سـنكون قنديـلاً في سواد الر

We will be light in dark days.

Posts tagged Islam

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Why I Don’t Need a Makeup Tutorial to Teach Me How to Wear a Hijab

When I first started wearing hijab, my mother would pin it for me every day—a square scarf that she’d fold into a triangle, pin under my chin, and whose ends I would then tie into a little knot on my chest. I’d go to school (where my sister and I were the only girls in hijab) like that, thinking that I looked pretty good, especially if I was wearing a particular blue silky scarf that made 5th-grade me feel glamorous. There were other aspects of my wardrobe that I wished I could change at 10 years old (namely the many denim shirts with flower decals that my mother loved buying me so much)—but I can’t recall feeling inferior to anyone because of my hijab style (or lack thereof, really) at that point in my life.

Fast forward 15 years. My fashion sense has developed considerably, and my hijab has gone through various style-phases, but it’s still there on my head, though it’s now more often secured with 3 pins instead of 1. But when I see images and videos of hijabis who teach others online how to wear this piece of cloth, now I feel somewhat inadequate. I had never considered that not being amongst many others who wore hijab during my youth could have had its benefits. But perhaps it allowed me to define for myself what my hijab should look like. I wonder how my formative pre-teen and teen years, as well as my concept of hijab, would have been different had I had access to hijab and makeup tutorials when I first started out—or, more importantly, had there been girls around me who followed them. I was content with my cotton scarves and bubble gum lip balm. But if I was 10 years old today, I think I’d be draping necklaces on my head and yearning for red lips.

I had the opportunity to grow into my hijab, to have it contribute to my own personal style and sense of individuality—and I believe that that is a right that every woman has. The requirements of hijab are a foundation around which women of different cultures, ages, and circumstances can work. As long as everything that needs to be covered is properly covered, one cannot call another woman’s hijab incorrect simply because it is different from her own.

But there is a key difference between shaping my hijab around the standards laid out in the Islamic tradition and styling my hijab around the standards laid out by society. The desire to conform is something real and it’s something that I fight against almost on a daily basis. What I was shocked to experience was feeling the need to continue that internal fight while around other Muslim women. I think the woman in a flowy tunic with white skinny jeans and stiletto heels looks beautiful, and the woman with red lipstick against a black hijab is striking, but I know that certain elements of their style are not ones that I can mimic with a clear conscience. And so the battle against myself and the beauty norms that I see around me, but that I choose not to adopt in an effort to please God, has permeated even my safe space.

I recently came across a video tutorial on “hijabi makeup”—how to dress up your face in order to make it stand out from the background of your hijab. There are tutorials on how to style your hijab with matching makeup for holiday celebrations, tutorials on “everyday makeup” for hijabis as though we can’t step outside without properly pink cheeks, ones for hijabis with blue eyes vs. brown eyes. The conversation still exists on the oxymoron of hijab with makeup, but each Islamic conference that I attend shows me that the norm is swiftly moving away from clean faces.

The fact that mainstream messages regarding women’s beauty standards have permeated into Muslim fashion is a testament to the rapid growth and development of our community, but also something that each Muslim woman should take the time to notice and consider on an individual level. I have to remind myself on an almost daily basis about the spirit behind my hijab. I style it and match it, but remind myself that it is not an accessory. It is a form of worship to my Creator that I get to show to the world every minute that I’m outside. And so I try to guard my hijab as I do any other form of worship. As its purpose is submission to God, I try to ensure that I am not simultaneously “submitting” to anyone else’s code of dress while wearing my hijab.

There is a difference between looking presentable and looking like a presentation. I know that any hijab will turn heads, but I am careful in ensuring that the one who turns will have nothing to see when he/she takes a second look. Stiletto heels, red lipstick, smoky eyes, jewels on my forehead—all of these will hold a stranger’s gaze on me and, for that reason, work directly against the spirit of the cloth on my head.

I find it to be a mercy that God revealed in the Qur’an that the believing women must “not reveal their beauty except that which [naturally] appears thereof” [Ch. The Light: verse 31]. We were created beautiful as humans, and certain manifestations of that cannot be hidden—and God is telling us that when they’re natural, that is normal. But when we place them there to beautify and accentuate, then they’re no longer natural, and that should not be part of our normal.

In conversations about hijab, the question arises of whether one has the right to deem another’s choices right or wrong. While our focus is on ourselves, it is natural for us to compare ourselves to others and to participate in an exchange of ideas on an experience that we share. For that reason, every woman has a place in the discussion, and we welcome its continuation in the comments below.

 Source-

Filed under hijab society fashion islam

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DINKY-DI MUSLIMS.

Aussies who have turned to Islam.

Three born and bred Aussies talk about their decision to join the Islamic faith.

The media and in fact the public I think concentrate on the excesses of a particular group of Muslims, regards to the treatment of women for example, regards to you know terrorist activity but we don’t look at the Irish for example who blew each other up for you know 100 years and say “Oh, it’s cause they’re Christians, they’re all terrorists,” you know. We don’t look at people in the Deep South of America who have a very strict attitude towards the place of women in their house and feel fearful of them because of the way they treat their women.

[Video not playing? Try here]

Filed under Australia Islam Convert

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Fasting can help protect against brain diseases, scientists say.

Claim that giving up almost all food for one or two days a week can counteract impact of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Fasting for regular periods could help protect the brain against degenerative illnesses, according to US scientists.

Researchers at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore said they had found evidence which shows that periods of stopping virtually all food intake for one or two days a week could protect the brain against some of the worst effects of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other ailments.

"Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection. It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want," said Professor Mark Mattson, head of the institute’s laboratory of neurosciences.

"In other words, timing appears to be a crucial element to this process," Mattson told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver.

Cutting daily food intake to around 500 calories – which amounts to little more than a few vegetables and some tea – for two days out of seven had clear beneficial effects in their studies, claimed Mattson, who is also professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Scientists have known for some time that a low-calorie diet is a recipe for longer life. Rats and mice reared on restricted amounts of food increase their lifespan by up to 40%. A similar effect has been noted in humans. But Mattson and his team have taken this notion further. They argue that starving yourself occasionally can stave off not just ill-health and early death but delay the onset of conditions affecting the brain, including strokes. “Our animal experiments clearly suggest this,” said Mattson.

He and his colleagues have also worked out a specific mechanism by which the growth of neurones in the brain could be affected by reduced energy intakes. Amounts of two cellular messaging chemicals are boosted when calorie intake is sharply reduced, said Mattson. These chemical messengers play an important role in boosting the growth of neurones in the brain, a process that would counteract the impact of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

"The cells of the brain are put under mild stress that is analogous to the effects of exercise on muscle cells," said Mattson. "The overall effect is beneficial."

The link between reductions in energy intake and the boosting of cell growth in the brain might seem an unlikely one, but Mattson insisted that there were sound evolutionary reasons for believing it to be the case. “When resources became scarce, our ancestors would have had to scrounge for food,” said Mattson. “Those whose brains responded best – who remembered where promising sources could be found or recalled how to avoid predators — would have been the ones who got the food. Thus a mechanism linking periods of starvation to neural growth would have evolved.”

This model has been worked out using studies of fasting on humans and the resulting impact on their general health – even sufferers from asthma have shown benefits, said Mattson – and from experiments on the impact on the brains of animals affected by the rodent equivalent of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Now Mattson’s team is preparing to study the impact of fasting on the brain by using MRI scans and other techniques.

If this final link can be established, Mattson said that a person could optimise his or her brain function by subjecting themselves to bouts of “intermittent energy restriction”. In other words, they could cut their food intake to a bare minimum for two days a week, while indulging for the other five. “We have found that from a psychological point of view that works quite well. You can put up with having hardly any food for a day if you know that for the next five you can eat what you want.”

Filed under Science Islam

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Islamic love guru urges married women to enjoy sex.

Emirati love guru Widad Lootah is not your typical marriage counsellor. She is an ultra-conservative Muslim who wears the full veil and talks a lot about sex, often quoting the Muslim holy book the Koran.

On Valentine’s day, Lootah is calling on Muslim and Arab women everywhere to “embrace love and love making.”

“Don’t shy away from it, don’t feel ashamed by it. Enjoy it, you’re supposed to,” she said, adding that she is trying to break common misconceptions that sex in Islam is only about conceiving children.

“It’s also about having fun,” she said.

Dressed in a shroud of black revealing only her eyes – a choice, she says, that allows her to emulate the Muslim prophet’s wives – Lootah was frank and explicit about the importance Islam places on a healthy sex life.

“It’s at the core” of a happy marriage, she said.

Lootah noted that her 11 years as a marriage counsellor at the Dubai courthouse made her realise that “what happens (or doesn’t happen) in bed” is the main source of marital problems in the United Arab Emirates.

Public, and in many cases private, discussions about sex are still taboo in much of the conservative Muslim world, a reality she says contradicts Islam’s approach to the subject.

There are only two simple rules for sex in Islam: you must be married “and anal sex is strictly forbidden,” Lootah said.

“Everything else, including all sexually intimate acts below the belly button, is allowed. Feel each other, touch each other, kiss each other all over … it’s OK.”

The problem is, “there is so much shame and disgrace” associated with the enjoyment of sex in the Arab world.

Lootah is an adamant believer in bringing the discussion of sex out into the open, although at times doing so has proven it can be a risky business.

In 2009, she published the much-debated Muslim sex guide Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples.

Her book, and her comments in interviews on the subject, initially triggered a slew of insults, condemnation and even threats against her life.

“They called me all sorts of things: crazy, vile, immoral, criminal,” she said.

“Some even called me a traitor and spy for Israel and America.”

Today, Lootah is probably the UAE’s most prominent marriage counsellor, known by her clients as “Mama Widad.”

Lootah has also vigorously lobbied her home government to introduce sexual education in Emirati schools.

For older teens, “it’s very important that we educate them, both males and females, about sex … we have to prepare them psychologically and emotionally for it, and we have to teach them about the act itself.”

But first, we must “educate the teachers so they can educate the students,” said Lootah, adding that such education would also help protect young children from sexual predators.

They have to be “taught what form of adult-child interaction is appropriate and what’s not,” she said.

“We need to teach them so they know to recognise the danger when it’s there.”

She said the taboos surrounding sex have also contributed to high divorce rates in the Emirates and to generally unhappy marriages.

In about a month, Lootah plans to submit her second book, Top Secret Volume Two, to the government censors, and in traditional Lootah style, its pages will contain a lot of sex talk.

But this time, the topic of discussion is forbidden sex under Islam.

“It’s about homosexual and lesbian relations and their effect on the institution of marriage,” said Lootah, adding that she had to tread carefully given the sensitivity of the subject and intense emotions it stirs in the Muslim world.

When asked why she has taken on the cause of love and sex in Islam, Lootah argued that it was an issue of “women’s rights.”

“I can’t fix everything … but I can try and fix the role of women (in sex and marriage) in the Arab world.”

As for her opinion of Valentine’s day, she says Islam forbids the celebration of non-Muslim holidays.

“But if you consider Valentine’s day as a mere reminder to show one’s love to another, then why not? I don’t object to it,” she said. But “if that’s the case, then every day should be Valentine’s day.”

Any last words of advice?

“Experience love … even before marriage, that’s OK. But don’t do anything forbidden by Islam.”

Filed under Islam Sex education sex and islam.

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Interfaith rally at Long Island mosque condemns hate crimes.
When one group is harmed, we all are.
That was the message Friday in Huntington as a diverse cross section of public officials and clergy stood together in solidarity to denounce a recent string of hate crimes in Huntington and other parts of Long Island.
State Assemblyman Andrew Raia, R-Huntington, said Jews, Christians and Muslims are all facing a rise in hate crimes. “The only way to combat this is to join together in solidarity,” Raia said.
"If it’s a mosque today, it’s a temple tomorrow, it’s a church the next day. People that hate have no self respect," said Supervisor Frank Petrone . "We stand with you. You’re a peaceful group here at this mosque. You’re adding something special to the town and we will not let you stand by yourself."
Members of the Jewish community including Rabbi Ian Silverman of the East Northport Jewish Center and Rabbi Steven Moss, co-chair of county’s human rights commission said they stand in solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters.
"Say no to hate and yes to peace and harmony in the community," said Moss.
"I take joy in the fact that we are standing from the various communities to represent religious liberty." "It’s joy to stand in solidarity with you today to declare unto those in the Town of Huntington who think it’s all right to harm houses of worship, that we stand against such action," said Rev. Larry Jennings of the Bethel AME Church
"This is hate and the only way we can face it is head on," said Silverman.
We hope to be able to support each other in times like this to find ways that we may all express our faith.” “When one religious community is harmed, we all are.”

Interfaith rally at Long Island mosque condemns hate crimes.

When one group is harmed, we all are.

That was the message Friday in Huntington as a diverse cross section of public officials and clergy stood together in solidarity to denounce a recent string of hate crimes in Huntington and other parts of Long Island.

State Assemblyman Andrew Raia, R-Huntington, said Jews, Christians and Muslims are all facing a rise in hate crimes. “The only way to combat this is to join together in solidarity,” Raia said.

"If it’s a mosque today, it’s a temple tomorrow, it’s a church the next day. People that hate have no self respect," said Supervisor Frank Petrone . "We stand with you. You’re a peaceful group here at this mosque. You’re adding something special to the town and we will not let you stand by yourself."

Members of the Jewish community including Rabbi Ian Silverman of the East Northport Jewish Center and Rabbi Steven Moss, co-chair of county’s human rights commission said they stand in solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters.

"Say no to hate and yes to peace and harmony in the community," said Moss.

"I take joy in the fact that we are standing from the various communities to represent religious liberty." "It’s joy to stand in solidarity with you today to declare unto those in the Town of Huntington who think it’s all right to harm houses of worship, that we stand against such action," said Rev. Larry Jennings of the Bethel AME Church

"This is hate and the only way we can face it is head on," said Silverman.

We hope to be able to support each other in times like this to find ways that we may all express our faith.” “When one religious community is harmed, we all are.”

Filed under interfaith coexisit unity Christianity Peace Islam Judaism

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Imam, Priest & Rabbi Work Together for Interfaith Harmony. 

The Inter-religious Dialogue session will be led by Schaab, Imam Saad Baig from the Islamic Centre of the Quad-Cities in Moline and Rabbi Tamar Grimm of the Tri-City Jewish Centre in Rock Island.
The interfaith sessions are designed with a tone free from politics.
"Our goal is to educate, to give people information," Grimm said. For example, the first session will be on the separate calendars, holy days and celebrations of the three faiths. It will take place at the Islamic Center
Looking at sacred scriptures will be very interesting to many Christians,” Schaab predicted.
"Each one offers something unique," Grimm said. "But at the same time, it amazes me how much we share, in every one of our traditions."
Schaab, the Catholic priest, believes that knowledge gained from the Inter-religious Dialogues deepens faith. “We want to be supportive, appreciative and sensitive to one another,” he added.
Baig, a Muslim imam, said such education teaches respect for all faiths. There also is value in seeing leaders of these faiths together on one stage, he pointed out. Baig cited a phrase that he believes is central to the outreach effort: 
"The more you sweat in making peace, the less you will bleed in war."

Imam, Priest & Rabbi Work Together for Interfaith Harmony.

The Inter-religious Dialogue session will be led by Schaab, Imam Saad Baig from the Islamic Centre of the Quad-Cities in Moline and Rabbi Tamar Grimm of the Tri-City Jewish Centre in Rock Island.

The interfaith sessions are designed with a tone free from politics.

"Our goal is to educate, to give people information," Grimm said. For example, the first session will be on the separate calendars, holy days and celebrations of the three faiths. It will take place at the Islamic Center

Looking at sacred scriptures will be very interesting to many Christians,” Schaab predicted.

"Each one offers something unique," Grimm said. "But at the same time, it amazes me how much we share, in every one of our traditions."

Schaab, the Catholic priest, believes that knowledge gained from the Inter-religious Dialogues deepens faith. “We want to be supportive, appreciative and sensitive to one another,” he added.

Baig, a Muslim imam, said such education teaches respect for all faiths. There also is value in seeing leaders of these faiths together on one stage, he pointed out. Baig cited a phrase that he believes is central to the outreach effort:

"The more you sweat in making peace, the less you will bleed in war."

Filed under Interfaith coexisit unity Judaism Christianity Islam

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Long history with Islam gives Indigenous Australians pride.


Many Aboriginal people, like boxer Anthony Mundine, look to Islam as a way of re-connecting with their roots.

Muslim conversion is growing in Indigenous communities.
In the 2001 national census, 641 Indigenous people identified as Muslim. By the 2006 census the number had climbed by more than 60% to 1014 people.
This recent rise in conversions among Indigenous Australians may seem to be a political gesture. But unknown to many is the long history between Aboriginal people and Islamic culture and religion.
Three centuries of history
Indigenous and Muslim communities have traded, socialised and intermarried in Australia for three centuries.
From the early 1700s, Muslim fishermen from Indonesia made annual voyages to the north and northwestern Australian coast in search of sea slugs (trepang). The trade that developed included material goods, but the visitors also left a lasting religious legacy.
Recent research confirms the existence of Islamic motifs in some north Australian Aboriginal mythology and ritual.
In mortuary ceremonies conducted by communities in Galiwinku on Elcho Island today, there is reference to Dreaming figure Walitha’walitha, an adaptation of the Arabic phrase Allah ta’ala (God, the exalted).
The first Muslims to settle permanently in Australia were the cameleers, mainly from Afghanistan. Between the 1860s and 1920s, the Muslim camelmen worked the inland tracks and developed relationships with local Aboriginal people. Intermarriage was common and there are Aboriginal families with surnames including Khan, Sultan, Mahomed and Akbar.
From the mid-1880s, Muslim Malays came to north Australia as indentured labourers in the pearl-shelling industry.
They, too, formed longstanding relationships with the Indigenous people they met. A significant number married local Aboriginal women, and today there are many Aboriginal-Malay people in the top end of Australia.
A culture in common
My research has found a broad spectrum of Indigenous identification with Islam. It ranges from those who have Afghan and Malay Muslim ancestors, but are not practising Muslims, to those who have no Muslim ancestors, but are strict adherents of the faith.
The Indigenous Muslims I met perceive a neat cultural fit between their traditional Indigenous beliefs and the teachings of Islam. Many hold that in embracing Islam they are simultaneously going back to their Indigenous roots.
Interviewee Alinta, for example, finds “Islam connects with [her] Aboriginality” because of a shared emphasis on gendered roles and spheres of influence. “In Islam, men have a clear role and women have a clear role, and with Aboriginal people, that’s how it was too”.
Others commented on the similar attitudes that Muslims and Indigenous people have towards the environment. According to another interviewee, Nazra, “in the Qur’an it tells you very clearly don’t waste what is not needed … and the Aboriginal community is the same. Water and food are so precious you only take what you need”.

Long history with Islam gives Indigenous Australians pride.

Many Aboriginal people, like boxer Anthony Mundine, look to Islam as a way of re-connecting with their roots.

Muslim conversion is growing in Indigenous communities.

In the 2001 national census, 641 Indigenous people identified as Muslim. By the 2006 census the number had climbed by more than 60% to 1014 people.

This recent rise in conversions among Indigenous Australians may seem to be a political gesture. But unknown to many is the long history between Aboriginal people and Islamic culture and religion.

Three centuries of history

Indigenous and Muslim communities have traded, socialised and intermarried in Australia for three centuries.

From the early 1700s, Muslim fishermen from Indonesia made annual voyages to the north and northwestern Australian coast in search of sea slugs (trepang). The trade that developed included material goods, but the visitors also left a lasting religious legacy.

Recent research confirms the existence of Islamic motifs in some north Australian Aboriginal mythology and ritual.

In mortuary ceremonies conducted by communities in Galiwinku on Elcho Island today, there is reference to Dreaming figure Walitha’walitha, an adaptation of the Arabic phrase Allah ta’ala (God, the exalted).

The first Muslims to settle permanently in Australia were the cameleers, mainly from Afghanistan. Between the 1860s and 1920s, the Muslim camelmen worked the inland tracks and developed relationships with local Aboriginal people. Intermarriage was common and there are Aboriginal families with surnames including Khan, Sultan, Mahomed and Akbar.

From the mid-1880s, Muslim Malays came to north Australia as indentured labourers in the pearl-shelling industry.

They, too, formed longstanding relationships with the Indigenous people they met. A significant number married local Aboriginal women, and today there are many Aboriginal-Malay people in the top end of Australia.

A culture in common

My research has found a broad spectrum of Indigenous identification with Islam. It ranges from those who have Afghan and Malay Muslim ancestors, but are not practising Muslims, to those who have no Muslim ancestors, but are strict adherents of the faith.

The Indigenous Muslims I met perceive a neat cultural fit between their traditional Indigenous beliefs and the teachings of Islam. Many hold that in embracing Islam they are simultaneously going back to their Indigenous roots.

Interviewee Alinta, for example, finds “Islam connects with [her] Aboriginality” because of a shared emphasis on gendered roles and spheres of influence. “In Islam, men have a clear role and women have a clear role, and with Aboriginal people, that’s how it was too”.

Others commented on the similar attitudes that Muslims and Indigenous people have towards the environment. According to another interviewee, Nazra, “in the Qur’an it tells you very clearly don’t waste what is not needed … and the Aboriginal community is the same. Water and food are so precious you only take what you need”.

Filed under Afghans in Australia Australia History Indigenous Islam Cameleers