Lecture speaks of whose body is to be washed and shrouded as a Muslim. The different types of Martyrs are also discussed. What to do if a body part is found. PowerPoint: http://sunnahfollowers.net/ppt/Tawheed/Sickness/Sickness-7/img0.html
When a song says it better…
When I open my eyes I cannot see
When I touch my hand I cannot feel
I am stuck in my mind I can’t explain,
Please forgive me when I’m lost and far away
I need your Love and I need it everyday
I don’t wanna go back I will change my life today
the world is cold and I need your warmth today
I’m feeling sad but I hold on everyday,
I think I’m falling down down down
I think I’m falling down down down down
I hope you hear me
I hope you catch me when I fall,
I hope you catch me when I fall,
You’re the one that gives me air to breathe
You’re the onethat gives me time to heal
I don’t wanna be sad, don’t wanna feel bad, I hope you will make it alright,
Oh I’m sorry, cause I know that I’ve lost myself,
I think I’m falling down down down
I hope you hear me
I hope you catch me when I fall,
You will make it better
You will make it better better
You will make it better
You will make it better, better
– Catch Me When I fall, by Nadeem Mohammad
I saw this on NZ Conservative Coalition as well. While reading this, it’s scary to thing that Islam has already subverted our culture so much that law enforcement remains inactive when it encroaches on our rights here in America. Enjoy!
Forbidden by F. Stone (Suspense/Thriller)
This is a complex and fast-paced thriller with strong main characters — a female Canadian paramedic with a tragic past who suffers from severe bouts of PTSD and a devout Muslim police captain working in a Middle Eastern city where corruption makes it hard to know whom to trust. The massacre of fifteen American aid workers brings the paramedic and the captain together as reluctant allies when both become targets of a local governmental cover-up of the massacre. The arrival of an American CIA Agent bent on finding out who killed the American volunteers adds another layer of risk, as he believes the captain may have masterminded the whole thing. Despite their differences in background and outlook on life, the paramedic and the captain must work together to find the true perpetrator. Along the way they also (no surprise) find each other.
The author did a lot of research to ensure authenticity in her portrayal of the region and Islam, and her respect for her subject matter is evident. She also consulted with weapons experts, police officers, and cultural experts, and uses her own experience as a paramedic to bring authenticity to her characters’ actions. She does a good job of getting inside the heads of both a woman with heavy emotional issues and a disillusioned and unhappy man struggling with violating Sharia law while protecting that woman.
The story is set in the year 2047 — most likely to allow for creation of a new Middle Eastern entity known as the Republic of Islamic Provinces and Territories — but this is not a futuristic tale. Transportation, technology, medicine, etc. remain unchanged from 2017. Also somewhat incongruous is the fact that the paramedic is a “seer,” which pops up now and then, but has very little bearing on the story and, for me at least, compromised a character to whom I could otherwise easily relate.
My major complaint, however, is the book’s need for a good proofreader. While it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the story, I did find many sentences that were missing articles (the, a, an) or prepositions. Punctuation was funky in places. More distracting were the occasional inappropriate or misused words, including “shoulder” where it should have said “soldier.” I had to read that one sentence more than once to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.
Normally, the issues named above would take an average story down to three stars, but I enjoyed the story itself a great deal and appreciate the author’s careful and extensive preparation to tell it.
Grandma gives Forbidden four stars.
Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Because I am without a doubt the coolest kid on my block in Prague (and didn’t particularly feel like writing some dumbass numbered THREAD on Twitter), I spent a few minutes on Saturday night trolling through Canadian census data on Muslim populations in census metropolitan areas (CMAs: basically cities + suburbs and/or commuter areas), seeing how big or small they are compared to the population(s) of Muslims in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. (FWIW, all part of prepping a piece on Islamophobia in Slovakia and the general theme of Islamophobia really being trendy in places with barely any Muslims).
Background: there’s between 10-20,000 Muslims in the Czech Republic – a country of 10.6 million people, so at best 0.2% of the population – and around 5,000 next door in Slovakia, a country of 5.5 million (i.e., not even 0.1%). On the other hand, Canada’s got more than a million Muslims, making up more than 3% of the population.
Using the 2011 National Household Survey data (the most recent where religion is broken down by CMA), I estimated just how different some cities/CMAs in Canada are from both the Czech Republic and Slovakia:
Even tiny Lac La Biche, AB, population 8,300, has a mosque thanks to a longstanding Lebanese community there. It also has a community of Russian Old Believers outside of town. #TheMoreYouKnow.
Di antara penyakit yang menghalangi pengaruh doa adalah ketergesa-gesaan seorang hamba, di mana dia merasa jawaban atas doanya lamban. Akibatnya dia merasa merugi (karena membuang-buang waktu dan jerih payah), dan akhirnya meninggalkan doa.
Dia seperti orang yang menaburkan benih atau menanam pohon, lalu dia mulai merawatnya dan menyiraminya, namun tatkala dia merasa pertumbuhan dan matangnya lamban, dia pun meninggalkan dan menelantarkannya.
Dalam Shahih al-Bukhari, dari hadits Abu Hurairah Radhiyallahu Anhu, bahwa Rasulullah ﷺ bersabda,
يُسْتَجَا بُ لِأَحَدِ كُمْ مَا لَمْ يَعْجَلْ ، يَقُوْ لُ: دَ عَوْ تُ فَلَمْ يُسْتَجَبْ لِيْ
“Doa seseorang di antara kalian akan dikabulkan selama dia tidak tergesa-gesa. Dia berkata, ‘Aku sudah berdoa, namun tidak dikabulkan untukku’.” (HR Bukhari, no. 6340)
Dikutip dari : Terapi Syari’I Mengobati Penyakit Hati (Mukhtashar Ad-da’ wad Dawa’)
Karya : Imam Ibnu Qayyim Al-Jauziyah
Di intisarikan : DR.Ahmad bin Utsman Al-Mazyad
One of the enduring lessons of human history seems to be that it is much easier to hate than to love. We human beings seem to have a hard time swinging to the rhythm of our better angels, finding it much easier to march to the martial beat of belligerent animal spirits.
It seems our world is presently dancing to the tune of these latter demons, and many societies worldwide are experiencing hateful movements which justify themselves both by a smug self-supremacy and by a demonization of the “enemy.” Last weekend in Charlottesville, VA, a group describing itself as white supremacists gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally to protest (as was their right, having legally secured a permit) the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee authorized by the city council. As the rally time approached, counterdemonstrators also began to amass, and in a hate-charged climate insults and slurs began to fly, followed soon by fists and improvised weapons. The boiling enmity of the white nationalists was met by an equally torrid antipathy of radical leftists, and in the end, driven by such hate, a young white supremacist rammed his speeding car intentionally into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32 year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
In the aftermath, many in the world of the political and social left have pronounced their unmitigated condemnation of everything the white nationalists, neo-Nazis and KKK adherents stand for, and have started a movement to tear down every statue and reminder of the Confederate South and the institution of slavery which it championed and fought our Civil War over.
Then, yesterday, in a seemingly unrelated incident in Barcelona, Spain, and its surroundings, a Muslim terrorist cell (claimed by ISIS) carried out two vehicular jihadi attacks, and was responsible the night before for the massive explosion of a house, caused apparently by the accidental ignition of 20 canisters of gas seemingly intended by the terror cell for an upcoming attack. So far, 14 innocents are confirmed dead with another 130 plus injured.
Now, today, reports are coming from Turku, Finland (until today relatively untouched by terrorism) that a man with a large knife ran through the city center stabbing people and, according to witnesses, shouting “Allahu akbar.” He was shot by police and detained, but not before killing two and injuring eight others. Police have not released any information about the perpetrator, and declare that his motive is unknown so it’s too early to call this a terrorist attack. [Update: The attacker has now been identified as an 18 year-old Muslim male asylum-seeker from Morocco, and authorities are now open to the possibility that this was terror-related.]
Do these attacks share anything in common? I believe so. The Charlottesville melee was kindled by the explosive friction of two supremacist groups seeing each other as the enemy. The white supremacists view themselves as part of the privileged master race, wanting to cleanse this country of all genetic inferiors and any white people who side with them. The hard left liberals, with smug certainty that their views are true on, well, everything, have demonstrated on college campuses, in public buildings, on Wall Street and elsewhere, that to get their way they are willing to shout others down, destroy property, threaten personal bodily harm against any who refuse to bow to their demands. What happens when two supremacist groups face off, convinced that those on the other side are not worthy to be treated with respect? Violence.
In Spain and apparently now in Finland, we again are dealing with a supremacist movement, this time the religion of Islam. While not all Muslims by any means march in lockstep with its supremacist teachings, those who do believe unreservedly that their infallible prophet relayed Allah’s words that the Muslim community was the best of all peoples to ever exist (Qur’an 3:110), and that those refusing Islam are the vilest of creatures in all the world (98:6). True believers have been drafted by Allah into his army to spread his rule to the ends of the earth, installing Shari’a as the divine law under which all humanity will bow in submission. Those who do so voluntarily (without becoming Muslims) will grudgingly be allowed to live under severe limitations. Those who refuse to submit will be put to the sword.
To accomplish this goal, particularly when the Muslim community is weaker than the surrounding nations, those compliant with core Islam employ terrorism in order to weaken their opponents psychologically if not physically. The Qur’an encourages this mentality by revealing Allah to be the primary terrorist of his enemies:
“[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip. That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger. And whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger – indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” (8:12-13)
“We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.” (3:151)
“And He [Allah] brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture [Jewish tribes in Medina] from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts [so that] a party you [the Muslims in Medina] killed, and you took captive a party” (33:26; see also 59:2 for another reference to the same event).
The most authoritative traditions of Islam have no problem portraying Muhammad as embracing terrorism for the advancement of Islam:
“I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy)…” (Sahih Bukhari, 4.52.220).
While only Islam employs terrorism with divine warrant, all totalitarian movements are willing to use intimidation and violence to cow the masses into submission so as to advance their agenda of domination. So we see the extreme left and the extreme right in our country turning to such tactics as they vie to implement their visions upon our society.
There is one other way these movements reveal their commonality. Whatever stands against their cause must be removed not only from their presence but expunged from history, if possible. In Islam, Muhammad taught that the age before his revelation came was to be known as jahiliyya (ignorance). Now that Islam has come, all cultural practices and artifacts that smack of such ignorance (religious idols, strong pre-Islamic cultural memories and holidays, etc.) are to be eradicated from the people’s memory as Shari’a law is implemented and hegemonic Islamic government is implemented over conquered territory. [For a taste of what this might mean in an “Islamic State of America, see here.] As Islam spread across the world, it eradicated native cultures with varying degrees of success such that today in many parts of the Islamic world, societies do not remember any significant parts of their pre-Islamic heritage. The Taliban in Afghanistan are remembered for their religious fervor in destroying the Bamiyan Buddhas by using them for artillery target practice. ISIS in both Iraq and Syria have blown up ancient archaeological sites and decimated museums with ancient (pre-Islamic) relics precisely in order to wipe out any memory of the “age of ignorance” in their conquered territories.
Likewise, the extreme right white nationalists want to rid this country of any mixture of races by deporting, killing or forcing to flee all those whose racial “purity” doesn’t meet their standards. They would like to purge our Constitution of any extension of equal rights to minorities, and eliminate any celebrations of our civil rights advances or cultural heroes such as Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks or Thurgood Marshall.
The radical Left also have their campaign against ideological jahiliyya. For them, the ignorance is must of what the radical Right stands for. We see in the recent drive to remove all signs of the Confederacy from public view this same attempt to impose controls on what is acceptable thinking. From the banning of the Confederate flag wherever possible, the tearing down of statues erected in memory of Civil War heroes in the South, the hope of the Leftists is that any memories of slavery will be expunged from national consciousness – by force, if necessary.
In each of these cases (radical Right, radical Left, core Islam), these similar attitudes and behaviors are due in large measure to the fundamental error of trivializing human beings by seeing them only according to one all-important calculus. For white nationalists, it’s whether one has the right genetic make-up or not; for the Leftists, it’s whether one has the correct social activist credentials or not; for core Muslims, it’s whether one is willing to submit to orthodox Islam or not. Human beings in their totality are judged by which side they fall on the all-important line of demarcation.
So, statues and memorials of historically prominent individuals must be destroyed if it can be ascertained that they were slave-owners. It makes no difference if they had any redeeming qualities or accomplishments in other areas of their life. The matter of slavery is the only one that counts, and they stand on the wrong side of that line, so their memory must be erased from public consciousness. This is problematic, not just for our national memory – not only Robert E. Lee and Confederate heroes were slave-owners, but also founding fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson (on the face of our $20 bill), Benjamin Franklin (on the face of our $100 bill), John Jay (first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) and so on. The fact is, prior to the anti-slavery movement in the West in the 1700s, slavery was an accepted practice in almost every major society in history. If possession of slaves is the determining factor in whether we embrace or reject an historical figure, then today we must demonize people like the philosopher Plato, Demosthenes, Cicero, Ptolemy the Great and his successors, Julius Caesar, Montezuma, Christopher Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant, Simon Bolivar (the “Great Liberator” of Latin America), and even Muhammad, the founder of Islam, who not only bought, sold and possessed slaves, but made slavery an approved practice of Islam, which has enslaved more human beings than any movement in history.
When we trivialize people, reducing their lives to one issue, we can so easily dismiss anything positive about them. Already today there are increasing calls for demolishing the Jefferson Memorial, because Thomas Jefferson was an unrepentant slave-owner. But, if we retain the same trivializing tendency and change the issue, we might eradicate any and all statues and monuments related to flawed human beings. Indeed, I read this morning that women who have claimed sexual abuse by Bill Clinton are clamoring that a statue of him in Rapid City, SD, be destroyed so as not to honor an “abhorrent and morally deficient president.”
What is the antidote to this? We must see all human beings through more than a one-dimensional lens. For those who depend upon biblical wisdom, that means:
Instead of trivializing, devaluing and even demonizing those who seem so different, even wrong, to us, we must recapture a deeper, more profound understand of the human nature which unites us, and retrain ourselves to grasp the conviction that what unites us in a common humanity is much greater than that which divides. This is one of the fundamental building blocks of a biblical worldview. Perhaps it is a great place to start.
Ask any American about Charlottesville and they can tell you exactly what happened there. Ok, not exactly. It depends on what side they are on. Neo-Nazis ran someone over. Conservatives ran someone over. A crazy, schizophrenic ran over a Communist aggressor. I guess it really depends on someone’s viewpoint. I like how Ted Cruz characterized it: someone committed a terrorist act in the United States. But it wasn’t the only act of terror in the world this past week.
James Fields, aside from being crazy, committed an act of terror. He acted violently and killed someone because of their beliefs and how they conflicted with his. His beliefs, as a neo-Nazi, are that not only is his race better than your race, but the government should just acknowledge that and stop all the other races from oppressing his race. He is a Fascist.
Sidebar, I’ve often wondered how White Supremacists have not logically worked through their belief and seen where it falls apart. Nazis killed Jews because they saw the Jews as always doing better and oppressing them financially. They kill blacks because they see blacks as stronger and therefore dangerous. Eventually White Supremacists are going to put two and two together and stop thinking of themselves as the master race.
But putting that aside, let’s talk about Fascists for a minute. The difference between a Fascist and a Socialist is that Fascists wear their ill intentions on their sleeve. A Socialist will tell you they kill for the betterment of society, and actually sound good saying it. Look at Iceland where they are celebrating the elimination of down syndrome. They killed them all, but that’s not what they’ll tell you.
Fascists believe their (fill in the blank) is better. Therefore, they must eliminate any competition for power. The best example of modern day Fascism is not Charlottesville where a bunch of inbred white dudes carried tiki torches and chanted “We are the best” until the craziest one ran someone over. The best examples were seen this past week in Barcelona and Turku.
In Barcelona, an Islamic Fascist terrorist ran people over with his car. Not because of voices in his head, not because he found the crowd threatening, but because in his view Islam is best and all others must be killed or intimidated into signing up. CNN stupidly pondered whether Barcelona was a Charlottesville copycat. Probably not, considering Islamic Fascist terrorists have used car terrorist attacks 11 times in Europe over the last two years. In Turku, Finland, an Islamic Fascist terrorist pulled out a knife and started indiscriminately stabbing civilians. That scares me more than a crowd of tiki torch wielding, racist frat boys.
Yet, the words Islamic, Fascist, jihad, and even terror remain verboten in much of the news coverage of these kind of terror attacks. The same people in the US who are sure that Trump is about to start the Fourth Reich with his approximately 20,000 neo-Nazi and KKK followers will pray for the victims of Barcelona without admitting Islam had anything to do with it. As slow as Trump was to call out the KKK and neo-Nazis, the Obama administration was far slower to even admit Benghazi was a terrorist attack.
Islamic Fascism is responsible for murder, rape, and slavery throughout the countries they control. Christians, Jews, and Muslims are among the primary victims. While ISIS was the extreme version, it is still illegal in most Muslim countries to convert to another religion, or in some cases to even convert to a different denomination of Islam. When Iran says they have no gays, it’s not because they all left or prayed the gay away and turned straight. It’s because the penalty for homosexuality in Islam is to be thrown off a roof.
There is nothing good, right, or sane about the tiny but loud pocket of Fascism rearing it’s ugly head in the US. But until the Alt-Left gets the courage to call Fascism Fascism wherever it exists and regardless of how popular, they lack the credibility to confront neo-Nazi thugs.
I guess that leaves it up to the rest of us freedom loving Americans.
A few seconds heavenly spectacle, and then it was gone – the last solar eclipse of the millennium. It had been witnessed by millions around the world.
The moon 1/400th the size of the sun, and 400 times closer to the earth than the sun, has the same size as the sun when viewed from the planet Earth. Thus, when the moon comes in-between the sun and the earth a ‘Solar Eclipse’ results.
Eclipses for Muslims
Muslims recognize that everything in the heavens and on earth is created and sustained by the Lord of the universe, Allah Almighty. Throughout the Qur’an, people are encouraged to look around them, observe and reflect on the beauties and wonders of the natural world – as signs of Allah’s majesty.
“Allah is He, who created the sun, the moon, and the stars — (all) governed by laws under His commandment.” Qur’an 7:54
“It is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon. All (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its orbit.” Qur’an 21:33
“The sun and the moon follow courses exactly computed.” Qur’an 55:05
In remembrance and gratefulness for all of His favors, Muslims all over the world bow down in prayer five times each day. At a time of a solar or lunar eclipse, there is a recommended prayer (salatul-kusuf) that is performed by the Muslim community in congregation.
Eclipses during Prophet’s time
During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), there was a solar eclipse on the day that his son Ibrahim died. Some superstitious people said that the sun eclipsed because of the young child’s death and the Prophet’s sadness on that day. The Prophet corrected their understanding:
Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba: On the day of Ibrahim’s death, the sun eclipsed and the people said that the eclipse was due to the death of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet).
Allah’s Apostle said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of someone’s death or life. So when you see them, invoke Allah and pray till the eclipse is clear.”
On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.
Who Can See It?
Lots of people! Everyone in the contiguous United States, in fact, everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse, while the thin path of totality will pass through portions of 14 states.
Image Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
This map shows the globe view of the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.
This celestial event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds. The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.
Diagram showing the Earth-sun-moon geometry of a total solar eclipse. Not to scale: If drawn to scale, the Moon would be 30 Earth diameters away. The sun would be 400 times that distance.Where Can You See It?
You can see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun, anywhere in North America (see “Who can see it?”). To see a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East. The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT. Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT. From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.
A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.
Times for partial and total phases of the eclipse vary depending on your location. This interactive eclipse map(link is external) will show you times for the partial and total eclipse anywhere in the world.
You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality. That could severely hurt your eyes. However, there are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing – which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. Both methods should produce clear images of the partial phase of an eclipse.
Check with local science museums, schools and astronomy clubs for eclipse glasses—or purchase an ISO 12312-2 compliant pair of these special shades!
This list describes when to wear your glasses and when you can safely look at the eclipse, only during totality!
Sun watchers gather around telescopes fitted with white light solar filters.
Image Credit: NASA Kepler Mission
(This is the final in a series of three posts on findings from my doctoral thesis, with the title “Linguistic Practice on Contemporary Jordanian Radio: Publics and Participation.” A general introduction to the posts can be found here. Part 1 is here; Part 2 is here.)
There’s often a tension in academic analyses of the Middle East between viewing it as a region – that is, trying to generalise processes that happen in one place to other contexts by virtue of their social, cultural, and historical similarities – and a more localist viewpoint, in which whatever is happening is described as unique and specific to its context (most often, that of a given nation-state). From one perspective, Arabic-speaking societies have enough in common for conclusions applying to one of them to apply to others as well; from another, more contextual nuance is required, and each society or state viewed as a unique product of its historical and political circumstances. Either the Arab Spring is the Arab Spring, and has and will lead to changes everywhere… Or it’s just a specific, local phenomenon, the 2010-11 Karamah Revolution a product of Tunisia’s particular social and economic hardships, or the same for the January 25 Revolution in Egypt. Similar dynamics, some similar sentiments, but ultimately very different beasts.
Both approaches can be useful in different situations, when looking at different sorts of data or to put forward particular types of arguments. But what I find more intriguing is the symbolic power of these perspectives. While grand ideologies such as Pan-Arabism may no longer be very prominent since the eclipse of Gamal Abdel Nasser and other Arab nationalist projects in the 1960s, there’s no denying a sense of implicit commonality between Middle Eastern and North African societies – if not through identity, through language; if not through language, through shared history, geo-politics, socio-cultural norms. But always, against this, there are also localist tendencies. Each country, each region, each ethno-religious group can also be viewed on its own terms. Jordanians are not the same as Palestinians, or Lebanese, or certainly not Egyptians. They have their own history, their own traditions, their own characteristic identity. Their interests and needs are different from those of their neighbours. They have their own desires and aspirations.
In Jordan, localism is a highly politicised issue. This is not, of course, something unique among Arab countries; but Jordan’s particular historical and political situation – as a ‘new’ nation-state entity developed after the fall of the Ottoman empire, as well as its status as a strategic buffer on the borders of Palestine and Israel – means that this aspect has been studied extremely well. The loyalty of “East Bankers” – that is, inhabitants of Jordan whose ethnic origins can be traced to the eastern bank of the Jordan River, as opposed to (especially) the Palestinian West Bank – is believed to be a crucial element in Jordan’s success and stability as a state. The Hashemite monarchy and its associated institutions dispense favours – jobs, subsidies, contracts and so forth – which in turn guarantee the support of Jordanian citizens, including prominent families with Bedouin lineages and those belonging to minorities who had historically supported Hashemite royal rule in Jordan, such as the Circassians. Clientelism and royal patronage are at the heart of this state system – what Tariq Tell names the “Hashemite compact“: a form of rule that is both spatially localised and ideologically localist in that it seeks to sustain itself through relationships with the ‘traditional’ inhabitants of one particular area only.
In his book Colonial Effects, Joseph Massad has demonstrated at length how this form of rule implicitly excludes anyone who isn’t an “East Banker” – predominantly, the considerable numbers of Jordanians of Palestinian origin. Andrew Shryock’s work is in a very similar vein, though he focuses more on mechanisms of inclusion rather than exclusion: the process of documenting the oral histories and genealogies of Bedouin lineages as a form of Jordanian nationalism, or the legacy of King Hussein (1935-1999) with his cultivation of “conflicting constituencies” all closely connected on the royal persona.
But there’s an important cultural dimension to these processes as well. Exclusionary localism doesn’t just crop up in the political sphere; it pervades, in different ways, much of Jordanian cultural production, from royal iconography and public monuments (see e.g. this article by Elena Corbett) to entertainment such as music and films – beginning with the first Jordanian-produced film, Struggle in Jerash (1957), which according to George Potter is an excellent example of an attempt to assert a distinctly Jordanian nationalist narrative. (Potter views it as a direct response to the tumultuous situation in Jordan in the 1950s, when pan-Arab nationalist movements and parties were in ascendancy and the Hashemite monarchy in heavy crisis.) It is a kind of “soft power” – though not necessarily consciously initiated for political ends; still, it builds on the same kind of narratives, and serves the same kind of ends, as localism in politics.
Very similar ideas pervade Jordanian non-government radio today. Nationalism is everywhere: there are entire stations, such as Nashama FM, dedicated to playing what is known as “national” or “patriotic” music, and others such as Radio Hala draw heavily on Jordanian nationalist symbols and icons, with the flag of Jordan at a prominent place in the studio and a distinct green-red-black-white colour scheme. Stations run jingles in which they define themselves as urduniyye “Jordanian” and hāšimiyye “Hashemite” – making no secret of where their loyalties lie. Projects such as the “Our Voice Is One” memorial programme, run in honour of the fighter pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh captured and executed by the IS / Daesh in Syria, also have explicit nationalist and patriotic goals: bringing the nation together, representing the emotions shared by “all Jordanians,” and so forth.
Video from the Radio Hala studio webcam, reporting on the Jordanian local elections on 15 August 2017. It presents a very carefully crafted nationalist environment: note the colour scheme (including the two presenters’ polo shirts!), Jordanian flag in the background, etc. The bagpipe-heavy music playing in the background is also indicative of localist tendencies in Jordanian radio. (Video accessible here, via the Radio Hala Facebook page.)
Choice of language also plays a part in producing local authenticity. Most live programming on non-government radio stations in Jordan uses colloquial Arabic – though of a very specific kind: a colloquial that can be identified as Jordanian, or more properly Ammani, once gender differences are taken into account. This of course makes perfect sense if we assume the station wants to cultivate a local audience, for whom a local Jordanian dialect will be a familiar and comfortable way of communicating. But because dialect is linked to locality, it again implies boundaries, dfferentiation, ideologies of inclusion and exclusion. Who can lay claim to a “Jordanian” type of speech? Is it only those who speak this way, right now? Those who were brought up with a Jordanian dialect? Or those for whom this kind of language is part of their heritage, and can trace their ancestry to the East Bank several generations back?
There is, though, an important contrast between promoting and exaggerating “local” dialect for ideological purposes, and genuine attempts to find an idiom appropriate for the informal live radio setting. The latter is, I think, the case with Radio al-Balad, the Amman-based community radio station which forms a rare stronghold of media and journalistic professionalism in Jordan. Its presenters speak in a form of colloquial Arabic that is identifiably Jordanian, presumably close to their personal conversational idiolect, yet aimed squarely at engaging with listeners in a communicative manner and not shying away from specialist or formal language when this is necessary. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the language of – for example – the “patriotic songs” (aġānī waṭaniyya) music genre, where nationalist localism is heavily exaggerated in the lyrics – both in the themes (praising Jordan, the Hashemite monarchy, the Jordanian army and so on) and the actual form of the language, from the heavily strained ‘ayns to the ‘authentic’ g‘s and dž‘s characteristic of East Bank and Bedouin dialects of Arabic. So there’s a rather tricky linguistic balance to maintain between “being local” for inclusive, community-oriented purposes, and promoting an exclusionary localist agenda.
Ṭārat ṭayyāra min fōg az-Zarga (“A Plane Flew Above Zarqa“), performed by Omar Abdallat. A prime example of the aġānī waṭaniyya genre. Note also the heavily militarised aesthetic of the video, another hallmark of contemporary Jordanian ethnic nationalism.
But it’s not just localist and nationalist ideas that are susceptible to this kind of boundary maintenance. One example is how Jordanian non-government radio approaches religion – specifically, Islam. Most stations assume their audience to be, predominantly, made up of Sunni Muslims; occasionally devout Muslims, as with most Islamic programmes and radio stations, but always an audience that is interested in Muslim religious and cultural affairs and holds Islamic values dear.
This is why, for example, Radio Hala broadcast the experiences of its famous host Muhammad al-Wakeel when he made his pilgrimage to Mecca in 2015. Or why, during cold weather fronts in winter (munḳafaḍāt), snowstorms and flooding are framed as acts of God and wholly dependent on his will (conveniently avoiding the question how such events are made worse in large part by the sorry state of Jordan’s infrastructure). You should, apparently, share Muslim values and convictions to be properly included in the audience – to be a part of the Jordanian public for whom radio programmes are produced, and for whom non-government stations broadcasts. Such statements naturalise a Muslim identity in both religious and cultural terms, drawing upon common beliefs and metaphors that set up a clear boundary around those they seek to include. It forms a very powerful idea of a social group, conceptualised and unified through acts of language. And it is not very accepting of non-Muslims, or atheists, or those who might not share normative Islamic values and convictions.
A photo-graphic collage announcing Radio Hala’s “comprehensive coverage” of the Hajj, the Muslim “greater pilgrimage” to Mecca. Via Muhammad al-Wakeel’s Facebook page. One among many examples of assuming a fundamentally Muslim audience, or at least one interested in Muslim religio-cultural matters, on part of Jordanian non-government radio stations.
Another example are morning service programmes. This type of radio programme is built around the concept of real people calling into the radio stations, with concrete problems that they face in their everyday lives and hope the host might be able to solve – broken water pipes, electricity cuts, rubbish collections, job applications, and many others. The idea of authenticity takes on a whole new dimension here: it is now a valuable resource, a sort of cultural capital which broadcasters can use to compete with each other and assert their legitimacy. They are linking up with real people, solving real problems, providing real services. They are not just a bunch of ideologues spouting rhetorical nonsense. They have an authentic basis for their popularity. They take care of people, sometimes better than the Jordanian state itself.
The flip side of this is that service programmes can be seen as basically exploiting people’s problems and suffering for entertainment purposes. This is hardly a new phenomenon; ‘reality’ talk shows, especially those on U.S. television, have been at it for decades. No matter how staged the actual encounters on such shows might be, the logic is still fundamentally the same. But on Jordanian radio, I think it’s interesting to think about this exploitation of authenticity in parallel with other localist and particularist ideas that pervade the media sector. These are real people whose authenticity is exploited to promote the persona of the host; but they are also Jordanians. Service programme hosts don’t just serve ‘people,’ in some abstract, undefined manner. They address, and serve, the nation. Their rhetorical excursions into discussing the problems of Palestinians, or Egyptian migrant workers, or Syrian refugees, are just that: excursions. The bulk of the problems they face is still home-grown. They might criticise the state, but they still operate within its basic logic – with its accompanying ideas of militant ethnic nationalism, clientelism, and royal patronage.
Making media content stand out is a considerable challenge. Linking it to people’s lives, to their authentic lived experiences, is one viable strategy for carving a space in a very saturated media market. Katharina Nötzold and Judith Pies call this the “going local” tendency, which they see as an explicit policy on part of national media outlets in the Arab world – Lebanese and Jordanian TV stations, for example – in competition with international and satellite television channels.
But “going local” is not just an economic strategy, or a desperate attempt to captivate attention-fatigued audiences. On the thematic level, it intersects with very relevant ideas about nations, power, and politics in the contemporary Arab world. Is each state, each national media field a context for itself? Or can they be analysed together and compared? Or is it, ultimately, more important to look at how ideas about particularism, localism, exclusivity of each particular context impact how these media operate? There is scope for intriguing discussions here, especially regarding the mutually enabling relationship of media on the one hand and state and economic power on the other. These have often been analysed in material terms – i.e., where the money comes from – or on the level of information flows (outlet X exists because of Y, therefore it will only say what is agreeable to Y), but more rarely looking at less obvious linguistic and discursive devices.
And these devices are important. They are, as I’ve shown in this post and in my PhD, very effective at making boundaries: delimiting groups, defining insiders and outsiders. They can be very powerful in making people feel welcome – or not. Local media work for local citizens, provide services for the community and so forth; but in doing so they simultaneously transmit ideas of what it means to be local, to be true, authentic, genuinely deserving of their attention. Choice of words and language plays a big role in this – in including people, enabling participation, making interactions count. The form, the quality of communication matters, as much if not more as the content.
The discursive terrain that media producers, radio or otherwise, have to navigate is complex and difficult. Language needs to be approached with care, with good awareness about precisely what kinds of effects it might have. This is what inspires me to do my research and continue with it: the hope that it can provide new insights, and help people with their own linguistic and discursive projects. And debate, of course, the vagaries of the world today, and how to act – with deeds and words – to change it for the better.
Sebelumnya aku ingin mengucapkan terimakasih kepada temanku yang telah meluangkan waktunya yang berharga untuk membaca tulisan-tulisan tidak jelasku disini dan memberikan kritik dan sarannya. Orang itu berkata bahwa tulisanku ini belum rapi dan terstruktur, jadi semoga aku bisa menulis dengan lebih benar sekarang. Lalu orang itu juga bilang, kasih saran juga lah buat orang yang mau berusaha buat ga nyontek.
Maka lahirlah tulisan ini… .
Sebenarnya ketika ditanya seperti itu, aku agak kebingungan harus menjawab apa. Karena yang ada dipikiranku hanya, ya jangan menyontek. Salah satu cara agar tidak menyontek adalah dengan tidak menyontek. Terdengar mudah diucapkan daripada dijalankan, karena itulah hidup nak.
Sebenarnya tantangan terberat adalah tidak tergoda oleh keinginan untuk menyontek. Pernah dengar kalau musuh yang paling berat adalah hawa nafsu sendiri? Aku mendapat sedikit banyak pencerahan dari pengajian mingguanku untuk mengatasi ini. Ini dapat digunakan ketika sisi baik dan sisi burukmu sedang saling berdialog sengit untuk memenangkan hatimu ala-ala film gitu di setiap kondisi, bukan hanya soal menyontek saja.
Ketika kamu melakukan kesalahan, sebut saja menyontek, dan kamu menyesal, meminta ampun, dan ingin berubah, maka selamat, kamu sudah berhasil mencoba masuk ke jalan yang benar, sebut saja begitu. Karena tidak semua orang mau berpikiran seperti itu, beberapa orang bisa jadi ada yang berpikir, yaudah sekarang nyontek nanti tinggal taubat, padahal dia sendiri tidak yakin akan hidup sampai dia selesai mengerjakan ujiannya atau tidak, dan sepengetahuanku syarat diterimanya taubat itu kalau orang itu menyesal dan berusaha tidak mengulang kesalahan yang sama lagi. Maka kamu harus bersyukur kamu masih diberikan pemikiran seperti itu oleh Tuhan karena sebagian orang sudah ditutup hatinya.
Lalu selanjutnya, tentu saja Tuhan ingin kamu meyakinkan diriNya bahwa kamu sungguh-sungguh ingin berubah. Kamu bilang kamu ingin berubah? Serius? Kira-kira seperti itu. Lalu Ia kirimkan sebuah kondisi untuk menguji kamu apakah kamu benar-benar serius ingin berubah? Hidup adalah ujian, bukan?
Ketika kamu gagal dan tergiur oleh kemauanmu untuk menyontek, maka kamu tidak lulus! Karena Tuhan ingin kamu lulus dari ujian yang Ia berikan, maka Ia memberikanmu remedial secara terus menerus hingga lulus! Jauh lebih dermawan dibandingkan dengan guru di sekolah bukan?
Maka dari itu ketika seseorang diberikan salah satu ujian dan dia gagal menghadapi ujian itu, masih tergoda oleh sisi buruknya, masih tergoda melakukan hal buruk, kondisi itu akan terus-terusan terjadi pada orang itu. Orang itu akan terus-terusan diberi ujian yang sama, dalam hal ini menyontek. Kamu akan diberikan kondisi dimana kamu diberi pilihan mau menyontek atau tidak. Ketika kamu memilih menyontek, kondisi yang sama diberikan lagi, terus hingga kamu akhirnya konsisten untuk tidak menyontek. Setelah kamu lulus kamu akan merasa tidak masalah lagi untuk tidak menyontek dan kamu tidak akan berpikir dua kali untuk tidak menyontek karena kamu sudah lulus, kamu sudah tahu apa yang harus kamu lakukan.
Kalau begitu santai aja dong, kan dikasih remedial terus.
Andai saja kita tahu sampai umur berapa kita hidup. Kesempatanmu untuk berubah itu waktunya tidak lama, cuma sampai kamu meninggal saja. Ketika kamu mengikat janjimu bahwa kamu beriman dengan TuhanMu maka kamu harus tahu kewajiban apa saja yang harus kamu lakukan dan ketika kamu mengharapkan surgaNya maka kamu pun harus sadar bahwa surga itu tidak murah. Mungkin kamu bisa membaca cerita-cerita heroik nan membangun semangat para sahabat dahulu yang aku yakin akan membuatmu berpikir bahwa ujian yang kamu hadapi sekarang itu tidak ada apa-apanya dan akan membuatmu sadar bahwa, oh ini loh yang namanya cinta sama Rasul, cinta sama Allah.