Posts Tagged ‘Muslim life’

Skating at the Museum on Eid-ul-Adha 1430

// November 27th, 2009 // 8 Comments » // Photos

I continued my Eiding-in-the-park tradition this morning, alhamdulillah. I was stood behind the masallah, and had a great view of the jamaat. But I decided against taking any photos. It felt like I'd be breaking a trust. Plus, sometimes you just need to live the moment, rather than be distracted by your fervent attempts to capture it.

The good news is, on my way home from uni this afternoon, I discovered my camera in my coat pocket. Thus I was finally able to capture some shots of the Natural History Museum ice rink, which I've been eager to do ever since it was set up a few weeks ago.

The last shot is my favourite… I think it would make a nice postcard. Btw, am I alone in thinking ice skating is the most romantic of the winter sports? All that huddling, cuddling and giggling… Sigh.

Happy ‘Īd, everybody!

How Old is iMuslim?

// November 9th, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Blog

Well, as of this entry, the blog is 500 posts (and just over three years) old. I have deleted the majority of posts created during the period of experimentation with imported status messages, so it is an official milestone this time – no cheating.

I now present my – I mean, my blog's – birthday wish list. And if you think birthday presents are too much of an innovation, then consider it an ‘Īd al-Aḍḥa wish list instead:

  • a Nintendo Wii, with Wii Fit/Active/Sports/whatever makes me sweat and get fit enough in the privacy of my own home, to eventually allow me to return to the kickboxing classes that I so dearly miss.
  • a compact DSLR
  • a decent haircut (blonde curls are a real possibility – an in-joke for my FB sisters)
  • a Maths tutor
  • a big ol' punch bag, like I saw on TV last night. Awesomeness!
  • Really good chocolate. I mean, so good that I don't care that it makes me fat, because it's that amazing. Cadburys and Thorntons do not fit in that category at present. Maybe Hotel Chocolat?
  • a trustworthy builder to knock down the wall that currently separates our two living rooms, so that the middle room can finally have some natural light, and not be so depressing a place to sit in – especially during the Winter.
  • a jacuzzi
  • someone that makes me feel less 'bleurghy'
  • a good, non-trivial, real life, face-to-face conversation, that doesn't involve discussion of the weather (unless it's related to a debate on climate change), or the stupidity of lecture timetables.

List to be updated as and when I – I mean, my blog – decides.

Btw, the above wish list is clearly pure self-indulgence. There are many things that I – and my blog – wish for, that are less selfish, and more altruistic. I am very blessed with what I already have, alhamdulillah, and don't feel at all lacking in respect to material goodness. I just felt like writing a 'me, me, me' post today. :)

What's on your (or your blog's) wish list?

Why Can Muslims Eat Big Macs?

// November 7th, 2009 // 7 Comments » // Blog

The following is a response to a post written by one of my colleagues at Ijtema.net, on the conditions that make meat permissible for Muslims to eat. Here is an extract to whet your appetite:

The whole zabiha vs. non-zabiha debate can get pretty emotional and even lead to fights. Surprisingly when one learns about it in some depth it's not all that complicated. I will list the 5 conditions the 'ulema have laid down for a slaughter to be permissible to eat, and then list some common misconceptions about the concept of zabiha.

The following five conditions must be met together when slaughtering an animal that is permissible to eat and requires slaughter… Click to read more

I recommend you read that post first – one, because it contains useful fiqhi info, and two, because my response will naturally make more sense that way.

Response

Tbh, the only thing I'd like explained to me, is why a Big Mac purchased in any McDonalds branch located in Western secular democracies, such as the UK and USA (for the most part), is considered by some to be permissible for Muslims to eat?

I completely understand the ruling about the meat of animals slaughtered by the Christians and Jews being permissible (excl. porcine flesh, blood, etc). But unlike the label 'Kosher', which actually has some value and meaning attached to it, McDonalds, and by extension, most fast food retailers in the West, do not offer any guarantee that the cows used in their burgers have been slaughtered by either a Christian or a Jew (irrespective of their level of practising).

Are the scholars who condone this working on a matter of probability? I.e., the majority (whatever % that is) of citizens in the US identify themselves as Christians, and hence the likelihood of the person slaughtering the animal being a Christian is high, and thus the meat automatically becomes permissible, unless clearly stated otherwise?

I really am curious, because I know a few people who follow the “People of the Book” rule that far, but they never ask the person serving the meat who did the slaughtering. We don't need to ask if the product is sold as halal/ kosher – but otherwise, shouldn't there be some responsibility on the individual consumer to at least enquire?

Considering how, in the West, tasks of manual labour (especially such messy, unpleasant ones) are usually consigned to low paid immigrants, which could be of any religion – and also, how meat can, and is, imported from anywhere in the world – I think such a 'catch-all' fatwa is more than a little risky.

In the UK, we are blessed in that halal meat is relatively easy to obtain – at least if you live in cities and towns with significant Muslim populations. However, that didn't happen overnight. This state of ease came about through necessity. The first generation of Muslims wanted to feed their families food that they could trust was halal. Without this demand, the market to supply halal produce – a market presently worth millions of pounds annually – would not have been established.

There are about two million Muslims in the UK but an estimated six million consumers of halal meat nationwide. Michael Oakes, board member for rural affairs at Advantage West Midlands, said British Muslims consumed 20% of all red meat sold in the country while making up just 3% of the population. [Source: BBC News – Farmers aim for halal meat market]

Further, the market has now begun to evolve to the next level: in response to recent halal meat scandals, a national halal monitoring committee was established to ensure correct slaughtering practices; major supermarket chains now stock halal produce in outlets with a significant Muslim customer base; and several new providers have sprung up to respond to the growing demand for organic meat (one example here).

Thus I believe that the 'catch-all' fatwa actually causes more harm than good in the long term, by discouraging the enterprise that would lead to a more certain state of affairs. Either we 'lay' Muslims have misunderstood the nature of this particular ruling (which is entirely probable), and/or the original need for such a fatwa no longer exists, especially as far more permissible alternatives are now commonly available. In reality, no-one is going to be placed at a life-threatening disadvantage from choosing to eat a 'fillet-o-fish', or vegetarian equivalent, in place of eating meat of unknown origin. And in the few cases where they are, then a whole new set of rulings apply, with the aim of preserving life and health.

Demand drives supply: Muslims in the West must continue to demand the supply of trustworthy zabiha meat, and also start putting their inherent, entrepreneurial skills to use. After all, the UK Muslim market proves that there is much reward – both earthly and heavenly – to be earned from doing so, inshā’Allāh.

Charity Week 2009 – Day 1

// October 22nd, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Photos, Video

This year, Charity Week will run from the 19th to the 25th October, inshā’Allāh. Here's a wee video I made for my ISoc, to mark Day 1:

Please donate online NOW, writing “IMPERIAL COLLEGE” in the comments section of the donation form (we're in competition with the other participating universities). All money goes to Islamic Relief's orphan fund. So be generous! :)

Please also leave a comment below (anonymously if you wish) to let me know how much you donated, so I have an idea of the impact of the video, and also, to encourage others to follow suit, inshā’Allāh.

Update – Photos from the Henna Stall we ran today (Day 4):

Henna Me, Baby Hand 2 (My Hand!) Hand 1 Concentration I wish I could do that!

Eid in the Square 2009

// September 26th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Photos

This is the fourth year that Trafalgar Square has been used to host post-Ramadan festivities for London's Muslim community.

Even so, today was only my first time experiencing '‘Īd in the Square'.

I did have a good time; but I attribute that more to the gorgeous weather, and the wonderful company I was blessed with.

The event itself was 'alhamdulillah': a good effort, but I'm not sure that I will return next year. Though I did like the fact that there were plenty of non-Muslims walking about, checking the stalls, and generally mingling in.

I guess it's good for us to be seen enjoying ourselves, with our families and loved ones, i.e., Muslims can haz fun!

Click here to view the rest of the photos from ‘Īd in the Square 2009

Eid = Mendhi Time

// September 26th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Photos

Mendhi is the Hindi word for 'henna'. I am quite bad at applying it to myself, but I still have a go anyway, usually around ‘Īd time, like tonight. Here is an example of what is known in the industry as, “the squiggly finger”. Okay, maybe not…

The dried henna has now been removed; we'll see how dark it turns out, inshā’Allāh. I don't usually do anything special, like apply henna oil. Mainly because my design is so childish, that I'd like it to wear out as quickly as possible!

Is the ‘Īd-Mendhi association an S.E.Asian thing, or do Arab/ African/ etc sisters apply it at this time of year too?

Eid-ul-Fitr: Prayers in the Park, Pt III (or maybe Pt IV?)

// September 21st, 2009 // 8 Comments » // Photos

Well, I think this is the third time I prayed ‘Īd salat in the local park. ‘Īd-in-the-park/" target="_blank">First time, second time… hmm, the blog seems to think 'three' too. Looks like I missed out on park Eiding in 2008… I believe I prayed one ‘Īd at Whitechapel mosque, as it was raining… but where did I pray the second one? – complete blank – Gah! [Update (23/09/2009): After discussing the matter with SimSim, we remembered that we prayed at East London Mosque on both Eids in 2008. Alhamdulillah & huzzah for the relief!]

Anyway, one thing you'll hopefully notice from the pics below is that I actually took a decent camera with me this time, and did not rely on the crummy camera in my phone (which is good, as I still use the same handset as I did back in 2007!). Please click on each image to see the full-size copy. [Flickr archive]

Don't Start Without Me!

Don

Straighten the Rows: the men line up for the prayer.

Straighten the Rows: the men line up for the prayer.

Imam gives the Khutbah

Imam gives the Khutbah: Not the most effective design for a partition. ;)

Higher Daddy!

Higher Daddy!: A father pushes his child on the swings during the khutbah.

The brothers sit and listen to the imam.

The brothers sit and listen to the imam.

The kids quietly play!

While the kids quietly play! The advantage of holding prayers in a playground. :)

Playground Springs

Playground Springs: I have no idea why they have these little fountains and showers in the kiddies

Curious Child

Curious Child: All the kids were fascinated by the sprinklers... though I

So there you have it: another ‘Īd in the park; another step closer to establishing a personal ‘Īd tradition, inshā’Allāh.

Where did you pray today?

On Rivalry

// September 17th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

“Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children.” Qur'an 57:20

I don't think I ever really appreciated the sense of rivalry that Allāh mentions in the above verse (and elsewhere in the Qur'an), until very, very recently. I'm talking, the last two months or so. It sort of crept up over me, maybe because nearly every singleton in my life has suddenly gotten married, with other newly weds having babies, that I feel somewhat left behind in the personal life department.

A few years ago, I was on a quest to get married – but it was more like an adventure; one that I shared with friends and cousins. Alhamdulillah, one by one, my travelling companions left for the next stage of their journey, and we waved them off happily, so secure in our knowledge that we, too, would be moving ahead very soon.

Returning to the present, it seems that I am one of the few passengers left behind in the waiting room, wondering why my train is running so late. Shouldn't it have been here by now? Did I miss it? Maybe I read the timetable wrong?

And worst of all, I've become one of them. You know… the 'older' unmarried women, that the younger unmarried women use to make themselves feel better: “Oh, at least I'm not as old as so-n-so”. They become so shocked when they hear my marital status combined with my age. That is, until they realize the expression of disapproval at their tactlessness on my face, and try to cover it up with: “Oh, it'll happen soon, inshā’Allāh”. Yes, thank you. I feel totally reassured now.

Anyway, believe it or not, I'm not complaining about my fate. And if I did, I wouldn't be complaining to you. Rather, I wanted to share how one's perspective on the Qur'an changes with new life experiences. Now I actually feel the sting of rivalry in my heart from time to time. But the verse above reminds me of the bigger picture: it's only a game, Mehzabeen. So be a good sport, and play it well.

Water: The Best Charity

// September 16th, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Blog

I once read that water is one of the best charities in Islam – annoyingly, I cannot find a reference for that statement, but it's not difficult to understand why it would be true: charity is meant to make life easier for those who have less, and water is life.

How many barren deserts do we have on the surface of the Earth, that suddenly come to life when Allāh sends the rain down?

“…thou seest the earth barren and lifeless, but when We pour down rain on it, it is stirred (to life), it swells, and it puts forth every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).” Qur'an, 22:5

I remember reading about such desert plant life when I was little; how in some areas it may only rain once a year, for a few minutes, and then 'whoosh!': flowers begin to bloom, small animals come up from beneath the sand, and every creature makes the most of this brief blessing, before retreating from the heat of the sun.

For this reason, water projects hold a special place in my heart, and why I now encourage you to donate to them whenever you can. In this regard, please check out the following two charities:

This morning after suhoor, I was attempting to make wuḍūʼ in my bathroom upstairs, but was facing difficulty because my mum happened to be doing the same thing downstairs. All I was getting was random splatters acccompanied by scary sounding gurgling noises – but no actual, running water! I began to get annoyed because I was running out of time before Fajr – but then the thought came to me: “Aren't I blessed to have even this?”. A few seconds later, mum had finished, and the water returned. It was that easy.

But what if it hadn't?

What if it was never there to begin with?

How would I cope?

That's what we have to keep reminding ourselves every time we open the tap…

“Say, 'Just think: if all your water were to sink deep into the earth who could give you flowing water in its place?'” Qur'an, 67:30

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