Monday, April 19, 2010

Morning Dua

Oh Allaah,
Get me all the way down safely.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I don't even know what to title this post.

"Naseehah to Muslim bloggers?" Allahu Alim.

But ... I read a lot of blogs. Especially those from the Middle East and Saudi in particular. Many of the bloggers who live there write of various problems in the region.

Some problems are problems of culture. Others are "problems" that have to do with Allaah's religion that some Muslims particularly do not agree with, or like; for example, plural marriage.

Lately, I have been reading a lot of posts on these blogs that have to do with niqab and child marriage.

Muslims are entitled to their opinions.

In the case of the niqab, some Muslim women view niqab as fard, and it is not a matter of opinion for them.

And child marriages, and mostly everyone agrees that disgusting child marriages between old geezer Muslim men and 10 and 11 year old virgin children are just plain not right. The media loves to print stories, and lately even the Arabic media, about these young girls who die in childbirth.

(If anyone is reading this and is confused, I just hit "publish" before I was done, lol.)

What I object to is the lack of manners and adab of the commenters on these posts. In many cases, they end up confusing culture with Islam, or even up slandering the Prophet Muhammad, saw.

I think we can discuss the issues like intelligent people without doing this.

And of course, there are non Muslim people who troll Muslim blogs looking for posts on these issues.

As a Muslim blogger, I wouldn't allow anyone to slander Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, saw, on my blog or website.

As a Muslim we are bound to defend Islam and the Prophet saw. It is an obligation upon Muslims.

A look at some of these posts reveals 100 plus comments, which are not comments at all, but are actually arguments.

I know this post seems disjointed, but I just had to write and get my feelings out.

Insha Allah you all are having a nice day :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I have photographed a lot of orchids. I absolutely adore them. I never tire of their endless variations.

But THIS orchid is special. It's the first orchid plant that I have been able to winter over to spring flower! It's not for lack of trying. I have scores of orchid pots all over the house. I buy them all the time, and after the blooms die off, I set them aside ... and hope!

The one pictured above is the first to bud and flower, Subhan'Allah.

I'm so thrilled. Isn't it lovely, Masha Allah?!!

On another note, I hate the quality of images uploaded to Blogger. They always look so dark. I have been fighting switching to Wordpress ... will have to think of something, Insha Allah.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


("Sujood" - taken in the Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey
Copyright 2010 S. E. Jihad Levine)

This morning I made sujood during my Fajr prayer.

"Big deal, Safiyyah. What's so unusual about that?" you may wonder.

It IS a big deal for me. Because I rarely get to do it.

Between MS and Arthritis, I cannot always make my salaat without the use of a chair. I also have a very stubborn Baker's Cyst behind my left knee. They are supposed to dissolve on their own, but oh joy, mine actually comes and goes. I've had it for about two years. This cyst and the Arthritis make it very painful and nearly impossible for me to sit between the two sajdahs, or to sit for the Tashahhud.

Even though Allaah swt granted the use of a chair as His Mercy for Muslims like me, I still grieve. When I have to make salaat in a chair, I mourn the full physical movements that lend so much spirituality to the prayer. I miss the involvement of my entire body in praising Allah swt. More than anything, I miss the feeling of my forehead on the prayer carpet.

Sujood has a position of excellence in the salaat.

In the time of the Prophet saw, one time during the month of Ramadan, there was a a rainstorm that washed the roof of the mosque away. The roof was made of palm-branches. The Messenger saw of Allah swt was making salaat when this happened. He didn't stop his prayer, but continued and MADE SUJOOD IN THE MUD! Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri (ro) said, "So I saw, with my own eyes, the Messenger of Allah, with traces of mud and water on his forehead and nose."


The Prophet saw also "used to say, 'There is no one among my ummah whom I will not recognise on the Day of Resurrection.' They said, 'How will you recognise them, O Messenger of Allaah, among the multitude of created things?' He said, 'Do you not see that were one of you to enter an enclosure in which there was a jet black steed and a horse with a white forehead and legs, would you not recognise the latter from the former?' They said, 'Of course.' He said, 'Thus, my ummah on that day will surely have white faces because of sujood, and white arms and feet because of ablution.'"

Also, when Allaah swt wants to have mercy on the people of the Fire, he orders the angels to pull out those people who used to worship Him. The angels will recognise those people from their sujood marks because Allaah swt has prohibited the Fire from consuming the sujood marks.

In his book, Du'a: The Weapon of the Believer, Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi describes sujood as "the most noble posture that a worshipper can be in, for it is the epitome of humility and submissiveness."

"And how can it not be," he writes, "when a person in prostration lowers his face - the most noble and sacred part of his body - to the dust, seeking the pleasure of his Lord? This is why this posture is the most beloved by Allaah."

The closest any worshipper can be to his Lord is while he is in prostration, so increase your duas in it. (Muslim)

Ya Allaah! I want to be close to You!

Ya Allaah! Cure me, and make it easy for me to make sujood! Make it easy for Your messenger to recognise me on the Day of Resurrection. Make it easy for the angels to recognise me. Ameen!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Video Release of Attack on Reuters Employees and Iraqi Civialians

As a Muslim, a photographer, and an American - this video makes me sick.

I have a special affection and admiration for war correspondents and war photographers. It was the war photographers of the great "Look" and "Life" magazines which initially got me interested in photography nearly 40 years ago.

This video and article shows the proof of what happened to Reuters photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, and his driver, Saeed Chmagh, as well as the Iraqi civilians who tried to assist them after they were attacked.

The US military tried to cover up what happened, and even lied about it.

THEIR video, shot from the air, with THEIR voices documenting what happened, reveals the truth.

With all of the sophisticated equipment the military has, one would think they could see the difference between an AK47 and a camera slung over someone's shoulder.

New York Times article here.

Video here.

Thanks to American Muslim Journalists Association (MAJA) for sharing these links.

May Allah swt forgive the sins of Reuters employees Namir Noor-Eldeen, age 22, his driver, Saeed Chmagh, age 40, and the Iraqi civilians who tried to help. May Allah swt comfort their families, and grant the deceased the best place in the Hereafter/Ameen.


I just saw retired US Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt on CNN. I am deeply disappointed that CNN has helped the military to yet go on another attempt to cover up and lie about what happened. Giving sympathy to the military does no justice. The story was NOT about how mistakes can be made in a war zone, but was about how the military lied and obstructed Reuters from doing the investigation. CNN failed to tell the REAL story. And CNN failed to make the viewers aware that there were children in the van with the civilians when it was attacked. Kimmitt proudly told CNN viewers about the sophisticated cameras and equipment in the Apache helicopters. Couldn't it see cameras and children? Then he blamed the victims by saying that the Reuters staff weren't wearing identifying clothes.

I hope Reuters does not let this story die.

AlJazeera video coverage here.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Yard Sale Dawah

For the most part, the garden roto-tilling is done. My husband and my neighbor put up a new garden fence for me yesterday (thank you!). The winter yard clean-up is done. The mulch has been spread. The plant containers around the house have been filled with mulch and are waiting for new occupants.

Soon I will be starting seedlings on my sun porch, Insha Allah.


So, while I wait for Mother's Day - the time for planting in my gardening "zone" - my attention is turned to what else but YARD SALES!

Scouring my house for things to sell!

Yard sales - I love to go to them, and I love to have them.

I had my first one last year. I was initially a bit intimidated because I had no experience in having one for myelf, and I didn't know what to expect.

But let me tell you, when the people started waltzing down my driveway, and the money started filling my coffers, I got right into the groove! You would have thought I was an old pro. Even my husband was surprised and wished he would have listened to me and put a thing or two of all the stuff he hoardes into the sale.

I keep trying to get him to let go of some of his movie DVDs. We have never watched a movie together twice, so why keep them? Okay. Okay. They're his. I guess I wouldn't be too understanding and patient if he wanted me to yard sale some of my stuff that he perceives to be senseless to keep :)

There are many facets to yard sale-ing.

Some people love to yard sale, but other people find it difficult to let go of things. If you want a good laugh about "things," Insha Allah one day you will see George Carlin's comedy skit on "stuff."

Me? Well, I don't have a difficult time letting go of too much. I think it comes from my history of poverty. When I was a kid, we were poor. We lived in a housing project, and my mother tried to get by on the meager child support my father sent when and if he felt like sending it. Otherwise, we went without. And without ... we were a lot. There was also a problem in my house with most of the money being spent on alcohol. Therefore, food and things like school clothes took a back seat.


Easy come - easy go. That's my motto.

And that goes for people, too. I have no problem x-ing toxic people out of my life. I will put up with your fitnah for awhile, but after that, you gotta go. Oh, I may amuse myself and play your game with you for awhile before I split, but trust me, I will split after I am no longer entertained, or if you aggravate me too much.

I had to let go of my father when he wouldn't accept that I had become a Muslim. I didn't cut him off, because Muslims are not permitted to break the ties of kinship. But knowing him, I KNEW he wouldn't change his mind unless Allah swt changed it for him. So, I just left him where he was at so to speak. I called him occasionally, because I knew he wouldn't call me, and the phone calls were always cold. But I continued to call for two reasons: 1 - to please and obey Allah swt, and 2 - it was my duty. Alhamdulillah, my father died upset with me. But, Subhan'Allah, I am still a Muslim.

I could go on and on here with examples, but I think you get my point. If you assume that I have many aquaintances, but few friends, you are correct.

Allah is sufficient for me/Ameen.

Just think! If you let go of some of your stuff, you can then go to someone else's yard sale and bring their stuff to your house, lol.

The best thing about my yard sale last year was meeting my neighbors. We had just moved into the house, and had been in the neighborhood less than a year. We live on a small island that has less than 100 houses on it. Everyone knows most everyone here.

My husband and I stick out because he is the only African American here, and I am the only garbed Muslim woman here.

Trust me - they all know us :)

We know our immediate neighbors, but didn't know any of the other ones.

When I had my yard sale, I think a lot of them came to see me up close. Some of them introduced theirselves and told me where they lived. When I told one man that I ride by his house on my bicycle, he said, "Yeah, I've seen you."

Ooookaaay ...

Anyhow, the basic understanding of dawah is to invite people to Islam. You can invite people to Islam or at least introduce them to it through your own behavior and character.

My neighbors got to see that it's okay to have a Muslim neighbor. I'll willing to bet that many of them have never seen a real live covered Muslim woman up close before. Or chatted to one, yet alone been to the house of a Muslim for a yard sale.

One of them even got to drum with me!!! Below is a picture my neighbor took of me and her mother-in-law. I was showing her how to drum. You can see some of the stuff I had in my sale in my garage in the background. (We were having a joint yard sale.) I had both drums in my yard sale (posted about getting rid of them before). Anyhow, Grammy (yes, I now call her "Grammy") was so happy with the drum that her husband bought it for her :)

There was a study done awhile back where the survey participants were divided into two group: for who knew a Muslim, and those who didn't.

The question was, "Would you want to have a Muslim for a neighbor?"

The group who didn't know any Muslims responded "no," they would not want to have a Muslim for a neighbor.

The group who knew Muslims responsed that "yes," they wouldn't mind having Muslims for neighbors.

What is the carry-away here?

It's that we Muslims should make ourselves known to our neighbors and our community. Interfaith activities are a good way to do this. I also try to smile at each and every person I see when I go to the grocery store, pharmacy, etc., in my neighborhood.

It's just plain good dawah!

So, gather up your "stuff," put on your hijab," and do some yard sale dawah. I guarantee you a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Almost Time!

(It's That Time of the Year Again ... Almost!)

It's almost "that time" for us gardeners!

In my area, it is generally considered safe to plant after Mother's Day (May).

But I couldn't resist picking up these wonderful seeds while I was at the supermarket yesterday.

Am busy reading about "companion planting" (more on that later, Insha Allah) and sketching the layout of my proposed garden.

Toward the end of April, I will start some of the seeds indoors on my sunporch Insha Allah.

In the meantime, I continue to roto-till ......