Sunday, March 29, 2009

Snow Ummah

HAHAHAHA! A sister emailed me this pic from some brothers who built this very modest 'Niqaabi Snow Sister'

And this here is the Snow Sheikh my good friend/teacher built with her 2 adorable kids, mashaAllah.

I wonder if there are other members of this small community around? Do you think Snow Sheikh should propose to Niqaabi Snow Sister? I think they'd make a cuuute couple mashaAllah !

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Show me your face!"

The other day when I was walking to the masjid, I noticed a car slowing down in the middle of the street. The street I was walking down rarely has cars driving on it since it's a back street. I shrugged it off and continued walking. I noticed the driver's window roll down and a woman was staring at me. I figured it was another person mesmerized by a niqaabi haha, so I continued walking. I turned and looked at the car and saw what seemed to be a Pakistani woman looking at me. I'm 95% sure she was Pakistani, if not, then she had to be Indian. She didn't say anything so I continued on my way. I thought I heard her grunt haha, but I kept going.

Finally I heard, "HELLO??"

Maybe she wanted to ask for directions. I went back towards her car.

Woman: Hello
Me: Hi
Woman: Hello
Me: ..Hi............
Woman: Uhhh, you are Muslim?
Me: Yeah..
Woman: Okay...
Me: Okay...
Woman: Can I see your face?
Me: ......................?
Woman: Can I see your face?
Me: What? Why?
Woman: Show me your face
Me: Not in the middle of the street
Me: Bye..
Woman: Okay next time I pass you, you must show face!!!
Me: Whatever..
Woman: Okay
Me: Okay..

I backed away slowly and continue down the street. 2 blocks down I turn back and still see her parked in the middle of the street. What the heck? So weird! She must have been Muslim. There aren't that many non-Muslim Pakistanis in our area. Perhaps she thought she knew me. But she didn't say salaams... and she should have at least said, "Have you seen me before?" or " I think I've seen you before" or something like that. I don't think a non Muslim would just flat out ask that, especially a woman as gentle looking as her... except for the part when she got loud with me to show my face! lol

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thanks for your sweaty clothes!

One of the colleges in my area is working with the NAAMA to collect clothes, toys, and kitchenware for the people of Palestine.

The moment I got the message about this I was sooo excited. My mind started racing thinking about what clothes I can easily part with and what clothes must be stashed in the closet hidden away in boxes.

My son isn't even 1 1/2 yet but has a few bags of clothes and I decided to sort through his stuff as well. It was amazing how there was such a strong memory connected to each and every outfit I picked up. I was beaming holding all of them, but decided that they would benefit others much more than sitting in my closet. Sure inshaAllah in the future if I have another boy I could use these clothes, and even pass some onto my son for keepsake or for my potential grandson to use... but we can so easily get new clothes too and most likely will. Also, I already have pictures of him in like every outfit so I don't need to keep each and every one.

It felt so good to see the bags sitting in the corner. My heart felt lighter and so did the closets and the drawers.

While speaking with my mother on the phone one day I mentioned to her about the clothing drive and she too went into a frenzy blabbing on about what clothes were packed in the attic that were in mint condition and that she would love to send too. Soon she had about a dozen bags of clothes, packed and ready for drop off.

A friend of hers said she had a lot of abayas and hijabs and a few other clothes that she would love to donate and my mom told her to drop them by.

My mom noticed all her bags and her friends 2 bags of clothes were really mixed up, so she decided to sort them and label them: Girls, Boys, Women, Men, Shoes, Babies.. and so on.

When she opened up the bag of clothes the friend of her gave, after sorting a few she noticed a rank smell getting stronger and stronger. She knew for suuuuuuure it wasn't her breath (haha) and she hadn't cooked that day either. She stuck her head in the bag and took a sniff and almost fell backwards. She picked up the clothes and some of them smelled stale and some wreaked of sweat. Some hijabs still had hair in them, and some clothing had stains on them. Well she figured some small stains wasn't too much of a big deal but she noticed it was still hard. If the clothes were washed there was NO way the stain would be hard and whatever was on it could be scratched off. Even some of the dark clothes had vivid deodorant stains on the inside!

She called me:

Mom: Lazeena, are you dropping the clothes off tomorrow?
Me: I'm not sure, Malik (my husband) didn't go through his clothes yet.. so..
Mom: Okay can you take it Saturday or Sunday
Me: Alright... but I thought you said you were all done.
Mom: I was.. but I wanted to sort them and when I opened the bag from my friend I noticed that the clothes... they.. they smelled terrible!
Me: What....??
Mom: They smell really bad. I know the people in Palestine are in great need for clothes, but come on! They're not animals, they're people who want nice, fresh clothes too. I can't send this, I have to wash it.
Me: Maybe the bag was in the kitchen while she was cooking or maybe-
Mom: Lazeena... no... There are stains on them and the armpits smell the strongest... they didn't wash the clothes before they gave it. I can't believe... I mean I can't just call them and tell them to do it. I don't want to be rude. But just because you're doing a favor for someone doesn't mean you do it this way. Now I have to go to 2 or 3 loads of laundry and then dry them all.
Me: Well.. maybe they forgot to wash it??? I dunno that's weird.
Mom: Even when your brother came out his room he could smell the clothes from down the hall Lazeena... Its like they wore it a few days in a row and then shoved it in this bag! i have a headache from it and I think I might need to just soak some of these overnight.
Me: Alright, well we still have until the end of next week to drop the clothes off anyway, so don't worry about it.. take your time..

Uhm... come on now! Yes it's virtuous to donate... but to give away your unwashed clothes is straight up nasty!!! I really hope it was some weird type of mix up or a slip of memory and they forgot to wash their stuff. That is just gross. The people in Palestine are not in need by choice, they aren't filthy people who will wear someones nasty clothes. Surely if someone is in need they will take what they're given or can get... but why would you give them something in that condition that they might wear like that or realize it's dirty and then have to take the time to go and wash it. Imagine if the bag wasn't opened and sent there and they got the clothes they would be even more disgusted with what their brothers and sisters are doing for them... or aren't rather. We barely do anything for them and when we finally do, we do it this way.

If any of you ever intend on donating clothes, please wash them before! with some really good smelling detergent and softener! No one wants to wear your unwashed clothes!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Life is Precious

As I mentioned previously, I've started teaching Qur'an and tajweed at my local masjid. It was the first week and it started out kinda messy, but things are pretty much well put together now. I actually know my students' personalities pretty well - who's okay to sit in the back, who I need to bribe with stickers, who I need to have seated next to me, who I may need to run after and so on.

On the first day there was a sister who looked somewhat lost. I couldn't help but notice her Guyanese accent and tan colored skin and a paler than milk white boy with dirty blonde hair tagging behind her. I went up to her and gave my salaams...

"As salaamu alaikum"

"Wa alaikum salaam. Sorry I'm new here... I just put my son into classes here. He's supposed to be with sister Lazeena first period?"

"Yeah thats me actually.."

"Okay good good. You know I never came here before and my son is now learning about Islam and stuff.."

"Don't worry, it's okay. Where are you from?"


"Me too! I figured you were."

"Oh yeah?? I wouldn't think you were. Back home no one covers like you do."

"Yeah I know.."

"This is my son Abdullah. He's 7"

*waves at kid hiding behind his mom* "I'm guessing he looks like daddy?"

"Ohhh yes!! 100%!!!! People find it hard to believe he's mine, not even his features are mine," she stokes his hair lovingly. "His father is Italian. He isn't Muslim though... that's why Abdullah doesn't know much about Islam. I mean I pray sometimes and I fast, but he's now learning mom and dad both believe different things."

"That's okay. He'll make some friends soon and enjoy it here inshaAllah. Is Abdullah your only child?"

"No, I have an 11 year old daughter at home, I actually have to hurry back to her. She was begging me to come actually.."

"Aww, why didn't you bring her? They have girls her age here - "

"She's actually....... she just recently she got into a car accident... and now she's on life support..... she can't really come out.. she can't really do anything.... but this morning I told her I'd be out for a little in the afternoon with Abdullah to bring him here and she got really upset. She wants to come. She had started learning how to read Arabic so she wants to continue, but right now it's quite impossible. I hope she makes it through and can continue where she left off."

"Yeah definitely inshaAllah. I'm so sorry to hear that. Don't worry about Abdullah... I'll make sure he makes it to his 2nd and 3rd period classes. And I'll tell him that he has to go home and teach his sister what he's learned!" "Oh, yes she will enjoy that!"

SubhanAllah, 11 years old and on life support! How often do we think of our 11 year old sibling, child, niece, or cute budding preteen at the masjid getting into a car accident and barely making it through alive? At most we may worry about her reaction to 'entering womanhood', scraping her knees if she falls off her bike, not feeling accepted at school, or forgetting to complete her homework. Never does it really cross our minds that a child so young and innocent could lose her life and become permanently injured in any way. SubhanAllah, this is not only something that happens to people 30+, this can happen to anyone. So inshaAllah let's use this as a reminder that anything can happen to us at anytime and that we should always try and be prepared for the worst, especially when leaving the house. Life is so fragile man, please please don't take it for granted!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Speaking a different language in front of others


Gosh! Why do people do this?

The other day I had a meeting at the masjid. InshaAllah I'm gonna start teaching Qur'an there and the Imam wanted to meet with all the Qur'an teachers to make sure we were all on the same page and to offer some teaching pointers. It was myself and two older sisters. Before the meeting even started the Imam said, "Sister Lazeena is here, so we will speak in English okay?"... since the rest of them have Urdu as their first language... but they DO speak good English alhamdulillah.

So he starts telling us about how to organize our time with our students and one sister interrupts and goes off in Urdu. The Imam answers her in English and she responds back in Urdu. I guess he didn't understand what she was saying and asked her to re-explain it. She explained it in English this time.

"So you can say in English?" He said with his little accent, and smiled. "Okay we talk in English inshaAllah?"

He continued to address her concern in English and the other sister then started talking to him in Urdu. Hello???? Then she turns to me and asks why I wasn't offering any input. "She's young, she's not experienced, we'll have to help her" the other sister tells her and the Imam... in ENGLISH! Ugh!

I straight out told her I couldn't say anything because I didn't know what she was even talking about.The Imam told them over and over again to speak in English but for whatever reason they didn't. I mean, I understand Urdu is their native tongue but if you can say it in English, then why not? The Imam was nice enough to answer their questions in English even though they spoke in Urdu, and they fully understood him when he did speak in English.

Now this is far from a worse case scenario. I've been invited to people's houses and everyone around me would be speaking in Urdu or Bengali and would totally ostracize me. Then when I turn down an invite in fear of that they get upset with me for not wanting to go. What difference does it make? It's not like my presence really makes a difference... most of the time the hostess if busy being the hostess (can't blame them), and I'm left wandering around looking for someone who's left out just like me, or watching the little kids beat each other up. Alhamdulillah I've met a fair share of sisters who would come speak to me or at least ask the other sisters to speak in English to include me. I know this is why a lot of masaajid which are dominantly 1 ethnic background do not get other members from a different background attending their masjid.

It's so rude and it makes people feel unwelcome. There's no reason for you to speak in another language. I always get a weird sense of paranoia... as if I think the person must be talking about me if they can't speak in English to their friend while I'm there. I get that sometimes there are jokes people make that only make sense in their language, which is cool with me, I'm always one for a good laugh.. but if we're talking about ashy feet or something do you really need to go off in Arabic for 10 minutes to your buddy while I stand there with a fake smile, staring at the wall, and eventually walk away? You must be telling your friend my feet are flakey (which they aren't!) if you can't say it in English ! Ahh!

If you speak a second language, alhamdulillah, this is a great gift. But use it wisely, please. Don't engaged in conversation with someone in your language if there is someone in the group who might not understand, especially if the other person is alone and has no one else to turn to and speak to. If it's a quick comment or joke, that's one thing... but if the conversation totally switches in that language and the person is left out that's not right at all. This is yet one of the many matters that is tearing the unity of our ummah apart!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Female Farmers in Yemen

The tall hats are supposed to catch more cool air to cool them off. Awesome. I want one! Imagine.. people would probably think I were a walking scarecrow haha

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Be careful of what you demand

Over the past couple of years the masjid in my area has been working towards expanding the masjid. Recently, after years of fund raising and architectual plans, the construction began. Everyone who lives on the street the masjid is on are Muslim alhamdulillah, except the 1 house right next to the masjid, it was owned by a non-Muslim. Eventually the man wanted to sell his home and knew he would make a lot off of a Muslim family who wanted to buy it.

The masjid decided to buy the house and for a while went back and forth with the price. Each time they stated a price for the home, the man wouldn't agree and wanted them to go up on the price. The house seems really small (from the outside at least) and the yard needs a LOT of work. They were near $450,000 and he STILL wouldn't back down!

The brother giving the announcement regarding this matter after Jumu'ah salah then mentioned that just this week they were able to get the house for about half of that price. Half?! How? SubhanAllah the owner of the home DIED! His kids just sold it off for whatever amount they could.

SubhanAllah can you imagine? This man kept playing with the price so he could get a lot of money, enjoy that money, maybe get a nicer home, only Allah knows, but yet Allah had different plans for him subhanAllah.

Now the brother making the announcement said it in an odd way... he said, "This is a moment of celebration for us". All the sisters gasped and looked at one another, it was as though he was saying we should be pleased this man died and the masjid was able to buy and now own the house. I'm sure he meant it was great that the masjid finally got it, but there wasn't even a little sadness in his voice for the loss of life. It did kinda of bother me that he said it that way, but I chose to look at it from another angle...

Death is always near, and it's as simple as that. We have so many goals and aspirations and we forget to consider that we might not reach them, on our way there we can die and that'll be it. We won't take the money or the fame with us... just our deeds. So let's try not to get too caught up in the dunya and always remember to make time for Allah and to contemplate how to make our lives more fruitful for the hereafter inshaAllah.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Follow Gadget

I hate the way the new follow gadget looks.

It looks terrible. I must admit though that I like the way it functions more than the old one... but I miss the old look *tear*

Can you tell I'm not fond of change? haha

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The 9/11 Imposter

Last night I watched a documentary on a woman I hadn't heard about before. Her name is Tania Head. Soon after the events of 9/11, she joined a support group where she shared her touching story of survival and how she managed to escape from one of the Twin Towers after it was hit. She showed them an injured arm, from when it caught on fire while she tried to escape. She said her fiance Dave was in the other tower and ended up dying. Everyone was touched by her story, a story of suffering, escape, survival , and losing a loved one... she experienced it all in those few fateful minutes.

In time members of the 9/11 survivors support group started to see her change, Tania became very arrogant and didn't show much sadness in all she went through in 9/11. Her account of what happened seemed more rehearsed than heartfelt, and each time she told it more details were added - as if she were making up the story as she went along. Some people started to see the glint in her eye when the media gave her all the attention. She became the 'poster-child' for 9/11 survivors. Soon everyone knew her story and she was meeting with well known politicians in NY and leading tours at Ground Zero. Everyone in her support group admired all the work and effort she put into their group and how well she'd recovered emotionally from what happened, until she'd started to change.

Soon enough a newspaper interviewed some of her acquaintances saying they were writing an article about her - they figured it was a memorial type article or the 'anniversary' coming up. However, it wasn't. It was an article that exposed the glitches in her story and labeled her a fraud. Further investigation proved she was in Spain in business classes when the 9/11 events took place. Some of the people who were with her in Spain at the time also for school said that she'd shown them the same damaged arm and claimed that she was in a Ferrari accident, others she told that she was injured while horse riding.

Clearly she enjoyed attention. I just find that disgusting and totally unsympathetic towards those people who did die on 9/11 and even more offensive to those who survived and believed her story. She even met with a slain firefighters' parents and lied about him saving her and how she had pictures all over her home of their son to remind her of that. How can people be so heartless? Yeah okay, you want attention... but I didn't think people would lie to this extent. For 5 years she had people fooled until people started speculating discrepancies in her story. That's just crazy. I can't believe I didn't even hear of her before. Her real name is Alicia Esteve Head. She also fabricated receiving diplomas from Harvard and other universities. I dunno... maybe she suffers from some mental disorder, I really can't see how someone could just wake up one morning and plan out how they'll lie about being part of something so tragic... subhanAllah