August 31, 2010

Just wanna say....

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. OK this is my second post of the day; just wanted to say "You rock!" to my followers, new and old. I love getting your comments and really feel my friendship circling is expanding. I would say my "list of places I can visit and stay for free" circle but pretty sure that alienate some of ya'll. :-D Just teasing...

Anyway thanks for reading and please don't be shy with the comments. I love to know what's on your mind... unless your mind is a dark scary place. :-)

Ma salaama....

'Alam alaikum ya'll

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Aaminah says "'Alam alaikum" and I think its just too cute masha'allah. Wanted to share. Oh and when she says "quiet" it sounds a little like "carrot" so I've caught myself telling the older kids "be carrot!". Yeah, I get some strange looks on that one. :-) Well we pretty much all love that little curly-headed sweetie so her "aami-isms" tend to catch on.

Here is a quick synopsis of what I've learned this Ramadhan:

1. Any missed fasting days must be atoned for. If you cannot make them up, you must pay to feed one poor person for every day missed.

2. You do not have to pay them before the next Ramadhan if you are unable but you must keep track. I had to go back and be very lenient when trying to recount.

3. You can pay it overseas especially if there isn't true hunger in your area or you cannot afford it. For example, here it's about $8 per day. I have many days to make up for (due to my illness and ongoing inability to fast). I had incorrectly thought I wasn't responsible because I was very poor during those years. Alhamdulillah I have now learned but cannot afford to pay $$$ so I am able to send money overseas at the rate it is required there and insha'Allah help someone truly hungry!

4. There are 7 different ways to recite Qur'an. All are the same language, Fus'ha (classical Arabic) but just different pronounciations. So it's like "tomatoe" and "tomahtoe"; same meaning slightly different sound. None is more correct than another.

5. I have learned about several different sahaba. I actually need to post a story on Saad ibn abi Waqas insha'Allah. :-)

6. Now I know this will get some people excited but please bear with me. And know I am not trying to change anyone else's interpretation, just showing mine. Human sperm is not najasa. Nowhere in the Qur'an nor hadith/sunnah does it say this. Humans would not be made from filth; to me it's very self-evident.

Ma salaama...

August 28, 2010

You wanna know something...

A'salaamu alaikum. I got this from Sr. Mona's blog. I thought it looked like fun. So I will highlight what applies to me. If you want to do it then just highlight your own answers. Alrighty, here goes:

Bold if true:
I am a cuddler.
I am a morning person.
I am an only child.
I am currently in my pajamas.
I am currently pregnant.
I am currently single.
I am currently suffering from a broken heart.
I am left handed.
I am married.
I am addicted to my myspace.
I am online 24/7, even as an away message.
I am a little shy around the opposite gender at first.
I bite my nails.
I can be paranoid at times.
I don’t like anyone.
I enjoy country music.
I enjoy jazz music.
I enjoy smoothies.
I enjoy talking on the phone.
I have a car.
I have a cell phone.
I have/had a hard time paying attention at school.
I have a hidden talent
I have a lot to learn
I have a pet.
I have a tendency to fall for the “wrong” guy/girl
I have all my grandparents
I have at least one brother
I have been to another country
I have been told that I am smart
I have been told that I have an unusual sense of humor
I have OR HAD broken a bone
I have Caller I.D. on my phone.
I have changed a diaper
I have changed a lot over the past year.
I have done something illegal.
I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color
I have had major/minor surgery.
I have killed another person (really?)
I have had my hair cut within the last week.
I have mood swings
I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life
I have rejected someone before.
I have seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I have seen the television show The O.C.
I like Shakespeare.
I like the taste of blood. (ewww)
I love to cook.
I like to sing.
I love Michael Jackson
I love sleeping.
I love to play computer games.
I love to shop.
I miss someone right now.
I own 100 CDs or more
I own and use a library card
I read books for pleasure in my spare time.
I sleep a lot during the day.
I strongly dislike math
I watch soap operas on a regular basis.
I will try almost anything once.
I work at a job that I enjoy.
I would classify myself as ghetto.
I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free. and halal!
I am currently wearing socks.
I am tired.
I love to paint/draw/sketch/sculpt.
I have had/have a broken heart
Smoked cigarettes
Rode every ride at an amusement park.
Collected something really stupid.
Gone to a rock concert. KISS...and waaaay past their "heyday" lol
Helped someone.
Gone fishing.
Watched four movies in one night.
Gone long periods of time with out sleep.
Lied to someone.
Been dumped.
Failed a class.
Taken a college level course.
Been in a car accident.
Been in a tornado.
Watched someone die.
Been to a funeral.
Burned yourself. (accidentally)
Ran a marathon.
Your parents got divorced.
Cried yourself to sleep.
Spent over $200 in one day.
Flown on a plane..
Cheated on someone.
Been cheated on.
Written a 10 page letter.
Gone skiing.
Been sailing.
Cut yourself.
Had a best friend.
Lost someone you loved. My best friend Leslee in 2008
Shoplifted something.
Been to jail.
Had detention.
Skipped school.
Got in trouble for something you didn’t do.
Stolen books from the library.
Dropped out of school.
Been in a mental hospital.
Watched the “Harry Potter” movies.
Had an online diary. (kinda)
Fired a gun. yeah it knocked me on my butt!
Gambled in a casino
Had a yard sale.
Been in a school play.
Been fired from a job.
Taken a lie detector test.
Swam with dolphins.
Gone to sea world.
Attempted suicide.
Voted for Pop Idol.
Written poetry.
Read more than 20 books a year.
Gone to Europe.
Loved someone you couldn’t have.
Had surgery.
Had stitches....and staples...and bandages... lol
Taken a taxi.
Seen the Washington Monument
Had more than 5 IMs/online convos at once
Had a drug or alcohol problem.
Been in a fist fight.
Suffered any form of abuse.
Had a hamster.
Petted a wild animal.
Used a credit card.

Gone surfing in California.
Dyed your hair.
Got a tattoo.
Had something pierced. eyebrow and nose (twice!)
Got straight A’s.
Your parents sent you to a shrink.
Been handcuffed
Known someone with HIV or AIDS.
Taken pictures with a webcam.
Started a fire. Yes but just for camping!
Had a party while your parents weren’t home.
Gotten caught having a party while they were gone.

All I can say is "alhamdulillah" this is all it asked. ;-)

Ma salaama...hope to see some from you guys...

Interesting interfaith dialogue goin' on

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Just a heads up that there's a little interfaith sharing going on in the comments section on the "Moderate Muslim?" post and the "Really? I mean really?" post. Please feel free to check them out and comment if you like. For or against just remember to play by the rules: no insults, name-calling, denigrating the Prophet Muhammad (saws) or any of the other prophets and messengers of Allah, and remember, sticks and stone may break your bones but words can never hurt you! :-D

August 27, 2010

Really? I mean, really???

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Soooo hmmm this isn't really a rant but I am kinda like (see title) really? I mean really???

I was out at the grocery today when a woman crosses to my side. Oh ok, I mentally say, she wants to ask me something. Sure 'nough, she approaches. This is our conversation:

Her: "Do you mind if I ask you a question?"

Me: (Want to say, you already did but she probably wouldn't get the humor.) "Sure go ahead".

Her: "Aren't you hot in that?" referring to my abaya and khimar.

OK so I answer her, blah blah blah, lightweight, breezy, blah blah blah. But for once, just once, I would loooove for someone to approach me and say, Hey what you think about that thar big old MOSQUE they building at ground zero?. Or even, Why do you guys hate America?

Really anything. I don't mind answering questions, wallah, but sometimes I would love for it to be about more than my fashion sense (which is kinda an oxymoron). I want to be able to share the beauty of my religion not my beauty secrets. I know that same woman has to have 1001 misconceptions about Islam but she was too afraid to ask or too dull to be curious. Not sure which one.

I always, aftering answering the fluff questions, say "Don't hesitate to ask me anything" in the (vain) hope they will actually has me a question with sustenance.

I know I shouldn't be annoyed; insha'allah next time she hears something about Islam on tv I'll pop up in her mind: smiling, kind, helpful... Maybe that's how she will remember me. Either that or "big black walking triangle" lol.

So just curious what questions ya'll get asked the most frequently?

Ma salaama....

August 23, 2010

Moderate Muslim?

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. We've all heard the phrase "moderate muslim" thrown around ALOT recently... in the news... on fb... on youtube... however you get your information. It's the only way mainsteam Americans can refer to Muslims it appears. Well I have a little to say on this point:

I am NOT a "moderate" muslim. I am NOT a "wahhabist" (which isn't actually correct terminology but debating minor points isn't the reason I am writing this post). I am NOT an "extremist". I am not a "______" anything.

I AM A MUSLIM. I follow the Qur'an and the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws). I follow the paths of all of the prophets and messengers sent by Allah from before. I strive to do what's right for myself, my family, my deen, my community...

I am not an apologist. I do not apologize for anything that others have done in the name of Islam, under it's banner, using their religion incorrectly. Just as I do not expect every Catholic I meet to apologize to me for the nasty goings-on of some of their clergy because I am open enough to realize that BAD PEOPLE DO BAD THINGS.

I also do not condemn those of my brothers and sisters overseas who fight against the invasion of their homes, the disruption of the lives, the molding of their futures by powers they cannot control.

I do however have zero tolerance for people who twist the words of Allah to justify ruthless slayings, or to imprison (literally and figuratively) their female relatives, or any of the other million and one things IMPERFECT people try to get by with doing.

Sometimes the pressure of being a religious minority is heavy on me. I love giving dawah and I do strive to uphold Islamic principals in my day to day life. (I'm not a jumah-only muslim.) Sometimes though I have a bad day, maybe I'm grouchy or I don't feel good or my kids gave me a hard time or maybe I am tired or in a hurry and I miss an opportunity to show through my actions the beauty of Islam.

I hate to feel that, like the terrorists who committed 9/11, I will be the face of an entire religion for anyone I meet that day.

I long sometimes to pack it up and move overseas. Now before anyone starts to criticize me, please remember I've been to a couple of different Muslim-majority countries. I know it's harder to live there, I know I would miss all the comforts of home. I know all of the negatives, really I do.

But there is just that draw. I am not so delusional (anymore!) to really think every muslim I meet will love me and feel I am their sisters in Islam, give me a great big "salaam" and we become insta-friends. :-D You know, I would settle just to be able to go into a doctor's office and not have to go through a page-long explanation when I do not shake their hand, or to walk on the street and not have that little niggly feeling that something could happen because of the hijab on my head. Or, wonder of all wonder, to be allowed to worship in peace and build religious centers wherever there is land and money enough available.

To all of the thinking, feeling, understanding, and open individuals who realize Islam is not twisted, it's not to be feared, and we, like all other religious entities in the US, deserve the protection of the Constitution, I thank you. Truly.


August 21, 2010

Delicious...not! :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So yeah this isn't really an earth-shattering post but I just don't want anyone else to make the same breakfast mistake I did.

Aaminah is really limited as to what "typical" breakfast foods she can eat because of her egg allergy. So hashbrowns or fried potatoes are one of her favorite foods. I call them baby frenchfries btw to get her excited. lol

So what happened? I got lazy. I thought I could shave a few minutes off prep time by using the fresh "Simply Potatoes" brand pre-cut/shredded potatoes in the egg aisle.

Yeah. Bad idea. I ended up throwing an entire bag away. I had bought two in my zealousness to avoid a little work in the am. Really these taste like preservatives. Which come on, who was I kidding? Fresh potatoes, peeled, and NOT turning black? They gotta be SOAKED in them.

Anyway moral of this story is, please don't buy them if you like to actually taste potato and not chemicals. :-)

Ma salaama!

August 20, 2010

Ramadhan journal: Day 10

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. The pic above might give you an indication of where this post is going. :-) BTW I think it's super cute. lol

I went to the doctor today and had my kidney levels checked. My creatnine (a level checked to show kidney function) was elevated to 1.6 which in a healthy person would mean I was at stage 3 (of 5) chronic renal failure. For a transplant patient, it isn't so static a definition and we don't expect truly great things. :-) Just a chance at life, to be active, somewhat normal, maybe even live to see our children grow. INSHA'ALLAH!!!

Anyway I was told to cease and desist with the fasting. OK I can cope. But really I feel like a failure. I KNOW it's the qadr of Allah. I KNOW I am supposed to take care of my body. I KNOW it's a mercy from ALLAH and I should just be grateful... but I feel like a loser, a quitter, a big weinee poo poo head.

OK enough whining. Insha'allah I will still find benefit in this Ramadhan but really, I will miss that feeling of oneness with our ummah.

Ma salaama

August 19, 2010

Ramadhan journal: Day 9/ Umayr ibn Saad al-Ansari

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. OK let's get down to the nuts and bolts of it. I overslept for suhoor; thus my whole family overslept. No one got to get so much as a sip of water, subhanallah. And they had to fast. Me? I coulnd't take my meds before Fajr so I wasn't able to fast. Really if you wanna feel like a great big ole meany, just be the cause of your family starving all day while you get to eat. :-)

Anyway suhoor was a bust, iftar was nice. I actually made something besides our soup, salad and bread. I thawed some beef cubes and fried them with garlic and cubanelle peppers. I knew they really needed the protein tonight. We ate the rest of the soup I had made a few days ago so it's to the kitchen tomorrow for me to cook. :-)

I bought a new cookbook the other day at TJMaxx. First off let me explain I'm not really a huge TJMaxx fan but my little town has one so I'll stop by ocassionally. And ocassionaly I'll get some great deals... or buy something totally frivolous. Such a purchase was my cookbook.

"Best Ever Indian Cookbook". It's really nice, despite the rather unimaginative and boastful name. Plus some of the recipes and photosgraphs were used in Mahur Jaffries Indian cookbook so...hmm. :-) Anyway my mouth is WATERING to try some of these recipes. Now problem is A isn't the world's greatest indo-cuisine lover. I am trying to pinpoint what it is he doesn't really like about it so I can indulge to my heart's content.

It's not the spice, per se. Tunisians love them some spice so it has to be some other combination he isn't too keen on. However, he eats the indo-pak food at the masjid so I think I'll be brave and try my hand at some. I already know I want to make samosas. Y U M. And I think I'll do one of the vegetable curries insha'allah. Anyway I'll take pics and post when I do. Hmm maybe next day I can't fast I'll head to a local Indian eatery... Oh my evil plans. lol

On to our sahabi story. Umayr ibn Saad al-Ansari. Subhanllah another inspirational story. Umayr became Muslim at the age of 9 along with his mother and step-father Jalas. He was known to be very pious and honest masha'Allah.

When he turned 16 the Muslimeen were going to war against the Romans, during the heat of the summer, with a 600 mile march to boot! Needless to say, the munafiq (hypocrits) were out in full-force, trying to avoid jihad for the pleasure of Allah swt and making rumors about the Prophet Muhammad (saws).

Young Umayr went to his stepfahter whom he adored and was very close to and asked for him to help in the cause of Allah and give him money to go on the campaign for the battle of Tabouk. His stepfather astounded him by saying, "You think Muhammad is a nabi?" and by saying this he committed kufar (serious disbelief). Umayr went to his room, crushed by what Jalas said. How should he handle this?

He loved his stepfather as his own father (who had died before his birth). He respected him and in return Jalas treated him as a son and denied him nothing. However Rasoolallah (saws) had been warned them about the dangers of kufar. Young Umayr knew if he kept this a secret it was endangering his own soul. He was also afraid his stepfather would continue to spread the lies about the Prophet (saws).

So he went to Jalas' room and requested entrance. He told him, Father I cannot keep silent. You have committed kufar, a grave sin. I love you as no other besides our Prophet (saws) so I could not go behind your back like a coward. I have come to tell you that in the morning, I will have to expose your secret.

The next morning he attended fajr salaat (prayer) with Rasoolallah (saws) and told him of the betrayal. Jalas was sent for and when questioned, denied by Allah that he had said those words. Umayr also denied lying and swore his stepfather said it.

The sahaba didn't know who to believe! On one hand, here is young Umayr, who was always at the masjid and was well-known for his piety and honestly. But Jalas was older, a respected man, and he said the boy was simply angry with him and seeking revenge. It seemed to be an impasse.

Suddenly Rasoolallah (saws) received a wahi (revelation) from Allah swt. His eyes became unseeing and he was bathed in noor (light). Suddenly Umayr's face became calm, his tears dried and Jalas looked confused and frightened. When the vision passed the Prophet (saws) went to Umayr and told him Allah sent a message that he was indeed honest. At that time Jalas admitted he had committed the kufar and on the advice of Rasoolallah (saws) begged forgiveness from Allah. After that he became a true Muslim not a munafiq.

Jalas thanked Umayr because he said that by revealing his sin to others, Umayr had saved Jalas from the hellfire. Subhanallah.

OK I'll have part 2 in the next few days insha'Allah. Ma salaama!!!

Ramadhan journal: Day 8

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This is my journal post for yesterday; I was pooped last night!

Alhamdulillah I was able to fast yesterday. We broke fast at the masjid and prayed maghrib there. We intended to stay for Ishaa but A got called into work on an emergency. He is the maintenance manager at a large apartment complex and gets calls all day and night sometimes.

A funny thing happened last night. They ran out of food. I think a larger than expected number showed up and yeah you can guess it, there were some who complained. I was watching their over-excited gestures with an air of incredulity mixed with humor. Are they serious??

A related a story to us about a bag of dates Rasoolallah (saws) had given to one of Aisha's sisters. He told her, use from this bag as you will but do not look in it. This of course means we are to trust in our rizq (provision) from Allah. She said for months she took from this sack and it always had tammar (dates) inside. Finally one day, overcome by curiosity, she peeked in the bag. Yep you guessed it, no more dates!!!

Obviously these sisters never heard this hadith or they would have trusted in the bounty Allah provides. Anyone whose ever attended an iftar knows the amount of food in a boxed meal is waaay more than necessary. I shared one box with Aaminah, Zainab, and Hafsa masha'allah. We had some other food (Zainab got a partial box) but really we were satisfied. I just pray Allah swt accepts our fast and our good intentions.

Due to my extreme exhaustion I did not get up for tahajjud prayers. :-( Insha'allah tomorrow I will do better.

Okey dokey household chores are calling; I better get busy. Ma salaama ya'll!

August 18, 2010

Ohhh fun!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I found this on a friend's blog and wanted to try my hand at it. I like doing these things. :-) Oh this quote is just one of the random things I like. :-)

Outside my Window… beautiful Massachusetts day and flowers on my balcony

I am Thinking… how I hope the masjid has a nice iftar tonight lol

I am Thankful… for my family

I am Wearing… a black abaya, my favorite old standby

I am Creating… more C02 for the environment to deal with

I am Reading… blogs :-)

I am Hoping… a certain situation improves

I am Hearing… silence. Ahhhhh, sweet silence!

I am Cooking… nuttin'. We're fasting.

Around the House... Aami's in bed, A's at work, and kids visiting friend. Sweet!

My Favorite Things… laptop, cheeseburgers, and ___. I have to be honest. :-)

Plans for This Week… get through it insha'allah.

OK hers was waaaay more inspiring. I think she's a busy bee. :-) ma salaam!

August 17, 2010

Ramadhan journal: Day 7/ Abu Dharr al Ghafari

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Still didn't fast today but insha'allah I feel I can do it tomorrow. I am keeping track of my days not fasted but I hope to fast more than I cannot. I want to fast the whole month and Allah willing I can do the rest of it. I just have to push myself to drink more and more water. I read you can only absorb 8 oz every 20 min but I don't just need to absorb, I need to flush my kidney. So insha'allah drinking alot benefits me.

Iftar was the same, leftovers YAY! Even down to the homemade kheer (rice pudding with saffron, raisins, and cardamom) topped with toasted coconut. In Arabic it's called malaban. Just an FYI.

We had another nice halaqa tonight led by A. He talked about Abu Dharr al Ghifari, a sahabi who sought out Rasoolallah after hearing there was a new nabi in Makkah. He converted to Islam, and went back to his village (on the caravan route between Makkah and Madinah, heading towards Yemen) and by the end of 10 years, his ENTIRE village had become Muslim. Subhanallah. 3500 people, all led to Islam because one man had the courage to seek out the truth.

A very beautiful part of his story is how he converted. He went to Makkah during the very dark times when Muslims had to hide, in fear of their lives. After saying the shahada and speaking with the Prohet Muhammad (saws), Rasoolallah (saws) told Abu Dharr to return home to his tribe as Makkah was too usnafe. Abu Dharr asked his persmission to do one thing first.

Subhanallah, can you guess what he did? In the time of all Muslims having to hide, he marched RIGHT UP TO THE KABBAH, where all the kuffar were sitting and at the top of his voice said, "I testify here and now in front of you that I am a MUSLIM. LA ILAHA ILALLAH, MUHAMMAD-DUR-RASOOLALLAH". He didn't finish that sentence before he was knocked unconcious and beaten by the mob. Rasoolallah's uncle Abu Talib told the people, "Stop are you idiots? This man is the leader of the Ghifar and they control the route to Yemen and your livelihood! If you kill him his tribe will seek vengeance."

So alhamdulillah he was spared and he became the 40th sahaba and the first to ever declare publicly his faith. Subhanallah.

Insha'allah this was of some benefit to you. If I said anything wrong, it's from myself (not the shaitaan now, it's Ramadhan baby!) and anything good and right is from Allah swt.

Ma salaama.

Ramadhan journal: Day 6

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I didn't fast today but did engage in some extra worship ie: sunnah prayers and taraweeh alhamdulillah. Did more dhikr than usual and feel we are getting into a routine insha'allah. As an entire family that is.

I am going to try to fast day 7 we'll see what happens. My stomach is hurting a little but maybe nothing serious; I should be able to tell by the time I wake up again insha'allah.

Let's see, an Aaminah update. She knows 2 surahs masha'allah I would say very well for a 2 year old. Surat-al-ikhlas and surat-al-fatiha. She knows 90% of the words and has good pronounciation too masha'allah. She also knows her dua for going to bed and will recite it herself even! I am very proud of her and please sisters make dua for me that I continue to remind myself to teach her in a good way and show her how she needs to be insha'allah. Ameen.

I made a really nice soup last night, a little different from the traditional grated veggie shorba that is so popular in the Arabic world or parts thereof.

I started by browning my stew meat. I cut it into small pieces; only used about a pound to a pound and a quarter so it was important to make them small. Anyway browned them in a little oil and then in the meantime I made my base. I took some oil, enough to coat the bottom of a heavy stock pot and added a can of drained diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. I added crushed garlic to that and salt and pepper. I let it cook, stirring frequently, until the oil separated from the darkened tomato mixture. This is important because it lowers the acidity of the tomatoes. I don't like acidy sauces.

Anyway then I took a bag of frozen mixed veggies, the browned beef cubes, and some water. Brought it to a boil and added fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved. In the last hour or so of cooking I added a medium peeled grated potato, a nod to the textures of my husband's favorite. I added a little chipotle hotsauce for warmth and added depth of flavor; it's my favorite condiment besides mayonnaise.

I let this cook for a loooooong time because I like my meat browned yet tender. I let it simmer for 3 hours. Oh I added water and some oil to it because the meat was pretty lean. I like a little fat in my soup to make it filling but not an entire glossy red layer of it! Oh I put some paprika and a spice mixture of cumin, caraway, and coriander (freshly ground by me and mixed) to this tomato mixture as it cooked.

I also put some lightly soaked bulgar in for fiber and to bulk it up. I only partially soaked it because I knew I had a long enough cook time for it to get tender and I wanted the bulgar to taste of the broth, not water.

Anyway we all enjoyed it and I made enough for 3 iftars. If you're gonna do a big batch of soup do it right and don't cook again for a few days. Give yourself a Ramadhan break! We ate this with salad and bread from the lovely Brazilian bakery in our town. Hot fresh homemade crusty rolls I didn't have to make myself...score!

Alright insha'allah maybe this will help inspire you to make your own off-the-cuff shorba to suit YOUR family's taste preferences.

Ma salaama!r

August 16, 2010

Ramadhan journal: Day 5

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll and a HUGE "grrrr". I had my post completed and then, thanks to my nimble fingers, obviously managed to select all text and in the next keystroke... you guessed it, erased my entire post. Hmm. Sorry this won't be as interesting as the original.:-)

Day 5 recap:

Ibadah: prayed 8 rakaat taraweeh, did extra dhikr, prayed some sunnah prayers
Iftar: at masjid, spicy Indian food=McDs fish sandwich for me!
Overall grade: Incomplete

Why an incomplete? Because I had to break my fast due to my ongoing health saga. I don't think it's too dramatic to call it a "saga". :-) Anyway I started getting the symptoms of a UTI again so I had to stop it and drink, drink, drink. I think I will take 2 days off and then fast every other day unless the problem persists. I don't want to miss the experience of fasting but neither do I want to harm myself. Wa Allahu alim.

OK so there is my condensed post. I am sure I had some really witty observations or maybe even a pithy one or two but alas, they got thrown out with the dishwater. I'll still do daily updates but be prepared to be under-whelmed. :-)

Ma salaama ya'll!

August 14, 2010

Ramadhan journal: Day 4

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. OK here's a little recap of my day.

First off my stomach hurts. We had our normal salad and shorba but I thought, it can't hurt to make some baked potatoes, can it? It can and it did. Add to that, I made a small treat of orange rolls for us to break our fast with (in addition to dates of course!) and now I feel stuffed. I think I've ruined baked potatoes for me for a while! :-)

I did actually pray taraweeh last night so you'll have to forgive my earlier post. We woke up before fajr and I prayed 8 rakaat plus an extra for witr. I know it's not alot but it felt pretty good to at least be doing something.

We didn't attempt the masjid again tonight either. Aaminah was really tired and so were we all. Well not the kids, they were raring to go but A and I were tired. Insha'allah we have plans to go tomorrow night (Sunday). Really I love to break my fast with my family so I am not so interested in going to the masjid for iftar this year.

I guess my score for today is a B-. I know, I keep scoring myself better but I do think I am making progress daily so :-P I engaged in more ibadah and watched other things which could bring me down.

Tonight A told us all a story about a sahabi, Salman al Farisi (ra). Subhanallah the iman this brother had! He was born in Persia, about 20 yrs before Rasoolallah (saws). He was from a family of fire worshippers and one day happened to enter a church. He was awed by the concept of one God. He traveled all over, from Persia, to Shams (Syria) to Iraq to Turkey and finally to Madinah. He was a servant and a slave in the end, having left his wealthy family as a young man because he was so sure there was only one God.

In the end, after having studied with several Christian sheikhs, he met one who told him a new prophet was coming in Arabia. Salman left off and was enslaved en route. He finally, years after he first started his journal to learn more about the one God, met the Prophet Muhammad, saws. He was a slave and eventually was able to buy his freedom.

I was amazed at his perseverance. He traveled 1000s of miles, all for the sake of knowledge and to better himself. He left his family and home and went without the comfort of a wife or children in search of the truth. It was a very inspiring halaqa and I am so happy A shared that with us tonight.

Please look up his story; you will be moved.

Ma salaama!

August 13, 2010

Ramadhan journal: Days 2 and 3 :-0

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Nothing like a little procrastination. I was soooo exhausted last night just couldn't make myself sit down to post. Anywho, here it is.

Day 2:

Really still getting adjusted to the fasting thing. I mean it isn't hard mentally and I don't feel like I am starving all day but my body is rebelling a little. Super tired; I know that is nothing amazing, we all do that, just telling you.

Our iftar and suhoor were basically the same except I used beef cubes for the shorba instead of chicken. I can say the smell of the frying beef (I brown it before I add it to the shorba) was mouth-watering. I am a cow lover for sure!

Ibadah: Still about the same. I did read some things online for extra knowledge but I still found myself just trying to get everything done. Of course made all my prayers on time and did one sunnah prayer. I really need to step up in this area!

Overall: I think I now scored a solid C because I didn't lose my temper with the kids the same. :-) So that raised it a little but without the extra ibadah, what is my Ramadhan going to profit me?

Day 3: Went to jumah prayer alhamdulillah. Had an awesome khutba on controlling our tongues. The khateeb used a specific hadith about a sahabi who had fallen in a battle, martyred for the cause of Allah, and even then while he was literally starving. So hungry he tired a stone to his stomach subhanallah.

When the other sahaba found him they were exclaiming how beautiful that their fallen brother was in jannah. Rasoolallah (saws) overheard them and gave them the admonition that they don't know what word might have left his mouth that would take him to the hellfire. He cautioned against rejoicing about someone being in Jannah when all it takes is a single word, ill-spoken of your brother, to send you to jahanam.

Subhanallah. He also said that we don't know what one word we utter can drag us to the flames for 70 years. This is indeed a scary thought and one that should help us guard our tongues!

We tried to attend taraweeh at the masjid but subhanallah Aaminah was so tired she just couldn't last. The babysitting there was packed and some of the kids were so wild; I couldn't put her in there. Alhamdulillah my husband offered to leave instead of me having to sit with her and try to rock her in some hard tiled corner. We will insha'Allah wake up and pray taraweeh here together as a family.

I used to love to go to the masjid in Knoxville but here subhanallah it is really divided along racial/ethnic background lines. I am not used to this to such an extent. I had to sit at a table alone tonight to break my fast because I am not a) egyptian b) indo-pak c) somalian or b) indonesian. Really it breaks my heart to see division in our ummah like this. I give my salaams and of course there are some good sisters who, despite race, behave like sisters but to be truthful its few and far between.

Nights such as this I really miss my humble little masjid in Knoxville and may Allah swt bless them ameen.

OK so you are updated now on my Ramadhan activities. I am exhausted AGAIN and will go to bed now. Insha'allah you and yours are having a beautiful and fruitful Ramadhan!

Ma salaama...

August 11, 2010

Ramadhan journal: day #1

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I am thinking about keeping an online Ramadhan journal here. We'll see if I keep up with it. Of course, liberally sprinkled throughout with random musings and other miscellany. :-)

I have thought of a theme song for my Ramadhan. You know the theme song to "Good Times" the sitcom showcasing the lives of a black family living in an inner city ghetto? JJ and Florida the mom and their dad James, etc. Dynomite? :-) Well there's a part that says, "Keepin' my head above water...." and I think that is appropriate. lol

I have so many more responsibilities now than this time last year. It isn't overwhelming but close to it sometimes. Let's see... I know, I'll put it in list format!

1. I am now responsible for 6 people. Their food, clothing, clean home; I am cook, housekeeper, nurse, and peacekeeper. :-) It's a change.

2. I am married, living in a different state, far from family and friends.

3. Did I mention I take care of 4 kids??? lol

4. I am now a full-time college student. Getting ready to be busier!

So anyway I've made MAJOR life changes in the past year alhamdulillah. I am still adjusting to some of them but with the help of Allah swt I am confident I can overcome my challenges.

Our suhoor and iftar were really simple masha'Allah. For suhoor we had fried egg sandwiches (I had a piece of the german chocolate cake I made the night before) and milk. A just had a bowl of cereal; he's a light eater but insha'allah I can get him to take in more fluids and protein in the morning.

For iftar we had shorba (Tunisian soup with a variety of grated vegetables, cilantro, a couple of chicken thighs... really basic and simple), nice crusty rolls, a lovely salad, and a little bit of left-over homemade chilli chicken. It was pretty light and nice. Oh to break our fast initially we had tammar (dates), bananas, and apples. I just wanted to drink!

I am not required to fast because of my kidney disease but I realllly don't want to miss out. It's that feeling of being one with the rest of our ummah, sharing in this hardship, working for the pleasure of Allah. Insha'allah I will be fine and no worries; last year didn't affect me at all alhamdulillah.

So how would I rate my Ramadhan so far? I give myself a C. Minus. :-( I haven't done any extra ibadah, I haven't read Qur'an, and I got reallllly angry at an arrogant doctor who treated Zainab rudely. This is another post in itself but he was past believing... I lost my temper with the kids for yelling and running around and felt soooo tired by Asr I wanted to pass out.

It's good though I have this blog so I stop and take stock. I can look back and say, hmm let's do it differently tomorrow. Insha'allah I will. Please make du'a for me sisters; I feel I am not as worshipful as I once was. My mind is constantly on the logistics of running a big family and I am afraid I am losing sight on the big picture.

Let's pray we all make use of this beautiful blessings called Ramadhan, to better ourselves and draw closer to Allah.

Ma salaama!

August 9, 2010

Funniest video ever!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This is my little actress Aaminah. She was extolling (rather dramatically) the dangers of playing in a dryer. I ran to get my camera to catch it and she is too funny. She climbed in the dryer tonight while I was folding clothes and it surprised me. :-) But I needed her to know it was dangerous so I just told her about it. She was mersmerized. lol

Oh and about her Snoop Dog 'do: her 10 yr old sister Zainab wanted to "fix" Aaminah's hair. Uh huh. Well it was sweet of her anyway! Enjoy and say masha'allah!

A great recipe, a better sister

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Have you ever met one of those sisters that you just immediately admire? I had the pleasure a few years back to meet one like that. She is just masha'allah a wonderful example of a muslimah. I was her son's preschool teacher fora 6 months and she always packed him the most awesome handmade lunches. I mean, homemade food a given, but it was the presentation. Man!

She put a cloth napkin in, so he would take it out first, and spread it for a placemat. Then he would take out his little mini containers of food, and real silverware. Well real metal, not silver. lol BTW do you know it's haram to eat from silver? More than 15 authenitcated ahadith state this. I was a bit surprised by it myself but there you go. Anyway...I digress. :-)

So one day he opens his lovingly packed midday meal and I see one of the most beautiful dishes I've ever laid eyes on. It looked like it was made from liquid rubies. It was so bright and pretty and well, I just had to have the recipe!

I asked this lovely sister for it and not only did she provide the recipe, but she made me an entire dish as well. The downside? The other sister who took the dish for me forgot to tell me and she also forgot to put it in the school's fridge. It spoiled. Waaaah! :-(

Anyway Sis K is from Senegal and looks like a queen subhanallah. Here is the beautiful recipe she so nicely shared with me:

Senegalese "Thiou"

Thiou is basically a stew that has tomatoes with lots of vegetables. You may put fish (which is what I prefer) or else any kind of meat or chicken.


2 lbs of firm fleshed white fish (pollock for example)
2 cups of oil, divided (one for frying fish, one for stew)
16 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
4-5 potatoes, quartered then halved
1 lb bag carrots, cut into bite sized chunks
1 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
salt, pepper, laurel or bay leaf
1 maggi cube (chicken flavor)

Put 1 cup oil in large cooking pot. It's best to puree the onion, tomato and garlic in a food processor. It will make the stew thicker and combine the flavors more. Omit this step if you don't have a food processor and just fry the pieces in the oil. After you've started to fry the vegetable mixture, add the tomato paste.Add salt and maggi cube now as well. Stir frequently.

If using meat instead of fish, add it now and let it fry 5 to 10 minutes along with the veggie mixture.

Be sure and let the tomato mixture cook until it starts to stick to your pot and darkens. Stir it constantly while cooking. This is an important step.

When all of the liquid has been reduced completely, you can add about 4 cups of water, just enough to help the meat and veggies cook til tender.

Add potatoes, carrots, and cabbage; cook til tender. Then add your spices and let cook til all flavors blended. Probably 15 minutes or so. :-)

If using the fish, fry it separately while the tomato mixture is cooking, and add it to the cooking pot maybe 5 minutes before the dish is finished.

Note: Be sure to cook the tomato mixture THOROUGHLY until no more liquid is present. Adding the additional water before this step is complete will result in a flat taste. Please use any herbs you normally like. Enjoy and say bismillah!

OK this was taken almost verbatim from the sister's instructions to me. Please let me know if ya'll make it, how it turned out, or if you've had it before.

Ma salaama!

Beautiful quote

"Truly in the heart there is a void that cannot be removed except with the company of Allah. And in it there is a sadness that cannot be removed except with the happiness of knowing Allah and being true to Him. And in it there is an emptiness that cannot be filled except with love for Him and by turning to Him and always remembering Him. And if a person were given all of the world and what is in it, it would not fill this emptiness." -Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyya

August 7, 2010

2nd post today: a mercy of Ramadhan

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Just a reminder:

The shaitaan is smart, he is wily, and he is insidious. He will not come to you stinking of sin and reeking of filth. He will smell good, look better, and come wrapped up in the trappings of the thing you MOST desire.

Beware beware and be GLAD that the Shaitaan and his minions are chained up during the month of Ramadhan. This is a beautiful opportunity to break free of the sins that bring us down. Whether its the lure of gossip or that radio station you turn off before pulling into the masjid parking lot, use these days to change your habits.

August 6, 2010

Great place to find freebie layouts for blogger!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I really liked my old template (with the dark background and flowers) but I got a little tired of it, plus I wanted a wider column for my posts. So I searched and searched and found a great site that has many different free layouts to chose from. Go to this website; I really liked the ones by butterflygirlms and designsbyjenn. Funky, cute and fresh. Ma salaama!

Midnight musings

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. My mind is spinning but more like a bicycle wheel after the bike is abandoned by a careless child, not in the planned, methodical way that, say, the planets spin around the sun. Random, fairly useless, and I feel like sharing. Sweet!

* Idea for bumper sticker: "Tennessee Muslimah is NOT an oxymoron".

* I want to give dawah to P!nk (the singer). Always thought she was awesome and would love to hear her in concert in Jannah. Not looking likely, but I can try. :-)

* A goal of mine: to finish a short story I am working on. Hmmm we'll see.

* I hate regrets and always swore to never own any. :-)

* I was also 19 at the time and didn't see the "price tag" on living by my whims.

* I am an A+ student but can't seem to finish school. I have a fear of achievments. That's a head scratcher.

* I was a very different person in my "past life" and I don't mean that in a zen-like sense. I mean that in a real sense and while I am H A P P Y with who I am now, I miss some parts of the Jeanna I was.

* I cannot, CANNOT, for the life of me understand idol worship. As in "I made this cow god from clay and yet I believe it to be imbued with powers of awesomeness" kinda idolatry.

* I really want to work on some of my projects I have in various stages but when I get free time I either a) blog, b) read blogs or c)do nothing. Wait, I think that's just called laziness. Never mind. :-)

* This is turning into a "little random ramblings about jeanna" post. Sorry. :-)

* I've been to the UK, India and UAE. I liked the nastiest, stinkiest, most heartbreaking place most. (India duh.) Another headscratcher. :-)

* Aaminah's father never contacts her. Never. Ever. ever. I see her, soooo beautiful, smart, funny, kind and I cannot fathom it. Past head scratching.

* I learn from my husband daily. Little tidbits of Islamic information masha'Allah. A new hadith, a larger understanding of the science of shariah... I love it.

* More stores online should carry the tie-back khimar in the EXACT fabric weight, type, and color I like. Oh and with a nice enough forehead peak. Yeah, they should. :-)

* Like most Americans, my life is a soundtrack. I believe music is haram and I try to stay far from it but I do miss it. May Allah swt help guide me.

* Sleep eluded me the other night as well because I missed my sons so bad it hurt. :-(

*Home made joke by Zachary (my 17 yr old) when he was 4: "Your mama's so stupid, she sits on the tv and watches the couch." I STILL laugh at that one!!!!!!!

OK guess I'll go or I'll just keep adding little tidbits all night. Ma salaam!

August 5, 2010

Whaddya think?

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I've been wanting a different look for a while but I am not sure about this one. If you have any feeling one way or the other, lemma know please. :-)

Ma salaama!!!!

August 4, 2010

Potty training and all that entails

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Aaminah is actively potty training now; masha'allah she is really smart and will even go herself (after just one day!), strip off her little pants and plant herself on the potty seat. :-) I am not above bribing, erm, I mean rewarding her good jobs and feeding her loads of propaganda.

"Oh Aaminah, BIG GIRLS use the potty!" "You are so smart and big when you USE THE POTTY!" "Do you want a sticker or an m&m?"

You get the idea. :-) She's doing pretty well but won't poop in the potty. She did her usual sneak and crouch move today and before I could track her down she was finished. Uck. I don't use shame but I did tell her it's nasty and doesn't it feel gross? I must have been effective because now she will voluntarily tell you that we don't potty in our pants and it's nasty and yucky. :-)

Tonight when it was time for bed, she went potty then I said, "OK time to put your diaper on." Boy was she offended! "No mama, no diaper. I big girl." Hmmm time for some backtracking. So I assured her she was still a big girl but diapers are good for nighttime so she doesn't wet her bed. She accepted it pretty gracefully I thought and off to bed she went, fully protected.

So I think after a couple of weeks we *should* be home free and out of diapers. Woo hoo! Wouldn't that be nice? For her for the environment for A's money... :-) It's all good.

Ma salaam!

August 3, 2010

Getting ready for Ramadan!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. We are in full "Ramadan is almost upon us" mode in my house. The kids are making all their grand plans for the Eid already lol and I've even found a couple of Eid outfits. However, as I have stressed to the kids, Eid is NOT the purpose of Ramadan. In my case, getting 4 kids dressed to the nines takes more than a little advance planning so I have gotten a head start. However I want us as a family to get the most out of Ramadan. Here's what we are going to do:

1. Make our list of goals. I made a list last year in this post; let's look back at it and see how I did (cringing already!)
a. Praying salaat as soon as it's called. Alhamdulillah, I made great progress!
b. Work on Arabic everyday. Negative. :-( I never work on it. OK goal not met.
c. Learn surat-ul-an nas. Negative. I learned no new surahs. :-( Goal not met.
d. Read English meaning of Qur'an in sync with taraweeh prayers. Needed more work.
e. Eat only halal zabiha meat. Woot-woot! Another win for team Jeanna!

Score: 2 out of 5 nailed, 1 with poor progress and 2 absolute losses. Wow I need to really step up my commitment this year. You know I did a revised list herewhich really was smarter considering my personal life last year. :-) Anyway I'll make a new list this year insha'allah soon. OK on with the rest of this post.

I told the kids to make their lists and we'll go over them tomorrow so we can come up with a plan. If they are too far-reaching they will get burnt out and make no progress. If they are too simple same thing so insha'allah we'll help guide them in their goals and how to best achieve them.

2. Make a schedule for attending taraweeh. My husband generally goes every night but it is best for all (not just women) to pray taraweeh at home. Maybe because you get to practice all the qur'an you know? However as most of us aren't hafiz qur'an we enjoy praying at the masjid so we can hear the entire Qur'an. You know, one of my shames is I have never listened to the whole Qur'an during Ramadhan. I usually help babysit half the nights but alhamdulillah now money does not dictate my schedule so insha'Allah I can participate more.

Sorry keep getting sidetracked. Back to the schedule. We will decide which nights we will all go as a family insha'allah. Also if we want to break fast there. Our masjid caters iftar for the whole community so sisters can concentrate on ibadah masha'allah. It's actually very nice and insha'allah I'll avail myself of that help often. Hmm maybe I should take a plate to make for Aaminah the next day so I don't have to cook just for her. :-)

3. I am toying with the idea of no electronics during Ramadhan but... big shame here... I really like being connected. I could say no movies, no tv but then what about me on my laptop? Even if I am not playing games, it still keeps me from ibadaat. Maybe no tv, video games or movies and I only use the laptop for email correspondance, bill paying, an blogs of a helpful nature? Hmmm need to discuss further with husband but I'll let ya'll know.

OK so it's becoming abundantly clear to me I can't finish this post til I talk to A about it. lol So let's just call this part of my tentative plan and then I'll update as things progress insha'allah.

Please if ya'll have some great ideas for family, ways to worship Allah swt together, share them! I am all ears and need the nasiha ya'll! And let's all remember the main goal of Ramadhan is to draw closer to Allah swt and increase our worship of Him.

The sweetest thing EVER

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Aaminah is getting to that age where she just says such cute things. Here is a conversation from the other day (for those who facebook me, it's de ja vu).

Me: Do you want to live in Tennessee?
Aami: No!

Me: Do you want to live in Massachusetts?
Aami: No!

Me: Where do you want to live?
Aami: I live with mama.

Masha'Allah!!!! She melts my heart wallah.

OK some more funny things:

Conversation with Hafsa (my oldest stepdaughter)

Hafsa: Is it haram to do that clicking things with glasses? (She motions with her hands like touching two drinking glass rims.)
Me: Oh you mean making a toast?

Hafsa: Yeah you know, when you say, "To Harry".
Me: What? To Harry? You mean, "to us"?

Hafsa: Yeah, to us.
Me: Where did Harry come from??? LOL

Another conversation with Hafsa, this one is unbelievable!

Hafsa: What was happening in America when the Prophet Muhammad (saws) was alive?
Me: (Thinking, oooh teachable moment initiated by kid!) Well Hafsa, what year would that have been?

Hafsa: Um...about 1920?
Me: ( Unable to speak for a moment.) Hafsa, Rasoolallah lived over 1400 years ago. That would be around 600 A.D.

Hafsa: Oh. (Silent for a minute.) So this was when the gladiators were fighting here?
Me: Hafsa, there were no gladiators here. That was in Rome.

Hafsa: But Rome is in America.
Me: No Rome isn't in America. Where is it?

Hafsa: Oh it's in Asia!

At this point I just kinda gave up. lol There was really no where for me to go with that one!

Okey dokey just a little light-hearted humor for ya'll!