Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WODJAN WILL COMPETE IN HIJAB

Asalamu Alaykom,



ALLAHU AKBAR
God is the Greatest!

Olympic competitor Wodjan Shahrkhani will be ALLOWED to COMPETE in Judo WEARING HIJAB!

All praises to The Most Merciful!

This is the best of outcomes.  Alhumdulillah.  She has fought the good fight; to allow equal rights for women who chose modesty in order to please Allah.  She did not come to London to show her body but rather to show her skills.  Whether or not she wins a medal in Judo, I know that she has won the hearts of many and inshahallah the pleasure of Allah.

For those who want to make fun of this young Saudi lady, I will say this:  she has done more with her life in these last days than many of you have done in your entire lives.  If you have some kind of jealousy towards a person for being newsworthy, then find a way to better yourselves rather than try to pull her down. 

I realize she is not on any of the web lists for "Sexist Olympians," or "Hottest Competitors".  That's OK.  Truly some of us aren't in this life to please the voracious visual appetites of the voyeur.  Say that three times fast!  Many women, and especially many Muslimahs, are here in this life first and foremost as followers of God, then as people in this world, before thinking of themselves by gender.  

May God be pleased with all His followers from all the faiths.

May God protect all the women in the world whatever their nationality.

May God forgive those who deride others.

May God guide all the people who are lost and searching for a way to find Him.

 

Ramadan Day 12


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wodjan Shahrkhani in a Sports Hijab for Judo

Asalamu Alaykom,

Photograph by Iqö Design Inc.


This is not Olympic Judo competitor Wodjan Shahrkhani.  Wodjan  has been only been photographed wearing a regular hijab in London and it didn't look anything like this.  Hers was a loose veil; a black scarf she wears to protect her modesty according to her religious beliefs.

Obvious to me, but perhaps not to everyone, is that she isn't considering wearing that scarf from her regular wardrobe on to the mat.  Just as I don't wear one of my regular cotton scarf when I go swimming, she would change the kind of covering she wears.  She would be outfitted appropriately.  Though I'm not sure exactly what she would be wearing, I do have some ideas from ResportOn

I want to show the POSSIBILITY of what Wodjan could wear.  Look again at the above picture.  That white hijab was designed by ResportOn; a Canadian company named for both RESpect and Sport.  Thanks goes to Muslim designer Elham Seyed Javad.  Even though she doesn't wear hijab herself, she wanted to help her sporty sisters who do.


To see more of their designs click here.  

To read more about hijabs at the Olympics click here.


I think The International Judo Federation needs to explore different options.  This looks feasible to me.  How about you Judo experts out there?  Do you agree? 

The latest news is this:   "Officials Confident of Solving Judo's London 2012 Hijab Controversy"


INSHAHALLAH!  God willing :)



UPDATED:

July 31, 2012
It was announced that WODJAN WILL COMPETE IN HIJAB



Related Posts:







Captain Abu Treika


Asalamu Alaykom,




Watching the Olympic soccer match today between Egypt and New Zealand brought to mind how much life changes.  There was a time when the Captain of the Olympic team, Abu Treika, quit sports.

It wasn't too long ago.  It's been about six months since Egypt experienced the worst soccer violence ever.  People had come to watch a match between Abu Treika's team Al-Ahly and its rival Al-Masry.  Port Said's stadium that day contained both the best and the worst of people.  Unknowingly, innocent people had been trapped together with savages.  As we watched increduously on television that night, the scene spun out of control and into a wild frenzy.  Later we would realize the shocking truth:  over a thousand injured and 79 human lives lost.  Astragferallah.

This is what I wrote on February 3, 2012; two days after the violence.

As Egypt mourns, we learn the stories.


The young man who died


in the arms of Abu Treika


(Al Ahly's most valuable player) told him,


"Captain, I've been dying to meet you,



and now I know I'm going to die


because I met you.


Captain, tell my mom I said ..."


And Abu Treika told him


to say the shahada,


and he repeated it after him,


and the young man died.


Captain Abu Treika was then heard on television calling for help saying,  “The security forces left us, they did not protect us.  One fan has just died in the dressing room in front of me.

Abu Treika, 33, pictured above, has announced he has retired from soccer effective immediately.  He was considered one of Egypt's best players in history.


And now in July? 

Abu Treika is in London playing for Egypt.  Subhanallah!  The sun shines on him and he is back in full form.  Alhumdulillah.  We truly can suffer and recover.  What once seems helpless is temporary.  God never gives us more than we can endure.  Alhumdulillah he was not injured or killed.  Alhumdulillah that Abu Treika is continuing with his career.  Alhumdulillah we can see him and remember:


After hardship, verily there is ease.

Ramadan Day 10

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ramadan Day 9

Wodjan Shahrkhani Putting Safety Last

Asalamu Alaykom,




Do not be fooled by this smiling young lady flashing a peace sign.  Wodjan Shahrkhani is a danger to the Olympics.  Okay, she carried the Saudi flag nicely in the opening ceremony, as you can see.  However, she is not setting even one big toe onto the Judo mats.

At only 18, this competitor needs a little schooling on how The International Judo Federation does things.  While The International Judo Federation allowed her to register as a heavy-weight, they didn't know she would be dressed funny.  Okay, well actually everyone is dressed a little funny for judo (it's like one big pajama party).  I meant funny as in different...ethnic...what I mean is


SHE HAS A THING ON HER HEAD!




Judo is a time honored tradition---much older than beach volleyball.  No one is messin' with the martial arts dress code.  The uniforms must conform.  As Johnnie Cochran would say (if he were still alive and defending the The International Judo Federation), "If you must submit, do it in our outfit."

The International Judo Federation has knowledge far superior to ours.  To us?  That thing on Wodjan's head looks like a hijab; the religious veil obligatory for women in Islam.  To them?  It's a Ninja weapon.  She's liable to whip it off her head, summoning forth a blood-curdling scream and wrap up her opponent into submission.  Pray to God she isn't packin' a pin too!

Who allowed this young woman to upset The International Judo Federation?  It was the International Olympic Committee.  The Committe wasn't thinking clearly (wasn't thinking rike honorable Grasshopper) when they issued this statement 10 days ago:

“This is very positive news and we will be delighted to welcome these two athletes in London in a few weeks time.  The IOC has been working very closely with the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee and I am pleased to see that our continued dialogue has come to fruition. The IOC has been striving to ensure a greater gender balance at the Olympic Games, and today’s news can be seen as an encouraging evolution. With Saudi Arabian female athletes now joining their fellow female competitors from Qatar and Brunei Darussalam, it means that by London 2012 every National Olympic Committee will have sent women to the Olympic Games."

Okay, that's a great "It's a Small World" image of women from all over the globe attending the games but...

Can I ask you something?  How "closely" was the IOC working with Saudi to totally miss the part where the Saudis say their female athletes have to wear hijab?  I really doubt the Saudis neglected to mention it.  Did the IOC think they said, "high jab"?

"Our Saudi girls must at all times be allowed high jabs."

Possible! 

What I do know is that the Saudis are hoppin' mad over this perceived slight.

Obviously The International Judo Federation website must contain strong condemnation of Wodjan.

Take a look:

"It is a great and positive sign for our sport and all the efforts that we are doing to promote gender equality", declared the President Marius Vizer. Actually, the IJF, which is very active to promote equal access to sports for men and women, has been demonstrating over the past years that equality of gender was not simply words. For instance, there is no difference between female and male competition and in all IJF events, men and women are competing based on the same schedule."

Was their site hacked?

REALLY?  They think it's "great and positive"?  They are "doing all they can"?  Who said that? 



The President of The International Judo Federation, Marius Vizer.  Where is he from? 

Ummm...he lives in Austria.

Austria---not the Land of the Kangaroos and Koalas.  That's Australia.

No, Austria is the land of Schwarzenegger.  It's the Alps and "Sound of Music".  Remember that movie? 

Maria is a novice nun (with a thing on her head---but it's a Catholic thing, which is very different from a Muslim thing) and she becomes a nanny to a family of rambunctious kids.  And it's the lead up to WWII and they have to escape the bad guys.  Remember them?  The Nazis.  Ahhh yes, the Nazis.

Does Marius Vizer seem like the type to sing out "Edelweiss" or does he seem like the type to blindly follow the rules regardless of how non-sensical they are?  I'll let you decide.

If you need any help figuring it out, then click here now.

The International Judo Federation will be meeting, no doubt with Herr Vizer in charge, to decide what to do with this most complex of confusing situations.

Muslimah athletes are able to wear hijab while competing in events like running and shooting but Judo is different.  It's more...traditional!  It's more Asian!  It's not...Muslim!  And, "no" you are not allowed to bring up the 10 million Chinese Muslims at this time.  

Judo can't have Wodjan Shahrkhani because that would mean...

that the Olympics are an event which puts aside racial, ethnic and religious differences and has representatives from every nation come together for the common purpose of comradery through sports. 

Naw!  Can't have that!

You want your voice heard?  Tweet Marius   @IntJudoFed  on Twitter and tell him what you think.  Be sure to send a lot!  We want to make sure he hears us.


You might also be interested in seeing the post Wodjan Shahrkhani in a Sports Hijab which shows an example of what she could wear while competing.





Friday, July 27, 2012

Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi

Asalamu Alaykom,








I've been blogging about Muslim athletes in this year's London Olympics. 

Somehow I missed this competitor but you have to meet her right away!  She's competing on Saturday in the 10-meter air rifle. 




Her name is Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi.  She's a hijabi from Malaysia and she is 8-months pregnant.

Wait...

back it up...

read that again.




She's 8-months pregnant and competing in the Olympics.

She is the MOST pregnant competitor ever and the only known woman to be pregnant during these games.

Even among those of us who have gone through pregnancy, I don't think any one of us can fathom doing what this sister of ours is attempting.  I remember being 8-months pregnant. It was a walk around the block in the morning and then the couch for the rest of the day.  This lady has not only left her house, she's traveled out of  her country (as she faces large amounts of stress and public scrutiny) to be shooting her rifle in the world's largest sports competition.

And she's a covered Muslimah! Yaaay!

Let's send some prayers her way!

By the way, she's having a baby girl inshahallah.  To me, it makes it all the more precious that Nur is being a role model to many little girls---including to her daughter yet to be born.  Yes, we should live out our dreams and we shouldn't let our anatomy get in the way of our destiny.  This is what a real Muslim feminist looks like!

You can see the BBC report on Nur which includes a nice video.

Here's another article

It's interesting to me that the focus is completely on her pregnancy.  It is not on her being Muslim during Ramadan.  It is not about her wearing hijab.  She is seldom even referred to as Muslim.  She is most often listed as "Malaysian."  Though a interesting change, I do find it a media embalance since the societal scourge always get that nomenclature of "Muslim"  but not always the smiling medal-winners. 

Go to the blog  Muslim Women in Sports to read more about Nur and the other Muslim women athletes competing in the London Olympics.

You can find my pin of Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi on my board "Strong Women". 



Subanallah!  She certainly is one strong woman!  Who could disagree?!


UPDATE:

July 28, 2012

While we all agree that Nur is a winner in our books, she failed to qualify into the next round at the Olympics.  To her credit, she didn't blame it on the baby (which would have been my inclination).  She missed eight shots out of 400.  The top qualifier, Sylwia Bogacka of Poland, missed only one.  The Olympics truly are proof that every single moment matters.

To read more click here.

And keep our sister Nur in your prayers for a safe return to Malaysia and a safe delivery of her baby---the youngest Olympic competitor of 2012.

Ramadan Day 8

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Revert Nathan Ellington

Asalamu Alaykom,



Meet Nathan Ellington.  He's a Muslim man now but he wasn't always.  He's a revert.  We don't say, "convert" because that means to change to something new.  We say, "revert," because essentially he's going back to follow the way God intended for him. 

This British soccer player first learned about Islam in 2004 from his brother Jason, who had  reverted.  Later, Nathan would met and marry his Bosnian-born wife Alma, who was also Muslim.  With two of the most important people in his life following Islam, Nathan then explored and accepted Islam for himself.  Alhumdulillah.  I first learned about him when I was researching my post Fast or Be Fast:  Muslim Athletes During Ramadan

He has been striving to fulfill both the professional and spiritual sides of his life. For him, he is blending the two on his website The Association of Muslim Footballers.  The site is due to go live before Eid, inshahallah.

He is not shy to discuss his life.  Click here to read more about his life as a Muslim pro-athlete in England.  It's an interview he did with the Daily Mail in 2007.  The Headline?  "I Pray Five Times a Day, the Boys Call Me Beardo...I'll Live with It"

Leading up to Ramadan, he gave an interview from which I have been given this excerpt:

QUESTION:  Why do Muslim footballers or even athletes find themselves in a 'dilemma' during this month? Is the month a setback for them?  Why do you think some Muslim footballers are willing to fast while they play the football matches?  Won't their performance and concentration be decreased?  What drives them to do it?

NATHAN'S ANSWER:  It is a shame that it is a dilemma for many of us, it really should not be. The ruling is very clear on this issue really. I think many of the Muslim sporting and non-sporting people alike have a choice to make: are we going to submit to laws of Allah or disobey him?

It all depends on ones tawwakul; trust in Allah. We all should know that it is obligatory for us all to fast every single day of Ramadan (unless we are able to take advantage of any of the provisions which Allah has set). So the only time which I can identify which would coincide with football is when we are in the state of the traveller (away matches). Then and only then should we have the choice to fast or to miss that day and make it up after Ramadan. 

Its unfortunate but many of us prioritise our work ahead of Allah's command, and to be honest I have personally suffered from this fitnah; or trial, since becoming a Muslim. It was in fear that it will hamper my performance too much, or cause a negative reaction from the manager (who would be aware that I am fasting and then use that as an excuse not to involve me in games). I knew that I had to build on my level of imaan; level of faith. Alhamdullah, over the years, I have gradually become stronger in this area of my religion, and this year I intend to fast everyday of Ramadan. 

I feel that Allah has answered my duas and made it easy for me to handle whilst playing games. I feel I have now reached the point where I would never consider putting anything before my obligation of fasting in Ramadan. I had a year where I fasted whilst playing matches and there was no difference in my performances at all. My teammates even noticed that I was playing better than before. One of the players gave me a huge compliment when he asked if I could fast for every game because I was playing so well.

On the other hand I have also had a manager who has told me that it plays a massive part on his selection of me because I am fasting. He believes that it must have an effect on my stamina and energy levels. I believe that if you; have the correct intention, wake up fourty-five minutes before fajr to have a good suhoor; pre-dawn breakfast, and refuel with the correct foods and keep hydrated, that will be enough for you to comfortably make it through the day inshallah.

So for me I have decided that I will put all my trust in Allah and fast every day and whatever happens, happens for the good even if I myself can not see it. As long as I please my Creator and put him first then He will put the satisfaction of me into the hearts of people.

Ramadan Day 6

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Muslim Revert Muhammad Ali

Asalamu Alaykom,







If you only knew him from his ringside poetry, listen as boxer Muhammad Ali speaks eloquently about Islam.  He’s as powerful in giving dawa as he was in giving punches.  Subhanallah! 

Ramadan Day 5


Monday, July 23, 2012

Ramadan Links

Asalamu Alaykom,





I have been writing about Ramadan on this blog since 2007.  It's such an important time of the year and in our lives as Muslims. 

I've compiled a chronological index of my posts so that accessing them would be easier.  I haven't always been brilliant in my Ramadan posts but I have always strived to find Allah. 

Inshahallah, you'll find something meaningful in the mix. 


2012

To Fast or Be Fast: Muslim Athletes in Ramadan
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2012/07/to-fast-or-be-fast-muslim-athletes-in.html

11 Weeks Before Ramadan
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2012/05/11-weeks-before-ramadan.html





2011
Ramadan 2011
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2011/08/ramadan-2011.html

Fasting During Travel
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2011/08/fasting-during-travel.html

When It’s Best to Be Negative
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-its-best-to-be-negative.html

Fast Fasting!
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2011/04/fast-fasting.html



2010 writing about Ramadan 2009

Making Hijrah 6: First Day
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/10/making-hijrah-part-vi.html

Making Hijrah: Breaking My Fast
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/10/making-hijrah-part-vii.html

Making Hijrah 10: Ancient History
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/11/making-hijrah-part-x.html

Making Hijrah: 11 Finding Iftar
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/11/making-hijrah-ix.html

Making Hijrah: 13 Keep on Living
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/12/making-hijrah-xiii.html

Making Hijrah: 15 Layla Tul Qadr
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/12/making-hijrah-xv.html

Making Hijrah: 16 Khalo
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/12/making-hijrah-xvi.html

Making Hijrah: 17 Egyptian Date
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2010/12/making-hijrah-chapter-17-egyptian-date.html

Making Hijrah: 30 Running My Own Race
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2012/01/making-hijrah-40-running-my-own-race.html




2008

Beautiful Pictures of Ramadan
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/beautiful-pictures-of-ramadan.html

Ramadan Shopping List
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/08/ramadan-shopping-list.html

Ramadan 1: You Are Not Alone
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-1-not-alone.html

Ramadan 2: Healthy
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-2-healthy.html

Ramadan 3: Questions and Answers
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-3-questions-answers.html

Ramadan 4: Mindfulness
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-4-mindfulness.html

Ramadan 5: Prayer
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-5-prayer.html

Ramadan 6: Perserverance
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-6-perserverance.html

Ramadan 67: Breaking Away
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-7-breaking-away.html

Ramadan 8: Better Not Perfect
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-8-better-not-perfect.html

Ramadan 9: Words
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-9-words.html

Ramadan 10: Accept Differences
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-10-accept-differences.html

Ramadan 11: Repentence
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-11-repentance.html

Ramadan 12: Balance
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-11-balance.html

Ramadan 13: Release
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-12-relase.html

Ramadan 14: Know Limits
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-14-know-limits.html

Ramadan 15: Move
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-15-move.html

Ramadan 16: Leave Them
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-16-leave-them.html

Ramadan 17: Make It Count My Tribute to Liz Logelin
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-17-make-it-count.html

Ramadan 18: Rest
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-18-rest.html

Ramadan 19: Tany wa Tany
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-19-tany-wa-tany.html

Ramadan 20: Be Quiet
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-20-be-quiet.html

Ramadan 21: Take a Leap of Faith
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-21-take-leap-of-faith.html

Ramadan 22: Know Your Core
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-22-know-your-core.html

Ramadan 23: Don’t Panic
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-23-dont-panic.html

Ramadan 24: Faith Not Fear
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-24-faith-not-fear.html

Ramadan 25: Drop Weight
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-25-drop-weight.html

Ramadan 26: Supposed To
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-26-supposed-to.html

Ramadan 27: Gratitude
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-27-gratitude.html

Ramadan 28: Remember the Poor
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-28-remember-poor.html

Ramadan 29: Build Your Nest
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-29-build-your-nest.html

Ramadan 30: Goodbye to Fasting
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2008/09/ramadan-30-goodbye-to-fasting.html




2007

Getting Ready for Ramadan: Lightening
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/getting-ready-for-ramadan-lightening.html

Getting Ready for Ramadan: Courage
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/courage.html

Getting Ready for Ramadan: Media
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/readying-for-ramadan-media.html

Getting Ready for Ramadan: Believe
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/readying-for-ramadan-believe.html

Getting Ready for Ramadan: Prioritizing
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/getting-ready-for-ramadan-prioritizing.html

First Day of Ramadan
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/first-day-of-ramadan.html

A Break in Routine Award-winning
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/break-in-routine.html

Ramadan Frustrations
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/ramadan-frustrations.html

Nasheeds During Ramadan
http://afterhardship.blogspot.com/2007/09/nasheeds-during-ramadan.html





Ramadan Day 4

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ramadan Day 1


President Obama's Ramadan Message

Asalamu Alaykom,




In case you missed it, here is the message President Barak Hussein Obama shared with Muslims worldwide:



Statement by the President on the Occasion of Ramadan



On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world at the start of Ramadan. For Muslims, Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer, and reflection; a time of joy and celebration. It’s a time to cherish family, friends, and neighbors, and to help those in need.

This year, Ramadan holds special meaning for those citizens in the Middle East and North Africa who are courageously achieving democracy and self-determination and for those who are still struggling to achieve their universal rights. The United States continues to stand with those who seek the chance to decide their own destiny, to live free from fear and violence, and to practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, Ramadan reminds us that Islam is part of the fabric of our Nation, and that—from public service to business, from healthcare and science to the arts—Muslim Americans help strengthen our country and enrich our lives. Even as Ramadan holds profound meaning for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, it is also a reminder to people of all faiths of our common humanity and the commitment to justice, equality, and compassion shared by all great faiths. In that spirit, I wish Muslims across America and around the world a blessed month, and I look forward to again hosting an iftar dinner here at the White House.

Ramadan Kareem.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ramadan 2012

Ramadan Kareem,





It has been announced.  Ramadan has begun here in Egypt.

Muslims conceptualize the start of their new day from Magrib; the prayer at dusk.  This is different and can be confusing to those new to Islam.  At dusk today the crescent moon was sighted and that signals the month of Ramadan has begun.  Tomorrow, Friday, July 20 will be the first day of fasting during daylight hours.

To find the fasting times in your area go here.  You will need to wake BEFORE fajr to eat and drink suhour; the pre-dawn meal which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recommended we eat.  You will obstain from any food, drink, sexual activity or haram activity until magrib. 

I'll be keeping it simple on the blog this Ramadan with an extremely short message each day.  Please check back tomorrow for the first of my Ramadan action messages.  I've written them with the ummah in mind.  Maybe every message will speak to you or maybe just a few.  My goal is to have this month be a positive time of growth and change inshahallah.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ramadan Shopping List

Asalamu Alaykom,

This originally appeared in 2008.  I've edited it a little and reposted it in hopes that it will be helpful.



Did you buy your dates?

If you have small children, buy the pitted ones to be safe. Breaking your fast with dates is sunnah. The sugar in dates is what gave Mary (ra), mother of Isa/Jesus (pbuh) the energy to go through her labor alone. It is a wonderful food from Allah Subhana Wa Tala.

I also recommend buying a thick fruit juice like the apricot, mango or guava. All of these are thirst-quenchers of the highest degree.

Also on your shopping list should be foods for the suhour, or morning meal:

A fiber-rich cereal like Bran Flakes, Cream of Wheat (high in iron), oatmeal, or Quaker's Oatmeal Squares.  Oatmeal can be sprinkled over any of the other cereals to give it extra nutrition.

Whole wheat or rye bread. Do NOT be eating white bread to start your day.

Eggs which you can hard boil the day before or scramble up quickly.

Beans like Foul Medamnes; fava beans or Hummus; chick peas--these stay with you until around 3 PM

Olive oil

Cheese but be careful it isn't too strong as the taste would stay with you all day

Fresh fruit like bananas, apples, melon, or other fibrous fruit.  Great to make a smoothie with fresh fruit, yogurt, water and some powdered juice mix.  I sprinkle oatmeal in my smoothies too!

Tea



Yogurt--make sure it doesn't contain gelatin

Vegetables like cucumber and tomato you can eat diced up with plain yogurt or in soft cheese



For your iftar dinner, you'll want something nutrious.  Even if you love fast-food or the easiness of processed/packaged food, you will not want it during Ramadan.  Find ways to cook natural foods in simple ways. 
Vegetable Soup,
Squash Soup,
Orzo Soup
Rice and Lentils,
Peas and Carrots with Potatoes
Bread with Tahini
Mashed potatoes
Salad
Spinach pie
Stuffed vegetables
Beef or lamb stew
Roasted Chicken
Fish
Fresh fruit compote
Yogurt (again)
Jello---only bought at a halal market as all other Jello has pork gelatin

There is a du'a for repetance which we all could benefit from stating again and again. Remember, that we need to ask for forgiveness from Allah for those deeds we KNOW we committed and those we do NOT KNOW we committed.

Keep in mind that these food items should NOT be your focus. The real focus is on strengthening our relationship with Allah. So, while it's good to be prepared with food in your cupboard it's more important to be prepared with kareem in your heart.

From http://www.islamonline.net/ :

The best dua for seeking repentance as explicitly stated in authentic traditions is called sayyid al-istighfaar; here it is:



Allaahumma anta rabbee laa ilaaha


illaa anta khalaqtanee wa ana


`abduka wa ana `alaa `ahdika wa wa`dika


ma ista`tu a`oodhu bika min sharri


maa sana`tu aboo'u laka bi ni`matika `alayya


wa aboo'u bi dhanbee fa ighfir lee f


a innahu laa yaghfiru al-dhunooba illaa anta






(O Allah, You are my Lord;


there is no God but You;


You created me and I am Your servant;


I stand by my covenant and promise


with You to the best of my ability.


I seek refuge in You from the evils of my own actions;


I acknowledge Your favors upon me;


I confess my sins to You;


so forgive me, for no one can forgive sins except You.)

After having read this, you may read any other duas.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Naked Niqabi

Asalamu Alaykom,



This niqabi is all over the boards of pinterest. 

Why?  Have pinners suddenly found the niqab fashion forward?

No.  They are enjoying the irony. 

This is a cropped photo.  The rest of the photo shows a bare breast and a baby nursing; a nursing niqabi.  So, basically, the most modest of women is shown bare on computer screens all over the world.  It isn't right.

This isn't the first time I've posted about the rights of covered women on the 'net. I wrote about it here when an American tourist posted trip photos of the Middle East including many of covered women.

I also had words with Sarah Joseph when she posted the stripped down picture of the "blue bra girl" to her followers on Facebook.  Do you remember that startling moment in the Tahrir revolution?  My point was that by showing everyone the Egyptian hijabi as an exposed woman we were re-victimizing her.  Yes, we should know about brutality but we don't need to be shown her awrah as we discuss it.

We need to protect our sisters like ourselves. 

I comment every time on pinterest I see this naked niqabi:

Asalamu Alaykom, I applaud your board of activists and have repinned many women onto my board, "Strong Women".  However, as a covered Muslim woman (who breastfed three children), I want you to rethink including this photo. This Muslim woman covers for modesty and uncovers to feed her baby. She in no way would want this picture seen all over the world. Every time I see it on pinterest I ask for the pinner to consider her rights to her body. She did not pose for a photographer knowing she would be captured and shown on the 'net. If she was a white woman captured this way, I believe her rights would be respected more. Knowledge and consent should be for all women---even covered Muslim women. Thank you for reading my comment.

and

Asalamu Alaykom, the Holy Quran proscribes breastfeeding for two years.  And if the mother is unable (deceased or ill), then animal's milk is not allowed.  It is the duty of another woman to feed the child.  Infact, the milk relationship is identified as strong as the blood relationship.  A boy and girl nursed from the same woman are considered siblings and not allowed to marry later.  Your board is full of women and I'm going to ask you to consider taking down this one photo.  As a covered Muslim woman myself (who breastfed three children) I know she wants her modesty.  She was not posing knowingly for this photo.  There is NO WAY her family would endorse her being uncovered on the 'net.  Each woman deserves the right to her own body.  Her name is unknown to me but as her sister in Islam, I ask you to listen to me on her behalf.

and

Asalamu Alaykom,  I'm glad that you think Muslim moms are awesome.  We are also modest.  This picture of a mom was not taken with her understanding that it was going to be shown all over the internet.  No covered woman or her family would ever agree to this.  While breastfeeding is worth promoting (I breastfed three children) please consider that you're doing it at the expensive of her rights on her own body.  She goes to great lengths to cover up and then was snapped in a moment of being bare.  We need to respect her rights.  Though she has no knowledge that her image is being used, I do and as her sister in Islam I'm asking you to take it down.  Thank you for reading my comment.

If you are on pinterest, consider commenting too.

Why? 

This is our sister in Islam.  She makes extraordinary efforts each day not to be seen immodestly.  She covers from head to toe---even in this extreme summer heat.  She lowers her gaze.  She avoids the eyes and touch of men.  Yet, here she is caught in a moment when her body needed to be bared for her baby.  She was not uncovering to prove a point about breastfeeding!  She was nuturing her child.

Yes, this is a beautiful photo.  I've got a lot of beautiful photos of me and my friends without hijab.  We don't show them to men.  We don't post them on the internet.  We are Muslim.  We put that before any desire for beauty, art, or activism.

It's interesting to me that these same women who are posting this picture have probably never spoken to a Muslimah in their life---let alone a niqabi.  They view her as a visual to be admired and not as a real person to respect.  Those champions of women's rights need to realize that her right to her body should come first.  They don't know how that woman thinks and feels about her body being shown on the 'net because it is too far removed from their life experiences.  They will never know unless they break the barriers ---and not on pinterest----in their real lives and reach out to the covered women in their community.

I'm finding a lot of racism on pinterest.  If you search for "Muslim" you'll see it.

There's some strange poster of all the UK headlines which feature Muslims.  With things like that, I click to enlarge the pin and then click "report" because it's "hateful speech or symbols".

An animal being called a "Muslim cat" got this response from me:

Asalamu Alaykom. This is looks like a chihauhau wrapped up in black. As a Muslim, I'm going to ask that you take down the description of it being "Muslim". There's no need to equate a person who follow a religion different from you with an animal. Can you see how that is offensive? In the Middle East, calling someone a "dog" is considered very bad. I'm sure you didn't think all this through when you posted. Now that you have more information, I hope you will reconsider whether or not its a good pin.

There's the baby fresh out of the bath with a towel covering his head.  The description reads, "Muslim Baby??"

No, it isn't funny and hardly makes sense.

Asalamu Alaykom. This is a baby covered with a towel. One of the disrespectul names Muslims get called is, "towel head". Maybe you made the joke without realizing. Now that you know, you you please consider renaming this baby pic? He's very cute and deserves something better than something offensive.

Inshahallah, there will be a time when people realize more, empathize more and interact better.  Until that time, we as conscientious human beings need to educate.  We need to explain Islam in ways which reach and teach.  And each one of us needs to do it as a burden shared is easier to handle.

Find a way to advocate.  Be the person to help the helpless; the voiceless.  Be the voice of reason and decency.  Yes, I know you're worried you won't say and do the right thing but certainly not doing anything at all is wrong.

May Allah grant us the right words when we need to speak up. 

July, 23, 2012

It has been a week since I wrote this and I have good news to report.  Alhumdulillah through all of us speaking up, this niqabi sister of ours is no longer on wide display.  No longer can you type, "Muslim" into the search engine of pinterest and see her uncovered.  Alhumdulillah she has been protected by us even if she never knew. 

I believe that Muslim pinterest users will need to keep vigilant (without becoming vigilantes) on the site.  Since the content is user generated, we will continue to see strange pins.  We'll need to either comment or report.  Images are powerful things and we need to be careful what others use to represent Islam. We need to be protective of how images of our Muslim sisters and brothers are being shown.  Inshahallah, we will continue to fight the good fight---yes, it's a kind of jihad---and the words are more powerful than the sword.

Alhumdulillah.

Mystery Solved

Asalamu Alaykom,





No one figured out this cipher! 
I

H

MN

F

EW

HE

TFBF


 I even gave clues:


FIRST CLUE: 

The letter T in the code stands for TOP

What does the rest mean?  Can you figure it out?  Which one of you will be the first?!

The first one who can explain this mystery in the comments section gets bragging rights.


SECOND CLUE: 

The I is the first letter and it stands for INTENTION

REMEMBER: what you already know:

This is written behind our bathroom sink.  Think why it would be written there?



Since no one has solved the mystery, I'll tell you:

ANSWER:

These are the steps to making wudu; the ritual washing before our prayers. 


INTENTION
Hands
Mouth and Nose
Face
Elbows to Wrist
Hair and Ears
Top of the Foot and Botoom of the Foot

They cleanse both our body and our mind of the day and focus us on Allah.  Actually, in Islam, the obligatory five prayers are considered invalid if you do not make wudu first. 

These simple letters written with marker on the tile behind our sink do a big job.  They help remind Mr. Boo how to wash for the prayer.  At age seven, Muslim children must begin to make their five obligatory prayers.  Typically, they are washing five times a day for them. 

Parents can either be intrusive with their help:

"No, not like that.  Remember how I showed you?  Do it like this.  Just let me help you!"

Or parents can be inobstrusive with their help:

"You know how to make wudu and if you forget just look at the letters."

Independence feels better for both children and parents.  It takes a little more work in the beginning but it has a better pay off.  It means that my son is able to do an important task on his own without a grown-up around.  A couple times, in the beginning, he had to say, "What's that letter for?"  But then he's only mising a small part of the process and not the entire process itself.

Reverts can also use this idea to help remember the order of wudu.  Often times, it's a revert woman counting on her big Muslim man to guide her through the myriad of rules, regulations and procedures in Islam.  When he's not available, she then feels insecure and inadequate.  It's best to find ways to gain independence for us as well.  Our men are not our guides; Rasullullah (peace be upon him) is our guide.  He taught everyone and the information is out there.  We only need to get ahold of it and make it ours. 

Don't feel that if this is the way a child learns his Islam that it isn't for you.  If something is good for a child, then we can use it too.  We only have to get past our own reticent feelings of needing help.  Admitting you don't know is OK!  Do some things which allow your brain to remember what you really want to learn and to practice.  Don't give up.  You can do it!  You simply have to find the way you need to receive information so that it sticks.  Maybe posting a note like this in your bathroom would work for you too.

If it does, let me know.

Wishing you all light and love and beautifully refreshing wudu!



Saturday, July 14, 2012

To Fast or Be Fast: Muslim Athletes in Ramadan

Asalamu Alaykom,
I am honestly scared this Ramadan to deal once again with the heat of the Egyptian day while fasting.  I try to remember my day of fasting while touring EPCOT in Orlando, Florida...with a toddler!  That actually gives me strength.  You grow a little braver with each hard experience you survive.

Sometimes, Non-Muslims don't understand what our fasting entails. It's not what my mom likes to do with a fruit juice fast to lose weight. It's not what my earthy friend likes to do with only drinking water to cleanse her body. It's not obstaining from red meat like during the Catholic's Lent. It's not having ANYTHING enter your body during daylight hours. When you set your mind to fast as a Muslim, you refrain from food and water, and even medicine.


It's not easy.


I sincerely welcome any Non-Muslims who are reading to spend one day fasting as we do. You will never understand Muslims without understanding our Ramadan fasting.

There are some rules to fasting. You cannot be under a doctor's care for anything (high blood pressure, diabetes, depression) without consulting whether or not you are able to fast. If you need to take medicine during daylight hours, then you cannot be fasting. You can't be menstruating while you are fasting because it is not healthy. Likewise, women who are pregnant or nursing a baby are exempt if they feel unable.

I think of the Muslim atheletes who will soon travel to London in order to compete with the Summer Olympics.  This year the games start on July 27 which is five days into the month-long fast.  That is a very dramatic story:  athletes must chose between faith or fame.  It's getting a lot of press.

Reporting

Even from last year, the BBC News began reporting on it.  Watch this video to see what they had to say.  Two of the men I list below are mentioned in the clip.  I am, however, disappointed that the Islamic representative was so quick to find compromise (so as to not seem too strident in his beliefs).

Here is the official stance of the Islamic Society of Britian on Ramadan and the Summer Olympics coinciding.

Click here to read how a Muslim reports on the Olympics being held during Ramadan.

By contrast, Kate Kelland from Reuters made the assumption that "...many Muslim sportsmen and women from cultures or countries where not fasting is frowned upon may well honour the holy month." 

Comments like hers are upsetting.  While it good that the Ramadan fast is getting some discussion, I don't appreciate her leap in thinking.  She went from objective to subjective faster than a sprinter.  Ms. Kelland, couldn't it be that those Muslims will choose to fast because of an inner pull to their faith?  Honestly, it doesn't have to be public backlash which pushes an observer to participate in an annual religious rite.

Later, in her article she quotes The British Journal of Sports Medicine.  According to a study of Muslim athletes who are fasting, "There are often small decreases of performance, particularly in activities requiring vigorous and/or repetitive muscular contraction.  Ramadan observance has had only limited adverse consequences for either training or competitive performance". 

However, Ms. Kelland spend the next two pages quoting others for their ancedotal evidence about feeling weaker as they play sports in Ramadan.  She hears from many atheletes who are not going to fast in order to grab the gold.

That really is disheartening.  I wonder how many of those athletes were keeping their prayers as they were fasting.  Without our prayers asking for strength from Allah, we will fail.  It isn't our body which prevents us from fasting; it's our ego doesn't want us to feel weak.  If we were to honestly trust in Allah we could make it through and science proves that out.

More studies

This study one was on Judo performance during fasting. It measured the amount of swaying in athletes before Ramadan and during.  "The results of the present study showed that the sway velocity during bipodal and unipodal stance and the percentages of the body weight were significantly lower during RIF [Ramadan Intermittent Fasting] in comparison with that before RIF."

This study was on an elite group of youth soccer players .  They were separated into two groups of fasting and non.  The researchers found, "There were no significant differences between groups' post-exercise ratings of perceived exertion in all sessions. There were no significant differences between groups for Beep test performances at pre- and post-Ramadan. There was no adverse effect of fasting on perceived exercise intensity in Ramadan fasted players, and also no impact on their maximal aerobic performance post-Ramadan."

This study was on the effects of fasting athletes in general which found that, "Current evidence from good, well-controlled research supports the conclusion that athletes who maintain their total energy and macronutrient intake, training load, body composition, and sleep length and quality are unlikely to suffer any substantial decrements in performance during Ramadan."

This study about athletes' nutritional needs during Ramadan says, "Muslim athletes who fast during Ramadan should use overnight opportunities to consume foods and drinks that can supply the nutrients needed to promote performance, adaptation, and recovery in their sports.

Some are viewing Muslim athletes in the Summer Olympics as a kind of ethical conundrum.  Click here to see an activity which aims towards introspection and dialogue about the issue.  It focuses on Moe Sbihi.


Ethical Dilemma

The Daily Mail reports that Britian's first Muslim rower, Moe Sbihi, will not be fasting.  He will be paying for 1,800 meals.  The article gives the number of Muslim athletes competing in the Summer Olympics at 3,000.  Though everyone is free to make their own choices for their religious life, can you imagine the huge impact on the world if 3,000 Muslim athletes were fasting while they were competing? 

Moe Sbihi, who was probably, "Mohamed" before getting his Anglicized nickname, could have been a role model for a little Mohamed somewhere in the world.  He himself looked for a role model on this issue and found that, "Moroccan goalkeeper Badou Zaki, who though a Muslim never fasted during his time at Real Mallorca."  The influence our actions have our others either adds or subtracts from our deeds.  For a well-known athlete, the influence is more powerful and the additions or subtractions are that much more.

When we wish for gold on earth, we might get it but lose the chance for eternal peace in Jannah.  I hope and pray that there are athletes strong in both body and faith who can perform their fasts and win medals.  This would be a huge win not only for them but for the entire ummah.

Remember:  our place in the world is as Muslims first and foremost.  Whatever else I choose for my life, I chose to submit to Allah before anything else; that is Islam.  Read here to get more scholarly reasons why sports are not to be placed above our religion.

What's interesting to me is that at the exact same time Muslim athletes are questioning whether or not to fast, NON-Muslim athletes are finding the benefits of fasting.  Intermittent Fasting is not exactly the same as our fast but it shares the belief that a full stomach is not necessary.  The Intermittent Fasting has been used by cyclists, tennis players, and fitness coaches.  I especially like that last link which succinctly outlines the reasons why people should fast for a healthy body and mind.

I am making the choice to fast.  My husband has made the choice to fast.  My seven-year-old will be fasting part of the day.  Are you fasting?

Fasting Muslim Athletes

Read about the many Muslim athletes who have chosen to fast for Ramadan.  From them we can gain strength---not from their muscle power but their from their powerful belief that since God wills Muslims to fast then we will.


American Football



Could fasting actually kill an athlete?

“If it’s my time, it’s my time,” Ahmed Elshaer said. “If not, God watches over me.  Millions of people on earth don’t have food or water.  It puts you in their shoes.”

Read this article about Ahmed Elshaer No compromises on faith or football for Wesley Chapel lineman from Tampa Bay Times.  What's great about it is that the whole team rallied around him.



" 'A lot of people may look at things differently, but I feel it is required for us to fast,' Husain Abdullah said, basing his conviction on his reading of the Koran. 'And we’ve been fasting my whole life, pretty much. I try to protect my fasting because it really means a lot to me.' "

Read more from this article about Husain Abdullah In the Heat of Camp, Hunger of Faith from The New York Times.

Here's an audio file and transcript of Football Players Tackle Ramadan from NPR.

You can watch a video of  Muslim Football Players Fasting During Ramadan from an NBC affiliate in Ohio.

Basketball


Hakeem Olajuwon actually welcomes Ramadan. “I find myself full of energy, explosive. And when I break the fast at sunset, the taste of water is so precious.”

This is a great article from http://www.beliefnet.com/ with the former NBA star.  Hakeem Olajuwon: A Ramadan Interview is a "must-read."  It's a dozen years old and the player has since retired and moved to Amman, Jordan.  However, this remains a very meaningful interview.  If you don't feel the power of Islam working in his life, then you are not tuned in.

Golf



“This is a month of blessings and this victory is truly a blessing.  This was really tough both mentally and physically. You feel like you are doing two things are the same time when fasting and playing golf. It is a very special victory,” added Mardan Mamat, who dropped to his knees in prayer after holing the winning putt.

Here is the article about Mardan Mamat  Fasting Mardan Wins in Malaysia  from Golf Digest.


Hockey


Darren Cheesman, will be fasting.  He has a great way to think, saying, "The fact that you will never have a Ramadan, and Olympics, in London, at the same time, ever again. It's a great way to use something that the whole country is going to be focused on, and saying: 'Hold on, there's another big event going on this month -- Ramadan."  

He goes on to say, "I love the challenge of waking up in the morning, having suhoor, being with my family and starting my day ... Ramadan a a whole, take away the fasting -- it's a beautiful time and it enhances your sporting ability rather than takes it away."

Read more here about how British Muslims will be using this challenge as an opportunity.  There is also a video report.


Running



Noor Al-Malki is a teenage girl from Qatari who plans on fasting but might stop if her trainers advise against it.  She has the added responsibility of wearning hijab as she runs.  “They might say: ‘She’s covered up’ but this is our religion, " Noor explains,  "I am very proud of it and I will not listen to what people say.”

You can read about her here in an article from the Shia International News Association.

She follows in the very fast footsteps of Ruqaya Al Ghasara. who in 2004 was the first female athlete to wear hijab.

This is a Runner's World forum on which ordinary people discussed fasting for Ramadan while still going out for runs.

Soccer



Here is Frédéric Kanouté.  This world-class soccer player was quoted as saying, “Personally, having faith helps my football and football helps me to be healthy and strengthens me. There is no conflict because people who know about Islam, they know that fasting empowers and does not weaken the Muslim.”

You can read more about him in this article, I Can Keep Fasting In Ramadan Even When I Am Playing an exclusive interview at http://www.goal.com/
He is also mentioned in this article  Fasting and Football. How do top-flight Muslims cope?  in The Independent Newspaper from the UK. 

There are, to be sure, millions of other soccer players all around the world who aren't as well-known who will be fasting, praying and thanking God.


Swimming

Actually, this sport seems to be one of the toughest to participate in successfully during a Ramadan fast.  I read about the Islamic rulings on it here.  One important part of our fast is not allowing water to go inside our mouth or nose and enter into our stomach.  That's really hard when you are swimming!  The other difficulty is not showing or seeing the awrah; private areas of others during the fast.  Since Western swimsuits leave vast areas of skin uncovered, the awrah is visible and a haram action when you are supposed to stay pure.

The BBC reported two years ago how Stoke-on-Trent printed an 11-page guide for schools on how to be sensitive to their Muslim students (including not having swim classes during the month-long observance).  I believe that their information came from the longer 72-page guide "Meeting the Needs of Muslim Pupils in Public Schools."


If you come across other information, let me know.

While we remember the athletes competing in the Olympics, please also remember the average workers who are fasting.  There are many men and women who are going to be earning money for their families by serving and protecting others during the games.  They are struggling because they can't pay for 1,800 meals.  They are just trying to pay for the meals on their own table!  Pray for Allah to ease their hardship.


May Allah accept all our efforts this Ramadan and increase the knowledge and faith within our ummah and in the world.