One Year Ago

One Year Ago

It’s been one year since my mother passed away. It should have been a very very sad time, but oddly it was not. This had been the sign from me once again that Allah truly hears the call of the caller when he is calling.

I had been raised by my father’s cousin who did not have any other children. She had been on point with her duties as a single mother, but minus the outward shows of affection.  As a teen I decided to leave the small college town of Ithaca,  New York and live with my natural mother in the city of Philadelphia. I was greeted with her disappointment that I left the home intended for my upbringing.  Never the less I stayed on in Philadelphia with family until my shahaadah a couple years later.  All this time I was still in touch with my “mother”. She also left New York  and returned to her childhood home in South Carolina. I maintained contact and  continued to visit over the years, although never as frequent as she would prefer, and I was often reminded of that.

As she got older and less mobile she still insisted on remaining in her  home on her family property “alone and independent”.  I offered to move there to care for her, but was always told to just come and visit. There were few conversations about Islam, as it was viewed as “that stuff you are doing”.Whenever I was questioned about Islam in her presence I gladly told all that I could, with the intention that she hear it also. I read Qur’an out loud with her in the room.  It all seemed to fall on deaf ears.  I still wanted her to understand the beauty of what I lived.  I was constant in salaat, and was respectful at all times with the intention that she see that Islam teaches us to be very polite. I gave her pictures with Allah’s names.She did say she liked that. The name al-Mujeeb was still on her coffee table the last time I was in the house.( Al Mujeeb is the One Who Answers Prayers.)

Then three years ago I married a man whom my mother considered the worst person in the world, and she had no problem letting me know her opinion:

Mom: He just wants you to take care of those children.(That’s marriage. We help each other)

Husband:  How can you really do anything for her in two days a month? You are on the highway almost as long as the time you get to visit.  (Well, she just likes to see me.)

Mom: What kind of man is that who won’t let you come here to help me like you been doin’? (Repeat line one- he just wants you to take care of those kids.)

 

Husband: What if something happens to her?

Mom: You need to get away from that and just keep taking care of yourself.

Husband: How can you help her from way up here? (security question- now I’m worried about her at night in the dark country alone in a little house…and her sister did get attacked in that area years ago…)

Stress was building and tears were flowing but only on the rug.  Oh Allah…. Ya Rabb….. All I knew was that I needed to take care of this lady who just could not care for herself, and who did not want to live with me, but now wanted me to come to a place in the country with no other Muslims for miles (one hour drive in both directions). At this point let me add that this “home” was to be inherited by cousins  of mine because as previously stated, she was my father’s cousin.  Nothing on paper. And the one thing that will bring out the worst with many families is money and property.  Needless to say, when the inevitable happens I’m out in the cold if I’m still there. I needed this man to allow me space in his house for my mother.  Month after month passed. Her condition worsened.  I visited by train this time, but only for a day.  What could I do? She  still did not want to come back with me and I still could not broach the subject of wills and inheritance, so leaving the new family to come south was not an option.

I just continued to pray and do what I could do for her from a distance, which was very stressful.  I heard Muhammad as Shareef talk about dua and the six duas for the year. Taking care of mother was number one. She had been in and out of the hospital, then nursing homes. The one niece who was helping regularly was getting tired. The other family was busy.  Neighbors were few.  She still insisted that she could stay home. Alone.

Then Allah opened the gates. A cousin offered to bring her from a nursing home to Philadelphia on the train.  At the same time my husband was saying I could just go on and move there, but to that I said, “No, bring her here”.  In four days she was at the train station.  This was not the outspoken woman I knew from childhood.  Most of the rough edges had given in to time and battling dementia.  What was left was the manners she had taught me.  Plus the class.  My husband showed her the respect due to a parent, and most of all the children who she said were wasting my time were actually her new best friends! One in particular, the middle girl, became her personal nurse and companion.  Each morning before leaving for school she gave mom her hug, and upon coming back she headed straight for her room to say hi, and to check on her.  Often times I would see them engaging in coloring or my (then first grade) daughter reading to her, or just taking a nap wrapped in each other’s arms.

Now this man who was the worst ever became “a good man” after seeing how he helped her down the stairs, talked to her regularly, and especially saw to it that she had her favorite vanilla ice cream!

I played Qur’an and read stories of the prophets in her room to her and the children. My mother seemed to perk up when she heard familiar names of prophets.  I heard the words “I love you” and “Do you love me?” for the first time in my life during these four short months before she passed.  It was with pleasure that I took care of her as best as I could, not being medically trained. She told me  I was doing good.  First time for that one, too.  So when I asked her to repeat a “prayer” for me she was glad to, and so repeated the shahaadah.

She lay resting one night but was breathing heavily.  As my husband left the room she squeezed his hand and continued to just lay quietly.  I left the room to tell him something, and called the nurse to see why she was breathing heavily.  When the nurse arrived my husband went with him to her room, and then came to tell me she was gone. Suddenly, at midnight while the girls were sleeping.  They took her body away in an hour.  For some reason my daughter did not go into her room that next morning to say good morning.  When she came home we told her that the angels took Grandmom Julia away. She was okay with that.  Who would get mad at an angel?

At this time one year later I’m just finishing learning sura Waqiah.  When I get to the end portion, the ayats can be translated to mean “Then why do you not (intervene) when (the soul of a dying person) reaches the throat? And you at the moment are looking on. But We are nearer to him than you, but you see not.  Then why do you not if you are exempt from the reckoning and recompense, bring back the soul if you are truthful?  Then if he (the dying person) be of the Muqarrabun (those brought near to Allah) (there is for him) rest and provision and a Garden of delights.  And if he be of those on the right hand, then there is safety and peace for those on the right hand. But if he be of the denying, the erring, then for him is an entertainment with boiling water. And burning in hell fire.  Verily, this! This is an absolute Truth with certainty. So glorify with praises the Name of your Lord, the Most Great. .Sura Waqiah Ayats 83 to the end 96.

What a reminder! I love perfect timings.

Thank you for reading to the end of a quite long story made kind of short.

25 Ways To Remove Stress And Anxiety From Your Life

25 Ways To Remove Stress And Anxiety From Your Life

These thoughts that follow make me happy to open WordPress. This is worth writing by hand to remember.

Diary of a Revert Muslimah

1. Ask Him. He Listens: Dua
Turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into a Dua (supplication). Look at it as another reason to submit to God and be in Sajdah (prostration), during which you are closest to Allah. God listens and already knows what is in your heart, but He wants you to ask Him for what you want. The Prophet said: Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything (Tirmidhi).

The Prophet once said that in prayer, he would find rest and relief (Nasai). He would also regularly ask for God’s forgiveness and remain in prostration during prayer praising God (Tasbeeh) and asking for His forgiveness (Bukhari).

Allah wants you to be specific. The Prophet advised us to ask Allah for exactly what we want instead of making vague Duas. Dua is the essence of worship (the Prophet as quoted in Tirmidhi).

“Call…

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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.

 

 

Too Busy…

Too Busy…

Every reminder helps if we’re not too busy to listen….

Islam: My Story as a Muslim

Assalamu alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu Readers🙂

I hope this meets you in the best of conditions.This is a Nasiha I gave on a whatsapp group some weeks ago and I decided to share it with you all.

We are too Busy trying to get a degree 📜that we forget our purpose of creation. We are too busy trying to be the best in school 🏨that we forget our obligations as Muslims. We are too busy trying to follow the trend🕺💃 that we neglect the Sunnah of the Rasul. We are too Busy trying to please people that we forget that we are obligated to Please Allah first.

We are too busy trying to prove our worth to people that we forget Allah has created us in the best of forms. We are too busy hanging out with friends that we forget keeping family ties👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👪 is a part of the…

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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.

Ibadur Rahman – Special People to Allah

Ibadur Rahman – Special People to Allah

How many can we check? The world needs us to strive for all of them…

MINA'S MEMOIR

photo-29-01-2017-12-17-13

On Friday evening, I attended a talk by Nouman Ali Khan on “Quranic healing of the heart” which was held at the East London Masjid.

Masha Allah as usual, the ladies section was packed and it’s always a great feeling seeing loads of other hijabis, people in jilbabs and niqabis all under one roof.

The topic that Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan spoke on was Ibaadur Rahman~ worshippers of Allah SWT.

Do we know who these are? Luckily, my phone was fully charged so I managed to use my note app to write some few points to serve as a reminder for myself first and also to share with all of you.

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   YOU CAN DO BETTER!

   YOU CAN DO BETTER!

Too precious to keep to myself.
May Allah reward the sister, Mufti, and all who read to strive and keep striving, ameen.

Islam: My Story as a Muslim

Assalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu Readers,🙂

I hope this meets you in the best of conditions. It’s been a while since I last updated my blog. I have received requests from you guys for a new update. Alhamdulilah, I finally have time to release a new article. I am so sorry it took me long to write a new article. I have been so busy with school. Last semester was quite crazy and stressful😒 but Alhamdulilah ala kulli haal.🙃

Today’s article is going to be a motivational one.💪 I realized that as much as we need to constantly remind our fellow Muslims, we also need to encourage each other. I was inspired to write this article after listening to a Mufti Menk’s lecture (same title with the article).

I would like to begin with a hadith of the Rasul (SAW). Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “He whose two days are…

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A Journey in Cloth

A Journey in Cloth

 

Fade in: red, blue and yellow paisley:  my first vivid memory of a Muslim was at our girls-only high school. What a beautiful sight- loose dress and khimar- both the same cotton cloth. “That is so nice; why are you wearing it?” I asked out of curiosity. “Because I’m Muslim,” she replied softly.

White cotton: I was so determined to cover with whatever was readily available, I tore a  square piece  from a white sheet and pinned it behind my neck and let it fall behind my back “so as not to attract attention”.  How silly.  Did I think a white head scarf in a sea of bare heads would not attract attention if it was behind my back rather than in front? Either way I was very proud of my new look and my new life of guidance.  The older sisters at my beginner prayer class told me to say I was a Sunni Orthodox Muslim should anyone ask what I was. Gladly…

My own red, blue and yellow paisley:  was a shapeless long gown with a khimar both of cotton; my own attempt to cover in an age before internet browsing and one click ordering.  It was just me, Simplicity, Mc Calls (and Vogue if I felt ambitious).  Ambitious or not, when the seasons changed I knew it was officially summer because I would hear, “I know she’s hot in all that!” That’s okay, because 1: believe it or not the looseness and thinness of my long cotton dress is keeping me COOLER than your tight denim jeans and 2: the fire of hell is hotter.  I never actually shot back fact #2, but on occasion where possible I would share the science of covering and how it actually put us in the shade from the burning sun.

Pink jersey knit:  dress and khimar I made for a job interview.  The interviewer actually complimented me on the look.  I was so pleased that she noticed.  Little did she know the dress had been constructed on the wrong side, but it was my design, and I liked it, thank you. (By the way I did get the job!)

The white stretch terry cloth abayah: had no cuts but an opening for the neck and was sewn up the sides.  This was my response to the advice given in Jumuah (Friday congregational prayer) that Allah commanded the believing women to cast their juloobihinna (outer garments) over themselves when going outside so they would be known as believing women and not molested. No molestation here…

Chiffon and georgette for the face: by this time (roughly 1975) there was  still no internet browsing, so when I and my companions decided to cover even more we took pieces of cloth and pinned them to either side of our khimars which by the way were still pinned to the back then brought to the front around the neck. We sometimes got fancy and added elastic to make it easier to wear. The detail of even the face veil, as we called it back then was very important. Here in Philadelphia Islam was growing by leaps and bounds with many variations, so minute details in dress served to distinguish one belief set from another. Then the small pieces grew to cover the entire face.  I felt like I was in my own personal world under my total coverings. I discovered that you can see clearly through black and dark blue, but NEVER white!

Many garments later,  the memory of the white terry cloth still remains clear in my mind because it was while wearing this one that I passed some youngsters and one yelled “Oh a ghostie!”  Her companion, no more than seven years in age said, “That’s no ghostie, that’s a Muslim.    As salaamu alaikum, sister!” I replied with my warmest  salaam.  She could not see my smile, but I think that was okay with her.

Fade to black: We wanted to be like the companions of the Prophet (Peace and blessings be on him) about whom it was mentioned looked like crows when they went outside, and crows are black. And so it began, fluctuating along the way from more to less, an occasional bright color to an event or the Eid, but the default was still black. So many years have passed since my first vision of red, blue and yellow paisley. Today I am happy to have access to a world of styles, shades and combinations shared by our sisters in faraway places with the same goal in mind, covering for the pleasure of our Lord. (Oh, and I finally put away that white terry cloth !)

Cinderella’s Happy Ending

Cinderella’s Happy Ending

This is my take on a writing prompt: Change the ending of the story Cinderella:

Cinderella’s oldest sister, Juliana, felt bad about how they had been treating her. She remembered the lessons their father taught them when they were little about how Allah loves those who are nice to other people. As she stood at the ball and watched that beautiful girl dance with the prince she thought, “I know my sisters and I deserve to be happy, even Cinderella. I hope we all get the husbands of our dreams.” She decided then and there that after the ball, she would be a better Muslim and that included being nicer to Cinderella.

Their middle sister Ariana was not so sure that she was ready to be a better sister, but she always wanted to do what her older sister did. That night when they got home they went to find Cinderella in her small room. Juliana called to her and hugged her close.  “My dear sister Imani, I’m sorry I hurt your feelings since we came here.  Please forgive me for being so mean. I’ll call you your real name Imani from now on.” Of course Cinderella (Imani) said okay. Juliana explained that her and Ariana’s father was a Muslim who taught them the right way, but after he died they did not do what he had taught them. Juliana and Ariana prayed to Allah that He would let them be a big happy family with husbands that would fill them with joy.

Imani (Cinderella) was very delighted that Juliana finally wanted to be nice and have a happy family.  She liked that they prayed to Allah, and remembered that her father had taught her about Allah as well.  She was very young when he died, so he didn’t get to tell her much. As she slept that night she saw her father and her mother in a dream and they told her to be patient with the decree of Allah. They also warned her to give up magic and those who practice magic, meaning her ‘fairy god-mother’. Imani was so happy that her sisters wanted to be friends that she did not mind staying away from the fairy.

Juliana found her little Quran that her father gave her when she was seven.  She opened it and started reading. Ariana tried to stay awake and listen to the words. Their mother noticed the light in their room and came quietly into the room. What a sight! Her oldest daughter was reading Qur’an in the most beautiful voice.  This was the Quran that she had forgotten about long ago.  “How could I have put this book away when it was the words of my Creator?” She asked herself. She thanked Allah for such wonderful daughters.

By the next morning the prince John was going around to find the girl whose foot would fit the glass slipper.  When he got to the house of Juliana, Imani and Ariana the girls were all excited to see what would happen.  As soon as Imani’s foot slipped into the shoe everyone cheered.  The prince John was overjoyed to see such a beautiful and modest girl.  At last he had found the perfect wife after so many years of searching.

Imani insisted that John become a Muslim before they could be married. He went back to the village and looked for his childhood friend, Abdullah. Abdullah had grown into a fine man with many children.  He was happy that the prince John had finally wanted to hear about Islam. They spent the next month reading and talking about the perfect way of life.  Then the prince John declared his acceptance of Islam. When he told his father about Islam, the king was proud of his son.

So Imani married the prince, and soon after that the king died.

The new king, John, declared that Islam was the official religion of the kingdom, and encouraged everyone to accept Islam. His brothers accepted Islam and soon married Imani’s two older sisters, Juliana and Ariana.  The fairy god mother saw how Imani was happy without the help of magic and soon gave it up and learned how to do good work with her own hands. The girls’ mother opened the Quran and spent her days and nights in memorizing the words of her Creator.

Everyone was happy in the palace and in the kingdom.

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