Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Meet Up

YAY!!! Finally!! Hehehe.. The meet up was great. I met up with Baher at Hamra St. then we headed to Old Damascus. We got lost because people are hopeless at giving directions. It doesn't help that me and Baher seriously suck at directions anywyas so it took us 45 mins to find the place. Hahaha... Nontheless we found Khawali. It's a great place and the company was even better. I finally met the beloved leader Ayman. Hahahaha. I still can't get over how much he reminds me of my brother. I don't know what is it.

You know what's killing me? Amr still looks sooooooooo familiar to me. I'm trying to figure out who does he look like but it's useless. Everytime, it comes to me, it disappears. Hahaha... Anyways, I have to admit the people I met are seriously pleasant and fun...

The atmosphere was great, I was telling Baher how I'd love to make a weekly meeting instead. Hahahaha... Yallah, I should be around for the next coupld of meetings (July and August) Hmmm.. I wonder how it'll all be once Ayman leaves to the US. It'll be sad. :(

I just want to thank ALL of you guys, (Ayman, Baher, Sinan, Ammar, Amr, Majd, Annie, Yazan and Dina) for a great time. You guys rock...

Hey Yazan and Amr, so, how did you friends take the pic of incubus's guitar pick?? Hehehehe... I should be make them and sell them. Hahahaha...

What's that about?

I find this quite interesting. I have no idea why a car from Massachusetts, USA would be roaming the streets of Damascus, Syria. Does anybody have an idea? I sure don't.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Finally, I'm here in my home Damascus. It has been less than a week and I already have a sunburned nose. Hehehe... I LOVE this place. It's the most spiritual place I've ever known.

So the hard part was being at my grandfather's house with my grandfather being there, at least that is what I thought at first. My uncle and me, stayed there cleaning the place up for the first few days. All I did was the dishes because my uncle has a thing for fixing the whole place by himself without any help. So I just did my share and hanged out with other relatives and friends.

My grandmother is finally back to Damascus as well. I thank God that it's not as hard as I thought. I didn't feel the major emptiness at the place since my grandfather isn't around. It got a little awkward though when my cousins came and we all sat and started talking about how he died and where was he sitting when he died. At the same time, I got some peace from it because ever since he died, I never really talked about it. So it was my first time since last year.

Well, the meet up is in 4 days and I'm seriously excited. I already met some of the bloggers and they are all wonderful. Can't wait till I meet the rest of the crew.

Well, I guess this is it, for me... I'll probably have some weird thoughts and I'll add them...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What's up?

Well, it's been a while since I actually posted something original from me. I haven't been doing that good lately... Just have too much on my mind really. Anyways, I think I'll just say that I'd be taking some time off from blogging. I just need some time to sort things out.

For those who don't already know, I'm leaving to Syria this Sunday. YAY!!! I'm going to my beloved homeland. I'll be seeing my aunt and cousins that I haven't seen for about 3 years and my cousin's baby for the first time. I'll be seeing a good friend of mine that I haven't seen for over 7 years. Of course then meet the Syrian bloggers.

With all these excitement, I'm seriously nervous. Things aren't exactly great for my relatives in Syria. Each and everyone has some serious health issue in the family and death might be near. Speaking of which, I'll be staying at my grandfather's place for the first month I'm in Syria. That also makes me nervous because last August my grandfather passed away when I was in Malaysia. I haven't seen him for 2 years before that. When I last saw him, I knew that it'll be the last time I'd see him. I remember our farewell, it was very emotional we both cried as he was holding me tight. Just thinking about it me makes me cry. Anyways, so this is going to be the first time I'll be there since he passed away so I'm seriously nervous about it.

Well, that's it for me... See you guys soon.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hijab: Religious Symbol or Obligation?

This is to reply to what Front Bumper' said about one of my posts about the Hijab ban in France. U can check his post on his blog, My Stupid Corner

As I commented onn his blog, I didn't feel it's enough so I got more information about hijab ban in France from a reliable website...

Here's a person asking about the issue in France and this is what a group of Muftis had to say:

Dear scholars, As-salamu `alaykum. The issue of hijab in France has reached a very serious stage. Could you please clarify whether hijab is a religious symbol or not?

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

It is completely rejected to say that hijab is a religious symbol because hijab has an indispensable function in the life of a Muslim woman. That function is protection of the Muslim woman and preservation of her honor and chastity. This means that a woman who wears hijab does not do this to declare her religion or distinguish herself. Rather, she wears it out of obedience to her Lord.

On the other hand, preventing hijab on the basis of preserving the secularity of the state is an illogical claim because secularism in a liberal community means that the state authority should be neutral in matters of religion. The government should neither accept nor reject, neither be for or against any religion. The state is to provide freedom of religion for all people.

One might further ask: If a non-Muslim woman chooses to dress modestly by covering her body and even her hair, would she be prevented from doing so by this ban? And if she is given the freedom to cover herself because she is not Muslim, why then is a Muslim woman not given the same freedom?

In this concern, the eminent Muslim scholar, Dr. `Ali Jum`ah, Mufti of Egypt, states:

"A Muslim woman is obliged to wear hijab as soon as she reaches puberty, as indicated in the Qur'an, the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the consensus of Muslim scholars from early ages of Islam up till now. Hijab is known to be essential and necessary in religion; it is not merely a symbol that distinguishes Muslims from non-Muslims. It is an obligation that forms part and parcel of the Islamic religion.

Allah Almighty says: "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful." (Al-Ahzab: 59)

He also says: "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms." (An-Nur: 31)

Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Asma', daughter of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them): "O Asma'! Once a girl reaches puberty, nothing of her body may be seen (by non-mahrams) except this and these, (he pointed to his face and hands while saying so).""

Sheikh Muhammad Husain Fadl Allah, a well-known Shiite jurist of Lebanon, also comments:

"Wearing hijab derives from religious commitment; it is in the same status of religious obligations in the way that incompliance with it constitutes a sin. Has secularism become so weak that the secular authorities fear a scarf, a turban, or a cross hanging from the neck to threaten its stability?"

Moreover, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:

"I completely reject and condemn the French resolution that prevents the Muslim female students from wearing hijab at school. By doing so, they force Muslim women to ignore the teachings of their religion and disobey Allah's commands, which say: "…and to draw their veils over their bosoms", and: "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad)."

Actually, all Muslims with their various affiliations and inclinations agree upon the obligation of hijab. Hence, we have been struck by the hijab ban, which is a persecution against the Islamic teachings and values, especially which it is made by France, the land of liberality and openness, the home of the French Revolution that called for freedom and equality. Moreover, France has the largest Muslim community in Europe.

Therefore, such resolution contradicts two human rights: individual freedom and religious freedom, which are asserted by all constitutions and charters of human rights all over the world.

On the other hand, banning hijab on the basis of preserving secularity of the state is an illogical claim, because secularism in a liberal community means that the state authority should be neutral in matters of religion. The government should neither accept nor reject, neither be with or against any religion. The state is to provide freedom of religion for all people. Conversely, Marxist secularism is hostile against religion in general; it considers religion to be like addiction that hinders peoples' development. Marxism denies the existence of God and denies the existence of man's soul as well.

Claiming that hijab is a sign of religion is by no means acceptable, because a religious sign or symbol has no function but to declare the religious beliefs of the one who wears it, such as the cross for a Christian and the kippa for a Jew. They both have no function but to declare the religious beliefs of those who wear them. Hijab, on the other hand, has a religious function, namely, to protect Muslim women and preserve their chastity. It could not strike the mind of hijab-clad women to wear it for declaring their religious beliefs. Rather, they wear it in obedience to Allah's commands.

Therefore, the hijab ban contradicts the principles of freedom and equality that have been asserted by the French Revolution and stipulated in all heavenly revealed religions and international charters of human rights. In fact, the hijab ban is a form of persecution against the committed Muslim women; it infringes upon their freedom; it prevents them from their right to learn and work to the favor of non-Muslim and uncommitted Muslim women.

Real civilization is characterized by tolerance, so it has room for various races, religions, and ideologies. It does not tend to make people copies of a prototype. People should be brought up to the point of tolerance with one another in spite of their difference in religion, as the Glorious Qur'an teaches us in the following verse: "Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion." (Al-Kafirun: 6)

It hurts to hear the claims that one who wears hijab bears hostility towards others. What hostility can a woman who tries to protect her honor and who is committed to the teachings of her religion bear towards others? Hostility and enmity are never expected from a pious person, man or woman, who is conscious of Allah and fears Him.

It is true that the majority pass whatever laws they agree upon, according to the principles of democracy. Yet, just democracy cares for the rights of the minorities, whether religious or ethnic; it does not oppress the minorities. Were it so, the majority in a democratic society could get rid of the minorities under the name of democracy."

Also read:

France: Hijab under Attack

Hijab in France: Muslims' Role

Hijab : A Clear Vision

Tips to Face the Hijab Ban in France

Allah almighty knows best.

If anybody has problems in viewing these fatwas let me know and I'll post them on my blog or email them to you, you can chose.. Thank you...

Hijab in France: Muslims' Role

Another questioner asks:

In light of the pressure faced by French Muslims with regard to hijab, what do you say regarding the issue? Your opinion is very much appreciated.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His Cause and render our work for His Sake.

Muslims in France should try their best to pressure public opinion to change the prospective law may ban hijab in schools. They should consider that banning of hijab is a challenge to their identity in that country. Whatever steps they take, they should apply wisdom in their approach, as resorting to stern measures is not a viable solution.

Responding to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following:

“As Muslims, we must stand up and fight for our rights by using all the constitutional and legal means open to us. By enacting such an unjust law, they are undermining the very spirit of the founding principles of their nation. So we must use all available means open to us to get this law changed.

To give in and resign to unjust laws is tantamount to surrendering our faith. So we have no choice but to join forces with all others who are against such unjust laws and get them changed. By trusting in Allah and working diligently and in solidarity with all fellow citizens on this matter, ultimately we will be the winners. Remember the stories of Prophets as told in the Qur'an that teach us that Allah's Assistance is near to those who excel in their efforts. So never give up the struggle. Allah says: “Those who strive for Our sake, We shall surely guide them unto Our ways!”” (Al-`Ankabut: 69).

Moreover, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the Fiqh Council of North America, adds:

“We must explain to the public and authorities that unlike wearing large crosses or other religious symbols, the case of hijab is different in at least three ways:

1. It is not a matter of religious symbolism, but it is a command of Allah to Muslim women, and it is part of their religious practice, not symbolism.

2. Muslim women who choose to observe that religious practice are not doing that to challenge the political system, but to practice their due religious freedom, which is by no means intended to hurt others or make any political statements.

3. The nature of Islam as a religion is such that the practice of modesty includes both private and public life. This is part of secularism, not to promote religion or oppress it for that matter.

Muslims should never accept that any non-Muslim define for them what their religion is or demand that they give up their religious belief and practice that does not infringe on others’ freedom. All measures should be done firmly but peacefully and articulately.

When opponents of hijab refer to the principle of equality as one of the bases of the French Republic, they should also refer to freedom as another legitimate foundation of the French Republic.

May Allah help you with this hard test of faith.”

You can also read:

France: Hijab under Attack

Hijab in France: Islamic Views & News

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to write back!

May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide you to that which pleases Him. Ameen.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Verse 4:34 in the Holy Qur'an Beating women?

I hope this is useful to people who have been wondering about this issue.


By Edip Yuksel

"Verse 4:34 of the Qur'an orders believers to beat their wives; so, Islam is a male dominant religion." Many of us have heard this criticism from Christians, atheists, agnostics, etc. Personally, every time I read 4:34, I felt that something was wrong. How does God, the Most Wise order us to beat our women? What kind of solution is that? It is in contrast to the verses in which God describes marriage:

"Among His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other. He places in your heart love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are signs for people who think." (30:21)

Obviously, this mixed messages have bothered many contemporary translators of the Qur'an. To avoid the moral and intellectual problems, they tried to soften the word "beat" when they translate the verse 4:34. For instance, Yusuf Ali uses a merciful parentheses after "beat" to save women:

". . . As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly). . ." (4:34)

Many tried to "beat" around the bush to "beat" the problem generated by the "beat" of 4:34.
When I finished the Turkish translation (1991), this verse was on the top of my orange list to study carefully. Whenever I encounter a problem regarding the understanding of a Qur'anic verse, I remember 20:114 and pray accordingly: "Most Exalted is God, the only true King. Do not rush into (understanding) the Qur'an before it is revealed to you, an say, 'My Lord, increase my knowledge.'"

Almost all of the translations have mistranslated the four key words or terms of this particular verse. These are: "Qawwamune," "Faddallallahu ba'dahum ala ba'd," "Nushuzehunne," and "Fadribuhunne." In our late book, "Errors in Turkish Translations" (Istanbul, 1992) we have discussed the real meaning of these words and the motivation and reasons for mistranslating them. Here, we will focus on the last word, "Fadribuhunne."

A Famous Multi-Meaning Word

The problem comes from the word "Idribuhunne" which we used to translate as "beat them". The root of this word is "DaRaBa". If you look at any Arabic dictionary you will find a long list of meanings ascribed to this word. That list is one of the longest list in whole Arabic dictionary. It can be said that "DaRaBa" is the number-one multi-meaning word in Arabic. It has so many different meanings, we can find numerous different meanings ascribed to it in the Qur'an.

• To travel, to get out: 3:156; 4:101; 38:44; 73:20; 2:273
• To strike: 2:60,73; 7:160; 8:12; 20:77; 24:31; 26:63; 37:93; 47:4
• To beat: 8:50; 47:27
• To set up: 43:58; 57:13
• To give (examples): 14:24,45; 16:75,76,112; 18:32,45; 24:35; 30:28,58; 36:78; 39:27,29; 43:17; 59:21; 66:10,11
• To take away, to ignore: 43:5
• To condemn: 2:61
• To seal, to draw over: 18:11
• To cover: 24:31
• To explain: 13:17

As you see, in Qur'an alone we can witness the verb "DaRaBa" having at least ten different meanings. "DaRaBa" has also other meanings which are not mentioned in the Qur'an. For example, in the Arabic language, you do not print money--you "DaRaBa" money, you do not multiply numbers--you "DaRaBa" numbers, you do not cease the work--you "DaRaBa" the work. In Turkish we have many verbs similar to DaRaBa, such as "tutmak", "calmak", "vurmak" etc. In English we have two verbs which are almost equivalent to "DaRaBa". These are "strike" and "beat".

Webster's Dictionary gives fourteen meanings to the verb "strike": hit (against); ignite; (of snake) bite; (of plants) (cause to) take root; attack; hook (fish); sound (time) as bell in clock etc.; affect; arrive at, come upon; enter mind of; discover (gold, oil etc.); dismantle, remove; make (coin); cease work as protest or to make demands. The same dictionary gives eight meanings to the verb "beat": strike repeatedly; overcome; surpass; stir vigorously with striking action; flap (wings); make, wear (path); throb; sail against wind.

In the beginning of this article (underlined) I deliberately used "beat" in three different meanings in a single statement just to show the variety of meanings in a single word. In English, when we order someone to "beat it" we mean "get out". Similarly in Arabic, when we order someone with the commend form of "DaRaBa", that is "iDRiB", we mean "get out".

How Can We Find The Appropriate Meaning

When we encounter a multi-meaning word, we select the proper meaning according to the context, forms, and common sense. For instance, if we had have translated "DaRaBa" in 13:17 as "beat" instead of "explain", the meaning would be ridiculous:
. . . God thus beats the truth and falsehood." (13:17)

Another example of mistranslation of "DaRaBa" can be found in the translation of 38:44. All the translations (except Dr. Khalifa's translation) inject a male-made story to justify their silly translation. Here is how Yusuf Ali translates the verse about Job:

"And take in the hand a little grass, and strike therewith: and break not (the oath)."
Yusuf Ali, in the footnote narrates the traditional story: "He (Job) must have said in his haste to the woman that he would beat her: he is asked now to correct her with only a wisp of grass, to show that he was gentle and humble as well as patient and constant."
However, without injecting this story, we can translate it as the following:

"Now, you shall travel the land to fulfill your pledge (that is to deliver the message)." We found him steadfast. What a good servant! He was a submitter. (38:44)
Let's turn back to 4:34

Additionally, the word "Nushuz" which is generally translated as "opposition" has another meaning which can be translated as degrees of disloyalty ranging from flirtation to sexual liaison. If we study 4:34 carefully we will find a clue that leads us to translate that word as "flirting or cheating" or "extramarital affair" (Any word or words that reflect the range of disloyalty in marriage). The clue is the phrase before "Nushuz" as reads: ". . . and observe God's commandments, even when alone in their privacy." This phrase emphasizes the importance of loyalty in marriage life.

Furthermore, the same word "Nushuz" is used in 4:128, but it is used to describe the misbehavior of husbands not wives as was in 4:34. So, the traditional translation of "Nushuz", that is, "opposition" will not fit here. In vertical relations, "opposition" cannot be a double-edged behavior. So, translators try to avoid this contradiction by ascribing just the opposite meaning of "opposition", i.e., "oppression" in verse 4:128. However, the meaning of "Nushuz" as "disloyalty" is appropriate for both cases described in 4:34 and 4:128.

A Coherent Understanding

When we read 4:34 we should not understand "idribuhunne" as "beat those women". We must remember that this word has many meanings. God gives us three ways of dealing with extra-marital-affair. In the beginning stage of such misbehavior husband should start from giving advice. If it does not work and she goes further and commit a proven adultery, that time husband has the right to strike them out (4:34 & 65:1).
Let's present our suggestion for the translation of verse 4:34

"Men traditionally take care of women, since God has endowed each of them with certain qualities and men spend from their financial resources. The righteous women are obedient (to God) and during the absence (of their husband) they honor them according to God's commandment. As for those women whom you are experiencing a fear of disloyalty from, you shall first advice them, then (if they continue) you may desert them in bed, then you may strike them out. If they obey you then don't transgress against them. God is Most High, Supreme." (4:34).

Beating women who are cheating is not an ultimate solution; but "striking them out" from your house is the best solution. And it is fair too.

Friday, June 10, 2005

True change for Syria???

From time to time, I get interesting emails about Syria and I got this about 30 mins ago... Makes me wonder, is Syria truly changing or is it a disguise of what seems to be change?

Your Opinion!
The first Syrian governmental sponsored website asking for the opinion
of Syrians on various issues.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Who ever knew??

One of the first people that I got to know via blogging is Dina. No doubt, she seemed like a really sweet girl. As I got deeper into blogging we got to know the same people and comment on each other's blogs more often.

Not to long ago I started chatting with her on Yahoo messenger. We were getting to know each other which lead to tell her a horrible incident that happened to me back in 2002. Dina mentions that she heard of a girl with my exact same story. I was thinking maybe it's a coincidence since I know I wasn't the only Syrian this happened to. Then thing led to another and then figured out that the girl was talking about is actually me. Too many coincidences for me to believe it's another person. It came down to that she heard the story from her Uncle's wife. I was thinking that my story has become new in Syria. I still didn't get it.

As it turns out to be and what I find VERY entertaining is that after all that, me and Dina realized we're related. Shocked It's not a blood relation nor a close one. As it turns out to be, my uncle's wife who also live in UAE is Dina's Uncle's wife's sister. Another words my cousins are her cousin's cousin in which she met when Dina was much younger. Confusing enough?? Tongue Out I asked my cousin about her and he actually remembers her clearly as they played as kids. How cute...

So how did Dina know of my story? U can guess... My Uncle's wife told her sister(Dina's Uncle's wife) about my story and obviously Dina heard it from her somehow.

I love these kinda incidences. It's not the first time for me though, it's my second time. The first one was in the Sami Yusuf Forum I met another relative that I never knew she existed. We even live in the same country.

Interesting, don't you think???

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Do You Love Me??

A lover asked his beloved,
Do you love yourself more
than you love me?

The beloved replied,
I have died to myself
and I love for you.

I've disappeared from myself
and my attributes.
I am present only for you.

I have forgotten all my learning,
but from knowing you
I have become a scholar.

I have lost all my strength,
but from your power
I am able.

If I love myself
I love you.
If I love you
I love myself.
Poem by Rumi
Translation by Deepak Chopra
Fereydoun Kia
The love poems of Rumi (Harmony Book New York)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Protect Hijab Thanks All Those Who Supported the Written Declaration on Religious Rights and Freedoms.

A while back a group of us actually sent MEP all over the European Union asking them to support Religious Rights and Freedoms again France for banning Hijab in France... This is the report of how it turned out to be:

Saturday May 21st marks the end of the 3 month period during which the Protect Hijab campaign has been working tirelessly to gain the support of MEPs across Europe for the Written Declaration on Religious Rights and Freedoms (“WD”), which was tabled before the European Parliament on 21st February 2005.

The WD received 70 signatories in total, which is a success relative to the other 8 declarations which have been tabled so far this year, with only 2 others gaining more MEP signatures.

Proposing the WD has allowed Protect Hijab to demonstrate to the political establishment in Europe how fundamental the issue of Hijab is to many women in Europe, and to present the argument for religious tolerance and freedom in the corridors of power. In the past 3 months, Protect Hijab has contacted every MEP in Europe and has mobilised Muslim women around Europe to lobby for change.

Protect Hijab would like to thank all the MEPs who supported and signed the WD, and who take the rights of religious expression seriously. Protect Hijab is particularly grateful to MEPs Caroline Lucas (Green Party), Sarah Ludford (Liberal Democrats), Claude Moraes (Labour), Philip Bushill-Matthews (Conservative) and Alain Lipietz for proposing and supporting this declaration.

To mark the end of this campaign, Muslim women will meet in London on Saturday 21st May to celebrate the achievement and renew their commitment to continue campaigning to end the ban.

Nabila Ferhat, Protect Hijab head of media commented: “Our work will continue beyond the 21st May 2005. We have many other projects planned, and our campaign will have a much greater focus on the media, with forthcoming events in September for International Hijab Solidarity Day, details of which will follow.”

For further information write to
Or visit
For Interview please contact our media department on 07786257120 or 07947787222


I thank all those who participated in this mock contest. :P Wasn't it fun???Hahaha... We actually got more than winner. For those who said more than one answer I'll just take their first choice..

Congrats to the winners who happen to be Ayman and Dina.

So you guys can now have a FREE blog template from me Hehehehe

I really enjoyed designing this blog and I wouldn't mind to do it again and again :D So if anybody has an idea, fill me up...

Oh yeah, the answer... :P Sinan is my savior who help me when I messed up horribly... I do have to thank Baher as well... He's the one gave the jump start to this whole thing. I was clueless and he gave a site to figure it out and it helped. Thanks BAHER!!!! I also thank Sinan for fixing the script that I totally made a total mess out of.

OK, now that is out of the way, we can go back to out lives. Hehehehehehe...