Days in the Life

#TheRamadanSeries

I looked into WordPress to see what my fellow/ sister Muslims were writing and found a challenge to write for 30 days with prompts. Sounds like something to try, in shaa Allaah. Offers yet another look into the life of a Muslim from a Muslim. Ramadan Mubarak, all. May Allaah accept our ibadah, aameen.

Day/ Prompt 1- Color

Black… No clear understanding of why this color makes me feel more covered. I think it makes me disappear into the background.

From there I can speak if I want, or just observe from my own distance.

This morning while running errands I saw three other Muslimahs, all wearing black. One was in a convenience store. The sight of her niqab made me want to protect her. She was cheerfully holding her very active baby and was engaged in talking to her, but was not too busy to return my greeting. As I passed her I felt compelled to check her comfort level by just asking how she was. After all, we were in an area and a time when anyone could decide to attack any random Muslimah for the wrongs of others. She answered quickly that she was fine, and I left her with an internal dua for her safety.

Secondly I came to the register and there was another Muslimah wearing a black hijab under her store uniform which was also black. I gave a greeting, but this time her reply was hardly audible. Maybe she was shy to make a big deal over seeing her sister Muslim. Maybe she was under pressure to keep the line moving. Maybe she had just had a negative encounter with a rude customer. I had no way to know the reasoning behind the lace of response, so I just let the murmur of salaam suffice. Once again I made a quiet dua for her safety.

My third and last sister was also in black. She hardly returned my greeting. This time I could see the sadness in her face. The niqab was lifted from her face and worn on her head. There was a man nearby. Since his casual tee shirt and hat were like the general population, I took him to be another store patron, not a family member shopping with her. I saw her again in another aisle of the store, but she was engaged in her shopping, so I didn’t venture a “How are you?” I spotted the same man nearby, so I knew then that they were together.

We were all choosing to wear the same color that day, but it did not dictate our disposition. Whereas I choose it for modesty, it does not determine my interaction with my sister Muslims, and my common human courtesy. I can’t say that the ladies I met in my travels today were not courteous. I think they were having to deal with life in ways that did not call for smiling at every Muslimah that they saw. Still we are sisters and are working toward the same goal and I’ll make a quiet dua for their happiness. Aameen.

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Days in the Life

Allaahu Akbar

Dear reader, names are changed to protect the innocent. Thank you for your time and comment on the first of hopefully many posts on growing up around Muslims of varying stages of growth. For sure faith rises and descends. It’s called life, but….

……Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar La Ilaha illa Allaah.

Finding that quiet space just out of the midst of the revelries of kids playing, block parties, music volume fading as we depart after a day of amusement parking. To keep the distant sounds within ear view, but not loud enough to be an interruption makes it very clear how set apart I am from many of my fellow human beings. It is my joy to once again face my Lord in salaah, grateful to be among the few blessed to realize the importance of remembrance of whence we came and whereto we are headed. This same event is viewed differently by even the people who share my household….

Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar

“Oh, no, not again” moaned Jasmine. “Seems like I just made salat, and it’s time again.” She pulled herself up from her comfortable spot on the couch and made her way to the bathroom. Maybe if she took long enough the salaah would be over. Dad didn’t make too much fuss over her missing salaah yet. It was hard enough on her as it is because life was “too hard” for her, he reasoned with his current wife. Jasmine’s mother had moved away from the house and Islaam when she was still only two years old. She does go to visit her mother a couple weekends during the month. That is where her confusion comes in. “Mommy says that all of Daddy’s praying and covering and all those rules are just too much. They don’t have to do all of that just to say they are Muslim. So what if she listens to music and wears anything that she wants? At least she doesn’t eat pork.” Jasmine rehearses these words over and over in her mind. She can relate to these words because most of the people she knows who say they are Muslims don’t care about all of those rules that her dad and his wife are calling oh so important. But since she has to live with her dad, she just goes along to get along. “Just two more years, and I’ll be old enough…” she promises herself.

Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar

“Time to pray again!” shouted Ruqayyah. “I’m going to pray with Daddy,” she announced to her sisters. “Whatever” they reply not even looking up from the you tube videos on the phones. Ruqayyah loves the feeling of standing next to her dad. She knows that she can do this right now because she’s only five. In time she will have to join the women’s rank in the rear. But for now she is taking full advantage. And why not? After salaat her dad gives her the biggest warmest hug and she could just live in his arms forever. The fact that her mother is not with them makes her a little bit sad, but since she still has Daddy things are okay. And whatever Daddy is doing she loves to do with him. They talk about Allaah, and it makes sense to her that Allaah made her and everything that she can see. Before she goes to sleep she makes sure to pray for her mother. “Oh Allaah let Mommy come back so we can be together again and make salaat together.”

Alaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar

“There just has to be more to life than all this praying,” Saalihah thought to herself. She dared not let on that she had problems understanding just why her dad and his wife were always praying. They told her they do it because Allaah says to do it, and it is a big part of being Muslim. Dad’s wife holds salaat over her head. If Saalihah makes it with her, then she is nice, but if she would rather keep watching a video on her phone, she acts meanish. They say we are going to meet with Allaah Who made us, and then we’ll have to answer why we did what we did. Saalihah was almost 14 and she knew that soon she would have to make a choice that may shape the rest of her life. For sure it would determine her place in this family.

Days in the Life, I'm Just Saying, Uncategorized

The Blue Sky Tag

I had the pleasure (and challenge) of being nominated for the Blue Sky Tag by The Scottish Muslimah. I have only been at this blog for a very short period, but have followed her blog from the start. I find her to be very thoughtful and thought provoking.  Please do follow if you do not already.Anyway, as part of the rules I have been given 11 questions to answer:

 1.  Do you prefer hot or cold weather? Hot by far is more enjoyable. I get to take my time and I get to love the billowing folds of an extra wide abaya, and appreciate those gentle breezes that come just at the time when I sigh that it is so very very hot today!

2. What are you most afraid of?  I shudder to think of being 30,000 feet above the ground moving at the speed of 700-800 miles per hour in a metal container piloted by another human being with what(?) on his/her mind? I thank Allah for allowing me to endure this in order to make hajj, and ever since that maiden voyage whenever I think of it I automatically beg Allah for  peace of mind should He put me in that position again. ameen (Please make dua for your chicken sister!)

3. What is your favourite animal?  The cat.  Its purr is so very comforting, and the fur is pleasing to the touch.  It is graceful yet comical.  My best choice for company when no humans are available

4.What is your favourite smell? Mmmmmm lavender by far.

5.Are you an early bird or a night owl? Early bird. Our blessings are with work done after fajr. (see question 9.)

6.How many people have seen you cry?  The two younger girls when I was so very sad that I could not visit my mother. But in time Allah in His infinite mercy allowed her to come and live with us. Alhamdu lillahi.  Most other times in my life tears have been between me and my Lord. (except when we watch paulie- see number 8)

7.When was the last time you laughed until it hurt and what made you laugh?   I was riding with my husband and eating blue berry cookies with our coffee. He had given me his uneaten cookie and I finished it.  Well he did not mean that I was supposed to EAT it, just HOLD it so he could make a turn.  What a joke! Sorry….didn’t he know I was the cookie monster? Of course that was the last one and the store was a long way back. Needless to say now all uneaten snacks go on the lap, not to the spouse/ cookie monster.  I’m still chuckling now!

8.What book or film made you cry the most?  Kiddie movie Paulie.  It was about a parrot who could talk., but could not fly.  He was given to a little girl with a speech impediment. Even though the little girl, Marie was talking with the help of the bird, her dad didn’t like him, so they got rid of Paulie. The entire movie was about Paulie’s determination to get back to his friend. He overcame his fear of flying to get back to Marie.  By the time he did find her she had grown into an adult with a daughter of her own. I was just so touched by the determination of this little bird to reach his goal, and his success at the end that little tears had to come.

9.What is your favourite time of day?  Tahujjud until sunrise.  The house is peaceful, the neighbors are quiet. There is no need for verbal conversation.  Time to pray, reflect, ask forgiveness.  This is time to get my next ayat to memorize for the day, and then plan what has to be done that day. Is it just me, or do the birds really sing subhan Allah until the sun starts to rise? I swear  I hear them a little at first when it is still dark then they increase in volume by the time fajr is well in.  Then just as the sun is about to rise they quiet down  until it is all the way up. After sunrise just a few have a little more to say.

10.If you could have any career or job you wanted, what would it be? Dream job: CEO of Justice Incorporated. By the Grace of Allah and with the Permission of Allah al Fattah, al Adl:  We Collect taxes from the very rich and distribute it to the less fortunate.  We provide shelter for those in need worldwide (translators available), and healthy wholesome food for the hungry that is collected from the excesses of the lavish.  We rescue non combatant men, women and children from war torn areas and war torn households (after necessary mediation) and resettle them in peaceful, safe environments.  No room in the cities? No problem, we have funds from the very wealthy that is more than enough to BUILD cities in that space that we pass as we drive through the countryside.  We negotiate the return of native lands to their rightful owners, and still leave the new “immigrants” with enough land to occupy.  We provide salaries to teachers so that everyone in need of education, be it deeni, elementary, or collegiate can get the necessary education to pursue the life of his or her dreams. (applications are available in every language, and are accepted at all times)  Our Senior  Citizen department handles secure and respectful location services for the elderly so that they can enjoy their years in an environment of dignity that is rightfully theirs after lives of service to their families and communities. (all applications are given the utmost priority.) The Sijjin Department works to free those who are incarcerated unjustly; either political prisoners or those whose incarceration serves the purpose of an elite few.  Our legal team is ready to be of service. Operators are working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Again translators are available for every human language. If there is some issue that we have not addressed, as I am sure there must be, feel free to contact us on our toll free line.  Although we will  do our level best to alleviate the harms of every nation it is understood that  perfect societies only do exist in jennah, but as Muminaat our job is to stand for justice in this dunya.  Ameen Allahumma Ameen.

11.If you were in a room with Donald Trump what would you say to him? So glad you are not God.

Days in the Life

Two Jamaats

After a typical day of homeschooling k, 2nd and third grade girls I was ready to quit right before maghrib with lessons “mostly” done. Daddy’s out, and I’m heading upstairs for salah.

Me: Okay, I’m heading up to salah.

Them: sit sit sit ….eyes on TV

Me: okay, then, since nobody is moving, I better not hear any noise. (guilt over not just commanding them to come up)

I get upstairs and see laundry ready to be put away. Good, I can get them to do this.

Me: Hey guys, here’s laundry, so come up here and put yours away.

They come up with no problem, get their respective garments and proceed to their shared room and take the clothes OUT of the drawers, fold them and proceed to put them BACK along with the newly laundered ones..

This got too noisy, so here’s my chance…

Me: That’s it. You are making too much noise. You (oldest) come with me and pray. The others have to sit quietly.

Them: stomp stomp, attitude, attitude.

Oldest Girl: Okay, I’m coming. and gets garments on.

Baby Girl: I’m making salat with “Mommy”

Middle Girl: stomping lighter- no more cohorts. She decides to get a khimar, but does not want to find space with the growing jamat of myself, oldest and baby sister in my room, so she calls the iqamat in their bedroom. No problem. At least she’s on the rug.

Baby Girl: Can I make it with my sister?

Me: This is not time to play. Do you understand?

Baby Girl: Okay.

Music to my ears: Allahu akbar from the front bedroom.

 

Note: Let me introduce my girls: 9 year old “Becky”, 7 year old “Harriett” and 5 year old “Bella”. They inherited a new step-mother when I married their dad 3 1/2 years ago. I laughingly call myself mean-old- sister Aishah because sometimes I do overreact to their antics and I feel like the bad guy to have to correct manners and insist on tidiness, etc.  Life here is full of challenges, but I look for the mercy of Allah at every turn. And it is never far.

 

 

Days in the Life

February 4

The day of my shahaadah so many years ago….

I’m quietly thinking  of all the years since that moment in history. I’m marveling at the fact that no matter how my living situation and family composition has changed,  the guidance, the companionship, the challenge of  the Qur’an has been there at every turn…

The ayats in Sura Ali Imran: “O You who have believed, Fear your Lord as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims. And hold fast to the rope of Allah all together and do not be divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you when you were enemies and by His grace He made you brethren. And you were on the brink of the pit of the Fire and  He saved you from it…..”  this hung as a decoration in the living room where I stayed my first two months as a new Muslim.

Moving through time I remember Ayatul Kursi in the Yusuf Ali Translation of Qur’an. Even in English the ayat sparkled as the gem it is. I had to learn it. By then I could make out the Arabic letters and memorize in Arabic. It was not until years later that i came to know the value of reciting this ayat.  Subhan Allah.

I don’t know why these ayats from Surah al A’raf stand out but I can always remember the English translation that says “….and on the heights there are some who will recognize all by their marks.  They will call out to the dwellers of Paradise salaamun alaikum. They would not have entered Paradise yet, but they will have hope to enter.”

Surah Ar Rahman: the beauty; the serenity in the perfect repetition  found as i buried my   head in my sewing machine to drown out the confusion of living life with people full of contradictions, but which of the favors of your Lord will you two deny? Piece by piece it came to memory…

Suratul Baqarah to Surah al- A’raf:  word for word translations in Tafsir class.  I lived miles away from the masjid, but just could not miss the opportunity to learn the meanings of each word sent to mankind from our Lord.  I just wanted to grab them all, but didn’t get them all in memory.

What did i come back to? I came back to  the ayats from Ali Imran that hung on the wall of the first house I lived in as a new Muslim, now in living color in Arabic, and with understanding and memorization.  I was grateful that Allah had brought me this far and back again.

By the time our class got through Surah al A’raf I had to move too far to commute any longer, but I feel  such a connection with Qur’an and with the people of the Qur’an! Allah lets me know He is near: As I’m working on Surah Waqiah, I read a post here about a lesson by Nouman Ali Khan and decided  to listen to something from him.    I found a lecture that  was titled “When Allah Swore by the Stars” Which surah was this talking about? And where does his recitation begin? Right where I’m learning.  What a blessing!  My daughter was playing with my phone and when i got into the car which surah was being recited, and right at my point? I had not gone to that site before… so that’s a wonder and a blessing and a reminder.  Subhan Allah.

Now I take just one new ayat per day  at or before Fajr. And as I pray  during the day I recite in order  from the beginning of what I have until the end of Surah an Naas, then start again Alif laam meem.  That way i visit each surah regularly.  I’ve seen this from a couple different imams who are huffaz.  I’m far from that, but still want to keep what Allah has allowed me to learn.

In sha Allah we will all continue to strive to keep Qur’an as our constant companion, and may Allah bless us with the blessings of reciting each letter, ameen.

Days in the Life

Intentions

Praise be to Allah Who has made His creation perfect, and has taught man speech and writing. This blog is the first ever for me, and I intend through posting to share some of my life as an American Muslim revert who came of age in  the 1960’s and 1970’s when this country was full of turmoil over the war; the Fifth Dimension sang of the Age of Aquarius, James Brown and Aretha Franklin filled us with soul, Marvin Gaye asked What’s Going On? and Jimi Hendrix blasted me to the core with a sound I still remember.

It was within this backdrop that Islam was shown to me and made the most clear sense as a way of life, and I have not looked back. I thank Allah for the guidance, and I intend that those who read these posts appreciate the mercy of Allah, our Lord and Cherisher, and that they recognize the vastness of the reach of guidance even to a simple black girl (it was alright to say black back then) who was a (Girls)high school student in her first few years in the big city of Philadelphia.

I wanted to share little stories that I have written to entertain my newly acquired “step” daughters wanting others to see how any situation that is colored by remembering Allah can become beautiful.  This remembrance can be directly or by pointing to the many mercies that Allah has granted to us that we can never fully count.  Feel free to copy re-post, read, change, improve, comment, etc.

I also intend to share pieces of advice that have proven invaluable to me in these years that someone who reads them may also benefit themselves and yet many others thereby adding to the reward of my teachers and their teachers and so on and so on.

I intend by these posts to please Allah first, and share our wonderful way of life for any to see and comprehend and benefit.

Thank you for your time, so til next time, salaam