My biggest problem with Christianity? Jesus Christ.

Britain is a Christian country

I did not go to a church school but I was taught Christianity at school. Every Christmas we would learn about the story of Jesus’ birth

Continue reading “My biggest problem with Christianity? Jesus Christ.”

Why do Muslims smell of curry?

One of my grandmother’s biggest complaints about immigrants, aside from their big noses and swarthy skin, was their smell.

Continue reading “Why do Muslims smell of curry?”

My wife thinks I’m a terrorist – I think it’s time I told her the truth

In the last few weeks I have been staying up late at the computer, my phone has been buzzing at all times of the day and night, and I have been reading Qu’ran more than usual.

Continue reading “My wife thinks I’m a terrorist – I think it’s time I told her the truth”

Muslims can drink alcohol, but they should not

I think I might have found a loophole

Everyone it seems, whether Muslim or not, has their own ideas about the laws of Islam. But one of the things that everyone knows is that Muslims can’t drink alcohol, right?

Well, technically that’s not true.

A Muslim can drink if they want to.

In fact, Muslims always have a choice in everything that they do whether praying, fasting, or eating pork.

Muslims can even murder if they like.

Say that again?

Following Islam does not stop a person doing anything, in exactly the same way that British law does not physically prevent crime. Rape, robbery and fraud happens every day in this country even though they are all illegal.

The point of Islam, like any legal system, is to modify human behavior in order to prevent harm, whether to the individual or others.

One beer won’t hurt?

It’s true that alcohol in small quantities causes minimal harm to the human body. But it is also true that alcohol causes enormous harm in our society.

Think about the street fights, car accidents, and vandalism that happen as a direct result of alcohol. Think about the homelessness, the marriage breakdowns, the domestic violence, and the depression caused by alcohol. Think about all the people, as you read this, who are dying, yellow and bloated, because of alcohol-induced liver failure.

Alcohol costs Britain billions of pounds each year, and infinitely more in human suffering.

So whilst Muslims can drink alcohol if they wish, they should understand why Islam teaches them that they should not.

Islamophobes know the Qu’ran better than anyone – but that doesn’t mean they know Islam

I was debating with someone who clearly has a low opinion of Islam (“a pile of stinking shit”, I think he called it) on Facebook in response to one of my blog posts. Like all good debates on social media it involved references to Wikipedia, because Wikipedia is the last word on everything. When I pointed out that he had deliberately omitted a qualifying clause to make his point he accused me of taqiya.

Most ordinary Muslims don’t care that much about the fine details of the faith

I didn’t have a clue what he meant. I don’t know Arabic or Islam well enough yet to have even guessed. None of my Muslim friends or my Muslim wife have ever mentioned the word to me.

I had to go back to Wikipedia to find out that, literally, it means “prudence or fear”. The best way to explain it is with some examples: if a Muslim were adrift at sea, with nothing to drink but beer, he would not commit a sin by drinking it; or if he was lost and starving in the jungle and the only food was a suckling pig, he would be permitted to kill it and eat it, rather than starve to death.

Muslims are allowed to lie about their faith sometimes

The example that most closely resembles the way in which my Facebook foe was using the word is that Muslims are permitted to lie, even about their faith, if telling the truth might harm them.

This mainly applied back in the middle-ages when tribes and warlords were fighting constant battles for territory and power across the huge swathes of Middle East. Many had a habit of capturing towns and cities and systematically killing all those of a certain faith. In that situation you would be an idiot to tell the truth about your religious views.

None of these situations applies to a debate on Facebook with a person who is, with the greatest respect, my intellectual inferior. There was no need for me to lie to win that particular argument.

All Muslims in the West are undercover sleeper agents

When I was Googling taqiya, I came across some dark corners of the internet, but the most amusing are the right-wing conspiracy theories which suggest that Muslims in the West are being encouraged to use taqiya in order to infiltrate society so that they are well placed to attack when the order is given.

So there I was, a Muslim, pointing out that he, an Islamophobe, had deliberately misrepresented evidence but it was him who accused me of religiously-sanctioned lying. How can a Muslim ever hope to change the minds of people like?

Knowing the Qu’ran and knowing Islam are two very different things.

It is accepted by all Muslims that a degree of interpretation is needed. Some things are quite clearly written but others are more specific to their time and place, or not written at all. There is no mention, for example, of whether women should be allowed to drive for (hopefully) obvious reasons. Therefore, the teachings of Islam must be adapted and interpreted with respect to current knowledge.

My message to any Islamophobes reading is this: don’t read the Qu’ran to learn about Islam. Speak to a Muslim, or go to a mosque, because there is so much more to it than what is written.

Can Muslims get a Brazilian wax?

Let me remind you that I am a doctor, because it will make what I am about to say seem a whole lot less weird: I have seen the pubic hair of hundreds of men, women and children, up close and personal. I have seen the spectrum; from thick overgrown forests, through sparse open woodland, to empty deserts of skin.

Most people with no pubic hair have chosen to remove it themselves (or paid someone to do it), but a few have no choice. Children, of course, but also adults who have lost it as a result of illness. Common examples include skin rashes, hormonal imbalances and alopecia – a condition which causes hair to randomly fall out all over the body for some as-yet-unknown reason.

So it is clear to me that among the Great British pubic public attitudes towards pubic hair, or the lack of it, vary wildly. But what about British Muslims? Is it ok for a Muslim to have a Brazilian wax?

Unfortunately, when Islam was written down, Brazil did not exist, let alone their infamous beauty treatment, so there is no mention of it in the original texts. There was, however, some guidance that pubic hair should be kept short, along with instructions to keep toenails trimmed and to wash before prayers, to name just a few examples of the kind of general hygiene advice that appears throughout the Quran.

Most people agree that the advice to trim or shave pubic hair is a matter of cleanliness: it is hard to wash thoroughly with a thick mat of hairs covering up the dirtiest parts of your body.

Some would also argue that pubic hair should be kept neat in order to please your spouse, just as man might trim his beard or have a hair cut because his wife preferred it a certain way.

It can be argued that when Allah created humans he created a perfect being, even down to the shortest, curliest hairs. Pubic hair must, therefore, serve a purpose?

I can tell you the genetic and biochemical reason that certain hairs grown in certain places on our bodies but I cannot tell you why we have pubic hair. Possibilities include something to do with pheromones, sun protection or that it is just a remnant of our evolutionary past, a bit like the appendix. Shaving or waxing pubic hair does not seem to cause any long-term negative health effects, but it does occasionally cause minor issues like ingrowing hairs and intimate rashes.

Personally, I think that think that each person should be free to choose what they want to do with their own pubic hair. Some people are naturally sparse and for them just leaving it to nature will do. Others with more coverage should consider their own personal hygiene and take into account the preferences of their partner. If your wife likes it bushy and you can keep it clean then go for it, but if not, then even a quick trim can work wonders. There does not appear to be any reason that waxing, as opposed to shaving, should be prohibited in Islam, and for that reason I think that a Muslim should be able to get a Brazilian wax, if that is their preference.

Describe your pubic hair… only joking, this is one subject that I would prefer people not to comment on.