Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Note: Still here.

Finished VBV. Nothing to write home about. The rest of the book was all about evangelising to the poor Muslimahs who are just *waiting*, abjectly miserable, for you good Christian women to save them. Oh! And one story about a woman who went on a mission to some northern African country (never named) and felt that the whole country was 'heavy' with evil. *rolls eyes*

I didn't pick my new book yet, so I don't know what it's going to be.

In under a week, I will be 29. Yay!

One of my friends got engaged, DOUBLE YAY FOR HER! He's an awesome guy and she really, really deserves to be happy. :D

I think that's about it, atm. My brain has been swallowed by fannish things.

Friday, May 27, 2011

random things

LONG WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, what this actually means is that I've had to work twice as hard all week to get the work done for early deadlines, and I will have to work twice as hard for the four days of work next weeks, especially since I will be on vacation the week after.

Also, I have become obsessed with trimming all the little palm/palmetto trees in our yard. I did one this past weekend and now I keep looking at all the others in the yard and thinking about how nice they'll look once I've trimmed off all the dead/dying fronds.

Still reading VBV. The last two chapters haven't been anything to talk about. One was on hijab, and it wasn't bad, actually. Which shows you how different each article can be in a collection by different authors. The author touched briefly on the ayah that command the hijab - the one in regards to Mohammed's wives and the screen that people should speak to them through, and the one commanding the rest of the muslimah's to draw their cloaks over their chests. The main thrust of the article, though, was about how the hijab, the headcovering, has become a statement of unity for those women who choose to wear it. She mentions that while many women are forced to wear it, either by cultural/national concerns or their family, there are women who choose to wear it as a statement of their faith.

The chapter I just finished up was about some cultural hints for different Muslim nations. It's aimed at giving missionary women some idea of the culture that they'd be working in, I think. I don't know enough about the cultures of the countries mentioned to judge how well the author presented them. None of the entries was entirely negative, so I think the author at least attempted and intended to present a balanced idea of the extremes one might face and some cultural no-no's to avoid. The chapter I just started is about daughter's in Islam. The author started out talking about how baby girls were seen as ornaments and burdens in Arabia and how Mohammed commanded that the people stop murdering their infant daughters. I'll do a more detailed post later, of course.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Department of Redundency Department

I just finished filling out the paperwork for my readmission to college. Re-dun-dant.

But it's done. Now all I have to do is fax it in tomorrow and wait. And then see an advisor so we can figure out what I have to take to get the AS Paralegal degree I want. I've taken most of the basic courses, so I'm hoping it's mostly just the degree specific stuff I have left. Plus Speech, which I dropped due to crippling fear of speaking in front of people. Blagh.

Monday, May 23, 2011

*twiddles thumbs*

I let Susanne in on the secret earlier, but the fact of the matter is this: I have been absent from the blog this weekend because it is hard to get someone to come install the internet up in heaven.

That's right, you heard me. I was the ONLY person raptured on Saturday. So it's just me and God up here, chilling. Truth be told, it's a bit boring. I'm apparently *not* allowed to smite people, in spite of having access to all the lightning and thunder one could want. Something about me being judgementally impaired or something like that. There's a lot of thee's and thou's in God's vernacular, so it's hard to translate. There's a reason I never finished reading the KJV Bible. Mostly I just nod and tune him out.

So, before I got sucked up here, and wasn't that fun, what with my fear of heights and all. All I'm saying is, phenomenal cosmic powers and he can't teleport people? Had to do that whole slow float thing? Meh.

Anyhow. I'm still reading VBV. The chapter I'm on right now is about the symbolism of the hijab. Not bad so far, but nothing new, so I don't really have anything to say about it.

My random thought for today has been this: would it be so bad if there was no God? No divine nothing. Just people and the universe.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Supernatural season finale aka KNEEL BEFORE ZODCAS!

This is where commentary would go, if I was coherent. I'm not. So fill in your own.

BUH. And also, HOLY SHIT CAS!

I miss Balthazar already, and Crowley is too awesome to die.


CAS BETTER GET UNPOWERMAD NEXT SEASON RIGHT QUICK! OR I WILL FIND YOU! FIND YOU AND MAKE YOU SUFFER!

In lieu of actual commentary, macro.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 12

Oh, we are finally done with this chapter. Okay. Last two sections.

Inhabitants of Paradise Joined with Family

surah Ar-Ra'd 13:23-24 - "Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate (with the salutation): "Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final home!""

surah Ghafir 40:8 - ""And grant, our Lord! that they enter the Gardens of Eternity, which Thou hast promised to them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their posterity! For Thou art (He), the Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom."

surah at-Tur 52:21 - "And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith,- to them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works: (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds."

I don't really think this part needs commentary. People who go to heaven are reunited with their loved ones who also made it into heaven. Isn't that one of the hopes of all believers?

The Majority in Hell

The only backup for this idea that the majority of people in hell are women comes from the ahadith. I'm not a fan of the hadith. They're too all over the place and so many of them contradict the Qur'an. So I'm just going to give the short version of the answer that I have been given as to the meaning of the hadith that say women are the majority in hell. I have been told that it is not because they are women that they go to hell. Men and women have equal opportunity to go to heaven. When Mohammed was speaking in these cases, assuming that he really said them at all, he was speaking to a group of women specifically. Women who were harridans, shrews, ungrateful in their lives. Mohammed was basically warning them to mend their ways before it was too late. *shrug*

sahih Bukhari 1:2:29 - "Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful." It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received any good from you.""

sahih Bukhari 4:54:464 - "Narrated 'Imran bin Husain: The Prophet said, "I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.""

sahih Bukhari 7:62:124 - "Narrated Usama: The Prophet said, "I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor, while the wealthy were stopped at the gate (for the accounts). But the companions of the Fire were ordered to be taken to the Fire. Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women.""


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 11

Oh, thank heaven. We are nearly done with this chapter! Not the book, mind, but this chapter which claims to teach people something about Islamic theology.

Let's see...

Good Deeds of Believers Rewarded?

surah an-Nisa 4:124 - "If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them."

surah at-Taubah 9:72 - "Allah hath promised to Believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: that is the supreme felicity."

surah al-Kjahf 18:107 - "As to those who believe and work righteous deeds, they have, for their entertainment, the Gardens of Paradise,"

There's more, but I think that's enough to get the point. The author takes six such verses, which promise those who believe and who do good works heaven, and compares them to one verse, surah al-Mu'minum 23:102-3 - "Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,- they will attain salvation: But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide."

Let me say this, first, though it has nothing to do with the authors point. I would think, looking at these verses, that it should put paid to the idea that Islam is a faith of salvation by works. Each verse mentions two things: faith and works. Not one without the other, but both. Together.


Moving on...the authors point is actually that, according to the last verse quoted, Muslims have no way of knowing whether or not they are saved. They won't know until they die and are judged whether or not they managed to do enough good deeds to win God's favor. Again, it's one of these things that I can see where she's coming from, but I'm not certain that that's exactly what the verse says. Perhaps I'm reading too much of a Christian interpretation into it, but, looking at the verse is it not possible that what is being said is that the lack of good deeds, or good works, is a sign that the person is not a Believer? That they, not *because* of their lack of good works, are not saved and that the lack of 'good fruit' is merely a sign of that?


She leans very heavily on the 'lack of assurance of salvation' in Islam and I really can't get behind that. Again and again, I run up against the problem that this point of view, that we can be assured of our salvation, is erroneous. No one knows that state of their own soul, let alone anyone elses'. Salvation is a process, not a one time thing. 


Inhabitants of Paradise Will Feel No Sorrow


surah al-A'raf 7:42-43 - "But those who believe and work righteousness,- no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear,- they will be Companions of the Garden, therein to dwell (for ever). And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury;- beneath them will be rivers flowing;- and they shall say: "Praise be to Allah, who hath guided us to this (felicity): never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah: indeed it was the truth, that the messengers of our Lord brought unto us." And they shall hear the cry: "Behold! the garden before you! Ye have been made its inheritors, for your deeds (of righteousness).""

Really, I'm just including this bit for completeness' sake. I've got nothing to say, and really neither does the author. Do you think we will feel pain or suffering or sadness in Heaven? No. We will be with God, with the angels and the saints and our loved ones. But most of all, we will be with God. How can you feel pain or suffering when you are in the presence of Love and Goodness? 

Monday, May 16, 2011

this is not the right response to questions

One guy at work made an offhand comment about trying to go to church so he could 'recapture his soul'. This led to a few of us to talking about Sunday school, somehow. And one girl laughed and said that she was kicked out of Sunday school in the fourth grade because she asked too many questions. So here's the story.

The class was learning about and discussing Jesus' death. So my friend asked how old Jesus was when he died. She was told he was about 30 years old. So she asked if he was married. The teacher told her no, Jesus wasn't married. Well what about a girlfriend? No, Jesus didn't have a girlfriend. She asked *why* Jesus wasn't married. 'He just wasn't the marrying kind.' Now my friends parents' best friends were, on the father's side, a Jewish family, and on the mother's side, a gay couple. This is important information. So she thinks about it. And then she asks, was Jesus' mother alive? Yes. Thinks some more. Well, then, was Jesus gay?

Which is the point at which she was made to sit out in the hall with her mother. The church kicked her out of Sunday school, which meant that they rushed her through confirmation and first communion, because that was the only way they could get her out of the classes. Basically, she got kicked out for being inquisitive and because the teacher lacked imagination and cleverness of thought.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 10

A Fatalistic Salvation

surah al-Baqarah 2:284 - "To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth. Whether ye show what is in your minds or conceal it, Allah Calleth you to account for it. He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and punisheth whom He pleaseth, for Allah hath power over all things."

The author wants to make the point that in Islamic theology, there is no hope of salvation. She intends to pain the picture that Muslims spend their entire lives trying to earn enough good deeds to make it into heaven, even though, according to their own theology, God has already decided who is in and who is out and there's nothing they can do about it.


She starts out with the above verse. I understand what she's getting out of it, she focuses only on the last sentence of the verse. However, I don't understand it the way she does. I don't see it as a statement that God punishes whomever the whim strikes Him to punish, or anything like that. To my mind it is merely an example of the failure of human language. The entire verse is about how God is in charge of everything. Everything is His and His alone. Punishment or reward is not based on the whims of the divine, but on the laws that were set up for mankind to follow.


Anyway. She clearly has never heard of, or is ignoring, the Christian sects who believe in predestination, since she seems to believe that her (incorrect) version of Islamic theology (God deciding ahead of time who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell) only exists in Islam.


Let me lay out, briefly, her argument for terming Islamic salvation, 'fatalistic'.


All people are born muslim. Not, as she coins it, Muslim, meaning followers of the revelation of Mohammed. She quotes this hadith, sahih Bukhari 2:23:441 - "Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Every child is born with a true faith of Islam (i.e. to worship none but Allah Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism, Christianity or Magainism, as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal. Do you find it mutilated?" Then Abu Huraira recited the holy verses: "The pure Allah's Islamic nature (true faith of Islam) (i.e. worshipping none but Allah) with which He has created human beings. No change let there be in the religion of Allah (i.e. joining none in worship with Allah). That is the straight religion (Islam) but most of men know, not." (30.30)" 

Then she quotes sahih Bukhari 4:54:430 - "Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mus'ud: Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature's) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). Then the soul is breathed into him. So, a man amongst you may do (good deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behavior and he starts doing (evil) deeds characteristic of the people of the (Hell) Fire. And similarly a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the (Hell) Fire, and then what has been written for him decides his behavior, and he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise.""

Her argument is this. Though we are all born 'Muslim', 'knowing' the truth of Islam (and she never corrects the impression that this means Mohammed's religion, our parents corrupt us and we can live our lives incorrectly. But none of that matters. As a matter of fact, nothing that we do matters because God, at our creation, tells an angel to write down our fate. So no matter what we do, we will wind up in a pre-determined place. The end.

Only, that's not how I read the hadith. As I see it, a) they claim that people are born 'muslim', meaning that they submit to God. Not that they are Muslims. And b) the angel is sent to write down the deeds and the fate of the soul. That does not say that God decides what that fate is for the person. God *knows* it, because He is God. But foreknowledge is different from causing the thing to be.

Aside from all of this, the author believes that Islamic salvation is 'fatalistic' because no one can ever be certain of their salvation. And I find that to be a Protestant problem. They have this idea that their salvation is 100% assured if they say the Jesus prayer or whatever their particular group has decided on. That after that, they're in the clear. But that's not the way it works. Salvation is a process, one that we live out for our entire lives. The idea that a person can say that they know they will go to heaven, or to hell, or that they can tell another person where they will be for eternity is arrogant in the extreme, and takes onto a human being what belongs to God alone.

yes, i'm a girl. that doesn't mean i don't know what i'm talking about...

Alright. So here's the story of my weekend.

Saturday, I get up and I'm wandering around the house in my pajamas at 8 in the morning, because it's Saturday, and the only plans for the day involve some yard work and then laundry. Then my sister calls. The press broke down and part of the paper didn't get out. So our boss wants to know if I can come in. I used to work in customer service, so even though I work legal advertising now, I can use the system if I have to, and one of the regular customer service girls was out of town with her family, so they needed the help.

I drove in, and on my way in the tire pressure light lit up in the car. Okay. I just got new tires on Myrddin at sears in mid-April. So it's weird that they need air already, but whatever. I go to work, work for a couple of hours until the insane rush is over, and then head out. My plan was to go by the gas station, check the tires, put air in and then go to the mall to get my hair cut. And while I was at it I figured I'd drop Myrddin off to get his oil changed at Sears because it'd be convenient that way. Well, I get to the gas station and I top off the two passenger side tires. Then I get to the left rear tire and when I attach the pressure gauge, I can hear air hissing *out* of the tire. I think, well I just didn't have it pressed in hard enough. No biggie, it's a little low, so I take the air hose and hook it up to add air. And *that* lets air out of the tire! Okay. Again, maybe I wasn't pressing hard enough. So I try it again. Air out. I check the tire with the gauge. Yes, definitely lower. Fine.

I move on to the left front tire, thinking maybe the nozzle on the end of the air hose broke. Nope. It worked perfectly for the front tire, just like it had for the other two. So there's something wrong with that left rear tire. Fine. Everything's covered under the new tires with Sears. I drove over to Sears and pulled in. I explained that I wanted an oil change, and I explained about the rear tire. Of course the guy says, 'well you just weren't pressing hard enough'. So, quite patiently, I explain that I did just the same thing I did on the other three tires, and I didn't have any issues with them. So there's something with that back tire. I ask if they could please look at the valve, and, being nice, I say, 'It might just have been me, but please just check it out and put some air in it since I definitely let air out?' So they agree and I go off to get my hair cut.

Forget the fact that one of the high schools is having their prom on Saturday night, so the salon is full of teenaged idiots who don't know how to fix their own damn hair. My car was done in half an hour, forty five minutes. Great. It took another half hour after *that* to get my hair cut. I go, pick up my car, and they say that they couldn't find anything wrong with the valve, but they put air in the tire, yadda. Fine.

I left, went home, did laundry and everything was fine.

This morning, I'm on the interstate on my way to church and guess what happens? Oh, you guessed it. The air pressure light went on! Son. Of. A. Bitch. Well, maybe they didn't put *enough* air in it. So I stop by the gas station, and lo and freaking behold, I can't put air in the left rear tire! It keeps letting air out! GRRRRRRRRRRR!

So rather than go to church, I turn and drive to the other end of town, to the mall, to Sears. The same guys are there this morning. I *know* that there is something wrong with the valve at this point. It has to be. I pull out my receipts from the new tires so I can prove that they rebuilt the valve stem cores when they put the new tires on, so whatever the problem is, it's their fault. The guy checks the pressure in that tire and says, 'Yeah, it is low.' NO. SHIT. SHERLOCK. BECAUSE I KEEP LETTING AIR OUT TRYING TO PUT AIR IN! But I remain calm, and explain the problem again. They look it up in the computer and see that they did replace the valve stem cores, etc. Fine. They take it and check the core, put air in the tire. Well, they say they don't have any problem putting air in the tire.

I DO NOT CARE! Their air hose is not the same kind that there is at gas stations. It's more powerful. I am not an idiot, and I know how to put air in my own tires. I can change my own tires too, or do a dozen other things on my car that I choose not to because I don't want to. It is more convenient for me to *pay* for someone to do those things. But that doesn't mean that I don't know what I'm talking about. So the very nice man says that they can change the valve stem core out anyway, just for my peace of mind.

Yes. You go ahead and do that. I'll wait.

While I'm waiting, seeing as how it is now 10:30 in the morning and I am obviously *not* going to make it to church, I call my friend Donna and ask her if she wants to meet me and go to an early lunch before the movies. We agree to meet around eleven and I head back into the auto shop. They're just finishing with the car, and the guy comes over and tells me that they replaced the core, but that they also found that when they put the hubcap on originally it was pressing against the air valve, which could have been putting pressure on the inside of it, causing the problem I was having.

*headdesk*

I ask if they put air in the tire. Yes. Okay, good. Thanks, bye now.

I drive out of Sears' parking lot, and the tire pressure light stays on. Sometimes, when the pressure's been low, it takes it a minute to register that it's been corrected. So I tooled around the mall parking lot. No joy. Okay. I decide that I'm going to just go to a gas station and try to put my own air in again. If it doesn't work, I'm going to go back to Sears and beat someone to death with a tire iron or something. Or just yell. Whatever seems to be most effective.

I pull into the closest station. I have no quarters. I get change, and go to use the air machine. It is broken and it eats one of my quarters. Dammit! So I pull out and am going to just go back to Sears. Then I spot a car wash. I figure, they have vaccums and such, so maybe they have air. They do. I go to put air in my tire and realize that I left the cap for the valve back in the gas station parking lot. *headdesk* Fine. One problem at a time. I turn the air on and try to put air in the tire.

IT WORKS! MY GOD, IT'S A MIRACLE!

So I take care of that, get in the car and the tire pressure light goes out. Awesome. I drive back to the gas station, and my valve cap is right there in the parking lot where I left it. I put it back on and drive off to meet Donna.

We go to get lunch, and I order half a sandwich and a cup of soup. Well, they accidentally give me a *bowl* of soup. The soup is yummy, so I eat it. :D

Then we went to see Priest, which was fun. Karl Urban and Paul Bettany cover a multitude of entertainment sins. Okay. Mostly Karl Urban. I'm sorry Paul, but there's just something about Urban that makes me go 'mmmmmmmmmm'. You're pretty too!



Then I went to the gym and worked out.

Now I'm home and I'm going to watch scary movies and write fanfic. Maybe another VBV post later.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 9




Teachings Concerning Sexual Immorality

It's a really short section. It contains only two subheadings, homosexuality and adultery or fornication.

I find it sort of funny that the author quotes only two verses out of the Qur'an on homosexuality, and includes none of the ahadith. There's plenty of hadith that condemn homosexuality or even dressing/acting too much like the opposite sex. But then again, I would guess that the author herself has a major problem with homosexuality. That's just a guess, honestly, but why bother pointing out how nasty the Islamic texts are about homosexuality (or anyone who is not gender normative) when you pretty much agree with it anyway.

So this is what the author quotes.

surah an-Nisa 4:15-16 - "If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful."

The first half, that about women who are guilty of lewdness is not, as I understand it, typically understood to be speaking of lesbianism. It is typically understood to be referring to adultery/fornication. However, the author follows the commentary of Yusuf Ali, who believes that 'lewdness', in this case "refers to unnatural crime between women, analogous to unnatural crime between men in 4:16." One reason she gives for this belief is that "no punishment is specified [in surah 4:15] for a man, as would be the case where a man was involved in the crime." And I can see that point. A problem here, is, of course, that we're working with a translation. Lewdness is the word in both verses, but is the original word the same word in both verses? I don't know. If we take both verses together as referring to the same 'sin', that of homosexuality, then it provides both punishment and release. We can assume that men or women, caught and convicted of such a 'crime' are to be placed under house arrest until their deaths, or until they repent and make amends for their 'sins'.


The author doesn't quote other verses of the Qur'an that make mention of homosexuality though. She leaves out all the verses that refer to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the story of Lot. I'm not going to make this a huge post, so the other verses are: surah al-'A'raf 7:80, surah Ash-Shu'ara' 26:165-173, surah An-Naml 27:54-58, surah Al-'Ankabut 29:28-31. I really think, in spite of an alternative opinion I was presented with the other day, that it's clear, from the Qur'an alone, that homosexuality is condemned in Islam. The mentions of Lot also, I think, make it clear that the Qur'an was not meant to be all inclusive. It assumes that people already know the story of Abraham, of Lot. And it seeks to 'correct' some details. Which means that it is building on previous scriptures. It's not meant to be stand alone, and I don't see how it could ever be considered self sufficient. How can people contextualize verses from the Qur'an if they reject the texts that tell them when and how the verses were revealed? Anyway. Off topic.


The hadith against homosexuality are numerous, and less friendly than the Qur'an about it. Trying not to make this a long post, so, Sahih Bukhari 7:72:774, 8:82:820, Abu Dawud 38:4447, 38:4448, 31:4007, 31:4008, 11:2169, 32:4087, 32:4088. I should point out, again, that Abu Dawud only seems to get trotted out when someone needs a particularly violent line. Bukhari says to turn out the people who commit homosexual acts, but Abu Dawud is the one calling for death. And guess who gets listened to?


Now on to adultery and/or fornication.


surah An-Nur 24:2-3 - "The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry and but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden."

Simple enough, right? You catch a couple in the act. Married or unmarried, it's the same punishment. Each party gets one hundred stripes with a whip. And they are forbidden from marrying anyone who is 'pure' of that sin. So adulterers can only marry other adulterers, etc. Or an unbeliever, a mushrikoon. So they are even forbidden from marriage to People of the Book. However, there's a problem, of course. The problem comes from the hadith. According to hadith, sahih Bukhari 7:63:195 - "Narrated Jabir: A man from the tribe of Bani Aslam came to the Prophet while he was in the mosque and said, "I have committed illegal sexual intercourse." The Prophet turned his face to the other side. The man turned towards the side towards which the Prophet had turned his face, and gave four witnesses against himself. On that the Prophet called him and said, "Are you insane?" (He added), "Are you married?" The man said, 'Yes." On that the Prophet ordered him to be stoned to the death in the Musalla (a praying place). When the stones hit him with their sharp edges and he fled, but he was caught at Al-Harra and then killed." This is also reported in sahih Bukhari by Abu Huraira. I'd list all the hadith that command stoning for adultery, but there's a bunch. Like, I counted 37, and I may not have seen them all. There is also a hadith that reports, via Aisha, that there was a verse that belonged in the Qur'an commanding stoning for adultery, but a goat ate it. I don't believe that that's from a book that is commonly accepted as very strong, so I mention it only in passing.

The fall out of this is that many are of the opinion that the Qur'anic injunction of whipping is for fornication - illegal sexual activity that occurs when both parties are unmarried. They are then forbidden from marrying anyone who is not also guilty of fornication, so one assumes they likely wound up marrying one another more often than not. For adultery, though, the hadith are viewed as authoritative, and people caught committing adultery, having sex with someone not their spouse, are to be stoned to death.

I don't believe that homosexuality is a sin. I know, I know, common interpretation, etc. I get it. But I cannot bring myself to condemn people whom God has made for being the way God made them. I think we got something wrong along the way with our understanding of this.

As for fornication, I don't believe that people should be running around having random sex. That opinion has far less to do with divine law and more to do with the dangers thereof, both physical and emotional. People tend to be happiest monogamous. Serial monogamy, perhaps, but still.

Adultery is a different matter. More than anything else, you have made a commitment, a promise to your spouse to be faithful. Adultery is the betrayal of that trust. There are people who have polygamous marriages, people who have open marriages. Those are different cases, assuming that all parties are aware of, and in agreement with the arrangements prior to the marriage. In that case, there is no trust being betrayed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

buh

Smallville - but, but, now I don't want it to be OVER!

DAMN YOU PEOPLE!

I'll even forgive the lack of Batman.

also, I love Tom Welling's serious face when he's holding still for effect shots.


Oh, wait...so that makes that kid Connor. Hi Connor! Feel luck you're not Roy. His life sucks ass.

most important of all:

LEX HI LEXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 8



Okay. Divorce. Take two...

surah al-Baqarah 2:224-237 covers divorce. I'm not going to quote the whole thing, but if you want to you can click on the link to check it out.

The first portion of an Islamic divorce listed in the separation. A separation period is not, as I understand it, required prior to divorce, but just like in many marriages, some couples may want to try it.

" And make not Allah's (name) an excuse in your oaths against doing good, or acting rightly, or making peace between persons; for Allah is One Who heareth and knoweth all things. Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing. For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if then they return, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. But if their intention is firm for divorce, Allah heareth and knoweth all things."

The problem with the separation period, historically, was this: men would 'separate' from their wives, which meant that they still had to support the wife financially, food, etc. but they didn't live or act as a married couple. For the husband, not such a big deal, considering that most men of the time had more than one wife, plus female servants who were lawful for them to have intercourse with. So it's not like they were all alone, unlike the wife, who was placed into a sort of limbo. Technically she was still married, but she didn't have all the rights of a wife in 'good standing'. And she was unable to find a new husband, because she was still married. Many husbands would use this period as an indefinite sort of punishment for wives they were angry with. The above verses, along with this hadith:

sahih Bukhari 7:63:213 - "Narrated Nafi:Ibn 'Umar used to say about the Ila (which Allah defined (in the Holy Book), "If the period of Ila expires, then the husband has either to retain his wife in a handsome manner or to divorce her as Allah has ordered." Ibn 'Umar added, "When the period of four months has expired, the husband should be put in prison so that he should divorce his wife, but the divorce does not occur unless the husband himself declares it. This has been mentioned by 'Uthman, 'Ali, Abu Ad-Darda, 'Aisha and twelve other companions of the Prophet .""

Show that Mohammed intended to end the use of this period as a punishment for the women. The separation could only legally last for four months. At the end of that period, the husband had to either actually divorce his wife, or they had to reconcile.


It seems to typically be the men who ask for the divorce, and I'm not entirely clear on what is required, Islamically, to divorce one's wife. From what I've read, all the man seems to need to do is say, 'I divorce you' to his wife and mean it while he is not angry or otherwise non-compose, and the wife is not menstruating.


sahih Muslim 9:3473 - "Ibn 'Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported that he divorced his wife while she was menstruating during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). 'Umar b. Khattib (Allah be pleased with him) asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) about it, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Command him ('Abdullah b. 'Umar) to take her back (and keep her) and pronounce divorce when she is purified and she again enters the period of menstruation and she is again purified (after passing the period of menses), and then if he so desires he may keep her and if he desires divorce her (finally) before touching her (without having an intercourse with her), for that is the period of waiting ('idda) which God, the Exalted and Glorious, has commanded for the divorce of women."

" 228: Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise."

After the divorce is official, the woman goes into a waiting period, Iddah, for three months. The entire point of this seems to be to ensure paternity. If she comes up pregnant, then she remains in Iddah until the child is delivered. If not, then she is free to seek another marriage.

" 229: A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (Men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (Themselves as well as others)."

In Islam, a single couple can marry three times, based on the beginning of this verse. This verse is also the basis for the concept of khul'ah, which is the process by which a woman seeks divorce from her husband. The woman essentially has to pay her husband to divorce him, either giving back her mahr or paying him above and beyond the worth of the mahr. And even then, she is warned in a hadith that Paradise is forbidden to a woman who asks for a divorce without good reason.

sunan Abu Dawud 2218: "Narrated Thawban: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If any woman asks her husband for divorce without some strong reason, the odour of Paradise will be forbidden to her."

I should remind everyone that the hadith of Abu Dawud seem to be among the generally unused and unaccepted. But I include it because this seems to be what the ruling is based on. There is an example of the khul'ah in sahih Bukhari 7:63:197 - "Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The wife of Thabit bin Qais came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I do not blame Thabit for defects in his character or his religion, but I, being a Muslim, dislike to behave in un-Islamic manner (if I remain with him)." On that Allah's Apostle said (to her), "Will you give back the garden which your husband has given you (as Mahr)?" She said, "Yes." Then the Prophet said to Thabit, "O Thabit! Accept your garden, and divorce her once.""

Okay. So, the couple may marry and divorce three times. After the third time, they are forbidden to one another. Until after the ex-wife has married and divorced a different man. And this can't just be an 'in name only' marriage. It must be a true marriage, with the intent to remain married, and with the couple living as a married couple, i.e.: sex. If that happens, then the original husband and wife pairing can marry each other again, if they so choose.

" 230: So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), He cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and He has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which He makes plain to those who understand."





There is also this idea known as the triple Talaq (divorce), wherein if the man says 'I divorce you' three times in a row to his wife then their divorce is final and irrevocable. It's my understanding that this is a practice accepted by some Sunni, but rejected by the Shia. I believe this is based off of some hadith, but honestly, every page that I try to go to to find out which hadith so I can share them has shut down or is having technical difficulties. So we're s.o.l. there.

" 233: The mothers shall give such to their offspring for two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear. No mother shall be Treated unfairly on account of her child. Nor father on account of his child, an heir shall be chargeable in the same way. If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them. If ye decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided ye pay (the mother) what ye offered, on equitable terms. But fear Allah and know that Allah sees well what ye do."

If the women, in her initial Iddah, is found to be with child, her Iddah lasts until she gives birth. After that, she keeps custody of the child for two years according to this verse, though I recall reading that the child remains in the custody of the mother until it is seven, at which point it goes into the custody of the father since it is a part of the fathers' household and family. Either way, the father remains responsible for the upkeep of the child and the mother.

I don't really have a whole lot of comments on this one. You can be certain that there was maybe a quarter of this information in the books section, but I figured, what the hell. It's the second time I've had to do this post, and so help me, if blogger eats this one, I'm saying screw it. Anyway.

Divorce is divorce. We are taught that God hates it, but that it is allowed because of the hardness of men's hearts. I'm not a big fan of the Islamic version of divorce because it seems to be very easy to do and heavily weighted in the favor of the men as far as who can decide when to get a divorce and the women don't seem to have a lot of power or say in the matter. But then again, I think people should be far more careful about who they marry in the first place.

Blogger = FAIL

So, they took down the posts since Wednesday. Okay. 'Temporarily'. Well, they're still not back up. So my funny apocalypse post is gone. *pout*. I *thought* that the post I'd done from VBV was saved as a draft, only it's not. It's only half of the post, basically. So I'm going to have to redo the entire post. Fine, whatever. It was only half of the section on divorce in VBV anyway. I'll just redo the post and cover the whole section. But Blogger also deleted a bunch of comments and I'm guessing those aren't ever coming back either. Dammit.

How's Wordpress?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Preparing for Ze Rapture

AHEM!

As some of you may be aware, according to this gentleman, the world is going to come to an end on May 21, 2011. I don't believe this to be the case for many reasons, the largest and most important of which is that there are still somewhere around ten Dresden Files novels to be published and God Himself would not end the world until I know how this story ends. Mostly because He knows if He does, I shall find some way to make the rest of eternity hell. Don't think I won't!

Anyway. On the off chance that I'm wrong, I assume I will be left behind. Therefore, I propose this:

All of us who will not be chilling in heaven on the 21st, it is our duty to record the events! So get your cameras ready and, when you see people being raptured up, take pictures and post them. We need to record the event for posterity, such as it will be.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Razzle Dazzle 'Em

And lo, I have just read some of the worst baloney I have seen in a good long while.

Heather pointed me to this site on Qur'anist perspectives when I was asking her some questions. I finally got around to poking around on the site and I recalled that SarahO had said, when I said that the only proof of the Qur'an is Mohammed's claim at being a prophet, that there were more proofs of the Qur'an on the site. So I went looking for those articles, to see if they were saying anything I hadn't heard before. The first article I came across was 'Qur'an and Self-Reference' and I then spent the next ten minutes trying to decide if I wanted to laugh hysterically or...no. Just laughing.

The premise of the article starts out with the concept of self-reference. Which is a real thing, mind. It exists and is really kind of fascinating and mind bendy if you get into it. For a general idea, I refer you to the Wiki article on the subject. The fascinating thing is that the author of the article seems to be making an attempt to prove that the Qur'an *must* be true because it contains no logical issues of self-reference. I can't actually speak to that, nor do I think it makes any difference, because I don't read classical Arabic.

For example, he says that the Qur'an states: "If it had been from anyone other than God, it would contain many contradictions." - 4:82. What does that prove, you may ask? Well, according to this theory, if one can find the word 'contradictions' in the Qur'an, multiple times, then the Qur'an has failed the self-reference test because it says one thing, but that thing is incorrect because the statement it makes is provably, technically wrong in that the word or phrase is used inside of the work in a way that contradicts the statement.

It's an entertaining game, really. But does it prove that the Qur'an is from God? Is that really the 'test' that God or Mohammed intended for people to use to verify the Qur'an? I don't think so. It's clear that the intent was not for people to sit there and count the number of times any given word was used. The intent was for the phrase to refer to instances of contradiction, rather than instances of the word 'contradiction'. To view it otherwise is to play a pseudo-scientific game with the words.

The author is taking something that is scientific (when it refers to maths, for instance) and applying it to a religious text. Ignoring all the context and basic knowledge of language in order to prove a point. It sounds, let's say 'good' and probably convinces some people. They see this and are amazed by the 'science'. But it's just a linguistic game. It doesn't *mean* what he says it means. And that makes it funny, in the sad kind of way.

The rest of the article goes on and on about the numbers of times words appear in the Qur'an and the meaning of the numbers and blah, blah. I fully admit to letting my mind drift and only skimming those parts. Numerology is a bunch of babbly crap, no matter which religion is trying to make use of it. Our brains are wired to see meaning and patterns. Even where there are none. We see something and our brain will reference it to something else that we know and we're suddenly, 'Aha! It has SIGNIFICANCE! It is a SIGN!' When, in reality, it's nothing. We're making it up without realizing it. The brain. Fascinating. So, really, the number of times a specific word is used in the Qur'an, or the Bible, or whatever, means bupkiss. Especially to me, since I know this and patently Do Not Care. I am Unimpressed By Your Numerology.

The author of the article couldn't resist getting one dig in on the Bible though, at the very end.

"The Bible is not free from paradoxes (contradictions) of self-reference. The famous "Epimenides paradox" is well known. Paul, writing to Titus, says about the Cretans:

12. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13. This witness is true….(Titus 1:12-13- The Bible)

An analysis based on self-reference tells us that if the statement that Cretans are always liars is true, then since "one of themselves (a Cretan)" said this, it must be a lie, since Cretans always lie (according to the statement made). So if the statement is true then it is a lie (based on self-reference). Only if the statement that "Cretans are always liars" is false can this "witness" be true. So it is a paradox, a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This shows that the author of Titus had no idea what he/she was talking about."

*cough* *eyes it* *laughs so hard she hurts herself* Author, allow me to introduce you to a rhetorical device known as hyperbole. It's been around for a long, long time. It is the use of exaggeration in order to make a point. But you go on and believe in the utter intent of every sentence to be absolutely 100% factually true. I'll be over here, thinking of what a silly, silly duck you are.

Southern Culture - Tips for the Outsider

I think there might need to be some sort of a 'visitors guide' or something set up for people who come to the South. Here're some things friends and I came up with last night while we were talking about Southern culture.

1. Southerners want people to like us. Not just 'tolerate' us. We want to make people happy. We're bred/brought up this way and it's deep in there.

2. We tend to take people at their word. If you say you're going to do something, we expect that you will do it. And if you don't, then that's it. Of course there are exigent circumstances, but we're not speaking of those. Just instances where you promise to do something and then don't. There are usually no second chances - you've lost us forever. There's some wiggle room, of course. Another Southerner will likely get more leeway than Someone Else.

3. We expect exaggeration and bluster from politicians, not regular people. If you say something, we assume that you mean it. So watch what you say, because people will still settle their differences the old fashioned way in some parts.

4. Southerners are not putting on airs. We are, in fact, friendly, hospitable, and civil. If we're sharing freely with you about ourselves, it means we trust you. But, like #2, if you break that trust, it's gone forever. And we're easily offended. If you've offended us, we will likely just cut you off entirely until you make amends. And even then, it will never be the same. We like a lot of people, but we don't respect them until they've earned it.

5. We gossip. It's not meant to be harmful, though it does get that way sometimes. It's just the way we talk. We share information, but it's boring unless it comes with an interesting story.

6. We can take criticism, if it's done properly. That means you do it civilly, or you do it with some humor. We don't just go straight for the throat. If it's to that point, it's too late and it's already a fight. That's the Yankee way. And we all know they're not brought up right.

7. Brutal honesty is rejected. It is a virtue to maintain civility through slight dishonesty. 'Little white lies' keep society from burning to the ground, people.

8. Do not yell at a Southerner. Ever. Do not interrupt us while we are talking unless the building is actively burning down around us or Timmy is stuck down the well. Do not mock us, jeer at us, or make a public spectacle. We are speaking. You will get your turn, and we expect you to speak politely as well when you've got the 'floor'. If you cannot do this, you will be cut off and we won't even acknowledge that you exist until you've made amends. I'm not kidding. We shun people. You don't have to agree with our opinions, you just have to be able to express yourself like a full grown and proper human being.

9. We're always early. And we always leave late. It's just polite to be on time, and 'on time' just happens to be at least 15 minutes early for us. Seriously. If we actually arrive somewhere at the time we're told to be there, we're late. And leaving takes a lot of good-byes, so expect the ending time of anything to be maybe half an hour after it's 'ended'.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm Out of Practice

*whine*

There's a lot of standing in the Orthodox service. More than I remember, really. I can't figure out if it's just my memory playing tricks on me or if maybe it's because it's Pascha? I know that there's no kneeling for prayers until after Pentecost, so maybe that's something to do with it. I'll have to look it up.

*lol* I just know there was more standing!

It felt good to be back, and it reminded me that I really do need to get to learning Greek. The church does have Greek language classes, but they're Monday evenings at 6:30. When I have my trainer, of course. And believe me, her schedule is packed, so moving my times around is not going to happen. I'll do my best to muddle through on my own and at some point things will change and I'll be able to take the class if I need to I'm sure. Same thing with the Bible study on Wednesday nights. *pout* Do they not know that they're supposed to make things convenient for *me*? ;)

*thinks* The little old man who greets everyone came over and asked me why I wasn't taking Communion. He's a sweetheart and I love him! I have no idea what his name is, but he's just so dang cute! Anyway, that led to the whole, 'not Orthodox' discussion, and he was telling me about one of the men there who was Jewish. He says the man attended the Divine Liturgy for three weeks and then came up to him (they'd spoken before, of course) and told him that he wanted to convert. My little old man was telling me all about how, at his age, he'd learned that you have to do what seems right to you, not what people tell you is right. *pinches his cheeks* He's just so dang cute!

I didn't stay for the coffee hour because my schedule on Sundays is a little packed. *shrug*

*thinks* Oh! Does anyone remember how the baba's were telling me (the last time) about the Woman In Black and how no one knew why she wore black all the time, yadda? Well, she's not wearing black anymore! She was wearing a very pretty fuscia dress with a white sweater over it. I can't tell you how much prettier she looks now. Not that people can't look beautiful in all black, but she was definitely...dumpy about it. Unhappy. Which, if she was in mourning would make sense. Turns out, she's the priests wife! Presbytera Photini.

The homily was on Mother's Day, unsurprisingly. I'm not a big fan of Mother's Day. Not because I don't love and appreciate my mother, but because it's just another one of those made up holidays. I try to remember to make sure my mother knows I love her all year round. I fail at being the perfect daughter a lot, but I try. The main thrust of the sermon was, I think, about reassuring mothers who, at a great many times feel invisible or unappreciated, that even when no one else seems to see everything that they do, God does.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Can God Be Neutral?

So over on one of Heather's posts someone asserted that God is not good. That He is neutral. Which I don't agree with, and I've had some time to think of *why*.

If God were neutral, why would He create in the first place? Neutrality implies non-involvement. Non-movement. Why create?

If God were neutral, would He speak with Adam and Eve in the Garden? Would He bother to warn them not to eat from the tree?

If God were neutral, would He have a Chosen People?

Would He give us revelations in order to lead us to Him? If He were truly neutral, He could not interfere at all, at any point. Which means, assuming God is neutral, all of our religious texts are man made, and we can ignore them because they mean nothing.

If we view God as a neutral character, then He is the unmoved mover of Aristotle, and there is nothing to worship. He means nothing to us.

If God is not good, then our moral laws, based on what He has presumably told us is good and evil, may be flawed. If God is not good, if He is capable of deception, then nothing He has ever said holds any weight. All promises are suspect. He could chance His mind at any second and destroy us all, or unmake all of reality because He would be just as capricious as the pagan gods of old, only more powerful, since everything rests with him.

Friday, May 6, 2011

SPN - The Man Who Would Be King

*squee**clap*

Crowley and Cas!

I am so afraid of this ep...

Cas!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monologuing Cas!

Tower of Babel = 37 feet

'come on, dried dung can only be stacked so high'

I like how Dean barely even flinches anymore.

I really love Crowley. It's insane how much I love him.

Of course Cas is conflicted. He loves Dean!

And, you know, this whole flashback to the best of Cas...IT'S WORRYING ME!

DO NOT KILL CAS, WRITERS! I WILL FIND YOU!

*chokes* So Cas brought Sam's body out!

'denim wrapped nightmares!'

I like invisible Cas.

*lol* Demon-Bobby! Too cute.

messiah-Cas!

*whimper*

Smite the demons! Smite the demons!

THE FOOLS!

Because now they know you were spying on them, you moron!

Did Crowley just call Cas a whore? SMASH!

Cas, dear, I love you. But Crowley is more clever than thou.

Hell is now an eternal line. What happened to all the fun torture?

I don't even know what to say. I mean...ack! Poor Cas!

FREE HIM YOU ASSHOLES!

FUCK! I CAUGHT UP TO THE DVR! NOW I HAVE TO SIT THROUGH COMMERCIALS! MY MIND CANNOT TAKE THE WAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTT

Bobby got the angel proofing wrong. Ooops.

*flails around in agony**cries*

*chokes* NO! NO! SCREW YOU PEOPLE! FIX IT YOU BASTARDS! FIX IIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!

preview: May 20th. I expected that. FULL NIGHT FINALE EVENT? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I'M HAVING A MOMENT HERE!

And we're done.

So, I heard from the imam at 1:30 this morning. Or, that's when he sent the email. I got it this morning when I went online to balance my checkbook, etc. I wore as close to hijab as I could get - an ankle length skirt that's very loose and flowey and a higher collared sleeveless shirt. I brought a long knit coat to wear over it, with sleeves that go down to my wrists. I also, though the imam didn't mention it, brought along a scarf, just in case I needed to wear one. And I wore my new wedge sandals for ease of getting out of.

I got there, was kindly directed to the women's entrance by a very nice gentleman (who also said that I'd done well with the clothes, but yes, I should put on the scarf too) and slipped in to sit in the very back.

The women's section is side by side with the men's section, though it's much smaller. The 'barrier' is a set of six sliding glass doors that make up that wall. They leave the lights off inside the women's section, I'm guessing to make the 'wall' more opaque. But there's no problem seeing because of the light that comes in from the men's section as well as from the door into the hall which is left open. There's a speaker that pipes in the imam, and you can see him through the wall as well.

I don't really know what else to say. It was interesting, but I didn't feel anything. Much as I've been away from going to church lately (though I haven't talked about it, Susanne knew I hadn't been going. Maybe she's just psychic!), I still remember feeling the rightness of going to the Greek Orthodox church that first time. While religion should not be based on whether or not we feel good about it, it is a factor. I think, though I wasn't aware of it when the idea seized me, that this was a last hurrah. Islam has continued to fascinate me (obviously), and I think I've been holding back making the decision for Orthodoxy because of lingering doubts over whether or not I gave Islam a chance. I think, somewhere in my head, I was still waiting for that bolt of lighting and I couldn't give up the notion until I'd been to the last place of religious worship I hadn't made it to. And that was the mosque. I've been there, I've done that, and while it was an interesting and pleasant experience, that's all it was. I've given Islam a chance, not just by visiting the mosque, but by studying it. I don't believe it's true, and that remains a fact.

So I'm done. I've already decided to start going to the gym in the afternoon on Sundays, rather than the mornings like I have been, which means that I can start going back to Holy Trinity. It'll mean some adjusting, but I think it'll work out okay.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 7

Mut'a - Temporary Marriage

This is a section I'm not really sure what to do with. I'm aware that there exists this idea within Islam of temporary marriages. However, it is not contained within the Qur'an. The references to it that I have seen are all ahadith, and we know how I feel about them. I don't believe that the idea of mut'a is very widely accepted in Islam. The idea, though, is that men can marry women for a predetermined length of time. Three days, at the least. And then they divorce, and there's no sin on either of them.

From what I can gather it was something that was allowed, pre-Islam, and then Mohammed forbade it after the battle of Khaibar. I'm just going to reproduce the hadith referenced and the Qur'anic verse that the author says is used to support it and leave it at that.

sahih Bukhari 7.62.13o - " Narrated 'Abdullah: We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah's Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, "Shall we get ourselves castrated?" He forbade us that and then allowed us to marry women with a temporary contract and recited to us: -- 'O you who believe ! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.' (5.87)"

sahih Bukhari 7.62.52 - " Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa': While we were in an army, Allah's Apostle came to us and said, "You have been allowed to do the Mut'a (marriage), so do it." Salama bin Al-Akwa' said: Allah's Apostle's said, "If a man and a woman agree (to marry temporarily), their marriage should last for three nights, and if they like to continue, they can do so; and if they want to separate, they can do so." I do not know whether that was only for us or for all the people in general. Abu Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said: 'Ali made it clear that the Prophet said, "The Mut'a marriage has been cancelled (made unlawful).""
sahih Bukhari 9.86.91 - " Narrated Muhammad bin 'Ali: 'Ali was told that Ibn 'Abbas did not see any harm in the Mut'a marriage. 'Ali said, "Allah's Apostle forbade the Mut'a marriage on the Day of the battle of Khaibar and he forbade the eating of donkey's meat." Some people said, "If one, by a tricky way, marries temporarily, his marriage is illegal." Others said, "The marriage is valid but its condition is illegal.""

And the verse from the Qur'an surah al-Ma'idah 5:87 - " O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors."

So from what I can see, mut'a marriage was made impermissible, but those who want it to be allowed say that if Allah said it was okay, then it has to still be okay. Only I don't see where Allah ever said it was okay. There's no mention of it in the Qur'an, and if it's not in the Qur'an, it's not from Allah. Or at least that's the theory I'm working with.

BEGIN PANIC

It's done, it's sent, I can't get it back..................

*flail*

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 6

Polygamy.

surah an-Nisa 4:3 - " If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice."

surah an-Nisa 4:129 - " Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding, and practise self-restraint, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."

This'll be quick. Historically, many societies were polygamous. Specifically, polygynous, meaning that men were allowed to have more than one wife. We have examples of this in the OT. Jacob had more than one wife - Rachel and Leah, as well as their handmaidens. Whether or not he 'married' the maids, he was permitted to have sex with them and acknowledged his children by them. David, Solomon, yadda.

And while modern society has shifted to monogamy, it's a cultural change. There is, to my knowledge, no explicit teaching in the Bible that says, one man, one woman. There are plenty of things that are interpreted that way, but that's a matter of interpretation. There do exist Christian (and I'm not talking about the Mormons. I don't count them.) polygamists. And they have their own interpretations. So let's not get all judgy on the Muslims here, okay?

The Qur'an, here, *limits* the number of wives that a Muslim man can take. He puts a cap on it at four. Prior to this, there was no such limit. They could marry as many as they liked. But there are more conditions placed on it than just the number. A Muslim man is only supposed to marry more than one woman if he can be equal to all of his wives in all ways. Equal support, equal affection. No favorites. They must all be treated exactly the same by him. Which, as is further pointed out in the next quoted verse, is impossible.

It seems to be another one of the instances where a limit is placed on a pre-existing practice, even as it is shown that the practice is not actually preferred. Change needs to be made slowly for it to take root. You can't just say, 'no!' and not have backlash. You have to change the thoughts of the people before you can change the practices. Considering that polygyny is still practiced in Islam, clearly this wasn't entirely done away with, but it was changed, adapted from what came before.

I really don't have an issue with polygamy. It's not for everyone, obviously. Some of us don't share well *raises hand*. But it does work for some, and as long as everyone involved is an adult who made the decision informed and freely, I've got no issues. Unless, like some, they are defrauding the government, claiming to be single women in order to receive aid. But that I tend to hear about with Mormon's more than Muslims.

Draft of Letter to the local imam aka Amber is a nutbar

I am nauseous. Okay? Actually, physically nauseous stressing out over this. Welcome to my insanity!

I mean, clearly, the vote is in favor of just getting it done. Actually, most of you have voted for 'Why the hell are you still bugging us with this?' :D. So here's what I've got. Critique? Advice? Am I a total nutbar? Is there anything I should add? Subtract? *flail* Help meeeeeeeeeee

Hello, (or should it be more formal? Dear Sir? or maybe Dear Mr/Imam Subedar?)

I am interested in finding out if there is a date and time where it would be appropriate for me to visit your mosque and observe a prayer service. I am most interested in being able to attend a Friday service, if that would be possible.

I am a Christian who has been interested in learning about other religions for my entire life. I have been studying Islam, through the internet and books, for a number of years but did not realize until recently that there was a mosque any closer than Fort Myers. Book knowledge is fine, but I think it is difficult to really know a religion unless you are able to experience at least a part of it.

I found your email address while trying to find a contact person for the mosque. I apologize if this is not the correct way to get in touch with you, and appreciate your time.

Thank you,
Amber Freeman

Also, how stalkery enabling is the new 'location' function? Who would do that?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 5

And we're back. We rejoin our posting series in progress, after the brief interlude where pretty much everyone sat around, stared at their news source of choice and went, WTF? and then there was cheering. Speaking of people who distort Islam...back to the Caner book!

The Disciplining of a Wife

I told you we would get to the other half of the surah an-Nisa 4:34 verse. For refresher purposes: " Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)."

But we're dealing with only this section: "As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)."

The problem with this verse should be pretty obvious. It commands the beating of a man's wife. And we, as modern day people, are shocked and appalled. We sit there, mouths gaping open, wondering how anyone can believe that this is the word of God when it is telling men that they may hit their wives. But here's the thing. This was not written in modern times. I remind you, again, that at the time the Qur'an was written, men owned their families. They could do pretty damn much whatever they wanted, and no one would say anything at all. If they wanted to, if they felt they had cause, they could beat their wives to death. And this wasn't just in Arabia. This was all over the world. Men could 'discipline' their wives up to very recently in history, even in America and it was overlooked, ignored, because she was his wife and it was his business. Thankfully, things have changed. But let's get back to this part of the verse.

In spite of the proper horror that we feel for spousal abuse, this is (again) one of those moments where you have to take the context into account and understand that this was a step forward, at the time. Now, Mohammed (and Allah, if you believe that the Qur'an is divine), are making men go through a process *before* they start beating on wives they think are being disloyal or treacherous. First, speak to them. Air your issues. It might not be the calm discussion we would view, hell, it might be an argument. But that can solve a lot of problems, getting things out that way. If that doesn't work, no sex! The husband can sleep in a separate room for up to four months, in Islam. And, given that polygamy is permitted in Islam, it doesn't mean that he's not getting his needs met, necessarily. Just that he's expressing his displeasure with her conduct. Not, perhaps, the way we would do it today, but at the time...logical and even sensible. And it puts some distance between the initial anger over whatever the issue is, gives the wife (assuming she is really in the wrong), a chance to correct, before the husband is allowed to resort to physical discipline. Again, and I cannot overstate this enough, to modern minds, it is never okay for a man to hit his wife. But this was not modern times. I know that all the translations I have read include the parenthetical '(lightly)' after the beating instruction. I have read opposing points of view as to whether that is a translator's attempt to make it more palatable or what is actually meant. Unless I learn Arabic, and classical, Qur'anic Arabic at that, I will never know.

I do know that it is said that Mohammed was meant to be an example to the Muslims. That he was, perhaps, the embodiment of the sentiment we hear in this quote: 'Preach the Gospel always, when necessary, use words.' Meaning, while he gave the Qur'an to the people, he, more than that, embodied the spirit behind the letter. And Mohammed was, it is reported, never known to have hit any of his wives. And you *know* he had problems with that many wives. It's even been reported, on several occasions, some of his difficulties. There was the incident of Aisha being accused of infidelity, the 'honey' incident. And likely many more we never knew about. If Mohammed is taken to be the perfect Muslim and all Muslim's are meant to emulate him, then none of them would ever raise a hand to their wives. But that's in a perfect world, and we know that there is spousal abuse in Muslim households, just as there is any Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Hindu, Jewish, etc. Pick a label, you can find someone who claims it who is an asshole.

The author claims that this hadith (and you know how I love the hadith) proves that the permissable beating may be very brutal: Sunan Abu Dawud 11.2142 - " Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife."

I'm not sure how she gets that. In the first place, it is a part of my admittedly shoddy knowledge of ahadith that Dawud is not one of the books considered to be very reliable. As such, it is hardly every quoted. So the reliability of the hadith is in question, I believe. Secondly, I can't get it to say: 'beat the shit out of your wife if you want to, no one cares' no matter which way I squint at it. Does it seem to make the discipline that goes on in a household a private matter? Yes. Does that mean that, perhaps, a wife's near infidelity won't become public knowledge so that she is not shunned or mistreated by the general populace? Yes. I'm not saying it's a perfect situation. Just that it doesn't say what she thinks it says. At least not that I can figure.

The rest of the verse from the Qur'an states that if the wife, at any point, repents, returns to correct behavior, that the husband is to forgive and forget. He can't keep bringing the incident up, needling about it. It's saying, 'You had a problem. It's solved. Move the hell on.' Good advice, I think.

She also references, but does not quote, another hadith. This from sahih al-Bukhari 7.72.715 - " Narrated 'Ikrima: Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" When 'AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, 'Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that 'AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow,"

Which seems to support the belief that if a woman was being mistreated by her husband she could appeal to one of the wives of Mohammed, who would bring the case before Mohammed himself. I find it likely that the women could also approach Mohammed directly, but in this case the woman seems to have been in the wrong, so maybe she wanted some extra support from Aisha. Who knows. 

Amber SMASH

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGG

I'm all het up, just for the record. People are filled with stupid. WHY are people so filled with stupid?

Also, I just cut my hand on a packing strap, due to someone else's stupid. It's not bad, just annoying as all hell.

STUPID PEOPLES!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shopping Haul

My plan for today did not go quite as planned. First, because my Baby Sis wanted to go see Fast Five (which was AWESOME! VROOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!) we had to go to a later showing. Meaning I just ate lunch at home a little early and then went to the gym. I had a yogurt with me for after the workout. My plan, following the gym, was to run to Target to get a new pair of sunglasses, then get to the mall, get a hair cut and spend some time shopping. I got the sunglasses and some jewellry and headed to the mall. Unfortunately there was a 45 minute wait at the salon which didn't give me enough time to get the haircut and meet my friends for the movie. I went shopping instead and picked up two pairs of shoes, both of which are a size 9 - a whole size smaller than what I usually wear. Lo, my feet really have shrunk. It's still, as are all things clothing related, dependent of manufacturer, but there you have it. Neener.

I went to Macy's but didn't find anything I liked. I shop on the sale racks. I cannot, CANNOT, comprehend spending $50 dollars on a top. It's insane. Only in emergencies will I buy things full price. I found a top I liked, but it didn't look good on me. Too big. There was a dress, a size 16 that I liked and that FIT (hot damn) but when I put it on it wasn't flattering. So I didn't get that, but there was the thrill of fitting into a size 16 dress. YAY!

So here's the pic of what I bought. There're three pairs of earrings and a necklace.

Fast Five

Dominic Toretto is the fist of God. I just thought you should know that.

Brian still the prettiest though.

And yes, they are still eyefucking.

Prove me wrong. You can't.

VBV - Ch. 4 Pt. 4

The Responsibility of a Wife.
We start with part of surah an-Nisa 4:34 (I'm giving you the whole verse, of course): " Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)."

She quotes only the part about righteous women being devoutly obedient and guarding what Allah would have them guard. But let's look at the whole thing, barring the last sentence because that gets its own section in the book so we can talk about it then.

As to the beginning. "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means." I can feel some peoples' hackles going up. Mine used to go up too, honestly. 'Men are not stronger than women! If God made us equal, how can this be? Does God like men more?' *waves* It is true that there are women who are physically stronger than men. I can personally lift more weight and probably kick the butts of a good portion of the men I know. But that's now, in modern times. Back in the day women didn't lift weights or do cardio. I'm not saying they were weak, because life was harsh and most women didn't lay around on pillows and eat dates. They were busy running the house, feeding their family, getting water, walking long distances. They weren't weak, but there wasn't anything like 'strength training'. They weren't even usually allowed to fight. So the men got all of the battle training. It was just the division of labor back then. Men tend to be, in the general sense, physically stronger than women. And our bodies are made in slightly different ways on top of that. The same methods of work, of training the body, don't produce the same results across the board. Women have to work harder to get and stay fit, in general.

So men are the protectors of women because they are the stronger sex. Okay. I've got no real argument with that. It is, unless you start nitpicking it, a true statement. What about the 'maintainers' part? The Qur'an puts the responsibility on men to pay for the household. They're responsible for all the bills - food, clothing, heat, a/c, electric, cable, internet. Well, okay. Not those specific things at the time of the revelation, but just to give you the picture. The men had to pay for, or otherwise provide, *everything*. Women didn't contribute financially to the household at all. They could make their own money, if they had a trade, and it was theirs to keep. They didn't have to hand it over or throw it in the common pot. Other cultures at the same time either didn't allow women to work at all, or what they made became the property of their husband/father/male guardian. Nowadays, just because of the way of the world, the economy in most places, women have to work to help support the house. Things change. But then again, there are plenty of households who function on one income. So it's all a matter of what you believe and what is most important to you. I for one would love to be a stay at home wife/mother at some point. However, I also like my luxuries. I would not be happy without the internet or tv! :)

I view this as stating some basic facts that are extremely relevant to the time and place at which they were revealed. But what about the section that the author quotes? Who is the wife to be devoutly obedient to? Her husband? That seems to be the tack that the author takes. It's not what I was taught. I was taught that the wife is to be devoutly obedient to Allah. That's one of the things, a main point of Islam. Each individual person is responsible for themselves, to Allah alone. So the phrase isn't saying that the wife must obey her husband as though her were God. That would be...not shirk, I don't think, but close probably. Raising someone up on that high a pedestal. So the wife must be obedient and observant of the commandments of Allah. That's all that is saying. Then 'guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard.' What does that mean? I was taught that it was just a reminder to the women of their responsibilities toward Allah in relation to their husbands. Just because their husband is absent doesn't mean that the wife can suddenly start having over people (men) that might give rise to the rumours of impropriety. It might seem extreme to us, but it was the culture of the time and it wasn't limited to Arabia or Muslims. It was everywhere. Even now I can tell you that a man and a woman going off together makes the rumours start.

At my own work there is a married man who is friendly with an unmarried woman. They eat together all the time, go out all the time, without his wife or her fiance. You think people don't speculate that their having an affair? It's a nearly automatic assumption. There is also the connotation of the wife guarding the husbands property while he is gone. Taking care of the house and everything in it while the husband is off earning their living. Would you expect anything different in modern times? The wife letting strangers come and giving them all the furniture, maybe? Or selling things off? I think the idea is that the wife is to maintain the household in her husbands absence just as she would if he were standing beside her. Otherwise, she is doing what she does not for the right reason - because it is her part of the marriage, making it a way of being obedient to Allah, (not to say that taking care of the house is the only thing women are meant to do. Just that marriage is a partnership and each individual has their jobs to do, and each marriage is different in that respect. Division of labor.) but because of more earthly reasons. It shows a lack of care and love for the relationship.

The cap on this section is this quote from the author: "If a woman in Islam wishes to be considered righteous and to be found worthy of paradise, she must fulfill the duties that have been given to her as a wife...for though she is a believer, according to Islam, if she is ungrateful to her husband, she will not go to paradise but to hell."

This refers to an hadith: Sahih Bukhari 1.2.28 -
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful." It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received any good from you."

I tend to avoid the hadith because I don't really get them. I distrust them, because I don't understand how to tell the good ones from the bad. Meaning the ones that are viewed as authentic vs. the ones that are viewed as questionable. But I'll say briefly how this reads to me. I don't see it saying that women are going to hell just because they are women. It doesn't even read that women cannot complain or question their husbands without going to hell. It's about women who have been treated well - whose husbands have fulfilled all their duties to their wives and the wives are still nasty and ungrateful. Harpies, we call them. Shrews. It's less about the specifics of them maligning and mistreating their husbands than it is about that behaviour highlighting a character flaw in those women. If they're that nasty to someone who treats them well then they're probably the worst back biting, gossipy, mean and nasty women out there. This is more a call for these women to change their ways. An early warning, as it were.

In addition, it is my understanding that hell, in Islam, is not a permanent state of being for the majority of people. It's kind of treated like purgatory. People go to hell to pay for the sins that they did not finish 'paying' for in life. But eventually the scales are balanced, or whatever metaphor you like, and they are released from hell and allowed into heaven.

What annoys me about the quote from the author is it reflects a misrepresentation of Islamic theology. No one's salvation depends on another person in Islam. Every individual is responsible for themselves. Do we each have responsibilities that involve others? Yes. But they also have them on us, and ultimately all these responsibilities belong to Allah. But it is up to each individual to fulfill their obligations. They rise or fall based on their deen alone. Unlike, say, Mormonism where the wifes position in the afterlife is dependent on a) being married to a man and b) his position in the afterlife.

Michael Rosenbaum

There's this new show on Fox called Breaking In. It's got the kid from Reaper, Bret Harrison. Also, Christian Slater. So I've been watching it. And I'm liking it. It's funny. :)

I didn't say anything at first because I thought his part was just going to be some cameo kind of bits, but Michael Rosenbaum plays one of the main characters boyfriend. And he's been in it pretty much every ep. So, you know. Go. Go watch it.

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