Monday, December 24, 2007

How Sincere are You??

A late Eid Mubarak to everyone. Insha'Allah Eid was a time that we all reflected on the mercy and love of Allah (SWT) for his creation, thought about the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and of course the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Unfortunately here in TO there was the usual debate about which day the Eid would be celebrated--- I am curious as to which day you celebrated in your community and why if readers are willing to post.

Alhamdulillah this last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a local conference at the masjid that I have been attending. It is the Abu Hurairah Center and mesha'Allah the community there is very active. They have various events going on including a great halaka on Friday nights for families. If you are in the TO area I encourage you to attend. From what little I know, the Imam is meshallah blessed with sound knowledge and the masjid seperates the brothers and sisters area completely-- I have really been blessed by Allah from my experiences there.
The things that I learned this weekend are really too numerous to include, but I will focus on one point briefly.

One of the main aims of the conference was to increase the awareness of Muslims about their faith and sincerity in the religion. To remind us that often living in this world (dunya) we are so caught up in what we think will benefit us in this life, and trying to fit in here with people around us, that we neglect our deen. There is a hadith where the Prophet (SAW) said that there will come a day when holding onto our deen will be like holding onto burning coals (this is just a paraphrase)-- I would challenge us all to think about whether that time is now? The speaker asked us all to likewise consider that thought. How many of us in the last month have prayed every prayer on time? This is a fardh action... it is obligatory on us. Yet many struggle just to do that--- a fardh that we as Muslims MUST do. If we can't even hold fast to the obligatory in our religion then how can we strive to be following the actions of the Prophet (SAW)?
Why do we have such a problem? I think that a lot of it is because we lack priority. We lack focus that the most important part of our life should always be our religion. That our days should be scheduled around our prayer, what we are doing for the deen, and we shouldn't be squeezing prayers in "when we can" to fit our worldly schedule. How many times have you invited someone to get together for a halaka or you yourself been invited to a function where your response was "Sorry I don't have enough time". Why?? Why don't we have time for our religion? Why will we watch TV or surf the net, but not pick up a Quran or arrange a get together with other Muslims to increase our knowledge...?
It is because we get caught up living for the dunya and not the deen.

It is difficult to be Muslim in a secular world--- Alhamdulillah!!! Praise be to God! Insha'Allah there is reward in this. Insha'Allah there is reward in the struggle. But looking at those who came before us in the religion-- mainly the Prophet (SAW) and his followers during the Meccan period they endured suffering far greater. They too were a minority. Let us find inspiration in that. Let us not try to "fit in" with this world because in the end all that will matter from this world is the actions you did for the sake of Allah (SWT).
Nothing that happens to us is by chance. Allah has decreed it all for us. We are living where we are because Allah (SWT) wrote it for us-- that being the case we need to focus on that fact and work for Him. Strive to be strong Muslims who spread Islam. Quit feeling sorry for ourselves and thinking that we live in the wrong place, or that it is too hard, or that we suffer so greatly. In all things say Alhamdulillah, and remember that Allah (SWT) chose you for paradise...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This time of year brings its challenges to converts--- at least the ones in my circle of friends. Christmas was a HUGE deal in my family- My mom would take all of the "regular house decor" down and replace it with the thirty-some boxes of Christmas decorations that we had. We had two seperate Christmas trees-- one just for angel ornaments, the other for the more generic, and we would start decorating early in December.
When I reverted it was a huge blow to my family, especially when it came to the holiday season. The year prior to my reversion my Grandfather died in a car accident over the holidays-- he was Mr. Christmas in our family, yet my brother still says he misses my involvement at Christmas the most.
Alhamdulillah I am Muslim, and I have peace in my choice and I know that by avoiding such festivities inshallah I am doing right in the eyes of Allah, but it still hurts somewhere inside to know I am disappointing my family.
I suppose the irony of it all is when the entire meaning of Christmas is examined-- I believe that if Christians knew where many of the practices that they were taking part in originated from, they too would not do them as it is so contrary to their religion as well. Pagan festivites such as the Christmas Tree for example... and of course there is the whole commercialized Christmas that really has become so the"norm" in the West. I have one friend who just reverted (Alhamdulillah) and she has a son who is 7. You can imagine his disappointment about the "loss" of Christmas-- when asked why he is sad, his response is inevitably about not receiving gifts.
It makes my stomach turn when I think about how distorted people of a religion have allowed a holiday that should be so precious to them to become.

I suppose I mention it, not only because as I said, this time of year brings back many memories and challenges for me personally-- having to walk through a store asking for Allah to protect me from having the countless Christmas carols play over and over again in my head after I leave, to not be weakened by memories or allow Shatan to infiltrate my beliefs--- But I guess one thing that I really wanted to mention was that we as Muslims have a precious holiday approaching at the same time of year.
What are we doing to make sure we keep it sacred and celebrate it as it should be celebrated. Will it be a time of worship, community, charity, and praise to Allah as we think about Hajj, and Allah (SWT)'s mercies for us? Or, will it be a time of buying new outfits for kids, spending days cooking to impress those who come by so much so that we don't spend any time during our days doing more for our religion than absolutely necessary.
You see as bizarre as some of the practices of Christians are at Christmas, and seemingly contrary to what you would expect from their religion at Christmas, I fear that at times we as Muslims fall into the same horrible patterns and weakness.

This Eid inshallah, I pray that Allah increases all of our knowledge and acts of worship so we acting in a way that is pleasing to Him and that is of benefit for the Ummah. Inshallah we will all think about it and spend time bettering ourselves from now until them, and from now until the day of judgement.

As some of you know, there is a conference here in Toronto over the "holiday season". Maybe that is a way to keep you out of the Christmas hoopla-- Allah knows best.

On a more personal/individual note-- to sister Leila, I have looked at the list of speakers for the conference of them all inshallah my hope is to be in attendance for Shaikh Abdallah bin Bayyah as meshallah I have heard that his knowledge is incredibly sound and that he is a good scholar. I don't know how much I will be in attendance at the other speakers-- There is also a free conference at the masjid I attend during the same week, so I think I will be there for a lot of the time. I will inshallah post the times I will be at the conference so we can inshallah meet-- as absoultely I would love to meet you, so if you can keep checking to see when. I am of course waiting to see when Shaikh Bayyah will be presenting. If it doesn't work for you then maybe we can arrange another time during your visit here that works for you.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Is This Political??

As a general rule I try to avoid anything on the blog that is too political or controversial as I don't want to create argument with anyone, and because I don't know just who all of my audience is. However I heard a story recently from a friend of mine that i thought really needed to be brought to the attention of the greater poplulation-- A story that needs to be heard instead of silenced in the hopes that it will open the eyes of just a few to realizing that "things aren't always as they seem".

Being a convert, I am well aware of the stigmas attached to Muslims (as really I am sure most Muslims are). But I certainly heard them first hand from my family and friends as they expressed their worries about "this religion I was entering into to". All of the typical things we all know to well-- ideas that have been portrayed all to "biasedly" in the news until it all becomes truth to the greater portion of North America. So suddenly the entire religion of Islam is linked to acts of terrorism and evil etc. Yes we all are too familiar with it I am sure.
So this justifies the superpowers, mainly the US sending in the troops to "save" the people, bring safety, organized government and help to all of these countries that obviously can't get it together themselves. (This is to be read sarcastically of course.)

Well the following is a story of the "help" the American soldiers were to those citizens... I know some sisters from the community I used to live in, who recently moved to Canada from Iraq. Recently their father went back to visit family and while there was in a van with other Muslims while they drove up on a road block of American Soldiers. Knowing they couldn't get through they chose to turn around and take a different route. While turning the soldiers opened fire on their vehicle. Having no weapons and no reason to flee they stopped got out to show empty and raised hands, while the soldiers kept firing. My friends' father was shot as was another man (Allah forgive me if I am wrong about that). There were also women in the vehicle that ran out to help the brother now laying on the ground in blood as the soldiers still fired their weapons. After eventually ceasing, they walked over-- and ON TOP of this man now laying on the ground as he is bleeding to not ask but reach into the pockets of these people to get their CANADIAN passports. Seeing that they were Canadian, the passports were thrown to the ground (he has the blood stained pages to prove it), and then dismissed.
Everyone is rallied back into the vehicle and driven to the "hospital" where my friends' father was opened from neck to navel and then given antibiotics that were four years expired, and wounds dressed and attached with "packing tape" as there were no supplies and no proper medical services.

I heard this story and all I could think was "wow-- good thing the soldiers are going to these countries to create peace, bring supplies and safety and "get the bad guys", what ever would we do without their help."
What an epic display of heroism--- Where was that story on the 6-o clock news?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Small History Lesson...

A brother recently posted a comment full of interesting comments from the Catholic church that are worth reading. I was also recently in a conversation with someone about the movie/book The Da Vinci Code and all I could think about was how this video by brother Abduraheem Green is something that people need to watch.

It is called Passion of Isa (Jesus) and can be found on You Tube (Search Abdur Raheem Green-Passion of Isa) there are six parts and all six are absolutely worth watching... may Allah be pleased with him insha'Allah. And if you haven't already check out his website-- (link on the side) Meshallah I have learned a lot from this brother.

In Islam...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Where has the time gone?? New family, Turkey, and Umrah...

Assalam Alaikum to those still checking the blog after my long absence from writing... The summer has been rather eventful and between the excitement and my admitted laziness in writing it has been months since I have posted anything. Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) has given me an abundance of blessings over the last few months of which I am so extremely grateful for. The first of which may be the biggest of all blessings in one's life--my husband and I have been given the blessing of a child and inshallah we will be expecting our first baby in the winter. Alhamdulilliah this fills me with all sorts of feelings-- Feelings that I really have zero inability to describe. Much of my time has been spent on reading about the family in Islam and children in Islam as I reflect on how just over a year ago I was the one discovering Islam, and now it will be my responsibility to pass the beauties, truth and greatness of this religion onto a being as pure as an infant. At the end of the day after all of my insecurites and questions loop over and over again in my mind I wonder if I will have the knowledge and competancies to give this child the knowledge that they deserve and I desire for him/her. Yet I realize that in the doubt of my own self is the trust in Allah. That in admitting I will need help and guidance I submit to Allah (SWT) and trust that He will reveal all that needs revealing and give me the strength to inshallah raise this beautiful child in the Islam that I seek and desire-- To raise them in the followings of the Qur'an and Sunnah and an Islam unpolluted by so many of the elements in society today. Please keep my husband and I in your du'a and of course our small child that inshallah is on its way.

As you can imagine the above has occupied much of my thoughts in the last few months, not to mention a lot of energy as Alhamdulillah I am learning why paradise is at the feet of mothers-- the morning sickness has been all-day sickness and has lasted far longer than the first trimester, but alhamdulillah I earnestly seek the reward Allah (SWT) inshallah gives to mothers. It has also helped to me to see the miracles of Allah (SWT) in different areas of my life.
One of the other blessings I was given this summer was to travel to Turkey for a month and a half to visit my inlaws. My husband and I had made intention to go from Turkey to Umrah this summer, but in our plans doors seemed to keep closing on me specifically to be able to go. My visa couldn't be approved via Turkey and by then it was too late to apply through Canada and I had resigned to the idea that I would not be able to go to Umrah this year.
In hindsight I know it was a lesson that Allah (SWT) was teaching me. Initially when we were discussing Umrah it was around the time that we found out we were pregnant. My first thoughts were nervousness about the heat and being able to cope with the sickness of pregnancy during the hottest (and I mean HOTTEST) month of the year in Saudi. Although I desired to go to Umrah, my fear was plaguing my intention and I believe that because of that Allah (SWT) took my fear away by taking Umrah away. As I realized I wouldn't be able to go, the fear that I once felt was filled with a sadness that was so deep it caused me to fall prostrate to Allah to ask for comfort in the decision but even more to open a door for me to be able to go to Umrah.

In losing the chance to go the holiest city and place in our religion to prostrate at the base of the Kabbah and inshallah have some of my sins erased I realized how my fear had prevented me from trusting in Allah. Then again as I submitted to him and acknowledged the wonderful gift and chance I had in front of me, suddenly doors began to open. Now I must add that this was all within five days of the date my husband and brother-in-law were scheduled to depart. It seemed as though it would be impossible for things to fall in place in time, but the more du'a I made the more Allah answered them.... I suppose it was Allah's way of saying " haven't I told you if you come to me walking I will come to you running!!"
Within days we found someone to get me a visa, I got a seat on the plane, the Saudi embassy approved a Turkish visa despite my not being a Turkish citizen and I was on my way.... simply by the grace of Allah.
But the miracles of Allah didn't stop there. As I mentioned I was very sick from the pregnancy and had been vomitting everyday of my pregnancy. I prayed that while doing Umrah Allah would keep my sickness from me and help me to get through my acts of worship and succesfully complete my Umrah. I was sick the day we left to Saudi but once in Mecca for the entire 4 days we were there I was fine-- then upon returning to Turkey I was sick again. Once again Allah had showed me His truth and grace and answered my du'a.

The experience of Umrah is not one I can put into words. People keep asking me what it is like and I am not sure how to respond. I pray that Allah will accept my act of worship and that I will get to return to do it again-- but if not then alhamdulillah I have had the chance to see the kabbah with my eyes however tear-filled they may have been and give all glory to Allah that He alone brought me there. To see the many faces of people from all over the world who were there seeking the reward or their deeds and the forgiveness of Allah and worshiping Him in a sincerity and earnesty that was one of the most beautiful sites on earth. Of course the mosque and the kabbah itself in all of its magnitude and pristine beauty were breathtaking, but to say I made du'a at the kabbah for as many people and things as would come to my mind, to touch it and experience it in a reality that pictures can't bring, and to inshallah walk in the footsteps of the Prophet (SAW) and so many calipha and followers of Islam walked is a blessing I am so grateful for and I pray that all Muslims will have the chance to experience.

So, this is where I have been for the summer. Inshallah I hope to still hear from some of you-- May Allah give you all Umrah and Hajj and give you endless blessings.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Life in Toronto II

I was so looking forward to coming to TO because of the big community and having the opportunity to get involved in so many events, however every event or organization I have attempted to contact has not returned my call or email. Insha'Allah these groups are busy and have other priorities but I really think it is so important that we as a community are invested in the others in that same community. That we are making sure people feel welcomed. Alhamdulillah I have plenty of literature and of course the Qur'an to keep me connected to Allah (SWT) but I was thinking about what if I was someone seeking out Islam who was desiring information or someone to tell them something about our beautiful religion? Would they have been left high and dry?
Incedentally I just was talking to a recent convert about this. I met her at the Turkish Halaka I attend (funny as I don't speak Turkish)... anyway she got connected with one of these Turkish women and started going to this Halaka... alhamdulillah. Shortly after, I started attending. Often what will happen is the English-speaking women will meet on one side and discuss Islam while the Turks will meet on the other side and discuss in Turkish. There are only a couple of women who speak English that attend and all of them are very recent converts, many of them by marriage and are just starting to learn and take interest in Islam.
The first couple of weeks I attended I sat as the sister leading the group kept reading from a book that had inspirational information and stories about Islam intended to insha'Allah motivate or inspire someone in there practice of Islam. I sat there listening to granted, what were good articles, but then listened to these other women ask question after question about what does fardh mean? How does one pray? Where do they get information about Islam?
For a moment I sat there in shock-- these women were coming to this group to get information about Islam and leaving just as empty as they came. Alhamdulillah they had a group they could go to and connect with, but when they were physically attending there questions were being answered with "come over to my house and we can talk about it, lets read from this book now" instead of discussing the questions... the prayer... the fundamentals of the faith.
We as a community need to be aware of those who are seeking, those who are trying to deepen their faith as insha'Allah we are all trying to do. We need to take action and be sure we are doing what we can as Muslims and Muslimas to take care of the people who are hungry for knowledge whether it be someone just trying to make contact with an organization or whether it is someone who is going to a group and desperately seeking answers.
It is also okay to say that you don't have the answers if you don't, but it is our responsiblity as a Muslim to make sure that we either get the answer or connect that person to someone who has it. In the case of the convert women who attend this halaka, this group once a week was the only opportunity they were getting to discuss Islam, to learn and to grow.
May Allah (SWT) unite us all and provide us with the knowedge and motivation we need to help others and insha'Allah help ourselves grow in our faith. May we have open-eyes and hearts to the needs of those in our community. Ameen.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Life in Toronto...

Assalam Alaikum Everyone,
Well, alhamdulillah we made it to Toronto. It has taken a week or so to get settled and get the new place set-up. Alhamdulillah we are out of the house in Winnipeg. For those of you who don't know (maybe I have never mentioned this before) but before I was Muslim I had bought a house... of course with a Mortgage. When I reverted I tried to sell it to get out of the mortgage but it wouldn't sell. I decided to fix it up a bit more and then try again knowing I would be moving to TO in the spring. Alhamdulillah it sold, and now we are renting a place. The reason I am mentioning all of this is because I can say with total certainty that Allah has blessed my marriage and life now being out of a house that has interest. We are happier, there is a different feeling altogether that I can only describe as being from Allah (SWT) and I totally believe it is because we are now living in an environment totally (insha'Allah) halal. I know that there are fatwa's that state you can own one house and one car, but the Qur'an says we as Muslims shouldn't take interest. I notice the difference-- I mention this in the hopes that it will give others the strength and encouragement they need to come out of interest they have.

The picture above is from a website of Anja Islamic Fashions. It is a company I am working for a little bit here. The sister that runs it is a convert who had gone to school to study fashion. Alhamdulillah now she is devoting herself to designing Muslim women's fashions that are modest but contemporary. She offers a range of things from skirts and tunics to albayas and matching hijabs etc. It is really beautiful well thought out attire. I will post the website and insha'Allah she is going to have it completely up and running soon. The sketches are of clothing she actually has made. I will try to remember to mention when the site is done. She is also hiring a webmaster, fashion consultant and seamstresses. If you live in TO or in the TO area and are interested let me know via a post and insha'Allah I will let you know how to contact her.

I haven't really met any sisters here yet. I have visited various masjids but there aren't ever sisters there. I should say Alhamdulillah as the best place for sisters to pray is in their home, so insha'Allah they are all getting the most of their possible reward, but I would love to meet some people to study Islam with. I did meet another revert at the Friday khutbah. She has the same name as I do, and is really wonderful mesh'Allah.
The masjid I am close to has a great bookstore and I am blessed by Allah (SWT) to be so close to so much knowledge right at my fingertips.

I had quite the experience the other day. I went to a mosque in a different area of town to pray the isha prayer and an Islamic school was just getting out. There were children everywhere. I sat down waiting for the prayer noticing I was getting whispers and stares from all of the young girls. One of them approached her mom who then told me that she asked if infact I was Muslim. She couldn't believe it because I was white.
After the prayer the group of about 10 young Muslim girls all stood in a huddle and then surrounded me. They were so curious as to what this white girl was doing there and how was I indeed Muslim?
We chatted for a while and as I was putting my shoes on overheard them making comments about my white skin, and light coloured eyes.
It gave me mixed emotions as I left. Part of me couldn't help but smile in the humour of it all, and enjoy the fact that I got to spend some precious moments with a group so such wonderful girls mesh'Allah, but part of me was saddened that they would think that Islam is a religion of only Arabs and South Asians. That they didn't know that their religion has the power to impact everyone and that it was not bound by race.

Hijab Day??

One of the sister's in the community sent me this to see what I thought. I am curious to know what you all think about it. Please post your feedback, I would like to have some thoughtful discussion about it insha'Allah.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Your real live Gap Commercial.

For work-related reasons I had to attend a church service this morning. Subhanallah it is moments like these that I can really take in the glory of Islam and what an amazing religion it is... the true religion of true worship and closeness to Allah (SWT). This particular church is a multi-million dollar building with a multi-million dollar programming schedule, lighting system as advanced as many of the major theatres I have ever been in, parking lots complete with parking lot attendants, and a full band with back-up singers... the only thing they were missing was the admission tickets (but I am sure the cost of entry was covered by the many thousands of people giving their weekly offering). I couldn't help but stiffle a laugh as I heard the pastor talk about everyone being generous and giving their tithe to help the church and give to those in need. To reach out to the community and provide for those who couldn't provide for themselves, I believe his following comment was to "Please join the other members of the congregation for a coffee at their new Starbucks". Well if that isn't providing for the community I don't know what is! I mean what would a muliti-million dollar church be without a mulit-million dollar coffee corporation in their front lobby?
Oh but wait, that wasn't really the highlight of the service. The service begins with a half-an-hour of "worship" essentially a full band with two back-up groups on each side of the stage, not to mention, smoke, lights, guitar solos, four 20feet screens (could be bigger) and numerous camera men taking shots from all different directions. Really my initial thought was that it all seemed a lot like a GAP ad, just switch the swing dancing for more of a rock and roll feel. I draw the comparision because I am sure that trendy clothes, cute hair and good looks are a pre-requisite to be on the worship team. Seriously, not an ugly person on stage and everyone with the most current and stylish clothing I have seen complete with knee-high boots, low waist jeans, big belts, retro jewlery, and bold colours. Then they all bounce and dance around on stage flailing arms and open-tooth smiles to the tempo of the music lead by the electric guitar. One of the moments that most perplexing was when they sang about "bowing in worship" as everyone was bouncing around as though they were in a mosh-pit... hmmm guess I was missing something.

Alhamdulillah it made me think of Islam and how we as Muslims join in prayer, in unity with no fancy displays or productions, just simple lines of people facing one direction really bowing down to worship the one true God. No dancing, no music, no designer clothes, no expensive hairstyles or light shows, just the humble act of humility as we press our faces to the ground. Now to me that is worship.

What is equally amazing to me is that I used to go to similar churches. Those which spent more on the theatrical productions that got people out of their homes on a Sunday morning, than they did on keeping that community clothed and fed. Can you imagine what could have been done with the money it took to buy a Starbucks.
Alhamdulillah Allah has brought me the peace and beauty of who God really is, what worship really looks like in its purest and most sincere forms.
Alhamudulillah I am Muslim.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Allahu Akbar!

Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) is so good. He bestows blessings upon us in abundance... more than we ever acknowledge or seem to realize. I really have no reason to complain about anything, and even if I felt frustrated, Alhamdulillah those moments are from Allah (SWT).
Our house sold this week. Alhamdulillah that was such an answer to prayer. I was getting so concerned as we will be moving to Toronto in a few short weeks and already have secured a place there and it would have meant paying to have two places, but Allah (SWT) sent a family to buy our place. Unfortunately our oven broke down which meant we would need to fix or replace it before we move out but Alhamdulillah they don't want our oven so we didn't need to buy a new one! Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) meets our needs.

For those of you who read regularly, you know I am a convert and my family is all non-Muslim. Of course I pray that they would find truth in Islam. This week my brother was given a book by a Muslim guy in the library completely out of the blue. Alhamdulillah Allah (SWT) is creating ways for my brother to be exposed to Islam. It is so encouraging for me as sister to see him taking interest in my religion, even if it is only for my sake when he was one of the most upset with my conversion.

I am weeks away from graduation and looking forward to having days to spend reading and surrounding myself with Islam as I did last summer. I can't wait to be connected with a group of Muslima's in Toronto and if any of you know any halakas or classes in TO then please share your information with me...

One other thing I wanted to address this post, which I forgot after the last entry, was that of course if ever any of you read anything that is wrong or naively stated (and may Allah (SWT) forgive me for all of my faults) please never feel afraid to say so and steer me in the right direction. JazakAllah Khair to the brother or sister that wrote a comment about repositioning ones' self in prayer. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and caring enough about another Muslim to make sure they had the right knowledge. May Allah (SWT) reward you.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hajj and the Sunset on Arafat... A Reader's Experience.

A brother or sister left this post on the website last night and I thought it was just far too insightful, poetic and beautiful to risk everyone not reading. I hope he/she doesn't mind my posting it on the main page.
May Allah (SWT) reward you for comments, dedication and insight. May He (SWT) accept your hajj. Ameen.

"I did my Hajj this year and I must say that what an experience. It was my first time to both the Harams in Makkah and Madinah. The thing that hits you right in the head and in the heart is the realization of how small we are in the face of Allah's mercy. When in Arafaat, making dua to Allah along with millions of other pilgrims, one feels so insignificant, so tiny and to know the fact that right now Allah is saying to His angels "Look at them, my servants have come to me and go listen to what they are saying". My Allah is talking about me. WOW.. The sunset at Arafaat is the sadest sunset in the whole world.

The dealing with fellow pilgrims and showing patience with... well.. some of their annoying behavior, teaches one patience and humbleness and tolerance.

Standing right there in front of Kaaba and listening to the Adhan is an experience that defies everything you thought you had figured out; your expectations, emotions, logic, ego, pride, worries, words and finally submission. Happiness and calmness holds a new meaning. Sitting in the Roda Jannat, next to the Roza Rassool when one hears the adhan to fajr prayers, its so hard to hold back the tears. First you fight the tears, and then after some time you wouldnt even notice that they have come out on their own will to prostrate. One just wishes that the heart stops beating right now right here and be buried in jannat ul baqee (the graveyard next to prophetic mosque where most of the sahaba and members of the household of Prophet (pbuh) are burried) and one's funeral prayer be said in the haram.

A muslim leaves some part of his/her self in the two cities. Bit by bit, every day during the stay. I am convinced its the heart and the soul. Because when one comes back, one is so lost. Its like when one wakes up from a wonderful dream and so desperately wants to go back to sleep so that it could continue, but it does not. The words 'Haee aalal Fallah, Haee aala Sallah' (come to success, come to prayers) holds a totally new dimension of submission.

And then one gets busy in this prison of schisms and deceptions.

And while driving to work, suddenly the black cover of the kaaba shimmers in front of the eyes, that specific angle of the kaaba and its door from the roof top, that flicker of the green dome from the gates of the jannat-ul-baqee in that cold crisp morning after fajr prayers when the sun is rising over the blessed city of madina. Right at this moment the part of your heart and soul . remember... the ones that you left there. They beckon at you. They call upon you to come back and all you can do is say "O my Master, my Owner, Ya Rabbi, Please invite me back to Your house." And then one remembers all the hours and minutes sleeping or eating and one curses ones self if i could've just prayed two more nafils.

One sip of zamzam here, opens a flood gate of memories and then one realizes that where has my imaan gone. Why I have become so lax in obeying Allah, why my heart does not cry anymore when prostrating, why dont i die?

forgive me for a long comment, i just wanted to say this to someone and thank you for the reminder of the journey and maybe destination?."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

May Allah (SWT) Give Us All Hajj

When I was in Turkey over the holidays my husband's family would often make the du'a that Allah (SWT) would give us hajj. I think it is a truly beautiful du'a. May Allah (SWT) give us the opportunity to perform one of the pillars of our religion and if done in the utmost, to the best we can possibly do, that insha'Allah we would also get forgiveness from past sins.
Indeed may Allah (SWT) give us all Hajj.

I don't really have a particular theme to write on today, just many things that have been on my mind lately. It has been many days since I have written mainly because we are in the process of selling our home and getting ready to move . We have spent days and literally nights trying to paint the house and get it ready for the market. It has taken up most of my time but alhamdulillah things are done and I trust in Allah (SWT) that He (SWT) will send someone to buy the home so we can start a new life in a new community. I am sad about leaving behind the sisters and community here, but excited for the larger community we are insha'Allah moving to. I think that it will be a blessing from Allah (SWT) to be able to move and establish myself as Mulsim from day-one instead of having to deal with everyone's reaction here as I try to explain why I can't do the things that that I used to. Alhamdulillah I am grateful for the opportunities I have here but I look forward to not facing those challenges.

I heard a couple of weeks ago that one of my dear friend's marriage has ended after six short months. I am so sad. This is the third couple I know of who have been divorced or seperated within the first six months of their marriage. It is so devastating for me. Alhamdulillah it is one thing that I think Islam would solve. Although divorce is permissable in Islam I think that couples bound by the will of Allah (SWT) is a connection that would insha'Allah be unbreakable. In no way is it a judgement, I would never begin to say I know what is right or wrong in their relationship, but alhamdulillah I feel so blessed that Islam is what unifies my husband and I. My family was concerned when I got married as they thought it was too soon from having met my husband, but I feel like if we both know Islam, then insha'Allah we both know each other. I pray that Allah (SWT) keeps us all as Muslilms unified and working towards his cause.

I was in the masjid the other night for one of the prayers and was the first sister to arrive. The prayer was about to begin and I had said Takbeer when another sister came in but chose to stand about 2 meters away from me. It was obvious she wasn't going to stand beside me so I came out of my prayer and then re-said takbeer and started to pray again. This is a problem I see at the masjid often and I feel like I have to address it. In a jumah we are supposed to pray together. There is also a hadith (and I'm going to paraphrase here so may Allah (SWT) forgive me) that the best place for women to pray in the masjid is in the back and to the right of the Imam. We also need to be praying shoulder to shoulder to keep Shatan behind us. If we are going to pray in the masjid, we are there to insha'Allah pray in community with the other sisters and behind the Imam. Join the other sisters if you arrive late. Start the line from the right of the Imam. Bring your shoulder beside the sister beside you.

Alahamdulillah we have an Imam in the community who is mesha'Allah so knowledgable. May Allah (SWT) reward him for his dedication to this community and all of his knowledge. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go and seek knowledge through his Khutbah's. Even more than the knowledge I have gained from him in the past couple of weeks, I have had some other really wonderful blessings at the masjid. For the last two weeks I have had the opportunity to talk to two non-muslims that have come to the masjid for the first time. Today's situation was especially amazing. We ran out of gas and couldn't start the car to leave the masjid so while my husband went to a local gas station to get a can of gas I waited at the masjid semi-annoyed. I kept trying to tell myself that there was a reason for this to be happening. After about forty mintues, and well after everyone had left, this woman came to the door of the masjid. I asked her if she needed help finding someone or something and she began to tell me that this was her first time at the masjid and she didn't know where to go or what to do. Unfortunately she missed the khutbah but alhamdulillah Allah made our car not start so I could be there to meet her and talk to her. I gave her my number and I pray to Allah (SWT) that she will use it and we can talk about Islam. Based on our conversation I know she has been doing some reading and I pray that Allah (SWT) will show her the beauty of this relgion that I know firsthand is real, and she will revert to Islam.
It was an amazing afternoon and just showed me that I need to trust Allah (SWT) and know that He (SWT) knows best. That I need to say Alhamdulillah in all things, and remember I am on this earth to serve Him (SWT) only.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Following up...trying to follow my religion.

Alhamdulillah many people have responded to the posts about "Little Mosque on the Prairie." I will start with a short response to some of the things that have been posted in response.

Firstly, Alhamdulillah to the brother/sister who found the contact information to the show and wrote a letter to them. Insha'Allah I will do the same. Whether they respond or not, it is our duty to stand strong and pround in our religion. Thank you for sending the information.

The Maniac Muslim website address that got posted is great... I have had other sisters here in this community check it out and they have been enjoying it as well.

One thing that I think is so important to say... and it has been said by some of the comments that were posted is that it is not okay to "compromise" in our religion in any area. The Qur'an doesn't say follow the religion when it is convienient for you, when it is easy for you. We know as Muslims that people with criticize us and critique us... it is hard, but our reward is not on this earth.
To say that I wear the clothes that I do to make others comfortable... are you pleasing others or Allah?
We as Muslims need to be careful in our words and actions. If we wear clothing that may be deemed as unIslamic, then we need to acknowledge that it is our own insecurities in looking different, or our personal weakness that causes us to do that and not justify it by trying to please others. Is it okay then to say we can take off hijab because it will make someone feel more comfortable and draw nearer to a Muslim and learn what Islam is about? I pray to Allah that it would never be something we consider. Because if we are doing things to please others or even ourselves, then we are not doing things to please Allah and that is very dangerous.
Stay true to what the Qur'an says follow it as closely as can, be proud to walk, talk, breathe, and look like a Muslim. Never compromise-- it is not okay. Just as Allah draws close to those who draw close to him, if you do not seek Him, and give HIm your best, why would you expect He give it to you.

Little Mosque on the Prairie does not represent what the True Islam should look like. We should not be making excuses for it, or thinking it is okay.

Now-- on to my other thoughts for the day.
We all have personal stuggles in our lives. Alhamdulillah we can turn to Allah (SWT) and seek is mercy, forgiveness and strength.
I learned an important lesson today. There has been an area of my life that I strugglle with on a day to day basis. I constantly feel as though I fall short, and am inadequate in this area... I was discussing about going to talk about it with my local Imam and see what insight he could offer me. My husband, who Alhamdulillah is often a voice of reason in my life, and who mesh'Allah has strength and wisdom far beyond me asked me if I went to the Shaikh, what I would be expecting.
I told him that insha'Allah he would offer me hadith or wisdom to show me my wrongs, and help me to be a stronger and better muslima. My husband was able to then point out the origin of my weakness... That I am not reading and studying enough. If I were spending time reading and studying my religion then the answers I was seeking from the Shaikh would insha'Allah aleady be mine.
If I could focus more on my religion and dedicate myself to my learning then insha'Allah Allah (SWT) would draw closer to me, I would get reward, and the wisdom I would gain would help prevent me from the errors I seem to repeatedly make.

It was such a good reminder that the answers to our problems are in Islam. If we let our faith guide us in all areas, then we will know what to do, how to handle ourselves and we will be strong to withstand temptation. The answers we need are found in Islam... but do we take the time to make sure we find them?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prarie...

For those of you who live in Canada, I am sure you are now rather familiar with the new and controversial show that is flooding the media, "Little Mosque on the Prarie." Often compared to the Islamic version of "Corner Gas", Little Mosque is said to aim to break tension between Muslims and Non Muslims in Canada by approaching regular day to day occurances and encounters with the use of humour.
My question to everyone is who are we laughing at?

We as people in general all need to have the ability to laugh at ourselves, admit faults and take life with a "grain of salt" so-to-speak but I have concern about this show, and what it means for the Muslim community.

Now before I start to list off the things that bother me about the program, I must acknowledge the fact that because of it I do think more people are willing to bring up the topic of Islam in a friendly conversation type manner, without attaching it to militia, the middle east, or other controversial media topics. Since the show has aired I have had numerous people ask me what I think, and ask me about Islam. Alhamdulillah it gives us a chance to tell people what is true about our beautiful religion. This is where I start to have a problem. A program about Islam should represent Islam... period. It shouldn't leave us as Muslims having to explain which portions are accurate and represent the relgion as a whole.

The creator of this television series, a practicing Muslima herself, has been quoted as saying "this show may offend conservative Muslims."
I know I have talked about this issue before, but why are we as Muslims dividing ourselves? Contemporary Muslims, conservative Muslims... Are we not told in the Quran not to create divisions amongst us? Do we not all read and insha'Allah follow the same Qur'an and believe in the same Prophets?
How can we create divisions then by saying "contemporary Muslims" will like the show, while those who are conservative won't. What does that mean? Those who take the faith seriously and want to practice it sincerely, upholding the instructions of modesty, faith, segregation of men and women and public venues and especially the mosque, this show is not for them? If that is the case, why are we showing people things that aren't representative of the faith. For example... praying in the mosque without dividers and men and women mixing freely at a Ramadan dinner-- just two of the scenes of the pilot episode of this program.

Alhamdulillah we as Muslims might be able to gain opportunities to talk about our faith with others because of this show, but please make sure we know what we are talking about. That we are spreading truth about our religion and not creating more confusion for people in a world that already terribly misunderstands our perfect faith.

If you haven't seen the show check it out on YouTube. Type in Little Mosque on the Prairie and then post a comment later to let me know what you think...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Where has time gone... where have I gone.

Where has time gone. I can't believe it has already been a couple of weeks since I have posted... if I believed in new years resolutions I would make one to post more often.
I have tried to put my pictures from Turkey on the site but can't seem to figure it out. Need to keep working on that. Computers aren't my strong point...

I don't want to talk much about the trip or about insignificant things in this post. As I have been reflecting, I think that has been much of my problem lately. I am spending far too much time focusing on the things of this life and have forgotten what I need to be striving for in all of my actions.
I have allowed myself to get caught up in school, or work or practicum... all things that will bring me some sort of success in this life but what success will they bring me in the next life? None...
I was thinking about when I converted a mere 8 months ago, all I wanted to do was learn about Islam, and I would find excuses to read, or search the internet... even if it was on work time (oops). Granted it was the summer and I wasn't as busy, but there is no excuse.
I have gotten too lazy and too relaxed and have not been reading as much or have dedicated myself in the way I have wanted to or used to. I have given too much focus to things that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things and as a result my focus is off.

On one of the last nights I spent in Turkey, Alhamdulillah I met an incredible family. The daughters were all raised in Turkey, but the parents were converts who were from the USA but then moved to Turkey to raise a family in a better environment for their children. Alhamdulillah. What strength, what devotion. Giving up so much for the sake of your religion... for the sake of your family. There are days my struggles are so much more menial and I still have problems submitting.
Not only that, but the parents are some of the most modest-looking people I have seen. The mother, dressed in black jilbab, and a hijab that covers much of her face, the father with a full beard, always wearing a prayer cap, and loose, plain, modest clothing.
Why I mention the latter is, Turkey is not a country of jilbabs or albaya. Infact they are hard to find. Men, if they wear a beard, often have it trimmed... here are two people who have come to this country and not sacrificed their religion in any way. They came to for the sake of the religion, and from what I see have been living their beliefs... something I have seen is hard nowadays in Turkey.

Then, here I am in Winnipeg, still struggling with stupid things. Why do I still care? I can speak of Islam with a true passion, but do I model it in my everyday? If not why? My actions need to reflect my words, and if I fear they don't, then something is wrong.

One of my dearest friends came over tonight. She is a convert sister who has a passion for Islam that is like a frostbite in the night. She is stronger than she can ever imagine. Every time I talk to her she tells me of her days spent giving day. Alhamdulillah she has a heart dedicated to fighting for the justice of Muslims... she is educated and knowledgeable about atrocities Muslims around the world are facing, and she is determined to tell people about them, and that of course we as Muslims will stand up and fight for the injustices that are constantly occurring to our brothers and sisters around the world.
Listening to her talk, I am quick to see the faults that I have been making. That I haven't been sharing my religion passionately with people. Rather than speaking up about my religion, my beliefs, I often wait for others to approach me.

Even this blog... one way I have chosen to talk to the world has been something I have gotten lazy on.

I need to focus on what is important to me, what I am doing to benefit my religion and benefit my growth in faith. The way I have been living hasn't been doing it. Time to re-examine my life and get focused on the things that are important... Islam, trying to achieve Jannah, seeking and gaining knowledge, and reaching out to Muslims and non-Muslims.

May Allah (SWT) forgive me for my inadequacies, may he guide me to a straighter path, may he show me my faults and lead me to the strength to correct them... Ameen