Most Beautiful Place On Earth

Most Beautiful Place On Earth
Banff, Alberta, Canada...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

some... discoveries....

I've been thinking deeply about some personal issues.
1. I think that even though my husband is a man, and men are indeed fallible; somehow I landed one of the few who are faithful and trustworthy and sincere. And still, I have issues of jealousy which stem from my upbringing. I should say, are deeply rooted in my upbringing, unfortunately. Growing up, the women surrounding me were very sweet, but also very superficial. I went through a very awkward stage and I wasn't the prettiest girl in the family, so I never really got attention for my physical appearance, and on the contrary, my gramma (God rest her soul) was keen on making me a virtuous, humble person. Her approach was therefore, blatantly insulting :) Looking back it's actually funny... I seriously hold no grudges... but its funny to see the extents that her and my father took to 'keep me humble' oh wow.. some bordered on abuse. BUT thats another story. In the end, I still ended up a little superficial somehow; probably through the influence of my friends and cousins, my peers, the mass-media... lets just say for the sake of this blog that I know what 'attractiveness' means to the world and... I'm aware that I'm no Kardashian. This has started to bother me ever since I got married. I am aware of the effect that these images of the perfect celebrity body has on my own heart, and now to add to that pressure, I have a man who is exposed to these same images daily, who I have to keep loving me. Now on one hand, I underestimate my husband. Because although, yes, the Prophet (saw) said :I fear no fitnah (trial) for my people more than the fitnah of women." (Alluding to the prowess and sesual power women have over men/ i.e. we are one of their greatest weaknesses)... men are not drooling, mindless zombies...well... maybe some are... but this blog is about my life, and they dont effect me. MY HUSBAND is not a drooling mindless zombie and I know that he realizes that 'beauty is only skin deep'... and he's not attracted to the superficial things these women have to offer.
I think my condition stems from my own evils. Sometimes we project our own evils onto others, form a bad opinion of them based on our own internal state.
I'll give you a for instance. My honey bear and I are driving along in the park this month, and a half-naked jogger in mint physical condition trollies on past our stopped car. I notice her, feel something (jealousy/suspicious/ su'a dthun (assuming the worst)) in my heart, and immediately turn to my husband to see if he's looking at her. When he see's me peering at him, he asks why I'm looking at him with this expression. I couldn't answer. It'd be ridiculous, and a fight-starter if I tried. I dont answer. This is something I have to defeat alone in myself. I am projecting my own evils onto him. I am noticing these things, and for some strange reason, admiring them in my own way, and assuming that he, as a man, is admiring them too. Then I get jealous! INSANITY, NO??? *sigggghhhh*
Lauryn Hill said, "It could all be so simple. But you'd rather make it hard."
Pretty much, Ms. Hill. Pretty much.
My Gramma was a good woman. Despite the silliness I mentioned earlier. She said when I got married that'd I'd soon discover the baggage I'd bring to the relationship because of my upbringing. Amen, Gramma. Now to lay my burden down by the riverside...
let go of this baggage and live a life outside the realm of a backward upbringing...
where nearly every single man in my entire family has been unfaithful to his wife...
So lets assume a sister is in fact married to a dirty-dog cheater... but she assumes the best of him and in the end is let down. Honestly... she is the winner if she is patient with this trial.
If a woman has full trust in Allah (swt), she doesn't rely on anyone else (including her beloved husband) for fulfillment. So when/if she's let down... she was innocent, steadfast and will inshaAllah have the last laugh (if that's what this is all about)...
But... I dont know if anyone is familiar with Madea (Tyler Perrys) Why Did I Get Married? ... there is a character... I think her name is Dianne, she is like the typical woman I was kind of looking up to. But she's crazy. Constantly checking up on her husband and obsessively assuming he's unfaithful. In the movie, its funny but in real life, its sickening. Here's a clip of the insanity: - just watch from 1:25 onward... so thats one thing
2. Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (RA) says that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Four traits whoever possesses them is a hypocrite and whoever possesses some of them has an element of hypocrisy until he leaves it: the one who when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise, when he disputes he transgresses and when he makes an agreement he violates it.” (Muslim and Bukhari)
enough said. for tonight.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

a start


Allahumma inni a'oodhoo bika O Allah! I seek refuge in You from anxiety
minal-hammi wal-huzni, wal-'ajzi and sorrow, weakness and laziness,
wal-kasali wal-bukhli wal-jubni, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of
wa dal'id-dayni wa ghalabatir- debts and from being oppressed by men.


Allahumma rahmataka arjoo falaa O Allah! It is Your mercy that I hope for
takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata so do not leave me in charge of my affairs
'aynin wa aslih-lee sha'nee even for a blink of an eye; and rectify
kullahu, laa ilaha illa anta for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be
worshipped except You.

"put away childish things"-phase 1

The secret to change... is clearly on a different path then this that I trod. My maturing depends upon direct and forcible eradication of the nonsense plaguing my heart. Flattery, self-consciousness and jealousy, self-centered, overly talkative, assuming the worst of people at times, wasting time chasing wasted things, wasting money, impatient, less dedicated then vitally necessary... its heading for trouble.

The Healthy Heart

On the Day of Resurrection, only those who come to Allah with a healthy heart will be saved. Allah says:

"The day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever brings to Allah a sound heart. (26:88-89)"

In defining the healthy heart, the following has been said: "It is a heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what Allah commands, or disputes what He forbids. It is free from any impulses which contradict His good. As a result, it is safeguarded against the worship of anything other than Him, and seeks the judgement of no other except that of His Messenger . Its services are exclusively reserved for Allah, willingly and lovingly, with total reliance, relating all matters to Him, in fear, hope and sincere dedication. When it loves, its love is in the way of Allah. If it detests, it detests in the lght of what He detests. When it gives, it gives for Allah. If it witholds, it withholds for Allah. Nevertheless, all this will not suffice for its salvation until it is free from following, or taking as its guide, anyone other than His Messenger ." A servant with a healthy heart must dedicate it to its journey's end and not base his actions and speech on those of any other person except Allah's Messenger . He must not give precedence to any other faith or words or deeds over those of Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah says:

"Oh you who believe, do not put yourselves above Allah and His Messenger, but fear Allah, for Allah is Hearing, Knowing. (49:1)"

The Dead Heart

This is the opposite of the healthy heart. It does not know its Lord and does not worship Him as He commands, in the way which He likes, and with which He is pleased. It clings instead to its lusts and desires, even if these are likely to incur Allah's displeasure and wrath. It worships things other than Allah, and its loves and its hatreds, and its giving and its withholding, arise from its whims, which are of paramount importance to it and preferred above the pleasure of Allah. Its whims are its imam. Its lust is its guide. Its ignorance is its leader. Its crude impulses are its impetus. It is immersed in its concern with worldly objectives. It is drunk with its own fancies and its love for hasty, fleeting pleasures. It is called to Allah and the akhira from a distance but it does not respond to advice, and instead it follows any scheming, cunning shayton. Life angers and pleases it, and passion makes it deaf and blind (1) to anything except what is evil.

To associate and keep company with the owner of such a heart is to tempt illness: living with him is like taking poison, and befriending him means utter destruction.

The Sick Heart

This is a heart with life in it, as well as illness. The former sustains it at one moment, the latter at another, and it follows whichever one of the two manages to dominate it. It has love for Allah, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him, and these are what give it life. It also has a craving for lust and pleasure, and prefers them and strives to experience them. It is full of self-admiration, which can lead to its own destruction. It listens to two callers: one calling it to Allah and His Prophet and the akhira; and the other calling it to the fleeting pleasures of this world. It responds to whichever one of the two happens to have most influence over it at the time.

The first heart is alive, submitted to Allah, humble, sensitive and aware; the second is brittle and dead; the third wavers between either its safety or its ruin.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Facebook has been taking care of my recent feelings and given me a channel to express myself, share recent writings and poetry, and accept feedback... but today, I think, requires a blog entry. Plus da man doesn't like facebook AT ALL (which poses the question: is there more harm or benefit in my having a facebook account?...something for me to ponder and also ask any readers of my blog. help me out on that if you would.)
So... what I've been through lately has been emotionally intense, alhamdulillah for everything... it could just be my 'emotional' era of the month lol. BUT nonetheless, I'll write if only for therapeutic purposes.
My intuition has been spot-on lately! Sometimes in life, it turns out that I'm either reading a person wrong, or my instincts are based on my own gut feelings instead of proof or evidence and end up being false. But lately, everything (to my dismay) has been exactly as I felt it was. :( Which has been sad because it dealt with very close friends of mine... this isn't the venue to discuss details, but it's been rough trying to read body language, read between lines of statements... GOD why can't women just be clear and direct and to-the-point??? At the same time, we are Muslims and there are manners of argumentation to be observed so I can see where the tension lies when one is trying to be as appropriate as possible while attempting to file a complaint against another girl. And gossip/slander is NEVER an option... so that eliminates that category of 'expression'.
Moving on... I've been learning SO much that I actually have to write it down specifically to organize my thought and clearly define the lessons.
Lesson 1: "Pillow talk"- I've been coming to realize that the husband is not the place to bring complaints. Even if you need someone as a confidant or someone to turn to for advice... I'm not so sure the husband is the right one. Actually I dont know who is the right one. Maybe we're supposed to lock up our negativity, collect it into a condensed mass, and during a dua'a, hurl it up into the sky for out Most Benevolent Creator to handle; and pray for peace of heart and patience in trying times. Because even if we try to confide in our husbands... I think it's still gossip. You know? Doesn't matter what your intentions are... I can rationalize and try to justify the gheeba by saying 'I'm seeking advice', or 'I need to get this off my chest' or 'vent' but in the end, its all the same. No distinction was made when the Prophet (as) prohibited gheeba and defined it. I think this is where true tawakelt3alaAllah (trust in Allah) comes in handy. Is there a better being to confide-in then arRafia el3ala? (The Highest of Companions)
And honestly, thats going to prove far more beneficial in this life and in the next. Allah is sufficient in disposing of affairs.
Lesson 2: Cut back on using the word 'no'. "When asked for something, the Prophet (asws) never said the word 'no', but instead he encouraged conversation and dialogue until the right conclusion was found. Even when a young man came to the Prophet and asked him for permission to have an intimate relationship with a girl outside of marriage, the most beloved Prophet of God didn't over react. He calmly called the boy to join the group where he was sitting, and asked him the following: "Would you like for someone to fornicate with your mother, daughter or sister?" When the boy stated the obvious 'no', the Prophet, peace be upon him said, "Just as you dislike this for your relatives, so your neighbour dislikes it for his relatives." Basically, do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. So if the Prophet answered this very difficult question in such a way as to transcend the crude 'no', then surely I can defeat my inclination to end a request from my 3-year-old or .. anyone else for that matter, with a blunt, controlling 'no'. Or 'because I said so'... and treat him/them with the utmost respect, convincing them that this is not the best thing at the moment, or maybe at all. Also, presenting alternative options is the best way to say 'no' kindly to Yusuf. Like no chocolate milk right now, but heres an all natural homemade mouth watering fruit smoothie (no sugar added) :)
Lesson 3: The Sheikh at our Islamic Conference this weekend set forth a parable. Consider the GPS (lol); how does it correct the mistake of the driver? It calmly redirects; pleasantly presenting the better option to reach the goal. :) This is how a spouse should correct the mistakes or faults of their better half.

Yusuf went to his first day of pre-school today. We got up early, did the whole hygiene routine, brought him over and I stayed for a while just watching before I left. I don't know what to do with myself, I've just been blogging, cleaning and eating. I have Sofie so it's not like I can take a class or join the gym... so ... I'm just kinda letting him have some social life, learning to listen to other authority figures then me. I guess his benefits in this pre-school are the above listed as well as; 1. a change of environment/ people 2. learning/ creating crafts 3. interacting with other kids then those of our close family friends.
But if I begin to detect any change of attitude or behaviour thats not a positive change, hes outta there FAST. I've worked too hard for some pre-school to spoil all his training. Anyway, this is the best place in the city, so inshaAllah rabbel 3alameen I'm hoping for the best. The teachers seem kind and passionate about their work, I see evidence of safety, organization and child-centeredness all over the place in there. Little crafts and memories the kids participated in are hanging on the walls... inshaAllah inshaAllah inshaAllah khair <3
hmmm what else...
I've been humbled recently by a REALLY stupid thing I did... and I've heard that if a bad action leads to humility, it's better then a good action that leads to pride (in some cases) so... I hope I always remember my own mistake(s) and let them keep me lowly so that when others make mistakes, especially those close to my heart, I can bear my faults in mind and be easy on them in terms of forgiveness. On that note, why is it so easy to forgive/pardon strangers but harder to forgive those closest to us? ... those who most deserve our kindness??
Gotta go pick up my love, Yusuf <3
I'll probably follow this though up later.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Happy Home-maker

We Global History lovers grow up awe-struck underneath shadows of great men and women who went down in history as 'first's and 'best's, revolutionaries and anti-conformists who changed the world for the better. They were the figures fasting for the cause they believed in, sitting for it, standing for it, fighting for it, imprisoned for it, marching, singing, riding, writing, crying, bleeding for their cause. They had a mission, a conviction which they knew needed them to act as a vessel of change. Otherwise, change would never come. Their children would suffer the same condition they mourned over. They were activists. Naturally, I always assumed I'd be one of them; not for the sake of the glory or legacy, but we are a generation desperate for change. I always assumed that God gave me two arms, legs, eyes to see, and a mind to calculate so that I could assume my position among those who have changed the world for the better. Then I met my husband, who wasn't thrilled about my idea of becoming the next Rachel Corrie... he convinced me that the best thing I could contribute to a society would be a healthy family. "After all", he said, "How many healthy, wholesome families are left in the world today?" We were married and children came, and for four years, I've not stopped struggling with my decision to 'settle down' and slowly slip out of the bustling world to dwell in my home. Not that I don't leave the house, but you can't very well bring infants to political conventions, and rarely do rallies and protests have the organization to tote along porta-potties, and even then its not worth the hassle changing diapers or breastfeeding therein. Plus what do I look like carrying a diaper bag and a huge protest sign...? It just aint happening.

Its only been a struggle for me to accept my most honorable place because frankly, the post-Industrial Revolution/feminist West doesn't honor it. I'm always hesitant with a hint of shame to admit to friends or family that no, I'm not working outside the house, and I'm probably not going to continue University for a while. Older women understand because I suppose they have the hindsight to appreciate the role of a mother in the lives of the children and household. I'm not saying that if you have ovaries, you stay in the house. I mean, if it weren't for the kids, I'd probably be out 'activising' or whatever it was I wanted to do so many years ago. But God gave me the ability to bear and nurture my babies who really do need ME. Not just any knucklehead in a daycare.

I'd like to quote Khalid Baig, as his book was an inspiration in a time when I struggled with feelings of insufficiency and self-doubt. In his chapter on Motherhood, he describes the ideology I've circumstantially embraced. Describing the Clinton Administrations' plan to create a mentoring program for at-risk adolescents involving adult volunteers, Baig questions the notion and cause for the plan, asking, "What happened to their parents?...Mothers left their homes to 'realize their full potential'... A society that belittled the task of homemaking lost the homemakers...(They circulate the ideas that) Life is fun. Homemaking is dull. Children are a burden. Now 15 million of them are a burden on society." He then quotes Mikhail Gorbachev (1987) who mentioned that this phenomenon is simply the "paradoxical result of our sincere and politically justified desire to make women equal with men in everything." Baig continues,"Not only is this an all-important task, but only women are uniquely qualified to do it. It is not an accident that pregnancy and nursing are purely feminine tasks. Allah Most High has given women the special physical and psychological make-up needed to take care of children. There is no substitute for mothers milk or mothers love..Unfortunately, in Muslim and non-Muslim communities, 'professional' women enjoy a higher social status then the 'mere housewives'. Mothers are the silent workers who are indispensable for building the character of the next generation." In the chapter entitled Gold and Glitter, he talks about feminism and womens history in the west in comparison to the role and rights of women in Islam. He says,"The gold standard for women's status in society has been developed by the west. And everyone must now comply...It is true that there has been a lot in history for women to revolt against. In the 1860s, a married Englishwoman did not exist as a legal person. Upon marriage she entered a condition called "converture", effectively making her a possession of her husband. Her name was changed to indicate the new ownership, a practice that continues to date. She could not own property, make a contract or will, or get custody rights for her own children. The 1632 English law declared: "That which the husband hath is his own. That which the wife hath is the husband's." Worse, she had no rights to get out of a miserable marriage. Until 1857, divorce was obtainable through the passage of an Act of Parliament.Her second-class status was widely believed. :"[man] is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man" [I Cor. 11:7]. So we see no respectable leader in the West in the 15th through the 18th centuries challenging these ideas. Here, for example, is the great reformer Martin Luther: "If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that's why they are there."The works of Mary Wollstonecroft (1792) and John Staurt Mill (1869) are presented as the first voices of revolt. But these were controversial people who were rejected and ignored by their contemporaries. Both would be re-discovered in the second half of the 20th century because they provided a justification for the later developments.The scene begins to change in the 19th century, not under the force of any moral argument, but because of pressures generated by the industrial revolution. The juggernaut of industrial revolution destroyed the old handicraft based economy and forced the workers to move to the sweat shops in big cities. They demanded, in vain, "family wages" so a man could support his family on his income. The capitalists would rather have the family also come to his service if it wanted to eat. There was no option but to send the women (and children) to the factory to make ends meet.Later, the opening of clerical jobs needed millions of other women to come out of their homes and become sales girls, typists, secretaries, waitresses. Cheap labor. The process was given a moral purpose by the language of the feminist movement. It measured their "progress" by how many had been driven out of their homes. It labeled the social upheavals caused by the industrial revolution as women's emancipation. According to its convoluted logic if a woman serves food to her husband and children, it is slavery. If she provides the same service to total strangers in a restaurant or aircraft, risking their never ending advances, that is emancipation! The destruction of the home is a direct result of this progress.

Islam, on the other hand, gives her her God-given rights without forcing her out of the home. She has rights of property ownership, and inheritance, She has rights in her marriage similar to the rights of the husband. Far from the non-adult she is depicted to be, she is responsible for effective management of the home and the upbringing of the children, a most challenging job.The paradise of her children lies at her feet; the righteousness of her husband is to be judged by his kind treatment to her; to bring her up in a loving caring manner, assures her father protection from hell.

And here's the part that struck home to me, people!! : "In a way, their role is like that of the archers in the battle of Uhud. It looked less important but it was key to the fate of the entire army. If women hold on to their front, the entire army will succeed. If they leave it for the 'greater action' elsewhere, everyone will lose."

Mr. Baig, JAZAKUM'ALLAH KHAIRAN for that nugget of inspiration and that beautiful metaphor, so fitting I can't help but to think it was meant to be.

And as for me, I pray not only to whole-heartedly embrace this logic, but come on! I have to be more of a forward-thinker! Lord willing, my life wont end after my 20's are gone and my kids are off in high-school! I can always go back to school... bring them to all my nerdy 'causes' and 'concerns' when they're old enough to understand. These are just the few, mundane years of diaper-changing and mess-cleaning I need to buckle-down and perform some self-sacrifice for the sweethearts I've been blessed with. After this, its pie... I hope ;) (???)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Qur'an has a RIGHT over you!

I didn't know until recently that the Noble Qur'an, kitaabullah, has a right over me as a Muslim, and I have a duty to perform my responsibility toward it. This right is not that it should collect dust, or be extravagantly adorned on each cover, or that when my son bumps into the bookshelf and it falls to the ground, I kiss it, touch it to my forehead and return it to its station, untouched except in Ramadhaan. Before I go into exactly what our duty is unto the Qur'an, I think its important to understand that (as the Prophet says, peace be upon him:) "The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small." (Bukhari and Muslim). So when it comes to pleasing Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, consistency is the key. For example, it is better for our hearts as well as in Gods eyes if we were to pray 3 units of prayer nightly through out the year then if we were to stay up praying one entire night, and neglect the night prayer the rest of the year.
I feel that in my life as well, as I was explaining to my husband; it is better in the eyes of the wife if you bring small, consistent gifts or tokens of your love over time then it'd be if you did one huge act of romanticism... and slacked off the rest of the time. Men tend to pull those kinds of moves, then refer back to them when you start asking for more... the old, "I'm romantic! Remember that one time back when we first got married and I ________?!? Remember?Man, beware of ingratitude, woman. Go make me a sandwich." (fill in the blank with any of the following: cooked you an omelette, bought you a cake (which he proceeded to scarf down), gave you a $5 and told you to buy something nice for yourself...maybe like a pack of gum.)
BUT I digress.
So...without further ado, the right that the Qur'an has over us as Muslims is that it be read at the very minimum, twice a year. Once throughout the year, and once in the month of Ramadhaan.
Today I calculated that if you read 2 pages of Qur'an everyday, you'll finish before the next Ramadhaan inshaAllah.
Now, let me go into why reading the ARABIC version of Qur'an is highly recommended, and why if you cannot read Arabic and are a Muslim, you are advised to learn Arabic by any means. Find someone in your community, dedicate yourself to a class at your local university, read a book, watch videos on youtube at the very least... make an effort. The Arabic language is one of the miraculous aspects of the Qur'an; and take it from me, a native English-speaker, the Arabic language will increase you in your wisdom just by learning the vocabulary and roots of the words. It's an incredible journey.
But at the same time, we shouldn't neglect the tafseer (commentary on), or translation of Qur'an if we don't understand the Arabic, because Surah Sad 38: 29 says “Quran is a book which we have revealed full of blessings, so that you can meditate on those ayahs, and the men of understanding will receive admonition. And Surat al Hashr 59:21 says, "Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect." So we do need to do extra as 3ajami people (non-Arabs) to get the FULL benefit of Allahs word inshaAllah.
Some more inspiration to pick up the much- neglected mus'haf:
The Prophet (asws) said, "Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.” So increase your recitation of the Qur’an to gain these merits, and to gain the following merit as well.

In another hadeeth, ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, relates that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wasallam, said, ‘The recital of the Qur'an at dawn is always witnessed - the angels of the night and the angels of the day witness it." (Tirmithi).

So in closing, may Allah increase us in our knowledge and love for His religion, and open our minds to the truth, even if it is against ourselves, and may we be increased in sincerity as we read Qur'an and in all our actions.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lessons Learned

This Ramadhaan taught me a lot about myself..mostly things that needed change. So my self-esteem is pretty low. But all the better that way, I suppose. First, I learned how very little food I can manage on. Some mornings I'd just get up for a date or three and a cup of milk, and I was set for the day! A little sleepy and hungry by maghrib; but thats beside the point. The plates of food I consume daily are unnecessary and probably tip the scale at potentially harmful since I'm addicted to sweets... ;p secondly, I was unable to eliminate sweets altogether and I actually ate them in excess some nights. So my self-control isn't where it should be. Third, fasting makes me a better mother and a better driver! I'm patient, calm, cool and collected with the kids and I'm slow, rational and wise on the road. Not like on a normal day when I'm fast and feisty with both... so that's encouragement for me to fast through the year. Lastly (for this post) I realized how the value of my husband. Beyond the material provision, he really provides a sense of comfort and security in our home; and he wasn't here for the last 10 days- he was on 'itekaf... so I really appreciated that truth during the time he was gone. And there's more, but my kids have to get to bed.