Mar 17 2013

“Solar Mama”


Empowering rural illiterate women in remote areas.
Film about Jordanian Bedouin mother premieres at HRW Film Festival in London
2013-03-16  Jessica Holland/ The National

• The Human Rights Watch Film Festival will be held at venues across London from today until March 22. The screening of Rafea: Solar Mama and Q&A with filmmakers will be on Friday and Saturday. Visit for more details


A very inspiring documentary by two Egyptian woman filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief about a Jordanian Bedouin woman who was chosen to participate  at the “Barefoot College” –  a school in the Indian state of Rajasthan that invites illiterate grandmothers from rural parts of Afghanistan, South Sudan, Peru and elsewhere in the world to take a six-month course on solar engineering.

Unfortunately I was not able to watch the premiere in Jordan but we can get an idea of the story in the official movie trailer on YouTube (please click on the picture.)


The film was received in Jordan with standing ovations on International Women’s Day in a huge theatre. “The audience was roaring and crying the whole time. It was amazing.”

There is wave of change and empowering woman in most conservatives Muslim societies, Al Hamdulillah. It is a wrong notion to argue  that women should stay home and have no say in the daily struggles of the society. Islam paved the way for women when in most parts of the world at that time women were nowhere near the freedom and chances as they have today. Unfortunately in later centuries the message somehow got lost.


If we read with open mind the relevant passages in the Quran and in the many Hadiths remembering that those are orally told reports of that time collected, sorted out to reliable and to less reliable ones and written down as late as 200-300 years later. Therefore they should be taken with caution. Not everything in the Hadith’s  is the absolute truth as human memory can err (please read Topic No. 8 on the right panel, too).

Not the right but the Duty is on every Muslim, male and female to search for education.. “even from as far as China.” (Prof. Mohammed)

“Do treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers.“ (Prof. Mohammed in his farewell speech on his last pilgrimage)


With best Greetings













Mar 03 2011

World Press Photo winner 2010

Restoring Honour? Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban

Hello, back blogging again after losing my whole blog content. Luckily I had saved my texts, but it will take some time to put them back again. Sorry, trying to be more focused in the future.


Today I am speechless and saddened, Horrified.   First I thought I should not take up this subject, because it could eventually do more harm than good for the task I have taken on. But things do not ever change if we do not address them!

So let’s analyze this.  We should not be too quick putting everything on the Religion, tragedies like these are hard to overcome and they happen quite often in some areas. Sad enough, the word Taliban means “Students of Religion”.  Old habits die hard and thousands of years old traditions are taken for religious practices. We can witness that everywhere and especially in the developing world. In Africa for instance Witchcraft (Voodoo, Vodou) is practiced along the main religions Christianity and Islam, and they do not see any contradiction in it. In the Middle-East there are Honour killings (fortunately not everywhere) denying women their God given rights for dignity. The right of choosing her own husband and eventually to get divorced is set in the Quran. According the Quran she can reject a suitor by saying “no” or if shy by staying silent (meaning she accepts) and a divorce is possible even for the only reason that she does not like her husband.

From old customs we have to remember also the pharaonic practice of circumcision of girls. It is justified in Africa by Islam, although the African Christians are practicing it equally. There is NO mentioning of it in the Quran or even in the Hadiths. I suppose that it came to the Arabian peninsula much later with pilgrims (many of them stayed there for good) from Africa where it is known since times of the Pharaos. Please read my topics on the right for “What the Quran has to say.. ”, “Hadiths”, ”Women and Islam” about them.


“If you see an evil, correct it with your hand; if you cannot correct it with your hand, correct it with your tongue (words); if you cannot do it either, feel that it is wrong in your heart.” (Prof. Mohammad)

World Press Photo of the Year 2010: South African photographer Jodi Bieber wins premier award.

Bibi Aisha     bibi aisha disfigured taleban

I quote from the article hoping does not mind:

“The portrait of Bibi Aisha was also awarded First prize in the category Portraits Singles in this year’s contest. It was shot for Time and was featured on the cover of the 9 August issue of the magazine.
Her winning picture shows Bibi Aisha, 18, who was disfigured as retribution for fleeing her husband’s house in Oruzgan province, in the center of Afghanistan. At the age of 12, Aisha and her younger sister had been given to the family of a Taliban fighter under a Pashtun tribal custom for settling disputes. When she reached puberty she was married to him, but she later returned to her parents’ home, complaining of violent treatment by her in-laws.
Men arrived there one night demanding that she be handed over to be punished for running away. Aisha was taken to a mountain clearing, where she was held down, and had first her ears sliced off, and then her nose. In local culture, a man who has been shamed by his wife is said to have lost his nose, and such treatment is considered punishment in kind. Aisha was abandoned, but later rescued and taken to a shelter in Kabul run by the aid organization Women for Afghan Women, where she was given treatment and psychological help. After time in the refuge, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery.”

Another article:
“Promised to a Taliban fighter by her father when Bibi Aisha was 12 to satisfy an obligation, she was married at 14 and had been used as a servant and forced to sleep in an outbuilding with her in-laws’ animals. When she fled their abuse, neighbors turned her in. She was jailed briefly, and her father retrieved her and returned her to his in-laws, after being assured they would treat her better. Instead, her husband walked her into a mountain clearing and held her down while his brother chopped off her nose and ears as other Talib watched. Then they left her to die in the mountains where they’d disfigured her. “I passed out,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Atia Abawi. “In the middle of the night it felt like there was cold water in my nose.”

It was her own blood, so much of it, she told Abawi. “I couldn’t even see…”

Somehow Aisha managed to feel her way to her grandfather’s home, where she was hidden and then spirited away to a medical center run by the U.S. military, who eventually transferred her to a privately-run women’s shelter…”

In another article  the photographer Jodi Bieber tells how she felt this woman was beautiful and did not want to portray her as a victim but show her dignity. She was right and is an exceptional good photographer.

Bibi Aisha was very fortunate to get proper medical care after her attackers left her there to die. Hundreds, perharbs thousands of other girls are not so lucky.

After reconstructive surgery now 18 year old Bibi is smiling again

Bibi Aisha after surgery

Jun 13 2009

Mother of the Believers, Book review – II

Tag: History of Religions,Women IssuesMona @ 6:53 pm

I am reading this book very carefully and taking notes. It is a wonderfully written colorful peace of research and until page 110 I have not found any historical mistakes expect the one I would like to discuss today. History coming alive!

I trust it would be a great basis for a new movie about the birth of Islam like the well known masterpiece “The Message” by Mustafa Akkad . Since the author is an accomplished screen writer I am especially worried about this. Once a MOVIE is made about (any) events it becomes the truth to most of the people.

In the shoes of Mr. Kamran Pasha I would be really careful what to allow to be done in his name. In Islam we are accountable for our deeds and intentions, and one of the worst sins in Islam are inventions into the faith.

If there were not the ONE thing I oppose strongly since there is NO REAL evidence of the date of birth of Lady Aisha. Only one or two Hadiths, which were collected as late as 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (pbuH). Until then they were mere traditions remembered orally. The Prophet himself discouraged writing down his every word because he feared they would be confused with the Quran.

Needles to tell my Muslim readers how Islam is portrayed on internet forums whenever the topic Islam comes up. The Prophet (pbuH) is routinely called “a pedophile caravan bundit”!

I have the strong suspicion that the author had to make a few changes, probably only one (since to book is powerful reading) to his manuscript so that it would be accepted for publication. The one about Lady Aisha’s age. It would explain hastily made changes in the text about it and the from it resulting unmatching dateline. Muslim readers know what I am talking about, the opponents do not hesitate to use all means to tarnish the image of Islam. They are mostly powerful media owners and editors in chief in major publications.

Why do I believe so?

On page 9: Aisha is claimed to be born in 613 A.D.

On page 92: is claimed that Aisha “counted over 40 most powerful men not only of Mecca but the Bedouin tribes…” at the age of tender age of 3 years?!

On page 96: in 619 A.D Aisha is claimed to be 6 years old almost 10 yrs after the 1. Revelation” in 610 A.D. when driven out of Mecca into exile

Page 105: Her sister Asma is 16 yrs old in 621 A.D when boycott ends meaning that Aisha would be STILL 6 yrs old (after spending 3 years in exile, and not 9!). Asma was 10 yrs her elder. According to Adel Salahi the boycott lasted for 3 years “Muhammad, Man and Prophet” by M.A. Salahi, page 160 (not 2 yrs as in this book) .

For other events in this novel there are surviving documents and scriptures to rely on and they are largely accepted as accurate, historically correct. The early Muslim community had many literate people who recorded events and in one of them is said that Aisha was a young girl when converting with her elder sister to Islam (among the first 80 Muslims to do so), in 610 A.D. That would make her at least 11 years old when returning home from exile from the desert outside of Mecca even if she was a newborn baby back then. And if we believe this to be correct, since it was recorded in the lifetime of the Prophet (and not 250-300 years later!) then she was at least in her late teens when marrying the Prophet!

Salaam for later commentary,

Jun 04 2009

Mother of the Believers Book Review – I

Tag: History of Religions,World NewsMona @ 6:41 pm

About two months ago I was asked to review a book of which I was quite curious about. Renowned Hollywood screenwriter Kamran Pasha has written a novel about the birth of Islam titled

Mother of the Believers

Now that I had the chance actually to start reading it I finally realized what had bothered me all the time.

It is the Title of the Book!

I just finished the fist chapter but as a reader I take the opportunity to make this my opinion clear before actually reading it. Two things bother me after the author’s note. First is the title and secondly that he chooses to use the most controversial age (according to some hadiths) of Lady Aisha at her marriage – six years old when engaged, married at nine.

I am afraid he is ignorant of the newer historical research. From different other accounts we can reconstruct Aisha’s age to late teens or perhaps early twenties compared to the ages of Prophet’s older daughters and other Hadith’s and surviving documents.

I cannot help but thinking that Mr. Pasha is not doing a favor for Islam especially while he knows the controversy around this subject and that it is used widely against Islam as anyone surfing the internet about critical articles about Islam must have noticed. Perhaps through controversy about this he hopes to gain exposure.. bad critic is better than no critic?

On the first pages is looks to become a promising tale, worthy of a successful Hollywood writer familiar with flowery language. And please, pardon my broken English, I myself struggle living in four languages every  day.

The Title: The title Mother of Believers Prophet Mohammed gave to his first wife of 25 years Khadija as she was the first person to convert to Islam and was the only supporter of the Prophet at his crisis after receiving his first revelation.

I believe this means that the Prophet’s wives were like mothers to the believers and after his passing away they could not be married by anyone else later.

The Age of Aisha: Mr. Pasha, the Marriage to Lady Aisha lasted 10 years. According to you 6 + 10 = 16 years. Aisha was the youngest of Prohpet’s wives (the daughter of his best friend and companion) while others were in their late fifties and early sixties, mostly war widows. His first wife Khadija as we know was 15 years his senior and the marriage lasted for 25 years with 6 children and it was a very happy one. From all his other wives he married later he received only one boy who died very early.

For me personally it hard to believe that the early Muslim community would have accepted her as THE Mother Figure ( Mr. Pasha in his book: “I am the Mother of the Believers and this is my tale.” Aisha at the end of the first chapter) and as far as I know Aisha’s role after the death of the Prophet was somewhat controversial because she tried to take a political role others opposed.

Pardon my Planet, I had to bring this to my readers attention. From Amazon I can see that the book is selling well and receiving good feedback.

Salaam, for later commentary

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