I remember when someone said this to me.......lol.
Read Qur'an this morning. I'm enjoying reading Qur'an after Fajr. I usually read in the afternoon but for Ramadan I've been reading after fajr. Today was Surah Ta Ha.
Verse 132 had a long commentary that i liked a lot.
Here is the verse: Enjoin prayer (salat) on your followers, and adhere steadily to it. We do not ask you to provide (subsistence), (it is) We who give you subsistence; and the (good of) the hereafter is for those who safeguard themselves against evil with full awareness of divine laws.
And here are some highlights from the commentary:
The "daily prayers schedule" is like a fountain of clean water right in your home which removes, five times a day, dirt that settles on your body and soul
Imam Ali said: Beware! Pray salat regularly. To grow intimacy with Allah pray as much as possible. If one knows how many blessings are bestowed upon the pray-er during the time of praying the salat, one would not leave the prayer-mat at all. Dispel the darkness of the doubtful heart by the light of prayers."
There was a lot more than that but these parts really got to me....thought i'd share.....
I do like how prayer is our subsistence. It's not for Allah as much as it is for us. We need it. It is the way we get closer to Him. Without it, we disregard our religion and can no longer be called Muslim as we no longer submit to Him, the foundation of our religion and faith. He doesn't need anything. He has no needs. We are the ones. Sometimes when in a rush, we pray faster than we should. What's the point of that? The point of prayer is gone if we don't pour our heart into it since no one would benefit from it without that purity.
Desi Food stinks!
Okay, i was walking in the library today and i said, "hmmm what's that smell following me?" Well it was me! LOL. I've been cooking all morning and the smell of sauted onions and garam masala linger on my clothes. How embarassing... I used to smell perfumed and nice...now i smell like a desi kitchen. Love the food though. How do i get the smell away and out of my apartment though? Pewwwww---eeeeee!
Read the 18th Surah of Qur'an this morning after fajr and this verse always gets to me. Perhaps it's because i'm a writer and have a sort of nostalgic notion about ink but this verse is how i feel about Allah, Islam and converting. There just aren't enough words to explain how i feel when people ask. Anyhow, enough of my blabber...here's the verse:
Say (O'Muhammad): "Were the sea to become ink for (writing of) the words of my Lord, surely the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord could be exhausted, even though we bring another (sea) like it to add thereto." (18:109)
What I'm thinking about today
I'm sick today and this hadith seemed very apropos....helping me keep the fast...scratchy itchy dry throat will not win me over...
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Fasting is a protection from the calamities of this world, and a veil from punishment of the next.' When you fast, intend thereby to restrain your self from fleshly appetites and to cut off those worldly desires arising from the ideas of Satan and his kind. Put yourself in the position of a sick person who desires neither food nor drink; expect recovery at any moment from the sickness of wrong actions. Purify your inner being of every lie, turbidity, heedlessness and darkness, which might cut you off from the meaning of being sincere for the sake of Allah (SWT).
Somebody said to one of the Companions, 'You are already weak; fasting will weaken you further.' 'I am preparing that fast for the evil of a long day,' he said. 'Patience in obeying Allah (SWT) is easier than patience in His punishment.' And the Messenger of Allah once quoted Allah (SWT)'s words, 'Fasting is done for Me, and I am its reward.'
Fasting kills the desire of the self and the appetite of greed, and from it comes purity of the heart, purification of the limbs, cultivation of the inner and the outer being, thankfulness for blessings, charity to the poor, increase of humble supplication, humility, weeping and most of the ways of seeking refuge in Allah (SWT); and it is the reason for the breaking of aspiration, the lightening of evil things, and the redoubling of good deeds. It contains benefits which cannot be counted. It is enough that we mention some of them to the person who understands and is given success in making use of fasting, if Allah (SWT) wills.
taken from Lantern of the Path by Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (AS)
I love the rain. Especially the kind like today. Big ploppy drops that have enough velocity to bounce up. I was supposed to go and run errands but instead i'm in here on the computer working and catching up on email next to the window. It's very soothing to hear the pitter patter all around with the occassional boom and shattering of a tree. Peaceful and powerful...a wonderful juxtaposition. I think of Allah when i think of weather. Today is one of them days. I may just have to put work away and read the qur'an, it is after all better for me.
I'm working on a screenplay for a friend and also a book review. Three articles need to be written too so it looks like this blessed month is going to be a busy one. I will write soon and let everyone know how fasting is ... right now there are some technical difficulties. Insh'Allah in a few days I will post about Ramadan and fasting as a newbie.
Right now it's work work work.
I do wish everyone a Ramadan Mubarak if i haven't already. I do hope you all are having a blessed month and that Allah increases your blessings.
Seek a true friend,
for a friend seeks the benefit of a friend,
Do good to the people for the sake of God
or for the peace of your own soul
that you may always see what is pure
and save your heart from the darkness of hate.
Yesterday i caught up on a lot of things and today was nice. Cloudy cool day so i went to Whole Foods, had a nice fish and potato lunch then went next door to Borders and got a spicy chai...they called it spicy hai chai...kinda funny. Anyhow, I took notes for the Spain trip and got lost in the pages and places. I'm so excited now. Everything is happening right now. Important things in life. My first Ramadan begins tomorrow, marriage, the trip to Spain. Life is exciting. All in one year...and not to forget converting and moving. Big life changes in one year is a bit crazy but it's been great. Insh'Allah next will be owning a home and raising a family. Mash'Allah, life is good.
Here's a memory. I was looking through hotels in Spain and came across convents and i remembered when i was in a small town in France. I stayed at a convent near a perfumerie. Crazy little town by the Grand Canyon du Verdon. In the morning the nuns wake you up to come down for prayer and breakfast. They were so happy that i was staying with them so they kept kissing and hugging me. It was really funny and seeing all the nuns running around in their habits was too cute. What's cool about them too is that a lot of them don't charge...they ask for a donation, not bad when you are travelling and they often give you breakfast too. I liked staying at them when travelling...cheap and i always felt real safe. When you give them $25 (that's what i did), they are delighted to have helped you out.
Anyway, today was a good relaxing day. Time to get back to work though. I just got assigned a 3,000 word article and another longish one and also a 225 page book to review. I have to read the book and review it by Monday-ish. Ugh...so i'm off to work. Salaam and Happy Ramadan! Have a blessed month.
Ah... I can breathe again.
I have nothing due for a few weeks. Perhaps that's because i haven't checked the mailbox and seen the books in there for me to review. Tomorrow I'll check perhaps. So now i'm going to plan a honeymoon, read the qur'an and read a book for fun. Here's something I wanted to blog the other day but didn't have time....
I have to go there often and well I usually hate it. I stand there waiting and watch soldiers go by in their spic and span clean uniforms and think: "Yeah, arrogant blah blah blah. Where's all the blood? Left it back in Iraq eh?" I don't say anything but standing there listening to some of them talk about the good they are doing...like how they don't shoot people, they let the Iraqi police do that. Whatever. The Iraqi police are just like the Americans. They don't care about the Iraqi's as a people. It just turns my stomach hearing these kids talk. Puts me in a sour mood but i keep my mouth shut....
and then something good will be soon at the airport and i'm happy... here's some images that linger in my mind from the last few times i was there in the last 30 days or so...
- A cute little boy (3-4 yrs old) impatiently waiting for someone (?) and we are all waiting waiting waiting behind the security line. An old couple comes up the escalor and at the speed of light, this kid rips past the line and runs for them jumping on his grandpa with eyes beaming and smile just glowing. Such happiness. Did i mention the skullcaps?
- Two 4-5 year old boys holding peach roses alongside their dad who has a whole bouquet. The mom/wife comes and the longest ever airport kiss took place.
- Just the other day. A thirysomething chinese lady waiting. An older chinese couple (obviously her parents and from China...no English and seem completely lost in the airport). They look around anxiously for their daughter. The daughter is waving at them to let them know where she is. Finally, she crosses the barrier and walks to them so they can see. When the mom spots her daughter, she beams and says something in Chinese but obviously affectionate and with such a high tone letting out a little excited yelp.
Mash'Allah. What i realized is that there is so much hate, racism, religionism, violence, etc. but there is also a lot of love. I think back about the soldiers and give them the benefit of the doubt. I don't know what they are thinking. Maybe they are regretting joining the military, maybe some are finding God and maybe even Islam, maybe some really hate the war, and then there are the others, but since I'm thinking positive i won't think about that, i'll just pray for them.
Salaam/Peace to you all.
Okay, my blog used to look full and used and talkative and lately it just looks anorexic...sheesh i don't know how to spell that word. Too lazy to look. Anyhow, I just turned in two articles today, and have a new book to review and lots to do over Ramadan. I'm behind on email...sorry to those of you I haven't responded to yet. I'm working on it. I'll be catching up over the next few days but i simply can't write any more today. I'm thinking about quitting the blog too. It looks pathetic lately. Or perhaps i should start a new one with a new theme. What do you guys think?
Really good hadith
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: "The Qur'an is Allah's university; so, learn as much as you can in the university." Bihar-ul-Anwar, Vol. 92, p. 19
Nice writing quote from my favorite author
My writings are no more than a handful of sand, a handful of foam, although in its grains of sand I have sown the seeds of my heart and poured the quintessence of my soul over its foam.
My writings are and will remain forever closer to the shore than to the sea, closer to the desire which burns to fulfill itself rather than to the desire which is burned out as soon as it is accomplished.
In the heart of every man and every woman there is a little sand along with a little foam.
But some among us yield up what remains concealed in the plumage of their hearts, while others are ashamed to do so.
As for me, I feel no shame at all.
~ Kahlil Gibran
The scathing book review I did a few weeks ago came out in print Sunday. I don't feel so bad now though because others felt the same about the book that i did, i was just meaner... Anyone in Denver want to send me the original?
Insh'Allah, Arabic and other stuff
Okay, obviously I'm more tired than usual, or maybe I'm just more Muslim than usual, but today while talking with a future employer I actually said "As salaam alaikum" and when she said "what?" I said, "Um, hi" and then later i said "insh'Allah" and again she said "what was that?" I said, "Oh, yes, hopefully." She already knows I'm Muslim but those little things have made it into my daily speech with non-Muslims and it's driving me crazy. One time with my dad, i said said "Khuda Hafiz" and more than once i've said "insh'Allah" to the non-understanding. I still think it would be funny if i went around and gave the english equivalents to muslims and non-muslims alike. I could go to the mosque and say "Peace be upon you" and watch them not know how to respond. I mean, it means the same thing, so why do i say it in arabic. Insh'Allah too. I can just say "God willing." So why do we converts/reverts use the arabic or urdu or farsi or whatever words instead of the english ones? To fit in? To feel Muslim? Although arabic and islam have no relation except for the glorious Qur'an being revealed in arabic. But really, that was only done so they would understand what was being said. It makes me laugh when people say arabic is the only language for muslims and that arabs are the only true muslims. I've actually been told that by arabs and it makes me laugh. I often respond with "only because you guys were the biggest sinners and Allah had to send a prophet to you, in your language, so you could understand and not sin anymore." They don't like it but then i don't like their arrogance so feel the need to give them a hard time. It's mostly out of jest. I'm NOT saying ALL Arabs just to be clear, just the arrogant ones. Don't mean to offend anyone, i'm just saying, the arabic language itself isn't islamic except for the Qur'an so saying "God willing" is the same as "insh'Allah" yet hardly anyone ever says "God willing." Okay, i guess i should have titled this post "One Big Tangent" since that is what it was. Peace be upon you...God willing. Jeez, i crack myself up.
Another exciting fun filled day...
1) Went to the library to print some stuff off. (too long of line so left)
2) Went to the other library to print stuff off and got distracted by an email and forgot stuff there.
3) Interviewed lady for article i'm doing.
4) Prayed, ate, etc.
5) Went to mall and fixed registry problems.
6) Went to store to get tandoori naan and veggies.
7) Went to halaal market to load up on meat.
8) Cooked and ate dinner (excellent dinner by the way. I think this was one of the best Pakistani dishes ever....LOVED it...spicey tomato based sauce with curry leaves, spices and chicken cooked until tender - OMG, it was good.) Talked to M for a little while.
9) Checked mail, paid bills, cleaned up some.
10)Realized although i've been busy all day with stuff, I haven't gotten any work done and it is almost 9 at night.
11)Stressed about to write some stuff.
Got offered a few more freelance writing jobs for various places today but I think i'm in overload right now. Just got another book to review too. Ugh. I haven't even touched the internet today so my theory of that being my time-sucker was wrong. Menial tasks are the problem. I used to say I would never want a maid because it just isn't normal to me. M talks about Pakistan and how they had servants and it sounds so.....odd. But lately, I'm thinking it makes sense especially when i have a family. I will still want to cook cause i love to cook. But the rest can be done by others so i can be a better wife and mother to my future (insh'Allah) kids as well as have some time to myself. Okay, off to writing and getting some of it done tonight. Oh, I also saw a house for sale that i loved, absolutely loved, good price, and good location.
Tahira: I'm sending those pictures of my nephew to you now. :-) Can't wait to have some time to get out to your neck of the woods again. I miss you and your family. Insh'Allah soon I'll get out there.
Exhausted and whiney
I have been working non stop today. Here's my day:
2) Cooked a huge lunch (Balti Chicken in a Saffron Sauce, Dahl, and Okra Fry).
3) Research/Writing for about 8 hours now.
I just finished a book review last week and that put me behind on everything else. Now I am working on two very different articles, both due Friday and still so much to do for them as well as get tickets for the wedding, get tickets for the honeymoon, plan the honeymoon, finish the gift registry stuff, complain about the neighbors again, and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff. Looking at my blog and how sparse it is hit me as strange. Usually it's full from top to bottom, but these days, it's just empty. I also want to read Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree before the honeymoon since it's about Muslims in Andalusia and that's where we are going. I haven't read Qur'an for 3 days now and that bugs me. Just whining a little bit before I fall asleep right here in my chair which I would do if my neighbors weren't so loud. I'm at their mercy. If they go to bed early, I can too. If they don't, then I'm up until they go to bed. Obnoxious people. I can't wait till they move or I move.
PS. I posted a few pics to my picture blog a few weeks ago...from Chattanooga.
OMG. Weddings are not easy. M's mom is taking care of it all but still, just the little things that we need to do are involved. We hadn't thought about gifts until people started asking and realized, "Oh, we need to do a registry." Well, the invites need to go out asap so we had to go this weekend and find everything we want for our future home in 2 days at 2 stores. Crazy weekend. And that is all we did all weekend long. Nothing else. LOL. That's some serious shopping. 150 guests is a lot...but the good news is...our new home is going to rock. :-)
So i watched the puppet show last night and got a few good laughs and a few "did he just say what i thought he said"'s. Now that was entertainment. I feel a bit better about voting for the lesser of the two evils. I still have issues with him, but I feel much better about voting for Kerry. If that debate didn't show how ignorant Bush is, I don't know what will...oh and a recent Bushism: "Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNS aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." at a recent Missouri speech about healthcare.
PS. I uploaded a few more pictures to my photoblog...link off to the left under about me.