Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Concept of Original Sin for Omanis?---Zeena babies.

For anyone not Muslim, as Omanis in majority are, "zeena" is an act of adultery or fornication outside of legal marriage. Just to clarify, that's not what this post is about.

This post is about the issue of orphans (i.e underage minors) and adoption/fostering [***In Islam you foster you don't adopt as the kids keep their own name no matter what***]. Orphans, and orphan "zeena" babies specifically.

There is a raised infertility rate in the Sultanate (being that most Omani families average out around five to eights kids each, we don't notice much nonetheless).But for those who do not manage to conceive the lack of children is felt intensely by the entire family.

In Oman, since having large families is the norm, couples are expected to at least have 1 0r 2 children. Most families keep going until they have at least one boy and one girl. If a woman is barren, her husband in Islam may consider marrying a second wife in order to conceive. It has been done in my family/tribe. Even if the man cannot afford to marry a second wife, or may not wish to, there may be pressure upon him socially to do so, in order to have children.

When I asked MOP about the concept of adopting/fostering to an Omani male without children he said it was something culturally frowned upon, which made all OPNO girls go, what the heck?

In Islam support of orphans is something stressed in almost every chapter of the Quran. Pretty much to sum it all up, if you are cruel to orphans or refuse to support them when you are able to, don't expect heaven from God. The Prophet Mohammed himself was orphaned. He was fostered/adopted by his Uncle. And the Prophet Mohammed raised/fostered an unrelated freed slave named Zaid ibn Harith in his own home. And what did the Prophet Mohammed say about fostering/adopting?: "I and the person who looks after an orphan [physically, financially, spiritually, et all] will be together in paradise like this." (then he raised his middlefinger and forefinger together).

So while when in cases of infertility, socially the "sunnah" of the Prophet Mohammed having more than 1 wife is brought up to say a man can marry another woman if his first wife did not manage to have children (which was not the reason the Prophet ever married additional wives, sorry to burst anyone's bubble---in fact none of his wives beyond Khadijah and Mariya bore him any living children), the sunnah of fostering is never mentioned at all. Odd to convert minds like ours.

So why not?

MOP said the answer is "zeena babies."

No one wants to adopt the children of someone who committed an illegal sexual act. MOP said ashamedly (of his culture), that there was even a proverb in Arabic that says not to adopt a zeena baby or they'll end up like their parents.

Did MOP himself believe such a thing?

Thankfully not. As in Islam, there is no concept of original sin. One does not inherit the sins of their parents. Or of Adam and Eve ect.

Many children in the Arab world who are born out of wedlock are abandoned. MOP says some in hospitals in Oman, others at Mosques. And apparently, no one wants the reward of fostering these children at all. I know, I know, the government raises them in group homes, ect, so they aren't starving on the streets, but it isn't the same thing as having your own family and all.

MOP states that belief comes about from the fact that the child will be derided for their unsure ancestry, despite the fact that the Quran says: "... do not treat the orphan with harshness" from 93:6-11, and will become what society treats them as.

Shameful honestly.

I understand how some would face difficulty adopting as a child that isn't yours that wasn't breastfed by your wife is going to be subject to the rules we have for modesty and covering. Like, if a girl she'll have to cover in front of adopted father, and if a boy, his adopted mother will have to cover in front of him (but this is what it was like for the Prophet Mohammed's own adopted son Zaid ibn Harith). But I mean, an abandoned baby can be breastfed by family members anyway, so what if he/she is a zeena baby or not. I don't know about your Omani families, but in mine there is always someone who is breastfeeding, so if under two, any fostered child could be made a family member Islamically not subject to the covering/modesty quotient for certain family members.

Alot of the first Muslims/Sahaba were Zeena babies. While they knew the names of their fathers ect in most cases, not all of them had parents who'd married. The problem from this in Islamic culture is never placed on the children. Islam believes every child is born sinless.

Yet, hypocrisy, hypocrisy, aparently old Omani proverbs back the concept of original sin in a supposedly Muslim society.

So what about the barren Omani couples that don't give a heck about silly proverbs? Well sometimes their family members will treat them badly for it.

I just wanted to write about this because it is a shameful thing really.


Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

And before a single ignorant person comes on here and leaves a comment like "adopting children born from zeena is like rewarding the parents from the responsibility of raising and supporting them" if you are going to say that, you better not be a Muslim. Allah/God says in the Qu'ran that children and wealth are gifts from Allah. So I don't think that this reward goes to anyone who abandoned their child. Ask the barren woman trying/praying to concieve if a child would be a punishment for her huh? Okay. Sorry for that;)

Noor said...

Asalam Alaykum,

SubhanAllah how people think I would have never even thought such a thing. The poor kids can not help what a mom or dad did. And many times that is not even why they are sent off. In Islam we as Muslims should know better then this ya haram.

Orphans are mentioned in the Quran more than any other word so that just shows how important they are and the obligation we have to them.

I am sad more people do not adopt.

♡ αmαℓ said...

Aww that is so sad :( I always feel bad for children who are orphaned or abandoned... They really do deserve a home. I wish some people could see that by taking them in, maybe they could really help some of these kids be good Muslims and people and not just think about how they are illegitimate children :(

Bewildered said...

This is an interesting topic - I don't think the zeena children are registered and I don't think they have family names in Oman. If this is true - how do they survive when they are adults?

Boxie said...

Inshallah this will change, Islam is all about compassion. It brakes my heart when people say this. Everyone deserves a safe home.

Umm Ibrahim said...

This doesnt just occur in Oman but also in Iran and Saudi too. Like my husbands brothers brother-in-law and his wife are in their 40's and both are 100% barren, they tried for almost 2 decades to concieve and nothing! nothing! Finally they decided, after asking a religious scholar...they have adopted a baby girl who is around 6 months old. They are sooo excited and are happy about it, the doctorrs gave the new mom meds so she can BF and since her SIL's also have babies they will also BF her. BUT, there is still a LOT of bad talk about this in the extended family, about how shameful to adopt an orphaned baby girl, cuz you dunno who the parents are, how they were, etc... but the immediete family itself is 100% backing them and we are all excited for them...but still, people gossip!

Allahu alim...I wish more Muslims would adopt, instead of wasting thousands of dollars on fertility stuffs...why not just adopt? hmmm...

Oh, and ive asked about...well what about the orphaned boys and girls who dont get adopted...the government marries them off to each other (orphan man and orphan woman) and then the government supports them when they r newly married-though its considered a note-worthy deed for someone to donate a dowery as sadaqah to these orphan they do generally end up pretty OK in the end...but still...

Noshi said...

Yet another thing added on to the long list of idiotic things Muslims adhere to. Really, why do we even find any pride in ourselves for being followers of the Best of Creation (sawws) and yet we don't even adhere to the simplest advices he left behind?

Adoption/fostering is frowned upon in my culture as well...God knows why people think in such a manner. May Allah Guide us all, foreals. Ameen!!

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Bewildered: Some Omanis (like former slaves who were freed act) were given leave to choose their own tribe name or take the name of the land they lived on. If the parentage is unknown, I suppose this is done for orphans. Also they are supported by government, and often marry other orphans.

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Great post!

One small thing: might I suggest you change the spelling "zeena" to "zinna". The first is a common girls' name as you know, and related to "zain" (good), and I think the "zinna" spelling better reflects the pronunciation of the word (short vowel like "pin", rather than long like "green")for non Arabic speakers who might not be familiar with it. And you'll avoid annoying girls called "Zeena" by making people think their name means "fornicaation"!

Anyway, back to the point: I think in Oman, the illegitimate children (known euphemistically as "orphans", but in most cases the mother at least is known), are given the family name "AbdulRahman" if the father is unknown.

Basically, I agree entirely with the gist of this post: didn't Islam come to use to bring justice, protect the weak and innocent, make us all equal before God and abolish stupid things like punishing a child for the sins of his father?

My absolutely favourite Sura reads:

(Surat Al Ma'un - "The verse of the small kindnesses") Holy Qur'An Verse 107

1 Have you seen him who denies the deen?

2 He is the one who harshly rebuffs the orphan

3 and does not urge the feeding of the poor.

4 So woe to those who pray,

5 and are forgetful of their prayer.

6 Those who show off

and deny help to others.

Well done for writing about this :)


Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

TLS: Thanks for pointing that out. Transliteration is not my area of expertise (I am the worst reader and prefer to memorize over actually reading).

Zeena (on the pronunciation) can be a name from "zain", from zeena "beautification/ornamentation", and then as you pointed out "zinna" fornication. LOL, I remember some girls asking my friend if her braids were a kind of zeena in our culture. She had to point out to the difference between the sound that one meant "sex" and the other something pretty and decorative.

A beautiful surah to remind Muslims that just cuz you pray doesn't make you pious. If you recite some Qu'ran and understand it but don't carry out the meaning of it in your daily life? I mean, I wouldn't want to be you.

I was told I was barren for a long time and MOP and I considered the possibility of adopting (but since I don't have an Omani passport it is alot harder). The fact that it was so weird to others made me concerned. Everyone in our tribe can read the Qu'ran fluently (unlike me) and yet only a few families within the tribe would consider it. It is kind of sad. Shameful is the best word.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for expats to adopt? It's been something on the back burner (so to speak) of my heart. Where I come from, adoption is celebrated. This makes me very sad to read.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anonymous: If you are an expat but your spouse is Omani, then yes, it is possible, if not then probably no... They might let you (Oman is a country famous for not having an exact procedure outlined for anything official) but officially as I was told, no.

The conditions is that one of the adopting parents be Omani (I think there can be just one Omani parent adopting as well, but in that case, the child should be the same sex as the parent---I am not sure on that so don't quote me). The adopter(s) must have a room for the child (the adopted child must have their own room and must not share this room with any other children).... In Oman, it is common for Omanis families to have just like 2-3 rooms in the house. 1 for boys, 1 for girls (these are rooms with beds and desks and maybe cupboards), and if possible, 1 play room for both. This can't be done for an adopted child, they are very strict about it.

***An adopted child IS allowed to stay in a same-sex siblings room at their preference but a room must be set aside for their personal use at all times and not be used for any othe purposes***

An adopted child must reside in Oman.

Really those were the only conditions they did give us. Not any more, but those were the first conditions, maybe after we would be accepted to adopt they'd ask for some more stuff, like psychological evaluations? or financial history? I have no idea.

Kawthar Hameed Abdullah said...

I tried to adopt, I am female and divorced. But since I was 50...they declined us... Then they complain about orphans not getting fostered. We are Omanis.

Kawthar Hameed Abdullah said...

An adopted child does not need to reside in Oman. The parents need to be Omanis. I know one Omani family that have adopted two children and they live in qatar, and another that now lived in Canada.