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Fear Allah and treat your fellow sisters of Islam as you would want your mother, sisters, or wife to be treated.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Rant on Abaya Companies and Other Choices Muslim Women may have.

Salam alaikum sisters. 

I was wondering if any of you think or wonder about what I am about to address?

So many sisters are adamant about all of us wearing abaya's or something similar. Yet, almost every abaya company you come across is very expensive. Those that are not expensive are of terrible quality and only last a few washes and wears. 

I do sew, and I do know the prices on things. I also know if you buy material in bulk it is even cheaper. I understand you must also count in the labor, delivery, etc. I just find it so disheartening, that sisters who are not as blessed financially are unable to invest in nice quality abaya's because of the high prices. 

If it isn't the prices, then the abaya's are not practical for mothers, expectant mothers, or nursing mothers. Yes I know there are *some* options, though none that are really to my liking. So I thought I would show/explain how I dress, in a practical and affordable way.

First off, I always try to go to the second hand store. Many times there are nice clothes tucked away, perfect for us Muslim women. I always go straight to the dress section, especially where all the black clothes are (personal preference as you can pair black with anything). I look through them and often times I will find button down black jumpers. These are perfect, if there is a slit or if it is a bit short, you can pair it with either a black skirt, a colorful skirt, or even a pair of pants if you are intending to play with the little ones at the park.

Even if the jumper is short sleeved or sleeveless, you can put a shirt under it as I did in the picture above. (Yes Ahmad's blanket has to be in every picture).

I am sure the most "go to" item Muslimah's purchase to resemble the abaya are maxi dresses. I find them really pretty, but when I buy something I want it to last and be wearable for a long time. That includes any upcoming pregnancies or when I would need to breastfeed. Before I buy anything, I consider these 2 things:

Will it work while I am pregnant?

Will be functional while I am breastfeeding?

Would it still fit and feel comfortable while I am neither of those?

Below is a picture of me and Ahmad on my 20th birthday. Here I just had a plain black skirt, black turtle neck and a cardigan on top for modesty, this is when I was still breastfeeding Ahmad.

I will admit, I am not much into fashion, but more into practicality and simplicity. 

 "Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art. They seem to be the purpose of God for his whole creation."

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
 Leonardo Da Vinci quotes 
"The Prophet (pbuh) said: The believer is simple and generous, but the profligate is deceitful and ignoble." Dawud :: Book 41 : Hadith 4772
Narrated AbuSalamah ; AbuHurayrah

Anyhoo, these are just some thoughts (and a rant, sorry about that). Insha'allah, those who can't afford the expensive abaya's will benefit from this post. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A New Abaya Idea

Obviously, as of right now, I will not be able to sew this, but I am really anxious for when I can! Insha'allah, once everything settles down with the business I can get my needle and thread back out. :) Tell me what you think. :)

An Idea

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Family Members of Converts to Islam Say The Things They Do

Salam alaikum sisters.

A few months ago I found an Aunt of mine on Facebook and added her as a friend. Two days ago I realized she still hadn't added me, so I messaged her and asked why she hadn't. She replied that she didn't want to be "associated" with someone like me. 

Needless to say, I was shocked by her frankness (which I shouldn't be, as she is my father's sister). I honestly thought that after nearly 2 1/2 years of my conversion everyone would have gotten use to the idea and there wouldn't be so much drama about it. But I thought wrong.  

So I thought I would compile a post of things that are said to us reverts (converts) by our family members. Insha'allah, I will be able to explain why it is said to us and proof that what our family may say to us is wrong and spoken out of ignorance.

I am sure every convert has heard this at one time or another. In my opinion I believe our family says this as it is much easier to believe that your child, or family member was forced or convinced to join a strange and foreign religion, rather than to believe that you actually chose this religion for yourself. This accusation is completely shut down when I tell them that I was in a Christian only Medical Missionary College when I decided I wanted to be Muslim.

I never got this when I was single and a new Muslim, obviously, but after I married, suddenly that was the obvious reason I converted (said in sarcasm). Many are 100% sure you must have known him before you converted one way or another, but they are just as shocked when I tell them I didn't even know he existed until 5 days before we married. I always remind them, rather they are a family member or a stranger, that in Islam there is no compulsion in religion.

Allah says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

Now, I will admit, no one had ever accused me of being with a cult until my Aunt replied to me. So I wanted to look up what cult meant (definition wise).

  • formal religious veneration : worship
  • a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
  • a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
  • a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>
  • great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
  •  the object of such devotion, usually a small group of people characterized by such devotion

As you have probably already noticed, none of this describes the religion of Islam. I suppose some of those definitions describe religion in general, especially when it says "a system of religious beliefs and rituals". 

Is Islam "unorthodox"? No. 

Is Islam "greatly devoted to a person, idea, object, movement, or work"? No, we are only devoted to Allah (the Arabic word for God, even Christian Arabs refer to God as Allah), God, the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Yes we love Prophet Muhammad, but we also equally love Jesus, Abraham, Moses, Adam and all the other prophets.  

Is Islam a "small group of people characterized by such devotion"? No, there are over a billion adherents to our wonderful religion of Islam. 

So, to say that Islam is a "cult" is completely absurd. 

I will begin with a little bit of what Islam's way of life is and compare it with Christianity. In Islam, it is an obligation to pray 5 times a day.

    Matthew 26:41 
    "Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!" (NLT)
[29:45] "Observe the Salat (Contact Prayers) for it prohibits evil and vice."

As you can see, both Islam and Christianity encourage prayer. It is also an obligation to pay zakat (charity).

Blessed is he that considers the poor: Yahweh will deliver him in time of trouble. Yahweh will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and you will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. – Psalms 41:1-2
The alms (Zakat in this specific verses case) are meant only for the poor and the needy and those who are in charge thereof, those whose hearts are to be reconciled; and to free those in bondage, and to help those burdened with debt, and for expenditure in the way of Allah and for the wayfarer. This is an obligation from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (9:60)

As you can see in these verses here, both Islam and Christianity, once again, encourage charity or also known by, zakat. Islam believes in one God.

 'You shall have no other gods before Me...You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' Exodus 20:2,3
 "Your God is but one God. There is no god other than Him, Compassionate and Merciful. In the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alternation of night and day, in the ships that ply the seas to the benefit of man, in the water sent down from the heavens to revive the earth after its death, in the different species of animals scattered across the earth, in the rotation of the winds, in the clouds that are subordinate to God's command between heaven and earth, in all of this, there are signs for men who use their intellects." (2:163-164) "
Christianity and Islam both support the ideology that there is only one God. I could go on and on providing evidences from the Bible and the Quran, but today I wanted to show only a few just for the sake of proving, Islam is God's way.

Astafirugallah, insha'allah, Allah will forgive my father for saying this out of pure ignorance. I can not think of anything better to provide then this awesome, well said video:

I am sure there are many, many things said to us as converts that I can not cover right now. This post is getting long as I am sure you have noticed. So I just want to bring you reassurance, that, insha'allah, one day our family members will come to accept us and our decisions. Until then, just remember, most of what they say is out of confusion, hurt, ignorance, and not wanting to accept the fact that you went against the "norm".

Insha'allah all of you are having a lovely day!

Salam alaikum.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Worldly Modesty?

Salam alaikum sisters, it has been a while since I have written anything close to Islamic thoughts or questions, so I thought why not write about something I have been pondering for some time? 

Today as I was opening the store, Ahmad was in his play area and the lady that works with us hadn't arrived yet. So I had a lot of quiet time to think while putting things in the showcases. While doing so, I was reminiscing my last trip to Missouri which was in November 2012, seeing my family and visiting my Mennonite friends. 

When I went to visit my Mennonite friends there was one conversation- more like a short discussion- that I have never been able to get out of my head. I have pondered over it a lot and thought to share my thoughts on what we spoke about. 

As I am sure most of you know, Mennonites are well known of their modesty, humility, and kindness (that is until the ridiculous show "Breaking Amish" came out). Anyhoo, while I spent my 1 week visit there, we discussed many things, but one thing we spoke about was what they thought of how Muslim women dressed. Do bear in mind, my Mennonite friends are very blunt and basically will tell you exactly what you asked without sugar coating it- which is exactly how I like to be answered. :) The lady answered, 

"If you ask me, I think you all dress worldly". 

I was quite taken aback by her answer as normally I wear the Abaya (or clothes that resemble the Abaya), and just happened to wear sweaters over it as it was very cold in Missouri while I was there. So I asked her to clarify what she meant when she said worldly, and she said my sweaters I wore would be considered worldly. I found that kind of contradictory as every Mennonite lady I have met in their sect of Mennonites, would wear store bought sweaters, jackets, high heels, etc. Even the print of their dresses can be very bright and bold. But what I am writing isn't to dissect what she said to me, but rather, put out questions and thoughts on it. 

Would it be too bold to say that following "fashion" would be considered worldly? Or even to ask what exactly is considered "worldly" in Islam? In all honesty, I have never heard my fellow Muslim sisters use "worldly", instead, I hear "haram", "immodest", etc. In the eyes of my humble Mennonite friends, and ex-church members in the SDA church, jewelry or any other flashiness or vanity is considered "worldly". For Mennonites, it is an OBLIGATION to wear modest clothing that resembles their fellow church members, as it is also an OBLIGATION for the men to wear a beard and not being allowed to wear shirts with animations on them (excluding stripes or plaid). They do not whatsoever follow a "culture" or "society" but rather, they have stayed pretty much intact as their ancestors (other than using electricity, running water and cars). 

Would wearing jeans and tight fitting clothes be considered worldly? Would conforming to society's standards by following their "fashion fads" be considered worldly?

As Muslim women, we often pride ourselves saying,

"I wear the hijab to avoid conforming to the society's standards".

But wouldn't following fashion fads be the same as conforming to society's standards, instead, just throwing a scarf on top of it?

I find that the Mennonites do not question what they believe, because they believe it is true. If we as Muslims find Islam is 100% true, why do we question or falter in what Islam teaches? I can understand there are moments in life when we must question and weigh what we believe, but once you come to the conclusion that what you believe is 100% true, why must we question, neglect, or excuse the smaller things in our faith?

When I first reverted (converted) to Islam, I was with a sister. Before Islam, I never paid attention to fashion, but after Islam, this sister, who I looked up to, stressed that we have to look somewhat "fashionable" as already we are ridiculed for the hijab. Why be ridiculed for not fitting in fashion wise? I do agree we as Muslimahs are practically "ambassadors" of Islam. We truly represent our religion when we walk out of homes with our hijab on, but we will only show what Islam truly is, if we follow the Islamic standards and not society's standards. If you go out of your home with Abaya (or clothes that resemble the abaya), and you are clean and do not smell foul, why is anything else necessary? 

This post isn't pointing at anyone and saying they are wrong, rather it is a collaboration of all thoughts I have been pondering lately. Let me know your opinions and thoughts on this subject. Also, there are no Islamic thoughts as a basis of this post, but just what I have been thinking of lately. Do your research and follow what you believe 100%! Again these are just my thoughts and I am putting this out for a discussion. :) 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ahmad is 17 Months Old!

Salam alaikum my sisters. Insha'allah all of you are well!

Subhanallah, masha'allah, I can not fathom the thought that my little baby is 17 months old! Time truly goes by much too fast!

I feel truly blessed by Allah to be allowed to see my son grow and mature day by day. Sadly though, Ahmad hasn't really picked up any new words, and seems to be stuck on "dada", "Did you know that?", and "huh?". I try to get him to say "Mama", "Baba", "Salam alaikum", etc. but instead he replies with, "Dada" or "Daaaadoooo". When are customers come he will always say to them, "Did you know that?" But it is so cute how he says it cause he stutters, 

"Did ju did ju did ju did ju know dat?".  

When they reply with "Oh, yes I did", he says, 

"Oh", and walks away.

A few other cute things he has done this last month was, he found a bottle of water after he finished what he had in his sippy cup and brought both his sippy cup and water bottle to me. While he was eating, he spilled some water on his chair, he took his napkin and wiped up the water! He also loves to go outside, but due to use being in the store 12 hours a day, and our store being located right next to a very busy street, he is unable to go out.

When Ahmad does something naughty and we reprimand him, he turns his back on us and has the cutest poochy lip that we can't help but laugh. He also is very sensitive when he hurts someone. He accidently head banged me on the eyebrow which hurt very badly and actually made me tear up, and he turned my face towards him and patted my checks, I suppose that was his way to say he was sorry.

There are so many other things that he does that just melts my heart, every time he smiles or laughs, every time he does something new and surprises me. Alhamdulilah. 

Ahmad's Second Birthday!

Our Anniversary!