A Contribution To the Worldwide Abortion Discussion (hopefully this essay qualifies as a valuable contribution…).

When it comes to the abortion discussion (and debate, in most cases—it often seems to me that a person is either on one side of the issue or the other. I.e., either pro-life or pro-choice. (Hence the debate.) But that makes sense I suppose, since it’s hard to be in both camps…even somewhat. Like; once you believe that ‘a fetus is not a person,’ and that ‘even if it is, a woman’s right to not be pregnant, go through childbirth, and etc. supersedes the right of ‘that very young life to live; i.e., continue living” –once you believe all of that, it becomes quite hard to also hold a firm (or even halfway-there) pro-life view.
And vice-versa, of course: Once a person believes that a fetus or a baby in the womb is a valuable life, or ‘a person’ (because; when else would it become a person? I.e., when else would personhood (or value) become established? “At birth” seems way too late in the eyes of pro-lifers… mainly because by a week or two (or even an hour or two) before birth, the baby would have all of its organs (like its heart, brain, and lungs) developed, and would be undistinguishable from a ‘born baby.’ The only difference between the two would be their environment (i.e., still inside the womb, or having been born–outside the womb).

Even early abortions are problematic to many (or most) pro-lifers…because who is to say that the fetus or embryo is not a valuable human being? Or at least will develop into one?

side note: ⬇️

This considering pre-born babies as valuable human beings (on the part of pro-lifers) would let one know that late-term abortions are “the worst” kind of abortions, to pro-lifers. Or at least to me, as a pro-lifer, myself. To me, abortion at all stages (from conception till before birth) is hard to justify (I.e., it’s hard to justify removing a life). But I guess it’s just the fact that late-term abortions (and even mid- and some early-term abortions, now that I think about it) entail killing an organism that is a human being by all accounts that makes it even more distressing.

Some say that it’s hard to say when the baby in the womb becomes a person. I.e., it’s hard to say whether it’s at the last trimester, the second trimester, when the baby develops all of its independent organs, when it resembles a human being (i.e. with a face, head, etc.)…So (they continue), we should let/keep abortion as a right, throughout all trimesters of pregnancy. I.e., since we all have different impressions of when life/value/personhood begins, there can’t be any ban on, say, abortion past the second trimester. Or past 7 months. Or: at any time frame, at all. I.e., abortion should always be available at all trimesters/points of pregnancy. (They say).

And they are right. I think everyone can agree that it’s an unanswerable question in terms of philosophy (the question of when a baby in the womb becomes a valuable life, if ever)…But pro-lifers give–as usual, I have to add. They’re very ethics-conscious and careful not to disrupt human life, so kudos to them–The pro-lifers offer a solid solution: since the question is an unanswerable one in terms of philosophy, we have to rely on the fact that the fetus is a distinct human existence to determine its personhood…i.e., we “just” have to rely on whether or not the human life exists or not to determine its intrinsic worth and value (or lack thereof; which would only be possible if the human life were nonexistent.)—So, once the embryo exists, it is a person…and it becomes hard to justify aborting it.

Another position of pro-lifers (in addition to believing that all unborn babies are inherently valuable) is that: a woman’s right to not be pregnant if she doesn’t want to (and to not go through childbirth, if she doesn’t want to) is not greater than a person’s right to live (*please see the first article below, that I copied and pasted from http://harvardkennedyschoolreview.com/you-can-be-pro-life-and-pro-woman/.  –it explains this position in some detail).

But just to provide something of an explanation of this position, in my own words:

For me, personally:
I see abortion as an unethical thing…
On the other hand: I know that forcing a woman to go through pregnancy, give birth, and be faced with the task of either a. raising a human being for the rest of its life (or until s/he reaches maturity) or 2. give the baby up for adoption ( or a similar situation to adoption) is also unethical.
What I really want to say is: I really believe that all of the above are some of the hardest things one can be faced with, in life. (Giving birth, raising a kid/giving it up for adoption, etc.) And: forcing someone to do all of that is…well, pretty much unethical.
The only thing is: I really do believe (at the same time) that ending the life of a person is of greater unethicality than all the above. So, I choose the lesser of two evils. (Sounds like a U.S. presidential election, I know)….
This puzzle of being either for or against choice (when it comes to abortion. Like: a woman’s right to choose) is definitely one of the most painful conundrums that exist. (On earth. Like: it’s top five on the list, for sure).

And this is why I fully respect pro-choicers — people who believe that a woman’s right to control her own life is of utmost importance.

i just have to respectfully disagree with their opinion: I think that a woman’s right to control her own body and life should never come at the expense of another human. A separate human being should not die because of a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and life direction (choosing her life direction). 😣😓😞😭 it’s such an impossible decision, but I think that life is of utmost importance, in all cases.

~

I think that decreasing (and gradually eliminating) the need for abortion in society (for example, poverty) is the way to go. I.e., I think that abortions, in many cases, are truly a reflection of society’s failure to help and uplift women, and families. Poverty, for example, is oftentimes developed (and maintained) by society.

Basically; the fact that a woman is forced to choose abortion (because of poverty) automatically makes her need for an abortion a societal problem, and not an isolated, individual problem of hers. I.e., since the cause that drove her to abortion–poverty–is the fault of society (and not her fault), that means that the negative outcomes of poverty (in this case, abortion) is also the fault of society. (if a = b and b= c, then a must also = c).
-To reduce abortions, we must reduce the societal ill of poverty. Which we should do/be doing anyway, of course–not just because of the poverty/abortion relationship and crisis, but because poverty is an indignity and injustice, in all cases.

~

-Another way that society can reduce the necessity for abortion (in addition to eliminating poverty) is — and this is going to sound so archaic, — out of date and bygone — but oh well. I really do believe it is a strong point– Another way that societies can reduce the need for abortion is by encouraging committed marriage as the only avenua through which to have sexual relationships.

So, to me, this is another way that society has failed to help and uplift women, and men–it has normalized and even promoted, in many cases, premarital sexual relationships.

I think many people don’t want to have kids with someone who they don’t feel they have a committed relationship/marriage with, at all.
So, many people, after having engaged in casual sexual relations and getting pregnant, go for abortion. (Of course–it’s hard to decide to carry the baby to term, in those circumstances).

But that’s hardly the way to do things, yo. I really believe that committed, serious marriage is the only healthy and ethical way to have a sexual relationship. ~At the very least,~  it reduces the desire and even need for abortion, in many cases…perhaps because many folks who opt for marriage do so with the intention of building families, and having kids. I.e., they don’t ‘just want a relationship with a significant other.’ Rather, they want a family.
*Having kids and building families is possible and oftentimes desired without marriage too, of course, but I just think that many people want to get married to someone they really love before they have any children. Perhaps because they want assurance that their relationship will last forever, and that any kids they have will have loving and committed parents — their mom and dad — to take care of them.

And: married couples have abortions too, but I just think it’s at a lower rate than non-married couples.

In a nutshell: I really think that committed marriage reduces the desire for abortion by being a bond which paves the way for children to come into the world. Like: there’s something about marriage that somehow makes an unwanted pregnancy (because, that’s really what abortion ‘fixes’, or is there for – unwanted pregnancies. Wanted pregnancies don’t end in abortion). — there’s something about marriage that somehow makes an unwanted pregnancy ok, in many instances.
The rate of acceptance of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies is much lower, I think,  in unmarried couples (as aforementioned.) I think it’s even lower in casual, non-serious relationships.
~This is just my own personal view (on how committed marriage decreases the desire for abortion. I wish I was a sociologist or something, so that I could know whether or not this view of mine actually holds weight, or if it is backed up by statistical evidence or not. I think it is, though.

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Anyways! Thanks for sticking with me through that ramble.
To get back to the point I had intended to make, in the first sentence of this blog post:
In regards to the abortion discussion, I used to be pro-choice. I am now pro-life.
My ‘journey’ (if you will) with pro-choice-hood (with being pro-choice) started wayy back, at ten years old. (As do many things in life, hehe. i.e., an obsession with nature (which would lead one to becoming an environmental advocate, later in life), or a strong interest in global problems, like poverty and hunger (which would then take one down a lifelong road of international relief—humanitarianism. Like, ‘ten years old’ just seems like a time when everyone first developed an interest in a subject, which sort of stuck with them, throughout life. Ten years old is a special time, in other words! 🙂to me, anyway).
Anyways; my pro-choice views started when I was ten, after reading in The Oxford English Dictionary what ‘abortion’ means (the definition of abortion). The definition (that I read way back then) was something along the lines of: the intentional termination of a pregnancy.
A few years after having read that (I think I must have been like, 13), I learned (for the first time in my life—or since the term ‘abortion’ had become somewhat relevant to me—since I learned the term three years earlier, basically)—I learned that some people are really against abortion. Like: for some weird reason! I was really confused. I could hardly see why some would be against “terminating a pregnancy” (which is what I had read in the OED, some years back). I just remember thinking to myself; “why?” Like, why is abortion a bad thing, at all?
(Just to let you know how I had come to understand that some people are against abortion: I was actually watching a movie with my older sister. The lead female character in the movie had told her friend that she was getting an abortion (after having been pregnant, of course), and my sister was like “oh my gosh!” or something to that effect (at that particular scene). Like, she was ‘really shocked/surprised.’ But I was thinking (in my head. I didn’t vocalize anything, of course: I was more of a ‘quiet and observant kid’, back then) what? Like: what’s so wrong with that? It’s just an abortion. Chill out, sis.

It was a few years after this little movie incident that I had learned the fact that there are entire anti-abortion (or: ‘pro-life’) movements/opinions. Like, in the United States, the U.K., Canada…Turkey, India, Nepal, Egypt, etc…Like: worldwide, there was (I had just discovered) an anti-abortion/pro-life culture, and movement. Even among people like academics and intellectuals (like; in the fields of human rights, ethics, and etc.).
I was confused, to put it lightly. I still couldn’t see how having an abortion was a bad thing. The thought of it being a bad thing (or: an unethical, negative thing) was far removed from my frame of mind, or my general understanding. (At that particular time. I must have been like 15 – 18 years old, during this period of learning about the international pro-life movement/s).
**
So, to summarize: from ages 10 to 18, I was pro-choice, for all intents and purposes. From when I had first learned the definition of ‘abortion’, to after learning about the existence of pro-life views, and all the way to 18 years of age, I didn’t see anything wrong with abortion. So, since I didn’t see any negative in it, I of course thought that everyone should have the right to an abortion. That it is a right, in fact—and that no one should take it away (from a woman).

That was five – ten years ago. (I’m 23, now.) And now that I’m kind of older (or, at least not a kid, anymore), I know that a dictionary definition of something doesn’t at all give a full picture of what a term actually means, or entails.
I also know that just because you aren’t aware that something is wrong (e.g., unethical, or with bad outcomes)—just because your frame of reference at any particular time doesn’t afford you an appreciation that a certain act may be wrong–doesn’t make it not wrong. In other words: believing that something is not wrong (whether due to your limited understanding, flawed reasoning, or whatever) never justifies anyone doing the thing.
Like; there have to be absolute truths in the world, I guess–like, e.g., acts that are wrong, or evil…regardless of opinions that some people might have, to the contrary.
For example: ‘killing innocent people is inherently unethical’ is a universal truth…no matter what some murderers or extremists think about that phrase.
Similarly: just because some people really believe that abortion should be the choice of the woman doesn’t take away the inherent unethicality of abortion. It can’t take away the inherent wrongness of the act.
Which is why there will always be people who try to minimize the needs for abortion, in society (while simultaneously arguing that there should be no need for abortion, in society—that yes-society has let women down in terms of eliminating poverty, and normalizing casual sexual relations (two causes that are major, in women choosing abortion).
The inherent wrongness of abortion is also why there will always be people who try to make the case in as clear a way as possible that the right of an unborn child to live are (unfortunately) paramount over a woman’s right to not be pregnant.

(*Which is a right in normal circumstances, by the way. And many anti-abortion people believe this, as a matter of fact..
I.e., a woman has a right to not be pregnant, if she doesn’t want to. And this stance would cover 99% – or at least like 90% – of circumstances, mainly due to the option of contraception.**)

The only thing with pro-lifers is—the only stirring in their conscious that they have— is that the right to not be pregnant while you are (already) pregnant is a misnomer. When you are pregnant, it becomes “the right for both the mother and the unborn child to live, and to flourish.” (Not “the right of the mother to do away with the unborn child, or the right to bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy becomes of lesser importance to the right of a human being to live, and to not have their life cut, prematurely).

~

**Many pro-lifers — me, included — are perfectly ok with contraception (as a practice). This is because contraception doesn’t remove a life that has already formed–it (only) prevents one from forming, in the first place. Like; it doesn’t kill a human life–rather, it keeps one from originating.

*I know very well that many people in the pro-life community come from religious backgrounds that forbid or discourage using contraception. (Like Catholicism, I think? I think.)

And: there are probably (I think) other religious faiths, too (besides Catholicism and other denominations) that say ‘no’ to (or discourage) using contraception. (*And I know that such faiths have deep and profound insights and reasons for holding this position. For example: I *think* that a major reason in Catholicism is that: God is the only One Who is in charge of designing a family. I.e., He is the only one who should decide how a family plays out.)

I personally agree with Islam’s teachings, in regards to contraception. (Like; speaking of the various religious teachings/stances on using contraception).

Islam says that contraception (using contraception) is fine, because of the aforementioned reason (it doesn’t kill a life–it just prevents one from forming).

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Side note: ⬇️🌸

*I actually composed a Tweet (on my Twitter, this past Feb., 2017) talking about the permissibility of using contraception, in Islam. 

-I had just wanted to clarify the issue (as a Muslim, myself), as I think the general perception in society is that using contraception is forbidden or discouraged, in all/most/many religions.
I mean, this is the case in Catholicism, and other faiths, I think (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/christianethics/contraception_1.shtml#h8 ), 

but not so in Islam . (And other faiths too, of course. Like Hinduism. And, many groups within Protestant Christianity allow using contraception too, I’m pretty sure). ⬇️

Hinduism’s stance on contraception: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/hinduethics/contraception.shtml 

Protestant Christianity’s stance on using contraception: https://www.catholic.com/tract/birth-control

-an excerpt from this article ⬇️

“Few realize that up until 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed with the Catholic Church’s teaching condemning contraception as sinful. At its 1930 Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, swayed by growing social pressure, announced that contraception would be allowed in some circumstances. Soon the Anglican church completely caved in, allowing contraception across the board. Since then, all other Protestant denominations have followed suit. Today, the Catholic Church alone proclaims the historic Christian position on contraception. Evidence that contraception is in conflict with God’s laws comes from a variety of sources that will be examined in this tract.”


(The article goes on to outline why contraception is not permitted, in Christianity/in Catholicism. (check the article out, if you have time, btw! It’s very interesting and informative–it makes the case that the Catholic Church holds the correct Christian view, in regards to contraception (and how the other denominations of the faith essentially broke away from this correct teaching).

~~

Anyway:
Here is the original/initial tweet I had written, back in February 2017: ⬇️⬇️
https://mobile.twitter.com/EtharHamid/status/830653546118922240

~And here is the transcript of the Tweet: ⬇️⬇️

“The article (at: http://www.hibamagazine.com/2017/08/01/permitted-and-prohibited-methods-of-contraception-in-islam-part-i/) is an accurate summary of the Islamic stance on contraception, I’m pretty sure.

In a nutshell: Contraception is permissible in Islam, as long as it is generally not a permanent means of contraception (ensuring that a couple will never have childen, in the future). And it is fine, if a couple wants to ensure proper attention and care to the children they already have (each child), and other reasons. This is the correct Islamic teaching, I’m pretty sure (and according to this article, of course). in terms of family planning, the only thing that Islam generally forbids is abortion, because unlike contraception, abortion does not ensure that the couple doesn’t get pregnant–it takes the baby or fetus (that has already developed) out of this world. Which is akin to taking the life of an already-born person, from the Islamic POV.

– I know that some/various religions take the stance that contraceptives should be avoided…either prohibiting it, or discouraging it. (Like Catholicism, I think? I’m not quite sure). So, the Islamic POV is different, in that case.

I mean, I for one can definitely see the point/argument of Catholicism and other faiths (when they say that contraception is generally forbidden/discouraged (the main argument, I think, being that God is the only One who decides how things go down–that He is the One in charge of designing a family, and etc. like, human beings should not tamper with His will.) I can def. see that point…I give it its due attention. But, the Islamic POV is that 1. preventing life from forming is not a sin., esp. if done for a good reason (e.g., not having enough money to support another human being, and etc.,..or wanting to give each child the best chance, attention, care, love, etc. (which will be hard, if the couple is having children often. (within a short frame of time….without ‘spacing’, in between pregnancies.)
So, again, the Islamic view is diff. from those specific religions, in this regard (contraception).
But, Islam is exactly the same as many faiths in the stance that ending the life of a baby/ending a pregnancy is not allowed.
Because, it is a life. We don’t own that life (so we have no right to remove it…). (We don’t even own our own lives, from the Islamic POV…like, suicide? Big no-no, in Islam. Only Allah swt should end your life. (Life is sacred, in other words.)”

~end of Tweet~.

~~

**ty for reading that Tweet of mine on contraception, and Islam’s permissibility of it.

I always feel like the abortion discussion is not complete without discussing the stance taken by many people/communities on contraception.
-For example: as aforementioned, Muslims’ religious beliefs on contraception — how people using contraception (within the context of marriage)  is ok, in their perspective — is a very important part of the abortion discussion. Like: Muslims’ nod (if you will) to using contraception — that belief of theirs — should be included in the overall discussion on abortion, I think.

*As should the beliefs of other pro-life religious communities that permit contraception (like certain elements of Hinduism, I think)…as well as the many secular, yet pro-life communities that are ok with using contraception.
*I.e; not all pro-life communities (whether pro-life religious bodies, or secular, non-religious organizations that happen to be pro-life (which certainly exist, btw) — not all of these pro-life groups are against using contraception. In essence, not all of these pro-life groups are against contraception, too, as they are against abortion.

-On the contrary, many such organizing bodies/institutions are ok with their community members engaging in this practice (using contraception).

(Therefor, that would mean that these particular pro-life institutions (e.g; Islam, the secular pro-life community) differ from, say, pro-life institutions that are largely against contraception (e.g., the Catholic Church, as aforementioned).

And, of course: Islam/secular pro-life groups/etc. also differ from groups that endorse abortion (whether such groups happen to be religious bodies, like the various Christian churches (which are ok with it), or secular organizations…like the Democratic Party, in the U.S.A. 

(In essence: Islam and the secular pro-life community are united in their disagreement with the Democratic Party (and other secular/political/nonprofit groups that support abortion rights). They are also united in their disagreement with certain religious faiths’ disapproval of contraception.
~

*The positive perspective on contraception (on the part of secular pro-life people, and Muslims, among others) not only show that there’s a stark difference between abortion and using contraception (I.e., between aborting a baby, and taking measures to make sure that no baby is ever conceived),
-but such views also show that these institutions (like Islam, and (also) secular pro-life and pro-contraception groups) want to reduce the number of abortions, in society.

I.e.; by permitting (or: being ok with) contraceptives but not with abortions, such groups make a statement that “there’s a difference between contraception and abortion.” — they are also saying that one is ok/neutral/not immoral in any way, and the other is really problematic.
*
And: I personally happen to agree with such pro-life, ok-with-contraception groups and organizations (Like Islam, secular pro-life groups, elements of Hinduism, and etc.).

I think that these groups’ position (on the whole birth control/family planning issue – i.e.; that contraceptives, preventing a baby from forming, is not immoral, but killing an embryo/fetus/baby in the womb is) is the most correct position. 

-it’s always cool to find an organization that ‘hits the nail on the head’ with complex issues in our society, today. (e.g., family planning/birth control.).

Kudos to these/those orgs.

~~~~~~~~~~

(By the way (irrelevant side note): Islam as a religion is really advanced and sophisticated!–is it not? Like: centuries and centuries (1,400 years) ago, it made the (scientific) case for a distinction between killing a life that has already formed, and preventing a life from ever forming (in the first place). Like: that’s speaking from science (if i ever saw it), man.

#IslamIsAwesome, man! I don’t care what anybody says, lol! It is really scientific and ahead of its time, in many cases. allahu Akbar, man. (God is the greatest).

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Anyway, yo! Back to the abortion discussion:

Video explaining how ‘science is against abortion’.

~
This entire video – from beginning to end – is really strong. I.e., it proves scientifically that a baby in the womb is as valuable – i.e., as human – as you and me. It also gives many pro-choice arguments, and refutes them, intelligently.
*~*~*~* One particular point that is discussed in this video is the following (I personally believe that this point is one of the strongest of the anti-abortion arguments I’ve heard):

Let’s say it could be determined in the womb whether a baby will grow up to be gay or straight.
And then let’s say an expectant mother finds out that her baby will grow up to be gay.
She (with her prejudiced mindset) doesn’t want to have a child that will grow up to be homosexual. So, she decides to abort the baby.
She goes ahead and aborts him/her.

**We would view this decision as immoral and wrong–but why?
If the fetus or embryo or baby in her womb was ‘just a clump of cells’, or ‘not a valuable human life’, or ‘her business to abort it, or not’, why not have her abort it without any judgment from you and me? I..e, the baby shouldn’t have any rights that supersede the rights of the mother.
So, her deciding to abort the baby (because she wouldn’t want a gay child, later on) wouldn’t be a bad thing, at all. It would be a neutral thing (since abortion, by definition, is a neutral thing. Right? ‘Abortion is a medical procedure that ensures a woman can live life freely, without being tied down to a baby, or having to go through childbirth. Abortion is reproductive rights, in fact – it is a perfectly fine thing, with neither good nor bad characteristics (and in fact, it leans towards being a good thing, because it ensures a woman’s freedom and liberation from children and all the hardship that having a child brings.’

(Brilliant, convincing answer to this question): We would consider abortion as wrong and cruel in this circumstance because the embryo or fetus is in fact a human life, or at the very least has every potential to grow into a valuable human being, and be born, into this world.
***If we would protect the life of this fetus – this fetus in the womb who will grow up to be gay – why is it so different from any other fetus? All fetuses, whether gay or straight, are human lives, and will grow up to be born into this world. Ending their life (or: their development, in other words) would be wrong.
(Right? That’s how I see it, at least. Like, I agree with this very cool and interesting **and logical** video presentation.)

~~

*

Video about millennial women’s pro-life views

*

Interview with a pro-choice advocate

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Interview with a pro-life feminist: http://www.refinery29.com/2017/01/138071/march-for-life-2017-anti-abortion-democrats

****The interviewee did a really really good job explaining why she is pro-life, and how being pro-life only reinforces her progressive and feminist views.
I love this interview! 💜☮️

~*~*~Here are some questions (and their answers) from the interview that I especially love (the entire interview is available at the link, above):

Q: There’s been a lot of debate in the past week about whether you can be pro-life and a feminist. How do you reconcile that?
“Yes, you absolutely can be pro-life and a feminist. I am a pro-life feminist. The core tenets of feminism are equality, nonviolence, and non-discrimination. The pro-life position embraces these values and takes it one step further to include all human beings. Ultimately, I think the pro-choice position is ageist and ableist (saying an embryo is not a person since it doesn’t have the ability to survive on its own or hasn’t reached a certain gestational age), neither of which is compatible with these tenets.”

Q: What issues frame your (progressive, liberal) political identity for you?
“My concern, in general, is the dignity of human beings. That’s why I’m a progressive liberal: I’m very concerned about marginalized groups, and, to me, the unborn fall under a marginalized group. It concerns me that the right doesn’t seem very concerned about issues of police brutality. I believe strongly that racism is a huge part of our culture that needs to be addressed. And these are all reasons why I’m pro-life also; I extend that same philosophy of nonviolence and non-discrimination to a group of human beings that are dehumanized, marginalized, and oppressed in our culture. The unborn.”

Q: So how would that work, if a bunch of women who would otherwise seek abortion, no longer have that option? How would they, hypothetically speaking, be lifted up by society, and more able to succeed than they feel they currently are?
“I would say just a lot more financial support, really, and health care as a right, equal pay, I would say, paid maternity leave; all the things that the feminist movement is fighting for, those things.

“We think a lot about the abolitionist movement in the times of slavery, when people argued, like, it’s just too complicated, we can’t just fit all these people into regular society, how will they fit in? And we are still struggling with racism today; we’re still struggling with how to magnify the voices of people of color. I’m not proposing it would be an easy task applying that to abortion, but it was still the right thing to do to free slaves! And that’s how we feel about abortion: we are not sure how it would work, but it is the right thing to do.”

Q: And so your goal would be to make abortion…
“Unthinkable.”

~~~

Great job to Ms. Terrisa Bukovinac (the interviewee)! She nailed* it, to me! She was concise and to-the-point (directly answering each question) to me, as well.
❤️️ it.

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Another article that I really like (titled “You Can Be Pro-Life and Pro-Women”): 

you can def. be pro-life and pro-woman–really cool article, pls check it out

A few excerpts/points from the article that I think are especially strong:

“Though abortion has been legal for decades, the issue is still a contentious one in the public sphere. Unfortunately, many people today believe that those who are pro-life are anti-woman.”

The growing narrative in the media, entertainment world, and certainly in many academic circles, is that acceptance of abortion is standard (It isn’t.), that pro-lifers are only interested in unborn children and don’t work to support them past birth (Both false.), and that the pro-life movement does not care about women (We absolutely do).

“It is this last point that is most in need of revision today. Being against abortion is not synonymous with being against women. It’s about being for babies – even the unborn. The trouble with abortion – and the reason it remains at the forefront of unsolvable political struggles – is that it forces an ethical choice which is essentially binary: when the right of an unborn person to live conflicts with the right of a pregnant woman to choose what to do with her own body, which right prevails? Both sides will hem and haw and try to sidestep this dilemma with equivocation or double speak. Some on the left will minimize the babies’ rights, claiming that the unborn are not alive at all, and shamefully comparing fetuses to parasites, or embryos to cancers. Some on the right, meanwhile, will coldly cast blame on the unwilling and terrified mothers, calling them selfish and irresponsible. These tactics may work in their own echo chambers, but they are as ineffective at changing minds as they are offensive.”

Modern American law, and the pro-choice movement generally, acknowledge personhood as being established at time of birth (assuming said birth does not occur during the course of an abortion procedure). More moderate Americans, however, argue that personhood ought to be established at viability. The modern pro-life movement, along with the Catholic Church and several other religious bodies, tends to believe that life – and thus personhood – begins at conception. There are others still who go beyond this range of views. The Oxford University-edited Journal of Medical Ethics recently published an article suggesting that “after-birth abortions” are ethical and should be legal today, because newborns “do not have the same moral status as actual persons,” and thus are not entitled to the protections of personhood. If you can see how the last position could be shocking, then perhaps you can imagine – just for a moment – how those who believe personhood begins at conception feel about abortion.

It is easy to dismiss the rights of the unborn as nonexistent if you don’t acknowledge the life itself in the first place. But once you do, through whatever philosophical framework you choose, then you are forced to grapple with the larger question of the competing rights of the mother. The goal today is not to weigh the arguments for each, but merely present the dilemma in clear terms: when two rights are in irreconcilable conflict, as they are in this unique situation presented by nature, which should prevail?

It is not an easy question, and neither side advances debate by demonizing the other. Pro-choice advocates do not callously celebrate the murder of infants any more than pro-life advocates celebrate the enslavement of women’s bodies to the patriarchy. Many in the pro-life movement – women and men – care very deeply for women and women’s health issues; they simply believe that the rights of an unborn child to life are paramount.”

**

Another article that I think is quite important: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/01/2380/ 

This article refutes the claim that ‘pro-lifers only care about life up to the point of birth’.

A few excerpts:

One of the most frequently repeated canards of the abortion debate is that pro-lifers really don’t care about life. As much as they talk about protecting the unborn, we are told, pro-lifers do nothing to support mothers and infants who are already in the world. . Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”

This lazy slander is as common as it is untrue. Of course, there is much more that needs to be done, but in the decades since Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have taken the lead in offering vital services to mothers and infants in need. Operating with little support—and often actual opposition—from agencies, foundations, and local governments, pro-lifers have relied upon a network of committed donors and volunteers to make great strides in supporting mothers and their infants. It’s time the media takes notice.”

“In the United States there are some 2,300 affiliates of the three largest pregnancy resource center umbrella groups, Heartbeat International, CareNet, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). Over 1.9 million American women take advantage of these services each year. Many stay at one of the 350 residential facilities for women and children operated by pro-life groups. In New York City alone, there are twenty-two centers serving 12,000 women a year. These centers provide services including pre-natal care, STI testing, STI treatment, ultrasound, childbirth classes, labor coaching, midwife services, lactation consultation, nutrition consulting, social work, abstinence education, parenting classes, material assistance, and post-abortion counseling.”

“Religious groups also provide crucial services to needy mothers and infants. John Cardinal O’Connor, the late Archbishop of New York, famously pledged to assist any woman from anywhere experiencing a crisis pregnancy, and the current Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, recently renewed Cardinal O’Connor’s pledge. The Catholic Church—perhaps the single most influential pro-life institution in the United States—makes the largest financial, institutional, and personnel commitments to charitable causes of any private source in the United States. These include AIDS ministry, health care, education, housing services, and care for the elderly, disabled, and immigrants. In 2004 alone, 562 Catholic hospitals treated over 85 million patients; Catholic elementary and high schools educated over 2 million students; Catholic colleges educated nearly 800,000 students; Catholic Charities served over 8.5 million different individuals. In 2007, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development awarded nine million dollars in grants to reduce poverty. And in 2009, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network spent nearly five million dollars in services for impoverished immigrants.”

No major pro-abortion group or institution has taken on a comparable commitment to vulnerable Americans. Pregnancy resource centers devote significant resources to supporting women who have already decided to have an abortion, but abortion advocates offer no similar support to women who wish to continue their pregnancies. Indeed, they often devote their resources to shutting down the services provided by pro-lifers. NARAL Pro-Choice America reports spending twenty thousand dollars on “crisis pregnancy centers” in Maryland in order to “investigate” and publicly smear such centers for demonstrating a bias for life. (One might point out that the same bias once motivated the entire medical profession.)

If pro-life Americans provide so many (often free) services to the poor and vulnerable—work easily discovered by any researcher or journalist with an Internet connection—why are they sometimes accused of caring only for life inside the womb? Quite possibly, it is the conviction of abortion advocates that “caring for the born” translates first and always into advocacy for government programs and funds. In other words, abortion advocates appear to conflate charitable works and civil society with government action. The pro-life movement does not. Rather, it takes up the work of assisting women and children and families, one fundraiser and hotline and billboard at a time. Still, the pro-life movement is not unsophisticated about the relationship between abortion rates and government policies in areas such as education, marriage, employment, housing, and taxation. The Catholic Church, for example, works with particular vigor to ensure that its social justice agenda integrates advocacy for various born, vulnerable groups, with incentives to choose life over abortion.

One of the significant ironies of accusing pro-lifers of being “anti-vulnerable,” “anti-women,” and “anti-poor” is that poor women tend to be more pro-life than their more privileged counterparts. . It is especially important, therefore, to offer them options that do not simply appeal to their economic interest or personal autonomy narrowly understood, but rather that accord with their moral outlook and overall wellbeing.”

In sum then, the charge should be laid to rest once and for all that the pro-life movement is not active on behalf of women, children, and vulnerable persons generally. Those bringing the charge—the same groups that do very little personally to help women and children—should be held to account, both for their lack of real charity and for their refusal to acknowledge that their entire strategy—state supplied birth control and unlimited abortion—has backfired upon the very groups they promised to help.

While the pro-life cause has always been animated by the conviction that life begins at conception, it has never forgotten that it continues after birth. The pro-life movement’s message has been vindicated by 40 years of legalized abortion: the personal dignity, happiness, and prosperity of women, children, men, and the nation is advanced when life is cherished both before and after birth.”

~~~

~~End of blog post, pretty much …)~~

Thank you so much!! (for reading this whole thing…ughhh. Virtual cookies and brownies and ice-cream for you, you made it to the end! yea!

-I might add more paragraphs into this essay/blog post, in the near future.

last thing: please check out my Facebook posts on the topic of abortion, where I comment on and provide links that further dissect the Pro-Choice arguments.

This is my Facebook page. Please simply scroll down a bit to see my (pro-life) posts on abortion. They constitute like every other post, almost…mainly because I’m really passionate about this topic…but also because I personally know that I would never have liked to be aborted. Ever. And will never. So; I don’t want the unborn to go through a fate that I would have detested…as mentioned, above).

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013011553610

*here is one of the posts that you will find (on my Facebook page): I thought that I would just share one of the posts. This particular post was composed on May 17th, 2017:

⤵️

I rly love this! (The vid, below). 😍
-Destroying human life is what the issue is. Should you have a ‘choice’ to do that? ~this* is where anti-abortion advocates and pro-choicers can dialogue and talk.
In other words, I wish the discussion weren’t so muddled and confused by the ideas of ‘choice’ and ‘personal freedom’, etc.;
— it’s rly not about that, b.c. it’s a separate human being that’s being aborted, and discarded. It’s not your personal freedom to end the existence of a separate life.
but of course I still respect the other side’s views. I wish we cud all voice our views with dignity, and tolerance from others.
Also: speaking of the ‘millenials and the new generations are almost all pro-choice’ belief: there are a lot of sources (including the cool video below) that say that ‘millennials are anti-abortion, to a great extent’. Like this Boston Globe article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/…/ZCmZNJuCWKVr5brzVfai…/amp.html
Important quote from the article: “In a way, every millennial born since ’73 is a survivor of Roe. Maybe that explains why…abortion is a choice so few of them are prepared to take.”
Some folks might be surprised to hear this…, but it’s really not so surprising at all, actually. (That the millennials are against abortion to a large degree). Like the Boston Globe article says, we all survived being aborted. Women (our mothers😢) officially had the choice to carry through their pregnancies, or get an abortion.
-But each one of us would have been aborted, if our mothers chose to do so! (Duh, of course). I always thought that that is the strongest argument against abortion; it kills a life. Or; it kills the human fetus that has the potential to develop into a life, if you let it live.
-it is a very ‘obvious’ argument, which uses the very ‘debated act’ (abortion, in this case) as its core. I.e.; abortion is the termination of the development/life of a fetus/baby. *that very act/definition* is sufficient to form an argument against it: for example, **why* terminate the life of a baby/fetus? Isn’t that wrong? How would *you* like to have your life terminated? Do you have the right to make a fetus, a human being in its early stages, cease to exist? -These are all some of the questions that anti-abortion people have.
And im on their side 100%, obviously. Life is all we have. Life does not begin when one is born. 😣 It starts when the organism starts developing, growing. (Or; when it is officially a distinct organism, quite separate from its source/mother.)
#iPaidAttentionInBiologyClass #ScienceIsOnTheSideOfProLifers 🌱🐳🐥🐝👶🏿🕊
#IStillRespectProChoiceViewsOfCourse #LetsCoexist #tolerance
#DifferentOpinions #LetsTalkAboutIt #Discussion #RespectIsKey
#ItsOkToDisagree #AgreeToDisagree
~~~~~~~
ty so much for reading this 🕊🐣
ethar hamid

 

Last, last thing (last part of this blog post):

Here are some pro-life pics that I found on Pinterest. ⤵️

I rly ❤️ these!! I think they’re spot-on, in showing the essence of some of the anti-abortion arguments: ⤵️⤵️


~~~~

thank u again, so much for reading this whole thing!!! 

🌸☮️

❤ 

ethar h…

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Islam and the Environment

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I am planning on writing an essay soon about “Islam and the environment.” (I might try to get it published in an Islamic publication, like an online Islamic magazine. Or even in an environment-centered publication.) This (aforementioned) topic is worthy of discussion  due to the fact that–unbeknownst to many people, even Muslims–Islam teaches stewardship over the Earth, with a section of its religious teachings devoted to taking care of the Earth (e.g., through hima, or conservation of natural resources).

In my essay, I might also focus on the similarities and differences between Islam and aspects of Christianity–or possible aspects of it, I should say–in terms of the environment and climate change.

From what I understand; There are some Christians who interpret the Bible and the teachings of their churches in a manner contrary to current scientific thought, in regards to the environment. Specifically; they interpret their religious text, tradition, etc. in such a way as to reject the idea that human beings are destroying the planet, and that climate change is caused by human activity, and that humans need to reverse their actions in order to ‘save the planet,’ and etc.

To be honest, I don’t know very much about the Bible, or Christian tradition. (I was raised in a Sunni, orthodox Muslim environment, my whole life.) So, I don’t know if this view that is held by some Christians (in regards to climate change) is even valid, in the (very) scripture or tradition they claim to extract it from. (In other words; I don’t know if it is true that the Bible discourages such notions of ‘man-made damage to the environment—e.g., greenhouse gases being caused by human activity, rising sea levels, earthquakes, acid rain, and etc. being triggered by human misbehavior, etc.’).

But; if scholars of the Bible (and of Christianity, as a whole) could research the subject of the environment in Christian tradition—specifically; what Christianity really says about climate change, and humans’ damage to the environment (if it says anything, at all)—then I think a major breakthrough could occur.

What I have in mind, specifically is that; there may not be any sound basis in the Christian religion for rejecting (or being skeptical of) climate science, at all. Perhaps some Christians have misunderstood or misinterpreted their religious tradition, on this issue. *The fact that most/many Christian communities take in current climate science and incorporate it into their faith (e.g., with the idea of “Battling climate change is part of caring for the world that God gave us”)–i.e., the fact that most Christian communities welcome climate science may provide some evidence of this theory. (This theory that the Christian communities who struggle with climate science may simply be misreading their religious teachings–that they’re looking at climate science from a certain–perhaps traditional–manner. When in fact there’s probably no teaching in Christianity of how to interpret science. As a matter of fact, I bet Christianity says (or at least implies) that everyone should believe in scientific results/facts. Because it says that people should be caring and ethical-minded. What could be more caring and ethical-minded than battling climate change, for one example?)

I think that if one could manage to prove that rejection of climate change has no Biblical or Christian basis, then Christians (who reject climate science based on their religious beliefs) could join the fight against climate change. They could join the fight to protect planet Earth from further harm.

~

Here is an article that talks to some degree about how the majority of Evangelical Christians in the United States don’t believe in climate change (e.g; that the earth is warming).; http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2014/05/conservative_christians_and_climate_change_five_arguments_for_why_one_should.html

An excerpt from the article;

“Simply put, millions of Americans are evangelical Christians, and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the national average.”

Recent data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication suggests that while 64 percent of Americans think global warming is real and caused by human beings, only 44 percent of evangelicals do. Evangelicals in general, explains Hayhoe, tend to be more politically conservative, and can be quite distrusting of scientists (believing, incorrectly, that they’re all a bunch of atheists). Plus, some evangelicals really do go in for that whole “the world is ending” thing—not an outlook likely to inspire much care for the environment.”

The Slate article mentions some reasons why these committed Christians don’t believe in such environmental science (in addition to the above tidbits);

-“One conservative Christian argument is that God just wouldn’t let human activities ruin the creation. Or, as Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma has put it, “God’s still up there, and the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate, is to me, outrageous.”

-Another one: “The Bible does not approve of letting the world burn.’ Hayhoe agrees with the common liberal perception that the evangelical community contains a significant proportion of apocalyptic or end-times believers—and that this belief, literally that judgment is upon us, undermines their concern about preserving the planet.” (In other words; some Evangelical (and possibly other denominations) Christians believe that the natural disasters and detrimental shifts in the environment that are happening (e.g.; sea levels rising, and ice melting) are part of God’s end-of-times plans—that it is all divine will. That it is apocalyptic signs.

-“One (other) reason there’s such a tension between the evangelical community and science is, well, science. Many evangelicals are young-Earth creationists, who believe that the Earth is 6,000 or so years old.

Hayhoe isn’t one of those. She studied astrophysics and quasars that are quite ancient; and as she notes, believing the Earth and universe to be young creates a pretty problematic understanding of God: “Either you have to believe that God created everything looking as if it were billions of years old, or you have to believe it is billions of years old.” In the former case, God would, in effect, seem to be trying to trick us.”

~

I really like this Slate article. I actually read the whole article; and my favorite part of it was the focus on how Hayhoe (an Evangelical Christian climate scientist) finds no real tension between climate science, and Christian beliefs/Christianity.

-“If anyone has a chance of reaching this vast and important audience (Evangelicals who don’t believe in climate change), Hayhoe does. “I feel like the conservative community, the evangelical community, and many other Christian communities, I feel like we have been lied to,” explains Hayhoe on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. “We have been given information about climate change that is not true. We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in fact it’s entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian values.”

-“Hayhoe thinks the answer to Senator Inhofe’s objection (that God would not let humans destroy/damage the environment) is simple: From a Christian perspective, we have free will to make decisions and must live with their consequences. This is, after all, a classic Christian solution to the theological problem of evil. “Are bad things happening? Yes, all the time,” says Hayhoe. “Someone gets drunk, they get behind the wheel of a car, they kill an innocent bystander, possibly even a child or a mother.

Climate change is, to Hayhoe, just another wrong, another problem, brought on by flawed humans exercising their wills in a way that is less than fully advisable. “That’s really what climate change is,” she says. “It’s a casualty of the decisions that we have made.”

~

I think with people like Ms. Hayhoe, who can speak from both a Christian viewpoint and a scientific viewpoint, the rejection (or dubiousness) of climate and environment science by some Christians can disappear. As aforementioned; if dispelling the idea that climate change is contrary to Christian belief can be achieved on a wide scale, then what could (then) stop the entire Christian community from becoming avid environmentalists? People who join the fight to combat climate change, and protect the environment and planet? Nothing, if you ask me. I think once it is clear that Christianity does not even remotely hint that climate change is unreal/it is not caused by human beings, then every Christian in every denomination would become avid environment activists, or advocates.

~

Here is another article (this time by The Guardian) that conveys that there is resistance to the idea of climate change on the part of some Evangelicals. (the article is titled “Global Warming; a battle for evangelical Christian hearts and minds”) :

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/oct/02/global-warming-battle-for-evangelical-hearts-and-minds

Here are some excerpts/parts of the article that I think are especially interesting (this article also mentions Dr. Hayhoe…like the Slate article, above):

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation is a conservative evangelical Christian public policy group that promotes a free-market approach to protecting the environment. The organization recently published a list of ten reasons it opposes policies to reduce carbon pollution and slow global warming, purportedly to protect the poor. As the first point on the list illustrates, the group essentially believes that the Earth’s climate will be able to correct any damage done by humans.

1. As the product of infinitely wise design, omnipotent creation, and faithful sustaining (Genesis 1:1–31; 8:21–22), Earth is robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting.

“The Cornwall Alliance has tried to use scientific arguments to support its religious beliefs about the resiliency of the global climate, claiming,

3. While human addition of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), to the atmosphere may slightly raise atmospheric temperatures, observational studies indicate that the climate system responds more in ways that suppress than in ways that amplify CO2’s effect on temperature, implying a relatively small and benign rather than large and dangerous warming effect.

“Many evangelical Christians recognize this moral angle of human-caused climate change, and also view the issue as one of stewardship of the Earth. For example, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian herself, and often speaks to like-minded groups. She recently did an interview with Bill Moyersthat’s well worth watching. Hayhoe told me,

The foundation of the Christian faith is about loving others as Christ loved us, and it is clear from the work that I do myself as well as I see from other colleagues that those with the least resources to adapt to a changing climate will be most affected by our actions.

The National Association of Evangelicals has likewise acknowledged the reality of human-caused global warming and concluded,

Therefore, even when scientific uncertainties are taken into account, the precautionary principle (e.g., Overture 60, Agenda for Synod 2012, p. 594) compels us to take private and public actions to address climate change.

Evangelical Christians tend to be divided between these two camps. Although they tend to view global warming as a threat, evangelicals are also more likely to doubt scientific concepts that they view as contradictory to their faith. Many like Hayhoe have been working to show them that addressing climate change, taking care of the Earth, and protecting the poor are all consistent with the evangelical faith.

Contrary arguments by groups like the Cornwall Alliance are based on misunderstandings of climate science, free market economics, and the evangelical faith. It remains to be seen who will win over the hearts and minds of the evangelical Christian community, but the poor (who often suffer the effects of climate change) will be better off if Katharine Hayhoe’s perspective wins out.”

~

Also; this article (also by The Guardian, titled “Just what is it with evangelical Christians and global warming?”) states:

“Just what is it with evangelical Christians and global warming? I doubt we’re ever going to get a satisfying answer to this long-running question, but it is being raised yet again by the publication yesterday of a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The poll canvassed views on climate change among the “major religious traditions” in the US. Surprise, surprise, it shows that “white evangelical Protestants” were the group with the lowest level – 34% of those surveyed – of acceptance that there is solid evidence that global warming is real and that it is attributable to humans. This compares with 47% of the total US population (still startlingly low), and 58% of those surveyed who “had faith” but who were unaffiliated to any particular religious tradition.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2009/apr/17/climate-change-religion

 

~

Now, for Islam. Islam takes a totally different approach to dealing with the environment and the issue of climate change (than that taken by some Evangelicals/people of other denominations, who may or may not be influenced by their religion on the subject of climate change/the env.). Islam teaches that humans certainly have the potential to damage the Earth, and that they certainly shouldn’t do so. Islam teaches its followers to care for the Earth, for plant life, for animal life—for our own (humans’) sake, if nothing else:

“The existence of many hadiths that encourage the greening and afforesting of the environment clearly reflects the Prophet’s concern thereof — “If a Muslim plants a tree or grow grains and a bird, a person or an animal eats from it, will be counted as an act of charity, on his part.” (Bukhara, “al-Khars ve’l-Muzara”, Muslim, “Musakaat”, H. No: 12). “If any of you has a date sapling on Doomsday, he should (still) plant it -if possible.” (Bukhara, Edebu’l-mufred, (thk., Halid Abdurrahman), p. 138, Daru’l-Ma’rife, Beirut, 1966). The aim here is to make people understand the importance of planting trees. “Whoever plants a tree is rewarded by Allah as much as the produce grown in that tree.” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, V, 415.) “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded,” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 61, 374) “Whoever plants a tree and it matures, Allah plants a tree in paradise for that person.” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 61).

Animals-

“…We should be merciful not only to humans but also to other living creatures; The Prophet has prohibited practices against animals such as hitting them, practicing shooting by targeting them, inciting them to fight, hunting for fun, and using a slingshot to hunt them. It is mentioned in hadiths that the humans will be accounted for their bad treatment of animals. By saying, “Allah will question those who kill a sparrow unfairly on the day of judgment.” (Muslim, “Sayd” H.No:57) The Prophet asked people not to torture animals. He forbade cauterizing and cursing animals, ruining bird nests, and removing chicks from their nest. He also wanted people to keep domestic animals and their sheds clean and to treat their cubs with compassion. Considering even a cat as a family member, he stated that every good deed concerning an animal would be rewarded. Treating animals in a humane manner and abandoning traditions that harm them is an irrefutable precondition of being civilized. As the greatest environmentalist, Prophet Muhammad had affirmative practices in relation to the environment throughout his life. At the root of the hadiths which are related to the environment lie sensitivity for nature and a consciousness to protect it.”

-I found these (authentic) Hadiths of Islam from this site: http://islamvision.org/prophet-muhammad1.html

Also; http://www.islamicbulletin.org/newsletters/issue_23/environment.aspx states that:

“The idea of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) as a pioneer of environmentalism will initially strike many as strange: indeed, the term “environment” and related concepts like “ecology”, “environmental awareness” and “sustainability”, are modern-day inventions, terms that were formulated in the face of the growing concerns about the contemporary state of the natural world around us.

And yet a closer reading of the hadith, the body of work that recounts significant events in the Prophet’s life, reveals that he was a staunch advocate of environmental protection. One could say he was an “environmentalist avant la lettre”, a pioneer in the domain of conservation, sustainable development and resource management, and one who constantly sought to maintain a harmonious balance between man and nature. From all accounts of his life and deeds, we read that the Prophet (SAW) had a profound…….connection to the four elements, earth, water, fire and air.

He (SAW) was a strong proponent of the sustainable use and cultivation of land and water, proper treatment of animals, plants and birds, and the equal rights of users. In this context the modernity of the Prophet’s (SAW) view of the environment and the concepts he introduced to his followers is particularly striking; certain passages of the hadith could easily be mistaken for discussions about contemporary environmental issues.

Sustainable Use of Land

“The earth has been created for me as a mosque and as a means of purification.” [Al-Bukhari I:331] With these words the Prophet emphasizes the sacred nature of earth or soil, not only as a pure entity but also as a purifying agent. This reverence towards soil is also demonstrated in the ritual of tayammum, or “dry wudu” which permits the use of dust in the performance of ritual purification before prayer when water is not available. The Prophet (SAW) saw earth as subservient to man, but recognised that it should not be overexploited or abused, and that it had rights, like the trees and wildlife living on it. In order to protect land, forests and wildlife, the Prophet created inviolable zones known as hima and haram, in which resources were to be left untouched. Both are still in use today: haram areas are often drawn up around wells and water sources to protect the groundwater table from over-pumping. Hima applies particularly to wildlife and forestry and usually designates an area of land where grazing and woodcutting are restricted, or where certain animal species are protected.

The Prophet (SAW) not only encouraged the sustainable use of fertile lands, he also told his followers of the benefits of making unused land productive: planting a tree, sowing a seed and irrigating dry land were all regarded as charitable deeds. “Whoever brings dead land to life, that is, cultivates wasteland, for him is a reward therein.”

Conservation of Water

In the harsh desert environment where the Prophet (SAW) lived, water was synonymous to life. Water was a gift from God, the source of all life on earth as is testified in the Qur’an: “We made from water every living thing” [Qur’an 21:30]. The Qur’an constantly reminds believers that they are but the guardians of God’s creation on earth and that they should never take this creation for granted:

“Consider the water which you drink. Was it you that brought it down from the rain cloud or We? If We had pleased, We could make it bitter” [Qur’an 56:68-70].

Saving water and safeguarding its purity were two important issues for the Prophet (SAW). We have seen that his concern about the sustainable use of water led to the creation of haram zones in the vicinity of water sources. But even when water was abundant, he advocated thriftiness: thus he recommended that believers perform wudu no more than three times, even if they were near to a flowing spring or river.

The Treatment of Animals

“If anyone wrongfully kills even a sparrow, let alone anything greater, he will face God’s interrogation” [Mishkat al Masabih].

These words reflect the great reverence, respect and love that the Prophet (SAW) always showed towards animals. He believed that as part of God’s creation, animals should be treated with dignity, and the hadith contains a large collection of traditions, admonitions and stories about his relationship to animals. It shows that he had particular consideration for horses and camels: to him they were valiant companions during journey and battle, and he found great solace and wisdom in their presence.”

Conclusion

It is impossible to do justice to the full scope and significance of Prophet Mohammed (SAW)’s environmental philosophy in this short article. His holistic view of nature and his understanding of man’s place within the natural world pioneered environmental awareness within the Muslim community. Sadly, the harmony that the Prophet (SAW) advocated between man and his environment has today all too often been lost. As we face the effects of pollution and overexploitation, desertification and water scarcity in some parts of the world and floods and violent storms elsewhere, it is perhaps time for the world community as a whole, Muslims, Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, atheists and agnostics, to take a leaf out of the Prophet’s (SAW) book and address the current environmental crisis seriously and wisely.”

http://www.islamicbulletin.org/newsletters/issue_23/environment.aspx

 

~

Another way to demonstrate the fact that Islam believes in climate science (i.e., that the Earth is warming, that sea levels are rising, that earthquakes are happening, etc. all due to human activity) is that; Islam encourages scientific advancement, in society. The clash between science and religion that was prevalent in Western history (e.g., during the European Dark Ages) was not there, between Islam and science. So much so that the Golden Age of Islam produced advancements in the scientific method, the invention of algebra and algorithms, and biological, geographical, anatomical, and evolutionary discoveries, among many other major accomplishments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age . And some academics and historians believe that without the Islamic Golden Age, with its inventions and discoveries and scientific (and mathematical, and philosophical, and literary, etc.) achievements, there wouldn’t have been any Renaissance in Europe, years later. In other words, the European Renaissance really owed the Islamic Golden Age a big one.

Anyways; Islam encourages scientific discovery, experimentation, advancements, etc. It tells its followers to have such knowledge—to seek this knowledge, even. That of course includes environmental facts, knowledge about the health of the planet we all live in (called Earth), and environmental science, in general. So; there’s really no room in Islam for such things as climate change denial, or skepticism. If the scientific community comes to a conclusion about such a matter as the health of the Earth, Muslims must believe in it. To believe otherwise is almost a rejection of one of the tenants of the religion, itself (i.e., to have knowledge/to make the earth a better place, and etc.).

I would just like to conclude with stating that there are many verses in the Noble Qur’an which deal with science. With environmental science in particular, I think. For example, there is the verse in Surat al-Rahman (which refers to an oceanic phenomenon); “And He has made two water sources meet—but between them is a barrier that neither can cross.” This verse means (and has meant for hundreds of years) that there is a barrier between two water bodies—an invisible barrier that prevents them from mixing. So, the salt water doesn’t mix with the fresh water, and vice versa.

This fact was only discovered by secular science recently, I think. Imagine a book stating this fact 1,400 years back. The Qur’an really is miraculous. (To Muslims, at least.)

“The Invisible Barrier:

The Koran states that there are two seas that meet but do not intermingle because of a barrier between them (Koran 55:19-20). It is a necessity that seas intermingle through straits between them. the Koran however is aware of a very unusual phenomenon, which scientists discovered only recently. The Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans differ in their chemical and biological constitution. The French scientist Jacques Yves Cousteau conducted various underseas investigations at the Strait of Gibralter and explaining these phenomenon concluded:
“Unexpected fresh water springs issue from the southern and northern coasts of Gibralter. These mammoth springs gush toward each other at angles 45 degrees forming a reciprocal dam. Due to this fact, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Oceans cannot intermingle (as quoted by Nurbaki).”
– The Unifying Theory of Everything: Koran and Nature’s Testimony, by Muhammed A. Asadi. page 12.
***
“The Strait of Gibraltar links the Atlantic Ocean directly to the Mediterranean Sea. This direct linkage creates certain unique flow and wave patterns. These unique patterns are created due to the interaction of various regional and global evaporative forces, tidal forces, and wind forces.
Through the strait, water generally flows more or less continually in both an eastward and a westward direction. A smaller amount of deeper saltier and therefore denser waters continually work their way westwards (the Mediterranean outflow), while a larger amount of surface waters with lower salinity and density continually work their way eastwards (the Mediterranean inflow). These general flow tendencies may be occasionally interrupted for brief periods to accommodate temporary tidal flow requirements, depending on various lunar and solar alignments. Still, on the whole and over time, the balance of the water flow is eastwards, due to an evaporation rate within the Mediterranean basin higher than the combined inflow of all the rivers that empty into it.[citation needed] The shallow Camarinal Sill of the Strait of Gibraltar, which forms the shallowest point within the strait, acts to limit mixing between the cold, less saline Atlantic water and the warm Mediterranean waters. The Camarinal Sill is located at the far western end of the strait.
The Mediterranean waters are so much saltier than the Atlantic waters that they sink below the constantly incoming water and form a highly saline (thermohaline, both warm and salty) layer of bottom water. This layer of bottom-water constantly works its way out into the Atlantic as the Mediterranean outflow. On the Atlantic side of the strait, a density boundary separates the Mediterranean outflow waters from the rest at about 100 m (330 ft) depth. These waters flow out and down the continental slope, losing salinity, until they begin to mix and equilibrate more rapidly, much further out at a depth of about 1,000 m (3,300 ft). The Mediterranean outflow water layer can be traced for thousands of kilometres west of the strait, before completely losing its identity.

“The narrow Strait of Gibraltar is the gatekeeper for water exchange between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. A top layer of warm, relatively fresh water from the Atlantic Ocean flows eastward into the Mediterranean Sea. In return, a lower, colder, saltier layer of water flows westward into the North Atlantic ocean. A density boundary separates the layers at about 100 m depth.Like traffic merging on a highway, the water flow is constricted in both directions because it must pass over a shallow submarine barrier, the Camarinal Sill. When large tidal flows enter the Strait, internal waves (waves at the density boundary layer) are set off at the Camarinal Sill as the high tide relaxes. The waves—sometimes with heights up to 100 m—travel eastward. Even though the waves occur at great depth and the height of the waves at the surface is almost nothing, they can be traced in the sunglint because they concentrate the biological films on the water surface, creating slight differences in roughness.”

***

https://www.islam-guide.com/ch1-1-e.htm

The Quran on Seas and Rivers:

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them.  This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity, and density.1  For example, Mediterranean sea water is warm, saline, and less dense, compared to Atlantic ocean water.  When Mediterranean sea water enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic at a depth of about 1000 meters with its own warm, saline, and less dense characteristics.  The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth2.

Although there are large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they do not mix or transgress this barrier.

The Holy Quran mentioned that there is a barrier between two seas that meet and that they do not transgress.  God has said:

 He has set free the two seas meeting together.  There is a barrier between them.  They do not transgress.  (Quran, 55:19-20)

But when the Quran speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier.  God has said in the Quran:

 He is the one who has set free the two kinds of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter.  And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition.  (Quran, 25:53)

One may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between fresh and salt water, but did not mention it when speaking about the divider between the two seas?

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet, the situation is somewhat different from what is found in places where two seas meet.  It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”3  This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water4 (see figure 14).

This information has been discovered only recently, using advanced equipment to measure temperature, salinity, density, oxygen dissolubility, etc.  The human eye cannot see the difference between the two seas that meet, rather the two seas appear to us as one homogeneous sea.  Likewise, the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries into the three kinds: fresh water, salt water, and the partition (zone of separation).”

~

The Qur’an (perhaps by its very inclusion of various scientific verses, like the oceanic phenomena mentioned above) encourages belief in scientific discovery (and that by default includes environmental sciences, such as climate science).

So, again; a big difference, I think, between what Islam says and how some Christians interpret what Christianity says.

I for one don’t know (and am leaning towards refuting) that Christianity encourages climate change denial, or denial of other scientific/environmental facts. I don’t think Christianity suggests any such thing. I think it is some Christians’ faulty interpretation of their text and religious tradition that has led to climate change denial, and other missteps.

Hopefully, with (more) scientific evidence, biblical texts that negate that specific attitude towards climate change, or both, climate change denial on the part of some in the Christian communities can soon end.

We really do need everyone in the human population to help advocate for and help save the planet (after all). It is already becoming very late to do so.

~

Further Reading Material:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hima_(environmental_protection)

excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“A ḥima (Arabic: حمى‎‎ ḥima) “inviolate zone” refers to an area set aside for the conservation of natural capital, typically fields, wildlife and forests – contrast ḥaram, which defines an area protected for more immediate human purposes.

A Muslim has a specific obligation to practice stewardship over nature, and each species of animals is said to be “its own nation”. “Human beings are God’s representatives on earth. This means that if they are not charged with maintaining the world, or rending to it, they must at least not destroy it”.[3]

The selection of ḥimas was thus a religious rather than community obligation, and was often undertaken by the ulema.

There are five types of ḥima:[4]

  1. areas where grazing of domestic animals is prohibited
  2. areas where grazing is restricted to certain seasons
  3. beekeeping reserves where grazing is restricted during flowering
  4. forest areas where cutting of trees is forbidden
  5. reserves managed for the welfare of a particular village, town or tribe (see also ḥaram, although that term usually refers more to water protection measures)

There are good examples of ḥima in the Middle East, some adopted by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.[5]

~

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_ethics#Environmentalism

– excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“Perhaps due to resource scarcity in most Islamic nations, there was an emphasis on limited (and some claim also sustainable) use of natural capital, i.e. producing land. Traditions of haram (site) and hima, an Arabic term meaning “protected place”, and early urban planning were expressions of strong social obligations to stay within carrying capacity and to preserve the natural environment as an obligation of khalifa or “stewardship”.[26]

After Muslims established themselves in Madinah, Muhammad surveyed the natural resources in the region—the wadis (riverbeds); the rich, black volcanic soil; the high rangelands—and decreed that they be preserved and set aside as a hima.[27]

Hadiths on agriculture and environmental philosophy were compiled in the “Book of Agriculture” of the Sahih Bukhari, which included the following saying:[26]

There is none amongst the believers who plants a tree, or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats thereof, but it is regarded as having given a charitable gift [for which there is great recompense].[28]

Several such statements concerning the environment are also found in the Qur’an, such as the following:[26]

And there is no animal in the earth nor bird that flies with its two wings, but that they are communities like yourselves.[Quran 6:38]

The earliest known treatises dealing with environmentalism and environmental science, especially pollution, were Arabic medical treatises written by al-Kindi, Qusta ibn Luqa, al-Razi, Ibn Al-Jazzar, al-Tamimi, al-Masihi, Avicenna, Ali ibn Ridwan, Ibn Jumay, Isaac Israeli ben Solomon, Abd-el-latif, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn al-Nafis. Their works covered a number of subjects related to pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, municipal solid waste mishandling, and environmental impact assessments of certain localities.[29] Cordoba, Al-Andalus also had the first waste containers and waste disposal facilities for litter collection.[30][31][32]

“In order to preserve the natural environment by not polluting, plant trees, support environmentally-friendly goods and products, Muslims must rectify themselves through simplicity, contentment, resisting endless desires, and then remembering God as well as following His commands”.[33]

~

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/21/calvin-beisner-environmentalism-greatest-threat-civilization_n_2919756.html

excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“It should be noted that not all evangelical Christians oppose global warming reforms. Groups like the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action take the stance that it is a Christian’s duty to protect the planet.”

 

As a Muslim who (by natural inclination) believes that Islam (e.g., the Qur’an, the Sunnah of Muhammad pbuh, the decisions that the rightly guided caliphs made based on those tenants, etc.) provides full care/welfare/concern/support for society (the members of society—especially the poor), I’m not surprised when I learn of examples of that care and welfare/support shown, in history.

For example; I wrote a research paper a few semesters ago (in college) which mentioned how it was Muslim physicians who established the first psychiatric ward/hospital/asylum, in the world. (If I remember correctly, its establishment was instigated by Ibn Sina (“Avicenna,” as he is known, in English—the Father of Modern Medicine…).

{here is the essay…it actually got published in issue 2 of Doll Hospital Journal–an incredible literary magazine centered on mental wellness…check it out!:)) ;

essay:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/external_clips/1544031/shifaa_project_-_1.pdf?1449332168 (part I)

https://s3.amazonaws.com/external_clips/1562122/shifaa_project_2.pdf?1450219131 (part II)

I never knew that, before I had conducted my research, for the paper. (That it was  Muslims who created the first psychiatric hospital, in the world.*) When I learned this historical fact, though, I wasn’t taken aback, or shocked, or anything. Because I know that Islam is a religion of helping and bettering humanity. It follows naturally that its adherants act/acted upon this characteristic.

~

The following Wikipedia article touches on the relationship between the Islamic state and its people, in terms of money, mandatory government services, and etc. (*The article is titled “Islamic socialism,” but it is really just “Islam.” (Period. As in; it is the actual and original teachings of Islam which outline all of the points mentioned, below. It is just designated as “Islamic socialism” because hardly any Muslim government today actually enacts these principles (which is the fault of those governments, which they will have to be responsible for on Judgment Day.) So, as a result, it seems like the people who support these (core Islamic) principles are creating something new—that they have formed a submovement, within Islam, or something to that effect. But; that is not the case, at all. It’s just that those Muslims look funny, compared to what the Muslim governments do. But, as always; Islam is not what Muslims do. It is what Muslims should do—what Allah s.w.t. ordained, and what His Messenger demonstrated (by his actions).

Here is the article:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_socialism

Some points that I especially like, from the article:

“The concepts of welfare and pension were introduced in early Islamic law as forms of Zakat (charity), one of the Five Pillars of Islam, under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century. This practice continued well into the Abbasid era of the Caliphate. The taxes (including Zakat and Jizya) collected in the treasury of an Islamic government were used to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. According to the Islamic jurist Al-Ghazali (Algazel, 1058–1111), the government was also expected to stockpile food supplies in every region in case a disaster or famine occurred.

The Caliphate can thus be considered the world’s first major welfare state.”

I really like that last sentence. (I get very frustrated at the belief (out there) that Muslims haven’t contributed anything to the well-being/advancement of the world. Because; Muslims were one of the most important peoples in the well-being/advancement of the world.

For example: During the European Dark Ages (in which books were burnt because they went against the Church’s teachings/challenged the Church…scientists and academics themselves were executed, and etc.), the Golden Age of Islam (in contrast) gave the world Algebra, algorithms, advancements in the scientific method, and many many other incredible accomplishments.

All of these scholars were Muslims, living in the Islamic Golden Age:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age

~

Anyways. Back to the topic:

Some more points I like from the Islamic socialism article:

“During the Rashidun Caliphate, various welfare programs were introduced by Caliph Umar. In his time, equality was extended to all citizens, even to the caliph himself, as Umar believed that “no one, no matter how important, should live in a way that would distinguish him from the rest of the people.” Umar himself lived “a simple life and detached himself from any of the worldly luxuries,” like how he often wore “worn-out shoes and was usually clad in patched-up garments,” or how he would sleep “on the bare floor of the mosque.” Limitations on wealth were also set for governors and officials, who would often be “dismissed if they showed any outward signs of pride or wealth which might distinguish them from the people.” This was an early attempt at erasing “class distinctions which might inevitably lead to conflict.” Umar also made sure that the public treasury was not wasted on “unnecessary luxuries” as he believed that “the money would be better spent if it went towards the welfare of the people rather than towards lifeless bricks.”[

“Umar’s innovative welfare reforms during the Rashidun Caliphate included the introduction of social security. This included unemployment insurance, which did not appear in the Western world until the 19th century. In the Rashidun Caliphate, whenever citizens were injured or lost their ability to work, it became the state’s responsibility to make sure that their minimum needs were met, with the unemployed and their families receiving an allowance from the public treasury.[24] Retirement pensions were provided to elderly people,[23] who had retired and could “count on receiving a stipend from the public treasury.” Babies who were abandoned were also taken care of, with one hundred dirhams spent annually on each orphan’s development. Umar also introduced the concept of public trusteeship and public ownership when he implemented the Waqf, or charitable trust, system, which transferred “wealth from the individual or the few to a social collective ownership,” in order to provide “services to the community at large.” For example, Umar brought land from the Banu Harithah and converted it into a charitable trust, which meant that “profit and produce from the land went towards benefiting the poor, slaves, and travelers.”[

“Guaranteed minimum income

Guaranteed minimum income is a system[29] of social welfare provision that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on, provided they meet certain conditions. Eligibility is typically determined by citizenship, a means test, and either availability for the labour market or a willingness to perform community services. The primary goal of a guaranteed minimum income is to combat poverty. If citizenship is the only requirement, the system turns into a universal basic income. The first Muslim Caliph Abu Bakr introduced a guaranteed minimum standard of income, granting each man, woman, and child ten dirhams annually; this was later increased to twenty dirhams.[30] Some, but not all Islamic socialists advocate the renewal and expansion of this policy.”

~

“One of the Five Pillars of Islam, zakāt is the practice of imposition (not charity) giving based on accumulated wealth (approximately 2.5% of all financial assets owned over the course of one lunar year). It is obligatory for all financially able Muslim adults and is considered to be an act of piety through which one expresses concern for the well-being of fellow Muslims, as well as preserving social harmony between the wealthy and the poor.[8] Zakat promotes a more equitable redistribution of wealth and fosters a sense of solidarity amongst members of the Ummah.[9]

Zakat is meant to discourage the hoarding of capital and stimulate investment. Because the individual must pay zakat on the net wealth, wealthy Muslims are compelled to invest in profitable ventures, or otherwise see their wealth slowly erode. Furthermore, means of production such as equipment, factories, and tools are exempt from zakat, which further provides the incentive to invest wealth in productive businesses.[10] Personal assets such as clothing, household furniture, and one residence are not considered zakatable assets.

According to the Quran, there are eight categories of people (asnaf) who qualify to receive zakat funds:[11][12]

  1. Those living in absolute poverty (Al-Fuqarā’).
  2. Those restrained because they cannot meet their basic needs (Al-Masākīn).
  3. The zakat collectors themselves (Al-Āmilīna ‘Alaihā).
  4. Non-Muslims who are sympathetic to Islam or wish to convert to Islam (Al-Mu’allafatu Qulūbuhum).
  5. People whom one is attempting to free from slavery or bondage. Also includes paying ransom or blood money (Diyya). (Fir-Riqāb)
  6. Those who have incurred overwhelming debts while attempting to satisfy their basic needs (Al-Ghārimīn).
  7. Those fighting for a religious cause or a cause of God (Fī Sabīlillāh)[13] or for Jihad in the way of Allah[14] and for Islamic warriors who fight against the unbelievers but are not part of salaried soldiers.[15][16]
  8. Children of the street / Travellers (Ibnus-Sabīl).

~

Confession: I really, really love Islam. I believe it really is based on compassion, care, aid and support (especially for the poor, differently abled people, the sick, and other disadvantaged groups of people), and being there for other people.

Alhamdulillah (praise be to Almighty Allah) that I’m a Muslim. (and May Allah s.w.t. guide others to this beautiful path. Ameen.)

~

Thank you for reading!

-Ethar Hamid

 

My Feelings on Native American Culture:)

The following (short) essay is very emotion-stirring, for me. I love Native American culture, so I actually felt very sad (but in a good kind of way, if you know what I mean) at certain parts of this essay.

I hope you enjoy this personal essay. I hope I wrote it in a way that makes how I feel clear, but is also (or, at least comes close to being) very “correct” and factual (because I mention some things about some aspects of some cultures, around the world. Some beautiful cultures, of course. What culture isn’t beautiful?, and also; some historical facts).

I hope whoever reads this essay understands what I am saying, when it comes to my feelings about Native American culture.

By the way; I actually wrote this essay because I heard that Sen. Bernie Sanders (of the U.S. presidential race. He’s so cool) talked about the Native American communities in the U.S., and visited a certain reservation (I’m not sure which one, though), and spoke there, and stuff. (Which. Is. Awesome!!! 🙂  I would love* to learn more about Native American peoples, and how things are going for them, and what is happening for them these days. But I agree that a presidential candidate is slightly more important than…well…me. (. 😔 ) But anyways; hopefully someday I can learn more about the beautiful Native peoples—their pain, their resilience, and their hearts/character.) So, anyways, like I was saying, I was inspired to write this essay because of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ visit to a Native community. (That got, like, the thought going in my mind). But actually, I have been a big fan (as we put it in our colloquial, today) of Native American culture (like their oral traditions, values, and everything else) for quite some time. I think they are so…peaceful and pure. And, ultimately, it’s not “I think.” It is true—they are peaceful and pure (both the culture and the peoples). ❤

And; one more thing, before we start the essay. This is slightly off-topic, but it is very in-topic, too (if you get what I mean):

(and; you can skip to my creative nonfiction essay part, if you want. It starts with “I’m both African and Arab. Being from northern Sudan….”).

  • I hope that Native American peoples and their organizing bodies can receive some kind of federal compensations/reparations! To my knowledge, that has never happened. I mean; certain people (even people who are part of the U.S. government…like governors, for example) recognize that Native American communities (like the ones in their jurisdictions/states, for example) are not doing very well, in some of the essential aspects of being a strong, healthy community. Like; employment is not as high and strong (in terms of having good-paying jobs) as it could be, in Native American communities. And; the reason why some Native American communities are struggling/not doing as well as they could be is because of European imperialism (of the past).
  • This is quite annoying. It’s extremely frustrating how the U.S. government (certain people in it, of course) are basically saying; yeah. We know that the people who stole this continent from you (and by “continent,” I of course mean what is now called “the U.S.”, present-day “Canada,” which originally belonged to the Native peoples (Native Canadians, as they are now called), and Mexico, which was also inhabited by its native peoples, before European colonialism…as well countries of Central America, I believe? I’m sorry-my geography is not very good). Anyways, some in the U.S. government are (basically) saying to the Native American communities; yes, we understand that you are destabilized because of the imperialism, bloodshed, and ravaging (of natural resources, etc.) that was afflicted on your ancestors. And, also; We know that your communities are not in the same situation as other communities, in this country. that your history is not one of immigration, unfortunately. It is one of having your own land taken from you. And we’re sorry. But we really can’t do anything about that.

Ugh! How ugly! There’s a lot you can do! Come one, U.S. government! And, besides, if it weren’t for the Native Americans at the time of “king Columbus,” or whoever else they might someday say “discovered” America (like, I think some say that the Vikings discovered America? I am slapping my forehead, right now, by the way. No one discovers a land where some people are already living! That is pompous and cruel language. And dangerous language, too! It is the type of language that leads governments into thinking that they don’t owe the Native American communities a huge “sorry,” as well as a huge compensation/reparation.

So, anyways, like I was saying; there would be no United States (no Canada, and no Mexico) if it weren’t for the Native people. They played the original, and a huge, role. Get it together, U.S. government! 😦

(Rant: And, unfortunately, that’s Western government/media/educational systems, for you. They suck, in many ways. (Not all the time. And; not all of them. But I, for one, am pretty wary of many things that come out of Western-based governments (like; laws, etc.), media (I mean, like: Western/American/Canadian/British, etc. media outlets (such as certain magazines, TV news programs, and etc. that shall remain unnamed) and school/university classes.

Like; I was taught (when I was in elementary school…and this happens to be very relevant to this essay) that Christopher Columbus was such a cool dude (to put it in coloqial language). He not only discovered America—he was just sooo nice! And a great seamen/navigator—(he definitely knew he wasn’t in India! But he was just so nice, that he called the people he found “Indians.” Because, hey! Who doesn’t love to be labeled with the wrong ethnicity?) He was just…awesome.

I mean, that’s really gross, to put it lightly. I mean, Columbus was an awful person. (And; an idiot, too, I guess you’d have to call it. He was looking for India, right? I know the year was like 1492…but you had compasses, and maps, and previous people who travelled to the Indian subcontinent, didn’t you? How do you end up in…ughhh. Never mind).

Also, as just one other example of American educational curriculums being completely wrong; American (and possibly other countries, too. I can only speak for the U.S., because I grew up, here, for most of my life) school classes mess up, a lot, in teaching Islamic beliefs/history, etc. I remember very clearly that in my AP World History class (in like tenth grade, I think it was): it said in the textbook that “jihad” means “holy war.” (Holy war, in Islam, of course. “Islamic holy war.”)

No, textbook. “Jihad” doesn’t mean “Islamic holy war.” It means “to struggle, in the path of God (who is commonly called “Allah,” by Muslims).” To (possibly) give your life in a declared war that is fought to defend yourself is an ultimate struggle, in the path of God, no doubt. But; to say that “jihad” means “holy war,” by definition….that the etymology of the word goes back to the word “war,” or “bloodshed” or something similar, in the Arabic language, is just incorrect. It’s a misconception/misperception, unfortunately. And; that (false) definition only serves to perpetuate the ugly stereotype that Muslims are violent, bloodthirsty, or terroristic.

All Muslims know that there’s nothing “holy” about war, in itself. Like; bloodshed is not “holy.” It is an awful thing, in Islam. It should be the very last resort. But, yes, when an official war between two groups/countries/etc. is going on, to give your life for the cause of Islam/for the cause of an oppressed people is an ultimate sacrifice. Your blood that was spilled is holy. The martyr’s blood is “holy,” I guess you could day, in Islam. But not the blood of the others (the enemy forces). So, what I’m trying to say is; there’s nothing holy about spilling the blood of others, in Islam. 😦

In a nutshell: They (like; lesson planners, curriculum planners, etc.) are often soooo bad at teaching cultures that are not European cultures. I don’t know why that is. Like; they can teach (for example) Western European history  so well (and they certainly do a good job in teaching about Plato, and Aristotle, and everyone else, and about how advanced the Greco-Roman civilizations were), but they stumble and mess up in inexcusable ways when teaching African history, Native history, etc. Like; Columbus was not a good person, a smart person, or anything like that. And, the worst thing is; they know it.

Why the dishonesty? Why are they trying to teach little kids that the European colonizers were all “kind to the Natives?” You can’t just attempt to re-write history, like that, man.   :(same goes for things like “southern African history” or the histories of other African peoples.) 😦 😦

~*~*~*~*~*

My actual essay (on the subject of my admiration of Native American culture) is below:

~

I’m both African and Arab. Being from (northern) Sudan, those are my two ethnicities/cultural roots/origins. (I think* my African origins are east-African (that makes the most sense, I guess…since Sudan is in north-East Africa)…And my Arab origins are perhaps Saudi Arabian, but definitely (I suppose) from the Arabian Peninsula.

“Sudanese Arabs of Northern and Eastern parts descend primarily from migrants from the Arabian Peninsula and intermarriages with the pre-existing indigenous populations of Sudan, especially the Nubian people, who also share a common history with Egypt. Additionally, a few pre-Islamic Arabian tribes existed in Sudan from earlier migrations into the region from Western Arabia, although most Arabs in Sudan are dated from migrations after the 12th century.[129]

“The vast majority of Arab tribes in Sudan migrated into the Sudan in the 12th century, intermarried with the indigenous Nubian and other African populations and introduced Islam.”

“In common with much of the rest of the Arab world, the gradual process of Arabization in Sudan following these Arabian migrations after the 12th century led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture, leading to the shift among a majority of Sudanese today to an Arab ethnic identity. This process was furthered both by the spread of Islam and an emigration to Sudan of ethnic Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula, and their intermarriage with the Arabized indigenous peoples of the country.”

wikipedia page on “Sudan.” (where i got the above paragraphs in orange, from).  (they can be found under “Demographics—ethnic groups,” of the table of contents).

 

I think my Arab ethnicity is more dominant than my African. (which is sad. 😦 I would love to be “more African.” That would be awesome.)

My fellow Sudanese people know this identity struggle thing—they know what I’m talking about. (“I want to be African!” “I want to be Arab!” “I want to be 50/50!” Haha, this identity crisis will go on forever, I think).

(By the way: here’s a great article that really highlights this interesting struggle of being Sudanese (the “identity crisis,” as it’s often put): http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jun/10/sudan-identity-crisis-north-south

~*~*~*~*~*~

But, anyways; though I am content and ok with being Afro-Arab, I’ve always thought to myself that if I had a choice about what place I’m from, or my ethnicity, or my culture, or however it is put—if I could go back in time and choose my origins/homeland—I would probably choose Native American. (meaning; any of the native cultures or groups of North or South America. Like; the Iroquois of North America, for one example.:))

Why? The answer is obvious, to me, actually. It’s because; Native American values, beliefs, and traditions/practices are some of the most peaceful, on Earth (if not the most peaceful). To me, anyways. Like, reading their history, I am very touched by their gentleness and their views on certain topics (like; how to treat the earth that we all live in). And, as a very diverse people (with many, many different Native tribes, groups, and etc.), they seem to me to be peaceful, non-combative, and tolerant, as a whole. That really says something about Native culture, as a whole, I think. I mean; all Native peoples/groups seem peaceful, they have a strong sense of “being good stewards of the Earth,” as it is sometimes put, today, and they are just extremely calm and compassionate people (and in this crazily chaotic and cruel world, we need that).

I hope the ignoring and the overall harshness towards the Native peoples can someday completely stop. They have done nothing to us. And, historically, they did nothing to the horrible “settlers” who exploited them (e.g., by ransacking their natural resources), brought over awful diseases from their ships (and killed a great number of them, that way), went to war against them (and killed a great number of them, that way), or any of the other injustices that were done against them.

Lastly! I hope I can learn more about the Native cultures and history, in the future. Knowledge is one of the only ways to affect positive change, in other people. (Like; if you simply don’t know about the injustices that were done against the Native peoples, you simply can’t do anything about it. You just can’t be a volunteer for a Native American nonprofit organization, for example…because you don’t know that the cause is so crucial and beautiful).

~

Anyways.

I end this mini-essay with this clip from Disney’s “Pocahontas.” (I know it’s extremely cliché to do so….but the song (sung by Pocahontas to the settler) comes at least a little bit close to depicting how beautiful Native culture is, I think.

“colors of the wind.” trigger warning: sadness and tears might ensue

“You think you own whatever land you land on. ‘The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim.’ But, I know every rock and sea and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name.”

…”And we are all connected to each other in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.”

You can own the Earth, and still all you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colors of the wind.”

😢😢

-“The Colors of the Wind”

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These essays (both parts) were written by Ethar Hamid…

Hi there 🙂

Recently, I discovered a really cool literary magazine called Barking Sycamores. https://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/ It publishes work by neurodivergent artists and writers. The magazine introduced me to the word “neurodivergent” for the first time. After learning what “neurodivergent” means, I learned that I myself am neurodivergent, having a mental disorder.

Wikipedia–

Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that suggests that diverse neurological conditions appear as a result of normal variations in the human genome.[1] This neologism originated in the late 1990s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, instead asserting that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category on a par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.

There is a neurodiversity movement, which is an international civil rights movement that has the autism rights movement as its most influential submovement. This movement frames autism, bipolarity and other neurotypes as a natural human variation rather than a pathology or disorder, and its advocates reject the idea that neurological differences need to be (or can be) cured, as they believe them to be authentic forms of human diversity, self-expression, and being.

Neurodiversity advocates promote support systems (such as inclusion-focused services, accommodations, communication and assistive technologies, occupational training, and independent living support)[2] that allow those who are neurodivergent to live their lives as they are, rather than being coerced or forced to adopt uncritically accepted ideas of normality, or to conform to a clinical ideal.

Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=neurodivergent) —

A person who has a developmental disorder and/or a mental illness

Amy, who has Asperger’s, prefers to think of herself as neurodivergent rather than flawed or ill. Peter is schizophrenic, and he also thinks “neurodivergent” is a better way to describe his brain, because it does not pathologize him. Sam is both autistic and bipolar, and uses neurodivergent because it allows them to talk about their experiences as both non-allistic and non-mentally-“healthy” in a way that doesn’t carry a bunch of extra judgments about what’s good or normal.

 

I also actually submitted some artwork to Barking Sycamores, and they got accepted! 🙂 🙂

One of my pieces is actually the cover art for the current issue. ↓

IMG_1259

I guess I also get an “about me” feature…which i don’t think I’m cool enough for actually!!

About the Cover Artist-Ethar Hamid

https://barkingsycamores.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/issue-8-reconstruction-winterspring-2016/

https://twitter.com/BarkingSycamore/status/689276145607393280

I’m so grateful to the editor for considering my work…

I hope the publication continues to be a success, in the future.

Also; may we all find success as writers and artists, in our work. It’s *so* hard to be either of those…but dedication and perseverance will take us there…… 🙂

 

Thank you** for reading (and viewing)! ❤

-Ethar H.

You Know Your Mental Illness Has Become Part of You When…

  • You liked The Soloist and A Beautiful Mind wayy more than your friends did
  • You are blasé about taking your meds in public (like in class, or in a line at Starbucks)
  • You join your college’s chapter of Active Minds (though you had no interest in it/didn’t know what it was, before)
  • You get genuinely upset when hearing stigma/discrimination stories (like someone’s significant other/potential partner leaving him/her after learning about his/her mental disorder)
  • (This one’s for religious people) You try to look for acknowledgment/acceptance of mental illness in your religion ( 😂 don’t ask…)
  • You found out about an amazing magazine (art, essays, poetry) about mental health, and your whole day got brighter (Doll Hospital Journal, anyone?)
  • You regularly find yourself in the fish oil supplements section of the pharmacy (though taking those supplements would have never crossed your mind, otherwise)
  • Your favorite artist somehow becomes van Gogh (or another artist who suffered from mental illness)
  • your Facebook, Twitter, or blog account is filled with mental health-related stuff (facts, pics, video clips, etc.)…
  • you don’t necessarily want your mental illness to go away…but you just want the painful aspects to go away

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Thank you for reading! hehe

-Ethar Hamid