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In the Name of God بسم الله


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  1. Both are welcoming, but obviously the more complex variety of the two main branches of the religion requires more getting used to than the less complex variety of the two, which has fewer days of remembrance etc. and therefore less cultural expressions that feel so foreign to a person from a western/non-shia background.
  2. I don't think that Australian English accents are any "lazier" or more "mumbled" than other English accents. All spoken variants of the language omit sounds present in some other variety and vowels as well as consonants are pronounced in a myriad of ways. This of course is understandable as English is spoken on many continents and the orthography is notoriously non-phonetic.
  3. Salam, I've had chronic acid reflux for 12 years now. During this time I have experimented with different diets, but nothing works. I've had a prescription for the appropriate medication for years now. Although the problem in my case won't go away, I know pretty well what makes the condition worse. Here are some tips for the OP ( I am sure you are already familiar with most of these, but trust me, you really should try your best to give these a try): - avoid garlic and (especially raw) onions - avoid tomatoes, bell peppers, chilies and other capsicum - avoid fatty and acidic (vinegar, citrus fruits) foods. Some say that yoghurt is bad, but personally I have had no problems with it. - avoid spices, especially chili, paprika, turmeric, cumin etc. (yellow and red spices) - always have something "neutral" (for example white bread) to eat with tea/coffee. NEVER put spices in your tea or coffee. - NEVER eat a proper meal in the evening - this could lead to a painful acid attack during your sleep, because you a re lying down and the acid can rise to your esophagus (while your stomach is processing the food) very easily. You don't want this to happen, it is extremely painful and traumatic. I usually don't eat anything for several (4-6) hours before going to sleep. You should ask your doctor whether this method is the best one out there, but I certainly have found it helpful. You might not be at the stage where this even happens, but I have seen it happen to people with a "less-serious" condition as well, so keep this in mind. I understand that it is significantly easier to do these in northern Europe (where I am), where food is generally not spicy, compared to say, South Asia or the Middle East, but there's just no way that a person suffering from acid reflux can continue on a spice-, acid-, or oil-heavy diet and not suffer from it. I really hope that you can get rid of this problem by adopting the right diet, and insha Allah you can one day return to your normal diet.
  4. Salam. ShiaChat members who have made 25 posts in the forums can use the PM (private message) system, enter the Chat Room and vote in polls.

  5. I have lost a lot of weight in the past with a low-carb diet, but the problem with it is that you have to stay low-carb after losing the weight. I'm a huge fan of bread, pasta and rice and I want to have carbs with every meal. I'm currently doing this intermittent fasting thing (eat what you normally eat but within a 8 hour period - fast for 16 hours) and I hope it works, because this is very easy for me.
  6. I switched from coffee to black tea (with milk and sugar) recently and I drink almost 1,5 litres of it every day. The only problem is that all the teas I've tried are so tanninic that they make my teeth ache. I have tried to cut my black tea consumption in half and drink more green tea instead, but it just isn't the same.. switching from ridiculously strong french blend coffee to tea was hard enough, and green tea is like water compared to coffee and black tea. Of course there are low-tannin black teas available online, but I'm talking about the everyday stuff that I need to wake up etc. Oh, and almost forgot this one: in my neck of the woods we put spices in our food, not in our hot drinks.
  7. I wish I was aware of these resources when I first looked up into twelverism a long time ago. Helpful basic stuff.
  8. I meant that Islam is a comprehensive way of life; commitment to it is really rewarding and brings stability to the lives of humans. And stability is really something that we lack in this society: - the core values of the people change very quickly. Family values, modesty, respecting fellow human beings are among the things that are disappearing and people are left with nothing to base their life on. Bad things often come from lack of stability (although people won't always even notice it), and Islam changes that completely. - this religion has something for all people interested in it. It is relatively simply to follow, if one isn't looking to challenge him/herself all the time, but it also has a deep spiritual world, that many people expect to find only in far-eastern/Indian religions and philosophies, which is why they don't even look into Islam. - unlike the ever-declining lutheranism (which has no credibility in the eyes of the majority of the public) in nordic countries, Islam is here to stay, and constantly developing into a local religion. Smart, spiritual people are needed and if you ask me, I believe that there is a reason why they come into contact with Islam, be it through spouses or through other ways. I will send you a PM John. Hopefully I can do that. As a new member my posts will have to be approved by a moderator so I'm not sure if I can send PM's yet.
  9. I know pretty well what you're going through. I think I erased my previous post by accident (don't know whether it was sent or not because it has to be accepted by a mod before it appears on the thread) so here's (briefly) what I had to say: I don't know if I belong to the same ethnic group as your wife (based on your location on your profile - I'm from that country), but If this is the case, I would suggest that you try to use the all-encompassing nature of Islam as a selling point, it could work better than focusing on hard theological factors. This is because commitiment to a specific religion is seen as unnecessary here, where most christians have in fact made up a customised religion for themselves: some are atheists, some are agnostics, some believe in reincarnation, some don't etc. so it is probably best to focuse on the comprehensive and consistent system that Islam offers. All this of course if you can start a discussion about the matter, which is seen by many as something so personal that it even can't be discussed. As a convert I have had to explain my preference for a specific religion numerous times.
  10. At the moment I'm thinking of revisiting The Revenge of Shinobi. Beat it once a long time ago, but it probably deserves a second playthrough. On the original console of course.
  11. Food critic with a ghost writer.. or just a regular office worker who could do his thing in a peaceful and quiet environment and earn enough money to buy some groceries and the occasional video game. I have tried turning my interests into a career, and I've learned that I enjoy the things I'm interested in more if I treat those things as hobbies, so I guess any low-stress job will do just fine. The only problem with these kind of jobs is the fact that I can get bored pretty easily if there's no intellectual challenge to be found, but luckily there are office jobs that keep both the body and mind occupied.
  12. I don't think that focusing on external signs of the religion is the best thing to do at the moment, although gentle advice will probably do no harm if it's given in a respectful manner. Speaking from personal experience I can understand that putting too much emphasis on observance of certain islamic laws and customs too soon after converting may not work for every single individual out there. The first things I was taught after converting were toilet etiquette, avoiding even numbers when eating snacks etc. just to name a few, and it only gave me a superficial understanding of the religion, which didn't make sense to me and even annoyed me. There needs to be something deeper and more rewarding than endless do's and don'ts, observance of which can be a lot to handle for a new muslim who hasn't studied the religion a lot before converting. I would like to make it clear that I am not comparing the aforementioned examples to the issues of hijab and relationships - what I'm trying to say is that trying to observe the rules can be a painful and confusing struggle, if the focus is on external matters instead of spirituality. If one learns to love the Creator and begins to appreciate the life and religion He (SWT) has given us, following the rules becomes a pleasure instead of a burden. Therefore I suggest you compliment her about everything in her life that actually IS in accordance to islam (and those things will outnumber the unislamic ones), so she can feel that she is doing at least some things right (recent converts are often very insecure and feel that no matter what they do it is never enough) and insha Allah the rest will follow - changing your whole lifestyle won't happen overnight for some of us. Establishing a close relationship with the Qur'an, praying (alone and with other people) and doing dhikr as much as one can will do wonders to faith, and once faith grows stronger following the shari'ah becomes rewarding. This is what I did and yes, it took some time to understand certain rulings and ideas, but it was all worth it and it gets better every single day. I am not saying that this is the only (or even the right one) method of solving these problems, nor am I even qualified to give an opinion on questions like this (as I'm not a sister and therefore can't understand what she's going through + there's no doubt I'm among the least knowledgeable here), but as unbelievable as it is, there's always a chance that I may have actually said something useful in this post. To sum it up: making a person feel good about the good they've done + more focus on spirituality, appreciating the gift of life and religion = makes a person feel like they actually have a fair chance at this way of life -> improvement and success.
  13. A big thank you to all of you, I really need all the tips and support I can get. Irfani313: the mosque I visit here is not a salafi one, in fact the people running it are tolerant and very nice people. It's just that I happen to know for a fact that there are also people who openly admire Saudi Arabia, Ibn Taymiyya etc. and as a result vocally oppose sufis, shias and other groups they consider to be heretical. I don't want to go into details, but there was a very unfortunate case not too long ago, which left me and other local muslims devastated, and therefore I'm even more hesitant to get to know people, no matter how friendly they are. I just feel like joining the mosque might have been a mistake, but of course at the time everything I knew about the way of the ahlul bayt (AS) was based on the usual misconceptions, so I couldn't know that only in a couple of months time I would be so convinced by it, that I would have no other option but to try to follow it to the best of my ability. It's a shame that I feel the need to be sort of secretive about it, but I just don't want to be a target of dawah or anything else for that matter.
  14. Salaam aleikum everyone, been a lurker on this site for some months now, and finally decided to start a discussion about an issue that concerns me and probably many others as well. I guess it would be a good idea to tell something about myself briefly: Okay, so I reverted to islam some 4,5 years ago without much in-depth research into it, and for the first two years I was (and to some extent still am) struggling to actually become a practising muslim. I would say that among the biggest reasons for this was the fact that I always felt like I was receiving way too much attention from other muslims. I converted in a salafi mosque, and was soon overwhelmed with all the long beards, white robes, arabic words I couldn't understand and less-than-welcoming attitude towards other schools of islam. It was a culture shock, and I needed some time alone with the Quran to take things slowly, because it really was all too much for me. However, I didn't really get the time I needed, and received phone calls from the community for the next year or so. These phonecalls were made to make sure that I haven't left the religion.. don't get me wrong, I understand that this was a real concern to them, but the effect it had on me was the opposite they were hoping for, because it made me feel like I'm being watched by someone other than Allah SWT. In my culture privacy is valued very highly, and I'm even more of a private person than most of my own countrymen. I'm often exhausted after talking to people and feel extremely uncomfortable when people ask me personal questions. I moved to another city and after taking my time to learn about the religion I eventually started practising it. I decided that I would stay out of any mosques until I'm comfortable enough with the inevitable attention that a western revert is going to receive in a place where everyone else has a muslim background. After some time I decided to attend the friday prayer, and just like I expected I was stared, asked questions and so on. This has been going on for a long time now, and it's making me feel very uncomfortable. I just want to pray there and leave like everybody else. The fact that I became a shia about 5 months ago has made the situation even more uncomfortable for me, because now I have to specifically avoid speaking to certain people who have expressed some intolerant views in the past when I have had some discussions with them. I'm happy to visit the place as the only shia in the congregation, but I'm not too sure about some of the people there, if they were to find out. It is the only mosque in town, so I kinda have to pray there, but the attention I'm getting combined with the fear of receiving even more attention, gossip and in worst case scenario even some sort of verbal confrontation if I start to pray on the turbah openly is too much for me. But if I decided to stop attending the place, somebody would start calling me and asking about my spiritual life to make sure that I haven't left the religion - in fact, this has more or less already happened, because lately I have spent lots of time out of town and haven't attended the prayers as often as I used to. I know that I shouldn't complain just because somebody actually cares about me, but I just can't handle this attention which is given to me mainly because of my skin colour. I don't want special treatment, I just want to greet people, pray, wish the same people a nice weekend and go home. I actually like talking to people over a cup of coffee, as long as it's in a peaceful place that's not too crowded, so it's not about me being antisocial, it's just that I don't want to be "in the spotlight" while being asked questions that are somewhat inappropriate. It's about cultural differences, and I always try to remember that, but I'm still feeling like a hypocrite who doesn't care about anything other than his own privacy every time I make an excuse to leave the place early. If anybody here has experienced something similar, I would love to read your thoughts on the matter.
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