January 29, 2010

I am humbled...

*This is the website where I found the photos of the Atlas Mountains in Tunis.*

As a convert, we always hear (and agree in our hearts) that we have given up so much to become Muslim. Often we lose family and friends, sometimes our livelihood, and are treated like strangers in our own country. Alhamdulillah we are happy and grateful to make that sacrifice but really inside we feel pretty proud of ourselves, looking at what we have given up for Islam.

My husband was just preparing for Jumah prayer and he said, "Alhamdulillah. Sometimes we forget the mercies of Allah." Of coures I asked what he meant specifically by that. He related the following story to me:

"When I was a young man in Tunis a group of like-minded brothers and I went around the countryside, giving dawah. Many times we had to sleep in inhospitable conditions. I remember sleeping in the mountains once in the winter and all we had to cover ourselves were plastic bags. We lay there, shivering all night long. When fajr came I was washing myself with water and by the time I finished the water around me had started to freeze. Just now, as I was taking my hot shower, I remembered that cold morning and and it reminded me how ungrateful we are for the bounties from Allah."


As my husband was telling me this I was thinking to myself, I am sure I would have just made tayyamum (ablution without water) and begged the rahma of Allah. I would not have doused myself with near-freezing water on that frigid morning. I would have never slept on the cold, hard ground and risked my freedom and life to bring the word of Allah to those who had forgotten it.

Of course he related more than that to me; look up human rights in places Tunisia, Syria and Libya and you will find stories of torture and state-sanctioned police brutality. These atrocities occur in so-called "Islamic" countries. This is the price you pay for being a practicing Muslim and daring to remind others of their responsibility to Allah.

May Allah have mercy in this life AND the next on those who suffer in His cause, who put the eternal souls of their brothers and sisters above the comforts of this world. Amin.

January 25, 2010

It's been a wee bit

*Oh this is a photo my sis took when I was sick in the hospital last time in December. Aaminah had such a beautiful look on her face and the noor shone from her eyes. Oh wait, that's not noor, it's the "Wiggles" reflected from the t.v. screen. LOL*

A'salaamu alaikum. Really I am getting annoyed at my inability to post photos. :-) I want to take pictures of Aaminah in the snow, of the historic town square, and my family. Oh and yeah the things I cook.

But here is the funny part: my camera is fine I could snap photos all day long. I just refuse to (for some reason) bec I don't have the ability to upload them for now. Crazy but whatcha gonna do? :-)

So alhamdulillah we are meshing together as a family. Of course things are not perfect but I am happy. My only complaint is lack of time for just A and I. But with 4 kids there is not a perfect solution. There is no honeymoon period where we can just get acclimated to each other and hang the rest of the world. Alhamdulillah. But I have a few tips to pass on to any others out there attempting to consolidate families:

1. Make time for relationship. We are busy busy busy. Alhamdulillah my husband works and also is active in our community so that means he is out of the home quite a bit. I am busy with Aaminah, the other children, housework, errands, cooking, etc. However we have established a rule: every night before we are absolutely exhausted, we shut the door and spend 15 minutes together. Sometimes we might sneak some more time (Aami's in bed and the other kids are engrossed in an activity) but often it's just those 15 minutes which are often interrrupted by "Khaltu" or "Baba". lol

I can't stress how important that time is to me. To just connect as husband and wife, talk about our day, not be interrupted by a cranky toddler or demanding preteen. :-) It's my favorite part of the day.

2. Make Islam the center of your family. Alhamdulillah my iman has grown since A and I married, despite the chaos of our life. Why? Bec our prayers are paramount, we don't put them off, we don't sleep in "just a few more minutes" at Fajr. We keep the haram out of our home and try to stress the positive.

Sisters, its hard sometimes. I won't lie. :-) How easy to just give in and say "Well fast forward through that part of the movie" or allow music other than nasheed because it doesn't really have that bad of stuff in it.

I don't want you to have the wrong opinion of me. Before A and I married I still listened to secular music ()but I did not try to convince myself it was right. I would order beef from restaurants and just say "bismillah". So I have made changes too and I feel so positive and uplifted by them.

3. Make time for each child. I am still struggling on this one. Because I have Aaminah and she is still so young so during the day when the kids are gone to school I make sure to spend time with just her but I have not really perfected it with the other children. I am working on this but I can see it is really important to them to feel that I am close to them. Insha'Allah I will improve in this area.

OK there are more but this is technically Aaminah time. :-) She is happy toddling around, occasionally watching Blue's Clues but mostly interesting in the gel stickies on the girls' window. :-) Ahhh better chase her down before she eats one. They look like gummy worms (although she doesn't know that). lol

Ma salaama....

January 11, 2010

No new photos...why??

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I normally try to post relevant photos. However I left my USB cable for my camera at home. I have a Sony digital camera and they don't use a standard USB; this one has a special end so I can't use just any normal cable. Insha'Allah I'll be going back to Knoxville at the end of the month to finish packing and then I'll get it and be able to post pics.

You know this area is so beautiful masha'Allah. I am of course partial to East Tennessee.. it is really gorgeous there, with rivers, lakes, mountains, etc. But the summer heat is really hard on me and even more so now that I am a muhajabat alhamdulillah. I am really looking forward to the 80 degree summers. That's spring for us back home. lol

Oh I now have 2 recipes I need to post (besides the crock-pot version of chicken shawarma). I wanted to make pumpkin bread the other day but accidentally used too much pumpkin. The result was much more moist and dense so I decided I "invented" pumpkin brownies! They are super yummy; so much so that I think I'll make them wrong on purpose next time. ;-)

Insha'allah I'll post photos and recipe together soon. You know I love to go to other sisters' blogs and find their own photos they have taken of foods made and enjoyed by their family. It encourages me to do the same. :-) As a matter of fact, I am itching to make some bechamel and I found a recipe at the "Mama... I married a Masri" blog. This sister's looks soooo yummy and I know I gotta make it!

Insha'Allah I'll post some photos soon of my beautiful family, masha'Allah.

Ma salaama...

January 5, 2010

Please say "Mabrook/Masha'Allah tabarakallah!"

A'salaamu alaikum! Sorry I started this post a few days ago an didn't realize that the title posted but nothing else. Shukran, Banana Anne for giving me a shout-out anyway. lol

Soooo alhamdulillah so much can happen in two weeks time! I am now happily married and my family has grown by one husband, a fish, 2 cats, and 3 children. Ok NOW say "Mabrook/Masha'allah tabarakallah!" ;-) Thanks.

I moved to Massachusettes to be with my husband. We had intended to take it slowly (well kind of) and he was coming down and we were getting married but we had thought I would stay in Knoxville for a month or two while he readied his apartment, I got packed up, etc.

However once we met and married, spent some time together, we realized we had no desire to be apart. We had both been wanting to be married for years to a good, practicing Muslim/Musimah which we both strive to be. Sisters, please let me tell you, I feel like my husband is a barakah from Allah. Wallah. He is educated in our deen and while very conservative in his family values and in his approach to Islam he is not heavy-handed or rude.

He is not a member of the "haram police" we've all met them before, right? ;-) He has the exact right mix and I could not be happier. I mean unless we actually did get a couple of days sans kids but I don't think that's gonna happen anytime soon. Maybe when they graduate... lol

Of course there have been alot of changes, some compromise, some messiness. Trying to consolidate two households into one apartment, mesh our eating habits and sleep schedules. Just in general acclimating to a new person in your life. But wait, you actually get 3 more! lol In A's case, he got me and a "bonus" as he calls Aaminah masha'allah. ;-)

I am happy, sisters. Really truly happy. I am thankful to Allah swt for leading me to this wonderful brother, I am happy to be a full-time mother and wife, I just love my life. Please make dua for us that Allah swt continue to bless us and that we grow in our practice and knowledge of Islam.

Ma salaama,

Umm Aaminah