Aunty Aisha

•17, December, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Here follows a little tribute to a individual who I have spent the last three months studying with, hanging out and travelling with. Known to all around here as “Aunty Aisha”, she was a fellow classmate studying Arabic and sat next to me in our classes. Old enough to be  a grandmother possibly, she is an Economist, from India, had a Hindu- Jai upbringing and converted to Islam and is involved in water management programs in her district back home. I didn’t not fully understand what her work involved until she did a presentation for us explaining the work, methods and the results that have been used and achieved in conserving and distributing safe clean water in her district over the last ten plus years. Starting off as a couple of people with what was then seen as an ambitious venture, her team has brought about a big change in her community including the education and involvement of  the local women in their project. She has an optimistic outlook of the world-some would say idealistic- but nothing is impossible  if people come together and work together on a common cause, change can be achieved.

Aunty Aisha is also very spontaneous and is up for anything. I remember she was leaving class early one day and we asked where she was going, “to syria” she replied! Another time, I was expecting her for  dinner and when I called to check that she was on her way, she said she wouldnt be able to make it because she was in the desert (Wadi Rum) with her husband! Lol. I’ve never met such a cool and hip “aunty” in my life and I hope I can have as much energy and enthusiasm like her when/if I reach her age.

We all miss her. It was so nice having an elder member around here, it made it feel more homely and just seeing how she was respected by everyone here was so beautiful.  A couple of times it would happen that she would come over and fall asleep on my bed, or we’d all be having a discussion into the early hours of  the morning and she’d always make this one brother walk her home.

Inshallah, we’ll stay in contact via email and I hope she comes back to visit us soon!

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The In-Crowd

•1, December, 2008 • 4 Comments

There’s definately one here, I have felt it, seen it and experienced it and it’s not nice. I thought it was just me but it’s not, I’ve spoken to a couple of friends who also live here and they have felt the same and everything seems to point to one thing: the fact that we are not part of this particular group/crowd/community even though we live right smack bang in the middle of this community. By this I mean that although we live here and see the same people and know the same people in this little neighbourhood, because we don’t dress a particular way or adopt certain practices we are kinda left out of or just not considered when it comes to some samller events/gatherings that the rest of the neighbourhood is invited to. How wrong and how sad. I thought that part of being a God fearing Muslim was that you looked out for others and considered their feelings when doing or not doing something and that you wouldn’t do anything that would hurt their feelings. There is a hadith in which the Prophet (saw) said that if there are three people together, two of them should not talk in private infront of the third as it would upset him. Maybe these things only apply to those who are part of the same crowd as you.

Having a good character and being easy going should extend to everyone, you should go out your way to make sure no one person is left out and should do everything to make them feel welcomed and part of the community especially if they have just moved to another place. So you can imagine how one must feel when on a number of occasions the whole neighbourhood is invited to your neighbours for dinner and you haven’t and are not even aware of this. You can also imagine how it must feel to be giving out of your kindness and behaving the way a Muslim neighbour should behave like visitng them when they are sick and sharing your food, and then not have it reciprocated back to you. It makes everything and everyone seem so superficial.

Being part of a group naturally brings about the feeling of belonging and exclusivity but I thought that the teachings of this particular group was above that; there is not meant to be any exclusivity or an in-crowd, this way is open to all and everyone is welcomed. I have heard the teacher say on a number of times that one should never think oneself better that another. Maybe outsiders are left out because the insiders don’t want to associate with those who are not like them and on the same way perhaps because they think that they won’t bring any good to them. But how can you judge like that?

I didnt come here with any preconceptions, only that this would be a place full of generally good people where I would grow spiritually but I say all this based on what I have seen and expereinced and it has been  upsetting and disheartening. Some people reading this would probably think that I must be talking about another neighbourhood based on thier experiences here, but like I said if you do the things that peole do here and dress the way and talk the way the people do here then you’ll fit in and of course you won’t understand what I’m saying. But I’m not going to conform and start dressing a particular way or join a paricular group just so that I can fit in. Intentions would be messed up and it’s just sad and wrong that an individual has to feel this pressure to conform.

Usma

Living in the U.S.

•17, November, 2008 • 1 Comment

I wrote this a few months ago, but never got around to posting it.

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Lovely weather, big roads, nice houses, alot of food (great cheesecake!) and the people are nice (well the one’s I’ve met anyway) but nothing compares to home, wherever that may be. The main thing that’s felt different here, compared to London, is the visibility of Muslims out and about and Muslim catered events and just how quiet it seems around here. Coming from London (East London), I’m so used to being surrounded by Muslims (majority Asian); my neighbours, my work colleagues, classmates, the bus drivers and even some policemen. I’m now in an area where the majority of people are White and not Muslim. The first couple of times I visited here I never saw an Asian person or Muslim and it was so quiet! Now having been here for a couple of months, it’s been pretty much the same, the only sisters I’ve seen were at these weekly gatherings that I attended a couple of times and the first bearded dude I saw was in Target the other day. Not to say that there aren’t any Moozies out here, but you just don’t see alot of them.

I miss London, my home. So we might have “bad” weather, and some weird Muslims but there is a very diverse community there. My neighbours were a mix of Muslim Bengali ( with whom we very close), Muslim Pakistani, Muslim Gujerati, Muslim Afghani, White Christian, Indian Hindu, Indian Sikh etc etc. Where I lived, we had at least five mosques within a stone’s throw of each other, most of which catered for women; that had events and activities for women; a place where all the aunties would hang out. Most of all, there has been a growth of Islamic culture and art at local levels and related events that young Muslims and non muslims can attend. So much is happening there to educate non muslims  (and Muslims) about Islam, from local Muslim fun days to theatre group productions, to documentaries on mainstream t.v and our very own Islam Channel and radio stations during Ramadhan. London has also been so blessed to have Shuyukh such as Shaykh Hamza and Imam Zaid visit from the U.S visit on a number of occasions, and of course we have our very own Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad.

Continue reading ‘Living in the U.S.’

to “blog” again

•12, November, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Salamalamalaykum

I’m thinking of blogging again,(not that it was/is something really serious for me), but there are some things I think I want to share/rant about/get out my system (regardless of whether anyone lends me an ear, or an eye in fact) and I also want to get back in touch with my blogging fwends.

I think I’ll also put up pictures (mostly that I’ve taken) of stuff I like and find interesting and places I’ve been.

Inshallah I shall see.

Sunset in Wadi Rum

Revision in Progress

•20, May, 2008 • Leave a Comment

In the picture you will see two mugs from which I drank tea (I drink tea at least three times everyday, during revision periods I may incorporate a mug of milky coffee), a bottle of water which I should be drinking, my laptop and an old issue of the Metro brought back from a journey on the tube amongst the revision notes, books and folders. What is missing is the very important bowl of Almonds-brain food! Must go get some.

Three down, three to go..!

And then not very long till I leave my home :-(…for another…:-)

Spring

•29, April, 2008 • 3 Comments

Spring

Beatuiful day

Flowers time to bloom

Beatiful time for spring

Precious.

-Livngstone

The Grand Mawlid

•25, March, 2008 • Leave a Comment

mawlid.jpg