Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Muslims: Trust more, forbid less.

This is mainly about adoption, but will go into other things.

For my non-Muslim readers, when you adopt in Islam, the children aren't considered your blood relatives - thus, the rules for non-blood relatives still apply, such as women covering in front of men, no touching between the genders after the onset of puberty, and so forth.

This started with me being irritated that I get flack for being honest with my Muslim friends and telling them that I want to adopt and/or foster --- mainly this comes up when they ask for what qualities I want in a spouse; I'm not just randomly offering this information. A lot of them have brought up that I'll need to cover around male children, or that if my daughters choose to cover, they'll have to cover around my husband. Also brought up is the question of, "What if your husband develops feelings for the girl?" Also, probably what if I develop feelings for a boy. That's probably implied. These are put out as examples of why I shouldn't adopt and/or foster, despite the fact that adopting and fostering is a very Islamic thing to do, as evidenced by Zayd, the adopted son of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be with him).

Obviously if you or your spouse develop romantic/sexual feelings for an adopted/foster child, either you or they are the wrong spouse. But those cases are few and far between, and the remote possibility of it happening shouldn't bar anyone from adopting or fostering. If you take care to choose a good spouse, communicate openly with them, and have a good relationship with them, then that greatly minimizes the possibility of either of you becoming attracted to a foster/adopted child.

What I've found in Islam today is that Muslims get so up in arms about what might happen, that they ban everything that could possibly lead to whatever it is. Like, men and women might be attracted to each other if they mix in public, where everyone can see them, so we must completely segregate them (an extreme example, but hello, Saudi). Instead of trusting people to have self-control, and to walk away from situations they find tempting for whatever reason, a lot of Muslims try to ban everything that could remotely lead to temptation.

"Shaytan (Satan) is constantly trying to get you to sin," people say.

Aren't we taught that du'a, honest du'a, frightens Satan away? And if you don't feel that you can handle a particular situation, then don't put yourself in it. But trust others that they have that strength. Trust that your fellow Muslims have enough intestinal fortitude, enough commitment to God, and enough common sense to walk away from a tempting situation.

I won't lie; that's not what this blog is about --- there are men, Muslim and not, with whom I won't be alone. Why? Because either they or I have an attraction that I don't trust to not cloud our judgment. I'm not going to jump anyone's bones, but I don't trust there to not be any physical contact with some people. So while I'm comfortable being out in public with them, where others can see us, I don't put myself in a situation where we're alone together. I trust that they, and mostly I, have the strength to walk away from a situation that could potentially lead to forbidden activities.

The Muslim community needs to be more open about sex, I feel. We need to acknowledge that most people, from the onset of puberty, have sexual desires. Further, we need to teach honest self-control to people, rather than just telling them to say no. Abstinence-only education doesn't work, not like empowering people with knowledge, and giving them options, teaching them how to deal with the desire for nooky. Good Lord, the Prophet, peace be with him, talked openly about sex when it was needed. Instead of assuming that the current community can't handle that, we should look to the Prophet as our ideal, our goal, and work toward that, not half-assedly try to justify our own ignorant and often backward behaviour by claiming that, "well, that was the best of generations, and there's no way we can live up to their standard."

Bullpoop, my friends. Bullpoop. Your teacher having a Ph.D. is no excuse to not get your own. Bill Gates giving most of his money to charity is no excuse to not give your own money to charity. These are examples to live up to, to strive to emulate and be like.

Thus, instead of hiding behind our prime example for how to live our lives, we should be striving to emulate him, to be more like the best of generations. We have no excuses.

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