Saturday, December 11, 2010

What would you do in this case? (Number 3)

You (and your predominantly female family) are getting off your car, when you notice a bearded-kurta-&-topee man constantly stare at you (and your family). He seems to move around so that he can get a better ‘view’.  Do you:
(More than one option may be chosen)

  1. Get back into the car and drive off
  2. Curse your failure to wear Niqab
  3. Glare at him (AKA the stiff look)
  4. Audibly announce: "Believing men should lower their gaze"
  5. Take your scarf and pull it over your face
  6. Mumble and grumble under your breath
  7. Other (please specify) 

Monday, December 6, 2010

A rant

Dear readers, I hate to be of the type that complains about everything but after attending the Mayyit (funeral) of my dear aunt (may Allah grant her Jannah), I have renewed irritation. So here goes my very own dos and don’ts of attending a Mayyit. (This is intended for ladies of South Africa).

1. The purpose of attending a Mayyit is to offer condolences to the family, remind yourself of approaching death & the unpredictability of life and to make Du’aa for the deceased. Do not sit there and stare at all the people that are grieving and contemplate on who you think is ‘feeling it the most’. WTH.

Solution: Please take one of the many Qura’ns and read it as Ithaale-thawaab for the deceased.

2. I realize that in today’s rat-race of a life, one often only meets people at hatches, matches and dispatches... but really! Do not loudly whisper about the health, education status and emotional well-being of all your long-lost friends. This is not the time! In addition, it is not the time to announce “How you came to know about the Mayyit” and “who dropped you off at the house and how you intend finding your way home”.

Solution: Make Dhikr and please leave these unnecessary panchaat stories for later. Take note of your long-lost friends and give them a call the next day to catch up on details.

3. Keeping quiet must really be a challenge but try to control yourself when the Mayyit has just been lifted up. It totally pisses me (sorry for the bad word) that the Mayyit has barely reached the end of the drive-way road and there goes the noise. No more whispers. Now it’s loud talking amidst tears, oohs and shames. Why must it be that someone must start a loud recitation of the Qur’an before our wonderful sympathy-offerers shooooosh?

FYI this is terribly RUDE.

Solution: KEEP QUIET and read something. Make Du’aa. This is the time for asking for forgiveness for the deceased.

4. A Mayyit was never and will never be a ceremony. So do not sit and wait to be served food. Especially if you are from the same city, please go home and have your next meal. Is it really necessary for people to go and have large meals prepared for you?

(In SA, food is served but is intended for the immediate family & people coming from far- away places.)

Solution: Food should be sent to the deceased house (as mentioned in Hadith) and not eaten from there!

5. It is both unnecessary and contrary to Sunnah for every Fathima, Ayesha and Maryam to request ‘seeing the face’.

Solution: Please refrain from doing this.

6. Personal hygiene and dressing neatly is definitely an important aspect of Islam – but NB NB NB – this does not mean you must wear your latest Swarovski/ excessively gaudy Abaya. !!! . This is a Mayyit and is by no means an opportunity for ostentatious parading.

Solution: Figure out yourself. And forget the make-up for the day as well.

7. When attending a Mayyit you ought to remember that you still remain a guest in that house. You can be as untidy as you wish in your own house but please do your bit (when @ a Mayyit house) and keep the bathrooms/ wudu areas etc as clean as possible. (It was particularly frustrating to see my aunt’s [well-known for her almost OCD-clean habits] house being messed up)

8. And finally, learn how to offer sympathy. Stop asking people to stop crying – crying is only a natural emotion and it is within limits allowed in Islam. Telling a grieving person “it’s very hard” is also not the best. Try to encourage them to display patience and to accept the will of Allah.

Solution: learn how to offer sympathy or keep quiet.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Good, the sad and the apology

Exams are over and the holidays are finally HERE! The beginning has to be the best part of holidays since the 7 weeks seem to streeeeeeeetch in front of me... Laughing Laughing Laughing Also, its summer time -  YAY!

This is not exactly sad but apparently my blog template links to some malware site, so my very much loved template will havta go. Expect to see changes until I find something else that I really like.  Cry
[Google Chrome users - please tell me if you still see a warning message when trying to visit my blog?]

Apology: Embarassed
I must say sorry for my somewhat disappearance from the blogosphere (don't worry, I'm still alive), especially for not replying to comments - I had terrible internet connection problems and more importantly it was the exams that just seemed to hijack all my time! Embarassed

Friday, November 19, 2010

After hardship will always come ease

My extreme ecstasy on this beautiful day of Jumu’ah, I cannot refrain from blogging this –
My Sister has completed her degree successfully and is now a doctor! J J J

Need I say more??
Of course all this was only achieved through the help and blessings of Allah Azza wa Jal and we cannot thank Him enough for this!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

(delayed) !عيد مبارك

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

I hope you all had a splendidly awesome Eid-ul-Adha. Eid in South Africa was celebrated on Wednesday (17th November). Mine was spent here in Bloem but I don’t think it really brings out the actual SA style of Eid-ul-Adha so I won’t say much about ‘SA style Eid’. As I mentioned to someone just the other day – “In Bloem we have loads of animals, just not enough Muslims!” lolTongue out

The Bloemfontein Muslim community, in an attempt of spending Eid together, organised a braai for the entire Muslim community. The food was great, but actually the best part for me was that Muslims from different racial groups spent the afternoon together – I love seeing this! I met a number of interesting people too. It was definitely a new experience for me – first time I ever spent my Eid with total strangers! Pity that there was no Qurbaani atmosphere though.

I had to unfortunately attend a lecture yesterday, it wasn’t all that bad since it was only 2 ½ hours long. However, one the lecturers had me frustrated. Her lecturing style includes much humour and her presentations are always filled with funny pictures to help us remember stuff. Enjoyable, no doubt. However, her one acronym read “HAMMAS” and she had a picture of a bearded skeleton entitled “Achmed the Terrorist”. She made mention of a group somewhere in the Middle East that wore baklavas and used guns. The class laughed at the idea; and while I fully well understand that she mentioned it only in jest (& to help us remember) – I was irritated with this perpetuation of negative stereotypes already formed by the media. Now most of the class would associate “Hamas” and “terrorism”. I didn’t find it particularly funny.

On a more pleasant note, I had the beautiful (and sometimes difficult) opportunity of explaining our celebrations to my not-so-well informed friends. [Through my limited experience I have realized that explaining Islam adequately in English can be quite a trying and difficult experience, for instance, in English there is one word - prayer - but in Arabic we have 'Du'aa', 'Salaah', 'Zikr', 'Qur'an recitation' etc.  and after all my explanations, I often receive a 'blank look' or an 'Oh' suggesting that my audience didn't actually understand. I recall my one classmate asking me "What do you do when you'r home, I mean your exact routine?" She almost didn't believe my response and smirked " that means you pray all the time???" What is seen as the absolute minimum in the life of an average Muslim was considered to be overtly religious!] Anyway, I think practice makes one better at correctly explaining Islam, this time wasn't bad at all because my friends related to the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and I seemed to sense a bit of amazement that we actually commemorate this occasion.       

Sjoe! I've no idea why I discussed all of the above in a post titled "Eid Mubarak".
How did you spend your Eid?

Ps – the picture is not mine, I got it from a brother’s blog a long time ago but can’t seem to find the link right now so I can’t acknowledge it. 

Smileمع السلامة و في رعاية الله

**this ought to have been posted yesterday but remained as a draft due to exhaustion, sleep deprivation and exams. Sorry**

Monday, November 15, 2010

Witnessing excellence in action

Israel Ponty Moletsane (a SA revert to Islam) hit the front page of Arab News. Israel PM is pretty well-known to many listeners of Channel Islam International [even though he never really comes on air, many presenters often refer to him].
Working at CII was instrumental in changing his misconceptions about Islam (e.g. Islam was something only for Indians) and he publicly announced his conversion when a scholar made du’aa for him in ‘Arafah last year. I’m amazed. **aside: I feel responsible for not doing enough in detoxifying the toxic-waste-stories about Islam**

This year Israel PM spoke to CII from the plains of ‘Arafah and said that one of the most outstanding aspects of Hajj was the total brotherhood that exists everywhere. No distinction.
He also, (in return for the du’aa that was made for him last year), promised to make individual du’aa for all CII listeners by making use of the CII Facebook page.

Israel PM was sponsored a Hajj trip by Mr Yacoob Vahed of the Al Imdaad Foundation. Now, I simply cannot bypass this opportunity to highlight the remarkable selflessness of the Al Imdaad Foundation, particularly Mr Y Vahed. A man who so subtly and quietly touches individual lives of many people globally, [including mine]; and admirably accepts no gratitude for the amazing stuff he does! It is utterly amazing how Allah Ta’ala places total strangers to assist one in the time of need.
May Allah bless the Al Imdaad Foundation and reward them in both worlds. Ameen.

Anyway, I am aware that this is a completely random post and I apologise for ending off even more randomly but I cannot seem to continue without divulging too much unnecessary information about myself – so we’ll leave it there then.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Bloem is furious, ‘woedend’!

 [I know this a somewhat delayed but anyhow, here-goes a summary...]

The story: A 35-year old female doctor (currently specialising in paediatrics) was raped while on a weekend call at Pelonomi State Hospital in Bloemfontein on Saturday (6th Nov 2a.m.). According to news sources she was attacked with a brick by three men, on a staircase; and was subsequently raped. All attackers where arrested 3hours after the incident and were expected to appear in court on Tuesday (9th Nov). Read the full story here and here.

The medical students of the University of the Free State, with a strong desire to express their resentment and support for the victim, decided to go to court on Tuesday morning in a form of ‘dumb protest’. Approximately, 100 Kovsie medical students (*do you think we were more?*) gathered outside the court in the hope that their ‘passive movement’ will ‘speak louder than words’. The main intention was to show support for the doctor and at the same time silently protesting against abuse/crime. One of the students on encouraging others to join: “...if it’s what we do that defines us, then, let’s make our presence felt by this support movement”.

The entrance of the court gradually became crowded with the different organisations/representatives that came to show support.

The nursing staff came out strongly with their mini-protest; ‘toi-toi – ing’ with placards. Their energetic shouting of ‘Amandla’ and ‘Awethu’ in response still resounds in our ears. (‘Amandla’ = power, ‘Awethu’ = will be ours / belongs to us). Some nurses encouraged medical students to join in their protest - “Let your voices be heard” said one nurse; but the students were firm on silent support only. The nurses handed over a memorandum requesting ‘NO BAIL’ for the criminals.

Amongst other representatives were:

  • ·         “Bikers against abuse”
  • ·          South African Medical Association (SAMA)
  • ·         African National Congress (the current ruling political party), Women’s league


General feelings of students:

  •              Combination of shock, disgust, pity and fear.
  • ·         Students fear a similar heinous crime recurring and expect the officials to make changes that would ensure a safe working environment. (It is unfortunate that incidents like these have to occur before safety is evaluated).
  • ·         Safety at the Pelonomi Hospital was further questioned when a random man was found sleeping in doctor’s quarters. This occurred after the rape incident – something must be done!

My thoughts:
In addition to the above mentioned opinions and concerns; I think South Africa needs to review its punishment for serious crimes. Perhaps harsh punishment would deter future would-be criminals?

*can you spot me in any of the pictures?* :P

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The rope: Author unknown

The night fell heavy in the heights of the mountains and the man could not see anything. All was black. Zero visibility, and the moon and stars were covered by the clouds. As he was climbing only a few feet away from the top of the mountain, he slipped and fell into the air, falling at great speed. He could only see black spots as he went down, and the terrible sensation of being sucked by gravity.

He kept falling. And in the moments of great fear, it came to his mind all the good and bad episodes of his life. He was thinking now about how close death was getting, when all of a sudden he felt the rope tied to his waist pull him very hard. His body was hanging in the air.

Only the rope was holding him and in that moment of stillness, he had no other choice other than to scream: “Help me Allah”

All of a sudden a deep voice coming from the sky answered: “What do you want Me to do?”

“Save me Allah”

“Do you really think I can save you?”

“Of course I believe You can”

“Then cut the rope tied to your waist”

There was a moment of silence and the man decided to hold onto the rope with all his strength. The rescue team tells that the next day a climber was found dead and frozen. His body hanging from a rope. His hands holding tight to it. Only 1 foot away from the ground.

Conclusion: And we? How attached are we to our rope? Will we let go? Don’t ever doubt the words of Allah (SWT). We should never say that He has forgotten us or abandoned us.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sing children of the world

Nasheed by Dawud Wharnsby Ali

Wise words

This was written by Baba Ahmad while in prison. You can read more about him here.

“Life is a book with many chapters. Some tell of tragedy, others tell of triumph. Some are dull and ordinary, others intense and exciting. The key to success in life is to never stop on a difficult page, never to quit on a tough chapter. Champions have the courage to keep turning the pages because they know that a better chapter always lies ahead, because with Allah all things are possible.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This is Who I am?

Salaah @ Malls

I recently went for a short, splendid weekend visit to Pretoria. I was pleasantly surprised to note that two of the malls I had visited, had Salaah facilities for men and women. (No more performing Salaah in fitting-rooms!) I was especially thrilled by the Musallah (fondly referred to as ‘J.K.’ =Jamaat khana in South Africa) in the Menlyn Park shopping centre.WOW! It was certainly the best I’ve ever visited, its interior design was spectacular and made me feel as if I was in some posh Muslim country abroad (interesting too, is that the embassies are based in Pretoria and so there’s many foreign Muslims visiting Menlyn). It even has toilets catering for the needs of Muslims – awesome!

A big “Thank You” to the Muslim community that were part of building this Musallah in one of the most convenient places ever.


No more excuses for missing Salaah whilst shopping!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What would you do in this case? (Number 2)

You take your Qur’an to a public place (e.g. university) and neatly place it on your desk. Moments later, your close, non-Muslim friend exclaims “wow! Is this your ‘bible’?” and subsequently picks it up with a somewhat sense of awe. Besides informing her of the correct name- Qur’an, do you:

(more than one option may be chosen)

   A. Scream out “Don’t touch! Not for infidels!”

   B. Let it be (say nothing) – it’s part of being a tolerant Muslim.

   C. Allow her time to place it down and then explain why she should refrain from touching the Qur’an again.

   D. Label your Qur’an with a “Do NOT touch. Unless you’re a Muslim in Wudu” sign.

   E. Other (please specify).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Superiority complex or Inferiority complex

I went shopping today (yay!) and I saw some Muslim sisters (yay! again). Now, when you see Muslims in Bloemfontein – it’s something to be very excited about because unlike most of the other South African cities, the Bfn Muslim community is very small (though it is growing). Getting back to my story – I looked at them and attempted greeting them. But, I was unlucky enough not to get even a smile back in return! Okay, I was only trying to practice on the Hadith (to the effect): “Spread Salaam amongst yourselves”. And if you don’t want to greet its fine with me - I had three other totally strange Afrikaner non-Muslim ladies greet me. I thought it was supposed to be part of Islamic culture to greet other Muslims but it seems that not everyone likes to practice this. Bad thing is that the one who was trying to initiate the Salaam is left standing with a bit of a shocked expression and half-spoken words.

On this topic of greeting – have you ever had the experience of trying to greet fellow (female, in my case) Muslims especially from the African continent - and they just walk past you? I feel somewhat insulted. I don’t know if it’s because they think they are superior or inferior to me? WTH, we’re all the same and hey, I’m technically African too! Maybe I’m misinterpreting their lack of reaction but I as far as I know its Waajib to reply to a Salaam. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Please let me know

Salaam 'Alaikum!

I added a Feedjit gadget.:) I think one of the best parts of blogging for me is seeing the different countries that visit my blog. It just gives me such a thrill to see Pakistan, India, Italy, UK,USA and the latest Czech Republic (eish, I didn't know where that is) listed under 'stats'. However, I've noticed that since I added the Feedjit gadget - my denim background has totally disappeared, & is replaced by plain white. I have NO idea how and why that happened. Please let me know if it's the same for you - or is there just something wrong with my network connection?

Update (16 Oct. 10):
It seems that my background disappearance condition was self-limiting. My blog has fully recovered from its day of total pallor. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 Lessons: why it’s worthwhile to live on your own

These are in no particular order.

1. When your cupboard looks empty it’s generally not because of a lack of clothes nor because you forgot a bag at home – go check the washing-bin.

2. It is good to make use of ‘Energade’ (any plastic) bottles – reuse them at least once then throw ‘em away; forms a significant reduction in washing drinking glasses.

3. Unanticipated sleep sessions are always useful. Try the couch or even the floor.

4. There are two ways to clean your place:

    a. The ultimate thorough clean-up where you leave no place untouched. (excellent, but time-consuming and ensure you’ve left time thereafter to recover from exhaustion)

    b. The top-top style, where only the most important aspects are dealt with – the rest is covered up.

5. Remember to purchase :

    a. A slightly larger bin – the small ones get full too quickly.

    b. A ladder – changing light-bulbs when you can’t reach them is both futile and dangerous.

6. Never, ever, leave your bed undone – that’s the day someone will come to visit.

7. Laughing aloud or smiling to yourself suddenly is not a sign of madness.

8. Samoosas taste extra special at midnight. Just fry them quietly lest you wake your neighbours up.

9. If something breaks no-one needs to know right then.

10. By the end of it you become:

     a. An expert pest-controller; nothing is frightening anymore. You will receive specific training in running around with a ‘Dyroach’ tin and you also realise the Pyrethroid works well with other creatures too (including mice – that’s a first-hand report from my sister!).

     b. An experienced handy-man, any minor electricity or plumbing problems are no more stressful.

     c. An ‘easy-to-please’ person, tea/coffee without milk is now actually very tasty. In addition, childhood ‘I hate that’ dishes are in fact particularly pleasing to eat when you go home. Expect to be reminded about how you so used to hate that.

     d. Well aware of all the ingredients on items you use often e.g. Nando’s sauce, Butter, Mayonnaise etc. Any changes and/or comparisons are immediately noted.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Update on the Taliban (and me)

The following is an extract from the Christian Science Monitor (27 September 2010):
“The Taliban reportedly claimed responsibility for Sunday's kidnapping of a British aid worker and three Afghan colleagues in Kunar Province in Afghanistan, and have proposed a prisoner exchange for the Pakistani woman sentenced to 86 years in prison in the United States last week.”

In a weird sense, I actually admire the Taliban’s effort in strongly displaying their support of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (dubbed ‘Lady al Qaeda’). The commander, Mohammad Osman said: “We are lucky that we abducted this British woman soon after the ruthless ruling by an American court on Aafia Siddiqui,”

What do you think? Are their kidnappings justified?

On a totally personal note: I gladly agreed to feed my neighbour’s pets (fish and birds); but was entirely distressed this morning; when the canaries refused to get back in the cage! There were three in one cage and they kept taking turns going in and out. You can understand my frustration when my calling “birdies, birdies” “foodie, foodie” was not successful. I even tried the Afrikaans – but I think they either got frightened or couldn't recognise my version of it because it didn’t help! So I just sat. And allowed them to taunt me until after about 20minutes they got bored (I think) and decided food was more important.
[Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy feeding pets but I was just afraid since I am responsible for these adorable little creatures:]   
There are two of them atop a curtain rail :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Holidays are over

Yes (sigh) , once again I am back in my study-town, I feel like this lone umbrella except that in Bloemfontein we are just a little too far from the beach. :P

On a more insightful note, I read this amazing little quote on this blog and thought I should re-post it: “He is only called man (insaan) because of his forgetfulness (nasiyaan) and it is only called the heart (al-qalb) because it changes so rapidly (yataqalib)”.

Anyway, I guess I should be on my way because I am writing a test on the cardiovascular system tomorrow, and I feel totally unprepared ATM. Insha’Allah, all the spot questions will be asked!
**Bint Mahmood is experiencing post-holiday laziness**