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.