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How to Build a Successful Intercultural Marriage

Written by Stephanie Siam

wedding-silhouetteMarriage is a commitment that requires unending devotion, conscientious effort, and a lot of patient practice. Selecting a suitable husband is quite possibly the most important decision a woman will make. So much rests on who she chooses to be her life partner:

  • Will he be kind and patient?
  • Will he support me through good times and bad?
  • Will he be responsible and mature when necessary?
  • Will he be a good parent?

Factor in religion, culture, and nationality, and a woman can just about go insane trying to satisfy her need to fulfill what many consider to be an obligatory rite of passage in Islam.

It’s no secret that many Western, female converts look eastward when searching for a husband. Perhaps their attraction to the dark, brooding males of the Orient is what initially drew them towards the study wedding-hennaof Islam to begin with – no, I’m not saying women convert to Islam for their men, reread the sentence.

While there are plenty of Western, female converts who find successful marriages with Western male converts (see: Corbin, islamwichs founder and person extraordinaire), an overwhelming number of women ultimately marry men from the Levant (Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine), Arabian Gulf Peninsula (UAE, Saudi, Kuwait), India, or Pakistan.

However, no matter where these men come from initially, almost all of them share similar traits as Husbands to Western Convert Wives. And these traits can sometimes – read: always be challenging negotiations when trying to merge two cultures into one marriage.

I mean, marriage is hard enough as it is.

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The A-Pork-Alypse!?

The A-Pork-Alypse!?

Written by Theresa Corbin

Pork! Bacon! Ham! Ribs! Pickled Pigs Feet! Oh, the promiscuity of pork! It will be anything you want it to be for a price.

I wrote about the pork topic when I posted my Candy Conundrum and the delicious solution (halal peeps recipe for the peep-o-phile). But now I feel as if it is time to talk turkey. Not really. If you will allow me, I would like to explore the position pork plays in the psyche of the Muslim.

On the one hand pork is nasty:pork

1. Allah tells us not to eat the meat of swine in the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran. It is unclean. Do you think a rule like this was just a suggestion? Or maybe there is a reason behind it …

2. An animal’s flesh is a composite of what it eats. Pigs eat their own feces, as well as the dead carcasses of sick animals, including their own young.

3. The Center for Disease Control states that more than 100 viruses come to the United States each year from China through pigs.

4. Many of these toxins that other animals expel through urine remain in the pigs’ system to be stored in their tissue i.e. Urine in the meat that you eat.

5. Trichinellosis or trichinosis: an infection that humans get from eating under cooked or uncooked pork that contains the larvae of the trichinella worm. This worm has been known to hatch in the brain of the consumer i.e. worms in your brain!

6. Pigs are also primary carriers of:

  • Taenia solium tapeworm
  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV)
  • PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome)
  • Nipah virus
  • Menangle virus

7. Eating pork can lead to gallstones, hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol

8. Pigs are biologically similar to humans, and their meat is said to taste similar to human flesh. (Who is tasting human flesh to know this IDK, but am worried!)

On the other hand, I think people are way too focused on pork.


piglet

1. Avoidance of pork is not a prerequisite of faith.

 

Does eating pork negate your Islam? Does it make you not a Muslim? No.

Did Allah say to believe in His oneness, the Day of Resurrection, His Prophets, the angels, and that eating pork is nasty? Then did Allah say to establish the prayer and don’t forget to not eat pork? No & No. No y No. Non et Non. La wa La.

2. Pork free is not dawah (invitation to Islam)

Many times I have overheard someone answering questions about what Islam is by saying that Muslims don’t eat pork. Well … we are also not supposed to eat cats or cockroaches, but I don’t think it is an appropriate topic for an introduction to what Islam is.

3. Pork prohibition does not a Muslim make.

This is kind of like the inverse operation of number one above … maybe, if I knew what an inverse operation is (j/j i do).

Pork free is not a part of belief, nor is it the only directive in Islam. Why are we so hyper focused on such a small detail? While many Muslims will go around drinking and hooking up, they still revile the idea that somewhere … out there … a pig exists!

Sure your belief is what makes you Muslim, and action are also important. But following the no pork edict is not the only action that makes you a Muslim. If you aren’t eating pork and also not praying I have a sneaking suspicion that the later action negates the former.

If your entire religious identity revolves around the avoidance of one type of meat, I recommend therapy. And can I also recommend a rigorous reading routine that includes more that the regular no pork propaganda?

4. The pigs mere existence is not haram. 

Shocking! Scandalous! And he is naked like that infernal sponge named Bob!

People are so ridiculous about the avoidance of pork that they act like even the existence of a pig is haram (unlawful). While I was teaching a second grade class at an Islamic school, I hung up a poster that trailed around the room.

The poster was the typical a-z learning tool that included examples of what things start with each letter. It just so happened that the poster I purchased for the classroom portrayed a pig as something that starts with the letter “p”. Which is true and can be useful in learning that “P” sounds like “pah” in “pig”.

The kids and some of the parents flipped out. Pigs are haram!!!!, they proclaimed as if I were unaware.

In no way was I advocating that they should eat the pig in the poster. He didn’t even look that appetizing, but still there was much ado about nothing. I didn’t take the P for Pig down and we stared at his forbidden flesh all year. (The kids also threw a fit about my left-handedness. Such is the heavy handed way of those who know little but have great zeal.)

What do you think?

Is there some kind of conspiracy theory that pigs and their meat will cause some cataclysmic event? Did I miss that on Fox news? It is possible considering all the diseases that pigs carry and spread to us. But is it necessary to act this way when all your kid wants is a piglet stuffed animal from the Winnie the Pooh franchise? 

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Halal Jambalaya

Most recipes from my home land of New Orleans include pork (or alcohol). It is a sad reality that I have to face everyday. I thought about organizing a marathon to raise awareness of this travesty, but no one I know wants to run or even walk.

Alas, I have dried my tears and become a creative cook because I refuse to let a little pork get in the way of destroying the traditional dishes of my people.

One of my favorite home town dishes is jambalaya (JUM-bah-LIE-yah). It is a twist on Spanish paella with French and Caribbean spices.

halal jambalaya

Test kitchen-ed and written by Theresa Corbin

In jambalaya, andouille (ANN-do-ee) sausage usually features in the recipe. And if not that spicy, pork sausage, then some other form of ham is mixed in. But it shouldn’t be a big surprise to know that you can just leave the pork products out and !viola! you have a halal jambalaya recipe.

It really is that easy. And you really don’t miss it. You can add any other kind of meat that you want. I added chicken, but shrimp, crab, beef sausage, or all of the above, work just as well.

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Science & Islam

Written by Theresa Corbin

I thought it would be interesting to write about how we can know that Quran is truly from God and that in fact God exists.

science and Isalm

God does not expect us to take any old charlatan who calls himself a prophet at his word. So, Allah has sent each prophet with miracles. Examples abound.

For Moses (peace be upon him-PBUH), one miracle was the parting of the seas. For Jesus (PBUH), bringing the dead back to life and many more. And for Muhammad (PBUH), among other miracle, the biggest was the Quran itself. And we can see the miraculous nature in the way scientific facts, discovered only recently, were explained 1400 + years ago.

Some people claim all kinds of weird and extrapolated scientific and mathematical miracles in the Quran. These folks are kinda zealous and get excited about looking for things that may or may not be there. As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail. 

Some claim that scientific topics in the Quran are prediction of later discoveries. Not really predictions of discoveries. This is a human-centric explanation. It is really Allah telling us how He created the world and all its intricate and amazing patterns. It is only that man came to know the processes of creation.

And then some say they don’t believe in God because they believe in Science. This is perhaps an attitude of a lot of ex-Christians who refuse to believe in the Church sponsored view of science that is closer to science fiction.

I don’t blame them.

The evidence to disprove Christian “science” is mounting.

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Top 5 Reasons to Wear a Scarf on World Hijab Day

Top 5 Reasons to Wear a Scarf on World Hijab Day

Written by Gracie Lawrence

In honor of World Hijab Day, coming up this February 1st, I thought it might be fun to list a few reasons why someone might want to participate in this event. (click the link to read all about it and read the experiences of others who have participated in the past.)

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Hijab is a word many Muslims (people who follow the Islamic religion) use when referring the scarf and modest clothing Muslim women wear in religious observance. The goal of hijab is to achieve a modest appearance and let any potential hungry eyes that like to scan the female form know “that this … ain’t happening”.

Actually, there are many reasons Muslim women might wear the hijab, and whether cultural or spiritual, World Hijab Day is a nice opportunity to show a little solidarity with your neighborhood Muslim female who sometimes has to go through a great number of obstacles to continue wearing a symbol she sees as important to herself, to her religion and to her identity.

For a more in depth review on hijab see Hijabology.

Now … introducing … the top 5 reasons to wear a scarf on February 1st: World Hijab Day!

Backpacker-insurance

5. To Increase Your Cultural Cred

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7 Things I Didn’t Expect When I Converted to Islam

Written by Theresa Corbin

Take the overwhelming desire for people to know how others live, along with the fact that I am having a hankering to talk about myself this week, and mix in the fact that lists are fun and in the world of technical writing- easy to digest.

And what results is:unexpected things about converting to islam

Let the countdown begin!

7. I didn’t expect to love dressing modestly

I thought I would have to swaddle myself in hideously, un-creative clothing in order to observe hijab. While I became interested in controlling who saw what parts of me, I didn’t want to give up my style. Now there is nothing wrong with looking bland if that is your thing, but it is not mine.

I am in LOVE with color, and I am a highly creative person with a love for fashion. I learned that I didn’t have to give up my signature style just because I wanted to be modest. See islamwich’s pinterest page if you want more examples of what I mean. Modesty doesn’t mean giving up style. I was very happy to discover that.

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Why I am Not Losing My Religion to Science

Why I am Not Losing My Religion to Science

Written by Gracie Lawrence

science major graphic

I have always been attracted to research laboratories. Walking past them when I was younger and at university, I would peer in as I walked down the halls. Shelves cluttered with clear bottles, scribbled labels with acronyms I didn’t understand, tools on bench tops- many whose shape gave me no clue to their purpose. What goes on in there? What is in that ice bucket? It seemed mysterious, like a secret club of sorts and I wanted to learn the password. I wanted in.

I have since worked in research laboratories for the past 10 years.

Many people do not realize, that despite advances in technology, a lot of biological/medical research can still be very labor intensive, and of course, by its nature, repetitive to an exhausting end. And although much of the reagents and tools have now become as familiar to me as the ingredients in my kitchen cupboard- there is always that excitement about a new project or experiment.

We love you xkcd comics
We love you xkcd comics

But let’s be honest. Science, I am calling you out in public- you’re a tease.

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