mental muslima

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I've made the move...

...over to wordpress. My new blog address is If you aren't automatically rerouted, click here . Please update your blogrolls accordingly, thanks....

Posted by Amani :: 7:57 PM :: 39 comments

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak...Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Illaha Il Allah, wa lillahi Hamd.

Happy Eid, to my Muslim and non-Muslim readers. God is great. I'm sorry it took me so long to give the greeting, but things have been busy. Eid came on Monday, here, and it was somewhat melancholy. On one hand I was very happy to break the fast, but on the other hand, Ramadan is a time when we feel closest to Allah (swt) and I was sad to see it go. Inshallah, we will live to see many more Ramadans.

I just wanted to share my ingredients for a merry Eid, and some pictures

1. Hubby must take off the day of Eid.

2.We must attend Eid prayers as a family.

3. We must arrive on time for the prayer.

4. Everyone must wear their best clothes, especially my Zakiyyah.

5. After Eid, we must meet with extended family for Banana Pancakes.

6. We must watch the look on Zakiyyah's face, when she is scared by Magic Rattle and Ride Pooh

Here are some pics for your enjoyment.

Here are my new Eid shoes. Don't worry, sisters, my skirt was so long they hardly showed.

Zakiyyah's Eid oufit #1

Zakiyyah's Eid outfit #2. Yes, my sweety has two Eid 'fits, cuz she is fly like that. Oh, I almost forgot, thanks Musulmana for giving me this outfit. I'm so happy she got to wear it before it joins the huge box of too-small outfits ;-)

I hope your Eid was as good or better than mine. Eid Mubarak, Eid Kareem, Eid Sa'eed!!!

Posted by Amani :: 5:55 PM :: 7 comments

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Don''t Be a Chimp

When I was younger my father always used to tell me this story about a Muslim brother he once knew that had a chimp as a pet. But this chimp was no ordinary chimpanzee. This chimp could pray. According to my father, the brother had taught his pet how to do wudhu(cleansing) and how to raise his hands in takbeer as soon as he heard the words Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest). My siblings and I would always get a kick out of my father's descrptions of the chimp splashing around in the water while performing wudhu, and how he could do all of the movements of Salat from takbeer to salaams. I still wonder if the story is true or not, my father has a way with tall tales, but now I realize whether it is true or not, there is a moral to the story.

That chimp was only mimicking what he saw others doing. As an animal, he didn't understand the meaning behind the movements, or why he was performing them. Animals have their own form of worship, and as humans we have ours. But think about often have you allowed yourself to become the chimp in your worship? How often have you simply gone through the motions without any reflection? How often have you allowed the problems and trials of this world to eliminate the khushu from your salat? We're all guilty of it, I'm afraid.

I remember when I was younger I didn't take prayer seriously. I guess I didn't get the "point." I didn't understand Arabic, and the words of Qur'an meant nothing to me, may Allah forgive me. It wasn't until I actually started learning the meaning behind the words and the movements that I began to recognize the importance of them. Now whenever I pray, I try to remember that I am bowing down to my Creator. I try to remind myself of the meanings behind the words and to recite them as though I am in Allah's presence. However, I'm not perfect. Sometimes, I catch myself rushing through my prayers without any reflection. It saddens me...

Each month we move further from Allah (swt). Each month we move closer towards the haram and further away from the halal. We rely on Ramadan to bring us back, to bring us closer to Allah(swt). We depend on Ramadan to remind us of Allah's mercy, to show us what we are capable of. Now that Ramadan is coming to a close, let's make an intention to not allow ourselves to continue to be the chimp. Let's put our full selves, mind, body, and spirit, into our worship. Let's give Allah(swt) all that our Creator is due. May Allah make it easy for us, inshallah....

Posted by Amani :: 7:09 PM :: 2 comments

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

You don't know your own strength

God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: in his favour shall be whatever good he does, and against him whatever evil he does. O our Sustainer! Take us not to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong! "O our Sustainer! Lay not upon us a burden such as Thou didst lay upon those who lived before us! O our Sustainer! Make us not bear burdens which we have no strength to bear! "And efface Thou our sins, and grant us forgiveness, and bestow Thy mercy upon us! Thou art our Lord Supreme: succour us, then, against people who deny the truth!" (Al-Quran 2:286)

I'm learning something this Ramadan. I'm learning something besides the all important lessons of self-restraint, belief in Allah (swt) and mercy towards the poor. I'm learning about my own inner strength. I'm learning that Allah (swt) has inundated women with an immense power...the power to give birth, care for her child and nourish that child with her own milk. I have been fasting and nursing this Ramadan, and it is teaching much about my own abilities.

If you have never nursed a baby, let me first tell you that it is not an easy feat in and of itself. In order for a woman to produce enough milk to nourish a baby, she must consume extra calories and up her fluid intake. When I first had Zakiyyah, I would never have been able to imagine fasting and nursing her. I was thirsty constantly. I would fill a 32oz. bottle of water and finish it off before lunch. I was also extremely hungry; I ate more than I had when I was pregnant (if that's possible). As Ramadan neared, I began to feel apprehensive about it. While I didn't want to miss another Ramadan, I didn't want to tax my body too much, or put Zakiyyah's health in danger by lowering my milk supply. I read many Fatawa, and spoke to women who done it themselves. Some women told me that it was impossible, some thought I was crazy for even considering it, some said it was manageable, but definitely a challenge. I began to think that many women in impoverished countries nurse their children and survive while eating much less than I would even while fasting. That changed my point of view. Eventually, I decided to at least give it a try, if I failed I vowed that I would just say "Alhumdullilah," and make up the days later. I also made du'ah that Allah (swt) would make it easy for me.

Before Ramadan started, I began to improve my diet, in hopes of preparing myself for the challenge. I began to up my water supply and eat more whole grains and protein. I went to my local Farmer's Market and bought whole grain breads and Organic Dairy products. The first day of the fast, I drank a lot of water during Suhur, and ate whole grain bread, and a bowl of oatmeal with milk. Again, I made du'ah.

I have been fasting since, with the exception of one day when I felt sick. As we near the halfway point, I am so greatful that Allah (swt) has placed within me the ability to fast and nurse. It has not been easy, but it is not unbearable, alhumdollilah. Most importantly, my milk supply has not noticably diminished. I hope and pray that I will be able to continue, and that my fast will be accepted. (amin)

Posted by Amani :: 6:05 PM :: 18 comments

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Thank Allah for your Parched Mouth...

A few days ago, I went to my Sunday morning class. Alhumdullilah, I always find something enlightening from the teacher. On this day, we went over Hadith Al-Qudsi hadith #6:

On the authority of Aboo `Abdillaah an-Nu`maan the son of Basheer (radiAllaahu 'anhumaa), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) say:

That which is lawful is clear and that which is unlawful is clear, and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know. Thus he who avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour, but he who falls into doubtful matters [eventually] falls into that which is unlawful, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allaah's sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of [the body] is diseased. Truly, it is the heart. [Related by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.]

The Shaykh then went on to explain that some people know in their hearts what is Al-Halal and what is Al-Haram, and they continue to exceed the limits set down by Allah (swt). They begin to commit Makhruh acts, and eventually those aren't even enough for them. Eventually, they are doing Haram openly. It is a slippery slope. Anyway, we were in the middle of the Hadith portion of the class when a new student walked in.

She sat next to me, and I immediately noticed something "off" about her. She was dressed sort of haphazardly. She wore a hijab, but it looked like she had just thrown her outfit together. She, what can I say?, she didn't smell too nice. Conversely, she had a very clear, brown complexion and nice teeth. I used to wear braces when I was a teenager, and one of the first things I notice about people are their teeth, and hers were even, straight and white.

I noticed also, that she was very figgety. Soon after she came into the class, she suddenly got up and left. The shaykh hadn't finished class yet, so I went after her.

I followed her outside and asked her if she was coming back in. She said she would, and she said, "Are we allowed to ask questions in this class?" I answered that she was allowed to ask any questions she needed to. After a few minutes she came back into the class.

After the Hadith section of the class, we began to talk about Fiqh of fasting, and the sister raises her hand. She says, "If someone has a medical condition, where they're not obligated to fast...or pray...should they still fast or would it be wrong to fast?" I could see that the sister truly wanted guidance, and had come to the class seeking just that.

I immediately start thinking about what kind of a health condition she could have. She appears pretty healthy. But looks only tell part of the story.

The shaykh said, "I can't answer the question until I know the nature of the illness."

She says, "What if someone were Bi-Polar, and they have to take medicines to control it, and if they aren't sure what fasting will do to their...balance?"

The Shaykh was clearly thrown for a loop. He had a hard time advising her, he tried giving her nasihah, but he had to eventually advise her to consult her doctor.

Imagine if you couldn't fast? What if your health absolutely prevented you from doing so? Wouldn't you crave the days when you were able to fast? Yes, Allah (swt) is Merciful, those who can't fast can feed a poor or fasting person, but just the act of fasting brings us closer to Allah, and that bond is hard to duplicate.

What if each day it was a challenge just to gain control of reality? What if you struggled just to make sense of this world? Allah has indeed placed a great test upon those who struggle with Mental Health issues. Inshallah, they will pass that test.

Everyday, we take for granted our fasting. Every year we take for granted that we will be granted another Ramadan. What if this is our last? What if today is our last day on this Earth? What if next year we are unable to fulfill the fast?

May we all take advantage of this Ramadan, as if it were our last one upon this Earth. May Allah accept our fast, Salah, and Du'ah this Ramadan (amin).

Posted by Amani :: 10:50 PM :: 10 comments

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Jesus Camp"

A mountainous woman of indefatigable good cheer, Ms. Fischer makes no bones about her expectation that the growing evangelical movement in the United States will one day end the constitutional ban separating church and state. And as the movie explores her highly effective methods of mobilizing God’s army, that expectation seems reasonable.

"Jesus Camp" is a documentary film about a children's camp for Evangelical Christians called, "Kids On Fire." The leader of the group, "... compares Kids on Fire to militant Palestinian training camps in the Middle East that instill an aggressive Islamist fundamentalism."

This is a Christian group that is calling for an end to the division of church and state. The group, which targets children under 13, call themselves "Soldiers in God's Army." The group teaches the children to practice war dances, oh yeah, and they pray to a cardboard cut-out of President Bush.

If this was a group of Muslims, they would have been disbanded before they even got off the ground. Has America forgotten about Timothy McVeigh? I think American's have forgotten that the most insidious enemy is that which comes from within. This administration has allowed it's xenophobic views to blind them to organizations such as this. Let's hope that the Bush adminstration takes a break from freeing Iraq," long enough to save this society from Christian Radicals.

For More Info:

N.Y Times Review

Posted by Amani :: 7:03 PM :: 4 comments

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

new blog

Myself and a few other bloggers have started a Ramadan Blog. It's called Empty Stomach Full Heart Check it out!

Posted by Amani :: 5:58 PM :: 2 comments

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Monday, September 25, 2006

A Ramadan Primer

I know that not everyone who reads my blog is Muslim. So, I wanted to explain in laymans terms, the significance of Ramadan. I apologize if I have said anything wrong, or left anything out.

The month of Ramadan is the 9th month in the Lunar calendar. It is also the month that Muslims believe that the Holy Qur'an began to be revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (saws). Muslims believe that Ramadan is the holiest of months.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. During daylight hours, Muslims obstain from food, drink, sexual relations, idle chat, and loss of temper. Those who are sick, travelling or pregnant are exempt from the fast, but must fast those days later. It says in the Holy Qur'an that fasting is prescribed to us so that we may learn self restraint.

After the fast is broken, a meal called Iftar is eaten. Iftar is often eaten at the mosque, with fellow Muslims.

It is hard to describe the joy that Muslims feel when the month of Ramadan begins. Muslims believe that if one fasts the entire month of Ramadan, then that person's sins from the previous year will be forgiven.

During Ramadan, Muslims preform a special prayer, called Taraweeh. Taraweeh is preformed each night during Ramadan, it consists of 8 or 20 Rakaah, or movements. Each night a section, or Juz, of Qur'an is recited, so that by the end of the month the entire Qur'an will have been recited.

During Ramadan, Muslims are also encouraged to give to charity and feed poor or fasting persons.

After Ramadan is over, a celebration called Eid-Ul-Fitr occurs. On this day Muslims have a special prayer, and give to charity, have parties, and EAT.

Posted by Amani :: 3:55 PM :: 0 comments

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Ramadan Mubarak

Yes, Ramadan has arrived once again. Thank Allah. I am in a much better condition this Ramadan than I was in last Ramadan. My family has mostly recovered from Katrina, Zakiyyah is here, and overall we are doing pretty well. Here is how my Ramadan has been going so far:

The first night of Ramadan we went to Taraweeh prayers. I was a little apprehensive about taking Zakiyyah with me, but alhumdullilah, she was a doll. I sat her on a blanket and gave her a few toys and a sippy cup of diluted apple juice and she was great.

We were in the middle of Taraweeh, when a sister arrived with her two children. One was very young, only a few months old, and the other was a little girl, of about 2. Well, as I was praying, I saw the little girl approach Zakiyyah, she kisses her cheek and then out of nowhere she BITES her. Yes, she bit my habibaty. I was so upset. I felt so bad for my baby. She didn't know what hit her. I don't blame the mother, she was just trying to pray as well, but I still felt bad for my baby.

Anyway, after some hugs and kisses she recovered nicely.

After reading many fatwas and hearing the experiences of many mothers, I decided to try to fast while nursing. I must admit, it hasn't been that bad. I have been drinking PLENTY of water, and trying to eat good suhurs. I have been eating lots of whole grains, oatmeal, and milk. It doesn't seem to have effected my supply, alhumdollilah. I also haven't had any dizzyness, which is truly a gift from Allah. The only thing that is different is that I have been really tired. I hope my energy comes back. Maybe I'll make cook some spinach for iftar, try to bulk up on the iron.

On Sunday night, we decided to go to a new Masjid to break our fast. Alhumdollilah, I am glad we did. This masjid was full of light. What I love about this masjid was that there were so many different races and nationalities present. There were East Africans, African-Americans, Arabs, Indo-Paks you name it.

After Ishaa prayer, I had to leave, and a sister I had never even met before tried to convince me to stay for Taraweeh. I explained that I didn't want Zakiyyah to interrupt anyone's prayers. She replied, "But how will she learn." All to often when you attend a new masjid your made to feel like an outsider. Let's face it many Muslims are xenophobic, but not here. I was greeted with a smile and kind words....and they LOVED Zakiyyah. That was great, Inshallah, I will attend their Taraweeh tonight.

Anyway, Ramadan Mubarak...

Posted by Amani :: 11:19 AM :: 2 comments

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Who are the Real Terrorists?

This is a poem I wrote. I took it down becuase some people didn't like it, but I decided I don't care. If you don't like it, tough noogies...

Who are the Real Terrorists?

2973 Americans died on 9/11
suicide bombers did the job
they called them "terrorists"

they launched an offensive
Proclaimed Iraq free
48,000 Iraqis died
3,015 Americans gave their lives

Dead...yet, Free?
Who are the real terrorists?

Americans are called people
Iraqis are "insurgents"... "terrorists" ..."islamists"...inhuman
They dehumanize them, "abu ghraib" them
Rape, murder, humiliate them

Empathy only counts when the victims look like you...
speak your language...
drink Coca Cola and wear Levi's Jeans...

48,000 Iraqis
what is the rate of exchange for Iraqis lives vs. Americans
the going rate is 16:1

a purple stained finger doesn't replace my...
mother, sister, father, brother...friend

If you back me against a wall...
I will come out swinging...
they call me a insurgent

yet...48,000 Iraqis have died

Who are the real terrorists?

Posted by Amani :: 9:00 AM :: 4 comments

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