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December 12, 2004

Why Bonsai Trees Are Like Chicks

Before anyone starts writing hate mail, starting anti-kr sites (which would actually be a compliment), or contacting your local black magician to put a hex on me, read the whole thing…

1. Ambience and aesthetics: In reality, bonsai trees serve no great purpose. Unlike bigger plants that help to clean up the air by taking in carbon dioxide and returning oxygen to the air in large quantities, due to its small size, the bonsai really doesn’t take part in this fundamental ability of trees. Essentially, they’re just decorative pieces that just sit there, mostly only adding to ambience of a situation only if noticed by those present. If one doesn’t notice the bonsai tree, then one hasn’t missed out on much.

2. Effort: Bonsai trees require a tremendous amount of effort, perhaps being the most high-maintenance among any given tree. One is obligated to invest a tremendous and constant amount of effort in its upkeep: providing, nurturing, honing off their rough edges, etc. for such a lousy plant.

3. Stunted Potential: Bonsai trees are nothing more than dwarfed trees that once had the fitrah-like potential to grow into colossal trees that would benefit all of creation with their existence. But somewhere along the way, this huge tree got stunted in its development and failed to reach its proper birthright. Understandably, this dwarfing took considerable effort to undo the bonsai-fitrah… but once achieved, the bonsai remains a dwarfed tree forever.

4. Money: These things are damn expensive to buy and maintain… and what do you get for your money? A tree that could have been a mammoth once, but now is nothing more than an expensive piece of ambience… and that’s if your lucky.

5. Patience: As seen in The Karate Kid, bonsai trees require incredible amounts of patience and time, as one has to be involved in its maintenance for as long as the tree remains. Some find this relaxing, but in reality, its nothing more than a stupendous waste of time…

6. Everyone is easily impressed: People see a bonsai tree and get amazed by how aesthetically beautiful it looks in a given background. These simple fools also consider those who engage in the art of bonsai-care as these faux-deep/spiritual individuals that have somehow stumbled upon some mystical and primordial truth that the rest of us are still oblivious to… no, for cryin’ out loud, its a freakin stunted tree, its not amazing.

7. Lack of gratitude: bonsai trees are certainly unappreciative of all the time, money, and effort that one puts into their maintenance and upbringing. You’ll never hear a bonsai tree saying a simple “thank you” or show even the smallest amount of appreciation…

Having read the above… I think it’s quite obvious how chicks fit the above descriptions… metaphorically, speaking, of course.

What’s your point kr, I’ve got my magician on line 1 if you don’t get to the point.

Well, that’s my point, bonsai trees are like chicks. And the problem is that we have too many chicks and not enough women. And when I mean women, I mean the kind of women that were present in the early communities: scholars, mothers, teachers, merchants, warriors, and much more. The kind of women that embody what it means to be a woman of this deen in all spheres of life (including making rotis and kefta kabobs… hehehe). The kind of women that are determined to succeed at no matter what they attempt in any aspect of their lives. The kind of women that are mentioned (along with the men) in the Qur’anic verse: “Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have completed their vow, and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least“.

Dude kr, you need to go study some elementary Arabic… that ayah says MEN, you idiot. Actually, the masculine form is used in the Qur’an, by default, to refer to both genders so as to have no confusion. Male and female forms, grammatically, are used in the Qur’an concomitantly to express a difference or emphasize a major point. When there is no need to distinguish between the genders, the masculine form of the word is used, implying that males and females are included in such a word. Certainly, examples and exceptions to this exist, such as the word haamil (a pregnant woman) being a masculine word (grammatically) but quite obviously referring to the female gender. In this ayah from Surah al-Ahzab, the Arabic, “min al-mu’mineen rijaalun sadaqu ma `aahad Allahu `alayhim….” has the word rijaal but indicates both the genders. In other words, it’s referring to real men and women, the kind that hold it down when the going gets rough, and truly embody being men and women by fulfilling their obligations to God and improving His creation. Our ancestral mothers from the early communities were that backbone that those societies relied on to become places where the spiritual and mundane combined to embody worship in all walks of life, both inside and outside the masjid.

Modern society’s obsession on fleeting attributes has taken its toll primarily on females, who have been reduced to nothing more than fancy dress up dolls in the eyes of society, expected to fit some unwholesome notion of outward beauty, and who are expected to just sit there, look pretty, and keep their mouths and minds shut. In other words, they’ve been reduced from women to chicks, just like the mighty tree has been reduced to the bonsai–in both cases, both entities failing to reach their foretold potential.

And because this Ummah has lost the kind of women that were there in the past, matters of this religion–particularly scholarly–have fell to the men, and Lord knows how many blunders we’ve made because of this. This is no insult to our male scholars, but certainly, their tasks would be made easier and their benefit would be greater if this deen had less chicks and more women. We need women like the wife of Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani (the same Ibn Hajr who wrote Fath al-Bari), who Ibn Hajr referred to in his introduction as a greater scholar than he. We need women like Umm Yaqab, who once heard the great scholar and Companion `Abdullah b. Mas`ud explain a legal matter, and then confidently told him (since she herself was a great scholar) that she had read the entire Qur’an but did not find the explanation that he gave to be from it. We need women like Umm al-Fadl, who when the great enemy of Islam Abu Lahab was about to attack his slave-boy (as the slave celebrated with joy after the Quraysh defeat at Badr), defended the boy and slew the greatest enemy of the Prophet. These are the kinds of women we need, particularly to help the men.

The men of this deen are woefully inadequate to face the challenges that threaten to destroy the very existence of this deen: enemies from outside and–even more dangerous–enemies from within. I would offer that physical confrontations are not the the most dangerous jihad that this Ummah faces at the moment: just like in Imam al-Ghazali’s time, literary and rhetorical attacks are the weapons of this conflict, and the object at stake here is the Muslim mind and soul… when a believer loses those, it’s worse than having lost his/her life. I believe the greatest aim of the enemies of this deen is not for Muslim blood, but rather, they want to destroy the Muslim mind and spirit. And for such a conflict, men are pathetically unable to deal with this challenge by themselves. This Ummah needs women to reclaim their historical and religious roles of scholars, mothers, teachers, writers, etc. to not only assist their male counterparts, but to set an example for them in their efforts.

And it is only when Muslim women reclaim what is rightfully theirs will we as an Ummah begin to see any true and long-lasting progress.

We need them to truly become women. We need them to no longer be bonsai trees… to no longer be chicks.

Oh, and you can hang up on line 1 now.


Currently playing (since they don’t seem to have this on

 Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Soundtrack -Music From and Inspired by the Video Game: “The Magic Cavern”


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  1. Anonymous permalink

    A few things:
    1. youre not a bad ass, those anti girl posts are soo transparent. Youre need to be affectionated by women is so evident in these posts. they cry out: “love me, i’m KR” lol
    2. You have ‘3 exams in 60 hours’ what the hell are you doing posting on youre xanga?
    4. Post shorter posts, these are about as long as youre speeches.. they just keep going and going and going… What the hell happened to pt 3?? muhahahahahah

  2. Anonymous permalink

    Perhaps my giving you only 1 eprop will insprite you to study more and earn that second eprop 🙂

  3. Kamkam, you are too fuzzy…
    p.s.  don’t let lesser squirrels force you to trim your thoughts to make them into cute little bonsai trees…I like your long posts…
    And now, back to viruses!

  4. Anonymous permalink

    kr left a comment on my xanga. I knew that only meant 1 thing – kr had updated his xanga and wanted me to leave a comment and, of course, eProps. Screw you Sosa hating midget…no eProps for not showing any love to Sammy.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    very intruiging!
    wil lu join my blogring….plzzzzzz
    its ~wierd muslimz~
    ok bye

  6. Anonymous permalink

     It would be interesting to explore and more fully develop the reasons for the decline of female muslim scholarship and why there aren’t many popular female Ulema.  Your thesis point is primarily that society has conditioned generations of women to be chicks.  This argument definitely holds weight, but it is more complete if you follow up with how this has become institutionalized. I think I know someone in the Champaign-Urbana community who is presently writing her dissertation on a related topic. 
    The next step would to build a generation of confident, ambitious muslims-not just girls, but boys as well.   
    I give you e-props for using the xanga to provide this post despite finals.  Insh’Allah this gives you some baraka in the short and long-runs.

  7. Anonymous permalink

    salaam.good post. write a sequel. enjoy the break.

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