Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cultural Dedication Creates Division???

My husband came home from the mosque tonight with news that he had been invited to yet another Ramadan event. Really I'm happy for him, it must be nice to go to these types of things. Of course, me never being invited to anything that has to do with Islam, asked what it was all about. The Saudi Club invited him, they apparently have frequent gatherings where they talk about....hmmm......I really have no idea. They told him to bring the wife, my eyes lit up when I heard this, but I was slowly disappointed. My husband goes on about how they don't speak english and that I may not feel comfortable there. Well of course I won't!! My arabic entails surah al fatiha, salaam and few other words that aren't even enough to form simple sentences. I don't know why I was even told I was allowed to come, I mean what's the point? To stare at a wall? I can do that at home. I don't know any of the women that are part of the Saudi Club and I don't know how they'd feel about me. I'm not saying they will be rude or ignore me, but I wonder should I even go to a cultural club's gathering? It appears to me that it's part of the reason why there is so much division in Islam. Seems to me people need to create Islamic clubs where everyone is allowed and we can learn first hand about other cultures. Why segregate yourself into a cultural group? Islam doesn't teach that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Alhamdulillah today I'm another year older, I know there are people out there that are going to tell me celebrating birthdays are haram, or are an innovation. Doesn't Islam let us keep our culture unless it specifically goes against the religion?! I'm Canadian and celebrating my birthday is a part of my culture. I am not about to go in debt celebrating my birthday, dinner and flowers is all I ask for (lol only half joking). Islam is about moderation, giving thanks to Allah, and appreciating everyday we are blessed with. Depending where you go to find your information, or should I say which sites you visit, there is evidence for and against celebrating birthdays.

Islamonline states that "Islam teaches Muslim to have a unique character and to be distinguished. A Muslim is weaned on morality and avoiding blind imitation. Islam supports the celebration of a birthday if it is an expression of gratitude to Allah for His bounties, sustenance and blessings in man’s life, as long as that celebration does not include anything that may displease Allah, the Almighty." and gives the evidence that "The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about fasting on Mondays, and he answered: “It is the day on which I was born.” Within the Muslim world you can see there are different styles of dress, different food and other small differences that distinguish us as being part of a certain culture.

On the other end of the spectrum there are those who are against Muslims celebrating birthdays, Islam-qa states that "Besides being bid’ah and having no basis in sharee’ah, these birthday celebrations also involve imitation of the Jews and Christians in their birthday celebrations." I personally do not see how this is following the Christians or Jews, but then again people say not to imitate the hair styles, or dress of the Christians and Jews, but what does that mean nowadays? If you shop at any department store here you'll find clothes suitable for Muslims but designed for everyone, Jew, Christian, Athiest, Hindu ect. Arab Christians and Jews say Salam as a greeting, does that mean we should stop saying salam? No, of course not.

It's not just our actions that Allah (SWT) judges, it's also our intentions. So whether or not you decide to celebrate your birthday know why your making this choice, have an understanding and full faith in your decission, don't believe everything people tell you, do your research, after all "education is incumbant upon all Muslims"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Stress of it All

Alhamdulillah Ramadan is almost here. I'm not as excited as I was last year, I mean I am excited, but not as much. I want to be in Syria right now, I've said goodbye to my friends ( whom I will miss so so so much ) , I've been to all my appointments and I've taken care of our apartment. I just don't want to be here anymore, it's hard being around my past when I have changed so much. This sounds bad but I don't want to go to the mosque for Ramadan, where I live. I've never been accepted at the mosque and I don't want to be judged as only a "Ramadan Muslim". I've thought about going to another mosque, but the thought of being ignored or possibly judged by other Muslims makes my stomach turn. I am not strong in the Deen, I can take critism from non-Muslims, but definately not from Muslims. I'm sensitive and the slightest thing can hinder my progress, this is one of the things I am working on. InshAllah when I go to Syria no one will know me or my past (it's not really bad, just different). I will have a new start. People judge no matter what, I know that, I have to accept it. Being surrounded by a different environment, different people and my husband's family will inshAllah give me a different outlook and inshAllah will give me the support I oh so need right now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh Kali

My cat Kali (the calico duh lol) had to go for surgery the other day to get some teeth removed. Alhamdulillah she's doing amazingly well after getting seven teeth removed, wish I could say the same for my wallet. Goodbye laptop, goodbye going to Victoria, to see my friends before I leave for Damascus. Goodbye all you can eat sushi. Alhamdulillah she's ok and when I'm gone I sure will miss my baby.
Cats, like other animals are God's wonderful, beautiful creatures. Looking at the example of the Prophet (PBUH) we can see exaclty how important it is to treat our pets with love and respect, especailly our cats. Hadith - Bukhari 3:553, Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar [Also in Muslim, Narrated Abu Huraira]
Allah's Apostle said, "A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger." Allah's Apostle further said, "(Allah knows better) Allah said (to the woman), 'You neither fed it nor watered when you locked it up, nor did you set it free to eat the insects of the earth.' "

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Day (almost) With My Hijab

I've been Muslim for almost two years now, it will be two years as of September 15Th. I've worn my hijab a few times before, but I took it off, I made no excuses, I knew my obligation. My goal is to stop being a part time hijabi, and I have given myself a September 15Th deadline.

Today I had to go renew my BC ID, for those of you who are not familiar with this, it's a provincial picture ID card. I wore my hijab, I had to have something that showed I'm a Muslim. I wore a simple black scarf made of cotton, nothing special. It was early, about ten in the morning, so the line wasn't really long. I approached the clerk and handed her my old ID card, she had some trouble, she wasn't sure it was me. Then the question came: " Are you wearing that for religious reasons?" Oh boy, I hate these questions, I dread such ignorant questions. A bubbly "yes" I replied. The photo was taken and it was over phew, the little things seem so difficult when you lack confidence in yourself as a Muslim.

My mom, my husband and I sat down for coffee. Still wearing my hijab, I was playing with the small tassels at the end. I do that for comfort I think, the mall was getting busy and I didn't want someone I barely know to ask me questions about what I wore on my head. My nerves got to me, the devils whispers were loud. I went to the bathroom, hoping to be discreet, and turned my hijab into a scarf and wrapped it around my neck. I felt guilty, but I didn't feel strong enough to wear my hijab. Oh God give me strength where I am weak ameen. Errands in and around the mall took only about an hour. We all walked outside to the skytrain, it was a cold, cloudy summer day. I took my scarf and wrapped it around my head, my hijab was back on I felt a bit of relief. We all got on the skytrain, my mom got off first, while my husband and I continued to another mall that had Canada's only H&M clothing store. It just opened yesterday, I knew it was going to be busy, but there wasn't much else to do on a day when the weather makes you just want to sleep all day. We got off the skytrain seven stops later and transferred to an "express" bus. The bus ride was bumpy, and this guy a few rows in front of my husband and I wouldn't stop starring at us. I don't know if this guy was trying to be rude or just trying to figure out why this pasty white girl was dressed like a Muslim. My husband just stared intensely back at him and mumbled obscenities, I eventually did the same.
We arrived at the mall with empty stomachs, searching and searching we found the food!! So many choices we decided to walk around the circuit and see what was offered. In the corner of my eyes I saw another hijabi, I looked at her as she looked at me, waiting for a reaction, any reaction, but a salaam was what I really wanted. There was no reaction just looking, I turned my head away, I was too hungry to give it a second thought. With full bellies we headed over to the much anticipated H&M store. Walking through the mall I felt eyes on me to the right, no I'm just being silly no one's looking at me. Wrong! The eyes I felt on me was another Muslim woman again starring at me, I had enough of it, I turned my head but still felt someone looking at me. I looked back at her still looking at me, I turned away again and thought how sad. Sad because I lack the confidence to say salam to my fellow Muslims, and sad because other Muslims don't acknowledge me as a Muslim. On a brighter note however, I did feel more at ease, more "Muslim" wearing my hijab. I don't know if I'll be strong enough to wear it tomorrow, but inshAllah with each passing day I''l gain more knowledge, more confidence and more strength to fulfill my Islamic obligation.