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

Read more

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Who Does NOT Speak for Islam

Written by Theresa Corbin

Much has been written about who speaks for Islam. There’s this book, cleverly entitled Who Speaks for Islam, by Dr. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed that discusses this exact topic. There is this recent Pathoes blog post that tackles the topic as it pertains to Americans.

It is an interesting topic since there is no longer a central figure in Islam, thanks 1924 Turkish Republic. JK, we all know it was colonialism.

But I think it is also important to talk about who does NOT speak for Islam. Since it seems every (specifically non-Muslims) one in this anti-Muslim political landscape feels the need to talk about Islam, doing so without even knowing the first thing about the faith.

who does not speak for Islam

The tipping point for me was when I read that one of Trump’s crony’s told CNN that, “Islam is traced patrilineally. I am a Muslim if my father is Muslim,” speaking about the conspiracy theory that President Obama is a Muslim.

I don’t care what conspiracy you ascribe to, but this statement is categorically untrue and ignorant. If this were true of any faith, literally no one would be a follower of anything since its all starts with converts. Faith is not in your DNA, even though many never question the faith they inherit from their fathers.

But the need to talk about this topic has been building for a while. I find it absurdly arrogant and patronizing when non-Muslims feel the need to explain Islam to actual Muslims. It is a version of whitesplaining called Islamsplaining , and it’s exhausting.

So here is a list the kinds of people who often speak their ignorance about Islam without any authority or basis to do so. If you have listened to any of these sources about Islam, considered your information wildly inaccurate.

  1. The Couch Theologian:

    This person has never studied theology in any capacity, usually doesn’t even know much about his or her own faith. But s/he reserves the right to market him/herself as an expert on Islam because s/he watches the news. Because we allllll know that modern Middle Eastern politics is the end all be all of Islamic scholarship (insert massive eye roll here).couch potato

  2. The True (meme) believer:

    This person read a meme once and now believes s/he knows enough about a 1,400 year old faith to be an expert on the topic. Despite the fact that actual experts have studies their entire lives, memorized volumes of books, and sacred text and still consider themselves students. But one meme is enough, right? meme

  3. The Contrived Phobe:

    This is a person who has listened to a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric. S/he has “studied” limited parts of Islam from other phobes, all with the intention of fearing and hating Islam and- more importantly- Muslims. S/he wouldn’t know a confirmation bias if it hit shim in the face. The Contrived Phobe regurgitates talking points, but if you scratch that surface, s/he doesn’t know anything about Islam in reality. Islamophobe

  4. The Anecdotal Evidencer:

    This is the person who starts off most conversations about Islam with “I once knew this Muslim who …” S/he takes everything that someone who looks like a Muslim does as Islam itself. They often think that if your religion is true, all the followers have to act like angels. But the Anecdotal Evidencer reserves the right to excuse all kinds of evil done by his/her own co-religionists.

    source: storify.com
    source: storify.com
  5. The Tourist:

    This person resembles the Anecdotal Evidencer, but has more of it because s/he visited or lived in a majority Muslim country and thinks that the habits of the people s/he sees is Islam itself. But doesn’t think that the habits of the people in majority Christian countries is representative of Christianity.i've been to Islam

  6. The Pandering Politician:

    This person has become very successful in a difficult profession, and wants all to believe that his expertise in that profession translates to expertise in all the things, including Islam. The politician tells lies about Islam to fan fears and gain political currency. It’s called pandering. Read more about this type here.pandering

  7. The Talking Head:

    This person has a radio show or is the host of some Fox news program. They have and maintain high ratings because of the inflammatory ignorance they spew about people who do not look like them or are not from the same socio-economic stratosphere as them, appealing to the majority and exploiting their fears. They know that Islamophobia is trending so they jump on that scare tactic bandwagon to make more money and increase ratings. Their knowledge of Islam is similar too or less then (if that is even possible) the Coach Theologian.why u no

  8. The Fake Experts:

    This is a person that poses in the media as an expert. They may fall into any of the other 6 categories, but have somehow convinced the media that they know more that the average bear, including actual Islamic scholars. But the truth of the matter is that they really do not know much. They are extraordinary pathological liars in that they believe their own lies so well that they have been able to market and sell them. Read more about this type here.

    Hi, my name is Brigitte Gabriel. I only have a high school diploma but Fox News calls me an expert.
    Hi, my name is Brigitte Gabriel. I only have a high school diploma but Fox News calls me an expert.

    I am sure there are more of these types, so let me know which ones I missed.

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Have Yourself a Very Multi-Cultural Eid!

Have Yourself a Very Multi-Cultural Eid!

Written by Gracie Lawrence
eid-2014

Eid! Who knew three letters could pack such a punch.

What does it mean to a lot of people? Well, for some it conjures up memories of seeing loved ones, going to early prayer at the mosque and eating certain traditional sweets.

Unfortunately for many converts, who grew up celebrating different holidays, we may not feel as connected to this happy occasion. We may still painfully cling to lingering images of our own childhood, collecting colorful eggs in baskets or throwing tinsel and garlands on trees, and you know what … that is okay.

It is normal to psychologically associate feelings with memories triggered by events as these- times when we were closest to our families. We do our best to try and create new memories that can also similarly capture the feel good events of our past- whether with new Muslim friends, new spouses or growing families.

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And so we celebrate these Muslim holidays sometimes hesitant, not wanting to create bid’ah ( Also know as innovation in religion. Bid’ah in Islam is considered a deviation and a serious sin) and yet only familiar to celebrating holidays in a certain fashion, the way in which we were raised.

One area new to many converts that begin to mingle with Muslims outside of their culture is the Eastern cultural practice of Eidia or Eidie. Eidia is money that is handed to women or children during Eid that can range from a few cents to hundreds of dollars and is given as a gift instead of an actual present wrapped in ribbons and bows.

Memories....from the corner of my mind....
What can be inside? Don’t shake it too hard!

Generally reserved for family including extended family members- depending on the culture it may also include neighborhood children that visit houses door to door wishing happy Eid in exchange for a few cents.

For new converts, depending on their own cultural upbringing, it can be strange to see people pass out money- generally, much effort and consideration is put into finding a loved one an actual object that we believe may be cherished or enjoyed.

In fact, in many circles handing out money may be seen as kind of insulting– a kind of whoops, we forgot about you – so here is some cash or the awkward … don’t know you so well third cousin, once removed, here, have a gift card.

This “cash-as-an-after-thought present” is not the perception in many Eastern cultures where the extra money can be used not only in the purchase of the rare indulgent treat of choice, but more often than not, as money that can be used to fulfill a basic need (such as paying an electric bill) or fulfill other social obligation … such as giving your Eidie money or Eidia to someone younger or more in need than yourself.

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Kids will be lining up all “Happy Eid good sir…..”

However you chose to celebrate the upcoming holiday, sharing tokens of friendship and kindness that puts happiness in the heart of another Muslim is always a good deed pleasing to Allah.

So if you are a converts, don’t look down on someone who is handing out cash. If you are a born Muslims, understand the consideration that went into a finding the right gift, if it is not cash.

However you decide to spread cheer, whether you choose to do that through passing homemade sweets, treating another with a thoughtfully wrapped gift, passing out Eidia or just sending smiles, salams and a “Happy Eid”, it always tends to make the season bright.

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This Eid let’s take time to reflect, be grateful for what we have been blessed with, praise Allah, and enjoy.

 

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Jihad Is Not The Problem

Written by Theresa Corbin

Jihad! Yes, I said it *looks over shoulder to see if the FBI is going to pounce*.

Jihad is a source of fear and loathing the world over. It is embedded in popular culture as something crazed Muslims do in the name of their religion. But what does it really mean? Should we rely on the media to learn our religion or to learn about other’s religions? 

jihad graffiti

Nah, prolly not a good idea. Unless you like being ignorant and led down the path of bigotry. Is there a place we can go to find out the truth about such things? Is there a source? Somehow? Somewhere? Yes, and in the case of jihad it is the Quran. The source is the Quran. Not those who take Quranic verses and explain them out of context.  

Jihad does not mean to blow oneself up and kill innocent people in the process. This is NOT allowed in Islam. Period! Jihad does not mean holy war –the Arabic term for holy war is harbun muqaddasatu. Jihad is not even pronounce GEE-had.

Jihad [jee HOD] n.- 1. As a Quranic concept, involves resisting the base desires and struggling against all that would take one away from good. 2. It is to resist, to defend oneself if attacked. 3. As an Arabic term, it can mean to struggle in any way. It can be a jihad to study hard and make good grades.

Struggling and fighting are two separate but often related terms. The word most people mean when they use jihad is “qital”, which means to fight. One may have to struggle (jihad) against their desire to run and hide when they should fight (qital) an armed aggressor who first fights them.

It’s semantics. The problem is not with struggling or fighting, but with those who twist the Quran.

Yes, qital or fighting is prescribed in Islam when it is against armed aggressors:

Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged -truly Allah has the power to come to their support- those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ […]. (Quran, 22:39-40)

Those who twist the meaning of the command to fight often quote the Quran as stating, “slay them wherever you catch them”. (Quran 2:191) But these same people leave out the most important part. Who is the them? The rest of the passage states:

Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than death. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors. (Quran 2:190-193). [emphasis added]

Another trick of detractors is to quote part of chapter 5 verse 9 of the Quran:

Fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war).

But it somehow slips their mind to mention the context in which this was revealed.

This verse is referring to the early Muslims who had entered into treaties with neighboring tribes (Jewish, Christian, and pagan), Some Jewish and pagan tribes violated the terms of their treaty. They secretly aided an attacks against the Muslim community.

The proceeding verse instructs the Muslims to continue to honor treaties with those who did not betrayed them. The verse continues to say that those who violated this treaty have declared war, so fight them. Islam does not advocate pacifism in the face of injustice. Without justice, peace IS an illusion.

So, who is to blame for propagating this “jihad” misinterpretation/ misunderstanding?

First and foremost, ignorant Muslims are to blame for giving Islam a bad name because they themselves do not understand their religion.

This is very important to note- the actions of Muslims DO NOT define Islam. Islam is complete, does not change (Shariah), and can be traced to its source. Muslims are imperfect human beings, who sometimes do not practice jihad against their own desires.

Why and how is this misconception propagated?

The Muslims: Muslims see their brothers and sisters in Islam being insulted, degraded, oppressed, raped, and murdered all over the world. As anyone with a heart will do when they see their loved ones hurt, they get emotional. When you mix emotion with uneducated minds, you get irrational and often violent behavior.

These ignorant Muslims will twist the Islamic right (and human right) to fight in self-defense defense of as permission to commit suicide bombings and other atrocities. They blatantly ignore the strict Islamic rules in defensive fighting that forbids harming civilians, their property, and even forbids destroying crops, trees, or livestock.

They search for an “Islamic” ruling to meet their desires, and when they find something in their culture or find someone who has distorted the Quran, they run with it. But the Ummah (the Muslim community worldwide) does not benefit from this. If you think this is OK, there are better and actual halal ways to help your brothers and sisters in faith!

The Ummah needs to take a good look at itself. We need more personal jihad and less fighting:

Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (Quran 13:11)

It is obligatory on every Muslims to learn his/her religion for a reason. If we do not understand our religion, who will? If we don’t fix ourselves, how will Allah change our condition?

The non-Muslims:  There are those who portray Islam as a religion that condones the use of “jihad” to kill innocent people. And these same people will claim that all Muslims are terrorist.

This is not so. The acts of a few do not define the many.

Can we call Christianity a religion of brutality because of The Crusades and The Inquisition? Certainly not. Can we call all American men wack jobs because of the Oklahoma city bombing, the numerous school shootings, the Batman movie theater shooting, and so on? No, because the actions of a few, deranged people do not define the motivations and actions of everyone in that group.

Those who propagate stereotypes of all Muslims as terrorists do so for many reasons, some of which include fear, ignorance, and hatred. But those who do it to control the masses are usually after power and/or wealth.  

Whatever the ends, the dissemination of false information about an entire group is the means. So anti-Muslim propaganda is disseminated in the media, in popular culture, and all over the internet. It is easy to view a group as evil if it is the popular thing to do.

Those who twist the Quran and spread lies about Islam and the Muslims, you are creating injustice which will make peace impossible. It would be more prudent to make alliances with the 99.9% of Muslims who also believe the actions of these few, fringe, deranged Muslims are wrong instead of demonizing all Muslims. 

Peace out!

 

 

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