Category Archives: arabian

A Fatwa on Trips to Mars

MBC1 published a list of the most talked-about fatwas of 2014 so far, and the one that caught my attention has to do with human beings taking trips to Mars.

Here is the link to the MBC1 article:|list

2-  الفتوى الثانية صدرت عن الهيئة العامة للشؤون الإسلامية والأوقاف في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة بأن الإقامة على سطح كوكب المريخ ليست من الإسلام في شيء.

وجاءت الفتوى بعدما أعلنت منظمة مارس ونبيانا أكدت فيه أنها تسعى لإقامة مستوطنة بشرية دائمة على الكوكب الأحمر بحلول العام 2025، موضحة أنها ستبدأ برحلات تنقل شحنات، تتبعها رحلات غير مأهولة بالبشر، تتلوها رحلات مأهولة.

وأوضحت الهيئة الإماراتية أن محاولة السكن في المريخ ستكون خطرة جدا، وترقى إلى درجة اعتبارها انتحارا وقتلا للنفس حرّمه الإسلام، وفقا لما ذكرته صحيفة خليج تايمزالإماراتية.

وقالت الهيئة: إن مثل هذه الرحلة ذات الاتجاه الواحد تشكل خطراً على الحياة، ولا يمكن مطلقاً إيجاد مبرر لها في الإسلام، فهناك احتمال ألا يكون الإنسان المسافر إلى كوكب المريخ قادرا على البقاء على قيد الحياة، ويكون معرضا للموت“.

وسجل أكثر من 20 ألف شخص، بينهم 500 سعودي، أسماءهم للمشاركة في تلك الرحلات ليكونوا سفراء للبشريةعلى سطح الكوكب الأحمر.

The fatwa comes from United Arab Emirates, from the Islamic Affairs and Religious Endowments office. Apparently Mars One announced the desire to have settlements on Mars by 2025(?)

The Emirati government office opined that since a trip to Mars would be a one-way trip, it would be tantamount to a suicide mission. Wait, maybe that’s my own thoughts interfering. Let me parse more carefully. The Emirati government office said that a one-way trip like this would be very dangerous to life and no justification for such a trip could be found in Islam. A person might have trouble staying alive on Mars.

The article also notes that more than 20,000 people have signed up for such a trip, including 500 Saudis.

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Filed under arab, arabian, religion

Nelson DeMille’s The Panther, part one

A couple days ago I started reading The Panther by Nelson DeMille. “Yay,” I thought, “Finally another book to write about on my blog. Almost nobody writes novels with Arab villains these days.” But Mr. DeMille came through.

Rather than wait until I finish it, I’m going to start with my thoughts so far, as they are many, plus I just got to something that really tickled my funny bone.

I’ve mentioned in my previous posts about Nelson DeMille’s Arab-related novels that he really seems fascinated almost to the level of having a fetish about Arab names. The villain of two of his previous novels was named Asad Something or Other. Asad is a very common proper name and it means lion, and throughout both books the author or perhaps the narrator just couldn’t stop comparing the human being to a lion.

Arab names are a lot more likely to be words still in use in Arabic, unlike names in English, which come from all kinds of languages so that we often have no idea what their original meaning was. Nevertheless, being named Asad in the Arab world is very much like being named Mike or Jim or Dave in the US. No big deal.

Protagonist John Corey killed “The Lion” in a previous novel. His new nemesis is “The Panther.” In the case of this new guy, his given name was something else, and he actually chose to be called “the panther,” or al-numayr. (Al Numair in the novel). Numayr is a word I didn’t know, so I looked it up. I did a Google image search. I looked at over 100 image results without seeing a single picture of any kind of big cat. I saw lots and lots of pictures of Arab human beings named Numayr. (I searched on النمير, for those who wish to recreate my experience).

And what’s killing me is that John Corey can NOT think of this guy without mentally calling him “The Panther” and comparing him with a big cat. You know how you do, like when you watch golf and compare Tiger Woods to a real tiger, or listen to Charlie Parker and muse on how much like a bird he is?

Later I hope to piece together my thoughts on John Corey’s casual racism (but Arab isn’t a race!) and his Iraqi-American Muslim pal who denigrates Islam, but for now I must rush to page 208. Up to this point, John Corey has mentally or verbally referred to “The Panther” at least two dozen times (I’m estimating), and remember, the man nicknamed himself al-Numayr or Al Numair, not “The Panther”–and from what I know after 20 years of Arabic plus a lengthy google search, it is not at all a common word for panther–when he is introduced to Dr. Fahd.

Corey has nothing to say about Dr. Fahd’s name, or how much Dr. Fahd resembles any given animal. No internal musings on the prey-predator relationship or nocturnal habits or hunting ranges or anything…because John Corey doesn’t know what Fahd means. Fahd is just a man’s name.

Guess what Fahd means. “Panther.” A Google image search brings up mostly pics of cheetahs, I saw one of black leopard, and I’ve also told it can mean ‘lynx.’

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabic, books, names

The Jerboa

This cute little critter is a jerboa. Some of them live in Arab lands. It’s a cute little mouse-like creature. Its legs may or may not freak you out.

What do you think?

Creepy or cute?

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Filed under animals, arabian

Little Baby White Camel…Has Two Heads?

This video is a little fuzzy, so I guess it’s probably old. Cute little white camel baby. Does it have two heads?? Watch to the end (it’s only about 20 seconds).

WordPress wants to be an asshole, so I can’t embed this video. At least the hotlink works. Sorry. Get what you pay for, I guess.

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Filed under animals, arabian

Video: Wild Fennec Fox Scampers with Cute Little Girls

I love the girl at the beginning who runs away when the fennec fox comes at her. So cute!

This reminds me of an experience not too long ago with a little snow weasel in the woods. Good times.

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Filed under animals, arabian

I Finally Taste Camel Chocolate

An awesome friend brought me a bar of al-Nassma camel chocolate from the UAE. It’s been two years or so since I first heard about camel chocolate and I’ve been dying to try it. Camel milk is supposedly superior to cow milk in all kinds of ways, plus, camels!

The bar is a 70% chocolate bar, which is way “darker” than I ordinarily like (Hershey’s Special Dark is 45%), but this bar is so creamy I would have guessed it was a milk chocolate bar. Very tasty and feels great going down.

Here are a couple reviews I found, with more detail: at Candy Blog
and Chocolate Ratings.

And here’s the official site:

UPDATE: I finally had the sense to read the wrapper. The ingredients are as follows: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, whole camel milk powder (2%), honey, bourbon vanilla. Cocoa: 70% minimum. May contain traces of nuts and soy lecithin.


Filed under arabian, arabist, miscellaneous

When Can Saudi Women Drive Already?

Saudi Arabia promised in January of 2008 that women would be allowed to drive within the year. Story from 2008 here: (I’m sorry that WordPress has altered my ability to make hyperlinks work).

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Filed under arab, arabian, Saudi Arabia

Video: Three Big Pigs

Clip found on Jezebel.

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabist

Super Mario Theme Played on the Oud

A couple of oud players in thobes play the Super Mario video game theme song on ouds. Sounds good to me.

UPDATE: Whoops, only one of them is playing the oud. The other is playing a guitar.

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Filed under arab, arabian, miscellaneous, music

The Museum of Science and Technology in Islam

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia has an awesome museum, the Museum of Science and Technology in Islam (MOSTI). Here’s their home page.

Take a look at the exhibit on the Elephant Water Clock. Way cool.

An old illustration of said elephant water clock:

There are very many other cool things there. Nice website, too.

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Filed under arab, arabian, arabist, Saudi Arabia