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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

UAE may anger Muslims.... but...

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

You know, there is so much talk about the UAE government and how much they cater to non-Muslim Westerners. I share some of the frustrations as many of you, I do… but you know what??? there is still beauty in living here as well.

there are masjids everywhere and unless you are living in the middle of the desert, or in a low populated area, a masjid is always near wherever you are, Alhamdulillah.

the shopping centers and malls have washing rooms and prayer rooms and some of the places also have loudspeakers indoors to hear the adhaan, Alhamdulillah.

some television channels will pause their programming to notify the viewers that it is a certain prayer time, Alhamdulillah.

and the most beautiful thing of all. getting to hear the Adhaan, Mashallah. for all five prayers, Mashallah. oh, and not to forget Takbir over the loudspeakers from all the masjids in the mornings before Eid prayer, --soooo beautiful, absolutely beautiful, Mashallah. Alhamdulillah.

here you will see a lil video of our Saalah—which is the living room/womens’ room where we were hanging out--and I get to kill two birds with one stone… I get to show off two of our pets (we have another bird and another cat LOL)—and guess what you hear in the background? that is the Adhaan Mashallah :D although you can only hear one voice more distinct than others, the adhaan is coming from the several masjids around the neighborhood. they did try to make only one masjid within a certain distance to be able to do the adhaan, but that only lasted a few days at the most I think... I can't remember for sure because my memory is so bad--but it went back to all the masjids doing Adhaan, Alhamdulillah!

Friday, March 20, 2009

skin color in the UAE…

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I have just read something very upsetting on a forum I am a member on. a member of the board was in class yesterday and another student who is Sudanese had a typed note on her desk that read:

“You are ugly and tall and too black and you smell.”

Astagferallah!! how cruel! this makes me so angry. so very verrrry angry.

I just want to talk a little about skin color issues I have heard/known about in the UAE.

for the local culture here, from the past up until now, it is considered beautiful to have fair skin. the more fair the better. though I do have to say from knowing local women I think nowadays there are many women who accept their color, but certainly not most of them. it is still an issue here.

there is a product here named “fair and lovely”—it is a skin lightening cream that sells very well here and their commercials have angered me.

I could only find one in English, but take a look at this one (it was originally in Arabic):if you can't view it it is here:

Fair and Lovely Ad

here is another one dubbed in Arabic for the Middle East market:

if you search on Youtube almost all of the ads are from India and the surrounding countries, where darker skin is shunned.

anyhow, this commercial, if you watch it, clearly sends out a signal to the Arab girls that they will find success, love, and happiness only if they have fair skin.

there have been several commercials with the exact same message. it is disgusting that the commercials are allowed to air here. its even more disgusting for a Muslim country to allow ads like this telling their women they are less pretty if their skin is darker. these kinds of messages in society reinforces racism towards those with darker skin.

and since many of the local Arab girls have a tanned skin color and the message is that this color is unattractive, imagine how the girls with even darker skin are made to feel, because there are many locals with dark skin--even if they would generally get more respect than a dark-skinned non-local just because they are Emirati.

it is just so sad.

inshallah the school finds who gave that girl the nasty note and they are punished for it.

p.s. OMG look at this ad for fair and lovely I found!! from India...

if you can't view it here, it is at:

fair and lovely for body?

Friday, March 13, 2009

be patient, be patient, be patient... our final choice??

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Now, let me start by saying there are many wonderful Muslim men who are, and would will be, wonderful husbands to their wives. This post is not about saying all Muslim men are like this... it is about the lack of support women get by some societies when she is with a man who is cruel to her.

I am sooooo angry and sick and tired of hearing "be patient"

Ok, so I don't hear it myself but I read about women being told "be patient" all the time when it comes to problems with their husbands.  Well, they do get the option to speak to their husbands about their issues in a calm manner and to make dua'a that their husbands will change.

I read a fatwa on what to do with a troublesome husband on a forum and most sisters were just automatically saying things like, "Jazakallah khair for this."  But I clearly saw something very wrong with it.

A woman was asking for a fatwa about her situation.  She said her husband is unkind to her, is constantly in a bad mood around her and blames her for it.  When she wants to speak to him he tells her that her talk is stupid.  He is relaxed and joyful around his friends but never with her.

 The fatwa a sister post for her showed daleel on how husbands should treat their wives, and told the wife that she may speak to her husband in a calm manner to ask him to change.  Then she was told she can make dua'a and inshallah her husband would change.  Then she is told it is good she has been patient and that he (the Sheikh who gave the fatwa) advises her to stay with her husband and that if she is patient with him she will be rewarded.

 Those were her options.  There was nothing of the sort that said that she can choose to leave her husband if she wants to. I am not talking about run for divorce right away (well, this would be the best option for certain cases), but what about telling a woman that after trying her best, that if her husband still will not change, then it is ok for her to seek a divorce?

that fatwa is here:

I just found a similar fatwa:

 If you read the question you will see how this husband, who is active in daw'ah, treats his family.  And, it also says he treats his wife the worst of all!!!

 There are hadiths posted in the fatwa about how a Muslim should speak, and how a man is to be with his wife and family...

Then it says:
"The group with whom your father is going out is well known for having and promoting good characteristics, so the basic principle is that he is like that too, and that he fears Allaah. We say to you – if what you say about your father is true – that this is a test, and you have to be patient and pray that Allaah will guide him to the best of attitudes and characteristics.

Patience undoubtedly brings a great reward. His wife must also be patient and put up with her husband’s annoyance, and obey him with regard to that which Allaah has permitted. If he is forbidding her to visit her relatives for a legitimate shar’i reason, then he has the right to do that, but if there is no legitimate reason then she has to obey him, but he is sinning, and the wife will be rewarded in sha Allaah."

Yet again the message is to the wife that she must be patient with how her husband treats her!! ****roll eyes****

for the part I highlighted in red---WHAT?? WTF!!!!!  He is a man PRETENDING to be like the men he is actively in dawah with.  He is who he truly is when he is with his family--those he thinks he can let his guard down with.  He is a man who fears Allah?  Wow...isn't marriage half our deen?  So if you truly fear Allah wouldn't you be working HARD to make sure that your marriage--this half of your deen--is full of good deeds?

The best of men are those who are best to their wives... how can someone who is abusing his wife be given the message that his wife has to always be patient with him regarding his behavior?  Because that is the message men will get when they read fatwas like these.  Sure the hadiths are there that tell a man how he should be with his wife/wives, but ultimately there is an even stronger message to the women to keep being patient, to keep making dua'a, to put up with her husband's cruelty, with no mention whatsoever that she may ultimately seek a divorce.

 Read up on how the husbands are described in both fatwas I gave the links to.  These are ABUSIVE men. yes, ABUSIVE.... just because there are no physical scars it doesn't make verbal/emotional abuse something that is less than physical abuse.

Husbands like these treat women like they should have no say and no mind of their own.
Husbands like these make women feel like they are worthless and weak.
Husbands like these are harmful to women!

We have choices sisters!!  A sister does not have to forever hope her husband will change and have to shut up and put up with it if he never does.   She can choose to leave him and find a man who will give her kindness and never take away her rights.

There is no fear put in men with regards to how they treat their wives by some Muslims. Where are the fatwas that tell a man to fear Allah because he will be asked why he treats his wife/family the way he does.  That his wife who decides to divorce him will have done so because of his actions.  That the breaking up of his family will have been done by him. These are the kinds of messages to help try to get men to see the consequences of their actions.

I mean, the message is always there that we should fear the angels cursing us till morning lest we upset our husbands.  The warnings are there that there will be more women in hell than men because there are many women who are ungrateful to their husbands.

There are too many Muslims giving such an imbalanced view of a husband-wife relationship. it is always emphasized much more for a woman how she can be a good wife, and how she can make her husband happy...while at the same time there is MUCH LESS emphasis on how a man can be a good husband, and how he can make his wife happy.

While discussing these fatwas with my husband, he pointed out that the fatwas are both from major Saudi scholars.  They may want to let women know they have the right to divorce, but at the same time they are still bound by their culture to not cause a huge controversy.  Had these scholars, who are very respected, stated that women have the right to divorce, it surely would have caused an outrage across Saudi Arabia and probably the whole Gulf countries by many men.

I remember a news article in UAE about a shelter for abused women that is run by a woman named Sharla Musabih.  There is strong opposition and effort to get this shelter closed by some men (not any men I know of though)--most likely the men who are doing the abuse.

There is one Sheikh who is VERY negative about this shelter, even accusing it as as cover to traffic women, Astagferallah.  Now, when it comes to abuse, yes, ideally, the family should get involved to help a marriage, But sometimes a man refuses to "allow" his wife to get the family involved, or some families won't help at all, always believing a woman has to shut up and put up and obey her husband no matter what.

This Sheikh I am speaking of actually said(and this was regarding physical abuse), "If every woman hit by her husband is encouraged to rebel, the sanctity of marriage would disappear from society."

Why is it that when people want to make sure women know their full rights, and a woman wants to use her full rights that it is automatically "rebelling"?  It is NOT an act of rebelling Islam if a woman asks for divorce because of her husband's abuse, whether it be physical or mental/emotional.  In many cases, yes, she should be patient and at least try to get her husband to change, but some cases are so extreme women should immediately leave their husbands.

It is truly disgusting to know there are Muslim men who abuse their rights over women.  To take that a wife must obey him into turning it into that he can just control his wife and make her life miserable and she cannot do anything about it.  To make him think he can treat his own mother like gold, but then turn around and treat who would be, or is, the MOTHER OF HIS CHILDREN like a piece of shit.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

weight issues in the UAE... (I am dealing with it too!!)

back in the day before modernization,western fashion, television,film, etc... were the local women obsessing with their weight?

I grew up in the US and so I KNOW that girls and women are obsessing with theirs. I know because I have always obsessed over it and I have been loosing the battle BIG TIME and its depressing, but I have the power to change that and I am currently working on it, inshallah I will succeed.

I just have this strong feeling that although women have always obsessed about their beauty (or lack of)throughout the ages, before the modernization of UAE women did not obsess about weight. Even now many people still accept women with meat on their bones but I have a feeling it was even more accepted back in the day.

ever since I came here I have noticed how much the local women talk about their weight and/or the weight of other people.

from women I know online, I have seen plenty comment how people around them tell them they are so thin and they don't need to lose any weight, yet they think they need to lose.

the worst though, is when I hear people who are over our home talk about weight to younger girls. one girl at 12 years old is constantly hearing people make comments toward her. once she was eating something and as one woman walked by to take her seat to eat she told the 12 year old "that is what makes your butt big!" and this girl gets teased about her body shape/weight all the time especially because her brothers are super duper skinny and eat like crazy. this is all I have heard in front of me but I know she hears a lot from people commenting on her weight and how she needs to diet.

it is so so sad because she talks about her weight all the time. once I decided to take her with me to several different places and the pharmacies had scales. you have to pay 1 dirham for it and she weighed herself at all 3 places that had the scales. she found out I have a scale and now every time she comes to my room she wants to weigh herself.

once she told me when she was 11 yrs old, she heard her father (in a different room) tell her mother "daughter(her name) is getting fat--please do something about it"

she also wants people to acknowledge her dieting efforts. she was alternating staying at our place and at her grandmother's nearby in the neighborhood and everyday when we ate she would say "wow, did you see how little I ate? I get so full quickly nowadays. I just can't eat." and this wasn't just once that she pointed this out. it was after almost every single meal that week.

another time another family came to visit us for Eid Al-Fitr and their youngest daughter is around 10 or 11 years old. we were sitting around with other women and my MIL commented that she (the girl)should eat more and her mother, right in front of her, said "no, she is getting fat, her doctor said she is too fat and she has to loose weight" and the poor girl was obviously embarrassed but kept a smile on her face. I just felt so bad for her.

these girls are going to grow up obsessing about their weight. I know this because it happened to me with my step-family. and the thing with the obsession is not all girls try to lose weight in a healthy way. inshallah they will grow up and choose a healthy way to live to control their weight instead of constantly being on a diet or getting stuck in a cycle of gaining and losing weight now and then.

what makes me angry is that families put the burden on their children to have to be aware of their weight/body shape and to diet themselves while the families serve up foods that don't help with weigh-loss. families need to stay silent and create a more healthy environment in the home and the children won't even think about it and naturally have a healthy weight (barring those with genetic problems, obviously)
so the culture nowadays is moving away from wearing jalabiyas all the time. this is what the women have worn for centuries. now it is western clothing, the latest fashions like the skinny jeans that are in style right now.

this is so for many of the girls/women whether or not they wear the outer-garment properly over their clothing. All my sister-in-laws wear western clothing, and so do their friends.

for weddings it is no longer the fancy jalabiyas for many women too. it is tailored western fashion dresses/gowns or designer dresses/gowns.

if the youth are watching all of those music video channels, even the Arabic ones, they are seeing women dressing in skimpy clothing and dancing around. a lot of the youth watch western television programs and movies, and any of us Americans know how much being thin is emphasized with the celebrities in the US. also, the fashion magazines here are decked out with the latest western fashions and like in the West, the models are stick thin.

is this one of the consequences of modernization by emulating the West?