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October 10, 2016

Faith

Filed under: Poetry,Religion and society,Sociopolitics — by Zuhair @ 6:42 pm
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Which Islam is it you practice,

that makes it correct to burn the virgin

who knows she is too pure for your sin;

that allows purposeless battle,

dismisses the real jihad, and puts faith out like a candle;

that allows the theft of freedom,

disguised with a cry praising the Lord, and a distorted promise of heaven?

But you do not know who God is.

He is not this;

not this falseness you have created, this self destructive spiral,

a coward’s excuse to carry a rifle;

not a free pass to tarnish a little boy’s childhood,

by teaching him that to fight is good;

not that he should play,

And he should pray;

but that he should kill and die, for that is your translation

of the divine manuscript and the way of a god of your creation.

Sins you have purified,

ideologies you have manipulated, and righteousness you have denied

to build control over the minorities,

to misguide the masses.

You spread the fear of a faith, that preaches love and clemency,

that is the embodiment of rightfulness and beauty,

when it is you that should be feared, not your God,

because you lack the fear of the Lord.

What religion is this you preach? It is not of Muhammad, Abraham, David, or Moses.

You are a misguided puppet of earth’s greater forces.

A preaching, a calling, a faith that

only the will of the Greatest  Heavenly Force can combat.

September 13, 2015

The names

Filed under: Poetry,Religion and society,Sociopolitics — by Zuhair @ 2:46 pm
Tags: , ,

I know Aylan Kurdi

and the others who came

but didn’t live,

to see the end of this game.

Game makers,

in your fancy suits,

The floor is red

but you wear boots.

I know my sisters,

Noor, Raneem and Najla.

and my brothers, Baalousha and Aslan,

Almataouq, Aashoor and Jumaa.

Game makers,

you cannot run forever,

the lives you have taken

will be avenged by another.

I cannot join them

but I know the freedom fighters,

young Ahed Tamimi,

Rachel Corrie and the others.

I have no weapons with me;

I have everything to lose

but I also have my prayers and my love,

and I have my words and my views.

If that is all I have,

then that is what I will give,

because they are fighting death

while I live.

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Image: Retrieved from http://www.worldbulletin.net on 2015.

July 14, 2015

Pearls

Filed under: Poetry,Religion and society — by Zuhair @ 10:11 pm
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A wonderful crescent adorns the sky,

pearly white and shy;

the stars watch silently

as the month of fasting approaches thee.

Wonderful nights spent in prayer,

rice and dates to share.

Meals before the crack of dawn,

and suddenly the night is gone.

Remember the poor man’s fate,

ponder about his malnourished state.

Thankfulness is all we may possess

for we realize we are truly blessed.

Turn to The Great One,

Who gave you plenty to feed your daughter and son;

thank him well, thank him true

when you feel the poor man is you.

With hungry stomachs, hours pass,

and patience accompanying our fast

we hope is rewarded by The Merciful One,

Who created the moon and the sun.

Sinfulness still prevails,

preying upon man as he fails;

late night festivities,

time spent in fun and feast.

The shy crescent gone at present,

a bold and full moon in its place.

Guard thyself patiently,

seeking The Creator’s mercy.

A wonderful crescent adorns the sky,

pearly white and shy;

the last of the blessed nights come and go

and soon the days of fasting are no more.

April 7, 2015

To you, with your masked face and gun in hand.

Filed under: Poetry,Religion and society — by Zuhair @ 6:07 am

You stole them from us with your lies

about paradise and martyrdom.

You took them from their mothers, and their sisters

and told them they are among brothers, fighting for freedom;

You gave them a freedom that requires violence and butchery,

a freedom that steals from the innocents.

You gave them guns for friends

and futile battles for hobbies.

You deceived them into believing

your false ways are the ways of the religion.

You deceived them into thinking

your actions are for the nation.

You lied, and stole and took and misled

your own brothers and sisters,

You gave yourself fancy names,

like, ‘The youth and ‘No more West’.

And all for what? Nothing.

Nothing but the resistance of your own put to the test.

Nothing. Nothing but the tears of orphans

and the blood that spills on the soil that you should call your own.

June 19, 2013

To the Islamic Extremist 2

Filed under: Religion and society — by Zuhair @ 2:58 am

The Bigger Picture

There are always two sides to a story. This is the side that Abdelajo chose to take as he himself put it rather bluntly in public.

So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? Rather you lot are extreme. You are the ones that when you drop a bomb you think it hits one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family?

In this statement, one might simply see the confused and disturbed mind of a Muslim man affected by war to the point of delusion. But there is more to it than just that. Abdelajo seems to be making things crystal clear. He understands why he did what he did and now it’s our turn as citizens of the planet earth and as part of the human race, to forget our individual race and religion and try to understand the situation from a global perspective.

The war that is currently taking place, which sometimes seems simply like another news report is globalizing. When the US went to Afghanistan to pursue the AlQaeda and to Iraq in the name of freedom; that was where the war was; in Afghanistan and in Iraq. It was not in the US, where life remained the same. With incidents like the marathon bombings, the war has been brought home.

It is time for those in power to admit it. But is this happening?

London Mayor Boris Johnson statedThe fault lies wholly and exclusively in the warped and deluded mindset of the people who did it”.’

Obviously not…. The reason incidents like this occur is being ignored. This is not just one man. This is a personification of the effect of war. It is the embodiment of the loss of hope in turning to extreme measures to make a point, the exercise of freedom in taking justice into one’s own hands and the emotional and psychological confusion of the masses.

The masses. There are the masses and there are those in power; those who decide what to do next, those who ‘negotiate’ and those who hold press conferences, those who say that they are working on it, say that the fault is not theirs, say that the situation is difficult and say that measures are being taken, as they have always been taken, to reporters, to the television, to the masses right after a delicious cup of creamed coffee and buttered toast. It is they that should now being called upon to do something.

However, the masses are confronted with one problem; the problem that they have always been called upon and have often failed to respond positively. I ask them one question, will you change?

In expecting a negative answer or a redundant positive answer, I call upon the masses. It is time to put your foot down. Understand what Abdelajo has done and understand why. Before you to point your finger at him, condemn him and call him names, understand why.

There is no justification for what he has done. Taking another life will not bring back lives that have been taken in Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine. Taking another life may not even stop more lives from being taken but he has taken a life and it is the duty of the masses, be they Muslim or non Muslim, be they White, Red or Black, to honor those that have died by saying NO to war!

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Quotations from: Stevens, R. (2013). UK soldier killed in London in reprisal for Afghanistan and Iraq wars. World Socialist Website.

Image: Retrieved 19/06/2013 from watchingamerica.com

June 18, 2013

To the Islamic Extremist 1

Filed under: Religion and society — by Zuhair @ 4:34 am

Is this the Solution?

Not long after the Boston Marathon bombings, a soldier in the UK was brutally murdered. The culprit Adebolajo admitted to doing what he did in the name of Islam. Once again, the world is forced to confront the basic idea of the West vs. Islam.  Was he justified in doing what he did though? Or was he just a delusional extremist Muslim?

The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers

This is what Abdelajo is reported to have said shortly after the killing. A number of Muslims might feel that he acted correctly. To them, I put forth the following questions: Has he changed the political situation then? Has he made matters better or worse for the Muslims? How does Islam look right about now?

I understand that Abdelajo was psychologically and emotionally affected by the present political situation. I too, as a Muslim am deeply affected and I am certain I and him are not the only ones. However, as much as one is affected by current events, it is our duty as Muslims to maintain the peacefulness of our religion and faith.

Extremism is not the answer and killing a UK soldier certainly isn’t either. The victim was a member of the army. He was a soldier and in his mind, his duty was his country. The fault is not his. He is only one minor individual in the bigger scheme of things. Killing him and taking him away from his family would not and certainly did not end the conflict.

The fact of the matter is Islamic extremism serves not to put an end to the troubles the Muslims are facing but rather to escalate them, especially in making Islam as a religion look bad. It is because of extremism and fundamentalism that non Muslims look at Islam as a religion of ‘Terrorism’. Both they and the extremists have forgotten that Islam itself means ‘Peace’ and if it is mentioned to a non Muslim, he then mocks it because all he thinks about when he thinks of Islam is terrorism.

Because of this, the job of Western governments and anti Islamists has become easier. Islam can easily be portrayed as evil and the concept of Islamophobia can serve to gather support for the present global conflict.

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Quotations from: Stevens, R. (2013). UK soldier killed in London in reprisal for Afghanistan and Iraq wars. World Socialist Website.

Image: Retrieved 18/06/2013 from www.newclearvision.com

April 19, 2013

My Message to the Misconceptionist: Responding to Nonie Darwish 2

Filed under: Religion and society — by Zuhair @ 5:22 pm

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http://www.cbn.com/tv/1410273596001

On underage marriages:

Darwish, in her interview speaks of the fact that men can marry under aged girls and have sexual relations with them. This is not entirely true.

Firstly, it might be true that in some parts of the world, men do marry very young girls. This might be because the girl’s family is very poor and a better option for them would be to hand her over in marriage so that she is taken care of.  This then comes down to poverty, something more than half of the world’s population cannot escape and as all society’s negatives lead to practices and habits, however cold and incomprehensible, poverty does too.

The idea then that her husband would be entitled to her sexually when she has still not come of age is disturbing. It is also not true because he is not supposed to have her until she does come of age.

When she does come of age, if she feels like the man she is married to has become too much of a father, she is entitled to ask for divorce and it should be granted. If the man forcefully takes her, it is up to the authorities to act upon it and they must. If they choose not to, it is not the fault of Islam but it is the fault of corrupted officials, whether they claim they follow Islamic law or not.

In a modern context, this kind of marriage is not really necessary. In fact, neither is the practice of taking many wives. In terms of child marriages, it really is up to the parents to ensure the protection of their child and if I am not mistaken, this is made much easier by the implementations of laws restricting underage marriages. It is in common sense to know that a child would not be happy in a marriage and she would certainly be scarred emotionally for having her childhood taken away from her.

Herein lies the problem with Darwish’s ideas about Islam. She is blaming Islam as a religion for the misuse of it by those in power (this includes both parents of the children and government officials) and by many of the misguided and unlearned Muslims.

It must be further said that there have been cases of underage marriage where the child, being unhappy took a stand and authorities were forced to intervene. One such case is that of Yemeni girl Nujood Ali. [1]  After fighting for a divorce, she had it granted. I regret to say that there have been others in her situation but I do not regret to say that some of them have, like her, asked for a divorce which was granted to them because according to Islamic law, it must be.

The reason I bring these reports to light is so my readers know that I am aware of child marriages and I am aware that some Muslims treat the issue very lightly. However, as a Muslim woman and more importantly as a human being, I know when an injustice has occurred and often times; such marriages are forced upon the child, therefore making it wrong in Islam.

According to Islam, no woman, or child for that matter can be forced into marriage. Therefore, if the child expresses dislike over the idea of getting married, even her father cannot force her. In fact, he is prohibited from forcing her into marriage. It is sad to say that girls are often forced into accepting a husband and this is a vice that leads to others. Perhaps, we must tackle the issue from here.

Abu Hurairah narrated that:

The Prophet said: “A matron should not be given in marriage until she is consulted, and a virgin should not be given in marriage until her permission is sought, and her silence is her permission.” (Sahih)[2]

Finally, most critics of child marriages attack Islam blaming the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) for his marriage with Hazrat Aisha (RA) when she was very young. To enlighten such misconceptionists and my readers on the issue, I suggest they listen to Yusuf Estes address the issue and I hope that he might put them and you at ease. [3]

I also advise misconceptionists and people who choose to publicly attack a faith that is not their own to do their homework first and put things into perspective, considering all relevant factors such as time period, society, etc.  The problem today is people look at things from a modern perspective and attack what they don’t understand before attempting to understand it.

Image: Child playing in the sand Greeting card. Google Images. fineartamerica.com


[1] Newton, Paula. Child bride gets divorced after rape, beatings. 2008. CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/07/15/yemen.childbride/

[3] Yusuf Estes talks about Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) marriage to Aisha (RA). Uploaded by t6658. Originally uploaded by khalifaklothing. April, 2012. YouTube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2woSUPYd_AI

April 18, 2013

My Message to the Misconceptionist: Responding to Nonie Darwish

Filed under: Religion and society — by Zuhair @ 1:30 pm

http://www.cbn.com/tv/1410273596001

Listening to Nonie Darwish speaking, I am shocked that someone could say so many negative things about one religion. I am even more shocked that someone so educated could know so little about a religion that keeps growing, despite all the negativity it has had to face.

Her portrayal of women in Islam cannot be more wrong and misunderstood. Darwish claims there is no such thing as Islamic Feminism. How can she say something like that when all Muslims must know that with the coming of the Prophet (PBUH), women gained rights? Before that, girls were buried alive on account of the fact that they were girls.

As a Muslim woman today, I take faith in this and am aware that if I were wrongly treated, I could speak up. Just because many women choose not to speak up does not mean they are not allowed to. Often times, women will remain silent in order to protect their reputation or the name of their family. This too is their right.  It must also be said that this kind of thing can happen anywhere in the world in any society.

Some women however do speak up. One example is the case of Rania Al Baz, A Saudi television presenter. [1] Speaking up really has nothing to do with your religion. It has more to do with how brave you can be in a male dominated world. (Yes, the world! Not just one society)


My Message to the Misconceptionist: Responding to Nonie Darwish 1

Filed under: Religion and society — by Zuhair @ 1:28 pm

ROYALWED_wedding-rings

http://www.cbn.com/tv/1410273596001

On Marriage and Divorce:

Marriage in Islam is not slavery for the woman. How can it be so when the woman does not have to work to earn her bread, when she is entitled to an allowance from her husband, of which she can spend for herself alone? I further mention in passing, the dowry is not the purchasing of the woman’s body. This could not be farther from the truth and if you think about it, there are cultures where the dowry is given by the woman. Does this then mean that the woman is ‘purchasing’ her husband’s body? Darwish claims that she knows this because scholars say it. I’d like to know the name of the scholar who would say something like this.

Whoever believes that a woman is nothing but an object of pleasure for her husband has either been in an unhappy marriage or knows someone who has.  All I can say in response to this is that Islam did not make her an object but her husband did. Any woman who is treated correctly and fairly by her husband would disagree with the idea.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The most perfect man in his faith among the believers is the one whose behaviour is most excellent; and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives.”[At- Tirmidhi]. [1]

Darwish further speaks about a woman’s right to divorce in Islam. It is true that women are not as freely allowed as men to ask for divorce. This is because they are easily affected by their emotions, especially during a pregnancy or menstruation.  In fact the husband is not permitted to ask for a divorce when his wife is having her period either. However if a woman is being mistreated by her husband and is very unhappy in her marriage, it is her right to ask for a divorce; and a judge who is following Islamic Law correctly is obligated to grant her permission.

Another reason a woman is restricted in asking for divorce is that a woman may be able to marry a man for his dowry and then simply ask for a divorce shortly after the marriage contract is signed. Therefore, she would be able to keep the dowry and leave the man. This would be unfair to the man.

Furthermore, regarding divorce, if you look at divorce statistics worldwide, the divorce rate in the West is very high. This is because divorce is dealt with very freely and occurs over issues that can be worked out between husband and wife. If such a high divorce rate is a positive thing, think of the effect it has on the society as a whole and more importantly, I invite you to think of the children who are caught in between divorces and broken marriages.

Finally, it is untrue that in Islam a man may beat his wife without having to answer for it. He is not allowed to hurt his wife in anyway and no good man, whether Muslim or otherwise would do so.

Bahz bin Hakim reported on the authority of his father from his grandfather (Mu’awiyah ibn Haydah) as saying:

I said: Messenger of Allah, how should we approach our wives and how should we leave them? He replied: Approach your tilth when or how you will, give her (your wife) food when you take food, clothe when you clothe yourself, do not revile her face, and do not beat her.[2]

If a Muslim wife misbehaves with another man, it is the right of her husband to speak to her about it. If she does not listen to him, he may sleep in a separate bed and if she still does not listen, he can hit her on her shoulder, but not hard enough to leave a mark. If she still proves to be stubborn, he can file for a divorce.

How is any of this unfair to the woman? Moreover, if the man is misbehaving with another woman, his wife can leave him. A woman in Islam is given her rights, despite what individuals like Darwish might think. A man is permitted to take more than one wife if he likes, but a woman can divorce him, if she dislikes it. Furthermore, a woman can include, in her marriage contract her not wanting him to take another wife. When he signs the contract, he will have to abide by it.

Another right, a woman has in Islam is that when she is married; she can in no way be forced to speak of her past. Her husband does not have this right on her. Therefore, if a bride is found not to be a virgin, the man she has married can leave her but has no right to ask her about her past or turn her in. Any good man might try to look past her past or if he finds himself unable to do so would file for a divorce but will do his very best to preserve her reputation and not publicly declare her a sinner.


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