From Islam & Muslims

The Labels Halal & Zabihah And Why I Choose Local And Organic Instead

Organic Broiled Chicken
The Muslim community, in general, has become obsessed with the way an animal is slaughtered, despite the fact that our tradition actually speaks not just about the way an animal is slaughtered but how it is treated during its life.  Duh!  Why do we call meat “halal” when only the last step of the animal’s life is according to ‘Islamic’ (Read: ethical) principles.  That’s right, the meat labeled ‘halal’ is most likely from the same factory farm as any other meat in the grocery store– just slaughtered in a different way.  Most people don’t realize that the ‘halal’ label refers only to the way the animal has been killed.

In the era of factory farms and hormone-fed animals, the label of “halal” has been watered down and exists only as an empty brand name.  If you are a heartless person who doesn’t care about the treatment of animals, consider this of your beloved label:

“75 percent of Halal meat in America produced in the year 2000 came from pork fed cows, according to Dr. Stephen Emanuel, from Agway Feed Company.” – SoundVision

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels that ‘halal’ doesn’t mean much.  Check out the new stream of ‘organic and halal’ meat suppliers like GreenZabiha, founded by Yasir Syeed. (Full disclosure: I photographed his brother’s wedding)

“Muslims are directed in the Quran to eat food that is Halal and Tayyib. Halal is defined as food that is permissible according to Islamic law. Tayyib means wholesome, pure, nutritious and safe. Traditionally, Muslims in North America have emphasized the Halal over the Tayyib when it comes to meat consumption, Hussaini says.” – SoundVision

(More disclosure: That quote was from 10 years ago, but the emphasis on the method of slaughtering of the animal over the health and treatment of the animal hasn’t changed much.)

Some Muslims like to use the excuse that when someone sells you ‘halal’ food you should take it at face value, as they are the one making the claim. I don’t buy that. Read more

Share
  • Print
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit

Is Islamic Sunday School Worth It?

A Real Education
HijabMan’s Note:  This article was previously published at Patheos. 

At the age of 12, my father decided to put me in Islamic Sunday School at our local mosque. Since I was new to Sunday School, the teachers put me in the kindergarten class. Within one year, I was skipped to second grade and then to fourth grade, before I was ultimately promoted to instructor in an alternative Saturday school. Can you say, “lowered expectations?”

It is not uncommon for mosque Sunday Schools to be staffed by volunteers as young as 13 who just parrot what they’ve heard. As for the content, I learned about how birthdays are prohibited in Islam, that only prostitutes pluck their eyebrows, and how a one-eyed monster will come and get me on the Day of Judgment. In short, I left Islamic Sunday School with the perception that God was a big scary being that was going to throw me into hell.

The experience, however depressing, did inspire me to read the Quran for myself. It was only then that I realized that the vast majority of fairy tales they teach you in Sunday school are not in the Quran—which, by the way, is what Muslims believe is God’s message to humankind. In fact, the lessons taught in my Sunday School growing up didn’t come close to capturing the spirit of the holy book.
Read more

Share
  • Print
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit

Sometimes They’d Rather Argue About When Eid Is

A couple days ago, the advertisement (an article by design) shown above appeared in countless college newspapers across America. It was put together by an organization called F.L.A.M.E. or “Facts And Logic About The Middle East”– only they specialize in demonizing Islam and Muslims.

In order to counteract the effects of hate speech and misinformation regarding our communities, I personally believe that Muslims should be proactive when it comes to engaging their neighbors. In addition to being proactive, I also believe it is important to respond simply and swiftly to articles and ads such as the one above.
Read more

Share
  • Print
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit

Women In Mosques: Barriers To Participation

sign for the women's section: Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Note: This post is part of a continuing theme here at HijabMan.Com. For an earlier post on the subject, check out: Women In Mosques.

There’s a barrier in front of me and it’s covered in orange felt. An unknown brown stain sits right in front of my face. Coffee? The imam is talking about supporting our community — I think. I can barely hear him over the din of women gossiping about their children or that new muslim who wears her hijab in a bun. I wonder if it’s me they’re talking about. What is that, coke? When I put my forehead against the carpet in prostration I can smell feet. The men are just on the other side of the barrier, and no one bothered to use odor eaters. Seriously, is it a dirty water stain? That’s disgusting.

Partitions dividing the women’s and men’s sections are just one of many contemporary additions to our North American mosques. But unlike water fountains and basketball courts aimed at providing needed services, the barrier aims to silence and shut women out of the community under the guise of sacred personal space.
Read more

Share
  • Print
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit

A Simple Dating Guide For Muslims: Introduction

Note: Re-posted because of a recent article on SuhaibWebb.Com, mentioned below.

While reading through Rawiya’s last post, I was reminded of a conversation I had with my own mother about a decade ago. I was sitting at a computer in my parents’ family room. She was in her usual spot, ironing, and watching television.

“Mom, what do you think about Muslim dating?”

“Beta, you mean having female friends? That’s fine”

My mom is precious ain’t she? That was obviously not the answer I was looking for, so I pried further.

“Yeah, that’s fine and everything mom, but what about, you know, physical affection and stuff?”

“Beta, you mean kissing and petting ?”
Read more

Share
  • Print
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit

The Linguistic Literalism of Four-Year-Olds: Muslims Missing the Point

Note: This Is The 3rd Part of a Guest Series By Pamela Taylor. See Part 1. See Part 2.

Have you ever given directions to a four-year old?
“Go to the end of the hall and turn left,” you say.
“Is this left?” he asks, holding up his left hand.
“Right!” you say cheerily.
He then lowers his left hand and puts up his right hand.
“Oh,” he says, “Then I have to turn this way.”
“No, no. That’s your right hand,” you say. “The other one was your left hand.”

The poor kid is now totally confused. His mind, focused on left and right, didn’t grasp the changed context of your initial response; he missed that you had switched from right/left to correct/incorrect, or, in other words, right/wrong.

I experienced a similar e-mail exchange the other day on a newsgroup I belong to.
Read more

Share
  • Print
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit