Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Identity Theft - Simple as 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Last weekend, when I was asked what my hijab meant to me, I replied - security. This created some discussion amongst us. Can the hijab keep you safe?

Wearing the hijab provides the hijabi with a sense of comfort in her environment but - I hate to be the one to break it to you all - it wont keep predators away! (Sabira, thanks for shattering my sense of security ;))

Click here to watch some steps you can take to keep yourself safe at all times.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Donald Trump vs. Vince McMan

Its about 11:30pm. I am sitting with a cold cup of tea aimlessly watching tv. Nothing interesting to watch - Post Oscar reviews, reruns, Anna Nicole's courtcase, news....Despite the array of shows, I am watching WWE!

Asif and I are waiting to see who is going to have a shaved head. Here's hoping it is the Donald! That awful hairdo needs to go!!

More Views on Hijab

On the weekend, a few of us gathered to celebrate the fabric that covers our hair - the hijab. One of the questions we addressed in our gathering was:

"What does hijab mean to me?"

Here's a clip from from CBC. Check it out.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The-the-the Stammer

As I recite my few verses of Quran in the night, I am always confused about why I reread parts of an ayah, even though I know I have read it correctly the first time. It really began to annoy me, because my rereading was spoiling my flow.

I began observing my overall reading patterns. As a primary teacher, I am forced to read aloud everyday - not just read aloud, but read with theatricals.

Today, I was presented with a big book to read filled with a flurry of tiny words I did not completely understand. I began reading the book word for word - repeating parts as I read(hmmm... interesting. I do this with my Quran, I thought to myself). I did not understand what I was reading aloud. The more I read, the less I understood, the worse my reading aloud got. To save myself and my kids the grief of sitting through that awful read aloud, I stopped reading. I looked at the pictures in the book and ran my eyes quickly over the words I had just read. I got it! I picked up the book again and began reading out loud again - looking at the pictures to guide me and subsituting the words in the book for words that flowed out of my lips easily.

I began to think about my quran recitation. To describe my recitaton, it is stuttered at best - even after I practise. But then again, so is my reading in english! What gets me through in my daily english reading is my comprehension and the pictures. I cant use either crutch when reciting Quran. I dont get arabic and I cant use visual cues to guide me.


I am wondering why we cant have picture Qurans? So take a story from the Quran like the story of Prophet Yunus. Write a few ayats on a page and illustrate those ayats on the next. I think it would greatly assist stammering reciters like myself and would help Muslims comprehend Quran!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Trouble With Islam - according to some!

I am getting really tired of the images of muslim women shown on media - images of women fully clothed in dark colours, walking along dark, unhappy streets accompanied by - can you guess - dark, unhappy, scary music!

I am a muslim woman, who has visited various Muslim counties along my little travels, and have yet to see the the kind of women portrayed on TV. From my observations, there are women who wear the scarf (headpiece), others who wear an abba (robe-like dress) or a variation of it, and some prefer to wear the niqab (cover of their face with the exception of the eyes). But if you peer into our lives, you will see we are quite normal - and in no need for saving or freedom. My hijab liberates me in the same way that contact lenses liberates the optically challenged.

Anyway, I watched this clip on You Tube the other day. I know I wasnt an objective listener because I was angry before I even began listening to the guest speaker. So I waited a few days and listened to this clip again.

To view clip, click here

This time, more than angry, I was left confused. What is Irshad Manji's point? What does she want to reform with middle eastern women? Reform is only needed when something doesnt work - I am no expert but here are my thoughts. I am a Muslim woman, veiled "under a shroud of cloth", and I am happy! Imagine that - A content Muslim woman! A muslim woman who doesnt feel the need to be saved! What a blasphemous idea!

I did like one thing she said, "Muslims are going nowhere but forward"... I agree with her completely. I think Muslims are showing the world there is more to them to a terorist label!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Who Gets Valentine Day Royalties?

Another commercial holiday on my calendar - Valentine's Day!

For all those who celebrate this day - Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Now, I am not cynical and it is not that I am not loved - at least I think I am - but really, to have a day specially designed to celebrate your love? C'mon!! My problem with V. day is how commercial it has become and how it makes those who are not in relationships feel.

Until I got married, I was one of those people. I remember being really sad on one V. day and my mom (in typical Anis Fazal fashion) gave me a Quran to cheer me up... hehe.

Anyway, I was thinking about it. Did St. Valentine die for love? Well, sort of I guess. He died for the love of his religion - Christianity. He was then jailed and beheaded as as result of not converting to paganism. In his final farewell letter to the jailer's daughter, he wrote "From Your Valentine". Interesting isnt it? How many times have you seen that in a card or have signed off your card with that phrase?

So who gets royalities for this phrase - Hallmark or St. Valentine?

St. Valentine did not die for the love of cards and chocolates! Nonetheless, February 14th is the national day of LOVE. If Valentines is supposed to be a day to celebrate love - then do something kind for all sorts of people.... spread love and joy through your actions.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Quran Link

To help me in my journey to learn Quran ( and maybe to free him from his tutoring position), Asif sent me this link today. I have been listening to it for the last few minutes ... and it is great!!! It is Quran recitation followed by the translation. So after ayat, the translation is read. You can change it to listen to the translation in Urdu or just to hear the Quran recitation.

Great for beginners!

A Guiding Hand

Allah definately works in mysterious ways.

Last weekend, I went for a retreat. My intention for going for this retreat was "I am always up for a trip". I pretended that it was to continue my haj journey into my western lifestyle, but I knew as I know Allah does - that it was just that - pretending.

Little did I know that Allah may have had other plans for me. When I left on Sunday from the retreat, tears were flowing freely from my eyes ( and you all know that I am not a cryer). I felt something within me change.

I will go into further details about my retreat in my next blog.

Anyway, I made some resolutions as I was leaving - like praying with conviction, trying to learn to recite the Quran and not listening to music. All three are my big jihads.

When I got home today, I shrugged away my thoughts of practising my Yasin. I sat down infront of the TV and turned on my laptop. Allah wasnt going to let me get away so easily. I recieved an email from one of my dear cousin who directed me to his blog.

As I read his blog, I couldnt believe I was going on a journey similar to his. I pulled some inspiation from his writings.

Check this site (if you want to begin to rejuvinate your soul). It helped me. Thank You


Saturday, February 03, 2007

What's Wrong With NOW??

It is Saturday, the first official day of the Women's Spiritual uplifting camp and I found myself awake at 5:45am!!
Anyway, an hour and a little later, a prayer and a ziyaraat later, a giggle and some chatter later, I am sitting on my bed thinking on yesterday's session. We began to embark on a journey to "wake up" our souls. We discussed that the soul can be either:

dead or alive
asleep or awake
ill or healthy

To understand our souls, we first need to wake it up. Perhaps most of our souls are in deep slumber. However, I found myself thinking - I think my soul is stirring, trying to awake, but I keep hitting the snooze button - hoping if I snooze for long enough, I wont have to wake up!

I loved the question it we ended with - "What is wrong with NOW?" Good question!!!

Why not wake up now?
Why dwell on the past?
Why worry on the future - which changes at every stroke??

Now is the time to wake up and do something - for your community, for Allah, for YOUR soul!