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eidkoum mebrouk
01:45:57 PM Monday Sep 29, 2008

Eidkoum mebrouk chouiya en avance :) Hope everyone has a beautiful Eid with family and friends! Allah yetqabel menna wa menkoum. It's pouring rain here this morning. Shocking. Didn't expect this. Must have been sent over from all you east-coasters :o) I hope it doesnt' rain Eid morning too!

After a really rough Ramadan I am a bit sad to say I'm relieved and glad to be done with the fasting. I usually feel a bit sad at the end of Ramadan, but this year I'm just worn out, kept getting sick from the fasting, and couldn't eat suhour because it would make me so nauseaous. As a result, I've been subsisting on one light soup and salad each evening, accompanied by bread or crackers, and some fruit, and the required 12midnight cookies snack. hmm.. although I did have deep dish pizza for iftar this weekend. Maybe that's what I'm doing wrong, need more of that stuff :o)

I have that old Nour el Koufi gharnati song stuck in my head, ezzinou nahar el youm sahha aidkoum :) bought some fresh maamoul, cookies, and can't wait for the baqlawa too. I'll never forget last Eid el Adha, at my uncle's house in Algiers, I got all dressed up the morning of Eid, and came out of my room only to find my uncle's wife and cousins' wives all dressed in homely gowns and covered up in aprons, their hair tied back in little mhirma's. They all laughed at me. Eid essghir is for sweets and nice clothes, my uncle's wife said. Eid lekbir is for hard work and cleaning after thbihaa and cooking the meat!!! I refused to take part in any innocent-sheep-corpse-washing, stood clear of the carnage and made an excellent by-stander.

So, since this is the eid of sweets, share what sweets you're having :) Earlier this Ramadan I made a cake, fudge brownies, and two trays of kataif all in one afternoon. Quite a feat for me considering my overall absence from the kitchen for months now. So for eid I intend to do no baking at all and lots of eating others' sweets instead. Time to make up for the crazy weight loss!!

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11:39 am    October 2, 2008

hudhud message
"Jesus wanted all of us to understand that we are the children of God and we can ask for things like forgiveness and it will be granted to us. "

I like this comment Suzy, although I don't see the concept of "children of God" fitting with my personal beliefs, but you hit a really strong point in Jesus' message - ultimately he was sent as a mercy and relief to the children of Israel to lessen the burdensome practices they were previously required to follow, and that overall theme of mercy and forgiveness is so important.

Islamically I do believe that God promises us all that same boundless forgiveness as described in the Quran (Inna Allaha yaghfirou thnouba jamee3a - verily God forgives all mistakes/sins) but I also think god gives us those promises of Heaven and warnings of Hell in Quran also to motivate us to do what he's asked us to do.

I think you hit another point re: not needing a heaven/hell motivation-from what I've been reading and discusing with some sufi friends, there are some Sufi's who claim to be above the need for a reward/punishment motivation because they see themselves as much more intimately closer to God's presence (they call this presence the hadra). Although I don't want to go into the mystical realm too much here, I do think some rare few people may be lucky enough to have such a strong faith and spiritual closeness to God that they don't necessarily need a heaven/hell reminder to motivate them; rather, they worship for the sake of worship and out of true love of God and the desire to be closer to Him.

But I also think that given human nature's constant need for encouragement and "tasabbur" - something to motivate us into more patient and consistent practice - that such closeness to His presence is extremely hard to attain and perhaps fleeting even for those who devote their lives to worship, and that most people do need a motivating goal to reach towards or a point A to point Z race to compete in with the rest of humanity on a spiritual front; perhaps that is why the majority of faiths preach a reward and punishment.


10:51 am    October 2, 2008

Blooming Warda message
Eid moubark to you all and to all muslims around the globe.

For Suzy, I think that since you are a new convert, it will be very tough for you to fast a whole month at once, but gradually you will learn to resist your craves and hunger and think of the divine goal behnid fasting Ramadan. Remember that fasting has always been required in christianity as well as in judaism.

We muslims start fasting at a very young age, sometimes starting from 7 years old but we only fast for a few days here and there until we reach puberty. You can do the same until your metabolism get used to resisting nutrition for longer periods of time during the day.


7:19 am    October 2, 2008

Rasta Gnawi message
Eid moubarak to all! This forum sounds just like when my family gets together for dinner :))

9:15 pm    October 1, 2008

Suzy Cameleon message
My confidence is built upon many personal experiences with the Divine. I hesitate to elaborate much more now because better people than I have been sacrificed and called heretics for proclaiming such things. A friend of mine told me a long time ago that I should be careful who I talk to about my experiences and perhaps that is why the Great Protector deleted my last comment from the screen. To keep me safe from those who would indeed try to harm me for what I know to be true.

Indeed I agree with you that some people understand the teachings of the prophets and have been able to follow the guidelines and create a life that walks the walk, while others work constantly to find enlightenment but can't really overcome their selfish nature which is really part and parcel to their problem.
Part of the baptismal process is that we die to our old selves and are reborn in a life of Christ. It's actually a very symbolic event when the new convert is plunged under the water (like being drowned) and then emerges (saved). This practice is done is in the old Black Gospel Churches. However many of these churches preach fire and brimstone which I find rather frustrating. Seems like we can never get beyond being a sinner in those churches and they tend to have a rather negative view on things that enliven the spirit - like dancing. I have been through an old time baptism. It was very exciting but the rest of the church teachings were not open to dialog so I had to move on.

I found that the Episcopalian church was much more forward thinking and did not take the Bible literally. There was room for interpretation and discussion. The congregation was referred as saints and sinners so there was room to move up so to speak. Mystics and the spiritually minded people were not looked at as heretics. I learned more about spirit during my years practicing that faith than anywhere else. I also learned about the history of the Church and how the Catholic religion really clamped down on those who were looking for a direct connection with God that didn't need a priest as a go-between. It's really amazing how much churches like to hold the power and try to keep it away from the people.
Jesus wanted all of us to understand that we are the children of God and we can ask for things like forgiveness and it will be granted to us.
He gave many parables that explained our relationship with God but even in his time his disciples could not understand. They were like the donkeys carrying books. Their hearts were not open to the truth. So it is today. Some of us can hear and understand and some of us need the threat of Hell and the promise of Heaven to keep up in line. I have so often wondered why this spiritual knowledge is not divided up equally. Why do some of us hear the call and other's struggle to accept the presence of Allah in all things.
For my own part I do not fear death because of my deep faith that I will be absorbed into the Great Infinite One. On good days I have God's peace in my heart and I fear nothing. It's really very liberating, but these are things one must be careful to divulge.
Unto all of you I wish you God's peace. May your days ahead bring you the eyes to see God in all persons and to hear God talking on the wind.
All praises be to God.


7:55 pm    October 1, 2008

Adnane Ben. message
"As far as what I see in most religions around the world - it doesn't."

Suzy hi ~ I know you've probably elaborated on this in your lost writeup, but your answer sounds so confident that I wish you could write again. I wonder what is your confidence built on.

My take is that people don't necessarily need a religion to do good. Doing good is an inherent feature in humans just like crying or smiling. If one is blessed with this feature without being part of a religion then in my opinion they may surpass a religious person in terms of the quality of spiritual life they could lead.

For the person who adopts a religion, she is constantly equipped with some really cool tools and perspectives on life in order to use the "do good" feature more often. Those who belong to a religion but do not use the "do good" feature often or at all, are not taking advantage of the teachings of the religion. To quote the Quran, They are like a donkey carrying important books. All the donkey gets out of it is tiredness and misery, while he has no clue he is carrying sources of wisdom and guidance. So probably the people that belong to a religion and do not leave a good mark behind them or improve the environment around them, indeed haven't yet understood the inner teachings of religion. What they need is a good mosque to frequent, and probably a good muslim scholar or imam to study under.


7:10 pm    October 1, 2008

Suzy Cameleon message
Dear Hudhud I wrote a really long reply but Allah must not have wanted it to go out over the internet. After I pushed the submit button it disappeared from the screen. Stranger things have happened concerning spirit so I take this very seriously.
So I am afraid to really write again what took me over half and hour to create. It must have been more than God wants known right now.
One day we'll have to talk about this in private.

1:18 am    October 1, 2008

hudhud message
hmm, I would actually disagree with your last statement. I think most faith's try to encourage and motivate doing good deeds by promising a reward, and cautioning away from doing wrongs by warning of a punishment. An atheist friend of mine once said to me that everything boils down to just fears and desires. I told him sure, that makes perfect sense. People who have faith in a God, in a heaven, in a hell, have a fear of punishment and a desire for God's love and reward. Seems human nature is all about fear and desire, hence my point about questioning the concept of pre-forgiveness for all sins. I can understand that if a person goes through a moment of repentance and re-newal of faith, turns to god seeking forgiveness and enlightenment, that there is a promise of forgiving past sins to encourage that turning-to-god moment. But along with it comes the reminder that one will still have to make an effort, and not take god's love or forgiveness for granted.

anyways, hope I'm making my point clear. Sorry for the late night rambling. Eid celebrating = noise, crowds, and sleep deprivation for us over here, hence my incoherent long posts ;o))


9:02 pm    September 30, 2008

Suzy Cameleon message
As far as getting people to do good and avoid committing crimes if they know they're already forgiven is pretty tricky. Most good Christians are trying to live their life as Jesus lived his, but all fall short. But they try.
As far as I am concerned I believe that where ever I am Allah is also. I do the best I can and try to be a patient, compassionate person, feeding the poor, and helping those who cannot help themselves. I believe that we should not kill, steal, lie etc.
However there are people who in any religion do horrible things in the name of religion so it really boggles the mind doesn't it. The priest who molests altar boys, religious fanatics that kill in the name of Allah. Are they going to heaven or hell? All I know is my conscience is clear. I can't speak for anyone else's.
So how does a faith get people motivated to do good? As far as what I see in most religions around the world - it doesn't.

9:56 pm    September 29, 2008

hudhud message
ah, interesting.. so does this mean no matter what that person does in their life they'll still be forgiven all and go to heaven?
I was wondering if baptism is like the hajj in the sense that all past sins are forgiven, but you say all past and future sins. I was wondering, as a faith, how does a faith get people motivated to do good deeds in life, and avoid committing crimes/sins if they know they're already forgiven no matter what they do?

2:43 pm    September 29, 2008

Suzy Cameleon message
Baptism = rebirth of the spirit in Jesus Christ. When someone decides to take Jesus as her savior, they agree to be baptized which is a symbol of dying to the old life by being dunked in water and once she emerges she is born again. All past and future sins are forgiven. Only one baptism is necessary. It's like a get out of jail free card :)

2:26 pm    September 29, 2008

hudhud message
:o) Suzy, no one is here to judge you :) That's god's job.

I would say, though, that personaly I do tend to modify my schedule and alter my regular daily routine to some extent during Ramadan to be able to do the fasting (for example, slightly moved my work schedule around to get home earlier and have time to make soup for braking the fast; not going outdoors unnecessarily in hot weather; definitely no gym or running or workouts; etc.) I have a friend who has a chronic illness and would die if she fasted, so I can see how lucky I am to be able to pull this off. It's amazing what the human body can adjust to with a bit of effort.

btw, what's the whole concept of baptism? Please explain it to me. I've always wondered - is the water supposed to erase all future sins and wrong doing? very curious.


2:22 pm    September 29, 2008

hudhud message
ps: anyone know what they're praying in maghrib and dzayer? i've been trying to call cousins and can't get through.

2:21 pm    September 29, 2008

Suzy Cameleon message
The end of Ramadan - Allah Akbar.
I have to admit that I am a naughty Muslim. As a recent convert and a religious chameleon (I've been a Baptist, an Episcopalian, a Unitarian and several other unconventional religions) I find that Ramadan and the fasting to be a rather unnatural way to take proper care of the body. With my active schedule and irregular travel situations I have had to drink water and juice in order to maintain good body function. It's pretty impossible to swim 1-2 hours in the morning without drinking water. The lactic acid that can build up after a rigorous workout is dangerous. When I travel for work I don't have my own kitchen and I would eat whatever was available knowing that it was going to be impossible for me to find good food later. Also the fact that I have to go to bed by 9 rules out getting an additional meal at midnight.
So please don't judge me too harshly because I eat and drink during the Ramadan. The one thing that I kept in my heart and mind was the poor and less fortunate and how they suffer daily and isn't that what it's really all about. Hopefully my sin will be forgiven. Since I was baptized before becoming a Muslim I should be covered.
Eidkoum Mebrouk to all of you too.

2:21 pm    September 29, 2008

hudhud message
it's tomorrow for our masjid here, and a few other masjid's locally that try to go by the lunar sighting. but some other masjid's already announced wednesday. my mom will miss eid prayers b/c of school, too (she teaches). it totally sucks.

1:53 pm    September 29, 2008

Rasta Gnawi message
Thanks Hudhud. Got me all excited there, thinking that eid was tomorrow. I have a mid-term Wednesday morning at 8:30. Sucks that I have to miss Eid prayer.

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