Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What I Missed in Egypt

While I was visiting America, I asked you to guess what it was I would miss in Egypt.  Here are the results along with how it actually went down:

My Husband got 9 votes.  Nothing else was close.  I missed him.  It wasn't a crazy love-lorn "Habibi!" missing.  It was this feeling of doing the work in America and getting the time done to make the next part of our life together go well.  I needed my time away but I also needed the return---and the return was to my hijrah, which is Egypt and therefore to him (and in that order).

I know there was a part of him which couldn't fully believe I would return.  He had to trust and he learned some important things about me.

I also learned some important things about him.  His phone call every day at 9:30 AM kept me feeling safe in a world where I couldn't see him or feel his arms around me. 

Real love is able to handle "the unseen".  This is how we must trust in Allah.  We could create physical manifestations like statues OR we could trust in something bigger which defies our limited perceptions. Trusting in our unseen connection to The Supreme thus enables us to trust those we love even when we are away from them. 

Everything I packed was to "feather our nest."  I was so happy to bring back things that really meant something to me (the 99 Names of Allah wall hanging, the linen curtains from IKEA, the sheepskin Mr. Boo had as a toddler) and to have him like them as well.  He accepted that I'd be bringing back lots of books (around 50). 

He asked only for some clothes---I told him that I had always liked him being a big guy until I had to pack those large items in the suitcase.  I can't believe how heavy men's shoes are!

When I returned, he surprised me by having the electricity wired in the salon.  There was a beautiful copper star hanging overheard.  Each facet was shining in a different color of white, blue or yellow.  Inset lights surrounded it.  He had been busy and kept it a secret.  I love that he did that.  It gives me hope that we can continue to build a life together. 

During the first days back in Egypt, both of us made efforts to change in order to find peace within our home.  Before, he had been very used to eating suhour with his family around 1 AM and then sleeping (and astragferallah not always able to wake for fajr prayer).  This meant that I was always eating suhour and praying fajr as I had done when I was a single woman in the States; alone and a little sad.  This time, he is eating with me at 3:00 AM and praying fajr with me.  That is a huge difference.
Likewise, I used to stay upstairs until the azan sounded, then head downstairs, drink my juice and pray before eating.  His family does it differenlty; they eat first and then pray.  By the time I was done praying, they were halfway done with the iftar.  I became resentful at their tradition. 

This year, I told myself that it really didn't matter to Allah when I prayed as long as I did it before isha.  I am now helping put the dishes on the table and then eating together with everyone.  My husband is returning this effort by staying at the table until I am finished.  Then we wash up and pray together.  This is really how it should have been before but it takes stubborn people longer to stop doing traditions which benefit no one.  And isn't this what the Quran warns us against?  Again and again we are told that we should not cling to traditions simply out of habit.  Ramadan is the perfect time to break with unhelpful habits and forge new traditions.

Hearing the Azan got 7 votes.  Missed this big time!  I dug up an old calendar and that helped keep track of prayer times.  Save any old calendar for the location you're staying in and the times remain relatively the same.  Did you know that?  I've saved that calendar for the next time I return, inshahallah. 

During our daily calls, I started to tell my husband to stop talking to me so I could hear the azan out the window.  It is so calming.  I can't imagine living my life without hearing that every day.  It would be too sad.

When I returned, it was as if I drank in the azan.  It was my zam zam water and it quenched me. Subhanallah.  I truly pity any of you Muslims who have never heard the azan waft out over the city. 

Majority Muslims got 7 votes.  I like being the fish out of water so for the most part being a minority is no problem.  I couldn't really have lived in the U.S. as a Muslimah or lived here as an American if I felt otherwise.

The one time I was among a large group of Muslims was at the masjid for Jummah prayer and I didn't like it.  The place is now over run with Somali families to the point of it being the last place you'd ever go to find peace or solace.  Children playing, running, teasing each other to smell their farts (astragferallah) while the mothers seemed oblivious to their naughtiness.  I did my best to stay focused on the khotbah or sermon.

When it came time to pray.  The three of us whities were joined by an older Somali lady who proceeded to push my other friends around ----as if they weren't lined up properly.  During the prayer, she yanked on my galabiya to try to make me stand closer to her and I wasn't having it.  How dare you interrupt my prayer because you can't figure out how to move your body closer to mine. 

When I finished the prayer, she wanted to talk to me in an advising tone, "Sister..."

I stopped her and told her in Arabic that after prayer we wish each other peace; that only is best.  I kissed her on the cheeks and smiled.  She tried again and I blocked her efforts again.  No, I didn't want to hear her tell me that I was wrong.  Just because I'm white doesn't mean I'm clueless about how to line up.  Me speaking in Arabic to her was one way to trump her holier-than-thou attempts to improve upon my knowledge.  I told her that it's wrong to tell people immediately upon finishing prayer anything except "Peace and "May Allah accept your prayers."

She later came up to me and tried to appologize.  I accepted.  I kissed her cheeks again and kept my distance. 

I do NOT want to live in among a large Muslim population if it means a large number of Somali Muslims.  They are not homogenous.  I've had some great interactions with Somali people.  However, as a community, they are very far from where I am with my Islam and where I want to go.  I feel anger rise up in me in those moments I have to deal with such extreme ignorance and disregard for the rights of others.

Thank God I live among Egyptians who have better sense.  Egyptians are very well educated people who understand the meaning of the Quran (not learning it from rote memory).  They can be busy-bodies but they know their limits with regards to others (especially when it comes to practising Islam).  The Masjid is respected and children are taught to respect their faith or to have a quick meeting with the bottom of a shoe. 

That short time in the masjid was all I needed to reconsider how blessed I am to be living where I am living.  It is here that I can practise Islam without fear and without being grouped together with those who are so irritating as to make you want to leave Islam just to be rid of them.

Modesty got 4 votes.  I was really shocked at how many tattoos were now being sported by regular people.  One time, I was at a children's store marveling how that clerk with massive tattoos on her arm would get hired. Then another customer started talking to the clerk and I realized that mom pushing the stroller was  also was covered in tattoos!  People love to show off their alter-egos.  My mom's comment is that they are so anxious to make themselves interesting on the outside (maybe because they are so void on the inside).

I was taken aback at how many breasts I saw.  No nippleage.  No.  America hasn't gone that far---yet.  But American women seem to be overjoyed with push-up bras which hoist their appendages to their necks for all to see.  Of course, wearing a cami makes it all the better to see you with, my dear.  It was outrageous and embarrassing because it was everywhere.  Sitting at Dairy Queen with my son and his father, I didn't really want to be exposed to someone else's overexposure.  It was nasty and this kind of thing happened again and again.

It wasn't just women either.  The men were whipping off their shirts in the heat as if that layer of cotton was keeping them from breathing.  I don't remember that many bare-chested men in America before.  All of these exhibitionists might have been in America before...but this time the scene registered on my radar as unneccessary and inappropriate.

Halal Food got 4 votes.  There were some mistakes.  Mom did buy spaghetti sauce with wine.  I had to check those breakfast patties she bought to determine they had pork.  And I guess the problem with being diligent is that you don't really relax about anything.  As a Muslim, you can't really enjoy the food like you do in a Muslim country.  You are constantly worried about pork, geletin, blood and alcohol getting into your food.

I did eat at three Muslim-owned restaurants during my visit.  At each place, the owners welcomed me back as an old friend.  That felt great.  It was nice to eat out and enjoy a carefree meal.

My Own Apartment got 4 votes.  This really became much harder on me than all of you guessed.  I missed my own space very much.  I missed moving about freely in the morning and night (when I had to be careful of my elderly mother's sleep schedule).  I missed being able to have my stuff sit where it landed; it wasn't easy to keep picking up after myself. 

In a way, though, having my own apartment to look foward to kept me from being resentful of my mother's demands.  Before, when I lived with her, I was very bitter about losing a series of homes (due to divorce, relocation, and being out of work).  I was homeless back then and dependent on her mercy.  This time, I was able to see her place as rightfully hers and not someplace I wish I had control over. 

His Family got 3 votes.  It's 2:35 AM as I write this and the house's baby is going ballistic downstairs.  Yet, I did miss her a little.  She was my little buddy.  I missed the niece who wants to be a teacher like me.  She told me, upon my return, that she cried and cried when I left. 

Honestly, I needed a break from the family.  I needed to get my head on straight about who they are for me.  I wanted to determine how I can survive this life with them.  I didn't want my emotions controlling me, but rather my logical mind.  That took distance and even some time with my own mother to remember that people are more simmilar than dissimmilar.  I have goals to be a better component within this system inshahallah.

My Friends got 3 votes.  Truth is that I don't have friends here.  I have co-workers.  I have people I know.  I don't have really strong friendships yet.

I had an Egyptian-American friend from school who was going to travel with us to the U.S.  We made all our plans together.  We talked about meeting up once we were staying about two miles away from each other.  In the end, a sudden illness on her part forced her to delay leaving.  Though I wasn't with her, I made constant du'a for her quick recovery while I was in the skies.  When she came a week after me, she never called or tried to reach me.  I was completely forgotten and it hurt.  It left me shaking my head and reconfirmed once again that I don't have friends here.  It isn't really a country in which friendships seem to take root---maybe it's the sandy soil. 

Alhumdulillah, I didn't come here for friendship.

Arabic got 3 votes.  I didn't miss Arabic because I spoke it every day on the phone with my hub.  It was a good way to talk to him without my mom overhearing everything in her tiny house.  I wasn't trying to be a super secret spy.  I just wanted some privacy and it was a good way to get it.

It's funny how Mr. Boo didn't speak Arabic with his father.  Remember, he is also Egyptian.  The two never really talked in Arabic.  I don't know WHY that is! 

AbuBoo did, however, lay into his son for calling another man (my husband) "Baba".  It's a very lame argument because my son never ever called his father by that name; he always has called him "Daddy".   Our disagreement over it ran into two visits and caused a lot of upset.  I was really undone the first time because he chose to bring it up on Mr. Boo's sixth birthday.  I let it get to me.  It was days before I could really be chill.  I prayed and asked to be the smart one on the matter because Mr. Boo needed someone to not fight about it.  I asked Allah for patience so that I could remain calm.  Alhumdulillah, the next time his father ranted about it, I didn't take the bait.  The issue was eventually dropped.

Hijabs got 3 votes.  I didn't miss them but when I saw Muslimahs out in hijabs I was so happy.  I would stop and talk to them.  It's a bond for sure.

My Computer got 2 votes.  For the most part, I didn't miss my computer.  I made a strategic decision to leave it behind.  I needed it in Egypt so that my husband could call me on the Magic Jack.  I also didn't want the additional weight of it when I was coming back.  On top of all that, my mom doesn't understand the computer and actually gets jealous of my time on it.  Best to leave it!

My Kindle functioned all right as a web browser.  It was not able to complete every function.  It couldn't open a new window from a window.  It couldn't mark comments on the blog and post them.  It was hard to read some of the web pages even if I enlarged them.  However, I was connected and grateful.

The Quran got 1 vote.  You all guessed wrongly on this one!  This actually became a huge issue that broke me down to tears.  In our home, we play Quran 24/7.  My mom doesn't like the sound of The Quran at all and would ask me to turn it down---in my own room!  She didn't undertand how important it is to me until she saw me cry.  I have a cassette of Mohammed Jebril and I was using an old Fischer Price tape player to play it when it ran out of batteries.  My MP4 player had run out of juice as well and I couldn't find the cord to charge it (though I later found it the day I left--wouldn't you know). 

So, there I was without Quran during Ramadan.  That lasted all of three days.  I couldn't handle it!  I dissolved at the kitchen table when I tried to explain to my mom that I had to get more batteries so I could hear it again.  I needed it especially at night when my fears start to creep in.  It isn't just me, either, as Mr. Boo can only fall asleep listening to Quran.  Seven dollars later, I had my four C batteries and could listen once more.  My breath went deeper for the first time in days.  I could relax and remember Allah better than by just reading the Quran.

Shopping got 1 vote.  I missed the prices!  I missed getting something lower!  It hurt me the minute I started paying for my taxi ride.  Forty dollars was an OUCH to my pocket.  I tried not to think of what that cost me in Egyptian Pounds.  At least it went to a Muslim taxi driver.

Transportation got no votes.  That actually was a big bummer.  No car.  No local transportation.  I missed the abundance of taxis driving by, the buses, and the tuk tuks. 

I had to rely on the kindness of ...okay, not strangers...but the kindness of everybody involved.  I did rely a LOT on my son's father.  I told my husband about this (and it was a sore point) but getting from here to there in the U.S. can be very hard without a car. 

Sightseeing got no votes.  This was a bit of a problem where I was staying because my state had a government shut-down.  NOTHING was open!  All the historical sights were closed; all the museums too.  What a shame!  It made me laugh that I'd been thinking how much better America runs than Egypt---until I saw first hand what a joke that was. 

The problem, by the way, is a riba-based economy.  If we all pretend when have money when we don't, then we are living a lie.  Eventually, whether a debt ceiling goes up or not, it will all crash.  Being reasonable with finances person-to-person is the only way to cure the U.S. economy of falling apart.  My experience though is that people are still pretending to have money and buy new and needless things to prove how "good" their life is (using external means).  Sad. 

Animals got no votes.  I missed the goat a little.  She was a lonely girlie and I came back to find two more goats had joined her.  She seems happier now.

Music got no votes.  I missed lively noise.  I did miss the sounds of music a little.  My mom plays lots of classical (as she always has) but that fun music was not in my days this trip.

Time to eat suhour. 

Good to reflect on my time in the U.S.  It is not my country any more.  That time is done.  Alhumdulillah.


Jaime Brown said...

Assalamo alaikum sister,

I really enjoyed reading this post by you. Like you, I am an American who converted to Islam. I left everything behind in search of a better life, the REAL life-- a life dedicated to Allah.

I was living in Hollywood, working a dream job, and I was just over it. Tired of the Western life. So I decided to quit my job, pack everything in one suitcase and move to Morocco by myself. I had no job, no plan, no money. All I had was a pocket full of Iman and a lot of trust in Allah.

Our stories are similar and I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Please keep them coming. If you'd like a peek into my life, feel free to check out http://www.MemoirsFromMorocco.blogspot.com It's a bit of real life mixed with Muslimah info.

Jazzakallahu khairan for sharing..


Anonymous said...

"Whoever possesses in his heart 'Asabiyyah (prejudice in any of its forms such as tribalism, racism, or nationalism) even to the extent of a mustard seed, God will raise him on the Day of Resurrection with the unbelieving Bedouins of the Pre-Islamic era." – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny)

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Jamila,

Journeys really do bind us together---no matter who we were when we left or where we ended up. Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who quit all that didn't matter any more. I will be over to read your blog when I'm not semi-delirious from fasting/working/re-adjusting to Egypt.

Love to you :)

Asalamu alaykom Anonymous,

Love to you as well.

I have a "thing" against people sending comments in anonymously. I don't like it. You don't have to use your name or link to your blog or whatever. Just make up some name and use it on your comments. That way I can keep you straight from anyone else who comments.

And all of us are really such unique individuals. We are formed by our culture, our society, our past and many factors. Are two people the same? NEVER!

I find it interesting that the Islamic ettiquette on the killing of ants sees them as individuals. If one ant is in your home bothering you, you are allowed to dispose of it but not the whole colony (a whole colony, by the way, has the same brain power as a person).

So, here you are wanting me to remember not to be a bigot. Point taken. I hear you. I approved your comment because it's a point.

I will never EVER say a whole group is the same. Each person is an individual and I made that point when I wrote about the Somalis who have resettled in the U.S.

I have spent years living and working with hundreds of Somali refugees. Have you? I know this population very well. I gave my time, my talents, and my heart to people from Somali. Have you? We have eaten together, prayed together, laughed and cried together. So, I am speaking from an informed point of view when I say that this part of our ummah is suffering deeply.

Somalia was always a very backward country (no written alphabet until the 70s) with tribal ways and wars. Islam could not erase deep seated hatred, illiteracy and ignorance. The Islam they did learn was twisted. The civil war, the famine were not my doing. The refugee camps, the post traumatic stress syndrome, the inability to assimilate are not something I put on this group of people. They, very unfortunately, have suffered a lot. Pray for them. Work for them to get out of the endless cycle of misery.

So, when I write that I don't want to be a minority in their majority, it's not from a lofty place above them where I'm looking down in scorn. Nope. I've been right beside them and it hurts to be next to my Somali sisters and it is so sad to be seeing what's happening to their children---and I mean IN THE U.S.!

This population is in dire need of intervention including (but not limited to) counseling, parenting classes, and education on all levels.

No, it's not "nice" to say that part of our ummah is sick beyond belief. But it's real!

May Allah guide all of us to better.

Jaime Brown said...

Very well-said in response to your Somalian comments. I think there is nothing wrong with you sharing your opinions on your personal blog and speaking about experiences you have had.

May Allah guide everyone in every community.

Yosra said...

This comment was edited so that my location in the U.S. was omitted. I'm paranoid that way.

Asalamu Alaikum Yosra, I am a loooooong time reader and a Somali myself, so I guess I feel like I know you well enough to not be offended by your comments. I grew up in the US and share alot of the same criticisms about somalis. I also know how much the islamic influence of somalis has contributed. Big hijabs being so commonplace that nobody is afraid of the normal khimar, fighting for jummah salat at companys, fighting for prayer time at work etc. Its always nice to dash a bit of good when you are stating something bad about a whole group of people that you do not belong to. Egyptians have a particularly bad reputation in the arab world and although we could all think of many horrible attributes that we think are egyptian its not a very islamic thing to do. Being white yourself you have never been subjected to the blatant racism of arab society but to the opposite have been welcomed and given a pass due to your white skin. Although you may not accept or understand this, its a fact and an unfortunate one....we all have our issues in this ummah, and yes the somali peoples are many and sometimes I dont see them ever getting out of it, I hope you keep "this sick beyond belief" part of the ummah in your duas.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Somali Sis,

So, if you don't find a name for yourself, I find one for you.

And honestly, that's kind of what happens when you don't speak up as a group member too. If you don't like what's happening in your ummah and specifically within your cultural segment of the ummah, then it's up to you to do something about it.

I did what I could do and it almost killed me. Too much pain.

The point of my blog entry was not "Let's Present a Balanced View of What's Good and Bad About the U.S." It was "What I Missed in Egypt". And I didn't miss just any big group of Muslims---I could find that. I missed a big group of Egyptian Muslims. The way Egyptians follow Islam is my way.

I don't mean that every single Egyptian is practising, or clean-hearted or easy-going BUT for the most part this is who I associate with.

My words about your segment of the community don't need a backlash onto my segment of the community. Frankly, whatever bad rap Egyptians do or don't get doesn't bother me. I'm living here and not traveling through the Arab World taking a poll.

Yep. I'm white. No apologies. You THINK I've been given a pass. You're wrong. I was attacked more in the U.S. for being a covered Muslim because my white skin made no sense to the general public. If I had been brown, they would have left me alone.

While I agree that we all have our issues, I swear to God that I have never seen a more troubled group of people than the Somali population living in the U.S. Is there more good than bad? That is for Allah to judge.

Am I wrong for commenting on a group I don't belong to? I will also leave that up to Allah.

I appreciate you being a reader. I know it's hard to comment and try to make your feelings known and heard. I have heard you. I don't want to upset you. At the same time I don't want to go against the truth I've felt.

Jaime Brown said...

"Frankly, whatever bad rap Egyptians do or don't get doesn't bother me. I'm living here and not traveling through the Arab World taking a poll." Once again, sis...well-said! :)

"Yep. I'm white. No apologies. You THINK I've been given a pass. You're wrong."

I couldn't agree with you more on this! While I was still in the US, (Los Angeles to be exact, not some small po-dunk town in the middle of nowhere, but Hollywood--where all things weird [and haram] are accepted), I was criticized for SURE for being a white Muslim. "Oh look at her, she's a wannabe. Who does she think she is with that scarf on her head? This is just a phase, she'll get over it..." The way I wanted to live my life was simply not acceptable in a land where G-Strings on the beach are ok but hijab is just "ridiculous." So I moved to Morocco, where my beliefs are not only accepted, but encouraged.

Now the problem is that I'm the ONLY American Muslim in my city. I don't live in a small Moroccan town, rather a huge tourist destination with a lot of people. I constantly get looks, stares, and whispers from Moroccan women almost everywhere I go--even the mosque. I see them all whisper to their friends as they point in my direction. Little do they know I speak Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and can understand what they're saying. So this is not my imagination, but real life.

Is it because I have blue eyes? Is it because my best friends wear khaymars and niqabs? Is it because I'm a white girl with no husband living alone in a Muslim country? I'll never know.

What I do know is that being white definitely does not entitle me to a "pass" of acceptance.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Jaime,

I've just slept in a semi-comatose state the last four hours (remind me never again to break the fast without first a date and then soup).

I came back to life to find your comment here. Thanks for sharing. Each one of us can identify with parts we see in the "other". I'm glad that you can understand the parts of me that maybe Somali Sis can't. Seriously, I have to read your whole blog beginning to end!

At the same time...I don't want to create an "us" versus "them" dynamic within the blog. My goal, from the beginning of "After Hardship" was to make a kind of garden oasis from the yucky muck of the internet. I contributed to too much of the former and wanted a change into a more peaceful, refreshing place.

I'm not sure how to find some resolution to this moment. It's Ramadan and I really REALLY don't want to incur bad deeds.

Oh, Allah

To you we turn for guidance and acceptance. You forgive us our faults and give us a new day in which to improve ourselves. When we encounter those who are needy and struggling, let us not forget how much we have struggled and dissapointed others. May we find strength to lend a hand, heart to care, and patience to endure whatever their challenges are. If we are unable to help them, please forgive us for our inability and don't allow our heart to harden against them. As we want to be treated, we need to therefore treat others. And just as the salty water and the fresh water miraculously keep in their own channels, let us flow past these people who trouble us and neither harm them nor be harmed by them. Ameen.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they may be better than them

Sahih International
"O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers." (49:11)

s0metime it is because 0f jeal0usy
s0metime it is because 0f l0neliness
s0metime it is because 0f just t0 kill time
s0metime it is just f0r fun

it just came 0ut fr0m plica v0calis
talking 0r chatting
whispering 0r sh0uting
every w0rds c0unts

t0 c0ntr0l each sentence with a great mind awareness
is like baking a cake with0ut any s0urce 0f heat

i always try t0 be cautious
but s0metimes it ends as failure
but at least... i tried
and i kn0w that
Allah kn0ws everything inside every0ne's chest

Anonymous said...

backward country because of western colonisation of countries who doesn't have any history , their past is killing and colonisite and kill other people and make wars and fitna between them ; that's why we don't have schools ,hospitals , education but we have weapons imported from the west,

At least we have a history and past;

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Anonymouses,

I think you are focusing on one particular aspect to what I've written and are picking it apart because what I've said has hurt you. I'm sorry for hurting you. It's not my intention to go through life hurting anyone. What I need to do is say what feels true to me. You are trying to frame my feelings with quotes and history. Maybe some framework is useful. No refuge plops down in a new country without a whole lot of baggage----and much of it given to them by someone in power who took the advantage over them.

Be proud of what you can and be realistic about the things which are be done to better you, your family and your community. That's what we all need to do. Inshahallah.

Anonymous said...

just to remind you and remind my self and all the brothers and sisters ;
we don't have to discribe what is happen inside the masjid , that's a house of Allah , at least not in Blogspot where random people will think that we all muslims or (our Somalien brothers Allah bless them)looks like that

the best of us is who accept the tips

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Yet Another Anonymous Who is Focusing on My Somali Comments,

Guess I hit a nerve.

I posted your reminder, though I'm not sure if I agree. We are the transparent religion. We are not the Masons with super-secret handshakes and rites. Does it really say somewhere in an authentic source that we are not to describe what happens inside a masjid? Hmmmmm...

You question whether or not my readers will be able to discern what exactly I am trying to say. Don't know. I say what I need to say to my readers and leave it up to them to either understand or not. Again, speaking our truths about Islam will not and CANNOT hurt it. Anyone who fears so much cannot really adhere to faith.

Hiding our heads in the sand about the very real problem, with the U.S. Somali refugee population, is a greater danger.

Yes, may God bless the Somali and the Syrian alike. My love and prayers extend to everyone in the world. My ability to speak my mind does not mean that I forget my heart and soul.

What I wrote, by the way, about the Somali Muslims will not do you as much bad press as how you all respond. Getting up in arms and sending in a multitude of comments shushing me actually makes you look ill-prepared for a world in which there is freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

I've got an idea: why don't all the Anonymous commentators get together and work on THE PROBLEMS rather than continually challenging my validity in reporting them?

"Best of us is who accept the tips," is what you wrote.

No, not actually. The best of us will be the one who strives for Allah. Allah ONLY is the judge of my intentions and my actions.

And, a masjid is not an actual house of Allah. We are not a people who take our religion so literally. Allah is not needing us to build a house for Him. It is a meeting place we can use for worshipping Him. Actually, the whole world is a masjid, since we are free to worship him in every clean place. Freeing ourselves from constraints this way feels better.

I understand that so many of you Anonymous don't like my words. You don't have to. They belong to me. They originated in my head and I used my mind and my fingers to type them out. That's something you can do too :) Use your own mind. Get your own blog. Type out your own thoughts. Stop focusing on mine.

May God grant me additional patience.


Jaime Brown said...

All I have to say is "AMEN SISTA!!!"

Good for you, Yosra! This is YOUR blog, not an Islamic website. It is where you can type your own thoughts, ideas, expressions, and observations. If people don't like it, that's their issue, not yours. A blog is like a diary and you do not have one single guideline to follow. Keep doing it your way.

To all you "Anonymous" people:

Why anonymous? Hmmm? Why are you hiding behind your thoughts? Yosra is not doing anything wrong here. Where we're from, America, there's a beautiful thing: It's called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. She's using that freedom regardless of which country her ID card is from.

Instead of dissecting every single word she has written and criticizing her for it, why don't you think about the problems she's referencing? Pretending they are not there is a wayyyyy bigger problem. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

She has stated numerous times that she's not racist, prejudice, or singling out a particular group. She's simply reporting on her experiences and she is definitely not wrong for that.

Remind yourself that this is a blog, not a press conference from the President. Take it easy.

Keep up the good work, Yosra! I love all of your responses and I'm sure they leave the anonymous audience without a single thing to say.

Anonymous said...

good that you have freedon of speech ; but don't forget that sometimes you may be backbiting some people of nations as with somalian story ;

you can ask an Imam that you trust about what you post before you will be asked by God

May Allah show us the right path sisters and brothers


Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Jaime,

Thanks for helping me pretend that my words are understood by someone. I truly, truly, truly appreciate your continued support.

Asalamu Alaykom Anonymous Who Wants to Shout that You Don't Have an Account,

That's your choice. I will not fault you on deciding not to blog. Blogging is not for everyone. It takes a lot of time and effort. It also takes determination to stay the course.

I never forget my obligations to Allah. Backbiting is something I take seriously. I am very cautious in my blog on what I discuss. I wasn't always so careful. I don't want fithah. I have deleted many, many words over the years to make sure that I am not hurting anyone---especially myself on the Day of Judgement.

I think it's time I post these links:

Overview of Somalis in U.S.

Issues of Somalis' Child Rearing in U.S.

FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) by Somalis

Human Trafficking by Somalis

Somalis Robbing and Beating the Elderly

Somalis Attacking Random Passersby---including little school children

Somalis Refusing to Ring Up Meat at Target

Somalis Refusing Taxi Passengers with Seeing Eye Dogs or Those Who are Drunk

Somali Driver Attacking a Female Taxi Passenger

Somalis Commit Burglary

Somalis Commit Murder

Somalis Protesting CAIR

It's time that my readers, who want to refute my words, understood that I only told a little tiny tip of the iceberg. Please, Angry Anonymous, take a break from my blog and go do some additional reading. Watch some video. Feel free to post comments after those stories.

Yes, it's great that Somali people are adding to the cultural richness of America. And there's a lot of really sickening scenarios playing out which previous immmigrant and refugee groups simply haven't brought before. So, school yourself on what's happening within your part of the ummah before you continue to feel the need to school me.

No, I will not be discussing my thoughts and my words with an imam. You do, I hope, realize how crazy that actually is. Just like I don't need an intercessor to speak to God, I don't need one to talk to my community of readers on the 'net.

Yes, everything I do will be on my record. Stop worrying about me. Let me handle my thoughts, my words and my blog. Go ahead and take care of business with those who are in your sphere of influence. I am not.

I don't wish you any bad. Really I don't. I do, however, wish you'd take that break and go away for a while. Let it rest inshahallah.

Masalama Bye.

Jaime Brown said...

walaikum salaam,

I've never heard a "BOO-YA!" sound so eloquent before.

She's a linguistic ballerina. Watch as she dances thoughts and viewpoints across the stage called the internet...

umm abdillah said...

Asalamu alayki

Hmmm intresting post,i wouldnt agree with everything you said but with me being a muslimah, somali and british myself dear sister i can think of alot of things i would like to change about my community.Like most islamic communities.Since you have really delved into this community your thoughts are accepted why? because you can never know someone untill you have travelled, lived or worked with them. I can see why some people on here are hurt maybe because you gave out too much info and maybe its best not to go into too much detail like that incase you hurt anyone. Perhaps save those thought you have for anyone that comes to you asking about that group of people? Allahu alam.I believe alot of change is needed however i do believe we've grown alot with generation. And with the young lady at the masjid and the foot incident, perhaps her ego wasn't so big and she had a sincere intension? maybe just not good at puting her point across. I have met alot of people that complain about that same situation when they 'look' like a new muslim and they often get muslims, rasied muslims always correcting their mistakes in what may be seen as arrogant. I have experienced it firsthand and usually its eager young girls in their late teens and 20's of all backgrounds and honestly it offened me depending on the way i was approched. Best to keep quiet unless you know how to approach a person. But in anycase dua inshAllaah and i pray you meet sisters from my community that you love and love you sincerly bi ithnilaah.
P.s ive only just come across your blog as i was researching hijra to Egypt, i was living there too a couple of years. I intend to come back oneday inshALlaah. Pls make dua that i do X

Yours, Umm Abdillah

Anonymous said...

Wow Umm Abdullah, such ahlaq being soMali and responding back in such beautiful way.

As for me I don't know how to feel about this blog being Somali and having our people described in such a negative way.

Yusra As one of the people commented is that you should describe the good with the bad. Which you sadly failed to do.

Somalis have contributed to the ummah in America as well in ways that have been mentioned above.

And kindly letting you know that there is no hadith that says we should send peace to one another after prayer. ..If you mean that we should send salams upon each other when we greet then yes that's what we should do.

There is no harm in advising each other and being patient when the advice is wrong and trying to explain what is right with daleel and beautiful manners.

You can call me Asiyah as I noticed you don't like anonymous accounts..but I don't blog.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Asiyah,

This post was written six and a half years ago. That's a LONG time ago, right? Within this post, I included some thoughts about what had happened to a segment of the Muslim population in my old city. I'm not going to re-read what I wrote, but I know that I have never hated the Somalis or wished badly for them. Instead, I have always wished better.

If this were a Phd dissertation, I should have definitely included a more balanced outlay of information. This is only a personal blog. The whole posting wasn't about Somalis; it was a small section of it. Since I was reflecting on what I didn't like in the U.S., that means that I wasn't writing in a balanced way about ANY of the subtopics.

My time in that particular mosque will be inshah Allah the last time ever in that mosque. I'm not headed back as far as I know. Whatever didn't feel good for me, isn't being relived there. While I have prayed in many mosques in the U.S. and in Egypt, I have never been pulled around and talked down to in such a way. That lady overstepped what I felt comfortable with. If someone else wants that treatment in order to feel straighter in their line and thus closer to God, then I hope they find another Mosque Boss to help them out. For me? Leave me out.

I've got many stories about the goodness of Somalis and some have even appeared in my blog. I'm standing my ground with my belief that I don't have to speak out of both sides of my mouth as I make a point; rhetoric doesn't really call for that. If anyone wants to find the kind, loving moments I've shared with Somalis or any other group that I wasn't born into, then feel free to look through what I've written for over a decade.

Thanks, Asiyah, for being a person who cares. I care too. The way each of us cares may be different, but only Allah knows which of us are making the most positive changes...and I sincerely don't know if I'm one of them or not.

However, for those who disagree with me, don't be so sure that I'm not.

I wish for God's blessings on everyone.