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


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...