Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hijab and Little Girls

This is my friend's daughter. Isn't she adorable, Masha Allah?

My friend is a new Muslim. She said the Shahadah a month or so ago, Alhamdulillah. While my friend is adjusting to life as a Muslimah, her children are also adjusting to having a Muslim mother. What an adventure it must be for a child to all of a sudden be exposed to a whole new way of life compared to what they are used to living!

They all visited me about a week ago. We decided to walk around the way for ice cream. When my friend and I got ready to go, putting on our hijabs, her daughter asked me if I had one for her, too. So I let her wear one of my short amira-type hijabs.

Little Muslim girls are not required to wear hijab. But any little girl wants to copy what mommy and mommy's female friends do.

I think that it's never too early to let a little girl get used to wearing a hijab. We should never force them, but we should encourage them as they show interest.

If we don't do this, how can we expect them to be receptive to hijab once they reach puberty? How can we expect them to love hijab as grown women if they don't love it as children?

I know Muslim sisters who tear their hair out behind their teenage children. "Amir won't pray." "Ahmad doesn't want to go to Sunday school at the masjid." "Fatima wants to wear sleeveless shirts." and on and on.

Do we expect our children to all of a sudden become pious Muslims if we don't encourage it when they are young? The job of raising a Muslim child to be a righteous believer starts early.

Encourage your children early to love and please Allah (swt).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vaad Tznius

To see these poster more clearly and learn about tznius laws in the Torah, go here:

The news media will have you believe that the Muslim world is the only place where religious police (muttawa) roam the streets looking for sin. And lately, we have been seeing a lot of news pieces about men in Afghanistan throwing acid in the faces of women and girls.

The media suggests that this type of religious fanaticism is exclusive to Islam.

But do you know that there is an equivalent to the muttawa in the Jewish world?

They are called "vaad tznius" or the "modesty patrol."

They are mainly active in the ultra-orthodox areas of Jerusalem. However, if you follow the link to the poster above, you will be shocked to learn that the poster is part of a tznius campaign in New York City Jewish neighborhoods. Will we be seeing "modesty patrols" in New York City?

Notice how similar the Hebrew word "tznius" is to the Arabic word "zinna."

Tznius are the Jewish religious laws that govern the dress of women, and the conduct between the sexes.

Enforcement of the tznius laws go in this order:

1. father

2. community rabbi (if no father)

3. husband

4. community rabbi (for divorced and widowed women)

The rabbi can elect another man or a group of men to enforce tznius if he chooses.

Any father or husband who fails to enforce tznius laws is accused of permitting his women to be promiscuous, or encouraging them to commit adultry.

The "modesty patrol" has been known to attack both Jewish women and Jewish female children for being "off the derech," meaning off the path of the religious way of living. This is similar what Muslims call being "off the deen."

The tznius patrol has been accused of throwing acid on a teenage girl in Jerusalem. One Jewish woman was beaten by the tznius patrol for refusing to sit in the back seat of a bus.

Worse yet, even Jewish women have gotten into the act although they technically are not responsible for enforcing tznius laws. One woman reports walking out of a store in Israel wearing a dress she had just purchased. Another Jewish woman approached her and threw paint on her dress.

In the Spring 2009 issue of Lilith magazine, one woman describes her encounter with the "modesty patrol."

"When Michal, 28, opened her apartment door one Saturday night in June, she was expecting to find a client for her hair design business. Instead the Israeli divorcee, who left the Orthodox fold some three years earlier, found several ultra-Orthodox Jewish men. They threw her on the floor, gagged her, kicked her all over her body and questioned her relations with men, according to official accounts. After they beat her for at least 10 minutes, they warned her that this was 'just the beginning' and that if she continued to live there she would be killed."

Charges were filed in the attack, but Michal is still trying to deal with her ordeal according to the Lilith article:

"If I was doing something that was not OK, God has enough ways to punish me. They don't have to take the law into their own hands. Who made himself God's policeman? Who has God given the right to come and beat someone in His name?"

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hips Stimulate the Economy

(Are these wide hips?)

I saw a TV piece this morning about how what Michelle Obama is wearing has been stimulating the clothing sector of the economy.

Designers tout how "everyday" and "every woman" Michelle's choice of clothes are.

Inspired by Michelle's hips, one designer said that he is "specializing" in a line of clothing that is a little bit more "generous" in the hips.

Folks. Puuuuleeeese! Does Michelle Obama have wide hips! OMG! Those are NOT wide hips, lol. If you want to see wide hips, come around to my neighborhood.

Anyhow, go to the Prisoner's Wife's blog to read a beautiful poem by Lucille Clifton - "Homage to My Hips"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Online Fundraiser for Imam Siraj Wahaj

Please help Imam Siraj if you can. He has helped so many of us.

Just think if all of the Muslims in cyberspace gave even $1 toward this cause!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Muslim Crew Member of the Maerst Alabama

Zahid Reza - AP Photo

The crew members of the Maersk Alabama ship that was attacked by the Somali pirates are returning home.

And they are talking about their ordeal.

As I was passing by my TV this afternoon, one particular interview on CNN stopped me in my tracks.

At least one of the crew members is a Muslim. His name is Zahid Reza.

Zahid Reza was telling the news anchors that he intended to stab and kill one of the Somali pirates.

The pirate's name is Abdul.

Part of Zahid's conversation with Abdul went something like this:

"Trust me. We're both Muslims. I'm from Bangladesh, but we are brothers."

Shortly after that, Zahid was able to stab Abdul, but he didn't kill him like he intended. He stabbed him in the hand.

I can't imagine being placed in the position to have to make a decision whether or not to hurt or kill another Muslim.

I also can't imagine having to ask another Muslim for his trust knowing that my intention is to betray him.

Now, I know - you will say that he was defending his ship, that the pirates were in the wrong, that perhaps the pirate was going to kill him, etc. etc.

I'm just saying that the conflict would be major for me.

As some of you know, I work in a prison. I am always at risk to be hurt or taken hostage by an inmate - including a Muslim inmate.

What would I do?

I don't know.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Islamic Writers Alliance: Poetry and Short Story Contests Begin Today!


This Year EVERYBODY Can Write!

Announcing the Islamic Writers Alliance
5th Annual Poetry Contest

The Islamic Writers Alliance Short Story Contest!

Both contests begin April 1, 2009 to midnight April 30, 2009 Pacific time

~Both Contests have CASH prizes~

The THEME for both contests is Open so whether you are a poet or a writer or a combination of both, there is an opportunity this year to write what you believe is a winning poem or short story and show the world you believe in what you write.

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~William Wordsworth