Sunday, January 01, 2006
  Home again
I'm back home from a week at Muslim Youth Camp. Quite an experience! Not the least of which was that my oldest daughter learned the ninety-nine names of Allah in the five days we were there. (They were having a competition.) She managed to do this without either my husband or myself knowing that she was even trying to do it! I promise to blog more on the ninety-nine names of Allah soon, but there are other pressing issues at hand...

Happy New Year's!

and

Hajj Mubarak!!

Today is the first day of the Hajj, Islam's pilgrimage. You all probably know that this is the largest religious gathering anywhere, and it takes place in Mecca. Hajjis (the people who go for Hajj) visit the Kabah -- which stands on the site where Abraham and Ismail built a temple for God, which in turn is said to stand where Adam built his temple -- and they pray on the mount of Arafat, as Prophet Muhammad did. They throw pebbles at three stone pillars that represent the devil's whisperings to turn away from God. They sacrifice a goat in remembrance of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, and give the meat in charity, as charity is a prime value in Islam.

Among all these rather masculine rites is the woman-affirming commemoration of Hajar's perseverance in the desert, and her reliance upon God -- the running between the hills of Safa and Marwa which remember Hajar's running back and forth to find water for her son, the drinking of Zam Zam, in remembrance of how God answered her prayers and raised water in the desert -- a spring which continues to flow to this day.

Needless to say, the fact that 2 million Hajjis, male and female, commemorate the deeds of a woman is pretty heady stuff for all us Muslim women. The fact that the rite (which is repeated several times during the Hajj) is celebrating the personality of Hajar is even more significant.

I look at the role Mary plays (in Islam, can't speak for Catholicism where, I know, she is a very central figure, although it would be fascinating to hear more about how Catholics relate to her)... Anyway! Mary seems to me to embody the chalice -- the empty feminine who is made useful by having the male essence poured into her (Jesus, who the Qur'an identifies as the Word of God). Yes, she is given this blessing as a result of her piety, but in the Qur'an she is passive, silent, receptive, waiting for the male (the infant who speaks from the cradle!) to defend her. A very typical female role.

Hajar on the other hand is active -- running in the desert from hill to hill until she collapses in exhaustion -- she prays to God for succor (rather than being informed that she has been chosen by God to receive his blessing) and God answers. WOW! Need I say more about how empowering that is! And the fact that it is celebrated and commemorated by millions in the Hajj! It is the active, determined woman, the one who seeks out God, rather than the one who is passive and receptive that we remember every year! Heady stuff indeed!!

How sad that the modern ideal of Muslim womanhood seems to have been cast in the role of Mariam not Hajar.
 
Comments:
Công ty vận chuyển hàng hóa nội địa chúng tôi xin giới thiệu các dịch vụ vận chuyển, ship hàng giá rẻ để phục vụ nhu cầu Tết của quý khách hàng. Cụ thể chúng tôi sẽ cung cấp dịch vụ chuyển quà tết. Chúng tôi sẽ giúp bạn vận chuyển hàng đến tay người thân, bạn bè ở xa một cách nhanh chóng nhất. Đảm bảo giá cả hợp lý chất lượng dịch vụ tuyệt vời. Ngoài ra chúng tôi còn cung cấp nhiều dịch vụ khác như ship hàng cod, giao hàng cho shop, chuyển phát nhanh,... Nếu cần chuyển hàng hãy nhớ liên hệ với chúng tôi nhé.
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


What I'm reading now



Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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