Wednesday, October 31, 2007

And I thought Sleeper Cell was bad...

...until I saw Britz.

This is a two part drama on Channel 4 focusing on a British Asian Muslim brother and sister. He works for M15, she is a trainee terrorist. "Which Side Are You On?" is the tag line. Err, neither actually, thanks for asking. Oh sorry, you didn't ask me did you? As I'm just a normal law-abiding Muslim and my life is not very dramatic.

Early in the programme we have the 'Radical Student Scene', where a guy in 'Muslim dress' says things about being able to attack civilians and is met with fervent applause.

When I watch something like that, someone twisting my religion, lying about what I hold to be sacred it hurts. It just upsets me so much. Worst of all, people will watch this and thinks it's true. When any Muslim says otherwise, people think we are lying, or not 'real Muslims'.

The programmes are meant to use drama to inform and 'provoke debate'.
In Britain this year we've had visits from Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir (May Allah swt preserve them both), two of the most knowledgeable and charismatic scholars visit us.
These are two men with a wealth of knowledge, particularly about Islam in the west. Did they get to appear on prime -time tv? No.

Other than that, it was just so cliched. Pakistan is shown as a technology-free slum, where "nothing changes". The male lead and his icy blonde fellow spy have an affair because as Muslims on tv must be terrorists, so must pretty actresses take their clothes off. The M15 part of the drama looked like Spooks. Zzzzz

In interviews, the actors have waffled on about "playing complex characters" and "transcending labels", but they haven't. They've just made Muslims look bad (The only good Muslim is a non-practicing one, e.t.c) and given the Islamophobes another reason to scowl at women in hijab and mutter about what we talk about in mosques.

In Islam, there is a lot of importance placed on having an income from halal (permitted means). This is because your money is what buys your food, clothes, the roof over your head. If the money is tainted, it taints everything you buy with it.

There a lot of Muslim names in the cast list of this show. They should be ashamed of how they make their money.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blame it on the Burqa/This is why I mod

In an era saturated with a love of the symbolic, the burqa has to be one of the most potent, a signifier for female subjugation (by Muslims) in shapeless black fabric.

Never mind that fabric has no powers, oppression is carried out by humans who are usually men.

Still on many feminist blogs and discussion groups, when female discrimination is brought up, there will often be a few remarks about burqas and the poor Muslim women.

This needles me on numerous levels.

On a personal level, I consider myself a feminist. Always have done, insha Allah always will. I have no problem whatsoever reconciling that with my faith. I know I'm not the only Muslim women to feel like this. Disparaging remarks about Islam, shut us out of the conversation. Speak to us, not about us, you might be surprised by what we have to say.

Then there is the matter of people insulting something they know very little about. Have they met or spoken to any Muslim women. You can talk about subjugation under the veil, but have you spoken to anyone wearing it? Ayan Ali Hersi does not count.

Finally and most disturbingly, is the issue of racism. It can be called orientalism, but that academic term often seems to dress up the ugly reality. When there is talk about suffering Muslim women, a frequent theory is: Muslim women are so oppressed, because Muslim men are so brutal. Cue the stereotypes: variations on the theme of the "Barbarous Arab".
Mixed with a White Saviour Complex, this is a heady intoxicant.

*****

I am back to moderating comments. It's an easier way of keeping an eye on things. I don't mind personal insults, but the thought of something anti-Islamic lingering on my blog upsets me.

The best thing about it is, you can delete the comments from your blog but still have a record of them in your email inbox. Great!

Here is an especially asinine one from a notorious troll. It does, however, serve to sum up the thought processes described above.

So you like your rags and not waxing now!
Screw you and hopefully a Muslim man beats you as he's allowed!
Screw Muslims and all their followers!

So Mr Troll, here is my response:

1)Actually it a recommended act for both male and female Muslims to keep body hair neatly trimmed. It is much more hygienic.

2)I think this says more about you and what thoughts you have inside your head then it does about me. Anyway, since you are interested in Islamic marriages, here's another link for you.

3)Hmm, you are rather fond of that verb, aren't you? There is a mistake in this line. You see, Muslims don't have followers, we are followers of Islam.

I am convinced now that you didn't mean to write that comment. No one could possibly be that banal on purpose. I think you meant to write something like this:

So do you like wearing hijab?

To which I would respond, why, yes I do. Aside from the religious reasons, I always used to have bad hair days and it keeps my ears warm in winter. A sister once described hijab as "a hug for your head". I like that description.

Mr Outlines sounds nice, I hope you have many happy years together.

Yes I am rather fond of him, alhamdulilah. Thank you for your wishes,insha Allah this will happen.

Peace to all the Muslims, Peace to Everyone!

Thank you and the same to you.

See, it's so much nicer to be nice!

Friday, October 12, 2007

What do Muslims ask Allah swt for most?

If there is one thing that I want people to take away from this blog it's this:

Islam is for everyone

Really. Not just for people of x ethnic group, or whatever.

Allah swt states in a hadith:
"When My servant walks towards my, I run towards him".

That's all us Muslims are doing, walking towards Allah swt. Some of us keep the pace better then others, some of us get distracted, fall off, whatever, but we keep on walking.

Nobody starts climbing midway up the ladder, you have to start from the bottom, step by step.

Which brings me to the title of my post.

The answer to the question is this:
Idhinas sirat al mustaqim
Show us the straight way

This is verse/ayah six of Surah/Chapter Al Fatiha, the first Surah of the Quran, which is recited in every unit of prayer.

So a Muslim says this at least 17 times, in the five obligatory prayers, but most of us pray additional prayers and so we say it even more then that.

It really is the most sincere desire, to follow the guidance of Allah swt and the way of His beloved final Prophet, Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him).

For anyone interested in reading about the Qur'an, a really good site is Al Tafsir.

I would like to point out for my two favourite Non-Muslim readers that it also shows translations in Portuguese (Ali's favourite language) and Romanian (Although you speak English better then me, Alina!).

When I first head about Islam, I could never imagine being a Muslim:
"No way, that's far too strict, what fun do they have?!"

I can remember seeing the Qur'an channel on telly, flicking past, not interested.

What changed is that I began to feel the absence of God in my life. I saw religious people and thought, "I want what they have, that certainty, that guidance".

Then I became friends with a Muslim, read a translation of the Qur'an and that was that.
*gasp*, I think I've finally let my conversion story slip! Told you it was nothing exciting.

It wasn't easy, I had my struggles as everyone does.

Still, I have to tell Mr Outlines that he's the second best thing to have happened to me.

The first best thing was becoming Muslim. Insha Allah, it always, always will be.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Eid ish

The U.K is a pretty small country, safely within one time zone.

Yet can we celebrate Eid on the same day?

NO!!!

Subahana Allah, I'm so sorry to end my blog break with negativity, but this is absolutely ridiculous. Even within the same city, people are celebrating Eid on a different day.

I check the Ramadan Uk site - Eid is on Saturday, fine Alhamdulilah, I pray tarawih at home. I get an Eid Mubarak text and check with the local mosque, according to them, Eid is tomorrow.

It's been an odd kind of Ramadan for me. Not ideal, but insha Allah, there are things I can learn from it.

That's the key I guess, reaching for the extraordinary while living in the ordinary.

Being a better Muslim and/or a better person is a lot of work.

I don't think I'm the only one to suffer from bookitis, where you buy lots of Islamic books, so many that you don't actually ever get chance to read them properly, you read a bit of each and don't really get the benefit of any of them.

Insha Allah, just one aim that I take away from Ramadan, it to just concentrate on a few things, to do them regularly and to do them well.

It's easy to feel sad after Ramadan if you didn't quite attain that level of worship that you wanted to. Alhamdulilah, in Islam everyday is an opportunity, everyday we can make that Journey to Allah swt, or at least start on the first few steps of it.

Make today that day. Today is all we have.

In the last days of Ramadan, a very dear and wonderful brother in Islam died. Masha Allah, he had the biggest heart. There may be some of you reading this who know who he was. What made him stand out is that he did things, made things happen and he helped so many people.
He truly believed that Islam for a gift for all mankind and Masha Allah, he welcomed many people to the deen. May Allah swt forgive him and have mercy on him.

Eid Muburak to everyone whenever you celebrate.

P.S I think this is lovely. Jazak Allahu Khayran to all who have made it possible