Saturday, July 30, 2011

Non-Violence

I believe in the ideal of non-violence. I also believe in moderation and I think part of that is that force (violence) can be an acceptable way in certain situations, even if I believe that the ideal would be non-violence in any situation.


I know that the Qur'an talks A LOT about wars, but that it is out of defense that there should be fighting. Is there anything in the Qur'an or the religion of Islam that might indicate that the IDEAL is non-violence, even if fighting in self-defense is acceptable?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ramadan is Approaching

Now I know I have not been the most Muslim person lately with doubting a lot of very major things that make a person Muslim... But even with my search for truth and meaning going beyond Islam, I still want to appreciate the month of Ramadan and benefit from it. And probably most importantly, I want my daughter to.


Just to clarify, my search for meaning and truth has not gone away from Islam, it has just expanded so that now it's bigger than just looking into Islam and its teachings but also to other religions and philosophies along with Islam.

My plans this Ramadan focus a lot on making my daughter "feel" Ramadan. I don't want it to be difficult for her to feel how special the month is. I don't want her to have trouble connecting with her Muslim identity as she gets older because we ARE a Muslim family. I want her to know she is not exactly like most other kids she will be going to school with and becoming friends with and to know that it's not a bad thing! I don't want to spring it on her when she's 10 - I want it instilled in her that she is more than any other kid and I hope that this will make some of her tough decisions as a kid, pre-teen, teen and young adult easier. Basically, I want her to have a strong awareness of who she is!

The little things I have planned for her this Ramadan seem very insignificant when my ultimate goal is for her to be able to make good decisions because of a strong awareness of who she is, but a goal that big has to start somewhere! And building her Muslim identity is where it's at this Ramadan!

SO! What we will do is
1) decorate the apartment. Put up twinkly lights in the living room and her bedroom if she wants, with some Ramadan Karim lights and lantern lights my husband got from Egypt, if he can manage to convert the electricity plug on those.

2) do an Eid countdown with a chain made out of construction paper. I will write one small thing about Ramadan that I want her to know per day and encourage her to show her chain link to others and explain what she learned. For example, first one will be that people fast during Ramadan... She will learn what fasting means and that as a child, she doesn't fast, and as a pregnant woman, I am not fasting... I hope that she will discuss some of those things with her daycare buddies.

3) this is only IF she shows interest... I will encourage her to fast a few hours and make breaking the fast a bit special for her. She is only 4 so I will not suggest it unless she shows interest, which might not happen at all.

4) Pray while she is there and encourage her to join. I have not been doing salat so this is something she has not seen much of.

5) Bring her to the mosque. My husband has one Friday out of two off so I will get him to bring her for those two Fridays that he can. And I will try to bring her to teraweeh prayers once (one of those days when she had a late nap)

6) This is dumb but I think I will keep a dish of something out each day... Just like Christmastime has a lot of candies and chocolates in dishes out for us to snack on... An extra thing for her to remember and cling to. Something yummy that she will be happy to see again next year! I'd love your ideas on what that should be. Dates maybe?

7) Onto Eid... It's in the middle of the week I think and I will be working all day... But we will dress up nice for daycare and in the evenings and do a little something special. One evening we plan on seeing a movie in a cinema outside of town.

8) I will get her a piggy bank and give her some money. I think my parents would be on-board with participating for Eid too and there must be a couple Muslims we know that we will see that might do that too. She will learn that she can get herself something nice or pick out something for another child that she will give away and feel good about this day.

Well, that's the most of my list so far. I'm in a Ramadan buddies "program" and I hope to exchange more good ideas with my partner. She sent me the link I got the countdown chain idea from. Hopefully more little things I can add to this.

I welcome any ideas. My daughter is 4 years old and so far doesn't know about Ramadan at all. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diversity in Islam

I know it's something a lot Muslims wish didn't exist... I mean, beyond speaking different languages... Muslims want Islam to be pure. I can understand that to a certain extent.


But as my beliefs evolve, I realize that I don't believe there is one narrow true path that is Islam, so for me to see Muslims believing in different things and interpreting our religion in different ways from one another makes me feel... good. Like things are as they should be. The thing that makes me feel upset is the hate that exists sometimes towards people who believe in Islam differently.

Why is it so hard for some Muslims to focus on what they have in common with their fellow Muslims instead of what separates them?! Wouldn't we all be more united if we could open our minds? And isn't one of the most important things about Islam unity? It's so frustrating for me to see this because it seems so obvious to me that we need to work hard to unite while people who are supposed to be super observant practicing pious Muslims are pushing us all apart. Personally I want to unite with all of humanity no matter what religion, but as Muslims at the very least they should want to unite with other Muslims no?

Someone posted a link somewhere about the new TLC reality show about American Muslims... What I read in the description is that one of the Muslim(ah)s on the show is tattooed, pierced and married to a Catholic. I read about the show and thought it seemed pretty nice - something that will show that Muslims go through the same types of things others do. Muslims being normal people. It wasn't going to be a guide on Islam, just a show about people who are Muslim!

One person commented that it was so bad to show a "Muslim" (right there trying to show she doesn't approve of this person calling herself Muslim by putting it in quotes), that it was bad for the Ummah and that people are dirtying Islam (I imagine she had this woman in mind).

It's really frustrating. Even if this isn't directly linked to my previous post, I will use this:

YES to diversity!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

No to homophobia, yes to diversity!

I love gays. I simply do. As a group of people, I have very positive feelings towards them. I believe 100% in their right to pursue a relationship with another person of the same sex, in their right to marry that person and in their right to adopt children or have some themselves to raise with their same-sex partner.


With becoming Muslim, I found this a bit of a conflict. I think I probably wrote about it somewhere on my blog and I'm not sure how far I was able to deviate from what I truly feel about homosexuals, but the Muslim beliefs about how haram homosexuality is never "got" me.

I have a No to homophobia, yes to diversity! bracelet that I have been wearing lately. Anyone dare me to wear it to the mosque? I'm not one to start controversy, but some people have to or things don't change, right? And I also believe that homosexuals need to be treated as any other human being by Muslims. If a homosexual identifies as Muslim, then that is that and his or her relationships are between him/her and God. They should be welcomed to freely worship in the same mosque and this difference of belief should not bring them apart when they probably believe a lot of the same things too.

Go see what Becky posted HERE which I loved.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Husband's Birthday

I think I did the same post last year... I still just don't know!

At first I thought I'd buy him a gadget of some kind maybe from thinkgeek.com. Lots of cool stuff on there. But it's hard for me to know the line between what he thinks is cool and what he thinks is a waste of money and it would be a terrible gift to buy him something he thinks is a waste of money.

What he wants is to go to Niagara Falls but seriously, I am not up for a 8-10h trip (16-20h with coming back) over a weekend! I probably wouldn't even be up for it if we spent a whole week there, I hate long car rides. And pregnant, and with a 4 year old! And with a baby coming and needing to save some money... It's just not something I'm willing to give him.

So far, we will go see Harry Potter on Saturday night with some of his work friends. Sunday morning (his birthday) I will wake him up with pancakes and fresh fruit for breakfast and I will make fattah for his birthday supper (even though it's just not appetizing to me, so much FAT, ekh!).

I'm missing an actual gift... Any ideas?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The zoo

We went to the zoo yesterday and had a great time! It was me, Nora and two friends. We didn't see half the animals by the time the day ended though but we figure we saw the most interesting of them in the African section like the elephants, giraffes, gorillas and hippos. Nora also had a great time in the mini-farm touching and running after the goats and sheep. She even got to pet some pigs taking a nap but don't tell her dad!


There's a rides park that was fun and a water park that was very refreshing.

I saw a niqabi at the zoo! Only ever saw one other niqabi in real life here in Canada and never in my small city. But actually, about a third of women visiting the zoo were hijabis (and probably a third of people overall were Muslim) because of how much of a tourist destination this zoo is. I kind of found it sucked that me and Nora couldn't be identified at all as Muslim, and this is from me with my recent identity crisis!

With my tanned (but still white) friend and my South American friend, Nora looked like she might be their daughter more than mine because of her skin (especially since she came back from Egypt with a tan). LOL. I was reflecting the heck out of the sun!! My freckles got darker though.

Anyway, great time at the zoo, woohoo. I was walking around without any problems even with the pregnancy and managed to run after Nora and not cause myself any pain!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Can someone answer this for me

I am still really not sure about the issue of sex with slaves in Islam. What the f--- is up with that exactly? Based on what I read, I don't believe Islam supported slavery though it didn't flat-out ban it. Islam made beginner's steps towards abolishing slavery at least, so I can deal with that, but to allow sex with slaves?! I have a lot of trouble dealing with that.

Anyone have explanations for me? Explanations based on Quran over hadith would be great. I have put this issue to the side for too long and now, in the middle of dealing with religion and beliefs, I can't put it aside.

Thanks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm so happy my family is back

Feels like they never left even if they've only been back for a few days. I'm happy to get back into my old routine of taking care of Nora.

When me and my husband were at a low in our marriage last year and he decided to win me back and decided to change things about himself that I was not able to deal with, he said something that stuck with me. He told me a hadith that I have not been able to find but it was that a man knows he's a good husband when his wife is happy to see him when he gets back home and that what he wanted to do was strive for that in our marriage.

He achieved his goal and with him being gone for 3.5 weeks, I realized even more how much progress we have made in our marriage (how much progress my husband made in particular). I can say that when he arrives home after work, I am happy to see him. And when he is not there, I wish he was with us. To have both me and my husband feeling that way about seeing each other is just amazing :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just found out about this man through a UU email subscription... I had to look further into it and found it very interesting. He was a big part of the transcendentalist movement and was a Unitarian and somehow considered part of UU too.


It was most interesting for me because my grand-father's name was Waldo Ralph. I asked my dad if it might be possible that his father was named after this man and I was told that yes, he was! In this Catholic province! I need to find out more! I hope there is more that someone knows about my great-grand-parents and their beliefs and inspirations but that might have died with them and the people they knew. My grand-father was 50 when my dad was born and 60 when my uncle was born which is as old as some grand-parents (like Nora's!). So his parents... I don't know how long my dad and uncle knew them for.

Isn't it interesting to find out these things? Maybe it's because it was so very traditionally Catholic until not so long ago here that me imagining my own family being open-minded like that in the 1800's and in 1901 (when my grand-father was born) is very exciting.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Unrealistic Expectations

Whole thing taken from Sara's blog "Neo-colonialism and its Discontents" and the source for this, written by an American named Maggie Sager is here.
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We expect Palestinians to not throw stones at the IDF jeeps who come to teargas their protestations against the illegal confiscation of their entire villages while we wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a man who shot a robber attempting to take his television set;

We expect them to not elect representatives that reflect their religious sentiments though no one is surprised when the Christian Right attempts to influence our political system and we ally ourselves with the likes of Saudi Arabia;

and we expect Palestinian society to wholly unshackle itself from the bonds of misogyny, racism and bigotry before we acknowledge their entitlement to basic human rights, despite our own shortcomings, including the reality that the realization of LGBT equality within the United States itself is relatively new and still imperfect.

In all of the struggles for liberation many Americans support, including civil rights for African Americans, we have never required such a high standard of “goodness” before acknowledging a group’s basic humanity.

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Siblings Sharing Bedrooms

What has your experience been either as a child yourself or as a parent?

I never shared a room with my brother except for some summers where we'd spend most of it camping in the basement to avoid the heat. We enjoyed that though and it was a nice bonding experience. I have no strong positive or negative feelings about having my own room when I was young but I would like Nora and the new baby to share a room and have that very strong sister-brother bond that forms when spending more time together and having to share.

I'd like them to always have two rooms though, both shared. One for sleeping and clothes and stuff and the other for play and homework. I like the idea of not having most toys belonging to one child and most toys being "family toys". And eventually when it doesn't work anymore, they could easily enough have their own room - I like to be open-minded enough to allow them to make their own decisions about the set-up eventually and not just go with my own preference!

Monday, July 4, 2011

I miss my family

In 6 days they will be back!!

Me and my husband had some really great talks in the past few days. On Saturday I got to see him and Nora for about 6 hours total (some of that with my husband alone though)! It's almost like spending the day with them! :D

The two last times my husband arrived to Canada (first time after 1 year apart, second time after the last vacation in Egypt), I didn't really feel excited about seeing him. The first time, we hadn't seen each other in one year and since then, I'd had Nora in Canada alone, etc. It was tough and I was missing him a lot, but the way things were going with him and his problems dealing with stress, I was close to just telling him to stay in Egypt and screw it! I understand now how he just wasn't able to communicate how it made him feel to be leaving his family permanently and how his mother was being so emotional for a while before he left and how that was affecting him too. Anyway, the last thing he managed to say to me before getting on the plane was 'Fuck you' and I just wanted to kill him!

Second time when he came back with Nora... Well, he had missed the original flight and thus extended their vacation an extra week. I just went straight for Nora when they arrived and I was still really mad at him!

This time, if he doesn't miss his flight, I think I will totally jump in his arms and kiss him. I'm excited and happy that I miss my husband too this time. :)

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