Ramadan ’13 Food Collage

Asalaamu Alaaikum,

This is a collage of some of the food my Sisters and I made this past Ramadan. We had a lot of fun and we got really creative, inshaAllaah we have more food adventures to come! 🙂

Ramadan 2013

The Planning of The Almighty is Better For You…”

The planning of The Almighty is better for you than your own planning, and He could deprive you from what you ask to test your patience. So let Him see from you a determined patience and you will soon see from Him what will give you joy. And when you have cleaned the paths of answering [of supplication] from the stains of sin [i.e have repented] and were patient about what He has chosen for you, then everything that happens to you is better for you whether you were given or deprived of what you have requested.” –Ibn al-Jawzi

Our Very Bizzare First Day of Eid

Asalaamu Alaaikum Folks,

shadow-figure

I hope you are doing well inshaAllaah. So I know I am a bit late with my Eid greetings, we already finished the 3 days here; even so some countries might still be celebrating. In any case, Eid Mubarak!! May Allaah accept from us and from you, our righteous actions. And may Allaah count us among those who will get to experience the next Eid. Ameen!

I wanted to share how my first day (Tuesday) went; it was perhaps one of the longest, most bizarre and yet fun Eids ever. I spent it with three of Sisters and 3 friends. We were debating what to do for the day and someone had the brilliant idea of us going to be scared to death by visiting the ‘Haunted Trails’ that were being held at this downtown park! So it was agreed upon.

We of course ran on Somali time, after much waiting, delaying, turning back to pick up Sister, praying, we finally made it to the park around 8:00pm. But, sadly! The haunted trails were closed on Tuesdays as was another ‘haunted theme’ second-choice event. We were so bummed out sitting in the parking lot jokingly pointing fingers of blame at each other and then the park owners, then back to us until one of us suggested we head to the nearby downtown Mall/Plaza to catch a movie or to shop. We headed there and after much fuss over the directions and the parking, we started browsing the plaza.

As we were heading out of the elevator up to the fourth floor theater, we got our original wish of being scared to death by bumping into this very strange man. My first impression of him was that he looked a lot like ‘Wolverine’ from X-men. He was wearing a blue hooded sweater,  jeans and a very menacing look on his face. He was bearded and had the creepiest set of eyes I have ever seen on a human being. As soon as he saw us he got into what I call a ‘fight position’ as if any moment he would go up and attack one of us. This wasn’t the only weird part. He was also muttering what sounded like curses under his tongue and just continued to give us a death stare!

Now, if fulaynimo (cowardice) was ever visually defined, it would probably be a picture of the six of us cowering in fear because of one man. I take it back, five of us. My older Sister seems to fear nothing. Actually when we were younger she would run after insects, spiders and small creatures and then go on to play with them! When my Sister saw the man she confidently remarked, ‘if he tries anything, we will take him because we are 6.’ The rest of us disagreed with that crazy notion and headed back into the elevators. The man stood on the floor peering up at us and then finally he walked away (to perhaps his vampire cave).

After the initial feelings of panic and paranoia faded away, we started laughing about the incident saying that we didn’t miss out on the haunted trails after all! We got exactly what we asked for. Thereafter, we made it to the theater only to discover they were showing the world’s most yawn-inspiring pictures. The time was now nearing to 9:00pm. Another one of the girls suggested we head to another shopping center/mall which housed a larger theater so we hit the highway soon after.

We ended up seeing ‘Prisoners’. Aside from the first 30 minutes which were very slow and unexciting, I think overall it was good movie, the ending was so surprising but I will not spoil it for you! 😉  Considering I am really not into movies, show or  television in general, I think it was nice to see a well directed film that didn’t need to show lewd, inappropriate scenes in order to ‘keep the viewer’s attention’ and instead focused on telling a good story.

Anyhow, the movie finished around 12:30am and that wrapped up our first Eid day. Looking back now, I think the most enjoyable part of it was the great company. Anytime my Sisters (biological and Muslim) get together we make some crazy memories. So it is all about the company you keep. I think even if you go to the Sahara Desert with the right people, I am sure you will have a great time. May Allaah preserve and protect my Sisters! Our next adventure will inshaAllaah be a community picnic this week followed by a halaqa the next week. Our halaqaat last for hours and are filled with great food, lively, crazy (and beneficial!) discussions and most importantly a great environment of real Sisterhood. More on that in a future post, inshaAllaah.

How did your Eid go Dear Reader? Feel free to share below, inshaAllaah! 🙂

Your Sis in Deen,

Umm Uthmaan ❤

Ilaahow…[O Allaah]

Asalaamu Alaaikum Dear Readers,

6077Alone_in_the_park

I have risen from the bottomless and lonely well of exams in order to post some benefit for you (wa iyyakum). 😉 Today, I wanted to share a very beautiful Somali gabay (poem) with you written by the late renowmed master of the verses Abshir Bacadle (may Allah have mercy on him). Most of his poetry, if not all, revolved around waano, i.e. advising the people to do good, follow the Deen, have fear of Allaah, be kind to family and strangers, stay away from innovations, etc. May Allaah grant him the highest place in Jannah with the righteous ones. The poem I have chosen is on the topic of remembering the hereafter among other things. I was reminded of the hereafter today after a disappointing incident; it showed me how wretched the dunya is as an abode and how little faith you can put it in. It’s kind of like a friend who always makes a promise but never fulfills it, after a while you just get over them!

Anywho, I have attempted an English translation for a small portion, which I will post in the near future, inshaAllaah. For now ‘O my Somali Brethren, take benefit! 🙂 You can hear the full gabay and other ones here: Click Me!

Ilaahow Ixsaan Badanow

Allaahow Ixsaan Badanow

Arxamuraaximiin la hubow,

Adoonkaagi aan Ahay,

Ixsaaan kuuma gudi karo,

Awoodana adaa is kaleh,

Abuurkaygii koowaad,

Awalkiyo bidaayada,

Hadoon odey cirool ahey,

Ilaa uurkii hooyadey,

Aduunyada intaan jiray,

Adigaa i arsuqi jiray,

Adoonana wax ima tarin,

Ixsaankaada ma’ahinee.

Arxan kalana sugi maa’

Aaqirana ka sii daran.

Ilaahow Ixsaan badanow,

Arxamuraaximiin la hubow,

Ayaanta mowdka i asiibo oo ajasheyda la gaaroo,

Aduunyo aan ka aruuro,

Ereyga iigu dambeeya,

Afkayga uu ku dhawaaqo,

Uuurkana aan ka jeclaaday,

Iqlaasna aan u iraadho,

Oo la aqbaloo la ajiibo LAA ILLAAH ILLALAAHU iyo udgoonow,

Nabigeena Allahayow igu aadi argagaxna iga Ilaali.

Hadii Iilka la i dhigo,

Afar xaraf iyo jaqafyana leygu soo albaaboo,

Ciida lay igu aaso,

Ehel iyo qaraabiyo umada ay iga jeestaan,

Alaabadana qaataan,

Ogaalkiina la soo noqo,

Indhahana la iifuro waaba gurigii Aaqiro,

Irid laga baxana male,

Iimaanka ma’ahane,

Aqoon horana uma lihi,

Allow mahaan iska aalo iyo itaal darideyda,

Iyo ixtaajnimadeyda Adigu wey aragtaaye,

Isimkaada Raxiima Ilaahayoow iigu Ixsaan fal argaggaxna ha igu Abuurin.

Amiin!!

Linguistics Bizness – Ramblings of a Student

Asalaamu Alaaikum,

Bruno Maag's "Shape My Language" exhibit at the Walking Chair Design Gallery in Vienna via designboom

Bruno Maag’s “Shape My Language” exhibit at the Walking Chair Design Gallery in Vienna via designboom

So, I was making some connections and reflecting while studying for a Linguistics exam (this is not unusual behavior for me, refer back to the post how I get work done). Linguistics is quite a fascinating field and I have been Alhamdulilah very contented that it will be my future career of choice inshAllaah. One thing I love about the field is that it highlights the miracle of Allaah azza wa Jal in bestowing one of the greatest bounties upon man, that of language, that of written word and speech. If you look deeply within any serious text of the field, especially that of first and second language acquistion, you will notice there are many gaps within the knowledge of researchers and scholars, where they simply do not know and cannot explain the phenomena behind a certain skill, stage or process which a language learner acquires or goes through. Even the scholar with the most expertise in the field cannot deny there is an innate aspect to the acquistion of language. Well duh! We already knew that as Muslims! We should look no further than the verse wherein Allaah says, (الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ) [Surat Al-Alaq : 4] and in another wherein Allaah says, (عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ) [Surat Ar-Rahman : 4] .

Writing, reading and speaking, language in its totality in my opinion is one of the biggest miracles that should convince the wandering confused soul that there is indeed a Creator. The plethora of tongues and the governing systems behind them; the amount of sounds produced within them, the complex syntactic break up of even the most seemingly simple of utterances/sentences. It’s simply amazing and I personally am dumbfounded at how believers and non-believers alike can just ‘study’ linguistics, anatomy, biology, history, practically any subject and yet NOT draw a connection back to their Creator. It is beyond me!

Anywho aside from those reflections, I started to compare and connect the sciences of the arabic language with my classes, i.e. the terms/subjects, so here is what I gathered so far:

1. Nahw: Grammar -Al-Ajrumiyyafied! –> Lame, I know.
2. I’raab: Syntax – I love i’raab and go figure I get a kick out of English/Somali syntax as well.
3. Makhraj & Sifaat (Tajweed):  Phonetics/Phonology
4. Balaagha: Rhetoric. I believe balaagha can also be loosely classified under Semantics and Pragmatics, i.e. when it comes to the analyzation part.
5. Sarf: Morphology.

As I am also engaged in Arabic studies, I love to draw as many connections as possible. My saying is, whenever Islam or Arabic is interjected into school work, it just brings new life to it!

One of my upcoming projects in Phonology is to dissect and decode the Somali language for the beginner. I will attempt to do this by graphing the albaphet on the IPA chart, recording and transcribing over two dozen words and analayzing the vowels and structure patterns within the language, etc. It’s one of my first big projects but I am enjoying it so much it hardly feels like course work! I guess that is the wisdom of going into and doing what you love! 😉 As the saying goes, you will never have to work a day in your life!

Linguistics ramblings over, back to studying. ^_^

Your Sis in Deen
-Umm Uthmaan

Virtues of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah – Starts This Sunday (6th Oct 2013)

“Even for those not performing the pilgrimage, Hajj, the first ten days of this month are considered very sacred and a time for increased reflection, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, doing good and various other forms of worship.Let us all keep these days in mind and benefit from them Inshaa Allaah.

Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) has said about the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah:

“There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days.” They (the companions listening) said, “Not even Jihad?” He, peace be upon him, said, “No, not even Jihad except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything.” [Recorded by Imam al-Bukhari]

So sacred are the first ten days of Zul Hijjah that Allah swears an oath by them when He says in the Quran: “By the dawn; by the ten nights” [al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Swearing an oath by something indicates its importance and great benefit.

Ibn Kathir said that “the ten nights” referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn Abbas, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujahid and others. Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari: “The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salawat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the Hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine.

What kinds of worship should be performed?

While any good deed done for the sake of Allah according to the way He approves will be rewarded immensely during the first ten days, Insha Allah, some of the more specific actions mentioned in the Traditions of the Prophet are fasting and verbal Zikr (remembrance) of Allah.

Fasting – the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah

In terms of fasting, it is particularly encouraged to fast on the ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah, known in Arabic as Yawm Arafah. In 2013, day of Arafah will be on Monday 14th of October Inshaa Allaah. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) used to fast on this day (al Nisai and Abu Dawud). Fasting on this day will expiate a Muslim’s sins for two years.

In addition to the day of Arafah, its also recommended to fast the eight days at the start of Dhul-Hijjah before the Day of Arafah as the following Hadith indicates:

Hunaydah ibn Khaalid narrated upon the authority of his wife who said, “Some of the wives of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) told me that the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihiwasallam) used to fast the Day of ‘Aashoorah, the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, and three days out of every month.” (Imam Ahmad, An-Nasaaee; Imam Al-Albanee declared it Saheeh)

The verbal remembrance of Allah is another meritorious act during these first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The Prophet upon him) encouraged Muslims to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (“Subhan-Allaah”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”) and Takbeer (“Allahu akbar”) during this time.

The Takbeer may include the words “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la ilaha ill-Allah; wa Allahu akbar wa Lillahi’l-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah; Allah is Most Great and to Allah be praise),” as well as other phrases.

Men are encouraged to recite these phrases out loud and women quietly.

Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah, two of the Prophet’s Companions, used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer individually when they heard them.

Generally, all good deeds are rewarded highly at this blessed time. These actions include praying, reading Quran, making Dua (supplication), giving in charity and being good to our families.

Sincere repentance

In addition, seeking Allah’s forgiveness at this time is also encouraged. This means more than just a verbal expression of sorrow for past misdeeds. It also requires a firm resolution to avoid making the same mistakes in the future by giving up bad habits and behavior while sincerely turning to Allah. Repentance means coming back to Allaah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up immediately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere firmly to the truth by doing what Allaah loves.

If a Muslim commits a sin, he must hasten to repent at once, without delay, firstly because he does not know when he will die, and secondly because one evil deed leads to another.

Repentance at special times is very important because in most cases people’s thoughts turn towards worship at these times, and they are keen to do good, which leads to them recognizing their sins and feeling regret for the past. Repentance is obligatory at all times, but when the Muslim combines sincere repentance with good deeds during the days of most virtue, this is a sign of success, in sha Allaah.

Allaah says: {But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful} [al-Qasas 28:67].

The Muslim should make sure that he does not miss any of these important occasion, because time is passing quickly. Let him prepare himself by doing good deeds which will bring him reward when he is most in need of it, for no matter how much reward he earns, he will find it is less than he needs; the time of departure is at hand, the journey is frightening, delusions are widespread, and the road is long, but Allaah is ever watchful, and to Him will we return and render account.

Allaah says: {So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it} [al-Zalzalah 99:7-8].