I also think that defense of others can make force necessary.

A bit ago, someone posted about the Israeli ambassador speaking somewhere and Muslim students (from the Muslim Student Union) interrupted the speech with yelling, booing and insults, and would not let him finish basically. When I first read that, I thought it was a disgusting attitude to have. As Muslims, we should be polite and not barbaric! I thought of freedom of speech that even this Israeli ambassador was entitled to.

There were some comments from Muslims supporting what happened. They gave the example of Ahmadinejad speaking a couple years ago. I know there were protests and I'm not sure exactly how bad it was, but if he was interrupted in this manner, would we really have considered it something so bad? Probably not. Freedom of speech is important, but I think a person needs to earn it by also respecting others. Well, even if they don't earn it, they still have that right, but they can also expect to not be listened to. I'm not sure exactly what the Israeli dude was talking about, but Zionism doesn't deserve the courtesy of being listened to.

Sometimes things need to be a bit brutal to get the point across. I thought some pamphlets might've been a good idea for that speech, but the Muslims showing this person that he didn't deserve to be heard was not as terrible an action as I originally saw it as.

So anyway, it got me thinking about something someone asked me a while ago when I wrote about an Islamic state. Would the ideal Islamic state I was imagining consider freeing Palestine a reason to go to war? I didn't really know. I'd be in no place to make the decision and I was in no place to even form a real opinion, but I can say now that YES. As much as I wish things could happen peacefully, they just will not. And Palestine needs more than peaceful methods to get what is their's. And I now feel that force needs to be used.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Adoption in Islam

After Chasing Jannah posted about Daughter from Danang, it really got me thinking about adoption in Islam. This post is not really related at all to the documentary. Just about adoption.

I've always thought of adoption very positively. I mean, a family is adopting into their home a child that they will treat and raise as their own, with love and committment. The child really becomes their own and there is no difference than if they were biologically their own. I really think it's so wonderful to be able to do that for a child. The only complication is that there are *actual* biological parents to this child. No matter how loved they are by their adoptive parents, there's the knowledge that there was someone else that did not want them. Even though they know it wasn't *them* who did something wrong, I imagine it's hard to live with that. Unless they were an orphan, those thoughts are always there, and it comes with thoughts of meeting them, seeing what they're like, etc.

I still think that adoption is such a great thing, but now I realize more that for there to be these kids to adopt, parents have to have given up theirs responsabilities towards these children! Unless the children are orphans of course. I feel sad about this situation...

I tried to put together adoption and Islam and what I came up with was that it's not Islamic to adopt a child as your own because a child should keep his parents name. He should always be his real parents' child. I thought it sucked a little that it wasn't allowed to adopt in this way because of how great I thought it was for this child to really have a family that was his own, being able to have parents he wouldn't be able to have. It bugged me that a woman who was adopted would technically have to wear hijab with her adoptive father, who is really nothing else than her father to her.

But then it all clicked as I thought about it... Adoption has no place in Islam because giving up your child has no place in Islam. The women who feel they have to give up their child, or who are in no position to take care of a child would just not *be*. First, they're less likely to be in such a situation since they need to be in a committed relationship to get pregnant. And second, a community that is actually Muslim will help a family in need/a woman in need. This is, of course, the way it would ideally work... Practically it might be a different story and I think children are better adopted than they are in an orphanage. I know this is what normally happens in "Muslim" countries. But at least ideally it makes sense... And I will promote foster parenting by doing that for a child myself insha'Allah, at least bringing the situation closer to what I think it should be.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

UU church

I might be going to a UU church this month for a visit! Here is the link to their church. I looked up the schedule and there are a couple interesting discussions going on this month which I'd be interested in attending. The church is in a small town a bit away, but I'd go with a friend as a sort of small outing and I'd get to discover the local UU community.

I will call first to see what it's like and know what to expect a little or else I risk going all the way there for me and my friend to just back out and go to Subways or something. I'd be going with a friend who is not spiritual at all, but she is one who I feel deeply needs some spirituality. She is kind of all upside down in life obviously needing more than she has but just not finding it and not having enough self-respect to find it... The origins of her problems come from religion... Her mother is a Jehova's Witness and was very strict with her about everything, but without ever explaining why. Turned her off religion. But even worse, she basically just disowned her when she got a boyfriend at 16. Of course, not blaming everything on her mom and religion, but let's just say that a person who feels she is loved might not do a lot of the things she does... Which is why I really feel strongly that she should have something bigger to believe in. Not sure where she stands on it but I doubt she thinks about it much. Maybe she will if she learns of a very accepting, open religious community.

Niqabi kicked out of class

Click here to read the full article from Canadian Hijabis blog.

Basically, this niqabi was entered in a French class and got kicked out for not accepting to remove the niqab. I need to explain that this is a course paid by the government, and that they even, in certain cases, give the person money for attending (my husband got some). It's to teach new immigrants the French langugage and how to use it, and to teach them about the culture and how things work here. So they learn language needed to get a job, rent an apartment, order at a restaurant, converse with others. My husband completed this program and can now speak pretty decent French!

And obviously there's something that the government is getting from this or they wouldn't pay for the program. They make sure that the main language in Quebec stays French and that our culture is understood and they help the immigrants get the skills needed to be able to get jobs, which helps the economy (and in the end is why we need and want our immigrants).

So this niqabi... Personally I feel that it's justified that a niqabi should remove her face veil to participate in these courses. These are not courses she is paying for herself; they are paid for by us the taxpayers, and it's reasonable that there be certain conditions. I think it sucks that this wasn't made clear from the beginning, but the government is so scared of causing something. It *will* be made clear soon though at least. As much as I think this is necessary, it does scare me a little that they could possibly start making other rules like not being able to do any government-related thing in niqab (like attending university or something), which I think is totally their right. Or even scarier that they could prevent government employees from wearing just the hijab. I sort of doubt it would get to that, but there could be talk.

What do you guys think about this situation? Should a niqabi be allowed to take these classes that are paid for by taxpayers in full? Is removing the niqab a reasonable obligation?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympics are over :(


What a great 17 days of sport and athletic competition! WOW. So many great Canadian moments to remember like our first gold medal with Alexandre Bilodeau in mogul skiing and his touching story with his brother, Jon Montgomery the cool guy winning gold on the skeleton, Clara Hughes' amazing race getting her the bronze medal in the 5000m long track speed skating (the only Olympian ever to have multiple medals in both summer and winter Olympics), Charles Hamelin *finally* getting a medal (gold!) and then winning again in the relay, our men's curling team winning it (I was following curling way too much), and OF COURSE, HOCKEY MEN'S GOLD! It all came together for us in the last days. I think we could have gotten no medals and finished with hockey gold and Canada would be one happy country. Ending with 3rd most medals and a new record for most gold in a winter Olympics was just great.

The USA got *so many* medals! It was impressive! What crazy performances by their athletes like Shawn White in halfpipe, an honestly amazing men's hockey tournement up until the loss, the male figure skater beating that Russian guy, Apolo Ohno, etc. And other countries also had some great moments... Wow, the Slovenian woman falling into a pile of rocks and going on in cross-country skiing to win a medal! She was seriously amazing.

And wasn't the closing ceremony show just fun? What cute giant inflated beavers they had! Michael Bublé was just perfect for that song. I really didn't watch anything else for those 17 days.. No TV shows, no movies, just Olympics every time I was on the TV. It was just nice times to have these at home. And my daughter Nora now knows the Canada flag.

All this is apart from the tragic death of the Georgian luger... That was just very very sad and continues to be sad. Of course, I'd rather the Olympics didn't take place this year, no matter how great they were to watch, and have him alive than what actually happened, but I really can't do much more than spend a moment remembering the tragedy and make dua for him and his family.

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