Saturday, December 26, 2009

Innovation FYI

Have you ever tried to warn someone of an innovation only to have them come back and say that driving a car, using a computer and talking on the phone is an innovation too, so what you are calling an innovation cannot possibly be valid? Well if you have, I'm sure you have to stop yourself from rolling your eyes in frustrated disgust.

If we look at the hadith that best covers this issue we can clearly see that the innovation we are talking about has to do with innovations to the RELIGION, not everyday technological advances.

"Indeed, the most evil of matters in the religion are the newly invented ones, and every innovation in the religion is bid`ah, andevery bid`ah is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire."

I feel true embarrassment for those who use the 'well you drive a car' argument to defend some innovation that they are attached to. May Allah swt guide them and protect them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Revert Story

One of the reversion stories that I have always loved is that of Yusuf Estes. You can watch it here if you have not seen it. Br Yusuf is a very charismatic man. He is at ease in front of a crowd, and has a sense of humor that puts others at ease as well. Each time I listen to him tell his story, I find something new that I had not heard before.
While listening to his story this time I was particularly taken by the part that has to do with his wife wanting to accept Islam. Br Yusuf had just found out that a Catholic Priest he knew had become Muslim. While telling his wife of the Priests reversion she told him she wanted a divorce. At first Br Yusuf thought that she wanted a divorce because she thought he was interested in accepting Islam, but in fact it was her that wanted to become a Muslim. She wanted a divorce because she knew that a Muslim woman could not be married to a Christian man.
What really struck me was this woman's deep conviction for her new faith. She was willing to give up her husband to do what was right. Subhanallah... most of us take months to get used to things... we don't cover, we don't pray, we certainly don't leave our husbands, but she was ready to jump right in. For sisters, all of the new responsibilities of being Muslim can be overwhelming, but for her it was not a problem. May Allah swt make it so easy for us all.
Inshallah this serves as a reminder to us all that as long as we trust in Allah that we can do anything he commands. As long as we ask him for help and guidance, we will always have the strength to do what is right, and what pleases him.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Serenity Comes from The Quran

I've been having some issues the last few days. I won't go into details, but it has not been fun. In any case, a friend of mine offered me some comfort and words of wisdom. Of course these words came from the Quran.

O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the right guidance and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do." [5:105]

These words are perfect. They give me serenity in times of turmoil, and they show me that to Allah swt, we will return. We all strive to follow the right guidance. Some have different ideas of what that is than others, but if you follow Quran and Sunnah, and enjoin good and forbid evil this ayat tells us that no harm can come to us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Authentic Statements - Christmas: A Birthday Celebration

Asalamu Alaikum is an excellent resource for Islamic knowledge. According to their 'about us' page,
Authentic Statements was primarily established to introduce the Muslims to the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah and the popular speakers who follow them in knowledge by way of both audio and visual materials.With the Muslims in the west in mind, it is our intention to bridge the gap, which more often than not is no more than a language barrier, with those who invite to Allâh with wisdom and insightful preaching.

I regularly get email updates from the site, and today I received an email with a link to the first of their new monthly newsletter. The topic of the newsletter is very fitting for this time of year and I wanted to share it with my brothers and sisters in hopes that you can benefit from it as well. I'll copy a small excerpt from it to get your started, and please click here for the full PDF newsletter.

There is no doubt that Allah the Glorified and Most High legislated two holidays for the Muslims in which they gather together for remembrance of Allah and prayer, which are Eidul-Fitr and Adha, (given as) a replacement for the pre-Islamic celebrations. He also legislated(other) holidays which include types of remembrance and worship such as Friday, the day of Arafah, and the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th, and 13th of Thul-Hijjah) and did not legislate Christmas, (a birthday celebration) neither for the prophet (salla Allahualaihi wa sallam) or anyone else and the textual evidence from both the Book and prophetic Traditions demonstrate that these birthday celebrations are innovations in the religion and a form of imitating those that oppose Allah

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Revealing Your Sins

I recently read a blog that openly revealed the persons sins. It was almost as if they were proud of the disobedience that they spoke of. I seem to notice this a lot lately and wonder if they are aware of the following hadith

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu `alayhi wa salam) said: “Every member of my nation will be forgiven, except those who expose their wrongdoings. An example of this is that of a man who commits a sin at night which Allaah then conceals, but, the next morning, he goes and says (to people): ‘I committed such and such a sin last night’ - while Allaah had kept it secret. During the night Allaah had concealed it, but in the morning he tore up the cover provided by Allaah Himself.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]

If you want to ignore the commands of our religion, then fine, but don't be so proud of it. Don't write it in your blog like you have no fear, so that everyone can cringe at your ignorance.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Allah Knows What is in My Heart

"Allah knows what is in my heart".... how many times have you heard this from someone who is trying to make excuses for why they don't follow a part of Islam? In one of my classes our teacher brought this up and then reminded us of Surah Al Asr

By time,

Indeed, mankind is in loss,

Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.

So you see, the Quran is telling us that we must do righteous deeds, and advise each other to the truth. Islam is a religion of inner and outer faith. We must believe it in our heart and show it with our actions.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What IS Important?

I'm not sure how to start this post. There are a lot of things running around in my head. I guess this all started a few days ago when someone told me about the head of Al Azhar humiliating a young woman into taking off her niqab and then basically called her ugly. Then a few days later, al Azhar made the move of banning niqab in the classroom. Read more about it here.

As a niqabbi I find this all really disturbing. I find it even more disturbing when I try to talk to other Muslims about it and they tell me I have to respect this man that called for the ban. Why should I? He obviously does not deserve my respect. He went as far as to say that niqab has no place in Islam? Really? So the mothers of the believers were wrong in wearing it? So the top scholars (Bin Bazz, Uthameen, Fawzaan) are wrong when they say its an obligation? I also get the same old lines from people when I discuss niqab. They always bring up that they know a niqabbi who does bad things AND that sometimes men disguise themselves in niqab to gain access to places they should not have access too. What do I say to that? So what! Just because some people do wrong things does that negate the right things? No, it doesn't.

One other response I get is that clothing does not make a Muslim. Yes, that is true, but following the commandments of Allah does. It is one of the same old arguments I get. When it gets down to it... people want to make excuses and throw up barriers. They want to tell me that dressing like an Arab is not required. I don't think I dress like an Arab, I dress like a Muslim, like I was commanded to dress. Just because abaya and niqab happen to fufill these requirements best does not mean it has anything to do with being arab.

Perhaps I'm delving in too deep here, but the resistance that is found at the level of clothing leads to much bigger issues. If you can't give up the fashion of this world for the sake of Allah you are pretty stuck aren't you? As an Ummah we spend so much time trying to redefine boundaries of Islam that we lose sight of what we should be doing. Worshipping Allah subhanna wa ta'alah. There is this wonderful guide book, its called the Quran.... it had everything we need to know. It also instructs us to listen to our Prophet, and we do that by following the hadiths... so whats the big problem here?

While there are other issues to be discussed in Islam, I find that if we can't get past the speed bump of covering properly that we are lost at the starting gate.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Update on lots of things

During Ramadan I wanted to write but never found the time, so here is a little update of what has been going on with me.

I started back to school teaching. It was right at the start of Ramadan so for the first few weeks of school I was tired and so were the kids. I am finally on Eid break and enjoying the quiet.

My henna business has been going slow but good. I had a chance to do a woman's event with another henna artist and it was great to meet her. The only drawback was that it was totally non Muslim. When I arrived, I checked in with the front desk to find out where I should go. Once I found my friend I excused myself to go pray and break fast. When I came back she told me that the event organizers had come over and asked her if I was going to wear 'that' the entire time, meaning my veil. My friend told me when I got back what was said. At the time I laughed it off, but the more I thought about it the more it made me angry. There were women there with various body parts hanging out for all to see, but because I was covered I was a problem? Other than that little issue things went fine and I had some great conversations with the ladies that I did do henna for. They all had questions about Islam and it was nice to share my art and give dawah at the same time.

On Eid day, we went to the early salat at the masjid. It was totally packed, I could not even get in and prayed in the hallway. Towards the end a few sisters came out early. One was wearing a sari with her somach showing... I just about died, but didn't say anything.... I was too shocked to even get a word out. After that a bunch of us went to IHOP for breakfast. The girls were at one table and the boys at another. It was so nice and peaceful to just be with all of these muslims talking about our Ramadan experiences and having yummy food! After that my husband and I went to the Eid carnival to set up to vend. He was selling books for and of course I was doing henna. We did well and were busy the whole time. I was sad to see so many sisters not covered but what can I do. I had one young lady come to me for henna and she was not covered at all, and wearing tight revealing clothing. As she was getting henna some of her other girl friends and some young men were making so much noise in the tent next to us. Then some of the boys came over to see what she was doing. I told them (nicely) that as young muslim men they needed to back about 10 feet off of this beautiful young girl and lower their gaze. They all laughed and talked about being told off by the niqabi! I then asked the young lady when she was going to cover, and she said soon inshallah. Now all of this was done in fun with them, nothing accusatory or rude, so it was a nice chance to give dawah to some young brothers and sister that obviously needed it.

So now I have a week off and so does my husband. We are going to take our son to the zoo tomorrow inshallah... If I have any fun stories from that i'll let you know. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

I know a Muslim who.....

I've been participating on a henna forum recently. I mainly go to it to get design ideas, ask questions about essential oils, and see other people work. There are so many talented people that post on that site, mashallah.

When I first joined the site, I noticed there were a few other Muslim henna artists so I decided I would ask for their help with how to deal with a few issues I was concerned about. I submitted a post with a few questions to the other Muslim artists. I asked them 3 things

1. How do you deal with not being able to henna men? (I have a festival coming up and I wondered if I should post a sign saying women and children only)

2. How do you deal with not doing images of animals or people in your designs?

3. How do you deal with not doing religious symbols in your designs?

I didn't exclude the non Muslims, and actually said they could give advice as well. I did get some confused responses from non Muslims about not henna'ing men. They said that they had done bridal henna for Muslims where the groom also had them put henna on them. I explained that not all Muslims follow the rules, but in general we should not be touching or be touched by the opposite sex that is not a member of our family.

What shocked me was a response from an artist that said she was Muslim. She posted "Why not henna men? There's nothing written against it." When I read this response my jaw hit the floor. Nothing written against it? Of course there is. I was not sure she was Muslim at that point so I asked and she said she was. I looked at her links and confirmed that indeed, she had no problem with henna'ing shirtless men, doing animal designs and pagan symbols. I know that not everyone that says they are Muslim follow Islam like I do, but it always makes me cringe when one Muslim contradicts another 'in front' of non Muslims. It just adds to the confusion. It gives them a 'I know a Muslim who....' story to tell.

A couple of weeks later a very nice woman submitted a post about being invited to do henna for an Eid event. This artist is not Muslim and was asking for some tips on what to expect, and any advice. I wrote back to her and said that most Muslim men will not get henna from a woman, and they don't usually shake hands with women. I also said that she might want to avoid bring pattern books with animals or any religious symbols. Innocent enough I thought, until another non Muslim artist came and posted that "
Jamila's is a very strict interpretation of Islam". She went on to say that while in Morocco she saw many men getting henna from women and she did some herself. Now first of all, my interpretation of Islam is not 'strict' in the sense that most non Muslim people would think. Its not even my interpretation! Its that of the top scholars of the religion. I follow the religion as best I can, and as closely as I can. Its not strict, its, well... its right! Later in the same topic another artist posted this: "By the way I'm Muslim and don't have any problems at all hennaing men/boys/animals etc". Again I check her links to her work and yes, she does henna men and animals.

The two Muslim artists that said they had no problem henna'ing men also have another important thing in common. They don't cover. So I guess if they don't think they need to follow Allah's command to protect themselves with hijab, why would they bother following his command not to touch non machram men?

My whole point to this post is that its unfortunate that we have Muslims out there that don't feel it necessary to represent Islam in truth. They have no problem contradicting other Muslims on things that are clearly supported by Quran and sunnah. You notice that they don't qualify their statements by saying that they don't fully practice Islam. They only want to justify their own disobedient behavior.

I ask Allah to guide them to the straight path. To protect them from sin, and bring them peace.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Website

My website for Jamilah Henna Creations is complete. Please check it out!

Standing in Line

Today as we were standing in line at a wholesale club two teenagers with their mother found me very interesting to stare at. One of the kids was wearing a studded dog collar. I waved so they might realize I know they are looking at me for way too long. I still can't get over the dog collar.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dishonesty and taking responsibility

This past weekend I was a vendor at a sisters event. I was actually contacted by the organizer to come because she has been given my henna business card. I was told that it was a 6 hour event promoting sisters businesses. There would be a tele link with a woman in Saudi and a fashion show. I asked her how many people usually came, and she was sort of vague, but it sounded ok so I agreed to do it and send via paypal my booth fee.

A week later I emailed her asking how many other vendors where going to be there. She wrote back and told me that another henna vendor would be there. So I called her and said if that is the case perhaps I should just not come, because I can't imagine there will be enough business for the two of us. At that point she assured me that last year there were 2 henna vendors and they had lines all day. So, I still went.

Well let me tell you... it was not anything like I expected. There were 10 total vendors there including me. No one showed up until 1 pm (it started at noon). When it was time for the tele-link the organizer MADE us leave our booth and go to another room to hear the lecture. We sat there for almost an hour and heard nothing because they got the time wrong. At that point I was not a happy girl. We went back to the vending area only to have everyone pulled out again for the fashion show. Now we were not forced to go to this, but it only really benefited the sisters selling clothes and all of the sisters attending (perhaps 30 at best) were gone for another 40 minutes watching that. Finally about an hour later we were all FORCED to go back to listen to a lecture by a brother they must have called to fill in for the tele link. There goes another 30 minutes. So all total I might have been able to vend for 4 broken up hours. I did 4 kids and 2 adults. I make $30.

This event was a 3 hour drive from my house. I was gone from 7Am to 10PM. When I wrote to the sister to express my disappointment she ignored me. At the event she told me it was the will of Allah that the event went the way it did. Yes I can accept that, but it was her words that convinced me that I should go. I've written to her twice and she has not responded. I tried to dispute part of my booth fee in paypal but they don't deal with disputes on non item payments. Of course she responded to that right away.

I'm not only disappointed that I wasted my time and money, but I'm really disappointed that sometimes you can't trust other Muslims to own up to what they said and did and make it right. This was supposed to be a very 'salafi' event, and now I can see why some people have a problem with that term. Some people really give it a bad name. That is really sad. The Salaf would never have acted like this.

So, I have to let this go and just move on. I'm grumpy about it, but I'll ask Allah to forgive me for any bad feelings I have about it and leave it behind. May Allah guide us all to be honest and accountable for ourselves.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Henna Forum That I like

Just a quick plug for a henna forum I found. I just started a month ago, but its kind of neat to read all of the posts and ideas... give it a shot!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

latest Henna

I'm excited to start a henna business...just something on the side... check out some of the pictures and my spiffy new business card!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ruling on Celebrating Birthdays in Islam

The following is a ruling by Shaikh Bin Baaz on celebrating birthdays in Islam. Sometimes its just best left to the scholars.

Question: What is the ruling concerning celebrating birthdays?

Response: Celebrating birthdays has no source whatsoever in the pure shariah. In fact, it is an innovation, since the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

"Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours that does not belong to it shall have that action rejected."

This was recorded by both al-Bukhari and Muslim. In a version recorded by Muslim and by al-Bukhari in definitive muallaq form1,

"Whoever performs a deed which is not in accord with our affairs, that deed is rejected."

It is well-known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not celebrate his birthday at all during his lifetime nor did he ever order it to be celebrated. Nor did he teach such to his Companions. Therefore, the rightly-guided caliphs and all of his Companions did not celebrate it. They are the most knowledgeable of the people concerning his sunnah and they are the most beloved to the Prophet (peace be upon him). They were also the most keen upon following whatever the Prophet (peace be upon him) brought. Therefore, if one is supposed to celebrate the Prophet's birthday, this would have been made evident at their time. Similarly, not one of the scholars of the best generations2 celebrated his birthday nor did they order it to be done.

Therefore, it is known from the above that such a celebration is not from the Law that Allah sent Muhammad (peace be upon him) with. We ask Allah and all Muslims to witness that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) had done so or ordered such to be done, or even if his Companions had done so, we would rush to do it and call others to do it. This is because, and all praises are due to Allah, we are the most keen in following his sunnah and respecting his commands and prohibitions. We ask Allah, for ourselves and for all of our brethren Muslims, steadfastness upon the truth, avoiding everything that differs from Allah's pure shariah. Verily, He is Generous and Noble.

Shaikh Ibn Baz

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Doubtful Matters

On the authority of Al-Numan bin Basheer, who said : I heard the messenger of Allah say : "That which is lawful is plain and that which is unlawful is plain and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which not many people know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but he who falls into doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allah's sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be whole, all the body is whole and which, if it be diseased, all of it is diseased. Truly it is the heart." narrated by Bukhari and Muslim

In my class last Friday we discussed this hadith. I found it interesting because it makes clear to me those 'doubtful matters' that we all think about. I also thought this might help some Muslims that are struggling to give up things where there are differing opinions. Basically this hadith is saying that there are things that are haram and things that are halal. These things are clear. Then there are the things that are doubtful. It is best for us to avoid these things... as it says above to clear ourselves in regard to our religion and our honor. So things like music (which I think is one of the clear things, but a lot of people do not) should be avoided because its a doubtful matter. Perhaps this will be the thing that will help those that are struggling with those sticky subjects that have 'differing opinions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

To the shore

Last Monday a sister and I went to the shores of Connecticut with my son. We took a picnic lunch and I did the sisters henna. It was a really nice day, and the water was beautiful. We sat at a spot where there was a bridge that opens up to let the ships pass. People were around us but didn't seem bothered by us at all.

As we walked back to the car, warm and happy some idiot rode by on a moped and yelled at us to 'go home'. Ugh.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


From 1919 to 1933 alcohol became illegal to sell, produce and consume in the United States. It was called the "Noble Experiment". Over that period of time the government spent millions trying to enforce this law. Over a half a million people were arrested for crimes associated with alcohol and organized crime had a new outlet for it's mischievous ways. Finally, they had to give up and repeal the law.

Now lets go back about 1400 years. The ayat of the Quran is revealed:

They ask you (O Muhammad
) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit." And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: "That which is beyond your needs." Thus Allâh makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought.

Once the companions heard this revelation they immediately stopped drinking. Some of them had wine in their hands, they threw it. Some had it in their mouths, they spit it out. Some even went as far as to induce vomiting to get any out of their stomachs. The streets of Medina were reported to have flowed with wine because everyone was throwing it away. Subhannallah! They did not need to question one thing. They did not complain or argue they just obeyed.

The reaction of the companions is very noteworthy because it shows how dedicated they were to their religion. They followed the law set fourth by Allah subhannah wa t'ala. The Prophet salalahu alayhi wa salam, did not need to spend millions enforcing it, he did not need to worry about the companions sneaking alcohol around the City. He only had to reveal the ayat to them, and they obeyed. If only the Ummah would do that now.

As an Ummah we find excuse after excuse to do what we want. To dress as we want, to behave as we want, to entertain ourselves as we want. We pretend that we don't know whats right, when we really do. The message of Islam is clear. There is no confusion. As I do my blog travels and read articles on sites, I find myself becoming more and more disappointed with the kind of information being put fourth. There is more of a focus on changing and twisting Islam to fit a modern society than there is on simple tawheed and obedience to our creator.

When I find stories like this one, about the companions being so obedient, it makes me want to be a better Muslim. Inshallah it does the same for all of you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What a joke

Just saw this on CNN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel could accept a peace agreement with a "demilitarized Palestinian state" as its neighbor.

In his first speech accepting the concept of a two-state solution for the Middle East conflict, Netanyahu set rigid conditions for moving forward. Among them: unequivocal Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish national state with Jerusalem as its capital, and full demilitarization for a Palestinian state -- no army, no rockets or missiles, no control of airspace.

What a joke? Who does he think he is? Ok, we'll allow them their own state but they have to remain defenseless against us and any other attacks that may come along, oh and they have to agree to full recognition of their oppressors.... its totally frustrating. I can't wait to see what the US says about this. Who made them in control? Would any other country think they could pull this stunt? Oh, except for our own. Telling another country that they can't have a military? Why don't they just add that they all have to wear I heart Israel t-shirts as well. Disgusting.

No its not, no its not, no its not

Ughghhhh. This is the answer I get when I give people proof from Quran and Sunnah that something is an obligation. That's it. 'No its not'. Ooooooh, wow, I'm owned now.

Ok, I'm done ranting. That is just truly annoying.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Why we wear it

I went to a sisters gathering with the teachers that I work with. Up until that time I had never seen any of them without hijab. It was a very good lesson on why we wear hijab. I'm not going to individually point out how beautiful they were, but it was amazing how different they all looked.

Allah Subhanna wa T'ala knows what he is doing when he tells us to cover, and I saw one of those reasons first hand when I saw all of my sisters that day. Inshallah we can all be strong and cover properly.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

ICNA, Dissapointment and headscarves

Last weekend was a vendor at the ICNA conference. We didn't really make any money but we got out name out there and orders have picked up since then. Alhamdulilah.

Now for the disappointing part. From the moment we started to unload our car at the loading dock, I was so sad to see Muslim women not covered. Now I know that some people will be upset with me for saying that, but I just felt sad. This sadness grew as the convention went on. Women walking around with the scarf around their shoulders instead of on their head. Some women in sleeveless dresses with low backs. I understand that some muslimahs do not cover, but when you are going to an Islamic event can't you just pretend? At one point I went to the ladies room to fix my scarf. As I was talking off the layers (niqab, scarf, underscarf) a sister came in that was not covered. She was watching me out of the corner of her eye, and I guess I was watching her too. She took out a brush and brushed her highlighted hair. Then she put some lip gloss on and played with her hair some more. She was very pretty. She had on tight jeans, high heels and a tight shirt. I was just sad. Not mad, not judgemental, just sad. WHY?

What I want to understand is why some Muslim women choose not to wear a headscarf. I seriously want to learn. I'm not trying to be mean here, I just want to hear from some sisters as to why they don't do it. Do you not find it to be an obligation? Are you 'not ready'? If you are 'not ready' why? What holds you back? Please don't anyone take offense to any of this... I just really want to understand why.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Punishment in the Grave

I've been listening to a lecture about death, the grave and the day of judgment. It has been quite and eye opener. It has made me want to be better in this life, and to try my best to avoid things that would make Allah subhannah wa t'ala displeased with me.

One of the hadiths mentioned in this lecture was that the Prophet salalahu allaihi wa salam was taken in a dream by two angels. They showed him many ways that people are punished in the grave. The one that stood out to me most was the one about a man lying on his back, with someone standing over him with a huge rock. The rock would be thrown at the man's head and crush it, then the rock would roll off and his head would grow back and it would be crushed again... and again... and again. This was punishment for knowing the Quran but not living by it. How scary is that?

This makes me want to be so careful about things. It also makes me wonder why so many people want to take the chance to try to modify the clear message of the Quran.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walmart Muslim

Last Friday I needed to go to Walmart for a few things. When I was checking out the young man at the cash register asked me "If I said Asalamu alaikum to you, would you know what that meant?" I responded wa alaikum asalam, and asked him if he knew what it meant and he said of course he did he was Muslim too... from Bosnia.

While I was waiting in that check out line, he was talking to the cashier on the register next to him about going out that night, and what they were going to do. I also noticed the GIANT gold chain that the kid was wearing. So, it was a bit of a surprise when he said he was Muslim. I also wondered why he asked me if I knew what asalamu Aliakum meant... I mean, I'm wearing an abaya and full niqab, I would hope I knew what it meant.

As I was gathering my bags, he handed me my receipt and said 'here you go sweetheart'. Oh well... you can't win them all.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shopping In NYC

I went shopping yesterday with a girlfriend in New York City. We took the train and then had to find the right subway. What a disaster! We were on the wrong one, and instead of 20 min we were on Subways for about 2 hours!

All was not lost... at least i could people watch. Some people were interesting. There was a dad with his two young kids. They were all over the place and he was trying his best to keep them under control. It was so cute when the little girls hair started to fall out of her pony tail. The dad had to put it back up and he was so good at it mashallah. It was just sweet to see. New York is full of strange people, so I was surprised that so many people looked at me! Not the usual..oh...she has a veil on. They actually watched me. Odd. One guy in a business suit just could not stop... whatever.

Once we finally got to where we were going we didn't have much time to shop at all. We were tired and frustrated from the eternal subway ride, so it didn't turn out to be much fun. I got some black seed oil and an abaya... No time for much else. One other thing that made me crazy was that no store had change. If you gave them a $10 or $20 they had to run next door and get change... this happened in 3 places!

The subway trip pack to Penn station was fine. We made sure to ask people this time. We asked the people that work at the subway station and they were kind of mean about it. Then we asked a nice police man and he helped us more.

Once on the train I tried to do some henna for my friend... that was funny. It came out ok, but you could tell we were on a train. It was a bit shaky!
At one stop a girl got on and sat with the guy behind us. Most of the time I try to ignore people's conversations but she had such a 'valley girl' voice (remember that from the 80's?) that I could not help it. She was on the phone with a friend and kept saying things like 'be sure to save a beer for me' and 'you've been drinking way too much...hehehe'. I have the feeling she was trying to impress the guy next to her. Yuck. Once they started talking it was all flirting and giggling from her. I was dying to see what she looked like! At that point I had only heard her. When we finally got up I was not disappointed. She was very tan and had about 5 different highlight colors in her hair. It reminded me of how much I don't miss the way I was. Granted I never flirted with men on trains or talked excessively about drinking, but I was so concerned with outward things that I had little time for anything else. Alhamdulilah I'm not like that anymore.

So I think we won't be going back for a while unless my husband drives us. That was rough!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Remember When...

I remember when I was learning about Islam, before I reverted, and I thought that every Muslim was devout and faithful to Islam. Some part of this stuck with me for quite some time. Its not that I don't realize that there are Muslims out there that are just Muslim in name, or Muslims who don't want to be too serious, but I always thought that the gift of Islam was so precious that everyone kept it as the most important priority in their life.

Now I am coming to the realization that just like Christianity (and any other religion I suppose) that Islam has its followers that equate to a 'Sunday Christian' (or even a Easter/Christmas Christian). These are Muslims who claim Islam as their religion, but don't really take it too seriously. They don't feel they have to follow the basic tenets of the religion. They don't pray 5 times a day regularly. They don't really care too much about true Modesty. They don't wear hijab (sisters and brothers), and they feel that their career, race or gender is more important of a trait than their religion. These are not people who struggle with these things, they simply just don't care. There is a difference. There are Muslims who let this dunya take over sometimes, but struggle to come back to the straight path. Then there are the ones that want to do anything and everything to justify why they do what they do, but don't care to just submit to Islam and follow it correctly.

I talked a few posts ago about blogs that make me crazy... and I really have to stop reading them. Its like looking at a car wreck. You know you shouldn't, but you can't seem to help yourself. I think I do it sometimes just to make myself upset... to remind myself of what horrors are out there I guess. Sounds pretty stupid eh? I read some random thing today where someone was trying to justify Muslim women marrying non Muslim men... it just blows my mind. The logic (or lack there of) to this post was that there are not any good Muslim men so why can't we marry a good non-Muslim? Ummmm... we can't marry non Muslim men because Allah said so!

And do not marry Al-Mushrikat (idolatresses, etc.) till they believe (worship Allah Alone). And indeed a slave woman who believes is better than a (free) Mushrikah (idolatress), even though she pleases you. And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al-Mushrikun till they believe (in Allah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater), even though he pleases you. Those (Al-Mushrikun) invite you to the Fire, but Allah invites (you) to Paradise and Forgiveness by His Leave, and makes His Ayat (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to mankind that they may remember.

What else do you need? why bother writing a post about it?

So now I must go forward and realize that there are going to be levels of Muslims and just accept it. I can only pray for their guidance and try to do whats best to please Allah.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Recommendation

This post is going to be an offshoot of one I wrote a while back about niqab. It seems to have come up again a few times, and I wanted to share a book that I read that helped me make my decision about it being an obligation to veil.

The book is called Four Essays on the Obligation of Veiling and contains 4 essays by some of the best scholars of our time: Bin Baaz, Uthaimeen, Fawzaan and Madkhalee.

The first time I read this book it set for me what my obligations were in relation to hijab. I could not doubt it anymore. The proofs were too strong. I've just started to re-read it and I wanted to share a part that I really found interesting from the essay by Uthaimeen:

Ibn Umar reported that the Prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salam said 'Whoever trail his garment out of pride, Allah will not look at him on the day of Judgement.' So Umm Salamah asked 'Then what should the women do with the hems of their dresses?' The Prophet said 'Let them extend their hems the length of a hand span.' She said 'But their feet would still be exposed.' So he replied 'Then let them extend it a forearm's length and no more.' (reported by Abu Dawood)

There is evidence in this hadeeth that a woman is obligated to cover her feet. This was a well known matter amongst the Sahaabiyaat. Without a doubt, the foot is less a place of fitnah than the face and hands. Thus, warning against something that is a lesser danger also consists of a warning against what is greater and superior than it, based on the wisdom of the Last Revelation. Would it obligate the covering of an area that is less of a place of fitnah, and allow the exposing of that which is a greater area of fitnah? Indeed this a clear contradiction that is not possible for the wisdom of Allah and his legislation.

So if anyone has an interest to study the obligation further please consider this book as a good place to start.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Visiting home

Last week, I went to Vermont to visit my mom and sister. I took my son with me and we had a very nice time. My son really behaved the entire time and was very sweet, which made it even better.

On Thursday I drove up to visit my sister and we went out shopping and had a great time. At one point she was going to take me to the only halal restaurant around so she asked if she could wear a scarf too! We had a great time trying to get it on her in the car (tiny Jetta), we laughed so hard that we were crying. Finally we got it on and went looking for the place but never found it. :( Instead we got some Chinese food and she kept it on when she went in to get it. It was really sweet of her to be so supportive. May Allah guide her to the right path.

I'll be going up again this weekend to go to a craft show with mom. I love those things and its something really cool that we can do together. It gives us a chance to talk and laugh. When I was up there last week, we had that same conversation where she tells me that she never prays to Jesus, but only to God, and that she thinks communion is gross! Its a start I guess. I am always trying to tell her about Islam, and do my best to show her the truth.

And to top it off, here are some pictures of the sunset off of my moms front deck. Alhamdulilah!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I read a lot of blogs. I've narrowed myself down to the ones that don't drive me insane. The ones that drive me insane are usually feminist drivel from Muslimahs that want to put gender before Islam and announce it to the world through their pretentious articles written on topics that only degrade women, not lift them up.

Most of the blogs I read are by intelligent Muslim women who are strict on their deen. They are strong, smart and knowledgeable about Islam. These are the sisters that I take comfort in. We share ideals and learn from each other. These are the things that keep me going. Knowing there are sisters out there that think like I do and support me as I support them.

Now comes the venting part. I know that my viewpoints are considered 'strict' to some, but it drives me crazy to no end when people try to blame me for them. They are not MY opinions, they are the opinions of some of the top scholars of Islam. The next question I always get is 'who do you think the top scholars are?', and when I reply, I just get people saying that they are too strict as well. It makes me crazy when people try to find every conceivable way to make questionable actions allowed, and then turn around and call me strict for following Quran and Sunnah.

Now on to my next rant topic. Fashion. I find it very sad that more muslimahs write about what cute outfit they put together than about issues that Muslims face today. If I see one more polyvore outfit with skin tight jeans, an overly loud tight shirt covered by an equally loud fitted jacket, I'll scream (oh yes, and add the insane 5 inch high heel shoes in some ridiculous color). Why are we so obsessed with looking cute? That is reserved for our husbands and family, not for the rest of the world. If some spent half the time they do on their clothes on learning their deen they might be better off.

Now for the disclaimer. This was a rant. I was venting. I'm allowed that right? These are the kinds of things that you say in your head all the time but don't dare say out loud. I'm not looking for a fight, or any nasty comments, so just save it. Sometimes I just need to get it out, and I did.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sometimes I Forget

Friday was a busy day for us. Both my husband and I had a day off and so did my son. We all went to Jummah... it was totally packed! After Jummah we gave a brother and his wife a ride home and went to a sisters house to fix a hole in her wall. Once we were done with that we had an apartment building to go see.

We agreed to check out this building for a friend of ours from New York. He is thinking of buying an apartment building here and wanted our opinion before he drove the 3 hours to get here to see it himself.

The building had 10 units, fully rented. Not the best neighborhood, but it was ok. Right across from an elementary school. I've never had to 'look at a building' before so when I realized that we were going to go into occupied apartments to look around I felt awful! What an invasion of privacy! Now here is where the forgetting part comes in.

I am so used to the way I dress that I sometimes forget that it may be shocking for other people. The first apartment we went to was fine, the family was very nice, but the kids looked terrified of me. oops. The next apartment we went to look at would not let us in. The realtor showing us the place told me to stay out of site until the next apartment occupant agreed to let us in... I hid around the corner. That felt so strange. Once they opened the door and I came around the corner they looked so shocked. This part of town is mainly Hispanic and therefore Catholic so I'm sure they were not too pleased to see me, but I tried my best to be polite and show a good example.

So, this in comparison to my craft show day was quite a vast difference. Inshallah I got the chance at the apartment building to show these people that I'm not scary at all (and neither is my giant thobe wearing husband). I can show them that I love my family, I laugh, I talk to my son like a normal mother and I have manners.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Question at the Craft Show

Today some sisters and I went to a craft show. I love going to these things. There are so many creative people with beautiful things they have made. I am addicted to really nice pottery (although I can't afford to buy it anymore) and I love to see what the jewelers do as well.

I went to pick up 2 sisters and we were going to meet a 3rd at the show. We were there a bit early so we agreed to wait at the entrance for the 3rd sister. Time for question #1 from a perfect stranger:

Question #1: A group of women and children walked by. A little boy in a stroller said 'who are they, mommy?", she said they are ladies! One of the women in the back of the group turned around and came back to us and asked if she could ask me something. I said sure, and she said "How do you wear glasses when you roll like that?". So the question was, how does a niqabi wear glasses when wearing a veil. I answered that some of the niqabs are cut back wider just for that purpose. She thanked us and went on her way. So that was not so bad... A nice question from a curious person. No biggie.

Now on question #2, which really was not a question but more of a statement and greeting:

Question (statement) #2: We were still outside waiting when an older woman walked by and told me my scarf was pretty. I said thank you, and her husband said salam to us.... we said it back and that was it. They were not Muslim, but knew enough about us to say salam. Another nice interaction at the craft show.

So the 3rd sister arrives with her cute and cuddly baby, and we make our way into the show. We soon get sort of split up but we are not too far from each other. As we are looking at a booth, some other ladies come to us and ask question #3.

Question #3: First they asked if they could ask us a question, which is always nice (do people ever say no?). Anyway, they wanted to know why I wear a face veil and the other women don't. This was a bit more tricky but I explained that I think its an obligation in our religion but there is difference of opinion. I also said some women wear it and don't think its an obligation but wear it for additional modesty. They seemed happy with that. Asked if it was hot and then happily went on their way.

So another pleasant question from the masses.
So now for more shopping fun. We really get split up now, and I'm with one sister and the other two are off looking at things on their own. I walk by a booth selling almonds with Cinnamon on them and the man offers me a sample to try. So I try it and like it and decide to buy a bag. Now on to question #4.

Question #4: The almond vendor asks if I'm pretty under there! My friend comes up and says yes she is and
thats why she is wearing it. Only her husband and other woman and her family can see her. He joked with us some more and asked 'what about almond vendors, do they get to see?" I politely said no and we were on our way. A bit later when I walked by again he shouted out "come on, just one look, don't make me chase you!" I laughed a bit and kept going. Eeek.... not too bad but a bit scary.

So we keep shopping and we are now in the food isle of the show. There is a booth selling these HUGE eclairs. Of course we have to look at them! The woman behind the counter asks if she can ask me a question - Question #5!

Question #5: She asks, what is it called what you are wearing on your face? So I tell her its a niqab, she asked me to spell it, so I do. She said she met a woman from Iran that said she wears it to honor her... what do you call your God? I tell her Allah. She says yes, right Allah. Then she asks why I wear it so I tell her. Up until now its ok, but she then she says she feels sorry for me. I told her not to and that I'm very happy to cover and be modest like this. She says 'but men don't have to!' and I explain that they have a dress code as well. Then she brings up multiple wives. We explain to her that men can have more than one wife for many reason but that he must treat them all equally or he answers for it on the day of judgement. Finally she says 'well we were all born naked, and we were meant to be seen by the bird and trees and people'. I smile and say that the birds and trees can see me, but some of the people can't. So that was the end of that. Not too bad, but she was kind of argumentative about it.

I don't know what it is really. Perhaps people that go to craft shows feel more open and curious. It was such a
surprise to get asked so many questions all in a couple of hours. It was kind of nice actually. Inshallah we were able to show some people what Islam was about. May Allah subhannah wa t'ala guide them to the straight path.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Have you ever noticed that if you read a thread on a forum started by Christians that they rarely talk about God? Its all about Jesus. Everything. They dedicate everything to Jesus. They praise him, they love him they pray to him. He is love, he is the creator, he is everything? As I read these threads I can only think one thing... SHIRK! I know that to them its not shirk but its very surprising to see how little attention they give to the actual Creator.

I also find it interesting that around this time of year someone who claims to be a devout Christian will have anything to do with the easter bunny and easter eggs. Don't they realize that its a pagan mockery of something they claim to hold so dear? Whats worse is Muslims who celebrate it.. I mean really... don't they have anything better to do?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do I like the community?

I was talking to another staff member at school today (a revert like me) and she said that a lot of people ask her why they don't see her more for 'community events' at the masjid. She lowered her voice and said 'Jamilah, I don't like the community at this masjid'. She went on to say she felt bad about feeling that way but that every time she came to the masjid for anything she left frustrated or disgusted by what she saw. I thought about it for a moment and I said, you know... I totally agree with you.

I don't go to the masjid for much other than school, but if I happen to go there on a Saturday or Sunday for salat, I'm always completely frustrated by what I see. There are a few different groups of sisters that gather at the masjid every weekend. They all sit in the musallah and talk and eat and laugh.... oh and not watch their kids at all. Usually the kids are either running around like crazy in the musallah or they are downstairs destroying the school's property or in the bathroom flushing things down the toilet that don't fit. The sisters eat in the musallah and make a huge mess. Their kids also eat in there and make an even bigger mess.. PLUS they take the food with them downstairs and in the hall and even in the bathrooms and leave bits of it everywhere.

So imagine that you stop into the masjid for salat, and you want to do some sunnah prayers and dhikr before salat start in 10 minutes. So you walk in, take off your shoes, step over all of the shoes on the floor and not in the rack and put your shoes in the rack. As you are doing this at least 3 kids tear by you screaming about something. Next you open the women's entrance to the musallah and almost hit a baby sitting on the floor right inside the door. The baby is unattended and crying. You step in, pick up the baby, look around and notice that a woman has looked up and noticed you have her child. She motions you over. You hand her the baby, she calls to her 6 year old to come take the baby and goes back to chatting with her friends. You make your way past coats, food and toys on the floor to the front of the women's area so you can pray with the divider wall as a sutrah. As you make takbir and begin praying a ball flies in front of you followed by a child. You try to stop them from crossing in front of you but they are too fast. A bit shaken you carry on. Meanwhile there are 20-25 sisters 10 feet behind you having conversations is Arabic and Urdu at the top of their lungs. You try to focus and ignore the noise. While in sajood a child trips and falls over your feet landing on you. Again, you try to carry on. As you finish praying you look around to see if ANYONE noticed that their children just disturbed your salat twice. Of course not. So you spot the kids that ran in front of you and fell on you and you ask them who their mommy's are. They tell you and run off. So you go to introduce yourself and advise them of their children's behavior. As you finish speaking the sister's face is as blank as it was when you introduced yourself. She mutters a quick apology and goes back to her chatting. Sigh..... anyway, now its time for salat. We all line up, and the imam begins the prayer. The same kids that were running around before are still doing it. Some of them are old enough to pray but they don't. They scream, yell, fight, run, fall and laugh. Salat is over and you decide that doing sunnah prayers would be pointless, because you would have no concentration what so ever. You leave.

What emotion are you feeling right now?

So needless to say, my community is really difficult to deal with sometimes. The Imam tries to keep things under control but no one listens. Signs are posted, asking people not to make a mess, leave their children unattended or hold social gatherings in the musullah, but it never sinks in. I actually have met some very good sisters at the masjid (and my husband has met good brothers as well), but we as a group rarely go to the masjid because of what I described above. I used to have a tajweed class every Friday night at the masjid. We used on of the classrooms downstairs. About 15 minutes into class the kids would start coming downstairs and running around. They would yell in the hall, push the chairs over in the cafeteria. Rip things off the walls and cause havoc in the bathrooms. After a while we just decided to move the class to a sisters house and we never went back. Its sad but true. I wonder if its like this everywhere?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Corruption of Righteous Deeds

This past week in my Al-Qawaaid Al Arba class the lecture included corruption of righteous deeds. The idea was that man may do righteous deeds but then does something to corrupt or even negate it. One of the 4 categories of this is as follows:

One that does a sinful act, and is persistent upon it. So he does righteous deeds but is persistent upon minor sins. If he does not repent and dies upon this then this is like committing a major sin.

This really got me thinking. First of all, what is a minor sin? A minor sin is something which is prohibited but that does not have a punishment prescribed in Quran and Sunnah (correct me if I'm wrong). So do things like not covering properly, smoking, listening to inappropriate music fall into this category?

This is pretty serious stuff now. I think that we all lose track of minor sins. They don't seem so scary because there is no prescribed punishment for them, but as Allah swt said: you counted it a little thing, while with Allâh it was very great. ~24:15 . Little sins can build up, so we need to constantly be aware of what we do and be sure to repent.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Faith is Dearer to me than Fashion

I made this design a couple of months ago for my cafepress store. I'm the only one that bought anything with it on it! :) The Arabic word hijab actually translates to curtain or cover. Hijab to me, and to many Muslims is not just a scarf that covers your hair but a whole way of dressing modestly which includes wearing loose clothes that don't show the shape of your body. The dress 'code' for Muslim women is as follows:

1. Clothing must cover the entire body.

2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.

3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape of the body is not apparent

4. The female clothing must not resemble the man's clothing.

5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non-believing women.

6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.

7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.

What I have noticed a lot of recently is the 'fashion' of hijab. Now before I start, I want to say that I don't think that everyone has to wear an abaya or jilbab all the time, but I do wonder about some of the clothing choices that sisters (and brothers) make sometimes. I have no problem with a floor length skirt and a top, but the skirt has to be wide and the shirt has to be loose. I see a lot of sisters that will wear a skirt with that mermaid shape and a shirt that has long sleeves but clings to their arms and chest. This does not conform to the modesty standards that we should adhere to.
I'm not really sure what the point is of trying to be 'fashionable'. What is the reason of trying so hard to make mainstream clothing work as a part of a Muslimah's wardrobe? It wouldn't be so bad if people would buy things a few sizes bigger so they didn't cling, but I get the impression that a lot of sisters think that if it covers their skin they are ok.

So, what is it for really? Are you trying to fit in? Impress someone? Feel beautiful? All 3 of these things have issues. Why do you want to fit in with the non believers? As #5 above says, we should not try to resemble the non believing women. The next reason I came up with was that perhaps we are trying to impress someone. Now who do we need to impress anyone other than Allah (swt)? He is the one that we are here for. We don't need to meet up to anyone elses standard but his. Finally, do we want to feel beautiful? Now this is difficult, because by nature, women feel better when the feel pretty. BUT as Muslim women, we need to remember that our beauty is only for our husbands and our family.

admit that when I first became Muslim I tried really hard to make things work in my wardrobe. I remember going to the masjid wearing pretty tight jeans with a tight zip up sweater.... oh and of course I put on a scarf. At the time, I was still new to Islam and thought I was doing ok... and for the time being I was. It was a step in the right direction. I gradually changed my way of dressing more and more. I would wear skirts and long sleeves shirts (somewhat clingy) and then I moved onto completely loose things, and then finally I just wore an abaya everyday, and let me tell you, that was the best choice ever. Its so easy. You just throw it on and go. You can be wearing anything under it.. it doesn't matter. And you are conforming fully to the modesty guidelines put forth by Allah.

Again there is nothing wrong with not wearing an abaya as long as you still follow the rules. I've seen some sisters really put some nice modest outfits together from clothing bought all at mainstream stores.

One other thing that I dare to bring up is the dreaded high heel shoe. I was a total addict to heels. I loved the way they looked, and they way I walked when I wore them. They made me even taller than I already was and it felt powerful! This all came crashing down when I heard someone at the masjid mention that they had read that we should not wear heels out of the house. I quickly went home to do some research and there it was!
Is it permissible for women to wear high-heeled shoes?

This is not permissible. It involves resembling the disbelieving women, or the wicked women. It has its origins amongst the Jewish women before Islaam. When one of them wanted to attend a gathering where her lover was present, she would wear a pair of high shoes for him to see her, being taller. Then after a time, those became high-heeled shoes. Further, that type of shoe changes a woman’s way of walking, causing her to tilt from left to right, and therefore, the wicked and unbelievers choose this type of shoe. Therefore, a Muslim woman following the Sharee’ah (Islaamic Law) should not wear high-heeled shoes; especially since many times it causes her to fall!

shaikh albani
Once again, this makes perfect sense. Why go through all the trouble to dress modestly only to wear a shoe that causes you to walk in a seductive way, but imitates the disbelievers. Inshallah I don't ruffle any feathers. I'm just making observations, and pondering upon them. May Allah swt guide us all to the straight path.

Monday, March 2, 2009


The snow started last night... light at first and then very heavy overnight. Of course school was canceled today (for my son and I) so we got another day off and a bit of fun as well. We went for a brief walk up the street but it seemed to be too much for my son and he wanted to come home... he kept saying snow was getting in his eyes!

It is days like this that remind me of the beauty that Allah has given us. A white blanket of snow 10+ inches deep covers everything, making it look clean and new. Everything is bright and beautiful as the sun reflects off of the snow. And then I remember that each individual snow flake is unique in design. Subhanallah!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Al-Qawaaid Al-Arba' Class!

Today was our first Al Qawaaid Al Arba class with Al Baseerah. It is very organized compared with some other online classes I've taken and the first lecture was great. It was all about the history of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahaab.

I've always admired the work that Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahaab did. One of the new things that I learned from this lecture was that when he first started studying he copied by hand many of the books he studied to have for his own personal library. Can you imagine writing, word for word, the books of the great scholars like Ibn Taymiyyah? I also learned that once he found an Amir that would support him he was able to teach and spread his knowledge more easily. And this knowledge still is being taught today.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who have the wrong idea about him and his work.

I am really looking forward to the rest of this class and I'll keep you posted on new things I learn.