Saturday, December 09, 2006

Denouncing God & Cutting off Business Relations

I was with three other Kuwaiti students on the flight to New York this Thanksgiving. One young man, Ahmed, a well-spoken history and political science major, was sitting next to me during the trip. He was telling me about the little Afghani eatery on his campus and why he stopped going there ever since the storeowner told his friend that he doesn’t believe in God ever since his daughter died.

“Why would you mix business with religion Ahmed?”

He replied, “Well, if I were to continue to be his customer, it would seem like I was condoning his actions.”

“But what he’s doing is between him and God and it doesn’t involve or hurt your own faith.”

“Yes, but what he did is considered ‘jahr’ (publicly stating God’s nonexistence in a bad intentioned manner) and people like him should be outcast from Islamic society and not be welcomed.”

“But didn’t your friend ask him about it his religion? I mean, he merely answered her question. He did not, however, go to the center of town and denounce God in a hateful manner right? And I think one should think about the external factors that drove him to purposively distant himself from God. He didn’t have the same opportunities as you did regarding his education about Islam. His faith was probably weak to begin with. I think that such factors should be put under consideration as well, don’t you think?”

“Yes, that is true, but I still think that I shouldn’t develop any ties with people like him.”

“Personal ties are different. But you’re merely a customer and if he treats you well and provides the service adequately, I don’t see that as a prompt to his blasphemy.”

We were silent for a moment. Our conversation sunk in.

“You know Erzulie,” Ahmed started, “Wait, do you smell that?”

We were on Midwest Airlines. We were sitting in our comfortable leather seats, and we knew what was coming. I smiled, since I knew about Ahmed’s sweet-tooth.

Midwest’s scrumptious, mouth-watering cookies ended our conversation. I wondered if there are any skeptics working for Midwest, and if Ahmed would shun the two, free cookies. Well, in any case, they were too good to pass up whether they were served by a neo-Nazi, Buddhist, or atheist.

MP3's...if they don't work now, try again later
Tosca - John Tomes
UNKLE - Have you passed through this night?
Gotan Project - Zen Men
No Noise - Karma Shabda

at 11:15 PM


  1. Blogger Shurouq posted at 11:37 PM  
    Cookie looks yummy!

    Erzulie, shlonich?
  2. Blogger jambino posted at 12:10 AM  
    I responded to your previous post and then you went bam! :p
  3. Blogger Erzulie posted at 3:25 AM  
    Ah my two favorite potatoes! Shurouq, I'm doing well for now, the hysteria of finals didn't hit yet :) Jamba! And I responded to your respond and yes, I did go bam! :D
    Yes, the hysteria begins...dum de dum de be continued...
  4. Blogger badly.drawn.woman posted at 3:49 AM  
    hi erzulie... i read your blog but i don't always comment... lazy me... bs i had to laugh at the finals hysteria... cracked me up... it's my first finals in grad school and i'm contemplating anxiety pills... may your finals go smoother and with less stress... how're you coping?

    oh and that library episode was just heartbreaking! i know exactly how you feel... my laptop died in NY bil conference and ALL my work was gone... i had to send it to HP ... and rent a laptop to re-do everything... ugh...

    And that was an interesting conversation with your friend... i'm always baffled by how people's prejudices intensify in exile whereas you'd think it'd be otherwise... i mean does it matter!? you're just eating... who knows waht faith the person who's doing your hamburger/fries/salad/milkshake/sushi/wahtever ?!
    mmmm.. those cookies look yummy btw...
    one more week to kuwait... yippeee

    mwafiga inshalla!
  5. Blogger Kthekuwaiti posted at 12:28 PM  
    I wonder what would happen if people only interacted with those from the same mentality... Your friend would probably go hungry; and I would be driving a lada.

    Either way, I wonder how he would feel if someone refused to serve him for his beliefs.
  6. Blogger 3abeer posted at 9:33 PM  
    I wonder if restaurants in Kuwait employ "believers" only!
    do they scan them? I doubt.
  7. Blogger Fallen Angel posted at 4:02 AM  
    Nice one Erzulie...loved how you articulate your responses and questions.
  8. Blogger 1001 Nights posted at 12:16 PM  
    It sounds like the owner actually offended the guys. I mean it's not just a question of someone not beleiving, but it seems that he actually offended them. But I dont know that for sure. At any rate, I personally couldn't care less if someone was a heathen so long as I don't love them (family members/close friends.) But if someone is ashkara blasphemous and insults God in front of me I feel personally offended. I mean we get offended when someone insults our father, why wouldn't we get offended if someone insults God or is open about bitterness towards Him?
  9. Blogger bored posted at 6:26 PM  
    i think that this guy was still angry with the loss of his daughter and his way of showing that anger is by denouncing god to anyone who asks, whether he believes it or not.
  10. Blogger Sami posted at 2:38 AM  
    The bottom line, Afghani food is yummy!
  11. Blogger Amunki posted at 12:02 PM  
    "Thou shalt never denounce cookies!!!"
  12. Blogger Erzulie posted at 6:23 AM  
    bdwoman: I just came back home. It's 9 pm now and I've been out since 8 am (with only two hours of sleep). I was supposed to go see Mel Gibson's Apocalypso (sp?) but after eating beans and rice at a Mexican rest., well, I just sat there all bleary-eyed with sleep.
    The library thing really pissed me off. And the cop did too! I mean, I think it was a little bit after one in the morning. It had just started to snow (beginnings of the blizzard that happened overnight) and there I was, pulled over (was the only one in the darn street) on an empty Thursday night! *harumph*
    And yeah, about the conversation. Well, I was really surprised that my friend took a black and white stance because he's really open-minded and is a genuinely faithful person. But I don't know, something about that conversation frustrated me and my perception of him...And thanks, good luck to you too :))

    K: Exactly.

    3abeer: Heh, imagine that happening...actually, don't :P

    fallen: Thanx :)

    1001: Well, by the way my friend put it, my friend's friend was talking to the restaurant owner about religion and she asked if he practices Islam, and that's when he said no and provided his reasoning and justification of why he doesn't believe in God anymore. I can see where you're coming from but no, it wasn't forceful or anything (otherwise my friend would've mentioned it).

    bored: I think that he wants to blame someone or something for his daughter's abrupt death and the pain that he went through...I guess that shows resentment of one's destiny and not acceptance of it.

    sami: Sure is! :)

    amunki: You can say that again...and again :P~
  13. Blogger Hazolat posted at 12:52 AM  
    Very nice topic Erzulie. Personally I think that God and all religions aim at helping human beings be good. So if a person is good & decent, it shouldn't matter what he/she believes in. It's as simple as that to me.
  14. Blogger Erzulie posted at 1:35 PM  
    Hazolat: And I agree :)

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