OSC’s Breakfast with the Buddha! (I)

justtranslikeme is the blog of a young Minnesotan and transsexual Muslim (Mara), one who by my back and forth conversations with Alex, Ivy Willows and others I’ve been involved in an interesting message exchange with. Mara, for the enjoyment of their readers, writes such enlightening articles as “How to Be an Awkward Girl with a Dick 101“, and “My Immodestly Modest Life (How to Be a Hot-Mess in a Headscarf)”. So, they do indeed identify as Muslim, for which people in the LGBTQI* community also prefer to describe Mara (in spite of their transgenderism) as Muslim.

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*Who knew gender, sex and sexuality could be such a can of worms in the hands of creative people! The male and female distinctions must appear so restrictive to the demigirl, demigirl meaning a gender identity describing someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a woman, girl or otherwise, whatever their assigned gender at birth), or the pangendered person, pangendered meaning a non-binary gender experience which refers to a wide multiplicity of genders that can (or not) tend to be infinite.” Infinite genders! That’s why my shoes don’t fit right, they were gender specific (not infinitely gendered), the LGBTQI’s ideal omni-sexual society has already opened my eyes.

Although before I would dismiss Mara’s claim to being Muslim, I wanted to get their prospective as a feminist (a Muslim feminist?!) on some sayings and acts of violence as found in the life of their prophet Mohammad. Could Mohammad, an open air pedophile who claimed women were like a field, a field men can “enter into” by any route they pleased, really be a friend to women and advocate of women’s rights everywhere? Let’s find out. The topic itself was inspired by Ivy Willows (another trans person) who compared Islam, Judaism and Satanism in terms of their commands, with which Mara replied.


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 Mara: I’d love to chime in on Islam as a resident Muslim lady if that’s chill?

First and foremost let me say, despite being very proud of my religion and heritage, I definitely recognize that there are problems with the way that Islam is practiced by many today.

But one common mistake people seem to make is that the five pillars are our moral guidelines. The five pillars are more spiritual requirements. Like when a religion tells you that you need to go to church, or not chew gum in church, or not spit at churchy people haha. While very important, they don’t inform us on how to lead our lives.

Our actual moral guidelines as prescribed by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) are:

Actions are judged by the intention behind them.

Do not judge that which doesn’t involve you

You cannot be a believer unless you love others as you love yourself*

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*“Do unto others” isn’t exactly Islamic, although as the modern Muslim mission statement appears to be “make Mohammad look like Jesus and make Jesus look like Mohammad” they’re doing their job by these supposed “rules” Mara found somewhere.

One should not harm themselves or others.

Don’t let your focus in this life be to amass worldly gain and God will love you.

Lying to your fellow man is a sin

Forced conversion is against the teachings of God.*

etc…

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The problem is that Muhammad was an illiterate poet. Everything was recorded by others and recited in such a way to make it more eloquent and beautiful. It makes for a lovely read, but makes it difficult to ascertain anything in an organized manner when the original books isn’t even organized chronologically. So we don’t really have a specific list of moral duties. Just a bunch of various teachings and anecdotes.

. . . There are so many interesting little bits in Islam. The concept of Ijtihad, that Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) first wife was definitely his senior, and that he himself had great respect for women, allowing them divorces, property rights, legal rights, and other such things in a time where that was not the norm. Tragically it was later reversed by future Islamic leaders, leading to the modern treatment of women by some ultra-conservative Islamic countries. What can I say, people of all religions such.

If you ever want any specific info I’d be happy to help.

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OldSchoolContemporary: Your contribution to the post was extremely interesting, Mara. And writing about how your moral guidelines are proscribed by Mohammad I’ve found very helpful and informative. However, I’m also curious, perhaps you can explain further when you wrote: “Our actual moral guidelines as prescribed by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) are:” Because the section which follows appears a little vague, not even having relevant references from the Quran added to it. I’d be very excited to read more. You continued afterwards, writing. . .”One should not harm themselves or others.” However, when I’ve read about Mohammad, even material written by early Muslims about their prophet, they didn’t write the things you’re writing, instead they wrote:

[1] Muhammad allowed his followers to hire prostitutes (Reference Sahih Muslim 3248).

[2] Muhammad had sex with a prepubescent nine-year-old girl named Aisha (Reference Muslim 8:3309).

[3] They explained in detail how the Qur’an allows Muslim men to beat their wives into submission (Reference Quran 4:34).

[4] They explained in detail how Islam allows Muslim men to rape their female captives and slave-girls (Reference Quran 4:24).

[5] They explained in detail how Muhammad’s wife Sauda became fat and unattractive, Muhammad intended to divorce her. Sauda had to relinquish some of her marital rights to avoid being abandoned (Reference Surah 4, verse 128).

[6] Muhammad claimed that women are less intelligent and less moral than men (Reference Sahih al-Bukhari 2658).

[7] Muhammad ordered his followers to torture a man named Kinana to find out where some money was hidden. Muhammad then had Kinana killed, and took his wife for himself (Reference Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, p. 515).

[8] Muhammad ordered his followers to kill apostates, even if they had good reasons for leaving Islam (Reference Sahih al-Bukhari 69:22).

The historic background behind point number 4 is especially interesting, as explained in the sunan of Abu Dawud. Abu Said al-Khudri said:

“The apostle of Allah sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the apostle of Allah were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse, “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess”.*

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So, and of course it’s not my intention to offend you, rather simply to ask for your input, when Mohammad’s fighters had captured these women, and they were tied up or down or however early Muslim men restrained women to stop them from escaping, it was the Muslims, they and not Mohammad, who were saying “Maybe we shouldn’t be raping these women in front of their husbands. . .” Their husbands were alive and right there after all! It says how the Muslim men were reluctant to rape these women “in the presence” of their husbands, so, to settle what they should do they asked Mohammad. They must have been saying things like “Isn’t this adultery?!” To which Mohammad says no, rape them as much as you please, women your right hand possesses are lawful to you. I’m curious, where’s the great respect for women which you wrote of in your posts, and about these moral guidelines you have outlined, did Mohammad teach them and simply fail to live up to his own standards, or were they not a part of Mohammad’s character or teachings at all?

Mara: Sure, I’d be happy to respond. And don’t worry about offending me, I’m a trans Muslim chick, we have to have thick skin if anything haha. I never said the Quran was free of of negative parts, just that the five pillars weren’t moral guidelines. There are plenty of instances of the Quran promoting peace, love, equality, etc.*

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While at the same time, there are many things, just like in any other religious doctrine, that are deplorable or misinterpreted by modern standards. I think one thing to remember is that Mohammed (pbuh) was illiterate, the book wasn’t written by him directly. There are plenty of things that could’ve been changed or altered to better suit those in power.

Along those lines is also the fact that, prophets did also have to be political beings, to an extent and make some decisions and ruling based on commanding a following. The main thing I’d like to direct you to is the concept of ijtihad, the process of reinterpreting the Quran to meet modern standards and ideas.

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So while yes, the Quran is a beautiful book with some significant problems, it is a book that is encouraging you to best interpret it to be a better person now, by today’s standards. If you’d like specific examples and reading materials on the matter, I’d be more than happy to send you in the direction of some very awesome impartial historical takes on the Quran. I am just a 19 year old after all.* I can elaborate on some aspects of the Quran and common misconceptions, but just because I’m a Muslim doesn’t mean I know everything about it.

OldSchoolContemporary: I imagine you would have to be very thick skinned, for sure! You’re also extremely open and thoughtful to consider your views and share them so openly with other writers online, which I appreciate.

So, about when you wrote, “There are plenty of instances of the Quran promoting peace, love, equality, etc.”, the first verse that comes to mind would be something popular like: “There’s no compulsion in religion”, which is very much for peace and equality. Yet, if that can inform a person to do good, then surely “Fight those who believe not in Allah and the last days.” (Quran Chapter 9) can also cause people to do terrible harm to women and children. Similarly if the religious writing of Islam has many contradictory portions, for example:

{Those who believe [in the Quran], and those who follow the Jewish [scriptures], and the Christians and the Sabians,—any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.} (Al-Baqarah 2:62)

Which directly contradicts:

‘And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.’ (Qur’an 3:85).

Then isn’t one view as “right” or as accurate as the other, in your opinion? One portion commands Muslims to do cruel things, and another portion warns Muslims to abstain from the cruel thing the first command explicitly told every believer in Mohammad to do. As you wrote, there’s no chronology, also there’s no context, so the context was painted in by later generations, but about those later generations, you’re explaining how they were corrupt or edited the material in whatever way they wanted. Couldn’t they have rewritten the entire thing, why trust one part and not others when neither the good parts nor the bad have any reliable order or context?

Later you wrote: ”What can I say, people of all religions such.” I’m thinking you meant “suck” here, 🙂 but isn’t that statement a bit blanketed and prejudicial?

Mara: For such contradictory phrases and statements, one would have to remember two things.

1. The exact meaning would rely on the historical context surrounding the quote in question.

2. Like I said before, Mohammed was a poet. There is going to be dramatization and use of more passionate phrases as it reflects who he was as a person.

Again, it comes down to personal interpretation, and what one takes as the most important lessons behind the religion.

Could it lead to vastly different ideology based on the same religion? Absolutely. Such is true of many things where people are involved, as we are all different.

As for your last point, I said that people of all religions suck, in the context that there are good and bad people in all religions.*

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I don’t mean to offend when I say this, but I’m a comedy writer. I write jokingly and casually on occasion, if you are just here to nitpick minor things that I said to illicit a reaction or attempt to paint me in a certain light, then I’ll happily be done with this conversation with you.

I have shown nothing but respect, and humbly request the same.

And again, I’m a 19 year old comedy writer. I’m not a scholar on Islam, and I’d happily direct you to those who are.

OldSchoolContemporary: That’s something I’m wondering about your posts though, because I’m just asking for your input being the resident Muslim, as you wrote. You’re saying the context behind parts of the Quran would help the reader to understand what’s the meaning behind the verse, but you’re also saying the people who wrote in the later context to the Quran weren’t Mohammad, because Mohammad was illiterate, rather they were untrustworthy people who supported beating up women.

To use the context behind the Quran about keeping sex-slaves who your right hand has captured, that would mean Mohammad really did allow women to be raped in front of their husbands?

Ivy: I do want to jump in real quick to point out that I don’t think anyone is trying to pigeon hole anyone into anything, or trying to get a rise out of anyone. I think that everything has been genuine on each side, so please, I hope this doesn’t escalate. That is all lovelies, I’m grateful for both of your guys’ input in this!

OldSchoolContemporary: I agree. 🙂

Mara: I agree as well.*

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Mara, although accusing me of trying to paint them in a certain light just an hour earlier, then writes to insist they don’t believe that . . . due to the host Ivy seemingly agreeing with me I’d imagine. Oh peer pressure, where would we be without you?!

Mara: What are you wondering about my posts? And yes, I did, a* resident Muslim, as I’m a Muslim follower of Ivy. Again, I write casually. I’ve brought up on numerous occasions that I am no expert.

Exactly, one would have to examine the historical context surrounding those who actually wrote the verses. Also, I never ruled out that it simply couldn’t be Mohammad, just that there were other factors to be considered when it would come down to coming up with an accurate meaning. Could it be Mohammad? For sure, while a prophet, he was a human like anyone else. Could it be someone else? Yup.*

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Was it colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the candlestick? Perhaps it was the butler what done it! No, no, it’s more likely Mohammad, who early Muslims documented as best they were able, who had the reign of terror, plunder and rape which continued to spread Islam by the sword for hundreds of years after his death at the hands of a poisoned lamb chop.

You’ve asked for my input and opinion on matters of contradiction in Islam, and I’ve offered it on numerous occasions. Yes, the Quran is a very contradictory book, it wasn’t written by Mohammad, it was designed to be a beautiful read, there is all sorts of context we may never know, etc. I’m not trying to defend that, and I apologize if it came off that way. My point was that it is indeed a contradictory book, and what one chooses to follow and believe comes down to their own personal interpretation. Islam has the possibility for great peace and beauty, as well as hatred and destruction all based on personal opinion.

My original post was just to mention that the five pillars weren’t moral guidelines. I used examples of moral guidelines that I personally follow based on Quranic teachings.

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And to answer your last question, yes, it could be Mohammad. It could be a contradiction to what he previously taught. It could also not be.*

On another note, I don’t defend nor justify those actions in any way. I know the pain of being beaten, raped, and sold to someone else. While I do have thick skin, this isn’t the easiest of topics for me to write on.

I hoped this was a useful summary of one opinion of a 19 year old comedy writer that happens to be a Muslim.

If you’d like any other resources I’d be happy to link you to some awesome historical reads by actual degree holding people. I however had a PTSD attack while with my boyfriend last night, revolving around some of the aforementioned things, and I don’t think I can continue this conversation with such a heavy emphasis on rape.

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I’d recommend starting with some of the works of Reza Aslan. You seem to have an awesome love for in depth analysis of specific quotes and context, and that is a large part of what his work looks at (with everything cited of course). I hope I helped shed light on my opinions in some way, if not, sorry if I wasted your time.


Post traumatic stress disorder attacks, religious relativism, dismissing their own religious traditions, Mara is appearing more Muslim with every post that goes by! Yet they have been sincere, giving and open (for which I’m forever grateful). Although perhaps my earlier pop about taking candy from a baby wasn’t appropriate, because we’re online after all, meaning nobody is really a baby just so long as they have an active search engine so to find (often unintentionally) sophisticated liars who agree with them (Reza anyone?) So, could Mohammad be innocent of the charges against him, and are other religions just as repugnant in the acts they command of believers as those found in the Islamic traditions? In the next section of the conversation we’re going to find out, as Mara and Ivy before long are going to go after not just Jesus (that’s standard for even non-practicing Muslims), but the Buddha also! Until then however, how long can people keep their pockets from being picked by those bad old Christians?

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― T. C. M

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