Monday, January 31, 2011

Muslim Women's Online Discussions

I've had some very interesting experiences in the virtual world. I was recently informed about Anna Piela's book Muslim Women Online: Faith and Identity in the Virtual World, currently seeking articles/chapters and scheduled for publication in November 2011. Quoting the author herself:

The book Muslim Women Online: Faith and Identity in the Virtual World is my monograph and is scheduled to come out in November 2011 (listed at Muslim Women's Digital Geographies is a more recent project - an edited collection of chapters, hopefully to come out at the end of 2010. You can find information about this project, as well as a provisional table of contents, here:

Below is some information about the book and the author. Good luck to all those who decide to go for it! For the call for papers, please click here.

The deadline for proposal submission is March 31st 2011.

To read about the monograph, you may click here

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My First Persian Skit!

My first Persian Skit :D (We'll be having them bi-weekly! How excitingggg!!!) The theme for this one was shopping.

Background: an 80-year-old couple

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Preacher's Appeal

Those who know about Zakir Naik, please share your thoughts on why you think he appeals to such a large group of Muslims. What about him do you think attracts these people, whether it's temporarily (as in the case of those who love him at first and then stop following him after a while for whatever reasons) or permanently?

Please share your thoughts (this feels like a repetition, but I don't have time to look above and change it. hmph). I need 'em desperately for my thesis 'cause a section of it is dedicated to his audience.

Anything you have to say will be greatly appreciated.

For those who don't know him, or don't know much about him, he's an Indian in his mid-40s who is a medical doctor by training but has gained a reputation as a "scholar of Islam" (and other religions) because of his lectures on Islam. Just type his name in Youtube, and you'll get a ton of his lectures. You may also check the following links for more information.

Zakir Naik
Zakir Naik on Women in Politics
I Love Zakir Naik (.com)
Why Muslims Hate Zakir Naik So Much
Some comments about him

Thank you in advance for your input, folks! They're much needed -- and desperately so!

Monday, January 24, 2011

How Languages Represent their Respective Cultures

Greeeeeeeeetings to my beloved readers!

I have a beautiful fascination for languages. I think most people I know have said the same thing. Sadly, though, while I know or am studying several different languages, I know only two different scripts: Pashto, Urdu, Persian, Arabic = Arabic script; English, Spanish, and French = "English" script. (No, I'm currently not studying French, but I will be picking it back up soon, ka khairee.) This is why I look forward to learning Hebrew, Hindi/Sanskrit, and Japanese. Maybe Chinese as well, but we shall see, ka khairee.

Anyway, so my Arabic teacher wasn't able to make it to our first class due to some unjust circumstances, and so we had a substitute. The substitute, as much as everyone feared him, turned out to be this amazing and pleasant gentleman full of knowledge and wisdom, carrying with him a deep passion for the language he teaches (Arabic). Pashtuns often say that Pashto isn't just a language; it's a culture as well. You don't just speak Pashto, we say; you live it as well -- you practice it as well. Some other time, ka khairee, I will give you some examples of Pashto phrases that represent Pashtun culture. Here, my mind is fresh on a couple of Arabic phrases that represent the Arab culture (or cultures) really well. Or at least the wisdom behind these phrases, anyway.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Women as "Hunna" and Men as "Kum": The Quran’s Audience

Pre-script: kum = "you all" (includes all genders); hunna = "they (feminine)"
I know this is such a typical question, but I cannot figure out why God is always talking to men in the Quran. For the longest time, I accepted the reason that the Holy Book is sent to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who was a man, and so it makes sense. But reading it over and over makes one realize that there are very few instances in the Quran that begin with Qul (“Say [O’ Prophet]”) or otherwise indicate that the verse is specifically talking to the Prophet.  And, even so, is this really a good enough justification for God’s speaking only to men -- save one or two instances, maybe?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Day of Classes and My Schedule

Greeeeeeetings of peace, world!
I had a wonderful day today! Finally, this semester began -- my final :D:D:D! (Na, not that I'm excited about leaving this place, though; I'm going to miss my teachers and some classmates like CRAZY! But as a teacher of mine told moi, now that I'm in Islamic Studies, we're going to be connected very closely for the rest of our lives. I told him I felt sorry for him, and I'm sure he is sorry for himself, too. I can be quite a pest when it comes to expressing extreme shock over stuff I didn't know before (like what some hadiths say about women), or asking questions, or just explaining my own theories about stuff, you know? Even I feel like I'm being a nuisance when I'm talking, so imagine how they must be feeling! God preserve their patience with me!)

Anyway, so, yeah, first day of the Spring semester was only today (January 18th) when it was really supposed to be January 12th, but since we folks down here in the South don't really know how to respond to snow or how to handle it ('cause we don't get it often, I guess), we, like, TOTALLY freaked out. Sorta had a blizzard, you can say, and so all universities were closed. I even heard that there were no eggs and milk in grocery stores.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Niece, part 2!

So, as some my readers know, I have a niece, my one and only so far, named Kashmala. She’s 17 months old and the most precious, most important part of my life right now. And I tell you she’s the most precious thing you’ll ever see as well. MashaAllah!! ~spitting lightly towards the darling to prevent the curse of the evil eye~ I know, I know—everyone says that about their kids or other loved babies, but I’m telling you my opinion is the only correct one in this case. You understand.

at ~12 months
Before anything, I’m very proud to announce that she knows barely any English, and almost 90% of the language she knows is Pashto! The rest is either mixed (half English, half Pashto) or then English. She’s going to learn English anyway as she gets older, and Pashto is tough to learn in a non-Pashtun community. Sadly, we didn’t do that with our nephew, and so his Pashto is very weak—if he’s got any left in him at all! We’d vowed not to make the same mistake with Kashmala. So when an elder sister of mine was visiting us a month back and was talking to Kashmala in English, the darling had absolutely no idea what she was being asked or told!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Disagreeing with the Majority

This post was inspired by a close friend's, and hers is titled "Religious Freedom." Only, hers is so much more precise and to-the-point. 'Course, I am utterly incapable of ever being as succinct! 

Our societies aren't really used to differences of opinion. It's either "our" way or "no way." I know of some Muslims who have completely left Islam because they're not allowed to present their opinions (we're taught that "having opinions is forbidden in Islam because it leads to creation of new branches in Islam, and division in Islam is haraam."). I really don't blame them. We're also taught that anyone who leaves Islam is to be killed, and then you ask them to define Muslim, and the definition they might give often may not even apply to them – ‘cause, they say, a Muslim is someone who prays 5 times a day, wears hijab if female, doesn’t curse, doesn’t lie, respects parents, obeys husband if woman, and so on. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Critical Readings of Scholars' Biographies

I was once reading this book on al-Bukhari's biography, and, of course, the writer(s) made him appear like a saint. (k, I'm sure he was.) So, It was as though the guy had absolutely no faults or something! It was also to ensure the reader that whatever hadiths were compiled by Bukhari were/are indeed authentic, right, so at one point, it was mentioned that one day, when he was at a certain place trying to collect more hadiths, he came across this one man who he was told was honest and upright. But when Bukhari was about to approach him, the man was fooling his horse by pretending to give him some food/grass so that it'd come to the stall with him. And Bukhari thought to himself, "No, I can't trust this man. If he can fool his horse, he can fool me and others, too. I must not request any hadiths from him."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Freedom from the Forbidden

One of my favorite Pashto songs, written by Ajmal Khattak and sung by Gulzar Alam, goes:

Raadak sho zrha eesaarawalay yey na sham
Khula maata kha da kho gandalay yey na sham

Rough translation: 

My heart is overfilling with burdens/complaints; I can no longer resist speaking!
I'd rather my mouth be broken but will not sew it!

A (Muslim male) teacher of mine once reminded me that when a people want to feel like they are powerful, they control their women, forbid them from speaking and thinking and moving, limit all their senses of mobility and freedom. It’s amazing how one thought like this can turn into a complicated process of thoughts—forbidden thoughts at that—and their expression through a poem like the one below.

Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws

I'm currently suffering the loss of Punjab's governor, Salman Taseer, who was killed because he called Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws "black." His own guard, Mumtaz Qadri, killed him, and, sadly but not surprisingly, Qadri is celebrated as a hero among many Muslim groups in Pakistan. Fortunately, though, there are those few groups who are against the murder, but as of yet, the murderer has not been charged! Yes, can you imagine what the killer and his supporters will do if the killer were freed?! Really, just when I thought Pakistan was so stuffed with chaos and problems, it could not handle anymore . . .

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The difference between Pathan and Pashtun

Dear readers,

This post has been transferred over to my new blog at Wordpress. Please click below to read it.

The difference between "Pathan" and "Pashtun"/"Pakhtun"

Thank you!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Favorite Quotes from "Mona Lisa's Smile"

My favorite movies include Mona Lisa's Smile, Crash, Bastard out of Carolina, The Hours, and Provoked.
Some of my favorite quotes, however, come mostly from Mona Lisa's Smile (if you haven't watched it yet, it's a brilliant movie! Certainly put it on your "must-see films"), and that's mostly because friends tell me I'm as "crazy" as Ms. Watson in this movie (played by Julia Roberts) and that I'm likely to "corrupt the minds of innocent women just like Ms. Watson did." So, lemme share some here, as per the request of a questioner, who asked me what my favorite movie quotes are. I have recorded them for myself elsewhere, and I read them often to remind myself why I do what I do.

Questions asked through Formspring!

Hello, world!

So! I accidentally went to my Spam Folder in my Inbox and saw an email from Formspring, saying that I have been asked a "new" question and to go answer the question "along with 6 others"! I'm so, SO sorry, folks, that I'd totally forgotten about Formspring! :) Am gonna answer most of them right now, k? A few of them will require a bit more thinking, so I'll do that tomorrow. Do check back soon for those, if you were the one who asked. (Remember that these questions are sent to me anonymously, so you're freeeeee to ask anything you want.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

More Ranting on the Hijab

EDIT (July 2011): Considering this is the most viewed blog-post of mine, I must make the following disclaimer: Please realize that the views I have expressed in this particular post may or may not be the same  views I hold about the topic today or tomorrow. Since I think a lot about a lot of things, my opinion tends to change frequently about virtually everything that I think about more than 10 times.
Thank you for reading, and God bless you!


I just had the pleasure of encountering yet another refreshing blog, Metis' Blog on Muslim Feminists. The author's most recent post is titled "What are your views about hijab?" and, of course, that meant another opportunity for me to rant about my absolutely ALWAYS-called-for views on the most important topic relevant to Muslim women in the 21st century-- yes, that'd be the hijab (sarcasm intended). ... Oh, I know, I know - there's so much oppression worldwide, and here I am talking about the hijab only? Yes, well, if you ask me, part of human oppression comes with the hijab, although I don't believe the hijab oppresses women at all (so long as it's a choice, like they claim, and nothing more). So lemme just paste my comment that I posted there.

Thanks for your time!
Blessings upon you and me,

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sahar Magazine's January 2011 Issue

Sahar's latest issue has launched at last! Sorry for the delay, folks!

The other issues are available at We look forward to your feedback, suggestions, and -- most importantly -- submissions.


P.S. No more PDF submissions! Only Word, please. Thank you for understanding.

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...