Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Friday, December 28, 2007

You know what....

Sometimes the people who represent our religion make me sick. Scratch that, a lot of times they do. I'm here at work, bored to tears, and I decide to just read through some of the answers on Islam Q&A. I figure that there is no better way to spend your time than to educate yourself on Islam. As I'm reading though, I find myself getting sicker and angrier with almost every answer they give. Previously I had been quite a fan of the site, using them often to back myself up in debates, but as I probed deeper into what the site had to say about women I got downright pissed off.


And why, on earth, do these sites try to prove that true Islam means women stay home, don't make a sound, virginity is everything, and anything else kufaar? OH MY WORD if I were a cartoon steam would be coming out of my ears. If I ever needed proof that this site (and others like it) is run and answered by Middle-Eastern men who assume their back home culture is Islamic because it happens to be a Muslim country then this would be it.

Consider this: a new convert to Islam asks about praying at work and praying where her coworkers can see her. And their answer to her is "But if she is in a place where non mahrams could see her, she must cover all of her body including the face and hands." And in another answer to the same type of question this is what they replied, "It is clear from your question that you work in a place where there is mixing with men. Mixing leads to many evils and things that are forbidden, as is clear to anyone who has insight. . . it is not permissible for a woman to study or work in a place where there is mixing between men and women, and it is not permissible for her guardian to give her permission to do that."

Excuse me? You've got to be joking. Of all the blind, short-sighted, and small-minded answers to give... I work. I HAVE to work. I have no choice on this. I also work in a place where "men and women mix" so... what? I lack insight? Its haraam for me? I live in the US, even IF I was able to find some sort of job that was only women the chances of it paying any sort of decent wage are almost non-existant. I seek refuge in Allah from the idiots of this world.

I don't even know what to say. Its like when someone says something so obviously stupid that you're not even sure where to begin because its wrong on so many different levels.

Or leaving the topic of men and women working together, lets investigate this website's idea of niqaab (the veil covering the face). For one thing its obvious from the first question that they consider niqaab to be fardh (obligatory). Number one indication that they are narrow-minded and bigoted and only interpret hadeeth to suit their own desires. But here a pregnant woman who was wearing niqaab began to have breathing problems from wearing it and was advised by her doctor (who is also Muslim, female, and wears niqaab) that she could take it off if it poses a problem. Their answer, "Women still wear the niqaab (face veil) and khimaar (headcover) and we do not see any of them complaining about it or finding it too difficult. Perhaps what has happened to our sister – or others – is because of the quality of her niqaab or khimaar, or because of the way it is worn. If a woman is wearing a thick niqaab then that may make it difficult for her to breathe or to see, so the solution in that case is to make it thinner." And then once they are done insulting the sister asking the question, who according to them is weak and should suck it up and wear a thinner niqaab, they go on to insult the doctor who obviously doesn't know what she is talking about, "It would be a good idea for you to refer to a doctor who has more experience than the doctor you are currently seeing, and perhaps they will be able to find a solution to your breathing problem that she has not come up with."

How do you counter something so absurdly disgustingly wrong?

And then, just to add the cherry on top lets see what they have to say about virginity and widows. This is their answer to a wonderful Muslim man who married a widow with children with sincerity in his heart to do good in Allah's eyes and help the widow and her orphaned children but instead got anger and rejection from his family. Thank God they acknowledged his goodness in marrying her, but then they go on to say, "Marriage to a virgin is encouraged in sharee’ah and is better than marrying a previously-married woman."


They go on to narrate a hadeeth Al-Bukhaari (4052) and Muslim (715) narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “Have you got married, O Jaabir?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “To a virgin or to a previously-married woman?” I said, “To a previously-married woman, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “Why not a young girl with whom you could play and she could play with you?” I said, “My father was killed on the day of Uhud, and he left behind nine daughters. I did not like to bring to them someone like them, and I wanted to bring a woman who could look after them and guide them.” He said, “May Allaah bless you,” or he said good words to me. According to one report he said, “You did the right thing.” And according to a version narrated by Muslim, “Then that is better. For women may be married for their religious commitment, their wealth or their beauty. Choose the one who is religiously committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).”

Which directly contradicts their previous statement that it is shariah to marry a virgin.

Allah save us from those who seek to pervert our religion.

I will never use this site again.

Anyone know of any other sites like this with truly knowledgeable Sheikhs who answer?

SubhanAllah I am disgusted.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What will Pakistan do now?

Benazir Bhutto has been killed in Pakistan, and you know that these "extremist attacks" are merely smokescreens for Musharraf's actions.

This is why I hate politics. They just make me so MAD and I can't do a single thing about it.

I don't mourn Bhutto particularly, what I mourn is the opportunity for Pakistan to have a fair and democratic election. The world has abandoned all pretenses that what Musharraf is doing has any relation to democracy as no true democractic politician removes all judges from power and places his own lapdogs in their places.

And in the meanwhile the US continues chasing it's tail and barking at shadows while we all go to hell in a handbasket.

What will Pakistan do now?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Free Fouad

Let's get the word out!

Taken from FreeFouad.com

The leading Saudi blogger, Fouad Alfarhan, who has been arrested in Jeddah on December 10, 2007 for exercising his freedom of speech on his popular blog

alfarhan.org has sent a letter few days before his arrest to his friends:

I was told that there is an official order from a high-ranking official in the Ministry of the Interior to investigate me. They will pick me up anytime in the next 2 weeks.

The issue that caused all of this is because I wrote about the political prisoners here in Saudi Arabia and they think I’m running a online campaign promoting their issue. All what I did is wrote some pieces and put side banners and asked other bloggers to do the same.
he asked me to comply with him and sign an apology. I’m not sure if I’m ready to do that. An apology for what? Apologizing because I said the government is liar when they accused those guys to be supporting terrorism?

To expect the worst which is to be jailed for 3 days till we write good feedback about you and let u go

there may be no jial and only apologizing letter. But, if it’s more than three days, it should be out. I don’t want to be forgotten in jail.

According to his wife with whom we talked, Fouad’s arrest was directly linked to his blogging activities. He may remain in custody for a one-month investigation period. After that his family will be allowed to visit him and be informed about his case and the possible charges that might be brought against him. Fouad is apparently being held, without charge or trial, at the Ministry of Interior’s security service (al-Mabahith al-’Amma) headquarter in Jeddah. He has been arrested at his office in Jeddah and had been led to his home where police confiscated his laptop computer.

This is not the first time that Fouad has run into trouble with Saudi authorities. Last year, Fouad was questioned by plainclothes police and was forced to shut down his blog. After a hiatus of few months, Fouad decided to continue blogging.Several bloggers and activists are organizing an online Free Fouad campaign at freefouad.com to call attention to Fouad. As so far, a support group created on Facebook for Fouad has gathered 295 members.In a statement issued on December 24, 2007, The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemned the “unjustified detention” of blogger Fouad Alfarhan and urged the Saudi authorities to reveal the reason of arresting him. “When the Saudi authorities arrest a young man writing maturely and is against terrorism and calls for reformation, it is a serious indicator for how far are the fanatic and those opposing freedom of expression and reformation are taking over in Saudi Arabia,” the executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Mr. Gamal said.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Memories From the Times Before

I remember all those times before, counting down each day, pulling the chocolates from the advent calendar with glee and waiting, waiting, waiting for Christmas Eve. Times were simpler, but then ignorance is always confused with bliss. When my idea of a holiday is still so closely keyed to the holidays of my past, is it so terrible that a part of me still wishes I could believe in Santa Claus?
Not Christianity, mind you, just Santa.

The disadvantage of being a convert: having so many memories of a time before.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Something to chew on

Awesome article written by Ali Eteraz on why its almost an insult to be called a Muslim in America.

Makes me mad enough to chew tire iron. I have said before that I feel very lucky to live in the Twin Cities because of the baptism by fire that the area went through regarding Muslims. It has made the atmosphere a lot more comfortable for Muslims to move about and work in without the fear of reproach. Unfortunately not all places are the same as here and I know firsthand that Phoenix is disgustingly discriminatory.

I wonder about the other parts of the country, if I moved somewhere else would I have to worry about walking on the streets? finding a good job? Would I be equally represented by the police or my politicians?

And why, in a country with "freedom of religion", do I have to worry about it?

Also note Ali's likening of being Muslim to being gay in America, something I've also made reference to in previous blogs. I would however like to point out that homosexual kissing on TV is, now, commonplace while we pretty much have yet to see a decent Muslim character in any way.

Just a little bit of something to chew on...


I just want to wish you all a happy and blessed Eid. May Allah grant all your du'as and the du'as of those performing Hajj. Ameen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Calling All Sisters

They want to hear from us American Muslimahs on courtship and dating to possibly be published in a literary anthology. Here's a chance to express ourselves!

Check it out here.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dialectic Discourses

While searching out new things to read I stumbled quite innocently upon prominent Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz and decided to check out all the books the library had by him. I am very intrigued by his ideas and by his writings. Some of you may know of him, maybe for his incredibly blasphemous story The Children of Gebelawi (أولاد حارتنا/translit: Awlad Haretna) which won him a Nobel prize and put him on top of some extremists' "to kill" lists. He was stabbed in an attempted murder, but he survived. And yes, the story is VERY MUCH anti-religion, but it is also an existentialist work of art.

Here's where I clue you all into my very dialectic personality. For most of my life I've been like two people in one body (blame my Gemini birth sign if you believe in such a thing) but I have always straddled two worlds. This extends even now into being both an American and a Muslim and I would like to think that I, and most other converts, are living proof that these two things are not mutually exclusive, though they can often be quite thoroughly at odds with each other. As for myself I am very religious and I love my religion. But I also am very existentialist and very interested in existentialist discussions/writings. I am a firm believer in true discourse between people of opposing ideas without clashing and without compromising each other's ideals.

So I am reading, at the moment, Adrift on the Nile and I am fascinated by the way Mahfouz's main character Anis contemplates life, existance, and the possibility of people existing in multiple lifetimes at the same time. But there, do you see, is where others of a more conservative persuasion get a bit twisted in the knickers.

Blasphemy, cries my religious self. Art, cries my internal author and existentialist-junkie. That side is the one that accepts all ideas and believes fully in artistic freedom and which cannot fathom condemning some for not following the guide lines of religion. Of course the things Mahfouz's characters do, think, and expound on are truly against Islam. But some (or most) of his writings are pure genius.

Let us look more closely at The Children of Gebelawi. Uff, but it really is against ALL religion (not just Islam) and Mahfouz insults God and all the Prophets in it (Moses, Jesus, and Mohamed.) So how can I call this a work of art? Here is a brief synopsis of the story: Gebelawi has five sons of which he favors Adham (Adam) above the other four Idris (Satan,) Gabal (Moses,) Rifa'a (Jesus,) and Qasim (Mohamed.) Gebelawi's house is basically a very fabulous garden and when Gebelawi informs all his sons that he has chosen Adham to take over the management of the garden, Idris becomes angry and is banished by Gebelawi. He goes on to tempt Adham (through Adham's wife of course,) from outside the gates, to flout his father's wishes and Adham and his wife are soon banished. Time moves along to where only corruption and greed rule the garden until the offspring of each son- beginning with Gabal, then Rifa'a, and then Qasim in sequential order- uprise against the abuse to bring peace for a short time before failing leading to the next offspring uprising. In the end the protagonist Arafa (knowledge in arabic but symbolizing science) comes and kills Gebelawi.

Of course the allegory is obvious, and its statement is obvious. Gebelawi is God and in the end science/knowledge kills God (astughfurlillah.) This is not much different from whatever infamous person declared that God was dead however many years ago (does anyone know who declared that and when?) It is blasphemous, but the way in which it was written and the allegory used and the statement made, if you look at it from a literary perspective, is true artistic genius.

My author half (greedily existentialist) marvels at the story and wants to read it and anything like it, while my religious soul shrinks from even the idea of what is written there.

I believe that things like this can be read and discussed and contemplated while the real difference would be my understanding that while this may be one person's idea of what is true, it certainly is not MY Truth and therefor is not True for me. But this would not keep me from sitting and talking about and learning more on what they believe. This is dialectic discourse.

And so while I continue to wade my way through some of Mahfouz's other works (which I'm sure are written in astounding arabic but are often translated into unweildy english) I will continue with my own dialectic discourse between the two halves of myself.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rock the Vote?

So, everyone is gearing up for the vote next fall. Obviously I'm not going to vote Republican (or at least thats obvious enough to me.) Even the fact that the Republican convention is going to blight our fine city next year is repugnant enough. But who do I vote for?

I have to be honest here, I hate politics. I passionately hate politics. So what am I going to do? I want to vote, despite a pessimistic certainty that it doesn't really matter. I voted in the last elections and my state went for Kerry, but darned if it made no difference and we were saddled for another 4 years with Dubya. But still I tell myself that I have a civic duty to vote, to have my say, to wait in line, to fill in a bunch of bubbles that I don't know what they mean, and to wait and see if my one drop of a vote in the ocean of elections makes some sort of a difference this time.

I am notoriously lazy at doing research. Compound this with utter distate for politics, and this makes me an admittedly ignorant voter. But there are a few things I'm certain of:

1.) Voting for any candidate except Republican or Democratic will be a wasted vote. Anyone who argues with me please name a past President who was something other than these two parties.

2.) I'm not going to vote Republican. Ever.

So this basically leaves me with whoever runs on the democratic ticket. *sigh* So I'm sitting and waiting to see who wins the seat: Obama or Clinton.

I personally really want Hillary to win the seat. Why?

She is a woman and I'd love to see a woman President. I also think that her husband was one of the best presidents we've had in the past 20 years. Yeah he effed an intern, so what? I'd prefer my president eff an intern rather than eff the entire country like Dubya's been doing for the past 7 years. Personal preference I guess.

Additionally I think Barak Obama is an ineffectual fairy. I think he'd be the closest thing to a Republican sock puppet that we could get. Hello rule by proxy. Plus, I don't know what it is, but I just really don't like the guy. I never have, not since the first time he came on the scene.

I guess I think we'd have a white female President before we would have a black male President. Or so I'm hoping.

Hillary has a lot of good experience if you think about it, Bill had probably the best foreign policy out of the all the Presidents since before WWI (i.e. since the isolationist years.) She'd have good counsel when she needed it. And I really just want to see a First Husband.

Besides that I'd like to probably have more information going into these next elections. Does anyone know if there's a good "2008 Elections for Dummies" website? Maybe I should check out Democracy now.

Who is everyone planning on voting for? Who do you want to see for the next President?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Little Bunny FruFru

I killed that damn mouse myself! I even "stomped it" to death, although that stomping came in the form of smashing it with my boot held in my hand. But its dead and gone.
I'm still shaking from the adrenaline.
Go me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I Could Never Agree

I could never agree. Never. It would kill me. My hate for polygamy burns a hole in my stomach. I don't know if its culture, I don't know if it years of worrying about being cheated on in the future (before I met my husband with whom I feel complete security alhumdulillah), or if its issues left over from being abandoned by my father, but I so passionately hate it that its difficult for me to even put my thoughts down into coherent sentences on it.

My poor husband, who is my best friend and who I tell everything/complain about everything to, has dealt with my rants on the issue so many times that I think he feels a bit beat up on. I was talking about a blog that I've recently been reading where the woman is a convert whose husband married again without her permission and I was raving that if a man truly sat down and thought about how he would feel if his wife married a second husband and spent every other night in his bed then a lot of men would not marry second wives (assuming they were true to themselves and their wives' feelings.)His exasperated response was, "khalas, I won't marry a second wife!" Enough, enough already!

I know, and I've made abundantly clear to Habibi, that he will never marry a second wife. Or if he does, that he will not continue to have me as the first. I trust him, I know his heart, and I know my rights in Islam. Yes polygamy is a right given by God and I do not dispute that in the least; my husband unequivocably has the right to marry a second wife, and may I dare go as far as to say he has the right to do so without my permission. I, however, reserve the right to not be ok with it, and to seek divorce. God forbid any of this should come to pass, but I'm just speaking the truth (as much as Habibi hates it when I talk like that.) I have let him know, time and time again as you can tell by his response "khalas!," that I'm not ever going to be ok with it.

Now here's where I'm gonna get passionate. Men, especially those who justify themselves into a lather, will say, "Oh! Its Sunnah! I am trying to follow in the austere footsteps of the Prophet pbuh!" But don't take into account that he stayed married to Khadija raa until she died, and then married divorced and widowed converts until receiving a divine revelation to marry a young virgin. You mean you didn't get divine revelation to marry that young virgin, Ahmed? Well, I guess its not sunnah then! You mean your first wife is still alive and healthy? Well, thats DEFINATELY not Sunnah. These type of arguements are weak, if you are looking for a second wife then be honest about your intentions.

Ok, see I may hate polygamy, but I agree that it has a time and a place where it is acceptable and even preferrable. God has reason for EVERYTHING. Lets take Afghanistan for example. This country has been torn apart and DEVASTATED by war, after war, after civil war, after American-led invasion. Their male population has been deeply affected and there are, quite literally, not enough men for all the women. In this situation, especially in a society like Afghanistan where there are no jobs and a society in which women do not work outside the home namely in the rural areas, widowed women with children have very little choice. When its between an unmarried man who may be the same age as her oldest son, or becoming a second wife, polygamy isn't a bad choice its necessary.

I have a couple of friends who are, in fact, co-wives. Their situation is, maybe not ideal, but probably the best solution. I won't get into why, and I must admit that I dislike the husband so much that I would prefer to never have to be in the same room with him ever, but I love both of the wives and am good friends with them. The second marriage caused the first wife copious amounts emotional grief, even though he did have her full consent for it, and I could never in my life be the one to cause someone that much pain.

Thats what really kills me about polygamy. I think, actually, thats my biggest problem with it. Its not my culture, its not my own neuroses (as neurotic as I am,) its ME. I am the sort of person who cannot cause someone else pain. I can't even be mean! Its like a defficiency sometimes, but I can't. And the thought that someone could cause their wife, someone they are supposed to love, THAT much pain. How can you? THATS what gets me, what makes me burn. Allah forgive me if I am wrong, but I just could never agree.

I'm not going to type up all the arguments that every other person has already brought up about the Quran. Its plain and simple, it says "And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course." (4:13)
But, "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between wives, even if it is your ardent desire: But turn not away (from a wife) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging (in the air). If ye come to a friendly understanding, and practise self-restraint, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful" (4:129)
You will NOT be equal between wives. Fair and simple. I have never seen a polygamous marriage where the husband was 100% equal between his wives, even if the husband was a good guy. Its not possible. Khalas.

I also wanted to mention, while we are on the topic of polygamy, that I watched Law and Order SVU last night they had an episode about polygamy. And it WASN'T about Muslims! It was, in fact, about Nigerian Christians practising polygamy. It was a really good episode, it did not put polygamy in a bad light (or any worse light than polygamy puts itself in) and it also dealt with female circumcision and it was the Christians doing the circumsizing! I was astounded. SubhanAllah. So between this episode last night, and some other blogs that have brought the issue up today, I decided to talk about polygamy. I hate it, I can't imagine it.

If you had to make that choice, to cause the person you are married to, the person you're supposed to care about and protect, so much emotional pain, would you do it? Could you do it? And would you agree?

I could never agree.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dear God, PS- I love You.

This morning when I was praying fajr I had a sort of "I love You" moment during my supplication. And then I felt a little weird. Love for God is obviously a necessity in religion, but to say it in prayer... Does anyone else do that? And why did I feel weird? I guess its a God-knows-my-heart-so-obviously-already-knows type of thing, do I need to say it?

So PS- I love You.

A Snow Globe World

Would somebody please stop shaking the globe. We're forecasted for another 6-8 inches today (upgraded from the measly 3-4 we had been told to expect) and its already snowing up a storm. Pardon the pun.
For this girl, who got a bit soft during her three years in sunny AZ, snow has quite possibly never been disliked so much. It makes things slippery, it covers my car (which I continue to procrastinate buying a snow brush for my car until I'm standing in front of it, staring at a foot of snow, sans brush), and it makes shoveling necessary. Its like having to mow a lawn, except a lot more often. I'm a palm tree girl, why am I back in the snow? It is really fun to watch the squirrels scamper across the bare tree limbs because they're puffed out to twice their regular size. Like cute gray fur balls that jump.

As I'm writing this, at work no less, my co-workers are bustling with Christmas decorations for the front deask. And I must admit, despite not celebrating the holiday myself, they have fabulous taste. No ugly Santa tchotchkies, or garish red and green hangings from the 80's. In fact the beauty of their decorations makes me want to decorate for Christmas. Help!!!

Some of patients here really creep me out. I think if the patients are inebriated, acting crazy, or obviously high on something, we should be able to kick them out. Oh, and bathing should be a pre-requisite (I feel so bad for our doctors sometimes.) Unfortunately I can't always get what I want. Today we had a patient come in who was quite apparently high on something. Her male companion came later to make an appointment for a physical.
"Do you prefer a male doctor?" I ask.
"No, I want a female."
*gag* Creepy. He also just had an air of general sleeziness.
Number 4,312 on why I never want to be a doctor.

Also, just to add to the random thought process of this post (I have coffee induced ADHD) for anyone who is as nostalgic for Egypt as I am, check out this photo blog of daily life in Egypt taken by a Canadian ex-pat who has been living there for the past 15 years. It makes me all ferklempt.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Two Piasters

So I'd like to talk a bit about some recent situations in the world regarding Muslims, not that everyone else with a blog hasn't already talked them to death. I just, well, want to put in my two piasters.

The situation in Sudan is atrocious. Seriously people. A woman polls her young elementary students on what they want to name a teddy bear- being used to teach about earth preservation- and THEY chose Mohamed. Its a popular name. When I was in Egypt every other guy I met was named Mohamed, so what the problem?

And to the Muslims who are picketing in Khartoum asking for the death sentence? Haraam! Who do you think you are? A woman during the time of the Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) used to throw trash PERSONALLY right onto the HEAD of our beloved Messenger, and she was not killed. In fact, upon the day on which she did not throw trash at him, he went to her house to ask how she was doing. THIS is an example of true Islam. Haraam haraam haraam upon those out there calling for her punishment! This is not Islam and this is not the way to be portraying uS and our beautiful religion. We should be acting as the Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) did because he is the best example of a Muslim we can base ourselves on. And what kind of outcome does this kindness get? The woman who threw the trash eventually became a Muslim.

Learn from the Sunnah of Rasulullah (pbuh), and behave like true Muslims.

I like this article from CAIR.

And I also like this blog from a Bengali in TO. A very humorous take on the whole thing.

Allah forgive the ignorant.

I also have a lot to say on the Saudi gang-rape victim, but not everyone may agree with me. Another day when I'm feeling more up to offending people, I might just write it down.

My two piasters for what they're worth.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Mouse in my House

There's a mouse in my house. It has been making its cozy little way for about the last two weeks and has quite handily skirted around whatever traps we set for it. Knowing that its been hanging out in our kitchen (gag) we decided to do some extra heavy duty kitchen cleaning to eliminate hiding places. So I cleaned up the counter next to the sink which was quite liberally sprinkled with beans and bean bits. It was curious because we hadn't eaten beans for awhile but I just thought maybe the mouse had dug beans out of somewhere and snacked on them there (gag again). So I cleaned it up and finished the other cleaning and went out about the rest of my day. Later that evening I went back into the kitchen to find yet more beans and bean bits sprinkled all over the counter again. How odd, I thought I cleaned that up. And it also happened that these beans and bits were almost quite literally arranged in the same pattern as the beans I'd cleaned up earlier. I was a little wierded out but thought maybe I had missed a few spots or maybe the mouse had come back to snack a bit more on its, obviously, favorite spot (gaaaaaaag). So I cleaned it up again and went to bed.

I woke up this morning and headed down to get a glass of juice to find those SAME DAMN BEANS AND BITS scattered across the counter. Alright, wth. And in the same pattern yet again. Ladies and gentlemen, what do you suppose my first brilliant thought was? Mouse? No. Mom? No. Jinn? You guessed it. In my own defense I immediately dropped the mouse thought because it would take planning far beyond the capabilities of a little mousey brain to arrange the beans and bits in the same pattern every time. My mom's not a jokester so she's not playing a prank. That leaves a jinn obviously trying to mess with my mind.

Now, I'm not a real believer in the jinn messing with humans thing. I believe in them (you gotta considering they are written about in the Quran) but I don't really believe the jinn stories little kids use to scare each other a la campfire ghost stories of my girl scouting days.

But I'm standing in my kitchen with a glass in my hand trying to figure out who is attempting to drive me batty with bean bits and the thing that pops into my mind is "jinn".

Instead of calling in the sheikh though, I decide to open up a cupboard (which did not seem to be the immediate culprit because its a little way to the side of right above the counter) just to see and sure enough there's a five year old Rice a Roni red beans and rice box with mousey teeth marks and a hole in the bottom with beans spread out all over.


Feeling a bit foolish I cleaned up the beans from the counter but left the ones in cupboard and set a mouse trap up there for the next time that little fleawagon comes calling for tea.

And as I'm sitting and writing right now that damned mouse is somewhere in my kitchen making little mousey noises.

I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too.

My husband, bless him, keeps telling me to kill it with a broom.

By this point I'd gladly stomp the darn thing to death.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Shout out

I was just reading another blog OrganicMuslimah and I felt the need to give props to my husband's family, and of course to my husband too.

When I went to Egypt and my husband and I got married I was terrified to meet his family. I had always seen the crazy MIL who never thinks any woman is good enough for her beloved son. And considering my husband is the baby of his family I thought it might be even worse. And I suppose it could have been were I not the person I am and were my MIL not the angel that she is. She was wary of me at first I know for certain, but the one and only factor that she needed to ascertain about me and my relationship with her son was how I was going to treat him and how much I would love him. As soon as she realized I was head over heels for her baby, and that I was a kind person who would love him and take care of him like she does, she accepted me with open arms. I adore her and I am so lucky to have her as a MIL. Alhumdulillah.

And despite me not being Egyptian and not being real savvy on the ins and outs of Egyptian culture, the rest of his family accepted me not only with open arms but an incredible wealth of love and kindness. I adore his brother, his brother's wife, and their kids. I love them so much its insane. I love his older sister and her children and I miss the twins so much. His younger sister was my best friend within the day we met and his father was my baba from the beginning. I have been so blessed to have them as my family.

And my husband, well... say mashAllah. He is my soulmate, my other half. Yes we have issues coming from two different cultures, and yes occasionally he tells me I can't do something in that Arab way he has. But I love him more than my life. Allah has given me so many blessings in so many ways, alhumdulillah.

So I want to give props to my husband for being amazing, and for his family for not being the normal crazy Egyptian family with baggage. I love you habibi, and I love my new family.


Love me? Love my hijab.

For the lack of being able to go outside, I decided to sit down and read through the (seemingly) thousands of convert blogs out there. Goodness we blog a lot I guess!! And I found a very funny blog from MyHijab about funny incidents while wearing hijab. So I decided to put down some of my own.

1.) Some of my first days as a Muslim, actually I may not have really even been Muslim at this time (there was a period of four months or so before I actually converted that I attended a lot of Muslim activities and wore hijab to them) but one of my first bad experiences was in downtown Minneapolis. I was walking to an ISNA convention in abaya and hijab and some guys rolled down their windows and yelled something completely intelligible but undoubtably foul at me as they drove by. It didn't bother me in the least, I just felt sorry for them.

2.) I wore abaya and hijab and niqaab into the house when my mom was home. This was for certain before I converted, in fact it was about 3 years before I converted. And she took one look at me and said "Dear God don't ever wear that into the house again!!! Someone might see you and that gang fighting between those sunnite and shees they might shoot up the house!!!!" I must attest that my mother is a million times more educated about Islam and Muslims now (and she now swears that she never said such a thing in her life) but it was incredibly funny.

3.) I wore abaya and hijab to an interview in Phoenix (I admit these were my conservative abaya and khimar days) and the interviewer looked at me and asked, "Now are you going to have to wear that costume?" I should have sued her, but whateva. I wasn't surprised when I didn't get the job.

4.) A little while after I converted I went to a "What is Islam?" workshop during Islamic Awareness Week on the U of Minnesota campus. A Russian guy sat next to me (uncomfortably close) during a slideshow presentation and afterwards asked me if I was a nun. I'm fairly certain he wasn't entirely right in the head, but hey! he was attending a workshop for understanding Islam. Maybe he became a Muslim, Allahu alem.

5.) During my early no-car Phoenix days I was taking the bus home from class and this really nice Navajo guy in a wheelchair (who "walked" me home everynight after the one night I was assaulted) asked if he could draw me because he loved how I looked in hijab. He also asked if he could hug me. I turned both offers down. But I was flattered.

And more recently in this job I work now, I get comments almost every day. All of them except for one have been really nice.

6.) Yesterday a teenage boy who often comes into the clinic, and who is incredibly sweet but mildly mentally disabled, asked me if what I was wearing was a "high-job" (his pronounciation of hijab) and then told me I was wearing a very pretty "high-job" it was very sweet. And it also happened to be right at the same time I was having an in-depth discussion with a convert who had been married to a Saudi- but who does not wear hijab and has very lovely fake nails- and is planning on going back to Saudi next week to be with her 7 children who live there. I also saw again a little girl who is roughly 3 years old and ABSOLUTELY SCRUMPTIOUSLY ADORABLE who upon the first sight of me a few weeks ago said "look mommy heejee" and pointed at me and then on the way out waved at me and said "salami". Her mom brought her in again yesterday and when I asked if the little girl had truly been saying "Salaam" to me last time she said yes and then explained that the little girl's father, her ex-husband, is Palestinian. I could have covered the girl's adorable little face with kisses. May Allah grant me a baby girl who is so gorgeous and sweet.

The one time I had a "negative" comment was from a feisty, spirited, and quite spiteful, old asian woman who wheeled herself past the front desk and when I handed her the labels for her visit asked me "why do you wear that?" with a vinegary face and tone of voice. I explained that it was part of my religion and her sweet, downtrodden, husband quickly wheeled her away with an apologetic smile.

Mostly the comments I get range from "what a beautiful color" or "your outfit is gorgeous" or "you are very pretty/you look very nice." Alhamdulillah. I am very lucky, in all honesty, to have the reception that I have from the people I work with and the patients who come to the clinic. I don't know if its a blessing from Allah on me specifically or a blessing from Allah on the area in which I live and work. But it IS a blessing from Allah. A good friend of mine, a 2month old convert, was fired the same day she showed up to work in hijab. SubhanAllah. She lives and works in the same area I do. But it didn't affect her outlook on being Muslim. She is a superstar in my eyes. Mamita sabes que te quiero mucho!!!

Oh! And one more hilarious story. I was working once in United Hospital in downtown St. Paul for a two day temp job assisting on the yearly employee satisfaction survey. The survey itself was offered in a LARGE range of languages which was very necessary, the scope of the different nationalities that work there is astounding. Yay for United! The second day I was there these three very sweet Tibetan ladies walked in with their interpreter to take the survey. They did not speak hardly any English but sure enough they looked right at me, smiled, and said "Assalaamu Alaykum." I was astounded. I asked if they were Muslim to which they looked at their interpreter who laughed and explained, "No they're not, but they work with a lot of the Muslims who work here so they learned how to say hello." How's that for employee diversity?

Allahu Akbar.

It's Snowing

And I really had a lot of things I wanted to do today like return those books I've had for almost two months to the library. But instead when I woke up it was snowing and we're forecasted for 6-8 inches. I think I'm stuck in the house today and I'm very upset about it. I want a starbucks.

Friday, November 30, 2007

You know you're married to an Egyptian when...

A cute list I found on UmmLayla's blog that I had to steal.

You know your husband is Egyptian when...

he insists that if you don't wear slippers in the house you will catch cold.

you find yourself cooking fatah and stuffed grape leaves when you are happy with him.

you can't tell if he's yelling because he's mad or just yelling when he's talking to his family on the phone. (omg SO true)

you think "insha'Allah" means "if I can."

the biggest threat he makes to the kids is "the slipper". (or well actually its usually me threatening him.)

he has stories of his own parents and "the slipper".

every story from his youth involves someone named Mohammad.

he never eats fish when he has a cold.

he drinks tea upon waking, when getting ready, when working... Well, he just drinks lots of tea.

your closet contains a box of things from Egypt to use when you need a last minute gift for someone.

you have at least one cartouche in your jewelry collection.

he has a great sense of humor.

everyone says "I have always wanted to go there!" when you tell them where he is from.

he gets steamed up when all the American depictions of Egypt are the guys in Giza or upper Egypt wearing jilbab.

he never says Alexandria, always Alex.

you wear hegab in the masgid... not hijab in the masjid.

it isn't a meal if you don't offer your guest as much food and variety as the average American gets in a week.

almost everything you cook has cumin, coriander, onions, garlic, and bell pepper.

you have mastered the art of filo dough.

not only do you buy eggplant, you make more than one dish with it.

you know who Amr Diab is, and you actually have at least one CD.

you are truly loved by a man with a heart as big as the ocean;) (thats the truth)

I love my husband so much.

The Weather Outside is Frightful....

I got up this morning and the drive into work was horrid. Traffic wasn't bad at all (I am lucky enough to have the best commute of everyone I know), but it was that it was so cold the gear shift was frozen and getting my car through the gears was my daily upper body workout. The clutch was also abnormally stiff, so I worked out my left leg. And this was all after I sat shivering in my car for 10 minutes while it "warmed up".

I'm dreaming of Arizona and the lovely December weather of mid 70's. If it weren't for my mom and the absurdly low amount of rent she asks for, I'd ask my husband to move us back down there. But economically and socially things are much better here. You would think that Phoenix, being the booming metropolis of sophistication that it is, would be much more open to cultures and religions. But it is in fact the exact opposite. Phoenix is the playground of the rich, white, golf-playing republican and conservatism runs rampant. You would instead think that Minnesota, being the recently growing but still backwater community that it is, would be closed to outsiders but it is not.

I think this is entirely due to the baptism by fire the Twin Cities endured with the Somali influx in the mid to late 90's. During this time the Muslim population went from what I am assuming has to have been a relatively small community of at most around 5,000 people, to an extremely large, Somali dominated, population of nearly 300,000 Muslims. Minnesotans had no choice but to become immune to the sight of women in long hijab and the idea that Muslims exist, are perfectly friendly, and cause no harm. A dash of this and a dash of that, and what do you get? A community in which women wearing hijab can actually get a job. Imagine that. In Phoenix it was impossible, I even had one interviewer look at me and ask, "Do you have to wear that costume?"

We'll be the last ones laughing though. As I left Phoenix there was a very large migration of Minnesota-plated cars entering the town driven by, you guessed it, Somalis. Knowing their tendency to move whole communities together, I'm guessing Phoenix will soon be going through their own baptism by fire. I'm eager to see the outcome.

And for now I guess I'll keep shivering in my car each morning.
I hate winter.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Derrrr, my name IS prominently displayed all over this page. There goes my super cool spy theme. Oh well. Yes I know I could change it and not have my name appear but I guess I prefer not to be anonymous. Its no fun that way anyways.

How do you do? My name is...

Well I guess I'll probably not use my real name. Yay for anonymity via the internet, although I'm slathered all over it in a million other ways. In fact, my real name may actually pop up somewhere all over this blog without my knowing it will. For now I will delude myself into thinking I can act spy-like.

I've been reading some other blogs by Muslimahs, namely converts married to Arabs/North Africans (of which demographic I fit squarely into) and I got bit by the blogging bug. We'll see how well this goes.

Part of the reason I felt the need to make a blog is, well, I have issues. Don't we all? Or well, I guess issues wouldn't be the right word, more like daily frustrations. And I'd like someplace to hash out some of the ideas I have in my head for making lemonade outta them lemons. Know what I mean?

Here's my main issue. I'm a convert. Only other converts know exactly how difficult it is to be a convert. I came out of the closet to my family this summer (and yes it IS coming out the closet just without the haraam homo-sexuality thing), and I also got married this summer. To be sure it went like this: went to Egypt- got married- how will I explain that to the family? better just tell them- "hi gramma I'm home from Egypt and by the way I'm Muslim.. oh and I got married too."

My mom and dad knew about the Muslim thing long before the rest of the family, mom I told 6 months after I converted, dad got it about 22 months after I converted, and the rest of the family got it sprung on them 4 months or so ago or about 29 months after I converted. My gramma is convinced that if she had known about it from the beginning she could have "saved" me. Which both tickles and annoys me to no end.
My other issue is that I am thoroughly multicultural. Before I was Muslim I was Mexican, and before I was Mexican I was actually white. In fact my skin still energetically protests that I am white although my "insides" have long since turned a nice shade of brown. I spent the later part of my growing up among Mexicans within whom I learned to speak spanish like a native, cook frijoles, dance rancheros, and swear like an erstwhile sailor (in spanish). In fact who I am as a person is broken up something like this:
2/5 Muslim
2/5 Mexican
1/5 White Minnesotan (which is definately its own brand of white)

I no longer struggle with my identity, alhumdulillah, what I struggle with is how other people struggle with my identity. I work in a Family Practice Clinic in a very Mexican part of the Twin Cities, and let paint for you, if you please, a picture of my normal day at work. Me at the front desk, very white, very hijabbed. Weary oldest son approches to translate for his non-english speaking mother. I speak to her directly in Spanish. Shocked silence while they double check the tint of my melanoma and the large piece of cloth wrapped around my head. Pretty much the same scenario each day. Although I do have to tell you that, surprisingly to me knowing how racist Mexicans really can be, most of them love me or are at least very courteous. I think its mostly because there is finally someone who speaks Spanish for them and they are grateful. Either way its a huge weight off my shoulders.

I'm considering becoming an interpreter and this is why its so important to me. I won't be a successful interpreter if no one wants me to interpret for them. I'm hoping my sunny smile and cheerful disposition can get me in, and if the reception I have received so far is any indication of the future, I think it just might be ok.
And hey, if I can be the specimen of probably the wierdest mishmash of multicultural human to come along in years, well the least I can do is be a good example of a Muslim while completely confusing everyone around me.

Its my job I guess. Just wait till Habibi teaches me to speak Arabic. Ooooooooh the anticipation.