Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pixie, Your Personal Shopper: Beautiful Muslimah Online Boutique to Open Soon

Bismillahi Al rahmani raheem.

Asalam alaykom ramatullahi wa barakto sisters,

BEAUTIFUL MUSLIMAH ONLINE BOUTIQUE OPENING SOON: As you all know, I announced a while back I was almost ready to start selling items from here in Oman, and eventually, other nearby GCC countries like UAE, Bahrain, and KSA. I posted a few items I would be able to stock for future sale, like niqabs.

But besides those items, I kind of had another idea.

The new "Beautiful Muslimah Online Boutique" is not exactly going to be your traditional internet Islamic shopping experience. #1 difference is that for the time being, I am not going to stock a lot of merchandise. What I am going to do instead is treat every individual customer like they are my personal shopping client. That means, no matter where you live, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and elsewhere, you will be able to shop like you are in the GCC, and more than that, like you are a VIP. All that is required for great style and this fabulous shopping experience is that you be able to take your own measurements according to my guidelines, and provide me with a secure way to ship the items to you, if my preferred methods are not available.

HOW IT WILL BE ORGANIZED: the boutique will be based online on blogger up until the point I feel it is necessary to create a website. It will be organized with your specifications tagged on the sidebar menu [design, cut, colour, designer, latest trends, new in stock, price categories, SALE, ect]. Once you click on the specific tag, it will take you to all available merchandise in your selection. You may also, of course, simply peruse the entire blog. If you find an item you want to place an order for, write down the order name of the item as listed, taking into account the shipping time listed on the description of the item. Some items will be in stock and in your size and may ship immediately. Others will require 2 days-1 week for tailoring depending on the supplier and this will be specified. Most items will be made to order, customized to your measurements for a perfect fit, and will take as little 2 days to 3 weeks to manufacture. I will specify where possible.

HOW TO PLACE AN ORDER: On the sidebar will be a link to the email address where I receive all orders. In the email you will have to state your measurements, the item order name/and or names, shipping address, and preferred method of payment.

CONCERNING PAYMENTS: I will be taking Western Union orders, wire payments and Drafts & Money Orders. I do require that I receive the entire payment before I place your order for tailoring or pick up from the supplier. So that means that depending on the time you require your item in, you may have to use a certain payment method, as I require all drafts/money orders to clear at the bank before I place an order for purchase and shipment. I will look into Visa, but don't really like encouraging riba/interest as it is a sin for Muslims. Prepaid visas seem okay to me so I will look into it.

Once I receive your email purchase inquiry I will immediately receive all order options for your item for you and correspond back to you if there are any additional options for you to decide on, such as fabric cost and quality, and the exact time of production for your item, as well as the full shipping cost, and any return policies.

QUALITY GUARANTEE: *Most stores that tailor the items won't allow for returns so I will personally guarantee the quality of your order before I hand over your hard-earned money. If they are later then they said they would be I will argue to get you a deserved discount*

Once you confirm your order and I receive your payment I will go to the stores for you, have your order placed, and I will pick your order up. I will be responsible to make sure that the quality you paid for is delivered, and I guarantee ;p I will be more reliable than ebay. I will then package the item according to its shipping requirements personally, and make sure it gets to you.

***I wouldn't sell you something I thought I was utter crap. Or even crap;D. I mean, unless I told you it was crap in writing, and that I wouldn't wear it or recommend buying it, but you still asked me to pick it up for you anyways. That's another story. Which will be highlighted shortly, under the heading WHAT WE DO NOT CARRY VIA THE BOUTIQUE WE CAN FIND.***

RETURNS: If you are not happy with your item in anyway at all and it was a returnable item, you will have to pay for the return shipping, but I will refund your money. If the fault of the item being not to your standard was my own [this is up to Beautiful Muslimah Online Boutique's own discretion] I will also reimburse the shipping also so please specify the cost of the shipping and the receipts for the shipping as well as our store receipt in your return.

STOCK: I will peruse monthly all of the abaya and shayla and hijab dealers in Muscat, Oman, from high end runway designers to individual tailor shops of quality who won't charge an arm and a leg for their services. I will let you, my clients, view the merchandise based on your specifications (colour, cut, design, designer, latest trends, prices, ect). Because I buy in larger quantities and have an established relationship already with merchandise providers, I am able to get discounts from some designers that you couldn't, even if you boarded a plane over here and walked into the store. For example, "Kitty Kat Bling" is an abaya worth her weight in genuine Austrian crystals designed by UAE's brand Hanayen and she costs approximately 200+ rials Omani. That is over $600 USD. I can buy her for 90 Omani rials (that's not a sale price from Hanayen btw, that is my preferred customer discount)--- $270 USD. Quite a discount, right? I am the QUEEEN of bartering!

I have made a deal with certain high end brands and some quality tailors to photograph their stock. I am working on uploading these items into their categories online. This process is kind of slow and ongoing so bear with me. I am starting with the more well-known brands and will move on to tailors soon inshaAllah.

Also, if there is an item you desire but that you do not find available through the boutique, then please read the next section.

WHAT WE DO NOT CARRY VIA THE BOUTIQUE, WE CAN FIND OR HAVE MADE: If there is an item you desire but you do not find available through the boutique send an email inquiry detailing the desired item to the site email with the subject being: INQUERY. If you have a picture of the item, even better. I can do my best to get a tailor to make you an old design, or to even tailor an abaya for you in a different fabric or colour. Want a silky bisht abaya in lilac purple or something? I can get the fabric cost and quote you for how many meters your design is going to require with fabric options +the tailor's fee. It can be done. You can also choose a cheaper embroidery or fabric then I would recommend for your abaya and shaylas and niqabs, and I can find you less quality items when available for those on a budget at your request. But if I tell you the item is not up to my standard, you are NOT allowed to complain about it to the hijab fashion blogging community later, right? Deal.

I will try to make a section quoting how many meters of fabric are required for some standard abaya designs that are popular, and three price selections for different qualities of coloured fabric, since bridal and special occasion abayas a lot of sisters would like custom-made. Like, for lace, how much, for silk, how much, for poly-sateen how much (though I'd save and splurge for the silk but you might be able to wear it wear you live).

***ONLY for abaya orders, I will hunt for a required accessory for you, on a personal basis, but don't intend to photograph accessories as listed stock in the meantime.***

PRICING: Final quoted prices will include shipping, the item cost, and my personal shopper fee/and or the profit I made from obtaining the item for you. For the most part, my fee will be in the quoted item price as it is listed in the available merchandise section. For tailoring orders, it will be specified per 1 item, and will be reduced + an item for additional items.

My personal fee is either a flat fee charge for my services in placing the order and its pickup and shipping, and/or for consulting for you a massive VIP shopper's discount, or a percentage fee in my manufacture of an item. I will never gauge you like some Islamic Online Boutiques. I know how hard it is to get good Islamic clothing THAT YOU LIKE in the West, and I want to eventually, inshaAllah, be able to cater to all income brackets.

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THE IDEA SO FAR and if you have any interest in the abayas I posted above! They are a bit pricey though since they are designer and of really good fabric and workmanship, around $130.00 USD -$200 each.

The Technical Meaning of the Term "Khawarij" pt. 2

Now, to study the technical definition of "Khawarij" from the perspective of some Shia scholars (who I will admit, I am generally less familiar with). Sheikh Muhammad Abduh [Nahju Al-Balagha Vol. 1, pg 78] attempts to explain the concept of what the Khawarij are more clearly than Sunni scholars by saying "the Mariqun [Khawarij] are those who have gone out of the religion, who have doubt and who are not sure, and he [Ali] crushed them with arguments and defeated them!"

To go out from the religion I personally would have to consider a Muslim to a. either commit extreme shirk of worshipping something other than Allah, b. to disregard the sunnah of the Prophet Mohamed sallalahu alahi wa salaam as being part of the religion, c. to give up prayer, ect. We know from history, that this is not so of the people of Nahrawaan. And if you are Shia, you will know this because Ali himself said they were not infidels/disbelievers.

To have doubt, to me personally, means, that the people of Nahrawaan's belief in Allah and the hereafter was weak. This is not evidenced at all, and is contradicted entirely for any Shia scholar who would state it is so by Ali's own statement about the people of Nahrawaan: "From infidelity they have already fled; and a hypocrite seldom remembers Allah." [Al-Baihaqi Al-Kubra Vol. p. 334, narrative no. 17189]. Meaning, Ali himself in history acknowledged that the people of Nahrawaan remembered Allah frequently. In fact, the people of Nahrawaan are always mentioned as praying constantly, especially by Sahaba companion Ibn Abbas, and Ali.

As for whether or not Ali crushed them with arguments and defeated them, he did indeed defeat them in the skirmish battle at Nahrawaan. But with force, not arguments. To clarify this, from Ali himself : "They are the people who have rebelled against us, and we have been given victory over them." None of Ali's arguments changed the so-called Khawarijites opinion, for indeed, Ali himself had been of the same opinion as them originally about Muawiya's tactic of raising the Qu'ran copies on spearheads saying "what is between these pages is the judgement between you and us" to keep the war away from them awhile while they were at the disadvantage to Ali's forces. Short history lesson: Ali's side had ALREADY tried negotiating with Muawiya's side on NUMEROUS occasions. Ali was no fool and realized a pause in the fighting right now was advantageous to Muawiya. Originally, like the people of Nahrawaan, he did not wish to agree to this truce, but the majority of his fighters did so he changed his position. Historically sahih (from a Sunni perspective) ahadith also corroborate from Muawiyia's advisor Amru bin Al Alas himself that this was not a sincere act of truce, but a military tactic. "Let us raise copies of the Qu'ran on spearheads as a sign of wishing to end this war… so that we may stop Ali's forces and weaken their strength." [Al Yaaqubi Taarikh Al Yaaqubi, Vol. 2, p 188].

Ali would have been in no position to persuade the so-called Khawarijites with arguments, seeing as he had originally stood adamantly with them. In fact, the people of Nahrawaan's arguments were so compelling that companion Ibn Abaas was persuaded by them. It is my personal belief after reading all accounts from Sunni and Shia sources of the incident, that Ali would have preferred to stand on the same side of the fence as the people of Nahrawaan, who rejected the pseudo truce agreement shouting "There is no judgement except that of Allah." Except that it was NOT the wish of majority whom he led, and since it led to disunity he was quoted saying "That is the word of truth behind which wrong is intended." [Al Tabari Al Taarikh Vol. 6, p. 17 (and numerous others sources saying the same, both sunni and shia)].

If you believe that Ali was sinless like Mohamed salalahu alahi wa salaam (I do not), you would have to believe that by saying that Ali meant that the people of Nahrawaan were right, but that there was more to be considered than that alone. Or, authoobillahi minash shaytaani rajeem, astighfuraAllah, that Ali received Divine revelation from Allah (I totally DOOOOOOOOOO NOT and believe to believe so IS shirk). If you think it is meant literally, than this would be a mistake of Ali's as no man is allowed to judge or assume intention. I say this with authority because of the case that a disbeliever proclaimed "la ilaha il Allah" and a Sahabi slew him. When asked by Mohamed salalalhu alahi wa salaam why he did so, the Sahabi said, "He did not do so except in fear of the sword." The Prophet angrily asked him: "Have you split his heart to see what exists therein?" So without Divine revelation, no man can pass judgement on another man's intention.

We know that the action of the people of Nahrawaan were honest, and even Ali says it was the truth. They rejected the false truce under the same pretexts that Ali had given for the war having been justified in the beginning. Perhaps, later having reconsidered what he knew about judging intentions to be for Messengers and Allah alone, Ali came to rule his followers about the "khawarij": "Do not kill the Khawarij after me, for he who seeks the truth but mistakes is unlike he who seeks misguidance intentionally [Muawiyia and his Syrian forces]. Scholars will say that Ali speaks of Muawiyia as one who seeks misguidance intentionally, and the Khawarij as those who do so accidently, but I feel more Ali was speaking about his own followers, when they chose to make the truce in error. BTW, the last statement is biased so feel free to strike through if you like. This is me trying to give Ali an out for a mistake I believe history would have him make.

At least from Ali's opinion, and thus I must conclude what should be the Shia one regardless of what their scholars say, the Khawarij didn't leave Islam like they regard Muawiyia to have done. They still regard them as Muslims, but as Muslims who will not follow majority opinion if it contradicts what they know of Qu'ran.

I have not found a single Sunni source that can tie in the "what is Khawarij" with "who" the Khawarij are purported to be alas. Abu Dawood says of the people of Nahrawaan "They are no people who follow their prejudices… they are the people whose traditions are the most authentic" and even Ibn Taymiyya says: "they are well known to speaking the truth to the extent that the traditions narrated by them are the most authentic of all" [Minhaj Al Sunnah Vol. 3, pg. 3]. So much so for the old "they innovated" argument, then I guess.


SUNNI: So the Sunni technical description of "Khawarij" is people who are adamant followers of the Prophet Mohamed's traditions and honest to the point of being highly quoted by all ahadith scholars, yet they [people of Nahrawaan] left Islam and created the first disunity (which they didn't) somehow by disregarding Ali's military decision which cannot be evidenced from any of their decisions/actions concerning creed and tauhid, especially when reading from the perspective of respected companion and sahabi Ibn Abaas.

BTW, I follow Ibn Abaas over a lot of Sunni Scholars. For instance, he said the eye rims [aka kohl applied in the rim of the eye, makeup of the time upon the Salaf] was halal and what is apparent of. Yet I've never read Saudi Sheikh Ibn Baaz say the same right? Ibn Abaas walked with Rasoolulah. I'm going to take his word first, unless the hadith is proven to be fabricated or inaccurate ect.

???? (This is KIND OF why I don't follow scholars blindly when I can have daleel [Islamic evidence] instead).

SHIA: The Khawarij are those who rebelled against Ali's majority forces' decision to accept Muawiyia's fake truce. They were neither the first callers of disunity, nor did they leave Islam, but their actions are regarded as an innocent but misinformed mistake. [This is me taking Imam Ali over Shia scholars because he's more authorative I'd figure].

OOOOOR Ali himself admits his forces majority were mistaken, as I concluded [not a shia though so my opinion here doesn't count].

IBADHI: The people of Nahrawaan did not go out of Islam, but defended it to the letter even from their friends and allies. If the definition of Khawarij is one who rebels against a right leader, the people of Nahrawaan believe a leader must always lead by Qu'ran and Shariah and within its pretexts, and not simply be a leader regardless of Shariah legality. If right leader means someone injust, who disregards Qu'ran and sunnah, then this is not Islam they have gone out from, but from tyranny and corruption.

(K, I am not Ibadhi, and I don't know yet about LATER Nahrawaanese practices of Islam, but I agree about RIGHT LEADER).

So technical definitions now all dealt with in the highly confusing mess that they are, we will now delve into how the term "Khawarij" has been used historically.

What are YOUR thoughts on this thus far? Any takers?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Technical Meaning of the Term "Khawarij" pt. 1

The core of the subject of whether or not there is a sect called "khawarij" depends entirely on your technical description of the word. Muslim scholars use different expressions to imply the technical meaning of the term "khawarij" but a technical description MUST, absolutely MUST contain who and what the Khawarij are to be concrete.

Al-Shahrastani [Al-Milalu Wa Al-Nihal Vol. 1, p. 129] has defined the Khawarij as: "Anyone that goes against a right leader upon which the majority has agreed [to have him for a leader], is called a Khawarij; be it against the Rightly-Guided Caliphs during the time of the Prophet's companions or against the followers of the Prophet's companions as well as against leaders at any time."

Al-Shahrastani's classification of course makes imperative the defining also of a "right leader".

Shia believe the right leaders of Islam to have been the Prophet Mohamed's family, daughter Fatimah, and son-in-law Ali due to interpretation of hadith, and following, their children. Sunni believe the companion Abu Bakr, the prophet Mohamed's father-in-law due to his marriage to Aisha, the same, according to the same hadith by another interpretation and consensus at the time of Rasoolulah's death, up until Ali, and sometimes Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz.

I personally believe the same definition of "rightly guided" as Al-Sharastani. That any Caliph [rightly guided leader of the Muslims] is just any pious and just Muslim leader that leads a Muslim state in compliance with Islamic law, as the Prophet Mohamed salalalhu alahi wa salaam did. Though for reason that will be explained shortly, I'm not sure if I buy his technical definition yet.

I believe the first Caliph would have to have been

a.) Appointed in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Qu'ran and Prophetic traditions. [I favor Abu Bakr, so do Sunni, and Ibadhi though both do not agree on the historical leadership after Umar, and Shia favor Ali]

And any Caliph existing now or before would have/had to:

b.) The Caliph must lead in accordance with those teachings and does not go contrary to them.

c.) The Caliph has not stepped down nor has he been deposed.

Al-Shahrastani means by rightly guided Caliphs specifically: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. If that is his technical definition as intended, then many Al-Shahrastani would never have labelled as Khawarij also fall under that label, including Talha, Zubair, and Muawiya... who rebelled against Ali [rightly guided Caliph] during his Caliphate.

That is the flaw in Al-Shahrastani's [and most Sunni scholars who I have thus far examined] classical technical definition I suppose [though I'd put modern day Qutbists and Osama Bin Ladens as Khawarij with no problem in breath and no Ibadhi would stop me from that] . That this technical definition's "what" does not make clear its "who".

Al-Shahrastani's definition of "what" the Khawarij are may encompass Aicha R.A, Talha, Zubair, and Muawiya, but when you ask the scholars of both Sunni and Shia who the first Khawarij were they will say the people of Nahrawaan (the Ibadhis).

But the funny thing about Sunnis especially holding the people of Nahrawaan as the first Khawarij not Talha and Zubair and Muawiya? Well, for one, Ali was no longer Caliph in the Sunni take on history when the people of Nahrawaan "went out" from his leadership.

Another meaning of "a right leader" can also be taken to mean a Muslim leader regardless of the means by which they have come to power or the legitimacy and legality of his political existence according to Islamic law.

I don't agree with a "Caliph" ever being this.

If this definition of a right leader is used then I am for sure Khawarij and proud of it. But historically, so would ever Muslim in history be. Sunnis would be Khawarij because they sided with Muawiya, Ibadhis would be Khawarij because they disagreed with Ali, Shia would be khawarij because Al-Hasan ibn Ali revolted against Muawiya, and Al Hussain organized a campaign in Iraq against the Umayyad leaders.

That doesn't work to clarify at all, does it.

Thus we can conclude that we are either lacking a a more definitive definition of "right ruler" or that Al-Shahrastani's "what" definition of Khawarij, is, er, lacking the ability to clarify the "who".

When trying to research this technical definition I ran into a problem. The technical definition is supposed to be the 'what' and the 'why'. Most scholars ignore what "khawarij" is supposed to be, assuming already that the people of Nahrawaan are "it" whatever that is disregarding the flaws of trying to be technical about it all, and launch into merely giving reasons they have been thus labelled, and listing actions they are purported to have done/do.

Most commonly, as related by Ibn Hajar [Al-Fat-Hu, Vol. 14, p. 8524] and Al Shawkani [Sharhu Al-Nayl, Vol. 7, p 164] we hear: "The word Khawarij is a plural form of the word Kharijah, which means group. They have been so-called because they have gone out of the religion and because they have innovated matters once not existed."

Ibadhi will argue Sunni innovate, Shia will argue Sunni innovate, Sunni will argue Ibadhi and Shia innovate. So that definiton (technically unsound as it is lacking "what" and "who") will be no avail to this study either.

One problem I have found in my study so far of the Khawarij (and please enlighten me if you found a better what and who then I have) is that in both classical and modern works on the subject there has been no cohesion between the definition and the conclusion. And that often when a definition of "what" is used, other that fall under "who" of that what are excluded for no logical or scientific reason.

The most respected statement (of course not by the Khawarij themselves;D) about the Khawarij is by Ibn Taymiyyah Al-Harrani [Al Tasfir Al Kabir Vol. 2, p. 8]. Ibn Taymiyyah says as for "who": "Khawarij are the first callers of disunity in Islam." Explaining: "The first disunity in Islam [was] after the murder of Uthman and the division of the Muslims, and when Ali and Muawiya agreed on making arbitration, the Khawarij opposed and proclaimed that: 'There is no judgement except that of Allah' and they disassociated themselves from the mainstream."

The Shia were already here, divided from the Sunni, and likewise, so any student of history might wonder at Ibn Taymiyyah calling the people of Nahrawaan [who historically opposed the arbitration between Muawiyia and Ali as a trick of Muawiyia's] the first callers of disunity. I know I do. Another case of same cases, different rulings. Also, Ibn Taymiyyah's definition of splintering one's self from Ali alone would not make one Khawarij as Ibn Taymiyyah himself does not consider companion Ibn Abbaas who left Ali (who personally considered war agaainst those of Nahrawaan unjustified) for Mecca, to be Khawarij. Even if you changed his definition to mean " the act of splintering from Ali combined with war against Ali" you'd have to say that Talha and Zubair were Khawarij too, and no one does. Some use the term "disbelievers" but not specifically "Khawarij". What's the difference one might ask? To go out from Islam is to disbelieve.

More to come. What do you think so far? Who are the Khawarij to you and if so, do you know why you consider them Khawarij? What does one have to believe/do to be Khawarij?

The Literal Linguistic Meaning of the Term "Khawarij"

To begin. What does "Khawarij" mean?

The word "Khawarij" is a plural form of the word "Kharijah" in fusah (formal Arabic).

Although in spoken Arabic it is common to refer to a single person as "Kharijiy" and to many as "Khawarij" which is quite different than the correct morphological rules of the Arabic language.

To make everything simple, "Khawarij" linguistically means "a group that has come out or gone out".

Sheikh Nasir Al Sabi'i stated that Ibn Al Faris has referred to the term linguistically as having two meanings, one being to pass through a thing, and another to differ in colours.

So linguistically, that's what Khawarij is supposed to mean: "One who has gone out or coming out."

The question most important to understand the term logically when we use it, is to determine what exactly is meant by going out or coming out.

Having determined the linguistic meaning of khawarij, which neither Sunni, Shia or Ibadhi will argue over, we must next state the technical meaning of the word "Khawarij".

SECTS IN ISLAM- writing "Al Khawarij"---also known as Ibadhi

Belated, I bring to you my promised beginning of the study into Sects in Islam by taking a closer look at their own logics and entities. I chose to start with the "Kwararij" because the majority of Muslims consider them to be the first original sect or division in Islam, whereas they [the Ibadhi] maintain that they are the only believers still on the right path, or at the very least, that they have the earliest sahih ahadith collection and that most other Muslims follow scholars or political leaders that have corrupted the Prophet's tradition.

I actually tried very hard to get someone from the Omani Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs to write this piece but his response to me basically was, "seek and you shall find the truth", handing me of a bunch of books they don't give out to the regular convert. Which basically was saying that he trusted me to write honestly my findings.

I was given the titles "Ibadism in History Volume I: The Emergence of the Ibadhi School" by Ali Yahya Muammar, published by the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs; "The Overwhelming Truth, a Discussion of Some Key Concepts in Islamic Theology" by Ahmad b. Hamad al-Khalili [Grand Mufti of Oman], published by the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs; a book they are currently attempting to translate explaining why Ibadhi pray as they do which is unavailable to the general reader at this time; "Al-Khawarij: Reality or Legend" by Juma Muhammad Rashid Al Mazumi, published originally in Tanzania in Swahili. These are my sources from drawing an Ibadhi perspective. Please forgive what I do not know. I do not call myself Ibadhi.

****Hey, I already got one rude and ignorant comment on this post. I knew it was going to be controversial but hey, that was quick, and in good form. So I better make an ammendment****

No anonymous comments are further going to be posted on the exploring sects in Islam series on ILH. Pick an acronym.

Also, don't use insults or a term without an intellectual TECHNICAL & LINGUISTIC account for it.

In case you didn't read, which ANON. [just another ignorant purporting ignorance based on wrong assumptions] obviously didn't, I posted before on the blog, the whole point of this series is to explore terms and definition INTELLECTUALLY, based on their historical date, linguistic make-up, technical definition, purported definitions, ect.

When you call someone "evil" you damn well better have some scholaristic backing for your "new" sect lol.

Anyways, I just wanted to say, anon. you are wrong about the "secret" books. Because.

a. I named the titles of the books that are readily available upon request from the Islamic Ministry of Oman. At your request, they will be made available. They are not "secret" or I'd not have named them, and they certainly wouldn't have given them to a sunni, me, not exactly known for keeping her opinions to herself. The book I did not name is not available as of yet so I won't quote it alot. They were kind enough to loan me their own copy which is still undergoing editing and the whole publishing process. You could say I talked them out of it. I also haven't met yet with their ahadith scholars, but intend to, for a very long sit down about why they don't like some Sahih Al Bukhari ahadiths. I won't call anyone wrong until I know how they are wrong, why they are wrong, and how I might be wrong. It's a new goal for me in this life. You should try it too anon;p

b. They are not regular hand-outs for converts because most converts wanna know how to pray and read Qu'ran and wear hijab, or at least read the seerah before going in depth like Khalili's book really does. It is on intellectual Shariah and alot of other goodies you need a more scholaristic background to get some benefit out of. It is actually a hard read for me in places, a bit like reading an encyclopedia or studying for the bar exam.

c. Since one of the books deals on Shariah law and namely, how an Immamate Caliphate runs, it talks about stuff too in depth for someone who doesn't know how the Prophet Mohamed lived his life and lead the Muslims. For example, in Ibadhism, a Caliph who is corrupt and only claims to be Muslim but leads the people in corruption, must be replaced by way of the book's interpetation of Shariah. The educated religious men of Oman don't really want some idiot only reading one sentance and going out assassinating Sultan Qaboos or something cuz he doesn't get it. They knew from questioning me that I knew enough to not to be dangerous to myself or others. Anon, I'd be iffy on lending YOU the book, cuz you don't know how to read it all and get the big picture.

For those who can't be nice (or even just smart) in the exploring sects edition posts on ILH, why don't you just stick with the fashion posts? Most minds can handle those;D

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Style Evolution: My Own

I think it is especially neat [yeah... I couldn't come up with a better word than 'neat', I'm lame I know] how we evolve as Muslimahs, in both wisdom of the deen, and of course, our hijab style. This blog has of course, been a place for both for me, and I want to thank you all for sharing that journey with me. In thanks, I am trusting you with the closest glimpse into my life as of yet [unless, of course, you've met me in person], some photos of me in niqab, and some of my face, though usually obstructed by something, and my surroundings.

Or photos some particularily nasty I-hope-not-a-sister computer saavy person stole off my FB that are already floating around on the net. And of a sister they thought was my sister-wife. Watch out Aalia, lol. That pic had a virus anyway so they couldn't use it. And Aalia is not my sister wife. Or Boxie. My sister wife is an Arab sister, my age, with children. Both Boxie and Aalia are younger than me, and not Arab. And not currently entertaining being co-wives with anyone.

This person also managed to lift photos of me without my hijab from emails that got hacked (some people have alot of time on their hands). Anyways, to the anonymous who cheered me today with the comment "Lady, nobody cares about your life in Allahuackbar land" lol X:D, well obviously some creepy folks do, so I am gonna blow it off, and say peace to ya'll. Know if you see some photos of me in tight clothes with makeup and blonde hair, well, that was taken in my home around maharams, so don't think I've left Islam and taken my hijab off like this weird person tries to say.

Back to the original reason for this post... I wanted to do it....Because...

I was just discussing with another sister how hard a struggle it was without the means for shopping sprees and lack of halal clothing in the West as a new Muslimah, and why alot of non-muslims see Muslim women as suppressed, and why women & young girls hesitate to wear hijab sometimes.

When I first started wearing hijab I had the problem first of not knowing it was supposed to be loose fitting, after that, that jilbab was obligatory when a woman leaves her home [yet not INSIDE her home, there loose fitting clothing suffices], and after that, trying to find clothes that did and were everything they were supposed to be Islamically and a. did not make me look like a grandma, b. did not look like a thrift store heap [hey, thrift store stuff can be waaaaaaay cool but shopping on a budget and with time constraints can be hard], and c. did not in any way resemble the death-eaters from Harry Potter cuz that freaks non-Muslims right out.

After a few years I'd saved and splurged and got enough clothes that fit their Islamic purpose to feel confident I started to realise why it seemed non-muslims percieve us as suppressed. They often see hijabis jilbabi and niqabis walking around in ill-fitting (and sometimes frankly, uuuuuuuugly [but it was the only thing available]), and uncomfortable clothing. #1 that makes a woman feel like crap, and is probably less confident as a result of it. I know from personal experience, when I were cheap niqabs with elastics that cut into my nose or dig in my eyes, I'm a tad confrontational to boot.

After I got over the stages of struggle, and gained confidence, I had to learn to diffientiate culture from Islam, and fight the pressures to Arab-ize, or less islam-ize my wardrobe. I like alot of Arab things still, so they fit into my personal style, but I don't just follow one culture over others at all times, and even if I like something, like gamboo3a hair clips, I don't follow the trend if I learn and become convinced it contradicts my Islam. To my fiqh, gamboo3a do. To each their own fiqh so don't hate on me for that! Sisters through fiqh and thin remember.

Since then I've had fun experimenting, arguing, and shopping all over the map, but it comes down to to these few style rules universal for Muslimahs who want to wear hijab as stated in the sunnah and Qu'ran:

  • Loose fitting---non see-through (and not perfumed) clothing around non-maharam men
  • Around non-maharam men cover your chests with your khimars (and your neck and hair!!!!)
  • Jilbab is worn when you leave the house and know jilbab may be any overgarment that allows you to wear clothing fit for salat underneath of it.
  • Don't loose your personality and the things you like, such as a design, a colour or a pattern so long as it doesn't change the conditions listed above
  • Islam is your nation when you are a Muslim so any clothing that meets the Islamic conditions should not be made fun of by you, we are defined by our faith and good deeds not our national dress
  • Do not wear something that another Muslim of a moderate income could never afford to buy
  • Do not dress in clothing that makes people feel bad for you, like they think you are dirty or poor, if you can afford better
  • Remember that Allah loves beauty, and that the best garment is rememberance of Allah: hijab is more than the clothes on your back.
I want sisters to know, in that journey, you are not alone. I too, at times, due to lack of modest clothing available, was "a little grandma" or "too thrifty". Better than disregarding Qu'ran right? Yep. So I can live with and smile and share that journey all with you.
So here goes (I'll let the pictures speak for themselves):

And those are the last of the photos I will be posting online of myself anywhere, lol, including FB.

How has your hijab evolved over the years? And if you are a newbie to hijab, what is your biggest struggle?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things I Intend to Sell pt 1: would you be interested buyers?

It has been a long time, and there were quite a few set-backs but I have always wanted to make the Western Muslimah's life either easier (with hijab clothing that really IS hijab but it still human-looking to her maybe non-muslim family and friends) and more affordable. So I had a goal of selling (and later designing) Islamic clothing to meet these needs for a long long time. I am going to inshaAllah start these next few months. Right now I am going to tell ya'll about a few first possible products I have in mind and let me know about your enthusiasm for them if any so I can get busy!
I still need to sleuth out the prices for good quality flip niqabs and Emirati Gashwas but these are kind of a mainstay in my closet. They are Salalah-Niqabs, a style unique to the Sultanate of Oman where I reside. They consist of a tie-back head-band which fits all sizes, and a short chin or mid-neck length face veil. This veil may have other layers of fabric underneath giving it a layered looked, but its length and headband identify it as being from Salalah, where the Queen of Sheba hailed from in King Sulaiman's day. Being that the veil is shorter it has the advantage of being safer around children who like to tug on ones niqab (less material for them to get their hands on) and makes eating in public a breeze for me without removing it, unlike my Saudi-flip niqabs. The disadvantage is, if it isn't a layered, longer style (which you can custom order with me) then you have to make sure your khimar/hijab scarf covers your chest or your overhead abaya is a closed-at-the-chin style. I personally love them. They come with no string, a nose-string, or three strings. The three string style cost about $12-15.00 USD, while the other two are available for $3-5.00 USD depending on the quality. Even the lowest quality I could find was still the best compared to what I found ordering from online shops back in the West.Jersey balloon sleeve close-front abayat. I love them a. because they are closed front so I don't have to worry about what I am wearing underneath, b. they are very modest in fit and tend to look good on all body-types, whether thin or super curvy, short or tall, c. here in Oman the front is made of high quality and durable crepe and the jersey sleeves are so lightweight they are not hot AT ALL, and d. in the West I would have loved these because you can choose from any fashion-ey print or clour trend for the sleeves and not stand-out too much from non-muslim family and friends. $45-70.00 USD depending on what deals I can get on the fabrics. $45 would probably be cheap black fabric instead of crepe but if you live somewhere cold that wouldn't matter.

Jazzakallah kheir to all my sisters for your kind duas: and some big news

I just wanted to make this post to say jazzakallah kheir to all my sisters for you duas. I had done tests with doctors that said I had no eggs and no hormones it appeared to make them but alhamdulilah....
Pixie is going to have, inshaAllah a BABY!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D

Medical Question #1

When I mentioned that I was fortunate to have the oppurtunity to pose some questions to the leading Islamic medical authority in the Sunni Muslim community in KSA, your most popular question dear readers, was is it okay to get injections with pork gelatin or human embryos.

The Question was posed in two cases, routine BUT beneficial injections, and life-saving ones.

In the case of lifesaving injections the good Dr. and Sheikh said there was no question that pork geletin would be allowed in the injection were there no other means available as in the case of a starving man being allowed to eat pork. Eating human beings was never allowed though so in the case of the embryo being older than period Allah said the soul goes into it, then no, you cannot. Before then, he said if there was no other option it was makruh, but not quite haraam.

As for merely beneficial procedures and injections involving pork geletin or human tad-bits. Haram I am afraid, as by avoiding these substances in cases that are not life threatening, we can encourage halal industries and methods to take their place.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What abaya styles am I wearing in Oman??? pt. 1

JERSEY BALLOON SLEEVE ABAYAS: Oh how I love these. Number one, they are not hot at all, number two, they are cheap. As in $40-$60 USD. I have both black and numerous prints. They fit on over the head so are pretty hassle free (unless you are breastfeeding or shopping for clothes in a lot of different stores).

WIDE SLEEVE ABAYA (not to be mistaken with flared sleeve of kimono sleeved): In Oman, wide but not flared or kimono-sleeved abayas are major. I have the floral embroidered one pictured above from Al Motihajiba in black. While the colours are lovely, I wear the black one way more. And Al Motihajiba is quality---like $400-800 USD for an abaya so I wanted one that'll last me 10 years. I bought another one with green, red and white crystals one the sleeve for about $160.00 USD from a Kuwaiti abaya boutique in Madinat Qaboos in Muscat.
GRECIAN OR DAS STYLE: Crepe and jersey drapery is all the rage. I call this the Roman/Grecian style. We were the cheap jersey ones day to day but the crepe ones we tend to save for special occasion because they have alot of volume (and tend to stick out of car doors). I have one cheap (about 56.00 USD) jersey version like the one pictured top from the Omani souq, and one quality crepe with a satiny-sheen one like the bottom Noblesse Oblige one (about $340 USD) from Hanayen. All are plain black with oramentation of belts. Makes accessorizing more fun.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sects in Islam- Pixie's Perspective & Experiences

What you must know about me before you accuse me of any bias is that I first encountered Islam in the Sultanate of Oman, where I now happily reside. It is a Gulf country unlike its neighbors, having an Ibadhi majority (you’ve probably never heard of them as they call themselves, but the Sunni and Shia call them the Khawarij after events in Islamic history), and a Sunni population in the Balushi Al Batinah, Arab Sur and African and Arab Salalah [sometimes sufi here] areas of the country, and a Shia minority, mainly located in the capital Mutrah area. Here in Oman, we also have churches for Christians and Hindus. The Ibadhi rule our Shariah law, and the Islamic ministry is filled with their scholars giving their fatwas, and yet the religious freedom here and tolerance for all other schools of knowledge is quite unique in the Muslim world. Ibadhism is rigidly fundamental in how fiqh is deriven but as a practice as it exists in Oman, lacks the extremism which is to suppress other voices. Ibadhi Mosques and Bookshops have both Sunni and Shia books available. The same is NOT TRUE for Shia and Sunni bookshops and Mosques in the Sultanate. For one, if you have not been to Zanzibar or Oman, it is doubtful that you have ever heard of the Khawarij as they call themselves.
That is where I first saw Islam. Now, who I first knew as a Muslim:
You must know that the first Muslim who answered my questions about Islam was a Shia sister of the Jaffari school named Samia from the Shia quarter in Mutrah, Muscat, Oman. An Ibadhi sister named Intizar purchased my first Quran for me. An Sunni Omani man from Buhraimi on Oman’s border with the UAE, told me about women’s basic rights in Islam, and dispelled my Western brainwashed stereotypes of suppression of Muslim women.
Samia and Intisar both agreed on the basics of what one is required to understand in order to become a Muslim, and the rights of the Muslim woman, regardless of their highly differentiated vantages of history, and practice, at least, to someone who then knew nothing. Both said Allah is the only God, Mohammed was His messenger, as were many before him, the Qu’ran is perfect, Islam is the true messeage in its purest form.
I obviously agreed, because I converted.
I married a Saudi man from the South of the Arab peninsula who was Sunni, and as a Saudi, obviously studied on the writings of Abdul-Wahab on Tauhid (the Oneness of Allah). As I am also, and I agree 100% with what he wrote about Tauhid. People will label me a Wahabi for that. I am not, nor was Abdul-Wahab, the scholar. Do I agree with his politics and those who use his writings, and other writing besides those he had on Tauhid? Not in majority, no.
As I mistakenly said to one sister on blogger when I was too naïve on the subject of sects to know any better “you just became Shia because your husband is Shia!” so others will say to me, that is why I became a Sunni.
This is not so. But to that sister, forgive me my ignorance, and I ask Allah to forgive me.
My husband did not care what I became and never told me who I was, that I was praying Sunnah ect, so long as I stayed close to what the Prophet Mohamed followed and used my brain. That’s how I got to Islam in the first place wasn’t it? So that had to be the right way.
He has friends who are Shia and talks easily with all people and I followed his example in this in life [if not on blogger :Ooo]. I had never heard of Ibadhi anything then, or Sufis, or Ahmedis, and I knew the Qu’ran warned us against dividing ourselves into sects, so when a non-muslim or Muslim would ask me, “are you Sunni or Shia?” I would say, “We are not supposed to split ourselves up. I am just a Muslim.”
That was a more correct answer in its innocence and naivety, than my later ones in their ignorance and error, believe me. Alhamdulilah Allah has guided me to a straighter path than one of a parrot who repeats only what they have overheard.
I met sister Aalia from her blog Chasing Jannah, a Sunni who takes the Malaki school of thought in the majority of her fiqh but is not ruled by one school of Islamic jurisprudence. Her husband was Emirati and quite learned on the subject of jurisprudence and he introduced me to important things for Muslims just starting to go beyond the basics of the religion to know. For example, how a fatwa (religious ruling) cannot be derived from one piece of Islamic evidence, but the whole body of evidence and history in its entirety. He also educated Aalia, others, and myself on terms misused by Muslims, and the West, such as “fundamentalism”, “extremist”, “Wahabi”, “Qu’ran-only Muslim”, “Salafi”…
Our Sunni-majority Mosque had a South African Imam [Sheikh Younas Kathrada] of the Hanbali way of deriving fiqh, but he’d tell you all the others too, if you asked. The majority of the Saudi women I knew were strictly Hanbali-Sunnis, and they didn’t know how look for daleel, they just wanted fatwas from KSA, regardless of the evidence. A lot of Shaffi and Hanafi sistas from Egypt and Syria were the same within their school of jurisprudence. Alhamdulilah for my Sheikh there having an email. He may have been strict, but he was one of the best Sunni Sheikhs I have ever met if you asked him beyond what he’d stated not always so pleasantly in the Khutbah. BTW, if you google Sheikh Younas, you’ll find all this nasty stuff about him sending some revert to make a bomb in Chechnya and hating the Jews, and really, that man HATED anyone who murdered innocent women and children and civilians going about their lives whether Muslim or Jewish, so never ever allowed violence in Islam against innocents. And he embodied the Islamic message that races and nations had no priority or status beyond their faith and good works.
I admit, I gravitate toward the Hanbali manner of jurisprudence, though I often disagree with the Saudi jurists. I find that the more literal, and more stricter interpretation, is safer. But I do not believe whatsoever in being ruled by one way of looking at Islamic evidence, and find the Saudi Hanbali tend to take one piece of daleel literally, disregarding the rest, and make a fatwa from that. I cannot. It strips Islam of its soul, its spirituality. And no, I am not a sufi. Islam has only one correct path, the path handed down to the prophets and exampled by Mohamed S.A.W.
I have a Shia friend named C whose husband is Afghani-Pakistani. The way she practices her Shiism, with no stone with the name of Hussain in her salat and no visiting of graves, and mainly just a political belief that Ali should have been Caliph before Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman, does not make me bat an eyelash. I always felt she was my sister, and I know my Masjid through one Shia brother out forcibly on the men’s side, but I would have physically fought anyone who’d try to out or touch my girl C. She’s on a straighter path than many so-called righteous Muslims at that Mosque.
I also met a group of highly educated Bahraini and Iranian sisters who were more strictly Shiite. They were Jaffari. Because I did not hate them and call them Kufar from Islam like many in my Mosque would, they gave me books on their Islamic histories. Unfortunately, I found that the life and actions of the Prophet Mohamed was not as emphasized in importance, as later historical events, which are lesser in importance in jurisprudence to me, and only important in a political historical sense. I did not become Shia because a great deal of literature is from the period of the Persian empire and influenced by its culture, such as the Imam Madhi birth story (pure fiction and wholly inaccurate). Yet I did find a lot of their {EARLY} history to have some bearing of truth to it, where Sunni history glossed over some corruption and bad decision making of those it supports. And yet, I could never ever adhere to the sect of Ahlu Al-Beit School [Shia] because I do not believe the Prophet Mohamed’s bloodline is superior to the knowledge and faith and good works of others on that merit alone, also I have found historically accurate documents that Ali made mistakes and things that the Prophet Mohamed told us not to do such as burn anyone to death regardless of their actions in life as an enemy of Islam. Additionally, and I DO believe these are bidas introduced to the followers of Ali’s house, not bidas Ali himself would ever have supported, may Allah reward him, such as asking for intercession from the dead, visiting graves with any purpose other than to pray for forgiveness Muslims buried in them, praying on a stone with Hussain’s named on it, hit one’s self or grieve on Ashura for Hussain… Also, I met one Iranian Shia lady who said to my face that Aisha, the Prophet’s wife, was a whore, astighfurallah.
I know not all Shia curse the Sahaba, not all Shia hit themselves or even grieve Ashura, or pray with stones with the name of Hussain on them. So I am deeply, deeply sorry if I have ever generalized. I have used the term wrong, and also understand, Shia themselves reject the Ahmadi sect from Islam for their acts of kufar. Just like I insist that my Sunni brothers and sisters who do mass duas together after salat in congregation are performing a bida, one you even see in the Masjid Al Haraam. Did Rasoolulah ever do that people? Other than for rain? Think, before you do.
I find myself now defending the acts of some of my shia sisters that may be expressed as mere sunnahs (and would only be made haraam if were stated as fards or necessary acts in Islam) because so many other Muslims are ignorant of WHY, when they themselves might not even know why what they do is right, astighfuraAllah.
On discussing why we had not converted to Shiaism, although we knew our shia friends in many ways to be better examples of Muslims than our Sunni and Ibadhi friends, a Sunni friend from Sur, Oman remarked: “While I did not agree with almost anything I read they gave me to read and to study, I will give the Shia one thing. At prayer time, their Mosques are full, while ours are empty.”
I told people I was “Ahlu Al-Sunna wa al-Jama’a” because to me, Sunni clearly means to follow the sunnah. But of course, Sunni, shia, and Ibadhi all claim to do that. But regardless of what you call me, I have decided to no longer call myself that, I will let my actions and faith define my doctrine, and will endeavor that those actions always go back to the Prophet Mohamed, what he enjoined, and what he forbid, and nothing, nothing else.
Which has ALSO made me question some things which I am told all those who are Sunni must believe. So because I live in Oman now, I must have gone all “Khawarij” and “out from Islam, i.e Ibadhi”.
Nope;D, I drive the Ibadhi Islamic Ministy in Oman insane with my request for Islamic translations to english, and proof of sahih chains of narrations, too.
As I study Islamic history more and more (I had always had a pretty good background on the Seerah and the benefit of pre-Islamic times due to studying early Christian politics and influences in pre-Islamic times) I question more and more these terminologies that divide and cage us.
Through-out ideo-political history, negative and positive terminologies have been used to hide and disguise the truth. In the world where I come from, the West, democracy and its pillars of- freedom of speech, human rights, pluralism, ect- have always been the pretexts for a Capitalistic agenda to justify exploitation of the poor and oppression of the weak minorities, even the exploitation of the female sex. The Western/European ideo-politico-cultural war against Islam has arrived with new terminologies, “terrorist” supplanting “defending his own land” and “fundamentalism” for “those actually trying to practice their religion by more than lip service” serving well to legitimize Western policies towards Muslim lands, while the term “democracy” legalizes this Alien’s political supremacy.
The same is so sadly true in the history of Islam. When the early divisions occurred: Ahlu Al-Sunna wa Al-Jama’a, Ahlu Al-haqqi Wal Istiqama, Ahlu Al-Bait, and Al-Khwarij, many titles were created and used with the object of stigmatizing others as heretics. As a result, the Muslim Ummah has only these names as criteria by which to distinguish the orthodox sects from the ones that take one away from Islam. VEEERRRRRRRRY confusing, to both born AND new Muslims, I assure you, since many people tend to just follow what they initially taught or hear, good and bad names have played important roles and have had very far-reaching effects in the overall history of Islam.
To be honest, as someone who has been labeled “Extremist”, “Wahabi”, “Shia-lover”, “Salafi terrorist”, “Feminist”, “Islamist”, and “Khawarij” all within a stint of five short years, and I guarantee you, I am not that big of a flopper, labels alone are no good at all to define someone’s doctrine, the core of their faith, and the method of their actions.
Islamic sects must be studied in terms of their own logics and entities intellectually.
To prove my point, just about anyone who knows what extremists are, will know that I am not one since I think the use of cosmetics around non-Maharam is halal, and that Wahabi is an incorrect term, that I love some of my Shia friends but that that sect isn’t my home, that to be a salafi is to use just the daleel from the Islamic historical period of the Salaf and anyone one doing so won’t blow themselves or civilians up, feminists believe in having all the same things as men and I believe in only having my Islamic rights as a woman, I guess Islamist means one wants an Islamic government but I would settle for an educated Muslim majority population before I’d be so naïve as to cry for that, and Khawarij means one who goes against the rightly guided Caliphs which I wasn’t around to have done so. So, as you can see, a label simply being good or bad isn’t enough to understand whether or not a doctrine is correct or not.
So… my endeavor into studying the sects begins.