Tag Archives: Muslim Culture

The Muslim-Community’s Dilemma concerning the Issue of Abortion

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Author’s-Note:

I’ve written this, as a Result of an Article which I’ve read, concerning a Muslim-Woman who made the Decision to have an Abortion.(http://www.thetempest.co/2017/08/25/life-love/love-sex/muslim-had-abortion/) The story actually is not Uncommon, yet Powerful none the less. This Article is indicative of how Broken so many Muslims in our Communities are, as well as how our Muslim-Communities are either too Apathetic, too Preoccupied, too Judgmental, to truly be of Help & Service to marginalized Demographics, who have to make Difficult, Life-Changing, Decisions.

Contrary to Popular-Opinion: Muslims do not see Eye2Eye pertaining to this Issue, for a lot of Reasons: Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Women’s-Liberation, Feminism, Female-Autonomy, Reproductive-Rights, Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, etc. As Muslims, however, we must be prepared to journey with/walk with anyone/everyone whom has either had to make a Decision involving Abortion, or is right now as we speak in the process of having to make a Decision concerning Abortion.

As far as I’ve been able to research, there’s 3-Types of Abortions:

1. Resulting from Sexual-Assault (Incest, Rape, etc.).

2. Resulting from a Medical-Necessity (Health/Life Threatening).

3. Resulting from: a. A Woman choosing to do it because she doesn’t want Children/additional Children (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.17, V.33)…b. A Woman who rationalizes that because she’s not in a Socio-Economic Space/Place she wants/needs to be in to be a Responsible-Parent (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.6, V.151)…c. A Woman who wants to rid her Life of the Responsibility of a Child resulting from the Personal-Actions of both her & her Sexual Partner/Partners (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.17, V32) and/or her Partner, her Family/Community, etc. putting pressure on her to proceed with it.

Islām has a Maqsid/Mantra, among the many Maqāsid/Mantras of ash-Sharī`ah/Islāmic-Law…among them being the Maqsid of the Preservation of Life: every Human-Being has the Right to live, even prior to Conception/Birth, even if they grow-up to be a Tyrant.(Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.5, V.32)

According to the Sharī`ah, Mahrūmāt/Prohibited-Actions fall under 3-Categories:

1. Reprehensible & Punishable (Punishable either in the Hereafter, in the Mundane, or both).

2. Reprehensible but not Punishable.

3. Neither Reprehensible nor Punishable.

Now, the Challenge is objectively placing each Type of Abortion into each Category of Mahrūmāt…here it goes:

a. Abortion Type-1…Category-2

b. Abortion Type-2…Category-3

c. Abortion Type-3…Category-1

As per our Collective-Responsibility as Muslims: we mustn’t/shouldn’t attempt to pursuade anyone to make any Decision…they have Freewill for a Reason, and their Decision will be held into Account by Allah, not us.

I know that it’s easy to say, “it’s Harām/Forbidden”, when you’re not in another Person’s Shoes, who has to decide whether or not an Unborn Human-Being lives or dies. Spiritual/Psycho-Emotional Breakdown is a Real-Thing. Now, I’m just as Pro-Life is anyone else. At the same Time, it behooves us, as Muslims to be more Empathetic to Issues like this. Also, the Cycle of Abuse is a Real-Thing as well. When People witness Trauma (Domestic-Abuse for example), they Spiritually/Psycho-Emotionally accept it as Normal-Behavior when it’s not What had been mentioned in this Article, concerning this Muslim-Woman’s Struggle to find herself, in the midst of not being healed from her Childhood-Trauma, which had led to her escapades with a Man she wasn’t married to is Reality for countless Muslim-Women, which the Muslim-Community fails constantly to both address & remedy. And, let’s be Honest here: among Muslims generally, Women are ostracized significantly more for having Bastard-Children (Children conceived via Non-Wedlock), as opposed to Men having Bastard-Children. So, the Pressure surrounding this Muslim-Woman as per mothering a Bastard-Child isn’t at all false or exaggerated.

Our Maslahah/Objective, particularly pertaining to this Issue is to maitain the Mantra of R.E.P. (R.espect…E.mpathy…P.atience) at all Times. We’re dealing with Real-People, who’re dealing with Real-Issues just like this everyday. Now, I’m going to anticipate that least 1,000-People are going to disagree with what I’ve presented. But, then again: that’s what having these Types of Conversations are all about…Dialogue…Solutions.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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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

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