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