Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Whiter Teeth Cheaper


There are many New Year's resolutions I will not be keeping this year. I won't. I just don't have it in me to improve much. I'd somehow like to chill out and just coast for a while.

However, there is one simple self improvement I'd like to share with all of you: whiter teeth for cheap.

You know, as a Muslimah, I ain't got much showing. I got hands and face. That's it! So, I better make the most of those physicalities.

It makes sense that we all would want our teeth to be clean, bright, and white. I used to buy White Strips and spent weeks applying the clingy strips. They are about $30. Once I bought a competitor's product and used it in one night. It was a gel you apply in a tray. That hurt! My mouth is maybe too sensitive to do a heavy duty application.

I knew that my love of Chai Latte was doing my teeth a disservice. I also knew I was too friggin' cheap...I mean thrifty...to buy those strips now. I researched on the internet and came up with an alternative. And you know me---I'm all about the alternative.

So here's what you do:

Take baking soda and a cloth. Wipe the baking soda onto your teeth. Don't use a toothbrush to do it. You've got to wipe it with a cloth. Be careful not to hurt the gumline. Then floss. Even if you must spit out a little baking soda, try not to spit it all out.

Then take a swig of Hydrogen Peroxide. DON'T SWALLOW! Swish it around as much as you can, for as long as you can. Spit it out, but don't rinse.

Your teeth will look whiter and feel cleaner for pennies. I think you'll like this too, so do it too, inshahallah.

But the real beauty secret for your mouth? SMILE!

"Even a smile is a charity."


Especially if your teeth are shiny white!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

You Can Get What You Want



I got my G1 Phone. It seemed like an answer to alllll my needs. Last night I was happy with the possibilities it offered. Today, I couldn't locate my phone numbers. I couldn't figure out how to shut the windows. I got fed up. Most importantly, I couldn't get on line with it.

Thanks, neighbor with internet access!

I did fast more days, but then I got so sick that I haven't fasted since.

I don't have my car, but I've been blessed with rides.

I did have fun last night. I went from grumbling that AbuBoo was coming over to realizing that I could leave Mr. Boo with his father and go out! The little guy's fever was down, alhumdulillah.
I can't believe how I almost told AbuBoo not to come over. Helloooo! FREE BABYSITTER! All of us really need to stay open to possibilities. I had a wonderful evening out and ate delicious Thai food.

EgyptChick, you would be very proud of my companion.

The thing is...I am not sure if I am proud of who I am right now. I feel a bit mixed-up. Ahhhh, once again! Like old times!

I guess infatuation does that to a person.

But, if I can dream about my G1, only to cancel it the day after I buy it, then how wrong can I be about a man? I've been wrong so many times before, I wonder if it's possible for any of my dreams to come true.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mr. Boo Caught the Virus

Subhanallah! Just when I thought he wasn't going to get sick, he did.
May Allah be merciful with my boy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pope's Message of Hate for Gays

The Pope has declared that saving the world
from homosexual behaviour
is as important as saving the rainforests.
Asalamu Alaykom.
Each person on the earth is an endangered species, as much as any rainforest bird.
Each one of you reading this has my love and appreciation for doing the best you can to be YOU.
It really isn't easy to be authentic.
I think it hurts most when it should be a Norman Rockwell "Happy Holiday" family time but someone makes you feel more like an outsider.
I want to reassure you that God does not belong to the Pope.
You belong to God.
God put you on this earth for a reason and it's not for me to know but for you to explore.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Reality


There is something about having 103 fever which brings reality into your head. It sounds crazy but it has happened to me like this before.

It was after such a fever that I decided I had to examine my first marriage, and whether or not I could survive another nine years.

Right now? Well, I had to admit that all the admiration of men around the world ain't gettin' me a cup a tea. You know? I feel worse than worse (not going into work tomorrow) and I have NO ONE. No one has helped me take care of myself or Mr. Boo this weekend. We've been on our own and I've been suffering.

Sure these men are calling to check on me from Australia, Cyprus, Montreal, Germany, and Qatar but they aren't here. They aren't real. In order to make them real, I would have to go through a lot of effort.

And you know what?

I don't have it in me.

I told each one of them that today. I ended each possibility today.

If it had been two years ago, I might have flown off to Australia, or agreed for Mr. Montreal to get a visa to visit here. But now? It all sounds like so much trouble. I don't want trouble. I have enough trouble.

If you feel like making a du'a, please ask that Mr. Boo stay healthy. This cold/flu was severe and I would hate for him to go through what I've been going through.

Stay healthy!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sick, Lonely, and Sick of Being Lonely

I'm sick.
Alhumdulillah.
Flu.
So, despite the fact that I've had
marriage proposals from overseas,
I have no one here.
That sucks.
I'm going to take a nap.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What I Want


I want a GI phone from T-Mobile. I bought a $75 Nokia from Target yesterday. It was a pre-paid deal and I wasn't sure if my SIM card would work in it. The workers didn't know either. A young kid passed by and said, "Ya, that will work." LOL!

But the GI would be so cool! It has wireless capability! I could access the internet anywhere and use the Blue tooth for my computer. No more slooooooooooow connection by using the cell phone modem. And I would not be paying any more than I am now for my internet connection and text messaging.

Can I have it? Huh?

I feel like a begging kid at Christmas, except that I'm a grown woman who is Muslim. I want someone to buy it for me as a present. Dangnabit! That's the problem with putting down materialism for so long! It really works against you when you are feeling greedy.

TMobile is sold out of them right now. I can't order right away. I'm a right-away kind of person. I could get it if I went into a store...which I can't easily NO CAR STILL (I was lucky to get a ride to the Target!)

It would cost $149 total to me because I'm, "a valuable customer since 2001," which is when I split from the kids' dad. Come to think of it: I lasted longer with T-Mobile than with either the second or third attempt at forever.

I could pay $45 per month until it was paid off. I'm thinking of doing it.

Before I can consider that, I just need to pay a stupid $335 to the remainder of my stupid hypochondriac emergency room visit in Florida.

I want to fast all my pregnancy and nursing days away. I have 5 more to make up from 2004, 30 from 2005 and 30 from 2006 (all thanks to Mr. Boo). Women keep telling me I could pay for people to eat, but that's only a good idea if you have the money. Besides, I feel like I really should fast.

I have all the days I missed from this year made up. Alhumdulillah.

If you are concerned at all about making up your days, ladies DUH! This is the BEST time of the whole year to fast. It is SUPER EASY! You hardly suffer! Eat right before 6:00 AM and eat again at 4:30 PM. Just do it! Let me know if you do.

Oh, and I recommend that you have a document for days you missed. It helps visualize it in front of you.

Mine looks something like this:

Fasting Days Owed

2004

11 days

-1 an additional day on Monday Jan. 15, 2007 to make up for being preg. in 2004
-2 Sat, Dec. 6—8th day of Hajj
-3 Sun, Dec 7—9th day of Hajj/Arafat MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF FASTING
-4 Sun., Dec. 14, 2008
-5 Wed., Dec. 17, 2008
-6 Thurs., Dec. 18, 2008
----------
5 days

Planning


4Friday 19
3Saturday 20
2Sunday 21
1 Monday 22
Tuesday 23


I revisit it at the end of every fasting day. May Allah accept my fasting. As always, the hardest part for me is dealing with kids while fasting and not loosing my patience.

I do feel like I've lost some weight, alhumdulillah. Thankfully, I don't have a scale to tell me differently.

I do feel like I get more of a grip on reality by the second day. I see some things in my life clearer each fasting cycle.

I want a husband which is another good reason to fast. It cuts down on your desires. As I fast, I think about how much easier it will be to get these days done while I am single. Every day I fast, I think that I won't have to go through this much fasting ever again when I am married, inshallah. WHEN not IF, inshahallah.

I want some fun this weekend. I'm tired of no fun weekend after weekend. I realize that a halal time inside my apartment is better than any haram time outside my apartment, but I need to get out and find some halal fun before I go stir crazy.

I want my car inshahallah. It's in the repair shop now. Ignition troubles. How much does that cost? Subhanallah. Maybe this is the way Allah keeps me from getting into my own ignition troubles. I've been grounded.

Sigh...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Broke Down but NOT Broken


Car broke down after driving it four times. Subhanallah! You'd think I would have gotten more use from the thing! It was horribly in rush hour, with Mr. Boo cold in the backseat, driving to my mom's. I was trying to get to my teaching seminar.

The thing just stopped. Oh, it would start up again, but it wouldn't get into gear easily. A man stopped and told me to just put it into first so I could go about 10 miles per hour. Took forever to get the two miles to my mom's---starting, stopping, starting, stopping. Took her car to the seminar. God bless her.

Car is in the shop now. Alhumdulillah, I haven't paid anything for it yet. I'll see.

But now...it's the PHONE! It was a little goofed up, but Mr. Boo helped it fall apart completely. I put it back together. I don't think I'm buying another flip phone. It can still be used as a modem THANK GOD but I've got to get a new phone now.

These are things. They aren't ME. I'm still OK, alhumdulillah. I'm not going to let them bring me down. I can't. Once you start to spiral downward, it is very hard (especially on dreary winter days)to recover and soar upward again.

Inshahallah, I'll remain bouyant.

I wish the same for you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Two Years After the Divorce



Subhanallah. Subhanallah. Subhanallah.

This week marked two years since AbuBoo came back from Egypt and I demanded a divorce.

I made that choice. It was mine. I could have stayed in the marriage. I could have a husband now. I could. I made the choice to be alone as a single mom.

I need to own that.

I went to a teaching seminar called, "Motivating the Unmotivated Student," with Chick Moorman.

He's written several books. I bought one: Talk Sense to Yourself: The Language of Personal Power

The key to his approach is in acknowledging that we have choices all day long. As a society, we tend to view ourselves as powerless pawns unable to function because of outside elements.

"He made me love him."

"I was unable to stop."

"It was just what happened."

We say these things, and things like them again and again. Why? Because we are conditioned to by this society.

As Muslims, we have to take control over our lives. This is our mandate from Allah. We have to control our nafs; our impulses; our lower selves. We have to rise above those who act powerless and make choices for the betterment not just for ourselves, but for our families and our ummah.

Our choices are ours alone. No one else to blame.

"The devil made me do it."

That's a popular blame game, isn't it? But even if Shaitan were in our lives mucking about, it would be our own selves to blame for inviting him in. We want...so we do. For everything that we do, we will be asked about why we made those choices.

I will be asked by Allah SWT about the divorce two years ago.

This week, I asked myself about it.

Who was I then?

Who am I now?

If I had to do it over again...would I?

How much have I suffered?

Am I suffering more now?

Or did I suffer more before?

How much have the children suffered?

Did my faith increase?

I'll answer the last question first. Yes, my faith increased. My spiritual being was scraped to the bone, but through the restorative power of The Almighty, I survived. I remained thankful. I remained steadfast. Alhumdulillah.

For the answers to the other questions, I went to my buddy, "Honorary Arab." This was the pseudonym I used for the years when I blogged in fear of being found out. I told too much and worried too much. That blog stopped because I made the choice to stop turning to people for comfort.

I went to the writings I saved from my former self and I looked at what I wrote two years ago. You can access a sample in my 2006 archives. I decided to post them. Why? Because it shows a triumphal arch.

I was once in a place in my life that was uncertain, out-of-control, scared, pained, and searching. I'm not there now. I'm in a better place.

Sure, I don't know exactly is going to happen, but I know who is making the choices. It's me.

It was me before too. I just didn't know it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Put the You in Universe




Sometimes, I feel like I start losing myself. I talk to too many people; put my hand in too many pots. I forget who I want to be.

When I go to www.youniverse.com , I do get in touch with who I truly am. I remember my values, goals, dreams, and aspirations.

Users are shown a screen filled with interesting images---some of them haram, but what is not a mixed bag on the internet? Then you are asked to choose the image that completes the thought or hypothesis. Those selections come together in order to uncover the real YOU, and not just who you show yourself to be.

I find it fascinating and quite illuminating.


Youniverse Personality Test

Doesn't take long. Even with dial-up, it doesn't take long to load.

It compares you to others in the, "Youniverse," and you can ask others to take the tests as well.

So, I'm asking YOU, dear reader, if you would like to try it out. Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Days Of Eid Al-Adha

From nasheed artist Dawud Wharnsby and from myself, wishes of joyful celebration and ease.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hajj is Done





.
According to the Saudi Embassy in Washington: a record number of foreign pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom to participate in 2008's Hajj. A total of 1,729,841 pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia from 178 countries, an increase of 18,026 from the previous year and a new Hajj record. Of the foreign pilgrims, 54.3% were male and 45.7% female. Prince Nayef added that 1,575,645 pilgrims arrived by air, 131,353 by land, and 22,843 by sea.

This site from UK's Channel 4's Hajj-The Greatest Trip on Earth is really a wonderful treasure. Please go and experience Hajj for yourself, through the miracle of the internet. There are slideshows, stories, and videos. I needed this today, to feel connected to our brothers and sisters in Mecca.


When you see the images on the screen of men and women crowding the mountain, think to yourself that you will see this again. This is truly what the Day of Judgement will be like. Except, the white cloth around the men will be their burial shroud, as everyone will have left their graves. It is a blessing to us, to see this now; to remind us of the real life awaiting us.

I am fasting. My last day fasting during the pilgrimage. I have never before fasted so many days in Dul Al-Hajj. I did all except the very first day, alhumdulilah. My days missed in this year's Ramadan are all made up, alhumdullilah. I'm now chipping away at those days missed from 2004-2006, when I was pregnant and then nursing my littlest.

My older son, God bless him, is here with me and is also fasting. He woke with me, ate suhour with me, prayed with me, and read Quran with me. Alhumdulillah. May Allah also bless his father for agreeing that his son may fast in my home.

Eid, inshahallah, is tomorrow. I'll be posting a wonderful nasheed, inshahallah, so be sure to come back for that! It's my Eid gift for my readers (who need to be commentators also).

My Eid gift was picked up yesterday. Yes, I have my car. MY CAR! Subhanallah! What an ordeal not to have a car! Any time we do without, we need to realize how fortunate we were before, when we weren't being grateful enough. I'm very grateful now. Alhumdulillah.


May all of us meet at the Kabba and make tawaf together.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dog's Bark Worse



The roughness awoke my peacefulness.
Its barking broke into my bed.

I sent my hate out in the dark
to the wherever; to the dog.

Didn't he know I was sleeping?

And I imagined him as a he
Since no one is more ungrateful than a him

Up I rose to a window, not to see but to find
the direction where to focus my anger.

Didn't he need to go in?

My window was cold; I felt the winter's air
Out there, with my enemy, what would it be?

I prepared to return to the slumber before
to the time when I could ignore.

Didn't he have someone who heard him?

I thought of his night; my night
could no longer be still; not in my ears, or my mind.

My burden was the knowledge of his need.
While I could rest, he could not.

Didn't he sound miserable?

Quietly, I drank my water, sat and forgot.
I opened windows on the LCD.

When I went to bed, tiredness overcame me.
My sleep came without another thought.

Didn't he deserve a prayer?

Fajr time. It's silent. I could pray for
Palestine, Pakistan, and Mumbai.

Instead, I worry for a dog down the street
Who found quiet at last on a frozen Friday.

Didn't he?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Iftar with Belly Dancers


I broke my fast last night at one of my favorite spots, Big Marina. I was ready to be out having fun.

I have not gone out for any kind of fun since...since I moved in actually. Is that right? During Thanksgiving weekend, I only left the apartment for a failed attempt to get the car title transfered at the DMV (which was closed).

So, Marina was a welcome change. I love the atmosphere of the huge termite mound, or whatever it is, in the middle sprouting water. I love the fake grapes hanging from the ceiling. It is better than if they were real---can you imagine?

But, of course, the FOOD is what I was there for. It's a buffet, which I love, in that the food is ready when you are. It is all good. I adore the eggplant.

I am an eggplant you know. If I could be any vegetable, I would be an eggplant. In Egyptian slang, to say you are eggplant or betingan lis to say you little crazy. I am. I am also beautiful, colorful and curvy. I don't go with every dish. You will find me in many delcious ethnic dishes: eousaka, eggplant Parmesan, ratatouille, and many more. You won't usually find me on American plates. Most people here don't know what to do with me. With the wrong person, I am allowed to rot in the veggie bin.

The thing about Marina that night was that the music videos were getting to me. I had just broken my fast and I was there watching half-naked media sex slaves shake their bon bons. It was too much.

I got up and asked the hostess if she could please change the channel. Couldn't we see Hajj instead? They appologized, found the remote, and then found some Quran.

Alhumdulillah.

You know? I am happy with what happened today: the fasting, going out, eating delicious food, and in standing up for what I believe.

Alhumdulillah.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mr. Boo's D.I.Y. Tip #31


Mr. Boo's D.I.Y. Tip #31


While doing home repairs

in the bathroom,

it is not wise to unravel a whole roll

of toilet paper

into the toilet bowl and then flush.

If the large amounts

of toilet paper

cause the water to rise,

call for assistance.


Do not, however,

ask for the toilet paper back.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Backbiting

FOUND:



TEETH IN



MY BACK



IF NEEDED,



PLEASE SEE ME



DIRECTLY.


I felt down...so down...yesterday afternoon. There had been talking about me behind my back; backbiting. In Islam, it is seen as actually eating the flesh of your brother or sister.

As my lovely daughter said to me, "So you felt like you were back in high school?"

I said, "No, worse: junior high!"

I talked it over with a good friend, may Allah reward her. She said that I needed to be grateful for times when the people let me down for only then do I truly remember that I'm doing it for Allah. If I harbored any bad feelings from it, she continued, then I should ask Allah to remove that upset from my heart. I should do this before talking to anyone. Go to Allah. Only Allah.

I'm fasting all these days, and it just hurt to think that I was praying for better and got worse. I felt that last night. Today, as I begin another day of fasting, I see how re-focusing on Allah cannot be worse. It truly is better. Alhumdulillah.

Good people in your life are a blessing, but if the whole world loved you and Allah was not pleased, you wouldn't have done well. And the converse isn't the case. It isn't as if I have no one loving me. I have a wonderfully supportive network of co-workers, friends, and family. Alhumdulillah.

I do think that it would have been nice to come home yesterday to that big shoulder to lean on. But the wrong shoulder? No. Please, no.

So, here I am. Starting again. Remembering Allah more. Trying to please others less. Inshahallah.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fasting in First Days of Hajj


I'm eating now, but in minutes I'll be starting another fast. No, it's not Ramadan. Muslims fast other times of the year too, ya know.

Didn't you know that?

Oh, actually, I didn't know that either when I signed up.

But I'm cool with it.

There is so much gluttony, so much wanton disregard for what brings us closer to God, that it is wise to step back from it all periodically. It's good to, "get a grip." I have felt like I've been loosing mine.

Also, for Muslim women, we have to make up the days we missed. When we were menstruating during Ramadan, we weren't allowed to fast. We have to make those days up before the next Ramadan. As for me, I'm still toting around about 70 days from when I was pregnant or nursing. Little by little, I'll make those up, inshahallah. I could pay the poor in exchange for missing those days, but I don't have the money.

Besides, I like fasting. It re-focuses me. I felt that yesterday.
It is Sunnah, or living like Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. I keep thinking that I'll master that some year, but as of yet, have not.

Fasting in the first nine days of the Muslim month of Hajj brings extra reward from Allah. If you join your fast with prayers, then you will inshahallah see a positive change in your life.

I'm hoping for that.

The fast right now is super easy. 6:00 AM to around 4:30 PM. If you have not fasted before and are nervous about giving it a go, this would be the ideal timing to experience. Get up at 5:00 AM. Eat and drink at 5:30 AM. Brush teeth right before 6:00 AM. Go the day without putting anything else into your body (including cigarettes, gum, medicine), and without any sexually exciting activity. Pray around 6:00 AM, 12:30 PM, and 2:30. At 4:00 PM, get the food ready. Break the fast after 4:30 PM and pray. Pray again around 6:00 PM. Remember that doing all the prayers is necessary for a fast to be accepted.
For exact timings, go to www.islamicfinder.org.


May Allah accept the fasting, the prayers, and the Hajj for those whose hearts are filled with good intentions.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holding a Baby


Yesterday, I was given the extreme privledge of holding a baby.

My friend came over and when her cell rang, I got to sneak the baby out of her arms.

I had already asked Mr. Boo if that would be alright with him.

She was truly that little bundle of joy. Her downy fluff of hair soft against my check. Her baby smell. Her tiny fingers grabbing mine.

Babies stop the world.

They do.

You hold a baby and you don't remember ills, bills, hurts, worries, fears, or any headline.

At the same time, I know that I don't wish for any more children. I don't. I have searched my mind and, even if my body is able, my mind can't fathom it.

There are men who talk to me about marriage. Some of those men want to have their own children. Nice men. And as nice as they are, I like myself more. I don't want any more children. Really. And I let those nice men walk away.

At the end of my friend's phone call, I got to give the baby back. I got to hug my toddler dude. That felt very special too. He could hug me back.

He's the only dude hugging me now.

Alhumdulillah.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Being Muslim on Black Friday


T.G.I.F.


Happy Friday!
Listening to my favorite reciter of Quran, Mohammed Jebril. You can download him here.

Is it a, "Black Friday," for you? In the U.S., this is the biggest shopping day of the year. Thanksgiving is done and the mainstreamers must look forward to Christmas IMMEDIATELY. No time for advent--just ZOOOM ahead into the next gluttony.

I am not talking about all Christians. Really. I'm not. I'm talking about Americans who love consumption. There are a growing number of Christians who work to simplify the holidays. I used to be one of them.

So, "Black Friday," has gotten the nickname for it's ability to pull the stores ledgers out of the red and back into black, or profitable. It is the consumer's worship of the almighty dollar

Muslims worship Allah on Fridays with a special sermon, or khotba. The service is called Jumuah because that's the name for Friday in Arabic. Alhumdulillah, our largest masjid now has two Jumuah services: at 12:30PM in English, with the second Jumuah at 1:30PM in Arabic.

To find the information you need for your area, go to www.islamicfinder.org and type in your zip code. You might be surprised how many masjids there are in your area. The Jumuah service will most likely be around the same time for your masjid, since it timings for prayer in Islam are solar and not arbitrary.

If you go, inshahallah, wash up at home before arriving. Wash your hands, rinse your mouth and nose, face, touch with water the first third of your hair, take wet fingers to your ears, wash up to your elbows, then wipe water on the top of your right foot, then bottom of foot and the other one as well. This is called, "making wudu." It has to be done with the intention to get clean before meeting Allah in prayer. There are places to wash in the bathrooms at the masjid, but I think it's easier at home.

If you are a woman, there are different rules. Why? Because DUH! Men and women are different. Remember the special talk they gave us in sixth grade?

During menstruation time, you cannot get fully clean and therefore are absolved from trying to make wudu and praying. If a man were bleeding from a cut or injury, by the way, he also would be absolved from praying until the bleeding stopped. It is a mercy, not a punishment.

When choosing what to wear, if you want to wear pants, please wear a long top or tunic covers the crotch area (horrible sounding word, sorry) and backside, even if you bend over. If you don't have something like this in your wardrobe, wear a long skirt or dress, but be mindful of the side slits not showing too much. Long-sleeved shirt or jacket on top. Nothing is to show except face and hands.

So, let's talk about the scarf. Ya, even if you're not Muslim (yet) there must be a scarf on your head; hejab. Think a big wrap, like a pashmina, not a little bandana folded into a triangle. In equal halves upon your head, place the center of the scarf right in the middle of your forehead. Now, pin it under your chin. Tuck the fabric at your temples towards your ears. You can then pull it up towards your hairline. It should be tight without choking you at the neck. The fabric will stretch and form to you a bit within minutes. Throw one end over your shoulder and let the other fall upon your chest. It is a simple way to enter a masjid. You will show respect for the place and the people, and I guarantee that everyone will be fine with you. There are lots of fancy ways to wear scarves, but I'm just trying to get you in the door with an easy way.


Men enter into one area and women into another. If you arrive with some of the opposite sex, it's best to arrange where you are meeting afterwards. Downstairs? Parking lot? Store across the street? It is VERY crowded when the Jumuah service lets out. Try to pick a place away from the lobby and other common areas.

Those waiting for the Jumuah prayer should be sitting quietly, reading Quran for instance. Those who are disruptive, and they will be there too, are not doing the right thing. There should not be long conversations during this time. Children should not be allowed to run around and cause high blood pressure of those attending.

The Call to Prayer happens next. It can be some of the most beautiful sounds you ever hear. I swear to God. It can bring me to exaltation and nearly to tears. If you are blessed to hear such a sound, you will never forget it your whole life. Let the sounds fill you with the spirit of righteousness and transport you to that higher plane we all hope to achieve.


God is Great (4x)
Arabic transliteration: Allaahu Akbar

I bear witness that there is no other god but God (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Ashhadu Allah ilaaha illa-Lah

I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God(2x)
Arabic transliteration: Ash Hadu anna Muhamadar rasuulullah

Come to Prayer (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Hayya' alas Salaah

Come to Success (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Hayya' ala Falaah

God is Great (2x)
Arabic transliteration: Allaahu Akbar

There is no god but God
Arabic transliteration: Laa ilaaha illa-Lah

Then, there will be the khotba, or sermon. Hopefully, you'll be able to hear it in a language you understand. After the khotba, there is a short du'a, or prayer for the prophets, the Muslims, and the people of the world. After that, there will be another call for us to line up.

You will be standing shoulder to shoulder with someone you don't know. That is beautiful too. There is not a need in Islam to talk first and get to know someone in order to pray with them. In Christianity, there is this whole song and dance about seating in the pews and not sitting too close; not offending. Chances are, you will not know the person next to you, but you will feel the power of that unity like you never did sitting miles apart on a wooden bench back at the church.

How to pray? Just do as they do. Go down when they do, and come up when they do.

One thing that surprised me was that, on Fridays, the zuhr prayer, at mid-day, was only two rakhas. This again is a mercy from Allah. We have used our time to listen to a sermon, so the prayers are cut in half.

When you are done, there will still be others praying extra prayers. Please be careful not to walk infront of them. If necessary, simply sit there until they are done. It will be all of three minutes maximum.

After the service is done would be the time to talk to someone, if you wish. Introduce yourself. There is not a real sense of congregation in big city masjids, so they won't know that you are visiting. You will have to tell them that. Ask them what you want to know. They will gladly inshahallah tell you.

The whole Jumuah experience is about 30 minutes. Alhumdulillah it is the MOST painless worship experience I have ever had. If you have never been, then please do go.

Go today---on Black Friday. Do the opposite of the search out there in the malls and do the search inside. I know you will find more meaning when you go deeper into your soul than going deeper into your wallet.

May God guide you to the right path. Anything I have said correctly here is from Allah. Anything I have said which is incorrect comes from me.
Enjoy this Friday. T.G.I.F.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Interesting Articles




The Islamic Dictory Blog now has a link on this site under, "Searchers".


From there, I went to this wonderful BBC article about women taxi drivers in Iran. Why can't we start that here?!

From there, I read this fascinating article , again from the BBC, about re-packaging the Bible into versions people might actually read. Makes you love Islam and our Holy Quran more, wallahi.


Glory be to Allah




Word: Subhanallah

Meaning: Glory be to Allah (God).

True Form: سبحان الله





Please take a look at more words and their meanings in The Islamic Dictionary.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Subhanallah What a World!



Sometimes we think little.

We think of ourselves...and not even our whole selves. We examine the minutiae of our parts (or as I like to say, "gaze at our belly button lint").

There's a meditation exercise I like to do.

First, I see myself where I am. I have my eyes closed, but I imagine my immediate surroundings. Then, I pan up, like a camera on a boom is able to raise above me and capture me from up high. So, not only am I on a couch, but I'm in a living room, in my apartment.

Then I go beyond what the human eye could ever see. I imagine, with my mind, how above me is the roof. From the roof, I can see that I live in a building, in a neighborhood, in a city, in a country, on a continent, in a world, and finally in a universe.

Slowly, I floated out and then slowly I recollect myself. I come back to where I was in the room, and in my body. It puts things in perspective. We belong to a big world.

Me.

You.

We belong to a big world.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Sometimes this means happiness and sometimes not. It really depends on our perspective, doesn't it? When we remember the big world and The Greatest, then we also find our gratefulness.

This Thanksgiving, Allah Subhana wa Tallah is arranging the three brightest objects in the night sky to come together: the crescent moon (and our symbol of Islam---HELLO!), Venus, and the largest planet Jupiter.

Read about Jupiter . It is fascinating. Maybe in school I didn't find the fascination, but now, as a Muslim, I am amazed at the universe. Jupiter is known for a swirling oval on its surface. It's a perpetual storm. Our earth...our super huge earth...it would fit twice inside just that oval.

Think bigger. Think brighter. Subhanallah! What a world!
Alhumdulillah.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Am I Anonymous?


My name is Yosra. I am not anonymous.

When I started my writing on the internet, I didn't put my name on my posts. I had a pseudonym and I was scared I could be find out. I wrote about things that upset me and hurt me. I was trying to find the joy, but haram was ruining my life.

That was then.

When I closed down that blog, I knew that I could never be that person on the internet again. Things in motion stay in motion. If I allowed my blog to be about all the upset and all the hurt and all the haram, then my life would be comprised first and foremost of this. I would cease to be happy in real life if my cyber existence was the ugly underbelly.

I made a bold move that day. I put my name on my product. Is it a product? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it feels like I'm an artist putting my signature on the canvas. Whatever it is that you are experiencing through this site, I need to feel that I'm proud of it. If ever you see that I deleted some post or some words within a post, then know that I no longer felt like those things represented who I want to be.

I want to be me.

I want to be proud of who I am.

I do not want to live in fear.

Last week, I got a well-meaning DO NOT POST comment from a Muslimah who thinks that she knows my identity. She warned me to be careful.

"Yosra, I'm not sure if you go by this name in real life and I didn't want to investigate any further to see if it was you because this would be a violation of your privacy and immoral. If I had an anonymous blog and someone could potentially figure out who I was I would want to know. I love you for the sake of Allah and would never want people to know your identity so that they could go around gossiping about you. Please try to hide your identity a bit more to protect yourself, sister."

She means well. I understand what she is saying. If I had an anonymous blog, that would make sense.

I feel, however, that I have made the switch slowly from being an anonymous blogger to being a blogger who is comfortable with being known. The process was gradual: first, I stopped writing every day about the nuances in my ups and downs (which guarantee a roller coaster ride for both writer and reader), then I stopped telling so much personal information about myself and others, and finally I am only telling that which I am comfortable speaking out about to the general public.

I'm no longer hiding. When we hide we aren't living fully. We are living in the half-life. Nothing half is worth having. It brings about feelings of secrecy and shame. Maybe I had to feel that way before, but I don't now.

This doesn't mean that I want to be found. There was a fellow Muslimah blogger who tracked down Vena from Thoughts of a First Wife. Vena had mentioned going somewhere. The fellow Muslimah blogger figured out (with help from some previous information) which town she must be in and looked her up. She called. That's creepy. Really. People, don't do that.

There was a turning point in my blogging life when I went for a charity walk organized by Matt Logelin. I had been commenting on his site for months. Would I actually be able to face other commentators in person? I was very nervous but I went. I was me. Many loving people met me that day. They met someone I was proud of being. Alhumdulillah.

So, this blog is written by me, Yosra, and at this point I'm now proud of both me and this blog.

Michael Jackson, Our Brother in Islam


Asalamu Alaykom Mikaeel,


I have loved you a long time. You have been both an inspiration and an injured soul on this earth. I'm not sure if you have also been an inflicter, but Allah knows.

Allah knows how you have been searching your whole life for that calm. I understand that Friday you took the shahaddah. Mashahallah. In that instant, everything changed for you and inshahallah changed for the better. Whatever has happened before is done and forgiven.

Every true Muslim must believe in the power of the shaddah as much as they believe in The Power of God.

There is the tale, from the time of The Prophet (pbuh) when on the battlefield a captured enemy of Islam said, "La illaha il Allah wa Muhammadar rasullulah."

The Muslim soldier killed him with his sword anyway.

Why? It was asked. Why kill a man who had taken the shahaddah and embraced Islam?

The answer was that the Muslim soldier doubted the man's intention.

The Muslim soldier was chastised severely for his mistake. W must never doubt those who take shahaddah.

We must believe those who take shahaddah. We must welcome them and pray for them. I hope inshahallah that all the Muslims in the world make du'a for your reversion to Islam and for you to be a beacon of light for others searching as well.

There are many jokes floating around about your new choice. That's OK. Let them do what they can to deride this new time in your life. If you are finally holding onto The Truth then nothing can hurt you unless Allah wishes for it.

Surround yourself with good people, like Jermaine, your brother who took shahaddah before you, and like nasheed artist Dawud Warnsby. Rid yourself of those who are false.

Throw away or give away that which is haram and harmful.

On behalf of us, your loving and forgiving Muslim brothers and sisters, I welcome you to Islam. I felt that Allah would someday soon pick a celebrity to help spread the message of Islam. I wasn't completely surprised that it was you.

Now that it is YOU...welcome.


May Allah calm your soul and cleanse your heart. May you become a better person each day with each good deed you accumulate now. May you raise your children in Islam and raise up many around the world to the right path as well. May we, your brothers and sisters, support you with every thought, word, and deed. Ameen.



My Best Wishes,


Sister Yosra


Saturday, November 22, 2008

When You Can't Be Cool


Doncha hate it when you can't be cool?

Like...you know you are supposed to hang it all together and you put on your best game face, but the wrong thing gets said at the wrong time and...

you cry...

and you cry in public, when you are supposed to be happy...

but you don't feel happy and you loose it?
It was supposed to be a wedding shower. Simple.
Except.
The last wedding party I attended was mine.
A year ago.
I guess I'm not over it like I thought.
I prayed and then couldn't go back to the party.
It hurt.
If I had lost my husband to death, everyone would understand, but this? I don't think others are as compassionate.
The marriage didn't even last a year.
Living together didn't even go past four months.
But, the hope...
the hope was there,
the prayers were said,
and my love was fully given. I didn't hold back.
If you enter into life tenative and half-hearted, you experience a life which is tenative and half-hearted.
I live my life fully.
I cried tonight when I didn't know the tears were there.
I didn't know they were so many.
I walked home in the cold carrying the son from the marriage before.
Two very sad turns in my life.
Allah is the best of planners.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Islam and The Art of Pencil Sharpening


We had an art project today (making an art aquarium) which was on the heels of us making a book (The Barak Obama Story) so it was time to sharpen the colored pencils.
After a long day, it was me and a huge pile of pencils without points.
I zoned.
Sometimes, when you zone, you find God easier than if you focused.
I was dissapointed that one pencil wasn't sharpening well. It was being eaten up by the blades and was dissapearing before my eyes. I stopped. It wasn't worth my effort. I looked. "Made in China," was perhaps the reason why.
Yes, quality matters.
We all are dull and purposeless. We are all sharpened. It hurts. WALLAHI it hurts. But, if we are made of quality, then we don't just get eaten up and spit out. We are made better by the process.
We are then a tool to be used for something which will last beyond our boundaries of time or space.
I looked at the clock. It was time to catch my ride.
Still no car. Don't ask.
Come to find out that my ride was not happening on this cold, windy night. I walked. I walked because that's the way Allah was going to sharpen me tonight.
With each step, I felt like crying. Dang shoes! They are fine to work in, but horrible in which to go walking. I stopped the upset rising inside of me.
"Alhumdulillah," I spoke as I strode on faster. My big woolen throw from Wales was wrapping my chapped hands from the chill.
"Allahu Akbar," I said as I went up the hill. Yes, I was suffering, but if I can remember my love for Allah in that hard moment, then I am improving myself and proving my devotion. We can't just love God in the good times.
My little itsy bitsy hardship was nothing compared to Prophet Ayub "Job". He never lost his faith. He never forgot how Allah's plan is best. Didn't ask "Why?" Didn't say, "Why me?!"
If he could say, "Allahu Akbar," then certainly I can too.
It is truly left to been seen how Allah will use me once I am through this paring down but I put my trust in Allah that my future will be colorful, useful, and long-lasting. Inshahallah.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Birds of a Feather


I left my apartment and went into the cold.

AbuBoo's visit was underway and I felt too sad to stay.

This was a day after meeting a man who wanted a babymaker.

This was three days after a man was supposed to fly from California, but didn't AND I was happy about that.

This was two months after meeting the man who flew in from the East Coast.

This was a year after I flew to Florida with my whole heart.

I walked around the neighborhood to get over all of this.

I looked up into the sky and saw two ducks flying.

Did I thank Allah Subhana wa Tallah for the beautiful nature?

No.

Instead I cried out, "DEAR GOD! IS EVERYONE ELSE IN A COUPLE BUT ME?!"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Parts to Shahaddah



There is no other God than God.

Simple.

Mohammed is a Messenger of God.

Is he?

Do Muslims worship him?

NO! He is among the best of men, but he is a man.

Who is this man?

I'll wish peace upon him, as I do with all the prophets.

Historian Michael H. Hart, who is NOT a Muslim wrote about Prohet Mohammed in, A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. Please do take the time to inform yourself better on such an often discussed figure. How much do you really know? Understand?

Then, consider reading Karen Armstrong's Muhammad: A Prophet for Our Time. Again, she is NOT a Muslim. She is an aclaimed author. There is an excerpt from Chapter One. See what she has to say.

Eventually, you will have to answer whether or not Mohammed is a Messenger of God. You either figure it out now or on Judgement Day.

For me...

La illaha il Allah wa Muhammadar Rasullulah!

The Spread of Islam


I was talking to a lovely friend of mine yesterday. She is married to a Muslim man and is considering Islam for herself.

She told me something that happened to her recently.

Facebook, for her, has opened up a new portal into her old life. She has found friends on it from long ago. While looking through the photos posted from one of these old friends, she saw pictures of a Muslim wedding.

"What?!" she exclaimed. How could an Irish party animal end up at a Muslim wedding?!

She had a chance to ask him next time they were both on-line.

Seems that one of his buddies had met a Morrocan lady and through her had discovered Islam. Unbelievably, to her, it was the most fun-loving dude in the bunch. He took the shahaddah and then helped organize the big shindig in North Africa. Five Irish lads made the journey to celebrate with him--including the old friend she knows.

She had to ask, "How did the guys do with no alcohol at a party?!"

To her surprise, the answer was that they had the time of their lives and were up until 5:00 am. They ate, danced, talked, and laughed like never before.

My friend.
Her friend.


His friends.



This is the spread of Islam.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Islamic Phrases in Arab Places

There is a lot of culture in Islam as it gets practiced.
That is probably one of the biggest complaints of new reverts.
What is really Islam?
What is just the fluff from some national pysche?
I find this book fascinating.
You can browse through it electronically on line.
It's called Islam in Everyday Speech.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Changing My Name

I've changed my name so many times by now.
I have been:
my birth name with my last name from my father,
my first name with my new last name after marriage
(I sounded way Anglo),
my first name with my new last name after second marriage,
Yosra and that new last name after second marriage
(I was an Honorary Arab),
and now...
Yosra and my last name from my father. I'm a beautiful mix now.
It cost me about a hundred bucks and an appearance in court.
Want to change your name for FREE?

Here's what I just did:

1 Rock star name

Cinder Neon

(Name of first pet and current car)

2 Gangsta name

Peppermint Bon Bon Sugar

(fave ice cream flavor& fave kind of cookie)

3 Detective name

Hot Pink Porcupine

(favorite color and fave animal)

4 Soap opera name

Idris Northampton

(middle name and city where you were born)

7 Super hero name

The Hunter Green Chai Latte

( "the", 2nd favorite color and fave drink)

8 NASCAR name

Thomas John

(the first names of your grandfathers)

9 Disco name

Happy Dark Chocolate


(favorite perfume/cologne/scent and fave candy)

12 Spy name

Fall Sunflower

(your favorite season/holiday and fave flower)

13 Cartoon name

Honeycrisp Apple Tankie

(favorite fruit, one article of clothing you are wearing right now plus "ie" or "y")

14 Hippy name

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Oak

(what you ate for breakfast this morning and your favorite tree)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Little Housefly




I watched him in fascination; the little housefly at my window. He walked around the glass in apparent dissatisfaction with his locale. He wanted out. In some ways, I felt for him. I know how it is to be trapped.

I thought for a moment that I should just let him out. I wondered if I should take a little time and help him regain his freedom. He could live somewhere else and live happily.

Did I have the time? No.
Would he understand? No.

I would just be chasing him around the bathroom in hopes of helping, which would bring me nothing but frustration.

My little guy was suffering with a horrible cough and the warmth of the shower was clearing out his chest a bit. I needed to focus on him, my true concern. Then, he began to buzz around the room.
In a second I knew that the fly could bother my sick son and maybe even bringing disease to our home.
I couldn't imagine hurting the little fly while I felt sorry for him and his wasted efforts to escape. I sympathized with him. However, once I thought as the mother of my son, I had nothing but distain for his dirtiness.

Without another thought, the shampoo bottle came down, "BAM!"

He lay there on the bottom of the tub; dead. I let the water wash him away.

His wish was granted; he had his freedom. He was out of our apartment.
Alhumdulillah.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kanye West - Love Lock Down

I Don't Want to Lose You


.
"I don't want to lose you!"
If I only had a buck for every time I've heard that phrase spoken to me...but I don't so I'm poor-- but in many ways I'm rich.
I've had experiences throughout my life which I don't want to repeat, yet I seem to face again...and again. Why? I do look at how The Almighty wants us to learn and succeed in these lessons. When we don't do so well on the test, we get a chance to do-over. Isn't that a blessing? Ar-Rahman doesn't want us to fail, so we get another chance.
This phrase, "I don't want to lose you," has always come out of the mouth of a man who has done me wrong.
I think, "Awww! I'm his and he wants to keep me like a precious treasure."
What I should have thought was, "How dare you objectify me as your possession!"
Why didn't I get that figured out by the age of 40?
I think I did, but then had to learn it at a new, deeper level. We learn higher thinking while delving deeper, don't we? Each new experience revisits what we thought we knew but hadn't committed to in our core.
The core of my being still wants to be held and admired. And don't get all literal and think this means sexual gratification. I'm not so base. I mean that closeness of kindred souls. I trade almost everything in order to get that feeling fulfilled. That is Yosra...or it has been Yosra.
However, the mother of my son can't reconcile the horrible treatment. I can't. I can't have my son's mother treated like a whore, or a crazy b, or a piece of garbage easily dispossible. That's what saves me. That's how my son saves me and lifts me higher without being any older than three.
Being a single mother has hurt me; has made me feel so alone, so vulnerable, and so worried for the future. But being exactly this mother to my boy has challenged me to examine my real faith and turn to my Sustainer.
It is only The Most High who can never lose me. I belong to Him and Him alone. I do not belong to any man on earth. No man on earth deserves to possess me. I can share my time, my mind, and my love, and even my spirit. That inner core; that spirit is not for giving away. It isn't mine to give. That spirit is with Allah.
That makes non-observant men crazy. Men who are abusive, who don't fear Allah in their treatment of their woman, want to capture that kind of spirit and hold it in their hand. If you let them hold it, you might think they are gazing in admiration, but it is a vengeful moment right before they crush you.
If you were alone, you might crumble to think that a man with whom you had shared so much could be so cruel. But, for me? Alhumdulillah, I have my boy; my little love. And I have my big love for my God.
Allah knows every remark, every mean moment, and every intention. I'll leave those men to Allah.
As for the good men out there, you matchmakers should start sending me some names!