Sunday, September 28, 2008

Plain language, clear choices

Assalamu Alaikum,

Alhamdulillah, it has been a great Ramadhan. I can't and won't complain. I've enjoyed iftars and tarawih prayers, and even 'itikaf. I wanted to do that tonight but looks like it won't happen- I'm being tested by a bad cold. Please make dua'a for me.

As a matter of fact, something happened when I made istikhara that I want to share with you. I don't have a lot of time just now (JW is coming with me to iftar (!) and I need to go pick him up), but let's just say that my prayer was answered, clearly, tacitly, and QUICKLY. Like an hour after I made it. I had no doubts, so this is just me being a witness to the glory of Allah, subhana wa ta'ala. I really feel that I've been blessed with more trust this month, and inshaAllah I'm doing what I can so that I build on it through the year. Someone wrote that our deen is a living thing, that it builds and ebbs, and that this is to be expected. I hope and pray, then, that my ebb does not conquer the heights I've reached. I am happy.

Because my istikhara was answered so clearly I was encouraged and made more prayer and asked about Farhan, who's been around a lot more lately. Please make dua'a that Allah's will be made clear.

I wanted to make a comment on the political situation here in the US of A just now. I wish someone would state exactly what is going on in plain language. While I was an international affairs major in college, I did have to take Econ twice. The second time (I never failed, just fell below my school's criteria for IA majors) I was at home and my father took the time to explain everything in everyday, cost, cause and effect terms that I understood.

So I want the same for this whole bailout deal. Someone, please break it down for me. I feel stupid because this is the one area of weakness for me and it's important- or at least, all over the news. Jazak Allah khair in advance for your comments or pointing to clear resources.

The other thing I wanted to share was the title of a book lent to me by Bro. Leader: 15 Ways to Increase Wealth by Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi. It's the kind of title I'dve' passed right by but he pressed it into my hand as I was leaving his and May's house after an iftar. MashaAllah, it's awesome- talking about halal and haraam income and how these can lead to big results either way. It's opened my eyes, so I'm recommending it... let me know if you've heard of other books like this, financial or not.

I'm making dua'a for you all- please leave any requests, esp. if I know you personally, in the comments or in my email box. May you all find Laylat ul Qadr with increased ibadah and may your fasts and efforts be accepted by our Lord, amin.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Half gone...

Assalamu Alaikum,

Ramadhan has been a blessing as always, though sometimes the blessings come in the form of tests.

Conservopolis got hit with the remnants of Hurricane Ike as it passed through the upper Midwest, leaving not much rain in our area, but wind that knocked trees into roads and houses (!), and leaving schools in 10 counties with holidays. Looks like we'll be back tomorrow, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't benefited from the rest. I took advantage of the time to get a few more things sorted with my science courses at Conservopolis Technical. Just a couple weeks and some FAFSA forms and I'll be on my way to a master's degree. Alhamdulillah.

JW is doing well, actually came to an iftar after being invited by Bro. Leader this past weekend. I always enjoy spending time with their family, and this was no exception. JW invited his (very Christian) 'girlfriend' who shares a name with our sister, and that was interesting. She didn't ask very many questions, just watched with eyes wide open. She's a good girl, as Sis. May noted; and while we all know that no woman can change any man, (that is Allah's power) I hope she sticks around. He likes her; she's a cool person who has calming influence. We'll see.

Speaking of that family, Sonny left for the middle east right after the start of Ramadhan. His sister is mad excited that he'll be closer to her; he's going to study Arabic and the deen and will be gone a year. I'm happy for him (wish for your brother what you wish for yourself is true here) and at the same time glad he'll be gone. InshaAllah he is guided to knowledge. One of my girl friends who is supposed to go study in the same country won't be leaving until December, after all, and I'm glad to have the time with her. May Allah continue to bless her. She's so patient, kind, and such a student of Islam, I'll miss her when she goes.

Hmph and then Bilal said his version of Ramadhan mubarak over the Facebook. Alhamdulillah for being a grownup. It's been 5 years since we all graduated from college. I miss DC, I miss the good times and the good people I met there. Being at ISNA a couple weeks ago, I ran into so many sisters and brothers who were my companions on the way to Islam. Bilal was one of those, as is D, as is Koonj for that matter. Few are the true friends I keep in contact with- so of the others? I thank Allah for them... but I'm purposely putting one foot in front of the other daily, away from them. At least during Ramadhan the straight path doesn't seem as lonely.

*sigh*. I'm trying to be good so I'll move on from that topic (Sonny and crew, Bilal, D), won't I?

It's such an awesome experience to actually keep up with each Juz every day. I've been using Qur'an explorer (script works best with IE, be forewarned) to recite them with the English meaning daily, then going to tarawih when I can, nights. I'm developing a preference for one tarawih; the qari is so deliberate, reciting with feeling, mashaAllah. For a while my funds were low, and I got unexpected benefit from having to visit a certain masjid. There are some awesome sisters there, we're getting to know one another.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm here, and I'm okay, and I hope your Ramadhan is even more blessed than mine, amin.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Ramadhan Mubarak!

Assalamu Alaikum,

Well. Little time to say it, lots to say.

This year was my unique opportunity to bring in Ramadhan at ISNA. I love me some ISNA. When I was a teen I did the NAACP national Convention every year; I have graduated to the ISNA-itis. I was there, you probably saw me if you were there, and just didn't know it.

And, I met UmmZaid! That was mad cool. She could've been all shady and acted like she didnt' know me, and she didn't , we hugged, and I'm glad to see the face in front of the mind I love to read. InshaAllah we'll meet again.

I also met HijabMan, he's funny. I meant to go back to his booth and just ran out of cash (ISNA bazaar is not a joke, ya'll) so when I get paid (inshaAllah) I'll be over there pestering him to send me merch through the internet. I want the shirt that says Muslims love Jesus, too. So to the point.

I had the opportunity to explain just that to one of the workers at the convention center. He asked me, do ya'll have Jesus? And I really enjoyed the 10 minutes we took to speak. InshaAllah he'll be guided.

I also feel so loved after that convention. There was a point where I couldn't walk from one end of the hall to the other, for meeting someone I knew and hadn't seen in years. I needed that boost. It was sooo good to see my friends, my peoples I loved so well while in school, the forgiving and the loving. Man. When we get it right we Muslims really are trying to be closer to Allah and it shows.
I'm begininng to understand this about myself: that I need to feel loved like other people need to look good, or other people need to eat good food, or other people need to seek Allah. How I connect that to Islam and taqwa is my challenge moving forward.

I found a Qur'an that suffices. It doesn't have the fancy notches, but it does have the large print. Alhamdulillah!

It's back to earth now. I've been up too long; and I"m investing in some eye cream because this Ramadhan, with school starting tomorrow, promises to be short on that sleep stuff *groan*. May your fasts and deeds be accepted, may you be guided to remain on the straight path, may Allah bless you and your loved ones in all you do,amin. Ramadhan Kareem!