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  1. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace. Aburafay, it is weird. It is weird to describe someone who points out that looking at fish-tanks is relaxing (something scientists have in fact, proven to be so) as 'overemphasising.' Especially when that person (that is, me) was responding to the original question of this thread by saying that the psuedo-religious qualities of 'Feng Shui' have nothing to do with it 'working.' It is a simple fact that if your home is pleasant, you will be calmer. It is weird to suppose that I, a non-muslim, must have some near-worshipful relationship with my plants and pets, because I accept with gratitude the benefits given by God through them. While of course, as a Muslim, you're merely accepting their benefits. I am a Quaker. We also discourage, very strictly, symbolic attachments. There are no symbols of Quakerism. We don't keep crosses in our homes, and we don't have church-buildings at all, and certainly none with symbols in them. We discourage, very strictly, attachment to material things. Or homes are simple, our clothes are simple. We are, in fact, so known for our extreme position on these matters that if you were to say these things about a Quaker to anybody who knows what Quakerism is, you'd be laughed clear out of town. Islam is said, by scholars who write to encourage Westerners to accept Islam, to be science-friendly, yet when I explain things scientifically, I am accused of materialism. Islam is said to encourage respect, yet I, a Christian (and a Unitarian one at that) have been accused of worshipping a fish. What is being overemphasised here is your own bigoted belief that all Westerners are obsessed with material things.
  2. Honey

    Peace. You're welcome. :D You can often get them to fly out of the house if you open the brightest window and shut off the lights. Or catch them in a glass against the window pane. They won't sting in the dark, so if you can cup them in your hands before they get a chance to sting, you can carry them out barehanded. Not for the faint of heart. I don't do this, but my dad does. Almost undoubtedly, the ones outside won't do anything more than fly past or circle you once or twice, if you don't do anything about them. Unless they want to get at your drink. Isn't there a bit in the Qu'ran about how you ought to be peaceful to little creatures? I remember something about not killing ants.
  3. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace. Aburafay, I suspect that you are sorely mistaken in your weird opinion that my relationship with my houseplants and fish is any different from your relationship with your plants or any other object of beauty which you enjoy seeing and which gives you pleasure. Raja, your suggestion that I worship fish is most frightfully insulting.
  4. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace. I don't see anything unIslamic about the structure of eyes, which God made, being responsible for the superior night-vision of animals. Or in explaining about not-uncommon behaviors in dogs. Saying that X is true does not always imply that Y is false. But all right, I shall be silent.
  5. Honey

    Peace! Hehe! Thanks, sunshinez! Alas, I'm in the US. It's too bad, I even have an extra bee-proof suit for guests to wear -- lots of people are curious to see the inside of a beehive. Even folks who are afraid of bees usually get used to it quickly and find it fun. I don't know about the wheat. Do the bees come to the cut wheat? Maybe it's just because there are lots of active bees in the summer time. Bees attacking you around the house -- most times, when people are stung by bees or wasps, it's because they've stepped on one or rubbed against one that landed on them. Also, bees and wasps can't see the edges of things very well, and they often bump into people when flying. If they get tangled in your clothes or hair, they'll panic and sting you. If bees or wasps have built a nest near people, so that they fly through an area where people sit on their way in and out, somebody'll get stung eventually. Look for the nest. Probably there is an office you can call to have it removed. If they are really honeybees and not wasps, a beekeeper may want them, and come around to collect them. If bees are just slowly flying about and bothering you by buzzing about you, you can make them go away by blowing smoke on them, perhaps from a stick of incense. Or just breathing on them softly -- I speak to mine, saying, "Leave me alone, I'm not bothering you," and they go away, probably because they don't like being breathed on. If they're flying slowly they're not likely to bump into you. I have hundreds of beautiful dagger-like black mud-dauber wasps living on my porch in the summer. I just ignore them and we get along fine. I tell my guests that it is against the rules of the house to try to swat the wasps or shoo them away, and nobody gets stung. Being swatted at makes bees and wasps angry. Some people do pretty well keeping the bees and wasp in a smaller area of the yard. There's a plant called 'bee balm' that bees really love. It has pretty red flowers, and blooms for a long time. If you plant some as far away from where you sit as you can, bees might not bother you as much. Or you could place a saucer of jam or sugar-water (with a few pebbles in so bees don't get stuck in it) far away from where you sit.
  6. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace, Aburafay. Oh, God made my pet fish. It is calming to look at the wonderous beauty of God's fish, and witness how God sustains its grace and life. I don't think it's materialistic to enjoy this. Do you not have pets, houseplants, and things that make your home more pleasant and calming?
  7. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace, Aburafay! Well, the way I see it, I have a pretty good database about jinns. I know lots of stories about djinns in specific, even, and a great many stories about ghosts and pookas and manitouus and such -- all beings that you would say are people's attempts to explain djinns. Or are simply another name for djinns. I even believe in them. Well, not ghosts as in lost human souls, but things you can't see. I believe in the Manitouu that is said to live in the town I used to live in, and would, like everybody else, avoid the pretty little pool where the Manitouu was said to hang about. I'm perfectly happy to say that a Manitouu is just a djinn that likes to stay near water, in wild places. Though the story goes that if you could see it, which you can't, it would look like a blue puma with a snake for its tail. It can't really hurt you, and yet supposedly it's somehow dangerous. I stand corrected, and I apologize. True enough, I may be eager to see material reasons. I think it better to try to understand all possibilities, material and otherwise, and to generally assume that the simplest explaination is the most likely. Also, it is perhaps comforting to think that the incident was not caused by a frightening djinn, but rather by the limited cognative abilities of a dog. If they can't interfere with your life, how do you know they are there? I think the 'cold patches' that western people accociate with ghosts are not said to register on a thermometer, it's just something that some people feel when near a djinn "ghost." Like the feeling that something is staring at you that most people have near the pool where the Manitouu is said to be. That sounds like every 'haunted house' story. Usually it turns out that the 'haunted house' is burned out or has broken plumbing or is otherwise uninhabitable, and the people who own it are just taking years to get the money to repair it or to sell it to someone who can. Years ago, as a teen, I was really interested in ghosts and things and would phone finding these things out. Do you know what happened just before it was evacuated?
  8. Cultural Question

    Peace! Hmm. I have heard that Arabic is quite a lyrical language which includes a lot of repeated sounds, and, the way it is spoken, a lot of repeated phrases. Seems natural that an Arabic speaker might recreate these patterns of speech in English. I can't remember, but probably I was told this at a time when I'd hang out on a chatroom with this gaggle of Icelandic linguists, and tended to go on about how great Seven Pillars of Wisdom is. Seven Pillars of Wisdom is T. E. Lawrence's memoir, the basis for the Lawrence of Arabia film with Peter O'Toole. I wonder what our middle eastern friends would think of it.
  9. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace, Aburafay! Christianity doesn't say anything about djinns. It doesn't say anything about potatoes, hummingbirds, the theory of relativity, or any number of other things which I believe. As it happens, I think it's fairly likely that what you call djinns are somethings which exist. But yes, I do look for a more material reason to explain the behavior of this dog in Raja's post. In fact, I think it is very strange of you two that you are so eager to accept the idea that the dog's behavior was caused by djinns, yet appear to be almost annoyed that I suggest it was more likely caused by something else. It doesn't seem to me like a case of also looking at the possibility that it was djinns. More a case of jumping to the conclusion that it was without considering other explainations. A few months ago, one of my cats appeared to be absolutely stiff with terror over something I couldn't see. I didn't suppose it was djinns. Or ghosts, as many Westerners might have done. I thought my cat had developed epilepsy, been poisoned, or had a cerebral event (a small stroke). I took her to the vet. They don't know what it was either. Maybe it was djinns. I suppose I might have saved myself some money if I'd assumed it was djinns and not bothered going to the veterinarian's, but doing so would probably have qualified as neglecting my cat. If there's a place in the room where it's weirdly cold, I would look for a physical cause before I assumed a 'supernatural' one. If there was a plausible explaination that does not involve djinns or ghosts but involves a draft, I would accept that explaination as the most likely answer, even if I was firmly convinced that djinns exist. I'm curious: How do you know this building is occupied by djinns? Peace, Raja. Were you hoping I might explain the superior night-vision of animals by claiming it was something unseen? It is unseen. Or it was, until science saw it. Some of God's mysteries are meant to be uncovered. There are lots of things that are unseen, but can be seen by human beings in this life, should people work at it. And there are lots of things that are unseen that will not be revealed in this life.
  10. Treatment Of Parents

    Peace! Hi, Sulemaan. And thanks. :D My mother deserves the highest of praise. She's truely wonderful. God forgive me, I am sure I did not help her with my grandmother as much as I ought to have done. But I do think, that for the last year or two of my grandmother's life, it would have been better if she'd lived in the nursing home. I feel that way because I want very much to protect my mother from suffering. For years after my grandmother died, my mother could not think of her without feeling terribly guilty -- by the end, caring for my grandmother was so difficult and heartbreaking. I don't really know how to say it. But after those terrible years, what my mother remembered was that she had hated taking care of the shell my grandmother had become. The love in her heart had been buried by pain and she felt she was a bad daughter because of that. She needed to be reminded of how very good and generous and courageous she had been, and she needed to be reminded of the good and wise woman that my grandmother had been before she grew so ill with age. It's taken years. Probably my grandmother lived longer than she would have in a nursing home. But by the end she was so unaware of her surroundings that she would not have known the difference in any conscious way. It would have made a big difference to my mother and myself, though. I think that the mass-media impression you've picked up is a perfectly accurate interpretation of what Western media says about this issue. Westerners are really unsatisfied with the nursing-home system. It is ugly, and we criticise it a lot. We want something better, and are trying to work out how, mainly by pointing out the flaws. In Canada (or at least, parts of it) you can have a nurse come around to help with invalid family members living in your home. In the city near where I live, there's a small business that is offering the same service. If this becomes more commonplace, and there are also smaller, more home-like nursing-homes set up in residential neighborhoods, things will start to look better. I wonder what the statistics really are, about how many elderly Westerners live with their families and how much care they require. It's funny -- nobody accuses people of neglecting their duties to family if they have a family member who is young but brain-damaged, or suffering from a seriously debilitating disease of the nervous system, or is insane, and that person lives in a hospital. But when age-related illness creates the same symptoms in our parents, people often end up feeling that it is wrong to hospitalize them. My great-grandmother died in a nursing home. She would have been all right to care for at home, even at the last, but she did not want to leave Scotland and had only one son, who lived in Canada. My other grandmother cared for her father at home. She had a nurse come around several times a week to help, she lives where this service is provided free. The grandmother of the wonderful man my cousin married died in her children's home, after living with them for years. She was a complete invalid and I never did see her awake, much less out of bed. My stepmother's mom died in a nursing home, but she had become quite mad and did that thing where she'd make an enormous mess and risk hurting herself trying to rearrange the house if you left her alone for more than a few minutes. My great-aunt lived with her children for over ten years and was a great joy to the family. She died quite recently, at home, but unlike my grandmother she failed very rapidly and only required extensive nursing for the last few weeks. Some cousins of mine have simply moved in next door to their aging mother -- she still has her own house, but takes meals with them and they go over to clean for her at times. I don't think this is a bad record. Or that those two who lived in nursing homes should have lived with their children. I don't know how it is on average across the West, though. A good friend of mine did end up cooking and cleaning for her elderly neighbor, whos children would come by only very seldom and with hardly a word of thanks. And a lot of the old folks in the retirement home where my grandmother lived before she came to live with us would remark sadly that they hardly ever heard from or saw their children. Surely the problem of displaced and neglected parents does exist. But I think it's a mistake to presume that it's completely widespread -- in a lot of cases, placing elderly people nursing homes is not neglect, but necessity. Numbers about how few elderly Westerners live with their families don't account for those who really do need the full-time professional care nursing homes provide, nor do they account for elderly people who can still care for themselves and live alone or with their spouses because they want to. The real question is, what percentage of westerners living in nursing homes could be cared for at home without putting enormous pressures on the family and requiring them to turn a family home into a miniature hospital? I don't know that number, though I would guess that it is far too high.
  11. Haram Food

    Peace. It seems to me that you'd still want to support the halal meat producers, even if saying bismillah is enough to make the food clean for you. I take it you live in Uraguay? Is seems to me all you must do is get the name of the halal meat-packer and order some. Probably they won't sell a small amount, so you'll need a freezer and perhaps several families to split the cost, and the meat. I don't know. Where I live there are small meat-processors that serve folks who raise a few of their own cows or sheep, and also hunters who don't want to do more than field dress their deer. If I was a Muslim I could easily buy several live lambs and goats, take them there, kill them in the proper way, and have the meat-packers cut them up and wrap them for me. Killing and dressing your own meat isn't as terrible as you might imagine. If you have the space to do it, I'd suggest you get a bunch of day old chicks. If you buy them from an egg-farm or hatchery, and get the chicks that will grow into roosters, they cost next to nothing -- usually these people gas all the male chicks to death and grind them up for fertilizer or pig feed. Just give them a big yard and feed them up for a few months. By the time they start crowing and fighting and driving you crazy, they'll be big enough to eat. And easier to kill, since they're so annoying.
  12. Honey

    Peace! Hi, sunshinez. Honey is sugar, and too much sugar isn't good for you. Honey is better for you than plain sugar, though, since it has some minerals and other stuff in. Also, it won't rot your teeth, because it is so acidic and anti-bacterial that it kills the microrganisms that cause tooth decay. It's generally agreed that it's not good to give honey to little babies. This is because honey often contains the spores of botulism. Botulism can't grow in honey, so this won't hurt you unless you mix the honey with water or milk or something and then let it stand long enough for the bacteria to grow. People used to give babies bottles of warm milk with a little honey. If the bottle sat out for a couple of hours, the baby would be poisoned. Probably pure honey is perfectly safe, but honey is usually sold with a warning not to feed it to babies because of this. So, shall I give you guys updates on my beehive? I could do a little 'Year in the Bee Yard' on this thread, if folks are interested. I check my bees every few days, by going out and sitting next to the hive and watching them go in and out. Or just tapping the hive and listening to the buzz if they're all inside. Two days ago I went to do this and my bees were flying, it was sunny and very summer-like. But they sounded angry. If you keep bees long enough you will know by the sound if they are happy. A few were angry enough to attack me. I wasn't stung, but I knew something was amiss, they almost never do that. I was afraid their queen had died. They get very upset if they have no queen. I put on my bee-proof suit and had a look inside. There are lots of bees (excellent!), and I found the queen, young and healthy (even better!). It is early, but she is already laying some eggs -- from the eggs and developing larvae, I'd guess she's been laying a few dozen every day for the past week. This is great. Also, I didn't see any bees with mites on them -- tiny pencil-tip sized creatures that the blood of bees. This fall my bees had mites and I had to give them a mite-killing medicine. It looks as if it has worked and all is well. Except there's hardly any honey left in the hive! They have eaten almost all of it over the winter. That's why they're angry -- food supplies are running low, but there are no flowers. I have given them a feeder, with sugar-syrup. They're happier now. It was about time I did that anyway -- if there is new nectar coming into the hive, they start to raise more babies. I want hundreds, not dozens, of eggs each day. It takes about 28 days for a bee to grow from egg to adult, and another 18 days before a bee is old enough that she starts to fly outside and gather nectar. By feeding syrup now, I hope to induce the bees to build up a strong work-force of young bees before the first flowers start to bloom, so I get get a lot of the best light-coloured spring honey.
  13. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace. Some of that Feng Shui stuff works, not because of spirits and energies so much as because of human psychology. Some of it is great advice about how to make your living space more attractive and pleasant. That's all. May as well use it, you don't have to believe all the rubbish about spirits. If facing east helps you study better, face east and remember that it's that way because God made you and the world that way. Tortoises do not make good pets. They are much messier and harder to care for than one might be led to believe. The Feng Shui people also say that fish are good luck and bring tranquility and all, and this is sort of true -- watching a tank of fish is very calming.
  14. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace, Aburafay! Christianity doesn't say djinns don't exist. I don't discount the possibility that they do. I'm just saying it's more likely that there's another explaination. Peace, Raja! I did read what you wrote. I just don't assume that the dog's owner or the people standing around would know. I work with dogs for a living and meet a lot of different dogs. So, I think my guess is a good one. I had a client with an elderly dog, the owner is in her seventies and has had the dog for twelve years. It barked and growled at me when it first saw me, the owner said, "She's usually so friendly, I don't know why she doesn't like you," and I replied, "It's because she thinks my hat is a monster," took off my hat, and threw it out the door. The dog stopped barking and after a few minutes of suspicion, was friendly. I'm forever solving people's problems with their pet's behavior with simple explainations they've never thought of. Obviously I didn't see the actual incident, or I might have a different theory. As for dogs and cats seeing better in the dark -- this has to do with the structure of the eye. The eye focuses light on a collection of light-sensitive cells. When light strikes these cells, it causes a very short-term chemical reaction. The end result is that the sensation of seeing is transmitted to the brain. The light-sensitive cells are of two basic types 'rods' which simply detect light and 'cones' which are larger and colour sensitive. 'Cones' require more light to work. This is why in low-light conditions you have a hard time telling what colour something is -- the 'rods' in your eye are working, but it's too dark for the 'cones' and so you see in black and white. As animals go, human beings have a lot of 'cones' in their eyes. We have excellent colour vision (only some birds see colours better) but poor low-light vision. Dogs and cats have few cones and lots of rods. So they see better in the dark, but have poor colour vision (though they do see some colour, contrary to popular opinion) Also, their eyes are comparatively larger. And on top of that, they have a reflective membrane at the back of the eye that allows them to pick up more light. This membrane is why the eyes of animals 'glow' in the light of your car's headlamps. In animals where this structure is very reflective and well-developed, the eye-shine will be bright yellow-green, like that of cats. In humans it is so undeveloped that you can't get an eye-shine off a person unless you suprise them at a time when the iris of the eye is fully open -- then you'll get a little bit of a red shine, the 'red eye' effect in flash photographs. So cats can see unerringly in conditions that appear pitch black to humans. They simply need less light. Same is true for dogs, but to a lesser degree. Owls have nearly no cones at all and presumably see no colours, but they can see even when a cat is blinded by the darkness. Even more interesting: Diurnal raptors (hawks, falcons, eagles) have more light sensitive cells in the lower half of their eye (well, actually the upper as the image is projected onto the retina upside down and corrected in the brain) than in the upper half. So the images in the lower part of a hawk's vision are much sharper than the images in the upper part. This is why a tame falcon on a low perch will so charmingly turn her head upside down to look at a tall man. Dogs also can detect a lot of things by smell, which humans cannot detect. Our sense of smell is very weak, that of dogs is excellent. Dogs have been trained to detect cancer in living people by smell. So far, 100% accurate, even in cases where the dog signaled that it smelled cancer in someone doctors thought was clear, more sensitive tests and waiting a bit revealed that the person did indeed have cancer. None of the 'scientific' theories I've read about how animals are forewarned of earthquakes make good sense to me.
  15. Jins/ghosts Etc

    Peace. The ouija board is just a smooth board with letters and a few words (yes and no and maybe) painted on it. The people using it put their hands on a pointer that will slide easily across the board -- just the tiny tremors of your hands make it slowly move. If there's two of you. If it's just one you'll probably correct your body's tiny movements better and keep the pointer still. If it moves, your subconcious guides it to spell out words, maybe. It won't spell out words if the people touching the pointer close their eyes and get a third person to read out what it doesn't spell. It especially will not do so if you turn it around after they've closed their eyes so they don't know where the letters are. So, not magic, or djinn. Bunk. I can tell your fortune with cards and it will seem to work and I don't need to look at your face or play on the emotions I might see there. It's somewhat accurate, enough to appear moderately uncanny, but really it just has to do with the system of 'reading' cards, which produces a coherent and yet vague narrative which will almost always be consistant with some reality or another in a person's life. It's bunk.