Noor's life on the path to Jannah

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Hijabi humility, hijabi pride

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Salaams everyone,

Well it’s 6:15 PM, a mushroom-and-pepper pizza is bubbling away in the oven, and I am in a happy mood, considering that it’s a Sunday and that my precious one-on-one time with my wonderful husband is drawing to a close.

We took a drive this afternoon to our local “Subzi Mandi” (Indo-Pak grocery) where I always feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store–so many Desi delights under one roof! I stocked up on my faves: yogurt, coconut milk, dried fruit, chickpeas, naan bread, and other treats. On the way we home we stopped to fill up the car with gas and a young man gave us salaams. Since he was new in town, he wasn’t sure where the nearest masjid was and my hubby was happy to point him in the right direction. As we pulled away, I said to him, “May Allah SWT bless you for that good deed you just did.” My husband replied, “And Allah SWT will bless YOU in turn, because if you had not been wearing your hijab, that brother would have never known that I was a Muslim.”

I felt so proud yet incredibly humbled. We all know the power of giving and receiving salaams, and knowing that I played a minor role in that little exchange made me so happy.

Hijab: do we REALLY know the extent of the blessings we are showered with?

Much love to everyone,

Noor

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Miles and miles of blessings

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Assalamu Aleikum!

OK sisters, where are you? Did I tell you guys that sabr was never one of my strong points? My blog is only a few days old and here I am frantically checking my email every 5 minutes to see if I have any new comments…that’s just not realistic! It’s not like one starts a blog and everyone in cyberspace magically knows where you are. Still, I’ll be looking forward to the day, insha-Allah, where I am an established blog with many followers…I hope, I hope! Ya Allah SWT, I know those sisters are out there, please send them to me! 🙂

The day’s not over, but so far it’s been amazing and I am really blessed. Hubby and I got up early to participate in our best-loved weekend ritual–visiting yard sales (or tag sales, rummage sales, garage sales, jumble sales or whatever you call them in your part of the world.) Maybe you think it’s crazy to be buying what my mother used to derisively call “someone else’s trash,” but in our case their “trash” has evolved into a tremendous treasure for us. I can’t begin to tell you about the cool stuff we get for pennies on the dollar. Housewares, clothes, stuff for the yard…you name it. The really wonderful thing is that it’s turned into such a fun thing to do for our marriage and Allah SWT seems to lead us to just the right things that we need and an indulgence or two as well! We usually come home after two or three hours, but today there was a “Mile Long Sale” in another neighborhood that had TONS of houses. May Allah SWT forgive me, but I kept telling my hubby that it was just like Christmas. He wasn’t thrilled about that analogy, but hey…I’m a convert and I can joke around a little bit if I want to. I was also lucky enough to meet a really sweet young lady who has a beadcraft business. She is going to start giving me private lessons, subhanAllah!

Anyway, we were out for HOURS and when we came home, car stuffed to the gills, we just wanted to crash for a while. So, here I am, post-nap and thinking about dinner, which is going to be palak paneer (creamed spinach with cheese cubes, which is my absolute fave Desi dish, bar none!) We’re going to break with tradition and serve it on pasta instead of rice, which actually sounds pretty yummy.

Today’s haul–and what a haul it was!–made me reflect upon Allah SWT’s incredible generosity towards us. If we only stop and look around, we’ll see just how incredibly rich we are. Perhaps we are not “rich” in the financial sense, but maybe you got lucky like we did today and got something that was new-to-you for just a few bucks. Or maybe you looked up to see a gorgeous display of stars in a clear, cloudless sky…or heard a baby’s laughter…or spent some quality time with your pet…or just hung out on the back porch with the one you love while sharing a frosty glass of iced tea (or my personal Desi fave, nimbu pani/limeade).  Look around, ladies! You’re rich! Even if you can’t think of one good thing that has happened to you recently, pick up your Quran! Reflect in the glory of Allah SWT’s mighty Word–nothing can take that away from you!  Are you a convert sister? Take a moment to remember that when you took shahada, alhumdulillah, that you became as a newborn baby, free of all the past sins that have dragged you down in this often painful world we live in. Think of how EVERY prayer of ours is answered in Allah SWT’s time, whether it be granting our prayer, taking something bad away from us, or getting something even better in Jannah! And Jannah, indeed, is the ultimate proof of Allah SWT’s generosity. We ALL have a chance to earn a place in Jannah, a chance that will sustain us throughout eternity! Certainly the chance of entering Jannah is infinitely better for us than any lottery ticket we could ever buy, astaghfirallah.

Do you see? As Muslims, we are rich indeed–and this prosperity has nothing to do with the car we drive or the size of our bank account. Why not take a moment now to make du’a that your eyes be opened, and look around. Rejoice in the bounty and beauty of Allah SWT.

Your sister on the path to Jannah,

Noor

The needs and dreams of Gori girls

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Salaams everyone,

What is a Gori, you ask? Well, it’s Desi (South Indian)-speak for “white girl,” which is me to a T.  How many sisters out there are like me–blessed (or cursed LOL) with stick-straight Gori hair that no hiajb can grab on to? Well, I have a very cheap, and fun, solution for you, and an inspirational story for you to ponder as well.

I’m assuming that you wear underscarves already, and if you don’t, you’ll find that your life is a lot easier as a hijabi if you DO wear one. Finally, the darn thing won’t slip off! You can find underscarves at just about any hijab online store, but give my way a try if you like: go to your local thrift store and find some stretchy cotton T-shirts. Get any colors you like–I even have tye-dye–and cut the sleeves off. Pull the sleeve over your head like a tube. VOILA! Instant cheap, trendy underscarf! You can choose to sew the cut edge smooth or just hide the ragged edge under the hijab like I do. This is a great trick for the hijabi on a budget or for summertime when we seem to just “soak through” our underscarves. For just a few bucks we can get a whole bunch of underscarves to add to our collection.

One of these days I’m going to take the time to decorate some of the homemade underscarves I’ve made–maybe with fabric paint, lace, or even a rhinestone or two. There’s just something so lovely about a pretty underscarf peeking out from under a hijab…it really brings the look together.

Yes, ladies, I have a dream. I know that there are a ton of hijab stores out there (at least online), but insha-Allah I hope the world has room for the images I’m creating of hijab, underscarves, and pins. ESPECIALLY pins. In my opinion, there is a serious lack of really nice, sophisiticated hijab pins out there and Allah SWT has blessed me with some great ideas. Who knows, perhaps Allah SWT will bless me with an online store where I can make those dreams reality.

Speaking of dreams fulfilled, I can’t think of a better example of how Allah blesses good intentions than by telling you about Sister Julie of www.middleeasternmall.com.  When Sister Julie converted she lived in a part of the USA that had practically NO amenities for converts like her, much less hiajbs she could be proud to wear. So, she fulfilled the need herself with the blessing of Allah SWT. First she started small by selling a few hijabs on eBay, but mashAllah, the need for quality, beautiful hiajbs skyrocketed and now Sister Julie has THREE online stores and a brick-and-mortar store in Texas!  Believe me, this sister has EVERYTHING….just about every type of scarf (and underscarf) in every color, print, and style you can imagine.  Every time I visit the site, she has another beautiful collection of hijabs.

I don’t own any stock in Sister Julie’s business (LOL), this is just such a great example of how Allah SWT blesses good intentions. From having access to nothing at all Allah SWT not only answered her prayer, but surpassed it by blessing her with a thriving business that helps hijabis all around the world. When I feel depressed about my own future, I think of Sister Julie and how her dream became reality. Alhumdulillah.

What are YOUR dreams? Have you given up making du’a (as I am prone to do) because you have already made du’a one million times and you don’t think your dream is “big” or significant enough for Allah SWT? Sisters, don’t you dare let those dreams go. Allah SWT sees every desire of your heart, and there is nothing too big or too small for Him. Think of your dreams as seeds planted in incredibly fertile soil. Even though you may not see anything under the surface, your du’as are providing the sun, wind, rain and everything your dreams need to grow. You may not see anything going on for a long time. This is when we are tempted to stop making du’a–or worse, succumb to the temptations of the shaytan and just get frustrated and kick the soil everywhere yelling, “Allah (SWT) is not listening to me!” Don’t be fooled. Remember that Allah SWT loves it so much when we call upon him for EVERYTHING, even a shoelace.  So keep praying, praying, praying. Remember, too, that Allah SWT may not fulfill your dream exactly as you expect it to be. That’s OK, because there may be something even better waiting in store. If you keep praying, your frustration will be rewarded with those precious things called sabr (patience), and iman (faith).

If you’re in that angry, frustrated, doubtful place as I have been so many times, please take a moment to remember Sister Julie. If she can fulfill her dreams, so can we…with the blessing of our Beloved Allah Almighty.

Just BELIEVE. It works!

My love to all,

Noor

Have I finally found something that works?

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Salaams everyone,

The word for today is “tired.” Why? Well, I’ve spent most of my day looking at blogs, reading blogs, and trying to find blogs. You can say that I’m pretty “blogged out” right now, that’s for sure. One of the many blessings that Allah SWT has given me is that I am able to work out of my home, and in between phone calls I’ve been blog surfing.

Wow…you are certainly a diverse lot, from the daring and irreverent to the extremely pious. I’ve learned a lot from you sisters today.  Allah SWT has made us with different hopes, dreams, families, and backgrounds, but we are all united for love of Him. I’m going to keep looking for you, and commenting on your posts when I read something that really resonates with me. So…watch out! 🙂

What am I up to right now? Well, the house has another distincly Asian aroma, this time coming from a broccoli and bell pepper stir fry with tofu. I must say that my Pakistani husband had no clue what tofu was until I brought some home, and if you ask me, I don’t think he’s really crazy about it, but he eats it to make me happy. My husband flatters me way too much when it comes to my cooking, but hey, it’s a blessing and a privilege to be able to cook for such a wonderful husband as he is.

If I’m serious about blogging then at some point I need to bring up my eating disorder in greater detail. I have been diagnosed with binge eating disorder and it’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life–one of the consequences being that I’m a lot heavier than I should be. I have gone back and forth on this issue with Allah SWT and have felt a lot of anger and frustration at Him (astaghfirallah) for what I go through. To explain my motives as best as I can, there are just times that the only thing that will take my pain, anger, boredom, sadness, lonliness (fill in the blank) is to eat. The weight has piled on and that has only caused me to feel worse about myself.

I’m actually going to try hypnosis as a way to calm myself down and relax more, and hopefully that will help me to cope with the overeating. I was worried that it was haram as a form of witchcraft or something, but I found an online fatwa that said it wasn’t. I bought a CD from eBay that I can play over and over again, and I was told that I need to allow at least 28 days to change my approach to food and eating. So may Allah SWT put his barkat in this little experiment and I will keep you posted! 🙂

Love and light to everyone.

Dunya vs. Deen…the battle continues

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Assalamu Aleikum everyone,

First of all, JazakAllah Khair for the awesome comments I’m getting so far. I was wondering if anyone would bother to read this blog and I’m happy to say that the answer is yes. I really appreciate it and please keep those responses coming. There is nothing more I’d love to have right now than a network of loving sisters in cyberspace. 🙂

I’m in a very contemplative mood right now. Allah SWT has chosen to test me in this lifetime with mental illness (bipolar depression) and an eating disorder (binge eating disorder) and even though I try to face these tests to the best of my ability, I really struggle with them. Allah SWT has gifted me with so much but I am far from being the woman and sister I’d like to be….not by a long shot. My struggle of dunya vs. deen continues as it does day by day. I remember speaking to a wonderful sister who, after hearing about some of my battles, said that the accursed shaytan must be really angry that I became a Muslim. Great…as if I didn’t have enough issues with the shaytan already. I guess my biggest issue, and maybe this is a leftover issue from my agnostic days, is that I have a problem with the idea that a shaytan even exists in the first place. It’s not great to know that there is an entity out there who is on your back 24/7 trying to mess up your life and turn you away from Allah SWT.

Astaghfirallah, sometimes I even pretend that there is no such thing as a shaytan and I try to go my merry way in life, but of course that’s just a fantasy as it is stated clearly in Quran that he does exist. So whether I choose to admit it or not, I am stuck fighting this battle every day of my life. I should probably stop writing about the shaytan now as he is probably thrilled that I am giving him so much attention, but hey….it’s a problem. And don’t even get me started about waswasa.

It seems that whenever a positive thought enters my head waswasa invades my mind and poisons my thoughts. For example, I have waswasa every time I post to this blog. The waswasa says that I am a lousy writer, that I’m boring, that nobody will want to read this. What I need to remember is that waswasa is a LIE and that I should just ignore it….again, easier said than done.

If Allah SWT has guided you to read this post, could you do me a little favor? How do you fight your battles with the accursed shaytan? How do you handle waswasa? What works for you? That would mean so much to me.

In other, more mundane, news, I’m glad it’s Wednesday. I know that we just had a federal holiday and that the workweek is technically still pretty young, but I miss my hubby so much when he’s not around. I have prepared a marvelous dish of shrimp scampi (with so much garlic that you can probably smell it a mile away) and insha-Allah we’ll enjoy it tremendously. Ya know, speaking of cooking and being Muslim, I recently read that it was a blessing to cook for your husband and that we wives (or sisters or moms 0r friends) will be rewarded in Jannah for it with a selection of anything that we would like to eat (halal, of course.) To me, that is the ultimate gift as I don’t think there will be any calorie counting in Jannah! 🙂

One final thing: I keep meaning to say this but keep forgetting, so this is really important. I am not a scholar or a hafiz or anyone with that kind of knowledge about Islam (may Allah SWT increase my understanding) so I am trying to tread very lightly when it comes to posting anything related to sharia or fatwas in this blog. All of my knowledge and understanding comes from Allah SWT and any mistakes are my own. I humbly ask Him to forgive me for any mistakes I may write in this blog about Islam, hopefully there won’t be any–but I’m only human.

May Allah SWT shower you with his generosity, love, abundance, and infinite mercy.

Goan fish stew, anyone?

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Hello all,

The whole house smells of some exotic climate as I sit here happily digesting my dinner–tonight’s fare was Goan fish stew with rice. It was actually pretty easy to make, considering that I had a packet of fish gravy on hand and dried coconut milk. Believe me, combining the two makes an absolutely amazing dish that I ate entirely too much of. I used Basa fish, also known as Swai, which I believe comes from Thailand. Hubby came home just in time to enjoy it (the poor guy works in NYC and often comes home late) and alhumdulillah, we had a fantastic dinner. I usually like to cook things right from scratch, but sometimes it’s a relief to just go to my local desi store and get one of their prepared mixes. Anyway, the stuff is darn good and I highly recommend it. Now I’m feeling too full to do much else!

Here I am!

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Salaams everyone,

Well, I’ve played around with the idea of having a blog for too long, so here it is. I soooo want to have all of the little widgets and doodads that I see on the other blogs but I’m just too new at this thing to understand what the heck to do, so for now I’ll focus on content. If you haven’t been to the “about” page, why not check that out first?

Back? Cool. I really can’t do my first post without giving props to my husband. He’s passed out on the couch after a long weekend of spreading mulch throughout the yard, and last week he ripped out just about all the carpet in our house. Is he a hardworking guy? You betcha. I must say that despite our differences, Allah SWT has really blessed me when it comes to gifting me with such a wonderful life partner. I have put him through so much with my mood swings, crying spells, and fits of rage–all of which, as I look back, make me feel incredibly ashamed. Thank God he understands that he’s living with someone who’s not quite right sometimes, LOL. Hey….I do what I can by seeing my doctor and taking my meds, but there are just some days when Allah SWT’s life tests just overwhelm me. I know that Allah SWT never gives you anything that you can’t handle, but that sure seems hard for me to believe at times.

I have seen some great blogs written by other sisters. I hope that this blog gets some traffic and if it inspires, touches, or makes just one other person laugh, my mission will be accomplished. One of my other hopes is that this blog allows me to get closer to other sisters, particularly convert sisters. That would really be cool.

In my “about” page I mentioned that I like the J.Lo fragrance. Well, in my pursuit of all things girly, I went ahead and bought some roll-ons of some “smells just like the real thing” scents. Sadly enough, the “J. Lo Type” smells like soap and I will probably toss it. However, I also got some delish ones like plumeria, jasmine, gardenia, and mango papaya. I’m not a fan of musky scents, although Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) said that when we get to Jannah we will smell like musk…(please correct me if I am wrong) I’m sure at that point I will probably ADORE musk–although all I’m hoping for is to just make it there in the first place! 🙂

Sometimes I sit and contemplate just what Jennah will be like for the lucky ones who make it there. Nothing can possibly come close to explaining what that will be, which makes me extremely excited. Imagine a world where is no pain, suffering, or sadness, where everyone is happy and reunited with their loved ones, with loving words to Allah SWT constantly on their lips. How wonderful is that?

OK, I’m going out to spread the word that I’m here and would really love some readers. Please share your comments with me–I’d love to hear from you!