Thursday, December 13, 2007

In Need of Your Ad'iyah

My granduncle has just been diagnosed with stomach cancer... and is, according to the doctors, beyond all help.
He's been sick for a while now - he didn't feel all that well when he came back from Hajj last year, and then he went to Malaysia and it got a bit worse - but he put it down to a really bad virus of some sort. When he finally started throwing up and was rushed to the hospital, they found out what it was.
Al-Hamdulillaah that we have so much of our family in the same city... my uncle and aunt are also flying in today to see my GoraDada.
Please make du'a that his last days are of ease and comfort, and that insha'Allah he dies as a shaheed.

"He who is killed fighting for Allah's cause is a martyr, he who dies in the cause of Allah is a martyr, he who dies in an epidemic is a martyr, he who dies from a stomach disease is a martyr, and he who dies of drowning is [also] a martyr." (Reported by Muslim.)

SubhanAllah, only recently two of my dad's friends have also been diagnosed with cancer... things are getting pretty tough.
May Allah grant us all strength of emaan and the patience to pull through such tough situatins successfuly, ameen.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Of all people, Maclean's Magazine decides to interview Tarek Fatah??!!!!!

The man is crazy... amongst his track record for saying the darndest things, he's claimed that Little Mosque on the Prairie is totally unrepresentative of Muslims because according to him, most Muslims don't even pray.
He's paranoid, too - he's constantly going on and on about how The Islamists are trying to take over Canada and impose Shari'ah or something.
And, ummmmm, what does the whole teddy-bear-named-Muhammad thing have to do with A love affair of the Left and Islamists that is very dangerous for the rest of the world"?

Is Maclean's trying to be funny?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

(Late) 'Eid Mubarak!

TaqabbalAllah minna wa minkum... I hope you all had a good 'Eid, insha'Allah!
Mine was all right, al-Hamdulillaah - went for 'Eid salaah (we had 'Eid on Friday), and had the usual family gathering and 'Eid loot.

Yesterday, however, was not so grand... we organized the first "real" 'Eid party in my city, and we vastly underestimated the amount of people who came - not entirely our fault, though, because people walked in even though they hadn't bought tickets in advance! I'm thinking of writing a post titled "A Day in the Life of... an 'Eid Party Volunteer - Or, 101 Reasons Why I Hate People." (Although I'll probably end up getting lazy and not writing it at all!)

Anyway, let me know how your 'Eid went! :)


Friday, September 14, 2007


May Allah make this month one of increased 'ebaadah, emaan, and taqwa for us all; and accept all our deeds; and make us amongst those who emerge from Ramadhaan with our sins forgiven, ameeeeeeeen!!!!!!

Much love,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Day In the Life of a Young Muslimah

Today I helped wash and shroud my first dead body.

May Allah have mercy on her, and on us; forgive her, and forgive us; and may He save us from the trials and tribulations of the grave, and from Hell. May He make our graves spacious for us, and let us smell the fragrance of Paradise. May He let us die with the shahaadah on our lips and emaan in our hearts.

Ameen, thumma ameen, yaa Rabb al-'Aalameen!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Writing Exercise

It's a bit rough and isn't exactly a great piece, but it was fun to write! :P


“As-salaamu ‘alaikum… I’m hoooooooooome!” she called out in a sing-song voice, as she swung open the door, motorcycle helmet under her arm. Her mother, Aaminah, setting the table in the dining room, replied the greeting with a disapproving look at her daughter’s getup – what she liked to call her “Muslim biker chick costume”. The “costume” consisted of a long-sleeved ankle-length cape-like leather jacket, buttoned down to the waist until it flared open to alternately hide and reveal a similarly flaring skirt, split at the sides, under which she wore matching leather pants. “Huntress hijab-ified” the Muslimah biker chick pronounced, referring to her DC-comics heroine.

Ignoring her mother’s expression, Sameera relieved her of a stack of plates and completed the chore.
“Where were you?” her mother asked, returning from the kitchen with a pot of steaming stew. “What were you doing?”

“Oh, the usual,” Sameera answered casually. “You know, starting up brawls at the pub and toilet-papering the Masjid.”

“Sameera!” her mother cried out, horrified, and her daughter laughed and kissed Aaminah’s cheek in apology. “I’m kidding, Mom! You know we’d never do that… nah, today we just hung out at the park and gave Da’wah.”

Somewhat mollified, her mother’s expression softened but then became suspicious. “Da’wah?”
Sameera smiled sweetly. “Blowing bubbles, playing with kittens, and beating the daylights out of some drunk loser who tried to rape a teenage girl…”

Aaminah’s eyes widened in horror and she grabbed her daughter’s hands. “Please tell me you didn’t do what you just said you did!” she begged, her face creased with worry.

“All right, so the kitten ran away from us,” Sameera said flippantly, but repented when at the look of anguish on her mother’s face. “I promise, Mama, we’re all okay! And we couldn’t just let that, that animal hurt the girl… Mama, this is our job. This is why we’re a gang of Muslimah biker chicks – the cops can’t be everywhere, and when they do show up it’s too late. This way, we do our civic and Islamic duty of enjoining good and forbidding evil.” She gave her mother’s hands a reassuring squeeze and let go, turning away to leave – but before she could escape, Aaminah caught hold of her sleeve, still anxious.

“What if you get hurt one day?” she implored her daughter. “I wouldn’t be able to bear it. There are dangerous people out there, and Allah only knows what they could to you – you forget that you’re a girl, just like the one you rescued today.”

Not just like the girl we rescued,” Sameera corrected. “The other girl was helpless – I’m not. I have skills… martial arts, self defence, and I have the girls to watch my back. Above and beyond all those, we have Allah. We place our trust in Him, and whatever happens, good or bad, is from Him. Qadaa wa-l Qadr,” she said, referring to the Islamic belief of predestiny.

“Trust in Allah but tie your camel,” Aaminah quoted back. “You know I’m not happy with what you do… won’t you stop? Think of how I feel every time you go out – you could get hurt, you could have an accident, you might get into a fight with someone you can’t beat. There are too many horrible possibilities!”

“Mama, I think you’re exaggerating a little,” Sameera said firmly. “The girls and I don’t go around beating thugs up every day and night – however much we’d like to pretend we are, we aren’t comic book superheroes, and we know it. Most of the time we’re not engaged in anything violent or dangerous, unless you count trying to teach a roomful of hyper kids to be violent and dangerous.” She paused, then continued in a softer voice. “I’ll stop only if you forbid me. I won’t disobey you.”

Aaminah said nothing, just looked at her daughter – at the determined expression on her face, at the somewhat alarming outfit that made her look like a troublemaker but beneath which she knew was a pure and devoted heart. She bit her lip, then sighed.

“I won’t forbid you,” she said finally. “I suppose I know why you do what you do, and even if I don’t like it I know you’re doing something good with the best of intentions… Now go take off your costume and wash up for dinner.”

Sameera grinned in relief and bounded down the stairs to obey her mother’s command. Aaminah stood still, gazing after her daughter, thoughts and emotions roiling inside her head and her heart. Finally, she heaved a sigh, whispered a du’aa for her daughter’s wellbeing, and went back into the kitchen.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm Losing It!

I dunno what it is, but I feel like I'm losing my touch for writing quality articles these days... :(
I can't think of any subject I'm really "qualified" to write about, nor have my recent 'works' been much in terms of insight or anything. My last post on MuslimMatters drove the point across to me quite strongly, and I'm tempted to delete it.
It doesn't feel like writer's block; it feels more like I'm just not writing anything worth reading.

Hmmmmmmm, is it possible for someone to lose a talent? It hurts, really - I miss the enormous feeling of excitement, the wheels of my brain going round and round, the itching in my fingertips that would overwhelm me whenever I came across something that inspired me to write something that I knew others actually thought was worth reading.

Maybe it's a sign... should I just stop writing?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Social Nerd
Drama Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Anime Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Couldn't Resist... Too Funny!

You are a 50% Pakistani!!

Almost there. Keep working on it loser.Are you ashamed of yourself or your momma and papa never taught you the desi ways?

how pakistani are you
Take More Quizzes

(Darn it, I lost the marriageability results! :( Just go to the site - - and type in 'desi' in the search box... mind you, it only applies to girls!)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

*Bangs Head on Wall*

I don't like people.

People who let their egos and irresponsibility and personal grudges get in the way of continuing the work of an Islamic centre. Grown adults who act like petty school children; who have willingly volunteered their time but who don't actually do anything - or at least, don't do anything unless they're (verbally) kicked in the butt, and then they go do what they're told with a frustratingly childish sulky attitude.
People who can't take care of expensive equipment bought with painstakingly collected and saved donations...
People who overwhelm the few really awesome people left, who ruin the efforts of this special handful, and totally mess up the good that's being done (or trying to get done).

I feel so sorry for my dad... having to manage not just a Madrasah, an upcoming summer camp, a Muslim youth helpline, counselling, AND an Islamic centre in another city.

May Allah grant him ease, peace of mind, and the strength and patience to keep dealing with stupid people. If I were him, I would've smacked someone upside the head by now.

This is where the control freak in me kicks in: I wish I could implant mindchips into these people's heads and override their stupidity so that it makes things easier for my dad and for the other few guys who are working really hard at the Dar...

Honestly, I feel like crying. For nine years my dad worked his butt off getting the Islamic centre off the ground, helping it grow out of a tiny office on top of a car factor into several larger facilities, from a simple bookstore to a musallah with weekly halaqas and regular programs for men, women, kids and teens... subhan'Allah, he sacrificed a lot of family time (and okay, so we resented it awfully at the time, but now I'm starting to understand why), and our lives were split between home and the Dar - we used to joke that the Dar was our second home, and my dad's first home.
Then the stress got so bad that we had to move, and now stupid people left in charge, who were trusted to keep things going, go and RUIN EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!

*Bangs head on wall*

I'm glad that I have strong memories of 'the glory days' and haven't had to witness the miserable ruins of the place as it is now (unlike my dad, who's had to make several trips back and forth to deal with issues)...

Politics used to fascinate me. Now it sickens me. Politics between people, between fellow Muslims who are forgetting what our Islamic centre was founded on and why it was established in the first place, is what is ruining everything.

People suck.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Conspiracy Theorist Extraodinaire!

White chocolate is not real chocolate. It is part of a conspiracy by the Free Masons/ Zionists/ Big Brother/insert scary names here . If they get you to believe that white chocolate is real chocolate, you will believe anything... and will be officially just another mindless zombie victim.

White chocolate is not real chocolate.
White chocolate is not real chocolate.
White chocolate is not real chocolate.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm gonna hug ya, and keep ya, and call you George!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


As-salaamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

*Looks around at the dusty mousehole and pulls out a duster*

I've been thinking of returning to my cozy little mousehole here... I love MuslimMatters (al-Hamdulillaah), but I miss this place... I've decided that I'm gonna use this as my little corner for some creative writing, and lots of personal musings - I'm so busy with school and the Madrasah and writing for MuslimMatters (okay, not soooo busy with MuslimMatters), that I feel I sorta need to take the time to write out my teen angsty stuff here (well, not so much angst as... stuff).

Anyhoo, if anyone's still here, hiding in the shadows, drop me a line and let me know I'm not allll alone... I'll even make hot chocolate for you! :P


Wednesday, March 14, 2007


If you had/have me on your blogroll, then please replace 'Musings of a Muslim Mouse' with!!!!! This goes especially for most of you on my blogroll! :P

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I’m Moving!

I was going to title this post ‘fond farewells’, but I realized that it’s not a farewell at all… okay, you’re probably wondering what’s going on, so I’ll cut to the crux of the matter.

Here’s the deal: brother Amad of Musings of a Muslim Mind came up with the idea for a group blog, composed and maintained by several fellow Muslim bloggers – myself; sister Ruth Nasrullah from The Straight Path; brother Omar from Lota Enterprises; a newbie blogger, brother Ahmad alFarsi; and, of course, brother Amad himself.

In addition to we 5 who form the editorial staff, guest writers will include Sheikh Yasir Qadhi from al-Maghrib Institute and Sheikh Tawfique Chaudhury from al-Kawthar Academy (amongst others).

Cool, huh?!

Anyway, our new blog is at - Discourses in the Intellectual Traditions, Political Situation, and Social Ethics of Muslim Life.
(Don’t you just love the long title? :P)

So, what does this all mean?

Well, it means that from now on, I’ll be posting over at MuslimMatters instead of my little mousehole here… and while I’m going to miss this place (especially the still-new template and my little Muslim mousey pic!) I’ll still be around. I’m not quite sure whether I’m going to totally abandon my cozy corner here – I might post little things such as bits of creative writing, art, and anything else that strikes my fancy but doesn’t quite fit on MuslimMatters – so check up every once in a while, insha’Allah.

So… yeah. Please go over to MuslimMatters, read the welcome message (as soon as I write and post it, that is!), and check out our other posts! And, of course, please do leave comments!

Before I finally go from here, I’d like to borrow a page from brother Amad’s book and ask you all to please just leave a general review of me and my blog… while reading my musings and mutterings, what sort of impression did you have of me? What do my strong suits seem to be, and what are my failings and weaknesses, the stuff that I ought to improve upon?

I’d just like to say how wonderful it’s been to run this blog… it’s only been up for a few months, really – since July/August… but though it started off pretty slowly I managed to round myself up a few regular readers – al-Hamdulillaah! :)

And so now I shall betake myself off… to write the welcome message and then terrorize my little brother into thinking that he’s got the chickenpox too! :P :D

Your little sister in Islam,


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Qur'an: Reading & Recitation Without Knowledge or Understanding

Umm Reem mentioned something that I've been meaning to write about for a while now.

It's about teaching kids how to read and memorize Qur'an, yet without any knowledge or understanding of what they're reading/reciting.
I think most of us born into Muslim families will understand it the most - especially non-Arabs.

From an early age, my parents taught me how to read and memorize the Qur'an... because my father studied at an Islamic university, he learned how to read and recite with proper Tajweed, which he then taught me (without telling me the rules and stuff, though - but hey, at least I know a little bit!)- al-Hamdulillaah.
But once I could read and recite, that was it. I wasn't taught Arabic, I wasn't taught the meanings of that which I was reading, nothing. Yet they placed - and continue to place - great importance in spending a lot of time reading and reciting the Qur'an. Which is great, and I understand why.

However, I find it extremely frustrating that I have no understanding of what I'm reading. A couple years ago I started taking Arabic classes at our Islamic centre, but because the teachers were volunteers and it was only once a week, not much progress was made. I've learnt some basic grammar and a few words and phrases, but that's it... certainly not enough to even begin to comprehend the Qur'an.

When my father opened up the Madrasah here, I found that the other kids had the same issue...
actually, worse, because those who could read didn't know how to read with Tajweed, and then there are those who can't read at all (which is where I come in... I help them learn how to read and recite with Tajweed, what little I know).
Yet none of them - not even the Arab kids - understand what they're reading. For them, it's just... words. They know it's the Qur'an, they know it's importance and everything, but it still doesn't mean anything, y'know? And then when they make mistakes in their reading or reciting they don't realize the importance of getting it perfectly right, because they don't know that by a simple slip of the tongue they've just twisted the whole meaning of the aayah...

I really think that this is something that needs to be addressed; a problem which hinders understanding the meanings of the Qur'an, which in turn has a very negative effect on our Imaan - for how can we strengthen our faith if we don't even know what God is saying to us in our holy book?

Since this is a personal problem of mine, I know what the effects of this ignorance are... and I'm worried that the other kids at the Madrasah will end up feeling the way I did when I was younger: that reading the Qur'an is useless because it's just a bunch of words that I don't understand.

Al-Hamdulillaah, I know better now... but still, that feeling of frustration is still there when I read or recite the Qur'an and, aside from a couple words, I don't know what the message Allah is conveying to me is. Even reading English translations of the meaning of the Qur'an aren't good enough; it doesn't have the same effect on the heart.

I've brought the issue up with my parents, but they've pretty much brushed me off - they think it's more important to learn how to read perfectly, and to learn it quickly; than it is to take the time to understand, even if it takes longer to accomplish the goal of perfect reading. But quality is better than quantity (or speed of learning as opposed to practical application of learning)!

I'm finding this really frustrating... I'm concerned about myself and the other kids, but my parents just don't seem to get it - which I don't get, because they know how important this issue is, how understanding what you're reading is more way more important than reading a lot without understanding. I mean, they went through it themselves! They grew up in typical Desi households; they only began learning Arabic and then understanding and comprehending the Qur'an later in life - my father at the university, my mom through Arabic classes she attended while my dad was gone during the day at school.

So why won't they try to change things for the better with my brothers and I, and the students
at the Madrasah?!

Argh... yet another example of how parents/adults in general should know something, or do know something, but don't act on that knowledge themselves!!!!! But I guess that's another blog post altogether... *Grimaces*

Your little sister in Islam,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Everyone on earth is different, an individual, unique. Some people are determined to express this; others are content in being themselves without having to prove it. At what point in life does one decide that conscious expression of the self is no longer needed, and that they are happy to be one of the crowd?

Does the fact that everyone on earth is a unique individual end up negating the uniqueness of individuality?

Saturday, February 24, 2007 - Cartoon Dolls, Dressup Games, Myspace Glitters, Graphics.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Exploring Gender Issues in Muslim Communities: Extremes and Balance

For a while now, I've been reading stuff in the news and on various blogs (Muslim and otherwise) regarding gender segregation and homosexuality. Specifically, the link between gender segregation and homosexuality.

Read the following for background info: (it's the actual post you should read; ignore the comments... or you could of course read the comments, but just to let you know, I haven't)

Now, for what I have to say:

Even though I live in Canada, my parents have been (and are) pretty strict about gender segregation. It is one of the (many) reasons why I was taken out of public school in grade 5 and have been homeschooling since.
At the Islamic centre my dad used to run, we weren't like some of the other masaajid and Islamic centres - gender segregation was something that was emphasized, along with hijaab and lowering of the gazes (which I guess is pretty much a part of gender segregation). Men and women had separate entrances, and they were never 'friendly' with each other (i.e. no one made small talk or acted overly familiar with each other; if we did have to communicate, we did so in a business-like manner).
All in keeping with the Sunnah... al-Hamdulillaah.

However, this is just one Islamic centre in a non-Muslim country, and outside of it all of us - whether we liked it or not - had some sort of regular contact with the opposite gender, whether it be at school, work, or the supermarket. Somehow or another, we learnt how to deal with members of the opposite gender in an appropriate manner; a manner in which we stuck to the principles of Islam and did not adopt the overly-familiar Western manner of gender interaction, yet we also managed to go about our daily business and do what needed to be done.

In the Muslim world, however, the situation is quite different – in certain countries gender segregation is strictly enforced, and due to it severe issues arise… such as that of homosexuality (as mentioned in the two articles above).

It is this which I wish to discuss: the cases of extremity in regards to gender segregation/interaction, and how to achieve a balance between them.

There are two extremes that are seen with regards to gender segregation:
In the one case, males and females are kept totally apart from each other, unless they are Mahrams. Interaction between the genders is restricted in (almost) all other spheres of life.
In the other case, there are absolutely no barriers between males and females, and they are actually encouraged to pursue any type of relationship with each other that they wish.

The first case is what’s seen in certain areas of the Muslim world (Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Iran being three such examples), and it is this case which is discussed in the two articles linked to above.

There are those who say that this type of gender segregation - extreme segregation - is bad for us, as individuals and as a society. As individuals, we do not learn how to deal with people of the opposite gender, which can lead to difficulties and complications in relationships, whether they be personal or professional; as a society it can impact us in a very deep way - the results being such as those described in the articles.

A good point that I've seen/read made by many is that this kind of extreme gender segregation ends up reducing men and women as purely sexual objects to each other. In these cases, interaction with the other gender is totally forbidden because it will lead to 'bad things'.
Yet what is not taken into account is that, if properly established and maintained, interaction with someone of the opposite gender can actually be beneficial. Men and women can be peers, can learn together, can share and debate ideas, can work together on a project - *without* it leading to 'bad things'.

All that needs to be done is make sure that there is a proper distance being kept. Islamic rules and guidelines need to be followed. Hijaab needs to be observed - by both parties.

It sounds simple enough... right? But there are far too many people who think that men should be only ones allowed to participate in public activities; that women should stay within the four walls of their home, cooking, cleaning, and raising children. Yet they forget that the Sahaabiyaat, the female companions of the Prophet (SAW) were more than just mothers and wives; they too learnt their Deen from the Prophet (SAW), and in turn they too taught others about the finer points of al-Islam. The Sahaabiyaat were not the only ones - throughout Islamic history there were great women scholars, many of whose students became famous teachers in their own right. And nowadays, the scope of teaching extends beyond religious teaching, and into such fields as literature, medicine, various sciences, and even engineering.

Then we have the second case, the one we see here in the West. Barriers between men and women are extremely discouraged; there is almost no limits put on the contact between men and women, and they are free to – nay, they are encouraged to – become very much involved with each other… in more ways than one.

In both cases mentioned above, the extremes lead to perversions: Rising homosexuality in the Muslim world; and of course we all know about the promiscuity of the West. Enforced deprivation and gross excess can both lead to disgusting perversions – which we are now seeing, quite graphically illustrated.

My question is, then: How do we deal with these extremes?

Wait, scratch that.

I think we’ve all read enough articles and heard enough lectures about how to deal with the fitnah of the West – so let’s discuss what we don’t read and hear about so much: the case of extreme segregation and the issues that appear as a result in the societies where it is enforced.

So then: How do we Muslims find the balance between these two extremes? How do we restrict the relationships between non-Mahram men and women, in keeping with the Sunnah, yet also be able to learn how to develop certain proper relationships between ourselves and members of the opposite gender?

We know that the Sahaabah and Sahaabiyaat did not mix and socialize with each other as men and women do today, yet we also know that they did have regular contact and interaction with each other.

How can we achieve that balance?

Another thing came to my mind regarding this issue:

The extreme gender segregation/lack of segregation is something that is also a rather controversial issue within various Muslim communities. For example, some masaajid/ Islamic centres who consider themselves more ‘modern’ or ‘progressive’ will go for ‘breaking the barriers’ between men and women; whereas other more traditional (aka ‘Wahhabi’ and ‘Salafi’) groups will keep the separation.

Within the congregations of these masaajid and Islamic centres there are quite a few discussions and debates about it – but what I’m thinking about is, what happens when the gender segregation/lack thereof is enforced in Muslim schools?

The two things that I’ve seen are, the schools with no segregation end up becoming little better than public schools (the guys and girls become very comfortable and familiar with each other, and in the older grades boyfriends and girlfriends become common… my dad, who was once an Islamic studies teacher at one of these schools, actually caught a couple making out under the stairwell); and in the schools that are totally segregated (separate classes for the guys and girls), especially from younger grades, they end up not knowing how to properly interact with each other and that in turn leads to some major issues later on.

The question remains: How do we deal with these issues?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

We Muslims are so often complaining about how there is a lack of Muslim presence in the media (especially on TV) to counter all the negative stuff that's put up against us. In particular, whenever people like Irshad Manji or Ayaan Hirsi Ali are on TV and giving their usual diatribe against Islam and Muslims, we gnash our teeth and moan about how they never give real Muslims a chance to answer their arguments.

But then we have another problem... whenever 'real Muslims' ARE given a chance to debate the likes of Hirsi Ali and her brethren, they often end up screwing it up. See Ali Eteraz's post here.

The fact is, we Muslims suck at debating. We have no real debating skills. When we're brought on TV or interviewed or whatever, we often end up making big mistakes and sometimes even doing more harm than good - or at least, not doing as much good as we could be doing if we just knew how to deal with all those questions the right way.

We need to deal with this. Letters like Ali's, politely pointing out where and when things could have been answered differently (and better), are great - but it doesn't really help after the fact. What we need is to be able to prevent these types of gaffes.

Here in the West, we Muslims REALLY need to brush up on our language/communication and debating skills. We've seen far too often how the lack of the aforementioned skills has had a negative effect on our PR. We've seen far too often how great opportunities to repair our damaged reputations have been messed up and as a result, the non-Muslims who initially took an interest in the issue at hand end up dismissing us as uneducated, illiterate, etc.

We need to deal with this ASAP. The people who are being given these opportunities to speak for the Muslims on TV, need to realize that it's a serious matter that they need to handle carefully, and that they're going to have a lot demanded of them. To meet those demands, their language, communication, and debating skills are going to have to be up to par.

Two things are required: Islamic knowledge; and good language, communication, and debating skills. To have one without the other, and to be on TV representing the Muslim community(which is exactly what Muslims on TV are doing, whether they like it or not), will cause serious problems... which none of us want or need!

So how do we do it? I think that workshops would be a good idea, wherein attendees could learn how to seize the opportunity provided in an interview (or whatever) and use it to refute the person you're debating, in a way that can get YOUR message across in clearly and concisely.

But what other solutions might there be? Ideas, anyone?

Your little sister in Islam,

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ummah Films - Fee Sabilillaah Discount

Baba Ali does an excellent job reminding Muslims about business ethics and the lack thereof which is unfortunately common in the Muslim communities.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Melancholy Meditations on... Things

What is true patience?

We talk about patience all the time... we know that "Allah is with the patient," and so on... butwhat does it MEAN?

I guess I know some of the lesser aspects of patience... biting one's tongue, not whining and complaining all the time, enduring inconveniences in silence...

But surely that can't be what is truly meant by patience! So...what is true patience? Does it mean to endure in silence, hoping that God will get you out of your situation? Does it mean to simply accept it as God's Will and get on with life as much as possible? Does it meaning banishing all feelings of anger, resentfulness, and misery from one's heart? Or is it all three?

How do we attain such a state of being? Especially those of us who have a tendency to wake up feeling motivated, yet lose that feeling within the space of an hour or two...


What does it mean when someone achieves spiritual heights?

When one achieves such things as true patience and true taqwah, does it mean letting go of human emotions - joy, excitement, sorrow, anger, impatience, disappointment, and the like - and replacing them with an almost otherworldy contentedness, entering a state of serenity and tranquilness almost impossible to disturb? Is it possible to either alternate between or simply balance the two?

In the example of our Prophet Muhammad (sallaallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) we have the best example... yet there is no doubt that we could ever achieve what our noble Nabi achieved.

And so the question remains... how do we do it?

Friday, February 02, 2007

"Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own lives." (Ar-Ra`d: 11)

Umar Lee has just finished writing his series of articles titled “The Rise and Fall of
the Salafi Da’wah”. The slight inaccuracy of the title aside (since, as many people
have pointed out, the Salafi Da’wah hasn’t exactly ‘fallen’ yet, although it has
declined since the ‘glory days’), I think it’s a wonderful series, masha'Allah.

As someone who hasn’t had any experience whatsoever with the Salafi movement
– heck, I didn’t even know what they even were ‘till now! – I found his posts
extremely educational and emotionally moving.

His first few posts were on the beginning and the rise of the Salafi Da’wah – the
time that I’ve nicknamed the glory days, because of how amazing it all sounded to me. Reading about it all, it made my heart swell with pride that the Muslim community managed to do such wonderful things.

Then came the 'falling' part. Not fun. I found it downright painful, the way the community ended up so beaten and broken, the way that Muslims turned on each other so cruelly, denouncing each other and destroying the hard work of the individuals who had struggled so hard to establish the foundations of the movement in the first place. Umar's sorrow and pain is echoed in the comments section, where several people described their own sad experiences.

For me, who has only recently become more aware of the Muslim Ummah around the world, who hasn't really had any experience with the 'real world', Umar's articles were a real eye-opener. I know how badly the state of the Muslim Ummah sucks, in general, but I had no idea that all this stuff happened! It made me realize just how ignorant and naive I am in the ways of the world, how little I really know... and then when I complained to my parents about it, they're just like, "Well, you don't need to know that stuff. Go finish your homework." Hmph.

But, I DO need to know this stuff. If I hope to spend my life helping the Muslim community, then I HAVE to know this stuff! To deal with the problems of the present, one must know the history of those problems, right?

Anyway, after reading Umar's posts and the 100+ comments that swiftly followed, I got pretty depressed. No one likes to hear or read about sad things (when I was younger, I'd often skip the sad parts of whatever book I was reading and instead read the happy ending. Later on, I tried to do pretty much the same thing with reality... until reality hit me hard on the head and I realized that bad experiences are needed just as much as good experiences for us to really learn life lessons).

But after reading brother Amad's post, in which he said that there was hope to be felt as well... and that inspired me to stop being depressed and to start using my brain.

My brain concluded the following:

We, the Muslim Ummah, have problems. I, a member of that Ummah, have a responsibility to do whatever I can to solve those problems. To be effective, I should stop thinking in terms of ideals (which is actually pretty hard. Now I know
why some people prefer to live in their own little bubble worlds/fantasies than
reality!) and start thinking practically. To deal with things practically, there are
some very basic skills that need to kick into play: problem solving! (All right, all right, I admit that school can teach you useful things... sometimes.)

The Basic Steps of Problem-Solving:

Define the problem
I think that Umar and others have done a pretty good job of defining the various problems that exist and which need to be dealt with.

Categorize the problem
The sheer amount of issues that we're suffering from means that in order to deal with them effectively, we need to categorize them. The Ummah being as diverse as it is, with so many sub-groups (e.g. converts and 'born Muslims'; various ethnic origins and the cultural background and issues of people who belong to whichever ethnic group they belong to; issues of class - high class, middle class, working class; etc.), we need to sit down and spend some time just organizing it all, 'cuz if
we try to lump them all together we'll simply get overwhelmed - not to mention that more problems would probably arise due to the fact that it's being incorrectly dealt with.

Look at potential causes of the problem
Another thing that I think Umar and the others have done a good job with.

Identify alternatives for approaches to resolve the problem
Brainstorm, people! With all the brilliant minds that we have in our Ummah - yes, they do exist, I know it! - surely we can come up with something that'll be agreeable to all (or at least most!).

Select an approach to resolve the problem
Very, very important! I've noticed that when it comes to dealing with problems, we Muslims spend a lot of time talking and brainstorming, but that we rarely ever manage to take the first step towards ACTION. Choosing our approach to solving the problem is what we need to (finally) do.

Plan the implementation of the best alternative
Yes! We're getting closer to actually DOING SOMETHING!!

Implement the plan
Lights, cameras... ACTION!!!!!!! This is my favourite part... because we're finally doing something! I cannot stress enough how important this is... I'm personally sick and tired of all the TALK that we Muslims are involved in, yet we always disperse without any course of action decided upon or taken. It's when we take action that we're literally changing the state of our Ummah (in however small a manner it may be)!

Monitor implementation of the plan
Action is important, but we've got to make sure that it's the right kind of action! Are we doing what's needed to be done? Is everything going according to plan?

Verify if the problem has been resolved or not*
Results, people! Are we getting them? And are they the results we want and need? (Insha'Allah they are!)

If not... then it's back to step one! (Which isn't neccessarily a bad thing... practice makes perfect; and try, try again!)


So come on, people! Even if I'm just a 16-year old Muslimah marooned in a tiny city on Canada's West Coast (and therefore isolated from and totally useless to the rest of the Ummah), blogging away because it's the only way I can reach out to y'all... doesn't mean that YOU're in the same situation and can't do anything!

With that, let me conclude with saying, may Allah help us all on our quest to solve the problems of this Ummah, and make us sucessful in this world and in the Hereafter, ameen!

(Credit goes to this website for the refresher on the basic steps of problem solving!)

Note: After reading this post, head on over to brother Amad's blog, where he has
declared: Let the Healing Begin!

Your little sister in Islam,


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Say Hello To Irshad Manji's Partners in Crime

Someone I know recently sent me this article:

"ONTARIO, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- There is a growing and forceful campaign by CAIR and other Islamist organizations in Canada to silence the free speech of Zachariah Anani and undermine his legitimacy as a Canadian citizen, by calling for his arrest and deportation. Anani is a former terrorist-militant, a refugee from Lebanon and Muslim convert to Christianity. CAIR, an organization which claims to be the voice of moderation, should be embracing Anani's message against violence and the dangers of extremism instead of mounting a witch hunt against him.

It is no wonder that CAIR is attacking Anani, as it has been documented that many of the leaders of CAIR have openly supported the positions of Hamas, Hizballah and al-Queda -- all recognized terrorist organizations.

Recently, Anani spoke on the dangers of radical extremism at a church in Ontario. A backlash ensued, with CAIR and other Islamist groups pressuring political leaders to throw Anani and his family out of the country. Two members of Parliament, and one member of City Council joined the mayor of Windsor in denouncing Anani. None of these political officials, however, attended the lecture or even watched a video of it. The content of Anani's speech was almost exclusively from passages he read directly from the Koran.

Wally Chafchak, a member of the Windsor Police Services Board and the Windsor Islamic Association, is leading the charge to have Anani arrested. According to Arab American News of Michigan, CAIR Canada is also calling for Anani's arrest.
In the Criminal Code there is a section that deals with spreading hatred in the community, Chafchak said. This instance should fall under those laws. Justice can only be served if this person is charged.

But Walid Shoebat, a former terrorist from the West Bank, believes silencing Anani is a dangerous trend with far reaching implications for the future of Canadian and eventually US freedoms.

"Incarcerating or deporting a former terrorist who wants to warn the world about extremism will set a dangerous precedence for Canada," Shoebat says. "Instead of censoring free speech, CAIR should be encouraging Muslims to embrace Canadian culture, as other groups have, and not try to change it in a way that will censor the freedoms Canadians have fought and died for."

Shoebat believes that CAIR and other Islamist organizations should join Anani in encouraging Muslims to speak out against terrorism and the killing, raping, forced conversion, mutilation and other acts of violence perpetrated by Jihadist groups worldwide against non-Muslims.

On Tuesday, January 30th at 7:00 p.m., Walid Shoebat, Zachariah Anani and Kamal Saleem, all former terrorists, will speak at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
M.Sliwa Public Relations, 973-272-2861 or
SOURCE Walid Shoebat Foundation"

Related to this article:
CAIR-CAN: Pastor Regrets Fiery WordsDespite public outcry, controversial lecture series will continue
Source: Windsor Star


The pastor of a Windsor Baptist church that held an anti-Islamic lecture last week says he could have chosen his words more carefully when he prepared promotional pamphlets for the series he titled The Deadly Threat of Islam, which prompted hate crime allegations.

Pastor Donald McKay, who heads the 350-member Campbell Baptist Church on Wyandotte Street West, said Tuesday he did not anticipate the lecture, delivered by self-proclaimed former terrorist and Christian convert Zachariah Anani, would generate so much controversy and media scrutiny.
"(The pamphlets) absolutely could have been worded differently," he said. "We're not interested ... in causing unnecessary polarization. I did not think this would have the type of media backlash that it has."
More than 120 people, including members of Windsor's Muslim community, packed the church last Thursday to hear Lebanese-born Anani -- who is not a member of the congregation -- say that Islam is a religion of war being brought to Canadian soil. He also said that Islam teaches "ambushing, seizing and slaying" of non-believers, especially Christians and Jews. Many attendees challenged Anani's views in a heated debate.

Members of the Windsor Islamic Association have filed a formal complaint with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has sent letters to Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant asking for a prompt investigation into Anani's lectures under Canada's hate crimes legislation.

This is yet another one of those things that make us Muslims groan in frustration and weep in despair.
On one hand, these are more people who are actively campaigning against Islam and Muslims (however much they're trying to disguise it by saying that they're just 'fighting against terrorism and fundamentalism'). These are more people who are being invited onto CNN to talk about the big bad Muslims and our quest for world domination (our goal being, of course, to turn the entire planet into a gigantic Islamic State). These are more people spreading lies about Islam, creating more hatred against Islam and Muslims, and deflecting attention from the true crimes of violence and terrorism being perpetuated worldwide against Muslims.

On the other hand, whenever we Muslims try to protest, we're told that we're "Jihadist/ Islamist/ Wahhabi spokesmen" and nobody listens to us - or if they do, it's only so that they can take our words and twist them so that they can re-broadcast it, only in a way that doesn't reflect our original words in the first place.

So... what do we do?

Violently reacting against these people does absolutely no good - as we've seen over and over, if anyone reacts violently by threatening the people in question, or attacks them, then we are just giving them more power because then they say, "You see? We're right! These Muslims know nothing except killing and forcing others to conform to their beliefs!"

I have concluded that the only things we can really do to counteract the evil that is being spread in regards to us to simply continue living our lives as good Muslims and good citizens. Simple acts, such as leaving a small inexpensive yet thoughtful gift at our neighbours' doorstep are the first steps for positive Da'wah - Umm Yusuf at Muslim Motherhood ( illustrated one such example.

Imagine, if every single Muslim left a small gift for their neighbour and let it be known that such things are a part of Islam, then how many non-Muslims would continue to believe the lies being spread amongst us? After all, wouldn't they at least think - "Hey! I have Muslim neighbours, and they're wonderful people who don't go around preaching violence or killing others - in fact, they taught me that being good neighbours is a part of Islam! If that's true, then how can what the media is saying about Muslims be right?"

Insha'Allah, through small but not insignficant actions like these, we can work towards countering the lies being propogated against us. As walking, talking Da'wah machines, we need to set an example for everyone, to show them how true Muslims behave - behaviour that does *not* include burning flags, attacking others, or bombing buildings.

May Allah cripple the evil efforts of the enemies of Islam and the Muslims; and may He grant the believers success in this world and in the Hereafter, ameen!

Your little sister in Islam,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Little Mosque on the Prairie - A Field Mouse's Take On It

I know that several other blogs have talked about it already, but I've decided to pitch in my two cents' worth...

So: Little Mosque on the Prairie. As you guys know, I had a temper tantrum because my dad wouldn't let me watch it... but, thanks to YouTube, I got to watch the first *and* the second episode!

I thought that the first episode was okay. Not great, but not all that awful, either. There were some things I disagreed with, some of the jokes were lame, and I thought that the writers relied to much on the whole 'terrorist' thing for their humour - but it did make me grin a few times.
It had potential to be better, and I looked forward to the next episode.

So far, so good.

Now onto the second episode. This episode was supposed to deal with sexism in the Muslim community, and the main conflict was about setting up a barrier in the masjid between the men and the women. As can be expected, most of the women were totally against it (with the exception of Fatimah, the Somali (?) lady who works at the coffee shop), while Baber (the desi uncle dude) was insisting on having it. The Imam is called upon to mediate (although he doesn't seem to be a very great imam, if he was so easily distracted by the sight of one of the women bending over - lowering of the gaze, anyone?!).

I was totally shocked and dismayed by this episode. There were several things - the familiarity between the men and the women, the Imam who doesn't know how to lower his gaze, the way that the barrier-issue wasn't properly explained - but above all the sexual humour is what made it suck the most.
Having sexual humour in a 'Muslim comedy' is not cool. It is totally not right. Like, hello, isn't it sort of obvious that it's not something acceptable in a Muslim production?!

Did the writers bother to think about all the kids who were watching the show? A girl from the madrasah said that after this episode, her parents have forbidden her from watching the show, because of how bad it was.

What I don't get is how, when interviewed, Zarqa Nawaz said that she wanted the show to be something her kids could watch so that they could see Muslims on TV being portrayed positively and whatever - but would *she* allow her kids to watch that episode, with all the inappropriate jokes?

I'm pretty mad about it... who knows what damage it could cause! Some Muslims might watch it and think it's okay for Muslim men and women to flirt, to hang out with each other, and who knows what else! Furthermore, non-Muslims will probably get a wrong image of what Islam says about gender interaction. All they'd know is, they watched a Muslim TV show that showed the men and women acting like that, and the show was created by a Muslim, so wouldn't she know what was right?

*Sighs* So yup. A huge disappointment. I really, really wanted it to be something Islamically correct but cool (yes, I'm sure that combination is possible!), and then cynics like my dad would see that there *is* some good in the world left... meh.

Your very disappointed little sister in Islam,
P.S. Yeah, yeah, I know my dad was right in the first place... no need to tell me "I told you so!"

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition!

All right people, I have a favour to ask of you guys... I really, really want a template change, but I don't know how to do it! I'm totally and utterly hopeless with HTML and stuff... soooooo, I'm
depending on y'all to help me out here...

My blog looks drab. It needs a makeover. I can't do it. Can you? Pretty please with a cherry on top?
I want something spiffy, but I'm not picky. Anything more colourful and cheerful than the current blah-ness will be appreciated.

To volunteer, please leave a comment and I'll arrange it so that I can email you the password and you can work your magic!

Shukran (thank you) in advance! :)

Your little sister in Islam,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Muslims and Politics in the West

For a while now, but especially in recent times, the call for Muslims to become more involved in their local politics here in the West has increased. People argue that it's time for us to stop being a silent minority, and become a vocal majority. They say we need to make our needs and feelings known. Enough whining and complaining! they cry. Take a stand! Make a change!

But, how are we supposed to do this? How are we to become more vocal? How are we to become more politically active?

Two answers given are: Vote, or get into politics yourself!That's where the problems show up, though. Now, I know that the whole thing about voting in a non-Muslim country is really controversial, and I for one am not going to be so bold as to declare it haraam, so keep in mind that the following is simply MY humble opinion and nothing more.

First, let us remember that we are in a non-Muslim country, governed by non-Muslims in accordance to laws that are not derived from the Shari'ah. These laws do not enjoin the good and forbid the evil as the Qur'an commands. Furthermore, if we look to the political parties, we'll notice something very important: that no matter what they say about multiculturalism, each and every one of them stand for and support un-Islamic views and values. As Muslims, we cannot in good faith or conscience support those who support homosexuality, nor can we support those whose foreign policy has to do with harming our Muslim brothers and sisters overseas. These are absolutely un-Islamic, and we can in no way support the breaking of Allah’s Divine Laws and the transgressing of His bounds.

Also, with the current political system, when you vote for a candidate, you vote for the whole party - and when you vote for the whole party, you're voting for their stance on ALL issues, not just a couple. So while you might be voting for them to support their stance on, say, homelessness and the national budget, you're also supporting other decisions that they'll be making once they get into power. Your voting ballot does not say, "I support such-and-such a stance towards such-and-such an issue; I do not support such-and-such a stance towards such-and-such an issue." It is a blind ticket of approval. Your vote counts - and when they come into power and start making certain decisions, then part of the responsibility for it rests upon you, who voted them into power.
Therein lies a weakness in the system.

Fine then, someone might say. If you're going to be so picky, why not run form a party of your own and run as a candidate?
It sounds good at first - I thought that way for a while too - but then we have to realize something. The West considers itself secular, standing for ‘separation between Church and State’.
In Islam, however, there is no such separation, because Allah has given us the Quran and the Sunnah of His Messenger Muhammad (SAW) to guide every single aspect of our lives, as individuals and as an Ummah – and this includes the laws that we abide by.
Therefore the only type of political party that we Muslims could form would be an Islamic one. And let's face it: something like that would NEVER work here - not in Canada, not in America, not in the U.K., not in Europe. (Although, what with the all the EurArabia hype going on, maybe in a decade or so we could actually form that kind of political party - if not on a federal level, then on a more local level... I dunno for sure, though).

So what can we do, if we don't vote and an Islamic political party simply won't work here?

Well, it might not be politics, per se, but there are things we can do. Social work. Start making changes within your local community - Muslim or otherwise. Support good causes that we as Muslims can feel comfortable supporting. Form a lobby group, maybe, and try to get the government listen to you that way (although the success of such a lobby group would depend on a variety of certain factors, money being one of them).

Politics is not all-important, as I have been learning. The people in politics care more about the power, the wealth, the influence, their own agendas, than doing the truly unselfish things that could help change the country around. A whole lot of big words, and very few examples of effective action.

Do we want change? Yes, we do. But getting involved in politics won't miraculously change everything for the better. If anything, it'll simply cause more problems.
Therefore, I have concluded: If we want action, if we want change, we have to start close to home. Let's start with our local communities first, because there's always a need for more volunteers to help out with numerous programs that benefit many people. The more we get done on a smaller scale, the closer we get to achieving change on a greater scale in the future,


What do you guys think? Should we Muslims continue to become involved in politics and use politics to try and create some positive change? Or should we stick to social work and activism to achieve our goals?

This is a question I’m turning over in my head quite a bit because the answer might help to decide my future – I’m interested in both politics and social work, yet I’d prefer to choose only one to really go ahead with, y’know?

So yeah… right now I’m actually leaning a bit towards social work and community activism ‘cuz it reminds me of what the Prophet (SAW) did with the Muslims: first he strengthened them in their faith and helped them solve the problems they were suffering from, and *then* real political work and change was instigated.

Your little sister in Islam,

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Carnival of Islam in the West

Over at Wa Salaam, behold the fifth Carnival of Islam in the West! And check out whose brain farts were deemed worthy! :P :D

Your little sister in Islam,

P.S. I would've written more, but an ear infection has a nasty way of making one's brain cells not very cooperative when it comes to intellectual endeavours... :(

Friday, January 12, 2007

On Spiritual Mentors, and Other Musings

Recently, I've begun thinking about spiritual mentors... actually, I stared thinking about it during the summer, when I was feeling dreadfully homesick and in desperate need of comfort (which I didn't get, unfortunately). It was when I felt that my Imaan was suffering that I felt especially in need of a spiritual mentor to whom I could turn to, on whose shoulder I could lean on and hear comforting words of wisdom from.

This feeling was compounded when, surfing the 'Net, I came across something about Sufis and their shaykhs. I'm not Sufi, of course, but something about it caught my attention. Reading the biography of Imam Sufyaan ibn 'Uyaynah (a great muhaddith of his time), I came across something similar, describing the need for a student of knowledge to have a good teacher.

Now, I am one of those who desires to become a student of knowledge, a Shaykha, bi ithnillaah. I try to learn whatever little I can about Islam, but simply reading books and listening to halaqas don't seem to really be enough for me. What I want, what I feel I need, is a spiritual mentor.

I've never really had a spiritual mentor, or a real religious teacher... I used to wish to be my father's student - it would've been perfect: he, the sheikh, and I, his devoted daughter and student... we could have been a great father-daughter team! - but Allah willed it otherwise, and it's never come to be... nor does it seem that it well ever be a reality. Ah, well...

The closest I've had to spiritual mentors are two women from my old Islamic centre, whom I've known for years - since I was about 9 or 10 years old. Technically, they're my mom's friends, but we all love each other dearly, so it's all good... :)

Anyway, these two women - may Allah reward them and grant them the best of this world and the Hereafter - are amazing! Both of them are converts - one of them, H., converted when she was 16, and is now studying Islam through an Islamic university by correspondence; and the other, A., converted a few years ago and has been with 'us' (our Islamic centre) ever since.
A. is by far one of my favouritest people EVER! She has a wonderful sense of humour - she can make anything and everything seem funny - and she tries to learn whatever she can about Islam while supporting her two kids (she's a single mom).
Both of them have always had the time to sit with me, talk to me, listen to me... we can talk about everything on the face of the earth, although we usually just talk about Islam and politics (my favourite subjects! Yay!). They have helped me SO much, especially with my personal struggle with identity and my goals in life.

In this new city of mine, I am utterly bereft of anyone who could possibly act as a mentor. Which totally sucks, because I really do need one. Right now, I'm trying to blunder through my life as best I can, pathetically trying to muster enough energy and motivation to finish my homework and do my chores. Spiritually, I feel very weak - may Allah forgive me and grant me strength! Reading books on Islam isn't enough... I feel that I need someone to really be there for me, to support me and help give me an Imaan boost when I need it...
Mind you, this blog and having you guys comment does help... but it's not the same, y'know?

Having a spiritual mentor is really important, I think - an older person whom you can look up to and learn from, as well as occasionally just hang out and have fun with. Someone other than a parent, because it can be easier to accept advice and criticism from friends than family.

The people of the past, the Sahaaba and the Taabi'een and others, they recognized the importance of having spiritual mentors and teachers. As youth, they sought out the people of knowledge and spent time in their company, learning all sorts of things from them, absorbing their wisdom... thus was the inheritance of the Prophets (peace be upon them all) passed down from one generation to the next!

There are many times that I wish that I could live 'back in the day' - the days of the Prophet (SAW), of the Sahaabah, the Taabi'een, and the Atba' at-Taabi'een - for various reasons. Some are obvious - those were the days when knowledge abounded, when the true scholars of Islam were at their peak, when the people weren't as lost as we are today.

One of the reasons that I wish I lived back then is that it would've been so much easier for me to dedicate my life to Islam, starting from a young age. I wouldn't have had to bother about things like high school, and my role as a young woman would have been much more clearly defined than it is right now. I would have the opportunity to attach myself to a shaykh or a shaykha, sitting at their feet, attending to them and learning from them... and I wouldn't have been distracted by such petty things as TV or the Internet and stuff.

In the Hadith that discusses the seven types of people who will recieve shade on the Day of Judgement, when there is no shade except that which Allah will grant to certain people, one of those mentioned is the youth who has dedicated him/herself to Allah since their childhood. I would dearly love to be one of these youth - but I wonder if I qualify!

Subhan'Allah, in today's world we are so easily distracted from the really important things, the things that will determine our fate in the Hereafter. We're so caught up with stuff like school, work, achieving material success... it consumes our lives, at the expense of our spiritual well-being!
Even me, just a teenager in high school... I often find it difficult to concentrate on the simple yet most important things, like salaah. I'm busy wondering and worrying about other things - did I finish my Math assignment? Did I begin researching a topic for one of my subjects? Did I clean the bathroom? Am I almost finished my library book? What's my brother doing in my room?

So much emphasis is placed on working hard to achieve material gains that we forget about just taking a break from it all and simply devoting ourselves to Allah and His Commands. It's so scary! Sometimes I wish that I could just run away and live in a small village out in the middle of nowhere, without TV or the Internet or other bothersome technologies. I'd like to live the simple life, not depending too much on material things, with more mental space to think about the important stuff, and more time to actually *do* the important stuff.


Yikes, I just realized how long this is! Sorry for rambling on like that... but it's something that's been buzzing around in my head for a while now, so I wanted to share it with you and see what you all have to say.

Your little sister in Islam,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wa qul: Rabbee zidnee 'ilma!
(And say: My Lord, increase me in knowledge!)
“The beginning of knowledge is listening, then absorbing, then memorizing, then acting, then spreading.”

“There is nothing more beneficial than knowledge from which benefit is taking, and nothing more harmful than knowledge from which benefit is not taken.”

- Imam Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah, rahimuhAllah.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Intellectual Evolution of an Individual

Why is it that long hot showers can stimulate one's mind in ways that nothing else - not even ingesting large amounts of chocolate - can? I've always wondered... hmmmm...

Anyway! What was I going to say again? Oh yes... the intellectual evolution of an individual: It's something that I started thinking about this morning in the shower, while I was wondering what to write about for my next blog post.

Over the last couple years, I've found that I've changed quite a bit. I used to be extremely idealistic and ambitious, thinking that I'd be able to change the world all by myself (or at least, by myself and my handful of friends). I also thought I knew pretty much everything that I needed to know in order to change the world (ah, the arrogance and follies of youth!). I spoke in fiery, passionate tones about correcting the problems in society, uniting the Muslim Ummah, and taking over the world... (seriously!)

But then I started to change... as I began to read more about Islam and the world around me, as I began to start really listening and learning to the wonderful Muslim women whom I used to spend time with, as I began to actually discuss these things in earnest, I gained a great deal more insight into what's really needed for someone to change the world. Which at first scared the living daylights out of me (and still does, occasionally), but now I've stiffened my resolve and am determined to try and do whatever little I can, insha'Allah.

The first phase of my 'conversion' from idealism to realism was focusing solely on the Muslim community, evaluating its problems and trying to figure out what I could to help solve them(which wasn't much, unfortunately). I tried to read a lot about Fiqh, and I was majorly into learning about the system of the Islamic State during the time of the Prophet SAW and the Khulafaa' ar-Raashideen (there was one reeeeaaaallllyyyyy good book I read, called "On the Political System of the Islamic State". I forget the author's name, though).

Now I'm going through the second phase. While my primary focus continues to be on the Muslim community and its problems, I'm also trying to learn more about the rest of the world, especially the Middle East. I'm reading up on important periods of history (just finished learning about the Iranian Revolution) so that I know what the historical background of today's political conflicts is.
To balance the political history stuff, I'm working on reading up on 'Aqeedah and the details of basic things in Islam (currently concentrating on Salaah and the perfection of its performance, as well as things related to it such as wudhu, the athaan, etc.).

Today insha'Allah I intend to begin phase 2 1/2: Keep on reading up on the political and Islamic stuff, but also work harder at school (which I've neglected for the last few months due to my depression over moving and being lonely) and help my mom out more at home. I know I should already be doing that sort of thing, but you know how things can get...
Now, I don't know how successful I'll be at it (I have a very, very bad habit of procrastinating and being lazy), so I'll be needing your du'aas! :)

I've decided that I'll see how phase 2 1/2 goes before I try to go onto phase 3: ACTION!!!!!!!!!

All righty... I guess I'd better go and start implementing phase 2 1/2 now! :P

Your little sister in Islam,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Brain Farts

The first was written in a fit of pique at my parents (don't ask why... it was about something silly and petty), the second late at night when random thoughts were roaming around in my head, and, having a notebook and pen with me, I scribbled it down just for fun.

Neither of them are particularly good - indeed, the first is almost embarassing - but I find it rather amusing, and I hope they'll make you smile, too. Enjoy!


16 year old ----- is sick and tired of her life: the strict rules and restrictions, the isolation her parents have forced upon her, their stifling of her grand ambitions, their narrow-mindedness and strict, traditional interpretation of Islam which made her childhood a misery, and the sudden move to a new city, which cruelly yanked her away from her few friends.
So she runs away.

Ten years later, her parents open the door to find their daughter on their doorstep - veiled head-to-toe in black and lugging a suitcase, husband, and baby behind her.
An hour later, they're still in shock: unveiled, their daughter looks like a cross between a glamorous movie star and a biker chick, the dark sallow and sullen looks of her childhood and adolescence transformed into Gothic beauty, passionate and intense.
She is dressed in leather, her hair streaked with every colour of the rainbow. Her nose and her belly button are pierced, little jeweled dragonflies cheerfully swaying as she moves gracefully, slipping an arm around her handsome Arab husband and shifting her baby son onto her hip; and her dark eyes flash defiantly at her parents, to whom she speaks in a voice that alternates between passionate and rebellious and cool and detached.

It also turns out that she's a qualified Shaykha - recent graduate of one of the greatest Islamic universities in the world - as well as a successful social worker and a promising new persona in the national political arena.
Oh yes, she adds casually, her handsome Arab husband is a Palestinian mujaahid whom she met at university, who had himself studied under numerous great shuyookh and was now a shaykh in his own right.

Identity and Labels: A Parody (Or Something)

Teenage Indo-Canadian Muslimah
Feminist Environmentalist Non-Conformist
Traditionalist Liberal Progressive Conservative
Modern Wahhabi Socialist Jihadi
Tomboy Girly-Girl Soft-Hearted Warrior

(I found this little thing I wrote recently... so I decided to throw this one in as well...)

We are a strange breed, we young Muslims of the West. A foot in two worlds - or even three, as the case may be - all familiar, rarely ever fully comfortable.

Even I, Sheikh's daughter that I am, was raised on a diet of both fairy tales and Qur'anic stories. I can remember warm sunny afternoons poring over my favourite book of original fairy tales, illustrated with dark, fantastic, fascinating pictures - Sinbad and the Roc; the Little Mermaid throwing herself over the side of the ship as her prince wedded another woman, one with a voice; the seven dwarves grieving over Snow White's coffin; the Beast, a twisted horrific beast indeed, tenderly nursed by a Beauty who was dressed not in the bright springtime yellow of Disney's animated movie, but in dark robes that swirled with magic.

And at night I fell asleep to my mother's voice as she told me of Jesus and Mary, Moses and the Israelites, Muhammad and his blessed suffering. The Prophets and their missions and their trials and tribulations... tales of wonder and of faith, and sweet dreams swiftly followed.