Islam students at LUC

Archive for March 2015

This week in class we finished the film The Separation and it was full of twists and turns. I came into the movie with high expectations as Professor Mozzaffer told us this would be one of the best films we’ve ever seen. While this was not my favorite movie ever, I can appreciate the thought that went into creating the plot and the presentation of family life and that culture. The importance of religion is evident clearly in the law system and in the actions of the main characters. From the lady being scared to change the man’s father clothes to the use of religion in the judicial system, religion was a major factor in the behavior of the characters. Specifically, the caretaker was afraid to take the money because she had doubts that the man had caused her miscarriage. This shows how she put her religion and the after life at a higher standing than her position in this world, as her family was in a bad financial situation yet she did not take the easy way out because it was against her religion. I found the twists and turns in the story very interesting and it made it hard to pick either side and support him/her since they both somewhat lied and were somewhat at fault.

In response to 

This week in class, we finished up the film The Separation. We went into this movie being told that it will be the best film that we will EVER see; and I can honestly say that this was definitely in the top 3 films I have ever seen—if not the best. Right when I began to believe that the father really didn’t know that the woman was pregnant, and the housekeeper and husband were making this up; we find out that the husband knew the housekeeper was pregnant. If that wasn’t a big enough twist, we then find out that the housekeepers husband really wasn’t behind anything, that he sincerely was only seeking justice for his wife and the loss of his unborn child. Although we haven’t discussed it in class yet—by just watching how the daughter would cry, and the level of disappointment, hopelessness, and frustration she felt for each of her parents, is making me believe that she chose to live with her grandparents instead of her parents. In the beginning it was very clear that she had a stronger bond with her father, because of how her mother was acting and how she wanted to leave. As the movie went on, we saw the daughter drift further from her father, and be more to herself than a parent. She only went to her mother, when she could no longer understand who the person her father became or the person he was pretending to be—but even then she was more to herself than she was either of her parents. I think this could come back to the idea that she doesn’t want to be with either of them, since they both lied, and technically were “cautious sinners”.

In response to safarig786, I agreed that this film was very different than Argo when showing how Iran looks, how the people look, the colors, etc. The images and people that were shown in Argo constantly looked poor, depressed, with broken homes and scared at all times. Whereas, in The Separation the people not only dressed “normally” (I saw many people in jeans) or westernized, but the homes were very beautiful, and the colors in this movie were much brighter and warm versus the colors in Argo were cooler tones and dull. Granted in Argo it was a much difficult time, with war, and killings happening on the streets—in The Separation the streets, the interactions with people seemed very day-to-day as they are in most big cities in America. There were traffic lights, public transportation workers, busy streets, traffic jams, and the wife in the film (I don’t know if anyone noticed) wasn’t just driving a Toyota, but a very nice and probably expensive luxury car. It was just really interesting to see these differences between how Americans view Iranians, and how Iranians view themselves. Also, like you mentioned it was interesting to see how huge of a roll Islam plays in this country and to its people. When the housekeeper couldn’t lie on the Quran because she was having “doubts” it was really moving to watch. Most people that grew up in a western country lie when they “swear to God” all the time. Even in court, people lie under oath after placing their hand on the Bible. It was really impressive to see how religion is not just something that is remembered once a week, but a way of life.

Blog 10

Posted on: March 31, 2015

In class, we wrapped up the film A Separation. The film gave an extremely fascinating point of view on Iranian society, particularly on how religion assumed an awesome part in the public arena, and how its observation is profoundly entwined in the connections between classes. For instance, each time Simin’s spouse expressed anything in court, the pregant woman’s spouse’s first reaction was that Simin’s family couldn’t have cared less about God. He blamed their family for not liking the “honor” of their ladies, subsequently disparaging them for enlisting his wife without his insight. Besides, it is intriguing that the higher class is seen as less “religious” naturally. I had additionally been tricked into accepting that the little girl was staying with the father in light of the fact that she enjoyed him better, yet that likewise ended up being false, as she was just attempting to unite her guardians. The film was captivating and astounding, and I’d like to watch it once more.

In response to theoblog2, I additionally discovered the activity we did exceptionally intelligent. Amid the activity at first dominant part of the occasion that I recorded were of me transitioning from grade school to center school, or secondary school to school. As I began thinking a smidgen more profound I recollected all these imperative occasions throughout my life that had an incredible effect on my life. As i was remembering the past, i thought to myself that, wow time truly flies by.

This week in class we explored the different states and stations within Islamic tradition. When a person has a higher state that also means the closer and more complete their relationship with the divine is. Correlating with these concepts is the various dialectical states such as contraction or expansion and awe or intimacy. I was particularly interested in the relationship between absence and presence. We were asked to evaluating the degree to which we are present during any given moment. We devoted class time to reflect and let our minds wander but remain in the moment of class and the here and now. I never realized how difficult it was to hold back the flood of thoughts and anxieties for future events and deadlines. This helped me realize the lack of attention I actually devote to the moment I’m currently in. Moving forward I hope to focus and attend to the moment I’m in so that I am aware and attentive to the moments in my life. This concept brings people closer to the divine but I also see its effectiveness in fostering relationships with people and experiences in everyday life.

In response to safarig786, I agreed that this film was a fresh take on the Iranian life I am most accustomed to seeing because of American film bias against the culture and people. I tried to keep the images and personalities portrayed during the film Argo verse the film The Separation. Although, I had first thought the film Argo attempted to show a compassionate side to Iranians during the film such as the Canadian ambassador’s housekeeper, the contrast between two films is stark. In The Separation, everyday live reflected much of common day American life with adolescent education, traffic filled streets and the pain of watching a loved ones health deteriorate. I also think the film brought to light the poor and significance Islam holds in the lives of believers. Islamic tradition was portrayed as a moral compass guiding correct behavior even when the situation made the choice to be closer to the Divine hard.

This week in class we were challenged to compose a list of 10 moments we regard as defining moments in our lives. The first couple were easy to come up with, usually the big things, but the more i progressed down the list, the harder it was to come up with moments. This was very curious because I have never actually thought about my defining moments before. It is harder to come up with individual moments that make you who you are than to think of it as a journey that defines you. Every individual moment is important but there are key events that have set each of us on a certain path, however, I am not sure I have experienced ten of those yet. Thinking back on the events I’ve had makes me pretty anxious for what is to come in the future. I very much enjoyed the movie. I liked the ending because it gave us, the viewers, the opportunity to discuss what the outcome of the daughter’s decision would be. Personally, I think that she chose the mother mostly because I believe that her trust for her father has been compromised after all that they had been through. Granted he was vindicated, he still lied to her and she was forced to lie on his behalf which was a hard thing for her to do. I will be interested in hearing other theories as to what her decision was.

In response to I too found it very rewarding to do some self-reflection during the activity. i also found the divorce proceedings very interesting. In one of my other classes, we watched a documentary on divorce court in Iran, sort of like their version of Judge Judy. This movie showed more or less the same thing. The court system seems to be more one sided, and unfortunately, women are usually on the wrong side. One thing I learned was that a man could divorce his wife for almost anything. A woman, on the other hand, would be most successful at obtaining a divorce is she pleas that her husband is either impotent or “mad”. This was very interesting to learn because it limits the options of the women. However, it is not so one-sided. There are usually scribes outside the court who the women go to first to make their complaint. These scribes then transcribe it and send it to the judge. Many times, the scribes are aware of what needs to be said in order to guarantee success in the divorce cases, so they manipulate the claims they write and instruct the women on how to tweak their claims in order to win the case. I thought this was pretty fascinating.

After watching the movie last week, I noticed how the Qur’an was used as a tool to determine truth and justice in their society. It was a tool employed by the cobbler and the middle class father who was a part of the lower class within that society to force the truth from individuals he believed to be lying. We saw the importance this played to him when he went to the school to confront the teacher about speaking with his daughter and asking her if her father beat her mother. When he confronted the tutor he demanded that she tell the truth and when he was not satisfied with her answer, he demanded that she swear upon the Qur’an. The atmosphere in the room took a more serious turn upon this demand and the answer that the woman gave was a little more guarded yet more assertive that she was not at fault. The accused father in the movie also used the Qur’an to determine the truth from individuals when he asked the woman that miscarried to swear upon the Qur’an that he had pushed her down the stairs. With this demand, the previous lies that she could force herself to say could not be said when asked to say it to God.

In response to audirs7, it’s interesting to compare Argo’s depiction of Iranians with A Separation’s depiction of Iranians. Argo definitely had a more angry and distrustful characterization to the Iranians that made them seem like an angry horde at times where in A Separation Iranians were humanized where we could see the struggles of their lives and the normal day to day interactions that they have with one another. The contrast makes it clear that the Iranians were stereotyped for the sake of the drama in the movie where before I had thought that this might be an accurate representation of a people during the midst of a revolution. Argo only displayed the extreme views of the Qur’an within that society as opposed to the more natural and traditional views that we could see in A Separation. In Argo Islam was shown as the tool for terrorism while A Separation showed it as a tool for justice.

In class this week, we finished watching the movie A Separation. The film provided a very interesting perspective on Iranian culture, especially on how religion played a great role in society, and how its perception is deeply intertwined in the relationships between classes. For example, every time Simin’s husband stated anything in court, the pregant lady’s husband’s first response was that Simin’s family didn’t care about God. He accused their family of not caring for the “honor” of their women, thereby ridiculing them for hiring his wife without his knowledge. Moreover, it is interesting that the higher class is viewed as less “religious” by default. Simin was shown not wearing the chador, but rather wearing a loosely-wrapped headscarf and more Western clothing. On the other hand, lower class women were almost always shown with the chador, or loose outer drape. I think this conception of religion is present in many cultures today. In my parent’s home country, for example, a similar classification exists, where the more elite upper class is associated with less religious dedication. I am not sure how true or untrue this stereotype is, but it is just an observation.

In response to @rubytuesday159, I too had trouble finding ten distinct moments in my life to write down. Perhaps this is because I haven’t had many extremely exciting, eye-opening events. Thankfully, neither have I faced any huge calamities. But the discussion in class helped me reflect on a lot nevertheless. The professor went over categorical distinctions of what the progression of Islam to Imaan to Ihsaan is aimed at doing. One that stood out to me was the distinction between isolation and connection. The professor mentioned that one of the goals of the Islamic paradigm is to build connection between individuals as well as humans and the Divine. I myself am extremely introverted, and usually don’t make connections with individuals as easily as others may. You mention how we discussed the different kinds of selfs, one of which is a “self at peace.” I wonder how the comparison between isolation and connection in terms of introversion plays into this. How much connection with others must a person have to feel at peace? Even individually, I think it’s true that a certain level of connection with other humans is needed to feel satisfied and not go depressed. Perhaps, however, this threshold differs per individual.