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AMA

I'm a Muslim, ask me anything

336 replies

UnderBlue · 30/06/2018 21:26

So I thought I'd join the bandwagon too! I'm a Muslim, and ask me anything. :)

(Please note: I'm very happy to answer questions about my beliefs and my experiences, but not interested in debating issues or bashing please. Please start your own thread if you want to do that. Thanks)

Also, please bear with me if I take a while to reply. I have pelvic pain today and a trip planned to the beach tomorrow, so apologies in advance if I take a while to reply. I will try my best :)

OP posts:
Batfurger · 01/07/2018 04:48

Hi OP, I'm in the Middle East just now in a fairly liberal country. When I travel there are always women who are completely covered (amongst many women in western clothes and every type of dress in between) and I've always wondered how their families know who they are at the airport! That sounds like a really daft question now.

Pinkyponkcustard · 01/07/2018 04:50

Hi op,

Such an interesting thread.

I have a couple of questions, what is covering hair and face about? How does it please god?

Also like the sound of the women only chill out section in the mosque Grin are there any rules/customs around pregnancy and childbirth?

LEMtheoriginal · 01/07/2018 05:25

Hello - this is the first ama thread I've looked at and I'm glad I have. Really interesting - thank you.

Firstly - am I right in thinking that Muslims and Christians worship the same God? That Muslims don't consider Jesus to be the son of God as such but rather a prophet? Do you see many parallels between the two faiths? Sorry if I'm completely wrong - I did read briefly on Islam and found it really interesting but complicated! I am Catholic if that is relevant.

Do you ever question your faith? I do my own, often.

I am a "non-practicing" Catholic, as in I don't go to church or pray other than a private dialogue with God in my head sometimes. I believe He forgives me - I try to be a good person. I still consider myself Catholic - more devout Catholics may disagree. Is that much the same with Muslims? I remember being a bit Shock when the guy who we were friendly with at our local Indian restaurant shared a drink with us during Ramadam. I remember asking if that was ok - can't remember his answer. I just wondered if folk had different levels of commitment to Islam as folk in the Christian faith?

Sorry that's a lot of waffly questions xx

eggsandchips · 01/07/2018 05:48

If one uses a full face covering, do they eat in public? Is it annoying having to do that?

Bizarre question I know but I've always wondered.

Thanks for starting this thread.

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 06:57

@csa26

My question is a bit long-winded... I have a dog, and I used to live and work in a big city, taking the dog with me on public transport.

Good morning! :) This is an excellent question, I was hoping someone would ask this. It is really considerate of you to ensure your dog doesn't brush against them - thank you! If you need to profile for that, I think that's really considerate of you. Because if someone is on their way to the mosque, or will not have time to remove their outer clothing before the next prayer time, it would really help them. Also, more importantly, at least I know in the south-Asian community, many people have a huge fear of dogs (including the tough looking men). This is because for many, when they were growing up, it was used by racist thugs or boys as a tool against them. I was bought up in a white working class area, and every time I played outside (which we did a lot in those days), I was anxious and on alert, in case the white lads came out with their dog and let it loose on us (and it happened a good few times too, and many of us had been bitten by a dog). As we don't keep dogs, we didn't know that there was a way to scare them and get them to stop too if they were charging at us (I think for most dogs?). Up till now, I still have a slight fear of dogs, and in fact that fear shifted to all animals too sadly! :( I really wish we hadn't experienced that.

My kids have thankfully not been exposed to such an ordeal and get on much better with dogs and all pets. My 6 year old is a bit weary of very large dogs, but other than that, is fine with all others (thank goodness!). I try not to show the fear when out with her. I also feel really bad and try not to show my fear to the owners of dogs, because I know and understand how much the dogs mean to them - and don't want them to be offended by my behaviour (and I do like dogs and will admire their cuteness from afar - I'm just a bit (very) afraid they might charge at me Blush). Logically that may not make sense? But phobias are strange things.

OP posts:
PunkAssMoFo · 01/07/2018 07:02

Why is it that god wants women to cover up, but not men?
Is this part more cultural interpretation of the term modest? I ask this bit as some will wear beautifully adorned colourful headscarves with more figure hugging western dress and tons of make up, others are completely covered in black. Others don’t cover at all.

Do you consider women who don’t wear head coverings to be immodest?

Growingboys · 01/07/2018 07:07

You say you're happy with every aspect of your faith, but what about viewing homosexuality as a sin? Do you agree with that? If so do you view being gay as a choice?

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 07:09

@AllThreeWays

^I am generally friendly and open with people in public and social situations but feel less confident around muslims.
Thanks for answering and excuse my ignorance I just don't want to cause offense.^

I am really happy you asked these questions! You would never be offending, ask away please! :)

Can I shake a muslim man's hand when introduced?
Some Muslims do shake hands with the opposite gender, and some don't. I would probably say the safest thing to so is not to put your hand out unless he puts his hand out first? I do same with Jewish people (if I can see they visibly are or know from their name they are Jewish).

Am i allowed to touch you if I know you quite well?
Totally fine if we are of the same gender. Opposite genders don't tend to hug, but some might and will. I hug some of my female colleagues for example, but not male colleagues (we work in a semi-formal environment and everyone is more formal with male colleagues actually Hmm).

Can I chat to you (as a stranger) in public, for example in a queue?

Most definitely yes, 100%! We love it when strangers treat as like we are normal humans. Recently I got on a train and the man I set next to just started chatting to me. It was so nice; we had a good old chat about fitness, the pressure to exercise, Australia and the train service. I was so pleased he thought it was OK to have a normal chat with me. I also try my best to make an effort to strike a conversation with people (my DH is a master at that), but in larger cities, I find that more difficult, as people tend to be in a rush. But yes, we love conversation, but don't be disturbed if we look a bit surprised when you strike that conversation ! :)

Does this answer change if you were wearing a niqab or burka?

No. In fact, I have found that those that were niqab or burqa are even more eager to talk to strangers, try it out one day perhaps? :)

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 07:13

@Allthreeways

Oh and also, if we were friends can I invite you over. Would you eat my food so long as it is vegetarian?
Is this an invite? :) Of course, as long as it is not vegetarian and contains no alcohol. I've ate at my non-Muslim friends houses many times. And I also eat out a lot as well at the usual places (Pizza Express, Wagamama etc).

Is shunning or killing those who reject the faith scriptural or cultur6?
There is no compulsion in Islam, every person is free to choose to their religion (or no religion), so it is not scriptural according to my understanding of the faith.

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 07:38

@hisdadisanabusiveprick

Do you feel that Islam has any factor in the grooming gangs? Do you feel that the faith the men are raised in colours how some (I do appreciate it's not all) view white girls and affects how they treat them?

Not an offensive question at all. Honestly hand on heart, I 100% (in fact 110%) believe and know it has nothing at all to do with Islam. In fact, it is COMPLETELY against Islamic teaching, and one way to eradicate this, may be to bring people vulnerable to behaving like this closer to the faith.

If I can put outwardly practicing Muslims on a scale of 1 to 10, and if we put aside for a minute these abhorrent and criminal acts they were conducting, these criminals and thugs would be on a scale of 1 (so they are not practising Muslims at all). IF these men were practicing Muslims, they would NEVER ever be committing such vile acts. Muslim men are commanded by God to look down respectfully when they pass women in the street, forget go and do what they were doing! I can't explain how abhorrent these crimes are in the eyes of God - and to commit against children too - is just beyond belief. We as a Muslim community are unequivocally absolutely disgusted by it.

I don't come from the Pakistani Muslim community, and despite having read the Rotheram report last year, I still can't get my head around this - how could they do that and think it is OK? The only conclusion I could come to was perhaps it was their greed and availability. Girls in their own community are severely restricted in terms of movement (and would never be allowed out of the house after 8-9pm, forget be drugged), so they know they can't prey on them, and the white girls mainly from deprived backgrounds according to the report are more vulnerable and therefore much easier targets? I think people have said they had little respect for the white girls, and it is probably true. And, if these men have little respect for the white girls, they will have even less respect for their women at home.

I would like to point out here (as many are not aware of this due to the way the media covers it) that the majority of individual groomers are in fact white, but there are proportionality more Asian grooming gangs (so Asian groomers work in groups rather than individually). I want it to stop, and if I ever suspected anyone of being a groomer, regardless of which background they came from, I would report it immediately. I was in the Jewelers a month ago, and saw an Asian lad (looked around 25) buying a white girl (looked around 18) an expensive bracelet, and I did turn around and look again - but I obviously had no idea what their relationship was like and told myself off for feeling a bit suspicious (but I don't know - something made me feel uncomfortable). I suppose we want it gone just as you do, as its just so so abhorrent. Thankfully I have never come across it personally or know of anyone who was involved in this type of thing.

OP posts:
headstone · 01/07/2018 07:42

My husband is Muslim and I converted but I’m not very knowledgable. I have a few debates with my dh which are ;

He says I can’t pluck my eyebrows , is that true ?
I have trouble believing my non Muslim family will go to hell for not being Muslim, what are your thoughts on non Muslims and hell?

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 07:49

@rightknockered

So their father has decided it is because I am bisexual, and that maybe I'm going to 'make' my children gay too, so therefore he will have nothing further to do with them. Do muslims really believe that sexual orientation, is a choice, in the same way that choosing religion or not is a choice? My ex is not a great example of a human being or a muslim, I'm not using him as any kind of measure of the average muslim by the way.

Your ex sounds absolutely awful, sorry! :( regardless of whatever crimes you think your children may have committed, you are not allowed to abondon them! For example, Prophet Jacob knew his 10 sons plotted murder against their own brother and abandoned him, but he never abandoned his sons. And there is no compulsion in islam, so people must be allowed to have freedom to choose their path.

Do muslims really believe that sexual orientation, is a choice, in the same way that choosing religion or not is a choice?
I don't think everyone believes that, and I certainly don't. My understanding is still developing to be honest. I believe some people are born with sexual orientation, and others choose it. For those born with lesbian or gay tendencies, may actually be inter-sex and therefore religiously allowed to choose which gender to identify themselves with. I do think with the trans-movement, some young people may be getting a bit confused as well? (It is hard being a teen these days!). I think for those who feel they are born as lesbian/gay, it is a huge test for them, and despite them being born that way, I believe God wants them to abstain from committing those acts, and will reward them hugely in the next world for their patience.

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 07:55

@Batfurger

Hi OP, I'm in the Middle East just now in a fairly liberal country. When I travel there are always women who are completely covered (amongst many women in western clothes and every type of dress in between) and I've always wondered how their families know who they are at the airport! That sounds like a really daft question now.

That's a great question, and I like to tease my husband about this one, as he struggles to tell the difference (he's not good with details tbh - he doesn't notice little things) Grin. We have friends and some family who all cover in public including faces, and I can easily tell apart from about a good yard or two away: from the way they walk, the style of clothing, their eyes, and just general gestures and movements. To me, it is super easy to know who is who, but poor DH does struggle a bit, but to be fair to him, he has got a bit better now. I've got some funny stories about him too haha, but I shall be kind and not repeat here :)

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 08:08

@Pinkyponkcustard

Such an interesting thread. Pleased to hear you and others have found it interesting :)

I have a couple of questions, what is covering hair and face about? How does it please god?
We believe it pleases God because we are doing something he asked us to do. We don't actually totally understand why; we can only speculate.

Also like the sound of the women only chill out section in the mosque grin are there any rules/customs around pregnancy and childbirth?

Not that I can think of. The only thing is every ounce of pain you feel in the entire perinatal period, you are promised a reward for each and every one of that in paradise. In fact, even for every second of breastfeeding (although it instructs men to pay for wet nurses (modern day formula perhaps?) if their wife or ex-wife doesn't wish to breastfeed). The Qur'an talks a lot about the immense stress and pain that women bear during the perinatal period (including when they stop breastfeeding), and that people can never give enough thanks to their mothers for the hardship they endured in that period:

"We have entrusted the human being with the care of his parents. His mother carried him through hardship upon hardship, weaning him in two years. So give thanks to Me, and to your parents. To Me is the destination." (Quran – Surah Luqman:14)

The Prophet Muhammad also said that Paradise lies under the feet of your mother (i.e. by being kind and loving towards to her, you can earn paradise). There is a huge emphasis in the faith on being kind and loving towards your parents, especially mothers :)

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 08:19

@LEMtheoriginal

Hi, these are some really good questions! :)

Firstly - am I right in thinking that Muslims and Christians worship the same God? That Muslims don't consider Jesus to be the son of God as such but rather a prophet? Do you see many parallels between the two faiths? Sorry if I'm completely wrong - I did read briefly on Islam and found it really interesting but complicated! I am Catholic if that is relevant.

We believe there is one God only, whereas Christians believe in Trinity. I think there are some parallels between the faith, especially when it comes to moral values, rather than practice. We believe Prophet Jesus was a Prophet of God, but not his son (and we love and respect him a lot, and the Qur'an talks alot about him and Mary, may peace be upon them both). This podcast may interest you? www.thingsunseen.co.uk/podcasts/jesus-the-muslim/

Do you ever question your faith? I do my own, often

I hope you don't mind, I'm going to copy here my answer to this from above.

Do you ever doubt God’s existence?

No, not really. But doubt is a natural thing. If I ever doubt, then 2 minutes later I am reminded of his existence (when I see something as simple as a spider creating a web, or watch a nature programme or read about the inner working of my body for example). Also, I my conviction and belief that the Prophet Muhammad said the truth (because of his profound character) is much stronger than any doubt that may creep up. Doubt is something that is talked about in Muslim circles and by scholars.

I am a "non-practicing" Catholic, as in I don't go to church or pray other than a private dialogue with God in my head sometimes. I believe He forgives me - I try to be a good person. I still consider myself Catholic - more devout Catholics may disagree. Is that much the same with Muslims? I remember being a bit shock when the guy who we were friendly with at our local Indian restaurant shared a drink with us during Ramadam. I remember asking if that was ok - can't remember his answer. I just wondered if folk had different levels of commitment to Islam as folk in the Christian faith?

Yes, like any other faith, you do get some people practicing whichever aspects they want to or perhaps find easier to, and ignoring some others. Others go through phases in life, where there may be more practicing. I admire the Haredi Jews for their consistent commitment to their faith. But I also know it isn't always easy, especially when there is temptation or addictions, mental health problems and trauma. So it is certainly not black and white, and God knows us the best, and he is the most just and the one who will therefore judge us, and we human beings can't and shouldn't judge each other in this world.

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 08:24

@eggsandchips

If one uses a full face covering, do they eat in public? Is it annoying having to do that?

My friend who wears the full face covering (niqab) would love this question, as she is a master at this and loves eating out Grin. I don't know how she manages it, but she can even eat an ice cream by lifting it a little (I would make a complete mess of it!). I suppose it is something you master. So you lift it a little and put food in your mouth? Some of my friends remove it in public when it is time to eat, or will sit in a more secluded area. Many Muslim restaurants now have secluded pods, so women who wear niqab and their families/friends can eat more comfortably! :)

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AllThreeWays · 01/07/2018 08:34

@UnderBlue that is an invitation if you are ever in Canberra Smile

whylie · 01/07/2018 08:35

Hi I'm really loving this thread 👍...I think you are great and it is so interesting.... My Q is;
I have a friend (white British) who is married to a Muslim (marriage not British marriage an Ingram married them) sorry if spelt wrong!
He is a lovely guy not strict Muslim they have 2 children only thing he asks of his wife is they don't eat pork which she agrees.
Reason for their marriage was pressure from his strict parents, he pleases his parents when he is around them but when he is not he is just so genuine as in, wife can go out drinking with friends, he drinks etc etc.
So the question is?
If a Muslim man/woman falls in love with a non Muslim, Does that bring shame upon family? If so why do some only please family when visiting but then go back to the happy life when parents not around? (Like my friend) love is love why can't family just be happy for their son/daughter ?
Yes they have a faith but if their son/daughter are really in love surly that is all anyone wants for their own children?
Thanks again for thread...👍

Aftereights91 · 01/07/2018 08:38

Sorry if it's offensive but I'm wondering how parenting works with Muslim father's. For example would a Muslim father change his daughters nappy or bath his children? It is that seen firmly as a woman's domain. And if he wouldn't then what would happen if the mother was hospitalised and there was noone else to take care of the children

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 08:40

@PunkAssMoFo

Why is it that god wants women to cover up, but not men? Is this part more cultural interpretation of the term modest? I ask this bit as some will wear beautifully adorned colourful headscarves with more figure hugging western dress and tons of make up, others are completely covered in black. Others don’t cover at all.

Very good question, thanks for asking :) Islam has rules for both men and women. Not as well known, men are not allowed to cover their ankles with clothing for example. They also must wear loose clothing (so no tight jeans). Similarly, they are dress codes for women, to wear loose clothing and cover their hair. Why God asked women to cover their hair and not men, I don't know. You'd have to ask Him. Wink But on a more serious note, I believe in Him, so I take His command, and do as He has asked me to do, as I believe he is most just and there is divine wisdom in His commands (even if there are occasions where my brain may not fully comprehend or understand them).

With regards to how women implement the dress code, as with any other religion, Muslims practice Islam to the extent they want to and sometimes feel they can. So generally the more practising Muslims will wear alongside hijab (head covering), a long outer loose clothing called the abaya and some may wear niqab (the face covering) too - many times in Black, only because it is much much cheaper to buy and easier to manage with toddlers etc. Others may not wear abaya/niqab, but will wear a headscarf with loose cultural clothing. Others will wear headscarf but very tight clothes and/or heavy make up. So like any other faith adheres, Muslim women do pick and choose the aspects of the faith they want to practice. These days, the young girls especially (like their peers I guess?) do wear ALOT of make-up with hijab (which I am not personally keen on), and in a way it may seem contradictory, but at least they are trying with one aspect of their faith (the head covering). It is not always easy being Muslim and practicing the faith.

Do you consider women who don’t wear head coverings to be immodest?

NO. Absolutely not. Modesty in the Muslim faith is not only about outer clothing, in fact the Quran and Hadeeth talk more about the modesty of the heart much more than the outer clothing. We are told to be modest in our actions, not brag and boast, and walk in arrogance. We are encouraged to look down and behave modestly when in front of strangers, and not be vulgar in our speech or actions. So there is much more to modesty than a headscarf, and the headscarf can sometimes feel like the easiest aspect, especially in countries where it is the norm to wear it! And even if there wasn't internal modesty in Islam, we are commanded NEVER to judge people, only God has the right to be a judge, as He is the one all knowing and just.

OP posts:
UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 08:43

@Growingboys

You say you're happy with every aspect of your faith, but what about viewing homosexuality as a sin? Do you agree with that? If so do you view being gay as a choice?

Good questions :) Do you mind if I refer you to the answer I gave about this in the thread, this morning (I don't know if I can link it? It is on this page - the answer to @rightknockered 's question). Let me know if you have any further questions :)

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 08:49

@headstone

My husband is Muslim and I converted but I’m not very knowledgable. I have a few debates with my dh which are ; He says I can’t pluck my eyebrows , is that true ?

At the time of the Prophet, plucking eyebrows was something that was exclusively done by prostitutes, so the Prophet discouraged it. However, many Muslim scholars have said that we are allowed to tidy them up, as seriously, in the past 20 years, hair growth has increased rapidly. My mum for example, has naturally beautifully shaped eye brows with no hair in between hair eye brows, me on the other hand, have a huge bush! I don't shape my eyebrows but I do tidy around them and remove hair in between the eyebrows.

I have trouble believing my non Muslim family will go to hell for not being Muslim, what are your thoughts on non Muslims and hell?

I believe God is the most merciful and Just, and He will decide what he will do with us. We will all be rewarded for our good deeds and we will have to pay for our bad deeds too (both Muslim and non-Muslims).

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UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 08:50

@AllThreeWays Canberra?! I am so on my way!! GrinGrin Looks utterly idyllic! Thank you! :)

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Pinkyponkcustard · 01/07/2018 08:55

Thank you underblue Flowers

UnderBlue · 01/07/2018 09:02

@whylie

If a Muslim man/woman falls in love with a non Muslim, Does that bring shame upon family? If so why do some only please family when visiting but then go back to the happy life when parents not around? (Like my friend) love is love why can't family just be happy for their son/daughter ? Yes they have a faith but if their son/daughter are really in love surly that is all anyone wants for their own children?

Hi, good question :)

Muslims conviction in their belief is generally overall very strong, so when their child says they want to marry a non-Muslim, they are fearful of their child loosing their way to paradise. This is what drives them to not be keen on their child marrying a non-Muslim. They also blame themselves (did I not teach him enough about the faith? Is something I did or didn't do that is driving him or her away?). Does that make sense?

Some may feel people in their community may judge them as inadequate parents, but this is less true these days. I think it is more fear of their children not reaching paradise that makes them behave in such a manner. So it is done from a place of love, but not always executed very well. South Asians generally are not good at all at talking openly and having frank conversations in families, nor displaying emotions, so this makes it even harder.

With regards to why Muslim men/women may break laws when away from their parents, but not in front of them, is because they don't want to upset their parents. All of us humans want to please people we love. It isn't difficult to stop drinking for a few days when visiting parents, especially when you know they will get really upset and hurt by seeing you drink, even if they may not say anything. What is the point of upsetting your loved ones for that one drink? As for their 'happy life' when they go away from their parents, maybe you didn't mean to put it across that way (?), but there are millions of people in the world who have a very happy and contented life and don't drink and party with booze :) (There is no correlation found between happiness and booze). I hope that helps?

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