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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Harun Yahya and Joel Richardson Interview

Harun Yahya is one of the most popular Muslim apologists and lecturers today. I really appreciate the work that he has done in regard to Creationism and his interfaith work with Christian leaders and Rabbis.
In this interview by Joel Richardson, he discusses some of the issues regarding the end of days and the coming of the Mahdi. Joel also asks him several questions regarding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, as well as issues related to his second coming.
They are both very kind and gracious instead of attacking one another personally. I would love to see more interviews like this one. The two men have obviously different faith and very different views on eschatology, yet they are both open to learning from one another.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why Circumcise me?- A film

This health issue is something that has existed, mostly in Africa, for about 4000 years. The type of circumcision that is more problematic is Pharaonic, which removes the clitoris, inner, and some of the outer labia. The area is then stitched shut except for a tiny hole. Most of the girls with this procedure have trouble urinating and menstruating. They also endure a lot of pain on their wedding nights and during childbirth.

I don't want to be too graphic, but just want to give examples of some of the pain my friends have endured. One friend used to have to urinate a single drop at a time, it would take her several minutes to empty her bladder. Another's husband was not able to open her fully for 5 days after marrying. During childbirth, she had to be cut open in all four directions (like a plus sign) to allow the baby's head to pass. She also bled a lot and had to receive several units of blood. Some women die after being circumcised, or when giving birth in primitive conditions.

This practice is still way too common and we need to make sure it doesn't continue to happen to the next generation. I have seen my own friends suffer, but I know that it doesn't have to be that way for their daughters. It is also mostly the women in these cultures who do the circumcisions and insist on continuing the tradition.

The film is in Somali with English subtitles. It also goes into some of the social issues regarding circumcision. It is not only a Somali issue though. It also occurs all through populations in North and East Africa.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

Hope everyone had a wonderful Eid and Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets). I think there's something special going on when the Biblical and Muslim calendars correspond. We didn't end up doing a whole lot for either, but we had some good food and a nice day. I didn't end up going to Minneapolis or San Diego, so we didn't have a lot to do here.

UPDATE: Idil gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Zaher, at about 1:45 am, mashallah.
If anyone gets a chance, please pray for my friend Idil, who should be giving birth to a baby girl tonight or tomorrow God-willing.

It is amazing just to contemplate the incredible power that goes into creating a child in the mother's womb. Even beyond our planet, look at all the millions of stars and planets that God created all over the universe. We can't even understand why he created all that, yet he cares about us too.

I think that's a good thought to go to sleep on.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The New Addition

So we weren't really planning on getting a cat right away, but...

Layla and I were walking behind our apartments the other day and came upon some really cute kittens playing on someone's patio. I was in love!

The next day I we were checking the mail when I saw the woman that I thought lived there. I asked her if the cats were hers. Yes. Ok well was she looking to give any of them away...Yes! :)

All that was keeping me from getting one of them was a $300 pet deposit. Its all refundable, but we just didn't have the money. I went to talk to our apartment manager, who is really nice. She also happened to have given the mother cat to the other lady last year when her cat had kittens. She hooked us up. We just have to pay the deposit in $50 increments until its paid in full.

So now I present, Sable, our new 8 wk old adorable kitten:

The only downside is that he has fleas. We already got some drops for them and they seem to be almost gone after bath, combing, and then the drops. I'm planning to vacuum the floor to get rid of their dead carcasses.

So I guess this is Layla's Yom Teruah, Eid, and early birthday gift all rolled into one :)

She's a lucky girl!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Steve and Paula Runyan: LAB ORIGINS OF THE 2009 NOVEL SWINE FLU

Check out the video. This is a contrived pandemic that was created in a lab. Why? I'm not exactly sure, but I would definitely not get a vaccine. Pandemics like this one can be used to create mass-hysteria and gain more effective control of a populace.

Check out this other one about a swine flu conference in Wash. DC that wasn't discussed in the major media.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Arrivals

I just found out about these videos from Kim Donesia. I have been following information related to the NWO and other "conspiracy theories" for some time now, and I think that there is definitely some truth to the madness. What is interesting now is that there are a lot of Christians and Muslims teaming up and getting the same types of information out there to the public. I would also recommend that you check out http://infowars.com and the films The Obama Deception, and Endgame which are also available online. You can also get some information from Texe Marrs, who is a Christian who writes about a lot of the same topics.
They even have a blog where the films can be accessed.
I definitely think that you have to take these topics with a "grain of salt." But I also think that there is more going on in this world than meets the eye.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seek and You Shall Find

Behold, the days are coming,” declares the God, the Eternal One
“when I will send hunger on the land—
 not a hunger of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Eternal One.

Seek the Eternal One while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;

Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Eternal One, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Eternal One..

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

*The Eternal One is my translation of the Hebrew name for God, Yahweh, which is derived from the verb "to be." It is usually translated as the LORD in English Bibles.
From Amos 8:11 and Isaiah 55

Friday, September 4, 2009

Half empty or half full?

Random picture, Layla and the tomato plants
Wow, the month is half over already? It has gone by so quickly! The last few days have been great here. I'm keeping up with my reading schedule, Al hamdulillah, and I have been absorbing a lot of material.
I have split up the Bible reading a little bit so I don't get burned our while reading the longer books. I have been reading 5 Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs each day, and I'm reading all the Pre-exilic prophetic books before I read Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Post-exilic prophets.

When I get to the gospels, I may read using this Synopsis of the 4 Gospels that I have. It has the text in parallel columns for each pericope that the Gospels have in common. If something is only in 1 of the Gospels, it just appears by itself. I think that might help me absorb more material rather that just reading through all 4 in a row.

There has been a lot of material that I felt like I grasped better than other times I have read through the Bible, but since I'm reading through so fast, its hard to apply the information. I have a few scribbled notes though, so some of them may turn into posts in the future.

The Quran is also going well. I have just been reading the Juz for each day, which really isn't that much.
I also skipped ahead and read some of the shortest surahs already. I also have some notes on passages in the Quran that spoke to me as well.

On Tuesday, I went to an amazing Iftar dinner with some new friends here in Portland. My friend Erin was having some of her friends from the Masjid and the Islamic school where she teaches over. We have just been friends online for awhile, so this was our first time meeting in person. She has two young daughters, and is married to a Somali. Her SIL Rooda was there and is also going to help me get connected with some Somali translators here. We are also planning to take the kids together to an Eid party at their Masjid.

Layla had fun playing with the kids and their goat, Baraka, who lives in the backyard. There were lots of kids to keep her busy, so I actually got to spend lots of time talking with all the ladies. There were so many ethnicities; Pakistani, Korean, Indonesian, American, Somali. There was such a peaceful feeling when everyone prayed Maghrib together too. I got to talk to Tasnim, one of the Pakistani ladies for awhile. She was very knowledgable about Islam and just had a joy and peace about her. I got to talk to her about how I was first introduced to Islam, and that although I am not officially a Muslim, Islam will always be a part of me.  She seemed to understand what is really important in the diin and what really matters in life. She is the kind of Muslim who keeps drawing me towards the community.

Ramadan has been a really beautiful month so far. I am feeling better connected now that I have my best friend Amanda here, and a new group of friends here. I will be going to a Sabbath service tomorrow at a Messianic church and bringing a book about Islam to a friend there. It is called Miniskirts, Mothers, and Muslims: A Christian Woman in a Muslim Land. I would definitely recommend it. The author is remarkably sensitive to Islam, and I can see how she too, has become a better person and Christian by being around Muslims. I liked it because even though the author sees herself as a missionary to Muslims, she had to change her own worldview of Islam after truly experiencing it.

I wish that more Christians weren't afraid of and biased against Muslims. I think that it just takes building a lot of relationships, one at a time.

Hope the fasting is still going well for everyone and don't forget to make lots of dua too!

JazakAllah khayr.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ramadhan Tag!

I got tagged by Hajar Zamzam Ismail at Tales from an American Nomad.

So here is the deal for this tag:

1.) Link five people who have written Ramadhan posts that inspired you, and explain why.

2.) Leave them a comment to let them know you gave them "link love," and that they are now tagged.

3.) Link back to the person who tagged you.

This is actually a pretty hard one. I think that there have been some really great and inspiring posts this Ramadan by a lot of different blogger ladies.

I am really glad that some have been inspired by my posts as well. So, let's continue showing the love this Ramadan.

1.) My Hijab did a really awesome post today about how her husband inspires her to fast and be a better Muslim. I love to see husbands being an encouragement to their wives, and families encouraging each other to be faithful and love God.

2. Modest Justice wrote one about getting back in to the masjid and forgiving someone she had a grudge against for a long time. This is so hard for us as humans to do. She shows a lot more maturity that some people twice her age. She is also Somali, so I would love her either way! Waan ku jeclahay macaanto.

3. Cecilia at My Life My Story did a post on how she was having a hard time during Ramadan. This wasn't because she had trouble fasting, but because her family sometimes has negative reactions about Islam. I applaud her for sharing the hard things in her life and pray that she will be able to tell them everything someday.

4. Organica did a post of serving at Iftar for a local mosque. I liked her post because it showed what is good and bad in the community. When Muslims are considerate of each other and are at the mosque only to worship, the Muslim community is beautiful. When people come with selfish concerns only to get enough food and space for themselves, with no consideration for the people who have to clean up the mess, things can get ugly. Its important to remember that the Ummah is a community.

5. Candice at Exploring Life and Islam posted on how she's really been able to embrace her new identity as a Muslim and speaks about how she's been changing to be a better person. I am also impressed with her involvement in Ramadan and getting to know her local Muslim community better while her husband and daughter and in Egypt. I don't know if I would be able to do it!

I look forward to posting and reading more inspiring posts!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Prominent Christian Leader Fasting for Ramadan

I'm not sure how many of you have heard of Brian McLaren. He is a pretty prominent leader in a sort of post-Modern Christian movement known by some as the Emergent Church. He and some other Christians are fasting for Ramadan, along with Muslim friends of theirs.
Here is an excerpt from his blog explaining the purpose of the fast.

"We, as Christians, humbly seek to join Muslims in this observance of Ramadan as a God-honoring expression of peace, fellowship, and neighborliness. Each of us will have at least one Muslim friend who will serve as our partner in the fast. These friends welcome us in the same spirit of peace, fellowship, and neighborliness.
We will seek to avoid being disrespectful or unfaithful to our own faith tradition in our desire to be respectful to the faith tradition of our friends. For example, since the Bible teaches us the importance of fasting and being generous to the poor, we can participate as Christians in fidelity to the Bible as our Muslim friends do so in fidelity to the Quran.
Among the core values of Ramadan are self control, expressing kindness, and resolving conflicts. For this reason, if we are criticized or misunderstood by Christians, Muslims, or others for this endeavor, we will avoid defending ourselves or engaging in arguments. Instead, we will seek to explain ourselves humbly, simply, and briefly when necessary, connecting with empathy to the needs and feelings of others as we express our own.
Our main purpose for participating will be our own spiritual growth, health, learning, and maturity, but we also hope that our experience will inspire others to pray and work for peace and the common good, together with people of other faith traditions.
May God bless all people, and teach us to love God and love one another, and so fulfill our calling as human beings."

Another pastor, Ben Ries has written an article about his experience of fasting Ramadan. 

I think that fasting Ramadan, even for the non-Muslim, can have lasting spiritual implications. There are some days that Christians traditionally fast, or observe partial fasts, such as Catholics during lent. There is also the Bible fast of Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which is a 24 hour total fast observed by Jews and certain Christian groups today. However, there are very few other times that Christians undertake fasts as a community. I think that Christians and Muslims both can use the time of Ramadan as a time of introspection into our own communities. By humbling ourselves and fasting, God can reveal to each of us what we are doing right and wrong in our own faith.

Some conservative Christian organizations have blasted McLaren and others for undertaking a Ramadan fast. For me, it makes a lot of sense. Fasting Ramadan was something I started doing quite a few years ago when I first started looking into Islam. I think that those who criticize people like McLaren have probably never had a close Muslim friend or neighbor who was a good example of Islam to them.

I hope that all of us who are spending more time in prayer and introspection during this month will be drawn close to our Creator. Amin.