Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where Did I Go?

I was in the middle of reading the Bible and sharing thoughts and notes... that was a while ago now! I have since bought a duplex, found a renter, moved our family, and unpacked during Ramadan.... even after all of that, I thought I'd share some things that are keeping me busy, and inshaAllah I can come back to a normal pace in life and take the time to read for pleasure again.


Coffee and my Kindle... a combo I am becoming very comfortable with! Right now I'm reading Ibn Kathir's Stories of the Prophets for a class I'm teaching. In one level of the class, I'm starting at Adam (as) and the other level is starting at Musa (as). My goodness, there is so much I could write about what I read from this. But alas, I don't have the time to really put the thought into it.

Homeschool fun

My two kids at a nature center about 30 minutes from our home. My oldest is doing a journal activity that I assigned as part of a homeschool assignment. My youngest... well, she's trying to play with wood chips and probably sneak in eating some dirt while I'm not looking. Homeschooling this year is keeping me busier, and alhamdulilah, I love it! I love being a part of her learning, and taking her on many trips (like today, we went to the arboretum and tomorrow we are going to a pick your own apple orchard)

Cuddly squash

Last, but not least, I'm trying to keep on top of the bountiful harvest we are getting from our CSA... but only when I can get the food from my youngest, who will snuggle with anything. Apparently, this squash was going to be her cuddle buddy while she took a nap this day.

So, I haven't forgotten about the journey I started, nor have I given up! InshaAllah when I finish a class I'm taking, I can pick some things back up. Life happens... and all to fast at that!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Muslim Reading the Bible: Exodus 13 - Leviticus 20

Peace and Blessing to all,
Wow, it has already been two weeks! How the time passes... I have barely logged into Blogger lately, so it'll take a while to get back to your comments also. I apologize, but things are just not conducive to being able to sit down and write thought out posts and comments. InshaAllah, one day...

I'm sorry to say that I spent most of my reading in the end of Exodus and Leviticus completely bored. I finally got to the point where I just skimmed the making of the Tabernacle, the genealogy, laws of exactly how to sacrifice animals for atonement and other reasons. Frankly, I'm not going to be sacrificing an animal at the Tabernacle any time soon, so I figured it was pretty safe to not commit the "how" to memory.

I see now why Christians talk about being freed from the "law" of the Jews. Man, it is painful to read through it verbatim. Alhamdulilah, I love that Islam is the balance between a law that seems much like just custom without necessarily direct symbolism and meaning and a religion with too little guidance causing the followers to go every which way claiming they have the right way.


There are female prophets? Exo 15:20
Is Amalek an ethnic group today? Exo 17:14-16
This verse is clear as day about statues and creating images. Why then is this disregarded present day? Exo 20:4
Marking slaves like cattle? Yikes. Exo 21:6
Who acts as the judge for God on this earth? Exo 22:9
Is interest only forbidden for the Jews? And only between themselves? Exo 22:25
What does it mean you give them to God? Exo 22:30
Is this talking about Palestine? Exo 23:30-31
Is this justification for Israel's actions today? Exo 34:24

Is this how the priests stay fed? Lev 7:8-10
Why is the time the mother is unclean double when she has a girl? Lev 12:2-5
Atone for all of Israel? Lev 16:17
What is this day in modern times? Lev 16:29
Who is Molech? Lev 20:2
What does it mean to be cut off from his people? Lev 20:18

I found it interesting that in the Bible, Aaron was said to have made the golden calf. SubhanAllah, I know that the people in the Bible aren't expected to be sinless, but committing shirk (associating partners/idolatry)?!

In Islam, bid'ah (innovation) is considered a serious issue. I found it interesting how God reacted in this story to the innovation they were practicing. Lev 10:1-2

I'm sorry to say it, but some of these rituals remind me of witchcraft practices, like in this account: Lev 13:49-52

I'm into Numbers now, but as usual, I must go and this seems to be enough to digest at one time.

InshaAllah this finds everyone well, until next time!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Muslim Reading the Bible: Genesis 47-Exodus 12

We left off last time in the story of Joseph during the drought and famine. We can see how Pharaoh acquired all the land, and the people as slaves as they sold off their property and themselves as the famine continued. I found it interesting how often worshiping was mentioned with someone putting their face to the ground, but I don't know of barely any modern Jew or Christian that worships that way. Also, Jacob blesses his sons in Gen 49: 1-27, and I feel like there was supposed to be a lot of historical significance that translates into modern times, but the meaning escapes me.


What is the significance of vowing with your hand under their thigh? Gen 47:29
Why and how are Joseph's sons considered Jacob's? Gen 48:5
What does this mean? Especially the couch part? Gen 49:4
Exodus brings us to the story of Moses and things have felt pretty predictable to me while reading this in terms of what happens next in the story. I was a bit surprised in Exo 4:16 that God said Moses is like God to these people; it just seems like an awfully strong statement! I also noticed that a few times it said that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. I've noticed this type of language in both the Qur'an and the Bible now, which can be hard to swallow. I mean, why would God harden someone's heart? Does that contradict our picture of a Merciful God? I have my own thoughts on this, but I would be interested to hear other people's thoughts. 

I noted at Exo 12:15 that as far as I remember, this is the first direct command from God. As a Muslim, we believe that there were scrolls from Abraham to guide people to God's way. I'm just curious what the Jewish/Christian view is.

Also, in Exodus 11, God tells Moses that Pharaoh will let them go but it seems in Exodus 12:33-36 that Pharaoh isn't involved at all. That confused me a bit.


I thought his father in law was Reuel? Did Moses marry again and it wasn't mentioned?  Exo 3:1 vs Exo 2:18-21
Israel (Jacob) is God's first born son? I don't originally have a problem with the term. What catches me is when I read the Gospels (you can see this here), the term doesn't seem to be different. I am getting ahead of myself a bit, but how is Jesus seen as a literal son of God, and everywhere else it is mentioned, it is figurative? Exo 4:22-23
What is this about? I'm totally lost. Exo 4:24-26
What does the term uncircumcised lips mean? Exo 6:12
He married his aunt? Were there not guidelines for this type of stuff yet? Exo 6:20
Is this still practiced? Exo 12:5-6

It's amazing to me to read stories such as this, and whether one believes it is truth or fiction, that people remain the same throughout time. We measure Truth based on what we already know, and things that do not agree with our existing "wisdom" must be false. I'm even finding myself falling into such a trap. My, it is convenient.

Well, I'm in Exodus 34, but I'll leave with this. Reading is not hard to do, but sitting at the laptop uninterrupted is challenging. Alhamdulilah for my Kindle, otherwise the reading would be impossible to complete!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Muslim Reading the Bible: Genesis 30-47

So here we are at the second post, with many more to come, I'm sure (as long as I can stay consistent!). My overall thoughts were again surprised at the number of immoral things going on, but then I was very relieved to get through the entire story of Joseph without him committing some terrible sin! The story of Joseph matches up with the Qur'an pretty well in terms of events. Some of the smaller details such as if he was put into a well or a pit, if his father believed he was gone forever, etc. were different, but again, most of it lined up. I'll have to refresh myself on Qur'an stories after I'm done with this project to try to make sure I keep everything straight.

  • The heap of rocks is a witness? - Gen 31:48 Laban said, "This heap is a witness between you and me today." Therefore he named it Galeed 
  • Again, I'm seeing anthropomorphic verses. Do Christians believe that Jacob wrestled with God? Or do they take this as figurative? Gen 32:22-32
  • Dinah's brothers asked for the men who defiled her to be circumcised. Does this mean they are asking them to convert? Gen 34:15 Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised.
    •  I have to say that after they did circumcise everyone, it was quite disturbing that the brothers went and killed all the men in the town when they knew they would be healing. Talk about killing a fly with a sledge hammer!
  • Is this verse at least partially the basis of Israel being named a land for the Jews in present day? Gen 35:12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you."
  • I'm starting to think fornication isn't even considered a sin in Joseph's time. Here's another example of loose morals Gen 38:2 There Judah saw the daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. He took her and went in to her,
  • Is it the duty of a man to take in his deceased brother's wife? Do they get married, or just "play house?" Gen 38:8  Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother’s wife and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother."
    •  Onan then tries to prevent pregnancy with her in verse 9, and is put to death in verse 10. Is preventing pregnancy not allowed?
  • Why can't Egyptians eat with Hebrews? Gen 43:32 They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.
  • Another mention of divination from someone I thought was supposed to be a man of God? Gen 44:5 Is it not from this that my lord drinks, and by this that he practices divination? You have done evil in doing this. (The evil is stealing the cup)
  • Is Sheol hell?... okay, I looked it up now... Is this where purgatory comes in? Sounds awfully like Greek mythology to me. Gen 44:31 as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol.
  • Why are shepherds and abomination to Egyptians? Gen 46:34 ... for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians."

Like I said earlier, I really enjoyed reading Joseph's story. I made at note at Gen 39:10 "Joseph has morals!" Call me crazy, but I think a book that is scripture should be teaching us how to live and giving examples of behavior that is right in the sight of God.

This... I can't believe this is actually in the Bible!! She knew she was luring in her father in law! Gen 38:15-18 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16He turned to her at the roadside and said, "Come, let me come in to you," for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, "What will you give me, that you may come in to me?" 17He answered, "I will send you a young goat from the flock." And she said, "If you give me a pledge, until you send it—" 18He said, "What pledge shall I give you?" She replied, "Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 
  • Then in verse 24 Judah was going to put her to death by burning her alive, but then he finds out that she is pregnant with his child and so nothing happens! He doesn't deserve a punishment, but she was about to be burned alive?? 

I'm actually going to stop here to make reading this easier even though I have gotten into Exodus 4 so far. InshaAllah I'll put together another post very soon with the remainder of my notes. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Genesis 1-30

Okay, so the journey starts!

First, let me say that I'm not deliberately trying to pull out things to make the Bible look bad, but some things are just too hard to pass by without mentioning. My first surprise when I started reading was that the stories weren't in actual chronological order. As much as the Bible is used by Christians as a book of history, and it is written in that tone as well, I didn't expect the stories to not follow a timeline. Other than that, my overall attitude about what I've read so far is it feels like a history book I would be assigned in high school and I'm scared that one of the many people listed in the lineage are going to be on the test and I will fail based on my lack of being able to memorize the long list of who was the son of who.

I was also surprised at what feels like the lack of good role models thus far and moral stories. I knew there are some pretty sketchy accounts of prophets in the Bible, but I thought I remembered reading about great things they had done when I was in Sunday school as a kid. Now reading through it verbatim, I'm overwhelmed with the lying! Either people are lying about who they are, who their wife is, or what they have done... I'm anxiously awaiting some good moral story to prove to me my Sunday school lessons weren't a lie. I  know it's there! I should give credit to Abraham for following God's command and following through though.

Okay... notes:

I was a bit taken aback by the anthropomorphic nature of these verses:

Gen 1:10  ...And God saw that it was good.
Gen 3:8-10   And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 10And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."
Gen 18:33  And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

Angels are also mentioned in an anthropomorphic fashion:

Gen 19:1-2  The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2and said, "My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way." They said, "No; we will spend the night in the town square."
Gen 19:8  Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof."
Some curiosities. I just put links to the verses to make it easier on the eyes and save space:

Sons of God have children with daughters of man? Gen 6:4
What is significance of the animals being clean? Gen 8:20
What is the bow in the cloud? Gen 9:13
Why must Isaac's wife be from the land they left? Gen 24:3-6
Why does Rebekah cover herself in front of Isaac but not his servant? Gen 24:65
What exactly is Esau's birthright? Gen 25:32
Is this a support for tithing? Gen 28:22
They use divination?? Gen 30:27
Things I like: 

Gen 1:14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,
     I think I like this one because it reminds me of how Allah tells us in the Qur'an that the stars are signs for those who reflect
Gen 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
I think people in the US especially (just because that is largely what I know) need to remember that with dominion comes responsibility. Do people think their actions upon Allah's creation are going to go unnoticed? The Bible goes further in Gen 3:16 mentioning that man has rule over his wife. This seems to be a harsh tone, but I know the meaning that one would give behind it. All I have to say is if this was in the Qur'an, people would be pointing to it left and right saying, "See?! Men can do whatever they want to towards their wives!!"

And the disturbing accounts of the prophets:

Gen 9:20-21 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.
Gen 19:33-36 Lot's daughters get him drunk so they can sleep with him and get pregnant
Gen 20:12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. (Abraham is speaking in this passage)
Gen 26:9 So Abimelech called Isaac and said, "Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, 'She is my sister'?" Isaac said to him, "Because I thought, 'Lest I die because of her.'" (Abraham did the same thing: hiding that a woman is his wife. It isn't a huge thing, but the continued lying when convenient became disturbing)

I'm a bit bothered by the account of Isaac and Ishmael. Not that Ishmael needs to be the firstborn because he's the "father of the Arabs" or anything like that, but I don't get how things like Gen 13:16 is ignored, and how was Sarai wronged (see Gen 16:5) when she chose this path? I understand a wife having jealousy, but for Ishmael to be completely ignored as the first born seems extreme.

Whew! I should write the updates quicker because getting that all compiled again was quite a bit of work! And, I'm sure it is a bit to read through. Anyway, inshaAllah I'll get some more reading done over the next few days and share with you all. Tomorrow is very, very busy. InshaAllah I'm not totally fried at the end of it!

Assalam alaykum!

Peace and Blessings!

Monday, May 9, 2011

What Version?

Ah, the million dollar question! What version of the Bible should one read? The two main versions I hear of are the King James Version and the Revised Standard Version. I have to say that I do not trust the King James Version, but I know many that do, so I need to read something that I can trust, and that is reputable in their translations, using the earliest manuscripts available.

Why are these items important?

From where I stand, it appears to me that things have been distorted through time. That means that manuscripts that may be in Greek and Hebrew may still have distortions in them if they are late enough. I am not a scholar, nor do I know how to read Greek or Hebrew, so I have to put my trust in someone who is much more skilled than I in these areas. The fact that the King James Version is one of the earliest Bibles in the English language means nothing... what I want is a Bible that uses the earliest manuscripts available, knowing full well that there are no actual originals.

Reading through the versions list on has helped as it lists the philosophy behind the versions. I originally downloaded the English Standard Version to my Kindle and after reading the version's description on this website, I'm happy with my choice. Here's an excerpt of the description:

The ESV is an "essentially literal" translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. It seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original.


I have my notes in my Kindle, but just realized yesterday that they don't have a link back to the text. I'm going to need to find a more efficient way to take notes. So, my first post on what I've read so far is in the works, but it'll be a little bit of work to get it transcribed over. InshaAllah it will be sooner rather than later.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reading the Bible

I've been wanting to read the Bible for quite some time, and I read the Gospels within the last two years, but I wanted to be able to say I've read the entire thing.

I find it somewhat odd that most people don't show appreciation for one trying to read through the Bible. Not appreciation like, "Thanks for doing the dishes", I'm talking about respecting the act and validating it as a worthwhile thing to do. I have been told a number of times to just read a part, and of course this part is pointed out to me. What is so wrong with reading it from cover to cover?

I don't expect many surprises as I've read many people's viewpoints on the Bible whether it be agnostic, atheist, Muslim, Christian, etc. and this points me to all the "highlights" that one would want to display for their own purpose. My goal really in all of this is to understand context far better and to look at the whole picture. Too often we are pointed to one section or another, as I stated before, and I think unfortunately it is even more often that we as humans take the lazy way out and don't look into it further.

Now, I am the queen of being inconsistent, so I will do my best, but with two kids (one being quite small still) and a husband that keep me busy, I can't make any promises. Just know my intentions are to take the notes from my Kindle and try to share them along the way.