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An Oxford Guide JEWISH-MUSLIM RELATIONS

Earliest Contacts and the Paradigms of Relationship

It is impossible to understand the complex nature of modern Jewish-Muslim relations without revisiting Arabia of the 7th century, when the new Believers (mu’minun) of emerging Islam began to establish their foundational worldviews. It is already in this earliest context that Muhammad and his followers came into contact with Jews, and this particular contact became extremely important because reactions to it were recorded for posterity in the Qur’an. The only sources for the earliest relations between Jews and Muslims are the Qur’an and its attendant literatures, which, like other sacred literatures, are interested in history only insofar as it helps to define the emerging community and its values and ideas.

Jews lived in Arabia for some generations before the birth of Muhammad. Legends place Jewish penetration into Arabia as early as the Exodus from Egypt, when Moses sent an army into Arabia to pursue the Amalekites. The Yemenite Jewish community claims its origins in the exile following the destruction of the First Temple or further back with the Queen of Sheba, whose child by Solomon was raised as a Jew. There is no reason to believe these legends as accurate history, but they point to the awareness among Arabs that Jews had been living among them for a long time before the birth of Muhammad.

According to the Islamic sources, there is no record of a Jewish community living in Muhammad’s home town of Mecca, but there was a thriving community in Medina. Muhammad was forced out of Mecca by his own tribe in 622 and found refuge in Medina, where he came into contact with the Jewish community living there. It was out of that contact from which Islamic images of Jews – positive, negative and neutral – were first established and then sanctified by their appearance in Islamic scripture.
The Qur’an on the Jews

The Qur’an is ambivalent about the Jews. On the one hand, it instructs Muhammad to go to the Jews and learn from them: ‘And if you (Muhammad) are uncertain about what We have sent down to you, ask those who read the Book [that was] before you. The truth has come to you from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt’ (Q.10:94).1 The Qur’an also teaches that Jews, Christians and others who believe in God and act righteously will have nothing to fear, suggesting that like Muslim believers, they will find salvation (2:62, 5:69, 22:17). On the other hand, the Qur’an repeatedly condemns the Jews for rejecting the prophetic status of Muhammad. It refers to Jews as stiff-necked and rebellious (2:93, 105, 5:78, 62:5), dishonest (2:100, ) violent (2:85, 91, 4:157), usurious and greedy (4:161, 6:146, 9:34), arrogant (3:24, 181, 5:64, 46:10), insidious (2:109, 120, 3:69), jealous (4:54, 5:51), liars (3:71, 94, 5:41, 6:28) and unbelievers (2:55, 103, 3:72, 5:41, 9:30-31, 59:2-4), and it accuses them of distorting their own scripture in order to discredit the message of the Qur’an and the prophet who brought it (2:79, 3:78, 4:46, 5:13, 41).

These references are not always directed specifically to the appellation, ‘Jews’ (yahud). Many refer to ‘People of the Book,’ and that reference generically concerns communities of people who were recipients of revelations prior to the revelation of the Qur’an, namely Jews and Christians. But Islamic sources do not contain any information about Christians living in Medina, so the assumption among the traditional Qur’an commentators is that most of the general references to People of the Book (those that do not specify Christians) refer to the Jews of Medina.

1 See also Q.16:43: ‘So if you do not know, then ask the people of the Reminder (ahl al-dhikr).’ The great 9th century scholar and collector of tradition, al-Tabari, cites the early tradition that God is referring here to ahlul-tawrah – the people of the Torah.

Even among some of the negative references to Jews, however, are reminders that not all can be typed one way or the other. ‘They are not all alike. Of the People of Scripture is an upright community reciting the verses of God at the approach of night and prostrating themselves. They believe in God and the Last Day, command the decent and refrain from the indecent, vying for the good. These are the righteous. Whatever good they do will not be denied, for God knows the pious.’ (3:113-115, and see also 3:199, 4:55, 4:155).

It should not be surprising that the Qur’an contains negative and angry references directed to adherents of established religions. Polemic is a common trait among the scriptures of all three great families of monotheism, and the anger that scriptures direct toward established religions simply denotes the difficult environments in which scriptures always emerge.

All three scriptures direct anger against representatives of the establishment systems that opposed them: the Qur’an toward Jews, Christians and above all, Arabian idol-worshippers; the New Testament toward Jews, Greco-Roman pagans and the Roman establishment; and the Hebrew Bible toward idolatrous nations such as the Moabites and Midianites, idolatrous empires such as Assyria, Egypt and Babylon, and most threatening of all, the establishment religious culture of the local Canaanite peoples. The point of this comparison is neither to reduce the particularities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam nor to avoid taking anti-Judaism seriously. It is, rather, to avoid the common error of distorting the meaning of anti-Judaism when examining it out of context. Anti-Judaism exists in the Qur’an, to be sure, but it must be seen as a natural, even if unfortunate, expression of an emerging religion’s claim to uniqueness.

One might ask why emerging religions must disparage an innocent community such as the Jews. The answer is, in part, that upon closer inspection, communities denigrated or vilified by emerging religions do not generally appear to have been so innocent. We are not trying to blame the victim, but rather to understand how and why established religions threaten the success of new religions. The problem of threat, of course, works in two directions, and the first to threaten the other is typically the new religion or sect that raises the hackles of the establishment. This is apparent, for example, with the rise of sects and ‘cults’ in our own generation. As a result of this threat, established religions characteristically attempt to prevent the success of the upstart. Most new religious movements die within a generation. Very few succeed, and the tremendous success of the Islamic movement was seen as divine proof to the Muslims that their form of monotheism is the most perfect form of religion. According to this line of thinking, history has proven the eternal superiority of Islam and the secondary status of the other monotheisms.

The Jewish communities of Medina, the only Jews that Muhammad and his followers came to know, appear to have threatened the early Muslims in both the conceptual or ideational sense and the physical sense. The first sense caused the greater crisis, but the second was also significant. Some verses portray the Jews not only as refusing to accept Muhammad’s role as prophet but also as trying to discredit him:

O you who believe, do not take as friends those who ridicule your religion, [whether] of those to whom were given Scripture previously or the unbelievers, but be pious to God if you are believers. And when you call for prayers, they take it for ridicule and jest. This is because they are a people without sense. Say: O People of Scripture, are you revengeful toward us only because we believe in God and in what has been sent down to us, and in what has been sent down previously, and because most of you are degenerate sinners? (Q.5:57-59)

The organized Jewish communities of Medina are portrayed quite consistently in the religious sources as refusing to accept Muhammad as a prophet. Those verses condemning the Jews in general while noting that a few are righteous probably refer to individual Jews who left their religion and became followers of Muhammad. The aggregate, however, is portrayed consistently as remaining steadfast (or stiff-necked) in the face of the growing strength of the Muslims. References to the Jews as stiff-necked, arrogant or jealous probably refer to their refusal to accept the new prophet and his religion, to Jews as liars or as distorting their own holy book probably refer to the problem raised by the inevitable contradictions between new revelations and those previously recorded as scripture.

All negative descriptions of Jews recorded in the Qur’an and the early literatures were a result of the friction between the early Muslim community and the organized Jewish communities (tribes) of Medina. The Qur’an represents itself as a universal teaching, however, so because of this aspect of its rhetorical style, it appears to refer negatively to the Jews in general terms. To add to the problem is the fact that to Muslim believers, the Qur’an is inimitable scripture (and the inimitability of the Qur’an is an absolute dogma of Islamic theology), so its portrayal of Jews represents a level of truth that is extremely difficult to question. As scripture, the Qur’an is a powerful foundation for contemporary Muslims’ worldviews all over the globe. The conflicts it reflects ensued for only a few years, but the verses of scripture that record them are eternal.

The Rules of the Dhimma

The layer of sacred Islamic literature that follows the Qur’an is the record of the sunna, or behaviors and sayings of Muhammad, the prophet. These are recorded in a literature called the Hadith. Like the Qur’an, the Hadith reflects the conflicts that grew up between the Jews and early Muslims, and definitive archetypes or stereotypes of Jews were established also in this vast literature. The later juridical literature of Islam was developed primarily from the Qur’an and the Hadith, so it both reinforced these images and created law that would perpetuate them.

Unlike early Judaism and Christianity, early Islam found itself in military and political control of vast populations of non-believers within only a generation after its emergence. It was therefore necessary to develop policy regarding them, and this occurred under the term ‘rules of the protected minorities’ (ahkam al-dhimma). The details vary and the process of creating any kind of official policy was a long one. Moreover, the laws or policies that were developed were often ignored by rulers or were enacted only when it suited them. Once established, however, they were ‘on the books,’ meaning that they represented an authoritative articulation of expected relations with religious minorities, including the Jews.

It should be stated for the record that the Qur’an nowhere calls for the destruction of the Jews. The policy of relationship between Muslims and Jews is based upon and authorized by Qur’an 9:29: ‘Fight those who do not believe in God or in the Last Day and do not make forbidden what God and His messenger have made forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, among those who have been given the Book, until they pay the jizya off hand (>an yadin), being humbled/humiliated (wahum §Œghir´n).’ The meaning and significance of the words marked by italics in the qur’anic context are unclear and have been discussed by both traditional Muslim and modern Western scholars for generations. Whatever its original intent, the verse has been interpreted to mean that the Peoples of the Book (originally Jews and Christians, but also extended to include Zoroastrians and sometimes others) were to be fought until they capitulate and recognize the political and religious domination of Islam. This recognition was confirmed formally by a special poll tax and by a series of sumptuary laws that legally established inferior status for Peoples of the Book in Islamic society. Once these corporate religious communities acknowledged their secondary status by paying the tax and accepting certain social restrictions, they were protected by the state, which guaranteed their lives, their property, and the right to worship as they chose (with some limits such as public religious processions and ceremonies). This was the rule of the dhimma or ‘protection,’ and the Peoples of the Book (ahl al-kitab) were therefore also dhimmi peoples (ahl al-dhimma), proteges of the Islamic community.

The Pact of ‘Umar

Societal restrictions that define the inferior status of Peoples of the Book were formulated from a letter purportedly sent by Christians to the second caliph, `Umar b. al-Khattab, which established the terms of surrender to the conquering Muslim armies. These restrictions include a promise not to build new places of worship or religious establishments, hold public religious ceremonies, proselytize or prevent people from converting to Islam. They voluntered to distinguish themselves in dress so as not to be confused with Muslims and to always to defer to Muslims. They would not bear weapons of any kind , take slaves designated for Muslims, or build homes higher than those of Muslims.

This document is known as the Pact of `Umar, and it defined relations between Jews and Muslims in the pre-modern Muslim world. Peoples of the Book were forbidden from holding positions of influence in government and society, but this was sometimes observed in the breech when Jews such as Maimonides became personal physicians of governors. The most famous example is Shmuel Hanagid, who was not only vizier of the Muslim king of Granada, but also commander of his armies. He successfully broke the most sacred rules of the dhimma by commanding such power, but he also brought his kingdom great fame and influence. His son, Yosef, however, did not fare as well. He fell victim to a mass revolt and massacre in 1066, allegedly caused by what was perceived as Yosef’s inflated pride and ambition in high office, which were completely at odds with the letter and law of the rules of the dhimma.

Both the interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws were thus flexible. Restrictions tended to be relaxed when Jews had valuable skills that were perceived as important to the governing power, especially from the 10th through 12 centuries in such areas as Muslim Spain, Iraq, Egypt, and areas of North Africa such as Ifriqiya (roughly today’s Tunisia), and the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. These were ‘golden ages’ for Jews and their Muslim host countries. When times were economically good, the rules of the dhimma tended to be implemented with less zeal. But when times were bad, the situation of the Jews and other dhimmi peoples tended to decline.

The golden ages would not last. All of the Islamic Middle East entered a long period of decline in the latter half of the millenium. This period has been called ‘the long twilight of the late Islamic Middle Ages,’ and it aptly describes the decline and shadowy position of the Jews in these areas. The position of Jews in the Islamic world during the later middle ages and early modern period deteriorated greatly. Although the sixteenth century was good to the Jews under the firm and forward-looking policies of the Ottoman Empire in their massive geographical holdings, the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries became oppressive not only for the Jews but for most of the inhabitants of the Middle East. The ruling Turkish minority tended to treat average Arab Muslims almost as disdainfully as it did the dhimmis, and as its control of the provinces waned the various religious communities tended to act out their antipathy and antagonism toward one another. The sumptuary laws that clearly identified and discriminated against Jews and Christians were enforced more and more rigorously, and the dhimmis suffered as a result.

The native economies stagnated as the Middle East entered the modern era and became increasingly dominated by Europeans. As European powers encroached increasingly into parts of the Middle East, its impact on the social as well as political and economic levels also increased. The influence of foreign powers and ideas, therefore, became a critical factor on the evolving position of Jews and other religious minorities in the Islamic world.
Jewish Views of Muslims

Jewish attitudes toward Muslims were much less public than Muslim’s attitudes toward Jews in the pre-modern period. As a result of their dhimmi status, Jews always subject to punishment for any negative public statement or reflection on Islam or Muslims. We can, nevertheless, glean some sentiments, sometimes only hinted, from the large corpus of Jewish writings from Muslim lands.

Muslims were usually regarded as Ishmaelites in Jewish letters because of the view that the Arabs originated from Ishmael, son of Abraham, and Muslims acknowledged this genealogy in such authoritative sources as the official biography of Muhammad. Jews, therefore, who were familiar with the negative biblical depictions of Ishmael, Hagar, and other ethnically Arab biblical characters, accepted such characterizations in their view of Muslims and tended to express their negative views through the code of comments on the biblical Ishmael.

The Arab Conquests put an end to Byzantine and Persian dominion over most Jews, and some Jewish texts portray these conquests in apocalyptic terms, suggesting that at least part of the Jewish world considered the quick and unprecedented scope of victory to herald the coming of the messiah. A late, pseudepigraphic Midrash attributed to the mystical Shimon Bar Yochai includes the following:

When he saw the kingdom of Ishmael that was coming, he began to say: ‘Was it not enough, what the wicked kingdom of Edom did to us, but we must have the kingdom of Ishmael too?’ At once, Metatron the prince of the [divine] countenance answered and said, Do not fear, son of man, for the Holy One only brings the kingdom of Ishmael in order to save you from this wickedness. He raises up over them a Prophet according to his will and will conquer the land for them and they will come and restore it in greatness, and there will be great terror between them and the sons of Esau.’….when he, the rider on the camel, goes forth the kingdom will arise through the rider on an ass…” [Jellinek: Beit HaMidrash 3:78].

As Islam became entrenched as a religion of empire, it became clear that the messiah was not among the Arab armies. Secondary status, social restrictions, disrespect as Jews and occasional violent victimization laid bare the truth of Jewish status under the new Muslim rulers. As noted above, however, Muslim interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws was flexible, so communities at various times and in various parts of the Muslim world experienced their rulers differently. Abraham Ibn Daud, who lived in tolerant 11th century Spain, referred to Muslims positively in his book of history. He remarks that the Caliphs honored both the Babylonian Jewish Exilarch and the head of the academy, and even noted when mentioning the massacre of the Jewish community of Granada that it was provoked by the inappropriate behavior of the Jewish leader, Yosef son of Shmuel HaNagid, according to the laws of the dhimma [Gerson Cohen, The Book of Tradition, pp. 45, 76].

Maimonides suffered exile from Spain during a period of fundamentalist Islamic revival, but nevertheless reached the pinnacle of position and status as personal physician to the sultan of Egypt. In his now-famous letter to the Jewish community of Yemen, which was suffering under an intolerant and abusive regime, he describes the Jewish predicament in the following way: ‘…on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us….Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they.’ [Halkin, Epistle to Yemen, p. xviii].

Both Ibn Daud and Maimonides wrote with specific agendas, so their sentiments need to be read with caution. Taken together, they portray the ambivalence of Jews toward their Muslim overlords throughout the Islamic world prior to the eruption of modernity. Life apart from non-Jewish masters would clearly have been preferred, but such a life seemed inconceivable prior to the coming of the messiah.
Muslims’ view of Jews in the Modern World

We skip through many centuries to the nineteenth, when Europe was in expansion and the Middle East was weak. It was during this period when many Middle Eastern Jews (and even more so, Christians) began to extricate their identity from the local cultures. European pressure on the Ottoman Sultan forced a level of civil emancipation for Christians, and this emancipation was applied also to the Jews, who were also People of the Book. Christian missionary schools entered the Middle East and created an educated class of Arab Christians who, under the protection of European consuls, began to enter social and economic arenas that had been forbidden for centuries. The French Jewish Alliance Israelite Universelle and to a lesser extent British, Austrian and German Jewish organizations founded schools for Jews that accomplished parallel results. This movement among European Jews and Christians advanced the position of some of the dhimmis in their local situation, but it also tended to Europeanize them (though in rural areas these European influences sometimes did not penetrate at all). Their legal and economic position improved, but these changes became a mixed blessing, especially for Jews living in more provincial areas. Privileging Jews violated the rules of the dhimma and thus exposed them, when unprotected by the influence of foreign powers, to the unprotected hostility of the Muslim majority. With deterioration of local government control, law and order tended to breakdown and all those unprotected tended to become victims.

The emergence of Zionism and the Palestine question further added to the Muslim ‘othering’ of the Jews. From the Jewish perspective, the issue of a Jewish national home in Palestine was mostly one of modern nationalism and politics, though there was clearly an overtone of religious identity as well. The Palestinian Arab perspective was similar in that it was primarily an issue of land and hegemony, with religion a minor issue. From the Islamic perspective, however, the issue was much larger, and the separation between religion and nationalism has always been fuzzy in the modern Middle East. The Zionists disregarded their secondary status entirely and even built and managed their own independent economy. Zionism thus represented a case of dhimmis attempting to break out of their protected but inferior status by establishing an independent Jewish nation-state in the heartland of the Islamic Middle East.

This was unacceptable on its own terms, but its close historical and phenomenological association with European expansion and colonization made it all the more threatening. The Zionists were overwhelmingly European, and their views of Arabs reflected prevailing European attitudes and expectations. Whatever Zionism was to the Jews and to its British Christian supporters, it represented a reversal of the divine order to religious Muslims, and was regarded increasingly contrary to the way of God by Islamists, those Muslims who were seeking a way out of the decline of the Islamic world through greater religious devotion.

Islamic antipathy to Zionism was apparent from the beginning, but it was often mixed up with Arab political movements and Arab anti-colonialism. Because of the strong Christian and secular components in Arab political movements through the end of the Mandate period, especially in Syria-Palestine, the Islamic component was often underplayed. It always remained under the surface, however, and the large compendium of anti-Jewish material in the Qur’an and the Tradition made for a constant reminder of the negative attributes and evil desires of ‘the Jews,’ though it must be remembered that the material actually reflects a conflict that was limited to the Jewish community of seventh century Medina.

Today, therefore, the major subtext for the current Islamic view of Jews is the Israel-Palestine conflict, with its own religious subtext of dhimmitude: Jews are expected to acquiesce to Islamic domination. Jews have not done so when they created the Jewish State of Israel against the vociferous protests of the Islamic world. Some Muslims have attempted to draw a distinction between those Jews who live in and support the State of Israel – the ‘Zionists,’ – and those Jews who do not. Such subtlety, however, seems to be lost on most Muslims.

The Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, for example, who is one of the most important ideologues of current Islamist groups, portrays the Jews in his work, Our Struggle with the Jews (early 1950s), as the ultimate source of adversity that has continuously beset Islam. He and others after him used this antagonistic image of the Jews as a vehicle for promoting Islamic activism and reform.2

Despite such disturbing portrayals, Muslims’ views of Jews are both complex and fluid. There is no single authoritative body or institution such as the papacy in the Islamic world that can speak in the name of Islam (or more precisely, in the name of a significant, unified body of Muslims). The decentralized, fragmented nature of religious organization and authority in Islam has mitigated against any kind of unity regarding most religious issues that does not rely simply on inertia. But there has been inertia in reference to Jews, and by the beginning of the 21st century that inertia has moved Islam toward an increasing public anti-Jewish antipathy.

2 Jeffrey Kenney, “Enemies Near and Far: The Image of the Jews in Islamist Discourse in Egypt,” Religion 24 (1990), 255.
Modern Jewish Attitudes Toward Muslims

Zionists viewed the natives in Palestine as Arabs rather than Muslims, partly because the non-Jewish Arab population of Palestine included Christians, and partly because they preferred to think in terms of national rather than religious categories. In any case, they regarded them as rather primitive. In fact, the European Jews considered their Arab Jewish brethren rather primitive as well. Although intended to be hyperbolic, Ahad Ha`Am’s observation reflects the general tenor of the European Jewish view of Arabs: “Outside Palestine, we are accustomed to believing that Arabs are all wild beasts of the desert, a people akin to jackasses who do not understand what is going on around them.” Inside Palestine where Jews met Arabs daily, their views of Arabs were more realistic, but they nevertheless regarded them overwhelmingly as less civilized than people of European stock. The reasons for this are complex and reflect a variety of influences, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Early on and before the violent Arab actions directed against the Zionist project beginning in 1920-21, antipathy toward Arabs did not reach the level of anger directed by many Eastern European Jews toward their countries of origin. The continuing pogroms and violence directed against Jews in the east, despite promises of emancipation, prompted many to look toward Palestine. The hope of a future golden age of Jewish life under Islam convinced many to leave the misery of Europe and set out for the Holy Land with fellow Zionists, but the dream of a better life under the Muslims was transformed to one of a self-governing Jewish nation-state. Jewish power and numbers increased in Palestine, and Muslim antipathy increased in turn.
The Arabs, it turned out, were not the simple and friendly Orientals depicted in 19th century European Romantic art and literature. They were quite willing to fight and kill those whom they considered to be threatening their social and economic position. This, then, caused Jews to reconsider their view of Muslims. The war between Jews and Arabs over the land of Israel/Palestine has continued, both hot and cold, from 1921 to the present, and it has become the primary determiner of both Jews’ and Muslims’ view of the other. It should not be surprising that the overwhelming view of the other is quite negative in both the Jewish and Muslim communities. The “other” tends to represent the enemy. Despite important exceptions to the rule on both sides, it has been largely codified within the social systems of both communities and perpetuated in the general culture.

Notwithstanding this sentiment, Jews have been deeply interested in Islam and in the literary, historical and theological relationships between Jews and Muslims to this day. Jews have played a disproportionate role in the scientific study of Islam from the beginning of modern Western scholarship on religion. Rabbi Abraham Geiger is rightly considered to have ushered in the dawn of historical research on Islam, the work of Ignaz Goldziher continues to be read more than 100 years after its publication, and the dean of this discipline in our own day is Bernard Lewis. In Jewish theology, Franz Rosenzweig compares Islam favorable to Christianity in his Star of Redemption. ‘In a certain sense, Islam demanded and practiced “tolerance” long before the concept was discovered by Christian Europe.” (Star 216).
Jewish-Muslim Relations Today

At the time of this writing, the issue of Jewish-Muslim relations has become of increasing concern for Jews throughout the world. Especially since the watershed destruction of the American World Trade Center towers in 2001, Jewish fear of Islamic anti-Semitism has placed Jewish-Muslim relations in nearly equal status to Jewish-Christian relations.

Anti-Semitism as known in Europe is not indigenous to the Islamic World. While Christian theologies tend to be predicated on the irrelevance of Judaism or active antagonism to it, Islamic theologies establish their position relative to two rather than one established monotheistic system and critique them less categorically. It is certainly true that tensions and hierarchies, polemics and prejudice, legal discrimination and violence directed specifically against Jews are indeed a part of the Islamic World and have been since the emergence of Islam. But the particular pathology of European anti-Semitism with its blood libels and virulent hatred had to be imported to the Middle East, and it was done so by Christians. Increasing incrementally in response to the watershed events of 1948, 1967, the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada of the 1990s and the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002-3, Muslim rage against Israel, the United States and the West has been expressed through increased dehumanization and demonizing of Jews in general. The so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been available in Arabic translation since before mid-century, but has been cited increasingly in newspaper editorials and strongly referenced in popular state-sponsored television series in Egypt and Syria-Lebanon.

The axis around which Jewish-Muslim tensions are arrayed continues to be the Jewish State. The tease of Israeli and Palestinian leaders shaking hands under the protective canopy of the United States, only to have relations reach their lowest historical level in the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada, had repercussions that have rocked relations between Jews and other religious and ethnic groups as well. The state of Israel is the symptom, however. It is the presenting problem and not the only cause for the pathology. The grounds for increased hostility between Jews and Muslims are far more complex, and they reflect the endemic tensions associated with what is now commonly called the post-modern era: social and economic disruptions associated with an increasingly global economy, growing economic gaps between nations and populations, lack of social and economic integration of Arabs and Muslims into Western Europe, increasing industrial dependence on oil and subsequent Western attempts to prop up dictatorial regimes in the Muslim World, the inability of Middle Eastern countries to bring economic and political stability to their own populations, and the self-perceived shame associated with the failure of Middle Eastern nations to compete with the West economically, technologically, politically, militarily and socially. All have increased the level of tensions between Jews and Muslims at the outset of the twenty-first century, but they reflect the tensions that effect global populations as well.

This chapter is being written during one of the most volatile periods of Jewish-Muslim relations. Because there are no authoritative bodies that represent a plurality of either Jews or Muslims, relations are steered as much by the shapers of public opinion than by authoritative religious positions or their representatives. Public expressions of antipathy expressed by both sides toward the other are palpable. They are formed from public statements made by un-authoritative and unrepresentative ‘spokespersons’ who are heavily influenced by the violence and politics of the Middle East (including petty internal politics) and, in turn, exert a strong influence on coreligionists on the ground. On the other hand, many dozens and perhaps hundreds of Muslim-Jewish dialogue groups and other joint Jewish-Muslim initiatives have quietly been formed and are functioning in Israel, the US and Europe. The Maimonides Foundation in London is one better known and public group. Another is the Institute for the Study of Jewish-Muslim Interrelations (ISJMI) in Los Angeles. Dozens of others exist in Israel alone, and more span the boundaries between Israel and the areas across the Green Line dividing pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank. None but a prophet can successfully predict the future of Jewish-Muslim relations, but if history is any lesson, a modus vivendi will slowly emerge that will improve the current situation.

SUGGESTED READINGS

Bodansky, Yossef, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument (Houston: Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, 1999). Produced by a Jewish defense organization, this monograph is a good example of how accurate data can be presented in a biased and unbalanced manner with the goal of promoting a narrow and inaccurate picture of reality.

Cohen, Mark and Udovitch, Abraham (eds.), Jews Among Arabs: Contact and Boundaries (Princeton: Darwin, 1989). This collection contains articles written by experts in the field of modern Jewish-Muslim history. The individual articles examine Jewish life in Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco, and chronicle Jewish cultural interaction and contribution to modern Arab culture.

Cohen, Mark, Under Crescent and Cross (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). Cohen compares the treatment of Jews in Christian Europe and the Islamic Middle East to suggest where the Jews fared best and why.

Firestone, Reuven, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1990). This is a study of the intertextual relationship between ‘Biblical’ and ‘Qur’anic’ narrative literatures through the Abraham stories.

Firestone, Reuven, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims (NY: Schocken, 2001). An introduction to Judaism that notes the many parallels as well as differences between Judaism and Islam, treating some of the thorny questions that Muslims ask about Judaism.

Goitein, S. D., Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages (NY: Schocken, 1955). This is the classic survey of the history of Jewish-Arab relations, tracing the various intellectual and religious contributions of one to the other community.

Hary, Benjamin, Hayes, John and Astren, Fred (eds.), Judaism and Islam: Boundaries, Communication and Interaction: Essays in Honor of William M. Brinner (Leiden: Brill, 2000). A recent collection of essays hosting some of the best contemporary scholarship on Judaism and Islam covering history, literatures, scriptures, law, philosophy and ethics, languages and sectarian communities.

Kramer, Martin (ed.), The Jewish Discovery of Islam (Tel Aviv: Moshe Dayan Center, 1999). Examines the primary Jewish role of scholarship, literature and exploration in the modern European quest to understand Islam.

Lewis, Bernard, The Jews of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). This has become a classic survey of the intellectual and cultural relations between Muslims and Jews that counters the two competing stereotypes of the Muslim fanatical warrior or utopian pluralist.

Nettler, Ronald (ed.), Medieval and Modern Perspectives on Muslim-Jewish Relations (Oxford: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995). This collection of essays is a foray into the scholarly literature of Muslim-Jewish relations, topics from ‘Judaizing’ tendencies among some Muslims to the use of Muslim narrative as a commentary on Jewish tradition.

Newby, Gordon, A History of the Jews of Arabia (Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina, 1988). This brief history examines the history of the Jewish (most likely sectarian) communities of Arabia from the earliest times to the rise of Islam.

Sacher, Howard M., A History of Israel From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (NY: Knopf, 1976). A largely political history.

Stark, Rodney, and Bainbridge, William Sims, A Theory of Religion. NY: Peter Lang, 1987. This book provides a good theoretical foundation for the study of emerging religions.

Stillman, Norman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book, and The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society, 1979 and 1991). This is an excellent two volume source book and commentary that provides a large compendium of translated documents treating the Jews of the Arab Middle East from the earliest sources to the end of the twentieth century.

Earliest Contacts and the Paradigms of Relationship

It is impossible to understand the complex nature of modern Jewish-Muslim relations without revisiting Arabia of the 7th century, when the new Believers (mu’minun) of emerging Islam began to establish their foundational worldviews. It is already in this earliest context that Muhammad and his followers came into contact with Jews, and this particular contact became extremely important because reactions to it were recorded for posterity in the Qur’an. The only sources for the earliest relations between Jews and Muslims are the Qur’an and its attendant literatures, which, like other sacred literatures, are interested in history only insofar as it helps to define the emerging community and its values and ideas.

Jews lived in Arabia for some generations before the birth of Muhammad. Legends place Jewish penetration into Arabia as early as the Exodus from Egypt, when Moses sent an army into Arabia to pursue the Amalekites. The Yemenite Jewish community claims its origins in the exile following the destruction of the First Temple or further back with the Queen of Sheba, whose child by Solomon was raised as a Jew. There is no reason to believe these legends as accurate history, but they point to the awareness among Arabs that Jews had been living among them for a long time before the birth of Muhammad.

According to the Islamic sources, there is no record of a Jewish community living in Muhammad’s home town of Mecca, but there was a thriving community in Medina. Muhammad was forced out of Mecca by his own tribe in 622 and found refuge in Medina, where he came into contact with the Jewish community living there. It was out of that contact from which Islamic images of Jews – positive, negative and neutral – were first established and then sanctified by their appearance in Islamic scripture.
The Qur’an on the Jews

The Qur’an is ambivalent about the Jews. On the one hand, it instructs Muhammad to go to the Jews and learn from them: ‘And if you (Muhammad) are uncertain about what We have sent down to you, ask those who read the Book [that was] before you. The truth has come to you from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt’ (Q.10:94).1 The Qur’an also teaches that Jews, Christians and others who believe in God and act righteously will have nothing to fear, suggesting that like Muslim believers, they will find salvation (2:62, 5:69, 22:17). On the other hand, the Qur’an repeatedly condemns the Jews for rejecting the prophetic status of Muhammad. It refers to Jews as stiff-necked and rebellious (2:93, 105, 5:78, 62:5), dishonest (2:100, ) violent (2:85, 91, 4:157), usurious and greedy (4:161, 6:146, 9:34), arrogant (3:24, 181, 5:64, 46:10), insidious (2:109, 120, 3:69), jealous (4:54, 5:51), liars (3:71, 94, 5:41, 6:28) and unbelievers (2:55, 103, 3:72, 5:41, 9:30-31, 59:2-4), and it accuses them of distorting their own scripture in order to discredit the message of the Qur’an and the prophet who brought it (2:79, 3:78, 4:46, 5:13, 41).

These references are not always directed specifically to the appellation, ‘Jews’ (yahud). Many refer to ‘People of the Book,’ and that reference generically concerns communities of people who were recipients of revelations prior to the revelation of the Qur’an, namely Jews and Christians. But Islamic sources do not contain any information about Christians living in Medina, so the assumption among the traditional Qur’an commentators is that most of the general references to People of the Book (those that do not specify Christians) refer to the Jews of Medina.

1 See also Q.16:43: ‘So if you do not know, then ask the people of the Reminder (ahl al-dhikr).’ The great 9th century scholar and collector of tradition, al-Tabari, cites the early tradition that God is referring here to ahlul-tawrah – the people of the Torah.

Even among some of the negative references to Jews, however, are reminders that not all can be typed one way or the other. ‘They are not all alike. Of the People of Scripture is an upright community reciting the verses of God at the approach of night and prostrating themselves. They believe in God and the Last Day, command the decent and refrain from the indecent, vying for the good. These are the righteous. Whatever good they do will not be denied, for God knows the pious.’ (3:113-115, and see also 3:199, 4:55, 4:155).

It should not be surprising that the Qur’an contains negative and angry references directed to adherents of established religions. Polemic is a common trait among the scriptures of all three great families of monotheism, and the anger that scriptures direct toward established religions simply denotes the difficult environments in which scriptures always emerge.

All three scriptures direct anger against representatives of the establishment systems that opposed them: the Qur’an toward Jews, Christians and above all, Arabian idol-worshippers; the New Testament toward Jews, Greco-Roman pagans and the Roman establishment; and the Hebrew Bible toward idolatrous nations such as the Moabites and Midianites, idolatrous empires such as Assyria, Egypt and Babylon, and most threatening of all, the establishment religious culture of the local Canaanite peoples. The point of this comparison is neither to reduce the particularities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam nor to avoid taking anti-Judaism seriously. It is, rather, to avoid the common error of distorting the meaning of anti-Judaism when examining it out of context. Anti-Judaism exists in the Qur’an, to be sure, but it must be seen as a natural, even if unfortunate, expression of an emerging religion’s claim to uniqueness.

One might ask why emerging religions must disparage an innocent community such as the Jews. The answer is, in part, that upon closer inspection, communities denigrated or vilified by emerging religions do not generally appear to have been so innocent. We are not trying to blame the victim, but rather to understand how and why established religions threaten the success of new religions. The problem of threat, of course, works in two directions, and the first to threaten the other is typically the new religion or sect that raises the hackles of the establishment. This is apparent, for example, with the rise of sects and ‘cults’ in our own generation. As a result of this threat, established religions characteristically attempt to prevent the success of the upstart. Most new religious movements die within a generation. Very few succeed, and the tremendous success of the Islamic movement was seen as divine proof to the Muslims that their form of monotheism is the most perfect form of religion. According to this line of thinking, history has proven the eternal superiority of Islam and the secondary status of the other monotheisms.

The Jewish communities of Medina, the only Jews that Muhammad and his followers came to know, appear to have threatened the early Muslims in both the conceptual or ideational sense and the physical sense. The first sense caused the greater crisis, but the second was also significant. Some verses portray the Jews not only as refusing to accept Muhammad’s role as prophet but also as trying to discredit him:

O you who believe, do not take as friends those who ridicule your religion, [whether] of those to whom were given Scripture previously or the unbelievers, but be pious to God if you are believers. And when you call for prayers, they take it for ridicule and jest. This is because they are a people without sense. Say: O People of Scripture, are you revengeful toward us only because we believe in God and in what has been sent down to us, and in what has been sent down previously, and because most of you are degenerate sinners? (Q.5:57-59)

The organized Jewish communities of Medina are portrayed quite consistently in the religious sources as refusing to accept Muhammad as a prophet. Those verses condemning the Jews in general while noting that a few are righteous probably refer to individual Jews who left their religion and became followers of Muhammad. The aggregate, however, is portrayed consistently as remaining steadfast (or stiff-necked) in the face of the growing strength of the Muslims. References to the Jews as stiff-necked, arrogant or jealous probably refer to their refusal to accept the new prophet and his religion, to Jews as liars or as distorting their own holy book probably refer to the problem raised by the inevitable contradictions between new revelations and those previously recorded as scripture.

All negative descriptions of Jews recorded in the Qur’an and the early literatures were a result of the friction between the early Muslim community and the organized Jewish communities (tribes) of Medina. The Qur’an represents itself as a universal teaching, however, so because of this aspect of its rhetorical style, it appears to refer negatively to the Jews in general terms. To add to the problem is the fact that to Muslim believers, the Qur’an is inimitable scripture (and the inimitability of the Qur’an is an absolute dogma of Islamic theology), so its portrayal of Jews represents a level of truth that is extremely difficult to question. As scripture, the Qur’an is a powerful foundation for contemporary Muslims’ worldviews all over the globe. The conflicts it reflects ensued for only a few years, but the verses of scripture that record them are eternal.

The Rules of the Dhimma

The layer of sacred Islamic literature that follows the Qur’an is the record of the sunna, or behaviors and sayings of Muhammad, the prophet. These are recorded in a literature called the Hadith. Like the Qur’an, the Hadith reflects the conflicts that grew up between the Jews and early Muslims, and definitive archetypes or stereotypes of Jews were established also in this vast literature. The later juridical literature of Islam was developed primarily from the Qur’an and the Hadith, so it both reinforced these images and created law that would perpetuate them.

Unlike early Judaism and Christianity, early Islam found itself in military and political control of vast populations of non-believers within only a generation after its emergence. It was therefore necessary to develop policy regarding them, and this occurred under the term ‘rules of the protected minorities’ (ahkam al-dhimma). The details vary and the process of creating any kind of official policy was a long one. Moreover, the laws or policies that were developed were often ignored by rulers or were enacted only when it suited them. Once established, however, they were ‘on the books,’ meaning that they represented an authoritative articulation of expected relations with religious minorities, including the Jews.

It should be stated for the record that the Qur’an nowhere calls for the destruction of the Jews. The policy of relationship between Muslims and Jews is based upon and authorized by Qur’an 9:29: ‘Fight those who do not believe in God or in the Last Day and do not make forbidden what God and His messenger have made forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, among those who have been given the Book, until they pay the jizya off hand (>an yadin), being humbled/humiliated (wahum §Œghir´n).’ The meaning and significance of the words marked by italics in the qur’anic context are unclear and have been discussed by both traditional Muslim and modern Western scholars for generations. Whatever its original intent, the verse has been interpreted to mean that the Peoples of the Book (originally Jews and Christians, but also extended to include Zoroastrians and sometimes others) were to be fought until they capitulate and recognize the political and religious domination of Islam. This recognition was confirmed formally by a special poll tax and by a series of sumptuary laws that legally established inferior status for Peoples of the Book in Islamic society. Once these corporate religious communities acknowledged their secondary status by paying the tax and accepting certain social restrictions, they were protected by the state, which guaranteed their lives, their property, and the right to worship as they chose (with some limits such as public religious processions and ceremonies). This was the rule of the dhimma or ‘protection,’ and the Peoples of the Book (ahl al-kitab) were therefore also dhimmi peoples (ahl al-dhimma), proteges of the Islamic community.

The Pact of ‘Umar

Societal restrictions that define the inferior status of Peoples of the Book were formulated from a letter purportedly sent by Christians to the second caliph, `Umar b. al-Khattab, which established the terms of surrender to the conquering Muslim armies. These restrictions include a promise not to build new places of worship or religious establishments, hold public religious ceremonies, proselytize or prevent people from converting to Islam. They voluntered to distinguish themselves in dress so as not to be confused with Muslims and to always to defer to Muslims. They would not bear weapons of any kind , take slaves designated for Muslims, or build homes higher than those of Muslims.

This document is known as the Pact of `Umar, and it defined relations between Jews and Muslims in the pre-modern Muslim world. Peoples of the Book were forbidden from holding positions of influence in government and society, but this was sometimes observed in the breech when Jews such as Maimonides became personal physicians of governors. The most famous example is Shmuel Hanagid, who was not only vizier of the Muslim king of Granada, but also commander of his armies. He successfully broke the most sacred rules of the dhimma by commanding such power, but he also brought his kingdom great fame and influence. His son, Yosef, however, did not fare as well. He fell victim to a mass revolt and massacre in 1066, allegedly caused by what was perceived as Yosef’s inflated pride and ambition in high office, which were completely at odds with the letter and law of the rules of the dhimma.

Both the interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws were thus flexible. Restrictions tended to be relaxed when Jews had valuable skills that were perceived as important to the governing power, especially from the 10th through 12 centuries in such areas as Muslim Spain, Iraq, Egypt, and areas of North Africa such as Ifriqiya (roughly today’s Tunisia), and the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. These were ‘golden ages’ for Jews and their Muslim host countries. When times were economically good, the rules of the dhimma tended to be implemented with less zeal. But when times were bad, the situation of the Jews and other dhimmi peoples tended to decline.

The golden ages would not last. All of the Islamic Middle East entered a long period of decline in the latter half of the millenium. This period has been called ‘the long twilight of the late Islamic Middle Ages,’ and it aptly describes the decline and shadowy position of the Jews in these areas. The position of Jews in the Islamic world during the later middle ages and early modern period deteriorated greatly. Although the sixteenth century was good to the Jews under the firm and forward-looking policies of the Ottoman Empire in their massive geographical holdings, the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries became oppressive not only for the Jews but for most of the inhabitants of the Middle East. The ruling Turkish minority tended to treat average Arab Muslims almost as disdainfully as it did the dhimmis, and as its control of the provinces waned the various religious communities tended to act out their antipathy and antagonism toward one another. The sumptuary laws that clearly identified and discriminated against Jews and Christians were enforced more and more rigorously, and the dhimmis suffered as a result.

The native economies stagnated as the Middle East entered the modern era and became increasingly dominated by Europeans. As European powers encroached increasingly into parts of the Middle East, its impact on the social as well as political and economic levels also increased. The influence of foreign powers and ideas, therefore, became a critical factor on the evolving position of Jews and other religious minorities in the Islamic world.
Jewish Views of Muslims

Jewish attitudes toward Muslims were much less public than Muslim’s attitudes toward Jews in the pre-modern period. As a result of their dhimmi status, Jews always subject to punishment for any negative public statement or reflection on Islam or Muslims. We can, nevertheless, glean some sentiments, sometimes only hinted, from the large corpus of Jewish writings from Muslim lands.

Muslims were usually regarded as Ishmaelites in Jewish letters because of the view that the Arabs originated from Ishmael, son of Abraham, and Muslims acknowledged this genealogy in such authoritative sources as the official biography of Muhammad. Jews, therefore, who were familiar with the negative biblical depictions of Ishmael, Hagar, and other ethnically Arab biblical characters, accepted such characterizations in their view of Muslims and tended to express their negative views through the code of comments on the biblical Ishmael.

The Arab Conquests put an end to Byzantine and Persian dominion over most Jews, and some Jewish texts portray these conquests in apocalyptic terms, suggesting that at least part of the Jewish world considered the quick and unprecedented scope of victory to herald the coming of the messiah. A late, pseudepigraphic Midrash attributed to the mystical Shimon Bar Yochai includes the following:

When he saw the kingdom of Ishmael that was coming, he began to say: ‘Was it not enough, what the wicked kingdom of Edom did to us, but we must have the kingdom of Ishmael too?’ At once, Metatron the prince of the [divine] countenance answered and said, Do not fear, son of man, for the Holy One only brings the kingdom of Ishmael in order to save you from this wickedness. He raises up over them a Prophet according to his will and will conquer the land for them and they will come and restore it in greatness, and there will be great terror between them and the sons of Esau.’….when he, the rider on the camel, goes forth the kingdom will arise through the rider on an ass…” [Jellinek: Beit HaMidrash 3:78].

As Islam became entrenched as a religion of empire, it became clear that the messiah was not among the Arab armies. Secondary status, social restrictions, disrespect as Jews and occasional violent victimization laid bare the truth of Jewish status under the new Muslim rulers. As noted above, however, Muslim interpretation and implementation of the sumptuary laws was flexible, so communities at various times and in various parts of the Muslim world experienced their rulers differently. Abraham Ibn Daud, who lived in tolerant 11th century Spain, referred to Muslims positively in his book of history. He remarks that the Caliphs honored both the Babylonian Jewish Exilarch and the head of the academy, and even noted when mentioning the massacre of the Jewish community of Granada that it was provoked by the inappropriate behavior of the Jewish leader, Yosef son of Shmuel HaNagid, according to the laws of the dhimma [Gerson Cohen, The Book of Tradition, pp. 45, 76].

Maimonides suffered exile from Spain during a period of fundamentalist Islamic revival, but nevertheless reached the pinnacle of position and status as personal physician to the sultan of Egypt. In his now-famous letter to the Jewish community of Yemen, which was suffering under an intolerant and abusive regime, he describes the Jewish predicament in the following way: ‘…on account of the vast number of our sins, God has hurled us in the midst of this people, the Arabs, who have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us….Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase and hate us as much as they.’ [Halkin, Epistle to Yemen, p. xviii].

Both Ibn Daud and Maimonides wrote with specific agendas, so their sentiments need to be read with caution. Taken together, they portray the ambivalence of Jews toward their Muslim overlords throughout the Islamic world prior to the eruption of modernity. Life apart from non-Jewish masters would clearly have been preferred, but such a life seemed inconceivable prior to the coming of the messiah.
Muslims’ view of Jews in the Modern World

We skip through many centuries to the nineteenth, when Europe was in expansion and the Middle East was weak. It was during this period when many Middle Eastern Jews (and even more so, Christians) began to extricate their identity from the local cultures. European pressure on the Ottoman Sultan forced a level of civil emancipation for Christians, and this emancipation was applied also to the Jews, who were also People of the Book. Christian missionary schools entered the Middle East and created an educated class of Arab Christians who, under the protection of European consuls, began to enter social and economic arenas that had been forbidden for centuries. The French Jewish Alliance Israelite Universelle and to a lesser extent British, Austrian and German Jewish organizations founded schools for Jews that accomplished parallel results. This movement among European Jews and Christians advanced the position of some of the dhimmis in their local situation, but it also tended to Europeanize them (though in rural areas these European influences sometimes did not penetrate at all). Their legal and economic position improved, but these changes became a mixed blessing, especially for Jews living in more provincial areas. Privileging Jews violated the rules of the dhimma and thus exposed them, when unprotected by the influence of foreign powers, to the unprotected hostility of the Muslim majority. With deterioration of local government control, law and order tended to breakdown and all those unprotected tended to become victims.

The emergence of Zionism and the Palestine question further added to the Muslim ‘othering’ of the Jews. From the Jewish perspective, the issue of a Jewish national home in Palestine was mostly one of modern nationalism and politics, though there was clearly an overtone of religious identity as well. The Palestinian Arab perspective was similar in that it was primarily an issue of land and hegemony, with religion a minor issue. From the Islamic perspective, however, the issue was much larger, and the separation between religion and nationalism has always been fuzzy in the modern Middle East. The Zionists disregarded their secondary status entirely and even built and managed their own independent economy. Zionism thus represented a case of dhimmis attempting to break out of their protected but inferior status by establishing an independent Jewish nation-state in the heartland of the Islamic Middle East.

This was unacceptable on its own terms, but its close historical and phenomenological association with European expansion and colonization made it all the more threatening. The Zionists were overwhelmingly European, and their views of Arabs reflected prevailing European attitudes and expectations. Whatever Zionism was to the Jews and to its British Christian supporters, it represented a reversal of the divine order to religious Muslims, and was regarded increasingly contrary to the way of God by Islamists, those Muslims who were seeking a way out of the decline of the Islamic world through greater religious devotion.

Islamic antipathy to Zionism was apparent from the beginning, but it was often mixed up with Arab political movements and Arab anti-colonialism. Because of the strong Christian and secular components in Arab political movements through the end of the Mandate period, especially in Syria-Palestine, the Islamic component was often underplayed. It always remained under the surface, however, and the large compendium of anti-Jewish material in the Qur’an and the Tradition made for a constant reminder of the negative attributes and evil desires of ‘the Jews,’ though it must be remembered that the material actually reflects a conflict that was limited to the Jewish community of seventh century Medina.

Today, therefore, the major subtext for the current Islamic view of Jews is the Israel-Palestine conflict, with its own religious subtext of dhimmitude: Jews are expected to acquiesce to Islamic domination. Jews have not done so when they created the Jewish State of Israel against the vociferous protests of the Islamic world. Some Muslims have attempted to draw a distinction between those Jews who live in and support the State of Israel – the ‘Zionists,’ – and those Jews who do not. Such subtlety, however, seems to be lost on most Muslims.

The Egyptian, Sayyid Qutb, for example, who is one of the most important ideologues of current Islamist groups, portrays the Jews in his work, Our Struggle with the Jews (early 1950s), as the ultimate source of adversity that has continuously beset Islam. He and others after him used this antagonistic image of the Jews as a vehicle for promoting Islamic activism and reform.2

Despite such disturbing portrayals, Muslims’ views of Jews are both complex and fluid. There is no single authoritative body or institution such as the papacy in the Islamic world that can speak in the name of Islam (or more precisely, in the name of a significant, unified body of Muslims). The decentralized, fragmented nature of religious organization and authority in Islam has mitigated against any kind of unity regarding most religious issues that does not rely simply on inertia. But there has been inertia in reference to Jews, and by the beginning of the 21st

Zionists viewed the natives in Palestine as Arabs rather than Muslims, partly because the non-Jewish Arab population of Palestine included Christians, and partly because they preferred to think in terms of national rather than religious categories. In any case, they regarded them as rather primitive. In fact, the European Jews considered their Arab Jewish brethren rather primitive as well. Although intended to be hyperbolic, Ahad Ha`Am’s observation reflects the general tenor of the European Jewish view of Arabs: “Outside Palestine, we are accustomed to believing that Arabs are all wild beasts of the desert, a people akin to jackasses who do not understand what is going on around them.” Inside Palestine where Jews met Arabs daily, their views of Arabs were more realistic, but they nevertheless regarded them overwhelmingly as less civilized than people of European stock. The reasons for this are complex and reflect a variety of influences, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Early on and before the violent Arab actions directed against the Zionist project beginning in 1920-21, antipathy toward Arabs did not reach the level of anger directed by many Eastern European Jews toward their countries of origin. The continuing pogroms and violence directed against Jews in the east, despite promises of emancipation, prompted many to look toward Palestine. The hope of a future golden age of Jewish life under Islam convinced many to leave the misery of Europe and set out for the Holy Land with fellow Zionists, but the dream of a better life under the Muslims was transformed to one of a self-governing Jewish nation-state. Jewish power and numbers increased in Palestine, and Muslim antipathy increased in turn.

The Arabs, it turned out, were not the simple and friendly Orientals depicted in 19th century European Romantic art and literature. They were quite willing to fight and kill those whom they considered to be threatening their social and economic position. This, then, caused Jews to reconsider their view of Muslims. The war between Jews and Arabs over the land of Israel/Palestine has continued, both hot and cold, from 1921 to the present, and it has become the primary determiner of both Jews’ and Muslims’ view of the other. It should not be surprising that the overwhelming view of the other is quite negative in both the Jewish and Muslim communities. The “other” tends to represent the enemy. Despite important exceptions to the rule on both sides, it has been largely codified within the social systems of both communities and perpetuated in the general culture.

Notwithstanding this sentiment, Jews have been deeply interested in Islam and in the literary, historical and theological relationships between Jews and Muslims to this day. Jews have played a disproportionate role in the scientific study of Islam from the beginning of modern Western scholarship on religion. Rabbi Abraham Geiger is rightly considered to have ushered in the dawn of historical research on Islam, the work of Ignaz Goldziher continues to be read more than 100 years after its publication, and the dean of this discipline in our own day is Bernard Lewis. In Jewish theology, Franz Rosenzweig compares Islam favorable to Christianity in his Star of Redemption. ‘In a certain sense, Islam demanded and practiced “tolerance” long before the concept was discovered by Christian Europe.” (Star 216).
Jewish-Muslim Relations Today

At the time of this writing, the issue of Jewish-Muslim relations has become of increasing concern for Jews throughout the world. Especially since the watershed destruction of the American World Trade Center towers in 2001, Jewish fear of Islamic anti-Semitism has placed Jewish-Muslim relations in nearly equal status to Jewish-Christian relations.

Anti-Semitism as known in Europe is not indigenous to the Islamic World. While Christian theologies tend to be predicated on the irrelevance of Judaism or active antagonism to it, Islamic theologies establish their position relative to two rather than one established monotheistic system and critique them less categorically. It is certainly true that tensions and hierarchies, polemics and prejudice, legal discrimination and violence directed specifically against Jews are indeed a part of the Islamic World and have been since the emergence of Islam. But the particular pathology of European anti-Semitism with its blood libels and virulent hatred had to be imported to the Middle East, and it was done so by Christians. Increasing incrementally in response to the watershed events of 1948, 1967, the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada of the 1990s and the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2002-3, Muslim rage against Israel, the United States and the West has been expressed through increased dehumanization and demonizing of Jews in general. The so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been available in Arabic translation since before mid-century, but has been cited increasingly in newspaper editorials and strongly referenced in popular state-sponsored television series in Egypt and Syria-Lebanon.

The axis around which Jewish-Muslim tensions are arrayed continues to be the Jewish State. The tease of Israeli and Palestinian leaders shaking hands under the protective canopy of the United States, only to have relations reach their lowest historical level in the second or Al-Aqsa Intifada, had repercussions that have rocked relations between Jews and other religious and ethnic groups as well. The state of Israel is the symptom, however. It is the presenting problem and not the only cause for the pathology. The grounds for increased hostility between Jews and Muslims are far more complex, and they reflect the endemic tensions associated with what is now commonly called the post-modern era: social and economic disruptions associated with an increasingly global economy, growing economic gaps between nations and populations, lack of social and economic integration of Arabs and Muslims into Western Europe, increasing industrial dependence on oil and subsequent Western attempts to prop up dictatorial regimes in the Muslim World, the inability of Middle Eastern countries to bring economic and political stability to their own populations, and the self-perceived shame associated with the failure of Middle Eastern nations to compete with the West economically, technologically, politically, militarily and socially. All have increased the level of tensions between Jews and Muslims at the outset of the twenty-first century, but they reflect the tensions that effect global populations as well.

This chapter is being written during one of the most volatile periods of Jewish-Muslim relations. Because there are no authoritative bodies that represent a plurality of either Jews or Muslims, relations are steered as much by the shapers of public opinion than by authoritative religious positions or their representatives. Public expressions of antipathy expressed by both sides toward the other are palpable. They are formed from public statements made by un-authoritative and unrepresentative ‘spokespersons’ who are heavily influenced by the violence and politics of the Middle East (including petty internal politics) and, in turn, exert a strong influence on coreligionists on the ground. On the other hand, many dozens and perhaps hundreds of Muslim-Jewish dialogue groups and other joint Jewish-Muslim initiatives have quietly been formed and are functioning in Israel, the US and Europe. The Maimonides Foundation in London is one better known and public group. Another is the Institute for the Study of Jewish-Muslim Interrelations (ISJMI) in Los Angeles. Dozens of others exist in Israel alone, and more span the boundaries between Israel and the areas across the Green Line dividing pre-1967 Israel and the West Bank. None but a prophet can successfully predict the future of Jewish-Muslim relations, but if history is any lesson, a modus vivendi will slowly emerge that will improve the current situation.

SUGGESTED READINGS

Bodansky, Yossef, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument (Houston: Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, 1999). Produced by a Jewish defense organization, this monograph is a good example of how accurate data can be presented in a biased and unbalanced manner with the goal of promoting a narrow and inaccurate picture of reality.

Cohen, Mark and Udovitch, Abraham (eds.), Jews Among Arabs: Contact and Boundaries (Princeton: Darwin, 1989). This collection contains articles written by experts in the field of modern Jewish-Muslim history. The individual articles examine Jewish life in Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco, and chronicle Jewish cultural interaction and contribution to modern Arab culture.

Cohen, Mark, Under Crescent and Cross (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994). Cohen compares the treatment of Jews in Christian Europe and the Islamic Middle East to suggest where the Jews fared best and why.

Firestone, Reuven, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1990). This is a study of the intertextual relationship between ‘Biblical’ and ‘Qur’anic’ narrative literatures through the Abraham stories.

Firestone, Reuven, Children of Abraham: An Introduction to Judaism for Muslims (NY: Schocken, 2001). An introduction to Judaism that notes the many parallels as well as differences between Judaism and Islam, treating some of the thorny questions that Muslims ask about Judaism.

Goitein, S. D., Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages (NY: Schocken, 1955). This is the classic survey of the history of Jewish-Arab relations, tracing the various intellectual and religious contributions of one to the other community.

Hary, Benjamin, Hayes, John and Astren, Fred (eds.), Judaism and Islam: Boundaries, Communication and Interaction: Essays in Honor of William M. Brinner (Leiden: Brill, 2000). A recent collection of essays hosting some of the best contemporary scholarship on Judaism and Islam covering history, literatures, scriptures, law, philosophy and ethics, languages and sectarian communities.

Kramer, Martin (ed.), The Jewish Discovery of Islam (Tel Aviv: Moshe Dayan Center, 1999). Examines the primary Jewish role of scholarship, literature and exploration in the modern European quest to understand Islam.

Lewis, Bernard, The Jews of Islam (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). This has become a classic survey of the intellectual and cultural relations between Muslims and Jews that counters the two competing stereotypes of the Muslim fanatical warrior or utopian pluralist.

Nettler, Ronald (ed.), Medieval and Modern Perspectives on Muslim-Jewish Relations (Oxford: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1995). This collection of essays is a foray into the scholarly literature of Muslim-Jewish relations, topics from ‘Judaizing’ tendencies among some Muslims to the use of Muslim narrative as a commentary on Jewish tradition.

Newby, Gordon, A History of the Jews of Arabia (Columbia, SC, University of South Carolina, 1988). This brief history examines the history of the Jewish (most likely sectarian) communities of Arabia from the earliest times to the rise of Islam.

Sacher, Howard M., A History of Israel From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (NY: Knopf, 1976). A largely political history.

Stark, Rodney, and Bainbridge, William Sims, A Theory of Religion. NY: Peter Lang, 1987. This book provides a good theoretical foundation for the study of emerging religions.

Stillman, Norman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book, and The Jews of Arab Lands in Modern Times (Philadelphia: Jewish Publications Society, 1979 and 1991). This is an excellent two volume source book and commentary that provides a large compendium of translated documents treating the Jews of the Arab Middle East from the earliest sources to the end of the twentieth century.

Relationship Problems Due To Family, Anxiety, Money

The family members can work together to catch much the same goal or they might create an indigestive setting that eats the peace and happiness of the family. Regardless of appreciate between you plus your Soulmate, the distraction may reveal because of miscommunication or another thing. The usual marriage problems occur inside a family because of interference of other family. It does not imply they always interfere in your personal matter. They may do sometimes every time they think you are going on wrong approach. Whether they are executing it without any sound reason, it indicates they may be doing it purposely.

 

Relationship Problems Due To Family

 

It is any well-known thought that no any parent will accept at first time a fresh boyfriend or girlfriend of his / her respective daughter or perhaps son. Possibly, there will be a difference within the thinking of the parents. However, a lot of them will deny by using it. Unfortunately, on several occasions your household will put his or her views about your relationship and may break a marriage gradually. However, it’s not wrong to look at the children. It is his or her right and nature being protective to the little one, but sometimes that they show unwanted possessive character, which seems bad. This kind of relationship problems may be solved with communication within the hope of positive results.

Relationship problems can easily high their head because of money problems. The buck’s problem can ruin the head of your personalized or professional lifetime. While we count a personal issue such because marriage life, in which the difference between the incomes can establish a storm within the life. The money problems could cause of stress, stress, and depression including mental disorders. Money has perfectly created the heaven about the earth, whereas it does not take father of various relationship problems. A final solution of money problem is usually to solve your financial problems with mutual acceptance. If on the list of parties, has disposition of investment or generating a purchase, then try to do it together whereby both of you would have the information of income and expenses. It will lead both of you towards saving habit.

Depression and anxiety will be the roughest states of mind that directly affect the nature, behavior, and thoughts of the mind. They can be cause of marriage issues.

Some of common relationship complications, which are the reason why of several psychological disorders, are down the page:

1. If your companion is rude to your account, then you sense sad and continue being depressed. Sometimes your companion shows arrogant nature closer, which cannot endure. At such moment, the situation may well affect you with anxiety.

2. At the moment, while you will need mental support you will ever have partner, and she or he is unavailable, then it can make you sense disowned and brings towards anxiety or perhaps depression.

3. Timely lovemaking could be the influential factor inside a relationship. If you are unable to satisfy your partner because of workload in office, or you are not getting the correct response for lovemaking, the state of situation forces you to definitely be affected with anxiety.

4. When you often demand pertaining to spending quality time together with your partner, but one is ignoring it constantly, resultant you may fit in depression.

It just is not good to hide your emotions that what you feel about the relationship. Let him or her be familiar with your perceptions and views. Instead of this, if you are still stuck with marriage problems, then move ahead in the lifetime and remove unwanted miseries.

Effective family relationships and functioning

“A family is who they say they are.” Wright and Leahey

Introduction

Relationship problems in family is a serious stress among the members of that family. Relationship problems may exist in varying degrees between the husband and wife, parents and children or between the children. Family is the smallest representation of a community, nation and a culture. If the family is dysfunctional the end result will be a dysfunctional nation. When certain things are taken care of within a family these relationship problems can be avoided.

Stages of family development

The single young adult

This is a difficult stage because the young adults must decide what social standards from the family of origin will be preserved and what they will change for themselves to be incorporated in to a new family. Tasks of this stage include forming an identity separate from parents, establishing intimate peer relationships and advancing towards financial independence.

A new married couple

Marriage is a difficult transition because the each partner will have their own uniqueness and such a difference should be assembled together to form as a couple. The new couples must then renegotiate their relationships with their parents, siblings and peers. Tasks of this stage include establishing a new identity as a couple, realigning the relationships with members of the family and taking decisions about having children etc.

The family with young children

Adjustments in relationships should occur with the arrival of children. The entire family is affected and the realignment of relationship must occur. Tasks of this stage includes adjustments within the marital system to meet the responsibility associated with the parenthood while maintaining the integrity of the couple relationships, sharing the responsibility of child bearing equally and integrating the relationship with the other members of the family.

Family with adolescence

Both parents will be approaching the middle life while adolescence are undergoing biological, emotional and socio-cultural changes and all these factors demands the changes in family relationship patterns. Tasks of this stage includes redefining the level of dependence so that adolescence are provided with great autonomy while parents remain responsive towards the dependency needs of the adolescence. Problems related to middle age, work, couple relationships and aging parents also must be solved during this period.

The family launching grown children

This stage is characterised by intermittent entry and exit of family members. Children may leave home for further studies, work etc. while in-lows and children enter in to the family system. A great deal of relationship realignment is necessary at this time. Adult to adult relationship is important at this time and tasks associated with this stage include re-establishing the bond of the dynamic marital relationship, realigning the relationship to include the grandchildren and accepting the additional care taking responsibilities.

Family in later life

This stage begins with the retirement and last until the death of both spouses. Most adult in this stage still have a prominent part of the family system and many are able to offer support for their grown children. Tasks associated with this stage include accepting the physiologic changes associated the aging, changes in socio-economic status with the retirement, dealing with the death of the spouse and friends.

Major changes in family development

Divorce

Divorce is a major change in the process of family development. Both the individuals must then go through the stages of grief and resolve effectively. Stages of family life cycle of divorce include deciding to divorce, planning the breakup of the system, separation and divorce. Tasks involve accepting one’s own part in the failure of marriage, working cooperatively on problems related to custody and visitation of the children and finances.

Divorce in a family with children is again a major issue in the development of the children. The custodial parent must then adjust to the functioning as a single leader as an ongoing family while working to build a new social network.

Remarriage

About three fourth of the people divorced will eventually remarry. Remarriage is also demands a major changes in family developmental process as well as in the individuals of the family.
The custodial parent has to find a spouse who can adjust with the children and the new spouse has to adjust with the new system and the children and the children has to accept the new step-mother and adjust with the new family system.

Elements of effective family functioning

1. Communication

Functional communication patterns are those in which verbal and non-verbal messages are clear, direct and honest. All family members should be encouraged to express honest feelings and opinions and all family members should have equal participation in decisions that affect the family system. Each member must be active listener to others in the family system

2. Self concept reinforcement

Functional families strive to reinforce and strengthen each members self concept, with the positive results being that family members feel loved and valued.

3. Family member’s expectations

Expectations of family members from others in the family must be realistic with an understanding of the abilities and limitations of others. Expectations must also be flexible, allowing interruptions and changes occur without conflicts. Each member must be valued individually and comparison with other member should be avoided.

4. Handling differences

It is unrealistic to think that every member of a family should share the same attitudes, values and believes. These factors are unique in every individual in a family. Family members should understand that it is acceptable to disagree and deal with differences in an open non attacking manner.

5. Family interaction patterns

Each family member should share a common interaction pattern in a family. The interaction pattern must be accepted as a rule in the family and the interaction patterns must be workable, constructive and with a view to help and support other members.

6. Family climate

Family climate represents the emotional atmosphere within a family. The climate of the family is composed of a blend of the feelings and experiences that are the result of family member’s verbal and non-verbal sharing and interacting. A positive family climate is founded on trust and is reflected on openness, appropriate humour and laughter, expression of caring and mutual respect.

Major factors causing dysfunctional families

1.Making assumptions: A family member assumes that others will understand what is in his/her mind and no need to talk to them about it. This lack of communication causes dysfunctional family. The family member also assume what the other person is thinking or feeling without clarifying it.

2.Belittling feelings: This involves ignoring the feelings of others when it is expressed. This discourages the other member to express feelings honestly.

3.Failing to listen: One does not listen to what the other individual is saying.

4.Communicating indirectly: For example, if a child want a toy from a shop and he is afraid to ask to his father. So he approaches his mother and she talk about this to her husband.

5.Double-bind communication: It conveys a ‘damned if I do and damned if I don’t do’ message.

6.Expressing denigrating remarks: It involves Negative criticism.

7.Withholding supportive messages

8.Taking over: The responsibility of one member is taken over by other and not allowing him to develop a sense of responsibility.

9.Ignoring individuality: One family member fails to accept that the other member is a unique individual that he has his own decisions and freedom.

10.Demanding proof of love.

11.Attacking: A difference in opinion can deteriorate into a direct personal attack manifested by blaming another person, bringing up the past and making destructive comparisons etc.

12.Avoiding

13.Surrendering: A person who is surrendering in the face of disagreement does so at the expense of denying his or her needs.

Family Therapy Techniques For Healthy Relationship

Family therapy is one of the best forms of communication therapy. This therapy is used to modify the relations between the family members by using effective and suitable techniques. Basically, this therapy helps to overcome negative symptoms. The psychotherapy is usually applied in the situation of marital clashes, misunderstanding between parents and children and other harsh comments. This effective technique of therapy is practiced in a different way.

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This form of therapy is not only the science but also an art of handle patients. The main purpose of the therapy is the family and its members which is essential to understand the importance of the every member of the family. The expert therapist gives the definition of the world family in different ways. According to the therapist, family refers to the social group which links each other by living, economic and accommodation factor or some kind of mutual responsibility. Family is the only source of satisfaction to meet personal needs. Mainly family crises occur only under certain condition. But with the help of techniques of family therapy it is easier for you and your family member to build the family values, mutual understanding, emotional support and self-realization between spouses. The biggest reason for increasing family conflicts is the custom of the new model of family relationship and still they follow the old model of family relationship. So the warm family relations is important for the healthy relationship.

In the session of family therapy, the patient is divided into groups so that the doctor easily resolve the individual issues and group problems. Counselling is the important part of this techniques. This activity is performed to give the ideas and opinion to encourage people. Basically, it is used to treat physical illness and other relationship issues. It is usually used for the reserved person as well as beneficial for the family members. The main purpose of this technique is to improve the mental health of the patient. It includes the maintenance, restoration, marriage counselling and another various aspect of the life related to family. Divorce, suicide, pregnancy are some major problems which are solved by the family therapy techniques.

In a nutshell, the therapist encourages the patient and put their efforts to counsel through their effective techniques into the success of each activity. As well as it is important to the participants that you should be aware of the reason for the situation. Any treatment takes little time and patience. So it is important for you to cooperate with the therapist and open up with so that they can understand you better which is the easy solution of most family difficulties.

Leaving Toxic Family Relationships

For many people living in a toxic family relationship can be a stressful, chaotic part of childhood. Being an adult means learning how to cope with toxic parents, and how to leave them behind. Often the death of parents will also leave conflicting feelings of remorse and guilt, despite what parents did to their child. Thomas Whaley’s debut novel explores Benjamin Quinn’s childhood, and how he finally attempts to leave it all behind.

Benjamin blames his parents for the way he has turned out. He’s pompous, egotistical, and sarcastic. Benjamin doesn’t want to be this way, but feels he was forced into his personality by his parents. Benjamin learns a family secret that may explain why his parents raised him in a toxic environment, but certainly doesn’t absolve them of all blame.

If you enjoy authors like David Sedaris, you’ll enjoy reading Thomas’s novel about Benjamin Quinn, a fictional character in “Leaving Montana”. Sometimes leaving a state can mean more than leaving a location, it can also mean leaving the family that raised you behind.

David Sedaris’s new book should be coming out shortly, as his last short story collection came out in 2013. He certainly spends time writing self-deprecating, autobiographical, and humorous books. No topic is taboo with him. Many reviewers are comparing Thomas with David.

Thomas Whaley has created a character who should be likable. He’s successful in his career; he has a loving partner, two children, and a beautiful home. He has a faithful group of friends. But for those who know him well, he has deep-rooted anger, ready to explode.

Not a lot is given away in the preview of the book. We understood his own parents had a terrible relationship. It’s said he saw terrible things happen, which many adults would be horrified to see. Perhaps this implies that abuse was a part of his childhood. He ended the toxic cycle in his own personal life, and managed to put it aside by his 30s. He felt he had it under control, until his parents confided in a secret.

Most people can agree that by the time you’re in your 30s, it’s time to set aside childhood traumas, and either forgive your parents, or move on. It’s time to be responsible for your own life. But for Ben, it sounds like he has to face his demons once again. The only other tidbit of information given is that he is going to journey back to Montana so he can face his fears, and put them to rest permanently.

Thomas has won two awards for his debut novel. One is the NIEA award for National Indie Excellence Awards, and the second is the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Not many authors do as well with their debut novel.

It will be exciting to see what Thomas’s next novel will be about. Perhaps it will be another story about Benjamin, or it will be about an entirely new character. Either way we will have to wait and see.

Family Relationships: How much fake and how much real?

Relationship is the word which stands for being trusted, cared, and above all loved. The relationship may be of family or friends but the important aspect is trust for each other. The moment trust is gone, relationships loose their meaning and relevance. Mother has been the central element of family and rightly so because it is her unselfish love, affection and sacrifice which keeps the family together and happpily united. The key to happy family and healthy relationships are:

  • love, respect and trust for each other.
  • Money and wealth are the great dividers, so being transparent in such matters.
  • Avoiding playing family politics for personal gains.
  • Being self dependent and self reliant.
  • Respecting the rights of other family members and behaving accordingly.

Families makes community, communities make cities, cities make states, states makes nation so the basic building block of any nation is the families with their values and ethics. A child inherits values, ethics and culture from family, which play important role in his or her personality formation. The values of love, affection, caring, sharing, respect for elders, trusting and being trusted can create healthy relationships and sound nation. The old saying of united we stand divided we fall also depends upon sharing of good values and ethics. But then times have changed and one needs to guard against betrayal. Trust, confidence, love and affection are the four pillars of home and sacrifice of personal gains for family is the roof which differentiates home from house. In the absence of trust, confidence, love, affection and willingness to sacrifice personal gains for family will have only house and not home. Family is the place where one looks for emotional and spiritual support. Let us create homes with the values and ethics of love, affection, caring, sharing, trust and unselfishness rather than houses. Houses can have value in money but the value of home is immesaurable. Lets us have more homes rather than houses.

Relationships Problems Due To Family Interference

Families and relationships can either work out to be a dream come true or they can have an adverse effect on a relationship. No matter how much a couple can love each other, friction can always be caused by families getting involved. This is not to say the interference is meant in a bad way, but nonetheless sometimes parents simply cannot let a day pass without calling on you for one reason or another. It is of course not unknown for a family to not fully accept a new boyfriend or girlfriend onto the scene. Maybe there is a difference of opinion or one of you simply doesn’t click? Unfortunately, on occasions, relationships can be torn apart due to families getting involved and/or constantly expressing their views.

Of course, it is not wrong for a mother or father to want the best for their offspring, and it is natural to have a protective character, but sometimes they can appear a little overwhelming by applying unwanted and unneeded pressure. Although they might have your best interest as their priority, in the end they can afflict more damage than they offer in the way of help.

Consider some of these points if your relationship is suffering or has suffered family interference. Maybe you have separated because of your family and want to get your ex back again? Read on for further information.

1. It is important you try and secure some free and private time with your ex. Make your ex understand that although your family is important (and of course theirs are too), they should not be allowed to influence the both of you. Make an apology on behalf of your family and let your ex know you will be speaking to them regarding this issue. In turn, if it is your ex’s family that seems to have caused unwanted friction, suggest the same strategy be carried out for them aswell.

2. Allow your family to hear your feelings on the issue. Making them understand that their actions have been upsetting for you, and have caused your relationship to face difficulties may encourage them to take a back seat. Be firm but polite and kindly let them know that their interference is unfair and you will not endure it any longer.

3. Once you have spoken to your ex and your family in turn, allow your ex to know you heave dealt with the situation. Knowing you have taken it upon yourself to try and diffuse the problem will give them the peace of mind that you care about what has happened, and you can start on the road to making amends. If you want to win back your ex then they need to know that they are your precedence.

4. Make sure, that although you will deal with the issue on your side, they also need to deal with any problems from their family too (if any). Once you have both handled these areas, it will be time to come together and iron out the creases in your relationship. Maybe talk about how to avoid these outside interferences together in the future.

Getting your ex back after family have been involved of course varies on many different factors. All individuals are different and some families can be easier to deal with more than others. But if you both really love each other and want to share your futures, then there is no reason why you cannot come together and approach the families as a team.

How to Fix an Abusive Relationship

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Abusive relationships are often difficult to fix due to underlying psychological issues in both partners. While the abuser may be coping with untreated mental illness, the abused partner may develop psychiatric problems of her own, including chronic anxiety and depression. If both partners are committed to fixing the relationship, with ongoing therapy and intervention services, it is possible to break the cycle of abuse.

Instructions

  1. Ensure that all parties are safe from physical and emotional harm. Even if both partners want to fix the abusive relationship, it is important that neither person feels in danger. This may be mean seeking a restraining order or working with a domestic abuse shelter to find temporary housing while the abusive partner seeks mental health treatment.
  2. Work on individual problems before beginning to fix the relationship. Whether the problems are with mental illness, substance abuse or difficulties dealing with a past traumatic relationship, the abuser must confront his problems before he can begin to fix his relationship with his partner. Likewise, the partner who is being abused work with a psychologist to work on problems that may have arisen from her partner’s behavior. These issues may include problems with co-dependency, low self-esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder or alcoholism and drug abuse.
  3. Talk to a marriage or family counselor. After both partners feel as though they are feeling healthy individually, they should meet with a therapist as a couple to discuss their relationship dynamic and to come up with ideas that will help them avoid slipping back into patterns of abuse.
  4. Take time to communicate and understand what each partner needs from the relationship. When fixing an abusive relationship, is important for both partners to talk openly about what they expect from the relationship. It is equally crucial that both parties listen carefully to what the other person has to say.
  5. Continue to seek out professional services even when things are going well. Once a couple has been involved in an abusive situation, it is easy to fall back into those patters. Ongoing counseling, anger management classes and substance abuse treatment can help both partners monitor their own moods and address problems with the relationship before either party reverts to abusive or unproductive behaviors.

How to Cope With A Long Distance Relationship

A long distance relationship is a journey that you take with someone that you can’t imagine being without. While there may be millions of other potential loves in your local area, none compare to the one that is thousands of miles away. Be warned that a long distance relationship is not going to be easy. Anyone that has been brave enough to experience this emotional roller coaster will agree on one simple fact. These types of relationships are hard. There will be moments in which it feels like every bone in your body aches and longs for your significant other. Couples that are holding hands will make you yearn to feel his touch. You will feel this indescribable envy and sadness when happy couples walk by. If fate has thrown you into a long distance relationship, here are some helpful coping tips from someone who has been there.

How to Cope With a Long Distance Relationship

  1. Expectations. At the beginning of your long distance relationship, you must have a serious discussion on what you both expect. Rules and boundaries must be discussed. This will help to prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings. For example, will you be allowed to date other people? Is the relationship over if you cheat or will you work through it? Is he as committed as you are? Will one of you relocate? How often should you visit each other? These are important questions that the couple must know the answers to if their relationship is to succeed.
  2. Stay loyal and devoted to the relationship. Temptation is always there even in the best of relationship. The cute guy at work who showers you with compliments and attention can easily spell trouble for your long distance relationship. Even if there isn’t a chance that your boyfriend will know that you cheated, you will know. The guilt of betrayal will corrode and eventually destroy your relationship. Be truthful with yourself. Can you really be faithful to someone that is not in your physical presence? If you can’t honestly commit to faithfulness, you will save the two of you a lot of heartache down the road. Do not even begin a long distance relationship if you know deep down that you can’t be faithful to one another.
  3. Appreciate each other. Don’t take your relationship for granted. It is hard to find true love in this world as evident by the millions of dating sites on the web. We are all looking for someone to share our hopes and dreams with. We need someone to travel beside us on our life’s path. Count yourself lucky if you find someone that helps you to be optimistic even when it feels as if the world is crumbling at your feet.
  4. Take time for each other. There are moments in life when our lives are so busy that it’s hard to find time to breathe but its crucial that you find a sliver of time for your relationship. A few minutes can go a long way in maintaining a successful relationship.
  5. Keep a journal. This will save your sanity when you miss your girlfriend. Write down moments that you have shared together and things that make you smile. Even though she may not be with you in the physical sense, this journal is a reminder of how special your relationship is. It will reinforce the reason why you are with her and why you are willing to sacrifice so much.
  6. Accept that you will fight. Couples that are in a long distance relationship may fight more often. Emotions tend to run very high when you are unable to be with the one you love. Words can easily be misunderstood. Each disagreement should be viewed as an obstacle that you will overcome and will bring you closer together. Always find ways to resolve the issue that caused the fight. Don’t let it eat away at your relationship. It is better to deal with it and get past it.
  7. Say I love you. If your relationship is at a stage where these three important words have been exchanged, don’t forget to say them often. Share your feelings with each other.

How to Fix a Boring Relationship

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Most relationships go through a phase in which one or both people feel that the relationship has gone a bit flat and has lost its vitality. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe, but the main complaint seems to be boredom. This period usually strikes after the giddy honeymoon period when life revolves around a significant other and the brain is being pumped with feel good chemicals such as dopamine. Sometime around a year to two years, many couples feel stuck in a routine and become restless. If your relationship is feeling a little stale lately, try different things to spice it up.

Instructions

  1. Take a vacation together. Being in a new environment and experiencing new things can help to bond a couple. It doesn’t have to be an exotic vacation thousands of miles away. Simply taking a short road trip and being in a new town can liven things up in a relationship.
  2. Plan special dates. Most couples become comfortable and just hang out with each other when they aren’t busy. Put some effort into planning special dates. For example, go out and take a hike and explore the woods. Or plan a silly and romantic night of skating to loud music at the roller rink. A night of glow-in-the-dark bowling in which the pins, bowling balls and bowling lanes all glow makes for a cool date. Or go to an amusement park and go on wild rides that make you scream together.
  3. Sign up for a class in which you are both interested. Enroll in a dance class such as salsa, country or ballroom. Or take up a cooking class that teaches foreign cuisine. Any class that teaches a couple new things while enjoying each other’s company will put the fun back in a relationship. An art class can help partners who have difficulty expressing their thoughts and feelings to one another. A photography class can help remind the two of you to enjoy the beauty in life too often taken for granted. A class can also give the two of you something new and exciting to talk about instead of the usual topics you discuss.
  4. Take time to enjoy the small things. Instead of watching the same old television episodes, go outside and stargaze. Take a walk in the park. Wrestle playfully in the grass or snow. Give each other body massages without expecting anything in return.
  5. Try an adventure sport such as tandem skydiving, bungee jumping, cliff diving or scuba diving. Any sport that gets adrenaline pumping in the system can put the thrill back in a relationship.

How to Start a Long-Distance Relationship

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Is distance the only thing that’s stopping you from having a meaningful relationship with the girl or guy of your dreams? Starting a long distance relationship in the proper way can help remove the stigmas associated with the endeavor. It’s time to stop making excuses and attempt to have the relationship you deserve.

Instructions

  1. Make sure a long distance relationship is something you’re ready to try. While all relationships require serious time and commitment, long distance relationships require more effort and planning to be successful. Simple plans like a Friday night date become complex plans when heavy gas mileage or plane tickets are involved. Your significant other may not be able to attend many special events with you or even be present for your birthday. Take these factors into consideration before diving into this complex commitment.
  2. Tell your love interest about your desire to start a long distance relationship. Pick a mutually comfortable time to discuss your romantic ideal. Remember that there is a real difference between casual conversations and committing yourself to someone who lives miles away from you. Give your love interest time to process and evaluate your request. Avoid rushing him into a decision. This conversation may need to take place over several sessions in order to be properly conveyed and interpreted.
  3. Discuss the pitfalls of long distance relationships with your love interest. There’s no need to pretend that long distance relationships are easy to maintain. This is the time to get a feel for each other’s views on the subject as well as discuss any prior experience that may benefit your endeavor. Be honest about any fears or insecurities relating to the amount of physical distance in the relationship.
  4. Establish the terms of your relationship. Take the time to discuss your expectations regarding the level of relationship you’d like to commit to. Define what cheating means in the context of your long distance relationship. It is important to know whether attending a movie or special event with an opposite sex friend will cause a rift in the relationship. This is the time to define what your relationship will be made of so don’t rush the process or attempt to make the relationship into more than what either of you means for it to be.
  5. Make the commitment to contact each other on a regular basis. Since you won’t be able to see each other in person most of the time, both of you must make a determined effort to keep your relationship up to date and honest. Consider setting aside special days or times to contact each other. Use all available contact methods including phone, internet, and snail mail to vary your interactions.

How to get your ex boyfriend back

You haven’t met your ex boyfriend since the break up and he finally asked you to meet or accept your invitation for coffee. By now, you need to be more calm and ready to face your ex boyfriend properly. You are excited however you are wondering exactly what should you do and get back together. Calm down and read this article in order to prevent vital mistakes and discover the best ways to get your ex boyfriend back.

If you are not feeling comfortable and sure that you can act according to plan, it’s much better to delay it. Tell him that something came up and you cannot meet at this point but arrange another one. It’s essential to be able to act cool in order to have a great time without battles, tears or any unfavorable outcome. This is your first contact after the break up and your first chance to give an excellent impression to your ex boyfriend.So, you don’t want to break down in front of him and show him that you are desperate to get back together.

The first few moments it will be uncomfortable.The last time you met things were different. You were still a couple and it’s possible that you were fighting and said things just to harm each other feelings. You don’t want to have a stressful meeting and moments of silence so, you need to smile and come up with a funny story to tell him in order to make him feel less uncomfortable.

Try to manage your excitement. Of course you are delighted but don’t show too much excitement! Don’t even consider telling him that you have missed him! This is not the answer no how to get your ex back!

You have to make your ex-boyfriend desiring even more!Say that you have to wake up early or that plans with your friends and keep this first meeting short. Trust me, if this goes well, you will have many more meetings to look forward to.

Don’t discuss your break up if he doesn’t bring it up. Even if he does, it’s better to say that it’s not the right time and that you just want to have fun! Your goal for this meeting is to remind your ex that you can have a good time together, you are funny and a person that he can talk with!

Finally, your look matters! Choose a dress that makes you feel positive and comfortable. Make your ex boyfriend keep in mind how you used to be and how stunning he thought you were on your first date. Keep it casual, though! You don’t want him to think that you put too much effort to look nice!

 

Signs of Falling Out of Love in a Relationship

Not all relationships last forever. Distance, death and betrayal can tear a relationship apart. But sometimes one or both partners just fall out of love with each other. If you’re not sure how you feel about your significant other any more–or you fear your loved one is falling out of love with you–look for the signs that affections are waning.

Contact

  • If the love is fading out of your relationship, you will notice that the contact between you and your significant other also begins to fade. Your phone conversations keep getting shorter and shorter and farther in between. The quantity and quality of text messages and emails to your partner diminish. And you even begin to spend less time together. You set up vague plans with your other half and the plans rarely come to fruition until you stop going out on dates all together. Even if you do see each other, the nights end early and no longer involve sleepovers.

Thoughts

  • When you’re in love, you think about your significant other constantly. When you’re not together, you daydream about him, you plan surprises for him and you get excited at the thought of seeing him later in the day. Your last date replays over and over in your mind, and it still brings a smile to your face. You might even reread his text messages or emails again and again. As you fall out of love, you stop this behavior. You might have plans with your partner that night, but he never crosses your mind throughout the day. Maybe you even forget that you do have a date with him.

The Future

  • You use to talk about the future with your significant other. You’d discuss the big things such as what type of wedding you’d have, how many children you wanted or the type of house you’d buy. You’d also plan vacations, buy tickets to concerts a couple months in advance or make arrangement to spend the holidays together. If you’re falling out of love, you’ll stop talking about the future and making future plans. This can be conscious or subconscious. Suddenly you only want to discuss where you’re going to eat dinner tonight or what movie you want to see Friday night.

The Opposite Sex

  • Men and women in relationshipx still notice attractive members of the opposite sex even if they’re in a happy, loving relationship. But when you’re falling out of love, you begin to take more notice of these attractive people. You may even begin to daydream or fantasize about them–what would it be like to go on a date with someone else, sleep with someone else or be in a relationship with someone else. This doesn’t mean you want to cheat or that you will cheat, just that your mind and heart have already left your current relationship and you’re looking for a new partner.

Stages & Phases of a Love Relationship

Long-term relationships are not a smooth sail with a “happily ever after” ending, as most couples imagine. The attraction stage of a relationship is only the beginning, and there is much to follow. You need to go through several difficult phases and tests of time to survive a committed relationship. There are times when you feel confused and frustrated. Being aware of the normal stages of a committed relationship helps you understand what to expect and cope better.

Mills & Boon Romance Stage

  • This is the start of a love relationship, and one of the best stages of romance. It is a typical “romance novel love,” where there is intense attraction between you and your lover. You feel you have found “the one.” She is perfect in your eyes without any flaws, as are you to her. You spend time thinking about her, talking to her and losing yourself in her eyes. You ooze love and affection for each other, and believe that this is how your future is going to be; there certainly are not going to be any fights in your relationship, you are sure. You don’t really put in any hard work toward your relationship at this stage, as love comes easy for both of you and you see only the positive in the other person. This stage lasts from six months to a maximum of two years, and is the shortest phase in a love relationship.

Reality Stage

  • You begin to see each other for what you are, flaws and all. Qualities that were once endearing become unbearable in the light of reality. His personal habits disgust you, you suddenly find him dominating and he has become insensitive to your feelings. You feel betrayed because your partner is not the one you expected him to be. Neither of you is willing to adjust; each wants the other to take the first step. Anger, bitterness and eventually resentment for each other creep into the relationship. Differences in opinions arise, leading to conflicts. The reality confuses and frightens you, and you start thinking of breaking off the relationship.

Analysis Stage

  • This is the stage where you analyze your relationship. You are wiser about yourself and your spouse. You now know his real nature and where he falls short. Questions such as “Is he really worth it?” and “Will I be able to adjust, and do I really want to?” emerge. Physical and emotional proximity decreases. This stage can result in a breakup or divorce. You also become most vulnerable to extramarital affairs, as there is a stark need for emotional fulfillment; if indulged, an affair can kill any possible chances of rebuilding the relationship with your spouse.

Restructuring Stage

  • Your relationship is reborn from the ashes of your past debacle, but you are more mature, and have a different perspective of the relationship. Each of you is aware of the differences between you. You make efforts to compromise where possible, and learn to accept differences that won’t change. You learn to give each other space to maintain your individuality, but create and share moments of happiness as a couple.

How to Make a Sim Fall Instantly in Love With You in Sims 3

Romance is a crucial gameplay aspect in the life-simulation game “The Sims 3.” Sims can fall in love with any other Sim, regardless of the gender and even woo Sims that are already in a relationship. However, Sims also require compatibility to begin a romantic relationship. Sims that have a negative relationship score with your Sim or are in committed relationships with other Sims are more difficult to attract. If you want to play matchmaker for your Sims and do not want to spend the extra time building the relationship, use cheat codes to force the Sims to instantly fall in love.

Instructions

  1. Open the cheat command console by holding down the “Shift,” “Ctrl” and “C” keys on your keyboard.
  2. Type in the cheat code “testingcheatsenabled true” without quotations and press “Enter.” This will enable the testing cheats, which allow you to manipulate various game functions, including relationship levels.
  3. Click on the Sim you want your Sim to fall in love with and select the “Friendly Introduction” social option. This allows your Sim to meet the other Sim if they have not done so already.
  4. Open your Sim’s relationship menu and click on the relationship meter for the Sim you want to fall in love with. Drag the relationship bar over so that it is completely full. This will make the relationship between the two Sims strong enough to move on to the next step.
  5. Click on the Sim you want to fall in love with and select any romantic interactions. Because the relationship level is now as high as it can be, romantic interactions are guaranteed to work. To take the romantic relationship to the next level choose options like “Propose” and “Get Married” from the romantic interactions menu.

Instructions

  1. Open the cheat command console by holding down the “Shift,” “Ctrl” and “C” keys on your keyboard.
  2. Type in the cheat code “testingcheatsenabled true” without quotations and press “Enter.” This will enable the testing cheats, which allow you to manipulate various game functions, including relationship levels.
  3. Click on the Sim you want your Sim to fall in love with and select the “Friendly Introduction” social option. This allows your Sim to meet the other Sim if they have not done so already.
  4. Open your Sim’s relationship menu and click on the relationship meter for the Sim you want to fall in love with. Drag the relationship bar over so that it is completely full. This will make the relationship between the two Sims strong enough to move on to the next step.
  5. Click on the Sim you want to fall in love with and select any romantic interactions. Because the relationship level is now as high as it can be, romantic interactions are guaranteed to work. To take the romantic relationship to the next level choose options like “Propose” and “Get Married” from the romantic interactions menu.

How to Break Up With Someone You Still Love

When you first met and fell in love you might have thought it would last forever. Now you feel the need to end the relationship even though you’re still in love. You might realize you feel more love than your partner does. Perhaps you’ve grown tired of broken promises and the heartache of waiting for a deeper commitment that never comes. You have different goals and dreams. Breaking off a relationship while you’re still in love is painful, but if you are certain this is the right thing for you, focus on the future and follow through on your resolve.

Instructions

  1. Make a list of all the reasons that led to your decision to break up. Writing them down will help you confront the inevitable and help strengthen your determination to proceed with the break. Remind yourself that you’ve concluded the negatives of this problematic relationship don’t outweigh the positives and that it is in your best interests to make the break.
  2. Arrange to meet face-to-face. Although you might be tempted to take the easier way out and send a text or an email, you owe it to your partner to look each other in the eye during this difficult process.
  3. Express how you feel without accusing or blaming your partner for your decision. It’s best for both of you if you allow your partner to maintain dignity. State what you admire about your partner and express gratitude for the good times you shared, suggests public health analyst Rita Watson in her article, “6 Breaking-Up Styles: Hers and His,” on the Psychology Today website. She also advises you speak directly without wavering. Let your partner know you’ve made up your mind and you’re not going to change it.
  4. Don’t allow your reflections of the past to overshadow the realizations you came to about the relationship not being viable, suggests psychologist Phil McGraw in the article, “Letting Go of Love,” found on his website. He warns against glorifying the past. Avoid the temptation to remember only the good times you once shared. Don’t allow yourself to forget your reasons for deciding to end the relationship.
  5. Consider expressing your emotional turmoil in writing. Composing a letter to your partner — without sending it — can be therapeutic, advises psychotherapist Tracy Cabot in her article, “Letting Go,” on the website LoveAdvice.com. The process of putting your feelings on paper can help you reach closure.
  6. Expect to feel a sense of loss, even though the break-up was your idea. You’ll need to give yourself time to mourn the bright future you believed you would have together.
  7. Make time to exercise; it will help alleviate the pain of your break-up. Physical exercise releases endorphins, brain chemicals that produce a sense of well-being, explains mental health author Therese J. Borchard in her article, “10Tips to Mend a Broken Heart,” on the PsycheCentral.com website. Exercise can also provide an emotional lift as you will feel empowered.
  8. Don’t sit home alone dwelling on the past. Cabot suggests that although you might need time before you’re ready for a new, serious relationship, it is beneficial to get out and start meeting new people.

How to Describe a Love Relationship

If you can create an arsenal of words to describe a loving relationship, then you can build a healthy environment where love can thrive. Verbalizing and writing expectations of love will force you to remember important details long after the “honeymoon” phase of a relationship has ended. Describing a loving relationship also may help to prevent you from making major relationship errors such as confusing lust with love, being inconsiderate and focusing on the negative.

5 Found This Helpful

If you can create an arsenal of words to describe a loving relationship, then you can build a healthy environment where love can thrive. Verbalizing and writing expectations of love will force you to remember important details long after the “honeymoon” phase of a relationship has ended. Describing a loving relationship also may help to prevent you from making major relationship errors such as confusing lust with love, being inconsiderate and focusing on the negative.



Instructions

  1. Write a letter detailing at least five necessary aspects of a love relationship: commitment, communication, romance, sexuality and empathy. Remind readers that couples need to openly confess their love and dedication for one another. They must create a bond by sharing petty concerns and deep dreams. Keep the pheromones pumping by infusing the relationship with physical and emotional passion by having date nights. Write the importance of understanding each other’s points-of-view.
  2. Type a poem filled with the qualities of a loving relationship; verify the qualities you list are healthy and conducive to emotional growth and a healthy relationship. Use descriptive words like: fidelity, allegiance, dedication, respect, devotion, honesty and contentment.
  3. Use descriptive songs that showcase the positive aspects of a loving relationship. Consider songs that bypass the initial euphoria of love and focus instead on the long term aspects on which healthy, loving relationships are built like: “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men, “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge and “I Will be Here,” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Eric Clapton’s song “Wonderful Tonight” is a touches directly on the unselfishness of love in the third stanza when he sings, “And the wonder of it all Is that you just don’t realize how much I love you.” With those lines, Clapton conveys the quiet moments in a relationship which show how much you love someone.

How to Fix a Love Hate Relationship

No one wishes to find themselves in a love-hate relationship. When people realize they are, usually they are often already deeply ingrained in the relationship. At such time, there are only two options. One is to break away from the relationship. The other option is to repair a love-hate relationship. This is not an easy task, but if you are able to overcome the obstacles and regain balance to a relationship, you will have achieved much and your relationship can move to a new stage.

Instructions

  1. Take a few moments to a few weeks to have the concept ingrained in you that you are undertaking a fairly difficult task. Your attempt may not be successful, as it is a two-part effort that consists of your efforts and the efforts of your friend, relative or partner. Sit down with this person after you have done so. Ask that your partner separately address this issue. If your partner is willing you may work together to set up goals to address the love and hate in your relationship. However, each of you ought to develop a separate plan on your own prior to bringing your insights to the table for discussion again.
  2. Understand that blame should not be attributed to the other person or factors outside of yourself. Do note that factors outside of yourself could be a trigger to love-hate episodes, but they are not necessarily the cause of them. By not attributing the cause to something outside yourself, you will take responsibility and control over any explosive emotions or fluctuations within the relationship.
  3. Plot a plan of actions on a master plan. As with any goal in life, it is easier to accomplish that goal when you have smaller milestones to reach. To move you toward your goal, you should take the first step of deciding a time period for reaching your goal. In other words, how much time could you comfortably invest before your goal is reached? If you have been with your partner for more than six years, it is worth the while to invest an additional 12-month period in repairing your love-hate relationship. However, if you have only been in a relationship with a partner for less than six months, then you might not think it’s reasonable to dedicate another six months to repairing your relationship. This is a very personal decision, and it is up to you to make it. Ultimately, what is worthy to one person could mean very little to another.

    After a duration is set, split that time period into workable proportions. For example, with a six-month period, you may split it into six smaller increments of one month each. Set a milestone as the finish line for each time period. The first month’s milestone could be “refrain from injecting hateful elements into your everyday conversation with your partner.” Each milestone that follows should progress in level of difficulties as the one previous to it. Do not progress to the second milestone without completing the first milestone. If you cannot complete the first milestone within a reasonable period, like after one week at the expiration of your first milestone, re-evaluate immediately and determine if you could improve on your behavior or if your partner is willing to work together with you.

  4. Solicit the help of several unbiased friends. Share your milestones with them so they can assist with keeping you accountable. When you feel that your relationship has returned to the love-hate state, these friends could serve as your cheerleaders, keeping your fuel burning while you tackle this task. Your friends could also analyze various situations for you so you can see different perspectives to the same situation. If these friends are truly unbiased, they could bring clarity to your plan of actions.
  5. Maintain a busy work/study schedule. The goal is to diversify your attention to other more productive venues. They do not have to be work related or educational. As long as they promote personal growth and consume much of the time on your schedule, they are suitable activities to serve as a diversion. This is crucial to diminishing the impact of a love-hate relationship because staying busy with other things will bring objectivity and leveled emotions to the relationship. When excessive energy is exhausted, you will maintain a fairer assessment of situations as well, which can reduce emotionally charged episodes. Also, for romantic relationships, refrain from mistaking passion as an essential part of a love relationship. Excessive passion could lead to possessiveness, and possessiveness could lead to extreme fluctuation of emotions like in a love-hate relationship.
  6. For romantic relationships, consider a short vacation where the main objective of the trip is to identify 1) the purpose of your relationship; 2) the triggers to your love-hate fluctuations; 3) the ways your partner could help reduce love-hate episodes; 4) goals you and your partner could mutually achieve through this relationship/growth opportunities. After you have successfully answered these questions in a comforting and neutral environment, write the answers on post-it notes visible to yourself at your work desk or in your PDA/mobile phone and keep the objectives in a log entry in your journal. Carry the journal with you at all times. Before leaving on a date or meeting your partner, review the answers to yourself. If you are diligent, review the answers daily.

Traditions of Mexican Dating Relationships

In Mexico, many traditions guide dating relationships. While the younger people in large cities may be influenced by the United States, people in more rural areas may hold on to traditions, especially those governed by Catholic values and customs of the traditional Mexican families.

A Mexican couple enjoy a sunny day outdoors together.
The First StepAs customary in Mexico, all male/female relationships start with the man pursuing. A woman traditionally waits for the man to pursue her, whether for a dance at a party or club or to go on a date. While young people in larger cities may adopt more modern habits, people in more rural and conservative provinces adhere to this practice.

A young couple dance together at a party.

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Romantic Traditions of Men in MexicoChivalry is still customary in Mexico. Men customarily are polite, opening door for women and pulling out chairs. Men are expected to be romantic and well-mannered.

A man takes a woman's hand who is sitting down.