Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Taming of the "Screw It"


Asalamu Alaykom,



There comes a time when you want to escape.

Some people escape with a bottle of booze or a bag of chips.

Some people escape by going numb in front of the TV.

I needed something different.

I needed some real peace.


I know that I can find peace in prayer or

peace by reading the Quran

but there comes a moment when you need to change your location.


There are times when you need to open a guide book

point to a place and say,

"I want to get there."

For me, I chose Lake Qarun an hour and a half away from the desert where I live.


Subhanallah.

It is a man-made lake from the 12th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenemhat III.

The Greeks called it, "Crocodilopolis".



There aren't any crocodiles now

or if there are, then they are very careful not to be seen.



There is something to be said for a person who stood on solid land

yet decided to trust enough to get into a boat

and head out to the middle of the lake

with no life jackets.



And I'm not sure if it's bravery or stupidity

which puts us into little boats on big water

but we keep doing it.



Maybe we need to feel that we and our problems are small

by comparison to the beauty which surrounds us.



And it's temporary.

Everything is temporary actually.

No one can stay in their boat forever.

There are islands to explore.



Subhanallah there are ladders to climb

in the middle of an olive tree grove.

And you didn't know there would be such a thing

in such a place.


Yet there you are 

looking at freshly picked olives in your son's hand.

And that's when you remember Quran.

Qarun.

Quran.

Subhanallah.

In the middle of the olive tree grove you recite Quran.

Not because you found the Quran

but because the Quran found you.


And then you see through the trees

a most glorious home

like something out of a movie.


Yes, it was from a movie

Al Ra'i We El Nissa The Shepherd and the Women

with Ahmed Zaki, God bless him, the most mashahallah gorgeous man ever in Egyptian cinema

and my namesake Yousra

who, I learn, was actually born as "Suhair".



Later, I would see the video of this place.

I would see a slightly familiar face.

Was it her?

Yes.

Soad Hosni "Cinderella" when she was older; 47.  She was there too.  The boy had forgotten to mention her name.  It was Soad Hosni's last movie.

May God bless her and forgive her any sins.

That was 1991 and for ten years afterwards she didn't make any movies.

Some say she was shocked to see how old she looked next to the 11-years-younger Yousra.

By June 2001, she had fallen out of a window and died.

Four years later Ahmed Zaki would be gone too.


There really isn't time to stay in one place

and dwell on what isn't.

There are so many other possibilities.


A man came up to us

because we were strangers.

And even though I've felt uncertain about trusting people any more

I walked up to a man I didn't know and talked to him nicely

and showed him my pictures

and he let us come inside.


If I'd never taken a chance

to turn a "no" into a "yes"

then I'd never known

there were windows shaped like stars in their ceiling.



And colorful fish shimmering in their salon.


It was so cozy.

There were comfy couches in little nooks next to the windows.

They were covered in woven rugs.

And it was humble

so humble that I couldn't take a picture of it

for fear of offending.

But I loved it.



I really loved that feeling inside the home.

May Allah grant that family halal risq and increased iman.


It was time to go.

We headed back to the shore.

It was almost time to catch our bus.

I flirted with the idea of staying the night.

The Panorama Hotel was tempting even at 400 LE.



But I thought better of it.

I was thinking better about lots of things.




The lake would still be there inshahallah another day

when we had more time to enjoy it.

Maybe we'd find some crocodiles

or more ladders to climb

or more movie locations.



Or maybe we'd find something that we weren't expecting

something new



and a fresh sensation of being alive


once again.



Friday, September 28, 2012

Building My Nest


Asalamu Alaykom,




Did you ever stop to think about the life you're building?  

Your life is much like the nest in the tree.  While it's true that Allah provides for the birds, the birds do have to work at finding their provisions.  Likewise, we humans also have to do our part to find our blessings.

These last weeks have been tough on me.  I had a new job and a new school year.  Both have been ripped from me.  Alhumdulillah.  I'll say it even though it's a little hard to say.  Alhumdulillah.  I don't know why Allah took them from me and maybe I'll never know.  Our lives are not here on Earth to figure out Allah's Plan but simply to live through the moments with as much grace as we can muster.

Mr. Boo is still at the school.  It's hard as a kid to switch schools.  He's done a good job adjusting.  To a large degree, it's me being present in the new environment which has eased his mind.  For sure, our hour and 45 minute bus ride Thursday morning was only possible because I was with him.

I'm one foot out the door.  They say they can find a different set of jobs for me to juggle this year.  Next year inshahallah I'd have a classroom.  I don't have a lot of trust.  I truly only trust Allah.

So, I've prayed istakarrah about leaving.  I'm sending out emails.  I'm looking into what's really important.

Take a look at what I'm building.  Go to the bottom where my foundation is, then move upward.


hi-ho-hi-ho it's off to work I go

money...moola...greenbacks...cash

--------extended family-------------- 

a place to put your stuff... A HOME

health.....in both body and mind

....togetherness in family.....


love love love  love love love love

DEEN ~ RELIGION ~FAITH ~ BELIEF 


Did you view the building from the ground up?  

"Deen" faith is most important.  That's not just talk.  It's true.  Without that base, it doesn't matter what else you have.

"Love"  I used to have love as my base.  AbuBoo and I had LOTS of love.  Wow.  Like a crazy amount.  And we lost it all.  With love as the base, you forget that commitments to God need to proceed feelings.

"Togetherness in family" is something that used to mean me and Mr. Boo.  I have to get out of that way of thinking. I remember it when everything is going smoothly.  I'm quick to bail from that idea when times are tough.  I forget that it's not just two of us anymore.  I do have a husband who really is in our lives and wants to be there.  

"Health" is important.  We tend to think of it as just in our bodies; physical health.  For me, I really need to remember mental health.  I'm strong.  SO STRONG!  Yet, when I feel weak I simply crumble and take days  until I can regain my power.  It's not OK to take myself to the limits of my endurance.  This isn't the Mind Game Olympics.  I don't need to try for any gold medals in pushing myself to the limit.  Lots of people are telling me to "hang in there" but they don't know the state of my mental health like I do.  I know me.  I know that this job switcheroo has devasted me.  No joke.  I'm not filled with enthusiam for new opportunties.  I'm quietly holding back from belief in the happily ever after.

"A Home"  I did turn down an offer which would have me moving to the coast.  My husband simply isn't interested and if I believe that our family is a huge part of my life then I'd better listen to his needs to stay put.  We do have a furnished apartment now.  It's ours without a monthly rent.  It's ours and it's clean, safe and comfortable.  It comes with a hot meal twice a day.  It is home.  It was easy to dismiss it this morning when Ahmed's brother-in-law was yelling upstairs for him at 10:15 am.  I don't like it at times like that but I have to see the big picture. 

"Extended Family" This is more for Ahmed than for me.  I really have to respect his need to have a close relationship with his family.  I don't have ANY brothers or sisters.  I never really associated with uncles, aunts or cousins.  This is new for me.  So, I will accept it even if I don't totally need it for me.  I know that the man I married would be a different person without his family and if I want him....I have to want them.

I declined my mother's offer to head to The States for this school year.  It's tempting because Mr. Boo would get a first-class education for free.  I'd also get to be close (by distance at least) to my disagreeable daughter.  

However, there's a lot of problems with the offer.  For starters, she isn't really able to live with us.  Another problem is that I'd have to find work and I don't know if that's possible.  Actually, the immovable husband is a problem for that idea as well.  And even if I convinced him to come to the U.S., I couldn't get the azan five times a day, the name of Allah on every car or the Quran recitiations heard wherever I go.  I did make hijrah and it's past tense now and I have to live within the boundaries of that hijrah.  I have to honor my move and not go backwards. 

"Money"  is not everything.  In Egypt, alhumdulillah I have enough money if I'm working.  If I stop working, then the money runs out quicker than I'd like.  The "haves" and the "have nots" are very far apart in this country.  I need to be a "haves".  To be without in Egypt is to be in danger.  

"Work"  I had to ask myself if I really need to work.  I need to be productive.  If I could have a baby and tend to his or her needs, then I would.  A lot of people would love it if I just birthed a fourth kid----not my mom of course.  If my hub had work, then I could make having a baby my work.  He doesn't... so I feel that I can't.

I do like to contribute to this society.  I do feel that inshahallah when I die I'll have left this world a little better for the children I've taught in Egypt.  Being a teacher is truly such a noble effort.  I love being one of the good guys...I mean gals.  I love being a helper not a hurter.  I don't know if I could continue living in Egypt if I weren't trying to solve some of its problems.

I'd be fine working on TV as a kind of educator.  I got sooooo close to this before but I walked away from it.  I don't regret it.  I don't want the same set-up.  If I could get a new offer, I would certainly look at it.

That's as far as I got on my priorities.  There's more.  I know there's more.  The ones which have to be in place are known and remembering them will help me make decisions for this next chapter in my life.  Inshahallah.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Class


Asalamu Alaykom,



I used to be a KG1 teacher.  Infact, I was a KG1 teacher for three years here in Egypt.  


But I wasn't happy.  I wasn't feeling the Islam in Egypt.  So, I left the school where I'd been and headed 45 minutes away to an Islamic-International School.  

They had no materials.  I had to buy, make or modify everything.  I spent 200 LE on posters and educational decorations.  I spent another 220 LE on the special Curious George posters.


It isn't all about the money.  It's about my vision, my initiating energy and my hope.  I hoped that all what I was putting into my classroom would pay off over the year.  I would educate a new group of Muslim students inshahallah.

And then I saw how my projected numbers never added up.  I was teaching a class of 11 not 20.  After three days, the administration combined the two classes under the other teacher and I was left with no one.


There was no need for a class.  Today I took down everything I put up earlier this month.  I took it down with a heavy heart.  Alhumdulillah.  I kept rememberance of Allah.  It isn't only my heart which hurts.  My thumb hurts from yanking so much sticky tack.


I'm told I still have a job.  They want to use me...they just haven't figured out how.  It's embarrassing to go from a classroom teacher to a kind of vagabond everyone is talking about.  Seriously?  It's sad.


It's not so much sad for me but sad for the ummah.  Why can't we run our schools?  Why can't we find an ounce of organization in our bodies?  It's a kind of stillbirth.  Sure, we have an Islamic International school but it's not fulfilling the mission it was meant to.  Islam is about peace and this school is about chaos.

I don't do well in chaos.

So...that leaves me...where?!


I don't know about professionally but here's a picture Mr. Boo made of us together.  He's very proud of the dress he made for me.  Yes, there's a lot of love there.  A big reason to stay at the school is to avoid a problem in his life.

Notice the border around the picture.  I made the border from a rolling paint trim I bought at JoAnn's in The States.  I also bought a BIG multi-color ink pad to roll it on.  I dreamed about using it in my class.  I did!  Alhumdulillah.  It was only three days but I did.  



I'm going to trust God and keep an open mind about alllllllllllll the possibilities.

Thanks for looking at my pictures.  They are all that's left of a really nice place I made for kids to feel happy, loved, safe and encouraged.  Too bad that it's gone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pity Party Cancelled


Asalamu Alaykom,




My pity party has been cancelled.

I was going to hold it today.

Why?

Because I took a day off from work to figure out why I'm still bleeding after the IUD insertion.  That's a month of bleeding (which adds to the two others months of bleeding in July and August due to the miscarriage and recovery).  Turns out that I might be bleeding istahada; non-menstrual blood for the next two months as well.  It is taking my Mirena IUD time to settle into my system.  Five years ago, I didn't have that problem so it's a big bad surprise.  It's really hard to imagine five months of bleeding in one year.  The sonar and the exam show that I'm OK alhumdulillah.  I'll be on Kapron to help my uterus from bleeding so much.  It was important to take off work to find this out.

And that's another reason I was going to have a pity party:  because work isn't all that anyway.  There weren't enough KG1 students to form two classes and they've been trying to figure out how to add some older nursery students.  It didn't work out and I no longer have a class.  Sounds like I'll be floating between rooms as an ESL instructor until further notice.

Why else?

Because I can't find anything in my kitchen now that my hub "reorganized it".

Oh!  And there's one more reason---

Because I called my mom to find that soft place to land and I was calling too early for her.  She did listen to me though, alhumdulillah.  Yet, when I tried be helpful and kind it was rebuffed.  No, she wouldn't need me taking care of her if and when she gets an eye surgery.  I hate when I can't ever just do something nice for my mom.

So, I went downstairs for dinner.  I was grumbly the whole way down those three flights of stairs.  Yes, I talked to myself.  I was definitely inviting myself to the pity party!

So, saw the table with the plentiful food and stayed in my bad mood.  I could do that.  I could be in a foul mood if I liked.  Other people in the world don't have food whereas I do---BUT I can stay misearable.  It's my prerogative!

Then, I realized that my brother-in-law wasn't going to eat with us.  He's been missing dinners these last nights.  This isn't good.  He refused dinner because his stomach is still hurting him.  He has no wife to cajole him to eat so I tried my best.  It didn't work.  I tried to get him just to sip some broth from the vegetable soup but he wouldn't.  He went off to work all night in the factory with nothing to sustain him except for his fear of failure.  He can't fail.

As an aside, let me remind everyone that the Egyptian Revolution destroyed this man's life.  He was a successful salesman in an Arcadia shop.  When Friday the 28th of January came, he escaped downtown Cairo's biggest mall barely ahead of the looters.  He could have been killed.  The entire mall burned down.  There is nothing left for him and for many others.  Astragferallah.  So, for everyone who cheers the accomplishments of the Arab Spring, please remember there's an Arab Fall as well.  It's colder and holds less promise for men like my brother-in-law whose fate is to remain without the funds necessary to secure his  own life much less a bride.

I ate my food after that. Somehow it wasn't that much fun to have a pity party while a very thin man had to leave for work without any.  As I ate, I looked at his full bowl of soup sitting untouched and wished for him to feel better soon.

When it came time to clear the table, I got a shock.  For some reason, as I was in pity party mode, I didn't see the right side of the gedda's face.  I had only seen her left.  There was this swelling around her eye.  It was swollen shut actually.

The whole day she'd been baking bread.  She made three large circles for me to make pizzas for Mr. Boo.  She suffered through the work and the heat of the ovens.  She did it because people want to eat.  She's been doing this her whole life.  She's been doing the work because somebody has to.  There's no time for her to contemplate if her life pleases her or not.  There's not an over-analyzing of her angst.  She simply lives out her days.

I got into "Dr. Yosra" mode.  It's partially a joke (since the local doctor is name Dr. Yusri) but it's got some truth in it as I'm the highest educated person in the family and the one with some medical info.  I got a warm cloth to apply to her eye.  I asked my sister-in-law to dispense some breastmilk which I could then use with a dropper.

You know about that, right?  Breastmilk subhanallah is actually an antibiotic.  There are LIVE antibodies in human breastmilk.  If you see an eye infection within your family, you don't have to rush to the doctor.  Just as for a liquid contribution from your nearest lactating sister-in-law.

So, I'm administering this aid to hamati; my mother-in-law and it hits me.  Subhanallah that I felt sadness when my mother said I couldn't help her with a possible eye operation YET that SAME NIGHT...actually within an hour...I'm given the opportunity to help my husband's mom.  Subhanallah with HER EYE.

That did it.

Pity party is cancelled.  There is no rain check.  We simply shouldn't organize them.  There's too many other things to do and too many other people who deserve them better---though they don't.  They don't so why should we?

No.  We shouldn't.

Let's crumple up our invites and move on with our days and nights.

Inshahallah.





Monday, September 24, 2012

Donkeys and Demons, Roosters and Angels


Asalamu Alaykom,




Here in Egypt we are so connected to the animals.

There's a "Haroof Hydana" on my roof; that's my joke for a sheep or haroof nursery school.  It's in preperation for the sheep slaughtering at Eid Al-Adha.  I kid that I go off to teach KG1 and my hub stays here with his charges.

There's also ducks, geese, chickens and roosters.

Our neighbor keeps homing pigeons which he lets loose after dinner and they fly out during the azan in this huge display of faith.  Yes, they come back.  With all the freedom in the world, they choose to belong to someone.

I have horses, donkeys and camels walk past our door throughout the day.  The horses and donkeys are usually pulling carts while the camels are trying to hunt for the occasional tourist.

There's the stray cats and dogs which really don't hurt anyone (usually) and are fed from the kindness of strangers who (usually) don't take them in as pets---unless they are my former co-worker who currently has an Egyptian dumpster cat living the good life in Tennessee.

SHOUT OUT TO NOODLES!  Hi, Noodles!  Hope you're staying out of trouble!

Sometimes, the animals let us know that it's their world too.  We forget that.  We humans tend to think of the world as OURS but forget that animals have a connection to this earth and to The Creator.

Take a look at what I saw today on Facebook's لله-Daily Reminders-الله.  They put out some great stuff.

I've taken the liberty of editing it only slightly for readability:


Why Do Donkeys See Demons and Roosters See Angels? 

It's a scientific miracle noted by our Prophet Muhammad (God's blessings and peace is upon him).


In a prophetic tradition, he said:

"If you have heard the voices of roosters ask Allah of His bounty for they saw an angel  and if you have heard braying donkeys, you seek refuge with God from evil, for they saw a demon."

The ability of the human visual system is limited and differs from the visual capacity of the donkeys, which in turn also differs from the visual ability of roosters.

Thus, the ability of human vision is limited; it cannot see what is under the red rays or over the UV radiation. However, the ability of roosters and donkeys is better than that.

How can the donkey and the rooster see the demons and angels ?

The donkey can view the infra-red rays, and the devil, one of the committees created from the fire so, from this  information, the opinion is that the donkey doesn't see angels, but does see the jinn.

The roosters view through UV radiation and the angels created from light.

This explains why does the demons escape when we make remembrance of Allah.

The reason is this: The angels came to the place where God is mentioned.  Devils escape.

Why do the devils escape in the presence of the angels?
Because the devils are harmed by the light of the angels.  In other words:  If UV rays meet with infrared rays in one place, the red rays will disappear.

Who could have possibly told Prophet Muhammad (God's blessings and peace is upon him) about all this scientific information 1400 years ago?


I find that fascinating!

Here, in Egypt, I am in daily contact with both donkeys and roosters.  For me, this hadith has meaning and a purpose in my life.  I actually lay in bed hearing the rooster crowing BEFORE the sun rises.  We always see cartoons of a rooster crowing at the sun but he doesn't.  He crows at fajr (pre-dawn) and that is when we need to pray.  The angels are there.

I also hear the occassional braying of the donkey.  The donkey has the worst voice! There is another hadith reminding us not to be angry lest we sound like the donkey's bray.  It is an alarming and disturbing sound.  It means that evil is near.  We actually stop what we are doing and ask for Allah's protection.

"Ooozabellahi min a Shaytan a regime," and I say it three times.  I say it aloud but not for the donkey to hear.  I say it to create a protection around myself.  Others are saying it too.

I love that.

I love living in a community of believers so connected to the words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and so connected to animals and The Creator of Everything (including the jinn and the angels).

Alhumdulillah.













Friday, September 21, 2012

Agony Aunt: I Can't Believe His Emails!


Asalamu Alaykom,

Time for another Q & A with you asking the questions and me giving the answers.  It's advice in the same vein as America's "Dear Abby" but with the title of "Agony Aunt" like the British columnists.  In Islam, we are  encouraged to give advice if we feel it will better another person's life.  I hope, inshahallah, that what I have to say will be of value.


Alaykom el Salam Mrs. Yosra,

My husband and I are married a short time.  When we got married I was so in love with him and I told him all the time.  I felt he really didn't love me as much as I loved him.  He's a good guy and religious so I never doubted him.  

At our wedding his cousins came and I met them.  They are younger and cute.  After that he began to get emails from one cousin.  I didn't think anything of it.  Then I start seeing, "I miss you," in the emails.  I didn't like it so I talked to him.  He said it was nothing bad to say to a cousin.  They have chatted on line too.  I didn't feel good.

I went into his email and saw that there's another girl from the college and she's writing to him too.  She's married and not any more in our city.  My husband was traveling to her city and they talked about him seeing her.  I could tell that they didn't see each other from what they wrote later.  Also, she said something about things being better at home since his advice and so that means they were talking about her marriage.

That's when I got very mad.  I always trusted my husband.  I knew he didn't love me the way I loved him but I always thought he was faithful.  Now I feel like he's been lying to me and I can't relax around him any more.  I can't look at him the same.

He's been more than good to me.  He's apologized and is telling me that he loves me more now and he's sorry.  He tells me to name anything and he'll do it for me.  For me, I don't know what to say.

Can I trust him not to do this again?  What should I tell him to do?  How can I get over this?

Please give me advises.

Newlywed Wife

Wa Alaykom Asalam,

The first year of marriage is a HUGE test.  Subhanallah that anyone gets through it.  The husband and wife must figure out both bonding and boundaries.  Love isn't a thing (a noun) it's a verb.  It's an action and sometimes it feels good and sometimes it hurts.

I'm sorry that you're hurting.  You are right that there has been a kind of betrayal.  You feel betrayed because you were busy creating a little world with your husband and he let others into it without your knowledge and consent.

In many ways, this isn't your husband's fault.  He only bought into the belief that casual emails, chats, visits with women other than his wife are normal.  This is the "modern" way.  It's a joke that Islam doesn't allow this, right?  That's the popular way of thinking for moderate Muslims.

I know differently.  I know that Shaytan doesn't come into our lives until we invite him in.  If we ask Allah's protection then we are safe and our marriages are safe.  When we open the door just a little itty-bitty crack to Shaytan, then we are no longer taking care of ourselves and our relationships.  Astragferallah that we peek  beyond our limits and then allow that to widen the gap between us and Allah.

So, your husband is now apologetic and wants to do better.  Good!  My advice is to tell him that you BOTH need a halal lifestyle which means NO FRIENDSHIPS WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX.  This includes any family members which could be possible marriage material ( like his cousin).

It isn't "nice" to say that men can't have female friends.  It is hip to say that as a society we are capable of handling our nafs; our lower selves.  However, Islam is about ultimate truth.  The truth is the truth and we can't pretend that someone touching our lives cannot touch our heart.  Eventually, these "nice" people work their way in between spouses---maybe without any bad intentions!  Shaytan plays with us through emails and chats.

Look at your actions.  Up until now, did you even think of checking your husband's email?  I don't think so.  His closeness with other females opened some fear in you.  The opposite of love isn't hate; it's fear.  You feared for your young relationship so you snuck around like a spy.  Spying on each other is a haram action.  You were also played by Shaytan.  Please consider asking Allah for forgiveness for both your husband AND yourself.  No one was perfect in this problem.



It would be best, in my opinion, for him to stop all interaction with these women.  It's your right.  At the same time, you can remind him that you are not having interactions with other men (and inshahallah you are not).  The two of you can eliminate these distractions and concentrate once again on your new marriage.

Get clean.  Take a shower and make wudu to the point of it almost being ghusl; the purifying wash after menses or sexual intimacy.  Ask Allah to wash away your fears and your doubts and to get a fresh start.  Pray and in sujud ask for forgiveness from Allah.  

Say, "Al-Fatiha" together.  My husband and I have started saying this surah after fights when we want to reconnect and restart.  Alhumdulillah it's a beautiful moment and when I really love him so much.  I wish for you this feeling as well.

Then...I'm going to recommend that you really give yourself physically to your husband.  Be the cat who catches the mouse.  Play with him.  Love him up, down, and sideways.  Remember that YOU are the woman with him.  You are his halal.  He is yours.  You are allowed to be as sexy and fun with him as you wish and NO ONE ELSE IS.  Enjoy your conquest!  Revel in the victory.

I know there is a "what if..." lingering in your mind.  What if he does it again?

Honestly?  

He might!

But his actions are not under your control.  Let it go.  You can only be you and control your actions.  Trust God, be the wife you want to be and ask God to help your man be the husband he can be.  

If he does make a mistake, then remember it's Shaytan still having a hold on him.  

If you make a mistake, then remember it's Shaytan still having a hold on you.

It's work to have a marriage; it's a process.  Don't feel that you have a "bad marriage" or a "bad husband".  Nothing and no one is perfect.  If you get that modern-day feeling of dispossability, please keep in mind that another man and another marriage will have issues too.  Maybe not the same issues but the same amount of effort and work to make it feasible.  

Thank you for trusting me with this issue.  I am honored that you thought I could help.  It would be best NOT to discuss this with family and friends.  You need to hide his faults just as you would wish he hides yours.

May Allah make it easier on you and guide both you and your husband.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

1st Day of School


Asalamu Alaykom,



This morning I had the awful task pleasure of greeting the new students and their parents.  It's a hard day to seperate little ones from home.  It's hard.  It's hard on me and hard on parents but hardest on the kids.  Subhanallah how they can adjust and enjoy the day.  Alhumdulillah.

The school arranged for SpongeBob, balloons, tunes on a synthesizer and candy.  I tried to keep all of that out of my class.  I only needed some quiet enthusiasm and time to teach.  Alhumdulillah they were participating immediately---except for the one guy who fell asleep (there's always one).

Right now, I gave a call to my big boy.  Tomorrow Mr. Boo's brother leaves for college.  Mashallah, that boy applied with 32,000 others and only 3,000 were allowed in.  Mr. Boo might be my heart but that big boy of mine was my soul.

I absolutely poured myself into him.  I made him into the ultimate project.  I read to him in both English and Spanish, danced and drummed to world beats, took him to art, history and science museums and watched Mr. Rogers together with him.  I felt that I had a chance to create an amazing child.

In many ways, that boy young man is exactly who I hoped he would be.  In some ways, he's better.  In a few ways I'm still hopeful for another time when he has additional understanding.  I hope that he comes to Islam.  I hope that he avoids the pitfalls of teenage excess during the first time away from home.  Inshahallah.

I called him but he didn't answer.  That's never easy.  I left one of those rambling mom messages.  I ended up close to tears---silly me.

"Do you remember," I asked my big boy, "when I walked you to kindergarten for the first time?  I had made chalk pictures on the sidewalk the whole way there for you to see."

I paused.

"I can't do that this time on your way to college," and I imagined the route through four states and chalk art heading down the interstate.

"But," I added, "if I could then I would."

I finished the call before I lost it.

There wasn't any SpongeBob or balloons.  Yet, I know that my little big boy is seperating from me and ...alhumdulillah.

May Allah protect all the children starting school this year and reward the teachers who work diligently for their benefit.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Veiled Beauty


Asalamu Alaykom,




The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is a beautiful woman.  Mashahallah.  This photo shows that her beauty is only purified by the veil.  She wore it on her trip to Malaysia this month.



That smiling image of a beautiful princess in a white scarf is reminescent of her late mother-in-law Princess Diana.  Mashahallah.  I do think that Princess Diana was interested in learning more about Islam thanks to her association with Dodi Fayed.  If they had married...but alhumdulillah.

Oh my goodness!

This shot of Kate Middleton is breathtaking!  Mashahallah.


What's interesting to me is that Kate is experiencing the veil for the first time on her trip overseas at the very same time she is experiencing the results of going naked in public.  No one should have taken pictures of her topless on her vacation while at the same time she is old enough to know better.  Alhumdulillah, she is able to see how dressing modestly feels comforting and a total reclaiming of one's privacy.

It got me thinking of the other Non-Muslims who usually show lots of skin and hair to prove their beauty.  There must be many more pictures of well-known ladies wearing the veil.  So, off I go in search of veiled beauty.


Angelina Jolie when she visited Afghanistan.  Mashallah.  She has been concerned about the welfare of children for years.




The late great Audrey Hepburn under a Hermes shawl.  Mashahallah.  She helped many Muslims through her activities as the Ambassador of UNICEF.


Another Hollywood Lengend, Grace Kelly.  Mashahallah!  No wonder the Prince of Monaco picked her.



The mashahallah incomprabable Sophia Loren.


Sophia Loren is a hard act to follow!  Sorry, Hillary, for putting you next but someone had to do it!

This picture was taken in Pakistan.  Actually, Hillary's blue scarf frames her face very nicely mashahallah and stops her from washing out.  I bet her aide Huma Abedin helped her style it.  She should wear more scarves around her neck instead of those necklaces.


Michelle Obama looks very natural in her scarf mashahallah.  She wrapped it very elegantly.  I like how the fringe accents the top of her coat's lapels.


Here's another coat---this time on newlywed Blake Lively.  I do like this look of scarf around the neck with a beret on top.  I've tried that a couple of times and felt good about it.


By now, you've figured out that I am not cataloging these in any order.  It's as I find them.  Of course, you know this is Twiggy, the iconic 60's mod model from England.  Mashallah, she looks great here.  LOVE the colors and the wrap.  


Here's another top model with a wrapped head.  She's more than just a pretty face. Tyra Banks has championed the rights of women to dress as they wish and be who they are.  She is shown here with her head wrapped and looks mashahallah gorgeous.

Okay, I'm verging on non-celebrity here with...



Ya.

Hard to tell who this is.  

It's Khloe Kardashian going through Los Angeles International.  Mashallah she's able to pull off a look that very few women can do without fear in an airport.


Easier to see that this is her more famous sis Kim Kardasian.  She did try on an abaya (not a burqa as was erroneously reported) when she went shopping in Dubai.  Honestly, this girl is a walking fitnah.  She needs a face veil like nobody's business.  Mashahallah God blessed her with beauty! 




Ahhh!  Look at this mashahallah beautiful picture of the late, great Elizabeth Taylor.

Kate Winslet "channels" Elizabeth Taylor in this photo spread from V Magazine.

Here's one picture


There's many more pictures if you click on the link.

But wait!  This just in!  Elizabeth Taylor in Iran.


She actually remains very much a shining presence.  Thanks to burqa on Tumblr.

If you have links to pictures of celebrities with scarves covering the majority of their head, then let me know in the comments.

None of these ladies are in a hijab.  A hijab scarf covers the hair, neck and chest.  It is worn with the expressed purpose of protection.

My point in showing the pictures is that these ladies are still identifiable as the famous women they are.  They didn't lose their likenesses when they wore a scarf.  They also didn't lose their beauty.  Actually, their beauty was enhanced by a scarf.  We can see them and realize some of this for ourselves.

When we wear our scarves we remain ourselves.  We remain recognizable.  Any beauty we had before putting on the scarf stays with us and is even multiplied.  Subhanallah.

While searching for pictures, I happened on this article from Oprah's Magazine.  Shhhh!  It wasn't on her website.  It was reprinted elsewhere.  It's written by an American mom whose Libyan-American daughter decided to wear hijab while still in grade school.  Mashallah.



Mashahallah.  THIS is hijab.  Little Aliya looks beautiful in it.  May Allah reward her.

Alhumdulillah for the ability to try on different looks and to make decisions for how we want to present ourselves to the world.  May Allah forgive us the times we fall into haram actions as we style ourselves.  May Allah reward us for the times we succeed in presenting ourselves in the best light; the Noor of Islam.