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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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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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What Makes Being a Muslim Woman Hard in the West?

Written by Gracie Lawrence

There are tons of scholarly articles that explain the Islamic stance of women- so I am not going to go into that in depth. However, as the internet is also filled with information intent on making Islam look crazy, thanks to some very dedicated groups, here are some more reliable sources for those who are interested in the woman’s role in Islam.

being-muslim-woman-in-the-west-is-hard

 

But in a nutshell, for those who do not know or have the time to research into the above links, here’s a clue:

And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (Quran 2:228)

Yes, there is a lot in Islam that is about rights between family members (husband/wife/kids), neighbors, business partners, and even between me and you, dear reader. But those “rules” are not what makes being a Muslim woman hard, it is what restores the balance to a system that can be overrun with those who sometime take too much or sacrifice more than they should.

But having a relationship can be difficult, especially when one party is thought of as just a stereotype. And the predominate stereotype that I see about me and other fellow converts- is that we are backwards.

And how do I know that there are many with this belief? Because campaigns like this have to be launched: Not ‘Brainwashed’

For those who absolutely insist that I am backwards because I chose Islam for my life – I doubt I will do much to change your mind if your identity and confidence is built on the misconception that 1. I am oppressed. 2. I am an idiot 3. This poor oppressed idiot of a woman needs saving.

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Who Does the Housework?: Marriage Issues

Written by Theresa Corbin

Traditionally, in most parts of the world, men left the home and worked for a few hours a day and earned money, while women worked 24 hours a day cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing for free. 

There are examples in many societies were these roles where not so clear cut. We can think of a quite a few examples of Muslim women who were (are) business owners, boss ladies, scholars, etc. And we can think of many examples of Muslim women who took (take) care of the home and family, and even examples of women who did both.  

who does the housework

But in modern times, it has become a matter of degradation to be the one in the family who does the dishes, washes the clothes, and generally takes care of the home and family. Some even go as far as to call it “woman’s work”, and view nurturing and caring for our property and our loved ones as humiliating tasks.

There is nothing wrong with being a homemaker, whether you are male or female. In fact it takes a strong person to work for free and without much gratitude from others.

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The Last Sermons of Prophets Jesus and Muhammad

Written by Stephanie Siam

Is Earth flat? What happens when we sail past the horizon?

Did dinosaurs really exist? How did they become extinct?

Are there intelligent forms of life on other planets? Have they ever contacted us?

What happens after we die? Has anyone come close to experiencing it for real?

A cursory glance at a general encyclopedia shows humans have never fallen short of curiosity and wonder. Never satisfied with the present and tangible, we strive to answer questions every second of every day — even those that have been answered before!

And, no matter, what the subject of interrogation is at the moment, the one topic that always finds its way back into the spotlight of our inquisitiveness is religion. Believers and non-believers, alike, insist their truth is THE truth and all others must conform to THEIR interpretation.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I’m not trying to drag back the dead horse and beat it all over again. This post is not going to question the truths of Islam — or any other religion, for that matter.

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Photo Credit: history.com

There are a great many people who’ve made a significant impact throughout the History of Man: Socrates, Aristotle, the Virgin Mary, Amelia Earheart, Gandhi, MLK, Hitler — hey, not ALL impact is positive.

But I can almost guarantee that no matter which influential character of history you name in a mixed group of people, there are two individuals whose existence is incomparable to the rest: Essa (Jesus) and Muhammad, may God’s peace and blessings be upon both of them.

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Confusion Muslims Create

Written by Theresa Corbin

A lot has been said/written about the misconceptions non-Muslim have about Islam. Most of these misconceptions have been created by the Western media or by non-Muslims themselves *cough* orientalism *cough*.

Confusion Muslims Create

But I think it is time to talk about how Muslims themselves create misconceptions or confusion about Islam. Yes, it happens! Not surprised? You shouldn’t be. 

Confusion Muslims create:

1. Muslims are always angry, therefore this must be Islam

Yvette Sanchez*, a Muslim convert, a scientist, and mother of three, says:

Muslims propagate the myth that we are aggressive, angry, & emotional.

There is a group of Muslims that take themselves too seriously. They scowl all the time. They riot over every insult that any other faith community would just ignore. They are ALWAYS offended by something. These people have anger-management issues that have nothing to do with Islam. 

We need to get over ourselves, folks. Have a laugh at yourself once in a while. The Prophet (PBUH) smiled, joked, played, and withstood insult with grace. Check out Humor in the Muslim Heritage for more about the sense of humor of the Prophet. If your Islam doesn’t make you generous, friendly, and smiley; you are doing it wrong!

2. Islam is a culture

I hear this all the time, whether it is someone speaking about Islamic culture or someone asking me about my Muslim culture. Muslims who are very insular in their part of the world and then migrate to the West often bring with them the idea that somehow their culture IS Islam. But the thing is that there is religion and their is culture. sometimes they intertwine. Sometimes they don’t.  

I am a Muslim by faith and an American by culture. I eat red beans and rice without pork and with a nice cold beer … a root beer. I wear denim in a modest way. I say “salam, y’all” way too much. I’m an American Muslim and am not in need of any other culture in order to practice my faith. 

Janice Jan, a Latina American Muslim convert, says that Islam is misrepresented by:

Those Muslims who follow their culture as if it is real Islam. Those Muslims who practice caste system.

This practice can be very confusing to the onlooker because Muslims come from a variety of cultures: Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, Indonesian, Chinese, Western European, American. Any culture you can think of, Muslims come from and participate in. Check out my post, “What is the Islamic World” for more on this topic. 

However, this cultural confusion isn’t a huge problem until a Muslim, who is in direct contradiction to Islam, practices a cultural “quirk” and then turns around and calls their un-Islamic habits- Islam.

Cultural example: Saudi’s restriction on women drivers. It’s a cultural thing that many Saudis themselves believe to be Islamic. 

But what is actually Islamic is that all the women in The Prophet’s (PBUH) day rode camels, and he never said boo about it. Seeing as how camels were the mode of transport back in the day, it is safe to say riding a camel is equivalent to driving a car.

We need to learn the difference between religion and culture and stop confusing the two. And stop confusing the world with our confusion.

3. Muslims believe that women are not equal to men

Speaking of women, this is another myth about Islam that Muslims propagate.

Asif Balouch, from philasify101.blogspot.com, says that one myth Muslims propagate is that of 

Women being lesser. This is perpetuated most heavily via the mosque. The barrier that is placed, the women’s area being less accommodated, roomy and whatnot. Women practically being ostracized. Having to write in questions at Q&A rather than speak, etc.

In Islam women and men are EQUAL!! End of story.

Women need not be marginalized. The Prophet (PBUH) interacted, visited, and even sought counsel from women on a regular basis. He did not bar them from the Masajid (plural for masjid or mosque). He did not send them away when they approached him. He never treated them as or said they were less than men. 

What he did say was that:

Men and women are twin halves of each other. (Narrated in Bukhari)

We are in a sad state if we cannot honor women. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character. The best of you are those who are the best to women. (Narrated in Tirmidhi)

Discrimination against women is prolific in the Muslim world and in direct contradiction to Islam. Women are having their genitalia mutilated, being forced to marry their rapist, being forced into marriage period, barred from education, barred from the workplace, and the list of un-Islamic treatment of women goes on. 

It is a mark of arrogance that some men think themselves superior when Allah (SWT) tells us directly that no one has superiority except by righteousness, something earned and not innate or gendered. 

4. Muslims are obsessed with hijab

Kiara Shank, a Muslim who observes hijab, says:

Muslims have an obsession with the hijab. I find it rather sad that we have reduced our religion to covering and not much else. There are more dire issues facing our ummah [community] than if a sister is wearing hijab correctly or not.

Hijab is a small part of Islam. More about hijab in my Hijabology post. But it is something external. So, many Muslims focus on it as a determining factor of faith. And while it is obligatory for women and men to dress modestly in respect to what is prescribed by Allah (SWT), many times Muslims will place the burden of modesty on women. 

A Muslim woman could be the best she can in her worship of Allah (SWT), but her only failing (we all have at least one) is that she does not dress observe hijab, and she will be chastised and ostracized by those Muslims who may not do any acts of worship except dressing modestly.

We need to know that if faith is in the heart it cannot be seen, it cannot be judged, the connection with Allah (SWT) is invisible. Hijab does not define Islam, and it certainly doesn’t define someone’s faith.  

5. Muslims are untrustworthy

Deen Stewart says:

So many times I have dealings with other Muslims in business and I know that when they use the word InshaAllah [God Willing], it means that whatever has been inshaAllah-ed, won’t get done. As a Muslim myself, I find this behavior and misuse of InshaAllah really gross.

I like to call this the InshaAllah Paradox. Some Muslims think that by saying InshaAllah they can get out of doing anything they have promised to do, acting as if their lack of effort in doing things promised was Allah’s (SWT) will. This is just laziness and a manipulation of faith. There’s a difference between Allah’s will and our own effort in seeking the means.  

It has gotten so bad that most non-Muslims think that inshaAllah means NO! When it actually means that you will do everything in your power to do what you agreed to. And if God’s will prevents you, you know you still did everything in your power. 

Muslims, we need to take these things seriously. Creating confusion about Islam is a serious matter. In fact, we could be misguiding people by our actions. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be responsible for that.

*Name changed for privacy.

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