Monday, April 30, 2012

Free Education

It's the huge thing here lately. I don't know how much coverage it has gotten outside of Quebec, but the raise in university tuition planned by our government is causing major demonstrations and destruction around here. The students are going flat out nuts in the streets for the past 2 months against this raise.

Right now, it's just under 2000$ per year for university for a Quebecker. It's not bad at all. It's around 5000$ in most other provinces in Canada as far as I know and maybe 15 000-20 000$ in the USA? I don't think it's the best thing to always compare ourselves to others... I mean, if we can be even better, why not be, right? BUT we are not a rich province! And no one wants to pay more income tax to make university even cheaper so... No choice but to raise the tuition fees! Before 2007, they were flat out stuck at the amount they were at. No raise even for inflation. Since 2007, they have been going up by 100$ per year. But it's simply not enough to cover the hole the government put itself in with years and years of keeping tuition so low. 

The plan is to raise it by 325$ per year for 5 years. So first year 325$, second year 650$, etc until the 5th year, tuition is 1625$ more expensive (total about 3625$ per year). 

Both sides of the debate have their dumb moments as far as I'm concerned. Some students have been more than dumb, they've been flat out criminal by breaking down doors, breaking windows, sending death threats (yeah, bunch of dumbasses). A lot of students have been dumb in doing nothing else than saying, "No to tuition hikes!" and not presenting or even being able to imagine a solution. Some have actually gone the whole way demanding completely free university education. (With what money, I ask)

The ones who are for the tuition hike have had their really dumb moments in saying something like, "You can have an ipod but you can't pay an extra 325$?". I'm not sure if they understand that it's 225$ (minus the 100$ it would already go up) the first year, 450$ extra the second year, 675$ extra the 3rd year so if a person started his first of three years the first year of the hike, he'd be spending 1350$ more for his education... Ditching the ipod won't cover it. And if a person is entering university after the 5 years are done, it'd be 1125$ more than he would've paid just for that first year! 

So yes, it's steep when we're used to paying under 2000$ per year and I understand that point. 

The new offer by the government is to increase it over a period of 7 years instead of 5 years. But over 7 years, it's going to end up being 1778$ increase at the end and not 1625$ (or even 1625$ plus inflation). So there goes a new batch of outrage! It's no longer an increase of 75%, it's an increase of 82%. 

What they don't seem to want to take into consideration is the amount each year that the government would've gotten that they would not get if they raised it the same amount of 1625$ over 7 instead of 5. It's not just the amount of those two extra years, it's an amount each year that is more and more each year. The first year, they get 70 something less, the second year, 100 something less, etc. Altogether over 7 years (taking into account that the 7th year they pay more than 1625$) they will still have lost over 1000$. If we don't take inflation into account and the variation in number of students enrolled and suppose that after 5 years they stay at 1625$ for the future and after 7 years 1778$ for the future, it will be the 15th year after the start of raising tuition that they will have gotten what they lost by raising it over 7 years.

So it's not THAT outrageous, is it?

Anyway, I'm just tired of hearing about it and tired of them wreaking havoc on the city and tired of hearing people want everything for nothing in this life! 

Sex disgusts me

OK, it's an exaggerated statement because sex with my husband doesn't disgust me at all...

But the idea of sex with someone else who has had sex with others is just disgusting. Until he has been without sex for a certain amount of time and gotten tested for all STDs under the sun. I'm not going to teach my children about safe sex, I'm going to teach them about paranoid sex! I'll teach them about the ideal of waiting until after marriage, etc. but I'm a realist and I find sex ed very important so that if they have a decision to make, they can make an informed one.

Seriously though, my friend is creeping me out with her STDs! She had one before (HPV) and now risks having another one that the guy told her about after doing the deed. She's more worried about the new one and is quite depressed about it all. She feels that if she has it, she will lose any chance at having a good relationship with someone, etc. I don't think that's 100% true but not sleeping around for a while would be necessary because as it is now, no man takes her seriously as relationship material and honestly, I know she's not "there" yet.

What worries and disgusts me even more is that she had HPV before and for that one, she never felt it was necessary to tell her partners about it! I know it's not a very big deal for a man who gets it (for himself), but he is going to sleep with someone else, and transmit it to someone else! GOOD JOB. She was so upset and angry at the guy she figures gave it to her (though realistically it could have been any of the previous partners too) and she somehow forgot to follow that thought through... To see that the reason he didn't know he had it (if he even does) is because a woman who had it didn't tell him (or didn't even know she had it). That she is helping the spread of HPV by sleeping around without telling them about it first. With the people she sees, they probably would do it anyway and probably would not warn a future partner, but it's about not being a hypocrite too I think.

Seriously people: PARANOID SEX FTW!!!

Note: In this day and age, paranoid sex= abstinence, am I right?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Police People of my City

I think they don't have much to do. They give out parking and speeding tickets mostly, and deal with conflicts. Remember around Christmas when someone parked in front of my yard and I was unable to get my car in? They were on the scene in 10 minutes! Just now there was a small accident in front of my store. Someone was coming out of a lot and wasn't able to see the incoming car on the street because of a large van and a small kaboom happened (no one hurt but the incoming car's hood is kinda crooked). Police were on the scene in, I swear, less than 3 minutes.

Do they have nothing to do? I guess it's a good thing that these are the most pressing matters! lol

Acceptance has no boundaries

"im a white muslim woman who for the most part does not wear hijab. im a nurse and a mother to 5 mixed race children. 4 black/white and 1 white/egyptian brown. i was born and raised in the southern some im a southern cracker, ignorant jerry springer georgian. to some im a nigger lover. to some im whitey. to some im a towel head, oppressed woman, terrorist. to some im forever a revert - never a real muslim. to some im an infidel american, to some im a poor excuse for a muslim because im not covered all of the what am i then? what is the person at the bottom of this messy pile? i am the same as all of you. a human with a heart and soul who believes that acceptance has no boundaries."

- Quoting my good online friend Jana.

I'm a pretty trusting person. To the point of innocence and naivety sometimes (but I'm starting to recognize it now)... It's hard to believe how much hate there is in the world when someone like Jana, a simply wonderful person, can be treated like this on so many occasions.

I'm hoping most people reading this completely disagree and are appalled by the way she was treated. I'm hoping the last sentence resonates with you. That she should have been accepted for her choices and not judged as she was judged by whoever those people were.

But I'm asking my fellow Muslims this: What if it was one step different and she was a Muslim woman married to a non-Muslim man? Or one step further and she was letting her teenage daughter and her boyfriend live under her roof? Or one more step further and she came out as a lesbian but still wanted to attend Jumah on Fridays?
Would you be open to having her be part of the Muslim community? Would you tolerate her without judgement? Would you allow her to live this lifestyle freely and put your personal ideas aside?

Please note that those examples have nothing to do with Jana herself and are ideas that aren't inspired by her in any way. Just inspired by judgement that I've seen happen to other people in these situations.

How would you react to a person wanting to be part of Islam and wanting to worship God and wanting to be part of a community of Muslims if she fit any of the above situations? Would you still welcome her with open arms? Would you give her love, acceptance, generosity (basically everything that is good and islamic, everything that you would hope for if you were yourself new in a community)?

It's something I've started to believe in more and more strongly with time. That we can never be too open-minded. 

Aahh, I was at my parents and my prayer alarm beeped. No big deal, just a couple beeps. My daughter says, "Mom, it's the alarm for prayer!", "Are we going to do the prayer here at Mamie and Papy's?", "Mom, when the alarm rings, it's time to do the prayer NOW"
Then she showed my mom the positions and told her, the prayer is "akbar". She even managed to tell my mom that she didn't do it alone because she didn't know how, it was only me.

So yeah... That was awkward, and like I wrote before, my mom didn't ask a lot of questions. She asked my daughter if she did the prayer and how it was, but nothing to me like, "Why are you praying Islamic prayers, are you Muslim?"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Store (sharing pics)

The store is actually going well these days! Lots of business for the past 3 weeks or so and my husband is exhausted! But it's good news of course that he has so much stuff to fix and is selling things as well. If it can continue like this for a few months, he can clear his debts and think about quitting his other full time night shift job. We need to have cleared those debts and have a trend that indicates that the store could at the bare minimum continue to cover its costs to start really considering this option. But staying with the other full time job is no long-term option either.

The store front. Those game boxes are gone and are a display TV now with our promotions.  We are closing the other side of the store that we don't see in the picture we tried to open for the games.

Store is very small. This is most of the display area. When we clean out the games from two other similar displays, we'll have better computer stuff displays. 
From the entrance, the door to the back store and our cash area. And Adam's parking spot.  
The messy messy MESSY back of the store. The pile of blankets and diaper bag is mine for Adam though and I'm taking care of recycling which is those boxes there... But still, it's not amazing organization. Understand why I get frustrated? lol  

This is the other side of the store that is being closed down. We sold the TVs and tables and have someone who will hopefully buy 2 couches too. We are redefining and eliminating the games section to focus on computers. Should've been that from the beginning but he tried and got it out of his mind! My husband would've loved to combine computers and games but it was simply not meant to be.

Funny thing, the guy who used to have a computer store here closed for a couple months and re-opened somewhere and in his new store, he also sells jewelry. Errr.... WTF, right?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Feeling UGH

Today is my husband's day off per two weeks. The only day we can be together until May 6th. Yesterday evening I was given the silent treatment the whole night and today, he's barricaded himself in his room and told me to do one thing for him: Not bother him and not ask him to take care of the kids.

I'm feeling cheated and taken advantage of.

When he gets upset with me, he makes sure it affects the people I care about the most. Yes, it affects me because I expected and wanted a day altogether, and I admit that I also wanted a day where I could have a little help with the kids, the baby especially, to let me freely try to make a couple meals and maybe sit down without him in my lap. And no, the kids aren't crying for their dad. They're used to it. But it doesn't mean they don't feel his absence, Nora especially. I'm sad for all that they don't get more than I am for me not having the family day I wanted.

And I'm honestly ANGRY at him, but that part I'll try to leave off the page.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Two linked family stories - Mom/Cousin

About a week ago, my daughter was explaining to me why my hair is straight and her's is curly and it was really funny and cute. I don't remember exactly what she said, but I was telling my mom how cute Nora answered so she went and asked her directly, "Why does your mom have straight hair and not curly hair?"

My daughter starts up on a completely different story (still kinda cute, but not quite what I wanted her to answer as you'll see): 
"Mom doesn't have curly hair because when she takes off her hijab, it's even flatter and it's like this and like this, but she still ties it up in a ponytail!" 

Errrr... Nora! What the heck is she saying? I wear hijab when I pray but my parents don't know of my conversion and if anything, it's a bit of a don't wanna know situation with them, I feel. They must not be far from knowing, but probably don't want to ask flat out either. What my daughter said combined with the time a couple years ago that my brother "caught" me wearing hijab out in public and my very positive way of speaking about Islam and going to the mosque sometimes which they know about must make them think that I sometimes wear hijab out and that I'm Muslim. Well... part of that is true except the hijab part. 

I'm not ready for them to know so I was left really red and uncomfortable, hoping my mom wouldn't ask and she didn't... 


I was at my cousin's house earlier in the week and I was just talking to her about the Muslim women I met up with a while ago. It might only have to do with this... But she brought up hijab right away and asked if I'd ever wear it or if I planned on wearing it. We were not talking about hijab at all. I was mostly just talking about how many kids there were when we met up and how nice it was to hang out with other moms so even if we were in a "Muslim" type of conversation, it was still pretty far to bring up hijab. Especially hijab on me!

I think it's possible my mom talked to her about it, or to someone else and it got to my cousin... We're a pretty close family and women like to chit chat. I don't really care or mind so it's not a big deal whether or not that's how it happened but it brought something that really touched me. 

My cousin told me she didn't like the idea of hijab, but that if I ever wore it she'd be fine with it and would still hang out with me and it would change nothing of our relationship. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Commentary by Muhammad Asad: al-falaq

SAY: "I seek refuge with the Sustainer of the rising dawn (113:1)
قُلۡ اَعُوۡذُ بِرَبِّ الۡفَلَقِ

Commentary: The term al-falaq ("the light of dawn" or "the rising dawn") is often used tropically to describe "the emergence of the truth after [a period of] uncertainty" (Taj al-'Arus): hence, the appellation "Sustainer of the rising dawn" implies that God is the source of all cognition of truth, and that one's "seeking refuge" with Him is synonymous with striving after truth.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HPV vaccination

There's something about the thought of giving a 13 year old a vaccine against an STI that bugs me a lot. I was initially strongly against this vaccine. It's like accepting that your child will soon be engaging in unsafe sex. I don't even want my 13 year old to be close to engaging in any kind of sex!

BUT, then I really thought about it and I was able to see the reality that we cannot control our teens 100% and that we don't know what behaviours they will engage in when they're older. It could be unsafe sex no matter how careful I was in the way I raised them and I would prefer they be safe even if they were engaging in behaviours I disapprove of.

Next BUT, I don't feel 100% positive about over-vaccination (I'm not an anti-vax mom, but I'm not crazy about it and prefer to avoid ones I find less important). And I know that the HPV only protects against some of the strains...

I don't know what I'll do when the time comes... I have a long time to think about it and get more information about it as studies continue since it is very new at the moment...

How do you feel about the HPV vaccine? How do you feel about vaccination overall? Will your daughter be getting this vaccine, would you give it to your daughter if it was free?

Parenting - Sleep Approach

I always try to lean towards the middle way in everything. I like to be moderate in every aspect of my life as much as possible. I'm going to make a series of posts on the approach I personally take in different parts of my parenting. I'd LOVE for people to comment on how they deal with things and add advice, tips and anything at all. I'm always looking to become better and fix problems that I have with my flawed approaches.


My 5 month old son sleeps with me in my bed all the time. He has a crib but we haven't used it since he was practically a newborn and so far I'm not planning on re-introducing it yet. I'm a well-rested parent and that's how I like it!

Sure, it would be great if he could just be put down in his crib and stay there until the next morning, but that's not happening, and I don't really believe it's a good idea for me to be training him to be away from me. We're so comfortable with one another and I feel like I'm protecting him and taking care of him and loving him 24/7 since well.. I am. lol And I just figure he's happy and he feels taken care of and protected all the time too and there's nothing I want more than a well taken care of, happy, content, safe baby!

With my daughter Nora, I did the same and for the most part she slept with me in my bed until 4 years old. She had her room around 2 years old and she slept there sometimes, but we were both more comfortable together in the end. I made her a really cute room when I got pregnant to get her used to sleeping by herself and the switch was no problem. She has always been very independent and outgoing from a young age and it makes me believe in the idea that the closer she is to me and the more secure she is, the more she'll feel comfortable going out into the world, knowing she has me there if she needs anything at all.

I'm hoping to move Adam to Nora's room when he's about 1 year old but not before. I also believe it's going to be good for them to share a room. I don't know why we make it seem like kids need so much private space - it's been my observation that they really don't need that much! A newborn baby certainly doesn't need his own room... How weird to put them over there away from us?

Now, the part that makes this set up not work for everyone: Where's the dad/husband in all this? Me and my husband got in the habit of not sleeping together when he was in Egypt waiting for his permanent residency and I was here in Canada. After that, with our different sleeping habits and having Nora, we just kept it that way. I think we're more comfortable this way! We slept in the same bed when I was in Egypt for those 7 months, but other than that neither of us has slept with others. We were single before each other (we're each other's first relationship) and so we've always slept alone and not with another man or woman.

Anyway, this works for us but I know that for some people, sleeping together is a big part of the intimacy they get and it's nothing they'd want to change.

How do you sleep? How important is this arrangement for you? What would you change from the way you did things?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Parenting Posts?

I'm thinking of adding a parenting component to this blog... I'd have some posts about my kids, how I parent them, how others parent theirs and my opinions on them and invitations to discuss things... Something that would probably fit well on its own separate blog, but I really don't like when others do that. I prefer dealing with a bit of a less focused blog but having everything in one place. What do you guys think?

Interested? Not interested? Not interested but don't mind the inconvenience of skipping over the posts that bore you?

Friday, April 13, 2012

MPV Principle TEN

Principle 10

Diversity: We embrace religious pluralism and the diversity of inspirations that motivate people to embrace social justice. We believe that one's religion is not the exclusive source of truth. As such, we will engage with a diversity of philosophical and spiritual traditions in pursuit of a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.

Commentary: This sounds a little bit like the UU philosophy which I of course love. I have been putting more and more emphasis on being more open-minded and I really think there can be no limit to it. I think that even a person who disagrees with the second sentence of this principle can be open to letting others believe what they want to believe and be fully open to them. Even traditional Islam shows us that there is truth in other religions. Particularly Judaism and Christianity, but it's not hard to notice similarities in the values of Islam and even other non-recognized (if I may call them that) religions like Buddhism. If we notice that, we cannot deny that there is truth there.

MPV Principle NINE

Principle 9

Compassion: We affirm that justice and compassion should be the guiding principles for all aspects of human conduct. We repudiate militarism and violence, whether on an individual, organizational, or national level.

Commentary: I love this. I believe in this myself though I've wondered about the Islamic view because even though it was in no way barbaric, war is not a "nono" in the Qur'an. There are conditions, but it doesn't sound like non-violence either.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Should I Foster a Dog? My Issues

I kind of volunteered to foster a dog for a rescue in a worst case scenario and for a temporary (1-2 months) period of time. Nothing set in stone, but they need help after the current foster for the dog moved. The post has nothing to do with whether or not dogs are allowed in the home (unless someone feels a strong need to bring that up) because I feel 100% confident and happy with my position on dogs being perfectly OK in a home.

BUT, I have some issues that might make it a very bad idea to foster this dog.

Issue 1: Not allowed dogs in the apartment. Neither is the upstairs neighbour though and not only does he have a dog, he has his own dog who is there permanently. And it's in his contract as much as mine that dogs are not allowed and he's not being kicked out over it. Owner has accepted his dog permanently so I should have no problems with what I offered the rescue.

Issue 2: Husband doesn't like dogs and doesn't feel comfortable around them and holds the traditional Muslim cultural mentality and ideas about dogs (dirty, invalidates prayer, no angels enter, etc) He wouldn't accept if I asked the question and he'd be angry if I arrived with a dog. He might tolerate the dog if it was here with nowhere to go but might also make a gigantic problem over it. I realize it wouldn't be fair to force him with it but I feel like there could be a solution/compromise. Any ideas for this?

Issue 3: This rescue has some iffy practices. I read that they buy dogs about to be killed from a for-profit high kill pound with really bad practices so they are supporting them and their disgusting practices indirectly by buying these dogs. I know that the dogs they buy really are about to be killed in the next day or so and had no chance of survival except for this rescue and I respect that, but I suspect it might be a money-making strategy. This pound deals with the majority of strays in the Montreal area, so LOTS of dogs daily. A lot of these dogs are perfectly great and adoptable, and cute on top of that so for them to save these very adoptable dogs and re-home them for their adoption fee gives them profit.

That's the second thing that bugs me about them. Their adoption fees. They are so high that I wonder if there is not the possibility that the rescue guys are making profit from it that they keep. 400$ is the standard adoption fee and they write that it can go up to 600$ for pure breed puppies. 150-300$ sounds more standard and reasonable to me based on what I have seen elsewhere and maybe 350$-400$ for puppies of more in demand breeds. They rely 100% on fosters who mainly pay all the food and accessories for their foster dogs. The rescue pays vet bills and operating them so there's something off about that.

They are always having urgent pleas for help on their website and petfinder and Facebook, a lot of times because of a shortage of fosters for these dogs. It seems like if they concentrated on thoroughly helping the dogs they have and letting go of the bad pound as a source of dogs, they could run a 100% "right" but smaller and higher quality rescue.

Onto the dog that I want to foster:

She is a dog that I know they got from an owner who didn't want her anymore and was about to be put to sleep. Nothing to do with the pound I hate. She is 8 years old so obviously was not taken to get quick money from. Few people want to adopt an old dog. I do believe they have good intentions and I can see that they work hard and have passion for saving dogs... I'm just iffy on some things like I wrote.

The biggest issue is my husband though, isn't it? After writing it all out, that's what I've been able to see... Is there a way any of you can think for me to be able to have this dog? My husband has said he'd be OK with having a dog when we have our own house and can give the dog his own space... I have a small yard and balcony here and I can put a barrier between the hallway leading the rooms and another barrier at the entrance of our living room to let the dog only be in our kitchen/dining area. My husband is hardly here! OMG I want this dog! :S

Monday, April 9, 2012

Talking about someone

This is an area I need to be more careful about but I have trouble knowing where to draw the line. I like to talk talk talk when I'm in certain situations (husband, mom, best friend, blog) and I know sometimes I need to shut my mouth. I also figure some of what I say is perfectly OK to be said but I want your opinions on which situations are OK and which are not and the severity of each.

1) talking with with my mom, friend or husband about what a person whose blog I follow is going through (example, telling them about how someone online is a second wife and she's having a hard time, etc). It is directly about a person but the people I'm talking to don't know the person and the person doesn't know I'm talking about them. It's nothing negative about the person though it's not likely to result in extra dua for the person or anything good either.

2) writing on my blog about a specific situation that happened where the people reading don't know who it's about and the person who it's about doesn't know I wrote it. It is nothing bad about the person, but nothing good either like above. Has higher likelihood of resulting in some dua for the person since people who follow me are more religious and mindful than people in my real life.

3) Same situation as above, but it is something bad, but advice is asked and the situation is used as reference (like the post when I wondered if it was proper naseeha or not).

4) Same situation as above (anonymous and not directly affecting anyone, but is a real situation) and I want to rant about it (like ranting about a woman being taken advantage of by her husband for example)

5) writing on my blog about a general hypothetical situation inspired by something that happened but is not actually about that situation. It is generally negative and ranty but not directly about someone.

6) Talking to my mom about my best friend who she knows in real life. It's nothing good, it's me getting out my feelings about bad things she is doing and wondering how to help her. All this knowing there's probably nothing I can really do.

Give me your opinions on how bad these are... And while on the topic, how important is it that what is said is something that is either positive or could result in good thoughts about the person or dua for the person?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

MPV Principle EIGHT

Principle 8

Critical Analysis and Interpretation: We call for critical engagement with Islamic scripture, traditional jurisprudence, and current Muslim discourses. We believe that critical thinking is essential to spiritual development. We promote interpretations that reflect basic Qur'anic principles of tolerance, inclusiveness, mercy, compassion, and fairness.

Commentary: Like the Qur'an tells us, we should use our reasoning and not deny it. The Qur'an also tells us to be kind, generous, tolerant, just, etc. etc. (all sorts of beautiful values) and the interpretations that support these values and are supported by the Qur'an should be looked into. Why follow rulings blindly especially when they are only found in man-compiled hadiths and go against Qur'anic principles. Are Qur'anic principles not more of a base to our faith than this? If we can put fear of questioning the way we learned Islam aside, we might learn something new (and maybe we'll confirm that what we believed is indeed what we still believe - but more strongly after this critical analysis).

Indirect and Public Islamic Advice

Is this a good way to do it?

This comes after what I wrote about the haram sandwich... I felt uncomfortable with the accommodation situation and simply didn't feel like driving the 2.5-3h there and back to go make Nora play there and meet up and be uncomfortable.

I could have pretty easily gone. Nora was sick before but she was feeling better and well enough to go and my husband needed me at the store before but in the end he didn't and was telling me to go. Those were the two reasons why my invitation was at a "maybe" the day before the playdate.

So I didn't go and I thought about it the whole day wondering if it was the right thing. I believe in respecting our engagements and that "not feeling like it" is not a good reason to cancel things. I guess I felt bad about not going because I knew that's pretty much what I did, right?

The woman who had set the playdate up wrote on her FB wall yesterday that she was seeing a lot of Muslims not respecting their ingagements and that it was unislamic and that this was a reminder to them. I'm thinking she had me in mind (and probably/hopefully the haram police woman who cancelled too). Should she not have given me this advice in private and directly? Or maybe waited longer like until next week to post it so that I didn't feel so darn concerned and embarrassed and bad about it if her goal was just for me to learn a little something?

What is the right way to give me this bit of advice?

Wudu or tayammum?

What are the reasons that allow a person to do tayammum instead of wudu?

The first of these is the absence of sufficient water for the performance of wudû’ or ghusl.

The second is the inability to use the available water on account of sickness or on account of severe cold whereby a person fears that using the water will bring about an illness, aggravate an existing illness, or delay recovery.

The first condition is pretty rare over here... Water is everywhere and easily accessible within a couple minutes max. If I were in the woods hiking and couldn't spot a river and it was a couple hours before I planned on getting back to a water source in the city and had only enough water for my thirst, I imagine that could be a good reason for tayammum. Better that and praying now than waiting and risking missing the prayer, right? If I got back to a water source before the prayer time was over, doing wudu and doing the prayer again could be an option to be on the safe side.

The second condition is the one I'm more interested in right now because I'm in a situation that I feel falls under that category. I've had exzema on my hand for about 3 years and it can become really itchy and burning and cracks my skin and makes my nails look weird but it has been under control for a while. Well, NOT ANYMORE. In fact, I'm developing some on both forearms! I think it's obvious that it's caused by the wudu considering the timing of me starting to pray 3weeks ago and the location (forearms).

Wudu is aggravating my existing exzema and bringing about new exzema on my arms and not allowing my skin to heal itself when it cracks when I'm putting water on it so often. But it's not a life or death thing and I do wash my hands as regularly as I need to so it's not like I avoid water generally... Where is the line between an OK amount of water on my skin and too much water that causes exzema?! It feels weird to randomly select times when I do regular wudu and others when I avoid it and to tayammum... But it's obviously just too much and the line is between my old hand-washing habits and my new hand-washing+wudu habits.

I got some ideas/tips from my husband:

Idea one was that I do wudu with gloves to avoid water on my hand and forearms but that's just weird and defeating the purpose since the Qur'an has an alternative if I can't get water on myself. I don't see why I'd make up my own alternative when there's one right there in the book. And wasting water by using it on top of rubber gloves sounds unislamic. In a small way, but still unislamic.

Idea two was actually really good! For me to try to keep myself in a state of wudu as long as possible to not have to do wudu every time! Asr is around 4:30, Maghreb 7:30 and isha 9pm. I can do all of these with one wudu sometimes which only leaves 2 other prayers to wash for...

For the past few days I do wudu if I feel my skin is sensitive or has worsened and wudu if I'm washing my hands anyway and if I can especially to pray asr so I can keep it until after isha prayer...

What would you suggest I do and what do you base that opinion on? Should I just not worry about it and do tayammum to give the very best chance for my exzema to get better or continue to do a bit of both where my exzema doesn't seem to worsen but doesn't exactly feel great?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The haram sandwich

Mind if I tell a ranting story?
I can't believe I've already had two annoying religion situations with girls I met 3 weeks ago. Seems like too much! It's no wonder those two in particular I didn't spend much time talking to and clicking with.
A couple of them are meeting up tomorrow at an indoor play place for the kids and the woman was trying to get the owners of the place to accommodate them by allowing them to bring food they ordered from outside. I said I personally would rather follow their rules and respect the reasons they have them like needing to make a bit of money on the snacks and drinks and sandwiches they sell on site. Two women agreed that we should eat there.
Another one writes that she would not eat their food because if a place has ham, everything is contaminated! For example if a person uses her hands to make both the ham sandwich which we cannot eat and an egg sandwich. She says that the egg sandwich becomes haram.
I admit I might've been a bit harsh. I couldn't help it but I replied sarcastically. I wrote, "Using that logic, we wouldn't be able to buy a bag of chips at a store that sells pork? My husband wouldn't have been able to kiss me because I've eaten pork before? Let's not go nuts! There's a difference between eating a ham sandwich and eating an egg sandwich prepared by someone who has made a ham sandwich."
One of the women who was willing to eat there tried to reassure by saying that the rules on contamination are strict and they'd have to use a different board and utensils for each sandwich and that she wasn't worried and joked that we werent there to appear in the news (religious accommodation is on and off a big topic that makes Mulsims look bad in the news).
This was all in French so this will be an interpretation of the haram girl's reply to me, "I don't make the rules on what is allowed and what is not! Seriously, your comment is pretty dumb Candice. Ask your mosque if someone makes a ham sandwich and right away after a halal turkey sandwich it becomes haram. Get some information before you talk!"
And then she said she wasn't able to go tomorrow afterall.
I didn't reply and I'll just stay out of it but I'm really tempted to ask what the acceptable delay is for a person to be able to make a halal sandwich!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MPV Principle SEVEN

Principle 7

LGBTQ Rights: We endorse the human and civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) individuals. We support full equality and inclusion of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, in society and in the Muslim community. We affirm our commitment to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Commentary: No matter the person's sexual orientation, they should have the same rights as anyone else (see principle 2). There shouldn't be any discrimination based on sexual orientation in any part of their lives including religious. The word "inclusion" is important. It's one thing for a Muslim to accept that homosexuals exist "over there" but this principle calls for them to be included in whatever community they associate with including the Muslim community (see principle 1 on accepting as Muslim anyone who labels him or herself this way).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MPV Principle SIX

Principle 6

Women’s Rights: We support women’s agency and self-determination in every aspect of their lives. We believe in women’s full participation in society at every level. We affirm our commitment to reproductive justice and empowering women to make healthy decisions regarding their bodies, sexuality and reproduction.

Commentary: Let's just say: Our uterus isn't a good reason to deprive us from doing anything we want and are able to do in society. And men don't have the final word on the amazing ability our bodies have of bringing a new human to this world, it's our bodies after all. And related to the principle of separation of religion and state, if a woman makes the wrong decision on what her body is able to do, it was her's to make and God will be the judge.

Monday, April 2, 2012

MPV Principle FIVE

Principle 5

Universal Human Rights: We affirm our commitment to social, economic and environmental justice. We believe that the full self-realization of all people, in a safe and sustainable world, is a prerequisite for freedom, civility, and peace. We support efforts for universal health care, universal public education, the protection of our environment, and the eradication of poverty.

Commentary: Beautiful! In connection to believing that everyone is equal, everyone has the same rights. I also interpret this principle to be about unity - everyone in the world is equal and there aren't different norms for different countries. In simple terms, it's also about sharing...

MPV Principle FOUR

Principle 4:

Freedom of Speech: We support freedom of expression and freedom of dissent, whether political, artistic, social or religious, even when that expression may be offensive and that dissent may be considered blasphemous. No one should be legally prosecuted, imprisoned or detained for declaring or promoting unpopular opinions.

Commentary: Someone can disagree with the views of others and be allowed to say it even if some people believe that the opinion goes against God. In the end, God will judge those people themselves, won't He? In the meantime, we should let everyone figure things out for themselves and accept that we are only human and that even if we strongly believe something, it's a belief and only God knows the real truth.

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