Islam students at LUC

Archive for November 7th, 2015

Earlier this week, we were able to finished the movie, Wadjdad. Wadjda incorporated complex themes towards the overall treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. It was quite apparent that the film showed rejection to women making free, independent choices. For example, there was a rejection of Wadjda using the prize money for a bike; this prize money was immediately changed to a donation, so Wadjda could not make her own decision. Furthermore, Wadjda’s mother faced rejection and restrictions when she was unable to produce a male offspring. Overall, there was harsh and restricting laws placed on women were displayed throughout the film. This is especially evident when paired against the modern concepts of female treatment in Western countries. Yet, there was a question posed to the authenticity and reality of the situation in Saudi Arabia. Although I would like to believe differently, I do believe this is a reality for rural communities in Saudi Arabia. Within the larger or more liberal communities, I believe this would be less prevalent to forward thinking societies.

In response to skhaleel1, I believe that exaggeration would be too strong of a word to use in regards to the authenticity of the film and its portrayal of the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. To say that the movie is portraying truth “to a smaller extent” may be a bit unrealistic of the some global communities. There is a large population of the world (especially rural communities in third world countries) who practice both legal and social restrictions on women. By growing up in the United States, it may be difficult for some students to believe that such obvious discriminations occur, but this is a reality for some women in the world. By growing up in India then moving to the United States, I have seen the drastic differences in cultural expectations and opportunities for women. Even if there is not legal laws, there are cultural standards that both men and women follow within different communities. For most students, I believe that it may be difficult to conceptualize different cultural standards. Through this film, I believe that it gave a compelling description of reality to women in some restrictive communities in the world. For some, this movie may seem like an exaggeration. For others, this movie could be the reality of everyday life without equal, basic rights between men and women.

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This week in class we discussed a number of concepts associated with spiritual development. I knew the literal meanings of what most of these terms meant, but I wasn’t as aware of them in context of the Islamic paradigm. One concept that I found to be very interesting was the idea of sadness. Professor Mozaffar said that one can experience sadness, but in accordance with Islam, one must not fall into despair. If one falls into despair, then they are accepting the notion that God is not merciful. As a Muslim myself, this idea really connected with me because I have dealt with a loss of family members in my life and there were times when it would be hard for me to keep myself from falling into despair, but I pulled myself together because I knew that God is merciful and he never places a heavier burden on anyone than one can handle. In class, Professor Mozaffar also mentioned that the primary aspect that is associated with the Divine is the idea of mercy and if one was to deny that notion, then they are, in a way, denying His existence.

In relation to ambiguoustraviesa, I am also really glad that Amy is sympathetic to the prisoner in Camp X-Ray because it shows her growth as a character in the movie. At the beginning, she attempts to understand how things work at the camp and views the detainees as mere prisoners, but when she talks to Ali and gets to know him, she understands that maybe the detainees do not really deserve to be locked up. She attempts to make some changes by reporting her commanding officer but she ultimately realizes that there is no use as the entire system is corrupt because they only try to maintain the detainees from acting up and nothing more. She accepts the fact that there is not much she can do. In addition, in the movie the detainees are not portrayed as humans and are treated as animals as Ali indicates. This is why he rebels against all forms of authority because he believes that submitting to their demands would indicate that he is wrong and deserves to be locked up. I really like the actor that is playing Ali because I believe he does a really good job portraying his character both in this movie and in A Separation.

During class this week, we learned many concepts and their definitions, such as renunciation, where you give everything its proper value, and neglect what isn’t important to you. Your priorities can be determined by learning where you spend your money and time. We also collectively discussed irrational fears that most of us have (i.e. spiders, heights, insects in general), and how we should ideally shift toward solely fearing that which could hurt us. I’m a little confused about the difference between backbiting and slandering; I thought backbiting was gossip behind someone’s back and that slandering was the opposite – just gossiping in front of them. I guess I’ll need some clarification. I found the method of curing an addiction by delaying your promise to yourself a unique approach. It asks you to negotiate and cut deals with yourself – just tell yourself that you’ll do it later, and once you’re at that promised time, delay it even further. I wonder how effective this technique is in practice.

We also continued watching Camp X-Ray, and (SPOILER ALERT) I’m glad Kristen Stewart’s character is sympathetic to the prisoners now. She understands that certain forms of torture are just unjustified. I was surprised that when she made a complaint against another officer, both of them were scheduled for trials the following month. It’s very unprofessional that the other officer is using his anger from outside of work on Amy. I hope they talk about Ali’s past and how he ended up there, whether he deserved it or not. I’m still waiting for him to get his Harry Potter book. But I guess that’s because rumors are spreading that she talks to 471. I’m glad the guy from The Separation is in this movie. He’s such a good actor.

When we talked about the different sects in Islam this week in class I found it super interesting to see how closely related the beliefs are between the Shia and the Sunni, which are the two sects I hear about most often fighting in the news. Even learning about the few Ibadi and other Heterodox Muslims, it’s so interesting how they define themselves not from differences in what the believe, but almost just differences in interpretation of what they believe happened hundreds of thousands of years ago and still effects how they define themselves today. Shia’s pay more attention to the house than the companions while the Sunni prioritize both the house and the companions.

In response to @lucrambler7249, I agree that I enjoyed Wajda I think the most out of the movies we watched this class. I think it really does a great job showing the transformation of a woman’s role the world in comparison with a woman’s role in Islam, which seem to be very different. As a Muslim, a woman is to be quiet and to herself and does not have nearly as many rights as a man. However, I agree that Wajda and Abdullah’s relationship was the little glimpse at the equality the rest of the world is working towards when it comes to gender.

This week we talked about the islamic paradigm of human heart, mind, body, and soul in relation to the spiritual concepts. We talked about 17 concepts. Some of the concepts that I truly enjoyed where the Finding self’s flaws, I like how you should be brutally honest with yourself that if you see faults in someone you have to be sure you do not have those faults as well before you go and say something about that person. I also liked the concept of hope, this is something that fear has built into it. And that everything has a mixture of fear and hope. In your worldly life you should have more hope than fear primarily because attributes is mercy and then your hopes should be greater in how you will respond to your life’s challenges. However on the day of judgement, one should have a balance of fear and hope. I also liked the concept of retreat and seclusion, that everyone needs to get out of their daily routine to recharge think of it as a spiritual treatment and in Islam, its frowned upon to not be married but at times you need to take time away from absolutely all the necessities and from everything and protect yourself. We also watched a movie and it was a little depressing I don’t like it but its true that those people that spend their lives in prisons we will never be able to understand.

In response to, miniemia, I also think polygamy isn’t something that should be in place to this day maybe there is in Pakistan and India but it certainly should stop because it was only done in Prophet Muhammad’s time to protect those women and give them shelter if their husbands died and this was done to support their life since women did not work back then. I agree with you that it should be illegal in those countries.