Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daily News Fix

While interning at a newswire during grad school, I worked with a reporter who refused to talk to anybody first thing in the morning. I thought maybe he just wasn't a morning person until I realized he needed time to "check-in," as he would say, on the news of the day.

Years later, I see where Rupert was coming from. I also find myself irritable and disoriented until I check out the top news stories and only then can my day officially begin. If my kids try to crawl out of bed before I am through clicking, I send them back, sometimes with baggies of Cheerios to temporarily sate them.

I've always felt kind of guilty about this habit of mine, especially since the list of news sites has gotten longer with the ongoing protests in the Middle East.

That is until this week. I was much relieved to receive the following hadith of Prophet Muhammad (S) in my email inbox: "One who gets up in the morning and is not concerned about the affairs of other Muslims is not a Muslim."

Of course, we have to be careful where we get our news to avoid propaganda, misinformation and useless debates and discussions (former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter colorfully warns us against chirpily opening our beaks like baby birds and allowing others (corporate media) to stick puke down our throats). I read mainstream new stories to find out what we are supposed to know and then read alternative sites and blogs to find out what is really going on.

Indeed, we have a great example of a powerful, fully informed and active woman in the form of Zainab, the daughter of Fatima (one of the perfect women of all time). After her brother Hussain and most male members of her family were killed while resisting tyranny, she confronted Yazid, the oppressive ruler of the time, in his own court.

Scholar Hamza Sodagar talks about Zainab's political role during an interview with Tariq Ramadan on PressTV:

"There is something that comes before being active and taking on a responsibility and that is being informed, knowing what is going on. If a woman wants to be active, if Lady Zainab wanted to be responsible and do something and she really wasn't informed of her society, who Yazid was, what her history was, what her father had done, what her brothers had done, what her grandfather had done, she wouldn't have been able to do it."

Of course, my hunger for news in the morning does not absolve me from the responsibility of preparing a healthy breakfast for my family. It just means I need to get up earlier. But that's a whole different story.