Posts Tagged ‘Muslims in the West’

Watch iMuslim ‘Live’ Tonight, on Divan 2.0 (7.15pm, UK Time)

// May 22nd, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Blog

I've been invited to be a panellist at a Radical Middle Way event tonight. The subject up for discussion is Islam and the Internetz… so at least I'll be familiar with the subject matter – inshā’Allāh!

I'll be representing MuslimMatters, so please make dua that I don't let the side down, as it'll be my first time doing anything like this (I'm trying to minimize your expectations; remember, blogging and public speaking are two different animals!).

Welcome to Muslim 2.0 – a wired generation whose members would rather pose their tough questions to Shaykh Google than their local Imam and who feel more connected to the Facebook ummah than the congregation at the local mosque. Never has Muslim conversation buzzed with so many divergent, combative and off-the-wall perspectives.

But is more Muslim chatter really better?

Has Web 2.0 democratised Muslim debate, and if so at what cost?

Are we talking to each other or at each other?

With so many blogs, websites and forums to choose from, are we actually engaging with other points of view or are we comfortable staying in our intellectual (and spiritual) ghettos?

Join us for Divan 2.0, as we bring together some of British Islam's most (in)famous bloggers, web pioneers and online warriors for some face-to-face debate. They will be taking your questions in this special “Question Time” style event.

Challenge and be challenged – submit your questions in advance and come ready to jump into fray!

For those who can't make the free event in London, you can watch live via the little video box below. It'll start approx. 7.15pm BST (GMT+1), inshā’Allāh.

What Day Is It Really?

// March 11th, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Blog

Yasir Qadhi's latest entry on MM reminded me of a slightly paranoid question that came to mind a while ago.

Jumu'ah is a significant day for Muslims, as the most important congregational prayer is held on that day, every week. But how do we know that the day we call “Friday” in the Gregorian weekly calendar is the same day that we call “Jumu'ah” in the Islamic calendar? Have Jumu'ah prayers really been held consistently, every seven days, since the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him? It's not like we can check using the Moon, like we do when determining the beginning and end of the Islamic calendar months.

I suppose the same question applies to every day of the week, seeing as Mondays and Thursday have special significance with regards to the practice of ritual, Sunnah fasts.

I can trust that the Arabs have it right, from the point of view of uninterrupted tradition. So when the Gregorian calendar was introduced to the Muslim world, did they simply synch the two systems, noting that Friday was equivalent to Jumu'ah? I guess it wouldn't be very difficult, seeing as both weeks contain seven days. Imagine the chaos otherwise?!

Okay, now I suspect that my question is very silly indeed. :/

Wanted: A Little Slack

// March 3rd, 2009 // 9 Comments » // Blog

This rantish piece was originally intended as an email response. I then realized that I was 'blogging' at the recipient. Blog rants belong on blog posts. Hence my decision to paste it below for public viewing:

Well, if I was happy to stay in research, I wouldn't have a problem finding a job either, Allahu 'alam.

It's because I cannot tolerate that claustrophobic, isolating environment any longer, that I decided to look elsewhere for employment.

Unfortunately, I am quite clueless as to what I should concentrate on in the long term. I have to factor in the remote possibility of future wifely and motherly duties, which realistically, precludes the pursuit of any career that demands a great deal of my time and energy. This is not helped by the dearth of part-time jobs in my sector (the ones I find are either managerial roles for which I am underqualified, or technician jobs for which I am overqualified).

Add to that the fact that this is the first time I am job seeking as an “obvious” Muslimah (i.e., avec hijab), which does actually put some employers off.

Then there is the debate about whether Muslim women should be in the Western workplace at all. Yes, I do think about such things, and definitely don't miss the regular angst of 'handshaking' incidents, and having to constantly reign in my blabber-mouth personality in front of the opposite gender, all of whom so far have been non-Muslim, and thus don't usually understand the internal conflict that their “friendly” behaviour (and even antagonistic behaviour, at times) can pose for me.

I know I'm not the only one going through this. But my point is that I'd like people to cut me some slack.

Alhamdulillah, I am not in debt. I live at home with parents who can afford to house me. Indeed, if it wasn't for the pressure that they're placing on me, I wouldn't even bother looking for a conventional job. I am happy to tell friends and strangers that I am officially unemployed, but spend my time on other important pursuits – leaving the exact details vague, so as not to show off.

In fact, the only two things that I miss from my eleven years of working are:

  • A regular, stable source of income. I am useless at budgeting. Therefore, when I try to save money, it usually ends up that I don't spend any money, whatsoever. Miserliness sucks, and so I do need something coming in to avoid that extreme. Plus, I hate scrounging off my dad.
  • A regular, stable source of human company. My personal tradition has been to make friends through school, university, or work, usually because that is where I have spent most of my life. Recent exceptions have been some sisters that I met through local classes, such as self-defense and Islamic studies. But they work/study full-time, which means Mon-Friday, I am friendless, bar the odd evening meet-up.

Yes, it's a little embarrassing that a woman with three degrees, and the title “Dr” before her name should be unemployed, and more than that, is now facing a problem that most people sorted out in their late-teens/early 20s: the question of “What should I do with my life?”.

However, the embarrassment factor is relative. People make me feel ashamed, by inferring that I have something to be ashamed off.

Did I purposely pick the wrong career path, so I'd end up in this position? Err, no…

Could I have thought about it more before deciding to pursue a PhD? Err, maybe? Allāh knows best. Hindsight is 20/20, after all.

I am not looking for anyone's sympathy. More like: I want to be left alone. Unless you have a real job to offer me; then hey, I am all ears! Other than that, general concern is welcome, but making me feel small, and a bit useless, is not. Maybe I am being overly sensitive, but there you go.

Virtopsy: The Non-Invasive Autopsy

// February 28th, 2009 // No Comments » // Blog

The subject of death, and especially autopsy, is a little more macabre than I'm used to dealing with. Even so, I could not resist sharing some information on the matter that I discovered via an unlikely source: my “They Work For You” email alerts. A free, online service that allows users to track UK Parliamentary goings-on, by keyword and/or a manner of other useful filters.

The email linked to a debate regarding an amendment to Clause 15 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, which covers the issue of post-mortem examinations. Muslims (and as it turns out, Jews as well) require the body to be buried as soon as possible after death occurs. In addition, generally speaking, many people have a special sensitivity towards surgical autopsy, as they don't wish the body of the deceased to be 'harmed' in any way.

The debate revealed that Manchester's coroners jurisdiction has been offering MRI-based autopsies for some time, developed in response to the needs of its sizeable Muslim and Jewish communities. Apparently, not only is the procedure non-invasive, but it is also much quicker than the traditional, dissection-based method, as it does not rely on the analysis of biopsies, which can delay the results of a post-mortem for days, or even weeks.

Continue Reading at MuslimMatters.org…

Happy Valentine Palestine

// February 14th, 2009 // 9 Comments » // Blog

Let's forget the halality or haramity of Valentines Day for a moment. Today, true love was in the air at Hyde Park.

That was the departure point for the Viva Palestina convoy, who are now all on their way to Ramsgate, from where they will begin their long journey to Gaza.

I didn't expect it, but I was quite overcome by emotion at times: both with joy, as well as a happy kind of sadness. My heart was genuinely moved by the people around me. We should all thank Allāh for allowing us to witness such devotion and selflessness. Alhamdulillah. In fact, such were my feelings, that I was sufficiently motivated to come down to the Apple Store, just so I could blog about it!

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Green Week

// February 8th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

British Muslims: Who Speaks For Us?

// January 29th, 2009 // 2 Comments » // Blog

The following written answer provides some insight into the “movers and shakers” of British Muslim society.

Communities and Local Government

Community Relations: Islam

Paul Goodman (Shadow Minister, Communities and Local Government; Wycombe, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings Ministers in her Department have had with groups of British Muslims on the possible effects of events in Gaza since 27 December 2008 on community cohesion; and what the names were of the individuals who attended each meeting.

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Oxford Students Join In Gaza Solidarity Protests

// January 22nd, 2009 // No Comments » // Blog

Students at Oxford University, one of the highest ranking, and most prestigious educational establishments in the world, have begun a sit-in protest, to highlight the brutality of the occupation of Palestine, as exemplified by the recent, ferocious attack on Gaza.

Continue Reading…

Lesson Learnt

// January 13th, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Photos

January 3rd, 2009: Photos from the recent demo in Trafalgar Square, which attracted tens of thousands of protesters.

During that particular rally, the organizers announced over the loud speakers that an even bigger march was planned for the following week; this time starting in Hyde Park, and ending at the Israeli Embassy in High Street Kensington.

I'll admit: I was a little pessimistic. (more…)

Silent Islam – Vote & Help Global Deaf Muslim

// January 8th, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Blog

Global Deaf Muslim recently submitted a video to the Link TV competition, entitled “Silent Islam”. Please watch the five minute film, and vote!

http://www.linktv.org/onenation/films/view/372

Unfortunately, voting is only open to American residents, but everyone can watch the video, so please pass the word on today.

Voting closes 16th January 2009.

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