Wonderful people who make this blog worth updating

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Layla's house

Layla found out that she can fit in the biggest cabinet in our apartment. So I guess we won't be storing anything in there for awhile :)
I think I'd rather look at her in there anyway.

Is the Quran Corrupted?

I have included 2 videos. One is made by a Christian working to prove that some stories in the Quran were taken from Jewish and Christian apocryphal works dating from the 2nd to 5th Cent. CE. These sources are works that were never included in the accepted canon of the Bible.
The second of these videos is a Muslim response to the video. Feel free to add to either side of the argument.
Is the validity of the Quran compromised if some of its stories were included in non-canonical works?
The Muslim man says that these claims have been refuted. If you are aware of references for these rebuttals please share this information with me.
God's blessings to you all!

Here is the source for the rebuttal of the Cain and Abel story

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine

Update: another from Dr. Mercola's site

Please check out this article, Ten Things You're Not Supposed to Know About Swine Flu Vaccine.

Every year in the United States alone about 36,000 people die from complications of regular seasonal flu. Most of these people have underlying illnesses that make them more susceptible to Pnemonia. No where near that many people have died from this lab-created virus yet.

Please educate yourselves as to how toxic these vaccines can be and think twice about getting one. There are many natural things you can do to support your immune system before or during an illness. One of the most important of these is Vitamin D. You need to make sure your supplement is D3 and not D2 because D2 has to be converted to D3 in the body and is therefore less efficiently absorbed. New research shows the proper dosage to be around 1000IU per day, not the 400 that was previously recommended. Another natural anti-viral is wild Oregano oil.

Oh, and here are some of the poisons included in the vaccines:

Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)

Neomycin and streptomycin (antibiotics)

Resin and gelatin - known to cause allergic reactions

Formaldehyde – a known cancer causing agent

Aluminum -- a neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease

Polysorbate 80 (Tween80™) – which can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis

Phenol (carbolic acid)

Triton X100 (detergent)

Egg proteins (including avian viruses)

Monday, July 27, 2009

How About Some Dawah? Seven Questions About Islam

This post is a follow up to my previous post Seven Things I Love About Islam. In this post I will discuss some of the issues that have yet to be resolved for me about the religion.

I don't mean for any of these things to be accusations against Islam or any of the wonderful and honest Muslims that I know and love. In fact, I would love to get some feedback on some of these issues, so hopefully some other bloggers can post information that will be useful to others who are learning about Islam. I would love to see individual posts on some of the questions if you consider yourself an expert on any of these issues and have access to good sources of information. I am not an expert by any means. I have only a scanty knowledge of Arabic and don't know which hadiths are considered most authoritative next to the Quran.

So, give me some love, and give me some dawah. I have questions, and who doesn't love a good answer right?

1. How can we be sure of Muhammad's prophethood?
The Hebrew Bible (Genesis-Malachi) is evidenced to have existed in its current form since before the lifetimes of both Jesus and Muhammad. Copies of the Greek New Testament also exist from centuries before Muhammad was born.

The prophetic books in the Bible all have a common theme. That is calling the people back to true worship of God as defined in the Torah. Jesus kept with this theme and is recorded to have said in Matthew 5:17: Don't even think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill them.

Muhammad did call the pagans to worship the one Creator God in strict Monotheism, but he replaced the Torah with another law that contradicts it. Some of the biggest changes include the replacement of the Biblical feasts such as Passover and Sukkot with the 'Eids in the Quran and replacing the Sabbath with Friday prayer. Why would God change these after 2000 years?

In saying this also understand that I think it was a mistake for the Christians to abandon the Saturday sabbath with Sunday and celebrate Christmas and Easter rather than the Biblical holidays. This happened as the Christians became Romanized, but the Bible itself doesn't teach Sunday worship or the holidays of Christmas or Easter. Jesus kept the Sabbath, ate Kosher, and celebrated the holidays of Passover, Sukkot, the Day of Atonement.

2. What is required of the people of the book according to Quran?

Surah Al Maidah 68a says.
Say: O' people of the book! You have no ground to stand upon unless you stand fast by the Torah, the Gospel and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord...
and 69b Those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians, -any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

These verses seem to suggest the People of the Book are fine as they are and have no need to change their faith.

Contrast this with S. Al Imran 85: If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost.
Or S Al Tawba 29: Fight against those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth from, among the People of the book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

These seem to suggest that those living after the coming of Islam must become Muslim or they can never attain Jannah and that they are to be considered lesser than Muslims. Which is true?

3. Will there be sex and marriage in Heaven?

In Matthew 22:30 Jesus says: For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.

Surah An-Nisa 57: But those who believe and do deeds of righteousness we shall soon admit to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath, their eternal home: therein shall they have spouses purified. . .

It is hard to understand what the purpose of sexual activity in heaven would be. It seems that our most base desires are something of this earth that don't belong in the next life.

4. The Prophet's many marriages
Why would God limit the number of wives to 4 for ordinary Muslims (S 4:3), while Muhammad could have as many as he wanted according to S. Al Ahzab 51?
Also problematic for me is that Muhammad married Zainab even though she had already married his adopted son Zaid, and of course there is the matter of Aisha's age when she was married. I have heard some theories saying that she had to be older than 9, but I don't know how reliable their accounting methods are. I do, however, think it was wonderful that Muhammad was willing to marry women who were widowed, and that he did exhibit great kindness with his wives. He also forbid the female infanticide that was prevalent in pagan Arab culture.

5. Which one of Abraham's sons did he offer for sacrifice?

The Biblical narrative in Genesis 22 states specifically that Yahweh commanded to offer his son Isaac for sacrifice. This story takes place in the Bible after Ishmael and Hagar were sent away from Abraham. The story mentions Isaac by name five times. This text could not have been changed any later than about the 6th Century BCE if someone was going to used the argument that the Bible was edited to say Isaac instead of Ishmael. Hebrews 11 excerpts the story of Abraham's faith in the New Testament and also mentions the name of Isaac.

The Quran is less detailed in the retelling of this story in S. As Saffat. The story in the Quran much shorter that in the Bible, yet emphasizes the obedience of Abraham to God's test. The Quranic narrative doesn't mention the son by name but Islamic tradition seems to say unanimously that it was Ishmael. Are there any segments of Islam that believe Isaac was the son in this story?

6. Honoring Muhammad too much?

I am not sure of what to think of the custom of saying Salah Allahu 'Alayhi w salaam after every mention of the Prophet's name. He is also mentioned during the prayer in al tashahuud. The Quran is very clear in its instruction not to make partners with Allah, yet praising the Prophet during prayer is sanctioned as part of the prayer pattern. I just don't know what to make of it. Are there any Muslims who don't particularly feel comfortable with this custom? I am not against giving respect where respect is due, I just don't know how I feel with that being included in the Shahada and in Salaah.

7. How can you know for sure?

That is, how can you know for sure that you will make it to Jannah according to Islam? There are 2 verses that come to mind that speak of good deeds being the most important element.

Al Isra'a 13: Every man's fate we have fastened on his own neck: on the Day of Judgment we shall bring out for him a scroll which he will spread open.
Al Muminun 102-103: Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, they will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide.

The Quran is a book that speaks much about the Day of Judgment, heaven and hell. In contrast, much less of the Bible's content is focused on these subjects.
In fact, the Torah doesn't speak about an afterlife specifically. The Torah does, however, teach that animal sacrifice is the means by which humans can receive atonement for their sins (Lev. 17:11). The concept in Christianity is that the death of Jesus, who never sinned, provides the final atonement for regular humans who can never attain perfection before God.

My feeling is that God wanted us to worship him out of love and awe for having created us and all that is in the world. If we are only worshiping out of fear of punishment, it is hard to experience the presence of God in this world.

Overall, there are a lot of things that are hard to understand in both the Quran and in the Bible. The first thing we can do is study and compare both sets of scriptures in the historical settings they were written in. This is easier for the Quran because it was written in a single lifetime, while the Bible was composed and edited over a period of about 1,300 years. However, I think that both sets of scriptures can do a lot to illuminate each other. That's about all I've got for now.

Seriously though, I would welcome any answers or further questions as long as they are respectful so that we can create further dialogue between people who just want to worship God as best we know how.

Check out this post that Pixie just made today that talks about some reasons that Muslims don't follow the Bible.

I would love to pursue some of the issues raised in the videos she posted in some further posts if I have time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Night Weaning

I am so excited! Layla has been sleeping so much better the past few nights. She had been sleeping fairly well, but then decided that it was a good idea to wake up and try to nurse every couple hours. Naas....Naas

Well, that was getting to be a bit annoying since she is now 21 mos. old and doesn't need the calories during the night. I finally got over feeling bad about it and decided to cut her off for the night nursings.

I nurse her right before bed at about 9:00, the husband and I go to sleep around 11, and she doesn't touch my naas until its at least light outside. Its working pretty well so far.

It took me a couple nights to cut her off completely. After giving in only a time or 2 the past week, she finally realized that she can't bother me all night long. If I let her nurse early in the morning, she will usually go back to sleep until at least 8:30. Let's just say that we are all much happier with this arrangement.

Our next big hurdles are potty training and taking away the pacifier. At this point she won't sleep at all without it clipped onto her shirt. Since I've had so much trouble with her sleeping from day 1, I guess that I'm willing to put up with the pacifier for a little bit longer.

She is also talking up a storm. She has lots of 2 and even 3 word sentences that she uses now. I cracked up yesterday when she patted the couch and said "Mama, sit down!". She will also say "Layla do it."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tag Backs and Award Backs

So here I am sitting enjoying some time to myself while my husband is out and Layla sleeps. I haven't been able to keep up with posting as much because he is in school and we share a laptop now, so I am finally getting back to finishing some of the things that I started.

I need to tag some people who I want to know more things about for the Honest Scrap tag. Each of the 10 of you needs to post 10 honest things about yourself that your blogger readers may not know.
So, without further introduction, here are my tagged Ladies:

1. Tammy at Tammy's Somali Home.
2. Malekat at Islamic Identity.
3. Malek at Moments with Malek.
4. Sara at Muslimah Flower.
5. Oh So Muslim
6. Jaz at Born Confuzed.
7. SheLooks at The Miseducation of the Cushitic Girl.
8. Nur at Luz en la Vida.
9. Mistika at Elashry Casa.
10. Lisa aka Yasemin at A Journey Westward from Tartary. (Last but not least!)

Finally, I am passing the awards on that I received from Umm Omar and Lisa.

I will pass on the first Adorable Blog Award to Pixie at I Love Hishma. Her blog is so informative and also fun to read. Its not just a blog about Modesty and Islamic fashion. Her posts are well-researched and full of information that is hard to find elsewhere. I have learned so much about Islam and the real meaning of modesty from reading her blog. Great Job Pixie!

The second Awesome Blog Award goes to The Miseducation of the Cushitic Girl. Please check out her blog if you haven't before. There are so many posts that I think are important topics that aren't being discussed. Many of the posts are devoted to subjects pertaining to the Day of Judgment from an Islamic perspective. They are all well-researched and very well written. I don't think that Muslims or Christians are doing a very good job or correlating their end times scriptures to events that are going on today, and this sister is doing a good job of getting the information out there.

That's probably all for today. Keep up the good work sisters!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Its Tag Time!

Hello everyone,

I was so excited to get on and realize that I have been tagged by Never Ever at Finding Guidance! For this one, the Honest Scrap Tag, I need to think of 10 things about me that are true. These are things that everyone may or may not know. I'll try to be creative and think of some of the ones that people are less likely to know.

1. I rarely cook American food.
My favorite things to cook are curries, (Indian and Thai), sambusa (Somali version of Samosa), Mexican food, and all other things that are spicy. I am known to add chilies to almost everything I cook.

2. I am into urban foraging.
Basically, this means going out in your neighborhood and looking for things that are edible and free. So far in Portland I have found cherries and a little fruit called an Oregon-grape that can be used to make jelly. It doesn't taste so good on its own though. Later in the year I am hoping to get blackberries, apples, pears, hazelnuts, and figs. Yes, figs grow in Oregon!

3. I went to a high school with only 280 students that was all white.
Its just funny that I am so multi-cultural considering that I went to such a hick school for most of my life. I always wanted to learn lots of languages, but didn't get the opportunity to do anything other that Spanish until I graduated.

4. I have been to the UK, Dubai, and Egypt.
I went to the UK for a trip when I was still in college, Dubai for my honeymoon ;) and Egypt right before I got pregnant with Layla. We were thinking we would want to move to Egypt, but Cairo was a little crowded for our taste.

5. I used to dress punk and hardcore.
I don't really follow music much anymore, but it was my life during high school. I had my hair shorter and spiked in back and dyed it a lot of crazy colors. Its funny considering that I like to cover it now. I also used to go to local punk and hardcore shows every weekend.

6. I grew up in a conservative Baptist Church.
The church I went to as a kid was so conservative that they believed that that King James Version of the Bible was the only inspired version. I ended up studying the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), and now understand just how ridiculous that was.

7. I am the oldest of 3 kids.
My brother, sister, and I are all pretty close. I am the oldest 26, my sister is 22, and my brother is 16. My parents just had their 30th anniversary this year. My sister and I fought a lot when we were younger, but we've gotten over all that now. My brother is one of my favorite people in the world. He has a great sarcastic sense of humor, and I love him as much as if he were my own child.

8. I have a terrible sense of balance.
This means that I'm bad at most sports, especially ones that require you to balance on small things like ice skating, skiing, roller skating, and skateboarding. I can ride bikes, but I'm petrified of going fast or completely letting go of the handlebars.

9. I love mint chocolate chip and cookie dough ice cream.
The best thing you can do is combine those 2 flavors together. I get the Cookie dough one at Cold Stone, but get mint ice cream instead of the vanilla. Its better, I promise.

10. I am planning to go to grad school!
Next year I am planning to start on a Masters program in the fall studying Biblical Languages. I'm going to see if there's any way I can add some Arabic and other ancient Semitic languages (Ugaritic, Akkadian, Aramaic) into it. I hope to eventually teach these languages at the University level InshaAllah.

Thanks for reading everyone! Now I'm craving ice cream...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Seven Things I love about Islam

I wasn't really introduced to Islam until I moved from Illinois to Minneapolis at the age of 19. I always loved languages and cultures, but grew up in a small city where the options were very limited. There were a few muslims there, but more of them were African-American rather than foreign-born. There was also very little in the way of dawah, and I would say that most of them didn't know their religion very well.

I went to Minneapolis to study Biblical Languages at a Christian school, and ended up falling in love with the Muslim Somalis who lived in my neighborhood. I really started to understand and appreciate the beauty of Islam when I got a job where most of my co-workers were Muslim. Many of them were Somali, but there were also Moroccans, Egyptians, Ethiopians and Algerians. I am still friends with many of these people, and my husband and I also stayed with Sherif and his family when we visited Egypt.

For me, I really began to appreciate the religion as it is lived out in community. I saw this in action when visiting my friends houses in the city, and also when I stayed with my friends after they moved back to San Diego. The Omar family has basically adopted me as their 10th daughter. I even have some of them as my relatives on facebook. (Hi Khadija and Amina!) They showed my family true hospitality and what it means to have your religion affect every aspect of life.

I definitely don't feel like I have a complete grasp on Islam, but I have seen things that I like about the religion, and also some things that I have problems with. My reason for this post is to create discussion so that Muslims and non-Muslims can share knowledge.

Seven things I love about Islam:
1. Tawheed=Simple monotheism

2. Timed prayers= As Christians we say that we can remember God at any time, but how easy is it to get busy with life. The tradition of Judaism before the time of Jesus was timed prayer, but the church fell away from this as it was Romanized. See Acts 1:14. In the Greek it says the the apostles devoted themselves to "the prayers." Prayer was done in the Temple at 3 set times per day.

3. The concept of haya, or modesty.=This applies to the whole of society. European society used to have more of a sense of decorum and modesty in both dress and behavior, which has now been lost. I wish more people would learn to cover and to lower their gaze.

4. Beautiful Quran=Some passages that come to mind are Ayat al kursi, Al fatiha, 2:115, 2:163. They are even more beautiful in Arabic MashaAllah.

5. Memorization of Quran=I like that this is a focus. I have memorized Al fatiha, al ikhlas, and an-naas myself. I wish that a tradition like this to memorize that Bible in Greek and Hebrew and been kept alive. Some Jewish sects do chant Torah in Hebrew, but the tradition is not as melodic and beautiful as the Arabic in my opinion

6. Arabic language=I love the way things are expressed in Arabic. It is a language that is simple yet profound. Hebrew is similar in that the language is built upon a system of common roots that make it easier to learn. I also love that salah is done in Arabic so that a Muslim can pray with others anywhere in the world.

7. Concept of Ummah=The brotherhood of Muslims still amazes me at times. Unfortunately, I have also seen that the ummah is far from its ideal. There's still a lot of work to do guys.

I would love to have some comments here discussing how these topics have influenced some who did decide to revert to Islam, and how they may be affecting other followers of Messiah who have been blessed by Muslim friends.

My next post will be on some of the problems I have with Islam. I just have to look through my resources again and clarify some of them so that I can get some answers on them.

God bless.