update

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I haven’t blogged in over a month, and for that… I’m sorry.

Have you ever had a case of writer’s block…

That you can’t kick no matter how hard you try?

That’s me right now. It’s driving me insane. I have literally sat down at my computer every night since my last post telling myself, tonight I’ll write… and the minutes tick away to hours… and suddenly I find myself watching Boardwalk Empire and disappearing into the dvr time warp.

I need to write, and to release all of this toxicity that I’ve been holding inside with the things that have come up for me to deal with lately, but the words are all a jumble in my head.

What I need is some mint lemonade, a bright and shiny sun, to be sitting out and feeling the breeze in Palestine. I need a taste of home, I’m starting to miss it too much and it’s taking over my thoughts.

I can’t even begin to imagine how my father feels, not having been able to come home for 30 years because he was working to support us. Seriously, he and my mom are the most incredible human beings that I have ever met.

My brain is on the verge of meltdown after getting about 90 min of sleep last night and working through today but I do have my notebook out and I’m jotting stuff down that I need to get out of me…. being publicly attacked for one… and seeing that it was me… on my own, with no one to come to my aid. I’m realizing that even though I joke about being descendent of lions and honey badgers, and super fierce… I may actually come off as not needing someone to have my back…. either that, or people are just that dang racist in the area where I live.

So this is what I’m going to do:

I promise a post every single day.

Even if it’s just a picture.

Because I can’t let my mind get this full again.

Besitos amores.

Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salam 3ala khatim il anbiya rasool allah wa a3la ahlihi wa sa7bihi salman katheera.

Weakness

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For years, I’ve seen signs of emotion as weakness and have basically gone for a while without really being open about it.

Recently however, I’ve grown to see that for a woman… especially for a Palestinian woman, our emotion is so much more than just dramatics, so much more than being weak. I’ve never met a Palestinian woman in my life that is happy all of the time, or even 75 % of the time. Those that have been, are living in their own little bubble…. but for the rest of them, I’m not even sure how to put this to words.

It’s like, when a Palestinian girl is born, she has the sorrow of the world already in her heart and as she grows up, she just learns how to cope as well as she can.

We carry our homeland in our hearts, we see our fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, and sons arrested, tortured, murdered…. every day is a day of Jihaad fi sabeel Allah o Falestine.

Here in the west we see them getting up every morning to go to the worst neighborhoods in town to work with the trashiest customers who spend each day scouring for a few cents to smoke a blunt and get high, and if they look at them wrong, or if someone is too drunk, or just in the mood to be belligerent, our hard working husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons could be shot, could be killed…. every day is Jihaad fi sabeel il luqma and every day their sisters and wives and mothers worry more than they can every let on, and the anxiety gets to be too much at times, because if they don’t hear from them as usual they instinctively think the worst.

A Palestinian woman is not a weak being, even when she has moments of weakness they are only moments where the heart that holds the sorrow of the world is overwhelmed and over flows.

More often than not, you won’t see a Palestinian woman wailing or screaming, or discussing her emotions.

What you will see however is a face that is often times unreadable because her eyes…. her eyes are as deep as oceans. They hold the fears for their family, the pain for their homeland and the knowledge that, yes we’ve been exiled from our land, we will face injustice every day as a people until the end of time, and no… we don’t belong here. You will see in the eyes of a Palestinian woman the strength of 1000 men, the strength to lose her father, her brothers, her husband, her sons and to say “what Allah swt wills is sufficient for me”. You will see a yearning for her permanent abode in Paradise with Allah, but most of all, you will see a torrent of emotions that you will never understand, that she may never understand, but that she has learned to cope with, because in the heart of a Palestinian woman lies the soul of the world.

I hope to one day be as strong as the women who have come before me and those that will come after me.

Alhamdulilah wa salaat wa salaam a3la nabiyna Mohammed wa a3la ahili wa sa7bihi saliman katheera.

Oh Allah grant me your blessings and your mercy in my pursuit of understanding why I am here. Grant me the strength in my heart to accept all that you will for me. Oh Allah, you are the best disposer of affairs, take care of me and my heart, I trust no one more than you.

When I was just a little girl

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or you know… even up to a few years ago. 

I used to think that I was untouchable. It was kinda ridiculous to be honest. Thought I was perfection embodied (astaghfarallah).

 

The Prophet SAW said:

 

“The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “A woman may be married for four reasons: for her property, her status, her beauty, and her religion; so try to get one who is religious, may you be blessed.”

 

I had money, come from a fantastic and well respected family, I’m a 9.56 according to the golden ratio and facial dimensions so I’m quite pretty, and ayyy yoo, I’ve got my Islam shirt on, I can read and recite the Quran, people in the masjid asked me questions when they didn’t understand concepts, and I had an excellent education in Islam and could continue to teach myself. 

 

In short, I was freaking awesome… or better than the best…. or basically perfect. 

 

Then we had a bunch of deaths happen in my community. Not older people… I mean people my age… people that I had just seen, people that I just hanged out with and joked with and said, yeah, I’ll see you in a few weeks.

 

But I didn’t.

 

And I looked at the lives that they lived, and listened to the conversations that were had at their funerals and I got scared for them. Would they know the answers to the questions asked of them in the grave? They believed in Allah SWT but did they really? If they prayed… it wasn’t much. They worked for the donia, and for money, cars, houses, jobs, prestige, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends or wives. Had they put it forward for the end of times? Had they prepared for judgement day? I cried… a lot. I had convinced myself that I was scared for them. 

 

I was scared for ME. 

 

I was in a state where first came work and school, then family, then friends and having fun, and if I had a chance at the end of the night, I’d make wudu and get my 5 salats in.

 

One night, after one of these people died, I stood in salat, to pray for her departed soul.

 

“A3udu billahi min al shaytan irajeem, Bismillah arrahman arraheem, Alhamdulilahi rab il 3alameen, arrahman arraheem….”

 

I couldn’t remember the rest.

 

“arrahman…..

 

 

arraheem…”

 

 

Please help me to remember ya arham irahimeen.

 

 

“arrahman… arraheem….”

 

 

I couldn’t. My knees went weak and I hit the ground and just started sobbing. I fell asleep like that.

 

The next day I emailed my brother in a panic. “I’m forgetting the quran that I’ve memorized and that I’ve known for years,” I told him. 

 

I’ll never forget his response, “Quran is a mercy from Allah SWT, you must deserve the mercy or your heart, your ears and your eyes will be sealed to it. Get back to your deen before you run out of time.” 

 

I was a hijabi for years at this point, I prayed all 5 prayers every day, just not on time, I fasted, gave alms to the poor, I believed in and loved Allah… I was a great muslim, what was I supposed to do to get back to my deen?

 

So I just opened the Quran and started to read,

 

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And to Allah belong the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth and to Him will be returned the matter, all of it, so worship Him and rely upon Him. And your Lord is not unaware of that which you do. Surah Hud 123

 

So worship Him… 

 

and rely upon Him.

I began to understand that no matter how awesome that I was, without Allah swt I am nothing. Without His mercy, I have no hope for anything. 

 

I wish that I could say that this wakeup call happened in like an hour, or a day, or a week… a month even. It didn’t, it took time… and a lot of reading, and a lot of talking to those who knew better than me, observation of those who seemed more religious than me. My god, I wasn’t perfect by any means, I cared too much about the donia… about getting a pair of Louboutins, a Burberry trench… about driving a maseratti, and being obscenely wealthy. 

 

I tell you, I busted my tail to make money and to get a good job and great recommendations on my grad school applications and I could never find something that I could settle in on. I blamed it on being ADD and not being able to focus, but more recently, I’ve realized that I haven’t yet found my calling for what I should be doing with my life.  But the one thing that I could focus on was living each day with good intentions in everything that I do, living well and in the path of those who preceded me and who were the true believers and blessed by Allah swt and to know that I could die in 6 seconds or in 89 years and I have no idea either way. 

 

My life on this earth didn’t so much become cheap to me, as something that just wasn’t to be fought for. Would I rather take a minute out of my day to say “dang, he’s incredible looking”? Or would I rather use that minute to make dua for my akhira? 

 

Did you ever think about the fact that you could spend every moment of every day doing good, saying bismillah before everything, in short, being a perfect Muslim and without Allah’s mercy they still won’t make it to Paradise.

 

I am a slave and He is my Master, what do I do to deserve his mercy?

 

Honestly? I’m not sure, I just try to follow His commandments and the sunnah. 

 

And for the people who don’t understand my life and who question my intentions, I silently say to myself hisbun allahi ni3mal waqeel.

 

I truly have come to believe that what Allah wills for me is sufficient. I truly believe that there is still time for me and everyone else to live with good intentions and following the deen, to pay it forward for the akhira.

 

Worship Him and rely upon Him.

 

Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salam a3la sayidina Muhammed wa a3la ahlihi wa sa7bihi saleeman katheera. Oh Allah what you will for me is sufficient for me, please give me the strength of heart and the patience to endure this life, where I feel as if I am a stranger each and every day, and prepare for me a place in Paradise, where I can be surrounded by your glory.  

سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَبِحَمْدِه

‘Subha-nal-lahi-wa-biham-dihi’

(Glorified be Allah and His is the Praise.)

سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ العَظِيْمِ

‘Subha-nal-lahil Adeem’

(Glorified be Allah, the Most Exalted).” (B)

(not so) Great Expectations

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Salaams everyone!

I’ve gone underground for a bit while trying to get myself used to the change that I’ve made in my life…

I wear a abaya now… there isn’t any going back… which means, weddings, social events, educational events, conferences, work… it or a similar loose garment stay on. I mean, I thought about it… I really did, but it hit me the other night, when I was about to run outside to the car in my hoodie and skinny jeans… and then stopped, I don’t dress like that anymore.

 

 Alhamdulilah.

It’s seriously going to take some getting used to, but I will say this it is much different than I expected it to be.

I expected a lot of stares… people looking at me differently, especially the people that see me every day… whispering among themselves discussing what could have made me put on my abaya. I was expecting someone to say something to me… to ask how I could have gone from skinny jeans and wedge boots and a nice top to a black cloak that enveloped my whole body.

Instead, it was this:

I was in the bank one of the days… waiting in line to see a teller, and this old couple behind me started talking to each other about blowing things up using dynamite.  I ummmm definitely stepped away from them… slid away from them is more like it, I so didn’t want to be in on that conversation!

Another day, I had to make a stop at the gun store (because that sounds totally normal). I was taking my brother’s rifle in for repairs and figured I’d also take the opportunity to handle the pistol that I had wanted to buy and see if I liked how it felt in my hand.  Imagine the scene if you will… Me in my abaya, big sunglasses, stilettos, and an sks rifle in my hands as I get out of my car and cross the street to go into the store… oh also, I was definitely carrying my sequinned wallet 🙂 I walked into the store and this old white guy came running in after me within about 2 minutes. He screamed, “Are you guys okay? People like her shouldn’t be allowed to carry!!” The guys in the gun store’s heads snapped up from what they were doing, “That’s the beauty of the 2nd amendment sir, people like her especially should be able to carry so that she can protect herself from people like you. Now I have to ask you to leave, we don’t serve people with your attitude here.” It was a magical moment, I was super nervous before going in, and while they were serving me because I was afraid that they’d look at my Abaya and Hijab and see an enemy, instead, they saw a fellow American who deserved to be stood up for. I began to relax, and asked to be shown suggestions for how to carry my gun concealed. “Well that cloak you’re wearing, your abaya I think it’s called… that’s the best decision you could have made in deciding to carry concealed, you could literally have 6 guns on you and no one would be the wiser. It was a fantastic decision.” The guy that was helping me had spent time in the UAE and both loved and respected our religion and culture.

I wasn’t prepared to be complimented after I put on my abaya. I wasn’t prepared to be told that my confidence was shining through my face, nor that my cloak was incredibly beautiful, nor to be asked if there was any way for me to get some and sell them locally to some of the Christian women who wanted to dress more modestly.

I had thought that I would feel more comfortable walking publicly in my abaya… but I never realized how free I would feel. It has boosted my confidence just as my hijab did so many years ago. I feel like now I can say what is on my mind, I can think, I can speak, I can protest or support and the only things that I will be judged for are my words.

All praise glory be to Allah, I am free… at last.

Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salam a3la sayidnia wa nabina khatm il mursaleen Muhammed wa a3la ahli wa sa7bihi saleeman katheera.

I ask Allah to bless me and guide me and to never leave or forget me for even the blink of an eye. Without the mercy of Allah swt, I am nothing and I will never be anything. I ask Allah to forgive me my transgressions both intentional and not and to always bless me with the rememberance of Him, the Quran, the Sunnah of Muhammed pbuh and the examples of the sahaba. Strengthen my iman so that I can be counted amongst the highest level of the believers… al mu2mineen. Ameen.

On Wudu

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I often times look at wudu as a time for me to mentally as well as physically cleanse myself and prepare to make salat.

A lot of times, my wudu takes more than a few minutes to make. I have a german shepherd puppy and so every time I get ready for salat I am making wudu 7 times to purify myself from him. So let me tell you, I’ve got lot’s of time to think! and to mentally purify.

Almost every time my thoughts go back to a discussion of the afterlife that I had with my little brother and more specifically about the trials of the grave. The line that repeats in my head every time was, “Diana, you don’t get it, so many people don’t, 3adhab il qabr (the torment of the grave) is over some of the littlest things… not performing your wudu to perfection is one of them.” And that is always a reminder for me to perfect my wudu every time.

And while I’m doing so, I’m also thinking. The other day as I went from my hands to my mouth to my nose and so forth I couldn’t help but wonder, why these parts specifically? Why don’t we wash our chest or our stomachs as we perform wudu? And may Allah forgive me if I’m wrong but I began to think that maybe we are cleansing the parts of us that we may sin with. Our hands for doing wrong with them, our mouths for speaking in a manner that is not befitting us, our nose I’m not so sure about, but our face and our eyes for the sins we have committed with our eyes maybe in looking at something we shouldn’t have or in viewing injustice ans being idle about it. Our heads to cleanse our thoughts, our ears to purify us from the sins we committed by listening to haram or maybe again hearing about injustice and doing nothing, and our feet for taking us toward sin. Allah a3lam (Allah knows) if I am right or wrong but I think it’s something worth considering the next time you make wudu, are you purifying yourself from a sin that you could have avoided?

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thank you to those of you who read my headache post and responded, I truly value your input.

I go now in peace and love!

Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salam a3la nabina Mohammed wa ahlihi wa sa7bihi saleeman katheera.

Oh Allah I ask that you guide me to the straight path and forgive me my weaknesses, I ask that you have mercy upon me even though I do not deserve it. That which you will for me Oh Allah is sufficient for me.