Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sadness over Gaza

This will be short, but I felt I had to write something. I'm just so upset over what is going on in Gaza. There are so many things to be sad about with this situation. It seems now that Israel is planning on going in on the ground as well. Meanwhile the Arab countries do nothing but verbally condemn the violence? How can they just stand by and do nothing? Of course the U.S. sides with Israel which makes me sick. There is a poll on right now that asks if the attacks on Palestine are justified or condemnable.... 61% of those polled found it justifiable!!!! How horrible can anyone be to think that this is all justified???

We all should make dua for them and ask Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala to make it easy for them at such a difficult time.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Recently I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Hailey. It was a wonderful story, and I really enjoyed learning more about this complex man's life. I was aware of the injustices done to black Americans, but this book brought them to new light. It is amazing that things like that happened such a short time ago.

One of the first things that really struck me in this book was how Malcolm X was able to immerse himself in learning while in prison. He read anything and everything, trying to get a new understanding of how his race had been treated over the years. This studying formed some of his most profound ideas later in life and allowed him to fully express himself.

Another interesting thing I learned was how strange the beliefs of the Nation of Islam are. I can see how at that time in history SOME of the NOI doctrine seemed to make sense to black Americans, but I honestly don't know how anyone can belong to it now. To think that 6000 years ago a 'big headed' (not my words) black scientist created the evil white race by doing recessive gene experimentation seems ridiculous to me. The way that it was explained in the book was almost laughable. I'm probably going to get in trouble with a few people for saying that, but it honestly makes no sense what so ever. I also never understood how anyone could read the Quran and think that any of that was true. How could you possibly think that WD Fard was Allah himself? And that Elijah Muhammad was his prophet? I also learned that members of the NOI do not pray 5 times a day and they don't pray like Muslims do at all.

Ok, now onto my favorite part... Malcolm X goes to Mecca and sees what TRUE Islam is. There is no color, no class, no gender... just Islam. I got tears in my eyes reading about all of his experiences while in the holy City. It was amazing to read the descriptions of him first learning to pray the right way. He even mentioned how his toe hurt from the sitting between sujood posture!

Now I'm not black, but I do feel that I can relate to Malcolm X because he discovered the true Islam and became passionate about it. I read in another blog somewhere that the poster didn't like it how non black Muslims 'use' Malcolm X for their own issues. Now for one thing I don't think that there is such a thing as white and black Muslims. There are only Muslims. If someone is that obsessed with their color, I think they have some issues of their own. Why is it that the same person that will rant and rave about equality will want to put separating barriers between the Ummah by color? Yes, most of Malcolm X's notoriety comes from his stance on race issues, but to me, A MUSLIM, I admire him for finding the true Islam, and digging himself out of that hole of shirk that he was in.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the life of this great MUSLIM. May Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala guide us all... black, white, brown, yellow, red....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Silly Little Reverts

Now that I have been Muslim for over 2 years, I see a lot of condescending attitudes out there towards reverts. The shiny new Muslim glow has worn off and now we are a target for attack. The same people, who once were so happy that we accepted Islam, now talk to us like we are children that don’t know any better.

I mostly see this kind of thing on Muslim forums and blogs. A well meaning Revert will want to share something they have learned only to be shot down by another Muslim telling them that they have revertitis or are going through a ‘phase’. A reverts desire to stick to Quran and Sunnah is turned against them, and they are called ‘extreme’.

While I am fully aware that we all grow and change in our deen, I don’t feel that most of these reverts (including myself) are going through a ‘phase’, that we will soon snap out of and come back to earth. As reverts, we were guided by Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala, to leave the religion of our past and embrace the truth. For a lot of us, this was not easy. We had to face persecution by family, friends, co workers and perfect strangers. We now choose to embrace and follow our religion to the best of our ability. To some born Muslims, that might seem extreme, but to us, it’s the only way we know how.

As I read these things, directed at me or others, I feel like pulling back even more from these social circles (online or otherwise). All they do is cause problems. Perhaps this is the best for me and others. Find those who are like you and stay away from the fitnah. Allah knows best.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

10 days of Duhl Hijjah

Eid card Design can be found at my CafePress Store

Asalamu Alaikum

We are in the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah and we should not miss out on the blessings listed below. (I got these in an email from a very knowledgeable sister).

Recommended Deeds During These 10 Days:

1- Performing Hajj & Ummrah is the best of deeds as supported by numerous ahadeeth including that in which the prophet said: Sins commeded between two ummrah are forgiven & the reward for hajj performed in the right manner is heaven.

2- Fasting as many as thes days as possible, particular the day of arafah ( for non pilgrims ), for fasting is amongst the best of deeds that can be performed as Allah in the qudsi hadeeth says: fasting is performed my sake & I my self shall decide its reward ( for each person ) for he ( the servant ) has abstained from his desire, eatin & drinking for my sake. ( Bukhari & Muslim )

Also the prophet said: Any one who fast a day for the sake of Allah ( seeking His pleasure ), Allah would distances his face ( him ) by seventy seasons ( years) away from the hell fire. ( Bukhari & Muslim ) Also, the prophet said: the reward for fasting the day of arafah would cancel the sins committed in the year before & the year after that day. ( Muslim )

3- Takbeer ( saying ALLAAHU AKBAR ) & to praise & glorify ( remembering ) Allah in those days, as allah says in the Quran: ( And celebrate the name of Allah through the days appointed ) Al Hajj: 28. those days were interpreted as the first 10 days of the month of Zul Hijjah. Thus religious scholars recommend praising & glorifying Allah by saying: LA ELAHA ILLA ALLAH, ALLAHU AKBAR, ALHAMDU LILLAH .

Al Bukhari mentioned that when Ibn Umar & Abu Hurairah ( companions of the Prophet ) went out to the markets they used to say aloud: ALLAHU AKBAR, ALLAHU AKBAR & the people would emulate them. It is also reported that people in early days of Islam Altabieen , in the 10 days of the month of Zul Hijjah, used to say aloud: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar la Elaha illa Allah & Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar , Walillahi Alhamd . It is recommended to raise one s voice with Takbeer when one is out in the markets, streets, mosques & other places for Allah says in the Quran: ( And to glorify Him in that He has guided you), Al Baqarah: 185. It is also possible to praise & glorify Allah by various forms of Takbeer , Tahmeed , Tasbeeh & other supplications.

4- Repentance & refraining from sins & ill deeds, so that one s deeds would gain him Allah s forgiveness & mercy. The Prophet said: Allah can be displeased & His displeasure is in one who commits what Allah forbids. ( Bukhari & Muslim ).

5- Performing extra optional acts of worship ( Nawafeel ) like salah, charity, Jihad, reading Quran, Promotion of virtue & prevention of vice & other acts of worship as their reward is multiplied in those 10 days.

6- Takbeer in general is allowed & recommended in those 10 days, during all hours of days & night up to the time of Eid Prayers. After Eid Prayers Takbeer is allowed for non pilgrims after each congregational prayer starting from Fajr (dawn) Prayer on the day of Arafah & for Pilgrims starting from noon time on the 10th of Zul Hijjah. Takbeer for both groups can continue up to time of Asr (mid-afternoon) Prayer of the day of 13th Zul Hijjah.

7- It is recommended to offer animals for slaughter on the day of 10th 13th Zul Hijjah in commemoration of the very act by Prophet Ibraheem peace & blessings of Allah be upon him, & also because it is a sunnah by Prophet Muhammad peace & blessings of Allah upon him.

8- A Muslim who plans to offer an animal for slaughter during the days of10th- 13th Zul Hijjah should refrain from cutting any of his hair & nails starting from the sighing of the crescent of the month of Zul Hijjah (i.e. beginning of the month) until the actual slaughtering of the animal. This is according to the hadeeth of the Prophet reported by Muslim. Also Allah says in the Quran: ( And do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice), Al-Baqarah: 196. This applies to the person who will be slaughtering but his wife or children are not asked to refrain from doing so unless one of them in particular wishes to sacrifice. A Muslim however can wash & rub his head even if some hair was to fall down.

9- A Muslim should endeavour to perform Eid Prayer & attend the sermon. He should also understand the wisdom behind the Eid that is a day of expressing gratitude to Allah & of righteousness. Thus, he should not make it a day of ill deeds & sin through forbidden practices by going to nightclubs or consuming intoxicants which by so doing could abolish all the righteous deeds he may have done during those 10 days.

10- In addition to the above, a Muslim should utilize those days in worshipping Allah & by glorifying & praising Him & by thanking Allah for enabling him to perform those righteous deeds & abstaining from ill deeds. Also a Muslim should utilize those special occasions, as in the first 10 days of Zul Hjjjah, to reap Allah s extra mercy & rewards.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Keeping out of the line of Fire

I'd been really good for a while. I'd stayed away from reading forums and sites that made me upset. Nothing lasts forever!

Recently I got an email newsletter from a forum that prompted me to go back and take a look at what had been going on in a thread I'd posted in. Big mistake on my part. All it did was cause me to feel attacked and I retaliated. The only way I can explain how I feel about these things is that I am very passionate about them, but that might seem like the wrong term to use. I am very serious about my deen. I don't want to even take a chance in compromising it, and that is what happens when I read these forums. I get upset and worried that people are being misguided by 'well meaning' people just trying to make Islam something it is not.

First of all, I'm so tired of people telling me that Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala has made Islam easy for us, as an excuse to do anything and everything in this Dunya. All of the Ayat and hadith that talk about Islam being easy do not refer to twisting things to suit your needs. They talk about how once you have submitted to Allah and his messenger that things become easy because you understand. They also refer to the mercies that Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala has given us, such as combining prayers when traveling and not having to fast when you are ill.

Secondly, I'm tired of trying to explain what a scholar is to people. I have my own theory on it I guess, but I think its pretty sound. A scholar is someone who has studied intensively his whole life under someone else who has done the same. That means spending 20+ years with a teacher. Until you reach that goal you are just a student of knowledge. This is not to undermine anyone of knowledge, but when it comes to serious issues I'm not going to take rulings from someone who has spent a few years here and there and calls himself a Sheikh.

Third, why oh why do non Muslims try to tell me about my religion? Yes, sometimes its a perfect opportunity for dawah, but there are those who find themselves so clever and intriguing they can't take a moment to ask themselves what are they obsessed with? Perhaps they need to validate themselves as human beings, I don't know, but I wish they would do that by taking up needlepoint or something... and leave Islam to those who love and care about it.

Fourth, and I've said this before somewhere else in this blog o mine, Islam does not need to be Americanized!!! We don't need to slap a logo on it and do some marketing. We need to stick to what Islam really is. A faith that has not changed its basic tenets in over 1400 years. So lets stop calling ourselves 'American Muslims' and saying we need to refer to 'American Scholars' (which I don't know if there are any). We are Muslims, first and foremost. We don't need to tack anything else on the front of that. We don't need to be a black Muslims, or white Muslims, or purple Muslims... we need to be.... MUSLIMS. United on the path that our Prophet, Salla Allahu alaihi Wa Sallam, and his companions were upon.

Fifth. Stop telling me that when I give you some information about Islam and its rulings that its my opinion. It's not. It's the opinion of true and learned scholars of Islam (the ones I talked about in rant #2 above). I guess that if you tried hard enough, you could find a ruling or fatwah that would allow just about anything in Islam. That is why we have to be so careful. Just because someone did some studying somewhere for a while, does not make them qualified to tell us what is right and wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you go back to Quran and Sunnah (interpreted by true scholars) you can't go wrong insha'Allah.

So now to the point. A friend of mine told me to stop putting myself in the line of fire..... and it made sense. This same friend also said, that I go out of the house protected, covered from head to toe, but when it comes to things like this, I just leap in and put myself in harms way. At one time I thought that I needed to go to these places and do these things so that people would not be misguided. But I can't change that. Only Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala guides who he wills. So I will stick to my own forum, and try to help people see the truth of Islam. Come and join me if you like!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fashion or Faith?

I recently did this design for my cafepress store, and it reflects how I feel about hijab and the command of Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala to cover.

A narration from `Aishah (radhi Allahu anha) that some women from Banu Tamim came to see her wearing transparent clothing. `Aishah said to them: "If you are are believing women, these are not the clothes of believing women."

There seem to be a trend as of late of Muslim women thinking that as long as the actual skin is covered its ok if its tight. An example would be jeans wiith a long sleeve shirt... all tight, but not skin showing! We are to be modest in our dress. Nothing is to be tight, transparent or overly vibrant.

I think this ties into my last post as well, about not being able to let go of this dunya. Muslm women are tempted by what they see in the streets and in fashion magazines. They want to be able to fit in with western society and therefore try to emulate their form of dress. We all have nice clothes for home or sisters gatherings, but they are not meant to be worn in everyday life. For new Muslims things are different, they are just getting used to the concept of modesty and need to have that transition period. But as the knowledge and iman grows, they should start to see the true value in dressing modestly.

Another thing that I find hard to understand is those that don't cover at all. Of course the new Muslim thing applies here as well, but I don't get how people who have been Muslim for years or born Muslim do not follow that command of Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala? What is it that holds people back? I'm not being judgmental here, I really want to know? Is it fear of acceptance? Is it lack of confidence?

May Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala give us strength to fufill his commands to the best of our ability.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letting Go of Things From This Dunya

Around this time of year I'm reminded of how hard it seems for Muslims (reverts or otherwise) to let go of things of this dunya.

It all starts when the leaves begin to change color here in New England. October comes, Halloween rolls around, and the arguments begin. I guess that the idea that we argue at all is silly, but it is our duty as Muslims to advise our brothers and sisters of things that they are doing wrong. It becomes personal, and people get accused of trying to shove their ideas down others throats, when in fact we are only sharing the rulings of some of our best scholars.

A few more weeks pass and we come across Thanksgiving... and yet again, more arguing. Every excuse in the book is thrown up there. Things like... it not a religious holiday, and its a time to be with family and thank God for what we have. At its origin, it was a Religious holiday. The people that celebrated it were Christian, and they were thanking God. If only those Wampanoag Indians knew what would become of their land and tribe they never would have sat down. Over time Thanksgiving has become something else to Americans, but we should not, and can not forget its origin.

Now that we are past the turkey, we bump smack into Santa Clause. Christmas is here! If there is anything I don't understand, it is how any Muslim can justify celebrating Christmas. It is a celebration that glorifies something that is a huge sin in Islam. Shirk. Christian celebrate Christmas because they believe it was the day that Isa (Jesus) was born. They see Isa as God himself. Even if it has become a Santa filled commercialized spending fest, it is still based on a religious holiday. One that is not ours.

As a revert I understand how hard it is to explain to friends and family that you will not be celebrating these holidays. It takes time, but if you ask your family to respect your faith and are firm in that, inshallah they will understand. A lot of reverts (myself included) will have nice memories of time spent with family and friends during the holiday season. But let us try to remember that its not the holiday that made us happy, it is the people that we love. Find ways to keep that feeling alive without comprimising your faith.

Finally, I'd just like to say that we are commanded by Allah to obey him and obey his messenger. That is the most simple thing to understand and its easy to follow.

Anas (ra), a companion of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reported that when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, the people of Madinah used to have two festivals. On those two days they had carnivals and festivity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked the Ansaar (the Muslims of Madinah) about it. They replied that before Islam they used to have carnivals on those two joyous days. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told them: 'Instead of those two days, Allah has appointed two other days which are better, the days of Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.'

Sunday, November 2, 2008

CafePress Store - Ummah Designs

I've recently been working on some Islamic designs and started a CafePress store called Ummah Designs. Here are some of the things you can find there. I'd really like to see some comments on what you think.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election Thoughts

I must admit that I keep up with what is going on with the election. I have watched a few of the debates (on and listened to the commentary on NPR and BBC. I still am of the mindset that Muslims should not vote in this election.

I can try to put my thoughts into words, but I think that a post that my husband wrote on our forum today really says it well:

There is a lot of difference of opinion about this including among good scholars but this is why I personally am not going to vote.

The system in the US is based on the majority getting what its wants and so is contrary to shar'ia. If I voted I would feel like I was supporting the idea of ruling by other than Allah's subhana wa ta'ala law. This is the main thing and what I base my general understanding that voting in the US is not allowed. So this is my general rule.

Exceptions: A general rule might change for certain circumstances as mentioned with eating food that is not normally halal if not eating would mean starving. So here are some of the things I see as exceptions and how I see them in this election.

1 - If one of the candidates was a Muslim. - apparently not the case although if you ask a Republican they will probably say Obama is. No reason to override the general rule for me.
2 - If one of the candidates promised to make changes that would benefit Muslims. I don't see this as being the case. Neither candidate has promised to make it easier for us to build Masjids or schools or anything else and they both have expressed strong support for Israel. Obama might pull troops out of Iraq sooner than McCain but then Iraq may kick us out before then too. Obama has said he will move troops to Afghanistan though so is there any real positive benefit to that? Not to mention talks of raids into Pakistan. And can we even be sure that pulling troops out is better for Muslims? I think it would be but Allahu Alim, it might trigger an increase in violence, civil war, greater division, we have no way to know. Basically my point is that the difference between the candidates is on issues that we have no way to know whether the impact would be positive or negative for Muslims so I won't consider that a reason to override the general rule.
3 - Some people might say, as many Muslims did in 2000 that we should consider moral issue like abortion, gay marriage, etc. If we did this McCain would appear to be the better choice but since he is not basing this on Shari'a I would say that is not a reason to override the general rule and I don't see anything changing at the federal level with those issues anyway.

So I will not vote in the Presidential election what about locally?

Locally is where I see the chance for Muslims to potentially make a difference. There are several areas of the country where Muslims have a large enough population to affect the local elections and bring about real change. In this case, in my opinion, this could override the general rule because of the great benefit it could have for the community. This is not the case in my community. We are one of maybe 3 or 4 Muslims families in our town so we could not influence the vote so I will not vote in the local elections either.

So what can we do besides voting to make a difference?

Dawah - The more people who come to Islam the more we can bring about change.
Du'a - Ask Allah to make us successful, to bring the Ummah together again and make us strong. We must have a strong Ummah to make a real difference in the world.

InshaAllah change is coming. In parts of Europe and even in Israel within 10-20 years Muslims could be the majority. You see what is happening in France and The Netherlands and of course Israel. They are doing things to suppress Islam because they see the writing on the wall. Change will come, InshaAllah, but it won't be because we pulled one lever instead of another one, Allahu Alim.

I think that this says it all. This is what applies to us as a family and perhaps as a community. It may not work for everyone, but it works for us. Let us all remember that we are Muslims, and our first allegiance is to Islam, not to any political party or candidate.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pictures from Vermont

This weekend we are in Vermont visiting my mom. We went on a ferry ride across Lake Champlain.Then I took some more pictures outside around my mom's house.
I love coming up here, everything is so beautiful. Allah subhannah wa Ta'ala has given us such beautiful things.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ramadan is Over

This year was different than the past 2 years for us. The first year we had only been Muslim for about a month when Ramadan came. We were excited to give it a try and breaking that very first fast felt amazing.... like we had really accomplished something.

Last year was really good. We had become a part of the community, had friends in the masjid and we were going to taraweeh and iftar a lot. On Eid we were asked to join a family for celebrations and it felt like home.

This year was ok. I say 'ok' because it was not bad or anything. Fasting was not hard, and we did accomplish a lot this month, but at the expense of things we should have been doing. I didn't get to taraweeh once. One of my best friends and teachers moved to Saudi Arabia right near the end of Ramadan, but we knew it was coming for over a month. I think it just kept nagging at my mind that I was losing her. Losing someone who had taught me everything I know, alhamdulilah. One of my other very good friends got a knee injury too and I've been worried about her as well.

So Ramadan is over, and I miss it. Inshallah next year I can do more of what I'm supposed to do and enjoy it even more.

I wish everyone a blessed and happy Eid!

Monday, September 22, 2008

HudaStore Open for Business!

Asalamu Alaikum! is now open for business! Please come by and take a look!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Holding onto A Burning Coal

“There will come a time of patience when the one who adheres steadfastly to his religion will be like one who holds a burning coal.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2260; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 957. )

I recently came across this hadith again. I had heard of it many times, but it seemed to stick with me the last time I read it.

I realize that I do go on a lot about modernizing Islam and how much I dislike it, but it just seems like such a serious thing to me. If we look at what this hadith is saying, we can see just how important it is NOT to change things in Islam to suit modern times. If it were ok to do that, then the analogy of holding a burning coal would not apply.

As Muslims in modern times, (note I don't say 'modern Muslims') we have to hold on to Islam with such a firm grasp. The corruptions of the world have made it very difficult to do so. This is why we need people of Knowledge to remind us of what is the straight path, rather than where we can cut corners. In a previous post I had talked about the following hadith:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al' As: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray."

This is a big problem today. Many self proclaimed Imams and scholars are not on the right path. They obtain huge followings of people that trust them to know the truth. 'So they will go astray, and lead the people astray'... I have a feeling that these people have no idea what they are doing. They are not doing it on purpose, they just have not learned the proper thing, and therefore spread it on to others.

So let us all realize that we need to go back to Quran and Sunnah. We need to follow the way of the Prophet and his companions. Modern interpretation is not needed. One final hadith to insert here...

“Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so tooba (glad tidings) to the strangers.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

Work & Life

This has been an amazing week! My new job is great alhamdulilah! I really enjoy the kids and the challenge of teaching. The best part of course is the fact that I'm working in an Islamic environment. It is such a relief to not have to worry about being misunderstood all the time. At first I was going to be teaching two days and working in the office two days.... now they want me to run the computer lab one day and do the art curriculum for grades K-8! I'm getting my mum involved with the art stuff... she was an art teacher so she should be a great resource.

I've been really tired because we are all not getting enough sleep. We need to learn to balance our time better, and get to bed earlier! There are so many things going on that we stay up too late getting them done! We are still working on the bookstore, and Inshallah tomorrow we are going to get the books in NYC. The forum is really doing well. Its not really big or anything but its pretty civilized and everyone (most eveyone) seems to be on the same path. I go and read other forums now and then to see whats going on and it just makes me happy to have such a nice little community of our own. The fitnah that is out there is unreal. Even during Ramadan people can't seem to hold it back.

Its a dangerous place, cyberspace. There is so much mis information out there. Its even worse when the wrong information about Islam comes from Muslims. I understand that there are always going to be different interpretations of things, but its just insane for people to have to stretch so far to reach the conclusions they do. I often question why? Allahu anum.

Ok, its late and I'm still awake! Will I ever learn!!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day at the New Job

I was too nervous to be tired today. It was a whirlwind of information! I went to the Islamic school to get acclimated with what I had to do and teach, meet with the kids and meet with my co-teacher. Little did I know that I'd be responsible for the class tomorrow with only one day to prepare!! So this is going to be a short post!!

I was a bit overwhelmed at first and wondered how I would do it all, but when it came time for salat I was able to relax and feel more focused. Inshallah I will become a good teacher. Alhamdulilah that Allah subhanah wa ta'ala provided me with this oppurtunity!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Alhamdulilah!!! I got a job!! Yippie!!! I am going to be teaching at the Islamic School at my masjid. Its part time, but I'm excited. I'm teaching 6th grade Language Arts and History and 8th grade science!

Inshallah I do well! This means a lot to me because it means I don't have to go back and work in the 'regular' world... I've had it with corporate USA. There is no respect for anything and lying and stealing seems to be part of the job description.

So, inshallah I have to go tomorrow to get aquainted with the classroom and kids. I will write again to let everyone know how it went!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lessons Learned

Now that it is Ramadan I can feel some peace in my heart. The last month or so has been hard. I got laid off from my job at the end of July. It was a shock, and it made me feel like I was a failure. I went from angry to sad in a few days and then just accepted it as the qadr of Allah subhannah wa ta'ala (which is what I should have done the second it happened). I spent the next few weeks after that applying for every job I could find on Nothing happened. No calls, no nothing.

Anyway within this time frame I also made a lot of stupid mistakes. I trusted people I should not have, and I put myself in harms way. As a Muslimiah I must remember that I need to contduct myself like that at all times. Before Islam I was everyone's mother. People told me their problems and I took them under my wing. I had great concern and care for them and tried to help them by being what they needed me to be. This still lingers with me now, and gets me in trouble. I've also felt very betrayed. I worked hard for things and gave a lot of time effort and care, only to have people turn their back on me when I needed them to be on my side. In any case, I've learned my lesson. I need to focus on what Allah subhannah wa ta'ala wants for me and keep away from things that cause fitnah.

I fully accept that I am not innocent in these issues. I have done stupid things in the past, and recently that have contributed to the problems. I can only ask Allah subhannah wa ta'ala to forgive and guide me.

Positive things have come of all of this. We did start a new Islamic Forum. Inshallah it is a sucess and helps others learn the true Islam. We are also working on an online bookstore, so stay tuned for that happy annoucnement, inshallah. Finally, I've been interviewing with the Islamic school at our Masjid for a teaching position. Inshallah that works out as well.

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone. May you and your family gain peace and tranquility during this blessed month.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Announcing Our New Forum!!!

Just a quick note to announce the opening of our new forum! My husband, myself and a close friend decided we wanted to give it a shot! We are looking to discuss and learn about Islam as a group. Please feel free to come and join in!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Struggling to be what?

Its been a rough month for me.... I won't go into details, but I've had a lot of time to think about things and see what is really around me. At the time when I needed people most, a lot of them have not been there for me. It really is a sign that I can only trust in Allah, and not his servants here on earth.

What I wanted to write about in this post was how it seems that there is such a struggle in the Ummah to make things 'fit' with an ideal that has little to do with Islam. I've been reading a lot of forums and finding a vast array of posts and opinions. I've been really shocked by some of the things I've read. The Ummah is splitting at the seams. One theme that I've noticed is the attack against traditional Islam. There are Muslims that want to be so far of it that they mock it, and make fun of those who try to follow it. I wonder if they realize that they are being influenced by the same media bias that turns the rest of the world against Muslims?

On my internet travels I've noticed a lot of rejection of Hadith. Now I'm not talking about 'Quran only' people, I'm talking about people who consider themselves sunni Muslims, but want to be able to pick and choose what Hadiths they believe are authentic. This all goes back to the theme of this post... why do people work so hard to trim bits off and make Islam fit in the little box they want it too? I find in quite presumptuous for the average Muslim to think they have the training and knowledge to reject a hadith, just because it does not agree with what they want Islam to be. The intricate science behind authenticating Hadith takes years to understand fully, but yet people still try to take a chance with it, to fulfill their own desires.

My next point involves scholars and their rulings. Now lets just assume that everyone that claims to be a scholar is in fact a scholar (for arguments sake). If there are 2 scholars with differing opinions on a matter, it is our responsibility to read the proofs they bring from Quran & Sunnah and decide which has the more accurate proofs. Now this is where it gets tricky. We are not supposed to just pick the ruling we like more, or the one that affirms our own thoughts, but the one that truly brings more accurate and meaningful proofs. The scholars themselves (if they are in fact qualified scholars) will get 1 reward for a wrong opinion and 2 rewards for the right one. Us, on the other hand do not get this sort of blessings. We are held accountable for determining which brings more accurate proof and accepting the right one. If we follow the wrong one out of our own desires we are sinning.

Finally, as we approach Ramadan, lets all try to remember that we are one Ummah. Regardless of our differences. While some might see others as too strict, others might find someone to lax. In the end we are responsible for our own actions and Allah Subhannah wa Ta'ala will be the one to judge us. As Muslims, we can only help to guide each other to the straight path.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Weekend in Vermont

I had some time, so I went to visit my mom again. It was raining so much in Vermont that all of the crops are dying... my mothers garden was a flood and she was not too happy about it. All of the corn fields were flooded as well, except for this one just across the dirt road from my mothers house. The corn was 8 feet high and beautiful. Now granted this is not a great picture. Stupid me brought my camera but forgot the battery, so this is from my mobile phone camera.

I love it in Vermont, its very peaceful and quiet. Nature is all around you. I think I love it more because my mom is there. We have long talks about everything. We talked about my dad a lot again. How strange it is to come across something that we would like to share with him, and then remembering we can't. While at the library in town, mom found a book in the book sale on Malaysia. Dad was stationed there when he was in the RAF. She felt sad that she would not pay the $1.00 to get it for him because he would never read it.

One of the things that is hard for me with my dad is that my mother always says to me that he is in Heaven now. I don't say anything to her. I just stay silent. I don't know what to say. Thankfully she does not seem to notice my silence. When dad was dying I was in his intensive care room alone with him, just whispering La Illaha Illah Allah to him over and over again. He was so out of it, I have no idea if he heard me or understood me. I have never explained any of this to my mother. I don't want to upset her. I don't know how to tell her about our view of death and Judgment Day.

As I drove home in the rain I thought a lot about this. I ask Allah to guide my family to Islam everyday. I leave it with him.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reverting to........

It is said that when we accept Islam, that we are reverting to Islam. That we were born Muslims and coming back to it. Alhamdulilah.

I don't think my story of reverting is that much different than anyone else's. At first I thought I would never cover, wear hijab or fast! It took about 3 months for me to even go to the Masjid. I would cover to pray but that was it... I still wore mini skirts, and tight shirts. As time passed and I learned more and more, I began to understand what my Lord wanted from me... and who was I to question it? There were stages, I didn't just jump into an abaya and niqab... it took time. But I did for the sake of Allah. My husband was pretty much the same. He didn't suddenly grow a grizzly adams beard... but eventually he did... as he saw it as a requirement sent down by Allah to our messenger.

From Abu Sa'id al-Khudri ra : Rasulullah s.a.w said : "If one of you sees (something) bad, he should change it with his his hand ; and if he is not capable of that, then with his tongue; and if he is not capable of that, then (he should detest) it with his heart; and that is the weakest faith". ( Muslim )

As a Muslim we are supposed to fix things that are wrong. First with our hands, then if we can't with our tongue, and if we can't do that we are to dislike it in our hearts. As I've mentioned in other posts, I participate on a lot of forums. If a question is asked about Islam, I will do the best I can to answer it according to the Quran and Sunnah. This usually means going to scholarly sources for answers, I don't just make it up myself! If I see someone else answering and it might not be right, I will try to correct that error. This seems to cause issues with some of my more liberal brothers and sisters. I think what I need to learn is to state what I know, and leave it alone. Some people see these mild corrections or advice as shoving it down their throat. When all it is, is the duty of the Muslim to protect the Ummah from misguidance. Perhaps they even feel threatened by it. Knowing in their hearts that its right, but they are not ready yet to give up the temptations of the dunya. I would have to admit this happened to me. I remember being so mad with someone for pointing out that I would have to cover my hair... I was just not ready to hear it. But in my heart I knew they were right.

There are many view points in Islam. Some are taking a more liberal approach to being Muslim. I don't follow that point of view. I believe that Islam is pure and beautiful now, as it was 1400 years ago. Its hard sometimes when people take your devotion to following the Quran and Sunnah as being 'extreme'. Its sad that when you are trying to help and inform people that you are accused of showing off or boasting of your knowledge. Its sad when a brother with a miswak in his pocket, or a sister wearing abaya is mocked... by other Muslims.

I have a lot to learn. I can admit when I'm wrong, and I have been wrong. Reverting to Islam was the best thing I have ever done. I only want to honor Allah by being the best Muslim I can be. I constantly ask him for forgiveness for my failings, and guidance to keep me on the straight path. May Allah guide us all.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Quick Word

We all grow and evolve in Islam. When I first started this blog I ranted about how forums can be such a problem and that they can't do any good for dawah. I was wrong about that.

I've recently become more involved in a forum and I'm starting to get the real idea behind it. Sure there are still a lot of trouble makers, but its nice to really talk about Islam and help new and non Muslims understand it too. This was really brought to light to me over the last few days while participating on another forum that really has no dawah direction at all. It really showed me how much good can be done with the right intentions. Its exciting to me to be able to help people understand Islam. I get discouraged sometimes when I see other venues twisting it all around, but Allah guides whom he wills. I can only make dua for them to be guided to the straight path.

Finally. I'm at peace right now. Some really icky things happened over the last few days but I'm feeling such a sense of relief and calm right now. I thank Allah for everything that he gives me. Inshallah I can continue to learn and grow and be a better Muslim.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Salafi Bashing

Over the last week or so I've had quite the time with Salafi Bashing. I'm not the basher.. I'm the bashee (if that is even a word). I would never call myself Salafi, because technically it is wrong to attribute such a title to yourself. But I do follow the way of the Salaf. I am not one for modernization of Islam, and I am careful about who I take knowledge from.

Firstly, whenever I have a discussion with someone about an Islamic topic, I tend to pull my understanding from who I consider to be true scholars of Islam. When I do this, I get told I'm not seeing both sides and I'm being too Salafi. Is this supposed to be an insult? I mean the people I take rulings from have studied Islam all of their lives. Not just a few years here and there, but their WHOLE LIFE. They have not only memorized the Quran, but its tafsir as well. They can tell you, from memory, 1000's of hadiths with their full chains of narration. They sat with some of the best scholars of their time, and those scholars sat with the best scholars of the time before. So why.... why should I not take what they say as a valid opinion? Why should I take an opposing view instead? The same people that are asking me to do that, are not considering the opinion of the scholar that I take from, so why the double standard? And if they are considering it, they are just blownig it off as 'too Salafi'.

Next, I have issue with people who cannot forget and forgive. We all make mistakes. All of us. And when a brother or a sister makes a mistake you are to give them 70 excuses. Especially if they have asked for your forgiveness and admitted their wrong doing. When I finally think something is over, and behind me, I see it pop up again. Now perhaps I'm being paranoid, but I don't think so. I'm smart enough to know when someone is writing about me without actually saying my name. I'm not sure, but this sounds like backbiting to me.

In one of my previous posts I talked about going to a conference with close to 1000 Muslims that were on the Quran and Sunnah. I didn't see one oppressed women there. No one was being told they could not smile... no one had marbles or rocks in their mouth to distort their voice. I only say these things because of some of the ridiculous rants I've been reading lately.

Now I do understand that there are people out there that call themselves Salafi and do some horrible things, but that does not make the true followers of this path worthy of such attacks. For me, personally, its about doing the best I can, to follow the commandments of Allah, and live as a good Muslim.

Finally, I'm very concerned about this watered down version of Islam that is running rampant in the US these days. There are entire groups of people that seem dedicated to twisting and changing the true meaning of Islam. Once they find a venue for their ideas, and others to wrongly confirm them, they go crazy. I worry that people looking for answers... Muslims and non Muslims alike.... will be mislead terribly by all of this.

I ask Allah to guide us all.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Things DO work out for the best!

A few posts ago I talked about the happy Muslimah who was very disappointed when she was told she could not fulfill a role assigned to her at a dawah event. Well if you haven't already figured it out... the happy Muslimah is ME! Anyway, back to the story... as it turns out we did not go to the event at all, but as doors close, others open.

Some very good friends of ours were going to a conference in New Jersey that same weekend, and asked us to come too. All 3 of us got in the car Saturday morning and drove down to the conference, getting there at about 1:00 in the afternoon. The hotel was very nice, but what made this a really special event was that there were close to 1,000 muslim brothers and sisters there all on the same deen. 95% of the sisters were niqabi and there was not a clean shaven face to be seen on any brother over 18! Now I know that some will argue that wearing a niqab or growing a beard does not make you a better Muslim, and they could be right in some cases, but when its done with the correct intention, it is a wonderful thing.

The conference's focus was on misconceptions in Islam. The speakers were excellent, and we purchased quite a few CD's of the lectures that we had missed. All of the vendors selling books had authentic material. No need to worry if you were buying something a bit 'iffy'. There was separate shopping times set up for sisters and brothers so if you wanted, you didn't have to feel uncomfortable in the crowd. There was also halal food served with separate times, so that the sisters could eat in the room with their veils up.

This was a very nice experience, and I thank Allah subhanhu wa 'tallah for giving us this chance to attend this event.

Oh and one more thing. It was only $10 a day to hear the lectures. Not $30-$60 like for other events.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Nature - The Art Of Allah

Its this time of year when the plants really start to bloom that I find my self praising Allah for the beauty in Nature. It also serves as a true sign that everything is created by Allah. If you look closely at even a simple leaf you can see the most amazing detail and beauty in the patterns of the veins. The petals of a flower hold such rich and beautiful color... how could this be by chance? Only the mighty and majestic Creator of the alameen could produce such perfection.

I have a background in photography, and while I trained in commercial photography, I always wanted to capture images of nature. They are no substitute for the real thing. No one can duplicate what Allah has created.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Story Time

Once upon a time, in a land called Mulan Pea there was a revert Muslimah who loved Islam very much. When she accepted Islam it changed her life, and made her a better person, alhamdulilah! About a year after reverting to Islam the Happy Muslimah started wearing the veil and became a Niqabi. She had done a lot of reading on the subject and found it to be an obligation (in her opinion).

Along with being very happy with her new faith, she was very happy to help others learn about it. She joined online groups and forums dedicated to spreading the word of Islam. The Happy Muslimah had a lot to learn about Dawah, but she tried her best.

One day an opportunity came along to volunteer for a dawah seminar. The seminar was part of a yearly convention for a rather large Islamic Organization in Mulan Pea. The sister enthusiastically participated in getting the word out about this event and any thing else she could help with. At times things seemed a bit unorganized, but she pressed on.

Finally, as the event drew closer she was asked to be one of the people that greeted the guests as they arrived and give them a tour of the rest of the convention. She was very excited about this opportunity. Unfortunately, when one of the organizers found out she was a niqabi, they didn't want her to do it anymore. She might scare the non-muslim guests. The Happy Muslimah was crushed.

As a niqabi, the sister had experienced some hard times because of the veil, but she felt that it was the right thing to do, so she didn't let it stop her. Never did she expect to be discriminated against by other Muslims. More than once, people had come right up to her and asked her about her veil and were genuinely interested. She was able to show the people of Mulan Pea that she was just a regular woman under there.

Sadly, the whole thing upset her very much, and her husband decided that they would not be attending the convention at all.

Alhamdulilah, Allah guides us to the right path.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Feminism & Islam

From the American Heritage Dictionary:
  1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
  2. The movement organized around this belief.

I've read a lot of interesting perspectives on feminism in Islam over the last few months. Some of them highlighting the freedoms and rights that Islam gives, and some mocking them as inadequate. Strangely enough, both of these perspectives have been coming from Muslim women.

Before I accepted Islam, I can admit I knew nothing about the rights it gives to women. As an outsider I had the same misconceptions that most people have. Women are oppressed, beaten down and 2nd class citizens. Once I started to learn about Islam, all of these things melted away. As my knowledge grew, so did my respect for a religion that offers so many rights to women.

One of the things that really struck me as amazing was the story of Adam and Hawa (Eve). In Christianity God prohibited both of them from eating the fruits of the forbidden tree. Eve was seduced by the serpent to eat from it, and in turn seduced Adam to do the same. When God asked Adam about what he did, he put all the blame on Eve, "The woman you put here with me --she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it." For this sin, they both were told they must leave the Garden of Eden. Childbirth would be painful for Eve, and she would be ruled by her husband. For him, the ground would not yield crops easily and he would have to toil for his food.

As you can see, in Christianity, Eve is the one to blame. In the Quran it says:

"O Adam dwell with your wife in the Garden and enjoy as you wish but approach not this tree or you run into harm and transgression. Then Satan whispered to them in order to reveal to them their shame that was hidden from them and he said: 'Your Lord only forbade you this tree lest you become angels or such beings as live forever.' And he swore to them both that he was their sincere adviser. So by deceit he brought them to their fall: when they tasted the tree their shame became manifest to them and they began to sew together the leaves of the Garden over their bodies. And their Lord called unto them: 'Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you that Satan was your avowed enemy?' They said: 'Our Lord we have wronged our own souls and if You forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be lost' " (7:19:23).

The Quran places blame with neither of them. The pain of childbirth is not a punishment and they are both forgiven for their sin.

Islam gives women true rights. Rights that we should be grateful for. I think the problem happens when some 'feminist sisters' try to compare the 'rights' of modern western women to those of the rights given to us by Allah Subhannah wa Ta'Allah. Who is to say that those rights of modern women are really any better than those given to us by Allah?

I find that most sisters that call themselves feminist are doing a disservice to Islam. Instead of embracing the rights that women are given and sharing it with others, they spend time finding news and articles of how women are being oppressed. What good does it do, to point out things that have nothing to do with Islam as practice of Muslims?

Islam is a perfect religion. We don't need to alter it, reject parts of it or interpret it so that it fits any modern standard.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Is the Knowledge Being Taken Away?

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al' As: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray." (Book #3, Hadith #100)

This hadith was brought up in one of my classes a few weeks ago and I really can't stop thinking about it. It says so much about what is happening today. Many of our great scholars are getting older and dying and we are not getting so many great ones to replace them.

I am not going to name names, because that always gets me in trouble, but I find that the Ummah is starting to treat some of these 'scholars' of modern times like rock stars. Focusing on their method of delivery rather than the validity of the content. I've also seen people relying more and more on people who are not really scholars at all. These men have studied certain aspects of Islam, but are far from the level of the true scholars of the past and present. **I am editing this part out, because even though I didn't name names, it still got me in trouble. I'm sure we can all think of someone that fits this description.**

I always found it sad when a new revert to Islam is misguided by one of these people. May allah protect us all from that.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Eating Out

We had a long weekend a couple of weeks ago and the whole family was able to drive to Vermont to visit my mom. We had a nice time, helped her with a few things around the house and got a chance to relax.

We left on Sunday at about 4:00 in the afternoon. After driving for just over an hour we stopped in Rutland VT at a steak house for dinner. We decided to go there because we knew they would have some decent fish choices on the menu.

When we walked in I asked the hostess if we could be seated somewhere off in a corner so I could eat in peace with my niqab up. She lead us to a room that was full of empty tables, so I thought I would be safe. I was wrong. About 5 minutes later they bring in a family (I think it was a family) of a man a woman and a teenage girl. The man was wearing a confederate flag T-shirt. I really didn't know anyone was stupid enough to wear one of those anymore... especially in the North?? Anyway, I switched places with my husband so my back would be to them and thought I had it beat, but again, I was wrong. Another 10 minutes and they bring in a party of 8! Ok I give up!

When the food arrives I give it a try... and guess what? Its not hard at all to eat with a niqab.... I mean it would be easier without it, but its not as tricky as I thought it would be. Mind you I was eating crab cakes and not spaghetti... but it was nice to know that I could do it if I had to!

As the meal goes on, my son decides to tell us all of the Arabic letters and a word to go with each. Of course this had to be at 9 year old sound level, so I'm sure everyone heard him. He is a good boy, mashallah. The final crowning glory to the meal was when the people at the next table ordered wine and a couple of beers. My son leans over to me and says 'mommy, they are not muslims are they?'. I said no I don't think so, why? He then said, 'because they are drinking and thats HARAM!!! '

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Masjid Police - again!

I hate to keep going on about this but....

I got to the masjid early for my class. I went into the masallah to make salah and it was nice a quiet. when I was done about 6 teenage girls (12-13) came roaring in laughing and talking etc. I ignored them for the time being, not wanting to be seen as the 'Giant Meanie' of before.

I started to read a book, and they all decided they wanted to have races back and fourth across the floor! Still I do nothing. Finally another sister comes in to make salah. While she is in Sujood, the girls race past her, trip, fall and nearly land on the praying sister!!!

This is when I lost it! I leaned over and told them in the angry hushed voice to knock it off! This is a masallah not a playground and you are old enough to know better! It was just then that I noticed that one of the participants of this inappropriate behavior was the Imam's oldest daughter!

I really get discouraged that children are not taught to respect the masallah. They are old enough to see that someone is trying to make salah, and that what they are doing is distracting and childish. When I have to sit and wait for something with my 9 year old, he has books and a few cars to play with and he knows to be quiet! I just don't understand how parents let their children act like this? And the worst part is that the imam's daughter was part of it!!! How can we expect other parents to educate their children on the etiquette of the masjid, if he doesn't?

I know this happens everywhere, but I really wish that it could be a bit more under control. In any case, since I've already established my self as the 'Giant Meanie' and now the "Masjid Police' I will continue to do so. If it helps just one bit, thats enough for me.