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:

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


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.