Friday, January 16, 2009

Music and Its Power

It might sound strange that on a post to deal with music and its power I can't exactly pen how I feel about it.

I like it. I like a good piece of music.

Music has power, of which there is no doubt. And anyone who denies it is denying the truth. Music has the power to move the souls of men.

I find it strange when people barricade themselves against this basic truth. I once met someone who told me "Music is haraam (forbidden) and nothing haram is good."

To me it seems that these people like to seek out anything that is fun and forbid it. They very much seek to enforce the ideology that we have not come into this world to have fun. Their mantra seems "Enjoin what is good and forbid what is fun"!

It is these same people however who have taken hero worship to a new level, especially at nasheed singers! I used to attended RIS until two years ago, and then could not due to schedule conflicts, but one factor used to rile me during RIS - the way some girls believed during the time nasheed singers would come.

These singers were singing devotional songs about the Creator and the Prophet, yet girls were screaming and somehow it was all 'halal'. Same behaviour, replace Outlandish with Junoor or Sami Yousef with Shah Rukh Khan, and the behaviour is suddenly 'haram'!

I appreciate a good piece of music, despite sometimes not even understanding the language. I can appreciate good talent and the hard work that goes into composing. As a blogger and writer I can understand creativity and applaud it.

Currently I am listening to one song in loop-de-loop mode. It's Bandeya Ho from the Pakistani movie Khuda Ke Liye.

In the movie, our hero is attending a music class and the class is given the assignment of partnering with someone of a different culture and language and come up with a composition that is the reflection of both. Bandeya Ho is the result.

I don't understand the lyrics, but the song is great.



Any discussion on music in Islam cannot be complete without mentioning this movie. The arguments at the climax of the movie, presented by the character played by Nasiruddin Shah, cannot be easily refuted.

Yet I have met many people who blanket ban music, despite lots of evidences to the contrary. During one Zakir Naik event I attended, someone from the audience asked him, "Is music haram?"

The scholar replied, "In my opinion anything other than daff music is haram."

Why daff? It's an Arabic drum that the Prophet permitted to be used in his presence.

I immediately thought why is no one asking, the Prophet IS Arab, so obviously his people will use Arabic instruments. What about musical instruments from MY culture? So am I to be subservient to the Arabic culture now?

But this is reality (and is a main reason why I don't respect Zakir Naik a lot). Muslims all over seem to have a cultural inferiority complex to the Arab culture (some of which is not even Islamic!). The most weird "Islamic" song I found posted on one Muslimah's blog was by an Egyptian singer. He was singing a love song to his beloved in Arabic.

One of the girls commented, "This song is so good but Astakfirullah. I am going to pretend the girl and boy in the video are married."

This is the sort of disconnect with reality syndrome that is prevalent amongst many in our community.

36 comments:

'liya said...

Haha I remember the RIS concert where the girls were going nuts. I was sitting down in my seat and all I could think about the girls was 'they really just don't get it' .. then we left because we thought the whole concept of these girls going gaga over the singers was too weird.

Anonymous said...

I think if you spend enough time, you'll see the faults in your own arguments.

1) Lets agree that people who do hero worship of nasheed singers and act crazy at nasheed concerts are idiots. This does not mean that the argument against music is incorrect. How do you get from "since those people act crazy" then music must be ok?

2) You say:

"I like it. I like a good piece of music.

Music has power, of which there is no doubt. And anyone who denies it is denying the truth. Music has the power to move the souls of men."

For one, saying "I like it" is not an argument. I like a good glass of wine, does that make it ok? It has the power to move the souls of men (or make them delusional atleast). Does that make it ok? Yes music can move people, and thats an argument against it, not for it. Because it moves you regardless of what is being said. You could find that the most idiotic words are "moving you" because the music behind them is so good. How is that positive?

3) The arguments by Nasirudeen shah are silly. If you wish i can go into them, but you can probably search google, or better yet, read the works of any classical scholar for answers. The writers of khuda ke liye are no revolutionaries who have suddenly brought irrefutable evidence to the table.

4) The prophet wasn't sent to just the arab nation. Daff is only allowed for women and only at joyous occasions. Finally, it is allowed when not beaten in a rhythm, like a drum. Hey... you are following an "Arab" prophet, does that make you subservient to the arabs too? Why isn't a Prophet sent from MY culture speaking MY language and doing MY bhangra??? What kind of argument is that?

Come on, put more thought into your arguments instead of ranting like a child.

tani said...

I was trying to find the meaning to this song when I saw the movie and here's what a search had showed up:

The song itself is in a Saraiki language, and written by Baba Bulley Shah.

"
Bulley no samjhawan aayan behna te bharjaiaan,
Munlay bullehya sada kehna chad de pala rayaan"

Bulleh’s sisters and bhabhiaan (sister in laws) came to convince him
Bulleh, Please do as we tell you and leave araain’s (a caste) company

"Aaale nabi Aulade Ali noo too kyoun leeka laayaan
Jehra sano Syed saday doozakh milan sazayaan"

Why do you want to insult Prophet’s and Ali’s decendant (by having lower caste in your company)?
The one who address us as syed will go to hell
But the one who addresses us as Araain will enjoy comforts of heaven

"Raaeen Saaeen subhni Thaeee Rab diyan be parwa yan
Sohiyaan pare hataian te kojiah lay Gul layaan"

A rain and masters are born at every place, God doesn’t descriminate against anyone
Beautiful people (at heart) doesn’t care for such differences, only ugly ones do

"Jay tu Loray Baagh baharan Chakar ho ja raai yan
Bulley shah di zaat ke puchni Shaakar ho Raziaaan"

If you need gardens of heaven, be servant to araains.
Why do you ask caste of Bulleh Shah, he is grateful to God

Bandeyaaa hoooo ,Bandeya

tani said...

I was trying to find the meaning to this song when I saw the movie and here's what a search had showed up:

The song itself is in a Saraiki language, and written by Baba Bulley Shah.

"
Bulley no samjhawan aayan behna te bharjaiaan,
Munlay bullehya sada kehna chad de pala rayaan"

Bulleh’s sisters and bhabhiaan (sister in laws) came to convince him
Bulleh, Please do as we tell you and leave araain’s (a caste) company

"Aaale nabi Aulade Ali noo too kyoun leeka laayaan
Jehra sano Syed saday doozakh milan sazayaan"

Why do you want to insult Prophet’s and Ali’s decendant (by having lower caste in your company)?
The one who address us as syed will go to hell
But the one who addresses us as Araain will enjoy comforts of heaven

"Raaeen Saaeen subhni Thaeee Rab diyan be parwa yan
Sohiyaan pare hataian te kojiah lay Gul layaan"

A rain and masters are born at every place, God doesn’t descriminate against anyone
Beautiful people (at heart) doesn’t care for such differences, only ugly ones do

"Jay tu Loray Baagh baharan Chakar ho ja raai yan
Bulley shah di zaat ke puchni Shaakar ho Raziaaan"

If you need gardens of heaven, be servant to araains.
Why do you ask caste of Bulleh Shah, he is grateful to God

Bandeyaaa hoooo ,Bandeya

Solace In Islam said...

I am totally with you on this issue. Despite being bombarded by comments about how haram music with instruments is, I still enjoy it. My intention is nothing but good, so I am not worried about what other people think.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Bengali:

We can agree to disagree about the music.

But on the girls going crazy over the nasheed singers - reminds me of the Christian rock music stars and how the girls also go crazy over them :)

Yawar said...

@Anonymous: Allow me to butt in despite your addressing Mezba. Here's what I understand:

(1) The `hero worship girls' thing was an anecdote, not entirely part of the flow of the post. Over here what I understood was that these girls just didn't get the point of, or the value of, the music--they just treated it like any pop music, and the singers like any other celebrities. Beyond that, it doesn't have any bearing on whether music for entertainment purposes is OK or not. That's separate.

(2) `I like it' is not an argument. It's just a fact with which any human being can identify.

In the poetic sense, good music can be compared to the influence of alcohol. But come on. That's not a rational basis for prohibition of music. And you're kidding me if you think the Arab world sets a good example in abstaining from alcohol.

(3) I haven't seen this movie.

(4) The point here is that Zakir Naik and people like him are interpreting the Hadith to decide whether or not the Prophet would declare other forms of music than `daff', haram or halal. But they have no way of actually knowing what the Prophet would have thought of music beyond his own cultural experiences. Maybe he would have liked the tabla? The sitar? The electric keyboard or guitar? What about the bagpipe or the lambada? Who knows? The point is they're passing a blanket ban on all these other forms of music just because the Prophet, from his own experiences, simply preferred one type.

Suroor said...

You know Mezba, I like your post. I don’t think you are presenting an argument. You are only giving your opinion. Once upon a time I liked to present arguments and discuss why Islamic laws are as they are or not, but it is tiring and in the end narrow-minded and blind followers make you so angry that you just want to chuck it all out of the window. It is much better to not argue – lakum deenokum wale ya deen. So, great that you are not arguing.

Now here is what I think:

• If you sing and dance like the idol worshippers do in temples, then it is haraam. Let me point out that these people use the daff! Yet it is haraam.
• If you sing and dance at a wedding in the presence of the opposite sex where you become the focus of attention of the opposite sex, then it is haraam.
• If you go wild listening to music in a discothèque or nightclub then it is haraam.

But:

• Listening to a piano recital in a black-tie concert is not haraam.
• Opera is harmless.
• Listening to music in your home or car is not a bad thing.
• Playing a musical instrument is not bad.

Islam is extremely Arab-centered. What we have to accept is that Arabs didn’t make Islam great, Islam made Arabs great and so everything Arab-related has automatically become ‘the best option’. It reminds me of this man who used to tell us to eat zucchini because it was the Prophet’s fav vegetable. I hate zucchini but saying that to him was blasphemous! Olives, figs and dates have become indispensable. Thob and sandals are more Islamic. And so is the daff. Why? Because the Prophet never went to a piano recital?! What kind of argument is that, may I ask?

Refreshing post, Mezba. I like it!

shaz said...

"Arabs didn’t make Islam great, Islam made Arabs great"

- that's possibly the best thing i've ever read!

Sumera said...

I personally love music :D

misspecs said...

I agree with Suroor's view point here. Music in its entirety is not entirely Halal or Haraam; just the way you use it.

I've read a lot about the topic; the most accurate and based-on-facts opinion that I found was that music is a waste of time; hence doesn't come recommended. I agree with that and see the sense in it. Some people really do abuse it and listen to their iPods for 9-12 hours everyday but they are exceptions. If i look at myself, I take care that it doesn't distract me from my prayers or makes me indulge in haraam stuff like dancing in a huge mixed gathering, so I think I can answer for myself that I don't misuse it. I don't see the harm in it, then. (Personal opinion)

And just for the record, people here in Pakistan keep on pointing out the 'arguments made by the guy in the film' about music. IMHO, they are moot. They're just an OPINION of the writer, I respect his right to have one. but on an intellectual or religious level, I don't take a film that was more an opinion than a documentary to be a point of reference!


@ following everything Arab, I remember just recently writing a blog post about our subservience to anything Arab.

P.S. The song you posted with this post is the EXCELLENT poetry of Bulley Shah. If you like it so much already, i wish you could've understood the lyrics in their original language; its heady, beautiful stuff!

The Queen said...

Islam made Arabs great? Arabs are great? Seriously?

mezba said...

Liya: it was eh! I couldn't help laughing. And I think some of the performers at time encourage it, although few have spoken out against it.

Personally I like Sami Yousef and Outlandish. But I like good music in all.

Anon: For some reason commentators who are part of the "Haram police" are always:
a) anonymous.
b) can't stop the bile no matter how polite they start
"ranting like a child"
c) while lecturing on haram, forget good behaviour.

Anyways I have a long time policy of not responding to challenges when they are anonymous.

Tani: thank you so much the translation! Now I have to find out who Baba Bulley Shah is.

Solace in Islam: "I am not worried about what other people think" well said!

Saffiyah: Never attended a Christian rock concert but can imagine!

Yawar: thanks for the interjection, although I think anon is just a troll looking for some attention!

I agree with pretty much what you said regarding what I am intending to portray here. Your number 4 is pretty strong as well.

Suroor: Yes suroor, I too am tired of arguing with people who just won't see, won't hear and cannot listen with an open mind. And I don't mind other people having different beliefs but when they try to force it on others that is when I get angry.

I like the way you categorized the music!

And so is the daff. Why? Because the Prophet never went to a piano recital?! What kind of argument is that, may I ask?

Exactly!

Shaz: me too!

Sumera: same here.

Miss Specs: it's like a knife right, depends on how you use it.

I love your "Arabic" post.

Queen: lol.

Organica said...

Hmm.

I feel some Arab hate here.

On the issue of music, it's a tough one. I go back and forth.

What I've seen from Bollywood, surely can't be halal, neither the Arab or American music videos.

Now, if we are discussing the lyrics, that's a whole different ball park.

mezba said...

Organica: Don't get me wrong - it's not Arab hate.

First, here's my complaint about Arabs.

1. The people are too accepting of inept rulers. The same rulers (for example Hosni Mubarak) are screwing the people for ages and no one, NO ONE, seems to be able to take a stand against them. It seems all it takes for Arab rulers is to bribe their people with a few earthly comforts and that's it.

2. Anything Arabic is immediately raised to anything Islamic. And Arab scholars persist in spreading this falsehood (for example promoting Arabic music instruments such as daff, and saying everything else is haram, and the whole Saudi wahabi system where only the abaya is halal and all else haram, etc.)

3. Not doing anything about the racism that is present in Arab society against brown people (especially UAE, Saudi, Qatar) and yet expecting the whole world to sympathize with Arab issues such as Palestine, while paying scant regard to other Muslim issues such as Darfur, Bangladesh, Kashmir, so on.

As for music, you will be surprised by some Bollywood tunes.

Organica said...

1) Many have tried to stand against these tyrant rulers but were immediately executed (and I mean murdered). There is a huge movement in Egypt against the traitor Hosni Mubarak. People are moving, but it's slow. So I wouldn't say that people are sitting there accepting matters (you won't find this on mainstream media!). When they take away everything (basic necessities, most people don't have time to think about the tyrant rulers when they can't feed their children).

2) I don't know where you get that only Arab instruments are made halal versus others. I find the argument with no depth. It's an easy accusation, but where is your evidence? I personally don't even care to delve into the matters. I try to use my own measure for matters, is what I am doing/listening/engaging in going to make me closer to Allah?

Of course we are only human. Not perfect.

3)Racism: It's not racism against brown people alone, but everyone. Do you know how horribly Egyptians are treated in Gulf countries? I would rather starve to death than ever go work for a Gulf country.

Among the religious, all Muslim matters (or human) matters are important. I've noticed this attitude from you before about the Palestinian issue being an "Arab" issue. That's sad if you view it as so. The Palestinian issue is a Muslim issue and a humanity issue above all. That doesn't discard any of the other humanitarian crises in Kashmir or Darfur.

Allah chose our prophet to be an Arab and the Quran to be revealed in the language of Arabs. So we only strive to learn the language and honor Mecca and Medina because Allah has made them so. It's as simple as that. Does that mean Arabs are better? Or any other Arab country or nation is above? I think not. We are all the same.

I've been discriminated by desis before. I've never taken it personally. It's just how the world goes. I try to be different and I hope you can do the same.

Peace!

Musa said...

There are 2 issues here; music and worshipping Arab culture.

I dont possess sufficient knowledge to make an absolute judgement on music.

As for Arab culture, there are many things Islamic, which are wrongly attributed to Arab culture and vice versa...

1) Some reborn Muslims love to use "yani" in their speech; others use Shukran instead of Thanks. Wearing thobes or preferring to eat Hummus instead of Curry are all signs of an inferiority complex, even though the guilty ones think they are becoming more Islamic by following Arab culture.

I also consider giving children Arabic names, which have no Islamic significance (Samer, Laila, Ihab, Tamer) as a sign of this slavish attitude

2) Now comes the other side of the coin. There are some actions/injunctions which can be argued as being "Arab culture", when in reality they are "Islamic" acts. Stuff like saying Assalam Alaikum (why do we have to greet people in Arabic), saying Bismillah before eating etc.

3) The gray area, at least in my opinion, are those do with musical instruments, food (having preference for what the Prophet (saws) liked).

Naeem: said...

AA- Mezba,

Interesting post. I won't get into the music-haram argument as I believe in the 'live and let live' school of thought. (However, I will add that the pro-music arguments presented in the movie seriously hold little water when analyzed by Muslim scholars)...

I did want to chime in on your last comment:

"1. The people are too accepting of inept rulers."

I've thought about this as well and I've come the conclusion that Arab rules are EXTREMELY BRUTAL, especially when compared to their counterparts in other Muslim countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Turkey, Sudan, etc.). 'Dissent' is not even allowed in Arabic dictionaries. :-)

So they have very little room to express any opinions contrary to the government's official line.

Not defending them, just stating my observations.

"and the whole Saudi wahabi system where only the abaya is halal and all else haram, etc."

Not true. Salafis/wahabis don't believe that. They believe in women covering their entire self. Whether its the Irani chador, Afghani burqah, or Saudi abaya is irrelevant to them.

"Not doing anything about the racism that is present in Arab society against brown people (especially UAE, Saudi, Qatar) and yet expecting the whole world to sympathize with Arab issues such as Palestine"

As abhorrent as this is, it should not diminish the role of Arab culture on Islam. This sickness of racism is found all over the Muslim world. For example, Indo-Pakistanis are just as guilty of racism against Blacks. So should Qawali and Naat be rejected as commendable forms of praising our Lord and His prophet?

I understand what you're trying to get at - that Islam doesn't equal Arab culture. I agree that people make that mistake. However your pointing to the racism practiced by some Arabs does little to support your argument.

Safiyyah said...

Standing ovation for Organica!

Safiyyah said...

Also, about the "unjust ruler" - it is a complicated issue both from the secular and religious viewpoint:

http://www.arabnews.com/services/print/print.asp?artid=11807&d=7&m=1&y=2002&hl=Does+rebellion+carry+a+mandatory+punishment%3F

In general, it is understand that it is not desirable to rise up against unjust rulers when the result can make the situation WORSE for the people. Hamas shooting their rockets into Israeli-occupied Palestinian land can be seen as an example. Look at the disproportionate response of the Israelis. Look what has happened to the PEOPLE in Gaza due to the actions of their Hamas government!

I, too, understand the point you are making TO, but the situation is deeper than what appears on the surface.

People don't usually rise against the unjust ruler unless they are forced to by basic human needs, i.e., the food riots in Egypt and other places.

mezba said...

Organica, thank you for your comments. I do apologize if I have hurt your sentiments in any way.

When it comes to Arabic-only music instruments made halal, I am referring to the opinion of Dr Zakir Naik and sheikhs like him (check IslamQA), who make the daff halal only because the Prophet listened to the daff, and no other.

It is not that I view Palestine as an Arab only issue, it IS an Islamic issue, but to me it seems to be the ONLY Islamic issue. There are many times Arab countries actually took sides of the oppressor (Iraq invading Kuwait when Palestenians actually supported Saddam is one example, 1971 is another, so is Darfur).

What really makes me angry is that all these sheikhs that visit during RIS are so quick to denounce Israel and the West for all their alleged crimes but are mute when it comes to Arab governments.

That's all I want to say on this topic.

As for the discrimination part, do keep in mind my background. I have lived eighteen years of my life seeing firsthand how other people are treated in the Gulf countries, then I come here and am expected to sympathize when people from those countries are discriminated here.

mezba said...

Musa: it's time you got your own blog, man! I like what you have to say.

As for the names thing, I recently had a very interesting discussion with some fellow bloggers from Toronto around that topic. Maybe I will do a post on it. It has to do with new converts and how they change their names and all.

Naeem: walaiksalam.

I am still trying to figure out how it got into the whole Arab issue from post on my liking of music! But it was to clarify that it wasn't Arab hate, but the disgust I feel with people who AUTOMATICALLY make everything Arab = Muslim and everything non Arab = haram without thinking.

As for Arabs not standing up to their government, it vexes me a lot. Because I know the Arab street (to some extent) and it is NOT represented by their governments. Yet ever since the time of Muawiyyah, there has been no democracy here. Ironically, Bush is the first one to implement some type of democracy (however flawed) in the Middle East (i.e. Iraq).

Yet whenever the Palestine issue flares up, you see the Arab governments running like ball-less men from door to door. Anyways...

Safiyyah: thanks for that info. I also want to add that I would rather people change the government without blood. It IS possible. How, I don't know.

Safiyyah said...

That's exactly why you are supposed to sympathize, TO - because you KNOW what's it's like to be treated badly.

Another reason to sympathize is because it's the right thing to do. We must always do the right thing - regardless of what others are doing.

I feel you TO. I used to be where you're at.

saeeda said...

Mezba - I totally agree with you. On each and every one of your points made.

Don't let the "haraam police" get to you, I've stopped arguing with them about anything.

And all those saying theres "arab hate", all I have to say is hate needs to stop on all sides, and no offense but alot of Arab's need to stop acting like they are the only "real" muslims. I've actually been told by Arabs that us "non arabs" stole their names and their religion. I agree with what Musa said totally. Naming your kids arabic names has nothing to do with Islam. We have to get out of this Arab reserved mind set. Of course nothing is wrong with those who name their kids arabic names, and I also know Arab people who are very nice. But I just have to say what their positions have done to the Muslims today.

And a standing ovation for Musa. =)

Azlin said...

This is what my Canadian friend wrote abt changing name:-

http://macvaysia.com/2007/03/13/mufti-of-perlis-converts-dont-need-bin-abdullah/

http://macvaysia.com/2006/08/15/jordan-abdullah-and-the-telur-pindang/

questfortherightone.blogspot.com said...

salams sis! all i can say is music has a healing power too. I know it's a controversial topic, but the two sides must be seen, and recognized, you know?

I'm so watching that clip after i write this! :)

salams,
Quest

Musa said...

I have been thinking of getting my own blog for the last 4 years; that should tell you how much of a procastinator I am.

From my side, I appreciate your blog as well, its good to see at least one Bengali from AUH/Dubai having his own blog; I would probably be the second, if I can ever gather enough strength.......

We probably have a dozen acquaintances in common, but somehow we have never met! So next time you are in AUH, hopefully we can grab a coffee :)

Hasan Ammar said...

Mezba, I chose to post anonymously because I dont have a "blog presence",. It certainly has no bearing on my argument. This time I'm posting with a Name/URL if that makes a difference.

You say that I was rude, and yet you call me the Haram police. Nevertheless, lets simply drop the name calling instead of going in circles.

I'm not part of any haram police. I rarely post in online blogs, and most of my friends listen to music and perhaps hear something negative from me about it maybe once every couple of years. Nevertheless, I apologize for my behavior. The point I'm trying to make is: Think through your arguments. The best tool for Shaytan is to make you stop using your head and looking through your arguments.

Briefly, here is why I don't agree with your line of thinking, and I invite you to help me understand if I am wrong:

1) You confuse the issue by bringing in hyper females into the mix. Lets get rid of them from the argument.

2) You say you like it. I say, liking something is not proof for its acceptance in Islam.

3) You talk about the subservient-to-arabs mentality. I say, why pray in arabic? I mean, along your vein of arguments, can I say, "Why is no one question the Prophet IS arabic, hence he WILL pray in arabic"? Can I pray in other languages too?

Regards.

Musa said...

A very interesting trend in the ME; many subcontinental men wear the Thobe, while women wear the Burqa. I never really understand the former, the latter being more understandable.

However its interesting to see what Gulf natives think of such practices. In some cases, they consider non-Arab women wearing the Burqa as wrong and feel as if we are copying their culture.

Similarly, they dont look favorably upon men wearing the thobe, as they feel its getting "devalued". This has even led to the headgear being prohibited by law for non-Gulf Arabs to wear.

I understand where they are coming from, yet its funny and ironic that you have South Asians trying to imitate Gulf natives, and Gulf natives considering it slightly insulting that they are being imitated

Suroor said...

Have you heard of the Mozart Effect, Mezba? Or plain music therapy?

Suroor said...

I have been wanting to say this for a long time and maybe I will on my blog in detail but you are right that Arabs are racist. The whole world is racist actually and Arabs are no exception who also suffer from superiority complex. But let me tell you that Arabs are racist towards each other as well. Like Organica pointed out, GCC nationals and especially Saudis, Emaratis and Kuwatis hate Egyptians. I have had people tell me that Egyptians are not even Arab. I’ll post on it. It was a lengthy discussion.

mezba said...

Safiyyah: I know, but it's not easy! And I am easily tempted not to! :-p

saeeda: I am just expressing by opinion on music here. The Haram police are back, but they can't silence opinion!

And all those saying theres "arab hate", all I have to say is hate needs to stop on all sides, and no offense but alot of Arab's need to stop acting like they are the only "real" muslims.

I should post on this more. There seems to be an increasing divide now (and I notice this on Palestine or other issues) about Arabs vs Non-Arabs within Muslim circles.

Azlin: I agree that unless the name means something dodgy or unIslamic it should not be changed, and especially the parent's name should NOT be changed, no matter what it means.

Quest: er, it's not a sis!

Musa: Next time I am there I will give you a ding. Unfortunately I don't have your email!

Hasan Ammar:

I am not trying to argue it's for or against in Islam. I am stating my opinion on my blog. I like it, I think music has a place in Muslim's life and anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken.

You talk about the subservient-to-arabs mentality. I say, why pray in arabic? I mean, along your vein of arguments, can I say, "Why is no one question the Prophet IS arabic, hence he WILL pray in arabic"? Can I pray in other languages too?

According to Islam, one should worship as the Prophet worshipped anything new or innovative in worship NOT MENTIONED is Haram (opposite to general life where anything not mentioned is Halal UNLESS it's declared Haram). Prophet prayed in Arabic - we prayed in Arabic. Prophet recited the Quran, we do as well.

There are also specific times during the salaat the Prophet prayed personal prayers. We are allowed to do so in our language. One moment would be in Sujood after the subhanas.

Musa: I too remember the ban on men wearing the head gear. Very illustrating, is it not!

Meanwhile, during RIS last year, I learnt many of the notable scholars from Bosnia during the Middle Ages and Ottoman times did not wear ANY head covering because it was not in their culture and they considered that behaviour of the Prophet to be culture driven.

Suroor: No I haven't, but you can bet I will look it up!

Suroor: Gonna head over to check it out as soon as I finish watching King Obama's coronation!

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Musa:

You wrote: However its interesting to see what Gulf natives think of such practices. In some cases, they consider non-Arab women wearing the Burqa as wrong and feel as if we are copying their culture.

If this is true, why do the Saudis force non-Muslim women to wear abaya in public ?!

Yet other ME countries force non-Muslim women to wear a hijab at the minimum.

I laughed real hard when I saw Nancy Pelosi and Laura Bush in hijab while traveling in the Middle East.

Heck, even the "terrorists" force non-Muslim female captives to wear a hijab.

But when a believing Muslim non-Gulf women wears abaya and hijab they have a problem with it? Wow!

I won't begin to talk about how they learn real fast to dress like us Westerns when they come over here.

People should dress how they want - in the Gulf or over here.

Safiya Outlines said...

Salaam Alaikum,

Like others here on the music issue, I live and let live and go back and forth.

If, you are interested in the legal basis of the opinion that music is haraam, I can point you in the direction of some very detailed explanations. I do think there's benefit in finding out the reasons behind different rulings even if you choose to take a different opinion and the music issue is actually quite an interesting one, if you're a fiqh geek like me.

As for Arabs and their leaders, have you not heard of the Hama Massacre (in Syria)? Personally, I feel it is too easy to judge when we have the luxury of not being in a similar situation. Sadly Bangladesh and Pakistan are not much better when it comes to human rights, torture, corruption and arbitrary detention are common there too.

Musa said...

Wsalam Safiyyah,

There is a substantial difference between Saudis and non-Saudis. Saudi ruling classes (particularly the Muttawa), prefer women to wear Abayas, i.e. all women.

In places like Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, the natives dont state aloud that Abayas are for them. But some of them seem to get riled when foreign women wear the Abaya, and get mistaken for being natives.

Many of them follow this line of thinking: "The Abaya is our cultural clothing, why are people from other cultures copying us, maybe they want to be mistaken for us, and get "respect" ".......

the Saudi situation is entirely different....

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Musa:

I can understand what you are saying ... a bit. It's ironic that when some non-Arab-Gulf Muslim women wear modest clothing of the West, well, they are criticized for this, too. For example, if an American sister wears an ankle-length skirt and a nice long-sleeved shirt. Or a loose pantsuit, etc. Many Muslim women use the jilbab and abaya because, like the Arab-Gulf women, they know the beauty of just being able to slip something over your head, lol.

Reminds me of something I saw in the current issue of Lilith magazine (to Jewish women what Azizah is to Muslim women):

"In October 2008, a Lebanese businessman named Fadi Abboud accused the State of Israel of stealing traditional Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and falafel by claiming them as Israeli. Abboud's intent to stick the Lebanese flag in a plate of baba ghannouj is clearly symptomatic of larger strife in the region. But it also indicates the intensely prideful connections we as individuals and socities so often make between "our" food and our identities."

Musa, perhaps the abaya is part of this "prideful connection"?