Six Pillars: 1(a)

So far, I’ve introduced the topic and talked a bit about belief in general. Now, at long last, let’s get into the Six Pillars of Belief.

First off, we believe in God, and belief in Him leads us to everything else.

Let me just dispel a myth right here at the start, above the fold, even: I’m sure some of you have heard something about a moon god. There is no such thing. Muslims do not worship the moon, we worship the Creator of the moon, the One who created the stars that went supernova, coalesced into the proto-planets and asteroid fields and comets and whatnot that smacked together and became the Earth and the moon, all by the will of God alone. We don’t worship the man in the moon either, we worship the Creator of all the people who look up at the moon, at the craters formed from asteroid impacts and other events that God decreed, and think that the result looks something like a face. The crescent symbol associated with us should not be confused with the Christian cross or the Crucifix: it’s is not an object of worship, nor is it associated in any with God Himself: it functions as a marker the passage of time; it reminds us that time keeps marching forward and we only have limited time here on Earth to worship and try to please God.

I doubt that explanation, or any of what follows will convince, especially if you are determined to reject Muslims, be it due to their skin color or cultural practices (if you actually know any Muslims), nor will it do anything for those of you who believe we’re all out to get you. Trust me, 1.3 billion people are not plotting anything. The Muslim community worldwide is way too geologically and culturally scattered to come together, much like the 1.5 billion Christians. My South Asian and Arab and Chinese neighbors and I can’t even plan a block party, much less plot anything nefarious.

But then, if your heart is closed and that determined to distrust, reject, fear, and hate us, you’re probably not reading this anyway, and may God bless you and soften your heart. Continue reading

Six Pillars – Belief, in general

For the next few weeks, God willing, I’ll be going through a sort of introduction to Islam, focused on the six pillars of belief. I’m basing all this (loosely) on Imam Nick Pelletier’s After Shahada Project classes at the Islamic Center of Irving, both to keep the information fresh in my head and heart, and to maybe give a few readers of this blog a different view into Islam than what they might usually get.

I planned to jump straight into the first pillar, but then I started writing. Before I knew it, I had enough words on belief in general to constitute a stand-alone post rather than the introduction it started out to be, so I guess I own an apology: what follows gets a bit rambling and probably goes too far and/or not far enough. If there’s any benefit in it, that benefit comes from God alone. All errors and omissions and oversteps are my own. Continue reading

JCH: 32 vs 40

Irving, TX 2016

Last week, I mentioned that I did some a/b shooting with the JCH Street Pan, loaded in the Lomo LC-A (32mm) and the Ricoh 35 ZF (40mm), and promised a followup…

Before I get into it, remember that the LC-A underexposed everything by a couple of stops for some unknown reason (possibly old batteries) and the 35 ZF is sporting a 1.5v battery, but was designed for 1.3v, so it’s probably overexposing a bit, so ignore the exposure (as much as possible) and check the field of view. Notice also the relative sharpness and all.

Everything was shot at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens on a Friday during the staycation back in August, and it was the first time my darling, adorable wife and I got the eye from one of the other visitors. I blame the current political climate: just look at my wife! Is she not darling and adorable? What, precisely, is so frightening/shocking/unusual/out of place about her?

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Six Pillars – Introduction

For the past year, I’ve attended the After Shahada Project classes with Imam Nick Pelletier at the Islamic Center of Irving. In Season 1, we covered the 3 questions of the grave (I might dig into those in the future) from “The Three Fundamental Principles,” a 12th century tract by Imam Abdul Wahhabi, and it was a blessing to get the basics of the faith from one madhab, one source, one solid perspective.

Season 2 started in late July, and we’re working our way through the 6 Pillars of Iman. For those unaware, being a practicing Muslim requires us to strive in three aspects: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. Islam is the practical, active part, and it’s composed of five different actions of the tongue and limbs. Iman is the set of beliefs we hold, of which there are six. Ihsan is the more metaphysical side of the faith, and achieving Ihsan is a lofty goal to which all Muslims aspire.
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