Friday, February 27, 2009

Surviving the Moment

We can look at those who live through an earthquake, a fire, or a hurricane and say, "WOW! That person is a real survivor!"

However, there are other times which are just as tough to live through. Amazingly, those of us who have been grieving the recent death of a little girl got through the first days with fearless faith. Somehow we all managed to place her body in the grave and to walk away. Subhanallah! Subhanallah.

What we are finding now is that the normal days are hurting us. Something huge happened in our lives and we know we cannot go back to an everyday routine without feeling strange. Even this morning, when Mr. Boo got his bath, he played with the toys from that August birthday party, which was the last time we saw Yasmine.

I was going to get together with my lovely friend and her daughters when they were up here visiting in December. I didn't. I was all wrapped up in a new romance and we never connected. We never saw Yasmine again. I had no way of knowing.

It's that feeling of weightiness for every decision. That is what is making my every move feel important and almost unable to begin.

I don't have a job.

I only have enough money for one month's rent.

The man I was talking to, well he actually had promised to pay for my apartment, since we were engaged. Yes, we were. Were. It's done. While I was in the sun, he was in the snow and the difference made him see things with different eyes. Coming back didn't change his view of me and of course I could never marry someone who doesn't see my truth.

These are my days for not praying or fasting. I am needing to be smart with my time and energy as they are limited. I need to survive this moment.

And sometimes, moments are as tough to get through as any storm.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Applause

When I was still a church-going believer, I hated applause during the service. I loved that parishioners loved The Lord enough to sacrifice time, energy, and talent to sing a song. I hated when the ending came and the clapping started.


It wasn't clear to me until I took a class in ritual. That college class made me ask, "Who is the ritual for?"

If the performer was doing their shtick for God, then their reward should come from God. The sanctuary, which was supposed to be worshipping The Creator instead was turning its adoration to a person. The energy flow then became more horizontal than vertical. You get me?

It's good to know who you are worshipping and why you are performing your rituals. An unexamined life is not worth living.

This week, my actions were all for Allah. I did what I could and I asked for strength and sabr to keep going.

I was oblivious to many different intrigues but I was made aware of a few.
At first, I was aghast that any Muslim would pick apart the actions of another Muslim at all, but especially at a time of mourning. I thought it was just one person or just one incident. However, it kept happening.
"Why did she...?"
"Why didn't she...?"
"I would never..."
"Can you believe they...?"
There was a lot of talk down here from believers about believers; very horizontal.
If someone feels badly about another person's actions, it would serve everyone so much better if they went to Allah. Allah knows the contents of our hearts and the intentions behind every action. In sujud, empty your own heart if you don't understand the heart of another.
"Oh, Allah you know better why she said what she did. You know better her fears and worries. Please release her from their grip. Please quiet her mouth and her mind on this subject. Please help her to see that I meant no wrong. Please forgive her what she said. Please forgive me for any upset I've had over this. Please quiet my own mouth so I don't continue the hurtful actions. Please empty my heart of any anger and clean my soul so I can serve you more. I do forgive her."
There was one sister I met here who was so beautiful. Really, when I met her, I loved her right away. I felt this way with so many new sister-friends. We hugged each other and gave each other goodness. I felt absolutely at peace with her and then I learned her name! LOL! Isn't that so funny how we are bonded by our hearts before even knowing the most basic information?
Days later, there was another sister I met who was so haughty. She entered the kitchen where I was making salads for the family. She immediately told me that I had done something very wrong when I left the cemetery on the day of the burial.
I remember that day well. I had stood in the hot sun with my lovely friend. She had just buried her daughter and she couldn't move.
"I don't have the strength."
"I don't either," I replied, "but I'm going to ask Allah to give us the strength."
It was then that I walked with a grieving mother away from her daughter's grave. My supposed mistake was right after that. If I did do a wrong, then may Allah forgive me. I truly had just used most of my brain cells to get through that moment. I wish people could make excuses for others, as they would wish others to make excuses for them.
Back in the kitchen, four days after the funeral, she began quizzing me on my life. It was not a conversation. Apparently, I had troubled her without meaning to. She ran her fingers through her hair as she picked on me. I continued working and tried to deflect comments. I tried to change the subject. She was very aggressive in her tone and in her need to find out information about me.
"You married a Moroccan?" She remarked upon one of my short answers. "I guess you don't have any good friends to advise you."
Comments like that.
She finally left me alone and I was wound-up tight in tension.
When I came out to sit out with the others, I had to ask, "Sister, what is your name again?"
She told me.
"Is there another sister with that same name? I met a sister with that name who was wearing a hejab."
"Ya, I don't normally wear hejab. I wore it here out of respect the first three days."
I swear to you that these were two different women. I don't mean that lightly. I mean I literally can't think of them as the same. I believe when she covered with hejab, Allah covered her faults. The woman in hejab treated me in purity and kindness. She was a quiet, young woman who was small in body, agile, and humble in appearance.
The woman who chastised me, with her flowing hair and tight jeans was enormous in size and thudding in her gait. She was overbearing and loud. She wasn't just criticizing me, by the way, many others got a pronouncement of good or bad as she held court on the couch. Subhanallah!
When it came time for me to leave, she did offer a ride, which I accepted. Why? I thought that I might have been to quick to feel hurt. I wanted to accept the ride so I could improve our understanding, even if she was someone I had just met. Then, I was told that she had invited another sister out for food. Did I mind if they grabbed a bite to eat first?
Allah knows what went on in her mind. My thing is that I'm very straight-forward. If something strikes me as very weird, then it isn't about's about them. She offered the ride but not the time eating out. Allah knows.
I headed out of the home and told her that I didn't feel well and just needed to get to where I was staying. I didn't even tell her the name of the friend who was housing me. I felt that badly about her. I felt exactly like she was eating my flesh.
Alhumdulillah, I got to re-learn of the ugly side of the sisterhood. I had been reveling in this immense love I had revived for these ladies. They have been my chauffeurs, my tour guides, my counselors, my cooks, my babysitters, my supports, my...SISTERS!
I wasn't here for my sisters.
I was here for Allah.
If a sister hates me for what I'm doing, do I stop? No. I am not doing it for her. Allah knows. This way, I can say, "alhumdulillah," because I am no longer a performer who needs applause to continue. I am a Muslimah and I swear I've been doing my best for Allah. I can't say that for my whole life, but I can say it for this week. Allah knows, even if not everybody does.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Death Teaches Us How to Live

What I Have Learned

from the Sudden Death

of a Young Child

1. We are all more fragile than I ever imagined.

2. True friends just simply do what you need and, when you are that true friend, you attract the same in return.

3. The most alive moments are those times when you can't believe what you are living.

4. Making peace with now means you become ok with whatever comes next.

5. Asking, "Why?" just doesn't serve anybody or anything.

6. Saying, "Alhumdulillah," works for everything.

7. Loving everyone for the best that they can do is the best that you can do.

8. We don't have enough strength alone. We need God more than any person.

9. Our faith must be in place during the good times in order to support us during the hard times.

10. That stupid thing, which we know is stupid, really is very, very stupid and we need to stop doing it, saying it, and thinking it.

11. The stupid things which other people think, say, or do just aren't worth our time.

12. So many more people have gone through what we are going through and it actually made many people stronger for the experience.

13. While there is immense pain in the world, there is also immense love and joy.

14. Turning points are there for us to make the decisions which help us to grow bigger, better, and brighter.

15. If someone criticizes your decision, that's because it doesn't make sense for them. Why should it, though? I mean...they aren't you!

16. Very few things actually matter in the exact moment you are living. Think simply. Live simply.

17. Do the thing which truly makes sense to you and it will all unfold better than if you tried to be a, "good," person and do what was expected from others.

18. Your problems could be worse. How? I don't know, but I bet if we both thought about it, someone could figure out how. Thank God for what you were spared.

19. Alcohol, drugs, food, and mindless relationships just don't beat prayer.

20. Death is a lot like birth. Each one of us has a birthing story and most of us wish that we could make changes in what happened. However, it is what it is. Alhumdulillah.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

No Decision

The decision
to make
no decision
is a decision.

Let life unfold
rather than
expecting life to

When time is
the right time,
the right
will take me
to the path
that was
always there.

God never
put me
in a place
where I
was going.

Lost Connection

On Friday, I arranged for a re-visit to the masjid. The last time we were there was for the funeral of a dear, sweet child, with me supporting the mother so she wouldn't get engulfed by the crowd of grievers. Today, she and I were to meet with our other friends and pray together.

When I arrived, I saw to my surprise that there was another janazah, or funeral. It was for another child. Subhanallah, this little girl was 17-months-old. She had never been healthy; never gone from the hospital for long. The family had already buried a child two years ago; a toddler. Subhanallah. From Allah we come and to Allah we return.

Do you know what? This was good for my friend. Alhumdulillah. Her daughter had lived. She had built snowmen, and sand castles, and danced, and laughed. In those six years she pranced around this earth, she got to become an integral part of so many lives. Alhumdulillah.

Before, it had perhaps seemed cruel astragferallah that a six-year-old can die. Now, it was made more clear that we had been blessed to have those years on earth with her. Mashahallah, what a beautiful child!

It was time to pray, and I struggled to stop the thoughts so I could focus on the hafiz's mashahallah stirring recitation of Quran.

I thought, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I clear my mind from all these thoughts of life and death, of Yasmeen and of this other little girl; of their deaths and of their parents?"

The first rakha came and went and I somehow still felt not completely connected as I stood for the start of the second rakha.

Then, the hafiz began, "Wa tini wa zaytun..."

It made me stop and smile and then cry. This is the surah I am now memorizing. I wrote about it weeks ago. I was touched. I was. I felt so connected to everything and everyone. Quran is so powerful. Subhanallah.


Allahu akbar!

This is the first time I've cried since I arrived. I've been so strong for my friend, her husband, his family, her family and the other friends. I felt it was my duty and actually I felt so good alhumdulillah that Allah gave me that strength.

My friend is so incredibly strong, mashahallah. Can you imagine washing your child for burial? She did. Subhanallah, she did and she did it so well. May Allah reward her by wiping away all her sins. Of course, my friend has times when she feels weak too.

In my prayer, I had to admit my failings. My time of weakness was with Allah. When I confessed of my weakness, Allah gave me more strength.


Subhanallah, I went to find a photo for this article. I was thinking of a phone off the hook, but didn't like those shots. I typed in "missing the train" and the photo I liked was from a blog on which the first words are, "View from the Jama Masjid," which is where we were today. No, not in India, but in the city where I am staying. We were actually at the Jama Masjid. Subhanallah. God gives signs to those who see.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Get Your Iman in a Row






































Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Great Equalizer

I've been asked to respond to this posting in which the comments talk about the loss of white privilege once the hejab is on.

For me, I already have felt the loss of privilege long ago when I was one of the only white girls on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. I remember telling the principal that I was tired of standing out in the crowd. I didn't want to be black, but I just didn't want to be so obviously white. I had been threatened and almost beaten up. I had been rejected by the cutest guy in the school...sigh! Maxentius! I had been made fun of for my hair, my skin color, my clothes, the way I spoke, and the way I danced. I guess it all prepared me for the blogosphere!

And actually, there is a part of me who likes being the outsider. One of my favorite film directors is
Peter Weir, who made The Year of Living Dangeriously (starring Linda Hunt, a personal hero of mine), Witness, and Dead Poets Society among others. His movies are always about a fish out of water. I love being this person. Why? Because only when I am out of my element do I realize who I really am.

When I was fired for wearing hejab, it was actually the culmination of months of harrasssment from seemingly normal business people. They let me know that I was no longer part of, "us," or, "we." And when I looked at how horribly they treated me, I honestly didn't want to be part of them.

And this is where the post stopped for days. Why? I learned of the death of my friend's little girl.

Yet, truly I was living out the other half of this posting. For the great equalizer is in knowing that we are all servants of Allah. Some will tell you that death is the one thing that we all share. I suppose that's true for all of us, but those who are believers also understand how there is life after death. That is our common bond.

With that in mind, we are united immediately and at a most deep level.

We were picked up at the airport by a Pakistani-American couple.

I was then brought to the grieving household and hugged by Tunisians, Palestinians, and European-Americans.

I was given a ride by a Palestian-Puerto Rican to the home of a Guyanese sister-friend.

I stayed the next day with Mr. Boo's Indian babysitter, God bless her.

We left for the masjid and learned there would be another janazah; a Bosnian lady had passed and her friends and co-workers were there. We would be celebrating two very different lives.

Our lives. All these lives I've named by their ethnicity. Truly, I am only doing it for the purpose of illustrating my point. Yes, I realize their colors and their background but more than that I realize the sisterhood of Islam.

Ya, my white prviledge card got revoked. It's OK with me.

I have something far more important: I have the love of Allah which I share with my sisters.

Monday, February 16, 2009


My lovely friend's daughter, Yasmine, passed away today. She was only a kindergartner. She had suffered a severe reaction to a medicine.
Please pray for her soul and for her mother, father, and sister, grandparents and friends to go to God with all their hearts.

From Allah we come and to Allah we do return.
Go hug your kids.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Singles Awareness Day




and on a day when there is
so much talk about hearts,
read THIS to remember how
to take care of your own heart
I like this blog which talks
about the Muslim heart.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Covered Women as Tourist Attractions?

I have always complained when internet photos of foreign places show covered women. It's felt like the stalkerazzi of modesty.
The whole point of being covered is to keep away from men's eyes. To not just look, but to stare long enough to then take a picture and finally to put it on the internet for all to see, is really (I think) an abomination of decency.
Now, I've left a comment on You can find it here.
This is a little different, in that Hans is an Amish-Mennonite believer. His mother and sisters are covered. Read the conversation and see what you think.
Leave comments here for now. Maybe we can collect a bunch of comments and send them over to him en masse, inshahallah.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting Clean

Cleanliness is a hallmark of Islam.


For me, getting clean is taking on a new meaning. I am seeing (today especially) how my efforts to get clean in this world make the dirty ugliness become more apparent.

See, when I accept mainstream culture at face value, without any examination, I fit in perfectly. I become one of the sheep following the herd. I laugh at crudeness. I gossip. I fill my heart with upset. I place clutter and chaos as the center of my home. Yet, somehow, I feel a surface-level of happiness in my lazy comfort.

When I decided that I had to get serious and wash away what was preventing me from getting to Jennah, it felt very good at first. Once again, I had a higher purpose. I could be a shepherd, instead of being part of the flock. I could be acceptable to the best, instead of hiding out with the worst.

This week, I'm starting to see, as I did before, that getting clean means realizing how dirty the world can be and how bad we can be to each other. That doesn't feel so good.

It's the same when I go to clean the countertops in the kitchen. They don't really have to get cleaned for me to get food ready. I can leave them. But, if I really get into a cleaning kick, then I scrub them and find out what color they were supposed to be. Then, I realize how the stove looks grimmy next to the clean countertop. I can't believe I didn't notice before! After that, I start in on the greasy side of the fridge. It feels like an endless, thankless job. It's easy to get a bit depressed when you feel overwhelmed by what you had once left lackidasically.

We will never be totally free from every mess and every mistake, but being better is every Muslim's goal. As I make the conscious choice to be better, I see who and what was actually worse for me than I imagined before. Ya, Allah! How did I make it through?

Only through Allah's mercy. Ar-Rahman! Ar-Raheem!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Attribution to God

On one of those rare instances where the TV is actually tuned to an adult program, I got to catch last Sunday's 60 Minutes. Can you imagine my delight when it was on the "Hudson Miracle"? I mean, what a great story! An interview with Sully, the captain, certainly would be captivating!

And I listened to him, charming man that he is.

I listened to the crew.

I listened to those passengers who almost didn't make it.

Did I miss something? I wish I could watch it one more time. Maybe I didn't hear. Maybe my often talkative son distracted me.
Or maybe the editing process took it out of the interview.

Where was God?

I really didn't hear anyone thank God.

Sure, they thanked each other and hugged and cried tears of joy at their survival. And that's really nice to see; happy people who made it through an unimaginable hell.

But who brought them through?

It wasn't the pilot.

It was God working through the pilot.

Now, the pilot has a hard time sleeping at night. I don't doubt it. When we don't thank God and attribute our blessings to Him, our minds can't really rest. Plus, it allows the evil eyes of envy to start working on us.

Today, see how many times you can thank God. I mean, hopefully there is no accident in the hours ahead but maybe there is something simple.


a smile from someone you missed, or

a child feeling healthier after a brief illness, or

finding money (even if it's only a penny), or

hearing good news, or

getting that parking spot close to the entrance, or

feeling the weather warm up, or


Or better yet, tell God. Give thanks to God. This is all from God. Alhumdulillah.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

New Light

A new day.

A new outlook.

May Allah bless those who strive for his cause with their whole heart and their every intention. For those who fall short, but wish to do better, may Allah clean their hearts and renew their souls.

LOL! I just read this on my son's friend's Facebook page:

Age your hoping to be married: maybe when I'm 70 or so. I just want to live with one woman for ever, but marriage creates obligation, and obligation destroys willingness.

May God bless that 14-year-old too!

Oh, man, I'm just looking for a pic to go with this short entry and it's taken me longer to search than it did to write.

Found this link . Groovy stuff.

And another!

This page made me mad. Grrrr! Hate it when covered women are, "captured," on film against their wishes.

Ahhhhh this page is too sweet. If you like that thing.

This was an interesting glimpse into others viewing Muslims viewing others.

And now for something completely different.

Ok, I give up. There is nothing that is appropriate enough to capture where I'm at in my head. The only picture adequate enough is a picture I took yesterday. Mashahallah.

Allahu Akbar. God is indeed great.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Throwing My Arms Around Paris

Singing this song around town. Literally!

The Fear

What's the difference between an ordeal and an adventure?


I'm remembering to face everything with the same bouncy attitude as this song. It has become my vibe. Dig it?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Al-Mu'minun 29

And say:

‘O my Sustainer!

Cause me to reach

a destination blessed by Thee—

for Thou art the best

to show a man how

to reach

his true destination!'”

Al-Mu’minun 29

Consider the fig and the olive

95) سُورَة التِّين
وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ
وَطُورِ سِينِينَ
وَهَذَا الْبَلَدِ الأَمِينِ
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيم
ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ~ُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ
إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُون
فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ
أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ

Consider the fig...From Gardening Guides: "An interesting fact is that figs aren't actually fruits at all! The fig is a synconium, or a gourd like receptacle. Meaning that it is both home and hiding place to its flowers and filled with the edible seeds that give dried figs their nutty flavor.
Although many domestically cultivated figs have been hybridized to be self-pollinating, in its natural state, a tiny wasp that enters the synconium through an ostiole, or opening, opposite the stem end, pollinates the Common Fig."

From Essortment: "Fig trees are easy to grow in warm climates. They need to be planted in an area where they will receive full sun, at least eight hours a day. They should be spaced at least ten feet apart from other trees. The average fig tree will grow to be ten feet tall and ten feet wide."

From The California Rare Fruit Growers: "Origin: The fig is believed to be indigenous to western Asia and to have been distributed by man throughout the Mediterranean area. Remnants of figs have been found in excavations of sites traced to at least 5,000 B.C. "
"Distant Affinity: Mulberry (Morus spp.); Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis Fosb.); Jakfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.); Che; Chinese Mulberry (Cudrania tricuspidata). "

and the olive

From The California Rare Fruit Growers: Origin: The olive is native to the Mediterranean region, tropical and central Asia and various parts of Africa. The olive has a history almost as long as that of Western civilization, its development being one of civilized man's first accomplishments. At a site in Spain, carbon-dating has shown olive seed found there to be eight thousand years old."

From Davero: "Olive trees are a Mediterranean native, and require a fairly balmy climate. In particular, they will not tolerate cold winters; if you experience temperatures below 15° Fahrenheit (-7° Celsius), plan on planting something else!"

"Olives are shallow-rooted, so windy areas are problematic. You won't notice a problem at first, but when a mature tree, carrying a heavy crop, is exposed to high winds, they're extremely vulnerable. If you're in a windy area, plan on planting something else!"
"NOTE: Thomas Jefferson learned the hard way that olives also won‘t make it in areas that are humid. This rules out most of the US, with the exception of California, Arizona, and Texas"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Likelihood of You Surviving

"The likelihood of

you surviving,

you know,

decreases absolutely


by factors


if you panic."

Monday, February 2, 2009


Any guesses what happened today?

After reading the guesses, I know I have to set the record straight. I'm feeling like Charlie Bucket. That would be from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Hated the remake.

There's a moment when he opens his birthday chocolate bar and tells everyone that he won a golden ticket. The grandparents, under their bedcovers, are jubilant. It's then that Charlie realizes how getting their hopes up hurts him more.

Ya, my news ain't so great, gang.

Alhumdulillah. Allah knows best.

I no longer have a job.



My lovely friend put it in perspective, "You were only meant to be there four months."

Why did I go?

There was a mutual decision that I could no longer run that classroom. Is that my fault? I did my best and Allah knows. Allah knows the sitution at the school. I pray that it improves. I could no longer be putting myself there.
Here's Peter Ostrum who played Charlie as a kid:
He changed. We all do. It's God's plan. I'll accept that. I don't know what happens to me but something does inshahallah.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Airborne Really Works!

This is going to be a plug for Airborne. I get no kick-backs from talking about it. I just want you to benefit from something from which I got great results.

These quarter-sized tablets fizz in 6 oz. of water and you drink them down. They taste like an orange-flavored health drink, rather than medicine, which makes sense. They really aren't a drug.

The key to making the cure as effective as it was for me is to take it as SOON as you feel symptoms of a cold starting.

I was coming down with a sore throat and stuffy nose on Wednesday. I took an Airborne tablet, then another at bedtime, and the third when I woke in the night.

The next day, I felt some symptoms but could honestly say that they had not increased. I kept drinking lots of water.

I took the fourth Airborne tablet later on Thursday, so as not to go over the three tablets in 24 hours rule.

Friday, I went out and felt completely healthy. ALHUMDULILLAH!
Years ago, I used to go to Jamba Juice and buy their Coldbuster drink. It worked but not as well as this. Plus, this is something I could have on hand in the medicine cabinet.
Inshahallah, this could be something for you to pick up for the cold and flu season. My mom gave me this tube of the tablets (May Allah reward her) so I don't know the price. But honestly? If I hadn't taken those tablets, I don't think I would have been able to function as well in the classroom, or been able to go out on Friday.
Time and health are precious. Take care of yourselves out there!
May Allah protect you.