Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Bye Bye!

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!

I pray you're all in the best of health & Imaan, Insha'Allah!

I'm off to Germany tomorrow, Yay! I know I promised you all a daily injection of 'How to be a good Muslimah', but I'm going to have to leave that 'til I get back! A quick thank you to everyone for your support, reviews and messages! It really means a lot to me.

See you all soon!

Walaikum Asalaam! M x

Halloween. An Islamic Perspective.

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!

I pray you're all in the best of health & Imaan, Insha'Allah.
 It's almost that time of year again when the little kids come knocking on the door for chocolate or money, & if you don't give it, you better have some cleaning equipment on hand for the presents you'll wake up to in the morning.
It's become a trend for adults to also partake in this pagan celebration by holding parties or going out clubbing etc. dressed as some pretty strange things...
So in light of all of this, I thought I should of course dedicate a blog post to it!

I got this offline & I thought it captured the whole thing perfectly! Enjoy!

This article is from Halloween in Islam: Should Muslims celebrate?.

In the name of God, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Peace be with you السلام عليكم

(Original article by sister Huda on About.com.)

Do Muslims celebrate Halloween? How is Halloween perceived in Islam? To make an informed decision, we need to understand the history and traditions of this festival.
Religious Festivals Muslims have two celebrations each year, 'Eid al-Fitr and 'Eid al-Adha. The celebrations are based in the Islamic faith and religious way of life. There are some who argue that Halloween, at least, is a cultural holiday, with no religious significance. To understand the issues, we need to look at the origins and history of Halloween.
Pagan Origins of Halloween Halloween originated as the Eve of Samhain, a celebration marking the beginning of winter and the first day of the New Year among ancient pagans of the British Isles. On this occasion, it was believed that supernatural forces gathered together, that the barriers between the supernatural and human worlds were broken. They believed that spirits from other worlds (such as the souls of the dead) were able to visit earth during this time and roam about. At this time, they celebrated a joint festival for the sun god and the lord of the dead. The sun was thanked for the harvest and given moral support for the upcoming "battle" with winter. In ancient times, the pagans made sacrifices of animals and crops in order to please the gods.
They also believed that on October 31st, the lord of the dead gathered all the souls of the people who had died that year. The souls upon death would dwell in the body of an animal, then on this day the lord would announce what form they were to take for the next year.
Christian Influence When Christianity came to the British Isles, the church tried to take attention away from these pagan rituals by placing a Christian holiday on the same day. The Christian festival, the Feast of All Saints, acknowledges the saints of the Christian faith in much the same way that Samhain had paid tribute to the pagan gods. The customs of Samhain survived anyway, and eventually became intertwined with the Christian holiday. These traditions were brought to the United States by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland.
Halloween Customs and Traditions "Trick or Treating": It is widely believed that during the Feast of All Saints, peasants went from house to house asking for money to buy food for the upcoming feast. Additionally, people dressed in costumes would often play tricks on their neighbors. Blame for the resulting chaos was placed on the "spirits and goblins."
Images of bats, black cats, etc.: These animals were believed to communicate with the spirits of the dead. Black cats especially were believed to house the souls of witches.
Games such as bobbing for apples: The ancient pagans used divination techniques to foresee the future. There were various methods of doing this, and many have continued through traditional games, often played at children's parties.
 Jack-O'-Lantern: The Irish brought the Jack-O'-Lantern to America. The tradition is based on a legend about a stingy, drunken man named Jack. Jack played a trick on the devil, then made the devil promise not to take his soul. The devil, upset, promised to leave Jack alone. When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven because he was a stingy, mean drunk. Desperate for a resting place, he went to the devil but the devil also turned him away. Stuck on earth on a dark night, Jack was lost. The devil tossed him a lighted coal from the fire of Hell, which Jack placed inside a turnip as a lamp to light his way. Since that day, he has traveled the world over with his Jack-O'-Lantern in search of a resting place. Irish children carved out turnips and potatoes to light the night on Halloween. When the Irish came to America in great numbers in the 1840's, they found that a pumpkin made an even better lantern, and this "American tradition" came to be.
Islamic Teachings Virtually all Halloween traditions are based either in ancient pagan culture, or in Christianity. From an Islamic point of view, they all are forms of idolatry (shirk). As Muslims, our celebrations should be ones that honour and uphold our faith and beliefs. How can we worship only Allah, the Creator, if we participate in activities that are based in pagan rituals, divination, and the spirit world? Many people participate in these celebrations without even understanding the history and the pagan connections, just because their friends are doing it, their parents did it ("it's a tradition!"), and because "it's fun!"
 So what can we do, when our children see others dressed up, eating candy, and going to parties? While it may be tempting to join in, we must be careful to preserve our own traditions and not allow our children to be corrupted by this seemingly "innocent" fun. When tempted, remember the pagan origins of these traditions, and ask Allah to give you strength. Save the celebration, the fun and games, for our 'Eid festivals. Children can still have their fun, and most importantly, should learn that we only acknowledge holidays that have a religious significance to us as Muslims. Holidays are not just excuses to binge and be reckless. In Islam, our holidays retain their religious importance, while allowing proper time for rejoicing, fun and games.

 Guidance From the Quran On this point, the Quran says:

"When it is said unto them, 'Come to what Allah has revealed, come to the Messenger,' they say, 'Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following.' What! Even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?" (Qur'an 5:104)
"Has not the time arrived for the believers, that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them? That they should not become like those to whom was given the Book aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors." (Qur'an 57:16)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Beautiful Story.

One of my bestest sisters ever sent me this today (Qamar!) & I thought I would share it with you all 'cos I loved it!

A master asked his disciples:
‘Why do we shout in anger? Why do people shout at each other when they are upset?’
the disciples thought for a while, and one of them said
‘Because we lose our calm, we shout for that.’
‘But, why to shout when the other person is just next to you? ‘Isn’t it possible to speak to him or her with a soft voice? Why do you shout at a person when you’re angry?’
The disciples gave him some other answers but none satisfied the master.
Finally he explained:
‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other through that great distance.’
Then the master asked:
‘What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly, why? Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is very small…’
And he finally said:
‘When they love each other even more, what happens?
‘They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love.
‘Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.’

No commentary from me needed on this one. Sigh* <3

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Trials & calamities. How do you handle them?

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.

I was recently feeling really down due to some personal reasons, which was greatly heightened today for reasons which are unknown. I had a pretty decent day Alhamdulillah, so I don't really get why I became so emotional. Maybe just a girl thing? Who knows. So I went into my 'researching mode' as I tend to do these days whenever I start to think... About anything. Seriously, you should check out the 'history' on my Google search box, it's endless, & yes, sometimes the things I search would seem hilarious to some people, but it makes complete sense to me! Such as, for a previous blog post *ahem* I searched 'cream to make your beard softer'. Sad, but true. So anyway, back to my point...

During my 'research mode', I was on the search for something that would make me feel better & I guess I needed my daily injection of 'Allah loves you!' Yup, I need that injection evvvery day. Makes me feel special *smug face*. I happened to come across this:

On the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas, who said : One day I was behind the prophet and he said to me: "Young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice] : Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah; if you seek help, seek help of Allah. Know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that Allah had already prescribed for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, they would harm you only with something Allah had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried."
[Al-Tirmidhi relates this and says: It is a good, genuine Hadith]
This hadith really got me thinking. It got me thinking about all the times I've been angry or thought 'if I'd just done this, so & so wouldn't have happened'. It made me realise that it doesn't matter what I try to do to stop something or make something happen, if Allah doesn't want it to happen, it isn't gunna happen! It doesn't matter what precautions I take to not fall down the stairs at Fajr time, whilst I'm dragging my half asleep self to the bathroom. If I'm meant to fall down the stairs, it's gunna happen. So this made me feel better. Not the idea of breaking my arm (or worse, Asthagfirullah!) falling down the stairs, but of the fact that, no matter what I've done in life, it was meant to happen. Then it got me thinking that, there's a lot of stuff which I've gotten upset & angry over & questioned Allah as to why He let me do it, or why He let it happen to me, but if He hadn't let me make my mistakes or put me through tests, seriously speaking, I wouldn't be who I am today. Through the mistakes I've made or the tests I've been through, I've come out of it, meeting some of the most truly amazing people who in all honesty, I wouldn't have met if I hadn't experienced everything that's happened in my past.

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

“Were it not that Allah treats His slaves with the remedy of trials and calamities, they would transgress and overstep the mark. When Allah wills good for His slaves, He gives him the medicine of calamities and trials according to his situation, so as to cure him from all fatal illnesses and diseases, until He purifies and cleanses him, and then makes him qualified for the most honourable position in this world, which is that of being a true slave of Allah (‘ubudiyyah), and for the greatest reward in the Hereafter, which is that of seeing Him and being close to Him." [Zaad al-Ma’ad, 4/195].

Subhan'Allah. As you can see from the above, the trials & calamities we face in life, are all given to us by Allah (swt), as a cure, so that we may qualify as being a 'true slave' & 'seeing Him & being close to Him'. How much more can we ask for? As it says above, without the trials & calamities we wouldn’t remember Allah & we would think everything is breezy & step way off line, resulting in complete failure. Also quickly, while this is fresh in my mind, have you sometimes ever wondered why something bad ALWAYS seems to happen to you, even though you pray 5 times a day, you give charity, & you try to be the best Muslim(ah) you can be? & then you look over at other people’s lives & all seems to be going smoothly? & you just can’t work out where you’re going wrong? & slowly you start to lose a little faith, bit by bit. You just gotta remember, if you’re truly being the best Muslim(ah) you can be, then these hardships you’re going through, are just a test from Allah, to see if you still turn to Him even when you feel like you’re getting nowhere & things are getting worse. For example: Yaqub A.S is said to have cried for eighty years when Yusuf A.S (his son) was gone, he never gave up; all he said when his other sons were gone too is “May Allah bring all of them back to me”. He actually went blind from crying. Subhan’Allah.
Musa A.S prayed against Pharaoh, for 40 years before his prayers were answered!

These are just two of the examples of the strong faith the Prophets had & the trust and love they had for Allah swt. They never gave up even when their prayers were not answered for so long!
So many of those loved dearly by Allah swt, were afflicted with trials & calamities & it did not decrease their submission, nor did it decrease their love for Allah. If anything, it increased it. 

So, todays 'research mode' really paid off. It made me realise that yeah, sure we can be upset that some things aren't going the way we want it to ('cos lets face it, all of us get upset when that happens), however we shouldn't dwell on it, & we should try to get over it as quickly as possible by reminding ourselves that Allah swt is doing it, only 'cos He loves us, & wants to do what is best for us. If we persevere through the hard times & still worship Him & love Him more & more each day through our trials, then Insha'Allah, He will be happy with us. =)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Quote of the day!

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!
My made up quote of the day is:

If you believe & rely in Allah alone, then hakuna matata. <3

Today's quote of the day was inspired by a fellow facebooker. Having watched the Lion King many years ago, I can hardly remember most of it. I remember the general jist of the film, & one song in particular... Hakuna Matata. I remember the song because even before I'd watched it, I remember singing it 'cos all the kids in school were. So as I was saying, it was inspired by a fellow facebooker after I saw in her quotations the words 'Hakuna matata'. It inspired me to actually go & have a look at the origin of the word & what it actually meant. All this time I just thought it was a made up word, but in fact, nope, it's real! It's Swahili for 'There are no worries'. So translated, my quote of the day is: If you believe & rely in Allah alone, then there are no worries!

My dad once said to me, 'however much trust and reliance you put in Allah, that's how much the Almighty will give back to you. If you have no trust in what Allah can do for you, then you'll get nothing. But if you put all your trust in Him then He'll sort out everything (which is beneficial) for you'. Wise words.

"And put your trust in Allah, and Allah is Sufficient as a Disposer of Affairs." (39:62)

Need I say more? =)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Happy Days!

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Baraktuh!

I finally have my first follower. Woohoo! I know some of you are probably thinking 'what a complete saddo', but this is really exciting for me. Also, thanks to all of you who have been reading my blog and been pressing the little 'Yay!' at the bottom. Much appreciated! Makes me think I must be doing something right!

That's all for now as I have a time limit today. Little brothers been on at me to get a chance on the computer.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Time for a product review!

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!
This ones for the ladies out there. Most of my product reviews I'll be doing will be aimed at the ladies, since it's quite difficult for me to review men's products. I wouldn't know where to start, for e.g. how do I know this cream is making my beard softer or Does this topi make me look fat? etc.
So what I'm reviewing today is a site called Aab UK. You can access it here.
I've used this site twice now. The first time I have to admit I was extremely disappointed, but that was my fault for not understanding the description properly! I didn't understand umbrella cut actually meant 'tent'. The second time I bought something, I loved it! Masha'Allah what a stunning jilbab.

Pretty huh?
It was very pricey though, which is the norm on Aab. However, if it's for a special occasion such as Eid, or you need a nice jilbab for dawaats etc. then it is definitely worth it. I bought this particular one for Eid, however after Eid I shortened it (so it didn't drag across the floor) & it's perfect to wear on a nice summery day.
One criticism I have however is that it may not be exactly how you see it in the picture & also the material may not be exactly what you want. For example, the sleeves on this seem as though it's gathered at the bottom (one of the reasons why I fell in love with it), but when you get it, it's not that case at all. It's just your standard sleeve. However, the rest of it was so pretty that this didn't really bother me. In regards to the material, a lot of the jilbabs are soft linen which means if you keep it all nice & don't wear it tooo often then it won't bobble, otherwise it probably will!
The jilbab was sent out pretty fast too. I was a little worried that it wouldn't arrive quickly, however, I got it within 2 days of ordering it, Alhamdulillah. I have a bad tendency to leave everything until the very last minute & then start panicking, but it came just in time for Eid. Yay.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Quote of the day!

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Was Barakatuh!

First of all would just like to start off with... What a sick day, best day evvver!! (Alhamdulillah.)

Ok now that, that's over, I'd like to share something I came across today in my favouritest Islamic magazine: Al-Mumin. (You can get info on how to subscribe to it here).

Someone was told: "So-and-so has gossiped about you" - so he sent him a dish of dates, with the message: "I heard that you had given me your Hasanat (rewards) as a gift, and I want to return the favour; please excuse me for not being able to pay back in full."

Anyway the main point here is of course, if you backbite on the Day of Judgement whoever you have backbited about has the power to take as much of your good deeds as he or she wishes & you will be left with nada, nothing, zilch, diddly squat.

So let's try and keep our tongues from wagging eh? (Insha'Allah). If you are hurt by a friend or family member etc. either go tell them, or tell Allah allll about it. Just don't tell someone else who may happen to know the person, therefore making them think badly of the other person. & we have all (well maybe not all but majority) backbited at one point so let's ask for forgiveness & try not to do it again, Insha'Allah.  =)

If the answer's 'yes' you're just dodgy mate. Seriously go get yourself checked out. Your parents should be ashamed... What a disgrace.

You gotta pray, pray, pray!

Assalamu Alaikum ladies (& gents, although I got a feeling more girls will be reading this), I hope you're all in the best of health and Imaan, Insha'Allah! =)

I came across this today on my random researching moments:

Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) said: The difference between us and non-Muslims is that of salaah so whoever abandons salaah certainly commits kufr.
(Tirmidhi, kitab ul Iman, Declared Sahih by Imam Tirmidhi, Imam Nasai and Allama Iraqi, Minhaaj ul Muslimeen pg.80).

    I have to admit I've had my lazy days & continue to have them, where I literally have to force myself up to go & pray. Usually due to the stupid excuse in my head which is always 'it's so cold & wudhu makes me coldeeer' (bet you all thinking 'wimp' & yes that would be a correct analysis), but Alhamdulillah I've so far managed to stamp over those thoughts & get up. So I started to look for some inspiration 'cos as they say 'once you get out of the habit of praying your 5 daily prayers, it's hard to get back on track.' & that is not what we want. But I found the above quote inspiration enough! Plus I was thinking about all the things Allah has blessed me with, & what kind of person would I be if I couldn't be cold for 10 seconds for his sake (Ok, so wudhu doesn't take 10secs for anyone but Superman, but you get what I'm saying. Hah just had a thought. If Superman was Muslim how sick would that be!! Oh & also if he existed...) So my point is, we all gotta pray, pray and pray some more for the sake of Allah (S.W.T), 'cos without Him we'd be nowhere.
Plus I don't think the answer 'Allah I was scared of being cold & I was having a PROPER lazy day so I decided not to pray', is gunna cut it as a good enough answer on the Day of Judgement!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Apparently if I wear my hijab I'll be left boneless & diabetic!...? Wait... Whaaat?

Oh no! Apparently if I wear the hijab it might cause my body to slowly shut down due to a... vitamin d deficiency...? Overreaction much? I think so. Ok, so I applaud the people (sarcastically) who are trying their hardest to make it seem like modesty is a bad thing & all we're doing is increasing our chances of getting bone deficiencies. But could you expect any more from these people?
    To those who are wondering what the heck I'm talking about, have a look at this article here.

OH OH! Bradford is mentioned in this too! A proud day indeed for all of us. Not.

  I have a serious problem with this article and the researchers who conducted this! So apparently if I wear my hijab outside, I'm going to increase the risk of having bone deficiencies, diabetes, heart disease etc. Uh, what? I'm sorry, I didn't realise that the millions of women not only wearing the hijab, but the niqab aswell are all fracturing their bones & getting diabetes as we speak? ’sis, I just got diabetes’, ‘shut up! Me too!’ ‘I heard it’s ‘cos we wear the hijab’, ‘for real? Better take it off then sis before we get Crohn’s disease ’. When did this happen & why were we not informed by the hijab wearing ladies from previous generations about the monstrous effects hijab can have? How very irresponsible of them! *rolls eyes*.  My aunts wear the niqab and so many of my family friends do too, but guess what? They're all amazingly, OK! (Alhamdulillah). You wanna know what causes the diabetes in our cultures? Lots & lots of sugar! Take jalebi for example it’s literally boiled sugar. Better give up the Jalebi before you give up the hijab sisters!
   So I'm not saying that the researchers are completely wrong here either, 'cos yeah the more sun your skin is exposed to the more vitamin D you're likely to have in your body. However, I'm sick to death of people trying to find new ways of slating modesty. There’s other ways you can get your daily injection of Vitamin D. How you ask? Through vitamins and the food you eat. (Do a quick Google’ing to find out which foods contain the most Vitamin D ladies!).
   Are these same people who said this:
"People may be at risk if they are South Asian, African or African-Caribbean and have low exposure to sunlight, for example if they observe Hijab or do not spend much time outside."

expecting us to take off our hijabs and go traipsing around with our flesh out to up our vitamin d? Uhhhhh, nuh. What about the women who wear hats when the suns out? Surely they aren't getting too much vitamin d either. Oh & FYI, it's not only Muslims who like to dress modestly. So do Jewish women or women with a bit of common sense ('cos seriously why would you wanna be treated like a piece of meat with all your flesh hanging out for the boys to wag their tongues at, if you had common sense?). So why is it Muslim women are targeted only in this research. It's just laughable.

   Oh & please (I'm begging you!) for anyone out there who's thinking of using this as a new excuse to not wear the hijab, don't even think about it! If you use this as an excuse, are you trying to say what Allah has ordained for us to do as His command is deficit in some way? 'Cos sister you're better off having a slight deficit of vitamin D than having a deficit of Imaan =)

    P.s. If you're seriously worried, then pop over to your local Holland & Barrets and pick yourself up some Vitamin D tablets. Woohoo. Problem solved ladies! May Allah keep us all strong and healthy! Ameen.

The beauty of a woman in Islam

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!

This is something I posted on my Facebook a few days ago after reading it online. You can find the original letter on the 'Crescent and the Cross'! So the letter was from an American woman to all the Muslim women across the world. The thing is, the things she's written in the letter is obvious if you're a proud Muslimah already, but for some reason when an outsider comments on the beauty of Islam we tend to realise even more how lucky we actually are... Even though we already knew... It's strange, but that's what happens! If anyone knows why this is the case, enlighten me please =)

  Ok back to the point! So I came across this letter & it really touched me because so many of us are completely unaware as to how lucky we are to be Muslimah's! However, this lady, without being a Muslim has seen the true beauty of a woman of faith. She talks about how Muslim women are always seen looking after their children etc. Which is a lesson for those women out there who are scared that if they're stay at home mums they'll be looked down upon by society. Please don't feel this way, because looking after your child is very rewarding! & Yay we get sawaab for it too! However, I also believe women are allowed to work, but that's a discussion for another topic (coming sooon!). There's only one thing I have to say before I post the article here & that is to the brothers out there. Now some of you may not like what I have to say, but tough. A lot of you men (now note that I'm not saying ALL, so refrain from jumping down my throat please) have a tendency to use the excuse of 'if you stay at home dear and cook and clean for me and look after the kids think about how much sawaab you'll get!'. It's true, us ladies WILL get sawaab for this (& it's rewarding to know that when your children grow up with deen that you had a big part to play in all of it!), but some of these same men are gallivanting around doing whatever they please with their friends while they keep their wives under lock and key at home to do all the work. Is that fair? Simply put, no. You should take your wives out too! How depressing a life is it for someone who has to stay at home all day & all night? Very. Anyway I'm gunna post this on a different topic, along with the subject of women working, 'cos honestly I'm just gunna go completely off subject otherwise.

Jazak'Allah for being patient & reading all of that. Now here's the letter. Enjoy! =)

A letter from a Christian to Muslim women 

By Joanna Francis Writer, Journalist – USA 

A letter from a Christian to Muslim women

March 7th, 2007

The Israeli assault on Lebanon and the Zionist “war on terror,” the Muslim world is now center stage in every American home. I see the carnage, death and destruction that have befallen Lebanon, but I also see something else: I see you. I can’t help but notice that almost every woman I see is carrying a baby or has children around her. I see that though they are dressed modestly, their beauty still shines through. But it’s not just outer beauty that I notice. I also notice that I feel something strange inside me: I feel envy. I feel terrible for the horrible experiences and war crimes that the Lebanese people have suffered, being targeted by our common enemy. But I can’t help but admire your strength, your beauty, your modesty, and most of all, your happiness. Yes, it’s strange, but it occurred to me that even under constant bombardment, you still seemed happier than we are, because you were still living the natural lives of women. The way women have always lived since the beginning of time. It used to be that way in the West until the 1960s, when we were bombarded by the same enemy. Only we were not bombarded with actual munitions, but with subtle trickery and moral corruption.

Through Temptation.

They bombarded us Americans from Hollywood, instead of from fighter jets or with our own American-made tanks. They would like to bomb you in this way too, after they’ve finished bombing the infrastructure of your countries. I do not want this to happen to you. You will feel degraded, just like we do. You can avoid this kind of bombing if you will kindly listen to those of us who have already suffered serious casualties from their evil influence. Because everything you see coming out of Hollywood is a pack of lies, a distortion of reality, smoke and mirrors. They present casual sex as harmless recreation because they aim to destroy the moral fabric of the societies into which they beam their poisonous programming. I beg you not to drink their poison. There is no antidote for it once you have consumed it. You may recover partially, but you will never be the same. Better to avoid the poison altogether than to try to heal from the damage it causes. They will try to tempt you with their titillating movies and music videos, falsely portraying us American women as happy and satisfied, proud of dressing like prostitutes, and content without families. Most of us are not happy, trust me. Millions of us are on anti-depressant medication, hate our jobs, and cry at night over the men who told us they loved us, then greedily used us and walked away. They would like to destroy your families and convince you to have fewer children. They do this by presenting marriage as a form of slavery, motherhood as a curse, and being modest and pure as old-fashioned. They want you to cheapen yourself and lose your faith. They are like the Serpent tempting Eve with the apple. Don’t bite.

Self-Value. I see you as precious gems, pure gold, or the “pearl of great value” spoken of in the Bible (Matthew 13: 45). All women are pearls of great value, but some of us have been deceived into doubting the value of our purity. Jesus said: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7: 6). Our pearls are priceless, but they convince us that they’re cheap. But trust me; there is no substitute for being able to look in the mirror and seeing purity, innocence and self-respect staring back at you. The fashions coming out of the Western sewer are designed to make you believe that your most valuable asset is your sexuality. But your beautiful dresses and veils are actually sexier than any Western fashion, because they cloak you in mystery and show self-respect and confidence. A woman’s sexuality should be guarded from unworthy eyes, since it should be your gift to the man who loves and respects you enough to marry you. And since your men are still manly warriors, they deserve no less than your best. Our men don’t even want purity anymore. They don’t recognize the pearl of great value, opting for the flashy rhinestone instead. Only to leave her too! Your most valuable assets are your inner beauty, your innocence, and everything that makes you who you are. But I notice that some Muslim women push the limit and try to be as Western as possible, even while wearing a veil (with some of their hair showing). Why imitate women who already regret, or will soon regret, their lost virtue? There is no compensation for that loss. You are flawless diamonds. Don’t let them trick you into becoming rhinestones. Because everything you see in the fashion magazines and on Western television is a lie. It is Satan’s trap. It is fool’s gold.

A Woman’s Heart.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, just in case you’re curious: pre-marital sex is not even that great. We gave our bodies to the men we were in love with, believing that that was the way to make them love us and want to marry us, just as we had seen on television growing up. But without the security of marriage and the sure knowledge that he will always stay with us, it’s not even enjoyable! That’s the irony. It was just a waste. It leaves you in tears. Speaking as one woman to another, I believe that you understand that already. Because only a woman can truly understand what’s in another woman’s heart. We really are all alike. Our race, religion or nationalities do not matter. A woman’s heart is the same everywhere. We love. That’s what we do best. We nurture our families and give comfort and strength to the men we love. But we American women have been fooled into believing that we are happiest having careers, our own homes in which to live alone, and freedom to give our love away to whomever we choose. That is not freedom. And that is not love. Only in the safe haven of marriage can a woman’s body and heart be safe to love. Don’t settle for anything less. It’s not worth it. You won’t even like it and you’ll like yourself even less afterwards. Then he’ll leave you.

Self-Denial. Sin never pays. It always cheats you. Even though I have reclaimed my honor, there’s still no substitute for having never been dishonored in the first place. We Western women have been brainwashed into thinking that you Muslim women are oppressed. But truly, we are the ones who are oppressed; slaves to fashions that degrade us, obsessed with our weight, begging for love from men who do not want to grow up. Deep down inside, we know that we have been cheated. We secretly admire and envy you, although some of us will not admit it. Please do not look down on us or think that we like things the way they are. It’s not our fault. Most of us did not have fathers to protect us when we were young because our families have been destroyed. You know who is behind this plot. Don’t be fooled, my sisters. Don’t let them get you too. Stay innocent and pure. We Christian women need to see what life is really supposed to be like for women. We need you to set the example for us, because we are lost. Hold onto your purity. Remember: you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. So guard your “toothpaste”carefully!

I hope you receive this advice in the spirit in which it is intended: the spirit of friendship, respect, and admiration. From your Christian sister with love.

This article is republished with the kind permission of the author. The original can
be found on Crescent and the Cross. Joanna Francis is a writer and journalist. She manages her own blog.

The tale of the very uncomfortable situation in the ladies' room.

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!

So I could go two ways with this story, either get straight to the point about my 'wonderful' visit to the ladies room, OR tell you about the events that led up to it. I think I shall opt for the second as I love to long everything out!

    It started around 6.15pm, most of the family were gathered around the TV watching Come Dine With Me, one of the best shows I've ever seen, when mum brings up the topic of dinner. Long story short, we decided to go out. So we all run upstairs to pray Maghrib and get dressed, & I start to have some serious problems with my hijab. It just would NOT sit on my head, it kept slipping this way and that way. You would think it would be because of the material, but nah, this was your regular pashmina, known for its sturdiness. So i start to tighten it more under my chin because it seemed the looser it was the more it would slip. It got to a point where it was so tight the sides of my cheeks were popping out giving me the 'chipmunk' look. Hot. Mum, meanwhile was shouting at us to get downstairs, so I loosened it slightly and did my signature folding at the top of my scarf (rather messily) and dashed out.

   We arrived at a restaurant called Red Chilli, it looked amazing from the outside. We walked in (blindly as you'll come to realise in a minute) and sat down at the table. After opening up the menu we realised it was just standard desi food and not Thai as was advertised outside. We did a quick sweep of the restaurant with our eyes, (obviously) & realised that alcohol was being served... At the front door where we'd just walked in! Big no. So we call over the waiter, at this point all of us with our heads down ('cos let’s face it, it's always embarrassing to get up & walk out 2 minutes after you've been seated, you know everyone is gunna be staring at you). Mum gave one of her motherly smiles to the young waiter and explained that we could no longer stay & apologised. We all jumped up like bullets were about to be fired from under our seats and almost ran for the door with about as much dignity & grace as a herd of cows, although in retrospect the way we exited probably drew even more attention than if we'd walked out properly. Once we got into the car, mum tried to blend it in the way she always does, pretending as though she wasn't embarrassed and we were all overreacting to the situation. From what I can remember though, I'm pretty sure she ran the fastest.

   So then we travelled back down the main road & decided to go to Cafe Akbar’s, which tbh we should have thought about going to in the first place, 'cos that's the only place we ever go. We always end up at other restaurants first, & then turn the car around and end up at Cafe Akbar’s. Everytime. Without fail. I'm not kidding.

    Us kids & gran walked in first while mum parked up & what I believed to be the manager came up to us. He asked us to follow him, so I quietly told my brothers & gran to follow him, but they didn't clock on & were just sat there like wax dummies. Beautiful, beautiful wax dummies I may add, with their mouths hanging open with an expression of what can only be described as confusion mixed with 'you're a freak api, stop talking to us'. The manager turned around & gave me a look as if to say 'are you coming or do you want me to carry you there? ‘(Which I have no idea how he would do, unless he had a forklift in the back of the restaurant no-one was aware of). So I turned to my family again and said 'come on guys!', at this point I'm hovering in a weird position. Left leg drawn towards the manager, right leg being pulled like an invisible magnet to my family & I was caught doing an awkward hop dance from left to right 'cos I wasn't sure what to do. Follow the manager and leave my family stranded 'cos they all of a sudden lost hearing, or wait with my family & have the manager carry me & my family to the table? Finally they clocked on & we were seated. Not an awkward situation at all.

   Ok so now the whole point of this wonderful story! We finished dinner about an hour and a half after arriving & I could feel my scarf slipping from my head & from the stares I was getting from people I could only imagine that I looked like a clown with a lopsided face due to the positioning of my hijab. I quickly excused myself & headed for the ladies. Once I was in I was completely relieved to find that it was empty, 'cos the ladies isn't a very big space & you feel like you're treading on peoples toes if there's more than 2 people in there at a time. Hijab pins in mouth, I take off my hijab & begin to reposition it when all of a sudden 2 girls walk in. Noo. I feel uncomfortable when I'm fixing my scarf & there's someone else there, 'cos I get paranoid & think they might be staring at me. Thankfully one of the girls went into the toilets so there was just enough space for us two ladies to fix our scarves, & one less person to get paranoid over. But nope, she wasn't fixing her scarf; rather she was taking pictures of herself in the mirror. Gah, my worst nightmare! Whilst all this was going on, her & her ultra-hip lady friend *please note the sarcasm*, who was sat on the toilet, were gossiping about a girl at their table. I tried my best to keep my lips sealed as I found out that the girl taking pictures of herself was in fact the host of the party.. I felt so uncomfortable about what was being said that I tried to rush putting on my hijab. This tactic failed & it took longer because I messed it up rushing. I was battling with my thoughts as to whether or not I should shut the two girls up & teach them to not say such horrific things about a person, or just keep my mouth shut but I didn't feel like arguing with the two girls. Her lady friend then emerged & decided to join her friend in taking a picture. Woo, what class. The whole time I was thinking (whilst also rushing to fix the slipping hijab), 'please don't get me in shot. I know people in Bradford & I know this will be placed on your Facebook as a profile picture. My dignity is on the line. PLEASE DO NOT GET ME IN SHOT SISTER!! I think she got me in shot.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The first day of a lot of days to come!

Ok, so could I have chosen a more worse title for my first post? Simply put... Yes. Ok so the title is cheesy, but it pretty much sums up all that's to come. Days and days of my life, all posted on here for your reading pleasure! 'Cos let's face it, who reads books nowadays? It's all about getting up close to people online, who lets get real you're never gunna meet, but there's a certain element of fun behind getting to know them. That or you're all just plain nosey!

So I guess I should start off with a little bit about me. I'm 21, looking for a job which is so hard to come by these days. But Insha'Allah soon! As the about me section says, I'm more than happy to shine your shoes for pennies. Although to be honest, I'd prefer something more like teaching. Doesn't really compare does it? Shining shoes or teaching kids how to read. Actually... I do love shoes. Ok, I'm guna have to think about this & I'll get back to all of you. 21 in Asian years also means marriage time! But I'm leaving that in the hands of Allah, when the right one comes along, he comes along & Insha'Allah he'll be perfect! (For me).
    I spent most of my life growing up in dreary Bradford (the Bradford in the UK, not the various ones in America). Life in Bradford proved to be extremely dull whilst I was growing up. I disliked my school life & I disliked the people even more, because I couldn't find a common ground with them, like I could when I used to live in London... & the teachers at school here? I won't even get started. For the majority of people living here, they loved it when they were young & will still now defend to the death the 'amazingness' of this boring city. Put it this way, here, we're all subjected to community gossip, slander of all sorts and chav heaven (woohoo!). We have a park which looks more like something you would find back home in Pakistan or Bangladesh (or India, don't wanna leave you guys out!). Most of you desi people who have a deficit in the number of Asians surrounding you are probably thinking 'hey, that's not so bad! You can share gulab jaman recipes and talk about your daughters newest proposal that's come from a doctaar'. But seriously, no. After a while of sharing your bus journeys with a group of unruly chavs from various ethnic backgrounds, Asian wannabe gangsters and aunties who just stare you down even though you're fully covered, you begin to lose hope in the city.

  However! It does have its upsides (I'm not as bitter as you may have come to believe so far!) Although theres daughter and son bashing going on day & night through some communities to an extent you won't believe! ('My son is marrying a lovely housewife from Dhaka, he's such a good boy always listening to his mother', 'Oh, well my son is marrying a woman who is not only from Dhaka but she is willing to have 18 children with him. Hah, beat that. You can't', 'Well my sons wife is sooo good that not only is she going to give birth to 20 children, they will ALL be male'. How these women do it I don't know, must be some pyschic presence in Bradford that I wasn't aware of... But surely that can't be halal??). However, back to my point, there are also some of the loveliest people you could hope to meet. I sometimes wish I'd met these people during my early school years so I wouldn't grow up with so much hate for my own kind! However, in my ripe old age of 21 I've found of the most amazing sisters whom I cannot imagine my life without. They've been there through my ups and downs and my various moodswings (which you'll come to know the more you read on. Whether you'll appreciate it, that I don't know!). Bradford is also one of the most beautifullest (yes, I know it's not a word!) places I've had the liberty of seeing. Although Bradford is mostly an industrial city it also has some beautiful countryside, and hills where you can go & relax and watch the breathtaking sunsets in the summer. We have random sheep & horses to gaze at (from a distance! Suprisingly I can deal with dogs, but sheep, cows & horses freak me out, I feel like they'll charge at me for no reason whatsoever! 'Boys, theres a hijabi, get her! Ram her in the stomach with ya... udders'???). The countryside in Bradford can be one of the most peaceful places to be when you just need some time out.
   I also can't forget our National Photography Museum. Or so it was called the last time I checked... Five years ago. I heard a rumour that it's now the Media Museum or something terrible like that. Anyway, Bradford's KNOWN for that museum. Can't blame them. It's amazing! We have an Imax and everything! Oh and some historical media related stuff too. But the IMAX, wow.

   I guess what I'm trying to say is, thanks to my wonderful sisters & the beautiful breathtaking scenery & the museum, and the racist animals, as much as I hate it here, I love it just as equally. <3