December 12, 2011

Nationalism and Islam

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So this question started floating around in my head a bit today. What does it mean to be American? How do we define that? Does it mean our blood flows red, white and blue? Does it mean we strive to uphold the ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"?

I don't think it means any of that. To be American means, simply, that you were born in this country. There are millions of Americans incarcerated; untold numbers who are pedophiles, child abusers, drunkards, and wife-beaters. There are red-blooded Americans who still believe in apartheid on the most basic level and would see the majority of our population ruled by the very distinct minority. (Oh wait, it already is, my bad. LOL).

Please, before my detractors get all riled up, I believe there are many more good, kindhearted, open-minded people in America than there are from the above groups. I am just making a point. :-)

So if by definition, being American simpy means you were born into this society/culture or accepted as a citizen (after testing and payments and hardships, btw) what is there to be so proud about?

Mahatma Ghandi (among others) said, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats it's weakest members". If we look at the track record of almost any nation that was ever in existence and judge them by this standard, it would be disheartening to say the least. None should be "proud" to be called from any nation.

This is why in Islam we are taught to turn from nationality and turn to Allah. To turn to the teachings of our prophets and messengers, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all! We are encouraged to love and want for our brother or sister what we want for ourselves. To love what Allah loves and hate what He hates.

Even in the last sermon of our beautiful Prohet Muhammad (saws) he said:

"All mankind is from Adam and Huwa, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.

How beautiful, how clear are these words, these commands. We are to feel NO superiority over another unless it is in our good deeds and piety. Which, btw, a Mu'min never feels he is pious enough nor good enough in his deeds. As Cap'n recently related to me:

"He (Imam Malik) was the man about whom Ash-Shafi’ee said, 'When scholars are mentioned, Malik is like the star among them.' Malik said that he did not sit to give Fatwa, before 70 of the Madina scholars first witnessed to his competence in doing so."

Subhanallah, Imam Malik, who had more knowledge than you or I can comprehend, refused to consider himself knowledgeable, a scholar, a shaykh, until 70 of his peers felt him to be so. Just a little dose of reality for you all, my friends. :-)

It is narrated by Abu Da’wud that the Messenger of Allah (saaw) said:

“He is not one us who calls for ..Asabiyyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for ..Asabiyyah or who dies for ..Asabiyyah.”

This does not mean we cannot be proud of the good actions of our country. If you live in a place where Muslims are accepted and allowed to practice freely, be proud of that. If you happen to be of a certain ancestry and you like to learn about your history or past customs, there is no problem. What this hadith means is that we do not place our nationalism ahead of our religion. (Even the sahaba had names which indicated their country of ancestry such as Salman Al-Farsi for example.)

"My prayers and sacrifice, my life and death are all for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds" (Qur'an 6:162). There is no clearer injunction that our lives, in totality, are to be lived for the glory of Allah swt.

So we can see as Muslims we are to turn away from nationalism, to be proud only of the good deeds we do FI SABILILLAH. I wish more people in this world, non-Muslims and Muslim alike, would strive to be good people, not good nationalists.

Ma salaama ya'll.

December 6, 2011

Introducing the newest member...

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Sorry I just can't get into the hang of updating again. Before, I had a very ordered life and writing was a very important outlet for me. Now I feel like I stay busier but in happier ways (not as frantic as before) and my desire to write has dropped off by the wayside.

By the way, if any of ya'll are staticians, you would see this correlates nicely with my "love" life by which I mean married life. :-) When I am single I am so busy taking care of EVERYTHING I don't have the luxury of sitting around, thinking about the world's problems. :-) Once that area of my life gets settled, I always have much more free time.

And what is your status, UofA? Well now isn't that the million dollar question. I hate hate hate hate hate (ok not really so strongly) when people suggest and hint at things but never spill the beans so to speak. So I shall endeavor to keep my openness and transparency alive and well.

I can't say. :-))

Oh that's funny. OK yes alhamdulillah I am engaged. I am not asking for advice or support in this issue, dear readers. It's done and dusted as the English say and I'm all set (my nod to Massachusetts speak).  I have made my selection carefully and will, in due course, update you all. I thank my reader who very sincerely have her advice that I concentrate on my daughter and my life, finding a way to support ourselves sans husband.

I've done that, for most of my life actually. I've never been married long enough to feel stable alhamdulillah. I no longer feel like I have to prove anything, to myself or the rest of the world. As a Muslim woman, I am entitled to have a husband or other mahrem who will take care of myself and Aaminah. But sisters, I do not mean simply financially. I mean emotional support. That kind that comes from the male of our species. :-) Someone to hold my hand and kiss my forehead, someone to take bugs out of the house *s* and to snuggle up with when watching a movie.

More importantly, someone to grow in my deen with, to encourage and be encouraged, to love and honor and respect, to have someone to take care of again. Oh how I miss that! Yes I take care of little Aaminah and others but it's just... different with your husband. It fulfills a part of me and makes me indescribably happy. Making that post-fajr tea or preparing a favorite dish; what can I say, I am a nurturer to the nth degree and I am happy being this way. :-)

However in the past I have nurtured others and ignored myself. I will definitely be looking for more balance this time, someone who can baby and be babied and yes, sisters, I need that too. To be treated sweetly, like a glass vessel masha'Allah. How perfect is all of Allah's creation and how beautifully he has made us for one another. I still trust and believe in this sisters, despite it all, because of it all. :-)

I love my sisters in Islam, I love my community, I love my family, my children. I am blessed beyond compare but I, like so many others, want what I do not have. For me, my holy grail is a good marriage, stable, with a loving, kind, funny, affectionate, practicing brother. I have amended my definition a bit as I have gotten older of what makes a great husband. I use to want the whole package; how tiring, looking for something that doesn't exist. :-) I cannot be everything, I can just be me. I can't expect more than that of my brothers, now can I?

So what am I doing different this time? Personal references baby from someone who reallly knows the person. It's very nice for the imam to give a good reference as I got for A but that doesn't really tell you what the person is like outside of the masjid, in a home setting, when we are bad-tempered or sick. So my very best friend Um Bilal is married and her husband is a wondeful person masha'Allah. His best friend of 13+ years was introduced to me and I am pleased to say that the brother has been everything I was told he was.

Now, here is where the full-disclosure ends. Abu B's friend is a very private sort of person. I have of course already directed him to my blog to find out how I feel about everything from refrigerated hashbrowns to matters of our ummah. So he is aware I have this space and I write in it. After marriage, my content might change depending on what he is comfortable with. Of course I am hoping certain things will still be ok with him but as I've never been particularly private I definitely want to make him comfortable.

I do however, have a photo of him I snapped today that I would love to share. Enjoy!

Yes it's not really him, my new man isn't made from legos. :-) But he is a pirate (we'll call him Cap'n) and he is from the Caribbean and other than that, I must keep mum. Insha'allah post wedded-bliss, we will see what transpires. I hope to keep you all updated on my life and times, my sads and happies and always always always my striving to be a better muslimah, wife, mother, friend and human being. :-)