Monday, March 28, 2011

living where you work - Islam: A Short History

Right, so I think my reflections from Islam: A Short History are going to tend toward the random, since there has, so far, been no new information.

Armstrong has a thing about Islam. She never converted, but she clearly was very fond of Islam and can't say enough nice things about it. She spends a couple of paragraphs on Mohammed's love of women. Not *that way*. Dirty minds...

But that the emancipation of women was a big deal for him. I know a lot of Muslims who claim that woman had no rights, etc. prior to Islam, but then how was Khadijah so rich and powerful? She had her own business, which is what she hired Mohammed to run. So clearly at least some women had rights. I have no doubt that it wasn't equal across the economic levels - women from wealthier families having more rights and opportunities than those who were poor, etc.

The thing that I find the most interesting, though, is the layout of the first mosque in Medina. The interesting aspect, to me, is that Mohammed and his wives basically lived in the mosque. It wasn't just the religious center for the Muslims, or the community center, it was Mohammed's house. Or houses, since each wife got her own little hut.

I read that, and I thought, well, how annoying. It's not enough that you have to share your husband with other women, only getting him part of the time, but then you have people coming in to ask him questions, because he literally lives in his office.


  1. I knew about that, because I've been told a few times that that was the original purpose of "hijab" - separating and hiding his wives from the random people who walked through their home all the time. But I never thought of it in quite those terms. :) I'm sure culture makes a difference, and they wouldn't have the same expectations of home and family, but if the hijab explanation is true that does mean it was likely still out of the ordinary and inconvenient. Poor things.

  2. I love your random posts! I'd heard this before too and the whole hijab meaning curtain so that people couldn't just walk in on the wives since they were in their house yet the people's place of worship. I think this is also why in the Quran there is a part about making appointments to see Muhammad so you won't take up too much of his time.

    LOL @ your observation re: Karen Armstrong's love of Islam. I wouldn't be surprised to one day read that she's a Muslim. I still remember how she said Muhammad disliked the fact Allah allowed wife beating since it was so against Muh's own sensibilities. God is the bully as we all know. Really, it does sometimes seem that we are more morally-superior and tolerant than God. Maybe God is our alter-ego and he allows the bad things we say we don't want, but secretly (maybe so secret that we dont' even know it), we want.

    Did I tell you how much I love your header? A-stinkin'-dorable! :)

  3. About Karen Armstrong and Islam, I thought the issue was that she was too universalistic to belong to any of them. Last I knew, she described herself as an Abrahamic monotheist and thought all three of those traditions had something to offer. I always read her as cheering on Islam the same way a lot of UUs cheer on all the misunderstood minority religions 'cause it makes us feel like good people. :D But maybe that's just my own bias and not actually something she'd agree with at all.

  4. sanil,

    I've been told that too, in addition to the story of...Umar? I think it was, who got on Mohammed's case about his wives wandering to and fro and getting harrassed on their way to the toilets. Though, as I'm recalling the story, it seems the only one bothering them was Umar. She does bring that up, a little bit later from where I'd stopped last night, that the instructions in the Qur'an were *only* to Mohammed's wives, and that the rest of the Muslim women were forced into it later.

    Hah! While I'm not sure she's fond of Islam because it's the underdog and misunderstood, I do agree that I don't think we'll ever see her convert to Islam, or any other religion really. I get the impression that she's quite content as she is.

  5. Susanne,

    *nods* Like I said. No new information. But random thoughts about it. :)

    Yeah. I'm certain that's why that's in the Qur'an. One too many interruptions while eating or something.

    Like I told sanil, I don't think she'll ever actually convert. I think she likes a lot of things about Islam, or at least that's the impression she gives, but I also think she was burned very badly by organized religion and has found happiness where she is now.

    Sure. If we've invented god, then his permission is all we need to let ourselves do things that we want to do, but can't admit to. A haven for our darker impulses, if we're looking at it that way.


  6. What a cute, cute, cute banner :) Love it.

    "he literally lives in his office." Haha! That's right!

    He should have build himself a new office than to have asked his wives to cover up!

  7. Suroor,

    Thanks! She's a cutie!

    He really should have. Just moved his wives to houses somewhere else. It wouldn't have even had to have been far, just to give them some freaking privacy!

  8. Quran Recitation Online
    Islam is a very nice and complete religion, Allah (SWT) send a prophets to guide all peoples on earth, some people who followed that prophets and bealive on one Allah they became Muslims, Allah also send a Holy Book Quran and last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAWW) teach us the message of Allah. Allah told us all the matter and way of lives.


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