Tag Archives: Islamic Culture

My 1st Udhiyyah: What I’ve Learned To Respect And Appreciate About Life&Death:

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Author’s-Note:

Dhul-Hijjah 12, 1438, A.H./September 3, 2017, C.E. I participated in an Islāmic-Tradition, predicated by Islāmic/Revelatory Texts, spanning Several-Generations: al-Udhiyyah/Slaughtering. This Traditional-Slaughtering commemorates the Rites of al-Hajj/Pilgrimage (predicated upon the Sacrifices/Sufferings of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Issac [Peace be upon them]), leading up to the Islāmic-Holiday known as Id-ul-Adha/the Celebration of Sacrifice​. For more Information regarding al-Hajj & `Id-il-Adha: http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/theoriginsofidiladha/

Annually, the Udhiyyah is done by Millions of Muslims Worldwide, to follow in the Noble-Footsteps of Abraham (Peace be upon him). It was now my turn to participate in this great Tradition. I was so excited, to actually do something such a Part of Islām, so deeply entrenched into Islāmic-History. There was 1-Challenge: I had never done this before. I had a Million plus 1 Anxieties regarding the Experience. And, to add to my Self-Awkwardness, I had gotten into a Fight with a Man who tried to rob me a Week prior to me participating in the Udhiyyah. So, it was still very much fresh on my Mind/Heart. As I got to the Farm I did the Udhiyyah at: my Nerves were shot. I did nothing for the first few Hours there but ask the same Types of Questions in various different ways. I was able to reinforce what I already knew regarding Udhiyyah & also learned a host of interesting New-Things as well.

The Things which are Generally-Essential to know before one commits themselves to do Udhiyyah/Qurbānī:

1. Pure-Intention for Allah, as Udhiyyah/Qurbānī is a Sacred Act-Of-Worship.

2. No Body-Hair or Nails can be cut/removed prior to the 10th-Day of Dhil-Hijjah (the 12th-Month of the Islāmic-Calendar: the Month of Hajj/Pilgrimage).(Muslim, Ahmad)

3. The Animals slaughtered can only be Animals which are Islāmically-Allowable to consume Dietarily…specifically for Qurbānī (Hajj-Time Slaughtering/Sacrifice: Cows, Camels, Goats, Sheep. (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.22, 34)

4. The Animals slaughtered must be Healthy (no Signs of Ill-Treatment, Malnurishment, Abuse, Deformity, Disease, etc.).(al-Muwatta’)

5. The Animals slaughtered must be slaughtered at the following Ages, in order to qualify as Qurbānī: 6-Months to a Year for Sheep, 1-2Years for Goats, 2-3 Years for Cows, 5-Years for Camels. This is according to the various Fatawa/Islāmic-Rulings of the 4-Major Madhāhib/Islāmic Legal-Schools: the Hanafī-School…Mālikī-School…Shāfi`ī-School…Hanbalī-School.(http://www.islamqa.info/en/41899)

6. The Animals slaughtered cannot/shouldn’t be Pregnant (this is the Position of the Shāfi`ī-School).(https://islamqa.info/en/192041)

6. The Blades/Knives used to slaughter the Animals must be as Sharp as Humanly-Possible & the Animals must be slaughtered across the Neck: forcefully & swiftly, ensuring that the least amount of Pain/Suffering is inflicted upon the Animals & the Animals must not see the Blades/Knives used for Udhiyyah, nor must they be slaughtered within the Presence of other Animals.(https://islamqa.info/en/153936)

So, the Day of the Udhiyyah: basically from Fajr/Pre-Dawn to Maghrib/Sunset we were working on the Farm…it was serious Work. There were so many Animals which we had to get slaughtered. Then it came to my Turn. Internally, I honestly started having 2nd-Thoughts. So many Things came to my Mind like: “What if I cause this Animal more Pain than necessary?!!!”…”What if I begun to use my still fresh Anger over the Fight I had & end-up oppressing this Animal with too much Force?!!!”…”What if I completely screw-up the Udhiyyah?!!!”…etc. But, then I just decided to cast my Fears into the Wind by relying upon Allah to help me through it, which He did. And, considering the Fact that I was a 1st-Timer doing Udhiyyah, even the Farm-Hands confirmed that I did a Good-Job, which was very Comforting to my Ego. In total, I slaughtered 3-Goats personally with my own Hands & assisted with the Slaughtering of about 20 other Sheep & Goats combined. Let me tell you: taking the Life of an Animal that Size is truly a Sight to see.

Normally, externally of this Event, Regular-People such as myself don’t live on Farms, aren’t as in tune with Fitrah/Nature the way we ought to be, as Humans. And, for those of us whom are confined to Concrete City-Life: the closest we get to Fitrah are Household Vermin, such as Roaches & Rats & Creatures we generally deem a Nusance, such as Squarels, Opposums, Raccoons, etc. However, to actually up close & personally slaughter an Animal which you know will eventually be on someone’s Plate for Meals, it truly forced me to reflect more introspectively concerning how precious & fragile Life itself really is. Also, it forced me to be ever more Grateful to Allah that I’m a Human & not an Animal. It compelled me, this Experience, to look at the Fragility of Life & Reality of Death this more Seriously. One instant, we’re here & the next, we’re gone: just like that.

When coming back to New York City from the Farm, I wasn’t/didn’t allow myself to shake the Psycho-Emotional relevance of what I’ve experienced via Udhiyyah/Qurbānī: being recallibrated & reconnected with/to the Natural-Environment…the smells of Grass, Hay, Livestock, the Large Rolling-Hills & Tree-Covered Mountains…the Muddy-Terrain which nearly ruined my already Dirty-Nikes…the Blood of the Slaughtered-Animals…the freshness & ordors of the Flesh of the Animals sacrificed. All of it was worthwhile, an Experience which I wish/hope that Allah always preserves within my Memory-Bank. And, yes: I plan to definitely do Udhiyyah/Qurbānī more often.

Gareth Bryant/2017

 

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A Response to the Article, “the Qur’an does not prohibit women’s marriage to people of the book – and other facts about interfaith marriage in Islam”

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Author’s-Note:

The Following is a Response to an Article, sent to me, regarding this Pathological-View that Muslim-Women are Islāmically-Allowed to “marry” Non-Muslim Men. The Name of Source of the Article is, “Freedom from the Forbidden” and here’s the Artcle itself:

https://orbala.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/the-quran-does-not-prohibit-womens-marriage-to-people-of-the-book-and-other-facts-about-interfaith-marriage-in-islam/

The Author of this Article is being completely Dishonest, pertaining to the Islāmic-Prohibition of Muslim-Women “marrying” Non-Muslim Men period. The Qur’ān states Clearly, within Chpt.2, V.221 that unless a Man believes (if he’s a Mushrik/Committer of Shirk/Association) then it’s 💯%-Unconditionally Mahrūm/Islāmically-Prohibited for a Muslim-Woman to give herself to any Non-Muslim Man. Now, let’s examine what Shirk is: from the Verb “Sharaka”, meaning “To partner, to share, to collaborate, to conspire, etc.”.( Lisānul-`Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language) The Islāmic-Definition of Shirk, among countless places within the Qur’ān Word4Word define what Shirk is: to state, think/believe, pontificate, promote, etc. anything about Allah which isn’t based upon Revelation.(Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.5, V.18; Chpt.9, V.30; Chpt.18, V.1-6)

Based upon the Proofs from the Qur’ān directly, this proves that any/every Non-Muslim Man is Mahrūm for any/every Muslim-Woman & any/every Muslim-Woman is Mahrūm for any/every Non-Muslim Man. It’s very simple: Marriage is an Act of Worship Islāmically, and any/all Acts of Worship must at all Times possess Precedent within direct orders within Revelatory-Texts (the Qur’ān&Sunnah). And, there’s absolutely Zero-Precedent for Muslim-Women to either be “married” to any Non-Muslim Man, or for any Muslim-Woman to remain “married” to any Non-Muslim Man. If “marrying” Non-Muslim Men/remaining “married” to Non-Muslim Men would’ve been Mahlūl/Islāmically-Allowed, then all of the Female-Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who had Non-Muslim Husbands would’ve been Allowed to remain “married” to their Non-Muslim “Husbands”, meaning that V.221 in Chpt.2 of the Qur’ān would’ve either never been revealed, or it would’ve been made Mansūkh/Abrogated.

Moreover, if this were True, Umm-Habībah: one of the Wives of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) & and the Daughter of Abī-Sufyān (May Allah be pleased with her), would’ve been Allowed to remain “married” to her Non-Muslim “Husband” prior to being married to Muhammad. Also, as with the Case of `Ikrimah (May Allah be pleased with him): the Son of Abī-Jahl, who became a Muslim during/after the Conquest of al-Makkah; his Wife became a Muslim prior to him, and she explained to him that if he didn’t accept Islām that they couldn’t be together.(ar-Rahīq-ul-Makhtūm/The Sealed-Nectar; Hayāt-us-Sahābah/Lives of the Companions) In other words: stop being Dishonest & stop try to commit Tahrīf (Distortion of Islāmic-Texts either in Word or in Meaning). Because, in all actuality, all you’re doing is encouraging Muslim-Women (under this False-Flag of Women’s-Liberation: a Euphemism for Feminism, Feminism itself, Religious-Reformation which Islām does not need, etc.) to commit az-Zinā/Sexual-Lewdness (THOT-Like Behavior) with Non-Muslim Men. This Article is just as Evil, and its Author is Misguided.

Gareth Bryant/2017

Let’s Love for the Right-Reason:

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“Boy meets Girl”…they become each other’s world.
She buys him clothes, he buys her diamonds, pearls.

But, is this “True-Love”, or is it just a “good-time”?
Is it the “Long-Hall”, or a one-night “wine & dine”?

When we use this word…L.O.V.E….what, exactly, does it really mean?
Are we emotionally invested in someone, or is it just a realized-fantasy?

Just how earnestly connected are we, to those we’re attached to, and living with, side-by-side?
When the hair grays, the looks fade, will we stay or pursue someone new, leaving them behind?

Are we skin-deep, and, or, superficial?
The answer, to this question, is critical.

Because, if we do not have the right-answer, that means our priorities are all-wrong.
It means that we’ve been lying to ourselves and others, with an ingenuine love-song.

The sound, of that covertly-deceptive melody, has captured our hearts.
But, the after-tone leaves a very painful screech, on our, delicate, ears.

For the longest times, we’ve just assumed that we always, in relationships, used our wits, smarts.
However, as the sharp, tart, heartbreak sets in, we now see the actual fruition of our worst fears.

We all need comfort, therefore look for love, often, in all the wrong-places.
We all allow our emotions to be “wild and free”, instead of grow, in stages.

We always forget, in fact, to love the One who matters most.
He who has given us hearts, to begin with, the Lord of Hosts.

It is Allah, the Lord of All, whom requires us to love Him, first; but, we don’t.
He wants only that we remain grateful, to Him, for all He does; but, we won’t.

We’d rather have our fragile morsels of flesh, between our chests, be stepped upon & shattered.
Yet, if we only took the time to love Allah, more, first, we’d find ourselves emotionally protected.

Gareth Bryant/2013

Connecting Sports & Islam:

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sports pic

Author’s note:

Sports are some f the best forms of entertainment: they teach us how to strategize, organize, execute, implement discipline, teamwork, respect, humility, selflessness, goodwill, confidence, ambition, and all other types of positive-qualities necessary to properly function in this Mundane-Life. And, connecting Sports with Existence, there are so many innumerable parallels, which I plan to discuss with great-detail.

The best way to link Sports to Existence:

Imagine, life being like an actual sport, like Football, or Basketball, for instance, two of the most popular sports around, for obvious reasons. Now, link that to our lives. I know, it’s not necessarily something that people think about doing, but, check this gem out: Allah specifically says, in His noble book that this Mundane-Life is merely a game.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.29, V.64)

But, for us playing the game of Life, we must decide whether we’re gonna play to win or play to loose. And, we also have to decide which playbook that we’ll use to get us through the game. At this point I’d like to delve deeper into the main point of this topic.

Basically, our existence is sectioned-off into three parts, just like a professional-sport: you have the Pre-Season, Regular-Season, and the Post-Season. I plan to expound upon all of these. Each of our aspects of existence reflects, directly, each phase of a sports-cycle.

Pre-Season/Pre-Puberty-

Anything & everything that occurs during this time, really isn’t counted, tallied, or mentioned on anyone’s record, regardless to how great or small an action is, or whether it’s positive or negative. During this time, it’s really a duration of grooming, to filter-out any negative elements to a person’s game, so that it doesn’t affect ones’ Regular-Season. It is at this time that you undergo significant practice, and acquire skills to take you to the next level.

Regular-Season/Puberty to Death-

Now, here’s when it all counts, this is the time to be serious, because everything, good, bad, or whatever, falls under your personal-stats. You have to play at the pinnacle of your abilities. There’s no room for error & there no excuses. No one can say,  “Well, it was because of this, that, and the 3rd…nah, ain’t nobody tryin’ to hear dat & ain’t nobody got time for dat…you’ve got to produce, or else. Every single thing that we do in the Pre-Season will have a direct affect on our ranking in the Post-Season. And, once the Regular-Season is finished, we can’t go back to improve or correct any errors, which were made, it’ll be too late for all of that. So, we gotta get things right, right now, while, our Regular-Season is still in play.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.23, V.99 & 100)

The Post-Season/the Hereafter-

Known as Barzakh (mentioned directly in the Qur’an, as basically the realm of existence between ad-Dunya/the Mundane-Life & al-Akhirah/the Hereafter), the Post-Season of our existence will determine whether or not we make it to the championship game & whether we fall into the “winner takes all” category. Like any major sports (Footbal & Basketball most specifically), tere are 3-rounds of the playoffs. But, referring to the Hereafter, the 3-rounds are all played in the graves, where the Angels of Questioning will test you, as to what your Mundane religious-stauts was. They will aske you 3 specific questions: Who is your Lord?…What is your path/religion?…Who is your Prophet?

Now, depending upon how well you answer these 3-questions, respectively, this will determine whether or not you will successfully advance to the next round, if at all. And, ironically, it is your heart, your actions that will answer these questions for you, not necessarily your verbal-speech.(Abu-Dawud) With this being said, let me break down how the Post-Season works: Question #1 = 1st-Round, Question #2 = 2nd-Round, and Question # = 3rd-Round. Meaning, you will not/cannot advnce to the next-round, unless you answer each question correctly, in their exact orders.

Depending upon your answers to these questions, you’ll either advance, or be eliminated. But, unlike sports, within the Mundane, there’s no next-season; no one can ever say, “We’ll get em, next-year”…nah…that’s not happenin’, cause once your Mundane-Life, your Regular-Season of earthly-living is finished, there’s no turning back…We only get one season of Life, and we’ve only got one opportunity to be on the right team. And, Allah describes the qualities of the two most important teams to know about: Hizb-ush-Shaytan/the Team of the Devil, and Hizbullah/the Team of Allah. He describes them so very well, with such incredible clarity.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.58, V.18-22) We dare not chose the wrong team. But, at the same time, our Free-Will is just like being a Free-Agent, we get to freely choose which team we wanna be on, without interference.

Then, we get to the final game, the championship game…just imagine that the NBA Finals champ game/NFL Super Bowl & the All-Star Game/NFL Pro Bowl were all the exact same event…Well, that kinda how the Day of Standing is gonna play out: Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has informed us of 7-types of persons, whom will be given the immense honor of being covered with the Shade of the Throne of Allah, from the the Sun, on the day where will be no shade from, it & that it will be a mile (or in other narrations, a foot above our heads) away, causing people to sweat, to the extent of sweating up to one’s ankles, or waists, or necks, or even drowning in one’s own sweat.(Bulugh-ul-Maram)

These 7-people are the all-stars & pro bowlers of Judgement-Day: they will be the best & brightest of the day, with Allah as their protector and ally, and they will have a most easy time, on this day, unlike some, or most. These are the persons whom we all must/should aspire to be, at all-times. So, all in all, knowing sporting-dynamics & relating them to Islam is very-important, so that we can better use a universal modality, which is universally beneficial, and be able to apply it to our spiritual-lives, in the hopes that it can help us achieve greater insight into the realities of the Mundane-Life, Life-after-Death, and what the Hereafter actually has in store for each/all of us.

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Fallacy of “Muslim Male Privilege”:

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Author’s note:
The following is a personal-commentary, of an article, written by a fellow Muslim-Writer/Blogger, Jamerican Muslimah, about this concept, she dubbed as, “Muslim Male Privilege”-This concept is based (directly/exclusively) upon B. Deutsch’s “The Male Privilege List”, as well as Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”-In this article, 16-points, detailing what “Muslim Male Privilege” actually is, which is available on her own blog, under the April 2008 Archive section of her blog.(http://www.jamericanmuslimah.wordpress.com) I’ve made my own personal-commentary, commented on (most, but not all) the 16-points, which I’ve actually emailed to her first, before even placing this into the public-sphere. I wanted to show her some respect, by emailing her concerning my discrepancies about her article, before making a contrary article to hers. So, here it is, exactly what I’ve sent to her via email. Let me make it very clear, as a Muslim-Man, that there is no such thing as Muslim-Male Privilege, especially at the expense of oppressing someone else. No Muslim-Man should feel that being a Muslim-Male gives him the “privilege” to be a tyrant. And any/all those who advocate for this type of sadistic “privilege”, are people whom are guilty, in front of Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe.

Here’s the direct-response to Jamerican Muslimah’s article, concerning “Muslim Male Privilege”:

Salam

With due respect, most of the points in this article are completely false & unfairly-biased.

I’ll explain:

1. There are Masajid/Mosques that even I, as a Muslim-Man, have been made unwelcome, just because I’m not Arab, Desi, African, etc. So, basically, Mosque-Discrimination is something that applies to both Muslim-Men & Muslim-Women.

3. This point is only partially-true: Just because someone is a Man, it doesn’t mean that they’re always free to speak their minds at Islamic events, religious-classes, religious-lectures, etc. A lot of times, even if a man has a view or opinion, that he wants to express, depending upon his communal-standing, which Mosque he’s in, which event he’s in, he’ll immediately get shut-down, himself, for challenging the religious-authority, or being perceived as challenging the religious-authority of others “more-knowledgeable” than himself.

4. True, Muslim-Men do try to justify misogyny via Islam. But, what is also true is that Feminism, Western influences, Secularism have most definitely made a very ugly mark upon the minds & hearts of both Muslim-Men & Muslim-Women, all across the Globe.(http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/bothmisogynyfeminismareevilandhereswhy)

5. Muslim-Men get criticized all of the time for quote-on-quote “Imitating the Kuffar”, in terms of fashion. And, by the way, “Islamic-Dress” for men is almost always a religious euphemism for Arab-Clothing. And, there are definitely Mosques which ban Muslim-Men from wearing certain things, which they deem as “Non-Islamic Dress”, such as pants, shirt-ties, etc.

6. There are plenty of Islamic-Scholars, whom are well-known to the Muslim-World, most-notably, `Ai’shah (May Allah be pleased with her). In fact, most, if not all, of the Ahadith concerning the personal home-life of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), were personally narrated by her. And, if it were not for her, we probably wouldn’t have any surviving evidence of how detailed his personal home-life was. And, to note, further, none of the Ahadith, confirmed to have been narrated by any of the Wives of Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with them) were ever questioned, regarding their authenticity.

7. In regards to not finding persons of Islamic-Knowledge whom are Muslim-Women, or Islamic works written by them, then, as an individual Muslim-Woman, one would have to take the initiative to seek those out, herself, just like with anything else.

8. A Muslim-Man should/must be concerned with whether a person giving him marital-advice is a chauvinist/sexist. Typically (with the minority-exceptions aside), a Muslim-Man is not looking to get a ruling in his favor; but, rather, to resolve any issues with his respective spouse/spouses, which he cannot do himself, hence, the need for some type of marital-counseling.

9. Every marriage-counseling session is as different as the persons seeking out the marriage-counseling. So, to paint that scenario with just one coat of paint, is very unfair.

12. Muslim-Men, as well as Muslim-Women struggle in this regard, to standup, for what Allah has established within Islam, and, we both face stringent opposition in this regard, respectively, regardless of our genders.

13. One, it seems that you’re in fact mocking the Islamic-allowance of a Muslim-Man to have more than one wife, which would mean that you are mocking Allah, in the process, because the only reason how & why Muslim-Men are ever allowed to have multiple-wives is because it has been thoroughly established via revelation (i.e. the Qur’an & Sunnah). Two, A Muslim-Woman has the right to marry & divorce whom she wills, it’s just that, based upon revelation, that the modality of divorce for Muslim-Women are a lot different than for Muslim-Men, courtesy of the Qur’an & Sunnah. So, if you have a problem with how/how not a Muslim-Woman is able to annul a marriage, than that means that you have some issue with the Qur’an & Sunnah.

14. No, a Muslim-Man cannot always have rational, real-life, discussions about his sex-life: Imams, Shaykhs, Scholars, etc. Often times (and I know this for a fact, because even I’ve had to deal with this), people automatically assume that if one is not married, that they’re must be either committing some type of Heterosexual or Homosexual offences. It really isn’t as one-sided as you’re purposely trying to make it.

15. This is actually one of the most inaccurate points in this entire post: both Muslim-Men & Muslim-Women have an obligation & duty to be representatives of Islam. Also, a lot of times, even if one is not a Muslim, if you’re living in a Non-Islamic society/Non-Muslim-Country, and you have an Arabic first or last name, you’ll automatically be red-flagged as being presumed as being a Muslim, anyhow.

Gareth Bryant/2013

What the Hell is a “Muslim-Name”?!!!/There is no such thing as a “Muslim-Name”!!!

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Ramadhan 26th, 1432, A.H./August 26th, 2011, C.E., I had given the weekly Khutbah (Islamic-Sermon), for Yaym-il-Jumu`ah (The Day of Gathering/Friday), at Stony Brook University. After the Khutbah had ended, a Muslim man came up to me, probably in his early 50’s, telling me how great my speech was, then asked me what my name was. Naturally, I told him that my name was Gareth. But, for some reason, that wasn’t good enough for him. So, he asked me what my last name was, so I said my last name was Bryant. That still wasn’t good enough for him-Out of the blue, he asked me, “What’s your ‘Muslim-Name’?” And, I initially said to myself, “Oh, no!!! Not this again!!!” He then began asking me about how long I’ve been a Muslim & what not. So, we started having a discussion, that I have pretty often with other Muslims, that I really find annoying…..it’s called the “The ‘Muslim-Name’ discussion”.

I’ve been a Muslim for 15 years; but, in spite of the fact that I’ve been a Muslim for this long, it’s still a pain-in-the-neck, to constantly explain why I don’t don an Arabic/Arabized name, to someone who’s born a Muslim or comes from a Muslim family and/or country; and, for some strange reason, they always find it so damn baffling that reverts to Islam, such as myself, do not change our names, when we become Muslims. It’s almost like people look at people like me as though we’ve done something wrong. Lately, I’ve been very stern about having people refer to me as Gareth Bryant, my actual name, as opposed to a pseudonym that many of my fellow reverts don as names, to fit-in as Muslims, as a result of some huge religious misconception. It’s basically like this: for the most part, people view you as not being really down, until/unless you have an Arabic name or Arabized name, which to be very honest is rather insulting.

I get really tired of people giving me those “You’re not Muslim-Enough” faces, when I tell them that my name is Gareth Bryant, as opposed to “Abu Uwais”, “Hatim”, “`Abbas,”, or the typical default name “`Abdullah”. It’s like people are saying that in order to have your Islam validated, you have to choose one of these pseudonyms, or you’re not doing something right. It’s also an indicator of cultural inferiority, sending the completely wrong message that only names of Arab origin are Islamically suitable names for Muslims. The person that I was referring to earlier, when we were talking actually asked me why I haven’t chosen a “Muslim-Name”.

It’s like a  typical “dog-chasing-its-tail” paradigm, having to explain over & over & over & over again, that a name doesn’t make a person a Muslim, rather their beliefs, statements & actions make them a Muslim. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough for most Muslims or people generally. In all honesty, this whole precedent of having a person change their name when they become a Muslim is actually a Bid`ah (a Religious-Innovation), unless the following conditions apply:

1. A person is only Islamically allowed to change their name, if their name has an Islamically unacceptable meaning (relating to polytheism, or blasphemy, for example), or a negative meaning generally.

2. A person is only Islamically allowed to change their first name, not their last, because of the issue of holding on to your family name, as a link to your own personal lineage, which is very important Islamically.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.4, V.1 & Chpt.33, V.5)

Unfortunately, people get so caught up in this fallacy of wanting a “Muslim-Name”, as well as just wanting to fit-in, that they end up violating both of these conditions that I’ve just previously mentioned, to the extent of having all of their official documentation changed from their real names, to these unnecessary pseudonyms. This phenomenon is so extreme, that when people become Muslims, it is stressed that people choose these Arabic/Arabized pseudonyms, either right before or right after they becomes Muslims, insinuating that changing one’s name is in fact part of being a Muslim, when in fact a name has absolutely nothing to do with being a Muslim. This sends a very negative message:

1. It gives people the assumption that changing one’s identity as an individual, via changing one’s name, is the only way to become a Muslim.

2. It gives people the assumption that only Arabic/Arabized names are acceptable names for a Muslim to have, which goes back to something that I’ve already mentioned, about cultural inferiority, that Arab culture is the only valid culture for a Muslim.

The name-change is the stepping stone to all other unnecessary cultural changes that a Muslim partakes in, from what they wear to how they think, to how they generally behave. They begin to get programmed into accepting all-things Arab, fueling the fire of biased ethnic & cultural superiority, where in fact, Islamically, there’s no ethnicity/culture that is superior to another, or that takes precedence religiously over another. As a matter of fact, I know people personally, who have not become Muslims, just because they did not want to change their names, because they assumed, based upon the statements & actions of the Muslims, that conforming to Arab culture, via a name-change, was part of being a Muslim.

My argument is very simple: being a Muslim is predicated upon defining & improving one’s status as a Human being, via worshipping Allah, the Creator of the Universe, not about conforming to a foreign culture & thus donning a foreign identity, via a pseudonym, which has no fundamental religious basis Islamically.

Gareth Bryant/2011