The boy, or caught between commands.

My son is four months old this Ramadan, which makes me slightly disappointed. Not that he’s here, or that he’s healthy- no, I’m quite grateful for that.  But he’s too young to be weaned, even partially, which means I’m deferring fasting for another year.

I take the Qur’an’s recommendations for nursing rather seriously- two years is not a relic of the past, before the advent of antibiotics, but the World Health Organization’s current recommendation.  Studies on human milk read almost like science fiction- its germ fighting, self-digesting, auto-adjusting capabilities are the tip of the iceberg. No wonder the Qu’an suggests that infants and toddlers receive its benefits, but where does that leave the duty of fasting?

Nursing, so you know, uses up about 500 calories a day. It also uses a good amount of water, and stimulates appetite and thirst. I’ve had a major sweet tooth since I started nursing, as human milk is as sweet as candy. Babies nurse pretty frequently, too- human milk digests quickly, and infant stomachs are small. Some women can nurse and fast, but milk supplies often suffer, and some don’t recover easily. Was that a risk I could take?

I prayed and studied, read up on milk storage in the body and pumping. I examined my son’s nursing habits, and looked into starting solids early. I wondered if my son would take a bottle at all, as he ditched the pacifier the moment I had milk, and won’t take another.  If he were a year older, he’d be nursing less often and eating more solid foods, but that’s no help this year. Not that I was at all eager to get him weaned in any way, but I was looking for a way to make this work.

And I did find a way to make it work. Parents, as Robert can attest to, put aside their own needs and desires a thousand times a day for their children, and there’s no reason why I should be any different. I do have a duty to fast, but my son has a right to the best food in the world for him. And as scholars have stated that a nursing mother can defer fasting, it’s clear that the rights of the Milk Monster trumps my duty to fast at this time.

So, I’m observing Ramadan the way I’m supposed to- with prayers, reading Qur’an- and a hearty lunch. Maybe next year I’ll be fasting along with Robert- but for now, it’s awful hard to fast when you’re doubling as a mess hall.

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The News is something else isn't it?

So this morning I decided to whip out ye old iPhone to check the headlines and boy oh boy did I get three jaw droppers this morning!

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dies after cancer battle

First Senator Kennedy has died.  It seems like a summer of famous deaths and we aren’t just talking about one or two this year, but several people who have been a staple of American and often world culture for quite some time.  Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and now Senator Kennedy.  Several questions should come to mind in the world of politics such as his replacement, the fate of the healthcare debate, etc.  but I will leave that for another day.  What I remember most recently is when he endorsed then Senator Obama for President and that became one of the highlights of the campaign and the beginning of the end for Hilliary Clinton, who btw although I was not kind in speech about her during the election, I must admit she’s a good Secretary of State, although I liked Condi Rice better….  What we should get from all this on a grander scale is that we should remember that we are only here in this world for an allotted time and during this time we should do our best to be nearest to our Lord.  God-willing Senator Kennedy is amongst those who are, my prayers go out to the Kennedy family a family who has given this nation much and has lost much in return.

Brown sentenced for Rihanna assault; other incidents surface

Secondly, well this really isn’t a jaw dropper, but definitely a head shaker, Chris Brown got a slap on the wrist, surprise, surprise.  This sentencing proves yet again what is wrong with American culture.  All this shows young people is that if you have enough money you can literally get away with murder, cough, cough, OJ….. 🙂  Moving right along….

If this had been any old average American who beat his girlfriend in the manner this coward beat Rihanna, they would be thrown under the jail and become someone’s girlfriend, but since he sold some records and made some money, it doesn’t matter if the little coward punched a woman in the face several times.

I’m sorry but I was raised to never hit a woman.  REGARDLESS.  There is never an excuse unless she’s an Umma Thurman “Kill Bill” “Black Mamba” clone, maybe then, but in real life few men are ever going to face that type of woman.  Hollyweird can often give us great entertainment but what they are producing and the type of people that are given the stage to inspire the youth these days are disgusting.  How many young black men (as if we don’t have issues already) will be silly enough to now think that it’s OK to hit a woman?  How many more will believe that they could get away with it?  It doesn’t help btw, if the woman is supportive of her coward, violent, abusive, freak of a so-called man either.  People wonder why the “Justice” system in America is routinely questioned.  Where is the Justice when crimes are sentenced differently based on how large your bank account or celebrity is?  If the LAPD responded to the call of the non-celebrity Chris Brown who drove a Honda Civic and beat his girlfriend who worked at a local coffee shop, it would have been an entirely different sentence.

Michigan courts given leeway to force veil removal

****UPDATE****

I was notified by a representative from CAIR who informed me that CNN has incorrectly reported the case.  Apparently, the sister in question WAS NOT wearing a Niqab (face veil) but was in fact wearing the Hijab (head covering).  That being the case, disregard my initial commentary as it relates to this case.  As I previously stated, I do not agree with any legal injunction or ruling that would attempt to deprive Muslim women, Jews, Christians, etc. of their right to dress according to their religious customs.  The only time I would ever support that is if it was proven that somehow the Hijab created some sort of problem within the performance of one’s duty, job, etc.  Below is my original commentary….

And speaking of the US legal system……….  My third jaw-dropper is a big one.  I am getting so sick and tired of this thinly veiled foolishness and borderline racism and the Muslims are egging on with our own brand of foolishness thinking that we are helping but in fact making things worse.  There has been as of late an uptick in white people loosing their minds about “those people” who in this day and age aren’t necessarily one race, but definitely one religion.  In Europe where swastikas are being painted on Mosques, to Muslim bathing suits being banned, to a female basketball player not being allowed to cover her hair, to protests, and now this here in America among other things, it’s so obvious what is going on…

I remain firm and steadfast in the belief that those who perpetrate these acts and rulings some moreso than others do so with a supremacist mindset.  The “tricky” thing is that they get to get away with not being labled racist, because Muslims make up all races, but make no mistake the signs are there, and I fear my non-black American Muslims are too blind to notice and know how to properly combat these ideas.

Which is why I have to say that I take no side in this particular incident.

On side A:  You have the Michigan Judge who exercised his authority and asked the woman to remove her Niqab.

Is he a racist?  Who knows, his justification sure sounds fair.  But he isn’t the problem.  The issue at hand is the tactic.  Maybe it’s just me, but it appears more and more that people are beginning to use their legal system as a means to stick it to Muslims.  What is being said in essence is “we don’t want you in our country” and I have to agree in some instances, because if your foreign born and want to change your host country but don’t have the courage to change your home country, then why shouldn’t people in the host country get angry?  But that’s for another debate at another time.

On side B:  You have the woman wearing Niqab that CAIR is so eagerly willing to fight for.  They too have a justification that on paper seems fair as well.  But here again I sense that maybe it’s just me, but there’s more than meets the eye as well.

First of all, the news media is purposely using the word “veil” to confuse the issue.  Surely, they used this word as it’s a linguistic tool to group all Muslims and make us all guilty by association.  If they would have used the word Niqab or Face-Covering as they do in the body of the report in the headline, my job here would be a little easier.  There is a difference and they know it, but the interest is in fanning the flames so they hope that right wing nuts and others will latch on to veil so they can continue their “all Muslims” rants and antics.

Like I stated, there is a difference.  THERE IS NO QURANIC INJUCTION REQUIRING MUSLIM WOMEN TO WEAR A NIQAB AND OR FACE VEIL.  Every Muslim knows this, most non-Muslims know this, yet somehow every so often there comes along a Muslim woman in a face veil who becomes the image all Muslims and our “weirdness” to freak white people out and scare the pants off people.

Call me what you will, but I believe the judge gave the appropriate response she could uncover her face or dismiss the case.  This isn’t about religious rights for the most part, although I do understand why CAIR and the ACLU are worried about the broad language of the ruling, but they just picked the wrong person to back to further that agenda.  If this had been a Muslim woman wearing a Hijab i.e. head covering I would be just as angry.  But what this is about is one woman who decided to wear Niqab even though it’s not required in Islam who represents probably less than 1% of American Muslim women who do, that decided her specific understanding of her Islamic practice should be legal.

Because she is doing “extra” in a Quranic sense as pious as it may be, it shouldn’t be attempted to be forced upon the masses Muslim or non-Muslim alike, especially if it creates a situation of disharmony and lack of equity between peoples.  Which is what this does.  It fans the flames of hate on one side, and helps to isolate others on the other side.  It’s like the boy who cried wolf, for every unnecessary cry of “injustice” made by CAIR in situations like this, it weakens our position when real cries of injustice are made such as the Muslim swimmer in France and the Muslim basketball player in Switzerland.  We are giving them the ammunition to do what they do, because now the masses can’t tell the difference from the legitimate to the illegitimate cases of discrimination, it all sounds like a bunch of Muslims whining in a foreign country, which is why you are getting the cries of “Like it or Leave it”.

Those who pull the strings on the anti-Muslim side love it when we go to court over Niqabs, footbaths, taxis, etc. etc. it just gives them the necessary support to truly discriminate in other ways right in front of our faces.  We all know that what someone swims in, especially if it’s made of the same Olympic grade swimming material wouldn’t matter if a non-Muslim wore it, nor is covering someones hair playing basketball would matter if a non-Muslim chose to do so, but what can we do about it?

The one thing I wish my foreign born brothers and sisters will ask themselves is how do they imagine American Muslims lived long before 9/11 or before there ever was a CAIR?  How were we able to practice Islam and be secure in our practice and hardly if ever making major news?  Mosques were built, Ramadan observed, etc. etc.  so what’s really going on now?

Just some more of my useless rambling, I’m tired for now……

The News is something else

So this morning I decided to whip out ye old iPhone to check the headlines and boy oh boy did I get three jaw droppers this morning!

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dies after cancer battle

First Senator Kennedy has died.  It seems like a summer of famous deaths and we aren't just talking about one or two this year, but several people who have been a staple of American and often world culture for quite some time.  Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and now Senator Kennedy.  Several questions should come to mind in the world of politics such as his replacement, the fate of the healthcare debate, etc.  but I will leave that for another day.  What I remember most recently is when he endorsed then Senator Obama for President and that became one of the highlights of the campaign and the beginning of the end for Hilliary Clinton, who btw although I was not kind in speech about her during the election, I must admit she's a good Secretary of State, although I liked Condi Rice better….  What we should get from all this on a grander scale is that we should remember that we are only here in this world for an allotted time and during this time we should do our best to be nearest to our Lord.  God-willing Senator Kennedy is amongst those who are, my prayers go out to the Kennedy family a family who has given this nation much and has lost much in return.

Brown sentenced for Rihanna assault; other incidents surface

Secondly, well this really isn't a jaw dropper, but definitely a head shaker, Chris Brown got a slap on the wrist, surprise, surprise.  This sentencing proves yet again what is wrong with American culture.  All this shows young people is that if you have enough money you can literally get away with murder, cough, cough, OJ….. 🙂  Moving right along…. If this had been any old average American who beat his girlfriend in the manner this coward beat Rihanna, they would be thrown under the jail and become someone's girlfriend, but since he sold some records and made some money, it doesn't matter if the little coward punched a woman in the face several times. I'm sorry but I was raised to never hit a woman.  REGARDLESS.  There is never an excuse unless she's an Umma Thurman "Kill Bill" "Black Mamba" clone, maybe then, but in real life few men are ever going to face that type of woman.  Hollyweird can often give us great entertainment but what they are producing and the type of people that are given the stage to inspire the youth these days are disgusting.  How many young black men (as if we don't have issues already) will be silly enough to now think that it's OK to hit a woman?  How many more will believe that they could get away with it?  It doesn't help btw, if the woman is supportive of her coward, violent, abusive, freak of a so-called man either.  People wonder why the "Justice" system in America is routinely questioned.  Where is the Justice when crimes are sentenced differently based on how large your bank account or celebrity is?  If the LAPD responded to the call of the non-celebrity Chris Brown who drove a Honda Civic and beat his girlfriend who worked at a local coffee shop, it would have been an entirely different sentence.

Michigan courts given leeway to force veil removal

****UPDATE****

I was notified by a representative from CAIR who informed me that CNN has incorrectly reported the case.  Apparently, the sister in question WAS NOT wearing a Niqab (face veil) but was in fact wearing the Hijab (head covering).  That being the case, disregard my initial commentary as it relates to this case.  As I previously stated, I do not agree with any legal injunction or ruling that would attempt to deprive Muslim women, Jews, Christians, etc. of their right to dress according to their religious customs.  The only time I would ever support that is if it was proven that somehow the Hijab created some sort of problem within the performance of one's duty, job, etc.  Below is my original commentary…. And speaking of the US legal system……….  My third jaw-dropper is a big one.  I am getting so sick and tired of this thinly veiled foolishness and borderline racism and the Muslims are egging on with our own brand of foolishness thinking that we are helping but in fact making things worse.  There has been as of late an uptick in white people loosing their minds about "those people" who in this day and age aren't necessarily one race, but definitely one religion.  In Europe where swastikas are being painted on Mosques, to Muslim bathing suits being banned, to a female basketball player not being allowed to cover her hair, to protests, and now this here in America among other things, it's so obvious what is going on… I remain firm and steadfast in the belief that those who perpetrate these acts and rulings some moreso than others do so with a supremacist mindset.  The "tricky" thing is that they get to get away with not being labled racist, because Muslims make up all races, but make no mistake the signs are there, and I fear my non-black American Muslims are too blind to notice and know how to properly combat these ideas. Which is why I have to say that I take no side in this particular incident. On side A:  You have the Michigan Judge who exercised his authority and asked the woman to remove her Niqab. Is he a racist?  Who knows, his justification sure sounds fair.  But he isn't the problem.  The issue at hand is the tactic.  Maybe it's just me, but it appears more and more that people are beginning to use their legal system as a means to stick it to Muslims.  What is being said in essence is "we don't want you in our country" and I have to agree in some instances, because if your foreign born and want to change your host country but don't have the courage to change your home country, then why shouldn't people in the host country get angry?  But that's for another debate at another time. On side B:  You have the woman wearing Niqab that CAIR is so eagerly willing to fight for.  They too have a justification that on paper seems fair as well.  But here again I sense that maybe it's just me, but there's more than meets the eye as well. First of all, the news media is purposely using the word "veil" to confuse the issue.  Surely, they used this word as it's a linguistic tool to group all Muslims and make us all guilty by association.  If they would have used the word Niqab or Face-Covering as they do in the body of the report in the headline, my job here would be a little easier.  There is a difference and they know it, but the interest is in fanning the flames so they hope that right wing nuts and others will latch on to veil so they can continue their "all Muslims" rants and antics. Like I stated, there is a difference.  THERE IS NO QURANIC INJUCTION REQUIRING MUSLIM WOMEN TO WEAR A NIQAB AND OR FACE VEIL.  Every Muslim knows this, most non-Muslims know this, yet somehow every so often there comes along a Muslim woman in a face veil who becomes the image all Muslims and our "weirdness" to freak white people out and scare the pants off people. Call me what you will, but I believe the judge gave the appropriate response she could uncover her face or dismiss the case.  This isn't about religious rights for the most part, although I do understand why CAIR and the ACLU are worried about the broad language of the ruling, but they just picked the wrong person to back to further that agenda.  If this had been a Muslim woman wearing a Hijab i.e. head covering I would be just as angry.  But what this is about is one woman who decided to wear Niqab even though it's not required in Islam who represents probably less than 1% of American Muslim women who do, that decided her specific understanding of her Islamic practice should be legal. Because she is doing "extra" in a Quranic sense as pious as it may be, it shouldn't be attempted to be forced upon the masses Muslim or non-Muslim alike, especially if it creates a situation of disharmony and lack of equity between peoples.  Which is what this does.  It fans the flames of hate on one side, and helps to isolate others on the other side.  It's like the boy who cried wolf, for every unnecessary cry of "injustice" made by CAIR in situations like this, it weakens our position when real cries of injustice are made such as the Muslim swimmer in France and the Muslim basketball player in Switzerland.  We are giving them the ammunition to do what they do, because now the masses can't tell the difference from the legitimate to the illegitimate cases of discrimination, it all sounds like a bunch of Muslims whining in a foreign country, which is why you are getting the cries of "Like it or Leave it". Those who pull the strings on the anti-Muslim side love it when we go to court over Niqabs, footbaths, taxis, etc. etc. it just gives them the necessary support to truly discriminate in other ways right in front of our faces.  We all know that what someone swims in, especially if it's made of the same Olympic grade swimming material wouldn't matter if a non-Muslim wore it, nor is covering someones hair playing basketball would matter if a non-Muslim chose to do so, but what can we do about it? The one thing I wish my foreign born brothers and sisters will ask themselves is how do they imagine American Muslims lived long before 9/11 or before there ever was a CAIR?  How were we able to practice Islam and be secure in our practice and hardly if ever making major news?  Mosques were built, Ramadan observed, etc. etc.  so what's really going on now? Just some more of my useless rambling, I'm tired for now……

The News is something else isn’t it?

So this morning I decided to whip out ye old iPhone to check the headlines and boy oh boy did I get three jaw droppers this morning!

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dies after cancer battle

First Senator Kennedy has died.  It seems like a summer of famous deaths and we aren’t just talking about one or two this year, but several people who have been a staple of American and often world culture for quite some time.  Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and now Senator Kennedy.  Several questions should come to mind in the world of politics such as his replacement, the fate of the healthcare debate, etc.  but I will leave that for another day.  What I remember most recently is when he endorsed then Senator Obama for President and that became one of the highlights of the campaign and the beginning of the end for Hilliary Clinton, who btw although I was not kind in speech about her during the election, I must admit she’s a good Secretary of State, although I liked Condi Rice better….  What we should get from all this on a grander scale is that we should remember that we are only here in this world for an allotted time and during this time we should do our best to be nearest to our Lord.  God-willing Senator Kennedy is amongst those who are, my prayers go out to the Kennedy family a family who has given this nation much and has lost much in return.

Brown sentenced for Rihanna assault; other incidents surface

Secondly, well this really isn’t a jaw dropper, but definitely a head shaker, Chris Brown got a slap on the wrist, surprise, surprise.  This sentencing proves yet again what is wrong with American culture.  All this shows young people is that if you have enough money you can literally get away with murder, cough, cough, OJ….. 🙂  Moving right along….

If this had been any old average American who beat his girlfriend in the manner this coward beat Rihanna, they would be thrown under the jail and become someone’s girlfriend, but since he sold some records and made some money, it doesn’t matter if the little coward punched a woman in the face several times.

I’m sorry but I was raised to never hit a woman.  REGARDLESS.  There is never an excuse unless she’s an Umma Thurman “Kill Bill” “Black Mamba” clone, maybe then, but in real life few men are ever going to face that type of woman.  Hollyweird can often give us great entertainment but what they are producing and the type of people that are given the stage to inspire the youth these days are disgusting.  How many young black men (as if we don’t have issues already) will be silly enough to now think that it’s OK to hit a woman?  How many more will believe that they could get away with it?  It doesn’t help btw, if the woman is supportive of her coward, violent, abusive, freak of a so-called man either.  People wonder why the “Justice” system in America is routinely questioned.  Where is the Justice when crimes are sentenced differently based on how large your bank account or celebrity is?  If the LAPD responded to the call of the non-celebrity Chris Brown who drove a Honda Civic and beat his girlfriend who worked at a local coffee shop, it would have been an entirely different sentence.

Michigan courts given leeway to force veil removal

****UPDATE****

I was notified by a representative from CAIR who informed me that CNN has incorrectly reported the case.  Apparently, the sister in question WAS NOT wearing a Niqab (face veil) but was in fact wearing the Hijab (head covering).  That being the case, disregard my initial commentary as it relates to this case.  As I previously stated, I do not agree with any legal injunction or ruling that would attempt to deprive Muslim women, Jews, Christians, etc. of their right to dress according to their religious customs.  The only time I would ever support that is if it was proven that somehow the Hijab created some sort of problem within the performance of one’s duty, job, etc.  Below is my original commentary….

And speaking of the US legal system……….  My third jaw-dropper is a big one.  I am getting so sick and tired of this thinly veiled foolishness and borderline racism and the Muslims are egging on with our own brand of foolishness thinking that we are helping but in fact making things worse.  There has been as of late an uptick in white people loosing their minds about “those people” who in this day and age aren’t necessarily one race, but definitely one religion.  In Europe where swastikas are being painted on Mosques, to Muslim bathing suits being banned, to a female basketball player not being allowed to cover her hair, to protests, and now this here in America among other things, it’s so obvious what is going on…

I remain firm and steadfast in the belief that those who perpetrate these acts and rulings some moreso than others do so with a supremacist mindset.  The “tricky” thing is that they get to get away with not being labled racist, because Muslims make up all races, but make no mistake the signs are there, and I fear my non-black American Muslims are too blind to notice and know how to properly combat these ideas.

Which is why I have to say that I take no side in this particular incident.

On side A:  You have the Michigan Judge who exercised his authority and asked the woman to remove her Niqab.

Is he a racist?  Who knows, his justification sure sounds fair.  But he isn’t the problem.  The issue at hand is the tactic.  Maybe it’s just me, but it appears more and more that people are beginning to use their legal system as a means to stick it to Muslims.  What is being said in essence is “we don’t want you in our country” and I have to agree in some instances, because if your foreign born and want to change your host country but don’t have the courage to change your home country, then why shouldn’t people in the host country get angry?  But that’s for another debate at another time.

On side B:  You have the woman wearing Niqab that CAIR is so eagerly willing to fight for.  They too have a justification that on paper seems fair as well.  But here again I sense that maybe it’s just me, but there’s more than meets the eye as well.

First of all, the news media is purposely using the word “veil” to confuse the issue.  Surely, they used this word as it’s a linguistic tool to group all Muslims and make us all guilty by association.  If they would have used the word Niqab or Face-Covering as they do in the body of the report in the headline, my job here would be a little easier.  There is a difference and they know it, but the interest is in fanning the flames so they hope that right wing nuts and others will latch on to veil so they can continue their “all Muslims” rants and antics.

Like I stated, there is a difference.  THERE IS NO QURANIC INJUCTION REQUIRING MUSLIM WOMEN TO WEAR A NIQAB AND OR FACE VEIL.  Every Muslim knows this, most non-Muslims know this, yet somehow every so often there comes along a Muslim woman in a face veil who becomes the image all Muslims and our “weirdness” to freak white people out and scare the pants off people.

Call me what you will, but I believe the judge gave the appropriate response she could uncover her face or dismiss the case.  This isn’t about religious rights for the most part, although I do understand why CAIR and the ACLU are worried about the broad language of the ruling, but they just picked the wrong person to back to further that agenda.  If this had been a Muslim woman wearing a Hijab i.e. head covering I would be just as angry.  But what this is about is one woman who decided to wear Niqab even though it’s not required in Islam who represents probably less than 1% of American Muslim women who do, that decided her specific understanding of her Islamic practice should be legal.

Because she is doing “extra” in a Quranic sense as pious as it may be, it shouldn’t be attempted to be forced upon the masses Muslim or non-Muslim alike, especially if it creates a situation of disharmony and lack of equity between peoples.  Which is what this does.  It fans the flames of hate on one side, and helps to isolate others on the other side.  It’s like the boy who cried wolf, for every unnecessary cry of “injustice” made by CAIR in situations like this, it weakens our position when real cries of injustice are made such as the Muslim swimmer in France and the Muslim basketball player in Switzerland.  We are giving them the ammunition to do what they do, because now the masses can’t tell the difference from the legitimate to the illegitimate cases of discrimination, it all sounds like a bunch of Muslims whining in a foreign country, which is why you are getting the cries of “Like it or Leave it”.

Those who pull the strings on the anti-Muslim side love it when we go to court over Niqabs, footbaths, taxis, etc. etc. it just gives them the necessary support to truly discriminate in other ways right in front of our faces.  We all know that what someone swims in, especially if it’s made of the same Olympic grade swimming material wouldn’t matter if a non-Muslim wore it, nor is covering someones hair playing basketball would matter if a non-Muslim chose to do so, but what can we do about it?

The one thing I wish my foreign born brothers and sisters will ask themselves is how do they imagine American Muslims lived long before 9/11 or before there ever was a CAIR?  How were we able to practice Islam and be secure in our practice and hardly if ever making major news?  Mosques were built, Ramadan observed, etc. etc.  so what’s really going on now?

Just some more of my useless rambling, I’m tired for now……

Ramadan 2009 Day four: A Reflection

Yesterday, as I lay in the bed sick (caught a cold this past weekend) I was reflecting on Ramadan and what it all means.  Granted, you don’t have to come to this site to get any insight into the meaning of Ramadan btw 🙂 .  I was just pondering life in general and my experience as a Muslim now celebrating my 8th Ramadan.  You seem to reflect alot when you have ample time starring at the ceiling of your bedroom, but I’m getting off topic…

Anyway, I met with some of my non-Muslim family this past weekend and they “couldn’t believe” how one could go all day without food or drink and at the same time try their hardest to remain calm and pleasant for “a whole month”.  I just smirked a little and kept the conversation as unreligious (yeah new word) as possible, which has become habitual for me around my family, I learned the hard way in the early years….. and in so many words just stated that Ramadan comes with the territory of being a Muslim.   I know, I know, I missed a wonderful Dawa opportunity, but if you came from a very Christian family like I do, you would know that often discretion is the best way to keep family relations.

At any rate, I was thinking about that conversation yesterday and I began to really thank God for Ramadan.  The more I study Islam, the more apparent to me that Islam is like an onion.  (yes I’m leaving myself open for all the non-Muslim and anti-Muslim crowd to make jokes) Islam has so many layers that while you may think you have it on the surface you may look at it and think you know all about it, if you peel off a layer you may find that there is more and more to Islam than what’s on the surface.  (I may come to regret this analogy later 🙂 )

My point is, during my reflection I marveled at how in my early days as a Muslim I initially took Ramadan as a yearly ritual for the textbook reasons i.e. the month the Qur’an was revealed, blessings due to fasting, unity among the haves and have nots, etc.  But now, with each passing Ramadan, new layers are becoming clearer to me so much so, that I look forward to Ramadan each and every year.

Back to the main point:

As I reflected on the comments my family made I truly felt blessed to be a Muslim.  Not because there is anything inherently bad with being a Christian, nor because I feel there is something wrong with my family….well some of them :), but because it made me appreciate the discipline that is required to be a Muslim.  As good of a Christian as I once thought myself to be (and the fact that I’m Muslim now, others may beg to differ) with all the studying, Church attendance, ministering, etc. etc. I did, the one thing that I can now see is that the religion in of itself doesn’t have much discipline.  Surely there are Christians who are very disciplined, but as a theology, it never really encouraged discipline as a necessary practice.  I mean, you could pray when, how, etc. you wanted or not at all, you could choose or choose not to go to Church, fasting wasn’t clearly defined, and if you did something wrong, you were already “forgiven” so all you had to do was ask for forgiveness to Jesus (as).  Now for some, actually many, this is perfectly OK and there is no problem with that, and I’m not judging or mocking.  Some Christian denominations and sects vary on some of these things and I don’t mean to over generalize.  But I was brought up on the doctrine of “grace” and to me as I reflect now, it just seemed a little too easy.  Maybe that’s why I was so intense in my Biblical studies and tried to milk my Grandfather of every once of knowledge he had.  In hindsight, maybe I studied so much as to somehow compensate for the lack of discipline that was required on a daily basis.  Now some may be mad at me for these words, but the truth is at least from my experience, you have some Christians who were/are like I was, who studied the Bible daily, found something Church related to do at least 4 times a week and tried their very best to as my grandfather would say “keep their powder dry” 🙂  but the reality is, the majority of Christians do not behave in this manner.  The majority God bless them, believe in the doctrines, but as far as practice some are “EMC” Christians i.e. only go to church on Easter, Mother’s Day (maybe), and sometimes on Christmas.  A sizable chunk do “worldly” things and tend to only mention Jesus (as) when their in trouble, accepting an award, or if asked what do they believe.  I have a working theory, that the majority of Christians couldn’t even articulate the exact doctrine they believe and why.  Most don’t even know anything about Christian history and terms like Synoptic, Exegesis, Nicea, Anathasius, etc. would fly over most heads.  Now again, I’m not mocking Christians as many mean well and as the Qur’an states among Christians you would find some of the most pious people in this world, I’m just eventually getting to a point.

Now where was I?….

Discipline.  As a Christian and hindsight is 20/20, it was never actually taught in practice that being a Christian was more than a belief.  Now many can point to countless sermons given by their Pastor to the contrary, and so can I, but the reality is that no matter what the Pastor, Deacon, etc. stated on Sunday, many Christians accept that their religion is “faith-based” and not based on “works” a common refrain in the Church btw, many will even state “works won’t get you into heaven” which btw, is paraphrasing Romans 10:9 which basically states what I believe is the fundamental problem with Christians that belief alone is enough to get into heaven.  Now I could insert a comment from James, but I’m not trying to debate right now.  My point is that this fundamental teaching that most Christians follow that all they have to do is believe promotes a theology and worldview that adds to the “strangeness” supposedly of Islam.

The reason why my family can’t grasp the concept of or think that it’s excessive that one would fast from 6 something in the morning until almost 8 at night not having food or drink for roughly 30 days is due to their teaching which doesn’t really require much of the believer.  I’m not knocking them, or blame them because that is all they know.  My Grandmother for instance God bless her, still doesn’t understand what I call “My God” and why, she asked me the other day “don’t you call your God Jehovah?” 🙂

What I’m getting at 1100 plus words into this diatribe, is that I thought the same way when I first became a Muslim, because I didn’t know any better.  I mean I appreciated “rules” like Islam has (guess it’s a Marine thing) but I often thought Ramadan was a little excessive too.  Even learning the why (textbook) definition, it took some getting used to.  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t look forward to Ramadan at all those first few years.  However, looking back and reflecting, I really thank God for giving me insight and leading down a path that would make me “strange” to my family.  I appreciate every little hunger pain, fatigue, etc.  instead of feeling bad when I get a little thirsty or hungry, now I get happy.  Ramadan to me these days is a time where I reinforce my faith and practice.  At the end of Ramadan I no longer feel glad that it’s over, but I feel like I proved to myself yet another year that I truly believe.  Fasting has that effect in general which is why most religions teach it (regardless if it’s actually practiced).  Fasting is a time to spiritually and physically cleanse oneself of all the negativity, worldly issues, and physical toxins.  Fasting encourages discipline through practice and the reinforcing of ones faith.  When the Muslim states “Ash hado” I bear witness, to me bearing witness means that you are a walking testament to that which you stake your claim.  Ramadan to me best exemplifies that.  An entire month of fasting, extra prayers, and charity makes me increasingly glad I am a Muslim.

I love being “strange” because in a weird way while they may feel “sorry” for me, I actually feel sorry for them, because they don’t know the joy of what it means to actually practice what they preach.  The majority of the Christians I know and have met while they may state they believe, I’m not certain if Jesus (as) were to come back today would state so.  Many Christians my family included think we are weird because we dress a certain way,act a certain way, eat a certain way, pray a certain way, once a year try to outdo ourselves by fasting an entire month among other things, and on top of all that try to at least once in our life go to the desert to walk around a black box. 🙂

But what they perceive as weird is only weird because they don’t understand what it means to be disciplined.  I could go into the Sergeant of Marines speech on discipline but I will save that for another posting.  To me, to have religion with such order and practice as fundamental to your faith, means that we understand that we have to work to get into heaven.  It means that each and every Muslim as a matter of teaching should reflect what they claim to believe.  Ramadan is a yearly month long testament that we do just that.  I can’t speak for all Muslims, but for this one Muslim I love every minute of it.  I love being able to have an inner faith and an outer testament to that faith.  I love that my every physical action should be a testament to my belief in God.  Even our language:  Alhumdulillah, Subhannallah, Mashallah, Inshallah, as daily conversational speech amazes me even to this day.

In a nutshell, I guess as I reflect today 8 years later I’m just as intense and joyful in my love for Islam and thankful to God for leading to Islam as I was in the beginning.  To me, the day before Ramadan is like Christmas-eve in my childhood.  Except that now I have an entire month of Christmas even though I have to work for my gifts 🙂