Category Archives: Head-Bangers

Islam and Science

I attended an event hosted by the Western Muslim on campus the other day titled Islam and Science. To some, the content may have been a revelation of sorts. For me, the documentary presented basically hammered home the message my father had been made sure was deeply implanted in my and my brothers’ heads.

“Do you know what Muslims were ya baba? Scientists. Everything we know, from algebra t0 algorithms to medicine to chemistry to astronomy. Muslims, they were the founders of these science, ya baba. Allah yerda3 3alaykum (May Allah be pleased with you).”

Threaded throughout this heartfelt reminisce would be the central message: we, as Muslims growing in the West, had a duty and an obligation to take advantage of our position and once again bring fame to a Muslim name (rhyme unintended).

Now you can imagine that with that kind of perfectionist personality beat into my head, I’ve grown up more than a little of anal-retentive with a touch of OCD. But that’s besides the point, especially as my professor reassures me that all great men and women have a little OCD in them.

Following this presentation, a short talk was given by our chaplain, Sh. Fayaz Tilly. Jazak Allah khair to the brother; although he is not, as he proclaimed, in any way a scientist, he did his best under what seemed to be exceptionally short notice.

What irked me, however, was the discussion that ensued. There was one gentlemen in particular, non Muslim, evolutionarist (or as my professor is wont to call them, educated beings), who seemed to be there to raise some hackles.

Question 1: Now, I’ve never read the Quran and don’t know much about it. But let’s say, hypothetically, that science proved a statement in the Quran to be undoubtedly wrong. Let’s say, it said the Earth is flat. I don’t know any real examples, but let’s say it did and science showed that no, it’s actually round. Would you admit to being wrong?

My problem with this? How on earth do you expect to be taken seriously at any form of debate or discussion by arguing a hypothetical scenario after claiming complete ignorance? HOW? Were the reverse true, were I, as an identifiable Muslim, to attend a scientific discussion and proclaim that although I know nothing of the subject matter I wanted to throw my two cents in, I would be ridiculed. Please don’t be demeaning.

Question 2: (following Sh. Fayaz’s reference to embryology in the Quran). So did Mohamed mention the reptile gills and monkey tails then?

I will admit there were other, relevant questions that were aimed to gain answers and not entice hatred. Nevertheless, I wish some people would give-up on the let’s enrage the Mozlems and see what happens game! Frankly, it’s getting old!

*edit*

A link to the documentary: 

And I will find a link for a comprehensive explanation of embryology and the Quran inshaAllah =)

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Filed under Head-Bangers, Ignorance, islam, MSA, Western Muslim

Calgary Barbies

Oh. My. God. Disturbingly true… but oh, so funny!

Calgary Barbies. If you’re from Calgary, a highly elitist city I might add, you’ll shake your head on the one hand and cringe in shame for knowing it’s true on the other.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Cultural Observations, Head-Bangers, Humor

An Awful Knowing

It’s been likened, quite disgustingly, to the warm, wet feeling when you pee in the swimming pool (a practice I strongly advise against, people); only you can feel it, and you really can’t tell anybody because you shouldn’t have peed in the first place!

I guess the point I’m belabouring here is when you’re told something, or find something out that you really have no business knowing. It’s when you know something you’re not supposed to know, and that knowing keeps you up at night, consumed with wishing you didn’t know and wondering how you can forget what you now know. I didn’t want to know. I feel like this knowing has violated me, tainted my mind in a silent and forceful manner. I can’t pretend I don’t know, when I do. And I can’t say I know, when I shouldn’t!

“O you who believe! avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, surely Allah is Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.” (49:12)

I guess this warm, wet, icky feeling is my penance. Only time can tell at this point.

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Filed under Head-Bangers, islam, Personal, Reflections

On Coffee Shops and Muslim Creeps

Over the winter break I’ve been subbing at my dad’s coffee place in the downtown. The regular girl is off on vacation for Christmas and New Year’s and I decided what the heck? With six years of convenience store experience under my belt, I’m more than qualified. And here’s the funny thing – I actually like it! I especially enjoy the regulars – the interaction, the quick humour, the light-hearted banter. And since I’m a happy person at heart and nothing pisses me off more than a surly sales rep, I’ve always got a smile ready. And the unlimited coffee refills kinda help, to be honest =P

But sometimes, it’s not all smiles and fun. Sometimes you get the creeps. Especially since this particular coffee shop is located in the downtown, and you can’t quite control who has access to the building it’s situated in, you kind of have to put up them.

Example one: The man who always fill his large cup half way, then insists I charge him for a small. Always. Regardless of whether or not the pot is brimming with fresh coffee, there’s never quite enough to fill his large.

Example two: The man who spent an hour and 34 minutes assuring me that while Canada may be cold, at least I feel safe. Unlike the Middle East, where gun-fights break out randomly, and people with bombs strapped to their chest are running around willy-nilly. Yes, indeed. The cold is a small price to pay for safety. When I informed him that in I-raq, a war has been waging for the past nine years he looked at me blankly and said “Oh yeah! 1960s wasn’t it? Yes, it might be warm there, but it’s dangerous” *repeat stories of gun fights, bombs, and Al-Qaeda and a foray into Turkish coffee – which I’m told is worth giving up for safety*

Then there are those that occur outside the coffee shop, as I walk towards my car which is parked seven blocks down (free parking, so sue me).

En route to my car the other day, I went into the Calgary Public Library to get the address of my friend’s house. On my way in, this man stops in front of me to beat the snow off his shoes before entering, effectively blocking my way. I waited, because I had no other choice, and when he noticed me behind him he smiled and apologized. I told him not to worry and brushed by him to get into the library. I head towards the empty computer and he follows me, standing behind me. I figure, whatever, all the computers are full and he’s probably just waiting for me to finish. I tune him out, finish my business, and leave.

A block later, I notice that he’s right beside me, grinning at me while he walks along. Okaaayyy. I look away kind of hoping that maybe if I don’t show recognition he’ll just walk on by. Well, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. He comments on the weather, I reply. To sum the next five blocks up as painlessly as possible, he follows me making inane conversation revolving around my Islam, and how he’s Muslim, and how I should consider meeting up with him at the mosque. At the edge of downtown I stop and ask were he’s going. He thought we’d take the LRT together. Seeing an out I quickly inform him that, unfortunately *cough cough*, I’m actually headed towards my car. Turns out that’s fine, he’ll walk me to my car – still two blocks away – and then head back towards the station which we’d passed two blocks ago. I assure him that is not necessary, but he insists and we walk on.

A block of his chattering and my mumbling later he stops and I brace myself for the expected. Can I have your number? No. Email? No. Dad’s number? No. Will you meet me at the Mosque? Uh.. no. Will you take my email/number? Sorry, no. Am I sure? Yes. Positive? Very.

He heaves a heavy sigh, informs me what hours he frequents the NW mosque and stands watching while I half-run the rest of the block to my car. I get in, lock the doors and sit there shivering in the darkness of my car, too damn creeped out to get out and brush the snow off the windows. Through the rearview I can see him standing there, staring. 15 minutes later and I guess he’s convinced I’m not about to change my mind. He heads back and I start my car, driving over a curb in my haste to get the heck out of there.

I get to my friends house and share the story. I’m not surprised to learn every girl there has had multiple similar experiences – and all by Muslims. Nonmuslims will ask for your number, or ask you out for drinks and if you choose to decline, they’ll graciously back out. Muslims, on the other hand, use the religion you have in common as a wedge, convinced that through that mutual ground, there lies the path towards a wonderful, lasting relationship.

Creeps.

*shudder*

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Filed under Canada, Cultural Observations, Head-Bangers, islam

Burn baby, burn

disclaimer: this is, by no means, a religious post. Rather, it’s an interpretation of certain events.

There are certain things in life that make us see red. Where we can, quite literally, feel our blood boil, our vision haze, and are overcome by an overwhelming urge to rip into something. Well, at least I hope it’s ‘we’ and not just ‘me’ but either way it’s there, and when it rears its malicious head, you best stay out of my way.

That doesn’t happen all that often. Or perhaps all too often depending on your point of view. Injustice is one. Blind, stubborn ignorance. Racism. JEALOUSY, thuma jealousy, thuma al-jealousy!!

I was talking to a friend of mine, and she just bought everything rushing back. The hatred and the pointless, selfish jealousy yeah sure, but mostly the horrible affects you have to deal with and clean up after when they’re done with you. Let me explain.

But first, there’s a need to differentiate between the types of jealousy, I think. There’s the “Omg, I wish I could be as good/successful/etc as so and so, mashAllah!” This is productive jealousy. It’s good because you’re striving to be a better person using another someone else as a role model, and you’ve said mashAllah, which protects said someone.

The second is benign jealousy. This one is tricky. It can turn malicious at any second. An example would be “I wish I had that car!” Notice the lack of mashAllah. Not good, not good at all. But at the same time, you’re not actively wishing them harm; rather you just want what they have.

The third is straight malicious jealousy. “Bitch! What has she done to deserve that car? Burn and die, hoebag.” Pretty much self-explanatory. This is when one wants something some one else has, and actually wishes that person didn’t have it, or loses it in some painful/humiliating manner.

Now, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the affects of jealousy. My grandma used to tell me I have a weak star. Translate: it means I’m more susceptible to the ‘evil eye’ than others. Now, I’m not going to get into the evil eye discussion. Suffice to say I believe nothing can harm or benefit you expect what Allah (swt) wills (yeah, I’m a predestined-ite), and that to ward it off there are certain things it’s your responsibility to do: specific ayas, dua’as you should read.

But, and this is a big but, that does not excuse those goddamned people who insist on harming others through their jealousy.

Examples? I have many, but here are ones that come foremost to mind:

  1. “You rented a car?? But you’ve been in the city for less than a week! My, you sure work fast!”
    Result: Kitchen burns down later in the day
  2. “You rented another car right after the first? You sure don’t wait before spending all your money, eh?”
    Result: Car accident in said rented car. Opponents: Our VW Golf vs a semi-truck. Not. Fun.
  3. At work, my coworkers are in awe of my typing speed. They call teachers in from other departments to witness. All teachers start to come to me to type up their assignments/work rather than the people who get paid to do it. “Miss. S&S, you think you can walk in here, at 19, and just because you’re Canadian become a grade 6 teacher and take away my job?”
    Result: Over the weekend, I burnt two fingers, sprained three, had the door slammed on my left hand, and fell down the stairs, scraping two of the fingers on my right hand raw. I’m not exaggerating. I wish I was.
  4. The most eligible bachelor in my Dad’s village asks me to marry him. Due to familial pressure (I’m threatened with bodily harm and ghadab (hate for life kind of thing) from my grandmother) I decide to give the guy a chance.
    Result: The day after I met him, I spend five days heaving till I vomit blood.
  5. Day before our midterm: “You barely study and yet manage to get better grades than I do. I spend all night reviewing, that’s so unfair.”
    Result: day of our midterm I wake up sick as a dog, barely make it to class, fail the test.
  6. “I love the way you dress.”
    Result: trip down stairs, breaking the heel on my boot and scraping my right hand raw (again).

There are more, but this is getting me pissed off all over again. Then you have those who, because you’re doing something they don’t have the dedication or balls to step up and do, belittle you, degrade you, and give you the worst time of it.

Here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to stop. Whoever the heck you are, you’re going to be satisfied with what you have, and leave everyone else the hell alone. Jeez. And I, I’m going to pray to the good Lord that you learn to leave others the heck alone.

Even the Prophet said: “Jealousy eats up faith (good deeds) like fire burns dry wood.”

So, really, you’re actually benefitting your conceited self if you’d just leave everyone alone.

You feel me?

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Filed under Head-Bangers, Ignorance, Rant, Syria

I’m Gonna Break the Cycle

Assiya Rafiq, right, in front of her mother, Iqbal Mai.

Assiya Rafiq, right, in front of her mother, Iqbal Mai.

And I’m not talking about Madonna here.

As a Syrian and a Muslim it pains me to say this. But, there is an Arabic proverb that says “you see the sliver in other peoples’ eyes, yet fail to see the pole in your own.” So, just because I’d rather not be own of ‘those people’ I’m going to say it like it is.

By this day and age, everyone has heard of those horrific honour killings. Your daughter, sister, mother disgraces you and your family? Off with their head! Forget that there’s a God involved here, or a shariaa law that – as a Muslim – you’re bound to obey, or even basic concepts like humanity and familial ties.

When I first moved to Syria, a video was circulating depicting the public beating and killing of a woman. Oh Allah. My cousins held me down and forced me to watch. I’m not going to go into details but those images will be with me to my dying day. Thank God there is a God who will see that justice is meted out in the end, because we live in one cruel world!

It’s so sickening. When you hear of these people who contrary to everything they should know as humans and as muslims, acting in cruel, heartless ways. Don’t they fear God?? What goes around will come around… Ya Allah!

What bought this to mind was the story of Assiya Rafiq. Assiya Rafiq was kidnapped at the age of 16 and repeatedly raped and beaten by a group of thugs. A year later, once they’d had their fill, they delivered her to a police station. Unfortunately, salvation and peace were a long time coming, and Assiya was subjected to rape by the four police officers.

This all took place in Pakistan. Now, in Pakistan, the only option available to a woman who has undergone the shame of rape is to commit suicide. That was she cleanses herself and her family name. Never mind that she is innocent, or that suicide is FORBIDDEN in Islam.

But this particular woman isn’t having any of that. She’s fighting the system, demanding to have her rights recognized and the men who raped her prosecuted.

I’m in awe of her bravery. When I was in Syria, I faced that cultural wall quite a few times, when culture dictated I do something completely contrary to my beliefs. And even though it wasn’t something as oppressing and merciless as rape, I still felt as though I were being backed into the proverbial corner. It was not a pleasant experience. Some days I stuck by my beliefs. Others a faltered. May God give her the strength to see this through and break that damn cycle!

(source)

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Filed under Cultural Observations, Head-Bangers, Ignorance, islam, News, Rant, Syria

On Chinese Stereotypes

Picture this: an Arab working for a Chinese roofing company. What I mean by Chinese roofing company though isn’t that the roofs are redone in an Oriental manner but rather the owners of the company are Chinese. Who speak about ten words of English between the three of them.

Now as a first generation adult, my brother’s cool with that. He likes these guys and they like him – they’re teaching him Chinese and he’s teaching them English. They even gave him Chinese tea – yuummm!! – and buy him Chinese food for lunch every day.

Enter an uncle who hears William’s been working for a Chinese guy. Reaction?

“I never liked the Chinese! Did you watch all those movies? They’re all two-faced! They act good but what goes on in their lives is freaky!”

*laughing because I thought he was kidding* “Why do you say that?”

*he’s dead serious* “Well, you saw their movies. Drugs, and bad sex, and gangs. Not good people.”

“You do realize those movies were directed by none other than hollywood – America? And don’t necessarily represent real Chinese people?”

“Enough already! I know them. They’re all very two faced!”

*I’m getting mad now* “But uncle, you have a daughter and a wife! You have a beard! How do you like it when other people stick us under a certain stigma or stereotype?? I want people to respect me as an individual, not as some secretive Taliban recruit with a bomb under my hijab!”

“Nonsense! We’re not like that! The media is garbage! But they are. Their movies say so. Khalas. Enough. Uncle knows best.”

Oh my God in Heaven you did not just say that! This guy is an ARAB! His daughter and wife wear the SCARF! They’ve been suffering under all those stereotypes and misconceptions for so long, and I know them personally. I know myself and the struggles I’ve faced because people are narrow-minded, biased, media-garbage guzzlers who routinely fail to exercise the grey matter between their ears!! And now this Arab who is a victim of stereotypes is actually holding prejudices against Chinese people…. because of the media!!!???

*head-desk*

Cruel irony? Or just deserts?

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Filed under Canada, Cultural Observations, Family Matters, Head-Bangers, Ignorance, islam, Islamophobia, Rant, Syria