Archive | April 2010

Humanity as a Goal

A thousand goals have there been hitherto, for a thousand peoples have there been. Only the fetter for the thousand necks is still lacking; there is lacking the one goal. As yet humanity hath not a goal. But pray tell me, my brethren, if the goal of humanity be still lacking, is there not also still lacking- humanity itself? - NietszcheHumanity as a Goal

German philosopher (1844 – 1900)Friedrich Nietzsche , who gave up on God, faced many contradictions in his transference of faith into the concept of the superhuman thus the individual said the following:

“Is humanity a point of arrival or a point of departure”

Have we departed, and if so, are we able to return?

The Tresses of Forgetfulness. 

Veiling Through Time
The Tresses of Forgetfulness.

By Hwaa Irfan

A time remembered is a period of historical films on British history when to see a woman veiled was quite normal. To surf on the ‘net, one could be led to believe that the veil begins and starts with Islam or as a wedding dress accessory. The event of banning the veil in France has only served to show how much is based a gut reaction so deep that there is a past to it. Another misnomer is the underlying reason President Chirac banned all religious symbols of expression form all religions as a desperate man trying to quell the growing uncontrollable tide of anti-Semitism in France. The last time one looked, Jews indigenous to the Middle East were of the same Semite race as those they feel superior to – the Palestinians (both Christian and Muslims)! As such, the growing attacks against Jews spreading across Europe in Britain, Germany, Italy and Belgium etc as been engineered to turn against Muslims. This has symbolized how far humanity has to go before it can become humane where men women and children have taken to the streets in the 20th century to march for their individual rights. The suffragettes once fought for women’s rights that only released women into a slavery to the body beautiful against the dictates of a Christian Europe that incarcerated women to a life of servitude in mind and body when Islam had given Muslim women their rights.

This dictate, descends from the Christian Bible which states in 1Corinthians II:

4 Any man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame upon his head.

5 But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved.

6 For if a woman does not have her head veiled, she may as well have her hair cut off. But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should wear a veil.

7 A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.

8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man;

9 nor was man created for woman, but woman for man;”

Further clarification is given in 1 Timothy II 8-9 of the Gospels:

10 For this I was appointed preacher and apostle (I am speaking the truth, I am not lying), teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

11 It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

12 Similarly, (too,) women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes,

13 but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds.

14 A woman must receive instruction silently and under complete control.

15 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man.

16 She must be quiet.”

Hence it is written early in the codes of Christianity that women should. Far from ending in the past, the veil was used to subjugate women in Christianity. It was the first Latin theologian of the 2nd and 3RD century Quinus Septimus Florens Tertullianus who with fervor wrote on the veiling of women:

    “. For that custom which belies virgins while it exhibits them, would never have been approved by ant except by some men who must have been similar in character to the virgins themselves. Such eyes will wish that a virgin be seen as has the virgin who shall wish to be seen. The same kinds of eyes reciprocally crave after each other. Seeing and being belong to the self-same lust…

    The matter that has been left to choice, for each virgin to veil herself with, as she might have chosen, just as (she had equal liberty)… But when the power of discerning began to advance, so that the license granted to either fashion was becoming the mean whereby the indication of the better part emerged; immediately the great adversary of good things and much more of good institutions set to his own work…

    Every public exposure of an honorable virgin is (to her0 a suffering of rape: and yet the suffering of carnal violence is the less evil, because it comes of natural office. But when the very spirit itself is violated in a virgin by the abstracting of her covering, she has learnt to lose what she what she used to keep….”

The Western patriarchal view of women can be embodied as Tertullian wrote:

    “ It is not permitted to a woman to speak in the church; but neither (is it permitted her), to teach, not to baptize, not to office”

    “It remains likewise that we turn to (the virgins) themselves, to induce them to accept these (suggestions) the more willingly… But we admonish you, too women of the second (degree of) modesty, who have fallen into wedlock, not to outgrow so far the discipline of the veil, not even in a moment of an hour, as, because you cannot refuse it, to take some other means to nullify it, by going neither covered nor bare. … Arabia’s heathen females will be your judges, who cover not only the head, but the face also, so entirely, that they are content, with one eye free, to enjoy rather half the light than to prostitute the entire face. A female would rather see than be seen”.

Enveloped in the Western perception of women is the ‘Fall of Eve’ which has shaped Western societal norms throughout the centuries. Christian scholar Leland Haines spells it out: It was only the wealthy that one can find explored their sense of sexuality outside of social mores. “Not to wear the veiling implies freedom from submission to man.

Medieval Era

It was the noble women who wore covered their hair with bonnets and veils especially after the church issued an edict that women should keep their hair covered.

Middle Ages

A lot of Western women’s frustration over their gender can be attributed down to the church as opposed to Christianity and the general view of women in society. During this period, it was single, divorced and noblewomen that had the right to possess property the right to which was lost once they married. Women could trade, save money and were legally liable until then. Under French ‘Salic Law’ women could inherit land in the 6th & 7th century as long as there were no male relatives. It was a combination of theologies of Aristotle and Augustus that culminated in Thomas the Aquinas Head of the English Church who firmly established in this period the belief that women’s role was solely to marry, procreate and raise children. Any intellectual pursuit was the prerogative of men. Women were inferior and the causes of evil. It was this that increased the flow of women to become nuns where they could have some degree of control over their lives.

Elizabethan Period

The ‘snood’ that arose out of the Tudor period became the rage with fashion trendsetter of the day, Queen Elizabeth. Crocheted or beaded, ‘snoods kept the hair out of the way and clean. Still popular today.

Victorian Period

Often deemed the most oppressive period in Western women’s history, It was during the middle of the 19th century that the hair started to hang loose at the nape, with curls, crimps and all kinds of tantalizing hairstyles when the agricultural revolution had offered more food than before, and the Industrial Revolution offered new jobs, new towns, new societies, more and varied commodities. Queen Victoria’s introduction of the wedding dress gave a new life to the veil. It has set a trend that has become a dream for most girls.

19th Century
With major renovations taking place in Paris, doctors were strongly recommending that women wore veiled bonnets to protect themselves from dust and airborne diseases. In fact it was fashionable to the extent that women viewed the veil as a symbol of high-class and respectability. Art historian Dr. Marni Kessler as a male had contradictory views on the subject but stated that the veil provided a barrier between the woman and the city “She was not blinded by the veil, but nevertheless held back, protected and shielded from modern life”.

Hence, women were appendages of men with no rights of there own as embodied in Christian teachings and were the property of men. Is it embedded somewhere in their trace memory every time they look at a veiled Muslim woman. Can it not be seen that unlike certain Christian teachings of old, that the veil in Islam is not about subjugation to men, but about not being subjugated to the body. Can it not be seen that the rights of women in Islam, is written into Islam and is not an influence from elsewhere?

Western women were void of any sought of rights until the 19th century. That past was to be broken with the advent of industrialization that only respects profit not rights. Through the vehicle of the Suffragette movement, became free from one form of slavery into the slavery of the body. Believing to be free, Western women were no longer appendages of men. The fast sweeping changes was too much for the likes of some. The free Church rose, part of which is he conservative Christian group the Amish, who separated themselves from this world they wished not to belong to and followed strict codes against military involvement and the older members are against the use of electricity the veil was a part of the Amish wife’s daily wear. Some communities still hold onto their traditions

For many women today, the hair has become all too important although the essence of femininity has been associated with the hair. Yet, in the West, up until the twentieth century, hairstyling was limited to the upper classes in the West. We never think of how much we adulterate hair with many harsh chemicals found in modern day shampoos and permanent dyes. Whatever the tradition, in general, the hair when styled was confined by shaving, cutting, the hairstyle itself and veiling except for those where every ploy was used to entice the men as long holds much provocation to men. Otherwise it was considered unhygienic and impractical to have the hair loose.

Pt.II

Hair Crazy

To show how obsessed with visual appeal we have become, a poll by Yankelovich Partners in 2001 showed that 69% of Americans felt that clothing, hair and make-up were the most important determining factors in deciding on whether or not one got a job and 67% said that ones appearance affects whether one gets a new challenge, responsibility or opportunity and can you believe that 78% of Americans believed that clothes, hair and make-up affects the ability to do the job. However, one should bear in mind that Yankelovich were sponsored by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association to provide this survey!

The Process of Making Something Positive, Negative.

It is almost as if, those that seize the opportunity to attack Islam through the issue of women or use Muslim women to unload what is still imbedded in their psyche from an oppressive past have associated the Islamic veil as a tool of male chauvinism under the guise of ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ yet have no working alternative to put in its place!. Through the old game of ‘labeling’ in the church.

    “The technique of labeling is used to discount a person who opposes the beliefs of a religious addict. Labeling attempts to dehumanize persons so that dismissing them or their opinions is much easier. Choosing not to address someone individually who has doubted the toxic faith, the religious addict places a blanket negative label on all who would disagree with his or her personal habits. Rather than state that John Smith has made a negative statement, the addict proclaims that there are ‘detractors’, ‘traitors’ or ‘malcontents’ who would destroy the ministry or organization. The label becomes a rallying point under which the other followers can be moved to action to squelch a revolt”!

So as such, the rallying cry has been made and we arise our voices, the question is not who, but when will there be success in de-robing the Muslim woman? This is the idea after all, to make the Muslim woman feel as if she is ancient and therefore making her react emotionally to what is going on and unwittingly undo all that supports the fabric and well-being of a Muslim society – the family. The fairy-tale of Rapunzel was only enchanting to many because of the length of her hair which her knight in shining armor used to climb his way into her heart. A people have been made to feel inferior because of their hair:

“We are still enslaved in our thinking.
Society has molded us in our speaking.
I have a problem with the word nappy because it is not being associated with our true identity as being happy.
Why do I have to have a chemical on any of my hair.
I don’t want to conform to any standard of theirs.
They, are those who impose their repressed feelings on the impressionable youth.
Who are just learning to love themselves inside and out.
Youth who want only to fit in with a set standard of beauty, without a doubt.
We as a people need to come together on this.
Most are living happily because ignorance is bliss.
They don’t know that saying “good hair” is as degrading as using the N-word as a term of endearment.
By changing our thinking, we can not only come out of darkness mentally but come out of our concealment!” –

Nappy Hair.com

Many distance themselves from others because of the loss of hair in illness. One teenager wrote:

    “Her hair Her hair was like an ocean with curls and curls and waves. There were red streaks, in her long brown hair; her eyes were emeralds, her skin a golden bronze. She is my best friend. I would do anything to have her hair – the way it fell Against her shoulder, Like a golden maple frame around a beautiful picture.
    “What’s chemo?” I asked as Mom pulled me aside. I hope she doesn’t die. I hope she can still have her hair. But; she can’t, and it fell out She had Hodgkins disease And she lost her hair. Seeing her in the hospital with clearly painful tubes tied to her chest with massive grey machines attached to her – without her hair. It was hard to look. To see her hurting so badly, made me hurt too, So I cut my hair. by Ashley Nestor, New City, NY”

(Ashley from teenink.com).

The High Cost of Sexploitation

We are in denial I think as to what impact the hair has in determining who we not because it actually does, but for some deeper meaning, it has an illogical affect on human-beings that can make one like, hate, resent, bully, desire and reject a person an for no other reason. Every physical feature on a woman’s body has to have a visual appeal that only some non-Western women try to not emulate. That visual appeal has become packaged as sex – sex as a commodity. Beautiful women have become visually available to sell the unsaleable. Sexploitation invites men to poses with their eye what they cannot possess with their hands. Playing on the desires of men, heightening their sensibilities to a point whereby many find it difficult to not take what they have been ‘invited’ to take. The illusion of women’s rights in the West have been at the cost of men’s rights only serving to enslave both genders to the unalienable right ‘to have’. The other term for it is ‘consumerism’ -the same consumerism that is the rock-bed of Western industrialization, colonialism and globalization that has led to all forms of violence occurring in civil society. The RAINN Organization that provide the ‘National Sexual Assault Hotline’ in the U.S. state: “Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted”. There were 247,730 victims of rape in 2002, 44,000 of rape victims were under 18 years of age, 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims knew their attackers, 34% were family members and only 7% of the attackers were strangers. This only serves to show how even the individual concept of family is being eroded.

When women choose to neglect their rights as recognized under Islam, they also become negligent of the possible consequences not only to herself, but to her family and society as a whole. The veil is a protection of those rights which only a few non-Westerners are beginning to wake-up to. Transforming from the common Western perception of veiled Muslim women, that was shaped by their own past, Production Coordinator, Mary Walker for the BBC2 series ‘Living in Islam’ said in ‘ Impact Magazine’:

Dissolving a Myth

    “To me the veil symbolized the oppression of women, making them invisible, anonymous and voiceless, and the cause of this oppression lay in the will to perpetuate the family and maintain a patriarchal framework – the very basis of an Islamic Society. I thought women were entirely submerged by divine justification of their role as wife and mother… ‘Living in Islam’ was filmed over two years in 19 different countries and on location I was a lone female in an otherwise male team… The first Muslim woman I met in Mali was far removed from my preconception about the Muslim female. She was the wife of a sheikh dedicated to converting pagan villagers to Islam. A sophisticated, well-educated woman, previously married to a diplomat, she had renounced a Western lifestyle for a life in purdah… The emancipated woman in the West faces the conflict between confirmation of her femininity and the privileges that she associates with it, and repudiation of the confines of her female role and all the limitations that men want her to assume. From where I stood, this woman had transformed those limitations into privileges… On my next trip to northern Nigeria, I met two more women who would alter my views even further.. And once again they had rejected the Western lifestyle which I considered so superior to Islam in its treatment of women… The women talked and in their answers I saw seeds of my own re-evaluations. They argued that the veil signified their rejection of an unacceptable system of values which debased women while Islam elevated women to a position of honor and respect.

    “It is not liberation where you say women should go naked” Just as to us the veil represents Muslim oppression, to them miniskirts and plunging necklines represent oppression. They said that men are cheating women in the West. They let us believe we’re liberated, but enslave us to the male gaze…”

The tresses of forgetfulness is what fell with an enchanting dance
To grace her body in the glowing sun.

Those tresses caught not his eye, but his senses and could not,

Would not rise above that trance

His imagination unfolded passions within from where he cared not

For all he saw in that moment

Was a need to fulfill what lied within with what he saw –

Who she was

Did not matter, neither did her honor.

Enraged by her rejection he triumphed in that hour.

First Written 01/19/04

Sources:

Ashley, N. “Her Hair”. 12/22/03. http://www.teenink.com/Past/1999/10604.html

Barker, Katrina. “Symposium Looks at Costume Veil History”. 2. 12/21/03. http://newsnet.byu.edu/textonly/story.cfm/46860

Ccel.org. “Ante-Nicene Fathers: On the Veiling of Virgins”. 14. 12/21/03.http://www.ccel.org/fathers2?ANF-04/anf04-09.htm

Cyculture.net. “Lefkara Lace Designs”. 4. 12/20/03. http://www.cyculture.net/lefkara/html/designs.html

Eliznik.org.uk. “Womens’ Headwear”. 2. 12/2/03.
http://www.eliznik.org.uk/RomaniaPortul/w_headwear.htm

Haines, Leland. M. “The Christian Veiling”. 16. http://www.bibleviews.com/Veil.html

Headcoverings.com.. “Ladies Coverings Online Catalog”. 8. 12/07/03.
http://headcoverings.com/CoveringsOrder1Veils.htm

Nappyhair.com. “Napptural Poetry: Poems of Happiness”. http://www.nappyhair.com/articles/nappy_poetry.htm

RAINN.org. “RAINN Statistics”. 4. 01/13/04. http://www.rainn.org/statisitcs.html

Spirtualabuse.org. “Labeling”. 3 12/20/03. http://www.spiritualabuse.org/hair/labels.html

Usm.maine.edu. “Women in the Middle Ages”. 3. 12/20/03. http://www.usm.maine.edu/~flc/emily.htm

Womenwork.org. “Work Your Image: The Importance of Appearance on the Job” 12/23/01. 2. 12/20/03. http://www.womenwork.org/pdfresources/wyisurveyreport.pdf

New American Bible. “1 Corinthians II”.
http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1corinthians/1corinthians11.htm

New American Bible. “1 Timothy II”. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1timothy/1timothy2.htm

When the Waters Were Changed 

It was on BBC World Service, for all its sins that I recall a reporter (whose name I know not) who replied to a question that surpasses me that she could not imagine if everywhere in the world was the same. As someone who liked to travel, and had a career that allowed her to, she appreciated the diverse, colors, sounds, and ways of life that she has been privileged to see.

If someone behaves differently, does this make them unacceptable, and as a result everything they do? Whatever contribution they have to make will their opinion count?

Could you imagine a world where everyone dressed the same, thought, and behaved the same, had the same likes and dislikes? If we all perceived the world in the same way, if there was something wrong with it, who would see about putting it right?

From ‘Tales of the Dervishes’ by Idries Shah

When the Waters Were Changed

Once upon a time Khidr, called upon mankind with a warning. At a certain date, he said, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded, would disappear. It would then be renewed, with different water, which would drive men mad.

Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water and went to a secure place where he stored it, and waited for the water to change its character.

On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells went dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his retreat and drank his preserved water.

When he saw the waterfalls again begin to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men.
He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before; yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned.

When he tried to talk to them, he realized that they thought that he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding.

At first, he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day.

Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving and thinking in a different way from everyone else.

He drank the new water, and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had miraculously been restored to sanity.

The Great Flood & Noah’s Ark

By Hwaa Irfan

Well it seems Prophet Nuh/Noah’s Ark is back in the lime light again, with Chinese and Turkish evangelical archaeologists (wow what a combination of identities) digging around the one location where seems guaranteed to find it! Discovered 4,000 meters up the Turkish Mount Ararat, the finding of a wooden structure with compartments has been carbon-dated to 4, 800 years old – for the archaeologists, this is about the time when the great flood took place. The archaeological team are from the Noah’s Ark Ministries International based in Hong Kong.

Well let’s take a look back on a piece I wrote in September 2002!

The Great Flood and Noah’s Ark

Taking place in all continents currently, floods have always been a part of human existence. Seasonal floods increase soil fertility bringing nutrients and gave birth to the agricultural revolution, as well as the first permanent settlements on the riverbanks of Africa and Asia. However these is one flood that continues to intrigue soem adventurers and scientists alike.

Recorded history began approximately 3,00 years ago. The Qur’an was written in the 7th century A.D., 3,000 years after the Biblical scholars interpretations date Noah’s Ark landing in 2,350 B.C. The story of the Great Flood has passed on orally from generation to generation in 27 countries.

{And We perpetuated to him (praise) among later generations} (As-Saffat 37: 78)

Local History Revealed

Common to all stories are the torrential rains and walls of destructive water, rather descriptive of many tsunamis, bursting into valleys destroying everything on route. The most similar account to the Bible and the Qur’an is from Mesopotamia and China.

In Hawaii, Prophet Nuh was “Nu-u”, and in China “Nu-wah (Al-Hud 11: 25). All stories concur that The Flood came when the world had reached a dangerous point requiring the need to rid the world of evil.

Recent findings indicate that The Flood was indeed universal. Last year, explorer Robert Ballard found evidence that The Flood inundated the Black Sea in N. Turkey approximately 5,500 years B.C. with a local account of Prophet Nuh. Archaeological evidence confirms the same for the Tigris-Euphrates region. Other evidence revealed by sonar technology include the unusual formation of 1,900 – 2500 geometric blocks and crests in the deep waters of Cuba that remain unexplained. The oral history of Mayans and the native Yucatans of S. America speak of their ancestors vanishing beneath the sea. Similar structures have been found on the corresponding S. America coastline. Off the coast of S. India, local oral history refers to seven temples, six of which were swallowed by the sea. The seventh remains on the shores of Tamil Nadu. Local fishermen point to the location of the ruins consisting of foundation walls, broken pillars, steps and scattered gigantic blocks.

How Likely?

Many deem it impossible for our environment to create enough water to submerge even the highest mountain let alone survival under such conditions.

{And the heavens We raised it high with power, and most surely We are the makers of things ample. And the earth, We have made it a wide extent: how well We have then spread (it) out} (Az-Zariat 51: 47 – 48).

Scientists have indeed shown that two hundred million cubic miles of water is stored beneath the ocean’s floor. Biblical and Qur’anic accounts tell of torrential rains that began The Flood. Followed by the opening of the earth, it is believed the speed at which this volume of water was released, caused the separation of the continents into east and west triggered by a polar magnetic shift. Mountains submerged in water would explain the fish and animal fossils found in every mountainous region.

The Search…

The search for the location of Noh’s Ark is meant to be the final point for those who need it. The Biblical reference for the final resting-place of the Ark is cited as Mount Ararat. The CIA state Mount Ararat in Turkey as the “legendary landing place of Noah’s Ark.

“Ararat” comes from the Sumerian “Arrata”. They referred to The Flood in their poems as the place of rebirth after the deluge that fell upon Mesopotamia and “The Fertile Crescent”. However, Mount Ararat is a mountain range extending from the Armenian plateau to S. Kurdistan. To add to the intrigue, there is also a mountain called Mount Ararat. Mount Ararat consists of two peaks, Big and Little Ararat. Big Ararat is an inactive volcano 17,020 feet high. The peak is permanently snow-capped and covered in clouds and is the main source of headwaters of one of the divine waters in Islam, the Euphrates.

{And it was said. O earth, swallow down your water, and O cloud, clear way, and the water was made to abate and the affair was decided, and the ark rested on the Judi, and it was said: Away with the unjust people} (Al Hud 11: 44).

There is a Mount Judi in S. Arabia and was the name of the high ridge on Mount Ararat for 200 years. The Mount Judi referred to here is 200 miles south of Mount Ararat. In view are the Iraqi and Syrian borders. The River Tigris flows 25 miles from the base.

Ancient references call it “Cudi Dagh”, “Mount Quardi”, “Gordyene Mountains”, “Karduchian Mountains”, mountains of the Kurds, and “Mount Nipur”. Not identified on modern maps, it is 7,000 feet high. Nestorian Christians built monasteries on Mount Judi, and in 766A.D., Muslims built a mosque there.

Explorer Gertrude Bell in 1910 reported a stone structure in the sahpe of a ship at the summit that was locally known as “Sefinet Nabi Nuh” – “The Ship of Noah”. Every September 14th, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Yezidis gathered to commemorate Noah’s sacrifice. Mount Judi was also once called Mount Ararat.

The Bible states the measurement of the Ark as 200 cubits x 50 x 30. The Babylonian cubit is equal to 19.8 ̋. The Egyptian short cubit is 17.6 ̋, and the longer 20.65 ̋. The Hebrew cubit is 17.5 ̋, and 20.4 ̋, whilst the American Biblical cubit is 18 ̋, which would make The Ark 450 ̒x 75 ̒x45 ̒ with 3 decks.

The search for Noah’s Ark has remain unabated since the 1950’s despite the strong possibility that The Ark has disintegrated with time or has moved location due to elemental forces. Renewed attempts to locate transpired from the CIA collection of satellite images of Mount Ararat. A top CIA official, George Carver at a Florida gathering stated:

    “… that there were clear indications that there was something up on Mount Ararat which was rather strange”.

For 20 years U.S. reconnaissance had routinely photographed what has been termed as the “Ararat Anomaly”. The intrigue was so great that it led to a CIA study by the National Photographic Interpretation Center in the 1970’s. The U-2 photographs were released, but the high-resolution KH-9 spy satellite images were not. Archeologist, Vendyl Jones, whose adventures gave life to the cinema character Indiana Jones, said it was “between maybe and probably” that they found Noah’s Ark. Many claims have been made.
The Turkish government in 1987 declared the site a national park and began work on a modern highway leading to “Nuh un Gemisi” – Noah’s Ark. In 1994, a claim was made, with The Ark located 32km from Mount Ararat, on the Turkish-Iranian border. Being in a politically sensitive area, Mount Ararat was declared a military zone. This had slowed down any further exploration, but in 2000, Robert Ballard’s team sponsored by the National Geographic Society identified a wooden structure off the coast of N. Turkey, which was submerged between 2 ancient riverbeds.

    “It consists of a single building with a hewn beam and wooden branches that formed the walls and roof of a structure most likely like a house. We have also found and photographed stone tools, possibly a chisel or an axe, and ceramic storage vessels, all untouched since the flooding of the Black Sea” said Ballard.

Using remotely operated vehicles, Ballard’s team identified a rectangular feature 12 meters x 4. Situated in deep oxygen-free waters it seemed well preserved. They used carbon-dating and samples from shells and sediment to estimate a time period of 7,500B.C. They received permission from the Turkish government to remove samples of wood for more accurate dating.

In 2002, the Turkish government denied all foreigners access to Mount Ararat due to the political nature of the borders it was said.

Referring to Robert Ballard’s discovery, expedition archaeologist Frederik Hiebert stated:

    “This is a major discovery that will rewrite the history of civilizations in this key area between Europe, Asia and the Middle East”

The significance then surely begs the question as to the development of civilization before The Flood. Have we done it all before, and if so are we only repeating our past mistakes?

{Do you then see of them one remaining? And Firon and those before him and the overthrown cities continuously committed sins. And they disobeyed the Apostle of their Lord, so He punished them with a vehement punishment. Surely We bore you up in the ship when the water rose high. So that We may make it a reminder to you, and that the retaining ear might retain it} (Al Haqqah 69: 8 – 12).

Whether The Ark exists or has been discovered, the frequency of reference to The Flood, and it’s importance in the Qur’an serves to remind us. We have yet to learn the interdependence of all life including humans regardless of race, religion, gender, or status depriving no one and the duty of everyone to uphold!

Sources:
AFP. Noah’s Ark Remains Found?” Accessed 04-27-10. http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/TechandScience/Story/STIStory_519658.html

C.I.A.gov “Turkey” Accessed 07-09-02. http:///www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/tu.html
Boyle, A. “Noah’s Ark Found? Not So Fast”. Accessed 04-27-10. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2010/04/27/2280442.aspx?GT1=43001

Crouse, B. “Noah’s Ark: It’s Final Berth”. Accessed 07-03-02. http:// http://www.noahsarksearch.com//noah.htm
Handwerk, B. “News Finds Worldwide Support Flood Myths” Accessed 05-30-02. http://news.nationalgeopgrahic.com/news/602.05/0520020528_sunkencities.html

Krowse, L. “Traces of Ancient Structure Found 95 Meters Below Black Sea”. Ngnews.com. Accessed 09-30-02. http://www.rense.com.general14/blacksea.htm

Siegle, M. “World News and Prophecy”. United Church of God. 3:2(2000) 8 -12. Accessed 07-09-02 http://www.ucg/articles/wnp0002.htm#3

NASA. Earth Observatory – “Natural Hazards: Floods”. Accessed 07-10-02. http://64.4.30/250/cgi-bin/linkrd?Lang=EN&lah=a9e2bfd94967c97d79e433d720dab…

Nazaryan, G. “Armenia Cradle of Civilization Roots of Tree of Nations in Mountains of Armenia” Accessed 07-09-02. http://www.armeniahighland.com/cradle/chronicle110.html

News World Communications Inc. “Anomaly or Noah’s Ark”. Accessed 07-01-02. http://www.noahsarksearch.com/anomaly.htm

Wroe, M. “The Qur’an and Noah’s Ark. Accessed 07-01-02. http:///www.thetruereligion.org/ark.htm http://www.beconvinced.com/NOAHARK.htm

Xenohistorian “Noah’s Flood” Accessed 07-09-02 http://www.xenohistorian.faithweb.com/genesis/gen10.htm
Zahid, I. “Noah’s Ark”. Accessed 07-01-02. http://www.islam1010.com/archaelogy/noahark.html

Read Also:
Facing Armageddon

The Missing Link in the Education of Our Boys

The Missing Link in the Education of Our Boys

By Hwaa Irfan

It has become generally accepted that the education of boys and girls in a mixed environment is far superior to single-sex education. With the 1994 European Community resolution ending single sex schools on the basis of sex discrimination, further moves by the European Union towards standardizing the curriculum of schools throughout Europe have been taking more entrenched steps to make this the norm through sex education despite long term research projects in the U.K. providing strong evidence towards a negative impact on boys academically. The reasons for this general acceptance may have more to do with the focus on gender equity when it comes to girls academically speaking, negating the socio-psychological implications on both genders, and that boys have needs to.

The U.S., has seen a renaissance in single sex education. Since 2004, 445 single-sex classes, and 95 single sex public schools have sprung up across the U.S in response to a change in federal law. One of those schools, the Public School in New York, returned to single sex education in 2009, in response to falling grades and increasing behavioral problems. Attending that school, Samuel Little’s son, Gavin is in his second year of single sex education at Public School. Little told New York Times:

    “Before it was all about showing the girls who was toughest, and roughing and being cool”
    “Now I never hear a word from teachers about behavioral problems, and when he talks about school, he actually talking about work”.

One satisfied parent and son who have done what they have considered best for them despite coeducation being the main mode of education in the U.S. today. Coeducationalists continue to argue against single sex schools, often falling on the belief that single sex schools reinforces stereotypes. Certain things can be taken for granted, as long as the key element desired is in place. Advocates against single-sex education usually measure success of coeducation in the measureable terms of grades, losing oversight of the overall repercussions in the long term.

The coeducation movement began in 1890, when the call for mixed education was based on social reasons rather than academic ones. Brehony in his Coeducation: Perspectives and Debates in the Early Twentieth Century” argued that “… no record of cognitive outcome was ever presented”, and Carol Dyhouse in her “No Distinction of Sex? Women as British Universities 1870-1939 found that coeducation was for the benefit of boys not girls, out fear of homosexuality occurring in boys’ only schools. Dyhouse was referring to the resolutions of the Association of Headmistresses in 1905. That move was essentially a financial one, due to the difficulties of procuring endowments for girls/women’s education. The changes in the U.S. were at the forefront of this movement, influencing the move towards coeducation in the U.K via the Bryce Commission at a time when resources (qualified female teachers, and financial support) were limited for girls’ only schools.

The reasons for seeking coeducation at the turn of the 19th century, were simple ones, but the consequences were a little more complicated. Boys do behave differently under certain situations, and so do girls, but because of certain social movements, we are supposed to not acknowledge the truth of our lives. We consider children as products of our minds, neglecting their souls. We assume that through the narrow secular meaning of the word “education” that future generations will be less predisposed to acts of nature. To demonstrate, is the study from the University of Alabama, U.S. by Barton and Cohen “Classroom Gender Composition and Peer Relations”. There were 46 boys (5th and 6th graders) and 47 girls who had attended single sex schools in a study, along with 45 students who had attended coed. It was found that:

    • Mutual friendships had improved for boys on changing to single sex classrooms
    • Aggressive behavior (both overt aggression and relational aggression) had increased for girls on moving to single sex classrooms
    • Victimization behavior increased for girls and not for boys on moving to single sex classrooms
    In the follow-up after first year transition into single sex classes, it was found that:
    • Boys continued to show an increase in establishing mutual friendships, but also overt aggression began to increase.
    • Negative behavior in girls’ classes increased within the 5th grade, but began to tail off in the 6 grade along with victimization.

It has been found that boys tend to lean towards overt aggression, which is more demonstrative and physical, whereas girls demonstrate a relational aggression which is based on the manipulation, intimidation, victimization of relations, and rejection. It is interesting to note that girls exhibited both overt and relational aggression after separating from coed classes, but tailed off what is considered “boys” behavior, and increased on what is considered “girls” behavior within single sex schools. Whereas for boys they were more likely to have peers amongst their own gender the longer they remained in single-sex classes.

This clearly demonstrates the effect of one gender upon the other, and vice versa. Transference is a psychological term that everyone is prone to. We are bound to transfer behaviors and feelings when in the presence of others. The cost of such exercise is prolific in our schools today in the form of school violence, and teenage pregnancies.

Impact on Boys

Concerns were raised as to the benefits of coeducation on male self concept as early as the first decade of 20th century. The concerns arose out of the fact that mixed schools had a larger female population than boys. Members of the British Mosely Education Commission (1903), compared American boys with English boys because coeducation in the U.K. was still in its infancy. Member of the Commission, C.J. Hamilton felt that coeducation “… no doubt softens the manners (some would say to the point of effeminacy) of the boy”. There was also concern that:

    “The great preponderance of women teachers threatens the virility of the nations”.

The above might seem irrational, but even today one American headmaster based on his observations had the following to say in the report “Give Boys Their Space”:

    “[When we switched to single-sex classrooms] the guys really came together. They worked, their guards came down, they revealed the really caring side of themselves. Once we removed the girls from the equation, all of this “I’m this big tough guy” stuff just completely disappeared. One time we had a coed lunch, and it was a disaster. We had guys talking loud, and girls acting sassy”

This confirms what members of the Bryce and Mosely Commission at the turn of the 20th century had expressed, and confirms the result from the Barton and Cohen study whereby the boys after transferring to single-sex classes had more mutual friends.

From an in-depth study “The Effects of Schooling on Gender Differences” in Hong Kong there were additional considerations to their findings. The cultural backdrop played a major role as Hong Kong is a traditional male oriented society that had been subject to the implementation of a Western education system, along with a single-sex education system that has a male (physical sciences, and Math) oriented and female (Arts and Social Sciences) oriented curriculum. Carried out over a period of years, with investigation of 45,000 secondary school students in Hong Kong, the authors Kam-cheung Wong, Raymond Lam, and Lai-ming Ho found that:

    “…while boys performed better on average in SSPA (Single Sex Placement Allocations) when entering secondary schools in Hong Kong, five years later, the situation was reverse. Girls out performed in almost all subjects [coed]. The findings coincide with the results observed from studies in United Kingdom and Australia that girls did better than boys in all areas of the high school curriculum…”

The authors suggested, which is affirmed elsewhere that girls perform better than boys in coed. It is believed that the reason for this is that girls respond better to the systemized method of schooling, school work, and seeking advice from classmates and friends, however girls still did better in single-sex schools.
Bear in mind that this is reference to schooling (factory education) in general, as there are other factors that affect the success or lack thereof including the quality of teachers, the social background of the pupils, and the resources that are made available. The academic success of coeducation cannot be denied, as the resources offered to it allowed for girls to be educated like boys. Later one will find that although there are still some subjects like math and the physical sciences which are still male dominated, and the Arts, which is female dominated, within coed, which does not follow through in single-sex education, particularly for boys.

    The State of Education for Boys Today

The American Academy for Educational Development in their 2005 “A Report in the Growing Crisis in Boys’ Education” found that:

    • Boys were more likely to be referred to a school psychologist
    • Boys represented 70% of the students with learning disabilities
    • Boys represented 80% of the students with social and emotional disabilities
    • Boys (particularly minorities) represented 70% of school suspensions
    • Boys were behind 80% of the school violence, and were the main victims

The hype some feminists and pro-coeducationalists do cry. Clearly the research has centered on U.K., Germany, Belgium, the U.S, Sweden, and Australia that may have peculiarities pertaining to their system of coeducation, and given that adolescence is a cultural paradigm that is heightened or abated by the cultural context in which one lives, the facts bear out further. Additionally, some of the concerns would not have received much attention if boys did well academically, but did not so well on a personal level.

At a conference of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition that took place in the U.K. in 2010, a report was presented to headmasters of both private and state schools. In favor of boys schools, the findings were as follows:

    • Boys in single sex schools were more likely to do cultural and artistic activities, which develops their emotional side, because they did not feel obliged to “perform” to stereotypes that called on them to “behave like a man”
    • Boys in single sex schools were more likely to express their emotions
    • That despite the stereotypes, boys are more emotional than girls
    • Boys performed badly in mixed schools because they are demoralized by their female counterparts when it comes to verbal and reading skills, because the left side of the brain develops faster in girls
    • Boys felt the need to be “cool” rather than studious in mixed schooling
    • That the British education system has become too focused on girls education
    • Boys learn best through touch, and hands-on experience, as they are more spatial, more impulsive, and more physical, so they need to walk around without being made to feel disruptive
    • “In the present sexualized atmosphere prevalent in mixed schools, boys feel coerced into acting like men before they understand themselves well enough to know what that means”

The 4-year project “Raising Boys Achievement” undertaken by the reputable University of Cambridge, U.K looking into the forces that undermine boys’ education took place in the U.K., from 2000 – 2004. Over 50 primary, secondary and special schools were explored for the following reasons as stated in the report:

    “Rather more boys than girls fail to achieve level 4 in English national tests at the end of key stage 2; rather more boys than girls fail to achieve the 5A*-C benchmark grades in GCSE examinations taken at 16+. These patterns of academic achievement are evident in most schools in England”

The report rested firmly on the academic issues that have led to a gender gap, and how schools can overcome them through various teaching and classroom strategies, including mentoring. However, to consciously know what one is doing to eradicate a problem one has to understand all the dynamics at play, and in this situation that is the admittance, and applicable knowledge that how boys learn, and how girls learn differ, and what girls need, and what boys need differ too without falling into preconceived stereotypes which are void of the laws of nature! This means an evaluation on not only the school ethos, curriculum etc., but also on the maturity of the type and age of the teachers employed, and whether they are employed to do admin work (which has forced so many good teachers to leave), or to whether they are employed to teach.

However, back to the report “Raising Boys Achievement” the authors commented on the advantages of single sex schools as perceived by the teachers:

    • “ The opportunity to use a variety of teaching strategies which were targeted to boys’ needs and interests”

    • “Provision of a context in which teachers could challenge boys’ stereotypes more effectively”

    • “The existence of an all-male environment which was more conducive to learning, with fewer distractions and less embarrassment, enabling boys to be more open and responsive in class, and able to concentrate and participate more”.

In the projects review of single sex education the researchers felt to do what many liberalists do as in the case of standardizing sex education, and that is to ask the opinion of those who wish to feel comfortable with their lower desires – in this case the students. Of course the students themselves would say that learning in a mixed environment is good for them, and so they did. However, there was a leaning towards learning in a single-sex setting.

    Boys felt:

• “My hormones are not dancing to the beat of the night!’

• “It gives you a lot more confidence to answer questions in class because there is not so much pressure and embarrassment if you are wrong as there would be with girls about”.

    Girls felt:

• “You don’t need to act as though you’re really cool, especially when you’re not
feeling as though you are!”

• “You feel braver and less embarrassed in offering answers, because there are no boys to make fun of you when you are wrong”.

As one headmaster to an American school pleaded in “Give Boys Their Space”

    “When we switched to single-sex classrooms, the guys really came together. They worked, their guards came down, they revealed the really caring and nurturing side of themselves. Once we removed the girls from the equation, all of this, “I’m this big tough guy” stuff just completely disappeared. One time we had a coed lunch, and it was a disaster. We had guys talking loud and girls being extra sassy”.

Conclusion

It has to be noted that the above is a reflection of “factory education”/schooling, and cannot be said to represent all forms of mixed education today. The problem is though, a growing percentage of the global population is being force-fed through this system of education, which we all take to be quite normal, when the above studies only represent a small percentage of the studies researched for this article, which echo the same results. These studies not only reflect on the education of boys, but on the conduct of females in the presence of males. Boys today will be the colleagues, co-workers, husbands, fathers, and heads of family, organizations, and societies of tomorrow; and if they are hindered from going through their natural stages of development, then society as a whole will suffer. How many women complain about their men, and how many young male Muslims complain about the lack of male role models?

Islam advises a certain code of conduct between men and women in our daily lives, but it is to our own downfall if we allow ourselves to believe as those who defame Islam want us to believe, that Islam is “out of date”. It is far from out of date, but is always “in date” with the actual needs of the human heart, soul and mind as long as we “update” our knowledge of Islam.

If anything is to be learned, by the societies in which we live, it is and has been to ensure fair treatment and allocation of resources to both girls and boys, both men, and women, and both child and adult regardless of status, and ethnicity with generations in mind. We can no longer afford to neglect the needs of any member of society, and we must reflect on our role in that neglect.

Sources:

Albisetti, J. “Un-Learned Lessons from the New World? English Views of American Coeducation and Women Colleges c. 1865 – 1910” History of Education, 2000. Vol. 29: 5 p473 – 489. History Department, University of Kentucky.

Barton, B.K. & Cohen. R. “Classroom Gender Composition and Children’s Peer Relations.” Child Study Journal. Vol. 34: 1. 2004. Department of Psychology. University of Alabama.

Froschl, M & Sprung, B “Raising and Educating Healthy Boys: A Report on the Growing Crisis in Boy’s Education” Academy for Educational Development.

Medina, J. “Boys and Girls Together, Taught Separately in School” New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11education/11gender.html.

Smith, I. D. “Gender Differentiation: Gender Differences in Academic Achievement and Self Concept in Coeducational and Single-Sexed Schools”. Australian Research Council. Institutional Grants Scheme.
Williams, R. Single-Sex Schools Help Boys to Enjoy Arts, Study Says. Guardian.co.uk.

Wong, K. et al “The Effects of Schooling on Gender Differences” University of Hong Kong. 1997.
Younger, W. et al. Raising Boys Achievement. Department for Education and Science.

To Be a Woman

To Be a Woman (Slideshow)The protrayal of women by mainstream media causes a grave injustice, objectifying us as objects of pleasure and control. The sad truth is that increasingly these images remove from our lives the virtues of being a woman, by make it becoming to “remain a girl” or to be a ‘femme fatale” to only serve themselves. In this slideshow there is ” a recognition of women of ALL ages and nationalities, and especially those who, against all odds, persevere in loving, dreaming, and battling for a better world”

Facing Armageddon

The Oldest Image of the CosmosFacing Armageddon

Between the Sun & the Moon

By Hwaa Irfan

What does one do when everything that has held to be true is turned upside down? Shaytan promises and manipulates through our weaknesses all that we have forsaken in our lives. When one is in the midst of an unidentifiable enemy, the ability to comprehend is thwarted by the instinctive nature to survive, and the lower self.

In these time, no one knows that more than, both those who thought they knew their religion and those who have realized that they know very little. Those that have unreasonable fear of Islam/Muslims, have learnt how to exploit overly sensitive Muslims too well; with examples like the Danish cartoons heightening the panic amongst Muslims. This panic has helped to polarize positions; and have brought to the surface personal demons for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

{O believers! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others towards you make you swerve towards wrong and depart from justice. Deal justly, that is next to piety; and fear Allah, for lo! Allah Knows very well all that you do} (Al Maidah 5: 9).

A Symbol of Reciprocity

In recent years, a few have noticed the procession of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian events descending upon us within days, and weeks of each other. To live in an environment whereby these occasions can be shared with related salutations which are reciprocated one could think that Allah (SWT) has been providing for us a window of opportunity to get to know each other more. In the year Islamic lunar year of 1427 and the solar year of 2006 the days are numerically the same, if one removes the accustomed 11 day difference; a controversy abounds over the findings of a 3600 year old device (dated to the Bronze Age) that was used to synchronize the solar and lunar calendar.

When Europe knew not philosophy, Muslims lived their lives by scientific-based philosophy; today’s experts question how such an ancient piece of technology can be from pagan Europe, because the device, The Sky Disc was found in the forest of Germany in 1999 by looters, then officially seized in 2002 in Switzerland, has been referred to as the Sky Disc of Nebra. The Sky Disc is one of those items that seems to be discovered or “re-discovered” at times when we are in need of guidance – challenging Europe understands of its own history as the West challenges the identity of anything not Western.

    “In other words, perhaps the Sky Disc itself wasn’t European at all. Perhaps the disc had simply been passed by traders from the advanced East, and had somehow wound up in the hands of primitive Europeans. The importance of the Disc now hangs in the balance” commented Thusitha Jayasundera from the BBC Horizon program.

Since then, it has been found to have Babylonian origins, and that it was used to calculate whether a 13th month should be added to the lunar calendar.

What is for sure is that humanity hangs in the balance!

The universe holds all that is in an intricate balance. The Sky Disc holds the symbol of the sun and the moon, yet we humans can only hold each other in contempt. Much has been done to Muslims and other peoples of the earth since the 19th century with the balkanization of Muslim lands to support the prosperity of the global dominant culture of the last century and the beginning of this century; a prosperity with an expensive price tag! Re-marketed as globalization, self interest was the driving seat with a nationalistic thinking that could not be sustained without respect and the cooperation of each other’s nations and the subjugation of the rest of creation. Using reductionism in Islam, we forsook our rich heritage accommodating this secularism, which accommodates all kinds of injustices, which in turn we too have accommodated. This secularism are in arm with it’s foundation stone, capitalism has turned citizens away from being human, and into being a collection of individuals all self interested. As the grandson of Mahatma Ghandi, late Ramachandra Ghandi so poignantly described:

    “The implicit anthropocentrism of the secularist imagination, even more than its explicit Eurocentrism, is its chief weakness. Anthropocentrism makes it impossible for secularism to be ecologically sensitive. Licensed to plunder nature, secularism, becomes the ideology of those who are most capable of plundering nature: the industrialized, scientifically and technologically advanced societies of Europe and their imitators and servitors around the world.”

We have found it easier to accept the false notions against each other, because the dominant cultural paradigm which we all play a part in perpetuating banks on this alienating competitiveness. As long as we remain divided the sun and the moon within us will remain divided like ourselves and thus unable to provide answers. The Sky Disc found at a time when we are each other’s answers, and at a time when nature revolts at our malaise warns us of what we need to do to return an equilibrium to our inner nature, and the earth on which we live.

{Mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may come to know one another} (Al Hujurat 49: 13)

First written 2002
Updated April 26 2010

Sources:
The Sky Disc of Nebra
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/arqueologia/nebra_disk.htm