The Blue Sky Tag

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.

Two Jamaats

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.

 

 

February 4

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.

Intentions

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