Saturday, March 31, 2012

MPV Principle THREE

Principle 3


Separation of Religious and State Authorities: We believe that freedom of conscience is not only essential to all human societies but integral to the Qur'anic view of humanity. We believe that secular government is the only way to achieve the Islamic ideal of freedom from compulsion in matters of faith.

Commentary: Since we are only human, we make mistakes and this includes mistakes in interpreting God's will. We should all be free to follow our religion as we believe it, whether it's Islam or any other religion so we need to make government separate from religion to allow this freedom.

Friday, March 30, 2012

MPV Principle TWO

Principle 2


Equality: We affirm the equal worth of all human beings, regardless of race, sex, gender, ethnicity, nationality, creed, sexual orientation, or ability. We are committed to work toward societies that ensure social, political, educational, and economic opportunities for all.

Commentary: It seems pretty obvious what this means and I was innocent and naive enough to imagine for the longest time that most people agree that every human is of equal worth (we can add "in the eyes of God") and that injustices exist because of a few humans who don't believe that they are and who have power, as well as humans who believe it but put their immediate wants before what they know is right. I've grown up a little and I've seen beyond my little world and I can now recognize that it's not the case that most people believe this very simple and obvious principle...

I'd like the people who are reading this to just think it over. Do you believe in this principle? What implications does belief in this principle of equality have on society (allowing EVERYONE to have the same opportunities)?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MPV Principle ONE

I'm going to make a 10-part series on the 10 Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) principles with a bit of a personal commentary on each of them. I'm just hoping to inform others about the MPV principles and inspire others to think about them for themselves.


1) Identity: We accept as Muslim anyone who identifies as such. The veracity and integrity of that claim is between the individual and God, and is not a matter for the state nor an issue which other individuals can or should judge.

Commentary: We can wonder if certain actions make "a person" fall outside the folds of Islam if we want as a way to better OURSELVES and make sure that we are not part of those, but there should be no judging of others as God is the only one who knows what is in a person's heart. A person, a community, a government or any group should stay away from labeling others for them based on their own interpretations of Islam or observations of a person.

Question for you: Do you accept as Muslim any person who wants to label him or herself Muslim?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spirituality

It has been over a week since I met up with the group of women I wrote about and I still feel the effect of the being with people who prioritize spirituality.


I'm back to my normal little life and routine since then but with the freedom of not working full time and the inspiration that came from being with them, I've been praying more and thinking of God more often in my day. How great it feels to not only read about spiritual topics and think of them once in a while, but to actually do something that is making me feel closer to God overall and that I feel is bringing me in the right direction.

I consider it all part of the long and meaningful journey that will end at the same time as my life here on earth and I feel like every part of it was significant and important, but it's nice to get out of the dormant phase and to be more active.

I haven't thought of being openly Muslim in a long time and the idea is slowly returning. The three things I pray for the most are (1) for God to allow me to be a better person and allow me to be closer to the truth, (2) to make me strong enough to be who I am and not be afraid of the outside opinion when it comes to displaying my beliefs and (3) for Him to make me have the most positive influence on other people in bringing them closer to goodness, truth, love, unity, justice... to God.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to bring up car safety

My cousin took her 6 month old out of the infant car seat and into a forward facing convertible seat a couple weeks ago. Convertible seats are not often used for such young babies here but I know that's mostly about convenience of the infant car seat also being used to transport the baby. As far as I know the seats are good for a baby his weight and age (15 pounds, 6 months). BUT forward-facing... I can't even believe she would do that! Doesn't she know the risks if there was a collision? She lives about 20 minutes from town too so she is often on a 90km/h road and they are in the car a lot.


I say I can't believe it, but she did the same with her daughter, she smoked pregnant, she stopped breastfeeding because she wanted to be able to have a drink and have a break from the kids while the dad took care of them. She makes decisions based on what she feels like and she says the baby was being annoyed so he got switched. I was with her for an hour-long car ride the week before the switch and the child didn't utter a sound! Anyway. Let's just say it's not far-fetched that she would also switch him early. But this is more than early.

Do you have any tips or ideas on what I should do or say? I saw her quickly once and I didn't say anything but I really feel that I need to. In the end I guess she will make her own decision and probably won't care, but I need to know 100% that she has the knowledge to make an informed decision on this. To know she's putting her baby in danger and going against the law.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Making up missed prayers

Did I handle this the right way?
I've been trying to keep up with my prayers for a few days after lots of neglect and I had to go out of town (100km away approx one way) for Nora's doctor's appointment yesterday. We left before dhur. I asked my husband when we left what I should do about that prayer since there was no way we would be back before 4:30 and he told me to wait until we got back home to pray 2 rakat to replace what I missed. There was a chance we'd get back after maghreb so I asked what I should do if I missed asr too and he told me those same 2 rakat would cover it.
What ended up happening is that we arrived before maghreb but I went to visit someone and arrived home after it so because of the travels I missed dhur and because of myself I missed asr. I got home and got the kids in bed and was done that by the time it was 10 minutes before isha. I hurried to do wudu to pray maghreb on time and heard my phone vibrate while I was praying indicating isha... Then I prayed isha normally. Then I prayed 2 traveling rakat to replace dhur and then 4 rakat to replace asr.
Was that ok? Was I traveling enough to even do reduced or combined prayers? Did I cover them in the right order?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Negativity, you annoy me

Everyone has moments when negativity overtakes them and they just need a good bitching session even if they are not negative people overall.


I love to bitch. I think the first step in trying to be more positive and less about ranting and bitching is to acknowledge just that - we love to complain! That's when we can start to deal with the problem of doing it too often.

I know that blogs are very personal and that a person is WAY more than what his or her blog shows us. People with fashion blogs for example are not just fashionistas concerned with nothing else than clothes and make-up. They are regular people outside their blogs, maybe married, maybe they have kids, maybe they are students, maybe they are very strictly practicing Muslims or maybe they are struggling and doing research into their religion, trying to strengthen it, etc. We really can't know. Just because an interest of their's is fashion and that the whole blog is about that means nothing. I don't like it when I see comments on certain blogs that are saying, "You should think about other things than fashion. Islam is more than clothes! What about prayer?" and often a lot more judgmental than that. They are not right to assume that this person does not think about prayer.

I say this to just show that I know that people who are very negative on their blogs are not necessarily like that in real life. They probably have a lot of very positive, nice moments, but have a tendency of sharing the negative. For some, it's because they are going through rough times and they need to get it out. I completely understand that.

For others though, I don't get it. And this is what I will complain about! Trying not to be a hypocrite as I do it. lol

People whose blogs are half about what constitutes correct hijab, which is not negative but does have a feel of closed-mindedness and judgement towards those who don't dress that way. Not too bad. But then the other half of their posts are flat-out judging and even ridiculing styles of hijab, ways of dress. The whole, "that's not hijab!" and "you are wrong" posts. No shying away from using these two phrases or others like them. That annoys me. A LOT.

They might have a whole lot more going on in their lives than bitching about what others wear, and they might not even ever talk to a person like that face to face, but they are doing it online and as far as I'm concerned, they are kidding themselves about their honourable intentions. If they acknowledged that it makes them feel good to point out what others are doing wrong and that they like the feeling they get when they talk about others this way, they'd probably tone it down or eliminate it altogether.

A post like that once in a while doesn't bug me. All of us make comments about what other people wear and I'm going to make one now. I saw a girl yesterday with what I imagine is the new trend for shorts. The pockets were coming out from underneath the shorts they were so tiny! When the pockets are longer than the shorts, there's a problem! See, there's my bitching about what people wear for today, to add to bitching about what people blog about, so I'm about done and I'm going to go focus on other things which will not get posted today but in the next couple days I imagine :)

Salam!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Women's gathering

I was invited to a women's gathering which happened this Saturday. Basically, it was a dozen Muslim women hanging out together with all the kids (maybe 15 or more under 4 years old) running around playing. I knew one person there and it wasn't even the hostess and I still felt very welcomed and part of the gang when we got to chatting. Nora didn't take two seconds to go off and play with the kids and I like to think she had a lot to do with the kids above 2.5 years not bothering their moms much - it sounded like she was keeping them organized and making up games to play and who had which roles. She was one of the three oldest there.


The gathering made me realize a few things.

ONE: I want Islam in my life (in a more active way).

TWO: I'm not as strong as I hoped when it comes to being able to follow who I truly am and follow what I believe to be the truth, and I am more influenced by the people I hang out with than I thought I was.

THREE: I'm still attracted to the traditional style of Islam (sorry for the way I expressed that, but hopefully you get what I mean)

FOUR: There really is so much that links the more traditional Muslims (like these women were) and the more progressive Muslims (like I consider myself) and there's no reason that both can't hang out together and enjoy each other's company and learn from one another.

FIVE: I was more hurt than I thought from my relationship with a Muslim woman 2 years ago and it really affected me and the way I feel about Islam.


I hope to see them again in the future and I hope to be able to build friendships even after the disastrous "friendship" I had with that Muslim woman from my city. I really enjoyed the religious aspect and that surprised me. I enjoyed praying with them a lot but that part did not surprise me, I've always enjoyed praying with others at the mosque. There were actually more women there than at a regular Jumah at the local mosque. lol

It made me re-appreciate the more traditional side of Islam after being more influenced by the progressives. I am really a person looking for balance and this helped me towards that. I am not a person of extremes and I need the influence of these women in my life I think. As long as it doesn't turn out like it did last time I had a real-life Muslim friend...

I actually talked about my past experience with one of the women there and I took myself by surprise at the emotions that surfaced. I actually teared up and my chin did that wobbly thing when you're emotional. I didn't realize how hurt I had been by what happened with that person but I really was and it really pushed me away from Islam. I haven't talked to this person in a year and a half and there's still negative influence there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Local Mosque Renovation

They're renovating our local mosque and they're really doing a lot of good work. I'm not sure if it's going to be good for women in the end or not, but it seems OK so far. The whole mosque is in a basement but they've made raised boxes where the windows are to put more natural light in, most of which are in the women's section. It's not a solid wall separating the men and women's area, it's a half wall right now, but I heard something about them putting glass or curtains to cover that half wall... I personally would rather not. I like to feel part of the bigger congregation while praying and a half wall was perfect but some women prefer more privacy so hopefully it's either a one-sided mirror type of thing or curtains that will be half on, half off so that women can go where they feel comfortable.


There's a corridor that passes beside the men's section to the front where the bathrooms are so that women can go without being looked at by the whole congregation which is good I find even if it separates men and women. It gives kids an extra "interesting" place to be without bothering anyone too.

It's also generally nicer than before with new carpets, straight walls and slightly higher ceiling.

I feel comfortable there. I've been on the men's side plenty of times. It's not a really big deal although women don't normally go... There's an opening between the men and women's sides for the kids to freely go back and forth and for women to go as well if they have questions or want to see their husband or signal him at least.

The mosque also has a room for the imam to live in but we don't have an imam year round... Normally only during Ramadan, they "import" someone, both times from Egypt which is nice for my husband because we have no Egyptian community here. And there's also a "store" section that sells halal meat and the profit goes to the mosque. It's a nice service since no grocery store sells it here and the mosque can make a little business from it.

I will take pictures next time and post them on here! Maybe Friday of this week.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tagged: A Ray of Sunshine


Becky from Becky's Kaleidoscope has tagged me with the Sunshine Blog Award.


Here are the questions this award/tag comes with:

Favourite colour:

I love all colours so this is hard, but I'll have to go with pink. I love cuteness and no colour feels as cute as pink.

Favourite animal:

Dogs. No animal has made me feel like my dog has. She passed 3.5 years ago and I still think of her all the time and miss her. My dream is to have a shelter for dogs someday, something foster-based so I can help more than the maximum 4 dogs that are allowed per home in this city... Anyway, it may not happen since I live with a pretty traditional Muslim :(

Favourite number:

Same as colours, I like all numbers... Different numbers for different needs. I can't set an alarm clock at a random time, it HAS to be by 5's and preferably by 15's (:00, :15, :30, :45) or I feel just plain "off". But I like the number 3 for other uses like for adjectives describing something, "My baby is such a smiley, happy and content one." or "I can't believe how cold, heartless and cruel some people are."
So I'll go with 10 or 3 as favourite number.

Favourite non-alcoholic drink:

Coffee

Facebook or Twitter:

Facebook. Can't seem to "get" Twitter.

My passion:

Passion is the one thing I've always wanted more of in my life since I was a child. I'm not especially passionate. I'm more of an "everything" type of person and I would rather not think of passion because it makes me realize that I still want that in my life, even if right now I'm content and happy with the way I am.

Getting or giving presents:

Don't know. I never know what to get people and I have trouble being 100% satisfied with what I get too. I get this from my mom. She can make a person feel BAD for giving her a gift. When I was 14 or so, I had a little summer job and saved up a bunch of money and got her and my dad a new stereo and they made me return it because they felt it was too much. I was so so so happy about getting it for them and I just wound up feeling terrible that they didn't want it and spent the whole evening sobbing secretly. Anyway...

Favourite pattern:

I like a lot of patterns... From polka dot to animal print to paisley to square to leafy... I only don't like those that are made to look 3Dish.

Favourite day of the week:

I'm on maternity leave so it doesn't make much of a difference. I guess I like Mondays lately because I get to relax after taking care of the kids alone all weekend. Nora is at daycare, my husband is gone and I take it easy with the baby and do house stuff and errands and I can take a nap if I need it.

Favourite flower:

Flowers a beautiful and I like them, but I love trees more, so my love of trees coupled with my love of pink makes me love cherry blossoms. :)

I am tagging:



Regrets

I was reading a blog and the person was saying she had regrets about becoming Pagan because of difficulties it has caused her (problems with family, problems finding a husband, problems


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pantheon/2012/03/choosing-paganism-and-processing-regret/#disqus_thread

I feel bad that she has to go through all that and I feel bad that the path that satisfies her spiritually has to put her through so much. It's the same as what so many Muslim converts go through with their families. It might even be harder for Christian parents to accept their child becoming Pagan than Muslim! And it's definitely not that hard for a convert (especially white female though, I will admit) to find a Muslim husband. The way she was talking, it was difficult finding a pagan man. I guess with such a matriarchal religion, less men join.

I'm so blessed that I have an open-minded family and that I know my parents would be there for me and love me no matter what. It's ironic that having a more open-minded family makes it easier for me to tell them about my religion, but also makes it less necessary that I tell them.

Religious topics don't really come up and the parts of beliefs that do don't cause any big discussion or controversy. It just is. For example, I wear a bathing suit that is a t-shirt tunic with 3/4 pants and that is weird for them, but they don't really ask and they don't insist that I wear something more normal. It is what it is. Same with me not eating pork. They just make sure not to make pork when we are there. When I tell them that I went to the mosque, the worst I've gotten is a feeling that they'd be unhappy if I told them I went there to worship, but they don't really want to know from what I can tell so they don't ask and it doesn't cause any especially uncomfortable moments. If I started talking about goddesses and rituals, I don't think it would cause any big issues either.

I feel quite happy keeping my beliefs mostly to myself. I feel comfortable that way and I continue to grow and learn so I don't feel the need to be "out". I don't think it makes what I believe any less real to keep it private from some people/most people and I even think that people need to feel a little bit less pressure to tell the whole world. Sometimes people are not ready and it makes things just that much harder. A person is not a fraud if they keep some things private. The whole world doesn't always need to know.

I have no regrets about the way I've been dealing with it and in fact, it's the way I plan on keeping it the foreseeable future.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I got this from FB. Cute one, I find.

But can you believe that in the comments below the original picture someone was saying, "What's the difference between the first and last picture anyway? If anything the last one is even more creepy"

CREEPY?! How is that creepy?! The 5th one could be considered a little creepy but it's there for the humour factor. A child breastfeeding is not creepy and a child looking satisfied while at the boob is not more creepy. It's beautiful and simply RIGHT :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sandra Fluke


I have just been shocked by the amount of HATE that exists! I heard a couple days ago about Rush Limbaugh's hateful and disgusting comments about Sandra Fluke. I was really outraged but I figured this was one crazy asshole on the radio and that few people agreed with him. I figured people listened for the drama factor and the feeling you get when you are outraged and fighting against someone. I figured he was someone people loved to hate.


But no! Some people actually believe the same things!! I learned this morning that I really didn't understand what it's like in the USA. I'm sure I still don't, but I saw many, many comments under this picture up there on Facebook full of hate for Sandra Fluke, calling her a whore, calling her a hypocrite, bashing her for all sorts of things. Being very disrespectful towards president Obama as well in all this. Politics become nothing more than a hate game or what?

To address the picture, correct me if I'm wrong, she is not asking the government and tax payers to pay for birth control but rather she is asking for employers and schools to have to include birth control in the things they cover with their insurance plans (which the person pays for themselves), right? And the second part is that I don't think there was anything about covering abortions, was there? Is this like how some people say that taking birth control pills makes you a murderer?

I am really disappointed and disgusted in these American people! Pretty much all the ones I know are great people and I guess I was in the dark about "the other side" but it doesn't seem to be a tiny insignificant part of the population that believes in hateful crap after all. There is a whole country full of problem. No wonder liberals can be so liberal in the USA. They have this bullshit to fight against. Keep up the good work anyway, that's all I can really say.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why do I even believe in God

I am one of those believers who acknowledges that atheists have just as strong of a case against God's existence as I do for God's existence. I am basically an agnostic Muslim. It doesn't change that I believe in God, I just know that I don't *know* that God exists. I can feel confident, but that's not proof. Atheists are just as confident as I am.


I always feel the need to clarify what God is to me when I talk about God because I don't believe in an old-looking man with a beard sitting on a throne in the clouds and I'd personally rather people thought I was an atheist than a person who believes in God that way. This is for kids to believe in when they are not mature enough to understand beyond what they know (beyond humans). I know that Muslims are more strict about not trying to figure out what God looks like, but a lot of Muslims believe in a physical throne that God sits on. And if He's sitting on a throne, then it also points towards God being like a person. Who else sits on chairs? To me that whole idea is just pure baloney.

To me God is beyond what we can know or understand. Physically, there is nothing we know or should try to know. He "sits on a throne" means that he is all-powerful (like kings were to their people). In his attributes, there are limited things we can know and understand and that we can work with. LIMITED. For me, the most important parts are that God is truth. God is love. God is justice. God is goodness.

So why do I believe in God? Because I believe in the things I just mentioned and I just think that these concepts are too powerful to exist alone without a greater power. I wouldn't blame someone who believes in nothing beyond our day to day reality because that is the only thing they have real proof of (and I was one of them from childhood until around 18 years of age) but I personally believe in more. I also wouldn't blame people who believe God is a man-like figure who sits on a throne because I know how strong culture can be in shaping our beliefs (and I was one of them until age 6 or so). But I am neither of them. I am an agnostic Muslim.


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