Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy Saturday and Happy 2011!

I wish to thank Sally Coleman for sharing her journey with us last week. I very much enjoyed reading and learning more about her faith. Thanks so much Sally!

This week, we have a new interview so please welcome Ebtesam.
Ebtesam is a Muslim and I know you will enjoy her interview as well!

Here Is Ebtesam's Introduction:

Thank you for having me. My name is Ebtesam. I am a Saudi Arabian born and raised in Makkah. I am also a physician in internal medicine. I run a blog called Saudi to the Core where I talk about what interests us, the Saudi Arabians, like Islam, our country, our political relations with other countries and some technology stuff like iPhones.
You can find out more at

1) What religion do you practice?
I practice Islam.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
No, I was born into this religion. I'm very happy and satisfied with myself to be a Muslim, I wouldn't choose to be from another religion if I was asked to choose.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
I would consider myself a Muslim, I believe that there are no such categories in Islam, God meant for Muslims to be a median nation as mentioned in Koran
"And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you. And We did not make the qiblah which you used to face except that. We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom Allah has guided. And never would Allah have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed Allah is, to the people, Kind and Merciful." Albaqara (143)

"A just or median nation " in every aspect of life. It's like the road in the middle with two roads, one road above and one below, the one in the middle will get you to your destination but if someone went to the upper road and added more to the religion and made it hard and complicated he/she might have drifted away from the true concept of Islam. It's the same if someone didn't really follow the true instructions of God or dismissed lots of it and at the end God the judge, knows what's in our heart because what's there matters

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
I hope I am good as I try my best to follow the true guidance of God.

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
Same as in question 4, I THINK everyone should try her/his best effort to be a just person who imply God's guidance in living a happy, productive and a just life without adding or subtracting anything in the religion.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
Wow that's a question we need pages and pages to answer :), but simply - Paradise aka in Arabic Jannah means gardens. It is the final destination to go for, it is the life of the Hereafter. Where we end up Jannah (Paradise) or Jahannam (Hell-fire). Paradise is the aim and the hope of every person. But like trying to attain any goal, in order to achieve success, one must have a well-defined plan, and it must be implemented to be successful.

The prophet Mohammed peace be up on him told us that within Paradise are things that no eyes have ever seen, nor ears have ever heard, and that things in it are beyond our imagination and comprehension, but we all have our own personal ideas of what eternal bliss would probably be like.

Allah has also described Paradise in many places in the Qur'an.
"In it are rivers of water, the taste and smell of which are never changed. Rivers of milk the taste of which will remain unchanged. Rivers of wine that will be delicious to those who drink from it and rivers of clear, pure honey. For them will be every kind of fruit and forgiveness form their Lord."

"And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient. Reclining on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold. The shade will be close upon them, and bunches of fruit will hang low within their reach. Vessels of silver and cups of crystal will be passed around amongst them, crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure of them according to their wishes. They will be given a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabeel, and a fountain called Salsabeel. Around them will (serve) boys of perpetual youth. If you see them, you would think they are scattered pearls. When you look there (in Paradise) you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a Great Dominion. Their garments will be of fine green silk and gold embroidery. They will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure drink."

"And those foremost (In monotheism to Allah and obedience to Allah and His Messenger in this life) will be foremost (in Paradise). They will be those nearest to Allah in the Gardens of Delight. A multitude of those (the foremost) will be from the first generation (who embraced Islam) and a few of those (the foremost) will be from the later (generations). They will be reclining, face to face, on thrones woven with gold and precious stones. They will be served by immortal boys, with cups and jugs, and a glass from the flowing wine, from which they will have neither any headache, nor any intoxication. They will have fruit from which they may choose, and the flesh of fowls that they desire. There will be Houris with wide, lovely eyes (as wives for the pious), like preserved pearls, a reward for deeds that they used to do. They will hear no vain or sinful speech (like backbiting, etc.) but only the saying of: Salam, Salam, (greetings of peace). And those on the Right Hand, who will be those on the Right Hand? They will be among thorn-less lote-trees among Talh (banana trees) with fruits piled one above another, in long-extended shade, by constantly flowing water, and fruit in plenty, whose season is not limited, and their supply will not be cut off. They will be on couches or thrones raised high. Verily, We have created for them (maidens) of equal age, loving (their husbands only). For those on the Right Hand."

A pure, joyful and peaceful life.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Well, as all people of faith we are born good in nature and we all are entitled to make it to heaven as God created the first two human beings ADAM AND EVE into heaven. But God also gave us freewill to determine our destiny, and as I said before in order to achieve success, one must have a well-defined plan, and it must be implemented to be successful. This plan is outlined in the Koran.

It's always when Allah mentions those who will attain Paradise, He mentions the believers, not "the Muslims"

So who are the believers and how do we become one of them?, Allah says,
"They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and they strive with one another in hastening to good deeds, and those are among the good."

God also says of the believers,
"But the Apostle and those who believe with him strive hard with their property and their persons; and these it is who shall have the good things and these it is who shall be successful." [9:88]

"Paradise is not [obtained] by your wishful thinking nor by that of the People of the Scripture. Whoever does a wrong will be recompensed for it, and he will not find besides Allah a protector or a helper.4:123 Sahih International
Paradise is not [obtained] by your wishful thinking nor by that of the People of the Scripture. Whoever does a wrong will be recompensed for it, and he will not find besides Allah a protector or a helper. And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer - those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed.And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of good and follows the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth? And Allah took Abraham as an intimate friend."

Repentance erases what came before it as the Prophet, peace be up on him, said,
"The one who repents form sin is like the one who never sinned." God says
"Except such as repent and believe and do good, these shall enter the Garden, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly in any way." [19:60]

In another position Allah says " The unbelievers are those who say: 'Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary' But the Messiah said: 'Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. 'He who associates anything with Allah, Allah has indeed forbidden Paradise to him, and his abode shall be in the Fire. The harmdoers shall have no helpers."

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Well, Islam does not conflict with human intellect and natural disposition. Life and the universe and destiny make sense to me when I look at them through Islam

Islam frees the mind, and encourages us to think and learn from everything. Each time I think I just fall in love all over again with God.

Also I believe that Islam is the last Divine Religion revealed to man and it recognizes previous divine revelations. On the other hand, Jews do not recognize Jesus, and the Christians do not recognize Muhammad; whereas, Muslims recognize Moses and Jesus, may Allah exalt their mention.
Islam is the only Religion which has not been distorted or changed.

Islam is the Religion for humankind at large, regardless of their education, time and place which, in contrast to previous religions were sent to a specific people during a specific time. For example, if a person wants to become a Jew, he has to be born a Jew. Jesus said about Christianity: 'I was sent to the lost sheep of the Children of Israel.'

God says:
"This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion" [Quran 5:3)

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
All Islamic holidays are observed according to the lunar-based Islamic calendar. There are two Muslim festivals set down in Islamic law: Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha ( Eid is a word significance for festival), both celebrated in the way Christmas celebrated, people gather and eat together, fireworks and have festivals and so on.

Eid-ul-Fitr: This marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.Its celebrationlasts for three days of celebration (or more, depending on the country) and is sometimes also known as the "Smaller Eid" as compared to the Eid al-Adha that lasts three days (or more) following the Hajj and is casually referred to as the "Greater Eid". Eid-ul-Adha: the “feast of sacrifice,” marks the anniverary of Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice his son Ishmael on God’s orders (Jews and Christians believe it was Isaac), then the angel Gabriel gave Abraham a lamb as substitute.

Fridays are like the Sabbath and Sundays in the other divine religions. In most Muslim countries Friday is the last workday before the weekend. In Islam, Friday is the day of public worship in mosques, The day is of general peace.

The above three holy days are usually considered as holy holidays but there are also several other unique days which Muslims celebrate like
Ashura day: It marks two past events: the day Nuh (Noah) left the Ark, and the day that Musa (Moses) was saved from the Egyptians by Allah Almighty.
Laylat al-Qadr - Towards the end of Ramadan, Muslims observe the "Night of Power," which is when the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Muhammad.
Day of Arafat - One day of the Hajj, pilgrims gather at the Plain of Arafat to seek God's mercy, and Muslims elsewhere fast for the day.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Yes I do, why not?! .Islam has always stressed on fairness and good treatment to all human beings without discrimination.

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Islam is a religion of common sense and it reinforces what's in your heart, so there is nothing wrong with congratulating the non-Muslim holidays for those who have them, including relatives or neighbors or colleagues or other human relations, in a gesture of kindness and friendship as recognized by customary practice.

God says "Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly." Al-Mumtahinah verse 8. The prophet of Islam said: “Whoever hurts a non Muslim, I shall be his complainant and for whoever I am a complainant, I shall ask for his right on the day of Resurrection.”

But doing the special religious acts and rituals to celebrate a religious holiday is not allowed I believe, as those rituals celebrate un-Islamic concepts that might contradict with our belief otherwise it's OK.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
Regarding the Burka I think if someone wants to cover her face because she believes it's the right thing to do she should be allowed to. I personally do not find veiling to be oppressive in and of itself. The oppression comes when women have no choice in the matter. Face-veiling by Muslim women concept is unique and is not seen as an "extreme", but rather is a natural extension of the principle of privacy. It's an extra degree of observance in the area of modesty and privacy and is recommended for being an extra degree, just as extra degrees of observance are recommended in other areas, like prayer or giving to charity. Burka is also the specific form of extra-modest dress established by Islam. It is part of Islam, and is the clear example of those who knew Islam best.

As for the sharia law if you mean by that the true God instructions for believers, then I believe that it is a necessary part of my commitment to God to obey His commandments. Islam is an orthopraxic religion, it sets out that there is a "preferred" way of doing things in every aspect of our lives and as a Muslim I can show you where a certain deed came from, the why and how. I also believe that Muslims who are committed to God should strive to obey the Quran and Sunna.
The word Islam means to surrender to God and part of submission to God's will involves striving to obey the commandments of the Quran and Sunna, and seeking their wisdom for ourselves.

If you mean by sharia as in state Legal systems then, Islamic law in regard for legal system always seeking that fine balance, that every other law tries to achieve. In particular, Islamic law distinguishes between a sin and a crime. A sin is a disobedience of God, and is punishable by Him. A crime is something that is punished by the state. A study of the sources of Islamic law will quickly show that although many things are mentioned as sins, only certain types of sins are designated as also being crimes, which the state is given the authority to punish. And the acts that are designated as crimes are those which harm others. For instance theft, slander, assault, and murder.

In fact, when a woman came before the Prophet (pbuh) in revealing clothing, he didn't arrest her or beat her or take any other actions. Instead, he merely advised her that God had commanded women not to display themselves in public. With the example of the Prophet (pbuh) to follow, no Muslim who is sincerely committed to his or her religion would ever force a woman to wear hijab or make failure to wear hijab a crime under the law. It's as simple as that.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
I'm not sure what you mean, women can become religious leaders and scholars in Islam starting from the prophet times to the current time.

If you mean that she can't be an Imam, nothing against that she can be Imam but not the imam for a group of men because Islamic prayers include movements like bending and bowing and these movements are not preferable to be done by a woman Imam in front of men in a worship act that requires a humble heart, tranquilized soul and focused mind in praying to the Lord.
In other conditions women can lead. It's for the same reason a man can't lead a non related women only group in the prayer.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
During the prayers yes it is segregated, and I like it actually. I feel more comfortable bowing between the hands of God. But in other worship acts it's not segregated.

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
Yes my religion affects every aspect of my daily life and it affects my decisions and opinions.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
First, Quran Surah al-Baqarah verse 256 says, "There is no compulsion in the religion." So if I had children and they decided to do this it's their life and I can't see myself living with the guilt of making them miserable. I believe that parents should guide their kids and pray for them to be happy individuals, not enforce them and control them.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
It's really up to God to decide that. As I said before God said the believers are the ones to go to paradise and I explained few points about who are those believers. But at the end it's God mercy and forgiveness that would help people reach paradise as God knows us best and knows what's really in our hearts.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
As an observant Muslim I follow and obey the commandments of the Quran and Sunna, and I seek their wisdom for myself. Quran and Sunna are the only two reference we should go by.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No I've never been subjected to hate crime.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No never, I always found Islam raised my status, made me more insightful and respectful to his creatures, appreciating God's blessing and greatness.

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes all the time

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No I don't believe in reincarnation. According to the Qur’an and Sunnah, there is no reincarnation. We have only one life on this earth. After death we will be raised up again as ourselves on the Day of Judgment. There is no return to this life before the Day of Judgment.
But what will happen to the soul during this time from after death to the day of judgment?, Allah Almighty has not dealt with that subject in detail so that He Almighty gives man the chance to contemplate and ponder over his life. This understanding may be in conformity with Allah's saying: [They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.] (Al-Israa’ 17: 85) Allah's saying here: […and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little] encourages one to seeking further knowledge. All that we can get from the religious teachings about the soul is that after one has died, one's soul retains cognizance in a way THAT STILL not really known; it also keeps a kind of relation to one's body. It is a kind of relation that makes it aware of him who visits one's grave and greets one and makes it also feel happy or sad.


  1. Thank you for your insightful answers.

  2. Thank you for this interview..
    The answers are just wonderful..

  3. That is really wonderful. I like all the answers. Especially, when you mentioned the freewill, the believers, how our religion is about fairness & good treatment with other religions and when you talked about heaven. I wish you all the best dear sister...


  5. Assalamua'laikum.

    Jazakallahu khairan, for the blog post. It is a good discussion of the commonly asked questions. BTW, I was trying to open the website but was not able to do so. Is the site still functional? Or I just can't access it from my location?


    Mohammad Ameen