Saturday, December 30, 2006

Best Day Ever

Now I know a kid who spent 2 years in Chile doing mission work--he's Mormon. I've talked to him about Islam a few times, I think he might even be taking Arabic this spring, but what interests me is his outlook when you ask him how he's doing. He always tells me "Best Day Ever #..." with some number. 256, 710... It's something I'm thinking of trying to start to do. In reality every day is a blessing; we say alhamdulillah--all praise is for God, good or bad. But there's actually more good than bad most of the time.

Today was one of those Best Days Ever. Let's start with #1. Today was Best Day Ever #1. Pleasant, charming, intriguing conversation... a day of fasting (for 'Arafat), jummu'ah, and an iftar at night, then more conversation, hm! Seriously, the iftar was special--got to talk to a few people I hadn't seen in a while (in one case, a very long while!) The food left something to be desired, actually... more. But alhamdulillah--so many people came there wasn't much to eat. :-) Whoever said it's good reverts learn Islam before meeting Muslims obviously didn't meet these ladies. They are so sweet, so friendly, would do just about anything to help you out. It wasn't Ramadan but still so nice to see all the sisters come out and in such good spirits. :-)

And tomorrow is Eid! Some plans... some non-plans... some thoughts about what to spend my free time doing. Eid Mubarak to anyone reading, I hope it's a best day ever for you too!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A pizza metaphor, part II (not the solution)

Now if we see that our problem is ourselves to start with, and we must rectify ourselves in the first place--why are we asking for strength against our enemies??

That's what irritated me about the du'a in the first place... we need to tackle ourselves before we even begin to look at the rest of the world. We need to correct our own problems, our own mistakes--our own pepperoni pizzas, until we don't have to worry about any pizza shops in our midst because nobody would buy any pizza! Or at least, hardly anybody.

Maybe then we can worry about "enemies." More destruction to Islam today may be safely and squarely blamed on Muslims themseves. Uneducated, bigoted, prejudiced, immature, selfish Muslims. Want to take over the world? See me smirk at you. You want strength against your enemy? Who is your enemy? India? Israel? The United States? If you can't even stop yourself from eating the pizza, then why, why do you think you can move an entire country to agree with you? Stop yourself, and then stop one person. That's a start. We need strength for ourselves--to keep our deen, to raise our children, to protect our brothers and sisters first from Shaytaan who has preyed on them far too long.

Strength against our enemies?? This was the du'a after softening our hearts. Soften our hearts, increase us in iman--in faith!! To grow in faith, to become good people, to correct ourselves. Then we might have a chance to use any strength against our enemies and then we ask for it.

To me it sounded more like a bleating sheep's battle cry. You need to stop looking through a telescope when the problem can be seen in a mirror.

A pizza metaphor, part I (the problem)

Why should I complain about someone's du'a? Do I even have that right? OK, I'm not courageous enough to do it in person... yet. Or maybe I am but I feel it's bad taste.. here it is:

May Allah swt soften our hearts and strengthen us against our enemies.

This was part of a response to a comment I made about how trying to fix symptoms instead of the real problem with Muslims today should start with tawheed, like the preaching of the Prophet pbuh, and I closed with a du'a for soft hearts, wisdom, and other things.

I so do not see the relationship to any of my comments and "strengthen us against our enemies." For real. Our problem (as Muslims) is ourselves. Pepperoni pizza exists, you can get it on every street corner, but does that mean you have to?? And whose fault is it if you go eat pepperoni pizza? The pizza shop's?? Pardon the humorous analogy, please substitute it with any activity you deem "haraam" that you frequently see Muslims engaging in, or any "not recommended" activity. For example, flirting and socializing between genders, wearing flashy and immodest clothes, drinking alcohol... is removing the pizza shop going to solve the problem? It might stop one from eating pizza, but was that really the problem? No, the shaytaan does not attack us from only one angle, succumbing in one area of our lives demonstrates weakness there and elsewhere. So what's the solution? How can you fix other people? Lead them away from the diversion and distractions and back onto the straight path?

Well if you want to lead anyone, you better be going the right way to start with. And you have to demonstrate some reason for your path--why is it better? Why should anyone want to take it when it's harder?? Because it is harder.

Removing the pizza shop won't solve the problem. Not if people don't care if pepperoni pizza is right or wrong. You have to let them see from your side why it's wrong. Once they get to where you are, they can see it, then they can stop.

May Allah swt help us all avoid those vices in our lives which distract us from this deen.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Easy

It's hard to complain about a 4-day weekend... and I don't really have any complaints. Saturday and Sunday were largely uneventful--time enough spent chatting on the computer for sure, but what else I can't really remember. I did spend some time reviewing a show I used to like, that I had saved on my computer, that's been mostly fun. Monday was Christmas of course, again I baked pies--very liberal on the spices... something special, those were--and cookies and drove to my sister's house to spend the evening with "family." It was pretty nice... dinner first, then cards with my nieces then opening up gifts... yes, some for me. Mostly nice, albeit useless, things.

I got to have a girly-girl chat with my brother's girlfriend, play checkers with my niece, legos with my nephews, and yahtzee with my sister and her daughter. This way I escaped much of the serious conversation amongst the "adults" and I think I like it better that way.

Tonight I received a phone call from a friend with something I just had to see, on facebook. An acquaintance of hers (I can't say I really know the guy, more than simply who he is) posted an article from islamqa.com (*eyes rolling*) about mixing of genders... should women stay home to avoid mixing? A laughable concept really... while it might have been mildly amusing to do so, I wasn't terribly interested in commenting on the article. I pointed my friend to islamonline with some appropriate answers to the original question that tend less towards the blind and obnoxious self-righteous attitude of the post itself.

Men who hide behind computer screens while imagining a world where women are chained to their homes--forbidden to work, shop, even visit family--have nothing to contribute to this society, in my opinion; nothing to benefit the ummah, nothing to improve the state of mankind. The frustration of their impotency, I'm sure, drives them to oppress and silence the voice of women in the first place. "Nobody is listening to ME, so I must force THEM to be shut up!"

One such coward who replied decided to remark on the boys and girls who had been notified of this post. He claimed that many of them don't even pray (as if he would know!) and that hardly any of the women wore hijab and if they did, they didn't do so properly. To the contrary, a number of the girls wear it and quite satisfactorialy, unless your only standard of wearing hijab means full niqab or something of that nature. Perhaps he could remark instead on the "mixing" of the men tagged by the poster. Mixing with ladies? Even on facebook--this being his post, he the one to find the article and quote it after all--should he so unabashedly seek the attention of women? Even for "advice?" Not according to the standard of that article at any rate. Modesty to the author seems a one-way street.

I don't think such men as this make up the majority, because I don't find these opinions amongst the men that I know personally. If I'm wrong, what a sad situation for Islam in the 21st century--yes I said for Islam and not for women. For if you treat your women this way, what do you expect of your children? Probably shouldn't expect to have any children for one thing. It's a recipe for intolerance, and rebellion, neither a favorable option in the context of Islamic survival.

But I don't think my readers will disagree with me here so I'll just leave it at that.

I've set the blog to notify weblogs.com if you would like to receive notifications of blog updates. Enjoy that happy feature. :-)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Graduation party

InshaAllah the next time I'm invited to a party by Muslim ladies... I'm going to ask... is this a ladies-only party? So inshaAllah next time I won't be unprepared, expecting to be wearing a scarf the entire time and covered, then show up and everyone else looks like a doll and is dancing and I just feel like an uncomfortable oaf.

Now, it wasn't that bad... but it wasn't great. I was invited to a party for a certain sister's graduation. This sister has to be the shyest person I have ever, in my life, known. So.. a party? Seemed strange to me, but nevertheless I went. And the poor girl spent a large part of it out of sight. The first shock when I arrived, however (which was late, as I often make it a point to arrive late to such events--arriving early means more socializing with strangers...) was that I didn't recognize anyone. I just walked into a room of Muslim sisters that I see on a semi-regular basis, well enough to pick any of them out from across a room or in a crowd, even with hijab on (in a room of hijabis) just by noticing their habits, how they stand or tie their scarf, etc. But without a scarf... I'm looking at everyone's face, staring, trying to remember their names! "Uh.. you look kind of familiar..." How embarassing!!

But it was fun anyway. Once I got into it, figured out who everyone was, had some sugar (necessary for dancing...) and made a fool of myself trying to almost pretend like I knew what I was supposed to do when they turned on some Arab music. Event of the evening... what's strange is how I can liken it to a sorority semi-formal almost! Granted, there were mostly two age-groups. Quite a bit older than I am, and quite a bit younger. The college-aged group accounted mostly for me, Sara, Sarah, Nema, Razia, another girl whose name I never learned, and Safiya. The older than I am group started at about 10-15 years older. This group of girls is relatively close to my age, going to about 20--the younger girls, except for maybe 1 or 2, started at 15 and just went down... way down to the little girls. So you had the mothers and the friends of the mother, and their daughters basically. And then a few more single chicas like myself. And there was dancing. Despite being mostly not college aged girls, they weren't afraid to dance and have a good time... though it was this uppity mideastern stuf instead of hip hop (I can do without lyrics telling me to shake something up in someone's face, honestly). And sure, it was fun. Most of the dancing we did at formal/semiformal was just girls--the dates (the men) weren't so into it usually.. and it was kind of a lot like this! Everyone dressed up (except me...). Not quite semi-formal but they did all look nice.

Anyway... nice way to spend an evening.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Between Extremes I



A recurring theme in my Islamic studies class is that Islam is a path of moderation. Two weeks or so ago the sister was teaching about Surah Yasin, the condition of the heart, perfecting good character, and extremes in religion before getting to the topic--four stages of life. The following week she was going to give the same class because a different group of students showed up (with a few of the same, myself included.) But instead, she had me teach it. Yes really. It was a surprise but I love doing things like that so... I did. Granted, she helped me out the whole way through, it's not like I was by myself, but it was fun all the same. On one hand, it seems like a lot of disjointed thoughts but I guess somehow it's all related--haven't figured out how, yet.

We started with an ayah in Surah Yasin... the reference is 36:36: Glory to Allah, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge.

All things in pairs. (Find it interesting perhaps that this ayah is 36:36... pairs... 2 36's??) The instructor had elaborated on this verse, trying to get us to think of something produced by the earth that is not in a pair. I don't know too much about microbiology, and I think I would need to to really follow my train of thought on this particular question. The complexity is deceiving in fact. You could for example observe a tree... the earth produces this tree. In pairs? No, it's just one tree. Hmm. Well, there is the portion you see, above the ground, and the portion you don't--the root structure. In fact the root structure is as important as the surface portion of the tree--is this a pair? Seen, and unseen. Also, didn't we study in 5th grade biology (it's been a loong time since I took 5th grade biology) that plants have "male" and "female" parts to reproduce? Pollination is the transfer by insects of pollen ("male"/"sperm") to the "female" parts of another plant? And other plants have various means of reproducing as well. Some creatures do not do this... the exception rather than rule, but the ayah says all things, so what is the pair? I'm not sure. Like I said, I'd need more biology and I never was good at biology.

Next part of the lecture? We ask in our salat, when reciting Al-Fatihah, ihdinas siratal mustaqeem; siratal latheena anamta alaihim ghairil maghdoobi alaihim walad-daalleen . Show us the straight path: the path of those on whom you bestowed your grace, not of those on whom you bestowed wrath nor who went astray. So you can look at this such that there is a straight path in the middle, on one side is the path of those who earned wrath, on the other side is those who went astray. So we discuss how one goes astray from Islam by looking at the 6 articles of faith. These are defined in the hadith Jibril as belief in
  1. God
  2. Angels
  3. Prophets
  4. Scriptures
  5. Fate
  6. Day of Judgment

So how does one go astray in these? We can look at it, I guess, as "too much" or "too little" in all respects but it's different in each case really. Remember that God says the Muslims were created as an Ummah (Community) justly balanced. Where? In the Qur'an, in Surah Baqara... right in the middle of the surah. Now isn't that interesting, for the verse to say "Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind,..." appears right in the middle of the surah? It should be easy for you to find. Surah Baqara has 286 verses, half of 286 is 143, and sure enough, the reference for this ayah is 2:143. I don't mean to prove anything with that... I just think it's really interesting. I learned that in a speech from Suhaib Webb last Sunday.

So back to the point... going too far in religion. Firstly, we believe in God. Surah al-Ikhlas (the Sincerity) is equivalent to a third of the Qur'an. In length? No... but how? The Qur'an generally covers three main topics, three threads if you will--God, Prophethood, and Resurrection/Afterlife. Surah al-Ikhlas really refutes 8 different problems people have with believing in God. In English, the surah says:

Say He is Allah, the One (and Only) (ahad)
The Eternal/Absolute, on whom all depend (Somad)
He begets not, nor is He begotten
And there is none like Him.

Four verses, and one of the most clear and powerful theological refutations you can find. So how do people go too far in their belief of God? Away from the straight path? We believe in one God... so perhaps too far is believing in many gods... or no god, or a god that is too distant to hear you, a god that exists but has no relation to the world even if he created it, that god has children, that god was created, or that anything else in the world could be like God... including humans. Stay in the middle... repeat Surah al-Ikhlas.

So in a way, Islam is the middle path, while Christianity and Judaism are on the sides. On the one hand, in Christianity you have a son of God, Trinity, and sometimes supernatural powers assumed by people, while in Judaism there is a belief in God of course, and one God, but often that God is irrelevant to daily life, or uninvolved in the working of the world.

Now I've written a lot but not gotten far into the lecture... more later insha'Allah.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Chocolate Plastic

Are you still reading?

Thank you for your time, and attention.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nafs in the way

I really love talking about Islam... answering questions, or just discussing things and learning more. A friend of mine and I were eating lunch on Tuesday, talking about two situations I've seen just recently. She and I both do the da'wah table on Mondays and have enjoyed talking to different people about the beauty of Islam. The two situations were interesting questions I received over the weekend. The first was from a woman who is considering Islam... it was, can I be a Christian Muslim? I'm not going to answer it here, but it's such a beautiful question to me... perhaps because I was in those shoes and I wanted the best of both worlds or some kind of compromise for a while. The other question was more difficult actually, and was not one I was prepared to answer.

Why am I not ready to take shahadah?

It had some setup, a list of beliefs I had set up with a particular progression I'd learned about at the ICNA Convention over the summer. A logical progression, I believe in this, and this, and this, etc... and the questioner sympathized with the beliefs I had listed (only one God to Muhammad as a Messenger and the choice to follow them) but the question (above) remained.

I looked into my self first, what kept me from taking shahadah? It was fear. Fear of this that and the other, you name it. And I hate being afraid of things... in fact have challenged my fears in order to conquer them. But I did my share of shaking and quaking before I was ready, definitely. (Who knew?)

Discussing this with my friend, her immediate response was the nafs. The internal self, resisting the more spiritual inclinations we have, the self that is clinging to this world and not the next, the self obsessed with the hear and now, not reflecting on it to learn and progress. I consider this to be a more comprehensive response than the one I came up with, because ultimately that fear is a result of the nafs.

And I hate to say it, but I've seen the nafs, lately, get in the way of someone's deen, and it is an ugly smelly beast called arrogance. When we think we have knowledge and wisdom, we think we have the answers, don't we? Convenient, that nobody can tell us we're wrong! We rely on our own understanding and experience to judge the world, instead of... and this is huge... trusting God, and the wisdom of the Messenger. I think it is the nafs that makes us say... I want this, and I know better so I should be able to have this, even if it's wrong in Islam!!

I am obsessed with Islam in a pretty interesting way that has baffled many of my friends and family. I just love it... but as a religious way of life, not any specific culture. It's not Arabs I fell in love with, head covers, camels, or the desert. And I force myself to see this life on earth as only (and nothing other than) a doorstep to another world. What I want in this world is only things that will help me in the next, that's what I should want, right? (Not saying I'm perfect because I'm definitely not.) Why would anybody want different? I don't understand why anyone would claim that he knew better, that sliding outside of this tradition was a good thing if he was really focused on the next life. Or how anyone could try to dictate someone else's life by his own experiences--saying I had this therefore you need to have this. And anyone who doesn't have that... what? The "this" I'm referring to is a cultural upbringing. Being raised Arab does not make one a Muslim, I don't care what values of Arab culture you (the reader) may see, it does not imply Islam. God didn't make us all Arabs, and not all Muslims are Arabs. Having a culture that has Islam existing within it does not imply any superiority of your upbringing, and it is not enough for Paradise, that much is certain.

So saying that everyone needs this culture that is really not Islam, that in fact in many ways actually contradicts Islam, is foolishness. What people need is Islam, and it can be compatible with so many other cultures. What kind of nutjob really thinks that he'll get into Paradise because he was raised as an Arab, and someone else won't make it because he didn't have that upbringing but converted? And does he think his children will be fine because he is raising them Arab, without any Islam from his wife? Does he think they will be better off than children with two parents more concerned with Islam than any culture? I don't think so. In fact, I think it's about the biggest mistake a person could make, and it only comes from one place--

It comes from the overwhelming temptation and allure of this life, over the next. Finding superiority in our own selves, finding satisfaction only in our own desires--what is this but nafs?

May God save us from our selves!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Wage War on the Pope

By being nice to Catholics.

In fact, be nice to all Christians.

In fact, be nice to everyone.

Then this man or anyone who listens to him will have no basis to establish that Islam is wicked or evil, inhumane or violent. Tonight after a movie with some sisters I stopped by Barnes & Noble for some coffee... and grabbed a few magazines to read. I picked: Foreign Policy (which is neocon propaganda), TIME, and a special edition of US News that was about Prophets.

So the neocan mag was disturbing--that's why I picked it. I had never before seen or even heard of this publication so it was a new experience. There were three main "articles" I read in it. First, a statement by an Israeli author (I forget for whom he wrote the piece originally) about why Israel didn't really lose the war. It seemed a kind of propaganda to me directed against Hezbollah, to encourage Zionists, neocons, whomever, that Israel really was stronger than it seems, and that Hezbollah is weaker. More or less, that Israel has and should maintain the power and authority to continue to smack Arabs around without any fear of retribution.

The next article I read in it was the cover story, the reason I picked it up. It was about how Muslims (Islamists? No, just Muslims) are planning a nuclear attack against America. The "report" divulged such information as expense reports--how much it would cost to get these supplies, etc--and the practicalities for a team of terrorists to plan such a nightmare. The authors asserted not that their scenario was a possibility, but it was an imminent event which we should be looking out for. "We" I guess being neocons reading the magazine, who should now suppose that every Muslim is an expert on building bombs, and is trying desperately to get a hold of some uranium. This is how paranoia spreads, people. This is why schizos shoot down Afghan mothers in the street.

And the third article was... disturbing as well, to say the least. It started out describing how politicians who supported the neocon policies were advantageous to their cause. It proceeded to discuss how to ensure the survival of their movement in the next few years. One striking remark, that in fact a previous reader had highlighted, was that the US needs to bomb Iran before Bush leaves office!! You heard it here first. Unless you, like me, pick up such rubbish while sipping a decaf mocha at 10pm on a Sunday night.

The article in TIME which I read sparked the title of this post. It was about the pope's upcoming visit to Turkey. It's clear that Benedict has no love for Islam, and I've read a multitude of accounts regarding why, many along the lines of trying to unite Europe under Christianity (and therefore by pitting them against Islam,) but this particular article seemed to consider him to be trying to reform Islam himself. At least, that's how I understand it right now, when it suggests that he is calling for Muslims to further denounce the violence done for Islam.

You know what that looks like to me? He's trying to set Muslims against Muslims, get us to fight ourselves out. Is that a cynical understanding I have? Trust me, my heart bears no great love for the violence which terrorists claim is justified by my peaceful religion. I want nothing more than for them to understand that what they call Islam is so evil as to not even be recognizable as the faith I practice, and why. But is painting all Muslims with the same bloody brush fair, in order to get us to distinguish ourselves? I detest the labels for Muslims... moderate, liberal, fundamentalist, etc, and don't want to be defined by them, or to define others by them. They serve to separate and not unite the ummah. And such claims by not only the Pople are an attempt to get Muslims to classify themselves--this can't be done. Even though only one side is correct... the saying goes that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. All the attention, all the press--this goes to the group making the most noise, and the noise is explosive.

So we as Muslim are facing a sentiment from the West in general that grows fiercer by the day. Fueled by unrest in Baghdad, political failures in Palestine, and especially by a prejudiced media and leadership in this country (USA), the hatred of Islam and misunderstanding of Muslims grows. It is now a beast that must find its demise before it wreaks even more havoc on the Muslims of the world--and it can be fought in the simplest of ways, by fighting it in ourselves.

Responding to hatred with hatred fuels the animosity. Reacting without aggression, however, but with patience, and with calm but clear insistence regarding the truth, we can demonstrate what we represent--actions speak louder than words, right? Then all the claims about us evaporate, unsubstantiated.

Please tell me it's more than a pipe dream.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

So the last time I posted... was when? Why?

My life has been busy, and it has been stressful, and alas there has been little time to sit and think about what's going on (and there have been days when the thinking simply brought tears so I tried to avoid it...) This should be an easy time. I am under relatively little academic stress at the moment--being out of school for the first of five days today. Work is troubling, I'm trying to be a little more dedicated to my work since it's getting harder and I seem to be getting more responsibility. I really need to apply myself more in my engineering classes. Yesterday.

So a few weeks ago I was in a wreck... lost my car. Just this weekend I've purchased a new car... it doesn't seem that I am allowed to upload the picture, unfortunately. It's a red ford focus. My mom helped me a lot with it and I'm really grateful to her, and I have no idea how to show her.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving... so I'm baking pies. I guess I'll bake them in the morning? This reminds me I should take the cool whip out of the freezer. I'm really looking forward to the time spent with my family. I really hope that I don't have to deal with people's attitudes tomorrow... that could just ruin it... uhoh am I pessimistic already?

Next note... tonight I watched a show called Criminal Minds... oh boy. The show is about these profilers for serial killers. Every show, a new killer (or two?), and the team tries to find out who it is, why they're killing, how to stop them... good guys get the bad guys basically. Well this week, the guy to profile was a detainee in Guantanamo prison. This is interesting, because you imagine from the previews that you're going to get a bad view of Islam here with this wacko preaching jihad is killing Americans. Well... maybe you do, because he does that.

But what is really astonishing is the two main profiler characters, the wise and seasoned Gideon and the young but extremely intelligent Dr. (I forgot his name), have a better grasp on Islam (though knowing no Arabic) than the Muslim guy! In reality! First step, Gideon uses the man's faith as a weapon, really, to get him to "open up." Instead of following normal interrogation tactics where the man is stripped, beaten, humiliated, not allowed to pray, etc., Gideon allows him to pray, tells him which direction, ensures he has water for ablution, hands him some clothes, etc. Now he's manipulating the guy, but the reason for doing so is to prevent a large-scale terrorist attack (this is the plot.)

So they engage in dialogue, the crazy Arab person and Gideon, with the crazy man saying that he is on jihad and that killing Americans is jihad, that they aren't innocent (rather, that the kids in a shopping mall are somehow responsible for 3rd world poverty?) and that he is at war. It's kind of gross, really (criminals are that way.) But here it's interesting. Gideon tells him that the Prophet (pbuh) was in Mecca preaching peace for 13 years. (True statement! And incredibly important to understand in today's world--many non-Muslims forget this.) But then the reply (from crazy) is that when the Prophet pbuh when to Medina the command for violence became clear. The other profiler in the background explains (mostly for the audience) that this is talking about the "verse of the sword" that supposedly cancels the previous commands for peace. He actually explains that this is what some Muslims (i.e., the ones who like to strap bombs to themselves) use to justify violence.

Then the topic is dropped and it's not sufficiently explained that the command was actually not for violence. The crazy man elaborates on his view which described in further detail how he understands that violence is an appropriate reaction. What was flat out astonishing is for the crazy man to quote part of a verse (i.e., "kill the infidels" and I HATE that word!) and Gideon follows up by repeating the restriction, explaining the command to stop, to allow people to practice religion.

And then of all disgusting things the crazy man tries to get Gideon to "revert to Islam." Can you believe it? I was disgusted and insulted by that. As if by reverting to Islam one becomes a superior person.

So there was good and bad in this episode, I guess. I really didn't like it... the "sleeper cell" was actually a "homegrown" group mostly from prisons. I guess that will lead people away from the racial profiling issue. But a problem I see arising from this is in an imaginary discussion with a non-Muslim. He (theoretically) asks me why Muhammad pbuh was so violent. I explain that for 13 years in Mecca the Prophet pbuh taught peace. But then the entire value of that teaching is ignored while the person wants to focus on the permission to fight. That part of the teaching is neglected, I think--the person is aware of it but not in depth, and they don't or won't understand the concept of a prophet of peace, with respect to Muhammad, like Jesus was a prophet of peace. They can't understand it because they are aware of it but de-emphasize it. One extra note, I did like how the Dr. guy (who has a photographic memory) mentioned that even though "terrorists" use jihad to mean "holy war," the words "holy" and "war" never appear next to each other in the Qur'an. The statement itself is totally meaningless, but the point of it, I think, explaining that jihad doesn't actually mean holy war, was nice to see being asserted. He made another good point that I can't seem to recall right now. Oh well.

So anyway, Muhammad pbuh was a prophet of peace, and we as Muslims should demonstrate this for them. Call to peace, call to salam. Don't ask for vengeance, but remember that God is forgiving and merciful.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hurts like ----

Last week I got in a car wreck... mostly okay except being sore and some bruises on my arm (including my finger which is still swollen.) My car is done for, and the insurance is paying me some money for it, so inshallah this week I can try to look into getting another one. For the time being a friend of mine has let me borrow hers, may Allah reward her.

I've been thinking about the value of leadership, lately. Such a highly valued skill nowadays is to be able to lead, and to get people to like you. But the thing is, as soon as you become a leader, people hate you. I never really encountered this hatred until recently, and it's torn me up. There are things now that I just don't know how to handle. Criticism of my marital status, assumptions (incorrect ones) about my opinions, personal attacks on my character, and even a death wish... I just don't know how to handle it, or how to make it stop. I've never wanted so badly to run away from anything as much as I wanted to run away from this--all this from Muslims--and the only help is from non-Muslims. What's wrong with the world? It makes me hurt.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Islamic Studies

The masjid here offers two Sunday classes for women only--Islamic Studies (1 and 2) and Arabic (1 and 2). I've been meaning to go for a long time--I tried going in the spring but just didn't make it all too often, and have had the same problem in the fall now. But this week I had extra incentive to go (and I made it, alhamdulillah.)

Friday night I usually try to go to the mosque if there are lectures because they're helpful to become informed about Islamic history, current events, community affairs, and other interesting topics. This past Friday was the 3rd lecture (there had already been 2 on the topic though I don't think it's a series or anything, or at least wasn't originally intended to be) on the Islamic Khilafa. The Fall of the Islamic Khilafa, it was called, and it went over the internal weaknesses which basically brought the fall of the khilafa. The idea is that we start to understand what is good about the khilafa and what went wrong so we can fix the problems and later on institute a khilafa again.

Now I must admit that I know very little about Islamic history, so I really learn a lot at these. Everything said that I hear and write down, basically, is something more than I knew before (since I knew nothing to start with!) But this is why I was at the mosque on Friday. I had gone for isha prayers (I was running a little bit late when I got there so I left my things in the car so I could make the prayer, which I did entirely, btw) and then after the prayer headed back out.

Well while I was putting on my shoes I see my friend Yasmin (who is president of the MSA) talking to a woman (who wasn't wearing hijab, which stands out in the mosque) I didn't recognize. She's smiling and points at me a time or two so I wonder what's up and walk over. The woman is interested in Islam, so I talk to her for a minute, and find out she's going to the Islamic studies class on Saturday (which is usually on Sundays but for an unusual circumstance this weekend). Then I see my friend Sarah and give her a hug while I start going out to my car... she's bored so she comes with. Then another friend catches up who wants to ride to KFC for some macaroni and cheese. (??? People eat that stuff???) So we all go... and I grab my stuff out of my car (including a Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam that I had handy) to take notes and we go to KFC then come back. And the woman is still there so I hand her this book, and she's also talking to Fatima (who teaches the class, and who is very knowledgeable, and happens to be the woman who taught me to pray, as well) who said something nice about me (that I'm on the "fast track" in learning about Islam) which made me feel pretty good. But yay, I got to give her the book and try to see her the next day.

So Saturday... I made it! I tend to feel a little bit "high" after these classes. Lectures about Islam, usually, leave me feeling this way. (Thus I like to come back!) But yes, the woman was there too. And she told me she had read about half the book and was enjoying it. It's not a long book, but covers the "high points" of Islam, and I hope she can benefit from it. She's also read about half of the Qur'an she said. Kinda neat. :-) I did get to talk to her a a little bit after the class before going home.

The class itself was... exciting as usual. As a text, she's using 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam' by Yahiya Emerick, which is pretty interesting, actually! The Islamic Studies 2 class is the Sirah (also using the Yahiya Emerick book) but this was just the level 1. Inshallah, I'll be taking this class, Islamic studies 1, and also Arabic 1. We went over chapter 4 of this book, which is called 'All About Allah.' Now last night I went and read the previous three chapters which were a great read and now am reading through chapter 4 to remember from yesterday. I really wish more people, non-Muslims, would make an effort to read books like this. It's straightforward and clear, comprehensive and explanatory, and from a Muslim! Instead of coming from non-Muslims... and the author is actually fairly critical of Western scholarship about Islam (that is, how poor said "scholarship" is. The beginning chapters mostly just point out why it's important to learn about Islam.

If you think about it, those of us raised in the West--did we really study it? I remember my world history class... it went like this: prehistoric people... Greeks and Romans... the early Church... the Crusades (from the *ahem*Christian*ahem* perspective--didn't even mention who was fought or why, just that Europe united with the church).. the enlightenment... the renaissance... revolutions... modern wars. We called this WORLD CIV. As in, world civilizations. What world civilizations did we discuss? Western European ones. Fascinating. The impact of Islam on Western thought was completely ignored, such that you'd think it didn't exist. Isn't that interesting?

But it is actually prett important. Thomas Aquinas, it seems, got his ideas about reconciling science with theology from Islam! How many ideas inspiring the Protestant Reformation came from Islam? Interesting...!

Now I'm out of time but I'd like to talk about some stuff I learned in the class but... it can all be summed up in this phrase:
God is soooooooooooooooooo merciful!!!

Let's not forget that. :-)

Why the worst

You can thank Gold for this one. Here I was at work, too sleepy to do any homework, trudging through some websites and leaning back to read a book I've got now and then read my email... hmm... I could blog while I'm sitting here. :-)

I don't really want to go over my awful 'Eid day, but for those of you I haven't told yet, it went like this:

Decided to skip class and not be pressed for time in the morning. Then got dressed(up) and went to school. Parked on campus to go print off some notes for me to study (had a test that day) before getting picked up to go to the prayer by someone else. I step out of the car (and lock the door as is my habit) and put on my coat (was chilly out) and the wind blows the door closed. Inside the car are my keys, my phone... everything else. Meh. This was 9:30.

So I tried to get in, failed, went to one of the towers we have to call campus police... an officer finally shows up and tries to get in, he fails. Then he gives up. By now it's 10:30 and we can't get in to the car and he wants to leave! What am I supposed to do!? So I he lets me use his phone to call AAA. They finally get there around 11:30 (by the way, the prayer was at 10:45 :-( grr) and he tries to get in, using different tools. He can't. Finally we roll the window down after figuring the locks aren't good for anything and discover that, in fact, the locks weren't good for anything. They were busted up by the officer before. The driver's side door won't open, period. The passenger's side door wouldn't open from the inside, only from the outside (at least the key worked on it!)

But I had missed the prayer. I did have an exam coming up--and that I totally failed. On top of not being especially well-prepared (because the weekend I should've been studying for it was the last weekend of Ramadan) I was emotionally frazzled about how I was going to fix my car (and if I could even afford it) and just feeling miserable on top of that from being out in the cold all morning. Failed.

And I spent the rest of the day feeling equally miserable and didn't do a single "festive" thing all day. It was quite sad. :-(

I took my car to be fixed on Tuesday and Wednesday and they couldn't even get the panel off. Later I called a locksmith (at my dad's urging--how a locksmith could possibly repair anything when not even a mechanic could get the panel off to expose the locks was beyond me) who of course could do nothing. And finally took it to the dealership, on Wednesday, who fixed it (alhamdulillah!) for a price that I could afford, which was very nice.

Now I no longer have to perform gymnastics to get into and out of my car, very nice.

So anyway... that was the worst Eid ever.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The last month

So, I'd like to go over all the wonderful things I did during Ramadhan but I cannot decide... forwards, backwards, highlights? I want to save the terrible Eid story for later (I know I've told many of you already... and getting it off my chest helped tremendously.)

So Ramadhan... month of fasting... I fasted. My roommate was good at getting me up so I almost never missed suhoor (alhamdulillah for a great roommate.) I went to a few amazing iftars. Got to do da'wah table again, that was fun. As the month started I didn't have many plans. The masjid had iftars for singles on Mondays and Wednesdays, so Alice and I were going there. Tuesdays I had class, Wednesdays I sometimes had lab. Thursdays the MSA had iftars (except on fall break) so I went to a couple of those. One I missed to have dinner at someone's house. Alice cooked spaghetti one night, and we ate together... a few times we had leftovers together... but most of the month we actually had dinner other places, especially towards the end.

I got to try all new varieties of food, that was exciting...

I met a lot of sisters my age (because so many more people were attending the MSA events especially) and hung out more with some I already knew. During fall break I went to the rival school UNC-CH for a Latino Muslim iftar... there was a speaker from New Jersey talking about Latino Muslims, and there was Latino food... some Muslims... some Latinos... no Latino Muslims but some non-Latino non-Muslims... maybe they learned something while they ate and listened. :-)

My roommate and I actually hosted one iftar at our apartment for some sisters. I cooked. Yes really. She made some spinach soup thing that was pretty good and some rice, and I made chicken parmesan, a jello/fruit salad dish, and a cake for dessert, and somebody brought grape leaves and hummous. It was pretty exciting--these women were crazy, though. You know, when you haven't eaten all day and then you start eating, dinner then dessert... sugar... lots of sugar... hijabis gone crazy. I haven't laughed so much in one night... for as long as I can remember. But we had good discussions, too, because a lot of them were converts as well, or family of some. They gave me some ideas about dealing with my family.. told me stories that were worse than mine... overall it made me feel a lot better.

I was interviewed about Ramadan to put in the school newspaper, that was pretty exciting.

That night I went to an iftar that I thought was going to be small at someone's house.. oh no. It was at a town community center to accommodate all the people... and wow, a ton of people. The who's who of the masjid, really. Even the imam came. So my roommie and I called it the A-List iftar, and decided that we had "made it" that now we're getting to go to the same iftar as the imam. :D

I went to an i'tikaf... was very sleepy, of course. The taraweeh prayers that night, the night we finished the Qur'an, lasted almost to midnight (because they did a fundraiser in the middle, grr.) So the i'tikaf started late, but I listened to a woman recite Qur'an (rare is that), and we had three mini-lectures. Then we prayed Tahajjud in the morning (which I probably did 6 or 7 times in the last 10 days... only missed a few near the end because I was sooo sleep deprived.) ate suhoor, and prayed fajr.

Anyway... it was a nice first Ramadan for me, spending the time with so many Muslims all the time was a real treat. I guess in my next post inshallah I'll explain what went wrong on Eid. :-)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Where is Amy?

I know you guys are all so bored you have nothing to do but read my blog... lol...

The last few weeks have been pretty amazing, alhamdulillah, but I just haven't had time to write about them. Inshallah I will write soon--things are starting to cool off as far as school, taking the weekend off (no sorority thing like I should) and going to finish of Ramadhan in a very tremendous way I hope.

So sorry for nothing to read yet... you all are probably all busy praying as well. So inshallah after Ramadhan I can write again.

Monday, October 09, 2006

WHY IS ISLAM?

The Fastest Growing Religion In America?

This is the second week I've done the 'Da'wah Table' for the MSA (Muslim Student Association.) And subhanallah!

Last week we did it the "old way," the way we've traditionally done the table in the past, with a slew of brochures sitting on the table sitting kind of out of the way, a Qur'an or two, and some fliers about the MSA. It didn't really get a lot of action, never had. Some people would stop by once in a while to pick up fliers or brochures, ask where the mosque was... very few people... a handful, over a couple hours. Sometimes we'd display (awkardly) a banner that said "Muslim Student Association."

Today we had a banner... and some posts to hold it up. It said Why is Islam the fastest growing religion in America? It was red with white writing, WHY IS ISLAM in the big letters, the rest somewhat smaller. We had a couple posters (I'd made the stands for them, but they wouldn't hold up in the wind.) In fact, the banner wouldn't hold up in the wind, and we'd placed bookbags on the bases to anchor it, but it still needed people to hold it. Normally we've got two people manning the table. But this week... we had a bunch of people. Four people to start, who stayed out at the table (helping us to anchor the banner) and many people who stopped by and hung out. (Sarah's trying to eliminate loitering, though... there tends to be a crowd of Muslims that stop by occasionally.) We now have only 3 different brochures, and 'A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding the Qur'an.'

But so many people stopped by today, especially right as we set up when the brickyard was most crowded. The banner really caught people's attention. They'd stop by and read, talk to us (there were a bunch of us, most of the time), some non-Muslims took the brochures we gave them. We even had a big prayer out there, too.

There was dialogue with some non-Muslims, more than usual I guess because of increased visibility. But plenty of people just coming by to ask questions. Lots of great dawah that we've never been able to do before! Amazing. We also caught the attention of more Muslims, too. Alhamdulillah. The brother from the Dawah Committee at the masjid also came out to take a look at how it was running. We eventually moved the table and banner to against a wall where the wind wouldn't blow it over (but it still needed people to hold it.) When I left it was slowing down (during class as well,) and I'm not sure how the rest of the "shift" went, but while we were there it was pretty amazing. All these people getting active with the table that never wanted to, before.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Think Fast

So it's a week into Ramadan, alhamdulillah... fasting gets easier, I suppose, but not really. I'm hungry, tired. But it is becoming easier to concentrate throughout the day (difficult at first) and... what else.... umm.... ;-)

I've been to taraweeh prayers a few times now. Some of the sisters are starting to "crack down" about the gaps. A chronic problem at my mosque is that the women don't like to stand "too close" together, often leaving gaps. Plus many sit in chairs in the middle of the row and refuse to move the chair to slide down, and it's hard sometimes to get someone from the other side to move around. The biggest problem though is the rugs. You see, where the women pray is not carpeted. The musallah is not big enough to accommodate all the worshippers that come for tarawih. (In fact, it can't even handle 1/3 of the worshippers that come for Jumm'ah!) So women are pushed into the gym behind the musallah. They start lining up at the back. The men usually overflow the musallah and line up in the front of the gym but women expect to be there. So it's the gym... no carpet, of course.

In case you have ever prayed on a gym floor, it isn't particularly comfortable. Not to stand for an hour (including large portions without moving) and not to kneel down on (oh my knees) and not to prostrate on (tendency to sliiiiiiiide). So the women usually bring rugs with them... but not everyone brings a rug. Sometimes a row has more than enough (usually the back row) and some rows don't have enough (the rows in the front.) This causes several problems.

First of all, being on a rug... the rug slides, it doesn't grip the floor. So you still have to be careful.
Next, if there aren't enough they are sometimes turned sideways to that 2-3 people can put their face at least on the same rug even if they don't stand on it. But then more people come with their own rugs and try to take up more space. Most rugs are more than wide enough for one person, and will probably accommodate 1 1/2 in jamm'at. So even if they aren't laid long-ways, people still end up having to move down to pray in congregation. This means that many women aren't praying on their own rug! So what? I don't care. It's just a rug. All the same. Only they aren't all the same. Some women bring blankets, or large pieces of thin fabric... like the one I prayed on last night. First of all, it slipped. It was big enough for three people to lay down on, and there were three of us praying on it. So it would slide when we got down on the floor, but the worst part was the sliding while prostrating. It was very uncomfortable... I'm not sure how to describe, except to say that it added practically no benefit and praying straight on the gym floor would have been easier and more comfortable. So the rugs are trouble to start with, women don't want to move (yeah, it's a pain to move your rug along with you and sometimes you pray on someone else's) and so there is always a problem with gaps, unfortunately. Consistently at jumm'ah for example. But now in taraweeh some sisters are pushing others over to make them fill in the gaps so it's not too bad. Alhamdulillah.

I'm very disinterested in my sorority at this point... it's a shame, really, considering I should be helping them much more than I am. But then it feels more like something I have to do instead of something I actually want to do. Fall Breaks are coming up soon. I've been invited to a few iftars later this month, which is nice. Mondays and Wednesdays they have iftars at the mosque (I don't know if they do on other nights or not... perhaps not!) Thursdays the MSA has an iftar, but this Thursday I was invited to someone's house so I guess I'm going there with my roommate, because she couldn't go on a different night. I have to say that it's really nice to break fast with other Muslims. Some nights I've been on my own, but I've enjoyed it more being with other Muslims... even if I don't know them.

I missed Islamic studies today again, unfortunately. After working Sunday morning I tend to just come home and sleep... and then end up sleeping through the start of the class until it's almost over and not worth going... like today. Oh well. Inshallah, next week. I think Fatimah is going to have a cow if she sees me though... oh well.

Anything else exciting this week happen? No, not really, sorry. I did buy a router but have yet to install it. One of these days, inshallah...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The football fast

Ramadan mubarak...

Here we started fasting Saturday... which was kind of hard and interesting for me, so I'm going to blog it. I had tried to find someone to cover the two shifts I'd signed up to work at the football game. (My sorority's fundraiser is to sell merchandise for the bookstore at the games.) Sadly, nobody took either. So my day went something like this:

I got up for suhor and then prayed fajr. I had had plenty of water to drink the night before and had some in the morning as well, knowing that I would be doing a lot of "physical" activity in the heat so I tried to prepare. After fajr I went back to bed and slept pretty late--expecting the evening to really drain me anyway. I didn't do too much of anything, mostly just cleaned up a little around the apartment, and prayed dhuhr, before going to the game. With me I took a bottle of water and two sealed bags of dried fruit for when I broke fast. I got there ontime/early at 3:55. At that point I waited outside with the other girls for over half an hour until the girl with the passes got there--she had been delayed, but we couldn't get in until she got there. She brought some food and drinks with her, and then we went in to set up the booth. We had to roll up the tent flaps, carry the tables over, unpack boxes, inventory, then display everything. It was about 85 F, but not humid and fairly breezy. I had set my alarm to go off at the time for 'asr so I could pray it as soon as possible. So I left the booth at that point and tried to find a secluded place to pray. This was still a while before the gates opened so there weren't too many people around.

After that I went back to help. You know, if I weren't fasting now I probably would have some things to say that weren't nice about the girls I was working with and their work ethic. Hm. But we finished with plenty of time, and the gates opened around 6:30. Sunset was at 7:12 and the game started at 8 (so from 6:30 on we would be getting busy until 8 when it would die off.) But I'd explained to everyone what was going on, and at that time I took my water and fruit and broke my fast. I didn't pray maghrib though because people were everywhere, so I went back to the booth and helped for another hour or so, when I took another break, prayed maghrib, bought a chicken sandwich, and rested for a few minutes. Once the game had started the crowds had mostly cleared.

I can't say I really liked praying in the stadium... it was outside, I didn't have a rug or anything so I was setting down on concrete, and even when it wasn't "crowded" I'm sure plenty of people still walked by and saw me. But I did get both the prayers in, something I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do.

The second shift started at the start of the game, and we had some new people come in to replace some, though a few of us were working both. We intermittently took breaks through the game, pausing to sit for a while or watch the game, and after it was over (we actually won...) we started packing up. I was in kind of a hurry so started right away counting what we had left and packing it up. After the boxes were packed we had to carry the tables back and clean up the rest. And then wait for the truck. We had finished packing up around 11:30 or 12, I think, but waiting for the truck... whoa. There are some new people working for the bookstore this semester, who haven't been trained yet, and who make honest mistakes, I guess. We left at 12:52, at which point we got to walk across the parking lot, down the road a ways, and through another lot to where we'd parked.

By that point, I had an excrutiating headache, my feet ached tremendously, and I don't know where the energy was coming from. I think because of the headache I started feeling sick to my stomach, but that could have been related to the fast. I started to feel like throwing up but thankfully never did. I got to take care of myself a little bit when I got home, and really just wanted a shower, but it ws then 1am, my roommate was asleep and I thought the shower would wake her, so I just opted to make wudhu and pray 'isha... and that was all I could do. I tried sitting at my computer, but that wasn't to be done, so I went to bed... I can barely remember laying down, so shortly after it was I asleep.

And now it's Sunday... and I'm at work. But I think when I get home I'm going to go back to bed. I never heard back about those classes so I'm not going to worry for now. Oh boy. I want to sleep.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why are you so attached?

Wow... it's finally Friday and I'm able to bring my head out of my books to breathe... almost! I think I want to write a post for my online class about Zen Buddhism before I leave work, but after that I have a da'wah table meeting after 'asr, and then after maghrib Sgt. Ricky Clousing will be speaking at the masjid inshaAllah. And by then I guess we'll know if we start praying tarawih tonight and fasting tomorrow.

Here's been my week so far:
Tuesday: class at 8:30, work at 10:30-5:30, class at 6:30-9, isha at 9:15, I got home around 10p
that's when I started my homework which was due Wed. at 2:20
Wednesday: class at 8:30, work at 10:30-1:30--frantically trying to finish hw due at 2:20 and lab report due at 6:50. Finished hw, but not lab before class. Class 2:20-3:35, then I rushed home and ate! (yeah at 4pm) then back to school to finish my lab report. I did finish it, but not the prelab--alas--then went to lab at 6:50, then to isha at 9:15 again
Thursday: went to work at 3:30-7:30, tried to finish my hw due at 8:30--I finished 4/5 and turned it in on time, went to work at 10:30, after work stopped by the house to grab a sandwich for dinner then went to an exec board meeting at 6:30 (yay! finally getting through this at a snappy pace) to 7pm--we started and ended on time! and then at 7:30 was an msa meeting, and I was there until 9 or so... got home around 9:30 for bed, basically. (that was a full 18-hr day)
Friday: work, jumm'ah, ran by school to get a key fob, back at work... then the stuff I said at first.

This week has just rushed by and it seems like I've been doing massive amounts of homework. Believe it or not, I've been pretty efficient about it... I guess I had to be since I did most of it at the last minute. Especially Wednesday--it's like I did homework all day straight!

But I have more. A test Monday, a test Tuesday, hw due Thursday, a paper and a short essay due Friday, but fasting this weekend and next week inshaAllah... whoa... and this weekend so far I'm busy with 8-9 hours fundraising at football game Saturday (4p-1a is my guess) while I probably will be fasting for the day (prayers in a crowded stadium? ugghhh....) and have to make a few prayers there. I'm trying to get out of that, though, by getting some candidates (new girls) to take over the two shifts I'm signed up for.... inshaAllah one or both will go so the day is easy for me and I can do some studying. On Sunday I have a shift at work 7:10-11:30a, then I will inshaAllah start classes at the masjid--one in Islamic studies, one in Arabic--and then I have a sorority meeting. ughhh again, haha.

So I'm busy!

Da'wah table... I mentioned this above but might not have explained it, and I want to. The MSA here has a little table, basically, and some Islamic posters, that they put out in the brickyard on campus with a couple people to man it to basically talk to people about Islam. (If you look at google maps for NCSU in Raleigh, the satellite image can show you the brickyard... there's a high volume of traffic walking through this area between the library and some other buildings, including a main area for students to eat lunch on campus. Instead of grass or concrete, pavement or whatever... it's bricks. NCSU is all about bricks, you'd have to be here to get it, I guess, but to explain a bit.. there are only 2 buildings on campus /not/ made of bricks; sidewalks are bricks, some roads are bricks, there are even brick statues.) I haven't really gotten to participate in the da'wah table before though I have stopped by. I'll be working with a brother though starting in October, and tonight the girl in charge of it (my friend Sarah!!) is having a meeting to talk about it, I guess. I'm excited. :-)

Sgt. Ricky Clousing is a soldier who was an interrogator in Iraq but felt his role there was unethical, etc., so refused to go back.

So hm... if I don't post for a while it's because I'm busy. :-)

Ramadhan mubarak to all my readers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Life is a highway

Well, now, I had a great weekend, taking a bold and adventurous road trip to the exciting state of New Jersey... oh, yes.

My sorority's rush is officially over, and we have 10 new candidates.. I think. I haven't met them all yet... lol. The last event was initiation (Friday night) followed by dinner, and a make-up initiation on Sunday (which I missed, being in NJ at the time.) Saturday I did some sleeping and cleaning, and just a little bit of packing, in order to leave around 1:30am for the trip.

If I ever make this drive again, inshaAllah, I'd like to make it at night, on a night like that. Except for some very dense fog in Virginia, the drive was extremely pleasant. I-95 through NC and VA doesn't have any lights, and there is practically nothing around for most of the drive, affording an excellent view of the stars and moonrise, around 2:30am. Until northern VA, there were hardly any other cars on the road... to such an extent that for most of the drive I could see no brake lights in front of me, nor headlights behind me. I was in Baltimore by the time the sun came up, dawning on a beautiful day, and I got a good view of the skyline there... I-95 traverses exciting bridges and overpasses there, going up and down and seeing the downtown, the port, the gas tanks, and other random things. Even by the time I was into New Jersey the roads weren't very crowded--not until the last few miles on the New Jersey turnpike and when I got off. This was by far the furthest I had driven myself in a car, and I was alone. But I think I did a fair job of entertaining myself... I do that quite well.

I can't really say enough nice things about the family I stayed with on Sunday and Sunday night. The only thing I regret is I wasn't quite awake enough to be fully sociable because they were kind and attentive and fully pleasant to be around.

The reason I decided to go to New Jersey in the first place was for a sister's wedding. I pray that her marriage will be filled with blessings and that she and her husband never cease to enrich each other.

The drive home wasn't bad--I never encountered (save some small construction zones) any heavy traffic that set me back considerably but overall the drive was slower and more tedious because of a greater volume of traffic in general, especially trucks. But by the time I was approaching Richmond the roads were pretty much clear, and stayed that way until I got close to Raleigh. I stopped to get gas and food in Hopewell, Virginia. This is the town where my parents lived and met, went to HS, got married. My mom's parents lived there all their lives--her mom has passed away and dad is now living with my uncle and his wife. My dad's mom and step-dad lived there at some point, though he spent more time in Minnesota in his youth. Since his mom died, he now visits just to see his step-dad and his wife Maxine. I have visited Hopewell several times but only just to see family--there isn't much to do there. But I was running low on fuel when I passed it (I-295 goes right through it, instead of I-95 which goes through Richmond, and 295 bypasses Richmond so that's what I was on) so I stopped... the Petrol station was run by a Muslim! I think that's a little ironic... Hopewell being such a small town as it is, where my parents grew up, and so "old-timey" in my estimation, and I see a Muslim there. Neat.

The price of gasoline there was $2.27. Gas prices have come down in the last few weeks, hovering near $2.44 here, about $2.55 in most of the places north of Washington, DC., but in Hopewell... yeah... even cheaper. That was nice. :-) Plus the greeting.

I now have a load of homework (that I didn't do over the weekend) to catch up on, including a lab report and set of problems (for the same class!) that is probably going to take at least 6 hours. But I have my NT class tonight until... 9:15 or so. Going to be another long couple of days... how far is Friday??

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Women in Saudi Thing

Thanks for the comments...

I want to apologize for not having updated the blog in a while since it apparently caught a lot of attention. I was referring to an article which reported that Saudi officials had decided to try to segregate the Masjid al-Haram to keep men and women from mixing in it. The women, they decided, would not be able to pray in the space near the Ka'ba. I was... opposed. Haha, to put it lightly. But it was nice to hear what other people thought, people who have more information than me, so thanks to those of you who left a comment.

Here is a related article:http://in.today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2006-09-11T193242Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_India-267014-1.xml&archived=False

I had actually gotten into conflict about the issue with a brother who was trying to insist on people's safety and other issues.

I hope this is something that fades away into nonexistence and we never have to hear of it again. Really. I just made a du'a.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Home

Is this home?
Is this where I should learn to be happy
Never dreamed that a home could be dark and cold
I was taught every day in my childhood
Even when we grow old
Home will be where the heart is
Never where words so true
My heart's far, far away, home is too

Is this home?
Is this what I must learn to believe in?
Try to find something good in this tragic place
Just in case I should stay here for ever
Held in this empty space
Oh, but that wont be easy
I know the reason why:
My hearts far, far away
Home's a lie

What I'd give to return to the life that I knew lately
But I know that I can't solve my problems going back

Is this home?
Am I here for a day or forever?
Shut away from the world until who knows when
Oh but then as my life has been altered once
It can change again
Build higher walls around me
Change every lock and key
Nothing lasts, nothing holds all of me
My heart's far, far away
Home and free

Home has been something on my mind lately, and when I heard this song, it expressed a number of the things I wished to in a post. It's from Beauty and the Beast, but it's not in the movie version. I've been thinking about home because... I don't have one. I have a roommate, an apartment, a variety of furniture and cooking dishes, clothes, a car... a sofa. But it's not home. There should be somewhere for everyone where he feels comfortable, where he can relax, where the people around him understand and share something in common.

I don't have that. Do other people? I mean, I had it before... before I left my parents, I mostly felt comfortable there. Before Islam we certainly had many of the same opinions and mutual respect. But I don't think I have that respect from them anymore. If anybody really has the power to make you feel worthless, it's your family. The ones whom you trust, the ones you shared your life with.

It's only recently struck me how lonely I am. I guess I hide it by being busy so I don't get much time to think about it being alone, and I can ignore what I'm missing.

Don't get me wrong, I love my roommate. She's a sweetheart, and living with her has helped me in a number of ways. But if I need to have a good cry, a good shout, a real good laugh... it's like a part of me is missing and even though I ignore it that hole just gets bigger.

I don't keep in touch with my family too much, and they don't keep in touch with me, either. I see my parents once in a while nowadays. I visited my brother a few weeks ago, and my parents only once since then. I haven't seen my sister in over a month, and I saw my other sister once at my parents a few weeks ago but only by coincidence. I haven't seen my niece since I don't know when. I just realized that tomorrow is my dad's birthday. I realize, here, that I'm going to have to do the work... but the problem is that even I am apathetic about it. I don't really want to spend time with my parents. They make me take of my hijab and they've insulted me in a number of other ways. And I think they're content to just live in their own little world.

I understand this is supposed to be my jihad or something, but I have two options. Let us drift apart... which I would much rather do... or fight with them emotionally knowing that things will never work out right. I wish I could go to them for help, but I can't. For strength or support, but I can't get it from them. Nobody else understands where I am or where I've come from. There's just me... in a world on my own.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Prepare for a storm

Last night it rained... hard. There's a "hurricane" approaching (it's some pitiful sort of tropical storm, technically) though the winds that I would gladly welcome remain somewhere off the coast of South Carolina and last night was just... rain.

But as it was raining, the most hostile emotions I've experienced in quite sometime gushed out of my fingers into a series of irascible posts. Furious, I viewed myself as a victim of the disdainful contempt of one particular man whose arrogance must surely exceed world records. Of all the things in this world that could enrage me, one sure to light my passions is the complacency of one party against the persecution of another. Am I exaggerating?

In refusing to acquiesce to discrimination and oppression of women, I am labelled as one filled with hate. Why? What is there to hate, except that a party of Muslim would dare to exclude women from holy sites in Mecca on account of their being crowded. But what more? The audacity to rearrange priorities according to modern fears.

Women are being pushed out, and I won't stand by and tolerate the arrogance of any man who dares to suggest that women need privacy more than they need Islam, or that bigoted seclusion (because all such seclusion is discriminatory segregation) is more important than the commands of God.

I am perilously close to taking off my hijab in protest. I am so sick of this attitude of keeping women out "for their own good." Bullshit! Since when do modern standards of gender inequality prevail over Islamic tradition? Will the Muslims in Saudi take women back to the time of ignorance? They already have! Women are segregated in mosques and then pushed out, they're locked in their homes, hiding under sheets if they must go out.

I refuse.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

One hour, twenty minutes (1:20)

That's how long it took this morning for me to get to school. Which is odd, because I live right down the road from my school, and could probably have walked there in half that time.

Have you ever had one of those days? It's been one of "those days" for me. Starting with... breakfast, probably. I was so tired last night that I opted to not pack my things for school, but to do it in the morning. So I needed to get up a little bit early to do that, and I had budgeted about an hour of travel time, knowing I'd have to ride 2 different buses. Well... I was running late (freqently am, in mornings.) I tried to sleep in a little extra and probably spent 20 minutes laying in bed wondering why my arm felt like it was falling asleep. (Don't ask...) I found my bag, (which had been in a box since I packed it in May), emptied it of all last semester's work and tried to fill it with a few books I planned on using today. This all takes time, mind you.

Then I thought I'd save time by eating breakfast in the car so I poured a bowl of cereal as I was about to leave only to discover... there was no milk in the fridge. So much for the cereal, so I just put the bowl (with the cereal in it) back in the cabinet, lol! I wanted to hurry... I was sooo pokey this morning.

So I didn't get breakfast this morning because there wasn't much else I could've taken with me--I figured I would just wait for lunch because I had nothing to do after my first class, which was 8:30-9:20.

I think I've mentioned in previous posts my fear of butterflies... well, this morning there was a giant (GIANT!!) moth sitting on my doorstep when I opened the door. (One for the world) Uh oh. Right beside where the door closed, so it would close just over the wing a little bit. Giant moth. I was terrified it would come at me when I opened or close the door. Thank God, it didn't, but oh boy. I did manage to get the door locked (covering my face with one hand, lol) and run down the stairs, without it moving. (One for me.)

Unfortunately, I didn't really make it to my car and out of the complex until about 7:55, already 25 minutes later than I planned. And traffic, of course, despite not taking any particularly high-volume roads... was terrible. I figured, just driving through town it would be fine. So I'm driving along, it's not too bad at first, then I come up to a major intersection on a side street. I could go straight, or turn left. Well, the left-turn line is much much shorter and I know that usually it has a long cycle (for turn) so decide to turn. That was a bad idea... I ended up waiting through 2 or 3 cycles at that light--people just weren't moving! Straight would have gotten me through the intersection much sooner.

But after that, I got stopped at two more intersections that normally are green... hmm... then a t the third, where I needed to turn right, some big slow truck was way ahead of me and getting around that turn took a while but then...

It must have been a train...

But the road was backed up about half a mile from the intersection--I couldn't even see what was going on. But cars were stopped way back (which is why I presume train, this intersection has a railroad crossing that would prevent the flow on this road) for a while, and then only creeped through a few at a time. That's where I think I wasted most of the morning time. Unfortunately, traffic like that just doesn't stop cars, but buses too.

And I finally made it to the park and ride lot (which is probably further from the school than my house, and on the other side--though I'm not allowed to park on or near campus and don't quite live close enough for an easy walk) around 8:30. Right, that's when my class was supposed to start. So here I wait for the bus... take the bus to the main campus... and have to wait about 15 minutes there for another bus to take me to the campus I have class on.

Sigh...

I was patient... I hoped that I could make it to the class only 20-30 minutes late, that would be fine. I've had the professor before, and knew I wouldn't miss much at the beginning. But then waiting... and I did catch the bus and made it to the centennial campus, and my classrom, at 9:16 (I checked my watch.) So, an hour and twenty minutes it took me to get to class this morning... isn't that totally insane?? It took me less than an hour when I lived 30 minutes away from campus, and now I live 5 minutes away! But now they've turned the parking lot close to this campus into a permit-only lot, and really, I'm too cheap to pay for a permit.

I'll be telling transportation that they need a park and ride lot with a bus that goes to Centennial... as it is, all commuting students who don't have parking permits need to take two buses to get to centennial campus--this is really absurd, now, considering how many departments have now moved to Centennial.

{If you don't know, at my school they are building a new fancy 'Centennial Campus' for some of the more prominent curriculum departments, like engineering and textiles... so we have 'state of the art facilities' to boast of, and all. The humanities and social studies classes will then get the dilapidated buildings which had been previously occupied by these departments, as they expand--meaning, as they no longer have 5 people sharing an 8x10 office. So being in engineering, I'm on Centennial for my "major" classes.}

For now, I'm not sure what the best option would be--I can't find a way around the "two-bus" option without a lot of walking. I think tomorrow, since I only have one class in the morning, I will walk about two blocks to a stop for a different route, and get off the bus further down the road near the campus and walk from there to class. It shouldn't be too hot at 8am or 10am, and then I have only one bus to worry about. It's maybe 3 blocks to the school building from where the bus stops, I think. I should check this stuff out, huh? ;-)

Anyway, the class let out at 9:20 so I didn't even bother going in (two for the world), but went to the computer lab to check when the next section met. I thought (and correctly) that the same professor was teaching the same class, a different section, right after the first. He was, and even in the same room! (Which I checked online.) And the class was pretty big... I just snuck in the back and listened to the entirety of the same spiel he gave to the first section (my class) as he gave it to the second. And since he doesn't take attendance, I doubt he'd notice my absence/presence in one or the other. So despite the fact I totally missed my class, I didn't really miss anything. ;-) (Two for me.)

So after class, I decide I have time to run across town to a bookstore for my community college to get my New Testament textbook. But first, I'm really hungry (missed breakfast, remember?) so decide to go home for lunch (short on cash, since tuition has just been due.) But then I remember... oh yeah, no milk, and not many other food options really, so I decide to go to the grocery store first, quick trip, get a few things I need. I didn't pay attention to how long was my travel time back to my car, or how long I spent in the store... but I didn't get home until 12:40. This time I wanted to make sure I got back to the bus stop by 1:30, since my next class was at 2:20. (Still trying the far away park'n'ride.)

Then it was my idea to make macaroni and cheese. I had milk now, so I could do that. So I pull a box down and start to boil the water... when I'm finished, and adding the powdery stuff, I notice this doesn't smell right. So I add more milk to see if maybe it's just the mixture not right ... then I taste it... doesn't taste right... so I check the box's expiration date. APRIL 2004!! (Three for the world.) How did an old box of mac'n'cheese get on my shelf anyway?? Easy, it must've been Alice's, and she left it there when she put my stuff up in the cabinet (she let me have a few shelves, and I just grabbed a box.) Ew. So I threw it away. But remember how I put the cereal in the cabinet? I didn't even have to pour a bowl, just add milk (which I had now) and I ate the cereal for lunch. (Three for me.)

But it's certainly too late to go to the bookstore, so I decide to try after my next class, and I go back to campus, and this time, thankfully, it doesn't take nearly as long but I also left in plenty of time.

So after class I try to go to the bookstore... tried listening to the radio a little bit, and (should know better but) I turned on the talk radio station. I hadn't listened to the local guy in a while, he's on 3-6 and I've been working until 6, so I listen, and he's talking about Muslims! Whaddoyaknow. So I listen and he's talking about all these supposed terror plots on planes and basically (my assessment of) people's irrational fear of flying with Muslims, or people they think are Muslims, because they think Muslims are terrorists. So all while I'm driving I try calling in, he keeps asking how people would feel and I think he wanted a Muslim to call in anyway... but I hate calling on the cell phone cuz each call charges a minute (grr.) But when I finally got home I hooked up the phone and got through on the 2nd or 3rd try. And so I tell the screener, well, I'm a Muslim, so if Bill wants to talk to a Muslim... and yeah. So I get on like 30 seconds before they're big, half hour break for news and all. And I say, Hi Bill, I'm a Muslim, and it sounded like you wanted to hear what a Muslim thought... and yeah he did so he put me on hold for like 10 minutes so I could have plenty of time to talk.

And then I got the next 10 minutes. Which is pretty astonishing for that show, really, most people get a minute or 2 at most. So I got to explain my "perspective" and how I really hate that people want to blow up planes, but that profiling "muslims" or people you think are Muslims is a pretty dumb idea, overall. But he's an idiot and thinks it's a good idea even though it makes Muslims the victims--which he acknowledged. I tried explaining how people are just overly afraid, more than they should be and that's why they are over-reacting. I'm not sure how effective I was, but hopefully someone who was listening will not think of this as just a "political correctness" issue like he was trying to make it, and see that someone's skin color and watch-looking habits does not make him a terrorist. And I tried to dissociate between "Muslim" and "terrorist" (don't we all) but it's not something these guys like to hear, I know. And I was polite this time. :-) (Four for me.)

Oh yeah, and that book... was used... and only $35!! (Five for me!!!) These hardcover books tend to go $60,70,80 used, so that was very nice.

Now what? Well I beat the world today, so far, 5-3, alhamdulillah. I have some reading to do... maybe I'll go over my classes later if I have time, inshaAllah. (Especially NT... that one might be an irritant for me.)

And by the way... the giant moth is still there, sleeping, I guess. I got a good look at it earlier, though, the scales on it's wings are really interesting--looks like parts of leaves. Subhan'allah, if it were on trees I think I could never see it. So why it's choosing a doorstep to sleep on, I dunno--but it was alive this morning, btw, I saw it moving it's little antennae thingies (which is why I was terrified it would fly into my face, as such airborne buggers have been known to do).

:-)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Beach trip

So it looks like the last time I posted was Thursday... I can't really remember Thursday...

But Friday was Jumma'ah. I tried so hard to get to the khutbah early, and didn't make it before it started... inshaAllah this week, or next. But I didn't miss anything--the imam was giving the khutbah, so it was in Arabic, and then translated afterwards, and I got to hear the translation. The title was Sins of the Ummah. It was a very interesting lecture about what we, as Muslims collectively, were doing wrong in the world--especially the government. He talked about how Islam had been twisted into a political philosophy of sorts, but how real Islam was being oppressed even in Muslim countries! May Allah save us from what we are doing to ourselves.

The Friday night talk was about da'wah, with Brother Ali Aiello talking about da'wah in the Qur'an and sharing some experiences. I don't know that I heard anything "new" but it's always good to hear these things again with a new voice. On Saturday I went back to the masjid for another Da'wah talk, this time with the imam. This is the first activity I had heard about of the da'wah committee, and so I changed my schedule (I was planning to go out of town that morning) to stay for it. It was helpful, I got to see who some of the people active in da'wah are, at that masjid. Some I knew, but most I didn't. The discussion started with talking about people taking shahadah, and not pressuring them to do that, but it sort of gravitated (inevitably, with a certain person present) towards a Muslim state. How it got there: people taking shahadah, answering questions about Islam, answering questions about jihad, what do we say about current events... then a discourse on what would be necessary for things to be better. While I appreciate that discussion, and find it very interesting, I didn't attend to hear that but more about da'wah. Oh well.

After that I tried to pack quickly (quickly didn't happen) and get out of town, but since I was going to visit my brother, my parents had a letter they wanted me to take to him/his girlfriend, so I had to drive 20-30 minutes out of the way and back before I could go. And then I was just running behind, but of course I stopped to talk a little while to my parents--a mistake. First I had to hear the low-down on Brittany's ex-roommate and other nonsense, and then my dad asked the nasty questions--what do they say at your mosque about those plane bombings?

I can't remember his words, but it was something like that, which didn't make sense. I have to ask... what are you talking about!? He apparently meant the terror plots uncovered in Britain about blowing up planes. I tried to be really clear this time when I told him, it's just wrong. I gave him a list of reasons why it's wrong and then I had to explain why some people aren't saying it's wrong. I explained some things I had learned that day and weeks before from the imam (who is very critical of "Muslim" governments, mind you) about how those governments are really oppressing the Muslims, how they can't even practice Islam there, how governments are treating real scholars who disagree with them.

At some point now, he asks me if I can ask the imam to talk to him. I wouldn't do that--I don't even talk to the imam. I just listen. I'd feel out of place asking him that, when my dad can call the mosque himself. Plus, I don't know what he wants to talk about, and he won't tell me, but I know the imam is busy. And on top of that, the imam's English isn't very good and I'm not sure if my dad could even understand him. So I think my dad is asking in a rather rude way, by telling me to ask him even though I don't even get to talk to him myself. He's busy! So I won't be doing it, but I will ask my dad to call, and try to find other people who can talk to him. Right now, I'm too annoyed at his manners to see this as a breakthrough or anything.

But I finally, around 8, made off towards the beach, to visit my brother. I didn't get to spend much time with them that night or the next morning/afternoon. They were working, and I went to buy them some stuff for their place--some kitchen towels, a casserole dish, a clock for the living room and some groceries they needed--and went back to do their dishes. Now, their plumbing was messed up (busted pipe, maybe?) and my brother had spent the last few days trying to fix it, so they didn't have water.. and hadn't done the dishes, therefore, in a few days. So I did their dishes, fixed a casserole for them to make later (so they have more than just junk food to eat) and we went out to dinner.

Dinner was an adventure, we drove up (separately) to Wilmington from Holden Beach (they live right near the island, but work in Shallotte) because Brittany wanted to eat at some floofy places on the water. But because they were crowded, and uppity, we decided to go looking for somewhere else... and drove around Wilmington for a while not getting anywhere until we made it way into town and found a whole slew of them. Then we ate, and they drove back to Shallotte and I went home. It was actually a pretty quick drive. I've been to Wilmington a few times but this time it seemed much shorter... possibly because I was driving 85? Or maybe because I didn't stop in Warsaw for gas or anything else. Who knows. But I got home at about 12:30am, which wasn't too bad considering when I left. That's when I should've gone to bed, and didn't but... it's Monday, and thus begins my very hectic fall semester.

Tomorrow I have a meeting I can't go to because it's during a class I'll have at nights, now. Wednesday is my first official day of classes at State, then I'll work most of the days, Thursday-Friday. I have a meeting Sunday, the MSA shura wants to meet me to talk about their open position... that's not going to happen, I think. They had a retreat they wanted me to go to part of, on Sunday (I was at the beach.) And their first meeting is next monday at 7:30, but I have sorority stuff at 7. I told them I could be there by 8... but this isn't boding too well, and I think it might be better if I just keep my nose out of it for a while. Anway, the following three weeks of recruitment plus classes and work... and the lab still hasn't posted the fall schedule so I don't know when I'll be working there!! Wow, do I seem a little stressed? I have something scheduled, at least one something, every day of the week for 4 weeks. And after that... oh yes, there's more, just too far in advance to have planned stuff yet. Ah, me. Seventeen weeks of this, then vacation. Then GOODBYE AOE!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Not everyone is paranoid

I'm not.

And unfortunately it's difficult for me to deal with people who are, or who otherwise demonstrate irrational fear or rely on conspiracy-theorist types of news sources.

I don't believe that there are "masterminds" out there secretly controlling and manipulating the world, making "prophecies" that have any hope of coming true. And I don't take hearsay as valid information on which to form an opinion.

I don't really know how to describe why, if I spot Amatullah at the masjid, I try to run out as soon as I can before she spots me. There are a few things she likes to talk about. She wants to know how to explain to non-Muslims that "your government did that," when they ask about 9/11. (????) She also wants to know how ready I am for a husband, and did I read that book by Laura Schlesinger yet called Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands (no.) She occasionally asks how school is and how much longer I have--always the same answer, I'm busy, and 2 more years. LOL. She also like to talk about how she teaches her kids. But here's one that is causing my recent frustration in talking to her: communing with Allah.

I don't even know what that means. She's been saying for a while how we were raised Christian so we know how to pray better or something... I don't get it. I was terrible at praying before I came Muslim. I would lay in bed and try to think of things to be grateful for, before asking some kind of request. Thanks for this, this, this, this... and can I get this...? I don't think I was especially close to God, I never really did much praying in groups outside my family, no Bible studies or prayer circles....

WHAT? You didn't go to prayer circles?

I don't even know what a "prayer circle" is. I wasn't the most active Christian in the world, you know...

But weren't you active in the Christian groups on campus??

No, why would I be? Campus Crusade is known to have the best parties on campuses all over the state--what does that tell you? I didn't say that, of course, but really. She's acting like I must naturally have an identical background to her simply because I was Christian, and like I apparently am better at praying than everyone else because I was raised to be so close to God. Whatever. I don't want to be rude so I don't say anything while she gives me this look of disappointment. You don't have to be a Christian to know how to pray. I didn't learn how until I became a Muslim and I am so grateful for that. I can make up my own prayers as I go along (by prayers, here, I'm pretty much only talking about supplications, or du'a) but I have the prayers of the Prophets, the prayers of Muhammad, and have tried to learn how to pray, how to supplicate. I don't rely on experience with "prayer circles" or anything like that, I don't (though she does, apparently) have a need to pour out my heart with a list of gripes and complaints to send up to God daily, and that isn't at all how I look at my religion--a chance to complain.

She talks about Islam as though the only thing is just getting closer to God. We were having a discussion about the Khilafa and I was agreeing with her about the importance of building a strong foundation in understanding God, but I'm starting to think we have a different idea here. To me that means time spent worshipping God, reflecting on His Greatness, learning His attributes. It's not self-centered time asking for things.

It's really irritating--I'm not sure exactly what she thinks I am, some younger version of herself perhaps, but I'm not. I don't have the same tradition in Christianity that she has and I don't see Islam the same way. I try not to meddle in how she does things but I'm annoyed that she keeps trying to meddle with me. How dare I run out of the masjid after fajr to get some sleep, instead of listening to Riyadh us-Saliheen with her? I got that impression from her this morning. And last night...

I just don't see the point of her constantly telling me I need to commune with God like this is some bizarre cult I've never heard of, and I can't stress how much it's starting to bother me. I want to worship God, not just complain. And I see that as much more comprehensive than putting my face on the floor and thinking about all the things that went wrong in a day.

The many impressions I'm getting from her just don't make sense, but she keeps acting disappointed in me. I shouldn't say that bothers me, exactly, it's just that I think her "expectations" are the standards to which she holds herself. And she's not really the kind of person who makes me want to show up at the masjid, so I can be fussed at for my disregard for what "masterminds" "predict" about Islam or my disinterest in compiling a list of grievances before prayer, or for my belief that Muslims actually got prayer right for once, and I'm going to go along with their way instead of anything else I've been able to come up with.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bad mood

I am in such a rotten mood... and I have to let out some frustration here. Some creep called me last night at 12:50am! Creep! I say a creep because I have no clue who he was, but he apparently had my phone number. I was asleep, extremely tired (didn't get enough sleep the night before), and here just after I drifted off my phone starts ringing. I have no clue who he was, he was speaking in some weird accent (plus I was half asleep) and I don't even think he told me his name. Or if he did, I didn't understand it. I told him, I'm sleeping, it's late, I was asleep. That's when I should've hung up, but he says oh, he's sorry but then some other gibberish I couldn't make out. Seriously, he calls in the middle of the night, I tell him I have no clue who he is and he expects me to carry on a conversation. What is wrong with people!?

Then I figure if he has my phone number maybe he has my email address so I'm like whatever, just email me and I'll deal with you later because I want to sleep. Apparently he 'lost' my email address (if he ever had it) so he gives me his (like this guy could understand me saying the difference between d,v,b,p) over the phone, and then we get disconnected. Thank God. I throw the phone back on the floor and try to sleep again. A few minutes later, it's ringing again, same number. So I silenced it, but then I got a message which made it beep and then the creep called again! So I silenced it, grabbed the phone and kept it in bed with me in case he called again--I didn't want all that ringing to wake up my roommate, but couldn't turn it off because I use it as an alarm.

Anyway, I'm really irritated that there are people in the world who call girls in the middle of the night and even after knowing they've woken them up, still expect a conversation. Come on! I was trying to figure out who he was and why he had my number, but now I'm just mad he disturbed my sleep and I'm tired again this morning. Creep! This morning I checked the area code: Boston. I know I don't know anyone in Boston, which makes me mad and curious as to where/how this guy got my number. I think if he calls again, I'm going off on him. I don't have time for that junk.