Thursday, December 09, 2004

In The Name Of...

Another day, same article.

“I was genuinely shocked how people reacted just because I happened to be wearing a hijab," Yaqoob recalled in a phone interview. "It was actually a very upsetting experience. It was shocking to see people so passionate and, in my view, so ignorant of basic things, basic things like etiquette. [They] felt they had a right to behave that way in the name of what they thought was freedom and liberation.”

I am pleased to see a Muslim say this with such dismay:
“[They] felt they had a right to behave that way in the name of what they thought was freedom and liberation”

I am pleased because we non-Muslims ask a similar question when we
1. look at how this war started and
2. what the masked men (read: veiled faces) would chant when beheading yet another victim (“Allah Akbar”; translation: “God is Great”) and
3. what was said about us Americans in a hasty generalization (“all atheists”) and
4. what was used as the reason for why these Muslims chose to rob us of our flights which carried hundreds of people from all over the world out of our cities to their destinations, maim some of the passengers in the process of robbing the planes, and then kill everyone on those airplanes (including themselves) as they crashed into buildings and other locations on 09/11/01.

We non-Muslims ask: “Why? [They] feel they have a right to (behave that way) commit all these atrocities in the name of Allah (their God)?”

What kind of God is this? His followers are to rob, maim, and kill? Only one kind of thing do I know will steal, kill, and destroy and that is a thief.
The God I know is about love and He gives life…and He gives it abundantly.

As I read this article, I acknowledge this truth:
Salma Yaqoob’s only threat at that conference was the crowd’s hooting and jeering. The most she will ever have to fear is being spit on. She will never have to fear a mob-mentality. She will never find herself surrounded by non-Muslim men, women, & children throwing rocks at her, picking up guns to threaten her, grabbing her and throwing her to the ground to tear her clothes from her body, dragged away to some dark room by five men (white or Arab, doesn’t matter) dressed in all black with their faces covered and heads wrapped in turbans, videotaping her pleas to her family and country prior to being made to bend over on her knees while one man begins sawing at her neck, other men holding her still with her hands chained at her back as she screams in protest and pain, while all five guys chant “Freedom and Liberation” through the process until her body lies limp with a pool of blood at her severed neck and her head sitting on top of her back clothed in an orange jumpsuit.

This will never happen to her.

I saw Nick Berg beheaded in this manner. I had to witness for myself what lengths these murderers would do “in the name of Allah”.


Who, in a sound mind, would ever attribute such a perverted act to God?

Who, in a sound mind, would ever be able to explain to the masses that God would want this to happen?

Where, in this perverse act, is there goodness and love and mercy – all fruits of the Spirit.

Let me just say that Salma Yaqoob never had to fear when she was up on that stage addressing a bunch of French people in her hijab. She wasn’t going to die. And she most likely knew that. Because French people are not uncivilized to the point that they felt it necessary to bum rush someone they do not like and do exactly as I described above. Perhaps, to them, it was a basic etiquette to show one’s face when addressing them. But yes, it must have been very horrible to be the object of jeering and hooting. Nobody likes to be booed off stage. Nobody likes not being liked. It feels good when people like you. But to have an entire crowd stare at you on stage and mock you has to be unbearable. “Take your mask off!” they probably shouted. “Yeah! Take it off!” another probably returned. And then the ruckus began. And basic etiquette on both sides was disregarded.

Inner purification comes not from a veiled face. Rather, suspicion comes from a veiled face.
Inner purification comes from a pure heart.
Inner purification is simple really – don’t make it so difficult. I know as imperfect human beings we enjoy making things so complex even in our own naïveté. But it really is simple: Bring your heart to God and ask Him to show you what lusts linger in there. Nobody knows the heart like God knows it. We think we know it, then we ask Him to show us what’s in there and...hoo-boy! We don’t like what we see. “That was there?! Oh man.” Get rid of it! You want inner purification? Ask for the Refiner’s Fire. Like the process of refining gold, God the Refiner will turn the fire up seven times to burn up the dross in your heart. If you let Him. Problem is, it’s an uncomfortable process and people get kind of nervous when it gets to that point so they don’t want go through with it. Every one is tempted when they are drawn away of his or her own lust and enticed. So it's better to get rid of that lust. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

It seems to me that veiling the face is some way of avoiding actually dealing with the spiritual aspect of inner purification. Tadkiyah - It means to cleanse something of evil and to groom it with good attributes. How about cleansing your heart of the evil lusts and then start filling it with God’s attributes. God is good. Get rid of the lust and start reading the word of God (Qur’an if you like), pray to Him, and fellowship with people who fellowship with God.

The purpose of inner hijab and outer hijab is simple: If your heart is pure, then you will manifest openly a purity. You will not need a veil to hide. The purity will be seen - in your eyes, in your behavior, in the way you conduct yourself. Your eyes are the windows of your soul. If in your eyes God’s love can be seen... in HIS love there is no perversion, there is no lust, there is no changing or variance... God’s love IS PURE... so if God is seen in the windows of your soul... then it is not YOU who is arousing the opposite sex. If the opposite sex is aroused... then THEY have a problem with lust and such. Not you.

You cannot control the actions of another person. You can only control how you behave.

Examine your self. If your self is behaving wrong, then something is wrong in your heart. From the issues of the heart the mouth speaks. Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

If I am walking along, minding my own business and then someone comes along and yells verbally abusive words at me because they did not like who I was, what I wore, what I believe in... That’s not my problem. That’s their problem. And it is painfully obvious that they are having a problem with it, you see? Because they are the one who is making a big fuss about it. Not me. Think about it.

If I walk by and some guy starts hooting and making sexual comments - he's drawing attention to me and that could be embarrassing if I allow it to be for me. But if I look at him with a look of "that is enough", then I have quietly made my point: "I do not accept your behavior." I cannot control how he continues to behave from that point on. I can only control my self.

Here is a strong example, this attack that these Muslims brought onto the United States at the Twin Towers on September 11 showed us that they – and more particularly, radical Islamic extremists as they are being called – have some kind of envy or jealousy or hatred or animosity or whatever mental/emotional disorder that urged them to do something about it.

I mean, it is one thing to be envious, jealous, hateful... or to have some kind of mental or emotional disorder... but to do something as a result of those things is - as we witnessed – tragic!

My thoughts on that:
If you don’t like us – stay the heck off our land, eh?
If you don’t like us – stay on your side of the waters, right?
If you don’t like us – don’t go killing everyone in the world about it, see?

You get the point.

But see – we may not like the suspicious looking hijab: how it covers the face like a mask, causing those in its view to wonder, “what the heck are they hiding? Are they so hideous they need to hide away behind a veil? Or are they up to something and they don’t want us to see their face to recognize them?”… We may not like it, but we will never go over to their country and blow up their buildings to make a statement about it. (Instead, we’ll go over to their country and blow up their buildings for coming to our country and blowing up our buildings. Right?)

So the most this Salma Yaqoob had to fear was the hooting, jeering, and spitting... maybe some name-calling. Ok and a ban that was enforced in France. Well, fortunately for her she lives in England.

If you teach the people about a God who wraps people up in bondage rituals, then you are not teaching a God of love. When I use the word love, I speak of His pure love. It is one that is not tainted with perversion and it is not involving sex.

Wearing a veil does not necessarily prevent desire and attraction and agitation. You are very misled if you believe that. In fact, for some, the desire begins because there is something being “covered up” and they want to peek and see. That is why we have stores and catalogs like Frederick’s of Hollywood and Victoria’s Secret – where clothes are sold to “cover” a woman’s nakedness in revealing ways… but sometimes being somewhat covered is what makes another aroused to begin with!

So you’re telling me that you cannot be a woman of God and walk around without a veil?
I’ll tell you something – men come to me and tell me all manners of compliments: “It’s about time they got someone good-looking to work here.” Or “Has anyone ever told you that you are beautiful?” Or “You’re a nice looking young lady.”

Now – when I first encountered these compliments, they embarrassed me and I did not know how to take them. First, I didn’t believe what they said. It’s hard to take a compliment. Then, in certain people, I noticed that they wanted more from the compliment so it made me feel creeped out. I’d kinda smile at them, but turn my back and think, “ewww”. But then one day I was taught, “Just say ‘Thank you’.” So, I tried it. Someone paid me a compliment, I felt embarrassed, but I answered, “Thank you.” It was painless. I walked away with no injury. So did they. No injury to their ego. So I started doing that from then on whenever someone paid me a compliment.

I am not afraid of someone paying me uninvited attention or ogling me or of what they may say to me. They are not physically touching me and I can move out of their line of site if I wish. I can disarm them if I wish also. See, I do not know what it is like with Arab men (I hear they are pretty dominant over there in the Middle East), but here in the United States if you tell a man in a kind way that he is uninvited in whatever way, then he gets the point and stops (unless he is a stalker or a maniac, then you’ve got to do more). Let’s say he is a little deranged and continues to ogle you – the best way to get rid of a problem is to be aware of it, but pay it no special attentions. Be aware of it, but that is it. Nothing more. Don’t go whispering to your girlfriend that some creepy guy is staring at you even after you asked him to quit. Or maybe even told him to quit. He’s challenging you. What are you going to do about it? You’re not dealing with flesh and blood, but with principalities, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

When someone pays a compliment, it’s a gift. You know what I do with that? I say in my heart, “Thank you, God, that You made me beautiful and it caused another to admire Your work.” I am not conceited by their compliment or proud or puffed up. At anytime some tragedy could befall me and I may never look “beautiful” again. I could wind up in an awful fire that scars my face for life and I’d have to succumb to skin graft surgery. I am aware of how temporal this world can be and how quickly things can change. But I serve a God who is greater than all of that and He taught me only to “fear the One who could take away both life and the spirit.” That is Him alone. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. And my sound mind certainly does not require that I wear some kind of veil over my face to prevent another from being aroused. Nor to attack someone who does not believe as I do. So if you believe that I’m attacking – you are certainly wrong. I am presenting some things to think about here. Things that need to be turned over in the mind and weighed with soundness.

I do not fear being exploited because I make that choice for myself. If I wish to be exploited, I will place myself in a position to be exploited. But by the grace of God I have strength to stop something I do not like. If a man or woman chooses to go beyond the bounds of courtesy and respect and says something more than a compliment, then I am not afraid to let them know that I do not appreciate what they said. I can be kind when I let them know. But my kindness should never be mistaken for a weakness. Because if necessary, I can be “hard” – showing no kindness, but only a stoic matter-of-fact expression. Again, I choose to be kind. I have that choice. I am free to make that choice.

I am free to make the choice to purify my heart without clothing restrictions. Automatically, as God deals with my heart, I make decisions on what to wear and not to wear. Not because a church told me. Not because a religion told me. Not because a set of rules were drawn up for Christians everywhere. No – because my heart has changed and decided those certain things are not what I desire to wear anymore. Certain attitudes are not what I wish to display. Why? Because they do not please my God. How do I know? Because I take the time to know Him through prayer, reading His word, listening to men and women of God preach and testing the spirit (discernment) whether it is of God or not. When you spend enough time with God, you begin to know what is from Him and what is not. It can appear to be of God, but your spirit knows it is not. Something is not right and makes you sick – maybe physically, maybe just spiritually.

And please do not compare the hijab and all that to a nun’s style of dress. I assure you I have some complaints with the ritualistic religion called Catholicism as well and all it’s bondages, fears, intimidations, and incorrect teachings. Yet they read the SAME Bible I do – believe it or not! (I’ll let you in on a little secret: When the leaders of a church become perverse and are found out – such as molesting little boys or turning gay and lesbian – then the fruit of that church has been corrupted at the root. Perversion. The vine is all gray. No life in the branches anymore. The fruit is sour or bitter and thorns are growing around it.) Teaching people to pray to the Virgin Mary and all the Saints rather than to God is incorrect teaching and leading them astray. But I’ll dig into that sore another day to make people think. THINK OUT OF THE BOX. I am aware that some Muslims teach their people to pray to other people who have passed on rather than directly to Allah too – so you know where I’m coming from there.

I’ll continue more on this tomorrow.

No comments: