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Female Genital Mutilation- Excavating Sharia Part 1

As a faith community, we are facing a serious crisis in human (and God given) rights violations. Many of those “in charge” are and have been misusing religious texts to cripple more than half of our population- women.

We are a global community and these issues have infected our lives on a global scale. Because of these issues, Saadia Haq and I are “Excavating Shariah” in an attempt to chip away at the fiqh interpretations (human understanding of the Shariah (Islamic) law) that have either intentionally or unintentionally ignored the female experience, oppressed women, or co-opted women’s religious dedication.

FGM Excavating Sharia

 

Part 1 written by Saadia Haq

A new low was achieved this August, thanks to an Egyptian politician Elhamy Agina blatant argument that women’s sexual appetite needed to be curbed through FGM because in reality “men were sexually weak” and unable to match their bedroom demands.

This caused an international outcry whereas I was transported back into time during my university days in Jordan. My short time in Amman provided me with insider view into the Middle Eastern cultures; soon I made lots of female friends that were pleasantly welcoming to a South Asian Muslim woman. The unique combination of studying rights issues in a progressive Muslim nation like Jordan and living together with diverse group of women from Arabian and African nations helped foster many bonds that have grown stronger with time.

Continue reading on Saadia Haq’s blog The Human Lens here

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Policing The Haram Police

Written by Theresa Corbin

Woop-woop! That’s the sound of the police.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Haram-loading as it pertains to new Muslims. Then I thought to myself that this issue goes so much further than just harming new Muslims. The haram police are real and destructive to Muslims at all levels and stages of faith.

policing the haram police

I’m not talking about the actual haram police in Saudi, or the morality police (a ridiculous misrepresentation of Islam, misuse of money, and the real meaning of Bureaucratic BS). I’m also not talking about the word “haram” as it is used in every day, modern Arabic language where it means “shame on you” and has little to do with religion.   

I’m talking about that one sister or brother–usually young and overly zealous or old and having nothing else to do– who takes joy in beating people upside the head with their Islamic “knowledge” or just likes to humiliate fellow Muslims in the masjid, in Islamic organizations, on the street, and/or on social media.

Haram Police (n.) People who take it up on themselves to explain, publicly or harshly in private, that everything you are doing is basically a sin.

The policing agent has no licences other than being a control freak and a busy body. They often pretend to have your best intentions at heart, but their actions of shaming you in public or speaking harshly to you in private speaks to their actual intention.

They are often caught saying things are haram that are not actually haram and caught doing what is actually haram and defending it.

haram police

When you encounter the haram police in the wild, walk the other way, or climb a tree (anything to not cross paths with them), and yell “Salam” at them from a safe distance. They will probably find this description and advice to be haram as well. I can hear their prayer beads (aka biddah beads) clicking now as they rush toward the comment section.

Dear haram police, feel free to comment. But know that I will also feel free to liberate you from your “everyone’s soul is in my hands” attitude.

Enjoining the God and forbidding the evil

The following verse is the main weapon in the haram polices’ arsenal:

The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give charity and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise

Since when have you seen allies of one another tear each other down, or use information as a weapon against each other? Since when does enjoining the good include trying to compel someone to act or dress or do things a certain way without the knowledge of the why and the intentions of pleasing Allah (SWT)? 

They would not want someone to be their allies in the way they act as “allies” to other Muslims. They have forgotten to balance the above verse with the following hadith:

None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself. (Narrated in Bukhari and Muslim)

Different stages of understanding

Haram policing is an issue of not being able to recognize that everyone’s journey is different. People learn at different rates. Some people are working on internal issues before they get to the outward appearance of a Muslim. Other people are going through situations others could never imagine. Every Muslim comes to live Islam in different stages in different ways, but it always takes time. 

It is clear from their lack of empathy that the haram police has forgotten their own path. They have not considered that the Prophet (PBUH) never harassed people into practicing Islam. They have forgotten that Islam came in stages over 23 years. 

They over look the saying of the Prophet (PBUH):

Make things simple and do not complicate them. Calm people and do not drive them away. (Narrated in Bukhari)

Manners and compassion

Haram policing is not just giving information to fellow Muslims and looking out for them when it comes to committing sins. Haram policing has a malicious component that is integral to the term and the actions that come out of it. It is always done either in a public and humiliating way or in private but with excessive harshness.

How ever it is done, the hallmark of the haram police is that they lack Islamic manners. The manners of Islam are kindness and leniency. If the Prophet (PBUH) had been like the haram police are today, we would not even know of a word called Islam. 

So by mercy from Allah , [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]. (Quran 3:159)

To find out how exactly to look out for your brother or sister in faith with compassion and manners, check out this helpful guide. 

This kind of treatment is nothing new. Some have even lost their faith to the haram police’s opinion for want of compassion. Being beaten over the head by rules and regulations without thought of empathy, compassion, or manners has a hardening effect on the victims heart. 

You cannot enforce laws in an oppressive and callous way when those very laws were meant to bring justice, mercy, and compassion. It doesn’t work like that. But that is what we do to each other from interpersonal relationships all the way up to the government level.

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Misquoting Muhammad (PBUH)

Written by Theresa Corbin

Recently, I was digging around for some inauthentic hadith for a project I am working on. Since, in Islam, we have a strict grading system to let us know which hadith are actually attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and which ones are just made-up, it was pretty easy to find the made-up ones.

There are tons of these made-up hadith that are just trash tossed from the sacred texts of the authentic hadith collections. Some people are the worst, wanting to manipulate the religion to suit their own desires.

misquoting-muhammad

Then I thought it might be fun to take a look at some made-up (or fabricated) hadith and make fun, er, point out how absurd they are. Again, all of these hadith were made-up and are not actually said, done, or approved by the Prophet (PBUH) himself. I would NEVER EVER make fun of any authentic hadith. And neither should you. That is dangerous territory.

But since these are all from liars, game on, playas!

1. Made-up hadith: The sneezing of a person while another is speaking is a proof that what the person is saying is the truth. (Classified fabricated by Ibn Jawzee)

Theresa’s Response: This one is kinda like believing that if a cat farts in the middle of the street, you know you are going to come into money. It’s superstition and weird at that. Muslims don’t do superstition.  

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‘Merica Trumped All Over Itself. Now What?

America Trump Itself

After Americans elected a tangerine tinted dumpster fire to be its next president, there is only one question that remains. Which prison gang will you join?

Join us next week as we continue to use humor to cover up pain.

Good night and go with God.

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Trump’s Campaign of Hate Made Me Homeless

Written by Theresa Corbin

That’s right. I’m currently without a home. Have been since the beginning of September. Not in the sense that I am living on the street. Alhamdulillah I have a roof over my head. But I AM currently without a country at the moment. With election day approaching in the US, I thought I would share my tale with you.

Trump's Campaign Made me Homeless

Originally published on AboutIslam.net

I never imagined that a presidential campaign could change my life so suddenly and drastically. For most of my life, a presidential election meant old, white men running from city to city, politely yelling at each other about things they didn’t actually care about, and promising to do things they had NO intention of doing.

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Aisha’s Marriage in Focus

Written by Theresa Corbin

I’ve written about it in the context of other issues a couple of times now, but I thought Aisha’s (Allah be pleased with her) age at marriage deserved a post all on its own. Because lots of people have this same question: Why did the Prophet (PBUH) marry Aisha when she was so young?

Aisha's Marriage in Focus

We don’t know Aisha’s age when she married the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The thing is they didn’t keep birth records back in those days. They also didn’t celebrate birthdays or really even keep track of age. We do have reports that Aisha was anywhere from 9-18 at the time of her marriage.

What is important for us to understand about Aisha’s marriage to the Prophet is that we cannot apply our standards in 2016 to people 1,400 plus years ago and vice versa. When people do put lives 1,400 years ago into 21st century context, it is as if they admit to not understanding historical context or ever having taken a history class in their lives. And that’s just sad.

Life in the 7th c.

We do not live in the same world at all. In the 7th century people were not guaranteed to see the ripe old age of 30. People matured early and were ready for marriage a heck of a lot earlier. Looking back even a few hundred years ago, the legal age of marriage was as young as anything from 10-14 years old. 

Richard A. Posner, chief judge of the U.S. court of appeals writes, “The law governing the age of consent has changed dramatically in the United States during this century. Most states codified a statutory age of consent during the nineteenth century, and the usual age was ten years.” [1]

Marriage in the 7th c.

The practice of marrying early was not an aberration to the people during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her). Christians, Jews, and pagans all married very young. So if we are going to criticize Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, why don’t we have a problem with King John of England marrying 12-year-old Isabella of Angoulême? 

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What Is The Islamic World?

Written by Theresa Corbin

What exactly is the Islamic world? Is it like Disney world? A place where Muslims go to pay too much for halal snacks and wait in line for hours to get a fatwaIs it the place that I have been told to go back to by bigots shouting on the street? Ooorr is it the place where some media “personalities” pretend all Muslims come from- The Middle East? 

What is the Islamic world?

Well, I don’t hate to break the news to you, but there is no Islamic world. There is no place with over priced halal snacks (OK maybe there are those) and lines for the fatwa ride. Just because someone is a Muslim doesn’t mean they had to come from somewhere else. And only 5% of Muslims in the world live in the Middle East. 5%. only. Muslims live and practice Islam in every country on the planet in a variety of concentrations.

Muslims are diverse. Let that sink in. Diverse. We participate in every culture from every country. We are indigenous peoples in the West, in the East, and everywhere in between. We fit in no box.

We worship our creator, share in a sisterhood, wear jeans and eat red beans and rice down South. We pray 5 times a day, say “Salam”, wear embroidered caps, and eat dumplings in Xinjiang, China. The “Islamic World” is the actual world.

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