In Space, No One Can Hear You Clean

I have a burning question:

I am I the only women (particularly of the wifely, child having sort) in the Muslim blogosphere who is rubbish at cooking and has negligible crafting skills?

Masha Allah to all the queens of crafting and cuisine out there, I’m just bitter because knowing about flags and capital cities just doesn’t seem to rate as highly in terms of household skills.

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I’m writing this with the telly on (C minus Muslim am I) and I just watched Brian Cox (the physicist, not the actor), state that he believes in science, rather than religion because he’s comfortable with the unknown, he then goes on to say that those aren’t comfortable with the unknown, i.e the religious find it difficult to be scientists.

Oh, you Western, White folks. How blinkered you are and you don’t even know it. Folks, who are slightly less blinkered and/or white and western, will have met many, many people for scientific beliefs don’t just co-exist but nourish and fertilise each other.

When I talk of blinkers, I’m being a bit metaphorical, because by blinkers, I really mean the sort of insidious racism which means the achievements and abilities of a whole group of people are erased and minimised because they are not white Europeans. I am of course talking about the many scientific advances made by people of colour (and not just Muslims) who also possessed religious beliefs. They existed, so why do so many white folks act like they invented science?

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Back to the geography trivia:

Which countries are doubly landlocked?

Answers in the comments please. I cannot offer any grand prizes for correct answers, but I’ll do a blog post on the topic of your choice for the winner.

Won’t you take me to the Queen of Hearts?

It has been faaaaar too long. I write this in the hope that someone, somewhere is still reading, but I know that ultimately, I blog for myself.

I want to write more. I do. But then I want to write about so much that I don’t know where to start and so I write nothing.

Little has changed outside of this blog. The poor are being asked to pay for the mistakes of the made men and material worn by Muslimah mesmerises and disgusts in equal measure.

So as much as it irritates the nostrils off me, the way someone Muslims get more worked up about a Muslimah’s right to wear niqab then anyhting else, to the point where it would seem that wearing textiles in a certain way is the best thing a Muslimah could ever do.

I have to state that the idea of a ‘burka’ ban is an Absolute Redwood sized amount of wrong. Banning clothing for someone’s own good!? Are we in school, or is it that Muslims are deemed to need schooling?

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Aside for that, Oreo, is now one year old, Alhamdulilah and she’s discovered the joy of cuddles. She wraps her arms around you and snuggles her little head into your neck and it is blissful.

People talk about motherhood as some big DNA altering change. I have to say, I’m still me, I am not different, but something inside me is different.

Like a second heart was left inside me when Oreo was born and this second heart beats and flutters for her alone.

Taken by Gare and Kitty. Used under a Creative Commons licence.

Back From the S.A.R

An even stranger trip home then usual. I always have a head swimmy feeling as I leave due to mutual sobbing with Umm Mr Outlines. I do not like goodbyes.

This is made worse on the way to the airport with the big, blue sign above the motorway which reads ‘GOOD BYE’, in big capitals. At this point I’m ready to shout out, “Let me stay! My Mum can post out Prawn Cocktails crisps and I’ll be fine!” On to the plane and Oreo is immaculately behaved for 95% of the journey and deeply unhappy for the final ten percent. More grim emotions at the baggage carousel where we experience the creeping dread realisation that while we might have arrived, our baggage hasn’t. Luckily we were reunited later that evening.

 

Oreo is struggling to cope with Life After Syria, as life in Syria consisted of a large cast of people on hand to pamper her every whim. Plus Syrian food, which she developed rather a fondness for. While back in the U.K, Oreo would choke dramatically in the presence of solid food, in Syria, she happily sat on Auntie’s lap eating whatever was offered. No, she does not sit happily on my lap for feeding either. I have to strap her into her high chair and even then she formulates escape plans.

 

As for Damascus itself, not much has changed since last year. The credit crunch so obvious in Britain, is not as visible there. Probably because they aren’t as fond of credit as we are.

The latest big Turkish drama is Wadil Zi’ab, which is about a vaguely righteous man defeating gangsters. Rather oddly, while you virtually never see anyone kiss on Arab tv, you can see the aforementioned gangsters breaking each other’s fingers at four in the afternoon.

I was very disappointed to  find the abaya police on the doors of two mosques I visited. Dudes, you need to mind your own business. Especially the chap who took a good look at my chest  before deciding I needed more coverage. Yes, only my hands and face were showing and no, nothing was skin-tight, but because I wasn’t wearing a manto (full length coat v popular in Syria) or abaya, I’m not sufficiently covered to enter the House of Allah. Very sad, especially the Umayyd which CHARGES MONEY for the abayas.

 

While in Syria, I closely followed the Off-food diet. This is why you eat anything you are offered. Arab hospitality + British plate clearing = Need to start exercising regularly again.

I also discovered Gonfe, which is a waffle filled with chocolate sauce and is delicious. I ate one with my youngest sister in law and we sat in a park with Oreo and meshed our broken English and Arabic into a conversation. As an example of just how broken my Arabic is, “Huwa la khayr. Huwa waled wasikh bi nisa’at” is me talking about Cristiano Ronaldo, who is currently flogging shampoo everywhere.

 

After a trip to Syria, Mr Outline and I discuss the possibility of living there. As always, my feelings are hugely mixed. People talk about standards of living and that if you’re rich (which we aren’t) you can have a far higher standard of living then in the U.K. I’d still rather clean my own toilet and get to vote though then the other way around.

In the very tedious process of Being Officially Married and Having an Official Child In Syria, I officially Became Muslim. This involved a visit to a catastrophically dirty building, where the lights were low and the queues were long. Then,  repeating an extended Shahdah in front of a very grumpy Sharia Judge with incongruous wall hangings. He did not seem very happy about there being another Muslim in the world, but then he didn’t very happy generally. We’re still not Officially Married in Syria yet. More paperwork still to do.

Eid Mubarak everyone, may Allah shower you all with blessings.

 

No, I didn't take this

I didn’t take this

Calling Moon and Moon

Is anyone still there?

 

Anyway, after an unintended break , I shall be taking another one.Alhamdulilah for planes, as insha Allah, I’ll be in Syria later today.

So no internetry until I get back. *shakes*.

A summary of things I could have written about before, but didn’t:

 

Nick Griffin on Question Time: Tosser. And No Platform for Fascists.

People voting for the BNP despite not being racist. If you vote for a party that believes that one race, namely the white race is superior and seeks to discriminate on those ground, then you are racist and Jerry Dammers would be crossing you out of his phone book.

 

I’m sure there are other things I wanted to write about, but the fact that a bunch of semi-literate racist thugs are gaining political ground in the UK is weighing heavily on my mind.

 

But… I believe people are better than that. I do. Despite daily, technicolour evidence to the contrary, I believe we are better than that.

 

As for Syria, I’m very much looking forward to the first Oreo-Tete-Jiddoe summit, Insha Allah. I’m also looking forward to no more of this, as my in-laws have moved. Myself and my post-pregnancy body are very grateful.

As for Oreo, she is now crawling, masha Allah. Aaah she’s great. Although whether I’ll be thinking that when she realises her nice quiet nap time has been replaced by sitting in a big, bright tube…?

On to Syria’s most famous Syrian. All I can say is: 106!!! Bashar you were robbed! Everyone knows that your pulchritude is the reason for your countenance being on view all over Syria. Still, I am pleased about Yulia being number one, proves I was right about her all those years ago

I have to go and sort out my hand luggage.

 

Until then here’s some soothing stuff for old and young* alike:

 

 

We were all children once.

 

 

*This programme is like crack for babies. Awesome for snuggling up on the sofa together and watching before bathtime.

A Summary of Recent Stoniness

A belated Ramadan and Eid Mubarak to you all.

I have recently moved and had no internet, hence my delay in moderating and blogging.

Two recent posts here have discussed spiritual abuse within Islam, particularly the abuse meted out to women. The most recent post provoked a detailed discussion. Here is a summary of my thoughts as a conclusion.

1)Despite it being the blessed month of Ramadan, several people that I linked to have been receiving death threats and other harassment both on and offline. Yes, really.  So when people wonder why more people have not spoken out, please bear this in mind.

2)Pretty much every big name Sheikh/Imam/Whatever you can think of has been asked to speak out about this. None of them have.

They all know about it and have done so for years and yet, whatever other good works they have done, they chose to remain silent on this.

3)Is it the movement itself, or the movement mentality that is destructive? The Western Muslim community has lurched from fad, to fad, from speaker to speaker. Is it that we haven’t found our way yet, or is there something more self destructive?

The book buying, the lecture attending, the travelling. Are we developing piety or just trying to buy it,  participating in an ‘Islamicised’ version of Western consumerism?

4)I used to think the Ummah’s greatest problem was lack of religious knowledge. I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

How knowledgable do you have to be, to know you should not divorce on a whim, that refusing to support your children is wrong?

Does that really take years of learning? Do you really need someone to hold your hand while you grasp those basic concepts?

5)The destruction and instability of Muslim families will lead more children out of Islam then any amount of pop culture.

If children are raised seeing Islam as a positive thing, they will respect it and follow it, even if they have a few meanderings on the way.

If they see it as a source of misery and chaos, they will run far, far away. Especially our daughters.

So beware of those who call for the destruction of families in the name of piety.

6)Islam has been around for a long time now. There have been far tougher times for the Ummah then this.

7)Despite what anyone tells you, though there may be struggles, being a good Muslim is easy. I generally don’t hadith toss, but I’m sure everyone know the hadith that basically states performance of the five pillars = jannah.

Those who make it sound much, much harder then that, tell you how much you need them in order to succeed…. what are their motivations?

Allah the Most High is closer to us then anyone else could ever be.

He is the Most Loving and Most Merciful.

Stone Hearts Don’t Bleed

So Salafi Burnout’s website has been taken down.

While the comments were full of trollery, there were a lot of people able to finally talk about the abuse they had suffered at the hands of so called ‘scholars’.

Naively, I had hoped that from revelations there and elsewhere, there would be a movement towards eliminating such cults.

But no, because power protects power and when most of the people hurt are women and children, who cares?

It’s the truly pious MEN and the knowledgeable MEN who are far more important.

Seriously, don’t pretend to be all pious and purifying your heart when you lack basic human empathy.

For those who would like to read more about such cults, I highly recommend:

http://standsfree.blogspot.com/

http://umm-ah.blogspot.com/

http://nuhkeller.blogspot.com/

Updated: Waqt Well Wasted blog has done a brilliant post on spiritual abuse.

Umm ah’s blog is a particularly heartbreaking overview.

Scribbles Not Outlines 7: Better out than in

Salaam Alaikum to anyone left reading this. It has indeed been far too long.

Oreo is now six months old. The title refers to her, as I’m enjoying being a mother about a million times more then I enjoyed being pregnant.

People say about mothers loving their babies, but I don’t love Oreo, I’m in love with her. It’s a real tangible joy, I get stomach flips and butterflies looking at her. Just looking with wonder at this little person, that by Allah’s will, I managed to bring into the world.

Our favourite game is ‘A Hundred Kisses’, where I cover her little cheeks in kisses while she does a big baby belly laugh.

Is that too much baby talk? I do wonder why women are still made to feel bad about talking about their babies. Men can have websites about fishing equipment, e.t.c but if women have a site discussing pushchairs (a piece of equipment you have to lug about on a daily basis) then it’s a mindless waste of time. We can dress it up anyway we want, but the underlying assumption is still:

Things that (mainly) Men do are more important then Things that (mainly) women do.

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Was thinking about Ramadan last night. I need it. Insha Allah, I just want to switch off and focus. I love Ramadan for that. Insha Allah may our hearts be nourished as we fast.

I probably wont be going to the masjid for tarawhir. Oreo’s bedtime is 7pm, and she is very, very strict about it. I do not want to be the person who brings the screaming baby to the masjid.

I know, I know, masjid’s should be child friendly and this is not a dig at women who do bring children there, but at the same time we should be realistic. Bringing very young, pre school age children to the masjid and expecting them to sit still, for hours on end, with no entertainment is cruel. The same goes for bringing babies to a bright noisy place, when they’d rather be tucked in their cot in a peaceful room.

The real culprit here is the narrow concept of what a Good Muslim should be.

Good Muslims go to the masjid and attend as many lectures as possible. So if you do not go to the masjid, for whatever reason, then you are not a Good Muslim.

Never mind that as repeatedly stated in the Qur’an, unlike humans, Allah sees all that you do and you can worship him in many ways, that don’t necessarily involve sitting on a prayer mat. /Rant over

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After that, I feel rather sheepish admitting this next part, but in the interests of honesty, I will say that I’ve been watching True Blood lately and it’s rather good. However, is it just me who thinks it’s a bit of a cop out when the romantic leads are a couple in real life? It’s a bit like they don’t really have to act. Hmm.

When I first started blogging, I would have never admitted to watching anything unsuitable such as that, for fear of looking like a Bad Muslim. Then I got tired of the dishonesty and tired of people who would commit all sort of sins of varying seriousness, but pretend that tv and music are the most sinful things going.

So tired.

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