Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Malaysia - Part 3

Oh...the bumpy boat ride. It was like a horrible roller coaster for me. It threw you high in the sky and then you came crashing down on your uncushioned boat seat. Pain was a constant friend for almost the entire boat ride. Hubby said he felt that way too but the kids seemed just fine and were shrieking with joy while I did so in pain. The few other passengers were stoic and looked at us like we were weirdos. Back in Canada a friend told me we must have taken the fast boat (took an hour to get to the island) instead of the nice slow boat. Turns out she was right and the quick boat was cheaper. Had I known Malay I would have realized we had a better choice! So much for that. Then there was the difficulty of getting out of  the boat to the jetty especially with my leg troubles. Once we got to the island though,oh joy , oh bliss. I thought this is like Paradise and the trip was like dunia and I don't ever want to leave Perhentian Island.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Choosing Commitment
Surah Hud (Hud) Chapter 11: Verse 118
"Had your Lord willed, He would have made all people one and the same nation! But they will remain differentiated."
Islam is the essence of all divine religions and is the mission of all Prophets from Adam to Muhammad, upon them be peace. It is the universal call directed to all men of all times and places without discrimination. The Arabs were called upon to raise the banner of Islam not because they were racially or culturally superior to their contemporaries, but in order that they, too, might do their share of commitment to the religion of God and make their contributions to humanity. It was precisely for this reason that Muhammad, peace be upon him, sometimes felt distressed when he saw some people turning their backs to the call of God. Righteous, and concerned as he was, and knowing what Islam meant for humanity, Muhammad believed and hoped that every man would naturally accept Islam without reservation. But this did not come through, and Muhammad like any other committed human being, experienced some frustration. To overcome this frustration, God revealed to him verses like this.
No leader can afford to be indifferent to his commitment and to those around him. On the other hand, he cannot afford to be possessed by excessive enthusiasm about things beyond his control, for this may well shatter his personality and destroy his entire purpose. True, he is committed and responsible for his commitment. True, too, he must do his utmost to honour his commitment. But we must remember that responsibility is proportionate to man's capacity and potential. Between these two poles of indifference and excessive enthusiasm, there is a very wide range for great actions and achievements.
God has created diverse people and has offered them the chance to participate in the shaping of history. He has created them differentiated so that they might know one another, be free to choose their commitments, and be responsible for their choice. This means that the business of the committed people is unfinished and their responsibility never ceases. This, in turn, gives the committed a sense of continuity, a goal, and a dynamism of motivation.
Compiled From:
Islam: A Way of Life and a Movement, "Islam and Humanity" - Hammudah Abdalati, pp. 101, 102

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Gentleness and Moderation
If an insult or a curse is reciprocated on the spur of the moment, then it must be within the limits of moderation. This is aptly illustrated by the Hadith, reported by both Al-Bukhari and Muslim, concerning a group of Jews who came to visit the Prophet, peace be upon him. When they addressed him with the distorted phrase 'may death be upon you (al-sam alaykum)' instead of the familiar Islamic greeting, 'peace be upon you (al-salam alaykum)', the Prophet's wife, Aishah replied with these words, 'may death and curse be upon you (al-sam alaykum wa al-lanah)'. Upon hearing this, the Prophet told his wife: 'O Aishah, God Most High loves gentleness', to which she replied, 'Did you not hear what they said?' And the Prophet said, 'Yes, but you could have just said "and upon you (wa alaykum)".'
Gentleness and moderation are among the most desirable features of the Islamic ethos which God and His Messenger have repeatedly recommended. These attributes are the real antidote to cursing and insult; they adorn everything to which they are applied, and beautify every occasion. Islam sets no bounds on gentleness and moderation.
Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, p. 185
In a culture of shame, we are constantly overwhelmed with feelings of fear, blame and disconnection. This creates an "us and them" world. There are people like us, and then there are "those other people." And, we normally work very hard to insulate ourselves from "those people." As children, there were the people that we were allowed to hang out with and then there were the other kids. There were the schools we went to and there were schools for the other kids. As adults, we live in the neighbourhood where our kind live - the other neighbourhoods are for the other folks. We emotionally and physically insulate ourselves from "the other." It never seems to end. We've developed language to describe the others - sometimes we refer to them as "those people" or the even more mysterious "people like that." The truth is ... we are the others.
Most of us are one paycheck, one divorce, one drug-addicted kid, one mental health diagnosis, one serious illness, one sexual assault, or one drinking binge away from being "those people" - the ones we don't trust, the ones we pity, the ones we don't let our children play with, the ones bad things happen to, the ones we don't want living next door.
We use the concept of otherness to insulate ourselves and to disconnect. Sharing our shame with someone is painful, and just sitting with someone who is sharing his or her shame story with us can be equally painful. The natural tendency to avoid or reduce this pain is often why we start to judge and insulate ourselves using otherness. We basically blame them for their experience. We unconsciously divide people into two camps: worthy of our support and unworthy.
The concept of labeling people worthy or unworthy is not new. If you look at the history of charity and philanthropy, going as far back as written history, those needing help have always been separated into the deserving poor or the undeserving poor. This thinking has become part of our culture. You can see it in our public policy, our neighbourhoods and in our families. It plays out on an individual level exactly like it plays out at the community level.
Compiled From:
"I Thought It Was Just Me" - Brene Brown, pp. 145-148

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Healthy Journey Part 8

Its been ages since I've spoken about my health but here goes. Last spring I finished the Nadoona program and I lost 22lbs even with my broken toe. I mostly went swimming! Things were going along pretty good until Ramadan when I had a miscarriage which was my 12th pregnancy; my 11th also ending in miscarriage. In September something very horrible happened and sent me into a tailspin and my health went downhill again. At the BeingMe conference I was barely able to walk and used my daughters shoulders as my supports. May Allah reward them. Amin. At the conference the NutraBee lady gave me some special honey called BeePower to take. I also got cupping the day after. These things helped me but what really helped me was going to Malaysia after 12 yrs and having my husband take me to all the places I hadn't gotten to see the first time and seeing all my in-laws and the sunshine and everything. I have been doing fine since then alhumdullilah. In November I also got tested for Lyme Disease since in August I found a tic on me and also Lupus. Both tests came back negative. The blood tests did show that I am low in iron so I am now taking iron supplements.  I am still not sure of what I really have. Is it MS like my doctor thinks or a virus like my neurologist thinks?  After RIS I tried to get cupping again but she was busy but just last week I got it done again.Also this January I started to take Flax Seed Oil and Unrefined Coconut Oil both from SweetSunnah which helped me to feel the soles of my feet for the first time in 2 years! Alhumdullilah. May Allah give you all great health and for those who have it be EXTREMELY grateful.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Constant Striving
Surah al-Qasas (The Stories) Chapter 28: Verses 56
"You [O Muhammad] guide not whom you like but God guides whom He wills. And He knows best those who receive guidance."
Constant striving is an essential feature of delivering the Message, as well as an important element of the Prophetic method. A Prophet is, so to speak, obsessed with how to perform his duty. With that goal always uppermost, he considers all circumstances and does everything permitted. As he is not responsible for the results, he leaves them to God. He knows that he cannot cause anyone to accept the Message, for he is only sent to convey it as effectively as possible.
Many Prophets lived with no one accepting their Message. However, they did not lose heart, weaken, or resort to such improper means as violence, terror, or deception even when faced with relentless hardship and torture. When the Prophet, peace be upon him, was severely wounded at Uhud, some Companions asked him to invoke God's curse on the enemy. Instead, he prayed for them, saying: "O God, forgive my people, because they don't know." He did this while his face was covered with blood.
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 77

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Domestic Leader
The Prophet's household consisted of several wives and daughters, and had its problems as does any human household. Under the leadership of the great husband, peace was the eminent feature of life and strife the exception. It was the Prophet who said: "The most perfect in faith among the believers are those who possess the best morals, and the best among you are those who are kindest to their wives" (Tirmidhi). This statement is indeed very significant for it gives a profound criterion through which humanity may measure its elevation or its failure.
Women are always treated unjustly during ages of ignorance because of their physical weakness. Yet the Prophet of Islam gives this human touch and makes the criterion of good behaviour the way a man treats his wife.
Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival, "The Way of the Prophet" - Muhammad Qutb, p. 129
Framework for Life
The only way to live by the Quran is to live life as the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, lived it, for his life was the Quran in practice. His example is the surest guide to its meaning and Message. If you want to 'see' the Quran then look at the Prophet's life.
The best way to understand the Quran and follow its Message is to learn what the Prophet said, spend hours and hours in his company, follow in his footsteps and cast yourself in the mould that he left behind.
The Quran provides the essential framework for human life. But the Prophet and his Sunna proved us with the details of that framework. If you desire to know what type of person the Quran wants you to be and what type of society the Quran wants you to create, you only need to look at the Prophet's life history.
Compiled From:
"In The Early Hours" - Kurram Murad, pp. 85, 86

Monday, January 14, 2013

My trip to Malaysia -part 2.

Well after months of only being able to read about my landing in KL, you will now get to read and delight in the next part of my trip. After KL we took a small plane to Kota Bharu where my husband is from originally. There we stayed at his older sister's house which was quite an upgrade from his parents house that I stayed at 12 yrs ago. His parents house is a wooden house on stilts to avoid the floods. His sister's house is a stucco house with two levels. So this time I did not have to fight off lizards, rats, mice and bats. There was also air conditioning with wall units along with the fans. Also this time I was able to be more comfortable as there were no males for the majority of the time I was there. The last time I went I had to keep my hijab on 24/7 because I was staying with my in-laws which included my brother-in-law. After we had settled in we went to Tesco which is fairly new there and brand new to me in every way as Canada doesn't have that store as its British in origin. There we saw a donut store. Donuts are becoming more popular in Malaysia. I went to the Peace store for women but didn't find anything I liked in my size. My daughter (13) discovered Cool Blog which is not a blog at all but a drinks store. She fell in love with that place and kept going back to it during our trip for more. At this mall there is a kids play area but you have to pay for everything there. The guy looking after the area looked completely bored. After 2 days of being in KB we drove to Terrannganu to catch a boat to go to Perhentian Island. It turned out to be the worst boat ride of my life!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What are you reading?

So this January I have read a little of my book club book but I've mostly been reading two other books which in fact I've finished. The first one is Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed who I have heard speak live twice; once at the Being Me conference and the second time at RIS. The first time her book sold out before I could get my hands on it and the second time she did not confirm if she would be selling her book at RIS so I ordered it right beforehand and then voila she ends up selling them and signing them and my copy got to my house while I was at the conference which of course was out of town. The second book I read was Bringing Up Bebe which is about the differences between American parenting and French parenting and the author chose this topic since she had chosen to settle in Paris with her husband. This book is so easy to read and is written so well that you wish she could just keep going. I realized when reading this book that I am a blend of both types of parents and maybe that's because I'm French Canadian but also Irish and Scottish Canadian? I don't know. These books are both great in their own way. The first one will bring you closer to Allah and the second will help you see how others parent their kids and see what you can use or ignore. So whatcha reading? As my 3 yr old says..."share,share, share."

On a sad note the author of the Echoes series;Linda Jamilah Kolocotronis, has passed away. I have no details but her books meant a lot to my family as they were about converts like my son and daughter and I and most recently my daughter-in-law. She herself was a convert as well. Inna ilaihi wa inna ilaihi rajiun. May Allah forgive her sins and grant her jannah. Amin.You can find her books here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Warning Against Affront
Surah al-Ahzab (The Confederates) Chapter 33: Verses 56-62
"God and His angels bless the Prophet. Believers! Bless him and give him greetings of peace. Those who malign God and His Messenger will be rejected by God in this world and in the life to come. He has prepared for them a humiliating suffering. And those who malign believing men and women for no wrong they might have done shall have burdened themselves with the guilt of calumny and with a blatant injustice. Prophet! Say to your wives, daughters and all believing women that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments. This will be more conducive to their being recognized and not maligned. God is Much-Forgiving, Merciful. If the hypocrites, those who are sick at heart and those who spread lies in the city do not desist, We will rouse you against them, and then they will not be your neighbours in this city except for a little while: bereft of God's grace, they shall be seized wherever they may be found, and will be slain. Such has been God's way with those who went before. Never will you find any change in God's way."
The whole universe echoes God's praise of His Prophet. No honour could be greater than this. When God so honours and praises the Prophet, it is exceedingly grotesque for humans to give offence to him. What makes this even more grotesque and ridiculous is that it is an affront to God by His creatures. They can never affront or offend God, but the expression here serves to show great sensitivity to any offence committed against the Prophet, in effect making it an offence against God Himself.
God's strong condemnation against maligning believers generally, men and women, suggests that there was in Madinah at the time a group of people who schemed in this way against believers: they defamed them, conspired against them and circulated false allegations about them. God undertakes to reply to the accusers, describing them as hypocrites guilty of calumny and injustice.
God Almighty then instructs His Messenger to say to his wives, daughters and Muslim women generally to draw over themselves some of their outer garments. In this way, they would be recognized as Muslim women and the hypocrites would be wise not to follow them to tease and malign them. Commenting on this verse, al-Suddi says: "Some wicked people in Madinah used to go out at nightfall to make indecent remarks to women... When such people saw a woman wrapped in her outer cover, they refrained from maligning her as they recognized her as free and chaste."
We note the great care taken to purge all wicked behaviour from the Muslim society. These elements had to be pushed into a narrow corner, while new Islamic values and traditions took firm root in the Muslim community.
The passage concludes with a stern warning to the hypocrites and those who were sick at heart as well as those who circulated false rumours requiring that they stop all such wicked action, and refrain from affronting the believers and the Muslim community as a whole. Unless they stopped, God would empower His Messenger to drive them out of Madinah, so that they could be taken and killed wherever they were.
Compiled From:
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 14, pp. 110-112
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
During the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) punishment was inflicted on the rapist on the solitary evidence of the woman who was raped by him. Wa'il ibn Hujr reports of an incident when a woman was raped. Later, when some people came by, she identified and accused the man of raping her. They seized him and brought him to Allah's messenger, who said to the woman, "Go away, for Allah has forgiven you," but of the man who had raped her, he said, "Stone him to death." (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
Islamic legal scholars interpret rape as a crime in the category of Hiraba. The famous jurist, Ibn Hazm, had the widest definition of hiraba, defining a hiraba offender as: ‘One who puts people in fear on the road, whether or not with a weapon, at night or day, in urban areas or in open spaces, in the palace of a caliph or a mosque, with or without accomplices, in the desert or in the village, in a large or small city, with one or more people… making people fear that they’ll be killed, or have money taken, or be raped (hatk al arad)… whether the attackers are one or many."
The Maliki judge Ibn Arabi, relates a story in which a group was attacked and a woman in their party was raped. Responding to the argument that the crime did not constitute hiraba because no money was taken and no weapons used, Ibn Arabi replied indignantly that "hiraba with the private parts" is much worse than hiraba involving the taking of money, and that anyone would rather be subjected to the latter than the former.
The crime of rape is classified not as a subcategory of ‘zina’ (consensual adultery), but rather as a separate crime of violence under hiraba. This classification is logical, as the "taking" is of the victim's property (the rape victim’s sexual autonomy) by force.
The focus in a hiraba prosecution is the accused rapist and his intent and physical actions, and not second-guessing the consent of the rape victim. Hiraba does not require four witnesses to prove the offense, circumstantial evidence, medical data and expert testimony form the evidence used to prosecute such crimes.
Islamic legal responses to rape are not limited to a criminal prosecution for hiraba. Islamic jurisprudence also provides an avenue for civil redress for a rape survivor in its law of "jirah" (wounds). Islamic law designates ownership rights to each part of one's body, and a right to corresponding compensation for any harm done unlawfully to any of those parts. Islamic law calls this the ‘law of jirah’ (wounds). Harm to a sexual organ, therefore, entitles the person harmed to appropriate financial compensation under classical Islamic jirah jurisprudence. Each school of Islamic law has held that where a woman is harmed through rape (some include marital rape), she is entitled to financial compensation for the harm. Further, the perpetrator must pay the woman an additional amount based on the ‘diyya’ (financial compensation for murder, akin to a wrongful death payment).
Compiled From:
"Rape & Incest: Islamic Perspective" - Uzma Mazhar
Control of Authority
One can often read and hear, from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, a translation of shariah as meaning only and strictly "Islamic Law." This understanding and translation are significant: they reveal one of the reductions that took place within Muslim thought over the course of centuries. Ash-shariah, which had been the Way to the light from which the implementation of laws over time and in different environments was thought out, came to be reduced to a set of laws to be implemented formally, as they then were. This understanding and translation reveal reductions that have critical consequences.
Civil society, that of ordinary women and men, needs to wake up and call for legal councils and intellectuals to provide comprehensive, but precise and consistent answers to their social, cultural, economic, and political questions. The population, through its commitment and its legitimate demands, must take it on itself to seize control of the authority to which it is entitled. The shift in the centre of gravity of authority involves the return of ordinary women and men to full civic commitment, uncompromising critical questioning, and a collective, practical search for solutions. This is one of the aspects of the crisis and of the shortcomings that can be observed today in the Islamic Universe of reference, always with the same reflexes of defensive formalism as obsessed with otherness, whereas what should be initiated is a confident, universalistic reform movement, which is both wholly inclusive and positively assertive.
Compiled From:
"Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 271-274

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Demonstration of Resurrection
Surah al-Baqarah (The Cow) Chapter 2: Verse 260
When Abraham said: "Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead, " He replied: "Have you no faith?" He said "Yes, but just to reassure my heart." Allah said, "Take four birds, draw them to you, and cut their bodies to pieces. Scatter them over the mountain-tops, then call them back. They will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise."
Abraham, peace be upon him, did not question Allah's capability of raising the dead nor did he ask for a proof of that capability. He already had full faith in it. In fact, he did not ask a question at all; rather, he just requested a demonstration to gain personal knowledge of how resurrection happens. In asking for a demonstration, he was not out of line. All Messengers were given special knowledge, and taken through special experiences, to enable them to witness the faith to humanity on the basis of their personal observation, instead of just being told about it. Thus, like other Messengers, Abraham had asked to be shown a behind-the-scenes view of Allah's kingdom. It was from this perspective that he asked for this demonstration.
As shown, Abraham's request for a demonstration was about a matter of faith (raising the dead) put forth to help him do his prophetic job on the basis of personal knowledge. It was not about any action commanded by Allah, to which he always surrendered without ever asking a question - not even concerning the purpose of the command or its rationale.
Compiled From:
"Islam: Adopting Its Paradigms" - Ayub A. Hamid, pp. 64, 65
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
State of Recollection
Spirituality, from an Islamic point of view, is the way in which the believer keeps his faith alive and intensifies and reinforces it. Spirituality is remembrance - recollection and the intimate energy involved in the struggle against the natural human tendency to forget God, the meaning of life, and the other world. All the practices prescribed by Islam, especially prayer, are in fact a means of recollection (dhikr).
Excellence, defined as the ideal behaviour of the Muslims, would be to attain a state where there was no forgetfulness. Excellence (al-Ihsan), the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, is "to worship God as if you could see Him, or even if you cannot see Him, He sees you. [Bukhari]" that is, to try to be with God in every situation.
Compiled From:
"Western Muslims and The Future of Islam" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 79
Cool Tips!
Creating Change
When we talk about individual and collective change, it's important to realize that not all of us are going to engage in political action, advocacy or even small group efforts. Some of us may create change by changing the way we interact with people or changing our relationships. Others may raise critical awareness with friends and family members.
We need to find a method of change that moves and inspires us. Sometimes, as individuals, our efforts vary depending upon the issue. Whether we are trying to change something at our child's school, fighting to have offensive magazines removed from our local convenience store, trying to get better maternity leave at work or struggling to change national policy, the following six Ps work:
Personal: Even the most personal changes often have a powerful ripple effect through the lives of our families, friends and colleagues. Change can take many forms - there is nothing more inherently political than breaking through social-community expectations so we can live our lives at our full potential and help others do the same. Practicing courage, compassion and connection in the face of shame is a political act.
Pens: Write a letter. Most organizational leaders and legislators will respond to letters, e-mails or faxes. If you see an advertisement that's incredibly offensive, e-mail the company.
Polls: Vote. Find out how candidates feel about the issues that affect your life and vote.
Participation: Learn about the organizations that support your issues. Join them in the fight. Most organizations make it very easy to stay up to date on issues by e-mailing updates.
Purchases: The dollar is mightier than the sword; stop buying from people who don't share your values. Marketing research shows that women are the decision makers in an estimated eighty-five percent of household buying decisions.
Protests: A protest is not always a million people marching on the capital. Sometimes a protest is four or five people showing up at a school board meeting or in someone's office. Regardless of size and scope, when we come together to ask for what we need, some people will label our actions as "protest." If that stops us, we have to ask, "Who benefits by that?"
Reaching out to others allows us to identify and name what we share in common and creates the opportunity for both personal and social change.
Compiled From:
"I Thought It Was Just Me" - Brene Brown, pp. 131-134