Pearl Harbor Day

Is it Pearl Harbor Day today? Or is it my birthday? I turn 34 right around this time (11:15am Pakistan Standard Time).

Instead of posting photos of me as a toddler, I’ll use my birthday as an excuse to post more pictures of Michelle (with me, of course).

22 minutes old Trying to keep her hands off her face Day 7: Likes the rocking chair
Us watching her weblog Trying to get her on her stomach See the look on Michelle's face
First time bottle-feeding Trying cheek to cheek Michelle and me
Last Day in Piscataway At a Rest Area Looking at each other
Eid Afternoon Can hold her head now She likes to face outward
Michelle and me Michelle not smiling Laughter rings our home

And Happy Hannukah too.

Segregated Blogging

Via Sister Soljah, I found a post on a blog titled Blogging: an Islamic perspective. I was intrigued.

The blogger divides all blogs into 3 categories: personal, topical, and a mix of the two. His criticism is directed at personal blogs.

For starters, all bloggers know that since their blogs are public, their entries are accessible by anyone and everyone. As such, every blogger (but specifically a Muslim one) should be extremely cautious about what he/she is divulging in the blog entries. Many times, the contents of a single entry don’t seem to be of much concern, but when read collectively with past entries, they can provide an entire profile on the personality, character, and even physical traits of a person.

This is a regular concern for everyone with a blog. He gives it an “Islamic” touch later.

Islam, with its emphasis on modesty and its cautious approach to gender interaction, strongly discourages members of the opposite sex from openly divulging their personality, character, and physical traits (among other things) to each other.

The old interaction between genders bugaboo!

Originally, when the concept of distant communication in real-time was non-existent, the prohibitions that were laid down were for physical, face-to-face contact. However, the advent of telephones, the Internet, SMS, digital cameras, and e-mail, has made it possible to have unhindered communication and interaction without any physical contact whatsoever. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between the two forms of communication (in terms of actual presence vs. distant) from a religious ruling point of view. Therefore, the entire concept of modesty, “lowering the gaze”, and “covering ones self properly” must be extended to all forms of contact. Thus, they must be applied in a holistic sense, to all our actions, and not only to physical interaction.

The author is stretching his logic too thin in my opinion. Interaction on the web is not the same as in real life, though some of the same norms do (or should) apply.

Similarly, bloggers must be careful about what they write, lest they divulge traits about themselves that they should otherwise not be making known to the opposite gender, while at the same time, leading the readers into sin by hooking them on to reading on and learning more about the things they really don’t need to know, and shouldn’t know. Some devoted readers even end up forming an affectionate, emotional attachment with the author.

The fact that the above is in fact possible has proven itself time and time again, with bloggers receiving marriage proposals and other suggestive comments through various means such as e-mail, the comments box on their blogs, etc. It is highly unlikely that a stranger would send off a marriage proposal unless he/she was able to get to know the author well enough to feel comfortable in taking such a step.

I guess he hasn’t read my post regarding commenters looking for marriage.

And is he saying that anything that leads to marriage proposals is banned in Islam? Where would that leave society?

As long as the readers of the personal journal can’t communicate with the author, it is a one-way communication. However, the negative aspects of personal journals are multiplied when a mechanism is made available for readers to leave comments for and interact with the author and with others, without any restrictions. As witnessed on some blogs, the ability to leave comments on the blog (either in the form of a ‘comments’ link after each post or a ‘shout’ box) can lead to unhindered communication between members of the opposite gender.

He comes out against blog commenting. Big surprise!

With the Islamic principles of modesty as a backdrop, it must be made clear that cross-gender interaction is permissible when needed, for as much as it is needed. Anything beyond that is impermissible.

May be TypeKey can provide the commenter’s gender as well which will allow bloggers to block comments from those of the opposite gender, just like spam.

In the end, he provides some alternatives to personal blogs.

As an alternative, one can have a private blog on one’s own computer. As well, a gender-specific Yahoo! group can be created for members of the same gender to post their entries. Some blogging sites allow for password-protected entries, through which one can restrict and limit who can read the entries. Soon, some Islamic sites may begin brother- and sister-only blogging services, Insha-Allah.

Great! First, our college MSA came up with separate mailing lists for guys and girls. Now, he wants to create gender-segregated blogging.

10 + Michelle

It’s been exactly 10 years since “I” became “We”. On December 1, 1994 in Wah Cantt, Pakistan, Amber and I got married. That day, we thought we knew what love was. But we weren’t really aware of the bond between two persons who spend their lives together. Since then, our love has grown considerably; we trust each other completely; and respect is definitely part of the equation. We have found out every idiosyncratic and mundane thing about each other.

There have obviously been ups and downs. There were compromises to make. There were also the difficult times when we lived in different states: Amber in Jersey and I in Georgia.

Overall, these have been a magnificent 10 years. The icing on the cake, so to speak, was provided during this last year with the birth of our daughter Michelle.

Last year, I posted photographs from the day of our wedding to our 9th anniversary. This year, the theme of the photographs is the “icing.”

Michelle is 8 days old Eid Morning
Going to an Eid party Thanksgiving Day

Tonight, we are planning to go for dinner at a South African restaurant.

UPDATE: The ostrich was great. I heartily recommend 10 Degrees South.