Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Long Weekend

What’s up people? As salaam alaikum!

I’ve been enjoying the long weekend and chillin’ with my friends. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is conversation. I love having conversations with people who are willing to take it below the surface. If there was a central theme to my weekend I’d say it was “How can we build ummah/community life?” I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s going to be more than one thing (some unpopular and some controversial); polygyny, early marriage, the coming together of like minds, challenging leadership, letting go of old grudges, having honest conversations without condemning, judging or invalidating, ridding ourselves of the baggage we carried into Islam prior to conversion and/from other communities and so much more. I’m actually feeling optimistic.

Aside from that, I went to “Next Day Air” with my friends this afternoon and it was hilarious. It’s not for the kiddies though since it was gory and contained some cursing. I was surprised by the deep message though.
Oh and I have a new celebrity crush:

omari hardwick

Lata!

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I am SO over (The Muslim Edition)

I know that I recently posted what I am SO over but a conversation with a friend of mine got me to really thinking about what I am SO over as far as the Muslim community is concerned. Some of it is rather controversial but then again, when have I ever shied away from controversy? Let’s go…

I am SO over:

-Running to a sheikh or imam for every little issue in life. I mean, seriously, can some people tie their shoe without asking a scholar what the ruling is on it? I understand that people want to ensure that they are doing the correct thing but seriously, some of us are bordering on the idiotic. I’m sorry if that sounds arrogant but I’m fed up. What happened to logic, reason and being a grown up? What happened to consulting your own soul, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) said? Do you need a sheikh to tell you that it’s wrong to steal from someone even if they aren’t Muslim?

-Fiqh obsession. Yes, fiqh is necessary and useful but I’m also concerned about my spiritual connection to Allah. How am I connecting to Allah? Am I reviewing and analyzing my current spiritual condition and looking for ways to improve it? I believe in taking a holistic approach to Islam not a piecemeal approach.

-The lectures and kutbahs about the husband’s responsibility to “teach his wife”. Um, excuse me, we live in 2009. For many people it is no longer that case that the man goes out and learns something while the woman stays home and waits for him to impart his knowledge when he comes back. Maybe my lifestyle is different but what I see happening is an exchange of ideas. Couples are learning TOGETHER. Even for women who stay at home a similar thing is happening. Women are reading, attending classes (online or in the masjid) and listening to lectures. Couples may attend classes together or separately and come back to share what they’ve learned with each other. So, is it really the case that “the husband” is teaching “the wife”?

-Brothers lecturing about “proper hijab” and the woman’s position in Islam. (I realize I said this already but I think it needs to be said again). I don’t want to attend another interfaith dialogue where a man is discussing this issue. Personally, I find it disempowering when a man decides to speak for me and how I navigate the world as a Muslim woman.

-Interfaith dialogues to the neglect of intrafaith dialogues. When are we going to discuss the issues that Muslims have between one another? When are going to work on communication, relationship building and repairing between Muslims? Better yet, will I ever live to see a Muslim community or group (on a large scale) seek cross cultural communication and team building training? Seriously, we need to bring in a third party facilitate these discussions. We can no longer pretend that everything’s fine. Just think about how many conflicts you’ve seen (between Muslims) that were the result of cultural misunderstandings. Or think about how many groups of Muslims you’ve seen who’ve tried to run a program or organization and failed because of personality conflicts, power struggles, disorganization etc.

-Lectures on marriage and family in Islam that don’t address the contemporary, current state of the community and world we live in. When I think about it I realize that different cultural communities have issues that need to be addressed within those communities. We can no longer pretend that all Muslim families and marriages wrestle with the EXACT SAME issues. For instance, there are particular issues that African-American Muslim families face that differ from those that an Arab-American Muslim family face. The point really hit home after I attended the first MANA conference.

-People from predominately Muslim countries or those who were “born Muslim” expecting me to defer to them. I don’t have a problem learning from others. I think everyone is a teacher. However, I don’t believe that a person’s country of origin or their being born into a Muslim family automatically makes them my spiritual guide.

-Muslims who deny the existence of racism, sexism, classism, and privilege in the Muslim community. Even as I experience mistreatment because of race and gender, I am still aware of other ways that I am privileged. I realize I must also work hard to prevent myself from invalidating the experiences and perspectives that differ from my own. For example, I was speaking with a friend of mine about the pressure she faces from her cultural community. She was frustrated because she felt like they were “always watching her” and would report back to her family about any perceived indiscretion on her part. It would’ve been easy for me to tell her that she shouldn’t care and that this is “her life”, forget them. But that is my perspective. I don’t come from a community that places such pressure on me. I can pretty much do what I want and it won’t jeopardize my family’s standing in the community.

What are you SO over?

You know you live in the hood when…

your neighbors are grilling chicken (on a very large grill) every weekend and you find out the delicious bird is actually part of a side hustle. That’s right, my neighbors are selling barbecued chicken on the weekend.

How do I know this?

I had returned from the gym one day and found that there were absolutely no parking spaces on the block. I circled round and round becoming frustrated as time went on. After about 15 minutes I found a spot and parked. As soon as I stepped out the car the smell of barbecued chicken assaulted my nasal passages, causing my stomach to growl. I could see smoke rising from over the fence. I ran into another neighbor (let’s call him Randy for clarity’s sake). During the course of our conversation I wondered out loud whether there was a big party going on next door. He informed me that our neighbors were actually selling chicken. He guessed that the city would be all over them soon because they do not have a permit to sell food. I nodded.

As I made my way to my house, sure enough, I noticed people, money in hand, forming a line, to buy their chicken. I could only shake my head and chuckle to myself.

This morning when I was leaving for work I nearly tripped down the stairs because I was staring at a large object planted on the neighbor’s lawn. What was the object? It couldn’t be…it was…it can’t be. Yep, a ceramic chicken! ROTFL!!!!

I can’t knock the hustle…

barbecued-chicken

Wanda Sykes

Did anyone else see Wanda Sykes at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner? This woman is hilarious!!! Some are saying she went too far with the Rush Limbaugh joke (and it was a little over the top) but overall her delivery, timing and jokes were good. My favorite joke? If Barack Obama screws up he won’t be the first Black president anymore- he’ll be the half White guy. DWL! (I can’t believe she actually said mulatto *cringe*)

Here is part one:

Happy Mother’s Day!

story

For all the mothers and future mothers out there. May Allah bless you for all that you do.

Alhamdulillah, my Shahadah Anniversary

Yes, today makes 18 years that I have been Muslim. It’s been a long, long road but I’m happy Allah has allowed me to come this far. I have seen my share of ups n’ downs, conflicts, movements, lovable moments, times of unity, and have met some wonderful (and not so wonderful) brothers and sisters as I’ve navigated through the Muslim community.

Alhamdulillah, 18 years…

I’m Grown

partners-lateral-final

How do I know this? Because I actually had a conversation with a friend today about something that has been bugging me. We were able to discuss this topic without anyone becoming defensive or denying/invalidating the other person’s feelings. We talked it out and all the misunderstandings were cleared up. I’m happy I said something. I’m also happy she responded honestly and openly.

Why do I say “I’m grown?” Because when I was younger I probably wouldn’t approach my friend. I’d just “let it slide” but in the meantime I would be harboring hurt feelings. Eventually those hurt feelings turn into anger or resentment. As an adult I understand the importance of confronting problems head on. Ignoring them will not make them go away. They only grow; proliferate. I recently had training on conflict resolution and deescalation for work. Insha’allah, I’m definitely going to put the training to use not only at work but in my personal life. Besides, every personality test I’ve ever taken says that I have a tendency to engage in win-lose arguments (which is probably why so many people think I should be a lawyer) and I know it’s true. I’m trying to work on it though.