Archive for July, 2011

Ramadan Support

I just wanted to put this out there:ย  if any fellow converts/reverts or anyone needs any moral support this Ramadan, please do not hesitate to email me: mestizamuslim@gmail.com

I know it’s tough and it can be lonely, but remember that God loves you and Alhamdulillah He gave us this blessed month to rejoice.

I also advise you contact your local mosque or Islamic center. InshAllah, people will be able to help out with open iftars, prayer times, gatherings, etc. and/or get you in touch with sisters and brothers who are willing to take you into their families for Ramadan ๐Ÿ™‚


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As Ramadan approaches, here are some things to keep in mindย  ๐Ÿ™‚

12) If this is your first Ramadan, fasting might be a little difficult at first. Just know the first day is the hardest and Alhamdulillah, afterwards it continues to get easier.

13) Naps are your friend. An hour nap is a lot better than sitting there and staring at the clock, waiting for Maghrib. Also, you’ll probably be tired after staying up for Suhor…your sleeping schedule might need some adjustment ๐Ÿ™‚

14) Drink LOTS of water before fasting. Kind of a given but please do, don’t dehydrate yourself.

15) Iftars. They are one of the most beautiful parts of Ramadan but for converts they can be oh so lonely if you don’t find people to share it with. Mosques definitely have open iftars or you might have friends at the masjid to take you in. Also, you can have your non-Muslim friends to have a late dinner with you. This one is particularly fun because (at least in my case) my friends really enjoy examining me as a take my first sip of water/bite of the day. They’re entertained and I get iftar buddies! Win-Win. It certainly beats eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich alone in your room.

16) Same goes for Suhors. Even though converts a lot of times do a Gogurt and cereal Suhor alone, in a lot of Muslim families, this is something that everyone does together. Try to do this with others as much as possible or at least a few times. It makes waking up super early a lot more enjoyable!

17) On the topic of eating, don’t gorge yourself during iftars. Yes, I understand you are hungry, but then don’t be surprised if you gain weight rather than lose it.

18) Eid. It’s a really big holiday, be with others! Nonconverts: please take your convert friends in for Eid! It’s like the biggest celebration for Muslims and it breaks my heart to know that there are some brothers and sisters who have to spend it alone. I know Iโ€™m praying that Iโ€™ll be back at school for Eid so I can go to Eid prayer/celebrations with my MSA buddies. Please, please, please open your homes to converts, iA Allah (SWT) will reward you for welcoming the lonely into your homes for this blessed month (this goes for iftars and suhors too btw) ๐Ÿ™‚

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As I sit here and listen to Marc Anthony (who love dearly), I began to think about Eid. Alhamdulillah, I have a wonderful community to share Eid and Ramadan with back at school. I have previously mentioned that before I go on my Ramadan challenge, I needed to get a few more articles of clothing. And I really rather not be worrying about that during Ramadan (I mean there are obviously things that are a billion times more important to think about during Ramadan).ย  So, as I stated before, I think in the next few days my last few articles of clothing should be bought.

It started to click that I even though I thought I knew what I could wear for Eid, I really might not know. I mean different Muslim cultures have their different outfits for Eid but as a convert, I don’t really have that. And I realized that some other sisters might have the same dilemma, we don’t really have a set thing we wear for Eid. So I went on a bit of search and a found a couple blogs I really liked and they have some Eid suggestion

Hijabulous: I love her clothing choices, she does a lot of stuff from Forever 21 and H&M, which is totally up my alley! She also lists where everything came from so you know exactly what is from where. Click here, here and here for a few samples of her Eid outfits. There are plenty more!

Hijabie: Fusion of Fashion and Hijab. Love her stuff too! If you like something, click on the picture of the outfit to find out where it’s from. I searched Eid on her site and this is what I got. Love it. Check it out!

These are a couple to get ya’ll started but there are many more Muslim fashion sites out there! Go forth, search, and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Image Courtesty of: http://www.hijabiestyle.com/

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Image courtesty of: http://blogs.bgsu.edu/hkrista/

Everyone has their Ramadan goals, yes?

I have been developing mine for the past weeks. The ones I came up with are:

  1. Read the whole Qur’an: I know this is one most people attempt/do and some might think it’s kind of a given but I really want to do it. I want to read a whole translation of the Qur’an so I can really get to the basics of my faith.
  2. Make all prayers: Easier said than done with some of them (aka Fajr) but InshAllah.
  3. Completely learn all of Salaat: Confession: I don’t know the part you do when you’re sitting down aka the Tashahhud. It’s difficult to learn something in a completely different language but I’ll admit, I should have learned it by now. So when I get to the Masjid on Eid, I’ll be able to recite everything correctly, InshAllah.

So that is what I had planned. However, today I came across this article on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed: no clothes til december. Summary: No buying new clothes until december, wear what you’ve got. I got to thinking, how often I decide I need something and then hate it and leave it in my closet something like that. I still have that horrible pair of jeans that 1) did not fit correctly (I bought them in a hurry) 2) I made a sad attempt at making them fit and now 3) they are completely ruined and sit in my closet as a reminder of $30 wasted. Not fun.

So, I thought, what if I do something like this? I decided to try. At least for Ramadan, which will be hard because Ramadan this year falls during the back to school shopping flurry. One thing I will need to buy though before August 1st is a new skirt. I need something to wear for Eid prayer (you need to look nice) and I think I have my Eid outfit almost figured out, I just need the maxi skirt (don’t act like you haven’t started planning your Eid outfit already. You know you have lol). So that will be my last piece. I desperately wanted a pair of skinny jeans before school starts too (I recently put my favorite pair to rest ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) So that might get put on the exemption list too but besides that (and underwear. As Sarah pointed out underwear is a must), I will not buy nothing, nada, zip. For me: also on my no buying list will go jewelry, scarves and shoes. I have more than enough, even though one can definitely argue that you can never have enough.

Also, after thinking it through, I decided Ramadan will be the end of me buying those $2 coffees at McDonalds, Coffee Bean, Peet’s, Starbucks, etc. No more wasting my cash on my beloved coffees that come in the pretty little paper/plastic cups. If I don’t have a gift card or something of the sort, I will be stuck making it at home. Both Ramadan and Sarah’s post have made me think about reining in that consumerism I had previously talked about. It needs to be done. And that’s that. (Thank you Sarah for the idea!)

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Islam = Unity and Love

We all say the same thing in the end:

ุฃุดู‡ุฏ ุฃู† ู„ุง ุฅู„ู‡ ุฅู„ุง ุงู„ู„ู‡ ูˆ ุฃุดู‡ุฏ ุฃู† ู…ุญู…ุฏ ุฑุณูˆู„ ุงู„ู„ู‡

I bear witness that there is no god but God and Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of God.

Yo atestigo que no hay dios mas que Dios y que Muhammad (La paz sea con รฉl) es el mensagero de Dios.

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I haven’t watched a lot of Baba Ali but I recently (aka like 3 minutes ago) came across this video and it was like, “BAHAHAHA story of my life!”

What up Converts!

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I recently came across an article talking about how Asra Nomani wants it to be a law that if mosques don’t allow women to pray in the musallah (main prayer section), they should not have tax exemption. I personally agree with the article in the sense that this demand infringes on the First Amendment rights of mosques, synagogues, temples, churches, etc. As the article says, there are a lot of factors of cultural practice, modesty, money and expansion issues that make this demand difficult for mosques. However,ย  it also made me think about the whole issue of “the women’s section.”

I personally prefer being in the same room as the men when I pray, I feel more unity within the whole community and I like seeing the khateeb instead of craning my neck to look at a TV screen so I feel like I’m being addressed, not just the brothers. However, I know some of my sisters prefer separate sections, for good reasons too. Modesty is always important to remember as Muslims, and if there’s a cute guy in the first row, you might not concentrate on God all that much, which is a pretty bad thing if you’re in a Masjid. So same room or not, I’m cool either way. I’m a pretty easy person to please.

But for me, this isn’t the main issue. The main issue is making the women’s section nice, beautiful, and spacious. Because let’s face it, some mosques have, I’m sorry, but pretty crappy women’s sections. You’re smashed in this little room/balcony where your kneeing other poor women, trying to pray comfortably without bumping into someone else’s butt.

Alhamdullilah, I have been able to find a Masjid where the women’s section is large, clean and really beautiful. It also has a clear barrier (it’s a balcony-type of thing) so if you sit in the front row, you can actually see the rest of the congregation and the khateeb. I always arrive early (like an hour early) so I can sit in the front and get more of that unity feeling. And actually, what is also nice, now that I think about it, is that I get my unity feeling but I still can’t see the brother’s faces (only backs of heads) and they can’t see me. See? Modesty preserved. And I feel so welcome and taken care of there. The women’s section is definitely on the same level as the men’s.

So Brothers, I ask you take care of the women. Instead saving up for the new chandelier, improve/refurbish the women’s section if you see it isn’t up to par with the men’s: be it a balcony, behind the men, to the side of the men, in another room etc. Expand it if it’s too small, put in new carpets,get chairs for our older sisters to sit in while they pray. Make sure it is a place you yourself would pray in if you were in the sisters’ position. And Sisters, if your section isn’t adequate, make your voices heard and demand improvement. The Prophet (pbuh) allowed women in the mosque and certainly did not force them into a corner. The Masjid is a place of worship and house of God for all Muslims.

I hope sincerely that rather than arguing about women being too demanding and men being misogynistic that people will instead think of making a trip to the Masjid something enjoyable for ALL. A trip where both brothers and sisters feel comfortable, welcome, protected and most of all, feel the presence of Allah (SWT).ย 

To end, here’s an article on MuslimMatters.org. It sparked quite a lively debate and both the article and the comments forced me to think about this issue in depth: http://muslimmatters.org/2010/11/27/telling-women-where-to-pray/

Also, if any of you don’t know about the Canadian show “Little Mosque on the Prairie” , but it’s definitely worth a watch. This episode which I found online is about the community dealing with the whole issue of a women’s section, barriers,etc. Worth a look ๐Ÿ˜€

Part 1 “The Barrier”
Part 2 “The Barrier”
Part 3 “The Barrier”

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