Friday, June 29, 2007
Howeva, Sheikh Hamza and Imam Zaid have hopped on the myspace train, and mashaAllah, some excellent videos on both pages. Heck, even IslamicRelief has a page. Now I feel like I'm missing out on some ummah wide technology leap.
Maybe this would be a project the husband and I could do together for some couples bounding. Hmm...
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Why Molly ran
When 12-year-old Molly Campbell disappeared from her Scottish home last year, it was feared she had been kidnapped by her father to be married against her will in Pakistan. But, like her name, the truth wasn't quite as it seemed. Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy report
I've been following the Misbah/Molly story on and off for quite some time now, and this article definately provides a lot of much needed background.
But even more than being the sad story of a broken family, it speaks of the difficulties that intercultural/interfaith couples face. This marriage started out between a nominal christian/secular young white british girl, and a nominal muslim/secular young pakistani british man. Where as the usual m.o. is that the husband will practice more and become more conservative as he grows older, in this case the wife feels drawn to Islam. Maybe it was a way to feel connected to and accepted by her husband's family and culture, but for whatever reason, her embrace of Islam draws her husband back to practicing the faith. While I can't tell for sure what was going on in her mind from the article, it seemed like she longed for acceptance, but didn't really have Islam in her heart. Islam can seem oppresive if you don't embrace it with all your heart, and from the article, it looks like Louise was crushed by it.
Women who embrace Islam through their relationship/marriage with a muslim man are often subjects of suspicion. Did they convert because their husbands influenced them? How will their faith hold up if things go south with their husbands? Heck, even those who were muslim before marriage are still viewed under a cloud of suspicion. Alhamdulilah, I've seen women become increadbly devout in their practices, content with Islam as a way of life. And unfortunately, I've seen women be crushed far too often for my liking.
When an american woman marries a muslim man, she will inevitably be told to watch Not Without my Daughter. We roll our eyes, sigh and try to change the subject. We're intellegent, independent, and think we know what we're getting ourselves into. Unfortunately, we often times don't.
So, I propose that american women who want to marry muslim men read this article. We've all heard the nasty things muslim men can do to western women. But how often do we examine ourselves and ponder on the problems our issues may create? Here now is an (extreme) example of what western women can do to themselves if they're not prepared for an intercultural/interfaith relationship. inshaAllah ta'ala, nothing like this will befall myself or any of my friends in similar situations, but one never knows
Also, on a random side note, either Louise or the article messed up a wee bit on the hajj thing. Hajj isn't during Ramadan. You don't (have to) fast during hajj. Maybe they made umrah during Ramadan, but umrah ain't hajj.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
So, I had a doctors appointment on Friday to check on my high blood pressure (which is not improving, booo). However, I'm down 9 pounds from where I was in December, and inshaAllah if I keep it up, I'll be a wee bit thinner for Eid (yaay). As such, I'm not going to do any eid shopping now, but Artizara just emailed out about their new clothes, many of which look eid worthy. Maybe I should make a deal with myself if I hit x pounds by September, I'll buy something new.
I would still love to get my hands on a silk route jelbab, especially with new designs coming out soon, but a friend had horrible luck with the hijab shop, so I'm wary.
And in other sad news to report, my sporty orange faux track suit abaya has bit the dust. It served me well over the years, so rest in peace my friend. *sniffles* I don't have a picture, but it is similar to the pinkish colored one in the lower left hand corner of this photo essay, minus the side slits. There was an online shop selling more of these, but I can't seem to find it now, and I fear that they're horribly out of style in Cairo, so I won't be able to get one when I go (a few years from now).
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
When I embraced Islam, I didn't tell my parents. I didn't know how I could explain to them my choice, especially in the post 9/11 world where the general perception of Islam was negative. I wish I could have told them on my own terms, at a time of my choosing, but Allah (swt) is the best of planners. While visiting my parents during a school break, I logged into my email and forgot to log out. My parents were worried, as they suspected I was getting serious with someone I had met online (my future husband), so they snooped in my email, and found out both about the future husband and my conversion to Islam. They confronted me about both, and unfortunately, I could do little more than stutter.
Since then, their attitude has been to pretend it never happened. When I visited, I wore my hijab up, hippy style, so as to not draw attention to myself as a muslim in public. I hid my salat from them, never letting on when I prayed, and often skipping prayers when I couldn't get away (astaghfirullah). I left some articles and a book with them, but that book sat next on the nightstand for years, never moving, getting covered in dust until it disapeared. I don't know if they ever read it.
At family holiday gatherings, I argued with my uncles about civil liberties and the war in Iraq, which would inevitably lead to discussions on Islam. My parents said I embaressed them, and that I shouldn't talk that way.
Every once in awhile, my mom would point out a cource offering or a book on native american spirituality, hinduism, buddhism, etc. "Wouldn't you be interested in that?" They would be happy if I was anything other than a muslim. It didn't matter that as a religious studies major, I had already gotten a decent introduction to most world faiths and that I was content in my choice. All the open mindedness they had raised me with disapeared once the aarabs and muzzie terrorists got involved.
So, I remained an undercover muslim when my parents were around. They knew I was muslim, but prefered to pretend otherwise. With patience and prayer, I continued, praying that one day my parents would accept my choice. I tried to remain on good terms with them, per the advice of the Prophet (saws):
Asmaa’ bint Abu Bakr was the Prophet’s sister-in-law. She was the daughter of his closest companion and the sister of Aisha, his wife. Her mother, however, did not become a Muslim for quite a long time.Asmaa’ states: “My mother came to me during the time of the Prophet (saws), hoping to get something from me. I asked the Prophet (saws) whether I should be kind to her. He answered: “Yes,” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others).
And now, alhamdulilah, a small break through! Truely Allah (swt) is the best planner. My mother is a teacher, and was given an opportunity to travel around her state with other educators on a summer trip. She was originally not going to go, but decided at the last minute to take the trip. One of the stops was a (benedictine?) monastary, where 3 speakers - a jew, a christian and a muslim - gave a presentation on the similarities between the faiths. Alhamdulilah! I think this was the first time my mother had ever heard about Islam from a muslim source. The muslim speaker apparently impressed her, because she sought out his wife after the presentation for a chat. She mentioned her daughter was married to an Egyptian immigrant. The woman, herself an immigrant from Egypt who had been in the US for 37 years, immediately invited my husband and I to visit her home and said that they could be like a family for us. I am not sure what else they talked about, but I got the distinct impression that my mother liked this woman.
Alhamduilah, I had been unable to reach my parents and Allah (swt) found another way to reach them. Make dua for my family.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
To watch later, only so that I am fully informed about the whole issue. I have only read about the infamous debate between Wafa Sultan and the "radical, fundamentalist cleric," but from the looks of it, the widely viewed MEMRI clip was only part of the story.
One comment I've read often after this is posted is how stupid the cleric looked, and that he didn't respond. Well, looks like he did respond, but that his responses were edited out. Will post more after I view it.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
At the very base of my belief is la ilaha il Allah, Muhammadur rasul Allah – there is nothing worthy of worship except God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God. But what does it mean to worship only God, and to believe that Muhammad (saws) is His messenger? It means to practice Islam, have Iman (faith) and to strive of Ihsan (excellence).
This is explained in the hadith (saying) of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) that is recorded as saheeh (authentic) in the hadith collection of Muslim:
Also on the authority of 'Umar, (ra), who said:
"While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah (saws) there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him.
He sat down close by the Prophet (saws) rested his knee against his thighs, and said, O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam." Said the Messenger of Allah (saws), "Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity save Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah (ritual prayer), pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Ka'bah at Makkah), if you can find a way to it (or find the means for making the journey to it)." Said he (the man), "You have spoken truly."
We were astonished at his thus questioning him and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say, "Inform me about iman (faith)." He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, "It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects." He said, "You have spoken truly."
Then he (the man) said, "Inform me about Ihsan." He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, "It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you." He said, "Inform me about the Hour." He (the Messenger of Allah) said, "About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner." So he said, "Well, inform me about the signs thereof (i.e. of its coming)." Said he, "They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted ones, the naked, the destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings." Thereupon the man went off.
I waited a while, and then he (the Messenger of Allah) said, "O 'Umar, do you know who that questioner was?" I replied, "Allah and His Messenger know better." He said, "That was Jibril (Gabriel). He came to teach you your religion."
This hadith relates the basics of Islam, and if you asked just about any muslim in the world about the contents of this hadith, they would say that they believe what is discussed in it, even if they don’t practice it.
Islam and Iman are rather straight foward. One does the practices, and studies the beliefs. But Ihsan is a bit more tricky. How does one strive for excellence, and remind themselves to always be aware of Allah (swt). On a personal level, I strive for ihsan through adab. Adab is superficially translated as manners, but as with many words in Arabic, a single English word cannot encompass all its meaning. Adab is courtesy, respect, kindness and appropriateness. It is the etiquette and moral code muslims should live their lives by. I am dedicated to adab as a way to live my beliefs in my everyday life, and I hope one day inshaAllah (God willing) to become a scholar in adab and teach it to others. I believe that the muslim community lacks adab, does not understand how to interact with their fellow human beings, and that the root cause of social problems lies in ignorance or just plain ignoring adab.
I believe in the essential goodness and kindness of the Prophet’s message. I also believe that this goodness and kindness is something all muslims should strive to emulate in their daily life. Some people selectively read the Prophet’s biography and see him only as a murdering pedophilic warlord. inshaAllah at a later date, I may write about what I believe about the Prophet (saws), but for this entry, it should suffice that I say that I believe when one reads his whole life story, they will come away with a framework for how to live a good, decent, fulfilling life, in service to God, and with kindness towards fellow man.
There is a hadith that reports that God is beautiful, and that He loves beauty. There is a further hadith that states that “Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective.”
I believe every action in our life should be imbued with kindness, thus making us beautiful, and loved by God. If you try to put kindness in every action, it will profoundly affect the way humans interact with each other, from the bottom, all the way up to the top.
So, in conclusion, I believe that la ilaha il Allah, Muhammadur rasul Allah leads me to put kindness in every action, and to treat my fellow man with kindness. This is adab, this is ihsan, this is worship of the Divine.
Friday, June 15, 2007
1081. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The first action which the slave will be called to account for on the Day of Rising is his prayer. If it is in order, he will have success and win through. If it is not in order, he will be disappointed and lose out. If any of his obligatory prayers are lacking, the Lord, the Mighty and Exalted, will say, 'See if My slave has any supererogatory actions and use them to complete his obligatory prayer.' Then the rest of his actions will be assessed in the same way." [at-Tirmidhi]
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Abu Hurairahu (ra) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) saying, "Say, if there were a river at the door of one of you in which he takes a bath five times a day, would any soiling remain on him?'' They replied, "No soiling would left on him.'' He (saws) said, '' That is the five Salat. Allah obliterates all sins as a result of performing them.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I've become less tolerant to conflict and debate as I've aged, and now (at the ripe ol age of 25), I would rather just have a friendly exchange of ideas, and not a knock down drag out fight. Unfortunately online, most friendly exchanges quickly become nasty, and I knew that this event certainly lent itself to incivility, so as such, I avoided it.
Now, with some distance from the whole affair, I've made an exception. From Sidi Mas'ud's blog:
About the video: The film is a window into the efforts of various communities as they struggle to overcome the challenges brought about by the Danish Cartoon Crisis. It brings to screen a rare glimpse into a multi-cultural approach to conflict resolution. Common Ground reveals that when faced with international challenges and conflict, diversity of origin and differences in cosmology are unique tools to discover our prospects of human potential and cooperation.
Please help us promote the film by checking out the website and passing it on to your friends and family. The film is scheduled for an international TV broadcast and a DVD release. Before the DVD launch there will be special screenings of the film in several countries (apart from the festivals), so stay tuned to the website for local screening info., the international TV broadcast schedule, and DVD release dates.
We appreciate your support!
The Common Ground film crew, Mustafa Davis, Ilyas Curtis, Tashi (Abu Bakr) Gellek
In a previous post, I linked to an excellent lecture by Mr. Ramadan, with a lot more substance, and taking a positive, not a "is not" approach to Islam. If you haven't listened to it, make time and listen.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Then, today, I stumbled upon this - the green prayer. SubhanAllah, imagine that! inshaAllah I'll try it in the future. I already try to listen to the Qur'an once a week while on a run. Now, I can pause my music for a bit and remember Allah (swt).
Remembrance of God is a living method of perpetual prayer. It is not necessary to lock yourself away from the world, rather the world of God's creations is an arena of meditation that serves to remind us of Him at every turn. He is the creator of all.
One of the best methods of cultivating remembrance of God (dhikr) is to associate His Name with the colour green. Green is the traditional colour of the Holy Prophet Muhammad - may Allah be pleased with him and grant him peace. In the practise of remembrance we can connect this colour - the colour of nature - with the gentle, internal invocation of the Creator.
1. Establish the invocation of the Divine Name (Allah) in your heart. Allah... Allah... Allah...
2. Go for a walk every day. Maintain the invocation in the heart as you walk.
3. Associate the invocation with the colour green. Associate it with the green foliage of trees and grass and the green of nature as you go for your daily walk.
Eventually, the colour green will remind you of the Divine Name. Whenever you encounter the colour green your heart will automatically begin to cry out "Allah! Allah! Allah! Allah!..."
The Dhikr is a prayer of nature. It celebrates nature as the creation of Allah. When you are strolling through a park, when walking in a forest or enjoying the peace of a garden, the verdant vegetation of nature will remind you of God.
This is one of the best ways to practise Dhikr (remembrance). Establish Dhikr as the best of habits. Establish Dhikr as the habit of your heart. Whenever you see the colour green have your heart return to God.
And all the [beauty of] many hues which He has created for you on earth: in this, behold, there is a message for people who [are willing to] take it to heart! (Quran 16:13)
Not the path by my house, but a pretty forest path never the less. inshaAllah I'll bring a camera on a run sometime and take a picture
Monday, June 4, 2007
I even tried to make my own al amirah out of an old running shirt, but alas, after I cut the fabric, I remember I couldn't sew.
But, those days of worrying may be behind me. I came across a website from Canada this morning called Queendom Hijabs. According to their website:
We cater to the active woman, the one who runs the marathons, hits the gym, goes to school, holds her job, all while still looking modest and stylish. The focus is on function. We want each hijab to move with you without having to re-adjust and restyle.
Oooo, it's almost too good to be true! The only thing I'm worried about is that they look kinda short, and I need a scarf that provides funner coverage in the collar bone area. Since I wear larger men's shirts for modesty reasons, the neck hole is usually larger, and I have a hard time finding scarves that stay put and cover. But, I suppose I could always sew the neck hole smaller. Even someone who can't sew couldn't screw that up right?
*updated* I ordered this one:
Modern crisp and clean
Absorbant layer undeneath crown
Complements your sports clothing
Well, I'm not sure about the last once, since my pants are gray and my shirt is black, but it will definately lighten things up a bit.
I may also get this one that's advertised as highly breathable later on.
I asked the site owner about the length of the scarves, and she said that they're longer than they appear in the picture. It should be long enough to cover the top of the chest down to the top of the boosoms area, so inshaAllah that will be good enough to cover the large neck holes of my running shirts.