June 24, 2010

Home Is In the Heart

He came outside carrying a weathered silver tray, which held two glasses of hot tea. Graciously he offers his neighbor the first glass. The two men sat overlooking the view and fell into what seemed to be a long conversation. You could see from the way each settled into the chairs, this was a familiar routine.

The place -- was Gaza and the view was masses of rubble and destroyed homes. The landscape now existed forever in their memories. However in the distance across the fence were the luscious green trees of Israeli territory.

I was watching a documentary on Al Jazeera. The family was just one of the 1.5 million affected by the occupation of Gaza. There is no possible way I could express the horror and oppression of these families. However, what captured my heart was the humanity.

The family lived under a tarp of heavy plastic blended with scraps of fabric. The pieces of steel rods found by their father acted as a frame for their home. A few pieces that were salvageable filled in the empty spaces.

The parents raised their seven children living in conditions that most of us would never expect anyone could survive. The walls had been long destroyed by enemy bombing. But what not destroyed was the love --- despite missing the absolute bare necessities for shelter, the essence of what a family unit is remained untouched, faith and love.

It made me think how often do I (we) rush our visits with family or friends. If a devastating event struck our home or community, would we relinquish our humanity towards one another?

I observed in the documentary far more than the destruction. I saw hope. As long as we hold onto a shred of kindness and civility in all situations, the hatred of man towards man will never win. A home and community can’t be defined simply by man-made structures. It starts with dialogue, the sharing of ideas. Alhamdulillah it can begin over a glass of tea. May Allah SWT give freedom and justice to Gaza and all oppressed countries throughout in the world!

June 20, 2010

Treasure Hunting!

Even though it is wicked hot outside, it’s still a great day. There is this really neat flea market in town that I’ll go explore.

It has been a local hot spot for artist of varying types. There is never a shortage of something new and interesting to be found. I think I will get an ice cream and do a little people watching---then hit the market.

I mean it is an absolute feast for the senses! Chefs and farmers sell their products weekly. Antique lovers can mingle and discuss the latest find, while making that perfect discovery…to add to one’s own collection.

My favorite haunts are looking over the selection of books. Sometimes the artwork on the covers is more interesting than the book itself. But I can’t leave without wandering over to the jewelry and vintage clothing. Love, love, love it!

Okay so I am headed out. Insha’Allah I will bring home some treasures.

Stuck In the Middle

I think I am going through a mid-life crisis!   Wow, did I actually admit that?

In a society where women are being overwhelmed with commercials and other various advertisements…reminding us to win the war on anti-aging! When did getting older become this full on battle? Perhaps the same time the word “older” was banished from the beauty and fashion industry.

Some marketing executive –decides that as women we need to bring back that “rosy glow to our skin” that we had as a child…and suddenly we are stocking up one every new facial cream, lotion or serum that promises overnight results.

I love my age…LOL, I earned my age through years of laughter, blended with a few tears along the way. Every phase of life has something that is uniquely special and fabulous to offer. It is our own perspective on how we deal with it.  My decisions and choices should ask two questions. Does it follow the Sunnah? And how will it benefit me in my faith?

Some of you may know about my love/hate relationship when it comes to face book.  For the life of me,  I don’t understand the fascination. Well that being said, last week I opened an account. My primary reason was to read information posted by some people I follow on twitter.  Long story short, I closed the account the next morning. It just wasn’t for me.  Being a part of every social network in existence is not on my agenda.

There are things I did in my 20’s and 30’s that hold no interest for me today.   Regardless of our age, it doesn’t mean we should stop challenging ourselves, or making new discoveries.  Life is about evolving and becoming a better you.

But on the road to discovery---make sure that we are in the drivers’ seat and the direction we have chosen is ours. Insha’Allah there will be many new adventures on my horizon.   I will keep you posted about the good, the bad and even the mid-life! [Wink]

June 6, 2010

Even A Jewel Has Its Flaws

Like a slow moving breeze on a summer day, that is how I would describe my emotions recently. On my last post I expressed my feelings of loneliness. Now I know there are certain matters that we can’t control, regardless of how much effort we devote.

Usually I bounce back quickly from a little trip down melancholy lane and get on with my life. But it wasn’t as easy this time. What exactly was causing this feeling? It was me! I needed to look myself in the mirror and admit … I was slowly allowing parts of who I am, to disappear.

Becoming so rigid in my attempt to be a “good” Muslim was in fact, breaking my spirit! It was not Islam that said I have to be flawless or detach myself from life, that burden was placed on my shoulders by myself alone. If you try and hold onto anything with all of your strength, after awhile, you will only feel the pain…of holding on.

I have accepted Islam as my faith and I don’t regret my decision for one second! What I do regret is why I felt the need to do a 180 degree turn from the woman that I used to be.

I miss my creativity of making jewelry. I loved going to flea markets looking for really cool pieces of metal or old beads etc. and then creating something new and pretty. Even my style of dress! I love old vintage clothing, gauze blouses and skirts.

What I am, is a Muslim. How I dress, is modest and a personal expression. What I believe? I believe that I will be okay insha’Allah (God Willing). Often searching for a change in ones life begins when we look inward. I use to think making drastic changes in my life; I would somehow absorb the true meaning of being a Muslim, that idea was wrong.

I don’t need to hold onto Islam so tightly, trying to be perfect because, it will never happen. Instead each day is an opportunity for growth, forgiveness, patience and acceptance.

And all these things I have to learn to give to myself first. So I will release my tight grasp…because an open hand can let go of what is no longer needed. But more important, it is able to receive.

Alhamdulillah I will learn to live my life without forgetting that mixed among my flaws, there is some goodness. And that is a pretty good place to start, Allah knows best.

In a way I am like the jewelry I enjoy designing. A combination of past and present, with just the right amount of sparkle! Sometimes it’s the tiny imperfections that make one special.

June 1, 2010

Worrying...Yet Again.

Every now and then I like to blog about faith. I need to write about is as a continuous reminder for myself, as well as a purging of all matters that weigh me down. These past few days…have accumulated worries and doubts that I have quietly pushed further down inside my soul.

To me, prayers are invisible words that travel on an extraordinary path. Insha’Allah they appear before Allah (swt) in purity and form once they have been received. My imperfections in words are replaced with the intentions of my heart, and only Allah knows best.

Yes, life is unexpected and this is part of the test we face as Muslims. But I wonder how I [we] stay guarded against heartache, seduction, or even more difficult in my life…the loneliness?

Alhamdulillah there are lectures which are very encouraging. Reading the Qur’an and hearing its recitation provides a comfort that is beyond words. However, the soul is still contained in a human body, and it’s natural to want the comfort and companionship of another person. Truthfully we are not meant to be alone! Okay so that’s not a news flash I know…none the less I am viewing this life in the single lane, and it’s not so great.

LOL, I can hear some of you saying, “Nazeeha, the married lane is not what it’s cracked up to be either!” As I said these past few days, are not going to be remembered fondly (insert sad face now) but, insha’Allah happiness is on its way! Let me be realistic, “happiness” may be too much to expect. But it’s my nature to remain optimistic.

Allah’s Apostle said, “The invocation of anyone of you is granted (by Allah) if he does not show impatience (by saying, “I invoked Allah but my request has not been granted.”) Narrated Abu Huraira: Volume 8, Book 75, # 352:

You know I just had a encouraging thought…what if my future hubby stumbles across my blog…and says “Alhamdulillah” I think by the Mercy of Allah (swt) she is right for me!

Alhamdulillah for letting me vent and insha’Allah keep me in your prayers.