Sunday, November 20, 2011

All-American Muslim S1 Ep 2 - The Fast and the Furious

Because *everyone* has to have an episode titled after those movies if they can. It's actually a law. I swear. Don't believe me? Well, okay. Maybe not so much as law as a suggestion... :)

According to the summary this is supposed to be focussed on Fouad and the football team. How they have to adjust the schedule to deal with Ramadan.

Jeff's shahada...I actually made a note to come back to this after the show was over. So. The shahada is basically a profession of faith. It's not like a magic phrase where you say it and *zap* Muslim. It's something that, to my mind, you say when you've already become a Muslim in your heart. They mentioned on the last show that you could say it to yourself, but I was always under the impression that there needed to be Muslim witnesses.

Anyway. The shahada is really simple:

لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله

lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh, Muḥammad rasūlu-llāh

There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Monotheists have no problem with the first half, it's the second one that causes the issues.

The Shi'a shahada is a little different, I believe. They have an additional phrase referencing Ali, naming him the friend of God, or the successor of Mohammed as it were. 

Wee! Okay, I know nothing about football, but watching the boys skirmish is entertaining. That one kid who caught the ball ran really fast, I think. Very impressive.

So in order to deal with Ramadan they've changed the practice schedule to be at night. They'll be practising from 10 pm until 5 am. which seems like a really good idea. I think we all know, but just in case: for Ramadan Muslims are asked (with exceptions for health, etc.) to fast from sunrise to sunset. No food or water at all which is more severe than the fast that anyone else I'm aware of keeps. Apart from some monks, religious. Theirs could be more intense, I'm not sure.

Okay, so Nawal is a respiratory therapist. Good to know.

Is that hostess really ignoring them or is it just the line? I'm rewatching to pay more attention to the people in front of them. The two women were there first and the one man...he's still there in front of them in line...

Ugh. I can't tell. The hostess tossing the menus on the table and then walking away was really incredibly rude, no doubt. They definitely don't do that in the restaurants around here. It's improper behaviour.

ETA: I had another thought about the hostess being rude at the table: maybe she didn't like being on camera?

Ah! So Nader is a federal agent. I like finding out what they do! Don't ask me why.

I have heard/noticed that pregnancy changes people. All those hormones, you know.

Samira (medical receptionist) Fawaz is Sahida's sister. Oh, that's got to hurt, I think. She works in an ObGyn office and she's having trouble getting pregnant.

I thought the issue with adoption was that they (in Mohammed's time) didn't want the children to lose their family connections, name, etc. Not that it was difficult for the child to be...I think the word the used was hallala (halal?) or 'permitted'. I've never heard that used in that way before. 'Halal' has always been, in my limited experience, just the way to describe what is allowed and what is not. drinking ice tea = halal. Drinking a Long Island Ice Tea = haram. Because of the alcohol. I thought that the only issue with people was whether or not they were mahram. So I guess I could see a kind of issue there, but really are there that many men out there who are wanting to marry little girls that they've raised as their own daughters? I think not.

And apart from that, if you've taken the child as your own family and are standing as 'blood' then why can't it be taken as being mahram. When I was considering converting to Islam I asked whether or not my step-father would be mahram (basically concerned with whether or not I'd have to wear hijab essentially 24/7 since we live in the same house) and I was told that they'd consider him mahram since he's married to my mother. No, wait, I think I answered my own question. There's a prohibition against marrying the daughter or a woman you're married to, isn't there? I think there is but I'm too lazy to look it up. Anyway. I find their choice of word strange, whether or not adoption is allowed. Maybe they were just simplifying the wordage for tv?

Oh god, Sahida is such a redneck.

'a big part of it is your belief and your relationship with God' - True. But if you're not following basic rules, is there the possibility that there is a lack of belief? I'm not thinking of their hijab, but alcohol. They were specifically talking about drinking or being in places where alcohol is served. I don't know that Nina drinks (I'm sure that Nawal doesn't) so I'm not saying that. Just wondering.

Okay, so on to Samira's visit with the sheikhs about the infertility issue.

I have to say I really enjoy listening to the Arabic. Don't understand a word, but it's pretty. Like French. Not that they sound alike, but they both strike me as very 'flowing'.

Moving on...

So Samira asks if it would be okay to get invitro using another man's sperm. The sheikh  says it wouldn't be a problem if they used her husband's sperm but that it's prohibited for it to be another man's sperm. Which I get, not that it makes it any easier on the people having the trouble.

Now, Samira asks if her wearing hijab would be of any help in them trying to get pregnant. I like that the sheikh points out that there's no connection between getting pregnant and wearing hijab. He does lay out that wearing hijab brings more blessings into your life, 'God will cooperate more with you, you will have more good things in your life'. Which I don't like so much.

If you have the right faith and are keeping the core of Islam, which I see as faith in God, prayers and charity then what difference does the cloth make?

They already have a grandchild! Adam! Sahida's son. Hello!

'I think women are greater than men.'

'Islamically, they are.'

Really? How so? I'm not being sarcastic, I really don't get that. I thought the key was equality. That men and women were equal, yet different.

Blah, blah, Sahida and the country fest...


I'd be concerned about the night practices too. When's the kid supposed to sleep? And the parents have to get up and drive him there, etc...

'Is that because of their religious beliefs?' - Yeah. Duh.

Nawal always looks so nice...

Her mom wants her to come live with her after she has the baby? No...bad idea. Bad. So the mothers used to stay in bed for 40 days after giving birth, not leaving the house? No. I'd go nuts.

Jeff's first Ramadan? I have to admit that I'm getting more and more the impression that Jeff didn't really...test drive the religion first. Which makes me unhappy. I think it's important to know what you're getting into. And I'm not sure Jeff did.

Okay, I have serious scarf envy right now. I *know* that this is a very important personal choice for Samira and I hope that it brings her something she needs whether or not they succeed it getting pregnant. But seriously. I would move to Dearborn for the scarves. Okay? I have hijab envy and I won't lie.

I like Nawal more and more. I think I jumped to conclusions about her before, calling her judgy. In one of the couch sessions they're talking about the hijab and Nawal says that basically, who is she to go to Angela or Nina and tell them they're not being good Muslims because they're not wearing the hijab. She may *think* that they should be hijabi, but I do like that she has the sense that it's not her job to police their religion.

Bilal doesn't seem to have that sense. Nader is so cute!

Seriously, why do these crazy people think they're doing anything good by going and harassing Muslims? Or anyone really, but since this is a show about Muslims. 'Mohammed is a pedophile!' Really? You think that's going to bring people about to your point of view? No. Not even accurate in the first place and extremely insulting. Unhelpful.

Huh. I never thought about crowd control for taraweh. Pretty mosque...

Okay, not to be insulting (which is what you say before you say something insulting...), but Bilal, honey, you could fast for a while and live off of stored food. And I say that as a person who is unnecessarily heavy (new code for fat!). So I think it's a bit different for Jeff who is about as big around as a stick.

Also, the football players? Are crazy. I mean that's dedication. Football in the middle of the night, after fasting all day, low on sleep. It's got to be hard.

I wonder if, for your first Ramadan you could ease into it. Don't children do that? When they decide that they want to do what Mommy and Daddy do and fast, they fast until they decide not to any more? Eventually they hit adulthood and start to fast all through Ramadan? Can't we treat converts like kids for a while?

I do like the attitude that they shouldn't care whether or not others are fasting. It's a personal thing, right?

Samira's putting on the hijab and taking down all the photos of her without hijab. Which does make a certain amount of sense. I'm not sure about her focus on thinking that putting on the hijab will somehow convince God that he should give her a child. I think if she still doesn't get pregnant that it's going to be a big problem for her.

See, I still love Mohsen.


  1. Wow, I felt like I actually watched the show after reading this! Do they really have 7 hours of football practice? I'm guessing not and that was just the range of time practice could fall. Whew...that's a lot of drills! :)

    And I never knew you were thinking of converting to Islam at one point. Or did I? *searches memory* I read an article just this week at the Guardian about Islam's culture of tolerating drinking alcohol so maybe those people are in that group?

    Funny what you said about Arabic and French. S finds French ugly, but I think it's partly because his country was under French mandate before they gained independence so it's a psychological thing. He much prefers Italian or nearly anything else. Haha! But I find French pretty and Arabic rather neat, but harsh when I try to make those same sounds! S said I growled like a monster when I'd say "hajjeh."

    Ah, the magical scarf... so when are you moving to Dearborn? :)

    Thanks for this good info! Now I don't need to watch the show myself!

  2. Susanne,

    I don't know. I mean I don't think they have 7 hours straight of practice. Maybe that's just the time frame, like you said. Because I know they don't practice for 7 hours during the day here at the high school football teams.

    Well, it was before I started blogging, so you probably didn't know. So don't feel bad or think you're getting forgetful! :)

    Maybe. Or maybe they just don't see it as a core issue of Islam. Which I would agree with, actually. I think that it's kind of like hijab. Does wearing or not wearing the hijab make you a Muslim (or not)? No. So would taking a drink now and then make you not a Muslim? I don't think so. But then again I'm talking from the peanut gallery.

    *laughs* I can see that, being a psychological thing. I actually think Italian is also beautiful, as is Spanish.

    Hah! Just as soon as I find a wealthy Muslim to marry. You should have seen the wedding they showed. Way too extravagant. Nina said that the weddings there are typically between 500 to 11,000 people. That's nuts.

    You'd enjoy watching the show if you could catch it. There's a lot that gets left out of these just because of time, etc. though I do my best, especially since I have the DVR record it.

  3. thanks for sharing, viw my new bloglet "Greed Is A Terrible Thing" if you have time, feel free to comment/follow, thanks

  4. Thanks for writing this review, Amber. I have just watched trailers and didn't like Nawal - she seems overconfident and I don't like that. Some characters are terribly irritating. I hope my perceptions change when I *actually* watch it :)

  5. Sometimes I like Nawal and sometimes I don't, I admit, but I think there's a huge difference between the way she talks during the pregnancy and the way she talks afterward. Or at least that's what I've noticed so far. And I'm wondering how much of that is the editing choices made by the people putting the episodes together.

    Sometimes she seems confident but not abrasive. And then other times she comes off as kind of know it all and judgy. But I do wonder what was filmed that we don't see that might explain the attitude shifts. Maybe part of it is even pregnancy? I know that the hormones can do wacky, wacky things to some people and even Nader comments on how her attitude is different towards some things now that she's pregnant.

    I really think my favorite people so far are Angela and Mike and we haven't even focused that much on them yet. I also like Samira (a lot more than I like Sahida, truth be told). I'm hoping that as the show goes on everyone will sort of 'grow' into a fully 'real' person for those of us watching. After all, these are real people with real lives, no matter how easy it is to view them as characters! :)

  6. American Bedu has a post up about this topic if you care to spend time reading the variety of comments at her blog. :)

  7. Ah. I went over and read it and left a comment. I don't comment on her blog because some of the people over there are just so rude...but *shrug* I like the show.

  8. I think they mentioned in the trailer that they have been married for 10 months and she was full term pregnant :) So maybe when she was good before the pregnancy she was only trying to impress her new husband :D Hehe

  9. Yeah, they did mention that in the show. Married ten months and ready to have that baby at any second! When you watch the first episode there's this cute exchange between Nawal and Nader where he's talking about around when the baby is due and Nawal tells him he needs to be ready sooner because she intends to have the baby at 38 weeks. And he laughs and asks her how that works? Does she send him an email or something saying it's time to come out? :)

    I do think Nawal is very type A, control freaking, but I don't know if maybe that's been enhanced by the pregnancy or not...

  10. LOL on the hijab envy, Amber! ^_^ I haven't seen this show, but it at least sounds entertaining, if not precisely accurate (or maybe diverse is a better word?).

  11. *makes grabby hands*

    Pretty scarves...they have whole boutiques for hijabs! *writhes in jealousy, then remembers she doesn't wear a scarf anymore and shouldn't really care*

    *writhes some more*

    It is very entertaining and interesting. I wouldn't say that it's inaccurate, since, as far as I can tell, the whole point of the show is to show that Muslims are 'real people' too, you know? So there're bound to be different understandings within the group just like there are between people who belong to any group.

    I'm hoping that if the show gets picked up for a second year maybe they'll have five different families and get more diversity within the show. Like having converts (apart from Jeff), African American Muslims, Asian, etc. etc.


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