Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lisa! I Found a Vakko Scarf!!!

Lisa! I found this one on Ebay! I bid on it and won it.

$10. Yes, that's right! $10.

I didn't want to say anything until I won the bid, lol!!!

It's an estate piece, silk with gold thread. Look how huge it is! I love turquoise and I have some brown jilbabs.

Jazaka Allahu Khayr, Lisa, for turning me on to these beautiful scarves!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sleep is a Minor Death

Browsing through Imam al-Jibaly's wonderful book while doing some research, I read something that turned out to be an epiphany for me.

I'll admit something: before reading what I am about to quote below, I had a little bit of anxiety about death. I love Allah (swt) and want to be in Jannah. I am careful about my actions everyday because I know that my choices in this life will definitely affect what happens to me in the Hereafter.

We are told that "every soul will taste death" and we all know it's going to happen.

But I admit that sometimes the Shaytan whispers to me.

What I read liberated me from my little fears. Alhamdulillah. I am no longer afraid of death.


Because I have experienced "minor death" and at times it has been very pleasant!

Iman al-Jibaly writes:

"During sleep, our souls depart from our bodies in an obscure manner. The soul of every sleeping person is held by Allah, and He then releases it when it is time to wake up."

Allah takes the souls at the time of their (owners') death, and (He also takes) those that (their owners) have not died yet - during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed, in this are signs for those who reflect. (39:42)

Dear Readers: I remember learning this early on when I re-verted to Islam. But what I never knew (and if you know this, bear with me, don't laugh!) is:

Ibn Uthaymin (ra) said:
"When a person goes to sleep, Allah (swt) takes away his sould in a form of minor death during which the soul goes to wherever Allah (swt) wills." (Sharhu Riyadh is-Salihin, no. 841)

A minor death! We "come back" from the dead! Again and again!

Imam al-Jibaly comments:

"During the 'minor death', a soul gets to meet other souls of both living and dead people ... "

(How many times have you dreamed of a dear deceased relative or someone living?)

After Khuzaymah Bin Thabit (ra) told the Prophet (saw) that he had a dream in which he was prostrating upon the Prophet's (saw) forehead, the Prophet (saw) said:

"Indeed, a soul surely meets another soul (during sleep). (Ahmad and others)

Imam al-Jibaly says, "Seeing specific individuals during sleep normally means that Allah (swt) has created their resemblance in the dreamer's mind. However, there are times when the dreamer's soul actually meets other souls of living or dead people. It's interaction with these souls may remain imprinted in the dreamer's mind after awakening. There is no indication that the other souls would remember the encounter, especially because the Prophet (saw) did not indicate remembering encountering Khuzaymah's soul. The encounter of souls is an obscure matter of ghayb, and cannot be subjected to our worldly standards ... a person's soul travels very fast so as to meet other souls, angels, etc. Even if he sleeps for just a brief moment, his soul is taken and then returned to his body during that moment."


He also said, "We learned that Allah (swt) sends the soul during sleep on a mysterious journey that involves amazing visions and encounters. As for the souls whose terms in this life has not yet ended, Allah (swt) sends them back into their bodies - which is demonstrated by awakening. These released souls may then remember and relate some of what they experienced during their journey - dreams."


The other night, I had a dream where my soul went on an amazing journey dear readers. My soul went to Mecca! I remembers pieces of my dream, but I clearly remember being with a bunch of other Muslims on top of one of the surrounding hills of Mecca. Someone said to me, "Look! It's over there!" I looked down but all I could see was a valley. But I knew "it" was there. In my dream, I knew that it was the Kabah that someone was trying to show me. I was so excited in the dream. And then I woke up. I didn't see it that dream.

But, Insha Allah, next time ...

I leave you with a dua that the Prophet (saw) taught us to say before we sleep:

"With Your Name, my Lord, I lay down my side, and by You (i.e., Allah's (swt) permission and help) I raise it. If You hold my soul (by death), show it mercy, and if You release it (i.e., keep it alive) then protect it as you protect your righteous servants." (al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Ameen! Ameen!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In The Museum ...

Conversation overheard at the museum premier of Safiyyah's digital art:

"I don't understand it. Why don't those people just stop shooting rockets into Israel?"

(digital art plug-in courtesy of

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gaza Screams!

Sis Noona: Below is the original photo. I love what the software did with the kafeeyahs!

If anyone wants to join in on this fun, you don't need fancy software. You don't even have to download anything to your computer. Everything can be done at the site. Go to

The first screen is "select an effect to begin"

Choose "amazing circles"

Then the screens will move you through the process. It is VERY easy. I put the photograph into "amazing cirles" and got Gaza Screams! on the first try! You can try a variety of photographs that you have on your computer. Apparently, it does great things with faces. Also, having good colors and strong contrast in your original photo is also helpful.

You can save the result to your computer.

That's all there is to it.

Try it and post yours to your blogs, create a link back here or otherwise let us know, so we can all celebrate the creative fun!

Of course, if you want to work your result with some other PhotoElement software, you can do that, too!

Another cool "effect" is the ability to make a jigsaw puzzle from your photo. I'm going to try this, Insha Allah. I take photos of my students at Sunday School at the masjid (they are ages 4-7). This age range loves puzzles. Imagine their surprise, Insha Allah, when I bring them puzzles made from their very own photos!

Again, shutter-tip to Sister Marahm for turning me on to this software.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

44th President of the United States of America!

(Obama and His Grandmother in Kenya)

"There is a way to be good again." (The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Digital Art

Impressed by the awesome images over at my dear Sister Marahm's blog, I emailed her and asked her to give me some help so that I could start making my own awesome images from my photographs.

My first attempt. Drum roll ....................................................

This image is created from a photograph of a monarch butterfly who was visiting my garden (flowers at the bottom).

Sis Marahm: is there a way to get the butterfly (upper half, to the right with orchard color on his wing) to stand out more?

Jazaka Allahu Khayr sis! I am really excited to improve with this art form! I was like a kid on Christmas morning (ermm ... Eid morning) going through the 400+ filters!

I will be emailing you often, Insha Allah :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lilith Magazine

Even though I am now a Muslim, I still receive one of my favorite women’s magazines from my “former life” before my reversion to Islam from Judaism, called Lilith.

Lilith, “independent, Jewish & frankly feminist,” reminds me of Azizah Magazine for Muslim women. Both magazines overflow with religious and secular nourishment for the Jewish and Muslim female soul.

I eagerly devour each issue of Lilith from cover to cover, savoring the articles, essays, poetry, fiction, and book reviews that touch an aspect of my ethnic Jewish character that will never change even though I am now a Muslim.

One of the book reviews in the winter 2008-09 (vol. 33, no. 4) issue jumped right off the page at me. In a section that unfolded “what young adult fiction talks about now,” a review of Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah was predominately featured among those of seven Jewish authors.

A review of a book written by a Muslim woman about the religious coming out of a Muslim-Palestinian teenager being included in a magazine for Jewish women?

In this political climate?


After I recovered from my initial astonishment, I thought to myself, Why not?

I spiraled into a daydream where I visualized a Jewish teenager, her interest piqued by the review, going to and ordering Randa Abdel-Fattah’s book. Like the Muslim teenager, Amal, in Does My Head Look Big in This?, perhaps the Jewish teenager also prayed for peace. Maybe she, like Amal, dreamed of the time when both Palestinians and Israelis would one day enjoy the same rights, freedom, and dignity.

There is so much hate coming from both sides at the current time. Jewish women may not understand how much they have in common with Muslim women. I think that all women want pretty much the same thing. Peace and security. A safe environment for their children. Thriving communities. Good neighbors.

Reading stories and magazines about each other, learning more about each other as women, sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, wives - well, it may be a start, Insha Allah.

Lilith has once again succeeded in living up to its “independent, Jewish & frankly feminist” distinctiveness.

Mazal tov Lilith!

Tell Obama What You Think About Israeli-Gaza Issues

The President-Elect has a website called Change.Gov.

There is page with all kinds of issues related to Israel, Gaza, and most importantly, aid to Israel.

Go here to see the issues and be sure to vote and make your voice heard.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Jewish Editor Fired For Publishing Article

The below article, by Judith Stone, was sent to Debbie Ducro, a Jewish editor at The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. She published it and was fired the next day:

Quest for Justice by Judith Stone

I am a Jew. I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return
to Palestine. It was the right thing to do. I've heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a small child. I've visited the memorials in Washington, DC and Jerusalem dedicated to Jewish lives lost and I've cried at the recognition to what level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking.

Where are the Jews of conscience? No righteous malice can be held against the survivors of Hitler's holocaust. These fragments of
humanity were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival. We must not forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules of humanity. "Never again" as a motto, rings hollow when it means "never again to
us alone."

Read the rest of Ms. Stone's article here.

Ironically, the newspaper, The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, polled its readers about the situation in Gaza. Notice the questions and the interesting results:

Poll Question: What do you think of Israel's actions in Gaza?

Israel was wrong to respond this way. It will increase anti-Semitism. 37.9%

Israel was too restrained before and needs to hit Hamas hard now to restore its deterrent power. 28.8%

Israel had to do something, but the suffering in Gaza saddens me. 22.7%

Israel should have tried diplomatic talks with Hamas first. 9.1%

Israel's response was good, but it should listen to international calls for a cease-fire. 1.5%

Number of Voters
: 66
First Vote
: Thursday, 08 January 2009 17:12
Last Vote
: Saturday, 17 January 2009 01:16

Perhaps an email to The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle is in order to appeal to them to restore the editor, Debbie Ducro's job? If you write, remember to be respectful, and encourage them to be receptive to balanced journalism.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Evening Reflections

Yesterday morning, I turned on the TV and saw a scene similar to this:

The Israelis had hit the UN main relief agency facility in Gaza. It appears that the Israelis had a Steve Urkel moment. Remember him? He's the guy that was always having little clutzy accidental moments. Afterwards, he would look around and say, "Did I do that?" And everyone would laugh. But what the Israelis did isn't funny. And probably wasn't an "accident".

Neither is this.

CNN also said that they finally managed to get a crew into Gaza yesterday. They entered Gaza through Egypt. Why couldn't they have entered through Egypt before yesterday? Were the Egyptians helping the Israelis in keeping journalists out of Gaza just like they helped them by closing their border to the Palestinian people? Since when do the Israelis control the Egyptian border?

Today, CNN claims they were able to see what three weeks of air strikes and ground assaults has done to the innocent civilians in Gaza.

Well, CNN. Now you are in. Where is your extensive coverage?

What CNN (and other American networks) has been covering non-stop is the US Airways Flight 1549 accident over the Hudson River in New York City.

The plan had left La Guardia and was destined for Charlotte, North Carolina.

However, they are speculating that some birds, possibly Canadian geese, were sucked into the plane's engines causing the pilot to have to "ditch" the plane into the Hudson River.

Imagine: you wake up in the morning planning to take a flight somewhere, possibly home, maybe to a business appointment, or to play some golf as one passenger said, and then suddenly you find yourself an actor in a strange play. Instead of enjoying a nice flight and arriving at your destination, you find your plane crashing to the ground and end up having to be rescued from the freezing water. You then go to the hospital and maybe find yourself giving interviews to the media. If you're like one of the passengers, you may even find yourself being a guest on the Larry King show that evening. Talk about a change in plans.

Allah (swt) is the Best of Planners, Alhamdulillah. We never know what He has planned for us on any given day.

Reminds me of a video of a khutbah given by Imam Siraj Wahaj that I saw one time. He was talking about one of the victims of the DC Snipers.

The victim was killed as he was coming out of a convenience store. Imagine, Imam Siraj said, one minute you're walking out of the store and scratching off your lottery ticket and the next thing you know you are in the grave being questioned by the Angels.


One never knows!

Having a powerful airplane being brought down by birds also reminded me of the power of the Almighty Allah (swt). And I remembered what He told us about birds in the Qur'an:

"Do they not see the birds held (flying) in the midst of the sky? None holds them but Allah (none gave them the ability to fly but Allah). Verily, in this are clear Ayat (proofs and signs) for a people who believe (in the Oneness of Allah)." An-Nahl, 79


"Do they not see the birds above them, spreading out their wings and folding them in? None upholds them except the Most Gracious (Allah). Verily, He is All-Seer of everything." Al-Mulk, 19

I wonder if there were any Muslims on that plane?!

Alhamdulillah! We should never take life for granted.

Insha Allah you all have a nice weekend.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gaza: CNN "Missing In Action"

A sister friend of mine in Saudi emailed me and mentioned the horrific media images that they were seeing over there.

Why are we not seeing them here? What do we see here in America?

We see CNN's Anderson Cooper and others standing on a hillside over Gaza ... telling us that they cannot show us what is going on within the Gaza Strip. They say that the Israelis will not permit international media to go inside the Gaza Strip. The reason, they say, is because the international media shows bias.

Do you believe it?

Jamal Dajani has written this article at the Huffington Post. According to Dajani's article, there are numerous Arab media organizations reporting from inside the Gaza Strip. He writes:

"There are more than a dozen television stations that still operate out of Gaza. For the past several years, Arab satellite networks have dispatched news reports out of Gaza almost on a daily basis. Leading Arab satellite networks all have offices and reporters in Gaza, such as, Al Jazeera (Arabic and English), Al Arabiya TV, Dubai TV, Nile TV, Abu Dhabi TV, to name a few. Then there is Hamas' Al Aqsa TV and independently owned Ramattan News Service. They have been beaming images of starving children living in desperate conditions during the Israeli siege on Gaza to millions in the Arab world and beyond. Despite these abundant news sources, CNN and other U.S. networks have elected to cover Paris Hilton and Anna Nicole Smith for days on end. Let's face the facts. Images of starving children do not sell advertisements. Trash does. Now, many of those children are dead!"

Why doesn't CNN and the non-Arab "international" media partner with any of these Arab organizations mentioned in Dajani's article? If they really wanted to bring us the truth, wouldn't they attempt to coordinate coverage with the Arab media?

What do you think?

Does it reinforce the so-called "conspiracy" theory that the Zionists control the media in America?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Your Word is "Peace"

You see life as precious, and you wish everyone was safe, happy, and taken care of.

Social justice, human rights, and peace for all nations are all important to you.

While you can't stop war, you try to be as calm and compassionate as possible in your everyday life.

You promote harmony and cooperation. You're always willing to meet someone a little more than halfway.

Important ... Pass It Around (A Warning)

I received the following message in my email box. It is from one of our local Muslim email groups. The subject line read, "Important ... Pass It Around."

"Starbucks and McDonald's made a statement that all profits made from now until Saturday will be sent to the Israeli army to fight the Palestinian people. Enough of the blood shed. The women and children have been under siege for years, they have no water, food, medicine or electricity. They are prisoners in their own land. Please boycott Starbucks and McDonald's and pass this on to everyone you know. The link below just gives you a brief history of the Israelis and their so-called land. com/watch? v=XUFLpP9Prxo "

Now, before you get all excited and start boycotting Starbucks and McDonalds, you must answer a simple question: Where is the proof that these companies made these statements?

Don't get me wrong. Perhaps these companies did make these statements in certain cities. But Alhamdulillah, where? What city?

A general check of the websites of these companies makes no such claims.

In this climate of high anxiety and emotion, it is easy to get swept up. Many Muslims and good citizens of the world feel powerless about the current situation in Gaza. They want to do something. And they should.

But I warn that we need to be careful!

To pass this email message around, forwarding it ad nauseum (like my group did) where it has the potential to reach hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, without proof has the potential to cause great damage to companies that may be innocent.

It is especially important for us Muslims to stop and think.

Let's say that we pass this information along anyhow, not caring whether or not there is proof or if it may be untrue.

We may be in danger of engaging in what is known in Islam as nameemah (slander).

In general, nameemah, usually refers to the act of carrying tales from one person to another. This disclosure can be by speaking, writing, nodding, intimating (hinting) or signalling. Nameemah is carrying discussions from one to another for the intention of mischief, disclosing secrets and exposing secret matters. If the party is innocent, it is a sin heavier than the weight of the skies. It was also said, "The acts of Nammaam are more harmful than the acts of Shaitan. Shaitan acts by imagination and whispering, while the Nammaam acts face-to-face and openly." Nameemah is an abomination. It is very widely spread amongst people and very few are safe from it. Nameemah is prohibited by Ijmaa (consensus of the Muslim scholars) and there are many clear references from the Qur'an and Sunnah against it. (from Slander by Abdul Malik Al-Qasim)

So, again I warn you all (and myself) to be careful. If these allegations are correct and can be proven, then these companies do deserve to be boycotted. But if they are not ...

There are other cures for our feelings of powerlessness and emotional pain.

Write a letter, make a blog post, sign a petition, participate in a peaceful demonstration, talk to others, write a poem, paint a picture, scream, pray ...

Muslim Matters has a 60 Minute Action Plan here.

Surf around the Muslim blogs. Many, like Organic Muslimah also have good ideas and provide excellent resources.

You get the idea: Make Yourself Heard!!! But in a halal (permissible) way!!!

(Oh! And the George Galloway video in the YouTube link is excellent!)

UPDATE: From Saudi and Scholars concerning this topic:

Boycotting American Products
Slih al-Fawzn

Boycotting Products Manufactured by Non-Muslims
Muhammad Ibn Slih al-'Uthaymn

Boycotting Products Manufactured by Non-Muslims
Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Council of Senior Scholars

Taken From:


Re-posted with permission stated below from Brother Abu Khaliyl quranwasunnah@ yahoogroups. com:

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah:

Long ago we started getting a message that the Starbucks company was sending this or that amount of money from its purchases to the IDF. After reading the message fabricated and attributed to the chairman Howard Schultz, I recognized the falsehood of it, as I am a native English speaker (phrases of it were not American English, but it has British expressions that give it away, as well as mistakes, for both British and American English, making it clear that it was not stated by someone who is a native of NY city) and I looked into the matter, so this is what Starbucks had to say about it:

"You may have heard a rumor about Howard Schultz, Starbucks and the Israeli army. The rumor is false. Neither chairman Howard Schultz nor Starbucks fund or support the Israeli Army. Starbucks is a non-political organization and does not support individual political causes."

Contact Information: Starbucks Coffee Company (206) 318-7100 mailto:press@starbucks.%20com

With current events, this false claim - that Starbucks supports the IDF - is gaining steam again, so please forward this to anyone that sends you such a message. Also, just to throw dirt in the face of those who spread such lies among the Muslims, see this: and for those who still like to believe a lie because it was told to them by a Muslim (!?) then review the material here where the forger of the letter has admitted to forging it.http://www.snopes.%20com/politics/%20israel/schultz.%20asp

The Messenger of Allah (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) spoke of these people who spread these rumours: "Sufficient that a man is a liar that he narrates everything he hears." Sahih Muslim, in the introduction. And consider the status of a people who make unlawful what Allah has made lawful, and whoever follows them in that, believes it, speaks according to it, and acts upon it....So perhaps you can save this email, and if you get an email from one of these liars about this lie, you can "reply all" with it, and may Allah reward you for countering falsehood with the truth.

was-salamu `alaykum
Abu Khaliyl

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Genocide Language

I was half listening to CNN tonight while checking email.

Brig. General David Grange (Retired), CNN Military Analyst, was talking with host Don Lemon about Gaza. When I heard the following statement, my head snapped up:

"The military is only one stage of the final solution."

Now: where have we heard those words before? "Final Solution?"


Image Credit

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Israel: Have You Forgotten?

"Dead men will have indeed died in vain if live men refuse to look at them." (LIFE magazine, May 7, 1945)

Original images at this site.


To the Jews of the world:



And to everyone else:

Why does the world remain silent? Time after time. Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia ...

Write a letter, make a blog post, sign a petition, participate in a peaceful demonstration, talk to others, write a poem, paint a picture, scream, pray ...

You get the idea: Make Yourself Heard!!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Trusting Allah (swt) - Remembering the 2006 Sago Mine Tragedy

(12 Black ribbons at Sago Mine - AP Photo)

On January 2, 2006, the new year started for the people of a small West Virginia town with an accident that occurred at the Sago coal mine in Tallmansville. After an explosion in the mine, 6 men made it out, but 13 were still trapped underground. Anxious families and friends maintained an agonizing vigil at the Sago Baptist Church for almost two days.

Then, through a series of miscommunications, family and friends were told that one trapped miner had died, but 12 were found alive. Reports started to fly that the miners would be brought to the church for reunification with their families after they were brought out of the trapped area. The elated crowd praised God and cited a miracle. In the church, hymns such as “How Great Thou Art” and “Amazing Grace” were sung. There were hugs, tears, laughter, and gratitude that God had answered prayers.

But after three hours, stunned and angry families were told that the information was false. Unconfirmed, conflicting information had been disseminated from the Command Center. Elation, relief, and joy turned to confusion, fury, anger, rage, blame, shock, anguish, and horror. Some, who had praised God just three hours earlier were lashing out to news reporters.

One woman cried, “We’re Christian people … we don’t even know if there’s a Lord anymore.”

One man reported that when the pastor tried to comfort families and encourage them to look to God, another man replied, “What in the hell has God done for us?”

We all watched on television as people expressed their despair.

As I watched the news on the television during this crisis, I thought to myself: Would a Muslim curse out Allah (swt) like this? Would a Muslim doubt Allah's (swt) very existence during a trial?

Abdullah Bin ash-Shikhkhir (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said “The example of the son of Adam is (as though) he has ninety-nine causes of death beside him. If all causes of death miss him, he will fall into old-age – until he finally dies.” (at-Tirmithi)

Muslim and non-Muslim alike suffer in this life; but, what direction do we Muslims have from Quran and Sunnah for dealing with tragedies and trials?

We read:“If a Muslim is priced by (as little as) a thorn in the worldly life and he anticipates Allah’s reward for it, he will be absolved of some of his sins on Judgment Day.” (al-Bukhari) In Arabic, this is "ihtisab," the expectation of Allah's rewards and forgiveness.

And, there is the story of Ayyub (as) (Job) who Allah tried with years of adversity. "And remember Ayyub, when he called to his Lord, “Verily, adversity has touched me, and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.” So, We answered his call, and removed his affliction.” (21:83-84). Ayyub (as) exhibited "sabr," patience, knowing that Allah is merciful.

“Affliction continues to befall believing men and women in their body, family, and property, until they meet Allah, burdened with no sins.” (Ahmad)

“When Allah loves some people, He subjects them to affliction.” (at-Tirmithi)

“When Allah loves some people, He afflicts them. He who perseveres will receive the reward of perseverance. And he who despairs of Allah’s mercy will receive (the burden of) despair.” (Ahmad)

“A believer’s parable is like that of a fresh and moist plant; the wind tilts it this way and that way. So is a believer: he continues to be subjected to affliction, until he reaches his appointed term (of death). And a hypocrite’s (or kafir’s) parable is like that of a firm cedar tree; it does not shake – until it is uprooted all at once.” (combined narration, al-Bukhari, Muslim, and others)

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe,” without being tried? We have surely tried those before them. Indeed, Allah will make evident the truthful, and He will make evident the liars.” (29:1-3)

Although it sometimes is not easy, we must trust Allah and exhibit sabr, ihtisab, and acceptance when faced with adversity and trials. Like Ayyub (as), many people did reach out to Allah for help and comfort during the Sago mine disaster.

It was the few, who were overcome by grief, who lashed out and became angry with Allah.

I pray that He grant them His comfort and show them the Right Path/Ameen.