Most Beautiful Place On Earth

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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Product of the Environment...

<--- From this, to this ----->

WHY, OH WHY do the very traits that I abhor from my cultural upbringing still exist in me??? It feels like the harder I try to eliminate my anger, impatience, rebelliousness, and lack of discipline, the harder deeper I backslide into their realm. It's really getting ridiculous. Maybe I'm not cut out for this lifestyle. I'd leave it alone and rid my husband of my misdemeanors forever; except that we have these beautiful nuggets of life and aspiration, looking up at us with their big, lashy brown eyes full of wonder and awe... as we wince and attempt explanation and example... kids are holding my life together right now. I've heard that the more a person tries to improve themselves, the harder shaytaan plays. Well, that could be the case.
وأعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم
I find myself often contemplating the phrase 'live peacefully, or leave peacefully'. I know very well that having a husband in a world where women out number men globally at least 2-1 is an asset, if not solely for the provision/companionship aspect. But sometimes, stress that is a result of problems in a marriage can lead to anger directed at the innocent children. And that leads the couple to the question; is it worth maintaining a marriage merely for the sake of 'family' if the members of the said family may be emotionally or developmentally harmed in the process? Well... it's a tough call for many families who have situations like me, where a LOT of work is needed. Improvements in wivery, motherhood... you name it... but as long as theres no physical abuse or severe verbal abuse going on, I dont see anything more worthwhile in the world. It does get overwhelming, certainly. And sometimes, it even feels that death would be easier. It sounds morbid, but I'm not kidding. This life is a test, and its end is our last breath. One hadeeth reported by Ali ibn Abi Talib says, "The Jihad of a woman is to afford pleasant company to her husband..." and there are many more that relay the same connotation; that a woman's wife and motherhood (being a teacher to her children, patient, obedient to her husband, kind to them and steadfast in prayer etc) will raise her to the maqqam of mujahida... and I know why. It's a fierce battlefield when you fight against your own desires to meet the demands/needs of your children, and you die to yourself for the sake of your husband, not just ONCE... but many times daily. It's not easy! Especially when you've been raised in a culture that pities a stay-at-home mother, and tells her that there's so much more in the social circle, or the political arena... it hurts. That, along with the fact that we've grown up disobeying our parents who glorified disobedience to their parents, who knew no better then disobeying their parents. And now I'm expected to be a 'submissive, obedient wife'.... let me just say that old habits die hard. But, if what Allah (swt) wants from me is obedience, softness, and politeness... then I'm going to expend my energy and emotional capacity to fulfill these requests. BUT it takes a while to take a person from one extreme to the next. And where I once relished my rebellious 'tude, and my outspoken, freedom-fighter state of mind... this all needs to change. I need stillness. Silence. Softness. Quietness. Submission. And that will mend my backward heart, and save my precious family. God help me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WOW ... Does God Love War?

I literally cried, not just 'sniffled a little', not just 'got choked up', but actually cried THREE TIMES during this lecture. Hormones? Maybe. But I think it was more the severity of the message and the realness of the narration. Chris Hedges delivers a mighty speech on the evils of modern war in all of its corruption and illness. May Allah (swt) protect us, and purify our hearts. Yaa rabb, protect my children from the horrors of war, ya Allah relieve the pain of the babies experiencing warfare. And the pain of the women, and the pain of the elderly. And the pain of the honorable, noble men who are oppressed by the worst of mankind, the oppressors. And we seek refuge in YOU alone, oh Lord of the worlds...

Here, Hamza Yusuf goes into the Islamic perspective, with eloquence and relevant knowledge as per usual. Gotta love him. This was a very touching couple of lectures, and much needed in my life personally, in light of an influx of sad news I've been bombarded with lately. God save Queen Mariam Sofia Mohamed and Yusuf Amin Mohamed, and their parents, and the Ummah of their Prophet. AMEEEEEN.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Encouragement From 'Laa Tahzan'

I don't plan on writing two blogs a day, but the babies fell asleep, the house is quiet, I don't have facebook to waste my time on anymore... so why not? Plus, I'm inspired. After re-reading my first post, I'm hoping my writing skills will improve in the process of writing these blogs... because MAN that was poorly written. But anyway, I wanted to list a few chapters and highlights from al-Qari's 'Laa Tahzan' which are helping me in my journey to finding contentment within my home, abandoning my emotional need to be in the world.
So, now I'm going to list some quotes, and the chapters of the book in which they're found.
Repel Boredom with Work
"Being inactive means being negligent of ones duties.Idleness is an expert thief and your mind is a victim.Therefore get up now and say a prayer, read a book, study, write, organize your library, fix something in your house, or benefit others so that you can put an end to your inactivity.I say this only bcs I sincerely wish for your betterment.Destroy boredom by working. If you apply this simple precept alone, you will have travelled at least 50% of the wy towards happiness.Look at the farmers, carpenters, and the bread-maker, and observe how, when they are working, they recite words as melodious as the singing of birds, bcs they are content."
Enough for you is your Home
The words 'isolation' and 'seclusion' have special meanings in our religion: to stay away from evil and its perpetrators, and to keep those who are foolish at a distance. When you seclude yourself from evil in this manner, you will have an opportunity to think, to reflect, and to graze in the meadows of enlightenment...I advise you to fortify yourself to your purpose and isolate yourself in your room, except when you leave it to speak well or to do well. Hold your tongue from backbiting, free your heart from anxiety, and preserve your ears from profanity. (BTW: al-Qushayree said in his own dissertation on the topic of isolation, that the one who seeks seclusion should feel that he is doing so in order to protect people from HIS evil, and not the opposite. This is to breed a modest opinion of ones self)

Isolation and its positive Effects
When alone, one does nothing for show or ostentation, since none but Allah sees him, and since none but Allah hears him. Al-Qadi `Ali ibn `Abdul `Aziz al-Jurjani said: "I never tasted the sweetness of life until
I became a companion of home and book,There is nothing more honorable than knowledge, so I seek in no other an associate,
Truly, the only degradation is in mixing with people, Therefore leave them and live nobly and stately."
Ibn Faris said "When distress is such that my heart becomes constricted, I say that perhaps one day will bring with it some aid, my comrade is my cat and my soul's companions are my books, and the object of my love is my night-lantern."

Your Best Companion is a Book
Al-Jaahiz, a centuries old Arab writer, advised that reading of good books can repel anxiety:

“The book is a companion that does not praise you and does not entice you to evil. It is a friend that does not bore you, and it is a neighbor that causes you no harm. It is an acquaintance that desires not to extract from you favors through flattery, and it does not deceive you with duplicity and lies.

When you are poring through the pages of a book, your senses are stimulated and your intellect sharpens... Through reading the biographies of others, you gain an appreciation of common people while learning the ways of kings. It can even be said that you sometimes learn from the pages of a book in a month, what you do not learn from the tongues of men in a century"

Every journey of a thousand miles...

Begins with a single step. Today, my first step is to stop. To get out of the rat race, off the social scene, and make myself content with what is in my home. It has caused a lot of strife in my daily happenings, and a bit of turmoil in my marriage. It has pressed my heart daily- the beckoning of the outdoors!!! Growing up, no one asked me about my doings or whereabouts, I used to save a few dollars during the work/school week and stay with friends in the city on weekends, going and coming as I pleased. Being a latchkey kid was more then a pleasure when I was young... but since I've become a Muslim, I find myself struggling (in a positive way) to listen to and obey the Qur'anic injunction for Muslim women to stay in our homes (33:33). When I first became a Muslim, I lived with an AMAZING family who took me in, loved me and provided for me as if I were their own; and I regret admitting that I actually made my 'auntie' (the mother of the home I stayed in) worry quite a bit when I'd wander into the new town after school, or take a random bus trip into the city, not necessarily with full permission. It's like an addiction... but to what? Fresh air? That can be had in one's backyard! I don't know... it must be the people watching... the promise of interaction with strangers, the possibility of learning something new, discovering, opportunity, culture, food... these are usually the things that draw me out of my home. Especially when I was single.
Now, I'm married. I have two beautiful babies (Yusuf is 2 years old, Mariam Sofia is 5 mos), and I still feel the occasional 'call of the wild'. Well, its a little more then occasional. More like every other day. It's a little more difficult now, of course, being sure I have the diaper bag handy, packed with preparations to tend to every possible situation that could and does go wrong, being sure I'll have a private, comfortable place to breastfeed and enough food to pacify myself and my toddler (who has the appetite of a grown lumberjack). These circumstances have certainly put a damper on my free-for-all adventurous lifestyle, but for the better. Now, it's time for me to adjust, which definitely requires Divine Guidance, patience, far-sightedness, and wisdom. So among other things, this journey will be discussed in my future writings.