Anyhow -- I also related completely to Priscilla - her fear/worry/terror about her sister's battle with cancer is one that I have been through with my father. Terrifying and mind-numbing. It's horrible and I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone. I can also understand the "if there's a god, how could He let ____ happen?" thing. It's normal for us to question, I think. It's part of what can solidify our faith if we are able to see beyond the negative (for there is often good in bad). For example, my father's illness was able to bring us all closer together as a family -- good from bad.
That's pretty much all I have to say about Chapter 7. Chapter 8 however has my hackles up. I agree with her on the first 4 pages or so -- but then she gets into the wine. Perhaps she's never read the whole Quran, or what -- but in the 5th chapter it says:
"O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling are an abomination of Satan's handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful."Sounds like a prohibition to me. I mean, the bottle of cleaning solution under my counter says "avoid contact with the eyes" -- but in Ranya's point of view - a little won't hurt. Her logic makes no sense to me.
And this whole "clutching a Quran while in childbirth" -- uh...wacko much? How does holding a Quran make you Muslim? No more than holding a Bible makes me Christian...and I find it more than a little creepy that someone would do that...really -- would you read the thing afterwords?? I recall being very sweaty and gross and otherwise unpleasant while birthing my babies -- don't see why I'd hold on to a holy book while in that state. But -- to each his own.
Then, again -- they start talking about segregation of sexes...and I already talked about that here and they go further to bring in yet more cultural issues that have nothing to do with Islam which Ranya at least states "But that says more about the condition of those societies and their legal systems than about Islam." (pg 115).
Then -- the big Polygamy issue. I disagree with Ranya here. It is allowed in Islam. I may not like it, you may not like it - but there are women (and I know some) who are very happy to have another wife for their husbands.
Stoning -- another hot button topic. It is a prescribed punishment in Islam...though not often carried out. There must be 4 eye witnesses to the deed (as in four different people who see the same incident...see it all, not just a man and woman walking into a room together - they have to actually see the act itself). You cannot simply accuse someone and have them stoned. Also, the punishment goes for a man as well as a woman...though, again, culturally it is something that seems to be done only to women. Sad that these countries choose to twist the faith to do as they please -- usually to keep their people too afraid to speak against them.
The Veil - so many people think that this is a forced thing in Islam. I, myself believe that it is a requirement and have chosen to follow that, but there are many women who don't. People ask me all the time about my daughter and if I will "make" her wear one, or when she "has to start" wearing one. I always answer when she chooses to. There is NO compulsion in religion -- how can forcing someone to wear a scarf on their head make one a better Muslim than one who doesn't? In my view (and it can be a controversial one) - it is something that is done when the wearer is ready and not before.
Ranya's last sentence in this chapter needs to be repeated: "...that is not the voice of Islam that I hear now. I hear an angry voice, and it is not about religion. It is politics masquerading as religion." I couldn't have said it better.
I also liked Suzanne's new take on Original Sin. This also bothered me when I was searching for a faith to follow. How can one carry on sin from your ancestors? It doesn't make sense to me. It's also neat to see that she's changing the way that she's changing her Sunday school teaching - to an all inclusive type of thing. I wonder how her church members will react to that? Will they bring judgment or come with open ears and hearts to hear the reasons behind it?