Friday, November 30, 2007

Parent/Teacher Conference

My family and I live in a small town. We are about 30 miles away from Hartford (which is the major City close by). My son's school was holding parent teacher conferences this past week and Wednesday at 5:20 was our time!

My husband picked up our son and I was going to meet them there. I was late of course, TRAFFIC! Anyway, when I got there the parking lot was full so I had to park on the street. This would be my first time going to my son's school in niqab let alone hijab, so that walk up to the door was a scary moment. As I walked in the front door I saw that they had set up a book fair and there were about 30 people looking at the displays. Well when I walked in, it went silent. People stopped what they were doing to look at me. As I continued along the group of people parted like the red sea! Mothers snatching their children out of my way... it was amazing. I kept walking and encountered more double takes and mouth-agape stares as I made my way to my son's classroom. When I got to the classroom I went right in, and got the same kind of look from his teacher. She and I have had issue before so I'm sure she was shocked by how I dressed. Anyway, the highlight of the evening was when my son said... look at mommy's clothes, isn't she pretty!

I'm wondering how my little town will take this invasion! I am looking forward to seeing the next town newspaper, perhaps there will be a letter to the editor about the veiled women at the elementary school! :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Strong woman?

Yesterday at work the head of one of the departments came to me with some paperwork that I had done incorrectly. This is my new job, I'm still in training and I was also misguided a bit by someone that helped me prepare the documents. I can admit that the paperwork was incorrect but it was the way that this man acted when he came to tell me. I was up at the copiers and I turned and he was right there.. about a foot away from me, in my face, lamenting that they could not process my request with this paperwork. He proceed to ask me questions that I didn't know the answer too and became more and more belligerent. This really shook me up. Perhaps its because this is a new job and I don't have the confidence to stand up for myself, but I wonder if its just me changing a bit in how I view others and their reactions to me. In my old job, I was an expert at what we did, and if anyone gave me a hard time I put them in their place. Here, I'm new and unsure.

The thing that bothered me the most was the disrespect this MAN was showing to a woman. In Islam brothers respect sisters and know better than to yell in their face. Instead of being the strong woman I once was, I was timid and scared of this altercation. Thankfully it was not just me that thought he was too harsh. Others from the office came and told me not to let it bother me and he was like that with everyone, bla bla bla... but I have to say that I cried in the car on the way home. I hate it that I cried.

I've told myself that I will not accept this behavior again. If it happens one more time I'm going to politely request that this VP/Department head not talk to me like that, and take a step back.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Black Friday and Cyber Monday - Yuck

Listening to the news the last few days is very depressing. I was at my mom's house watching some 6:00 news when a story came on about the disaster in Bangladesh.. they were talking about how people were hurt and starving and sick and how horrible it was. In the very same breath it seems the newscaster started talking about Black Friday! How disgusting?!?! How horrible must we seem as a country when its actually newsworthy that millions of people woke up at 3:00 Am to go shopping and buy decadent unnecessary things while people half way around the world are in such need. They actually showed a clip of a woman saying that there was no room left in her car she has so many gifts in it...

And now there is something called cyber Monday, where the highest volume of online shopping is done. Where does it end??

This is not an Anti-American rant. I just can't imagine I was ever like that (and I don't think I ever was). Getting a gift for someone is nice, but this wasteful excess is crazy. In Islam we are commanded by Allah not to waste money. Allah says, "...But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the devils...” {Surah al-Israa’ 17:26-27}. Islam is not only a religion, its a way of life. There are rules and guidelines for everything we do. If these rule are actually followed a balanced and just society is the result.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Da'wah, Da'wah Da'wah

Its taken me a long time to write this post.... I've tried to write it a couple of times with no success...I think that there are so many things that I want to say that I just get stuck. Anyway, here goes...

I've heard that the best way we can give
da’wah as a Muslim is to provide a good example of what Islam really is. We can do this by living as a Muslim should, and showing kindness and respect. Part of the reason that people don't understand Islam is because they fear what they do not know. All they see is what is portrayed on the news, and we can all agree that this is not what Islam is all about.

Now on to the hard part... There are other ways of giving
da’wah. I've experienced a few of them recently. One being by posting to a forum. I have a feeling that this will never really be a good source of da’wah. It is too uncontrolled, there are too many people arguing and too much 'my opinion is' kind of stuff. The people that volunteer to moderate the forum are good people, but no experts in Islam. The other issue (and I hate to say it) is that some of these da’wah forums are not specific to a sect of Islam and there are some Sufi or shia influence in there. This can be more confusing than anything. Personally I don't like the labels that the sects give to themselves. I try to follow Quran and Sunnah. I'm a Muslim. That is how I identify myself. If I were a non Muslim looking at these forums I would never be able to find what the real meaning of Islam was. Then there are the people that come to an Islamic da’wah forum who just want to stir up trouble. I never understand why someone who has NO interest in Islam hangs about the forum so long. Inshallah they are guided to the straight path.

Another way of giving
da’wah would be through lectures and conferences. I went to ICNA's convention this past July and we were able to take my father in law to a lecture specifically for non muslims. Yusef Estes was the speaker and he did an excellent job. I can't say as much for the rest of the conference. There were some good speakers and I enjoyed seeing some of them, but they also had some people that I totally disagree with. People that spread the wrong message of Islam. Anyway that is another post entirely. Getting back to lectures. I think that its a great thing to have events that allow non Muslims to learn about Islam from an expert. They can ask questions and get true and HONEST answers. This avoids the issues of forums where they are getting answers from people that may be based on opinion and not quran and sunnah.

Finally there is interfaith. I'm not sure really what this means. If we are to just come together with people of other faiths and all agree to disagree, I wonder what the point is. Personally I know more about Christianity now than I did when I was a Christian, so I really don't need to learn anything from anyone. So what really is the point of an interfaith event? I don't think its a horrible idea or anything, just not my thing I guess.

In times such as these portraying Islam in a positive light is a challenge. May Allah guide us all.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rejecting a part of Islam

As things unfold in Pakistan, I can't help but wonder what the president really wants, what Bhutto really wants and what the people of Pakistan really want. It seems to me from what I've read that Musharif and Bhutto differ in what they want, but are similar in what they don't want- neither of them want shariah law.

As Muslims we are not to reject any part of Islam. That includes Shariah law. Now we may not all live in a country where this is possible, but if you are Muslim, and live in a Muslim country, shouldn't you want shariah law?

Things like this confuse me to no end. I think this goes back to my post of yesterday, where people think that they need to modernize the religion to suit their current desires. Is rejecting shariah law, rejecting a part of our beautiful faith?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Modernizing Islam?


I've noticed lately on forums that I read, lectures that I hear and sites that I visit, that people are trying to modernize Islam. I am of the understanding that it does not need any modernizing at all. I think that over time, like anything else Islam has become Americanized... Muslims now want to celebrate fake holidays like mothers day.. they don't see anything as bid'ah and seem to forget what it even means..
I get called out a lot for being 'judgmental'. I like to see it as my duty as a Muslim to point out to my brothers and sisters what they may be doing wrong. This in itself is very difficult. No one wants to hear it, and everyone seems to resent it. When I try to back myself up with Quran and sunnah people just say I'm too extreme... sigh... whats a girl to do?

We can exist in this modern world without compromising our religion. We don't need to watch 'dancing with the stars', we don't need to participate in made up holidays, and we don't need to listen to the top 40 radio station! I think that we all need to remind ourselves of our purpose in this dunya... to worship Allah alone. To do that, we need to follow his commandments. To do that, we need to expand our knowledge and constantly seek the truth.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

First Attempt


Well this is my first attempt at a blog... May Allah guide me on this journey. I have started this blog so I can post my thoughts on Islam and how it has changed my life.

Over the last few months I have come to make several changes in my life so that I can be a better Muslim. I left a job I had for 7 years because they were not very cooperative with my new religion. When I asked for a place to pray the HR department told me that they could not help me. I ended up finding conference rooms and locking the door, but I resented that they would not even try. Due to that I didn't dare wear hijab at work. I wore it everywhere else, but not there. I started to look for a new job and interviewed in hijab. I could tell when some places were shocked, but there was one place that didn't care at all... and after a $10,000 pay cut (waaa) I was free! Its been 2 months and I'm loving the fact that no man sees my hair but my husband!

I look forward to learning more and moving forward with Islam.