Only In The South…

31 07 2007

carolinagirl.jpg

First of all, I am Southern and I love the South.  We’re unique, outspoken, well mannered. loyal people here in the south and usually we stick up for one another in a way that I have yet to find in any other place. That being said, there are some things that are uniquely southern.

 Only in the south….

Do you find gun racks installed on nearly every pick up truck yet, no one is concerned.

You find more people who know all the lyrics to “Sweet Home Alabama” and/ or “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” than know the entire National Anthem.

You are as likely to find a confederate flag hanging as an American flag (though, they are usually hung side by side).

If a woman walks into a crowded waiting room or onto a crowded bus men scramble over themselves to try to give the lady a seat. (yes! even us muslim women! and the process is much speedier if you are elderly or pregnant).

You order “tea” and automatically get sweet tea (usually one part liquid one part sugar).

Every critique or bit of malicious gossip is preceded or followed by “Bless (his/her,their,its) heart.”

Women speak so sweetly that you don’t realize they are  actually criticizing you.

You can go to small towns and everyone will insist they are related (we tend to count 20th cousins as just plain cousins ……NOTHING INSESTUOUS).

Grown people compare their scars.

The bars are packed on Saturday nights and the churches are packed on Sunday mornings (with the same people ;))

Would men be charged with aggravated assult for threating someone in the parking lot of a bar with a POISIONOUS SNAKE. (I swear I’m not making this up, this happend about a month ago in my town and the snake ended up biting one of the attackers rather than the victim….go figure).

If you mess with a person’s family (which again we include nearly everybody in town as our family whether we are blood related or not) you have to deal with them….for life (southerners are big on grudges).

The outcome of a highschool/college football game or nascar race is debated more fervently than an election.

One word. Chitlins.

You are as likely to find skoal in a back pocket as a wallet.

Grown people ride around in summer with one barefoot hung out the window. (saw this twice today, both men, both driving).

You are as likely to see a woman hunting and fishing as a man.

Are women equal parts spitfire and sweet (make a southern woman mad and you will know it quick).

 People are still qu ite enamored with airbrushed t-shirts and tags.

If you are fortunate to make friends with a southerner you have a friend and protector for life.

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Status of Women in Islam

28 07 2007
Status of Woman in Islam  
Taken From:www.whyislam.org 877-whyislam    
The status of women in Islam, is an issue that is pertinent in present times; both due to the divergence of cultural practices in the Muslim world from the Islamic perspective and the erroneous perception in the West, that Islam subjugates womenfolk.A dispassionate study of the primary sources of Islam, along with an analysis of the position of women in societies whereIslam was implemented, actually proves that for women Islam is a special blessing.

“Prior to Islam,” write the authors of The Cultural Atlas of Islam, “a woman was regarded by her parents as a threat to family honor and hence worthy of burial alive at infancy. As an adult, she was a sex object that could be bought, sold and inherited. From this position of inferiority and legal incapacity, Islam raised women to a position of influence and prestige in family and society.”

The rights and responsibilities of women are equal to those of men but they are not necessarily identical. This difference is understandable because men and women are different, in their physiological and psychological make-up. With this distinction in mind, there is no room for a Muslim to imagine that women are inferior to men. Thus it is perhaps more apt to refer to the Islamic approach on gender relations, as one of “equity” rather than the commonly used word “equality”, which could be misunderstood to mean equality in every minute aspect of life, rather than overall equality.

THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT

The sacred text of the Glorious Qur’an and the history of early Muslims bear witness to the fact that women are considered as vital to life as men.

Islam refuted the idea that Eve tempted Adam to disobey God, and thus caused his downfall. The Qur’an says that they both disobeyed, and negates the idea that women are a source of evil.

In a world where women were no more than objects of sexual gratification for men, and at a time when the religious circles argued over whether women were human or not, possessing souls, Islam proclaimed:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female.”
[Al-Qur’an 49:13]

“O Mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, Who created you from a single person, created of like nature his mate, from them scattered countless men and women. Fear Allah, through whom you demand your mutual rights and reverence the wombs (that bore you), for Allah ever watches over you.”
[Al-Qur’an 4:1]

Men and women are of the same family, and as such have similar rights and duties, and their Lord promises them in the Glorious Qur’an:

“Never will I waste the work of a worker among you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other.”
[Al-Qur’an 3:195]

Thus, in the Islamic tradition, a woman has an independent identity. She is a responsible being in her own right and carries the burden of her moral and spiritual obligations.

THE SOCIAL ASPECT

Women have as much right to education as men do. Almost fourteen centuries ago, Prophet Muhammad (p)1 declared that the pursuit of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim, male and female. This declaration was very clear and was largely implemented by Muslims throughout history.

Islam elevated the position of women in society and treated them on an equal footing with men, and in some cases, as a mother for instance, clearly gave them precedence over men. Thus when a man asked Prophet Muhammad (p): “Who is most entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” the Prophet (p) replied, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Who is next?” The Prophet (p) said, “Your mother.” Again the man asked, “Who is next?” The Prophet (p) repeated, “Your mother.” The man asked for a fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet (p) then replied, “Your father.”2

On another occasion, when a man came to the Prophet (p), and expressed the desire to join a military expedition, the Prophet (p) asked him if he had a mother. When he replied that he had, the Prophet (p) advised him, “Stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet.”3

As daughters, women have a right to just and equitable treatment from their parents. The Prophet(p) gave glad tidings to those who did not insult their daughters or favored sons over daughters.4

A woman has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals, and her consent is a prerequisite to the validity of the marriage contract. A marriage is based on mutual peace, love and compassion. Dr. Jamal Badawi, a Canadian Islamic scholar, states in his book Gender Equity in Islam:

“The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection and overall leadership of the family within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutuality and complementarity of husband and wife does not mean ‘subservience’ by either party to the other. Prophet Muhammad (p) helped with household chores, although the responsibilities he bore and the issues he faced in the community were immense.”

The responsibility of maintaining social and moral values lies on both men and women. Both must refrain from all deeds and gestures that might stir the passions of people other than their legitimate spouses or cause evil suspicion of their morality.

Women are entitled to freedom of expression just as men are. Among the early Muslims, women participated in public life, especially in times of emergencies. It is reported in the Qur’an and in history that women not only expressed their opinion freely but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet (p) himself as well as with other Muslim leaders. They were not shut behind iron bars or considered worthless.

THE ECONOMIC ASPECT

Islam grants women equal rights to contract, to enterprise, to earn and possess independently. A woman’s life, her property and her honor are as sacred as those of a man. If she commits any offense, her penalty is no less or more than of a man’s in a similar case. If she is wronged or harmed, she gets due compensation equal to what a man in her position would get.5

Islam has given women a share of inheritance. Before Islam, women were not only deprived of that share, but were themselves considered as property to be inherited by men. Out of that transferable property Islam made an heir, acknowledging the inherent individuality of women. Whether the woman is a wife or mother, a sister or daughter, she receives a certain share of the deceased kin’s property, a share that depends on her degree of relationship to the deceased and the number of heirs. This share is hers, and no one can take it away or disinherit her. Even if the deceased wishes to deprive her by making a will to other relations or in favor of any other cause, the Law will not allow him to do so.

Women are exempt from all financial liabilities. As a wife, a woman is entitled to demand of her prospective husband a suitable dowry that will be her own. She is entitled to complete provision and total maintenance by the husband. She does not have to work or share with her husband the family expenses. She is free to retain, after marriage, whatever she possessed before it, and the husband has no right whatsoever to any of her belongings. As a daughter or sister she is entitled to security and provision by the father and brother respectively. That is her privilege. If she wishes to work or be self-supporting and participate in handling the family responsibilities, she is quite free to do so, provided her integrity and honor are safeguarded.

CONCLUSION

It is thus clear that the status of women in Islam is very high. Islam has granted them rights that match beautifully with their duties. What Islam has established for women is that which suits their nature, gives them full security and protects them against disgraceful circumstances and uncertain channels of life.

There does exist a gap between the rights of women outlined in the Qur’an, and the prevalent reality in the Muslim world. However, images of Muslim women as ignorant, oppressed and submissive are stereotypical and do no justice to the large number of Muslim women whose firm conviction in the Islamic concepts of family cohesiveness and happiness, and their own individuality, ensures their sense of self-fulfillment.

1 (p) here stands for “peace be upon him”
2 Reported by Bukhari
3 Reported by Ahmad, Basa’i and Al-Baihaqi
4 Reported by Ahmad
5 Al-Qur’an, 2:178; 4:45, 92-93





Latino Muslims Growing in Number in the USA

28 07 2007




Irish and Loving Islam

28 07 2007




The Public Library

26 07 2007

Just wanted to give a shout out to my local public library. I have to say there are few instituions that I love more than a public library.  If you have ever travelled to a third world country you will understand why. The libraries here in the good ol US of A are awesome.  They are places for family, fun and learning. Our libraries have fun activities for the kids. They show videos and play games. In addition, there is story time and summer reading contests and cultural diversity/geography adventures. It’s the one place many parents can count on sending their kids once or twice a week in order (for the parent(s))to capture some of their lost sanity and have an actual adult conversation. Adults may enjoy the free use of a computer for an hour, browse books, magazines, or newspapers, or maybe even pour over Geneology records (my pleasure), or simply sit back and relax while their children are happily supervised and occupied. Contrast this to the third world countries that I have visited and there is no comparison. The public libraries that I visited in Indonesia had guards! You dared speak and it was all seriousness. Children? no way! Activities? no way! Stuffy? Overbearing? Absolutely! I wanted to not walk but run from the place! Don’t get me wrong, Indonesia has fairs and festivals for children and they are heaps of fun! It’s just that the library here and the library there are definatley meant for different purposes.

 I’m interested to hear from people in other countries about your public libraries!? Or those of you in the “good ‘ol US of A” feel free to agree or disagree with my assessment. After all, I am one woman and it’s just my personal perspective.





Cute Video: Brothers Reading

25 07 2007




The Benefits of Reading to Children

25 07 2007

I fondly remember spending my childhood propped up on my older sisters lap listening to her exaggerated tone as she read to me. I remember my mother never failing to read me a bedtime story. Then, as I turned into a pre-teen I remember reading The Baby Sitters Club, Goosbumps, and other similar books. My love of reading has continued to this day. I can say one thing. I aced literature in school. I was far above most of the class in reading comprehension. I sincerely believe that my success was due to the love of reading instilled into me as a child.

Sadly, today, many children would rather sit in front of the television all day watching their favorite programs or playing video games. While I see nothing wrong with watching television from time to time or playing video games once in awhile, I find it disturbing that some parents allow their children to spend all their free time in this manner. It’s best to be well rounded. Some television programs certainly promote learning and reading. However, I believe it makes a greater impact on the child when his/her parent(s) actually sit down and read together.

Here are some benefits of reading with children. Hopefully they will inspire us to try to set aside some time to read with our children. It could make a huge difference in their lives and ours!

Some Benefits of Reading Aloud

By: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools. (1999)

Reading aloud to children in any language prepares them to learn to read English. Learn about the benefits in this article.

Young children learn a great deal when books are read aloud to them.

They learn about the internal structure of stories – how they begin, different types of conflicts, and possible solutions. They sometimes learn empathy for others and see other sides to a story, such as understanding what the main character is going through (whether person or animal), be it fear, anger, or humility.

Reading aloud provides opportunities for students to view persons not in their immediate environment, for example the elderly, wise persons, or people from different ethnic backgrounds or social status. And through books, children can travel to far away lands and learn about life in the jungle or on a cattle ranch.

In reading books, children learn what is considered proper or appropriate behavior for their culture or that of others. Depending on the story, they could learn about the need to respect the elderly, how to ask for forgiveness, or how to show you’re sorry.

Finally, when reading fairy tales or modern fantasy, children learn how to use their imagination, to view situations from various perspectives, and to know that events can be seen from different viewpoints.

 

Adapted and excerpted from “Reading Children’s Books: There’s More to it than Meets the Eye” (1999). ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools.

Some good websites for parents:

http://www.reading.org/resources/community/links_lit_tp.html

http://www.pbsparents.org 

http://www.resourcesinreading.com/