Thursday, March 8, 2007
Read it and reflect on it and let me know what you THINK! :)
"The world we have created today as a result of our thinking thus far has problems which cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them." - Albert Einstein
Monday, March 5, 2007
Reported (e.g. in al-Tabaqat al-Kubra by ibn Sa’d) that Zaid ibn Thabit was once asked to describe the character of the prophet, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him. He said, “What can I say? I was his neighbor. When a piece of revelation would come to him he would call me and I would write it down. At the same time, he was with us - when we talk about dunya (life affairs) he would talk about it right along with us, when we talk about food he would talk about it right along with us. You want me to tell you everything such as that regarding him?”
Sunday, March 4, 2007
I have finally conjured up enough courage and time to start a blog. I guess this is a crucial time for my family and I. It looks like we will be moving to Washington DC and I am taking a semester off from school. I am hoping that this time will allow me to develop this blog and post a few thoughts of mine that will Inshallah contribute to the process of integrating our community into society, an integration that is POSITIVE!
Byline: Brad A. Greenberg Staff Writer
While Haris Tarin was a sophomore at CSUN - three months after he met Ghada Khan - he took her to be his wife.
He had been born in Afghanistan and was five years younger than his Saudi princess. The marriage was a surprise to both sets of parents, who had planned to play matchmaker for their respective children.
But the West Hills couple had long since embraced the ``American'' in ``Muslim-American'' - and they weren't about to let tradition interfere with attraction.
``The first time I met her, I knew I wanted to get married,'' said Haris, 26.
Islam upholds marriage as a religious duty, which is one reason it's not uncommon for Muslims to marry while in college. Another is a desire for piety.
But Muslim-Americans face a common dilemma: Do they limit their search to their parents' social circles or do they try to fall in love on their own? And if they opt for autonomy, will their parents accept in-laws of a different ethnicity?
``Marriage is a sacred thing in Islam. It is not something that you fall in love today and begin hating the person tomorrow,'' said Shakeel Syed, executive director of Islamic Shura Council, which overseas Southland mosques. ``It is a lifelong commitment.''
Arranged marriages, though common in Muslim cultures, are not a religious requirement. Instead, they are a safety net parents use to try to ensure their children's marriages survive.
``Many (Muslim) Americans choose to meet their mate on their own,'' said Syed, who got engaged to a Pakistani-Canadian before telling his Indian parents.
``The social networks that existed in other cultures, in Asia and the Middle East, doesn't exist here as much,'' Syed said. ``Also, there is a greater interaction between men and women here - in businesses, at mosques, at schools and so forth.''
Haris, whose family moved to the San Fernando Valley when he was 6, knew his mother and late father expected him to marry an Afghan girl, like his three brothers had. His two sisters were fixed up with Afghan men.
As the youngest, Haris had other plans.
``I always assumed I would get married in a different manner, the way Americans do, because that is what I am - an American,'' he said.
Haris and Ghada met through a mutual friend who lived in the Valley and had attended University of California, Santa Barbara with Ghada. They hit it off immediately on the phone and decided it was time to meet.
One Saturday in 1998, Haris got behind the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee with their mutual friend, Osman Khan, in the passenger seat. They headed up the Ventura Freeway to meet Ghada and a few friends of hers at a Santa Barbara mosque.
They all went to breakfast and then to Ghada's uncle's house. Dating as it is understood in Western cultures is foreign to Muslims.
``Before a marriage, you aren't allowed to have any physical contact,'' Haris said.
They courted for four weeks, time filled with trips for Haris up the coast and group outings. Ghada's then 8-year-old sister became the token, if unsuspecting, chaperon.
A month after they met, he was visiting her at her uncle's house. The two were standing in the yard talking and staring at the mountains when Haris decided he had waited long enough to find out if Ghada felt as he did about spending life together.
Haris hadn't yet met his future in-laws, who had been on one of their regular visits to Saudi Arabia. He called her father, Aguil Khan, and was surprised by the acceptance.
One of his brothers also called Ghada's dad as a reference to Haris's love for his daughter. That brother also vouched for Haris before his mother.
``We came out so strongly nobody felt like questioning it,'' Haris said.
Seven years later, they don't regret following their hearts and they feel the full support of their families.
After temporarily leaving California State University, Northridge, Haris returned and graduated. He now teaches religious studies to sixth- through eighth-graders at New Horizon School, an Islamic school in Pasadena. Ghada, who graduated from UCSB with a degree in microbiology, stays home with their 5-year-old daughter, Hanan, and 4-year-old son, Rayyan.
``It's the best thing that ever happened to me in my life,'' Ghada said. ``I don't know what I did to deserve this.''
Brad A. Greenberg, (818) 713-3634