Sunday, October 24, 2010

It has been a while

So, its been a while since I wrote. I am not sure why, but when ever I thought of something to blog about I didn't really feel like writing. This may turn out to be another hodge podge of thoughts and feelings.

Have you ever gotten into a discussion with another Muslim that insists that they are taking the middle path? Their idea of the middle path can consist of not covering all the way to rejecting hadith.... Lets talk about the middle path. There was a hadith that talked about 3 men. One said I will fast all the time and never break my fast, another said, I will pray all night and not sleep and the 3rd said I will not marry woman. When the Prophet sallalahu Alayhi wa salam learned of this, he went to these men and said, I fast, but I break my fast, I pray but I also rest and I marry women. Who told you to be so extreme?

The middle path is not going to extremes that the Prophet told us not to go to. It does not mean just do what ever you want. If you take the extreme the other way you fall into not obeying any of the commands of Allah and the prophet, or just choose the ones that you like. Then we come to those who can't quite justify what they are doing unless they reject hadith for one reason or another. I know that they are fabricated Hadith out there, but the great scholars of Hadith, like Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood etc knew the science of hadith better than anyone. They knew how to classify, research and substantiate what the collected. Who are we to just come along and say...eh...I don't think I'll follow this one. I don't like it.

Finally, and I've said this before, you can find a ruling on the internet that makes just about anything permissible... You need to find scholars that are highly qualified that you trust. Mind you, not the ones that come up with rulings that YOU like, but the ones that give the best proof and have the most knowledge. Lets use the example of men and women shaking hands. There is a site that says this is permissible. They actually even quote the hadith that is proof that it is not, but then go onto say that if you don't fear that it will cause fitnah then it is ok. This puts the opportunity in our hands to make a ruling based on what we feel, not on what is right.

My next thought comes from revert Muslims identifying themselves as American Muslims. Yes, I am Muslim and I am American. But that does not give me any special licences to ignore the commands of Allah or the Prophet. My 'culture' or lack there of, does not make it so I can do things I should not. In fact it is a part of our test that we live as American Muslims everyday. Not that its so hard to do, but that we are tempted with thoughts that we should still do all the things that all other Americans do. We get sucked into useless holidays and celebrations. We long for what we once had... when in fact we should be happy to leave those things behind, because Allah has guided us to the truth. We have a wonderful, peaceful, happy way of life. Why do we need to try to be like the disbelievers? We all have weaknesses, and it is a struggle everyday to overcome them. Sometimes we fail. But we should make an effort to be happy with what we have and not strive for the dunya.

Another thing I hear a lot is 'I'm not Arab so why should I act like one?'. Well You shouldn't. Those things that bother you about Arab CULTURE are very similar to the things that we should avoid about American culture. They are not the same issues but it is the same concept. Unfortunately, this gives people the excuse not to follow things that they deem as Arab, but are actually just a part of Islam. For example, covering properly. People always say that they are not Arab so why dress like one? You don't have to dress like one, but you still need to follow the commands of modesty. It just so happens that an abaya or jilbab covers those requirements pretty well. It should not matter what culture you think they are from. American fashion does not fit the bill. You can take a long dress and put a long shirt under it and pants but you are most likely still showing the shape of your body. Those cute little stretchy dresses cling... helloooo. Not everything in a person's culture is bad, but we need to avoid falling into the trap that we have to stay true to our culture at all costs.

Finally, what is the deal with people freaking out about cheese? I mean really. The process used to make cheese can use certain enzymes that might be derived from an animal that was not killed in a halal way, but then we are talking about the unknown. We are not supposed to dig so deep as to try to identify the origins of the enzymes in our cheese. Ibn Taymihah gave a ruling saying that the rennet used to make cheese is permissible because the milk of the animal that had not been slaughtered properly was drunk by the companions after the battle of Iraq. In any case, even if you think you should not eat doritos or what ever else scares you, would you really yell at someone who does? I witnessed a sister get red in the face when she thought another sister was going to have a microwave pasta meal with cheese sauce. These are the same people that say that capri sun juice boxes are haram because of some flavor carrier that may of been extruded using alcohol. Who comes up with this stuff?

So, I guess this is it for now. Inshallah I didn't say anything wrong, and if I did, may Allah swt forgive me.

19 comments:

Banana Anne said...

Interesting posts with a lot of good points brought up, Masha'Allah. Here's my take on them:

I really love the Islamic concept of wasatiyyah, or balance, as the hadith you posted illustrated. I went to an Islamic retreat last winter based around learning about wasatiyyah, and Subhanallah it really opened my eyes. Our lives must be the correct balance of focus on the dunya and akhirah. If we pay too much attention to the dunya (one extreme), we lose sight of what is really important (the Hereafter) and might fall short in what we should be doing. If we completely ignore the dunya (the other extreme), we might be denying the rights that our bodies or other people deserve (e.g. not spending enough time with our spouses, families, and friends, or wearing our bodies out by excessive fasting or not enough sleep). Another issue that goes along with this is halal/haram; making the halal haram or the haram halal based on customs or mere speculations without enough real evidence to prove otherwise are also two extremes, not to mention something ALLAH has forbidden us to do.

I do identify myself as an American Muslim, and I try my hardest to live as a good Muslim. I leave the parts of American culture that are incompatible with Islam, and keep the parts that are compatible. I am a firm believer that Islam is for everyone, and one does not need to completely shun their heritage or culture upon becoming Muslim.

Alhamdulillah, I've finally reached the point in my 'journey of hijab' where I'm wearing an overgarment and khimar that covers my chest. However, I believe that there are American fashions that constitute proper jilbab. For example, I have a long, loose, ankle-length denim jumper that I wear with a thigh-length loose sweater, pants and a shirt underneath the jumper, and a khimar. None of my shape shows (I always check in the mirror to make sure, especially in the rear area :P ). It's an outfit made of entirely "American" clothes, yet it fits all the rules of a proper jilbab and khimar. I also own quite a few "traditional" jilbabs. Sure, it's definitely harder to find American clothes that make up hijab than just wearing an Arab-style jilbab, but it can be done.

I agree with you on the food issue. I am very careful about eating only zabihah or kosher meat, and avoiding foods made with alcohol, but I will not get into the nitty-gritty details (although I think it is admirable that some people do because they are so concerned about eating halal).

Jamilah said...

Salam Banana Anne

What you describe sounds fine as clothes for a Muslimah but sadly a lot of our sisters don't make those selections. You are right, there are clothes that you can buy in mainstream stores that work, but sisters have to be willing to buy a larger size that doesn't cling.

I also want to clarify that I'm not saying we can't identify as American, but that it should not be some crusade to clear ourselves of obligations to Islam.

Stranded said...

Assalam Alekum

I am so glad you came back.
As far as I am concerned Islam IS the middle path.

And I didn't even know this about cheese! hahaha

Stranded said...

Assalam Alekum

I am so glad you came back.
As far as I am concerned Islam IS the middle path.

And I didn't even know this about cheese! hahaha

jana z. said...

...welcome back jams. im scratching my head on the cheese and capri suns. wow. if we go that far then we probably couldnt drink or eat anything ever again. may Allah guide each of us.

i saw a pic today on FB. the lady was at her engagement party and was wearing her hijab, 50 pounds of makeup and her dress was so clingy that i could actually see the print of her navel and privates. erm. no comment.

Nikki said...

cheese. Since I try hard to eat zabiha, at most (non-zabiha) restaurants I get fettucine alfredo or some other form of pasta and cheese. (I'm just now starting to like fish...it takes effort)

If I could no longer eat cheese I'd be very, very limited, not only in restaurants, but in cooking, as well.

AlabasterMuslim said...

Asalaamu Alaikum!
Omg I can't tell you how much i AGREE with you! I hear sooo many people celebrating utterly haraam holidays etc. and they don't want to give them up because they are american. Islam comes before anything, so give it up.
Plus, the qur'an clearly says to wear jilbab. Alhamdullilah I wear full niqaab etc. now and subhanallah its so great. I can't tell you how much i LOVE IT! Some American clothing can be considered proper jilbab...but not much. Because jilbab is a garment you wear OVER your regular clothing, most dresses do not constitute as such and those that do, most people won't wear.

Btw...cheese? what? i've never heard that anything in cheese is haraam :O!! That is a new one. The only thing about haraam food...is that some people say that because of pork used in some food (as in gelatin products) are completely chemically changed and now it is halal. Astaghfirallah, EXCUSE ME? I'm like are you kidding me? you are not suppose to even touch it in the FIRST PLACE so how could it be halal? as soon as the pork touches your food it is HARAAM YO! lol.

I know I'm ranting, sorry. Anyway, great post. And love the henna pix on your fb :)

Su said...

I know what you are talking about. I heard many sisters talking about celebrating Valentine's Day, birthdays, New Year, not wearing jilbab but only hijab etc. because they say these are 'harmless things'and 'not really so important'. If some people know that sth is haraam or makruh and still do it and don't seem to feel guilty about it, that's just a proof that they lack taqwa (God-consciousness). When I converted to islam I sometimes had trouble adapting to some rules e.g. not to shape eyebrows, not to wear make up etc, etc. but however hard I tried to convince myself that these things are 'really harmless', I couldn't! I just felt so guilty so very quickly I stopped doing wrong and alhamdulillah now I am always trying to learn more and more to avoid mistakes, follow the rules of Shariah (even if I don't like them)and stay away from doubtful things.

Jamilah said...

Thanks girls for your comments...

The cheese thing is sort of hard to explain, but it is one of those things that people dig too far and it gets insane. There is a book of halal and haram food items and it even lists HARD candy life savers!?!?!!? huh??? Islam is simple, we don't need to make it insane like some do.

Banana Anne said...

@ Jamilah: Wow, that's really getting way too into it. Doing stuff like that goes against that concept of wasatiyyah that I was talking about. I'm sure they have good intentions, ALLAHu Alim, but Insha'Allah they'll realize that they don't have to be so strict about it.

C said...

Asalaamu alaikum

I was with you up until the food part. I spent all my life eating pork so I'm going to make sure I never eat it again and if that's picky so what? We aren't supposed to eat it and if we can find a way to detect it since the Christians seem to love throwing it in to all their products then I'm going to avoid it. Why be picky about clothes and holidays and then forget about food which is what we are made of and those who eat haram won't even have their duas answered. Its really not that hard either since the Jews put their kosher symbols on so many products then we know that there isn't any pork or meat that hasn't been slaughter improperly. Now muslims are starting very slowly though to have halal symbols on their items ie Campbell's soup here in Canada. In muslim countries it is common. What drives me up the wall is when we go to the mosque and I have to tell my kids that some of the food has pork in it. I shouldn't have to do that. I should be able to relax at the mosque but I can't. Its embarrassing when my kids ask me why muslims are eating pork.

Jamilah said...

Asalamu Alaikum C

Its not that we are eating pork, or even thinking of it... its that the enzymes that are present in cheese are usually from cow or sheep, not pig AND its not that we are eating it... its an enzyme... its like eating an amoeba! The point is, that we should not dig so deep... its not like we are chowing on bacon and pork chops

Jamilah said...

Asalamu Alaikum C

Its not that we are eating pork, or even thinking of it... its that the enzymes that are present in cheese are usually from cow or sheep, not pig AND its not that we are eating it... its an enzyme... its like eating an amoeba! The point is, that we should not dig so deep... its not like we are chowing on bacon and pork chops

Ms M said...

Assalamu alaikum Jamila.

I also struggle with the idea of the middle path. You are right it’s about not going to extremes and it doesn’t mean do whatever you want, but it also doesn’t necessarily mean that each person is going to come to the same conclusions regarding what is a necessary part of practice and what isn’t.

Just because someone chooses not to cover does not mean that they have just made that up because they don’t want to cover. In the same way that we can find a scholar who can show us proof that we should wear hijab, others find proofs that you don’t have to.

I’m guessing that you would think they are wrong but we all see things differently – who is to judge right and wrong? You, me or Allah? We can have opinions, hopefully opinions based on something meaningful, but after that, they are just that: opinions. Educated opinions. They are not necessarily 100% correct, just correct as we see it.

It’s a common reaction for Muslims to say that the Muslim who comes up with a different way or different belief to them, just wants things their own way and has purposely looked for a scholar to support the way they want to do things. As though it’s some plan. I guess it’s easier for you to believe that, but the same could be said of you and of any of us. Who is to say that you didn’t do that – look for a scholar to support the way of life that you wanted?

Perhaps you think because the majority believes a certain thing it must be the truth? That simply isn't logical as it's quite possible (and we can see examples in Islamic history) for large groups of people to be completely on the wrong track.

Regarding the hadith collectors you said “They knew how to classify, research and substantiate what the collected. Who are we to just come along and say...eh...I don't think I'll follow this one.” So are we to stop questioning and just ‘’believe’’ because we are told that they know hadith better than anyone? They are experts so we have no right to question, no right to disagree? I don’t believe so.

I think it’s important for all of us to question and if that questioning leads us to make a sincere decision that we don’t believe certain hadith (or other things) then that should be respected. If it’s not then essentially what we are saying is you can question but you cannot come to a conclusion other than the one that the majority hold. Are you willing to say that is a good thing?

“you can find a ruling on the internet that makes just about anything permissible” – true

I’m not specifically commented on the hand shaking issue, but putting the “opportunity in our hands to make a ruling based on what we feel” is exactly what we should be doing, each and every one of us. As you say, if it’s not based on what is right then there is a problem, but again who is providing the model for right? Allah is, in the Quran and for many the hadith, so if a person is using those to find his or her model for life and they come up with different ideas to the person next to them what are we going to do about that?

May Allah guide all of us. Ameen.

Jamilah said...

Mrs M Thanks for the well written response. I don't agree with it, but its very well written. We can question things, but we have to be careful not to let our desire get in the way of what Allah has clearly laid out for us.

Jamilah said...

Mrs M Thanks for the well written response. I don't agree with it, but its very well written. We can question things, but we have to be careful not to let our desire get in the way of what Allah has clearly laid out for us.

Ms M said...

I think ultimately we all think we are on the right path. How we proceed then is important though. I don't agree with a lot of what others say and do either, but ultimately I could be wrong about many things so I always try to keep that in mind. I also remember that it's not my place to be overly judgemental since I am not Allah and it's he who will be doing the judging in the future.

I totally agree that we have to ensure we aren't simply doing as we want with no concern for what Allah has advised. My main point is that what Allah wants is being debated everyday. I appreciate you took the time to read Jamila.

Maz said...

Assalamu alaikum sister,

I came across this on you tube today and thought of your latest post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-hNAJEGgQs&feature=player_embedded#!

Salaam.

Jennifer said...

Essalam Alaikum, Nice blog you have here sister, Masha'allah. I enjoy reading here and Insha'allah I will continue to do so.