Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21: That sounds like a lot of effort, actually.

Back to our regularly scheduled posts!

For those who forgot, I'm working on parts of this: "Your favorite Bible story, Quranic story, hadith, story from other religions. Least favorites. Hardest stuff to understand from each. Hardest things to give up if you converted to one or the other, etc." In whatever order and depth I want. :p

Keeping with the theme we started, we're sticking with Islam for the day. But today is going to be about what I find the hardest to understand in Islam and what I'd find hardest (I think) if I converted.

So. The hardest thing to understand, for me:

The hadith. There are so many of them and some are 'authentic' and others are 'suspect' (I know these aren't the right terms but this is how I think of them) but people will use the 'suspect' ones if they back up what the person is saying and each madhab seems to consider different hadith as authentic versus suspect and some of the hadith that are 'authentic' seem to contradict the Qur'an or have *really* strange rulings in them that make Islam look like the creation of a brilliant man with severe OCD. Sometimes I think it would be much better if they were all just chucked and people stuck only to the Qur'an and what it says. After all, isn't the Qur'an supposed to be self-sufficient?

Random moment: In my speech class a week or so back we had to give an impromptu speech, meaning that the teacher came around and gave us a question or a prompt that we then had to give a 1 - 2 minute speech on. My prompt was basically, 'If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be and why?' Since there wasn't any time or geographic limitations, I got up and spoke about how, assuming that I had a time machine, I would go around and meet the founders of the worlds' religions. Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah, etc. And I would talk to them, maybe ask questions based on what has come down to us from their time, etc. try to get it straight in my head.

But I said, leaving whether or not any of them are the 'correct' religion aside, I would like to talk to them all because they must have been extraordinary men in their own rights. Most religious movements die out after the death of the founder. Theirs not only didn't die out but came to dominate the religious world.


Things I would find the hardest to give up if I converted: Simple, really. Pork and alcohol. I'm not much of a drinker anymore but I do like to have a drink every so often when I go out. And pork. Wow. We eat a lot of pork, which is not something that I'd ever noticed before. But we do. I don't know if it's a Southern thing or what, I mean we really like our bar-b-que's and that means pork. So...I think that would be the hardest.

I think (and this is going to sound so odd to everyone who's been here for a while) another thing that would be difficult would be hijab. I've moved in a different direction from where I was once, when I thought that headcovering was a requirement of God. I'm not sure that I would be a hijabi, mostly because I don't believe that it's what is commanded in the Qur'an. I see a call to modesty, but modesty does not equal the current idea of hijab, in my opinion.

It seems so shallow, looking over what I'd find 'difficult', but this is from the outside. I'm certain that if I did convert there would be things that would surprise me when I found them difficult.


  1. I love the subject you chose for your impromptu speech!

    When we were in Syria, Samer's brother asked what our region was known for, and Andrew's first thought was BBQ (pork). I felt slightly embarrassed since, well, we were talking to Muslims! But NC is also known as tobacco. I guess that would have been a better choice for him to share since smoking must not be forbidden in Islam like pork is. :)

    I enjoyed this post. Thanks for answering my questions. :)

    1. Actually I think smoking is frowned upon too. *goes forth to look it up*

      Okay. Opinions have apparently been historically mixed, but more and more sheikh's have come over to the side that smoking is haram because it is harmful and there are instructions in the Qur'an to not do what is harmful to yourself. So basically NC is in trouble! :D

  2. known FOR tobacco...I should proofread

  3. Yes, there are tens of thousands of hadiths and many of them are ‘suspect’ or ‘weak’ or ‘unauthentic.’ No one is supposed to use any hadith other than the authentic ones. That is, the ones that are verified to be said by prophet Muhammad.
    Unfortunately, many of the unauthentic hadiths have been used improperly to support political, social, or even some personal agenda. For example, a hadith that I grow up hearing from everyone (As you will be your ruler will be). This is a very poor translation but it means your ruler will be as bad as you. This hadith with no doubt has a political agenda that's been widely spread by rulers during the Islamic history. It is a weak hadith. Because by nature we all feel sinners (at least for Muslims) we think our rulers are bad because we are not piety. And of course this would put everyone down to ask for a change.
    Nevertheless, we needed a prophet to convey Allah’s words. In the Quran Allah says that every word the prophet says is a revelation from Him. The collection of the authentic hadiths is supposed to guide Muslims to understand the Quran and live by its commands. The contradiction you mentioned is because some people will take a verse from the Quran and associate it with a weak haith or interpret a hadith or verse of quran out of context. You will find for example Al-Qaeda is using specific verses from the Quran without teaching, interpreting or understanding the complete message by reading the Quran as a whole. Every verse has a time of revelation and a reason for the revelation without knowing these two any interpretation will not be complete.
    The Quran says that there are many messengers and prophets that we don’t know. In the Quran there are maybe around 20 something prophets mentioned by name but Muslims believe there are hundreds or thousands others. I read once that some people (not Buddhists) think Buddha was a prophet.

    A Muslim I know here used to say if you lived ten years in America you have already eaten a whole pig without knowing. Unless a Muslim never eats outside his house he for sure have tasted pork by mistake. In my first year in America, I was invited to a dinner at a Muslim house. One of the guests noticed the other guests are liking the salad ranch more than usual. For Muslims who don’t know pork is very fatty and as you know fat brings good taste to food. Of course this particular salad ranch was popular that day because it was fatty. We knew only after someone read the ingredients.
    I always tell new Muslim comers to assume nothing when ordering food at restaurants and to read the ingredients on food items they buy at the grocery. Who would thought pork is added to salad ranch, right?

    1. Thank you for the explanation Malik!

      It just looks so overwhelming and trying to sort out which are considered authentic and which aren't gave me a massive headache the one time I tried it. I've come down with the very scientific method of: if it agrees with the Qur'an then I'll consider it. If it doesn't, I ignore it.

      There's pork in ranch dressing? I didn't know that!

      Yeah. You really have to be careful and read the ingredients these days.

  4. I just want to say I'm glad you're back to blogging. I missed your posts. It makes me miss blogging too :(

    1. Come to the dark side....we have random commentary!


      I'm enjoying the blogging month too! I don't think I'll be back to daily posts once December hits, but I'll try and post more often.

  5. I pretty much disregarded hadiths while Muslim for the above reasons.

    For me, it wasn't too much of a struggle to give up pork - although I fairly quickly began eating bacon again after leaving Islam. Alcohol wasn't a huge issue either. I didn't consider hijab an issue, because I don't believe the Qur'an commands it, rather, like you said, it commands modesty.

    Praying 5 times a day on the other hand... now that was a bit of a struggle at times.

    1. I think it might be hard for me because wow, hey, there's a *lot* of pork in Southern food. A lot. See: I was given a rack of ribs by a company today for spending a bunch of company money with them.

      Only in the South. :)

      And alcohol...meh. I think I'd be okay with that, for the most part. I don't drink very often at all but like I said I think I'd have to *think* about it because I do drink sometimes.

      I've never tried to pray five times a day. I've thought about it but it seems a little too far for me to go since I'm not Muslim.


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