Saturday, May 31, 2008

We Can Auction You, Too!

The following happened to someone close to me today (anonymity necessary). The person is African-American and the family member is Caucasian.

They had gone for dinner with their family member at a well-known local seafood restaurant.

When they got to the restaurant, it appeared that there was an auction in progress. People were hauling things out of the place - shelves, boxes, etc. Behind the restaurant, people were sitting underneath a tent bidding on the items they wanted to buy.

My friend and the family member weren't aware that the restaurant was closing. So my friend went in to find out what was going on while the family member waited alongside the river, gazing at the beautiful scenery.

When my friend exited the restaurant, my friend confirmed to the family member that the owner told my friend that indeed the place was closing and that there was an auction of the restaurant contents in progress.

Then the owner told my friend, "we can auction you, too!"

I guess the owner called himself being funny.

Can you believe it???!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

IWA 4th Annual Poetry Competition

As Salaamu Alaikum and Greetings of Peace:

In April, I wrote
here about the Islamic Writers Alliance 4th Annual Poetry Competition.

The entries have now been put up online
here for public voting!

Yes! That means you! You get to vote for the winner of your favorite poem!

Don't forget to check back to see who won.

Jazaka Allahu Khayr for supporting our project.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Muslim Hands - Helping China and Burma Earthquake Victims

Here's a Muslim organization that appears to be directly helping the people in China and Burma. Muslim Hands has an office in China.

From their website:

"Around the earthquake's epicentre in Wenchuan County and for miles around, homes, schools, offices and mosques have been levelled by the force of the earthquake.

Muslim Hands been working in China for a number of years and has a permanent field office in the Gansu Province.

An experienced team led by Daleel Ulkhairat (MH China) responded quickly to the disaster and have set-up camps in Mianyang City to assist survivors by providing plastic sheeting and shelter, hot cooked food, water and medical assistance.

Teams are also planning to enter two of the most devastated counties of Wenchuan and Beichuan as soon as roads are cleared of rubble and aid is able to flow.

Muslim Hands has launched an urgent appeal to provide further assistance to those affected by the devastating earthquake.

Please donate generously as your support will help save lives insha'Allah."

Reminder of The Last Day

All of the radio and television reports, as well as online features about the earthquake in China have reminders of the Last Day, Alhamdulillah.

Allah (swt) reminds us in the Quran that the dunya will be destroyed by an earthquake on the Last Day:

"When the earth is shaken with its (final) earthquake.
and when the earth throws out its burdens.
And man will say: "What is the matter with it?"
That Day it will declare its information (about all that happened over it of good or evil).
Because your Lord will inspire it.
That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds.
So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it.
And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or of a small ant) shall see it."
- Surat Az-Zalzalah (The Earthquake) CXIX

"Do not invoke other gods besides Allah. There is no (true) god except Him. Everything will perish except His Face (i.e., except Him). To Him belongs the Judgment, and to Him will you be returned."
- Surat Al-Qasas 28:88 (The Narration) XXVIII

"The Horn will be blown. Whoever is in the heavens or on earth will then fall dead, except those whom Allah will spare...and at once they will all be standing and looking around them. "
- Surat Az-Zumar 39:68 (The Groups) XXXIX

"How can I feel secure when the Holder of the Horn has placed the Horn against his lips and has bent his forehead. He listens carefully, awaiting the command to blow so as to blow it."
- Recorded by Ahmad, at-Tirmithee, and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani
A reminder to all Muslims. Ameen!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The New Guantanimo?

(Afghan men in Kabul in February after they were freed from the United States prison at Bagram - Syed Jan Sabawoon/European Pressphoto Agency)

U.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan
Published: May 17, 2008

Officials are scaling back plans to shift prisoners into Afghan custody in a stark acknowledgment that the U.S. is likely to hold prisoners overseas for years.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Traditional Senegal Djembe - Wedding Party - These Sisters Rock!

Open Letters, Open Hearts - Call for Submissions

(Deadline for below will soon be extended to the end of June, Insha Allah. Please consider contributing to this worthwhile project!)

Submit your own open letter(s) by May 31, 2008 to this anthology-style da’wah project.

Open Letters, Open Hearts
Personal Letters from Muslims to Family, Friends and Others
Working Title: Open Letters, Open Hearts
Narrative Author/Editor: Christine (Amina) Benlafquih
Publisher: An-Najm Publishers, London, UK
New Deadline for Submissions: May 31, 2008 (see Guidelines below)

About the Book

The anthology-style Open Letters, Open Hearts will feature heartfelt letters written by Muslims who appeal to their family, friends and others to open their hearts and minds to the message of Islam.

Most of us have been touched and inspired by an emotional piece of writing. Something as simple as a greeting card or as lengthy as a novel can successfully evoke emotion in a reader. Whether raw and direct, or gentle and persuasive, the power of the written word can not be denied.

Muslims worldwide are invited to use this power and compose open letters which address the people and unique circumstances in their own lives from an Islamic perspective. Whether differences need to be solved, religious issues explained, or concern expressed about someone’s harmful life choices, a letter allows the writer to convey sincerity and present Islamic values and teachings in a positive, relevant light.

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Memes

As Salaamu Alaikum Folks:

OK - the second meme:

I was tagged by the lovely Otowi:


1. ON your blog, post the Rules & 10 things you have HOPE for in your life.
2. LINK Tag 10 people (we want hope to spread people!) and LINK the person who tagged you.
3. Comment/Notify the 10 People they’ve been tagged.

(All of the below are "Insha Allah" of course!)

1. I hope that our house closing happens on June 2 as scheduled.
2. I hope that I will write a book someday.
3. I hope that my health improves.
4. I hope that our children's library at the masjid grows and grows!
5. I hope that I will be successful in learning Arabic.
6. I hope that all the inmates I work with will eventually learn their salaat in Arabic from start to finish!
7. I hope that my step-son accepts Islam.
8. I hope that I will find the money and the assistance (wheelchair) to make Hajj.
9. I hope Barak Obama becomes President of the United States.
10. I hope that I lose weight.

Haaaaaaaaa ... anyone reading this who wants to participate, you are tagged!

More Memes

As Salaamu Alaikum!

Well, I've been tagged twice. I guess I can't ignore the tags anymore!

The first is from Miss Muslimah:

1. Last movie you saw in a theater: OMG! I can't even remember. I'm almost a senior citizen, you know! Anyhow, I'm too cheap. I wait for it to come out on DVD.

2. What book are you reading: The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates.

3. Favorite board game: none. I don't play board games.

4. Favorite magazine? Hmmm. Don't have a favorite. I subscribe to Al-Jumuah, Islamic Horizons, and Lilith.

5. Favorite smells: Amber.

6. Favorite sounds: Quran.

7. Worst feeling in the world: anger.

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up: Coffee!!!!!!!!!

9. Favorite fast food place: NONE!!!!! I hate fast food.

10. Future child's name: none, Insha Allah. I'm almost a senior citizen remember?

11. Finish this statement: "If I had a lot of money, I'd ...." Hire someone to help me complete Hajj.

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? Yes, my husband.

13. Storms - cool or scary? Definitely cool!

14. Favorite drink: water.

15. Finish this statement: "If I had the spare time, I would ..." go on a longggg vacation.

16. Do you eat the stems on broccoli? Yes!

17. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice? Red!

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in? New York City, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Harrisburg, Houston, and various small places in between.

19. Favorite sports to watch? Figure skating.

20. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you? she's sweet and shy (oh my, two things!)

21. What’s under your bed? storage boxes and cat toys

22. Would you like to be born as yourself again? yes

23. Morning person, or night owl? night owl!

24. Over easy, or sunny side up? scrambled

25. Favorite place to relax? in my house

26. Favorite pie? sweet potatoe

27. Favorite ice cream flavor? mint chocolate chip

28. Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first? Allahu Alim ...

I tag anyone reading this who wants to participate!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Integrity - An Attribute of a Believer

I have always been known among my friends and colleagues to be a person of my word. When I say I'm going to do something, I do it. You can practically "take it to the bank" as the saying goes. Rarely, do I end up not doing what I say, and if circumstances are beyond my control, I will call and explain why I cannot do something. Integrity is a vital aspect of a Muslim's character. Breaking one's promise or word is among the attributes of the hypocrites. Narrated ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said: “There are four (characteristics), whoever has them is a hypocrite, and whoever has one of the four has a characteristic of hypocrisy unless he gives it up: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it; what he makes a pledge he betrays it; and when he disputes he resorts to foul language.” (al-Bukhari, Muslim) More importantly, Allah (swt) warns us that "surely every promise shall be questioned about." (17:39)

I retired from my full-time job in November, 2007 after receiving a diagnosis of MS. Alhamdulillah, it's not as bad as it sounds, as I have the "chronic-relapsing" type of MS. That means that the symptoms come and go. The problem is that I never know when I'm going to have a bad day or few days. I don't want to lay down and give in to MS, so I have been trying to live as full of a life as possible, going on pursuing my interests and goals. More than ever, the phrase "Insha'Allah" has deep meaning for me.

The problem is that I cannot always keep my word. Ya Allah! This really distresses me. Some days I am unable to follow through with my commitments due to my health. I know that one is not considered a hypocrite for not keeping a promise if it is beyond the person's control, i.e., due to illness or something similar.

But I grieve. I grieve what I considered to be a valuable aspect of my character.

See, I am also a recovering drug addict. I have been clean, Alhamdulillah, 25+ years. I worked real hard in recovery to become a personal of integrity. When I was getting high, I was a sneak. Every word and action from me was a lie. Dishonesty was my code. Everything that came out of my mouth was bullshit. I'd say or promise you anything with the sole intention of getting over on you. The only thing you would depend on coming from me was that I was going to do whatever I had to do, one day at a time, to get another drink, another hit, another bag, another shot. My drug of choice was "more". When I got clean, I slowly learned how to be a productive member of society once again. I learned in recovery that integrity is a vital spiritual principle that the recovering addict MUST live by and incorporate into his character.

People trust me today.

As I go forward, I have to learn to slow down, while still continuing to live an active life as much as I can. The hardest part of it all is going to be learning how to say "no" when I want to do so much in life.

It's "back to basics" as we say in recovery. "Easy does it!" "One day at a time!" "First things first!"

Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or fall into error! (2:286)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Al-Huda Sunday School Library - Update



Jazaka Allahu Khayrn to our masjid board who shared the vision of a children's library, and who agreed to build these shelves for us! And to Linda Delgado (Sister Widad), owner of Muslim Writers Publishing (MWP),, and award-winning author of Islamic Rose Books (IRB),, who granted us a generous start-up award. MWP and IRB support literacy and Sister Widad dedicates the profits from the books she has authored toward buying books for Islamic school children's libraries. And to Brother Adnan A. Khattar, Sales Manager, of Islamic Book Store, Brother Adnan was very generous in offering the books to Sister Widad at a discount. He was also very efficient in shipping the books out to us in a timely manner.
We look forward to the growth of our children's library, Insha Allah. We are so thrilled with our initial efforts!
Masha Allah, the teachers and students at Al-Huda school thank both Sister Widad and Brother Adnan for their generosity and commitment to Muslim children. May Allah (swt) reward both of them immensely/Ameen.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Julia Surba: Pyrography on a Frame Drum

Pyrography, sometimes called "fire writing" is a beautiful art form. Watch this video of Julia Surba fire writing on a frame drum. At the end of the video, the finished drum will be played!