Showing posts with label Islam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Islam. Show all posts

Monday, August 29, 2022

It’s Iimi! Breakthrough!

It can be hard to be patient when you can’t identify any forward momentum in what you try to do. Often our human efforts seem to come to nothing. But God has a plan too, and you never know when He plans a… Breakthrough!

Post-Comic notes: And so it begins for Kismetta, not ends. She has many more steps to take. But she’s taken an important first step towards Christ.

As a side note, in showing the reactions of the Muslims Kismetta  knew, it had to be the Assistant Imam who opposed Najiyah’s plans, to avoid turning him into a cardboard villain. The Assistant Imam would not want to live under ISIS or the Taliban. The Muslims in this comic are not extremists. But, like all other people, they can make errors of judgment. 

For those who may be mildly shocked by the Assistant Imam returning Najiyah’s feelings despite their age difference, or those who assume that the stories of Muhammad’s wife Aisha, means all Muslim men are pedophiles, I found it interesting that, while California allows underage marriage with parental consent, it’s forbidden in Jordan (where the Assistant Imam comes from) and Qatar (where Najiyah comes from). Exceptions can be granted if the courts find the underage partner to be mature enough to understand the responsibility of marriage. 

But the point is, the Assistant Imam wants to wait until Najiyah becomes an adult so she doesn’t rush into a situation she might later regret.

His position on polygyny reflects the research I’ve found online. The most common view I’ve seen from Muslims online is, “Can men do this? Yes.  Should they do this? We don’t recommend it.”.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

It’s Iimi! Duel to the Life!

Sumeja, thinking she has no other choice, reveals a plan that horrifies Kismetta. To prevent her mother from acting on it, Kismetta, must appeal to her mother to consider the matter differently. However, since Sumeja is getting increasingly suspicious of arguments that come from her Christian friends, Kismetta must make use of what she learned from Iimi in a way that will reach and persuade her mother in a… Duel to the Life!

Post Comic notes: 

This comic evolved drastically from when I started scripting until the final product was ready. Originally, it was a response to a rather dishonest Washington Post article (published a few hours before the Dobbs decision was released) that tried to imply that Muslims favored—or were at least more sympathetic towards—abortion on demand to argue “religious freedom.” But that’s far from true.

While that framework still exists in the comic, I decided it wasn’t enough to base a comic on. It needed to address Kismetta and her mother dealing with a decision that could cost them the life of a new family member. I thought the topic of helping the mother regardless of federal or state policies needed to be covered.

So, why did I spend time discussing Muslim views on abortion in a Catholic webcomic? Partly because the propaganda is trying to make it seem like only Catholics oppose abortion and other religions are having their religious rights violated. That can be demoralizing for Catholics to feel alone when they are attacked daily. I think it’s important to know that things are not as claimed.

But also, because Kismetta’s growing understanding on what God requires of her are shaping her views on Islam and Christianity. But that’s more of a story for later.

In case I did a bad job, and it wasn’t obvious from my writing in the comic, this is not intended to be a message of “bad Muslims support abortion and Kismetta corrects them.” Rather it’s about Kismetta trying to change her mother’s mind over a plan that most Muslims also find morally wrong. Kismetta realizes that her mother mistrusts the influence her Christian friends have and needs to appeal to what is right using the Islamic values Sumeja does hold.

Sumeja’s position is at odds with most fiqh of Sunni Islam. She wasn’t considering an abortion because she was Muslim. She was looking for loopholes because the endless drumbeat over Dobbs made the thought of being pregnant again  frightening, and planning for a move overwhelming to her. Wafiqah is not a pro-abortion activist. Instead, she assumed that the only reason Sumeja would seek one must be fetal deformity (because she was in good physical and mental health otherwise). But abortion would have been a sin in Islam for the reasons Sumeja considered it.

Kismetta’s views are formed by seeking to do what is right before God and suspecting that her own religion is in the wrong about the exceptions. So, she questions those conditions where Islam allows it.

In terms of the beliefs of the Muslims in the webcomic, my basic assumption is that the characters would follow the fiqh of the region they (or their parents) lived in before coming to America unless there were strong reasons to create a character who disagreed. For example, Najiyah (coming from Qatar) is Hanbali fiqh… considered the most rigorous in Sunni Islam. Imam Kouri comes from Egypt. Imam Hamdan comes from Jordan (both Hanafi nations).

The Masjid Ur-Rahman is a Sunni Mosque (Shiite or Ibadi Muslims have visited while travelling, but they don’t have a presence in Hipso Hill) where roughly half of the Muslims (including both Imams and the Dhumzur family) are Hanafi, and the others are mostly Maliki or Hanbali with a few from other fiqh. The mosque tends to be conservative to avoid disputes among the members on whether it is “too liberal.” But it opposes radicalism. Wahhabism is not popular here. The Imam give Hanafi interpretations for those seeking advice while advising those who feel more strictly bound to follow their own fiqh but not to harass other members over that difference.

Below I have a summary of the views Islam and abortion covered in this story, I will be speaking generally, of course. The nuances could probably fill a book. As I’ve said, there is no overall authority in Islam. I certainly don’t want to commit the fallacy of composition here (claiming that because some think one way means all do).

So, speaking generally, abortion is absolutely prohibited by most Muslims after 120 days except for the life of the mother. Between 0 and 120 days, the additional permitted conditions are cases of rape and fetal deformity where the child is not expected to survive. Now, you will find some modern scholars within a fiqh that tolerate additional conditions (like poverty). But these are disputed and cannot be portrayed as “All Muslims hold this.” Muslims from outside of America tend to be stricter than those living in America.

The general rules on when certain fiqh see it as permissible for those reasons other than the life of the mother runs as follows:

Sunni fiqh:
Hanafi, Zaydi, Some Shafi’i: 120 days.
Hanbali, most Shafi’i: 0-40 days.
Maliki: 0 days.

Shiite fiqh: Generally, around 80 days. Because the Muslim characters in this comic are Sunni, I didn’t look too deeply into their varied fiqh, though it seems to be stricter than the Hanafi Sunni.

Ibadi (it’s a third “denomination,” found mostly in Oman): 0 days.

Because the Dhumzur family is planning to move to the UAE, I’ll break down their position. The individual Emirates seem to be made up of Maliki and Hanbali fiqh (with some Ismali Shiite Muslims in the Northeast). According to their government website, the United Arab Emirates (which tends to be the most liberalized Muslim nation in the Middle East, allowing more than the Maliki fiqh does) the law is as follows: 

According to the UAE law, it is a crime to abort a pregnancy unless:
it endangers the woman's life or
there is evidence that the baby will be born with fatal deformities and will not survive.

In the latter case, the foetus must be aborted before it is 120 days old, which is during the 17th week of the pregnancy and one week into the second trimester. The abortion must be approved by an authorised medical board. Abortion of foetus after 120 days of pregnancy is not permitted.
(note, rape is not listed as a valid reason).

Those curious about what the Hanafi hold can see this link (keeping in mind the disclaimer of variant views):

Another article that discusses the different fiqh: Note that the Maliki consider it forbidden once the semen has entered the woman. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

It’s Iimi! Busted!

It was bound to happen. Kismetta lacked prudence when she asked her questions and ended up offending everyone at the mosque by her aggressive tone. When the Mosque calls to tell her mother about her behavior, how will Kismetta respond to being BUSTED.

Preliminary Notes: While the arguments presented here are ones that I have seen Muslims use online, I don’t want to have cartoonish villains as foils for the main characters. So, in portraying the annoyed reactions to Kismetta’s questions, I asked myself how those attending a Catholic youth group might respond to a Catholic youth asking those kinds of questions in a similar tone. 

Zara (Bahrudin’s second wife probably needs her name explained for Western readers. The naming conventions of the UAE would be her given name (Zara) + bint (daughter of) her father’s name (Raziq) + ibn (son of) her grandfather’s name (Daaood) + her family name (Aslam). So formally we’d have “Zara bint Raziq ibn Daaood Aslam.” However, except for formal documents, the “ibn Daaood” and often the “bint Raziq” would be dropped. I’m told that the practice for Muslim women in the Middle East is to keep their own family name and do not change it to their husband’s. So, in America, she might simply be known as “Zara Aslam.” Sumeja, marrying Bahrudin in the United States followed the American custom and does use her husband’s last name. Kismetta is simply Kismetta Dhumzur from the American convention, though in the UAE she might be formally introduced as “Kismetta bint Bahrudin Dhumzur.”

One unexpected thing that happened during the creation of this comic was the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler (nominally since his stroke) of the UAE. The country is currently undergoing 40 days of mourning. I found this out after I completed the comic on 5/13/22. I had to re-edit dialogue on the last two pages to reflect this change.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

It’s Iimi! Acta non Verba!

It’s one of those days. Paula is praying for the courts to approve her mother’s transfer. Kismetta is troubled with the direction that following truth is moving her, and Krysta is fighting with Daryl. What will they do when platitudes aren’t enough?

Preliminary Note: Acta non Verba is Latin for “Action, not words.”