Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Kids...




Yesterday was an incredibly busy day… We started out the day with our usual “morning outing,” but it was cut short because “The Boy” [our oldest “kid] did not want to wear his “Doggles,” yes, sunglasses for dogs – called Doggles – needed more for the dust than the sun… Poor little guy has terrible dust allergies – and where are we living? Yep, we’re living in what is probably the dustiest place in the World! [I’ll post a picture one of these days of The Boy with his “Doggles” on. He looks too cool for words with them on – unfortunately he doesn’t think so, and usually puts up quite a struggle about wearing them.] And, “The Baby,” well, she just wanted to play and romp – and chase the birds to the end of her leash – but she did not want to walk. She doesn’t have allergies, and hopefully never will, nor does she have a pair of Doggles – I will buy a pink or fuchsia pair for her when we go to the states next month.

When we returned to the house, as we walked in, I decided it was high-time to finish a project that I started several months ago. That it was going to totally consume the entire rest of the day was not my intent. Sometime before we last left for vacation, in February, I got that awful “spring fever cleaning flu” and started weeding out “stuff” from closets that we just do not have room for. The closet under the stairs was so bad that safety equipment wasn’t an option if you opened the door. Hardhat, goggles [or The Boy’s doggles!], and steel-toed work boots were a requirement to prevent serious injury. Thankfully the “flu” didn’t last long, but while it did… So, after determining what “stuff” we didn’t really need any longer – why the heck we even bothered keeping it to begin or had it in the first place is beyond me – was put into boxes and neatly stacked against the living room wall. [Yeah, instead of keeping it out of sight in the closet, I decide to put it out in the open – so much more attractive this way – nothing like a bunch of overstuffed boxes to compliment any décor!]

At six-thirty yesterday morning I was taking pictures of the “stuff” and madly typing ads to post everything on the “For Sale” section of my husband’s company website. I had no sooner hit “send” to list the “stuff” when the phone started ringing and didn’t stop. The old answering machine was a hot commodity. It was sold immediately. And the make-up mirror – I can’t tell you how many calls I got for this. [More men called about this than women, and although I didn’t ask any of them on the telephone, I just presumed they were calling for some “female” relation. It was when the young man who bought the mirror was at our house when I asked him if it was for his wife – no it wasn’t, he said he wasn’t married – oh, girlfriend, then – nope, he said he didn’t have one, and no – when I asked him if it was for a sister, he said he had no sisters. Maybe for his mother – I didn’t ask about her. He certainly was a handsome young man, I’ll give him that, and perhaps he wanted this lighted, magnifying make-up mirror for his own use… We will never know.]

So, in all, out of several dozen phone calls, if not more, probably about a dozen men ended up coming to our house, and of course, ringing the doorbell – if you have four-legged “kids” then you know what happens when a doorbell rings… My “kids” get all excited – wildly racing to the door, back to me, to the door, back to me and to the door again – simultaneously announcing – The Boy with his deep loud bark, and The Baby with her sharp, high-pitched bark – that the doorbell rang [just in case I didn’t hear it] and someone is “out there!” The floor to ceiling window on one side of the entry-way allows for anyone outside to see “the kids” responsible for the commotion coming from the inside. By the time I am able to reach the door whoever it is that is there is usually backing up down the walkway so as to avoid what must be anticipated as an “attack” about to happen. [No doubt that along with the barking heard coming from the inside of our townhouse, I can be heard commanding in my “Mommy” voice, “Get back, nooo, get back!” This may better explain why visitors back up down the walkway – although I doubt it.]

It is both amazing and sad how four-legged “kids” are regarded in this Country, and that so many people are really, really afraid of them. Very, very few Saudi’s on our compound have dogs – oh, sure there are a few, and in a community such as this, that is not very big, where you are so confined – walled in – you really do get to “know” about everyone. No, I do not actually, personally know everyone, but one does get to know people by sight, or in my case, by who has “kids.” There may be more, but of the many Saudi families here, I can only come up with four that have “kids” that I personally am aware of, versus the many, many Western families that do. As for Saudi’s outside the compound? With regard to having dogs as pets, I believe it would be a pretty accurate guess that but for a small minority –Saudi households are unlikely to include members with names like Spot or Rover.

[More horrifying and pathetic than amazing and sad, is the popularity of dog-fighting, here. This barbaric spectator activity is something that I am passionate about – it incenses me beyond words. Truly, if there was “one” thing I could change here in The Kingdom, it would not be allowing women to drive or go “uncovered,” it would not be ending domestic help “abuse,” or fixing any other number of social injustices or ills. I would make dog-fighting more illegal than smuggling drugs, and beheading – maybe worse – if there can be such a thing – the punishment for any participant in this event!]

That so many are afraid of dogs here, is almost downright amusing. All of the men [not one woman!] who came to our house yesterday to either see an item I posted for sale, to try to bargain for an item, or to actually purchase the “stuff” I am getting rid of, refused to come in because of my “kids.” Needless to say, the “kids” spent the late morning and most of the afternoon being crated and uncrated. The Boy’s crate is a haven to him and he freely and willingly goes in and out. If The Boy is told to “go to your crate,” he [usually] will trot right off and head into his crate without any fuss. The Baby, on the other hand, who less than two months ago spent some twenty-two hours in her crate traveling from North Carolina to The Sandbox, associates absolutely nothing good with being confined in such a manner. There is no treat [piece of American cheese] or cookie you can give her that alleviates her displeasure and she is most vocal about it – crying and whining and barking until the door is opened and she again is free from the confines of what she must think is akin to a prison cell.

That a “kid” or “kids” could cause such fear is just something I must just have not realized or had a great deal of association with in the past. Even when, a couple times yesterday, my communication with these men was at the very least strained, that they were terrified of the “kids” was abjectly clear. From the very little I am able to ascertain, there is absolutely nothing un-Islamic about having a dog. And, although keeping a dog inside one’s home certainly wouldn’t be expected, according to this article, having a dog would be acceptable. That so few do, and that a dog or dogs are the cause of such verbal and visible emotion, here, was for me, something rather unexpected.

9 comments:

  1. Way too cute, those two! I love how little that big poodle looks next to the "boy!"

    The Arab aversion to dogs is a strange one. I am thinking that it really has nothing to do with Islam (at its root) but no real reason in a bedouin culture to have them. Dogs were originally domesticated as 'watch dogs' - I am not sure that there are predators in the desert that a dog can do much good against. They certainly don't do well in it.

    Cats on the other hand are excellent for keeping rodents and other pests away from precious stores of food.

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  2. Thanks Phasis - I think they're pretty damn cute, too. But then, I'm a bit prejudice - being the Mommy here - and for your information, actually, there are some pretty nasty desert dogs here - Saluki's - just ask my Boy - he's had more than one run-in - it's been three! [Not that anyone is counting...] They are not nice dogs, at all. But the Bedouins kept them - they, of course, didn't touch them - just kept them. The Saluki's [sp?] guarded the place - in those days, a tent! - now, a palace - and in return got scraps of food. They are lean, mean, running machines! And nasty! Just a one-person dog - not able to socialize them, or have any other "breed" with them. Bad news... In the states that would be Rotties [we had one - bad reputation for a breed, most gentle little Teddy Bear in the entire world; pit bulls - a whole 'nother story - had one of those many, many years ago - and oh, German Shepards, Dobermans... It's all how you raise them - BUT - for Saluki's!].

    And, hey, Phasis, thanks for being pretty much a "regular" and stopping by when you get the opportunity.

    I do appreciate it!

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  3. Finally we get to meet the "kids":) They really are very qute and please, pretty please post the picture of the boy with doggles!

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  4. I see your 4-legged kids make "almost" as much a mess with their toys as my 2-legged ones! Sure are cute!

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  5. northen shewolf6/14/2006 04:48:00 PM

    You mean Saudi has no equivalent to Nikki Hilton who has her chihuahua with her everywhere she goes? That is amazing! And I thought Saudi ladies were 'fashionistas', surely one the dog as a fashion accessory ought to have made it over there by now.
    Once you get into dressing them up to match your outfit, you have become so attached to these little darlings that before you know it you have a 'dod culture'!
    The babies are soooo cute!

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  6. On the topic of animals...I'll never forget the time I went to Beautiful Garden to see the cats. I looked down at the cage to see the scrawniest of kittens CLIMB over a fat sleeping cat, looked directly in my eyes, and I swear PLEADED with me to get her out of there. I asked the clerk how much and he wanted something like 500 riyal, for a cat that was literally at deaths door. I went home that night and could not get that cat out of my mind. To makea long story short, I convinced my husband to at least go back and see if we could at least attempt to take care of the cat for the next 2 weeks, and return her after that time, since we were going back to the States. So he brought his ID and lo and behold, they let us take the kitten! OH, in the cage was rotting raw hamburger that they were feeding the cats. I was holding her in my arms as were were walking around Euromarche' to purchase some cat food. I almost expected her to die in my arms. She was fur and bones, and so dehydrated, you couldn't even pull the skin away from her body. We got home and she was too exhausted to eat. I know this is going to sound weird, but I was nursing my child, so I expressed some milk into a spoon and she drank that. After a few spoonfuls she regained some energy and I gave her a bath with a little dettol to disinfect her. Later, when she was able to eat, I crushed some of my antibiotics into her food. Miraculously, within 2 weeks she had gained a lot of weight, was frisky and had a beautiful shiny coat. Reluctantly we had to return her. The clerk was absolutely dumbstruck, he could not believe it was the same cat. I made him promise not to feed them raw hamburger. I still think of that cat and I hope a good family took her. She was quite the fighter!

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  7. Just found you blog via a link from the RP site, very interesting. Love your insight into life in the sandbox, you are a better woman then I, as I would not be able to take the BS that you go through.

    As for the question of dogs and islam..... Dogs are rarely mentioned in the Qur'an, see al-Ma'idah 5:4; al-A`raf 7:176; al-Kahf 18:18,22.

    There are, however, many Islamic traditions about dogs and which are the reason for a very negative attitude towards dogs in all Muslim societies.

    To quote an article from a site called answering islam:

    Looking closely at the life of Muhammad, we find that he was a superstitious man and many of his superstitions became part of the religion that originated with him – Islam. One aspect in which this is manifest is in his attitude toward dogs. He made a number of irrational comments about dogs. His beliefs on dogs may have come from various sources such as cultural bias, pagan concepts, demonic influences, or perhaps from his own imagination. In any case they portray a man ascribing to superstition. His perspective concerning dogs is somewhat bizarre and deserves a close examination.

    Muhammad did not make any superstitious statements regarding dogs in the Quran (other than the references to the dog with the sleepers in the cave). But, the Hadith contain a great amount of references to dogs. I present a number of Hadith followed by my comment. All Hadith are from Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, or the Sunan of Abu Dawud. After the Quran, Bukhari's set of Hadith are regarded to be the second most important book in Islam, followed closely by the Hadith of Muslim. I quote from these three sources to prove that these Hadith are not just a few isolated or unsupported cases.



    I have sorted Muhammad's statements concerning dogs into 5 categories. All of these illustrate different facets of his superstitious & irrational beliefs toward dogs.











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    1) DOG KILLING



    From Bukhari

    Vol. 4, #540 - Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar: Allah's Apostle ordered that the dogs should be killed.





    From the Hadith of Abu Dawud -

    #2839 - Abd Allah B. Mughaffal reported the apostle of Allah as saying: Were dogs not a species of creature I should command that they all be killed; but kill every pure black one.



    The Hadith's note for #2839 says, "The prophet did not order the killing of all the dogs, for some are to be retained for hunting and watching. He ordered to kill the jet black ones. They might be more mischievous among them.





    From Sahih Muslim

    #3814 - Ibn Mughaffal reported: Allah's messenger ordered the killing of dogs and then said, "what is the trouble with them (the people of Medina? How dogs are nuisances to them (the citizens of Medina)? He then permitted keeping of dogs for hunting and (the protection of) herds. ...[and for] for the protection of cultivated land.





    From Sahih Muslim

    #3813 - Abu Zubair heard Jabir Abdullah saying: Allah's messenger ordered us to kill dogs and we carried out this order so much so that we also killed the dog roaming with a women from the desert. Then Allah's apostle forbade their killing. He said: "It is your duty to kill the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes) for it is a devil.





    The note for #3814 says, "The Hadith gives us an idea why the prophet commanded to kill dogs. There must have been an excess of stray dogs and thus the danger of rabies in the city of Medina and its suburbs. The prophet therefore ordered to kill them. Later on when it was found that his Companions were killing them indiscriminately, he forbade them to do so and told them that only the ferocious beasts which were a source of danger to life should be killed. The word "Devil" in the Hadith clarifies this point. Here devil stands for ferocious.



    HOWEVER THE REASONING WITHIN THE NOTE IS INCORRECT – READ BELOW.





    From Sahih Muslim

    #5248 – Maimuna reported that one morning Allah’s Messenger was silent with grief. Maimuna said: Allah’s Messenger, I find a change in your mood today. Allah’s Messenger said: Gabriel had promised me that he would meet me tonight, but he did not meet me. By Allah, he never broke his promises, and Allah’s Messenger spent the day in this sad mood. Then it occurred to him that there had been a puppy under their cot. He commanded and it was turned out. He then took some water in his hand and sprinkled it at that place. When it was evening Gabriel met him and he said to him: You promised me that you would meet me the previous night. He said: Yes, but we do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture. Then on that very morning he commanded the killing of the dogs until he announced that the dog kept for the orchards should also be killed, but h spared the dog meant for the protection of extensive fields or big gardens.





    COMMENT

    These Hadith tell the story of Muhammad's order to kill dogs. Muhammad said he would like to have all dogs killed. He wanted them killed, NOT because of the reason Siddiqi suggested, i.e. packs of dogs were tormenting the citizens of Medina, but rather, because a puppy dog stopped Gabriel from visiting him. So, the easiest way to deal with the hindrance was to have all the dogs killed. He first said he wanted all dogs killed, but then he made exceptions for dogs that are used for farming, hunting, or watching. But notice, dogs used for use in an orchard had to be killed. Further, why did he order that all black dogs be killed? Why did he think that they were more evil? He even called them "a Satan". This is another of his superstitious beliefs. "Black" dogs are not inherently more evil than other colored dogs. And, strangely enough on the other hand, Muhammad taught that Allah’s favorite color for people’s clothes was white! (Ibn Sa’d).











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    2) COMMERCE IN DOGS



    From Bukhari

    Vol. 3, #299 - Narrated 'Aun bin Abu Juhaifa: "My father bought a slave who practiced the profession of cupping. (My father broke the slave's instruments of cupping). I asked my father why he had done so. He replied, "The Prophet forbade the acceptance of the price of a dog or blood, and also forbade the profession of tattooing, getting tattooed and receiving or giving Riba, (usury), and cursed the picture-makers."



    From Bukhari

    Vol. 3, #482 - Narrated Abu Mas'ud Al-Ansari: "Allah's Apostle regarded illegal the price of a dog, the earnings of a prostitute, and the charges taken by a soothsayer."





    From Sahih Muslim

    #3803 - Abu Masud reported that Allah's messenger forbade the charging of price of the dog and earning of a prostitute and sweets offered to a kahin.



    The note for 3803 says, "Exception is made in case of those dogs which are tamed for hunting purposes or for watching the house or field or herds. One is permitted to sell them and get price in return.





    COMMENT

    Here we see that money made from the sale of a dog (for other than already mentioned purposes) was considered as evil as the money made from prostitution, witchcraft, or usury. What superstitious belief led Muhammad to believe that the sale of a dog belongs on the same moral level as prostitution and witchcraft?











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    3) LOSS OF REWARD OF GOOD WORKS FOR OWNING DOGS



    From Bukhari

    Vol. 3, #515 - Narrated Abu Huraira: "Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever keeps a dog, one Qirat of the reward of his good deeds is deducted daily, unless the dog is used for guarding a farm or cattle." Abu Huraira (in another narration) said from the Prophet, "unless it is used for guarding sheep or farms, or for hunting." Narrated Abu Hazim from Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "A dog for guarding cattle or for hunting.""



    From Bukhari

    Vol. 7, #390 - Narrated 'Abdullah bin Umar: "I heard the Prophet saying, "If someone keeps a dog neither for hunting, nor for guarding livestock, the reward (for his good deeds) will be reduced by two Qirats per day.""





    COMMENT

    Here we see that having a dog as a pet is prohibited in Islam. In fact, if a Muslim keeps a dog as a pet, or for any other reason besides farming, hunting, or watching, God will take away some reward for his good deeds! Notice that the amount taken away is different. Perhaps at one stage it was only 1 Qirat, and later the price / punishment for owning a dog got higher in God's eyes?! Another irrational belief on Muhammad's part.



    I further want to comment on this issue. Many studies have been done that prove the value of owning a dog simply as a pet. Even in the World Book Encyclopedia, mention is made of their benefit as mere pets. I quote, "The companionship of a dog can contribute to a person's general well-being. Scientific studies have shown that petting a dog slows the heart rate and lowers the blood pressure of the person who is doing the petting. Dogs assist disabled people in many ways. For example, they guide the blind and serve as ears for the deaf. In addition, dogs lift the spirits of patients in hospitals and nursing homes." - Page 262, under "Dogs".



    More information on the benefit of dogs is found from the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation. They use "pet therapy" to help patients recover and rehabilitate. They state:



    "But many studies have shown that pets can also:



    * Increase communication and laughter

    * Lower blood pressure

    * Promote relaxation

    * "De-institutionalize" a facility and make it more "homelike"

    * Rekindle pleasant memories from childhood

    * Lift mood and increase socialization

    * Decrease anxiety and stress"





    Surely dogs benefit mankind in more ways than hunting, watching, and herding. Why would Muhammad forbid their ownership? Where was Allah in all of this?











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    4) DOGS ANNULLING PRAYER



    From Bukhari

    Vol. 1, #490 - Narrated 'Aisha: "The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away, for I disliked to face him.""





    COMMENT

    This Hadith focuses on whether or not women, when passing in front of people praying, annul their prayer. However, that is not the focus of this paper. What is noted in this Hadith is that if a dog passes in front of a group of Muslims while they are praying their prayer is annulled. Annul means, "to reduce to nothing", or "to make ineffective or inoperative" (Webster's). In effect, if a group of people are praying and a dog walks in-between them and the Kaba (in Mecca), then their prayer is made null and void. I guess they have to start again.



    Here is more superstition on Muhammad's part. Why should a dog nullify prayer? Why should God care about the position of a dog? Doesn't God judge the heart? What if the dog cannot be seen? It could be in a ravine. Are the prayers made null and void? What if the dog is over the horizon? What kind of a bizarre "god" does this really portray?











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    5) DOGS STOP THE ANGELS





    From Bukhari

    Vol. 4, #448 - Narrated Abu Talha: "I heard Allah's Apostle saying; "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal).""



    From Bukhari

    Vol. 7, #843 - Narrated Salim's father: "Once Gabriel promised to visit the Prophet but he delayed and the Prophet got worried about that. At last he came out and found Gabriel and complained to him of his grief (for his delay). Gabriel said to him, "We do not enter a place in which there is a picture or a dog.""



    From Sahih Muslim, volume 3, #5276:

    Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: Angels do not accompany the travelers who have with them a dog and a bell.



    From Sahih Muslim, volume 3, #5279:



    Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: "The bell is the musical instrument of Satan."





    COMMENT

    Here we see that a little dog is able to stop an angel from entering a house! Think about it. Muhammad was implying that the Taco Bell Chihuahua can stop Gabriel and Michael the archangels in their paths? What was it about a dog, what power or qualities did it possess that it would stop the angels of God? Why would it only be a dog that stops an angel? Why not a pig, scorpion, cat, snake, rat, bird, etc.?

    And why can't the angels accompany a person with a dog with a bell? What about a skunk, or a pig, or a vulture? Or what about a dog with a tambourine?











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    OTHER SOURCES



    The Shorter Ency. of Islam also describes Muhammad's strange viewpoint of dogs. Under Kalb (Arabic for dog), on page 215, it says,



    "The dog, is also in Islam one of the "unclean beasts", primarily because it's flesh may not be eaten and further because, according to the Hadith, there are several special regulations regarding it. For example dogs render food which they lick impure and render unavailable water intended for ritual purification.



    Vessels, likewise, which have been licked by dogs, require to be cleaned several times, including once with sand. In a certain way they render impure the whole room in which they are; for angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog and Muhammad had first to sprinkle the place on which a young dog had lain concealed with purificatory water before Gabriel would appear to him.



    Dogs cut off the salat (prayer), i.e. they make the salat worthless when they come into the immediate vicinity of the man at prayer....











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    SUMMARY



    We see that Muhammad had irrational - superstitious beliefs concerning dogs. Beliefs that make no sense going against modern medicine and science, logic, and practical experience. Here is a quick account of the five points brought up:



    1) Muhammad wanted all dogs to be killed, but he allowed dogs to live that served useful, physical purposes to their owners. But, regardless, all black dogs were to be killed because they were a "Satan".



    2) Money made from the sale of "non-useful" dogs was a dirty as a prostitute's money.



    3) God takes away reward in heaven for Muslims who own dogs as pets.



    4) If a dog passes in front of a group of praying people, their prayers are null and void.



    5) Angels will not enter a house if it contains a dog, (or a picture of a living creature).





    One of the interesting things I heard about this issue, from an Arab man was that the Druze in Lebanon have a tradition that says that when Muhammad was a child, he was bitten by a watchdog - because the dog had caught Muhammad stealing eggs!



    This may or may not be true, but it would help to explain Muhammad's attitude toward dogs. Unfortunately, his absurd beliefs about dogs are now part of Islamic "dogma" (no pun intended).









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    CONCLUSION



    Muhammad had superstitious beliefs about dogs and how they fit into God's world. Muhammad made them akin to evil creatures. This irrationality is now fundamental to Islam. To this day Muslims harass other Muslims who own dogs as pets.



    Jesus never taught this type of superstition. Christ's teachings were based upon faith, love, and obedience to God. When Christ taught prayer, He taught that God judges the heart, not the form or outward appearance. When Christ taught about heaven, and its rewards, He did not state that owning an animal would cost you your good works. Christ's message was simple: love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. There were no bizarre legalistic ties put upon that message. Relationship with God consists in purity of heart, not purity of form and external appearance.


    Hope that the above helps explain their irrational behavior towards the kids. After all, in their eyes, Mo was perfect and should be used as an example by all.

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  8. northern shewolf6/15/2006 06:04:00 PM

    "Muhammad taught that Allah’s favorite color for people’s clothes was white! (Ibn Sa’d)."

    Whoa!!!and women are MADE to wear these horrid black abayas....
    This is f.....d up big time!

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  9. many Muslims believe that if you have a dog in the house, no angels can come to the house. they also believe them to be haram (against Islam). they also believe that black cats are jins, and i can't tell you HOW MANY ppl believe that black cats have killed ppl! i know a girl who believes this. my MIL believes that they're evil! i wonder what she'd do if she knew we had a black cat!

    a lot of ppl are afraid of dogs here. they shoot them regularly. it's very sad.

    your pics are great. i love the dogs!

    i've been feeling the same need to do some major spring cleaning. must be in the air here! ;0 and maybe only us americans feel it!!

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