discussion, religions

A Story From The Bible

Here is one of my favorite stories from the Bible. The story has been narrated in Muslims’s books as well. I might share some more passages from the bible and AlQuran as an attempt to build a bridge between Christians and Muslims in my blog.

And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 7:53-8:11 in the King James Version:

What is your personal reflection on the story?


March 2010 Panorama

  • “You know, I have this awful paranoid thought that feminism was mostly invented by men so that they could like, fool around a little more. You know, women, free your minds, free your bodies, sleep with me. We’re all happy and free as long as I can fuck as much as I want”. Said Celine to Jesse in the movie Before Sunrise (1995)
  • “Fanaticism is the source of impurity in this world and that I feel that I need to wash my hands whenever I shake hand with a fanatic person!” That is what I said in my Arabic blog, in explaining how much I hate fanaticism of all kinds.
  • “Life is not a solid reality, it is a state of mind, however simple you want your life to be…it will!” Said Mohammed Al Saif in commenting at my Facebook status: what if life turn out to be way simpler than we thought it is?
  • “Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.”- reading 1984 novel by George Orwell, Chapter 6.
  • “One of my decisions that made me psychologically and spiritually happy is that I no longer gossip” Said Nawal Saad in her blog’s post Day 36
  • “If many people think that the “Abaya” hinders Muslim women’s development and dreams, they should have a broader vision and a closer look at Muslim women in general, and at Saudi women in specific. Safeya Binzagr, a Saudi female artist, is a live proof of the fallacy of such a belief.” Said Maha Noor Elahi in her blog’s post A Saudi Woman; A Saudi Pioneer
  • “I realize in my life, the importance of telling people how much they shape my way of thinking, it isn’t that because they care, it is more because I care, I mean I feel I appreciate myself more that way” That is what I said to one of my friend in a conversation in Skype.
  • “I think people can live without religion  but not without sex” Said one of my friend in a discussion about the influence of religion, and sex on human behavior.
  • “I learned that it is totally stupid to spend 25 seconds on thinking about what other people would think of us.” I said that day 74 of 365 days journey
  • “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” One part that really got my attention when I was reading George Orwell’s novel, 1984, Chapter 7.

Think of Others

“As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
Don’t forget to feed the pigeons.

As you conduct your wars, think of others
Don’t forget those who want peace.

As you pay your water bill, think of others
Think of those who have only the clouds to drink from.

As you go home, your own home, think of others
Don’t forget those who live in tents.

As you sleep and count the planets, think of others
There are people who have no place to sleep.

As you liberate yourself with metaphors, think of others
Those who have lost their right to speak.

As you think of distant others
Think of yourself and say
I wish I were a candle in the darkness”

Mahmoud Darwish


Interrupting Others

Interrupting others, regardless of who they are and how much we disagree with them, is a disrespectful and an uncivil act. It is just so embarrassing and so ignominious to see people with university degree provoking and doing such an act.

I really hate to be in the environment where I feel that my self or any other speaker will be continuously interrupted by someone else. I really don’t understand why interrupting others has become an accepted phenomena in our society.

Now, I understand that some speakers have nonsense or wrong thoughts but if we want to engage in a discussion with them, we have to listen to their speech until they finish.  Then, we can ask them tough questions that will really show the weakness of their arguments.

It is very simple. If you agree to engage in a discussion with someone, you have the obligation to listen to his argument until he finish. If you just interrupt him every minute he speaks, then what is the point of the whole discussion in the first place. Also, keep in mind, that you may look foolish to others because of the way you handle the discussion.

What got me to write this post is the way UC  students behaved during the Israeli ambassador Michael Oren‘s speech. Oren has been interrupted continuously by (Arab or Muslim) students. I just feel their interruption made Oren looks like a hero to other students. They could have done a better job if they had ask Oren tough questions about human rights issues in Palestine and the criminal killing in Gaza.  These questions will really challenge Oren and put him in a very embarrassing situation.


Saudi Youth and The Labor Market

Olivier Arvisais is a university researcher at the University of Quebec at Montreal. He is currently doing an academic research on socials issues and labor market in Saudi Arabia. He want to know whether or not Saudis hold some prejudice with respect to certain kinds of jobs and whether most young Saudis prefer to remain unemployed, rather than to accept a manual labour job in the private sector or in the oil industry.

I really encourage every Saudi to participate in his survey by going to his website Saudi Identity . It is very short, and mostly Yes/No questions.

I think his research topic is really great and definitely touch upon very important social and economic problem in Saudi Arabia. Many Saudi youth grew up with the idea that working in a restaurant or any other manual jobs is shameful while the country suffer a dramatic increase in unemployment.

Anyway, it would be very interested to see  what Olivier would come up with from his research.  Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section.


Thank You So Much For Listening

The following conversation was in Arabic between me and the manager of SACM financial dept. I translated to English to share it with you.

Murtadha: Hello Dr  Saad Asswailim ( Many of SACM employees are obsessed with being called a doctor, I even call the reception employee doctor too)

Mr. Asswailim smiled: Doctor? I am not a doctor

Murtadha: Oh, but doctorate isn’t all about the degree 🙂 . Many people became doctor because of their understanding and respect to others. It is life experience, I think.

Mr. Asswailim laughed: That is true

Murtadha: anyway, I am calling you in regard my problem. I have sent an email to Dr. Al-essa (director of SACM) in regard my problem and few days later, my advisor told me that I will be reimbursed for the GMAT course.

Mr. Asswailim: I read your email, but I don’t think we can reimburse you.

Murtadha: Ok. why?

Mr. Asswailim: Because we don’t reimburse students for GMAT courses, and I can’t treat you different than the rest of the students.

Murtadha: I totally agree with you, every students should be treated the same, but the problem is that I am not asking to be treated different.

Mr. Asswailim: So, what is your problem then?

Murtadha: My problem is that I asked my SACM advisor before I take the course about whether or not, the SACM cover the cost of the course and she told me Yes. Of course, that isn’t enough, so I asked her for financial guarantee stating that SACM cover the cost of the GMAT and they issued me one. So based on the information I got, there is nothing that disprove the fact that SACM cover the cost of the GMAT.

Mr. Asswailim: Ok, but that isn’t my problem. I am not the one who issued the financial guarantee for the GMAT course and I didn’t tell you that SACM covers the cost. I have policies that I follow here and I can’t break them.

Murtadha: I totally agree with you. I actually respect that. Can I ask you a question?

Mr. Asswailim: Of course you can

Murtadha: If you were in my situation and your advisor had told you that that SACM cover the cost of that course and she issued you a financial guarantee as a confirmation for that , and after you took the course, and paid the cost, you sent your paper for reimbursement, then you the employee tells you: ” no, we can’t reimburse you” what would you do then:

Mr. Asswailim: Mmmmm, I totally understand your situation, I think you should call Dr. Alissa (director of SACM) again to open an investigation on this.

Murtadha: I will call Al=essa again. I think I find a new journey in life now. I would call it ” Murtadha’s Journey in getting his reimbursement”

Mr. Asswailim: Laughing

Murtadha: by the way, I have to say that you are too kind, because you listened to what I wanted to say. You didn’t only listen, you also respected me and allowed me to discuss the issue with me. That is something I really really appreciate.  So, thank you so much for that.

Mr. Asswailim: You are most welcome. It is my job to listen and talk with you and other students so please don’t hesitate to call back if there is anything else I can help you with.

Murtadha: I will , thank you again so much for listening to me. Listening something is so important and from my experience with Saudi governmental agencies, I found that people who work there like only to talk or give commands. It is rare to find someone who would listen. That is why I want to tell you how much I appreciate that. Thank you for simply listening to me.

End of the conversation.

Mr. Asswaili was very surprised on how something very small such as listening, is so important and valuable for someone else like me.


My View of Valentine Day

I honestly don’t believe in Valentine day.  I feel it represents love as a product of consumptionism. I think companies found V-day as a very smart idea  to manipulate the prices and increase people consumption  so the flowers that cost 20 dollar is sold for 99 dollar in V-day!

I am not against love celebration at all but I feel love is so beautiful when it express simply and continuously. This means that you should celebrate your love to your wife every single day she smiles at your face, every moment she holds your dreams and in every second she share a breath with you. Schedule your  own love day on your own calendar,  pick a day each month to surprise her with a flower or a gift and it doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to be more sincere.

My point of the whole post is your love to your wife shouldn’t be appointed by somebody else, or by companies that want to make a profit out of you.

Notes before you comment:

  • I provided my personal opinion which means that I don’t say that the celebration of V-day is wrong and I don’t force people to agree with my opinion.
  • I am totally against what Saudi moral police do in V-day of forcing people not to celebrate the event. I don’t think it is sin in Islam at all to celebrate V-day and I don’t think anyone has a right to prohibit people from celebrating V-day.
  • Please read the comments below. I think most of my readers share a different take on the subject. That is always what I like about blogging. It always gives you an opportunity to learn new perspectives from people.

Observation From Inside

Forming Our Own Web of Beliefs

Let’s start our journey of the Observation From Inside with this week’s news. The former Saudi ambassador Turki al-Faisal shook the hands of Danny Ayalon, the Israeli deputy foreign minster. Now the incident itself isn’t important for me as observer because, remember, our goal is to understand and analyze the human behavior, not anything else. So what is important for me here is to observe how Saudi react to this incident, how they perceive it and how they interpret it.

  • Observation:

From my observation to people in twitter, I have noticed three different reactions. When person A heard about what happened, He went and made his own judgment before seeing the video or asking for any additional information. When person B heard about what happened, he chose not to believe what he has heard and decided to wait until he sees the video and after that he made his judgment. When person C heard about what happened and then saw the video in YOUTUBE, he chose to wait for prince Turki Faisl’s  explanation before he made his judgment.

  • My Analysis:

My observation of the three people can represent the dynamic of how people build their web of beliefs and how they make their judgments. Some people accept information without any questioning while some people question and then they accept the first answer they get. Some people question and remain skeptical of any answer they get.

  • The disapprove of my observation.

Person A‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that he accept any information he gets without questioning. Maybe he made his judgment based on his previous old information and facts.

Person B‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that he always questions the information he gets. Maybe if he has heard that that a Syrian ambassador shakes hands with Danny Ayalon, he would made his judgment without questioning because he might be biased toward that person.

Person C‘s behavior doesn’t necessarily means that he is always skeptical about any answer he get. Maybe he is skeptical only in politics while he might believe anything he heard in his religion without any skepticism or questioning.

Now, this example illustrated exactly what I means in Observation From Inside! I hope my idea now is clear for everyone. Please share with me your thought about the observation.