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Showing posts from July, 2013

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 21: The Frumpy Wife

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In email communication with a friend of mine, and my admitting to coming across a writer's block for future topics, she recommended writing about pornography addiction among Muslims. I started to look into this and was astounded at the sheer amount of Muslim-geared information there is on this topic. I figured that it would take a while to write about this, and since it carries a lot of weight/is taboo, it wasn't something I could easily whip up and post.

While I was reading a lengthy article on the Muslim Matters website about pornography, I came across a desperate plea from a brother who was writing about experiences with his addiction. Interestingly, his wife (who wrote in about living with someone addicted to pornography) echoed the same sentiment I'm about to share. I'm not sure why the following caught me so off guard and launched me into deep reflection:

"Please, to all the wives out there, put effort into how you look when your husband is around. Don't s…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 20: Scholars, Money, and Online Fame

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I've been seeing a variety of requests on my Facebook Newsfeed of where I should be giving my zakat (note: zakat is the mandatory giving of financial charity by Muslims and comprises 2.5% of what someone owns). Some requests are from agencies and organizations that one would expect (i.e. overseas relief funds, local Muslim-geared charities, US Muslim charities, etc). But then I came across one request today that somewhat baffled me.

A well known Muslim educator is asking for charity. I clicked on the link and this person is asking for $20,000 to build a media studio so that he is better able to record and transmit his videos all over the world. In his words, he wants to "shake Muslims out of spiritual poverty" and he needs a 21st Century media-room to do this. Judging from the hundreds and thousands of dollars that people are pledging, his request is working and the money is rolling in. MashAllah, this person raised over $18,000 with 209 donations in just a few hours. A…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 19: The Un-Veiling

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I didn't think I would be blogging about hijab again, but here I am. I've kept my thoughts inside (and this entry unpublished for a couple of months), but bottling them up didn't make them go away. I've gotten past what people will think about me for what I'm about to write. Besides, I'm not known for following the crowd anyway. And since I see too many Muslims not using their critical thinking skills, I figured I should be brave enough to put my own thoughts out there with the hopes that others can be open as well. 

I was reading some of my blog entries from a few years ago, when I started to wear hijab, and I was startled to think that I wrote some of them. At the time, I was firmly a "hijab wearing Muslim"; I loved the choice, and felt that I had "made it" to an unwritten sect of higher spirituality and religiosity (yes, I admit thinking that). I felt like I had an identity, that I knew who I was, and that the hijab allowed me to be mysel…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 18: Little Mosques in the Big Cities

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About six years ago, when I started to dig deeper into the faith I was brought up with, I became very narrow in my views of what I should care about. I became so Islamically gung-ho that my thoughts, blogs, musings, and most of my other daylight hours revolved around my faith. I had grown up with mostly non-Muslim friends, so I wanted a group of solid Muslim ones who could help ground me and support my spiritual development. I blogged about Muslim-only topics fervently as I tried to grasp hold of this rediscovered faith I had just "let be" for the majority of my life. Why I practiced Islam from a young age, I didn't really choose to explore it until my 20s.

And then a couple of years ago, it hit me. I was becoming too Muslim-centric in my views and with what concerned me. I started to realize that general society is not going to give a crap about the issues in my community if I don't show them care and concerns towards what they are facing. Why should they donate to s…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 17: A Sister's Story of Abuse

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The following is an excerpt from a Muslim sister in Canada who contacted me not too long ago. She had read a couple of my blog entries about domestic abuse and the need for education and services within the Muslim community. She wanted to share her story but asked to remain anonymous, so I offered to use my blog as a vehicle for her words. So I'm sharing what she shared with me with the hopes that we'll all learn from it. I commend her for the strength it took to place her story into words, since going through something like this is not easy to re-live.

Bismillah.

"You're such a slut. I know white girls who are better than you"

I couldn't believe I had let things come to this point. We were less than two weeks away from our supposed Nikah, for which nothing was organized, and he's calling me a slut? The even scarier fact was that I believed him. How did I let things get to this point? 


It all started with a simple request. When I started communicating with …

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 16: The Musings of a Former Super-Wife

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"Here, let me grab that one too," Asif offered, as he unloads another grocery bag from my hands and muscles it towards the elevator. I look down at the one grocery bag I'm carrying and think to myself, I can carry more!

But I'm learning that I don't need to prove to myself that I can.

One of the greatest lessons I've had to learn since getting married is to allow my husband to help with the more physically demanding tasks of domestic life. This has been challenging since prior to getting married, I did it all myself. I mean, I had to! Even though I lived at home, I was quite independent and self-sufficient. If I needed something heavy hauled into my car or into the house, I'd do it. If my car needed something or other done, it would get done. In other words, I was my own provider and I was quite content with this state of affairs.

Then marriage hit and I realized that this doesn't work anymore.

When I placed myself into Asif's shoes, I realized that b…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 15: In Search of Modesty

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There are many two-word combinations that can be used to describe the current fashion trends seen in stores today. Too short. Too sheer. Too open. Too revealing. Too tight. Too skinny.

Unfortunately, they're all in the negative, especially during the summer months where the need to bare it all or most of it is present.

For a gal who is in search of modesty, and 5 ' 9" at the same time (since most stores don't cater to this height), it can be more than challenging to find clothing that fulfils my modesty requirements. Long enough to cover the tush, long sleeves, high crew neck or button down, not see through, skirts with no slits, and pants that aren't too tight yet also NOT reminiscent of the MC Hammer era. Are these requirements too much to ask for?!

Apparently, yes.

And while it would be easy to don men's clothing or wear an abaya 24/7, that's not me. I do believe that one can look modest AND polished at the same time. Clothing should also reflect your …

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 14: The Baby Bump

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It seems like pretty much every woman around me is pregnant. Ok, that's an exaggeration, but still...so many of my girlfriends just had a baby or are expecting. Is there something in the water?! Just kidding. I think it's the age range we are in and the number of relatively newlyweds, or those going onto baby #2 or #3, that we know. But seeing women have babies has me thinking about our (InshaAllah) future baby. While Asif thinks more about the future "product"/our new child, the pregnancy process is what looms ahead for me first. And since I've also been thinking about what life as parents would be like, I've come to a stark realization.

I'm scared. Allow me to explain.

God did not endow me with the highest level of pain tolerance. I just about fainted at a public restaurant when a co-worker described her birthing and post-birth experience. I get woozy at any mention of blood, pain, etc. I once fainted in the elevator after picking up my youngest brothe…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 13: The Many Languages of Islam

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O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted (Quran, Chapter 49: Verse 13).

My first language is English, next is Persian/Farsi, and I have an odd smattering of French and Spanish. Growing up, my parents taught me how to read Arabic for the purpose of reciting of the Quran, but I was not taught how to comprehend what I was reciting. I had to read the English translation, verse by verse, to grasp what this holy text meant. That started around the time I was 8 years old and continued until this year. Every time I read the Quran in Arabic, I would have to immediately read the English translation, and try to match the Arabic word to the English. For those who also can't understand Arabic, you'll understand when I say how disjointed and frustrating this is.

While I would love to be able t…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 12: Haute Hijabs and High Stylin' Sisters

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I looked down at my bathroom counter and saw my weapons lying before me. I was set and ready to go, and I would SUCCEED! There were a multitude of pins, safety pins, diaper pins, and a volumizing scrunchie that would ensure my hijab would be rocking on the fashion scale. And a potential bohemian style headband that I may add on top of my hijab for some extra "oomph!"

After 15 minutes of wrestling with my head and stabbing myself an inordinate number of times, I gave up. My head looked like a bomb had gone off and sent fabric spraying all over the place. I consider myself a pretty coordinated and crafty person, but I failed miserably at this newest hijab style. That stupid scrunchie gives me a headache anyway and it's really hard to drive with a giant thingy-mabob constantly smacking against my headrest. I wrapped my hijab the way I normally do, minus the volume, gave myself a dazzling smile in the mirror, and headed out. Less is more, I thought to myself.

I'm sure I…

Ramadan Reflections '13, Day 10: To My Future Daughter

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I often wonder how many parents instil in their daughter(s) what they "need to know" before they start their search for a life partner.  Thanks to Disney, which implants an unrealistic portrait of a suitor, and the Muslim community, which places outward religious practice at the forefront, the two ends of this spectrum does not meet most people's needs. And what I don't mean is conversations between parents and children that use the words "good paying job", "practicing Muslim," "highly educated" and "good family." It can be challenging to determine what qualities are truly important and how to hold your standards up to a self-approved level, especially when there's pressure and high expectations from your family.

So in the future case that Asif and I have a daughter as a child, I would want her to know a few things from another woman's perspective before she started her search for a husband. I would hope that she would…