Friday, April 29, 2005

Unless They Change Themselves

We are so concerned with the state of affairs in which we, Muslims, find ourselves today. Who wouldn't be? But for some reason we are blind to the reason that we're failing in every way possible. We are not failing materially – on the contrary, many Muslims in North America are accomplished, educated people. We're failing in our faith. Perhaps, we say, it is more difficult for us to practice our Islam in this society. But that's only because we are weak. And I remind myself first, because I have great faults that I am trying to rectify. We cannot change the state we are in – only God can do this. And as God says in the Qur'an: "God will not change the state of a people unless they change themselves" [13:11]. This doesn't mean complaining or holding protests - although this is important. It means, getting closer to Allah. It means being educated in our religion, knowing truth from falsehood and following the straight path. If we were truly following the path of the rightly guided, we wouldn’t be in the trouble we are in today. We wouldn't be vulnerable, floundering excuses for Muslims. People underestimate the effect of faith on our lives and on our conditions. It is difficult, no doubt. But our struggle against the challenge of our environment is our jihad – perhaps the reason that the prophet called us his "brothers" that "will believe in me without ever having seen me." And speaking of us, said "There shall come to God some people on the day of resurrection whose light is like sunlight." Emerging on the day of resurrection with light on our faces, like sunlight – a dream we all have.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Selecting A Reader

First, I would have her be beautiful, and walking carefully up on my poetry at the loneliest moment of an afternoon, her hair still damp at the neck from washing it. She should be wearing a raincoat, an old one, dirty from not having money enough for the cleaners. She will take out her glasses, and there in the bookstore, she will thumb over my poems, then put the book back up on its shelf. She will say to herself, "For that kind of money, I can get my raincoat cleaned." And she will. Ted Kooser

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Strangers in this world

All a person is, is a shell. The only thing that can be seen is the outside - the inside is completely hidden; hidden from people you don't know, hidden from people you do know, even hidden from yourself. The mystery of what makes a person unique, is completely confuzzling. And so, am I a shell? As a Muslim, is that all people see? A hijabi's shell on the subway, walking downtown, going to classes. Hijab doesn't prevent people from judging me according to my appearance, although it should. All I know is that people stare, some are frightened, some amused, some just plain confused. It's a bit unnerving when I think about it - never really fitting in, even though I was born and raised here. There's some type of invisible line that seperates humans...we try to deny its existence, we try to imagine it away, but can't. And so you would think it unnerving to know that you can live out your life being an outsider. Being the "other". But read on: "Islam started strange, and will return as it began...thus, good tidings for the strangers" Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) And people began to ask him about these "Strangers" he had mentioned ... The Messenger of God said, "There shall come to God some people on the day of resurrection whose light is like sunlight." Then Abu Bakr said, "Are we the ones, O Messenger of God?" He said, "No, and you have much goodness, but they are the poor and the immigrants who will be gathered from the ends of the earth." Then he said, "Bliss to the strangers. Bliss to the strangers. Bliss to the strangers." Then it was said, "Who are the strangers, O Messenger of God?" He said, "Good people among many bad people. Those who will disobey them are more than those who will obey them." Strangers that the Prophet called "my brothers" and of whom he said: "They will believe in me without ever having seen me." And they continued to ask "Who are the strangers?" "They are those who follow my ways when my ummah is corrupt." "They are of those who will have moved away from their clans." "God will bring them together to join Jesus the son of Mary." SubhanAllah.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Testing 123 - can anybody hear me?

I'm afraid of many things: Dogs frogs an MSA meeting lack of heating (in winter) getting run over by a car walking too far getting caught in the rain becoming insane (if I am already not so) getting bad grades Anne of Green Gable's braids not checking my email for a day writing any kind of essay losing brain cells cheap hotels having to share my food getting sued And so these are my fears. Oh, I forgot one: engineers.