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Domestic Violence: Excavating Shariah Series- Part 2

written by Theresa Corbin

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.

We take it as a serious matter that Islam has been wrongfully used as a weapon against women. We feel we have the right and an obligation, as Muslims, to speak on these issues. Currently we are “excavating” the affront that is Domestic Violence.

Domestic violence is a global issue. According to WHO “Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (30%) of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime. Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner.”

It is a men’s issue. But there are some (or rather many) who claim that Islam gives men the right to physically harm their wives.

In Islam, marriage is based on on love and mercy, as we read in the Quran:

{And among His signs is this: That He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect.} (Quran 30:21)

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Domestic Violence: Excavating Shariah Series- Part 1

written by Saadia Haq from the Human Lens

Part 2

There is no denying the prevailing existence of domestic violence among Muslim communities that continue to lag behind in out-dated centuries on matters of women’s status and rights in Islamic societies. But just like so many anti human practises are brushed under the carpet and deemed not that important, violence against Muslim women continues inside their homes and outside.

Among Muslims, regardless of their sect there is an invisible consensus on the disputed relationship of their understandings on Islam and domestic violence. It is very common to note, that majority Islamic societies continue to operate under the cultural stigma of hiding the evidences of abuse meted to women. The harsh reality of most Muslim nations is the inability of recognising the abuse by law order authorities, police and judicial system. Here the many victims of domestic violence are treated to scorn, alienations and charged under distorted versions of Sharia dreamed by bigoted clergy.

Most Muslims lap up distorted teachings promoting an array of bizarre methods by which men should make wives more obedient and in failing to do so, wife beating becomes permissible. The notions of men having authority over women that women are to be obedient establish an authoritarian structure with the husband as head of the wife. These tactics are justified by the reason that Allah created men superior to women and thus men are the maintainers of women.

Last year, Pakistan made cringe worthy news when the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, a powerful religious body announced a ridiculous proposal to legalize the ‘light beating’ of wives at the hands of their husbands. This sent a wave of joy to local men who in any case are prone to wife beating and abuse. The golden moment was interrupted by the national outrage and revulsion with street protests, civil societies, media, and had a few politicians react with disdain on legalizing domestic violence within Muslim marriages.

Continue reading here on the Human Lens. Part 2 here.


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New Muslims: Why Celebrate Eid?

New Muslims: Why Celebrate Eid?

written by Theresa Corbin for About Islam

No matter what the weather, no matter how tasty the Eid breakfast, no matter how well I felt my Ramadan went, for many years after I converted to Islam, I followed the same old Eid pattern.

Wake up. Pray fajr (morning prayer). Eat breakfast. Go to Eid Prayer.

Then I, my husband or both of us, would go to school or work. It was anti-climactic at best.

After a month of character building, spiritual highs and building a better relationship with the Quran, it was always right back to pre-Ramadan business as usual, hoping to keep the lessons and increased faith as we exited the month un-commemorated.

Until one year, I said enough! I put my foot down and didn’t go into work. I took the day off of school and insisted my husband do the same. Guess what happened?

No, the world didn’t fall apart. No, we didn’t fail our classes. We actually enjoyed ourselves.

We spent time to acknowledge what Ramadan meant to us and to celebrate our successes in it. And because of our celebration we felt more Muslim somehow. We felt closer to our community. We felt better prepared to move on and face the challenges of life outside of Ramadan.

In the Western world where few even know what Eid is, it is very difficult to get out of day to day commitments to celebrate the holiday or rather the holy day. It is even more difficult to have that holiday feeling when those around you are treating the day like any other ordinary day.

As converts, we have to give up a lot of our old holidays when we come into Islam. Giving up holidays where everyone is celebrating and everything is decorated can be difficult.

Many of us treasure our holiday memories and family traditions. But as Muslim we are not left with nothing in the place of our old tradition. As converts we can and must make new traditions and create a holiday feeling for ourselves.

Why Celebrate? For Gratification and Gratitude

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Eid In A Can

Written and test kitchen-ed by Theresa Corbin

What is better that cheese in a can? 

That’s right, Eid in a can!

eid in a can

Eid means “Celebration”. There are two Islamic celebrations: Eid al-Fitr- celebrated after the month of fasting (Ramadan), and Eid al-Adha- celebrated after the pilgrimage (Hajj).

Cake (frosting + sprinkles)/love = Eid in a Can. It’s a simple equation, really.

Eid (al-Fitr) is right around the corner. And despite the fact that I don’t like posting stuff about food during Ramadan, I wanted to share my favorite DIY gift tutorial. Cake in a can!!

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Ramadan Explained

written by Theresa Corbin

It is that time of year again. Ramadan!

When the moon begins its new phase and the snow fa … err … the trees are in bloo … errr … the crisp smell of autu … errrr … Wait a minute. None of the seasonal sights or smells can be applied to Ramadan. What’s up with that?

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Well, if you don’t already know, it is because the Islamic calendar does not follow the same fixed calendar that we are used to in The West, where all the seasons occur in the same ‘ole months. Kinda boring, Greg of the Gregorians didn’t know how to keep it fresh, but whatever.

Every year the month of Ramadan starts when the new moon is sighted for the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Each month is 29-30 days long depending on the lunar cycle followed by Muslims. This means that each year the month of Ramadan moves up 10 days in relation to the Gregorian calendar. Time to break out the calculator and do some math.

Just joking, I don’t do math.

This tracking of the moon and measuring the calendar by it is how some non-Muslims spread the lie that Muslims worship a moon god. FALSE in a major way.

Muslims worship the creator of all things known as God or Allah in Arabic. In fact, if a “Muslim” were to worship the moon, this would take him out of Islam, i.e. he would no longer be a Muslim because the first article of faith is to worship God alone. You know, the first commandment.

Anyway, I can get side tracked from time to time. Eh hem, Ramadan. The ninth month in the Lunar Islamic calendar. I am sure you have come across someone, somewhere that is excited or at least talking about the coming of Ramadan. So you do a quick search on the Google, and find out that it is the month in which the Quran was first revealed, and it is a month of fasting for all healthy, adult Muslims.
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A Greener Ramadan: A Brighter Future

written by Theresa Corbin for Al Jumuah

Many People Associate the color green with Islam. The flags of Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia all include the color green. According to the Quran, the people of paradise will wear garments of green silk. And some say the Prophet’s (PBUH) favorite color was green. I have yet to find a reliable hadith to support this favorite color claim. But I think it is safe to think of Islam as a green hued faith for another reason: The Environment.

Embedded in the tenets of Islam is an ecological imperative. “The Earth is a mosque, and everything in it is sacred. I learned this basic tenet of Islam from my father,” notes Ibrahim Abdul-Matîn, environmentalist and author, who begins his book Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet with these wise words.

We as human beings were placed on this earth as caretakers of it, as stewards.

Now, behold! Your Lord said to the angels: I am placing upon the earth a human successor to steward it. [Sûrat Al-Baqarah, 2:30]

As stewards on this earth, we have been entrusted with its care, and we will be held accountable for our actions towards it.

We will register “in the book” what they have done and what footprints they have left, and everything we have accounted for in great details in a detailed book. [Sûrah Yâ-Sîn, 36:12] (emphasis added)

Ramadan is a time for self-examination, a time to come nearer to Allah, and to become better versions of ourselves. So as we contemplate how we can become better to ourselves and to each other, let us also contemplate how we can become better stewards to our home. Let us take this opportunity to be more cognizant of the footprint we leave, and have a greener Ramadan.
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Practical Ramadan Tips for New Muslims

written by Theresa Corbin for Al Jumuah

Entering into my 15th [now 16th] Ramadan, I feel an excitement building. I am looking forward to the fast of Ramadan and all the amazing things that come with it: growing spiritually, strengthening community ties, coming nearer to Allah, and much more.

However, it wasn’t always this way. I converted during the month of Ramadan and jumped straight into fasting even before I knew how to pray correctly. I want to be honest here. Those first fasts were hard. Very hard. Coming from a Catholic and American background, I had never experienced real fasting. The most I knew about fasting was eating less to fit in a smaller size and not eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

So my first Ramadan was a shock to my system. And as my second Ramadan approached, I was very nervous about my ability to endure. I feared the pains of hunger, the thirst that left me dehydrated, and the fatigue that comes along with fasting. I felt like this was something no one ever talked about and for good reason. Complaining about hunger, thirst, and fatigue defeats the purpose of fasting.

I realized a couple things during my struggle to acclimate to fasting.

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