Monday, February 27, 2012

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy for Oscar

You nailed it.
Hats Off.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Blog

More than 6 years have passed since I started this blog. It certainly has changed in all these years because the scope widened for which I initially started this blog. Anyways, thought to share some snippets from my blog:

- My blog has been visited by 150 countries and territories. Visitors are not that much though in numbers. Pakistan just overtook USA as the place where I got most visitors from.

- The most viewed post has been 'Divorce in Islam - A Quranic Perspective' indicating the prevalence of this issue world wide.

- The second most viewed, is 'Urdu Word for Orgasm' - not because of the post itself but due to the search terms like 'how to get orgasm in urdu' etc. There was one search term of 'diagram of female orgasm in urdu'. The latter even interests me.

- A lot of visitors to my blog come to know whether 'female sex slaves (are) allowed in Islam' and whether 'one gets virgins when dies'. After 9/11 perhaps, lot of focus is on Islam and belief system of muslims so people want to know about these things more.

- Muslims and non-muslims want to know about 'Planet Mars in Islam' and whether there are 'muslims on other planets'. Are they not enough on this Earth?

- Some want to know whether 'Cleopatra was a muslim' or 'Nefertiti was a muslim'. Wish I knew.

- Curiosity it seems bugs some when they come to my blog searching for 'when do a muslims deeds go to heaven mondays and thursdays' and whether 'Coke Studio allowed in Islam'. A bit too much eh?

- I agree that Islam is kinda all pervasive fact for muslims and they need to find solutions for their problems but trust me Islam has no solution for this .. 'in islam solution for erectile dysfunction'.

- And what on earth is this? Can somebody explain? 'muslim nude slit'

- Lot of visitors come to my blog searching for 'nude beaches in Pakistan'. Amazing isn't it? Where are they anyways in Pakistan? and who on earth wants to come in Pakistan and be nude? to be stoned?

- Indian visitors come looking for 'Hina Rabbani Khar in jeans'. What is with Indians regarding Hina Rabbani Khar? and that too in jeans? OK I get the latter part, whats with the former?

- Indian visitors also come looking for 'postman rhymes'. I have never heard postman rhymes honestly. 'dakya aya.. daak laya'? Also, I never felt this. Too bad. 'crush on my muslim postman'

- Women Cricketers of Pakistan get more attention on my blog with search terms like 'love affairs of pakistani women cricket team'. People actually search these?

- I did a post on a teenage girl that went solo yachting across the globe 'Girl Going Solo'. I kept getting visitors on it for quite a long time intriguing me as to what is in it that interests people? Turns out, its a porn site.

All of the visitors have my respect, this was not meant to be disrespectful. I might keep updating this one.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Verse 2:223 - Women and 'Tilth'

In my previous post, 'Faith, Rationality and Consequences', I had discussed about a controversial verse of Quran in which, allegedly, the women are to be treated as 'tilth'. Antagonists argue that this demeaning verse sets the tone for blanket exploitation of women commonly visible in Islamic societies all over the world.

The Quranic verse is this.

2:223 -  Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe. 

Now per se, there is nothing sinister in this verse nor admirable. Things come to open when one comes to the nitty gritty of it. Three possible interpretation of this verse are as follows:

 Interpretation 1 - The verse means just as it says, your wives are a tilth for men. Good for producing only babies and nothing else. A man is to do what a bull would do in a field. 

 Interpretation 2Reference to 'tilth' is being given since for a farmer, the tilth is the most precious thing to cherish. It provides him with bounty and protection. Unless and until the farmer invests his sweat and blood in it, he is not getting respect from the his tilth.

 Interpretation 3 - This relates more to  the context in which the verse was supposedly revealed. Some say that people used to ask how should they 'do' their wives and in came the clarification that the intercourse has to vaginal and not anal. 'tilth', 'produce'... dig?

Now what on earth does this verse mean. If you are an antagonist, you will definitely go for the first interpretation and you would cite the issues of 'a man can have 4 wives and a woman cannot' (No you can't) and 'man is allowed to have sex slaves' (no he can not) as your arguments. Basic idea being that since Islam treats women as secondary so the conclusion of this verse is fairly easy to see.

Then there is another side of the story as well. Quran says:

30:21 - And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. 


2:182 - ... They are your garments and ye are their garments...

If spousal relationship means tranquility, love and mercy and both of them are like garments to each other, 'tilth' would make all the more sense. You can not do without each other. People argue that why the reference of tilth is given? This means that women have to be in the 'ownership' of a man, nothing by themselves and require a man to be of any good value. Further, when a tilth becomes infertile, it will be abandoned.

Quite frankly I don't know why the reference of tilth was given. If I were a God or had god-like powers, I would have been screwing around a lot instead of sending books for reforms. But then that is just me. Some might say that by just screwing around I would already be following the job description of god. The main thing, I think, is to note that its not the object in that reference that matters rather the relationship of those objects referred. Take the example for 'garments'. Both men and women are referred to being garments of each other. A garment, too, is nothing by itself and requires ownership to be of any value but when it comes to what it signifies... then it means protection, covering, privacy, intimacy etc. So tilth has to be viewed in that respect and not just object per se.

So to conclude, this verse is really open ended. I would not be surprised if the antagonists point out the meanness of this verse. Perhaps all the cruelty done to women in islamic societies is due to this verse. I on the other hand, an adherent to this scripture, see the positive side of this verse. The million dollar question being - what interpretation would you chose if you were an adherent of this scripture? Go for the compassionate verve or be a bull in tilth? The choice is totally yours. Perhaps this verse is a mirror.. shows whats inside you.


P.S: I ain't a saint.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Faith, Rationality and Consequences

Faith, for me, is a private matter. What I have in my heart regarding myself and the God, is to remain within confines of my heart and others have no right to judge or base their acts on it. But this assumption gets tested most of the times.

Islam is different in the sense that it involves various issues that relate to society in general, for example, guidelines related to divorce, matters related to orphans, inheritance, marriage so on and so forth. This renders the border between personal faith and public display of religion in form of rites, rituals and behaviors all the more blurred. What constitutes as a matter of my personal faith and how implementation of a certain religious injunction could intrude into that personal space are topics of interest.

Why do we hate the Taliban? Because they make religion (their sect specifically) enforceable by power. Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan are testament to the brutality that Taliban inflict in the name of religion. If I offer my prayers or not, Taliban should not have a problem with that, but unfortunately, it is their problem so I will be dragged to the mosque if I did not say my prayers, will be forced to grow beard and my pants will be above my ankles because according to them its un-islamic. They will not care how good a person you may have been otherwise but if you did not fall to the crtiera they have established, you are not good.

Then there is this little interesting thing. There is an author at Express Tribune who posted in the Blog section of the newspaper titled 'Who says I can’t be a Muslim feminist?' What she was trying to say was that while being a muslim, she held feminine principles too and did not find them contradictory in their implementation. The regular comments followed. I too participated in it. The basic thrust of the arguments was against her telling her that she could not be a muslim and a feminist at the same time because both were contradictory in nature.

The discussion then focused upon a verse of Quran and what implications it might have on the people following it. This will also serve as an example to what I am trying to say in this post. Here is the Quranic verse.

2:232Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe.  

This is a much debated verse of Quran and antagonistic say that this verse is extremely demeaning to women, that women are to be treated like 'tilth' - they say and provides males all the powers to abuse women. I differed. I said I found the verse telling me to be kind to the women folk. (I will be writing a separate post on that verse later on why I said so, its in the comments of the news website if anyone is interested. My Post 'Verse 2:223 - Women and 'Tilth')

The nice souls on that blog were trying to make me understand what the verses really meant – and they were very mean according to them. They all worried, rightly, that if I were to follow such scripture, I would end up on the wrong front – in this case, will abuse womenfolk. I, on the other hand, the adherent to this scripture, was saying that the scripture was telling me to be nice to womenfolk. These guys were insisting, that since the verses were wrong so I had to be wrong. They said I was just 'sugar coating' the verse by offering explanations. Instead of being worried what I was deriving from the verse they were more interested in what verse really meant. If they thought it would result in my being abusive to women then I was stating the opposite. Is it not this what they wanted?

Take the case of this blog author. She says she is a muslim and considers herself a feminist. She wants to maintain her faith and be a productive member of the society. BUT she is wrong. Why? because Islam and feminism are ‘oxymorons’ to each other. So she could not be a valuable member of the society because she was an adherent of Islam. Not very different from religious bigots who say that only religion provides the moral guidelines. They think that an atheist would not be a good human being, that secular societies would be glaring examples of social evil conveniently forgetting that best law abiding societies are secular

In essence, one would not care whether I am a productive member of the society but more interested to know what my faith was and then trashing it. But for what? Does one argue just for the sake of argument or there has to be an outcome preferably positive from it? Whether I am a believer of a certain faith, follower of a particular religion, believer in thousand gods or just single one, whether I am an atheist and rationality is my only god - should one not be concerned with what good I do for the society and/or personally instead of what I believe in?

The only consequence should be - whether you are believer of a particular faith or your religion is only rationality and logic - be human and humane. Peace.