Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Middle Eastern Poetry

I'm a huge fan of almost anything that has to do with Middle Eastern culture. I'm especially a big fan of Middle Eastern author Khalil Gibran and Syrian Poet, Nizar Qabbani. I want to share with you a piece by each of them. I'm sure after reading these short pieces, you'll fall in love with their work as well.
"In order to secure their power and to rest at heart’s ease they have armed the Durzi to fight the Arab. Have instigated the Shi’i against the Sunni. Have incited the Kurd to slaughter the Bedouin. Have encouraged the Mohammadan to fight the Christian – how long is a brother to fight his brother on the breast of the mother? How long is a neighbour to threaten his neighbour near the tomb of the beloved? How long are the Cross and the Crescent to remain apart before the eyes of God?" - Khalil Gibran 

Nizar Qabbani----

"In a country where thinkers are assassinated, and writers are considered infidels and books are burnt, in societies that refuse the other, and force silence on mouths and thoughts forbidden, and to question is a sin, I must beg your pardon, would you permit me? Would you permit me to bring up my children as I want, and not to dictate on me your whims and orders? Would you permit me to teach my children that the religion is first to God, and not for religious leaders or scholars or people? Would you permit me to teach my little one that religion is about good manners, good behaviour, good conduct, honesty and truthfulness, before I teach her with which foot to enter the bathroom or with which hand she should eat? Would you permit me not to mention the torture of the grave to my children, who do not know about death yet. Would you permit me to teach my daughter the tenets of the religion and its culture and manners, before I force on her the Hijab (the veil)? Would you permit me to tell my young son that hurting people and degrading them because of their nationality, colour or religion, is considered a big sin by God? Would you permit me to tell my daughter to revising her homework and paying attention to her learning is considered by God as more useful and important than learning by heart Ayahs from the Quran without knowing their meaning? Would you permit me to teach my son that following the footsteps of the Honourable Prophet begins with his honesty, loyalty and truthfulness, before his beard or how short his thobe(long shirt/dress) is? Would you permit me to tell my daughter that her Christian friend is not an infidel, and ask her not to cry fearing her friend will go to Hell? Would you permit me to argue, that God did not authorize anyone on earth after the Prophet to speak in his name nor did he vest any powers in anyone to issue ‘deeds of forgiveness’ to people? Would you permit me to say, that God has forbidden killing the human spirit, and who kills wrongly a human being is as if he killed all human kind, and no Muslim has the right to frighten another Muslim? Would you permit me to teach my children that God is greater, more just, and more merciful than all the (religious) scholars on earth combined? And that his standards are different from the standards of those trading the religion, and that his accountability is kinder and more merciful? … would you permit me?"

Source: Middle Eastern Poetry

Sunday, March 4, 2012

May Peace Be Upon Us All

I took a photo of this as soon as I saw it because it truly made me smile. 1) Because the translation of the phrase is written in Arabic and 2) It's a beautifully written phrase. While we should wish for peace to prevail on Earth, we should begin by wishing for peace within ourselves and those around us. Nothing feels better then peace of mind and soul. Wherever you may find that peace, hold on to it and use that peace as a way to spread good energy to everyone that you meet. Begin every conversation with the greeting Alsalamu Alaykum [Peace be upon you.] Imagine if we all wished peace on each other...I can't help but think we'd be living in a much more happier world.

Alsalamu Alaykum Wa Rahmuttullahi Wa Barakatu
May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you

Best Wishes,

I Am Woman

I recently came back from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a conference essentially on feminism and women's issues. Besides attending that conference, I have read a lot about feminism and heard feminist arguments, and I realized that I don't agree with a lot of it. Many feminists will come off as anti-man. They will argue for equality and they will fight for the exact same rights given to man. I personally don't believe that to be women, we need to have the exact same rights as men. The Feminist in me tells me to embrace my inner woman-hood and to demand the God given rights I deserve as a woman. The Feminist in me does not tell me to demand to be like a man, but more like a feminine, beautiful, strong, and intellectual woman. I think as women, we fail to appreciate the beauty of our woman-hood. We don’t appreciate our emotional and sensitive qualities that God placed in us. We don’t appreciate mother-hood, a blessing only women were given. The Prophet pbuh said, “Heaven lies under the feet of the mother.” This is a blessing that wasn’t given to any man and it’s a blessing I believe every woman needs to embrace and appreciate. There is an entire chapter in the Quran titled, An-Nisa (The Women), and there is no chapter titled "The Men."

Just because Allah gave men the responsibility of being the protectors of women, to lead prayers, and many other things, some women like to believe that is not fair. Allah created men and women equally, but He gave us different qualities and responsibilities too. Men have many responsibilities that I don't hear women fighting for. For instance, men are required to give their wives a dowry upon marriage. It's rare that you'll meet a woman who is fighting for her right to give her husband a dowry. Men are also responsible for the feeding and clothing of their wives. Most women won't fight for their right to take care of their husbands in that way. The way I see it, as women many of us are not appreciative. We see what men have and we want it for ourselves while completely neglecting all the blessings Allah gave us that he did not give to men.

I think every woman can have an inner feminist in her, but I do not recognize myself as one. I don’t feel that I need to declare myself a feminist because I am simply in a battle with myself to embrace my inner woman-hood and to me that does not need to be labeled as a public movement.

Revert Story: From Christianity to Islam

This is my friend sister, Morgan Haya's revert story. I’ve known her for about three years now and she took me by surprise by taking her shahada last fall. I’m so grateful that I got a chance to get to know her better and I’m even more grateful that it is Islam that brought us together. For my first post, I really want to share with you her revert story. I'm always inspired by the stories of those that weren't born into Islam. Many of us that are born into this amazing religion take it for granted a lot of the time. For the most part, we didn't have to struggle in the same ways as reverts to practice Islam. If we're born into a Muslim family, we usually don't have to hide in our rooms when we pray or argue with our families over our faith. For lack of better words, we have it easy in comparison to reverts. I hope Morgan's story will inspire you as much it inspired me. If you would like to follow her, her blog is reflexionofhumblemodesty.tumblr.com. She has lots and lots of Islamic posts so I'm sure you will find many interesting posts on her blog. Here is her story:

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim: From the moment I was born I was essentially put into a Christian family. Started going to church at a young age with my aunt & sister. My sister and I always went to Sunday school and youth choir. This was what I saw church as for many years. On September 11, 2001, I was in either 5th grade, and that was the 1st time I heard about Islam. Though everyone around me were saying Muslims are terrorists’ they just destroyed the Twin Towesr, etc.  None the less I wanted to learn about this so-called “terrorist” religion, as the media put it. After years of going to church I suddenly stopped going around the time I started going to middle school.
When The Passion of the Christ came out in 2004, it was a big deal in my family, as all Christians. This movie made me furious, like how can Jesus be beaten and crucified and if he was the “Son of God” then I highly doubt he would have suffered the way he did. Something was just not okay with this depiction of Christ in my eyes. Christianity was just lost to me after that. The following year, Kingdom of Heaven (2005) about the crusades in Jerusalem definitely made me want to learn about Islam in depth.  I loved every time they said “Assalamu alaikum”, “Allahu Akbar”, and the Adhan that played faintly in one scene made my heart melt. It was a given that Islam was in my heart after watching this movie.
Learning about Islam on and off throughout high school while going to church events with my mom, aunt and sister. Watching the history channel became an outlet to gain knowledge as well as the web. Sometime of doing sinful things, senior year of high school I went back to church for a month or so to see if Christianity was for me. I felt like a hypocrite going to church after years of not caring. As I was listening to the Pastor speak during this period, my thoughts were everywhere. So, on my own merit I stopped going to church once again for the many questions that I had about “Why Christianity?” As a result I went back to my old habits.
The summer of 2009 I did this Student Transition Program (STP) at the University of Mary Washington where I got the opportunity not only to take a world religion class and meet some Muslims. This thirst of knowledge made me want to know even more about Islam. Since my 1st year I hadn’t set foot into a church but I meet some young adults who wanted to me to study the Bible. I studied with them some here and there but I still didn’t think Christianity was for me.  The summer of 2011, my aunt wanted me to go to her new church so I went. I liked it but didn’t love it. The people there were friendly but still the whole bases of making a prayer to Jesus as if he were God had me at odds.
When my 3rd year at UMW came around, fall of August 2011, I was really thinking about it, so I looked at how to become a Muslim. I found that you had to declare it by saying the shahadah in front of 2 or more people, preferably in a mosque (masjid) or an Islamic event.  So near the end of September, 6 weeks into the semester I told my friend sister, Wiaam, that I wanted to become Muslim after class. That same week she asked me to come to her dorm. Ended up telling my friend sister Riham that I wanted I wanted to revert to Islam, as well.  They asked me my story and I told them, then they asked if I believed in the Trinity. I answered them with no. That same night I learned how to pray (with a cheat sheet), how to make wudu and how to wear the hijab. So that Friday, September 23, 2011, I was super nervous and really excited to take my shahadah. I went over Riham’s, made wudu and headed over to Jummah prayer. Before the khutbah, Brother Sherif said we will do the shahadah…I repeated him saying,”Lā ʾilāha ʾilá l-Lāh, Muḥammad rasūlu l-Lāh | There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” I was officially a Muslim and was definitely the happiest moment in my life.
 Though I’m struggling with my family about my decision to revert, I’m taking every day one step at a time. May Allah show my family that me becoming a Muslim has changed me for the better, no matter how long it takes them, through my actions, insha’Allah. Ameen.
I’m fortunate to have great friends that I can call my sisters and brothers, who are helping with my struggles and gaining knowledge in this beautiful deen.
Glad Allah Subhanahu wa-ta’ala loved me so much that he guided me to this beautiful deen. I hope Allah Subhanahu wa-ta’ala blesses and preserves me until the end of time. May Allah Subhanahu wa-ta’ala grant me the highest level of Jannah - Jannat al-Fridous. Ameen.
Alhamdulillah for everything, good and bad. Peace & love.

Salam & Hello

This is my first real attempt to really get back into things again. I really love this blog and the community on here. This blog got me through some really important times in my life. I started this blog when I first began to wear the hijab and embarked on my journey towards becoming a better Muslimah. A few months ago I started a Tumblr page that has not benefited me nearly as much as this blog has. I remember a time when I would spend hours researching on Islamic topics and posting them so I could learn from them and so other people could as well inshAllah. I've already expressed how much I missed blogging on here before, but now I intend to take action on that. Also, I decided to change my blog name back to Beauty of Islam, but with a small twist. One Beauty of Islam will now be the name of this blog because there is no other blog with that name and it fits well with my overall message. Although there are many different aspects of Islam that make it beautiful, we all have one thing in common and that is la ilaha illallah muhammad rasool allah. That is the one aspect of Islam that I absolutely love. No matter if you're a Sunni, Shi'a, Sufi, etc, that simple belief unites us all in so many different ways. That phrase is so incredibly powerful and I intend to make that the focal point of my blog. So I'm excited to be back and I can't wait to start posting some interesting and beneficial posts! I want to start on a journey towards revitalizing my faith and inshAllah you can join me on that journey. If you have any topics you would like me to write about please email me at beautyofislam1@yahoo.com. I'll get back to you as soon as I can :).

Best Wishes,