Saturday, November 29, 2008


And I lost the battle big time. I'd rather not go into details, but I'd just like to say that I feel stupid to say the very least. What the heck was I thinking??

Anyways, I'm really not in the mood to discuss it, so instead I'll share something that I've been meaning to share for quite some time....

Dated June 26, 2006 ( I think) - In regards to Mr. Possibility (round one)...FIGHT..(Just Kidding)

Today I learned a very important lesson and while I am have a painfully difficult time digesting what life taught me, I am happy in a gloomy and gray kind of way. The lesson? Well, it has many parts to it. For starters, life is too short, I've learned that a broken heart really hurts and that keeping your feelings bottled up inside doesn't benefit anyone. I have learned not to trust too much and that thinking with your mind can be just as dangerous as thinking with your heart. I have learned that life is cruel, but Allah (SWT) is merciful. Alhamdulilah I am Muslim because if I wasn't I would be at a bar downing shots of vodka in a sad effort to drown my sorrows. I have learned that anticipation and optimism while beautiful are also the two ugliest concepts ever. And still, all I can think of is that painful broken heart that I am enduring at the moment.

If ther is one thing that I have always known, its that Allah (SWT) is the best of planners and that He never presents a person with a hardship that he cannot handle. I have always known that something that doesn't kill you will make you stronger and although optimism is not on my good side, I am going to let it stick around for a while.....its the only way I think I can survive.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, no matter how bad it hurts, there is a significance to everything and nothing is a mistake. Perhaps he was brought into my life to make me a better Muslim? My mind is obviously not sophisticated enough to comprehend the loop holes and reasons being the events of my life, only my Raab knows the answer to that. And while I can go on and on about the things that I am feeling despite my inability to comprehend, I am going to conclude by saying "Alhamdulilah."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm back (for now)

So I've been gone for a while...almost nearing a month. For all those who left me messages and emails with well wishes and curiosity..thanks! It feels good to know that someone cares to know what's going on.

A lot of people have been emailing or commenting on the situation with Mr. Possibility (I say a lot like its a million people...ok ok...SOME). Alhamdulilah, things are going well. I know I sit here and rant and rave about how he doesn't really fit the bill when it comes to religiosity and what not, but he really is a good guy. Don't get me wrong, it still bothers me that he's not super religious or that his social views are rather liberal compared to mine, but as a person he is really amazing. Don't get all excited, there are no wedding bells, no engagement ring, nothing. Its just that over the past few days, when I've needed a friend the most and a shoulder to cry on (in the figurative way, not literally), he has been there. He's tried his hardest to cheer me up and for the most part has succeeded.

One of the things that I admire about him is that he supports me in everything that I do. He supports my decision to persue a higher education, my desire to work and be active in the community both Islamically and not. The problem I find in most "religious" men is that while they follow most Islamic guidelines when it comes to life, i.e. praying, going to the masjid, relations with the opposite gender, community work, etc., they often fail to support their wives' community involvement and participation (its a bit of a double standard). Mr. Possibility on the other hand, while not super active, he supports me and applauds me for my effort...I like that.

When I read the entries that I wrote about him in the past, I have truly been unjust to him. He truly is a kind hearted man. And I'm not sure if I'm being naive or childish, but after my (almost) month of absence, I truly saw how much he cares about me. I'm going to be more open minded from now on insha'Allah.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Muslims and Halloween.....I don't get it

So, tomorrow is Halloween (let's throw a party....NOT)

I don't get it! What I mean is I don't understand this new (or maybe just to me) concept of Muslims celebrating Halloween. I mean, don't get me wrong I celebrated it back in the day when I was a kid. I even dressed up as a Ninja Turtle or something (Donatello, I think) but I think the last Halloween I celebrated was when I was 6. After that, I think my dad or the Imam at the masjid put a stop to it or something. Besides, as my parents like to say "times have changed, you can't trust people now a days." I remember coming home with my sack full of candy and then having it meticulously searched by my mom and dad before I could eat it. But that is besides the point! The point is, for years we've been told about the Haraamness of Halloween and I totally agree with it..I think its totally pagan and haraam in every way, what I don't get is how and why Muslims have started to delve back into celebrating makes no sense. And as if the haraamness comes from going out into the streets and dressing up as someone, lets have a costume party at the masjid on HALLOWEEN! What is happening to this ummah?

I had a conversation with Mr. Possiblity about this matter. He apparently attended a Halloween party this week. He validated it by telling me that it was an event for his masters program....khair. He could tell that I was annoyed by what he had said and then asked me what the big deal was. What's the big deal??? Are you kidding me?? You just told me that you engaged in this kafir/pagan party and now you're asking me what the big deal is?! Needless to say I haven't spoken to him in a week. URGH.

To some people - Like Mr. Possibility - Dressing up as someone you're not and attending a party where everyone else is dressed up as someone they're not is not a big deal. And perhaps when you say it like that it isn't a big deal, but when you look back to see why you're dressed up and why you engage in that practice you'd have to be an idiot to not see the danger and sin in it. Or perhapse I'm the idiot...only Allah knows. The way I see it, its better to just stay away completely.

As for Mr. Possiblity...I wish he would change, not for me...but for himself, for the sake of Allah. I told my parents that I would TRY to make it work. And if it does, Alhamdulilah and if not Alhamdulilah...Allah (SWT) is the best of planners.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

As if I wasn't confused enough....

He threw yet another curve ball.

Yesterday was my day off, so I took major advantage of it and spent my time out, with my friends. It was rather nice: A few good friends, lunch out in the grass, overlooking a nearby lake...pure bliss. I definitely was not expecting the following was the last thing on my mind.

Anyways, after praying Maghrib at a friends apartment, I made my way back home. As I pull up to my driveway, I see 2 cars parked out by my house...two very familiar cars. My parents didn't tell me there were going to be visitors. If I had known I definitely would not be wearing THIS hijaab, and OMG I'm so sweaty from playing soccer. The cars? My brother's car was blocking the driveway as it always does on the weekends when he comes by with his daughter and the other....are you ready for this? Mr. Possibility's car was parked on my driveway....IN MY SPOT. Naturally, I parked my car on the street. The keys remained in the ignition and my headlights remained on - I sat there for what seemed like hours, but in actuality was probably just a couple minutes. What the - what is he doing here? Does my hijaab look okay? Where's my lip gloss? Maybe its not him....maybe his parents came in his car, but then why are they here? The questions are bombarding my mind, almost like my neurons are having some kind of party. I can't deny that I didn't feel like turning on my car and taking off, but I didn't. Instead, I took a deep breath, looked at myself in the mirror, pulled the keys out of the ignition and made my way to my front door.

I opened the door and peeked my head in, the way I do when I'm home really late and I want to see if my mom is sitting on the couch waiting for me before I start to dish out the 101 reasons why I'm late. Only this time, my mom wasn't on the couch....he was. This is not happening!! Only, it was. Well you can't shut the door and leave may as well go in. "Assalamualaikum" I say generally, loud enough for people to hear, but quiet enough to not invite any unwarranted conversation. And then, I quickly run upstairs. As I ran up the stairs, I noticed a bouquet of flowers on the coffee table. No, seriously, this isn't happening. When I got in my room, I sat on my bed, staring at the mirror as if it was going to give me answers, and it didn't.

My phone buzzes - a text message - from him. "I didn't come here to see your parents you know..." This is happening. I changed my clothes - a nicer hijaab and an nicer smelling abaya, put on a little lip gloss and made my way downstairs again. I swear my heart was pounding so fast it felt like it was gonna jump out of my chest. His parents are sitting down with my parents and he's sitting with my brother. They all seemed to be engaged in conversation that suddenly ceased when I walked downstairs. AWKWARD! Again I say salaams, this time it was loud enough for me to hear over my beating heart.

His mom jumps off her seat and greets me with this huge hug and kiss. I was too nervous to even say a word to him, I didn't even want to look at him. When I said talk to my dad, I didn't mean come over!!! I find a seat next to my mom. Again, my phone buzzes. I should have left that stupid phone upstairs!

With any aunty hook-up thing, or any aunty get together thing for that matter, there was tea and cookies. My mother elbows me and says "Why don't you see if Mr. Possiblity wants any." If looks could kill, I think my mother might have been dead tonight (May Allah (SWT) protect her). I didn't ask him if he wanted any, but instead his mother called him to the table. As if that's not awkward enough, my mother and his mother leave the table and we're left to sit there. Why is this so hard?? I've known him my whole life.

He tells a couple dumb jokes to ease the tension off of me a little - I suppose the comic relief helped a bit. We talked for a while. And by "we talked" I mean he talked, I say a couple of words in response to his questions and we suffered through a million awkward silences.

The verdict? I have decided to give it a shot. His parents and my parents seem very interested in this union and I love them all very dearly. So for them - and for a bit of guilty pleasure - I am going to make this work.

They leave...another buzz...."How's that for my grand gesture? Sweet dreams"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Adult code blue to the emergency room..."

As a nurse, these words are all to familiar. I hear them day in and day out, sometimes even more than once a day. Although I don't work on the emergency unit, the statement is made over the intercom for health care workers to hear. It never bothered me, to me it was normal - part of the job - I often pay no attention to it, other times I get this rush of adrenalin and almost a sense of excitement and I'm ashamed to say that sometimes the thought of "oh, how cool, I wish that was my patient" crosses my mind. I'm not a harsh person, I love my patients and I care about them, I also get very attached to them, but there's just something about a coding patient that brings the super hero in you out. It's the pull your hair up in a ponytail (even though mines in hijaab), roll your sleeves up and get to work kind of adrenaline rush. Its amazing (and I know right now I sound like the most insensitive person ever) it just feels good to have the ability to save a person's life. But then it hit me today as the code was on my floor. Alhamdulilah my patients were just fine. My friend's patient coded and while I saw the excitement in her eyes, I also saw the fear in her eyes - the fear that she would lose her patient.

Then it dawned on me - the angel of death could be in this hospital right now, in this patients room, less than a couple of feet away from me. The thought sent chills down my back. All this time as I walk on to this unit, I walk on like I'm Wonder Woman, ready to conquer any situation that comes my way and suddenly I was humbled. Sometimes even the toughest of medical measures and chest compressions and "heroic events" as they call it here at the hospital is no match for Allah (SWT) when he calls, the soul goes - Time of death 0945.

Death visits this hospital every day. After today, I've begun to wonder if the angel of death is in my patient's room when I come in to do my vitals or go in to give them their lunch or while I'm sitting in the break room taking care of my charting - the thought gives me goosebumps. It's almost like the feeling I get as I drive by grave yards - how quiet and peaceful it looks on the outside, serene, almost like a dream, but only Allah (SWT) knows the horror and the dread the person in the grave is going through as he is inflicted with azhab al-qabr. May Allah (SWT) protect us all (ameen).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Female Medical Professionals at the Time of the Prophet (SAW)

Before I start this post, I want to thank Amaat al-Kareem for inspiring me to write an entry on this topic. Alhamdulilah, it gave me an opportunity to educate myself. Insha'Allah you will find this information as interesting and awe-inspiring as I have. Subhan'Allah these women were amazing to say the least!

Much of what we know today in regards to medicine and surgery is due to the contribution of the Muslim world. Perhaps this is a topic that I will write about on another day.

We all know from the history of Islam that there were many battles and with all these battles it was inevitable for soldiers to be wounded and even killed. So, who took care of these wounded soldiers? Who helped them regain optimum health? This is where the Women come in! Islamic History is laden with stories of extraordinary women doing extraordinary things - Nursing the sick back to health is one of those things.

Rufaidah bint Sa'd was the first professional Nurse in Islamic history. Her father was a physician from who she learned her skills and knowledge by serving as his assistant. She lived during the life of the Prophet (SAW) and would tend to those who were sick or wounded in battle. Her tent was equipped with supplies necessary to perform surgery and administer first aide care. When Sa'd ibn Mua'dh was injured in the battle of the trenceh, the prophet (SAW) directed him to her tent to seek medical aide. Rufaidah bint Sa'd set up a tent outside of the Prophet's (SAW) tent and would tend to the ill who came to her. It is important to note that she didn't just limit her service to society through medicine, but also participated as a social worker helping the orphans, the disabled and the elderly. She worked to help solve the problems within society that would contribute to health problems. She would also care fo the orphans and teach them life skills.

Other women skilled in medicine and nursing included: Umm Muta', Umm Kabashah, Hamnah bint Jahsh, Mu'adhah, Laila, Umaimah, Umm Zaid, Umm 'Atiyyah, and Umm Sulaim.

Sources: London Met ISOC, Crescent Life

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a more throrough compilation of stories on these extraordinary women online. Perhaps there is a book or something of that sort somewhere. Insha'Allah I will keep my eye out for it. If any of you know of a book, website or even a CD set that has an in depth account of the lives of these women, please either send me an email or a comment.

Jazak'Allah Khair.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Its time for another girly post....

In all honesty, I hate the girly side of me. You know the side that thinks about guys (usually in my case its one particular one..i think I've long outgrown the constant crushing stage of life), the side who over analyzes things and the side that cares too much about what the other person thinks or feels even though you swear to yourself up and down that you don't care.....I HATE IT!!

A couple months ago, I wrote about Mr. Possibility and how somehow or the other he managed to squeeze himself back into my life and how I was confused as to what to do or how to deal with it (um...just read the post). I'm not usually one to speak about my feelings, which is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first discuss how I feel inside, get advice, hear your input all the while not being judged (besides, even if you judge don't know for sure who I am).

Two months ago, following my best friend's wedding, Mr. Possibility wiggled his way back into my life. It first started off with a couple of glances from all the way across the room to online messages about how sorry he was for ever doing anything to hurt me and how he wanted a second chance. Like any girl, the attention made me feel good in a weird way. For the longest, despite the closeness of our families (his father and my uncle are best friends) I have managed to steer clear of him, deliberately not going to his house when I know he's there or outright ignoring him when he's around. I find it, however, interesting that after we had agreed to be "friends" and call it a truce how I see him everywhere. The funniest thing is that he doesn't even live in the same state as me!!! And if I don't see him, I hear about him.

The other day my aunt was like "hey Hijaabified Beauty, what do you think about Mr. Possibility??" I think you and him would make a wonderful couple....I nearly choked on my tea. My mom even thinks he's a great prospect...I mean who wouldn't...he's good looking, funny, he loves his family and alhamdulilah they are well to do, my only problem is his religiousity. I wish he was the type of brother that would drop everything he was doing to go pray salatul asr, even if he's out shopping at the mall, but he isn't, at least not from what I see. The other day I ran into him at this place that I always study at (he was in town for Eid), he said salams and sat at my table and attempted to study with me, and when I asked him just what he thought he was doing he made it seem like there was no big deal in he and I studying together - afterall we were in a public place. When I explained that it was a big deal for me, he kind of gave me this weird look and sat somewhere else. I was releived, but I won't lie - I felt bad...I think I hurt his feelings.

After all these years and all the changes that we went through, I still care what he thinks, I still worry that I hurt his feelings, I still wonder what he's upto. I don't think its that I still see him as Mr. Possiblity, or at least I hope I don't. I keep telling myself that...."Hb, its not going to work out, move on, he's not your type." Then why did I reject a proposal that came my way recently? Why is it when I got that proposal I thought what would Mr. Possiblity think? I still hurt when he hurts, I still think how he's doing living so far away from home, I still get that rollercoaster dipping feeling in my stomach when he smiles at me after all these years, and I still get that warm feeling in body when his parents are so nice to me. When I'm around his family I get this fuzzy feeling, BUT I can not see myself raising good Muslim children with him. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!!?

I don't really think I'm looking for a real answer...I just needed to tell someone....thanks for listening.

PS: I could use a TON of dua's right now.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Farewell Ramadan...and Eid Mubarak!

Its that bittersweet feeling again. You know, the one where you look forward to celebrating Eid-ul-fitr with friends and family, but at the same time are saddened to see the blessed month of Ramadan come to an end. I don't know about you, but subhan'Allah I feel like Ramadan just started! I cannot wait for it to start up again next year insha'Allah (I pray that Allah (SWT) blesses me with the ability to witness another Ramadan) when I don't have any school so that insha'Allah I can devote all my time and effort into making the most out of this blessed month. Of course, school is not an excuse!

I find it funny how we (and by we, I mean me) take advantage of our young age and think that we are so invincible, I mean, how could we possibly get ill or die at such a young age. I am so guilty of it at times, I often find myself rationalizing my inability to attend tarawih because of my exam tomorrow morning with the idea that there is always next year. Subhan'Allah how naiive. When these thoughts creep into my mind I quickly remind myself of the friend of mine that is battling cancer and the 2 friends of mine that shockingly passed away earlier this year. They too were young, they too probably thought that they would live to see Ramadan again. How blind we are.

I am reminded of something I heard this Ramadan, during a program on the last ten days where the Sheikh said, 'if you live to see the morning, don't expect to see the evening, and if you live to see the evening, don't expect to see the next mornig.' How true it is, yet how many of us really think like this?

Anyways, I can ramble on and one, but I won't. I really just wanted to wish you all Eid Mubarak! Please remember me, my family and the Muslim Ummah at large in your dua's. Also, lets all make dua that Allah (SWT) blesses us with the ability to witness another Ramadan.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Alhamdulilah for Catharsis

I have had many discussions with people who question me as to why I do the work that I do. These people aren't necessarily asking me for an explanation as to what makes me tick but rather they ask in a manner that I find insulting, I get this especially from brothers who feel like women should stay home and simply cook and care for their children. Granted, I think its good to be a good mother and insha'Allah when the time comes, I will embrace the opportunity with open arms and an open heart - I think children are amazing.

Why on earth would I want to be a nurse? Why would I put myself in a position in which I have to work so closely with men, in a profession that requires me to touch them when necessary. My answer is usually followed by a whirlwind of anger and frustration that the question was asked in the first place, but here it is:

My desire to be in this profession came about from my fascination for the human body and the Iman rush I get from studying it and from seeing how intricate it is - Subhan'Allah its amazing. I wanted to do something that in my mind benefits society and what better way to do so than caring for the ill? And yes, my job requires me to touch men, but giving a shot, hooking up an IV and bandaging a wound in my mind isn't something that is going to lead to fitnah. And while I agree that it is not proper for a woman to view a man's awrah - situations such as that only arise when the patient is too incompacitated to care for himself. I remember helping an old man bathe and the whole time he apologized to me and told me how embarassed he was that he couldn't even do that much for himself. I pray that Allah (SWT) sees the compassion in my actions and judges it accordingly and that He keep us all in good health so that we may be able to bathe and clean ourselves without assistance.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a patient of mine that moved me almost to the verge of tears that I had to excuse myself. She's my age, we share the same birthday ironically and the fact that she has borderline personality disorder only (I say it like its no big deal) I find it rather easy to connect with her - she's almost like a friend. She's full of life and makes it a point to make me laugh, smile and and feel at ease, despite the fear that is all too visible on my face as I walk onto the unit. Masha'Allah she's amazing. I asked her if anyone ever visits her at the hospital on the weekends or while I'm not at the hospital and she said "no." Here is our conversation:

Me: Well, do you have family?
Her: Yea, my brother is in Kansas and my mother is in jail.
Me: What did she do to go to jail?
Her: She used to sexually and physically abuse me and my brother.
Me: (Silent)
Her: I wish I never said anything, I feel bad. Cuz, I feel like if I never said anything I would be with her right now, and not here.
Me: But you know you didn't do anything wrong right? It's not your fault.
Her: But I mean, I should have stayed queit, it couldn't have gone on forever, it had to have stopped eventually.
Me: Its possible, but you don't know that. I think you did the right thing, you have nothing to sorry for.
Her: You know, sometimes you feel like having a family like normal people, having a mother to talk to and being able to enjoy weekends - I don't have that. I have the people here, but its just not the same.
Me: (my heart stopped and I could feel the cry bump starting to form and the tears starting to well in my eyes - I excused myself and returned after I had regained composure).

If anything, I like my job because it teaches me to be greatful for what I have. Until today I haven't understood how families can just erase their members simply because they are sick. I wonder if my patient's family members think about them. I don't accept that you can just ignore it - I mean, how could you?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A memo from God

I'm doing a rotation with mentally ill patients - basically I'm working at a Psych Hospital. Keep in mind, its not just any psych hospital, its one of the worst hospitals out there. I have a wide variety of patients the majority are either Schizophrenic or Bipolar. At first, I was scared of them - almost terrified - until I heard their stories, but now, I cry almost everyday when I come home. I work with a population that isn't represented by society, a population that is practically swept under the rug - out of sight, out of mind. These patients live behind the locked doors of the facility and while they are aloud outside, they are never allowed off grounds unless they are on good behavior. Some of these patients have never seen their families or have had their families check out. A lot of them come from abusive families who's torment caused them to turn out the way they are. I used to laugh at statements like "I hear voices" but now realize how horrifying it could be to have multiple voices in your head telling you to do things like hurt yourself or others, or telling you that you are worthless.

I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of the patients on my floor and to here their stories, and while I try very hard to hold my composure, I can't tell you how much I just want to break down and cry. One of my patients has been in the mental health system since she was just a child, she's in her late 20's now. She tells me about how both her mother and father live in states miles and miles away from the Hospital. She tells me how neither of them call her, write her, visit her, how she doesn't have anyone to talk to and how she's all alone. I can't imagine how any mother could turn her back on her child and completely abandon her simply because she is sick. How do you just erase that part of your life? This particular patient of mine is getting much better, but is lately starting to deliberately exhibit signs of aggression and agitation because here, she has family - one nurse is her play mom, the other is her sister, and so forth. She doesn't have a family, so she creates one - and she doesn't want to leave them, even though it means finally getting a chance to live in a less crazy place.

I was looking through another patients chart earlier today and her marital status is labeled as married. It seems like a stupid comment to make but she is one of my patients who is tormented by her hallucinations. She makes absolutely no sense when she speaks and often times words are not decipherable when they come out of her mouth except when she says things like "wedding dress, chapel, I'm getting married, dress with lace." I wish I could speak to her more, but it seems as though her illness struck her sometime during her wedding or when she got married.

I have one patient who has been an alcoholic since he was 13! Yes, 13. He started drinking when his father died and it as he said "made me go crazy, and now I see demons." He see's demons - I can't image how terrifying that might be.

I can go on and on, but I don't know if anyone would understand me if they haven't been there, perhaps I just needed to share. But the reason I wrote this is because I attended one of the wellness classes my patients participate in and one of them handed me this piece of paper (I've seen it before in an email Forward) titled "A memo from God." I read it and told her how amazing I thought it was and she told me, you know...that right there is how I get by every day in this looney bin.

Here it is:

To: You
Date: Today
From: The Boss
Subject: Yourself
Reference: Life

I am God. Today I will be handling your problems. Please remember I do not need your help.
If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. It will be addressed in My time, not yours. Once the matter is place into the box, do not hold on to it.
If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don't despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is not a privilege.
Should you have a bad day at work, think of the man who has been out of work for years.
Should you despair over a relationship gone bad, think of the person who has never known what its like to love and be loved in return.
Shoudl you grieve the passing of another weekend, think of the women in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.
Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance, think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.
Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror, think of the cancer patient in Chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
Should you find yourself t a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get this opportunity.
Should you find yourself being the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities, remember, things could be worse. YOU COULD BE THEM!!!!

Ok this wasn't really a Ramadan Post, but I thought it was worth it. Besides, Ramadan is about being Greatful! A friend of mine was just diagnosed with stage 3 cancer (I don't know what kind yet) please, please, please keep her in your dua's. Subhan'Allah life is so unpredictable. I hope that you are all in the best of health insha'Allah.

Have a good one.

Monday, September 1, 2008

10 Goals for Ramadan


Insha'Allah everyone's fast went well today. I know I promised to take notes on 186 Rules of Ramadan, and Insha'Allah I plan on doing so, its just that my school load is a tad heavier than what I had anticipated and I have taken on a new goal (memorizing as many surah's as possible this month). I have been longing to compile a good, Ramadan-related post and Insha'Allah when one comes to mind, I will.

I came across this article that addresses 10 goals that anyone can set to acheive this Ramadan. I hope you find it useful.

Eat, drink and be moderate

Almost all of us do it - once Iftar time hits, we just keep plowing food and drink into our mouths till it's hard to move afterwards. And those of us who do it know this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we're supposed to learn self-control not self-indulgence. Let's try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third food, one-third water and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.

Give a dollar a day in charity...or five or ten

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let's open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it's the intention that counts.

Memorize 4 new Surahs

Memorizing the Quran often seems like a daunting task. But the key is doing it in small bites. Since there are four weeks in Ramadan, try to memorize one new Surah a week. Start off with a short, easy one. Once you've started, you'll build momentum and may even want to memorize a longer one the following week.

Go to Tarawih prayers

Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan's blessings. Don't miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least once week.

Attend the Tarawih prayer in which the recitation of the Quran will be finished

Call the local mosque and find out which day the Imam will be finishing the recitation of the Quran in prayer. Attend to not only hear part of the Quran's recitation in prayer, but also participate in the heart-rending Duas that follow it.

Stop swearing and/or backbiting Ð with a special box

It's hard not to shoot our mouths off when someone's upset us. Whether we utter those four-letter words or backbite about someone to our family and friends, we know this isn't the God-approved way of letting off steam. In Ramadan, when we want to build our spirituality, we've got to wage Jihad against our bad habits.

Try this: get a box and every time you catch yourself swearing or backbiting put some money in it. It could be a buck or less. The point is to choose an amount that makes it feel like punishment.

At the end of the month send the money to a charity or buy a gift for the person whom you've backbitten the most against.

Call/email your relatives

You'd think that given the easy access to email, competitive long-distance calling rates, phone cards, etc. these days, we'd keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life's "busyness."

Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going.

Go on a technology diet

Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.

Read 5 minutes of Quran a day...just five, not more, not less

Even if you feel you've got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.

Forgive everyone who has hurt you

Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it's also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah's forgiveness, shouldn't we lesser beings forgive too?

If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ramadan Mubarak

Alhamdulilah the Month of Ramadan is here (actually a couple hours away). I pray that each and everyone of you have a wonderful month full of worship and good deeds. I also pray that each of us have the honor to witness the Night of Power, insha'Allah.

I humbly ask that you remember me and my family in your dua's during this wonderful month and also keep the Muslim Ummah in your duas, including and not limited to our brothers and sisters that are suffering in the war-torn parts of this world.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The predicament of Muslim youth....

I know I said that I would take a break from blogging thoughts and what not, but I have been holding this under my hat for a quite a while now, and to be honest, I'd love to share. So, today will be my last official personal/my thoughts post until Eid Insha'Allah. Besides, school starts tomorrow, so I'll be rather busy with school and Ramadan. I will continue the "186 Rules for Ramadan" next week perhaps.

My cousins have been in town visiting me from the UK for the past few weeks. Alhamdulilah, despite the miles of ocean between us, we very close to one another so much so that we stay awake all night talking about everything under the sun from school to work, marriage and our personal lives, and the list goes on. With us, nothing is off limits.

When my cousin arrived, her first question to me was "Do you mind if I use your internet?" I jokingly call her a facebook junkie, and she admits it. Anyways, after about a good hour of catching up on photo comments and writing on peoples walls, letting her friends know that she has arrived in the states safely, she proceeds to show me her friends and catch me up on her life. And what I learned was rather horrifying to me, but apparently its no big deal where she comes from.

My cousins grew up in London but when they grew older and were of high school age, their father decided to uproot the family and move to Blackburn. Apparently it has a larger Muslim population - I saw the difference between London and Blackburn on my trip there about 4 years ago.

So, as we sat in our pijamas on my bed she went through her facebook pictures, dscribing to me who everyone in the pictures were and who was married to who, who was engaged to who, who was dating who, etc. (yes, I said who was dating who!). Now, many people maybe thinking whats the big deal, right? You know, its sad for me to even say this, but perhaps I could swallow this pill a little easier if the pictures of who was dating who were Muslim girls and boys who did not look religious, did not wear hijaab, were not Hufadh, not Alimahs, etc. I'm not saying that all of these types of people are saints. For goodness sake, any man can grow a beard and any woman can put on a hijaab. On the flip side, I am absolutely not saying that every non-hijaabi sister or every non-bearded man is involved in fitnah. As a matter of fact, I know a lot of people who don't necessarily fit the physical description of what people might think is "religious" who are very religious and have completely managed to stay away from fitnah all their lives.

I beleive that it is every Muslims duty to act like a good Muslim, whether you are young or old, a hijaabi or non-hijaabi or if you have been Muslim your whole life or only for the last 5 minutes. But for goodness sake, if you are wearing a hijaab, or have a long beard with a kufi, please, please, please ACT MUSLIM!! I am not saying that it is always easy, I have been there, but it has to be done and insha'Allah the reward will be sweeter in the hearafter.

Amid all this, the thing that baffles me more is that these "students of knowlege" are so open about their sin and in doing so, they are giving off the vibe to their "less educated" peers that its all good, when in fact it isn't! When my cousin was like "My friend the Alimah goes out with this guy, he's a hafidh" I had to clarify what she meant by go out, becuase to me the only going out that should be going on between the two of them is chaperoned "dates" with her father, brother, or other mehram. When she explained they were going out in the western sense of the word I gave her this look and she responded with "The way I see it, you can't help who you fall for. When you wanna be with someone, you just wanna be with them." I can't say that I don't agree, but why not "be with" that person the halal way? Why not have your nikkah done and then be with them? She continued to show me pictures of girls and guys hanging out in the same appartment near the University, I didn't see any parents in the picture and people were definitely in eachother's bubbles - I jokingly asked her if the Hafidh remembered any of the Quran that he had memorized (because I heard that you forget Islamic knowledge when you commit sin), but she didn't get the joke - it wasn't really meant to be funny, I was really curious.

My cousin is interested in wearing hijaab but one of her concerns is that people in her community will think that "she's like every other scarfie" and wears hijaab but acts like any other person on the street. She tells me that where she comes from a hijaab and an abaya is nothing and that she was rather suprised that wake up for fajr and refuse to go out to hookah bars and other things that good Muslims don't do. She's shocked at my desire to learn more about Islam and to spend time in the Masjid.

I don't know what is when you go to places like England where there is a high population of Muslims. When I went to England 4 years ago, I fell in love with it, mainly because I met someone who I thought to be religious, but I think it has lost its lustre as far as I am concerned. While I was there, I noticed that the youth had a lot of freedom, perhaps its becuase all the neighbors are Muslim? Parents never asked questions as to where their kids were going and what time they would be home or even who they were going with. Its a shame that parents have forfeited their rights to know what their children are up to.

My father always says "I am so happy that I did not raise you in England!" and I never knew what he meant, until now. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) that this is not only a problem in England, we probably have the same problems here in the US, I just don't have an account of it. My concern isn't to back talk the British - I love them - especially their accents, my point is to point out what is going on...I'm sure its in my backyard too. It just makes me sad. I think parents really need to step it up a notch and start asking questions. Just because you kids are with Muslims doesn't mean anything, because Shaytan will work harder to throw a Muslim off his course.

Please keep the Muslim Youth and the entire Muslim Ummah in your duas.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rulings relating to the month of Ramadan


Here are the notes from the first CD in Sh. Waleed Basyouni's lecture series "186 Rules for Ramadan." The Shaykh covered about 27 rules/points and here, I have only listed 20. Somewhere along the line I lost count, my apologies. I am not the best note-taker. That being said, please refere to lecture so that you may get a clearer understanding. I have not listed all of the Hadith and/or proofs that they shaykh gave, if you would like those, please listen to the lecture. Also, if I have made any mistakes or have misquoted anything, please do not hesitate to point it out to me as I am only human. Jazak'Allahu Khairan.

Here are the notes:

"Ramadan"comes from the word Ramada - Strong heat of the sun. The Arabs named the months based on conditions and situations, so when they came to name Ramadan it was at a time when the heat of the sun was strong.

1) The month of Ramadan according to shariah is either 29 days long or 30 days long.

2) The month starts with the sighting of the new moon or with the completion of Shabaan's 30 days.
  • Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said "Fast after you have see the new moon, and end the fast at the end of the month when you see it. If it is hidden from you, then wait until the 30 days of Shaban have passed." Related in Bukhari and Muslim
3) Can a person use binoculars or a telescope to sight the moon?
  • Shaykh Uthaymeen was asked this and his reply was that it is permissible an that it was common for people to use similar practices in the early days from the minarets of the mosques.
4) The sighting of the moon is only accepted by ONE trustworthy MUSLIM person who knows the moon and its phases (majority opinion).
  • Imam Malik: It has to be sighted by two Men
  • Imam Abu Haneefa: There has to be two male witnesses if it is cloudy or if there is a doubt about the person who sighted the moon (a total of 3 people).
5) The end of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid-ul-fitr is determined by the sighting of the moon of Shawal or the completion of 30 days of Ramadan.
  • The witness of sighting has to be two trustworthy Muslim men (majority opinion of the scholars of fiqh).
  • Few scholars such as Mohammed Ash-Shawkani had a different opinion in that he believed that the sighting of the moon by one trustworthy Muslim man was sufficient and that there was no difference between the sighting of the moon in the beginning of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of the month of Shawal.
6) It is not permissible to determine the month of Ramadan by using astronomical calculations.
  • The Prophet (SAW) said "We are an illiterate Ummah, we don't write or calculate, so fast after you have seen the new moon. And end the fast at the end of the month, when you see it." Related in Bukhari and Muslim
  • The use of calculation in regards to prayer times is different as the above hadith clearly states that the start of the month of Ramadan is to be determined by the sighting of the moon.
  • Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah said "Depending on calculations in sighting the moon, as it is a deviance and innovation in religion. And it is also considered wrong by logic."
  • Imam Shaafi mentioned in Ahkam al Quran: "The starting of the month is determined by the moon and not by calculation. Calculation is wrong, for it is the way of the Persians and the Romans."
7) Is the sighting of the moon in one country sufficient enough for all other countries in the world? In other words if one country sights the moon does that mean the entire world can start fasting?
  • There is a difference in opinion (listen to the lecture for details as I do not want to mis-quote) some say a single sighting in any country is good enough, some say each country has their own sighting and others say that close countries can go by a single sighting.
  • According to the Hanafi Madhab, for each country is their own sighting.
8) If you do not live in a city where there is an Islamic Center, you try and sight the moon on your own, and if you feel that you cannot then follow the closest Islamic Center.

9) It is not permissible to fast on the Day of Doubt which is the last day of Shaban.
  • The prophet Muhammed (SAW) said: "Do not precede Ramadan by fasting a day or two before it unless it is a day on which the person usually fasts." Related by Muslim
10) If a person had some days to make up and he fasts on the Day of Doubt, there is no sin on him.

11) If a person starts Ramadan in one country and then travels to another country, he has to celebrate Eid with the country that he is currently in.

12) If in the above mentioned situation the total number of fasts add up to only 28, the person still celebrates Eid with the country he is currently in and then makes up the additional fast later on.

13) What if the country that the above mentioned person is in started fasting a day before the previous country, does he still fast with the country he is currently in? In other words instead of fasting 30 days with the previous country would he have to fast 31?
  • In this situation, this person must break his fast thus fasting only 30 days.
  • In this situation the person secretly does not fast the 31st day and then celebrates Eid the following day with the country that he is in.
14) For those individuals who have an excuse to not fast during the month of Ramadan (a woman who is menstruating, breast feeding, pregnant, or someone in the situation mentioned above) they should be sure to eat and drink privately out of respect for the month of Ramadan as it is known as the month of fasting.

15) The Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) is equal to a thousand months. Any act of worship done in that night, it is as if the worshiper did this act for a thousand months.

16) What night in Ramadan is Laylatul Qadr? There is a difference in opinion among the scholars:
  • Some say it is one of the nights of Ramadan
  • Some say it is the 27th night of Ramadan
  • Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the prophet (SAW) said: "He who would like to seek the night of Laylatul Qadr should do so on the 27th." Hadith related by Ahmed and Muslim.
  • Some opinions say it is on the 23rd, 25th, 28th all these opinions are adopted by the companions of the prophet (SAW).
  • The difference in opinion can be understood in that Laylatul Qadr varies from year to year according to a majority of scholars.
  • In a report by Bukhari, the prophet (SAW) said: "Seek the night of Al-Qadr in the last 10 nights.'
17) The wisdom behind hiding when the Night of Power is is in order to keep Muslims from neglecting the rest of the month of Ramadan as we see them doing today.

  • Now a days we see that Muslims around the world take the for granted that the Night of Power is on the 27th night of Ramadan and this is the night that they insist on staying up all night making zhikr.
18) Are there any signs of the Night of Power?

  • It has been related by Muslim that the sign of the night of power is that in the morning the sunrise is white without any rays.
  • It is said to be a clear and calm night that will be followed by a shower at fajr time.
19) Is it Mustahab (recommended) to do a certain thing on that night?

  • It has been related in Bukhari and Muslim that the prophet (SAW) said: "Whoever prays during the night of al-Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven."
  • It was also related that Aishah (RA) said: "I asked the Prophet (SAW): 'Oh, Messenger of Allah if I know what night the night of Qadr is, what should I say during it?' He said: 'Say, Allahuma inaka afu' tuhibul afwa fa'fuanni"
  • Translation: Oh, Allah you are forgiving and you love to forgive, so forgive me.
  • It is also recommended to do I'tikaaf and do more worship, give more charity and engage in more supplications during this time.
20) Ramadan has many virtues and blessings among them are

  • The Quran was revealed to the prophet (SAW) in this month
  • The Prophet (SAW) was sent to mankind and jinn to spread the teachings of Islam in this month.
  • Laylatul Qadr is in the month of Ramadan
  • Our rewards are multiplied in Ramadan
  • In every night of Ramadan Allah (SWT) saves a number of people from the hell fire

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In the spirit of Ramadan

Assalaam Alaikum!

I've decided to do something a little different from what I have been doing with this blog lately. As you all know, Ramadan is approaching us, I pray to Allah (SWT) that He let each and every one of us witness this beautiful month and that we all benefit from its virtues and that we are blessed with the ability to witness Laylatul Qadr (Ameen).

So, in an attempt to prepare myself for this auspicious month, I am listening to Shaykh Waleed Basyouni's lecture titled "186 rules for Ramadan" Insha'Allah I will attempt to take notes as I listen and I will post what I learned here. You can also listen along for free here.

Also, I am going to be taking a break from blogging my thoughts and daily happenings as school is starting soon and I would like to put all my extra energy into my studies and Ramadan happenings.

I pray you all get the best spiritual experience this Ramadan.

Please remember to keep me, my family and the entire Muslim Ummah in your duas.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Its because you're a girl!

Last night, I went to sleep in a fairly bad mood. I had what could have turned into a massive argument with my father, only I wasn't really in the mood to fight, so instead I kept my mouth shut. Keeping my mouth shut is generally out of character for me, but I just kept thinking "two more weeks for school to start, and then you'll be on your own." So what was the argument about? Well lets just say that it all started with "Its because you're a girl!" I don't know if I have mentioned this in the past, but that is by far the worst statement that any man (or woman) can ever make.

I won't get into what triggered such an answer as I don't want to backbite my father in anyway (even though no one here really knows who I am), as Allah (SWT) is watching. I have these dreams and aspirations about what I want to do in life such as providing health care in underprivileged parts of the world, living in an Arab country to learn Arabic, learn Islam under prominent shuyukh, all of which, unless I am married would warrant me to travel away from home on my own. I find that I find certain things to be much more important than my parents do. A relaxing day for me is spending hours at the masjid, eve if I am the only person there. Unfortunately, my parents' backwards and back-home mentality does not allow me to escape this world of fitnah without having to sneak around doing so....hence my excitement about school starting. Its not school I look forward to as much as I look forward to the freedom that comes with it.

My father's side of the family is very much ingrained in culture and does thing where they somehow manage to wrongfully blend together culture with religion. What I mean by this is, ever since we were young they managed to make us believe that certain cultural things were apart of religion (I'm not sure if it really makes sense) I think they have done it rather unconsciously, but still.

I find it rather interesting and at the same time rather insulting how parents can allow their sons to leave the house almost without so much as asking them where they are going and when they will be home whereas if their daughter wants to go out, she has to ask permission a week, if not more, in advance. In a way, I think this contributes to the problem of their being a shortage of suitable Muslim boys for marriage...I'll explain a little later. I hate how my brother is allowed to spend the weekend with his friends, but I am not. I would totally understand if the issue was a matter of safety, but I think I am smart enough to realize that it isn't. I am not sure if people truly believe that women are supposed to stay at home under the roof of their fathers until they are ready to move under their husbands' roof only to listen to him tell her what she can and can't do or if this is a way for a man to be an egotistical maniac and have control over someone..I don't get it. I remember once, in the heat of an argument, telling my father "if there is one reason that I don't get married, its because I don't want to go from living with one controlling man to the other, and if there is a reason I want to get married, its to get away from having to give an answer every time I do something." Of course I felt sorry afterward, but I still feel the same way.

Now on to my theory on why I think this "freedom" boys get is what has caused there to be so few eligible bachelors in our communities.

Parents often let their sons go out at night without even so much as questioning them where they are going, who they are going with and when they will be coming home. This allows brothers to basically do whatever it is that they want to do without the remotest fear of having a parent waiting up late for them to ask them what they did when they arrive home. If you would like to know...I think it is a travesty. I understand that there is a safety factor when your daughter goes out late at night, but on that same note, who is to say that your son cannot possibly get shot on the highway on his way home? or that note he couldn't possibly get into a car accident on his way to or from his destination?

I think the lack of strictness on the part of parents towards sons has enabled brothers to do what they please (attend frat parties, hang out at hookah lounges, go clubbing, etc.). Of course, I know not all brothers with lenient parents do such things, but there is a high percentage that does.

What I am trying to say is that brothers can get into just as much trouble as sisters can simply because they are boys.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I am torn...its been a few days since I spoke to Mr. Possibility and still I cannot get our conversation out of my head. I see him sign in and sign out, the whole while he is online playing the "message him, don't message him" game. Before you snicker and laugh at how teenie-bopperish this sounds, I am not a love-struck teenager, as a matter of fact I am in my mid-20s. I want so badly to talk to him and square away whatever confusion the both of us have, but at the same time, although I told him that night that I forgave him for everything that he did back in the day, I still have this huge question mark at the back of my mind. I am not sure if I can trust him anymore.

I know brother Salaam suggests that I speak to Mr. Possibility, but my friends think that I should just wait and see what happens and that if he truly cares to make things right, eventually he will contact me again. I would have to admit that since things have gone sour between the two of us over the years, he has been the one to contact me, so I almost feel as if I owe it to him for taking such a huge step. As you can see, I am confused! I am not necessarily sure if I want things between us to work out, but if they did it would be a good thing - provided we are compatible - as he was my friend, my support and the one that I would talk to when I was in need of a pair of ears to listen.

My best friend is on her honeymoon..I could sure use her advice at a time like this.

Anyways...I came across this link...check it out: The Marriage Revolution

Monday, August 4, 2008


There he stood: tall and handsome just like he always was, stealing glances just like he always did. He was there, so close yet so far. And to think there were days where we would spend hours engaging in intellectual conversations discussing religion or politics or religion and politics. Its an awkward feeling when you see an old Future Mr. Possibility. You know, the brother that was so in love with you or in love with the idea of being with you, the one who claimed he wanted to be your husband and then when everything actually started to happen, he decided to bail out on you. I should be furious with him, I should really dislike him, but I don't. I feel sorry for him and us but I am also grateful we "happened." It made me smarter (or so I think).

So what do I do when he sends me a message asking for a second chance, another opportunity to make things work because now he is for certain I am the one and he is ready to take the leap of commitment? The smart answer would be "speak to my father and see what he has to say." Instead I told him I didn't think a second chance was necessary. Now, I feel like getting in touch with him and telling him to talk to my parents, but I don't want to seem too eager. At the same time, I want to test him, to see if he was really serious or if he is playing mind games. I'm curious, confused and every other word that describes the way I feel right now.

Needless to say, amid all of this feeling of confusion and curiosity, I feel good! He is asking for a second chance, it must mean something. Okay, Okay, I know, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. I'm just being honest as to how I feel.

I really just don't know anymore.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Saying goodbye....

Its all apart of the growing up process, but lately I've been thinking, the past couple of years of my life have been nothing but saying goodbye.

First off, someone who I consider to be a good friend and role model left school in pursuit of a long held dream and while I was completely happy for them, life was rather empty when they were no longer a part of its daily happenings.

Soon after, a childhood friend moved away to the UK after marrying this wonderful man. I remember this night like it was just yesterday, because when I think about it, even today, my eyes start to tear up. Its funny how it works. When a friend is getting married you often know months, if not a year in advance and its almost like this mental preparation that goes on where you are busy telling yourself that all good things come to an end and Insha'Allah the two of you remain in touch despite the perils of such great distances. Alhamdulilah with this friend, I have.

After this childhood friend moved away, my favorite cousin moved away. This cousin of mine was more like a sister to me, the one that I went to with my problems, questions, etc. She was the one who's company I was just happy to be with even if neither of us said a word. She was my heart and my soul, my everything, my sister. And her children were my pride and joy - I saw them as I believe I would my own children. Oh, what I would give to hold these little munchkins in my arms one more time.

Between then and now I have lost a number of friends. Well, not really lost, because I would like to think that they are still my friends despite the distance, but just been distanced from.

Finally....I hope finally, although this is a loss that I am dreading very much to suffer. One of my best friends is moving to some remote country in the middle of World (I know where, but we'll try and keep some anonymity) after she marries her high school sweetheart this weekend...well, they weren't dating nor did they go to high school together but since high school the thought of marriage to each other has been on their minds. This friend of mine is the holder of my secrets, while I could talk to my cousin (the one who is like my sister) there are certain things you keep for your best friend, there are certain memories that you share with this friend of yours, jokes, laughs, stories from when we were dorks in high school, the dumb things we used to do, the ways in which we twisted the truth to make our parents think that we were being good girls (and while its not something to joke about, we do and it makes us happy). I wonder how I am going to survive this separation. How is my life going to be when my best friend of forever leaves? Who's house will I run to early in the morning, before breakfast, when my heart is broken, who's shoulder will I cry on? Who is going to tell me everything will be okay, even though its not okay? While I am certain that we will keep in touch through emails, phone calls, snail mail, etc. its not the same...because sometimes I need her tight bear hugs, the kind that make me feel like I can't breath, but in a good way. Sometimes I need her to try funky facial masks that she concocted in her head (even though they don't work) on me. Sometimes all I need is for her to make fun of me when I am being my regular goofy self. Sometimes I need to see her do a wacky dance like she does when she's cooking in the kitchen. The bottom line is, I need her. And it is true, you never know what you have until you have to give it up.

If saying goodbye is part of growing up, then growing up STINKS!

I had a conversation with a friend of mine who told me about a brother she had in mind for me, after agreeing with the idea of marriage in the near future her next question was "do mind if you would have relocate?" My answer was "no", although I have never lived in another country or state for that matter. I have never been away from my parents for more than two months and although there are times that I wish I could trade my family in, for the most part they are tolerable. Of course, I have no intention of geographically restricting myself as I have said that finding a good spouse is quite the challenge these days. I just can't help but think how difficult it is to pack up your life for someone that you know for about a couple of months to live with this person and leave behind your love ones. Alhamdulilah, these days the task is not as hard as it has been in the past as we have wonderful modes of technology (I mean, planes can take you anywhere in the world in a matter of one to two days). And then I think about my grandmother and how she married a stranger and moved to another country for him and how she left behind her family in the days when the means of traveling cross country was by ship and when making an international phone call was very expensive. I think we are still spoiled.

I find that since we are young (especially sisters) we are trained to think as if one day we will find our prince charming and that we will marry him and no longer live in our mother's home. I suppose that's life, but I cannot imagine not seeing my mother for 20 years on end. I cannot imagine what life would be like if I couldn't just pop into my parent's room on a weekend to laugh, talk and have tickle fights (my parents are 50 year old teenagers). I just can't picture what life would be like in such a situation, I guess we will just have to wait and see.

As for now, I am kind of like an empty nester. I used to be a social butterfly who had plans every weekend, who was out late at night having a laugh with her friends and now my calendars are empty and I am left to myself. I imagine my day to finally be the one being told goodbye is somewhere in the near future, until then I'll be here, in my empty nest with my empty calendar

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why are so many young Muslims leaving Islam?

Alhamdulilah my group of friends are pretty Muslim (whatever that means)and over the past year a few of my non-Muslim friends have become Muslim also. For the most part, I am among people who appreciate the beauty of Islam and immerse themselves in it. However, for every up there is a down and while I am among very dedicated Muslim youth, I am also among troubled youth that ultimately leave Islam. I suppose as someone who believes so strongly in Islam, I find it impossible to come up with a reason as to why anyone would ever want to leave such a perfect religion. Nonetheless I'd like to discuss it and perhaps someone could help shine light on the topic as well.

Last year I was sad to hear that someone very dear to my family left Islam. It was rather hard to believe as she came from a very religious family and was a good Muslim as well. Apparently, she was studying philosophy at University and soon started to question Islam. I for one have witnessed the dangers of Philosophy while I was studying for my undergrad as it was one of the classes offered in order to fulfill the general education requirement. I only took one class in this subject and began thinking slightly differently (Shukr Allah that I had made the Masjid my sanctuary and the Quran my guidance or I don't know where I would be today). This girl went so far as to study Philosophy as her major. I happen to think of all the subjects, Philosophy is the most detrimental to its learner's faith in that it poses questions that the Human mind doesn't naturally think. This particular person (we'll call her Alice) looks at things from an existential point of view. While I cannot remember much about existentialism besides what I have learned in my 12th grade English class, I know that it can lead to atheism. It prompts people to ask questions such as "How do I know God exists if I cannot see him?" In order for something to exist it must be tangible, for example "If a tree 'fell' in the forest 10 miles from my house, how do I know that the tree really existed if I did not hear it fall?" Naturally the human mind does not think this way. Philosophy poses such questions and Shaytan runs with them making people doubt their faith. If your are reading this and were considering studying Philosophy, please do so under a Muslim scholar and please study Islamic Philosophy - its safer.

Alice's sister is also no longer Muslim, possibly through the influence she gets from her elder sister. Alice's mother refuses to talk to her because when she does so shaytan starts whispering in her ears. Alice often asks questions like "How do I know there is a life after death?" I have pondered that question a few times in an attempt to explain it to her, but I haven't come up with an answer that pleases her, because to me it is just part of my faith and the belief in life after death makes me Muslim.

Someone else I know is no longer Muslim because her boyfriend is not Muslim and she knows that she cannot be with him if she is Muslim and he is not. May Allah (SWT) protect us, our families, and the entire Muslim Ummah (ameen).

My mind cannot fathom how anyone could believe in Allah one day and then the next denounce His existence all together. My studies have revolved around science and everything that I have ever learned in my years as a student has confirmed the existence of a higher being from chemistry and the binding of atoms to Human Anatomy and Physiology. Subhan'Allah the human body is so intricate and its function is so amazing almost machine-like that there is no way that any of this was an accident. Salt water and fresh water didn't just randomly decide not to mix. Its not mere coincidence that when a person goes for abdominal surgery and their intestines are moved out of the abdominal cavity and then place back again in a bunch after surgery that they automatically move back into the correct position. Or how about your eyes start to secrete tears in order to wash our a foreign object that has entered it? I could go into the secretion of hormones in response to different signals of the body, but it will take a while. My point is, it absolutely cannot be a fluke or a mistake, someone is behind it all, and that someone is Allah (SWT).

Although my family is not very religious (my immediate family) there are certain things that they have been rather strict about. My parents have done a good job of implementing the idea of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to wear in public, even when I wasn't a hijaabi, they would be strict about tight clothing and enforced that I wore pants or long skirts (mind you my mom is not even a hijaabi), we only ate zabiha, we never touched alcohol, we fasted in Ramadan, we wore "proper hijaab" to the masjid and boys were never allowed at home and they also were not allowed to call home. I guess the reason I am saying this is that with all this conditioning throughout life (an I am using conditioning in a positive tone)I couldn't understand being anything but Muslim. While my parents were strict, they never were extremely tough. I know that the parents of some rebellious youth are extremely tough on their kids.

I feel that there needs to be a degree of being strict, however I find that extreme strict behavior is a mistaken on the parents' part in that it often is the extra nudge in pushing a child away. Adolescents are like children, if you tell them not to something they want to do it even more. I am not advocating not telling your children to stay away from certain things (as a matter of fact I encourage it) rather I am saying don't be too harsh. If you keep your child as a prisoner and yell at them at the drop of the hat you are building a ticking time bomb.

I am not a mother, however my belief is that there needs to be a degree of exposure to the outside world in order to balance everything out. Of course you wouldn't want your teenage child out late at night without your presence, but don't completely band him/her from going out, instead let them go out with friends you approve of and pick them up at a time you feel is decent. Be your child's friend. be the person your child wants to talk to, the one he/she asks questions when confused. I find that in our societies especially among parents who come from non-western countries we find that parents desire to build up this wall to distinguish the Parent-child relationship but the reality of the matter is we no longer live back home. Here, there are bigger fitnas to deal with. So what if your daughter dropped a glass of milk - calm down - just ask her to pick it up, there is no need to yell and call names. This is just one example.

I have seen over the top strict parents, but I have also seen the "who cares" parent. These parents don't ask questions, they don't place curfews, they just don't care. They are under the impression that just because their kid is hanging around Muslims everything is good. The truth is: It's not! I have family in England where the population of Muslims is large and parents have the "who cares" mentality.My last visit to England was in my late teen years and I was shocked to see what was happening (drinking, smoking, dating), of course this doesn't only happen in England it happens everywhere...this is just where I saw it. Teens are like babies, they are curious, they want to try different things even if they know it is bad for them, they want to try it anyway: Alcohol, drugs, sex and before they know it they are in way too deep.

I have also found that while we are all trying to live the American dream, family life has jumped out the window and committed suicide. There is no quality family time, technology doesn't help either. I mean in the living room we see everyone's eyes glued to the TV (in my case my ears are plugged to some lecture as my laptop sits on my lap), on road trips everyone has their ears busy with their ipods, there is no longer any discussion. Seriously, be your child's friend.

I have heard that women have no rights from ex-Muslim sisters. What kind of example are we putting forth in our dealings with our daughters and sisters? How are we treating them that it makes them believe that Islam has made them second class citizens? The answer "Its because you're a girl" to the question "Why not?" is ridiculous and it is an injustice to that person and the religion of Islam. When you answer a question in that manner you are saying "Because you are a woman I can treat you differently." Frankly, I think that's unjust. Don't get me wrong, there are certain roles in society a woman is meant to play and certain rules a man is meant to play, what I fail to understand is why do people make performing these roles and other roles so complicated? Why can't your daughter go out with a group of sisters? Why can't you daughter travel abroad as your son did?

I can go on and on, but its late and I'm tired.

Would anyone like to shine light on this?

They make me happy

I could not resist posting this...its amazing.

I'll be back shortly with more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm rather confused....

I'm supposed to be attending a wedding somewhere in the really near future of a friend who may as well be family. The wedding is what my close friends and some family have given the coined name "mixed gathering" meaning men and women, including the bride and the groom, will be celebrating the wedding festivities together in the same ballroom. Seems fair enough to me, but there are people that I know that are planning on boycotting the festivities because in their minds eye being in the same vicinity of a man (regardless of whether you're covered or not or with your husband or other mehram family member) is just much too haraam. I suppose each individual is entitled to their own opinion. But my question is what is the true ruling regarding this matter? Brother Quest asked a similar question early this week, so seriously, what's the answer?

I mean, I have attended some masajid where men and women pray in the same prayer hall (unless there is no room in which case the women pray in a hall which is usually located upstairs). I have also attended Islamic functions, fundraisers, lectures, etc. where men and women are in the same area perhaps sitting at different tables, standing in different buffet lines, entering from different entrances, women in the back and men in the front, but nonetheless in the same area. On the flip side, I have attended gatherings where the "fitnah police's" security is at the red level and if you're a sister there won't be a brother in sight and the opposite goes for the brothers. As you can see, I am a bit confused.

I must admit, there are times where I actually want strict security. For example when certain masajid hold late night qiyaams and the majority of attendees are youngsters who are at the masjid for the purpose of scoping out other youngsters of the opposite gender (where is the fitnah police then?). So I agree that there are times that the partitions should be drawn and times when there should never be a member of the opposite gender in sight, but most of the time I don't get it. It doesn't logically make sense (ok, it does in a way, but in other ways I don't understand). I'll explain...

A attend a public university, I have boys in my classes and my professors are males, I cannot build a partition around me every time I attend a class where there's a male in the room (every class). And what am I to do if that non-Muslim boy decides to sit next to me because the chair next to me is the only chair available? What about the cashier at the super market? I could go on, but I'm sure the reader gets what I am saying. Despite the impossibility of not being in the presence on a non-mehram man, its lacks logic. How is one to find someone to marry?

Ok, I know people do find spouses even though they are the no "mixed gathering" type of people. But in all honesty, I know a lot of young people who complain "How am I supposed to find a wife if every even I go to people are hiding the sisters?" I can't say that I don't agree. My father and brother are Jummuah only masjid attendees, my brother is not into the "Muslim scene" (MSA) as he calls it and the only males of marriagable age that my father knows are my cousins, who might I add, are not husband material as far as I am concerned. So what is a girl like me to do? My only options are word of mouth, being active in the Masjid/MSA, or randomly being seen by an interested brother at one of these Muslim events. Of course there is always the arranged marriage route that I am not too fond of as my mother would likely hook me up with some kind of Bollywood movie star who is also a Jummuah only masjid attendee. Do I sound stupid?

Let me clarify, my views do not only relate to marriage issues, it relates to them all...student organizations also. In the past I have played a major role in my MSA and have even carried a leadership role, only to be ridiculed by certain "draw a curtain in front of the sister so we can't see her" brothers who are okay with a woman holding a leadership position in order to have her do all the work and planning, but God forbid she decides to open her mouth and speak her mind! This sister must be a loose sister, surely shes got her morals are all mixed up after all her voice is her awrah. I can accept that my voice is my awrah, but I have news for you brother...I'M NOT SINGING! and I am dressed conservatively, I'm not wearing make-up and since when did and abaya become provocative clothing. And I'm no sheikah, I am far from it (see the previous post) but if my memory and education serves me correctly the physical curtain to be drawn between a woman and the man she is speaking to rule applies only to the Ummahaat ul Mumineen (correct me if I am wrong).

I am of the belief that there should be no "free mixing" as we see in western societies and some more "chill" masajid, I am completely against it. Nonetheless, I feel like in order to have a healthy society there should be SOME mixing. Of course I am totally against a brother and a sister sitting in chairs that are right next to each other or even at the same table, but why can't men and women be at the same wedding in the same ballroom? Surely families can sit at the same table or if you want to make it a little stricter why can't one side of the room be reserved for the male guests and the other side for female guests?

What if at this wedding people start dancing? I'll tell you, I'd be the first person to leave the ballroom at that point! But if I can sit in a restaurant with my family and eat dinner or sit in a lecture hall where I am absolutely okay with the non-Muslim boy sitting right next to me or almost accidentally touching the cashiers hand at the super market as he hands me my change, then surely having a nice dinner with my family and other families at my friends wedding should not be a problem as long as I have done everything necessary to protect myself from committing sin.

If you think I am completely wrong, by all means feel free to correct me and it would be great if you could do so with examples from the Quran and Sunnah.

Jazak'Allah khair.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What do you look for in a husband?

It seems like my posts are more love and marriage related than I would have liked, but khair, it is what it is. I'm at that age and well the blog title is "A glimpse into my mind" and this is what's on my mind.

A friend of mine asked me today "What are you looking for in a husband?" after mentioning that she might have someone in mind for me. My fear is that I gave her this generic answer, an answer that any Muslim girl would give. My other fear is that what I want is so far out of my reach as I do not have some Egyptian Islamic education and my knowledge of Islam today is what I have learned from the few Al-Maghrib classes that I have attended, the many lectures that I have listened to and the numerous books that I have glanced through. So do I really deserve the brother that I truly want to be with? I guess that is for Allah (SWT) to decide...

Here is my attempt to answer that question so that next time it is asked I can answer it properly. Its not that I don't know what I want, because I do, I've gone over this numerous times in my mind, I even made a long list and emailed it to a brother friend who offered to be a nice brother and find me a man, its just that I think I should refresh my thoughts. So here goes....criticism is welcome :) .

  1. He must be a practicing Muslim - by practicing I do not mean just the 5-pillar practicing Muslim, I mean a brother who makes Islam his life. Someone who spends as much free time as possible at the masjid engaging in resourceful dialogue with shuyookh, someone who instead of partying on Friday night is at the masjid in a halaqa. (you get the gist)
  2. He must eat Zabiha only - I know that there are many opinions on the issue, but Allah (SWT) says in the Quran (6:118-119) "Then eat of that on which the name of Allah has been pronounced, if you believe in His signs. And what happened to you that you should not eat out of that on which the name of Allah has been pronounced. He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, but when you be compelled to it? And undoubtedly, many mislead by their own desires without knowing. Undoubtedly, your Lord knows well the transgressors."And I feel that if there is Zabiha meat, then why not. Is it so hard to give up that burger at In-N-Out? Make one at home, its not that hard.
  3. He must be family oriented - I find that now a days a lot of young practicing Muslim brothers abandon their families in a way. While its great that you're spending all of your time at the masjid with the brothers in this amazing halaqa, have some consideration for you mother who is at home. Come home at a decent hour, spend some time with her, ask her if she needs any help. Afterall, heaven does lie beneath her feet. If you're out enriching yourself with knowlege of the deen and your family is at home watching TV and what not, where is the benefit in that?
  4. He has to absolutely love children - I am in love with children and the thought of insha'Allah having my own one day. My future Mister must share this same passion. I see having children as an opportunity to do things for the Ummah that my parents were not able to do through me for whatever reason. Afterall children are the future of this Ummah and the most precious gift of this dunya.
  5. He has to be "with it" - That is, he has to be cool, to me. Underneath that abaya and hijaab is a girl straight from the hood - a girl who until she discovered hayah used to ball it up on the court with the guys. I love, basketball, pool (even though I don't know the rules), football -if its a sport and it's competative, I like it, that being said he's going to have to be willing to play with me. My dream is to play a game of basketball with my on one.
  6. While I want a strict man, he also has to be chill. My family dynamic doesn't really settle well with the big sheikh mentality. And while I would appreciate the lowering of gazes when he is around women he is not related to (including my cousins as many of them are very good looking) I would also appreciate it if he would become a PART of my family. He would have to be okay to converse with my entire family, joke around with them etc, within limits of course and with me present of course.
  7. He has to be flexible and open-minded. A closed mind will not work in my family. My family is not very religious, many of them are practicing and some try but are completely and utterly confused (of no fault of their own). My family is also very religiously diverse hense the need for open-mindedness. I see it as a dawah over the guys in my family and insha'Allah we got ourselves a revolution.
  8. No music, No TV. As I said earlier, I am against TV and Music and while from time to time I glance over at the TV I would love to not expose my children to such fitnah. I enjoy watching sports and perhaps that is all I would use a TV for if I ever had one in my house, but that too causes and issue with cheerleaders and fitnah in every we'll see. I might just do what my cousin does with her children - that is not allow them to watch commercials. And of coures, there will be absolutley no music.
  9. He can't be all wrapped up in culture. Don't get me wrong, I love culture, as long as it doesn't interfere with religion. I have found that my family has these weird views on religion and weird ways of doing things. Alhamdulilah I am working slowly and surely to eliminate these practices, but it would be nice to have a little support.
  10. He must be okay with my line of work. I am a nurse, so my job requires me to work closely with men, even touch them if necessary (but they are my patients). I chose this line because to me it is the most self-less job I could think of. It also leaves the door of opportunity for me to fulfill my dream of providing medical help to those in less fortunate parts of the world (Africa, India, Pakistan, War-torn parts of the Middle East).
  11. He has to be willing to at least consider the option of studying Islam abroad and perhaps even Arabic. These are things that I have wanted to do for the longest but my parents would never allow me.
  12. It would be wonderful if he loved cats or at least tolerated them. I actually have a cat now that I would have a hard time parting with, we have three in my house (one that my parents are too attached too, one that I think is really retarded and then the one I want to take with me - my love).
  13. I want him to be my best friend - my go-to guy. I want him to be someone that I am comfortable talking to and just bumming around with. And if he's romantic that would be amazing!
  14. Anger management - I have had issues with this in the past...I have anger management and stress management issues. There are times that I do and/or say things that I do not mean to do or say out of anger or stress. Alhamdulilah, I have done a good job trying to ween myself off of this destructive kind of behavior, but in order for my self-rehab to work, I need a man who is calm. A man that knows how to walk away from an argument, a man who stays silent when he's angry. Basically, I need him to be calm so that I too can be calm.
I think this is all I can think of as of now. Lemme know what you think.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Children these days have no patience!"

Its a comment that I have heard all too often by the elders in my community when it comes to discussions about the young people of the community getting divorced as early as one month into the marriage. I can't say that I don't agree, because I do - people my age have no patience when it comes to preserving a relationship. I think the problem is multifaceted, there isn't just one answer.

Muslim youth now a days are getting married (performing their nikkah) younger and younger in an effort to protect themselves from committing sin, while I couldn't think of a better possible answer to such a problem, I feel that the immaturity of many youth contributes to the rising percentage of divorce within the Muslim community. Its common practice for a young couple to perform their nikkah and live with their respective parents until they finish school as neither of them have enough money to pay rent and provide for a household. This is all well and good until this couple decides to treat this union as either a "halal" boyfriend-girlfriend relationship or as just an engagement. I think what young people fail to realize is that once a nikkah is done, no matter how simple and how small it is, it is still a wedding! He is your husband and she is your wife. Sure, Islam makes divorce very easy, but it is out of the mercy of Allah (SWT) and should not be abused.

I often find situations in which there is a total lack of patience along with a total lack of respect for the other person in cases of divorce. I am single and have never been married, some may argue that my situation puts me in position to make such observations, but I think I have seen enough in my years to draw conclusions as to what I think is going wrong.

There is a total lack of patience! I know that I have said that I would never run my household in the manner in which my parents have. To that comment, I would also like to add that I don't want to have a marriage like my parents either, but if there is one thing from my parents relationship that I would like to incorporate in my marriage when the time comes is the patience that both my parents exhibit in their dealings with one another. Masha'Allah, my parents have been married for 25 years, my father's brother and his wife have been married 30 years, my grandparents were married for 55 years (they took the 'till death do we part' literally, Alhamdulilah). Needless to say none of these marriages were the cookie-cutter, always on your honeymoon kind of marriages. Of course there are ups and downs, there are misunderstandings, arguments, fights even, but subhan'Allah they pulled through. So, I find it amazing how the youth of today can end a marriage in just months-its obvious that no effort was put into making those marriages work.

Another classic argument made is the "we're not compatible" argument. A friend of mine was telling me about her friend - a good Muslim girl- that simply packed her bags and left her husband a month after the wedding because she thought she had nothing in common with him. Where is the logic in that? Whatever happened to trying to make it work, getting to know your husband better so that you can develop common interests? While I may be no expert on making a marriage work, I know a little about friendships in that I know it doesn't always click in the first month of friendship and often times you have to put in an effort to make a friendship work but in the end its worth it. Whatever happened to compromise?

One of the things that pains me the most about the rising numbers of divorce in our communities is that it breaks up the family structure and tears down bonds within the community. I feel that many of the Muslim youth are failing to see the importance of marriage in our society and in our deen. A husband and wife are to be garments for one another so that we may find tranquility in their presence, yet we see the opposite happening in today's society.

I pray that Allah (SWT) place immense amounts of love and mercy between the hearts of married couples all over the world and that He blesses them with long happy lives together (ameen).