Thursday, December 30, 2010

Body Image

I want to make sure my daughter grows up comfortable in her own skin and simply proud of who she is, inside and out. I have managed that for myself generally but not without struggles as a kid and young teenager, where I would be extremely cautious of my weight by the fraction of a pound.

Now I have no idea how many calories I eat per day and I feel comfortable in my body. It's not as strong and fit as before, it has a bunch of stretch marks from my enormous baby, it has some cellulite, it jiggles in some places, but it's ME!

No matter if my daughter Nora becomes chubby or rail-thin or has no ass and small boobs or a giant behind, I want her to feel satisfied with what she has. I think it starts in the home. Every little thing we say as parents, especially parent of the same sex, affects our children and how they perceive themselves. WE are the most important influence.

When it comes to body image, we need to be careful about what we say about our own bodies and others. We need to project satisfaction and confidence in ourselves, not our insecurities.

What are some specific ideas any of you have to help our daughters (and sons) have positive body image?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Evil Eye again

What is the general idea on the evil eye when it comes to telling people about good things about to come or good things that have happened? Any general information to give me or article to read?

Two Polls

Please vote for the names you find would suit us best. Sibling is Nora!


Don't forget that there are two polls on the side there! Boys and Girls!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Xbox 360 Kinect

We've had the Xbox for a long time but I never got into it at all. I always wanted to have a Wii. When Xbox came out with Kinect, I knew I wanted to have it! And we got it!


It's so much fun, really! The technology is pretty advanced... it feels like a game of the future, not using any sort of remote, only ourselves. It's really quite responsive. You move, your character moves and it can tell if you're fake jumping or really putting a lot of energy into it to jump higher, so you really do need to work hard in some games. It comes with Kinect Adventures which has a few different games you go through like rafting. Side-step to the side for your raft to move that way, jump when you need to, etc. There's a game with balls that need to be blocked and hit toward objects, there's a game where you're in space and you flap your arms to move up and have to move to the sides and forward and backward to catch all the bubbles, there's a game (and this one is a freakin' workout!) where you are on a rolling platform and you need to jump over, tuck under and sidestep barriers, as well as catch the tokens as you move forward. You need to jump as much as possible to go faster. And the last game is plugging leaks in an underwater glass box of sorts. You move your hands and feet on top of leaks to stop them.

I also tried two of the three demos that were included on the game CD. Dance Central is just awesome and I got the actual game today but didn't get to try any new songs since my husband is still at the store buying it. Joy Ride is a racing game that is not that interesting for me since I don't love car games, but it's still really cool to just have to hold your hands forward in the air and move the steering wheel. It think it would be a lot of fun for kids. And it was good for my uncle who has a lung disease and could not play anything else. He and my dad enjoyed trying it. I will soon try the demo for a fitness game... After trying Dance Central and seeing how precise the game is at tracking my movements, I can only imagine that a fitness game would be really motivating for someone wishing to get in shape if the game is well-made. The hardware (sensors, etc) have everything needed to develop amazing fitness "games".

I also tried to find out what else Xbox had to offer. I figured since we are spending all this money on a game, and had spent all this money on an Xbox a long time back, I needed to start using it! What I really liked was the Xbox live. I actually played Kinect Adventures with someone else live! And I know other games also have cool ways to have people play live with others. Biggest Loser fitness game can have you working out with someone else online for example. It's a lot more motivating than being by yourself.

You can also watch movies with a friend who has an Xbox at the same time. Also, I discovered Netflix.ca. It doesn't have all the selection and options (like mail-in renting) that it does in the US, but still, I really like it and so does Nora. I have been watching Drop Dead Diva and the Boondocks and Nora is watching Dora, Barney, Diego and Thomas and Friends. She can navigate Netflix from my iphone all by herself.

Who else has an Xbox? Do you have Kinect? What do you think of it?
Who has Netflix? Is this in Canada or the US? How are you liking that?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pyjama Day, Jumah and Fun

I'm only working a half-day today for Christmas Eve, and we are having a pyjama morning so everyone is in sweat pants and sweaters, colourful pyjamas, whatever. I'm wearing an adult's onesie! So comfy and fun!

I have my change of clothes to go to Jumah afterwards. I have not been to Friday prayer in SO LONG. I went once since I started working full time almost 3 years ago. Tonight is going to be great being with my family (parents, brother, aunt and uncle, husband and daughter).

We got an Xbox with Kinect and will bring it to my parents' house! It's really so much fun!

Hope everyone will have some happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Hymen

I have probably posted about this before but it really is annoying how important the hymen is in Muslim cultures! I understand the importance of having kept yourself until marriage, but the actual hymen can be broken in many different ways even if a woman has not had relations before!

Marriage should be built on actual trust! If you don't trust her, don't marry her! Women don't have this - we just have to trust that the man is telling the truth, and that's fine! I had no doubts about my husband. And he had to deal with the fact that he wasn't gonna get proof from me either and in the end, we both trusted each other and it just worked. It was almost a blessing because it allowed me to know he really trusted me.

Marriage should be built on TRUST!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Unity

What can be very disappointing with Muslims is the lack of unity between us. We pride ourselves on being one Ummah, but we are just as divided as Christianity and all its sects. Someone looking in quickly will find Sunni and Shia and the rest will not be apparent, but once a person actually enters the community, he or she will find disrespect between us based on small differences in belief, or based on how well a person is deemed to practice Islam. We are not united.

I actually wrote a polite comment on someone's blog saying that I found the way she expressed herself harsh to the point of seeming to disrespect not only different points of views, but as well, the people who hold different points of views than her's. I got a comment back saying that she had no respect for people who try to shove their points of views down her throat, which is all fine, but is not something I was doing. And a second comment she wrote after visiting my blog that actually included this:
"after reading a few of your blog entries about your attending Xmas parties and such. I just want to warn you that a muslim lady blogging about going to mixed Xmas parties seems a little....well...you fill in the blank."

Let's just say it's insulting. I mean, when you can't actually say the word and need to write "black", it's not the word "inappropriate" she was going for! I may be misreading, but I think she was going to say "whorish" or maybe was going for "disbelieving". Either way, she was insulting me as a person or as a Muslim.

Is this a way to treat a sister in Islam? She either was wrong in how she replied or she simply does not see me as a sister in Islam because of our differences. If that's the case, I can only say that she is exactly what is wrong with Islam today. We need to unite, not find ways to separate ourselves! I am not perfect and my beliefs are not the exact same as your's. We are all individuals but we have the same ultimate goal of submitting to and pleasing Allah!

Please sisters (and brothers), don't let our differences separate us! Let's all give a small push towards respect (even in disagreement) and it would go a long way. Because I do love you all for the sake of Allah. This includes my Christian and Jewish friends, and anyone who strives to do good and be better.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Waswasa

Inspired by a post by Kaighla on Struggles of an American Muslimah.


What are some things that bring you down on yourself? Usually partly true or based on true fears and feelings, these are negative things that are emphasized by Shaytan when we have so much positive things that overcome all of these whisperings... Yet... We focus on it and put importance to it and allow it to bring us down.

I will think this over and take my turn in the comments. What does the Shaytan whisper to you? How do you overcome it?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dancing for Children

I just love it when my daughter dances. She's 3 and a half. It's the most adorable, innocent thing. She moves how she feels. She's doing contemporary style dancing and it's just so real for her! When it's time for the bath, she gets undressed and refuses to let me in the room and then runs out to tell me she's done and does the I'm-naked-and-it's-funny dance. It's just innocent and fun for her at this age but her dad doesn't find it that nice when she is running around naked, even if it's just at home and even if she's just a small child and doesn't really like the idea that she loves to dance. For him, she's just starting bad habits. We will want her to grow up to be a modest young lady who doesn't love to hang out naked. And to me, it's smaller details, but ideally, I don't want her to love pop music and dancing around to it. I love to dance myself, but if i rule out music with haram themes, I'm left with little to choose from. Love of dance as a kid or teenager will pretty much always lead to love of music with haram themes. So anyway, I agree with him that I don't really want her to get into that as an older kid/teenager.


But right now, she is 3 and a half and I wanted to put her into dance courses. My husband is against it because it would be a beginning to instilling love of dance, but for me right now, it's just about getting her moving and enjoying herself, and getting her started early on an active lifestyle.

What are your thoughts on dance courses for young children? For or against? Do you have children; did they do dance?

Anyway, for my situation, I will not put her in the courses out of respect for my husband's wishes, especially since he is suggesting we enroll her in something else like sports. He's iffy on mixed sports even for young kids, but I am convincing him that until 10 or so, it will simply have to be and he's not 100% happy, but would accept that since they are so young and there often just isn't an alternative.

What are your thoughts on mixed sports?

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Overgarment

This isn't very important topic for me, but I do find it an itneresting topic like I do hijab.

The jilbab is commanded by Allah to the sahabat (and it is assumed by people, to Muslimahs in general) in the Qur'an and it's pretty clear.


O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their JALABIB close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle. (33:59)


And it is accepted that it means "overgarment" or "outergarment" based on the root of the word and tradition (the sunnah). An opinion that makes sense in not contradicting the Qur'an or the deemed authentic narrations of hadith is that a woman has regular clothing that she wears when she is not outside that she can receive company while wearing and pray in (so it is full hijab clothing) and that there is something else she must wear on top of that when going out in public and this is the jilbab.

A person might say that the jilbab can be worn without full hijab underneath since it wouldn't make a difference to the way it looks anwyay, being fully covered and all... but people argue that it would go against the definition of "overgarment/outergarment". It becomes simply a garment! A woman would not be able to remove her overgarment when she gets inside or she'd be wearing nothing. A verse that seems to support the view that it is an extra layer is:

And the elderly women, those who do not have hope of marriage, there is no fault on them that they lay aside (some of) their clothing as long as they are not making a display of their adornment. And that they refrain is better for them. And Allah is the Hearer, the Knower (24:60)

Elderly women probably have the same adornment to hide as any other woman. Adornment that needs to be covered with hijab. And the verses clearly says that this needs to be covered (she needs to be wearing hijab still), but she is not obligated to wear ALL the clothing other women wear. Other women have something more than hijab that they are wearing. An extra layer (the jilbab).


All of this information for jilbab being an overgarment makes a lot of sense, really (nothing really contradicts itself in this reasoning). But I think everyone knows that it's not proof of truth that it "makes sense". Lots of other explanations could make sense. This one might be the strongest opinion when we take the hadiths into consideration, especially with the mindset that society as it was in prophet Muhammad's time is the ideal society for a Muslim. Meaning, taking the fully literal approach as opposed to an approach that takes things in context. That approach could give a MUCH different interpretation. I won't go into that because I just don't have the knowledge.


What do you all think? And here is a "light" question:


Do you think an overgarment ceases to be an overgarment if it is worn without anything underneath?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gossiping - Ya Allah!

I was never a gossiper and I never enjoyed it at all as a teenager or later. But MAN in the past year or so, the situation has gotten CRAZY. May Allah keep me from all this gossiping going on at work!


We were 5 employees when I was hired, but we are now 14 and getting used to being a bigger group has really brought out the gossip in all of us. We aren't in the know like we used to be about what's happening and speculation causes a lot of gossip around here. And the organization is slowly getting better but we were probably a dozen employees before we stopped running things like we were 5 so there was a lot of talking behind people's backs there for a while. It's not stopping though because we have new employee after new employee coming in and it's just a new story each time.

What really scares me is that I'm getting into it!!! I'm so thankful that it's scaring me though, because it gives me a chance to stop in my tracks and take a step back even. Al7amdulilah for that. Now I just need to implement some measures that will keep me grounded and away from gossip.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Husband Working

We are such a happy family with my husband working. It completely changed the way he deals with situations and changed the whole household. I feel like this is not the same marriage I was in just 3-4 months ago. He got laid off for a couple weeks (was told it could be up to Janurary) and then from his own initiative to call in instead of waiting for their call, he got 4 days of work (54 hours of work, which is worth practically a week and a half of full time work) and when he called me, I could just feel how happy he was to go back to work and continue contributing to the household financially. It really showed how much fear he had that it might go on longer and that he'd need to depend on me for this again... I think he even lalala'ed a melody of some kind when he was telling me he'd gotten work! It had only been less than two weeks!


It reinforced a few things for me.

1) My husband actually wants to work.
2) My husband very much wants things to continue going well for us.

3) Men and women have different roles and in this family, we fit into stereotypical male-female roles (or would want to) more than I would've imagined when I was a teenager or young adult even. And I'm not uncomfortable with that one bit.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Office party

I had my office Xmas party at work yesterday evening. I had a pretty good time overall before 11pm. We had a baby pictures game where we had to guess who was who, we played a game where we had words we had to make others say and we had karaoke. We're only 15 or so at work so we're a pretty close gang and we enjoy each others company generally. My best friend, who I have mentioned on here a few times. The one who I feel would benefit most from Islam out of anyone else... She leads a pretty promiscuous type of lifestyle and just shows no hint of self-respect.


She really busted my evening up big time. She got so drunk, mixing all sorts of crap... It was disgusting. I'd never seen her like this because we simply are not going out friends... She had about 6 glasses of red wine, 5 glasses of white sangria and probably a dozen or so shooters - really really disgusting. At around 11, she got sick... Really sick. The sheer amount... projecting... And afterwards, she didn't even feel better... I'd stayed to help at least but after she didn't feel better at all I had to get someone else because I was feeling just physically ill myself from being in that situation. I don't have a very weak stomach, but I lived with a fear of vomiting for most of my life and only got over it when I got morning sickness in pregnancy - but this was nothing close to morning sickness or Nora sickness. Ugh. I'm sorry for being so long about this story, but I am still not over it and it has been almost 24 hours! I couldn't fall asleep yesterday night because of the imagine in my head and I felt nauseous most of the day (still a little even now).

Let's just say the nice time I had before this happened is really far back and I can't at all consider my night a nice time. I am quite upset at her. While everyone was enjoying their time with karaoke and chatting, she gets sick, starts talk with the others, disrupts my evening and the amazing other co-worker I could not thank enough who took over for the second part. When I came back to see how things were, we hear bading, badomm! in the other bathroom beside us... And poor amazing co-worker who helped me, she had to go help another one who had gotten too drunk and was in worse shape than my friend. Only thing I know is that she needed two men to bring her down to the car because she was not at all fit to walk. At least at this point my friend was feeling better and she *was* able to walk. Or else guess who would have been the one to have to help her down the stairs to the car and up the stairs to her apartment? Me!

So yeah... I don't even know what I feel except a little nauseous and just disgusted. It really sucked.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Flat out

I don't feel in any way that the traditional/orthodox interpretation by the leading ulama is the truth from God. A lot of what is contained is man-made and misleading to all Muslims who are told to follow this as it is God's will. In other words: There's a lot of crap contained therein!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Music

Writing about how boring I've become actually made me think of a topic related to Islam that I could write about on here! YAY for that! It came up on sister Zainab's blog Arabian Panther and when I wrote a comment a few days ago, it came out as a story that would be better suited for a post than a comment. So here it is:


First time I heard about someone "quitting" music at a sort of convention for young Muslims I was not Muslim yet and was at the very beginning of knowing about Islam (had met one Muslim in my life back then) and I thought it was crazy! How had music become so evil to this person? He must really have been mad about music, 24/7! Breathing music day and night and it must have been having a negative effect on his day to day life. But as I listened to his story, it really wasn't *that* bad... He was a regular music-lover like me and lots of other normal functioning people I knew.

As a bit of time went on and I got married and pregnant and had my daughter, I stopped loving music so much. Didn't download or buy music anymore and didn't attend shows. It simply became unimportant. Then this became my normal. I realized that what I was before was not normal, but quite extreme, when it came to music. It was on when I woke up, between classes, while I did homework, while I cooked, when I rollerbladed, when I did the groceries, etc. It was on ALL THE TIME and I would not have tolerated a cold-turkey stop well for sure.

The new me didn't actively listen to music, but she still didn't think it was haram at all if a person did not go overboard. She still thought there was such a thing as a music lover doing it halal... But with examples like your's, a person who was responsible in how she listened to music, I finally realized that there is no way to prevent from going "overboard" because people who are overboard cannot see it!!!

Sorry for my long comment, but I hadn't thought about music in a long time and your post was kind of the concluding trigger for me. So thank you!

Basically: Yes, my point of view on music has changed (a tiny bit!). It's hard for me to say exactly what my point of view is on music, but I used to be a "music is halal as long as it does not have haram themes or affect our day to day life" and now I would not say that. I wouldn't "HARAAAAM!" anyone either, ever. But I would keep my mouth shut if it came up (whatever their point of view). Not bad progress, right?

I know I've been a bit boring

My blog isn't what it was and I know that. I loved writing about all sorts of little things (sometimes there were big things too!) about Islam that came to mind but I have no inspiration lately! The part of me that was thinking about Islam a lot calmed down a bit after I converted I think, probably just from feeling like I had figured out an answer to a lot of questions just in accepting Islam. But even after my conversion, my blog was not as DULL as this!! Since August when I went through some personal problems I've been disconnected with my blog because the bit of brainpower that was constantly "on" evaluating things with an Islamic point of view (and imagining how I'd write it on my blog) and the bit of memory I used to keep that information is now used in my family life, and that stuff is just not for the blog.


I would love to come back to blogging like I was before... for myself really! It felt good to think about things and share and get feedback and I really hope to get back into it sometime. It feels like there's so much I want to do and learn and just no time or energy for all of it. I feel like a potato lately. I need to make a concrete plan of action of what I want to do and when because right now I have a routine going on that does the basic stuff that needs to be done.

Even this post sucked and makes me feel bored. Gah

Any ideas on how to get my productivity level up when stuck in a routine lots of parts of which cannot be changed?? (Sir Adib, I know you rock at this stuff!)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

HELP - looking for two items online

If anyone knows where I can get powdered black kohl powder, PLEASE tell me! I bought some from Arabian Threads a while back for me and my friend and she gave it to an aunt over the summer and would like to have some more... But Arabian Threads is not selling any right now.


I found some brown one on alhannah.com but brown really doesn't give the same look and the lipstick style is not really what I'm looking for.

And the second item I'm looking for is super-wide pants that look like they're a skirt like this:

They are so awesome! I really really want them, but with all the negative reviews on how long it takes to get them and how poor the communication is with this store (lies about when things were sent out, etc.) I don't want to deal with them. Anyone know where I could get something similar?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Eid and Hijab

Bouncey games for the kids

Update on how my Eid celebration went and what I wore to it last Saturday, just for fun.

It was great fun. It was for kids so the focus was on that. Nora was little miss independent 3-year old and did the bouncey games over and over by herself and just had fun. I supervised her closely for the first hour to make sure she knew to go to the back of the line and how to wait for her turn and when I met Anisah up, there were lots more people there so I lost track of Nora quite a lot but she did great doing her thing I found! It was so great to meet Anisah for the first time in person and her youngest daughter too who I had seen in pictures only.

Overall the event made me want to be a part of the Muslim community more. I am so detached I only see the negative from people on the internet who are a lot more up front because it's so anonymous and forget all the positives of being around other Muslims! I see so few Muslims that I forget that I don't feel about Muslims what I feel about *some* Muslims online. It made me want to find ways to be a part of the community but I'm not sure how... And with just a few days that have passed, I know that already I am not thinking about this very much and am not actively trying to find a way to do something...

Anyway... Onto what I wore:

I wore a brown embroidered buttoned up dress just below the knee with jeans underneath and an orange and black little cardi on top and a dark brown al-amira with decorated underscarf. I felt pretty good in that but it got itchy under the chin and kinda hot in the face. Here is a picture of the look. The photo quality is bad because it's from my phone...



I felt pretty good in it. There were women not wearing hijab and I still felt better in this than I would have without hijab even if it would have been what I normally wear (pretty modest clothes but without a headscarf). What do you think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Buddhism

I read a pamphlet-like book yesterday on the basics in Buddhism and it was just amazing! The Eightfold Path is what really made sense to me in the way I see Islam. The author of this pamphlet said that Buddhism wasn't so much a religion unto itself than a spiritual supplement and although I know that's probably not the dominating opinion, it makes a lot of sense. Buddhism doesn't address every question, it only tells a person how to be better. There might be a few details that contradict Islam, but I don't think anyone could argue that applying the Eightfold Path will make a person better. Even a better MUSLIM. Click on the link to read a bit more about it; it's pretty brief, but still complete.

I don't know that much about Buddism and their other beliefs that might contradict with Islam, but what I read yesterday (The Eightfold Path) just spoke to me loudly. This is submission/peace.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Eid Kids Day!

I'm happy, tomorrow I will be going to an Eid event at a mosque about an hour away! It's for kids so it will have things for them like inflatable games which Nora will just LOVE for sure.


It's a pretty big mosque for here and it will be my first time there. And it's only my second time in a large mosque here in Quebec so it should be awesome. Best part though is that I will meet my dear online friend Anisah for the first time! Really excited about that! She is the only Muslim friend I have in Quebec and I haven't even met her in real life! It will be nice to hang out with Muslims I'm sure... And I will wear hijab for the event.

I am really not sure what to wear, but for the headscarf part, I'm thinking an al-amira because it's so easy and no-fuss, no worries. But the look is really plain and boring and it's not long enough to cover my chest which is the part that is not as good... I will see! If it's any good, I will post a faceless picture of it! :P

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Impressions of Ramadan from a Local TV Show

I was watching a show where 5 contestants each day of the week make food for the others to be judged on and the winner gets I-donno-what. A contestant this week was a Morocan and in the commentary, the announcer kept mentionning Ramadan because the man would not drink alcohol and didn't like eating food that contained alcohol (but he did taste it, at least to be able to give the person a critic). I might not have listened well enough but I got the impression it was filmed during Ramadan and it was light out during the meals!


It just made me think that a person watching this would think that Ramadan means not drinking alcohol because they never talked about fasting in the episodes I saw. It was always mentioned when he refused a drink or took a bite of a meal prepared with alcohol.

Anyway, I have no idea why they didn't just say he's Muslim so he doesn't drink alcohol and leave it at that! Why talk about the month of fasting when the guy isn't fasting?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eid Mubarak!

Happy Eid everyone!


I hope you are all having a wonderful Eid. It's hard as a convert with no real life ties to any Muslims except husband and daughter... I don't know how to celebrate Eid AT ALL and I find myself more excited about the Christmas decorations starting to go up around the city and in my office and planning Christmas presents for family and friends. What a happy and magical time of year it is with everyone participating. I wish everyone would convert so we could transfer this atmosphere of joy to Eid, but that's just me dreaming!

Of course, Eid can still be joy and SHOULD be joy for us all. I have absolutely nothing planned, but I will try to find at least a little something for my husband to enjoy. He must miss Egyptian celebrations after having been here for 3 years with either a non-Muslim or a Muslim who doesn't know what she's doing!

Any ideas on how to make a last-minute little something? My husband gets home at 740PM and our daughter is in bed around that time... It really limits the possibilities... Basically, since he gets home 2 hours after I do, I will have time to shop for a little gift for him and wrap it. And I will either order or cook something I know he likes! Sounds OK, right? I know it's more for him than us as a family, but we have next year for that. And I have Christmas coming up anyway so I'm not that bummed about it.

Do Something Special

In my previous post, I wrote I wanted to do something special for my husband... I'm going to make a list just for that but I need some help.


My ideas are:

- learn to cook an Egyptian meal and prepare it for him
- have our daughter in bed by the time he comes home from work and have supper with him just us two (must not eat before that like I always do!)
- have us pray together at night
- a good massage (meaning, a massage with no need to reciprocate, just 100% relaxation)
- give a chance to a TV series he enjoys that I don't (I do this often but can get pretty mad about it with time when I really don't like it - I need to calm down)
- a one day head-will-explode no complaining day! lol

What else?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Things I want to do

I think I will make an official list of small goals I have for myself. It's just for fun and kinda just for me to remember and add to. I could just put it in a text document or something but I'd just forget it.


- make a quilt
- read more books (I'm working on a tiny goal of 20 pages per day which should be manageable)
- ski this winter
- make crafts with Nora
- speak English with Nora
- volunteer somewhere
- be direct with my friend about her destructive lifestyle (out of my goal to be 100% direct, I have managed to be about 50% direct so far)
- get my niece a gift she will really enjoy for her birthday/Xmas
- help a dog get adopted
- do something special for my husband weekly (need ideas!)

LONG TERM

- save 15 000$
- get a house
- start an animal shelter
- get a university degree

Dua and the Evil Eye

For me, dua is a connection with God and anyone who tries to connect with God will have her prayers answered in some way or another. We can pray for ourselves or we can pray for others and any prayer we make is worth something. The way I understand the afterlife is that the Day of Judgement happens at the same time for all mankind. I believe the people who have died are in a timeless state waiting for the Judgement day. It will feel to them as though they died and arrived to the Day of Judgement when really they might have died thousands of years before someone else who is there at the same time... So this is why I also believe that dua for a person who has passed is important. If someone who has passed continues to have his memory live on in a positive way, surely he or she will get benefit for that.

I'm not sure what Islam says about negative dua though... I link it to the evil eye a little in how I think about it. I know the evil eye is about envy but I think that the negative effects can have more to do with what the person was actually doing like bragging or showing off... It's not Islamic to dress to show your class or wealth, so I imagine it's not Islamic to also own things that show how wealthy you are like a giant house or a high end sports car or other such things. So if a person made others envious, he has actually done some wrong himself.

I know it can't be black or white though because people can be envious of normal things, not only things that are extravagant or rich. A person who does not have a child could be envious of her best friend for having a family and it's not because the person with the family is bragging about it necessarily, but the envy falls on her because of the close relationship. But then again, if they were close, the person envying would know it's not right in this case and it would probably not even count as evil eye. Kind of like acknowledging that it's God's will that one has a family and they don't.

Anyway... I feel a sort of link between dua and evil eye... Evil eye can't be evil eye if a person has some envious feelings that they know they should not have and acknowledge are bad, I think... So evil eye is really just someone having negative feelings toward someone that has brought on these feelings in one way or the other... Not trying to blame the victim here, but there are always things that we can do to avoid others having negative feelings towards us and I think it's important that people do them. I had a person tell me once that they knew they were in the right no matter how I felt about the situation and that that was all they needed. In a way, it's true. If they were right, Allah will know. But on the other hand, those feelings would not have existed in the first place if the situation had been dealt with differently, and Allah will also know that!

I'm rambling so I'll sign off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's a no :'(

I got a call back from the owner just now and she really didn't like the idea of a dog here. Even temporarily fostering. Of course I guess she knew that if she allows a dog to live here once, then she'll practically have to allow me to have a second foster dog and then I'll eventually have had a dog here full time for a year and how say no to us getting our own after that?


I know a big part of it was that we have carpets everywhere. They are gross right now though... I mean, we have a young child and carpets in the kitchen?! They'd get dirty no matter who was living here. My husband dropped about one litre of koshary sauce right on the carpet a couple days ago... It's bad. Maybe she doesn't know how much having a dog just can't make these carpets more dirty! lol. We are supposed to get them professionally cleaned next weekend though...

Anyway, I'm still shaking from nerves talking to her... And I'm pretty sad from the outcome. She did say she'd think it over some more but it sounded like a very clear no with a polite "think it over". She's a really nice lady but she just didn't like to imagine a dog in her carpeted-all-the-way childhood home.

Names of Allah

I was looking a bit back into maybe finding an Islamic name for myself. By Islamic I mean a name that would represent me as a Muslim. A meaning that inspires me or a figure in Islam's history that inspires me. Not to replace my current name, but to be added to it possibly as a middle name.

I got into looking into the 99 names of Allah to maybe be Amatul-___ and while doing this, I realized that the most meaningful name of Allah for me was the Just. With justice, you get peace, you leave more room for love instead of hate, you put your intentions in the right place.

Here is a nice quote from The Hidden Words. I know some Muslims are against appreciating texts from other religions, but I get something positive out of this and see no reason to force myself not to find it inspiring. Enjoy:

2. O SON OF SPIRIT!
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I want a doggie!


These two images come from dogs waiting for adoption on petfinder.com. The second one looks so much like our old dog it's just plain crazy! The first one has a similar look- just so beautiful!!! I want them!

I LOVE dogs! They're my favourite animal by a lot... I would love to be able to have a dog here but I'm not allowed in my apartment and my husband is not crazy about them... He is a bit more open to it now after 5 years of knowing me and how much I love dogs and 3 years of being here in Canada where so many people keep dogs as pets (something that is not so common in Egypt). For him, there is still a bit of that negative feeling towards dogs that is cultural and of course there's the Islamic part that he believes in that dogs are unclean and I would never want to force something that is against his religious beliefs on him so we would need to find a way if we're ever to have a dog.

His first compromise was a dog that stays exclusively outside. Of course, I can't accept that! It gets freakin' cold outside in the winter and anyway, I want a dog as a companion and friend and I wouldn't put a friend outside even if it stayed warm year-round.

My compromise was that there would be areas in the house completely off-limits to the dog. Not a step inside bedrooms or the bathroom, for example. Those places would be areas where we could do wudu and pray without worrying that the dog has touched them. I found that pretty good. I would even be willing to add no going on the couch even though I'd actually like to have a dog that could come on the couch with me... But I think for him, having a dog with access to our living room and kitchen is a bit much to handle.

I am seriously going CRAZY with the idea of having a dog, directly or indirectly. My parents (and the family) had a dog for 14 years before she died 2 years ago and they will definitely get another one when the time is right, but it's not now... Since the situation is difficult for me to get one, I'm trying to convince them to get one so I can be around dogs again... But as I said, it's not for now.

My new plan... Because yes, I am going CRAZY from wanting a dog lately, is to contact my owner to see if she would accept us keeping a dog temporarily as a foster home. That way, I could have a dog and help a dog like I want, my husband could see what it's like to have one without it being a 15 year commitment and my owner wouldn't feel like it's such a big deal since it would be on average a 1 month stay that can end at any time if it doesn't work out well. And she keeps the ultimate decision since it's on my lease that dogs are not allowed. So if she says yes, I'd have my husband to convince... And just maybe I could help prevent a good dog from being killed by giving him extra time to find a permanent home.

I'm so excited even if it's kind of unlikely it will work out... I'm TOO excited for the slight chance it can happen... But I can't help myself, I love dogs so much.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Copy from great article on the Islamic Will

(Sorry for the caps) I HAD POSTED THIS BEFORE, BUT I WILL DO IT AGAIN AND THIS TIME JUST COPY AND PASTE ON MY BLOG. THIS IS THE LINK: http://shakethepalmtree.wordpress.com/2007/12/01/the-islamic-will-al-wasiya/

The Islamic Will (Al-Wasiya)

Posted on December 1, 2007 by Um Yusuf as-Siddiq

I wanted to post a *VERY* important reminder about the Islamic will (wasiyya). I cannot express enough how important this is. Here are some things I compiled about the will. A really great book on this subject is “The Final Bequest – The Islamic Will and Testament” by Muhammad al-Jibaly. He goes over the will and inheritance laws from A-Z.

The Obligation of Writing a Will

Writing an Islamic will is unfortunately neglected today, or not stressed upon enough to say the least. There are obvious reasons of not wanting to think about it, putting it off, or not knowing the importance of having one. But for Muslims this should be the opposite attitude – it is very very *very* important to have a will, and we should make it a priority to have one ASAP if we don’t already have one, and update it as often as needed. Nobody knows when they are going to die, so we should hasten to write our will. When a Muslim dies their will should be read and executed. Everyone has certain rights that need to be fulfilled, all of which were described and prescribed by Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam)

•“It is prescribed for you, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves wealth, that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable manners. (This is) a duty upon Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)” Surah al-Baqarah 2:180
•“(The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts” Surah al-Nisa 4:11
•“It is the duty of a Muslim who has anything to bequest not to let two nights pass without writing a will about it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
•Ibn Omar (radiyAllahu anhu) then noted, “Not even one night passed me, ever since I heard this from the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam), without having my will with me” (Bukhari, Muslim, and others)
•“A man may do good deeds for seventy years but if he acts unjustly when he leaves his last testament, the wickedness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Fire. If, (on the other hand), a man acts wickedly for seventy years but is just in his last will and testament, the goodness of his deed will be sealed upon him, and he will enter the Garden.” (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
Protecting Our Rights

As Muslims we have many rights over each other, with our families, our children, our friends, and with our own selves. Having a wasiyya will insha’Allah ascertain with Allah that we did our best to make sure we fulfilled these rights. Death comes to anyone at any given place and at any given time. We are not guaranteed anything, not even another second. We don’t want to die without giving someone their rights, nor do we want to die and not have our rights given to us. Rights are so important that they will hang over us on Judgment Day until scores are settled – because Islam is a religion of justice. Alhamdulillah. We should take advantage and make our will while we are of sound mind and health. We do not want to be on our deathbed, or sick, suffering from pain, incoherent, (may Allah protect us all) while trying to verbalize our will wishes. We want to make sure that our instructions on what will happen to our family, children, wealth, property, assets, debts, and our bodies, etc are articulated and clearly understood. We want to protect the rights of our kids, our families, and ourselves.

Importance of an Islamic Will

•Everything we have in this world, our wealth and our property, is from Allah and a trust from Him. While we are alive we are required to utilize our wealth in the best way and we will be asked about that on Judgment Day. When we die, part of that trust is to pass our wealth and property along appropriately. Aside from having non-Muslim families who may not know the Islamic practices, many countries do not recognize or follow the laws of Allah. We have to be very careful of this, and make sure we do what we can to protect our rights and be in accordance with the Shari’ah.
•Certain rights and duties between people must be settled before a person’s estate can be divided according to the inheritance laws in the Qur’an. Examples are loans, promises, unpaid bills, borrowed items, unpaid zakat, dowry, etc. We have to give everyone their due right. We can include names and contacts of anyone we owe loans to, creditors information, and so on in our wills.
•Islam is perfect and prescribes a way for everything. Many practices today, including funeral procedures, washing, burying, and mourning, etc are not done in accordance with the Sunnah; there is a lot of innovation (may Allah protect us from that). The will can specify the requests of the deceased to be honored – to have all practices and procedures done according to how Allah and His Messenger prescribed. (Buried in a Muslim cemetary, buried as soon as possible, without structures on the grave, without excessive wailing, etc etc etc)
You can also specify and name certain people whom you want to wash your body. The person should be pious, one who knows how to do the Ghusl and wrapping according to the Sunnah, one who will protect your dignity and honor (should they see anything on you that might harm your honor during the washing, they will never tell), and so on. Before we get put in the grave, we want to be cleaned and wrapped in the best way insha’Allah.

Basic Elements of a Will

There is no specific wording for a wasiyya, but basically it should have the following elements:

•The testator’s expression of sound mental ability and health
•Declaration of faith (the Shahadah)
•Commanding the survivors to do good and avoid sins
•Declaration of liabilites and assets
•Appointing an executor of the will and guardian(s) of wealth and children
•Bequeathed part of the estate (Naming beneficiaries and indicating the amount of your estate you wish to bequeath – up to 1/3)
•Emphasizing Islamic heirship (specifying legal heirs and their correct shares)
The will should be notarized and signed by 2 witnesses. Legal advice is also recommended. The will has a special sanctity and must be observed and executed. Anyone who changes it or hides any part of it is sinful and liable for Allah’s punishment!

•“And if (after the testator’s death) anyone alters such a provision after having come to know it, the sin of acting thus falls only upon those who have altered it. Indeed Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Surah al-Baqara 2:181)
My dear brothers and sisters, dont delay what we have to do today until tomorrow because we never know what can happen to us. There are many standard wills available online, which can be modified according to specific requests/ needs:

http://icbr.org/Docs/LastWill_Testament.pdf

http://www.dremali.com/articles/current/last-will-testament.html

~Um Yusuf as-Siddiq

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lawyer Screwing me Over!

I feel so taken advantage of! I went to see a lawyer a few months back for a 30 minute initial meeting and was supposed to get a call back from him that same week with information. He didn't call back. A week and a half after the initial meeting, I was in a situation, needing to be represented and left 4 messages on his voice mail over 3 business days (plus 2 days weekend if be ever works overtime) and got no call back. I went to another lawyer.

ONE MONTH after the initial meeting with the shady lawyer, I got a call from what was probably his receptionist! I got the feeling she wanted to mention a bill but I didn't let her say it and just told her I didn't need the lawyer's services and wasn't happy with how I was treated and hung up. I probably should have let her say it and I would have been able to discuss it right then and there, but I was hoping it would make the problem go away, I guess!

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I get a bill for 45 minutes (when it was just 30 mintues). But I am outraged that I got a bill at all when this idiot obviously has no intention to even take me on as a client! I finally got the nerve to call his office almost a month after receiving the bill... Left a message on his voice mail. I will definitely mention it if he takes less time returning this call (to collect me) than he did when I needed service!

Frig him!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween

Halloween is coming up on Sunday! I LOVE dressing up! It's so much fun to get into a costume and put on some make-up and go out to get rewarded for it (candy)!

As much as yes, we can just do it in in our own homes on days that are not the October 31st and have candy available to avoid any chance of it being haram, it's just not the same, even if it's almost exactly the same!! Going OUT is what makes Halloween! I'm dressing up at work tomorrow and maybe Saturday if I go to the zoo since it's a Halloween theme there, and definitely on Sunday to go out with my daughter for candy.

Now, I really don't want to start a debate, but since this is my blog I will not censure myself and I will just say that I simply do not believe going out for Halloween is haram. Its origins do not change what Halloween means to me (what it means to me is not haram, it just means dressing up, candy, intereacting with neighbours, etc.) and the "imitating the disbelievers" excuse is pure crap as far as I'm concerned. What about disbelievers is so bad that we should not imitate it??! Their haircuts? (yes, I've heard it said!) Wearing of pants? Wearing of other dress that is not traditional in Islam (whatever that even is)? Seriously, everything I've heard people come up with as a meaning for not imitating the disbelievers is on very outwardly things like speech, dress and activities (like birthday parties, etc.). What about being forbidden to do the things that MAKE them disbelievers?! Let's all strive to do good and be God-conscious and our intentions will be clear.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm pretty open

I believe in letting people make their own decisions as long as they are not harming others. I don't think I have any right to judge what others are doing based on my own beliefs or any right to make them do things differently... I agree with people having the choice to do and believe what they do, but it doesn't mean I agree agree with everything everyone does!


One of those things is "hooking up" or having fuck friends as they call it. I think sex should be between two people in a serious relationship (whether legally married or not). My best friend and I were texting this morning and she was with a guy who is not her boyfriend. They have slept together. Used to be boyfriend-girlfriend a long time ago and since then have done it a few times. She wrote that she didn't know if she should do it. I told her she should probably just get him outta there as soon as possible. She wrote back that she wanted to have sex with him asked if I really thought he should leave. I wrote that it was her decision, but that it didn't seem wise to sleep with someone just like that. That it wouldn't help her find someone who would actually be a potential boyfriend. She countered that she knows him and that it's clear to both that they don't want to be in a relationship. Asked: "Can that be so bad?". I wrote that it was hard for me to say since I was more old fashioned and believed that sex should be between two people in a relationship. That if she believed otherwise, it was hard for me to advise.

It made me think... Is there actually a way to make my point to someone who might not believe in God (not sure 100% but she sure doesn't ever ask the question, "Would God approve of this?") and has a past that is much worse than what she is doing now? She is a great person, really... But sex-related things are her weakness...

Maybe showing her the big picture? One night with this guy might not change much, but not stopping this lifestyle will never allow her to get into the serious relationship she would want to find and will never allow her to have children which she really wants.

Meddling...

My best friend keeps getting hurt over and over. It never crossed my mind to meddle and contact the guy who has been making her feel that way myself, but I was there yesterday when he called her and was able to see that he doesn't know what it does to her when he calls and was able to see that she is completely unable to just end the whatever-it-is they have (which is supposed to be nothing). So for the first time since this started 4 years ago, I am considering sending him a message... I think it could help him to know how to avoid hurting her because I don't get the impression he does it on purpose... He just doesn't seem to know what it does.


They have been friends and friends with benefits for 4 years on and off and she is completely in love with him. He doesn't share those feelings and every time he gets a girlfriend he puts her on the side and she gets heartbroken and eventually there is a breakup and they become friends again. I have seen efforts from him trying to stay away from her so I think he knows what it does to her... Which is why I think my advice has good chances of being taken. If I contact him, I plan on telling him I don't know much about the situation and wouldn't normally meddle, but the little but that I know and saw made me want to send him a quick message...

Does it sound like meddling in this case might be a good idea?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Boss in not Cancerous

At work the boss anounced last week that he had a very rare cancer that has low chance of survival if found at stages 3-5 and is very hard to treat whatever stage it's found in. He didn't know what stage he was at or anything so really, hoping for the best was hoping for a low stage that had a good chance of survival past 5 years...

He comes to work today saying they did some final tests to find that the tumour is benign!! Praise God! What a scare to have! Made me think of dua and its impact... which brought me to the evil eye, but that's not related to *this* news, just related to what I want to write on dua. I will try to post on that later!

Anyway... Praise God, my boss is going to be OK. I might not like some stuff about my work and might not respect exactly what it is that this company does (high interest loans) but my boss is still a good person overall and we, the employees, have a pretty close relationship with him. A bunch of the employees would even consider him a friend. For me, he's not a friend, but more than just a boss, so I am just so VERY happy for him.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wanting to go Learn Arabic in Egypt

Please pray this works out for me...


It's a plan for next year so it's not concrete at all (could be any 3 month period between winter 2011-2012 up to summer 2012), but it would be to go to Egypt to learn Arabic!! This would be after my current job... while I'm in between jobs, I guess. My husband would stay here in Quebec while me and Nora would go to Egypt and reconnect with the family there while I studied. My mother in law is retiring in July 2011 and would be able to help with Nora and if it's the case, a new child. I'd take full time courses to learn Arabic and work on my identity as a Muslim without the pressures of home. All this would be before Nora starts kindergarten here so it wouldn't interfere with that and it would be while I'm unattached in between jobs... Starting small plans so early will make us able to plan for the cost of it and lack of income from my side during this time.

I'm really excited about this possibility!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Her Last Name

My daughter has 2 family names. Yes, I gave her my name and what I thought was her dad's name. In the end, when my husband got to Canada, we found that they gave him a different family name than I put on our daughter's certificate, so she really has Nora _my name_ - _husband's second middle name_, which makes no sense at all. We will need to change it soon because she's starting to need to know her last name and right now, it's just not right.


My husband is very upset that I put my name in there and it makes things worse that it's there first and that his name is actually not even the right one so either way, it needs to be legally changed. I feel strongly about not wanting her to lose my last name, but am thinking that I could compromise with his name being first, especially since I want her to be proud of her Egyptian side and I know she will be proud of her Quebec-Canadian side because she is here and lives it.

My husband wants to drop my name altogether or put it as a middle name. I know lots of you will agree because Islamicly a child is named after her father... But she would be even if my name was in there. And her middle name is Bint-Ahmed! I added that part to make sure her dad's name was in there for the Islamic part of the name. It's simply fact that the way we name our children here is not the right Islamic way because it's a family name, not really the "father's name".

Sounds reasonable, right?

Nora Bint-Ahmed _last name of father_ - _my last name_

instead of his preference:

Nora _my last name as a middle name_ _his last name_

I may be going nuts

My thoughts are all over the place lately! They are jumping from getting a car (I've been getting lifts for over a month now almost every day and I'm feeling like a burden) to getting a new phone (mine is just annoying) to leaving my work, to going to university and tonight, a new folly!


Going to Egypt with my daughter to learn Arabic!

CRAZY. But man, I'd love to learn Arabic, have my daughter learn Arabic and strengthen ties with my husband's family. And I've love to leave my work!

Even crazier, I've been feeling like I want to have another child lately. I guess it's because of things going mostly well with my husband and not liking my work, and my daughter becoming older now. I've been thinking about pregnancy being the perfect way to leave my work too. Get pregnant, work until I have the baby, go on maternity leave, get 55-70% of my salary for 50 weeks (of course, my husband would take a couple of the first weeks) and go to Egypt, either toward the end of the maternity leave or even after if I take more time to start working. My husband would have to stay here and continue his work, but you know, he went off to Egypt with our daughter for a 6 week vacation while I stayed here to work so I'm sure he could tolerate it!

Yeah, I'm *definitely* going nuts.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What to do -- seriously

I have talked about my "haram work". I work for a company that does high interest loans and have always felt uncomfortable about it. I have to put it away from my mind to work, and I succeed in doing that and quite like my work on a day to day basis. I enjoy my co-workers and my work space and some of the benefits we have (good pay, paid lunch on Fridays, bonuses, etc.) but I do have to always put effort into not thinking too much about what the company really is because it's not something I support. I'd feel ashamed to be my boss even if it comes with a million dollar house (and all that other material luxury).

I had no choice for a long time because my husband did not have a stable job. There were some periods where he worked or received some income, but not enough to pay the bills and it was not stable enough to be very reliable. But now he does. It's comparable to my salary so I could leave this job and get a small part time, even low-paying job and we would be able to make enough to pay what we have to pay.

I am a bit torn. I guess it's the material me getting in the way. I want to eventually have a house and it would take two salaries to be able to afford a mortgage. And I know that if I leave this work, I would have A LOT of trouble finding one that pays the same. And it would likely be a crappier job. I mean, right now I have my own office space, computer, a certain amount of respect in my work for being among the oldest 4 there out of 13 employees, independance to manage my work how I want, varied tasks, bonuses that are much more than I'd get anywhere else. The bad side being that it's all from interest. And it gets to me every once in a while that my salary comes from this.

I have options though and I'm thankful for that. I just need the strength to use them, I guess!

It's troubling because I sometimes feel like I'm not a "worker" type. I mean, I will not work overtime (boss wouldn't even dare ask). I am tired all the time. And I feel like I am not the "mommy/housewife" type either. I suck at cooking and hate it, I cannot imagine myself with many kids (right now I can imagine a second one but it came gradually!)...

So what am I?

I feel like I just generally suck sometimes. I think I'm probably low in something to feel tired all the time like that, so that could be fixed and might not be linked to how much I suck. And with work, I might be motivated to do more if it was something I actually respected myself in. And if I physically felt less at the end of my rope by the end of the week. I donno.

Sorry for such a downer post.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Me and My Husband

OK. I have not been posting because of everything that has been happening and some might have guessed that it was things happening between me and my husband. I don't like to put *too* much personal things out there so I simply didn't but now that things are getting better, I wanted to make a small post about it. And hopefully it will unblock me back into the world of blogging because I sure have missed it.

After a few really hard weeks, we made the decision to start over. Not to erase the issues we had with each other (because they are bound to resurface, I know myself), but to go over everything that didn't work and over everything that did work, and renew our efforts.

Alhamdulilah, my husband has really invested himself 100%. He started working near the beginning of this, started praying more, dropped ALL of his games, started doing more around the house, being careful of things he said, making efforts to not get angry even if I was, etc. It was a 360.

My progress has been more gradual. That's me: gradual. I was the one initiating the "break-up" so I guess it's normal that I didn't jump through hoops from the first day to keep us together, but I am gradually being better and importantly: *wanting* to be better.

Things that Inspire

This is so true. I always tell myself that a big problem with my relationships are that they don't always bring out the best in me. It's something so important in a quality relationship (whether friendship or marriage) and it's something I need to put a lot of work into. When people around you bring out the worst in you instead of inspiring you to be better, it's a sign that things need to change.


What or who inspires you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baby Names!

I'm in a baby name mood. I wrote a post a while back and it's all very similar, but I still want to revisit. Even my biggest fan (as if I have them!) wouldn't remember my baby names list from I don't know when! These will all be names that I would consider using. Names *have* to work well in French, English and Arabic for me to be able to use them which restricts things A LOT!

For girls, I love:

Sumaya (nn Maya)
Lana
Sajidah (nn Saj, in French pronounced the same as sage)
Nala
Lilian
Hayat
Summer/Samar
Ayah

For boys, things are hard... And I have certain names I love like Oliver, Theodore and Arthur and they work well in French, but in Arabic... Not so much.

What are some nice boy's names that work well in English and Arabic??

I only have:

Ilyas
Ibrahim
Ismail

Monday, September 20, 2010

Things are going much better

Things are really falling into place for me. Al7amdulilah.

I am in a much better place personally and also in my marriage. As I said, things are really falling into place. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sutra

The prayer barrier. Is it obligatory to have a sutra when you are in a place where people might pass by? If you don't have one, does it really invalidate prayer or is it more of a recommended thing? If it does invalidate, would a child walking in front of you invalidate prayer?

Monday, September 13, 2010

As regular readers might have noticed, I'm not really back to my regular blogging patterns. I had taken a sort of break for Ramadan but now that it's over, I don't exactly know what to say.

So much has happened over the course of the last month. Like... A LOT. And it's not really stuff that I want to get into on my blog since it's all very personal, but it has taken a lot out of me and I guess it has affected me being able to write the normally "light" posts like I do.

I really want to continue blogging so I will be back as soon as I find inspiration! If you can spare a dua for me, please pray that I am lead towards the right answers for decisions I will have to make.

Thank you. :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wanted to share a blog with you

I know I haven't been posting much lately, but I did want to post a link to Zuhura's blog, Diary of a Muslim Feminist. Click to visit.


In her profile, she writes:
I am a progressive Muslim and Unitarian Universalist feminist academic teaching at a large research university in the US, married to a recent immigrant and raising a son from a previous marriage.

A very interesting woman with well thought out ideas coming from a feminist perspective. I respect her a lot : ) I think anyone with an open mind should check it out!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Truth Is One

"The Muslim position is clear. The Muslim does not claim to have a religion peculiar to himself. Islam is not a sect or an ethnic religion. In its view all Religion is one, for the Truth is one. It was the religion preached by all the earlier prophets. It was the truth taught by all the inspired Books. In essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of Allah and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan. If anyone wants a religion other than that, he is false to his own nature, as he is false to Allah's Will and Plan. Such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance." Abdullah Yusuf Ali in commentary of (3:85)


If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).
- Qur'an 3:85

Don't you all feel amazing about this commentary? Does this not sound like the real Islam, the one that includes anyone who submits to the will and plan of Allah, allowing for the guidance to come from anywhere Allah wills? The Islam that is part of our nature and not cultural. Not a sect or an ethnic religion! How far some Muslims have gone from this understanding of Islam! It's unbelievable!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Well... It didn't work out

So the blood donation didn't work out because I fell pretty sick the day after. I called them and they won't use my blood in case it's something contagious that I got. Not sure if it was or not because the symptoms were kind of all over the place so I'm not sure what I have.


I'm still not 100% so I haven't been fasting. I'm at the point where I can function pretty well but depend on pills to get through the day. At this point, my biggest symptom is a constant headache.

Anyway. Just wanted to give a bit of an update.

I might not be updating the blog throughout Ramadan but will be back after.

I hope you all have a blessed month and eid insha'Allah!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It all worked out (I think)

How strange that Ramadan started a day later than I thought it would, and that the blood drive was a couple days earlier than I thought it was! Yesterday was the first day of the blood drive and I was not fasting so I was able to go without worries. It went super well and I didn't feel any differently than normal (not weaker or anything) when I got out of there yesterday evening. I'd given blood before and ended up feeling OK but a bit weakened but not at all this time! It really seems like it all worked out as it was supposed to!


Now only thing is that this morning, it's not even 10am on my first day of fasting and I already feel like if I stay up too long I will pass out! Don't know if it has anything to do with giving blood yesterday because I seriously felt great the whole rest of the evening. I will take a nap and see because I slept terrible last night and it might also just be that! Better rest and *then* do everything around the house that I need to. I'm lucky and have that luxury this week since I'm on vacation and I was able to bring my daughter to daycare today. Better for me to take advantage of that or I will not last a full day of fasting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Blood Drive during Ramadan

There's a blood drive in my town on the 13th and 14th. I'd really like to give blood but with fasting and everything, I'm thinking I might not be up for it. So of course, one option is to not participate. Another option is to go as early as possible since that's when I'd be feeling best. And the last option is to be the very last to get blood drawn since they close at 8pm and fasting is until just a couple minutes before that. I'd be able to have a bite to eat just before and then have a real meal after the blood-giving. I'd just worry that I will feel really unwell after giving blood when I'm already not very nourished. And if I give at the beginning of the day, I worry that it will cause me to feel so weak I won't be able to complete my fast.


What do you think?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ramadan Goals

1) Fast the whole of Ramadan successfully

This is something I know will be difficult for me. It's not something people around my support very much and I have lots of things to do, all during the day... But insha'Allah with some support I will pull through. (Can you tell how scared I am? Sounds like I'm talking about life or death!)

2) Keep my prayers
Very difficult as well for me. I can be in such a negative place that only Allah can get me out of but reaching out to him can be so tough somehow. Makes no sense.

3) Make dua every morning and night
It will be an important way to keep contact with Allah.
Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) was ask for help. (Quran 1:4 or 5... Is the bismillah not counted as a verse in surah Al-Fatiha?)

4) Attend taraweeh at least twice per week on average
I say on average because I am on vacation for 2 weeks and will be able to attend more often while I might not afterwards.

5) Tell some important people about my conversion
An obvious one.

6) Re-memorize two short surahs I have forgotten and implement them in my prayers
I give 2 as a goal but hope to be able to learn 4.

7) Read Qur'an at least 5 minutes per day
It's not a huge goal, but hopefully it will make me pick up the Qur'an and spend more than that on most days.

8) To not engage in office gossip
I will ignore any conversation that has to do with other employees unless I know I will personally confront them about whatever might be happening that is causing the gossip.

9) Try to do one special deed per day
Could be an extra act of worship like a sunnah prayer or a good act towards another person that I wouldn't have a chance to do every day.

10) Make good efforts towards people
This one is two-part. First is being inviting and reaching out to other Muslims during this month. Both in real life and the connections I've made online. Second part is giving people nasiha when they need it, whether it's to a Muslim or not. Not letting the situation roll off me when I know it's wrong.

11) Try to control the hate that burns so badly in my heart
Anyone with good duas, please post. Other than that, I will not be going into an detail about this one.

Ayah of the Week - 4

Your Lord has enjoined you to worship none but Him, and to show kindness to your parents. If either or both of them attain old age in your dwelling, show them no sign of impatience, nor rebuke them; but speak to them kind words. Treat them with humility and tenderness and say: ‘Lord, be merciful to them. They nursed me when I was an infant.' (17:23-24)


What do you get from this?

I think the Qur'an hits the nail on the head when it tells us that we should not show our parents signs of impatience, nor should we rebuke them. These two things are so very common in dealings of children with their parents as they get older, and are two things that lots of people feel fine doing (which is why they need more mentioning than the very obviously wrong things a person can do). Yes, people can become frustrating to deal with as they get older... They are set in their ways and unwilling to re-evaluate things. Their personalities became more extreme versions of their younger selves a lot of times and it's a lot to take. But we are to think back on everything they did for us and be patient and kind with them. We are not to treat them as children (even if they might be going back to a child-like state) but we are to treat them with humility and tenderness.

I think the verse is mainly directed at adult children with older parents, but that of course, its wisdom of respecting your parents is applicable to children of any age and that this is an important value to instill.

---
Wanted to say too that I have a post coming up about the topic of parents in the Qur'an, in particular "kufr" parents... An article I read that had me confused for a few moments as it "demonstrated" that the Qur'an contradicted itself on the topic... They are quite good at what they do over there so insha'Allah, I hope to go over that article and its sneaky ways with you in the coming days.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What a great day!

I am going to be on vacation for 2 weeks in just a few hours!

I am very touched by the responses I got to help me during Ramadan (and will respond within the next day insha'Allah)

Last but not least, I have 150 followers today! :D Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Support during Ramadan...

I joined a great little group on Facebook called iRamadan. Look it up and get yourself invited if you want extra support during Ramadan!

I have been making goals for myself for this Ramadan that are pretty attainable, although hard still for a person like me, and I felt pretty good about it. I will be on vacation during the first 12 days of Ramadan which I figured would make things much easier since my co-workers are people who wouldn't know I'm fasting and it's always hard to get invited to lunch and invent excuses. I don't want to lie or anything! And being on vacation, I can better focus on Islamic things during the day, have energy to go to Taraweeh because of not having to wake up early, all that stuff.

But now as my vacation approaches, I realized that I will have a lot of difficulty doing most activities I planned like going to the zoo, going to my uncle's for a weekend, going to the water slides, meeting up with some friends I don't see often enough, painting my whole apartment, organizing things around the house, etc. It has put me on a tiny little Ramadan depression sort of. I have been looking forward to being on vacation so I can do all these things without being tired from work, but I will probably be even more tired from fasting.

Point of this post: I need support. LOTS of it... More than just the iRamadan group on Facebook (even though I think it's really wonderful). Does anyone have any suggestions? Would anyone who I have met online through blogging want to perhaps exchange phone numbers and help through text message support? I'd love to help as well of course if I'm able.

I'm sorry for my weakness... Anyone with ideas, please post of email me through my profile! I don't want to fail before Ramadan even starts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I think it's time for "the talk" with my parents

I have been wanting to tell my parents that I've converted to Islam but scared to do it. They are very accepting people and I know for certain they would never ever disown me or treat me any differently but I know they would be upset by this news. I don't want to upset them at all. I have put them through enough with going off to Egypt to meet a random guy, coming home pregnant and a bunch of drama afterwards. Let's just say they didn't have this in mind for me, and being Muslim is the last thing they'd expect. I guess I'm afraid to disappoint them.

It's not really a valid reason and the other reason I had was mostly that I was afraid they'd see me differently. I think that the way I have been gradually changing makes them see that I'm still me so this is not a good excuse anymore. I am not a newbie convert who made a radical change. I converted 1 year ago and have slowly changed while remaining who I am as well and they will be able to see that.

That makes me think it's time.

Other thing is that my husband mentionned it in front of them and they'd have been deaf not to hear. I have been ignoring the possible conversation coming where they ask me what it was about... But that's immature and I need to be the one to mention it first.

This Ramadan, one of my goals is to tell my family and close friends.

Ayah of the Week - 3

"And those who believe and do righteous deeds, they are dwellers of paradise, they will dwell therin forever." (2:82)

What do you get from this?

This ayah reminds me of how balanced Islam is. It's not only about belief in Allah, but also about showing this belief through action. Belief and deeds can't go one without the other for a true Muslim, and this is shown by the amount of verses that put these two things together as the recipe for paradise (this verse being only an example of the many similar verses found in the Qur'an).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Poll for converts or non-Muslims who looked into Islam and didn't convert

(Please comment with your answer!)

These are people who have looked into Islam pretty seriously and converted or did not convert:

1) Did you have what you would call a good childhood (no abuse, no parent left while you were a child, no major unhappiness caused by family or peers)?

2) Did you convert afterall?

3) Do you follow "traditional" Islamic interpretations (Sunni, Shia, other maybe...) or a re-interpretation of Islam (Qur'an only, generally less importance to hadiths, code 19, as examples)?

Wish I could have real data to see if there's a relationship between having a difficult childhood and the final act of converting. My hypothesis is that people who looked into Islam and had a difficult childhood are more likely to convert to Islam. Second hypothesis is that people with a happy childhood who ended up converting are more likely than those with a difficult childhood of following a more open form of Islam.

Forgive all the labels I had to use. I think most know what I mean and we can go without causing a fuss over the use of these terms.

And thanks! And vote please! Also, considering this is a comment poll, you can add extra details to your answer if you want, and if you are a born Muslim or something else that makes you not able to answer, you can still post your thoughts!

Countdown... 5 days left

before my vacation starts! I have so much work to do and will not even be up to date with this week's work when I leave for my vacation for 2 weeks. Imagine the pile up of work when I come back. I will not be up to date EVER! I will need to do overtime... but man do I not feel like it.

I will just go off on vacation worry-free and take care of all this crap when I return, I think. I took on a transciption job this week which will give me a few hours more work already, and I am so flat-out exhausted generally that screw overtime this week. I can burn myself out when I get back!

YAY, time OFF! Time for me! :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ayah of the Week - 2

"Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clearly from error; whoever rejects evil and has faith in God has grasped the most trustworthy, unfailing handhold. And God hears and knows all things. God is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light." (Qur'an, 2:256-257)



What do you get from this?

When I read this, I feel God's confidence (if that makes sense). He is not begging us into Islam. He is telling us what is what and letting us do what we want to do. I feel like it's less about humans not forcing other humans into a religion (although certainly, it is about this too) but more than that, it is about free will.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Identity as a Muslim P.2

I might end up deleting the previous post... Thanks for the comments though. Don't want to cause anything at home by having written it... And I was really all messed up this weekend and yesterday, but I think I have made some conclusisons.

In the end, it's not right for me to feel like this and no woman should be taken advantage of and feel it's her Islamic duty to just "take it". We have rights and have to enforce them. Of course, I made a lot of mistakes and could have used a lot more patience in my hard times, for example, but there are things I was starting to be made to believe were my duty as a wife that I wasn't doing that simply are not. Effort is, and I made some, but obedience in all aspects is not my duty.

Women must have dignity and self-respect and for me to feel like I lose all that in becoming what "scholars" think is the ideal Muslimah is just not right!

Monday, July 26, 2010

4 AM coffee

Over the past 2 years of working in an office, I have really gotten addicted to coffee. It's worse than it has ever been right now! I used to take half a cup in the morning for over a year, but when it became very busy and exhausting at work, as well as home, I took up the habit of drinking a full cup in the morning and a full cup in the afternoon! It feels like I can't function 100% without my morning coffee! I am OK without the afternoon one though at this point and am making a point to keep these afternoon coffees to the minimum to prepare for Ramadan.

A cup of coffee lasts in the system and I was thinking of having a cup of coffee with my suhoor when I work that morning. Somehow doesn't sound like a very good idea though, does it? Destined for a crash if I go about it that way!

Who here has 4AM coffee during Ramadan? How did that work out?

My Identity as a Muslim

I had a lot of drama going on this weekend and it left me in an identity crisis.


Can I really be both Muslim and who I was before? I have been Muslim for 1 year now (anniversary of my shahada was actually this weekend, go figure!) and I felt I'd made some changes in myself as I learned more about Islam and that I had improved myself, but that I was still ME! My parents never got this "Where's my daughter?" feeling from my conversion because I was still the same girl, only gradually being more modest in clothing and a few little things they noticed but that didn't change me.

I pretty much only have one Muslim friend that I see in real life, and she is one of the most patient women I know with lots of experience with marriage problems. She really does her best to follow Islam.

A situation that came up was that I disobey my husband. My position on that was that the reason a man has a certain right over his wife is because he is 100% financially responsible (as stated in the Qur'an). So the conclusion was that I had no obligation to obey him since I am the one who financially supports him. As far as how much rights he has over me when he does become the financial supporter, I just wasn't there yet.

But my friend's response was that no, it didn't change anything that he didn't support me financially and that he was still my husband and I had to obey him. That in the end, I would be rewarded for everything I did that was more than my responsibility and he would get what he deserves as well and that we had rights to divorce our husbands if they didn't fulfill their requirements and that if I did everything the right way, at least no sin would be on me. I had to admit that it's quite convincing to view it this way because, as she said, it means that there's no sin on me. But is the part about it still being obligatory to obey my husband right? I'm very much struggling with this because even if he fulfilled his reponsability of providing financially, how much do husbands really have over their wives?!

The way I have been feeling this weekend is a bit like an abused wife. Stuck, but in the honeymoon phase after the breakdown. The thing that made me feel this way (a bit iffy, as opposed to *really* being in the honeymoon phase where you feel great) is that my husband has set up some rules about my daughter never seeing my best friend, and not seeing my parents for 1 week. To obey him would be to accept this, but I'd feel so ashamed to admit to anyone that I am allowing my husband to keep my daughter away from her grand-parents. If it was the right thing to just obey him (shut up and let it happen), would I really feel this badly?

It has made me feel like if I want to accept being Muslim fully, I'll lose who I am and lose my self-respect!

I know I am just going nuts. As I wrote, I'm having a bit of an identity crisis. I know very well this must be some middle-ground to this... I had talked and thought about the issue of obeying our husbands, but it seemed like it didn't apply to be that much, and that if it did, my husband let's me do what I want normally anyway so it was not an issue.

He actually has calmed down and decided my parents can see our daughter today which is good and makes me feel like I can put off this awful feeling... I decided I'd bring it back up to myself during Ramadan when I am at a better place spiritually (insha'Allah).

Sorry for the unorganized post.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Small personal Facebook project

Inspired by my Ayah of the Week segment, I have started posting verses (or part of verses) of the Qur'an on my Facebook status daily. It is for 2 reasons:

1) To continue my gradual approach in "coming out" as a Muslim. It will be less and less of a surprise when I finally tell my family that I am Muslim.

2) To give non-Muslims on my list a positive view of Islam. I am writing parts of verses with their surah and verse numbers, without writing specifically that it's from the Qur'an and avoiding verses that talk too much about God since the people I'm trying to touch don't really believe in God. I'm finding verses that just give a small dose of positiveness that you can find in the Qur'an.

Insha'Allah, this works as a form of dawah. :)


PS: DOES ANYONE KNOW WHY I CAN NO LONGER PASTE THINGS WHEN I AM COMPOSING A POST?

Best time to have children

Of course there are things that are necessary like being married/ being in a serious relationship and *wanting* to have children. All this will be nothing else than my point of view and pretty much what is suited to a person like me. Not all that interesting for others because different people are different but I felt like posting anyway!

After my experience of having a child kind of young at 20 years old, I can't imagine not having children until later in life like 30-40 years old. It just seems so late in life! I know that for a lot of people, it has to do with career and lengthy studies... I could definitely not imagine being a student full-time working on my Masters or a Ph.D.

My conclusion is that for a person wishing to go further in her studies, a good time to have a child would be during her bachelor's degree studies, taking a semester or two off to have the child and going back, rather than waiting until the end of graduate or post-graduate studies. After my experience, I feel that it's just so long to wait if you have a person you wish to have children with. If a person is mature and responsible enough, it just seems like the perfect way! And what a joy to be able to be a young grand-parent as well! And to have more time to live your own life after your children are grown, rather than living it earlier and having kids in the house until 60 years of age. I feel sad that my grand-parents died before I really had a chance to appreciate them.

Obviously, this is ME and not for everyone. I believe in an individual making the best decisions for her (and a couple for the both of them)!

It feels like Islamically, for a woman to delay having children until 30 years of age for a career is not 100% right. Even if a woman has every right to work and there is no prohibition on it, it is not her purpose as it is a man's and being on birth control for, let's say, over 10 years for a career when it is not her responsibility as a woman to even be the one working might be pushing the limits on the permissibility of birth control in Islam. But I shouldn't talk so I will stop right here. I have a lot of respect for working women and career women in general so it's a bit of a conflict in me to say this.

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