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A question of identity November 5, 2006

Posted by Mujahid Mustaqim in Advice, Concepts, StraightWay.

A resource I have long been impressed by is the Cyber Counselor section at Islam Online, possibly the biggest Islamic site out there. When I formed StraightWay with its website in 2002, IOL was almost the only place I could find existing resources on Islam and homosexuality, including both rulings and advice. I even enjoyed a short discussion with Dr. Nadia El-Awady, following a research she published there in 2003.

This is a recent question to the Cyber Counselor, with an answer by Hwaa Irfan, the section’s editor:

“Attracted to the wrong kind”

She kindly gave a link to our site, which I’m sorry to say we haven’t updated in a long time. That is set to change soon with a revamp – pray for us please. Some people have felt that this blog is too focused on critique, with not enough advice. That’s possibly true, but once we get the new site going, the balance should be just right, in sha’ Allah.

UPDATE: Here’s another one from IOL: “Fear of What I am Becoming”


1. Anonymous - November 6, 2006

I had been to the website and must tell you that I’m still grinning about the name. I guess you have taken the widely mistranslation of “Siraat ul Mustaqiim” in English quiet seriously. In Arabic, Mustaqiim does not mean “straight” but “right.”

It is ok to criticise but it is quiet a whole another ball game to insult, to lie and to condemn other Muslims who are suffering. This blog is way too negative and there is a feeling of ingenuine through it all. Those interested in the betterment of others are kind, and when they critique they do so with love and compassion. Outside of that is unjust, and surely Allah discourages being unjust.

2. Rasheed Eldin - November 6, 2006

An Arabic expert now as well as a wine enthusiast? Perhaps you could share some evidence that “straight” is a mistranslation. I’ll tell you that Hans Wehr’s dictionary gives all the following meanings for istaqaama, of which mustaqeem is the verbal noun:
to rise, get up, stand up; to straighten up, draw oneself up, to stand upright, stand erect; to be or become straight; to be right, correct, sound, proper, in order; to keep, stick (to something)
And what is your point anyway?
None of us on this blog insult or condemn people for suffering from SSA. Quite the opposite. Why don’t you find the specific posts that irk you, and comment there (even as Annoying Mouse)?

3. Anonymous - November 7, 2006

Rasheed, I would quote you Ja’ffer’s poem about Wehr but you wouldn’t know anything about t.

As for insults and the negativity on this blog, it is not specific but the whole blog. Almost every post is negative; insulting, condemning, ridiculing, or some form of negativity.

By the way, aside from you calling me a “mouse” and “idiot”, I still haven’t said anything to you particularly that is insulting. And this is a great example of the whole blog. If that is your idea of ciritique, you have a long way to go.

4. Rasheed Eldin - November 7, 2006

No no, go ahead and quote, if that will that prove your point. Otherwise just retract your nonsense.

5. Anonymous - November 7, 2006

Rasheed, do you speak Arabic? “Siraat ul Mustaqeem” does not mean “the Straight Way” et cetera but “the Right Path.” In Arabic, by just adding one haraf/letter it can dramatically change the meaning. For a better understanding of what “mustaqeem” means in the Qur’an, I invite you to check out verse 17:35.

Ja’ffer’s poetry are a bit vulgar. If you don’t know, you don’t need to know.

6. Mujahid Mustaqim - November 7, 2006

Dear brother or sister,

I’m sorry that you feel that things are too negative here. And sorry it seems you and Rasheed just aren’t getting along!

But here we are dealing with a negative topic, and we don’t apologise for being harsh on the likes of Daayiee, Manji and Tatchell. That is a small part of what they deserve for their evil work against Islam.

If you want to get a feel for the other side of what we’re doing, a starting point could be the “Advice” tag on the right-hand side – or follow this link:

I do agree with Rashid that there’s not much point in saying what you just did as a general criticism. If there’s something any of us have said specifically that’s out of line, any readers should point that out in the individual thread. We NEVER condemn people for what they feel. And we always emphasise Allah’s forgiveness for those who commit sins.

7. Rasheed Eldin - November 7, 2006

No Mujahid, it’s nothing personal. How can it be?
Anon has failed yet again to back up her assertions, instead telling me patronisingly that changing a letter changes the meaning. Of course that has nothing to do with it. The question is about the ROOT of the verb istaqaama, and its derived meaning(s).
Yes, I do speak Arabic. And why has Anon still not explained what his point is – does she not have one?
I provided an evidence that “straight” is valid, but Anon can only say that he won’t quote something that may or may not have anything to do with it, or have any strength in refuting my evidence.
Debating 101, anyone?
Al-Qurtubi, renowned for his linguistic-based tafseer, says of the word mustaqeem:
وهو الذي لا ٱعوجاج فيه ولا ٱنحراف
“That which has no crookedness or deviation in it.”
i.e. straight!!
It’s odd that you reference one verse to “invite” me to think, but you fail to explain why “right” is better than “straight”, even for that verse, let alone for the 40 places the word occurs in the Qur’an. The overwhelming meaning throughout the Qur’an is “straight”.

Al-Fatiha (The Opening) > [1:6]
Al-Baqara (The Cow) > [2:213][2:142]
Al-Imran (The Family of Imran)> [3:51][3:101]
An-Nisa (The Women)> [4:68][4:175]
Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread) > [5:16]
Al-An’am (The Cattle) > [6:39][6:87][6:126][6:161][6:153]
Al-A’raf (The Heights) [7:16]
At-Tauba (The Repentance)[9:7]
Hud (The Prophet Hud)[11:56]
Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract)[15:41]
An-Nahl (The Bee)[16:76][16:121]
Al-Isra (The Journey by Night)[17:35]
Maryam (Mary)[19:36]
Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage)[22:54][22:67]
Al-Mu’minun (The Believers)[23:73]
Al-Nour (The Light)[24:46]
Ash-Shu’ara (The Poets)[26:182]
Ya-Sin (Ya-Sin)[36:4][36:61]
As-Saffat (The Rangers)[37:118]
Fussilat (Explained in Detail)[41:30]
Ash-Shura (The Consultation) [42:52]
Az-Zukhruf (The Gold Adornments) [43:43][43:61][43:64]
Al-Ahqaf (The Curved Sandhills) [46:13][46:30]
Al-Fath (The Victory) [48:2][48:20]
Al-Mulk (Dominion) [67:22]

Lastly, I would agree that “path” is better than “way”, but both are acceptable.

8. Anonymous - November 8, 2006

Mujahid, Thank you very much for proving my point. Daayiee and Manji are both self-described Muslims. It is extremely saddening that you are calling Muslims to have “evil work” against their own very faith. All because their way of understanding is different from you? And what gives you, exactly, the right to make such a condemning judgement?

And it is very sad that you also include Tatchell, a non-Muslim who championed time and again for the rights of Muslims. You needed a “specific” and I think you just gave one yourself.

9. Anonymous - November 8, 2006

Rasheed, you quoted Al-Qurtubi as interpreting the word as “That which has no crookedness or deviation in it.” In other words, Right Path. How does that mean “straight”? (Was Al-Qurtubi translating “Siraat ul Mustaqeem” or the word Mustaqeem itself?)

For the benefit of the reader, I will quote the full verse:

“And give full measure when you measure out, and weigh with a right balance; that is righteous and better [for you] in the end.” (Qur’an 17:35)

The part “Bil-qisaas Al-Mustaqiim” (“With a right balance”) is what matters in this discussion. And let me be the first to tell you how illogical “with a STRAIGHT balance” sounds.

By the way, had you known Arabic or read the Qur’an, you would have known that I mentioned this verse because it is one of only two instances where the verse deals with something outside of “the Rght Path.” Neither would you call that “overwhelming” for surely two meanings, either of which mean something, do not constitute an overwhelming evidence.

And now you are calling me a “her.” Why don’t you stop with the assumptions of my gender and just stick to the issues at hand?

10. Rasheed Eldin - November 8, 2006

You asked me if I speak Arabic, and I told you I do. It’s plain to me that you don’t, but feel free to claim otherwise.

Mustaqeem means straight (among other words that can be used in translation), and that is known by all Arabs. It is the primary understood meaning. And if you ask any English speaker for one word that described “that which has no CROOKEDNESS or deviation in it”, they will say “STRAIGHT” – not “right”. I can’t understand yur failure to grasp that.

Since you’re giving the pretence of being a translator, let me point out that al-Qistaas (not Qisaas) al-Mustaqeem is in the definite, so using “a” there is incorrect. The translation of mustaqeem there could indeed be “straight”, though “right” is acceptable, as is “upright”. The description is to the action of being just, not to a physical balance (which is “meezaan”, not “qistaas”).

I am not going to discuss further linguistic points with you, since you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

11. Rasheed Eldin - November 8, 2006

About Daayiee and Manji – you can read exactly what we have written about them, especially about Daayiee since his heresies are less well known to the public.

It really doesn’t matter that they describe themselves as Muslims – it is possible for even Muslims to work against Islam. That is exactly what they do. We leave their judgement up to God, but we will do our best to highlight their undermining of His religion.

Tatchell championing Muslims’ rights? You really need to read. Even Imaan, a British “gay Muslim” group that must be more to your liking, have called him an Islamophobe.

12. Anon - November 8, 2006

Rasheed, it s not the “Qisdaas” (my typo, sorry) but the “Wazenou” that makes the action. In English, undeviated would show a right course not “straight.”

You are saying “could be straight” (unsure) but that “right is acceptable.”(for sure.) Haven’t you answered your own question then? :-))

As for 17:35 not being a “physical” balance between right and wrong, check out the verse 26:182 which deals with similar. However, in the verse before it we read “Give just measure, and do not be among those who [unjustly] cause loss [to others.]” And, in fact, the verse 183 which is the one after the “qistaas” mention, we are also told to “not deprive people what is rightfully theirs”

Now, Rasheed, assuming you are Sunni since you have cited Sunni sources for me, would you also claim Shi’ites and other Muslims who happen to be not Sunni and advocate beliefs drastically different from Sunnism are also working against Islam?

Do you see the fault in saying other people are working against their self-described faiths? How in the world can you say Manji is working against Islam when her subtitle in her book says she is a Muslim? How can you say Daayiee works against Islam when he has been a faithful Muslim for over many decades, choosing to leave his original faith? Really, what gives you this judgment? Can we not leave God to judge when it comes to what people believe as long as they are not physically harming anyone?

I think Muslims like you are proving Manji’s claims even more correct. There is just a hunger out there for many Muslims to be a judge. In the meantime, God insists who is the ONLY Haakim.

As for Tatchell, I read what you posted. Only one person from Imaan (who happens to be a member) called him an Islamophobe. And you have also posted one of the officials posting against such claim. No mention of this. Another dishonesty in this blog, I guess.

I have never met Tatchell but apparently the Truth does not matter in this blog. Whether you agree with him or not, you know he has always fought gay Muslims seeking to stay in his country and has demonstrated many times against Muslim countries who have put to death people because of their sexual choices.

13. Taleb Haqq - November 9, 2006

Anon: Something that is not CROOKED…is STRAIGHT. I don’t know which English you learned.

14. sister Hajra - November 9, 2006

astaghfirullah, comeone, bro Rasheed and others stop argueing- even i’m not an adult and this whole thing seem so absurd. even we dont argue about such things. Dn’t forget your a Muslim for those brothers and sisters- so forgive and forget. asslamu alaikum. bro rasheed you havent read the replies we posted yet 😦 on ‘a question of identity’

15. Rasheed Eldin - November 9, 2006

Yes sister, I agree with you and am not going to reply on this argument any further. I think my points are clear enough, and Anon didn’t even explain why his contentions were worth arguing about in the first place. Who cares if mustaqeem means “straight” (which it does) or “right” (which it can)? That doesn’t affect our arguments in the least.

Sister Hajra, I don’t know what replies you’re referring to.

16. sister Hajra - November 12, 2006

voopz! never mind confusion alert.

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