Noor's life on the path to Jannah

A sister’s tears

In Uncategorized on June 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Salaams dear sisters,

First and foremost, I want to tell everyone how sorry I am for not keeping up with my daily entries. I’ve been struggling with the depression thing again for the last few days, and for anyone who’s suffered from it, you know how debilitating it is. As much as I love this blog and hearing from all of you lovely sisters (a lot!!!) when I feel this bad I just want to lay down on the couch or in bed and just beg Allah SWT to forgive me for whatever I’ve done to deserve such a punishment. And that’s another reason why I haven’t written, because I promised myself that this would be a blog glorifying Allah SWT, and if I cannot glorify Him, then I wouldn’t write anything at all.

What stinks about depression is how everything turns gray: your freshly-ground cup of coffee tastes like mud, the chirping of the birds sound tinny and canned, and even the little annoyances in life become huge detractors. Your eyes burn from crying and you feel like you’re never going to smile again. When things get REALLY bad, you wrap yourself up, cocoon-like, in bed and stay there for hours at a time. You either stop eating or overeat, depending on how you’re wired, and just the mere thought of washing or brushing your teeth or doing all of that personal hygeine stuff falls by the wayside…using water, soap, deodorant, and a toothbrush just seems impossible.

The way you feel about yourself during an episode is really sad: everyone in this world is more intelligent than you, more attractive than you, more successsful than you, more anything than you. You feel like the worst person in the world and that there’s no hope for you at all, not now, not ever. You look in the mirror and hate what you see so much that eventually you don’t have the guts to look in the mirror anymore.

Depression stinks, ladies. It really, truly stinks.

For those of you that are wondering, yes, I am on medication and under a doctor’s care. I was even in an outpatient hospital program earlier this year. But it looks like Allah SWT has decided to test me with yet another bout of depression, and I wonder: when will it end? Will it ever end?

This is where I can choose to glorify Allah SWT or emit a silent scream of anger and frustration. There must be a reason why I’ve been chosen to tread this path…there must, there must. I know that Allah SWT only tests the ones that He loves, in order to bring us ever-closer to Him. I also know that the shaytan only harasses the people of faith, because they are the ones that have something to lose. I’m painfully aware that life is not meant to be easy and that my situation could be much, much worse. But sometimes…well, it just hurts so darn much.

My husband, patient soul that he is, continually reminds me to beg to Allah SWT, to plead to Allah SWT, to cry to Allah SWT, to pray without ceasing–asking Him to forgive me, have mercy on me, and insha-Allah to take my pain away. When I was wrapped up in my bed yesterday, crying, it came to me that surely Allah SWT would never turn His back on my cry or ignore my pain. I simply refuse to believe that, as loving and merciful as Allah Almighty is. And again, I have a choice: to glorify Him (in spite of the pain) or emit that silent scream. If Allah SWT has brought me to this dark place, surely He can lift me out.

Allah SWT, Allah SWT, Allah SWT. I love You so much and want to be a good Muslimah, a devoted sister walking the Straight Path. I want to wake up in the morning thankful for another precious day with You and go to bed praising You for the gift of yet another 24 hours. I want to look out of my window and say “Alhumdulillah!” instead of crying, “Subhanallah!” without sobbing. I want to look around my world and fully appreciate all of the wonderful gifts You have given me and continue to give me. Allah SWT, I’m not asking for gold or diamonds or a Mercedes-Benz or a mansion or riches beyind compare…I just want to feel normal again.

I don’t know when this test will end, if it ever will end. But all I can do is keep making du’a, knowing that Allah SWT counts every tear that I shed. I’m just really, really tired of shedding them right now.

My love to all of you,

Noor🙂 (trying to smile anyway)

It’s halal, it’s fun, it’s my addiction!

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Assalamu Aleikum everyone,

Arrrrgghh! I don’t know I about you, but I cannot STAND three-quarter length sleeve shirts. I don’t know who started that trend, but I’d like to give him or her a piece of my mind! Then why am I wearing one, right? Well, a few weeks ago at a yard sale I got a huge (and I mean HUGE; this box was about four feet tall!) container, stuffed to bursting–of clothes for only $10 (which amounts to pennies per piece–alhumdulillah and yay for me!) and there were a few 3/4 sleeve knit shirts in the mix. I figured what the heck, I’ll wear them around the house. Well, they’re driving me nuts! The sleeves keep scooching up and I keep pulling them down, only to find them scooching up again and making me feel like I’m wearing something that shrunk. Very frustrating.

The public is going to be surprised to see me this summer wearing all of these blouses with harvest themes and pumpkin appliques on them, which is what I also found in the box. I could put them away for fall, I guess. Perhaps I should. I’m not a very trendy Muslimah, I guess. Truth be told, sisters, I see all of your cool polyvore collages and I envy you for your fashion sense. As for me, I have two criteria:

1. Does it fit? and:

2. Can I get it for $1 or less at a yard sale?🙂

Yes, that’s right…the yard sales have spoiled me. BAD. Even shelling out $15-20 for a blouse or pants at my local discount store is a huge indulgence for me, as I’m always finding stuff for pennies on the dollar in somebody’s driveway. Yard sales really warp your thinking about what one considers to be a good value and what is not. As much as I love those polyvore ideas, I shudder to think at how much it must cost to assemble an outfit.

Ya know, I was wondering if I should write about the whole yard sale thing again. I know that I already wrote about last Saturday’s “haul” and I thought that you might get sick of it or think that I was boasting about how much cool stuff I got for so cheap. I hope you don’t feel that way….if you do, I apologize.  It’s just that my hubby and I are on a tight budget (who isn’t?) and in the time we’ve been yard saling, it’s amazing what Allah SWT has blessed us with. In fact, I think we say more “alhumdulillahs” and “subhanallahs” on Saturday mornings than any other time of the week, LOL. It’s a little sad, in a way–people buy stuff at full price and end up selling it for practically nothing. We have found so much great stuff that I really wonder why everyone doesn’t shop this way. It involves getting up early in the morning (the good stuff is generally all picked over by 10am, so we hit the road by 7:30am at the latest!) and a skilled use of your GPS (which we also found at a yard sale!) and Mapquest, but it’s so much fun, sisters, it really is. Believe it or not, it’s strengthened our marriage, too. Hubby and I have a blast as we pour steaming travel mugs of chai masala, set up the GPS, make sure we have plenty of $1 bills, and away we go.

Of coure, all of this fun and acquisition of our “treasures” cannot be remotely possible without the generosity of Allah SWT. It’s amazing how He seems to lead us to just the right houses that have exactly what we need. Coincidence? I think not. Allah SWT has been so kind to us. Every time we see or use something that Allah SWT has provided us at a yard sale, it’s another opportunity to praise Him and remember that His bounty is never-ending and unceasing. Alhumdulillah!

OK, this is the second yard sale post in one week and maybe I should stop writing about my “addiction,” LOL.  It’s just that every weekend I am so amazed at what Allah SWT gives to us, and that spills over into the rest of my week. I see more of His abundance Monday through Friday thanks to what I see on Saturday, and it’s not all material stuff, either.  I don’t think there’s any way we Muslimahs can write too much about Allah’s generosity, or thank Him too much for all that He blesses us with, both material and otherwise.

The only little problem I have is that I’d like to make an effort to dress more Islamically, and you can forget about finding abayas, jilbab, or shalwar kameez at a yard sale (although I have found some nice scarves.) InshaAllah, when the time is right, Allah will give me the risq to shop at Shukr and all of those other cool Islamic stores…and who knows, maybe I’ll assemble a few polyvore ensembles of my own! (A sister can dream, can’t she?)

 As always, thanks from the bottom of my heart for reading, and the next time you see a yard sale in your neighborhood, GO FOR IT!🙂

Much love,

Noor

Is the curry too spicy tonight? (And why should I care?)

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Hello and salaams to everyone,

First of all, I want to thank everyone that has been taking the time to visit and comment on my blog. I sincerely hope that you enjoy your time here. Please remember that the door is always open and that I love to hear from you–it brightens my day in ways that you simply cannot imagine.🙂

My mood right now is just a wee bit worried….OK, a LOT worried.  I made channa dal (curried chickpeas) tonight and I think that I added too much masala (spice) into the recipe. My hubby is on his way home from work right now and I’m afraid he won’t like it. Maybe that seems like an extremely petty fear, but I love my husband dearly and I want him to be happy with the meals I serve him after his long workday. Let’s hope he’s in the mood for five-alarm dal tonight!

This little culinary error has got me thinking about just how much I do worry, and I how I don’t turn to Allah SWT nearly enough to help me surmount it. My husband’s uncle (we call him “Mamoo”) is one of the calmest, most serene persons I know. He has a job that most would scoff at as “menial” and really doesn’t make much of an impact upon the world from the dunya’s perspective. But Mamoo has a calming personality and piousness that only comes from long hours spent in study and on the prayer rug. He never worries about where his next meal is coming from or whether he’ll be laid off soon or how he’s going to support his sons, both of which live with him. Mamoo not only does the minimum of what a Muslim is expected to do, he surpasses it, and is it really any surprise that Allah SWT has blessed him with a steady provision?

Let’s remember that when we we were born, Allah SWT in His infinite wisdom assigned us our provision, and we can never, ever have that taken away from us. You cannot add to it or subtract from it. Umar Ibin Al Khattab narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger say, “If you were to trust in Allah SWT genuinely, He would give you provision as He does for the birds which go out hungry in the morning and come back full in the evening.” If Allah SWT can provide for the birds, why should we worry that He won’t provide for us?

When I talk to the people who live their lives for Allah SWT (as opposed to people like me, who are still caught in the quicksand of the dunya), one of the most important “vibes” that resonate from them (ok, pathetic word, but I couldn’t think of another) is their profound sense of peace. They know that their risq is written for them, and they also know that what Allah SWT has decreed for them, they will receive. I wish I had that level of iman.

It’s all about submission and acceptance of the Unseen. There is so much going on in the Unseen, things that we cannot possibly fathom or understand. Even though we can’t see what’s going on ON THE SURFACE at this very moment, we can still choose to trust and have faith in Allah SWT. It is so easy to analyze things to death and let logic take over when one is worried about the outcome of something. Don’t be fooled. Think about what’s going on under the surface instead, and just let your life unfold.

I’m laughing at myself right now because I’m not prone to take my own advice as an incredible worrywart, but I think I’ve learned my lesson. Before I took shahada, I went to every astrologer, palm reader, psychic, and tarot-card carrying charlatan in town (astaghfirallah!) I think it’s important to note that in spite of all the money I spent, and in spite of all the wasted hours I spent in cramped, incense-choked rooms getting my latest dose of snake oil, not one of any of my “psychic predictions” have ever come true. NOT ONE. The worst of these ripoff artists was a “Native American shaman” (and my apologies to any Native Americans who may be reading this) who claimed to be able to “channel” spirits from the hereafter. After impatiently waiting months for an appointment and coughing up way too much money, I was granted an audience with this nut. I had my “experience” and eagerly awaited spiritual enlightenment. The balloon burst like a shower of icy water in my face when I allowed a friend, who had also seen this man, to listen to the tape of my session–and her session was EXACTLY the same as mine! This guy just went through the same old spiel every time he saw someone! Gee, do you think Allah SWT was trying to tell me something?

Yeah, trust is hard, iman is hard, but we’ve gotta find it somewhere, and we’re not going to find it in a deck of tarot cards or in the lines of your palm.  It’s safe for us to let go, release our fear and simply BELIEVE and trust Allah Almighty, the One God with no equals or partners.  We will get so many blessings in return…so many rewards for pleasing Allah SWT. For that, isn’t it worth facing a doubt or two?

By the way, hubby just came home–and he LOVES the dal!

Take care my wonderful sisters,

Noor🙂