Questions for Muslimah Mommas - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 04-24-2002, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bismillah...Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullah!

I have a few Q's for Muslim Moms out there, mostly regarding practice. I live in a small town. We have a fair number of Muslims--mostly S. Asian Dr./IS professionals and their families, but also some Arabs, and more and more E. Europeans. But, it is a spread-out Umma. I take ds to the masjid every Friday, and there are other Sisters' meetings--but I don't enjoy those meetings, because they tend to focus on topics that don't much concern me--I am not on the wealthy end of the spectrum, alhamdulilah. The last time I went, they were discussing, for example, paying Zakat when you buy new jewelry and on inheritance when your parents pass away.
Anyway, how do you do it--keeping up with your prayers, reading, etc.? I am still mostly illiterate in Arabic--I am learning slowly--but I know my prayers.
Also, how do you deal with issues of non-Muslim family? I live close to my parents right now, and Christmas and Easter are big problems for us. It's enough to think about society in general and its influences, but my mom is way worse than a trip to the mall in December.
Do you have recommendations for du'ah for mothers?
And, for those in the States: do you cover? If so, how do you handle a crazy mom on that subject? I've got her tolerating (if not respecting) Ramadan--I'm trying to look forward here.
Thanks in advance for all your advice! MaSalaam!
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#2 of 30 Old 04-25-2002, 05:00 AM
 
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UmmNuh -

Forgive me for jumping in when I'm not Muslim, but when you asked the question "do you cover," what did that mean? My guess is covering your hair with a chador or something along those lines?

I've got issues about that with my family, so I guess that's why I interpret it that way, and if I'm right in my guess, I'd love to hear the responses.

If that's not what you meant and I'm muddying your soup, then accept my apologies and never mind ...



- Amy
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#3 of 30 Old 04-25-2002, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The muddier the better, Amy!
Yes, I am refering to covering the hair in public...with a scarf, a specially made khimar (kind of like a tent for your head with a face hole), or even hats.
Do you opt to cover your hair?
I personally wear smaller scarves most of the time. If I know I will not be seeing my parents, I sometimes wear things that look more "ethnic." It's hard, because although my Mom is Catholic, and can remember the days when she would not have thought of entering the church without something on her head, she sees it as a sign of women's oppression.
I personally find it liberating not having to worry about whether my hair looks good or the cut is stylish (it's not)...but that's another thread.
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#4 of 30 Old 04-26-2002, 10:35 AM
 
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UmmNuh -

Yes, I cover my hair, too. I guess it's very different from the Jewish perspective, because there are a lot of different ways to cover hair, and for many women it's just "wearing a hat." I choose to cover it all, eg., scarves, tams (I have a lot of those), and yes, it makes my mother nuts. Lot of issues there and I could go on and on, but it's definitely another thread ...

- Amy
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#5 of 30 Old 04-27-2002, 09:52 AM
 
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Hey UmmNah and Amy (nice to see you off the Activism board) :

I've read your thread and wanted to ask you both if you found it harder because your families were not of the same religion as you (or in Amy's case not Orthodox) or if it was just society's way of seeing you i.e.: the "poor oppressed woman"?

I had an experience recently. We were at a NA museum and went to the cafeteria and there was a muslim woman there with her kids. She was wearing a full burqua - completely covered except for the face and she was obviously European. And there I was t-shirt, jeans, hair a mess and my birks but obviously indian looking and we just caught each other's eye. It was just such a weird moment how completely different things were for each of us.

My family had the sari and dhoti thing but I've never though much of it. We dress pretty western although when I was a kid I think we mixed clothing (traditional indian clothing with jeans) pretty well and never thought it then either. Maybe this should be another thread.
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#6 of 30 Old 04-27-2002, 10:50 AM
 
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I have popping into this thread as I am interested in learning more about other faith traditions, especially Islam...maybe someone should start a thread entitled "Problems associated with practicing different religion than family of origin - or practicing it differently"...maybe I should start it
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#7 of 30 Old 05-01-2002, 03:37 AM
 
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I am LDS. Someone is telling me Muslims accept Christ as the Messiah, but are not Christian. That sounds funny to me. Is that true?
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#8 of 30 Old 05-01-2002, 10:54 AM
 
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Idsapmom, forgive my answering this when I'm not Muslim, but my understanding is that Islam acknowledges Jesus as a prophet. That is not the same as accepting him as a messiah.

- Amy
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#9 of 30 Old 05-01-2002, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If "Messiah" refers to a chosen person, anointed to lead his people down the path toward God, then yes, absolutely, Muslims believe in Jesus (peace be upon him) in that light. We believe that since all power lies with God, he was born of the Virgin Mary--but we do not think that makes him God's son. Adam (peace be upon him) was also made by God without parents. The word "Messiah" is used in the Quranic retelling of the Annunciation (3:42-7). We also believe in his miracles, which were performed by God's leave. What we do not believe in is the crucifixion and resurrection--which is obviously a huge point of contention among faiths. We believe Jesus (pbuh) ascended to God and we await his second coming--and hope that our faith in God and actions that reflect that faith will lead us in the right direction, God willing.

I sincerely hope no one thinks I am trying to argue religion. Faith is and always should be a choice.
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#10 of 30 Old 05-01-2002, 02:32 PM
 
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Okay, and I am not arguing here either. Thank you for your replies. So do we have the same definition of messiah? Where does Muhammed fit in all of this? Is he esteemed as highly as Jesus? Does Messiah mean there is only one (Jesus)? It is strange that I got to this point in my life without knowing the basics of one of the great religions!

So the belief that Jesus was crucified is not there -- I need more help on that one. Is there not enough evidence? Was someone crucified in His place? What happened to him then. Do Muslims believe he atoned for the world's sins? That He is the only way back to the Father?

I feel like a child with so many questions!

Thank you,
Stacie
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#11 of 30 Old 05-02-2002, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know we are not exactly following this thread's intent, but far be it from me to turn down the opportunity to clarify my faith!
Bismillah ar-Rahman ir-Rahim. Let me also say that any mistakes or omissions are mine alone.

Muslims hold Jesus to be a prophet, like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, etc. etc. All of these people were chosen by God to deliver God's messages. Muhammad, to us, falls into that line, and is respected and revered, and emulated we hope, by Muslims.

What the Quran says is that Jesus was not killed or crucified, but it was made to seem so to people present at that time. Some think another man was killed in his place; as for me, I do not see the point in arguing the details of how it might have been accomplished. All things are within God's power.

Muslims believe that each man and woman atones for his and her own sins through faith, repentance and good works. Essentially, imagine all your good and bad deeds placed on a scale before you when you meet your Maker. Of course, God's justice and mercy are beyond our understanding, and judgment lies with God alone.

Muslims try to avoid anthropomorphizing God. Since God's nature is unknown to us--more truthful, more forgiving, wiser, etc, than we can ever know as humans--we do not refer to God as "Father." God is so much greater than that.

Also, Muslims believe that there have been prophets sent to every people in every age, to warn and deliver God's law. This way, Paradise is truly a viable possibility for each of us--not just those who have heard the name of Jesus.

I hope I have made a few things transparent. Feel free to pm me if you'd like to ask more questions. And thanks for caring to ask.
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#12 of 30 Old 05-03-2002, 10:47 AM
 
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UmmNuh, Thank you so much for sharing your faith with us. How beautiful it is when we can love and respect one another, embracing our differences as well as our common ground.
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#13 of 30 Old 05-04-2002, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And I think our common ground is much greater than any of us realizes. Faith itself is a beautiful thing; a wonderful gift. Gifts are always best when shared.
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#14 of 30 Old 05-06-2002, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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1. What, to you, is practicing Islam?
Practicing Islam is belief in one God, His angels, His Books, His Prophets, the Last Day, and in God’s power in our lives—that is, that all power comes from God. Following Islam’s five “pillars,” then, is the material/physical expression of those beliefs. Those practices are, of course, witnessing my belief in God and Muhammad’s prophethood; regular prayer; obligatory alms; fasting the month of Ramadan; and making the hajj someday, God willing.
Your question about revolution and democracy is important—here is my personal outlook: Humankind’s laws are not God’s laws, obviously, and no human can enforce God’s laws to perfection. I am not “into” politics, personally—I never much have been, although I do vote. The wonderful thing about democratic societies is that they allow us to practice, and for the most part to observe the rules of our religion. America protects our rights to religion. I see humankind’s efforts as too corruptible to entrust people with the total oversight of my practice. Islamic law, Sharia, as humans’ best efforts to create guidelines for living in harmony with one another in accordance with God’s commands. As with American democracy, the original intent is true and noble, but people always have a way of ruining things.
This is why I am liberal-minded. It is up to each individual to choose her/his course. Islam teaches that there is no compulsion in religion; no one should be forced to submit to Islam—and I see that as a clear indication that, while God’s commands are clear, people must always be allowed to choose whether to follow them.
I am doing my best to make sense—in one line: Islam must be a choice; following Islamic laws must be an individual, personal decision.
At the same time, once I have decided to submit to God, it is my responsibility not to allow others to oppress me. I have enough troubles with this on an individual level—I am so blessed to live in a country that protects my right to be Muslim.
2. Honestly, I have not studied Sharia—I place my interest in the Qur’an and the Sunnah (following the examples of Muhammad, pbuh). I mean, I know people who have degrees in Islamic law—so I am afraid I am not equipped to answer questions about specifics. But again—I think this is a standard to which people must choose to be held.
3. I am actually quite comfortable with my role as a woman in Islam. What I find wonderful is the extent to which Islam celebrates mothers. I do not see equal treatment as necessarily identical treatment. I prefer covering my body in public—hijab, as this state of being covered is commonly called, has been a tool for me to overcome, to a point, some of my own body issues. I certainly am more comfortable not worrying about my chubby arms in short sleeves, or whether my legs look all right in a short skirt.
I also tend to see the division of duties as a comfortable social order—I am the Minister of the Interior, while my husband is the Secretary of State, so to speak. I feel that this gives enormous value and validity to my jobs at home. I am in charge of family finances, teaching my son by example, as well as the day-to-day stuff. Obviously, there are aspects of Sharia that I do not know the reasons for, such as the rule on testimony,but I know that there is a good deal of wisdom in the world that has yet to touch me. The world is not perfect, but Muslims are encouraged to live not solely for this world. This is part of my jihad.
Sorry this got so long…I could have written so much more…it is so hard to give a thoughtful, acceptable answer in limited space and time.
Peace be upon us all!
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#15 of 30 Old 05-09-2002, 01:25 AM
 
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Please correct me if I am wrong here, but the legal weight of a woman's testimony being accorded one-half that of a man's testimony before a sharia court, was explained to me this way:

In the interest of protecting a woman from having to testify in a public court, if there are 2 wittnesses and one is a man and one is a woman, the man's testimony is to be taken and the woman should not have to testify. If only a woman is available to testify then her testimony would count the same as a man's....but it would be rare for a woman to have to testify because if a man is available she would not be asked to appear in public court.

This explaination puts the one-half rule in a more understandable and less oppressive light. I would love to hear from someone who knows, if this is in fact an accurate explination.

Peace and grace,
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#16 of 30 Old 05-12-2002, 01:20 AM
 
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how very sad.
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#17 of 30 Old 05-12-2002, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is where I am sometimes conflicted on Sharia vs. Quran. The Quran states that, if you will call a woman to testify, then call two. Not because a woman's testimony is less valuable. As with parts of many sacred scriptures, men have decided to interpret it for us, and this is what they have decided.
When I think about what a court may have been like in the days of Muhammad (pbuh), perhaps it would have served a woman to have another woman there, since the court was probably full of men only, and a second woman present would help her feel less intimidated by the men questioning her, and more likely to speak freely.
Yammer, I am NOT saying this to argue with what you have presented; I am presenting the points that men who interpret scripture and make it law probably would not have thought of or given value.
I think people are often presumptuous and think we know better than God, or as well, at least--and there is where we run into trouble sometimes.
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#18 of 30 Old 05-13-2002, 10:47 AM
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Sister,
I am relatively new to Islam.
I do not wear hijab but, I do have some.
My boyfriend(another story) will not convert.
Sisters at masjid have told me that I need to leave him. But, I am poor. I have like $30 to my name and that is to buy my son a birthday gift.
By the way, how do muslims feels about birthdays.
I have already informed both families that my son is not allowed to celebrate any holidays...(Christmas, Easter, Halloween,ect.)
I would love to wear hijab but, I feel so weird because
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#19 of 30 Old 05-16-2002, 12:54 PM
 
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I just recently had an experience regarding the
light weight of women's testimony.

My husband is from the Middle East and we went to
his consulate because he needed a legal document to
send back home. He also needed a witness. Could I witness
for him? Well, yes, but we would still need another
woman--or just one man and never mind me--because
to witness a document it has to be two women for
one man.

What really got me about this situation is that this is from
a *secular* government, not a religious one, so
both my husband and I were really surprised when
we learned of this. Of course, just as the U.S. gov't is
secular but still very influenced by Christianity, so is this
secular government influenced by Islam.
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#20 of 30 Old 05-20-2002, 01:07 PM
 
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That is so interesting meadowlark, I think it just goes to show how everything is flavored by our faith. I love the differences in cultures and how they do influence everyday life. Even the food is so often representive of the faith of a culture.
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#21 of 30 Old 08-27-2002, 12:37 AM
 
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Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim


UmNuh,

I am afraid I cannot be of any help to your original question;
you see, I am 3rd generation American Muslimah. So I didnt have to go through alot of religious misunderstandings with my family, Alhamdiallah.

I took my Shahadah when i was 17, after I look into other beliefs, but I found, which was already my predestined fate, that Islam is the only one for me.

As far as covering is concern,
I cover everything except for the face, hands, and sometimes feet.
I live in a big city where alot of cultural religions are practiced, so head covering is not uncommon here.
-Though I might get some stupid looks from those who choose to be ignorant.

I hope that this can inspire you in some crazy way.

I pray that Allah continue to shower his infinite mercy and blessings upon you and you family.

Keep faith,

Ma-salaam
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#22 of 30 Old 08-27-2002, 09:29 AM
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I came into this thread with the intent to lurk and better understand Islam (especially for a woman) but I want to make commentary about other (non-Muslims) coming in and asking pointed questions about Ummnah's beliefs.

I don't think this is the context (perhaps a new thread with the intention to better understand one another?)

If I understand correctly the covering is simple modesty?

Christians, Jews, Muslims (and, I believe others such as Hindus and Buddhists) teach modesty.

One thing that being modest does is takes the attention away from the physical body and helps people concentrate on the heart and spirit.

I think threads like this are wonderful because it helps me realize how much we all have in common (greater than our differences )

Bless you, UmmNah, I enjoy reading your posts here on the Mothering boards.

Debra Baker
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#23 of 30 Old 08-31-2002, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, Sauda, for your kind words--I have been continuing to study, learn and grow. I'll be going to Morocco soon and hope to spend some real quality time at the masjid there, inshallah, and come home with renewed strength.

And thanks much to you, Debra, for defending my minority position. I have been a minority before, and it's all right. I don't mind answering questions that are asked in sincerity...I just don't feel like an authority--and that can be a good or a bad thing.
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#24 of 30 Old 12-02-2002, 04:42 PM
 
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#26 of 30 Old 12-02-2002, 04:59 PM
 
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I always think it is so neat when I see the muslim women wearing jilbab, and you catch a hint of stylish "regular" clothes underneath it. I like them. Here I see mostly flowery scarves as headcoverings. Pretty much the same as I wear, except they wrap them around the front of there head (like tossed over the opposite shoulder, like a scarf) wheras I tie mine in back, like a do-rag.

Happy Ramadan to you!

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Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#27 of 30 Old 12-03-2002, 03:37 AM
 
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Thanks for those links!! Always great having my eyes opened ...

& wishing a joyful Ramadan to you&your family ...

- Amy
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#28 of 30 Old 12-04-2002, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your insight, sister!

I have to say, I have had an excellent Ramadan this year--alhamdulilah! While I have not read as much Qur'an as I'd have liked, I have fasted with joy for the first time, for the whole month (minus my break, which I look forward to making up soon). I am making my prayers, including fajr, daily, with my young son (18 months). He, too, enjoys praying with me. He says some of the words, and mimics the postures. I am also working harder on my modesty in dress--while my non-Muslim friends would tell you I am not at all immodest, I now ask myself when dressing, "Can I pray in this?" any time I am leaving the house.

My mother has spent full days with me, and I fasted through the days, and she didn't yell, or scream like in years past. In fact, she's helped me to make sweets for fast-breaking.

I have been trying hard to call the grace of our Creator into my life, and to bring with it His peace. This has been a glorious Ramadan, alhamdulilah.

I hope yours has been filled with peace and love and light, inshallah! And Eid Mubarak, inshallah!
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#29 of 30 Old 12-05-2002, 03:19 PM
 
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Hi, I just joined the Mothering Forum, and immediately came to this thread, of course...

I wanted to add something about the "Two Women's Testimony," even though it is a few mos. old.

Yes, the Qur'an does say that if a woman testifies, let another be with her "to remind her." According to the scholars that I have studied with, this is in financial dealings (say, a business dispute). In a divorce case, or if she was a witness to a murder or something, it is one woman who testifies.

But then, there is another situation. As some of you might know, the woman's menstruation cycles, and her breastfeeding relationship with her child or another child has legal weight in Islam. The timing of her cycles after a divorce or widowhood is important if she wants to remarry. The breastfeeding relationship is legally important if she nurses a child who is not biologically her own (if the child is under 2, and she nurses him more than 5 times, she becomes a "milk mother," to him, and has some rights of a mother due upon her, and her children become his brothers and sisters, and he can not marry her daughters, etc.)

Anyway, if there is some question or dispute about these two things, and it is taken to court, in this situation, TWO MEN must be called to testify for each woman, for exactly the same reason, so that he may "remind the other" of what he may have seen or known about her cycle or breastfeeding relationship.
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#30 of 30 Old 12-05-2002, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your knowledge--and even more for your willingness to share it, Umm Zaid!
As I mentioned above, I am still relatively young in Islam, and while we are all still learning, I have far to go. I am so happy to see both you and muslimomma here to share.
Eid Mubarak, inshallah!
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