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February 08, 2003

Can't get enough of the Green?!?!

My next "liberalism" essay will deal with Islam-so I'm doing some research, and stumbled upon these two great sites that deal a lot with the religion that loves the color green: Zack & Amber and Bill Allison's Ideofact. Both are a bit easier on the religion of my birth than I would be-they lack the sneering contempt and distaste that I generally can't keep out of my tone. Oh well, the paucity of flare is made up for by factual bulk and cool analysis.

Though...Zack might be a liberal fellow as far as green-lovers go, but he seems to hold to some Muslim traditions, because this "Amber" chick doesn't say a word and stays out of sight. Purdah???

Update: Ikram Saed says that this meta-site of green-loving blogs is pretty good. I'm a fan of esoterica, but not Islamic esoterica, but hey, click away if that floats your boat.

Posted by razib at 04:06 AM




While growing up I began to have a dislike for many things pertaining to my religion..hinduism..may be in part because of what they taught me in a Catholic school or maybe because sometimes you dont think too highly of what you have. I also had an aversion to the islamic faith. Thankfully, that's not the case anymore.. a lot of liberal hindus and muslims criticize the religion of their birth ..sometimes I feel its because of a heavy influence of western media on them..One learns to view the western way as a paradigm of perfection....If you said eastern religions do not allow the same kind of freedom thay christianity does I'd agree partially. My own experiences have taught me that adherence to any religion requires giving up a certain degree of freedom..but then I'm not sure if lack of religious freedom is the only cause of the sneering contempt and distaste you mentioned for you religion.

Posted by: Pawan at February 8, 2003 11:29 AM


What's with the name Pawan? I just watched Asoka (movie about one of the greatest Indian emperors who later converted to Buddhism) 3 days ago and his nickname was Pawan which means 'wind' apparently. Then, I noticed your Chinese and not Indian...

Posted by: -R at February 8, 2003 11:42 AM


islam is a western religion (in my mind). not an eastern one. and i don't know if the "western way" is a paradigm of perfection-but you wouldn't be typing your eastern-loving comment without the "western way." i like stuff. i like comfort. i'm an explicit hedonist, but eastern ascetism seems as unappealing as Leftist self-mortification.

Posted by: razib at February 8, 2003 11:46 AM


Razib, I think "Amber" is really "Ambrin" or "Ambren" or something similar.

Posted by: Randall Parker at February 8, 2003 11:47 AM


I am Indian but I've dabbled in Chinese culture of late..HsuenTsang was an ancient chinese scholar who studied in India..hmm..I didn't know Asoka's nickname's was Pawan....assuming you're from south asia (?) Islam did originate to your west..ok lets call it a middle eastern religion then..I'd say there are examples of ascetisms in christianity as well..personally..I dont think any religion is better than the others..they were all meant to be all encompassing but ended up being exclusive

Posted by: Pawan at February 8, 2003 11:58 AM


"I didn't know Asoka's nickname's was Pawan"
It was in the movie so take it for what it's worth.

Posted by: -R at February 8, 2003 12:59 PM


Zack's site is excellent, but Al-Muhajabah's site is much larger and more comprehensive, especially as a resource for legal issues under both Shariat and western law, and a discussion of fiqh.

Thebit's A Muslim under progress also has info, though it a bit too dense for my understanding.

Posted by: Ikram Saeed at February 8, 2003 01:38 PM


Razib: She doesn't post because of 2 reasons: she's not an internet addict like me. And in keeping with the best traditions of our religion ;-), she's the one that works and brings in the money to support us while I am in school.

Posted by: Zack at February 8, 2003 02:13 PM


Sorry about the empty comment.

Thanks for the mention, Razib. Made for the best saturday ever for my blog. Usually no one reads it on saturday.

Posted by: Zack at February 8, 2003 02:17 PM


As someone who was quite interested in the eastern religions (buddhism and taoism specifically) as a younger man, I've come to feel that in important ways they are essentially a cop-out. I do believe in a creator and that there is a purpose to life. I do think that working on increasing our "awakeness" and ability to understand ourselves is important. However this is a material world full of material pleasures and dangers. In my opinion this is a special kind of school for learning important things, and the impulses and needs and hungers we have in life are meant to provide an impetus for us to grow as we seek these kinds of quality. I believe we are meant to strive, to create, to invent, to prosper, to experience every kind of beauty and quality in this big wonderful world. Given that, any religious tradition which counsels people to withdraw from life, to become "desireless", or any of the other ascetic traditions is, in my opinion, a misunderstanding of the gift of life and something of a waste of the opportunities. And any religion which devalues this life while promising heavenly rewards in the afterlife is similarly wrongheaded. It would be like being admitted to a prestigious university and then sitting in your dorm room with your eyes closed, chanting prayers for four years rather than taking the challenge head-on and mastering it -- a squandered opportunity.

Posted by: MarkJ at February 8, 2003 03:06 PM


Zack defended his wife ably and maybe I shouldn't get into the middle of a fight in the family but....I was gonna say that Amber prolly does most of the real work in the family. As in most marriages, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or atheist. or Branch Davidian.

Posted by: Diana at February 8, 2003 04:47 PM


Mark,
eastern philosophies are not about giving up worldly desires..the hippies who went eastwards in search of something their lives lacked in the west, propogated that myth...and movies continue to do so even today...even university departments dealing with south asia are more likely to discuss oriental mysticisms than modern day issues. Not all muslims enforce the shariah, not all hindus are superstitious and not all buddhists are monks dressed in saffron. One can subscribe to these philosophies and still be attuned to modern life..and there are millions of living examples to prove it.

Razib - did that movie provide facts about Asoka's life besides what's generally known ? I'd like to watch it unless it's a bollywood masala movie

Posted by: Pawan at February 8, 2003 07:12 PM


np zack-sat is a dead day for me too-so if i really cared i would have waited until monday :)

ambrin sounds like a fantasy name. i've always found that muslim female names are really nice sounding, or ugly sounding (to my ears at least). ambrin, samina or aisha sound soft and feminine. but sanjida or fatima are of the other camp to me.

Posted by: razib at February 8, 2003 08:10 PM


i think "R" was talking about the movie about ashoka. not me.

Posted by: razib at February 8, 2003 08:11 PM


The movie was entertaining but had a disclaimer in the opening saying that it was not meant to be the literal representation of Asoka's life- but on the 'journey' he took. Yeah..whatever that's supposed to mean. Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor and this newcomer Hrisrit Bhatt (sic for all- I only speak English) starred.

Lemme say, Bhatt was loads better looking than Kapoor (unless you feel there are no absolute standards of beauty- sorry, wrong post). Kapoor even came out looking fairly unattractive most of the movie. Shah looked fairly badass, but he could go to the gym a little if you know what I mean- I mean he gets paid to look like a stud so why not get some more muscles? Bhatt plays a really feminine Buddhist and almost makes you want to convert. I don't remember the name but the kid (kids are usually annoying in movies to me) who plays Kapoor's brother is done finely. The movie is mainly entertaining character develepment upon a loose historical background and fairly long, but better than a lot of crap from Hollywood these days.

Posted by: -R at February 8, 2003 08:30 PM


i looked this bhatt chick up. yeah-sheez got a good bod. see-i said something positive about the brown. trying to work out of my "self-hatred" :)

Posted by: razib at February 8, 2003 08:49 PM


Diana: She definitely does most of the work. But you have to give me some credit as well since I am going to school in a different state and hence have to maintain a separate place here.

Randall: My wife's name is Ambrin which I think is a Persian name. I call her Amber. The two names are etymologically related I believe.

Posted by: Zack at February 8, 2003 11:11 PM


personally I dont think Kareena Kapoor is good looking at all..I'd call her ugly ..but thats the opinion of someone who prefers Catherine Zeta jones to Pamela Anderson

Posted by: Pawan at February 9, 2003 05:46 PM


Zack, Your wife's name is Ambrin, same as mine. I am not sure about the language origin but its either Persian or Arabic. The word comes from 'Amber' . and its the name of a wood which possesses a very pleasent fragrance and is of beautiful color. The English Amber comes from the same word describing its reddish+ brownish+ orangish color(Like we say having Amber colored eyes). The Arabic/Persian Amber is more concerned with the fragrance of the wood. In short 'Ambrin' means fragrant. All different spellings Ambrin/Ambreen/Ambren have the same source.

Posted by: Ambrin Fatima at February 20, 2003 07:23 AM