Category Archives: Islam

Blog Love: Trust in Allah but tie your camel

Another lovely blog post from:

http://www.chillyoislamyo.com/trust-in-allah-but-tie-your-camel/

(copied in entirety – all credit due to original author, linked above!)

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Well in today’s world, it would be more like lock your car, guess it depends on where you live.

If you got a camel then you don’t need to worry about gas prices, haha.

Basically the point of this post is to remind you and myself that it’s easy to say “it was meant to be” when things go wrong, but we need to remember that we should always try our best with what Allah swt has given us, then if it doesn’t work out then Alhumdulilah it’s all good. Allah swt is the best of planners and we should be conscious of that.

If Allah swt wills something then it will happen, but like Mufti Abdul Rehman ibn Yusuf says ” You do your best, and Allah swt will do the rest”.

For example if you call some guests over to your house to eat dinner and you don’t cook, the food isn’t going to drop from the sky or if you don’t study for a test on purpose and you fail you can’t blame it on the Qadr. The person who failed to prepare or put some effort in has no one to blame but themselves.

The reason I bring this issue up is because I often notice people do a poor job on something and the finished product or outcome is a failure and then they say ” it was meant to be”, sorry Allah swt says in the Qu’ran:

{And that man can have nothing but what he strives for.} (An-Najm 53:39)

In conclusion, there is a balance in everything. Of course we should always have in our heart that without the will of Allah swt nothing will occur, but Allah swt gave us the ability to raise our standards in everything we do and most importantly tie our camel.

Once you tried your hardest with all the resources you had available to you provided by Allah swt (and only you know what that is), then you can see what arises from the situation.

I end with a hadith by our beloved Prophet:

One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah” (At-Tirmidhi).

May Allah swt give us the ability to maximize our potential in life and give that which is only best for us in this world and for the hereafter, Ameen!

Rant: More Danish cartoon BS!

Seriously.. I’m just sick of it!

Okay, was wrong and absolutely disrespectful to draw a picture of the Prophet (PBUH), I can agree with that, but c’mon.

The guy isn’t a Muslim and he’s obviously an asshole looking to provoke people. Responding to this moron was exactly what he wanted.

He did a rotten thing to the ummah, but the ummah took the bait and the outspoken fools who decided to call for violence against the cartoonist – I think they were the ones who did a LOT more damage to the ummah than this man and his stupid cartoon.

Now today I see that some crackpot Somali broke into the cartoonist’s house and attempted to murder him with an axe. That’s just pathetic. Thanks to Mr. Somali, the cartoonist is back in the spotlight. More attention on him, more free publicity for him, and more negative attention for those ‘crazy Muslims’.

Thanks a lot Mr. whack job Somali. Yeah, you really did us all a favor. Eff you!

Personal: My personal thoughts on the new ‘I can see your naughty bits’ scanners

I’m Muslim and I don’t really care if they use them, though it would be nice to have the option to be patted down behind a curtain or something versus the machine. A CHOICE would be nice.

However, if they’re going to do this, I wish they would do it for EVERYONE. Otherwise, it simply doesn’t make logical sense.

Here’s a personal example: My husband and his friend fly home to Turkey and back together about once a year. My husband is about 5’8″, light skinned and dark haired. I guess he looks ‘foreign’. His friend is about 6’4, light skinned and light haired. My husband gets stopped EVERY TIME and his friend has NEVER been stopped. They both hold the SAME passport, the SAME nationality, the SAME point of origin and destination, and take the SAME trip. Something is WRONG with this picture!

Point being – if some idiot terrorist wanted to blow up a plane, wouldn’t they send the whitest, most Western looking person to get past the screeners versus the ‘obvious’ looking dude? (and my husband doesn’t even dress like the ‘stereotypical Muslim’.. It’s tee shirts, jeans, baseball caps and sneakers all the way!)

Half of the time the screeners aren’t making ‘educated guesses’, they’re just making stereotyped guesses.

If they want to do a thorough job, they should do EVERYONE, because if they think my husband could be a terrorist (ha!), then it’s just as likely his friend could be (also ha!).. But if the terrorist masterminds actually wanted success in their venture, they would have probably chosen his ‘European-looking’ friend versus the ‘Eastern-looking man’.

Seriously. Do you think the terrorists are going to send the bomb with the guy dressed up like the Saudi sheikh or the guy dressed up like the Disneyland tourist? Because does it really take many brain cells to figure out which one is going to be pulled from the line to get searched and which one is going to breeze right on through?

See my point?

On another note, I what I wish they’d do.. I wish they’d start monitoring lone men (especially sex offenders!) traveling frequently to Thailand and other pedophile paradises. I don’t even think they monitor perverts and violent criminals up in the friendly skies – and there are a hell of a lot more of them than terrorists!

Rant: Sick of fake miracles!

Is anyone else out there sick of these fake miracles?

Like this one about the Russian baby with Qur’an verses ‘miraculously’ appearing on his body.

If this was in the U.S. or some other country, they’d take the baby away for suspected abuse. The parents could be painting irritants on his body.

I just can’t help but be skeptical until the baby is away from the parents and under strict observation. Otherwise, I think this is just bunk and probable abuse.

I mean – how can people see so much going on in the world with crappy parents exploiting their kids for attention and fame? (Balloon boy, anyone?) Maybe they are sick in the head and don’t think they’re causing any kind of harm. Maybe they don’t even realize they’re doing it.

I just don’t know how the religious folk immediately jump on the BS band-wagon without any kind of objective testing. They assume the parents are Muslim and it’s their baby, so what could they possibly do that isn’t 100% legit. I just don’t buy that sense of reasoning!

Call me a downer, but I just think it’s sad that the Ummah seems to need these types of apparently contrived ‘miracles’ in order to justify their faith, when there are simpler (albeit, subtle) and more telling miracles all around us. I see more of a miracle in the complexity of the human body or even a leaf than these video ‘miracles’!

Another thing that annoys me. These ‘miracle’ videos (and plenty a lot more obviously fake than this one) get passed around all the time by otherwise intelligent and logical individuals. It’s like they feel if they fail to recognize these claims that they are bad Muslims or unbelievers. Seriously! Just look at the comments on all the videos and there is not one, not one Muslim on there questioning the  authenticity of the claims.

It reminds me of that scene from the 80’s cartoon film ‘The Last Unicorn’ where an old witch captures a unicorn for her dilapidated carnival freak show. Being a witch and in tune with the ‘other world’, she can sense the unicorn for what it really is. Knowing that the world weary and jaded masses, however, will not, and will only see a white horse – she ends up putting a charm on the unicorn that gives it a fake, albeit – visible horn. Only through this farce can people finally ‘see’ what is actually there.

In an article from the ‘New Yorker Buzzine’, an author puts it this way:

“When I hear such fix-its, I’m reminded of one of my favorite childhood movies, The Last Unicorn. In the film, the unicorn’s horn can only be seen by those who “search and trust,” while all others see nothing more than a white horse. When the evil Mommy Fortuna kidnaps the unicorn for use in her carnival freak show, she must first attach a fake horn over the real one so everyone will see a unicorn when they look into that cage. As Mommy Fortuna tells the unicorn, “Do you think those fools knew you without any help from me? No! I had to give you a horn they could see! These days, it takes a cheap carnival trick to make folks recognize a real unicorn.””

(original text for the quote above – taken from: http://www.buzzine.com/2008/07/obama-new-yorker/)

Essentially – can one still remain objective and question these things, or does being a good believer mean checking your common sense at the door?

Can anyone else out there relate? Or do you just think I’m a kill joy?

Humor: Don’t get married over the telephone!

The funniest thing about this video – is that it obviously happens often enough in real life , or else they wouldn’t make a lecture about it..

Anyway, check out the video. This brother is a trip!

Question: Is veganism the ideal Muslim diet?

It’s interesting that I came across this – because ironically enough, my husband and I were at McDonalds (I know, I know..) munching on our reconstituted animal protein and ‘cheese food’ the other day, debating this very issue.

Basically, the ‘facts’ I presented were:

– Since Islam is very pro-animal rights, wouldn’t it be technically BETTER for our souls to not consume animal flesh?

– If the Prophet (SAWS) were alive today, I somehow doubt he would consider even zabiha halal meat ‘Islamically halal‘ due to the heinous ‘living’ (and I use the term ‘living’ very loosely here) conditions of most of the animals before death.

– I’m sure the Prophet (SAWS) would probably also disapprove of the amount of animal products that we are consuming. (Never mind the sheer amounts of food and waste, in general!)

Anyway, please check out the blog post below for a much more in-depth overview from a Muslim vegan perspective:

http://islamicvegan.blogspot.com/

Rave: Soy crumbles have won me over!

Has anyone else ever had these? If not, maybe you can relate..

I remember always walking by the ‘soy/vegetarian/vegan’ section at the grocery store. More often than not, I’d stop for a moment, pick up a few packages, examine them curiously and then decide, “eh, no, not today”. A few times I even managed to pick up a tub of extra-firm tofu or soy cheese, but they always seemed a disappointment.

I think my reluctance stemmed from an unpleasant experience probably about ten years ago. I’m pretty sure it was a Boca Burger, and one of the first commercially available incarnations of the ‘meatless patty’. Long story short, it was AWFUL. It tasted like cardboard with a seriously unpleasant aftertaste. I didn’t see how anyone could incorporate those terrible things into a regular part of their diet.

It wasn’t that I had an aversion to soy, itself. On the contrary, I was always rather fond of edamame (soy beans), and tofu – the latter on condition that it was properly prepared. Floating in sharply-angular pillows in bowls of miso soup, marinated and fried or steamed in Chinese and Korean concoctions.. Just the stuff at the grocery store always struck me as ‘ick’.

Anyway, this past week I was out at the grocery store shopping. I was instructed (as usual!) not to spend too much money and just get stuff we ‘need’. I tend to spend about $50 a week on groceries, a large part of that budget being consumed by the kosher poultry we buy (unfortunately priced at twice or thrice the cost of ‘regular’ product).

Prompted by a desire to be ‘cheap’ (or should I say ‘frugal’?), I decided to take a second look at that ‘meat substitute’ section of the store. The ‘meatless crumbles’ looked non-threatening and I figured I could drown any ‘ick’ flavor out of their little soy bodies by long-term immersion in boiling, heavily-flavored sauces. At about $3.50 for a box, versus at least $6.00 for the smallest package of chicken (lasting one meal), or $4.00 for non-kosher or non-halal turkey sausage (which I almost always feel guilty about) – the ‘fake-o’ meat was a steal.

Upon getting home, I was excited about the meatless crumbles and compelled to experiment. I decided to put them to the ultimate test – my husband.

I had a little less than half an hour before he was due home, so I thought I’d whip up something quick. Sauteed an onion in some olive oil, added some red pepper flakes, garlic, diced green pepper, celery, and about 1/3 of the meatless crumbles. After all was cooked to my liking, I added some chopped tomatoes, a bit of tomato sauce, salt, pepper and oregano and left it to simmer. In a separate pot, I prepared some whole-wheat fettucini. It all came together quite nicely and was ready before my husband even walked through the door.

After he had settled in, I offered him his dinner. He happily took it and started to munch away. I looked at him as he was eating and he really didn’t seem to notice anything was amiss. He actually asked for seconds.

At this point, I still hadn’t tried it yet, myself. I had already eaten a bit earlier and wasn’t quite hungry. I don’t always taste my food as I’m cooking it because I’ve gotten to the point where I kind of know how most things are going to turn out without even tasting them (a useful trick during Ramadan!). As I was getting my husband his second helping, I decided to get a small bowl for myself.

Eventually I did taste it. It was good, really good. If no one had told me, I wouldn’t have known either. The only possible give-away is that the sauce didn’t take on a ‘meaty’ flavor, and there wasn’t that sheen of oil or fat on the plate after we were finished. Those are good things!

After I had tasted, and my husband was still tucking into his plate with gusto, I asked him if he noticed anything unusual. His answer, “no, why?”. I told him that it was soy crumbles instead of meat, and to his credit, he didn’t look annoyed or disturbed, he just kept eating. I asked him if he minded if I kept using them and he said, “I wouldn’t even notice”.

I ended up using the remaining 2/3 of the package this week. In total, it served us through three dinners, all making enough for left-overs. There was the fettucini bolognese I already mentioned, a meaty, albeit meatless chili, and a concoction consisting of potatoes, cubanelle frying peppers, long hot peppers, tomatoes and tomato sauce, and of course – meatless crumbles, invented to rid the fridge of potentially soon-to-decay vegetables. They were all excellent (if I do say so, myself).

I AM A CONVERT!

This is good on so many levels:

1. It’s cost-effective. For about $3.50, I had enough ‘meat’ to make three meals with enough for several left-overs each time. This is a considerable savings over the $6 a pack chicken, which only lasts one meal or so.

2. It’s significantly lower in fat and calories than ground beef. I also don’t have to deal with inept halal meat counter workers who get annoyed if you ask the fat content of their ground beef. (FYI – always the same answer: “I don’t know”. A real pain in the you-know-what if you’re calorie counting, since you have to assume the worst)

3. As long as it’s vegan (and most if not all of them are), they’re always halal or kosher.

4. You can keep quite a few (if not all) meals in your house happily vegetarian or vegan without complaint.

5. It keeps the taste of the food ‘clean’ without the sometimes overpowering taste of meat. This really allows the other flavors to shine through, keeping things complex as opposed to simply ‘meaty’.

6. It’s guilt-free and contributes to your good karma. You can rest assured no animals were harmed bringing that food to your table.

There are plenty of reasons more, but I don’t want to get preachy. I’m not a vegan, hell, not even a vegetarian.. I do wish I could be, though. (I’ve had fantasies about being a raw-foods diva or a fruitarian, ha!)

In closing.. If you haven’t tried these soy crumbles before, I’d certainly recommend that you do. If they worked for a person like me, and if they passed under the radar (even earned the approval!) of my notoriously finicky husband – I’m sure they’d work for you. Give ’em a shot!