Sunday, 19 March 2017

An evening of Inspiration

Peace,

Last evening, I went to a event that was organised by one of the leading Somali organisations in the city. They invited 2 successful Somali ladies (one a flourishing businesswoman and the other, a doctor and someone heavily involved in charitable work back home). When I saw the advert online, I knew immediately that I would be attending. These kinds of inspirational evenings are some of my favourite events to attend, I always leave feeling so inspired, motivated and re-energised. I feel like all my dreams are achievable and it gives me a great boost. As expected, that was exactly how I fell as I was returning back home after the event.

What or who could inspire me -a Muslim, a Somali and a woman- more than a successful Muslim, Somali woman? Answer is: probably no-one can beat such a person.

It's not everyday that we get to hear the successful stories of Somali women despite there being.. a lot of them across the world. The message I heard last night was that being selfless is important. I also heard the strong message that placing one's trust and reliance in God is a primary key to any success on this earth. I heard that hard work, hard work, sweat and tears and more hard work is the base. I heard that every good thing takes time and therefore, patience is another primary key in all endeavours. I also heard how important both of the speakers' mothers had been in their lives and how highly and beautifully they were talking about their mothers.. as though to say that without their mothers, perhaps their successes would have been more limited. I almost stood up and applauded when they were making this point, I got a bit emotional to be honest.

(sidenote: I'm that weirdo at events who never claps.. I never clap unless an incredible point is made, like a really incredible one then I'll make it an exception.. [people must think that I'm so arrogant but clapping for someone is not in my habits]. Last night, I ended up clapping twice -which is a lot for me- but each time, their point went straight to my heart and that my palms were clapping uncontrollably).

I also heard and took in the recital of how hard and tedious their journeys had been because of the 3 tags they carried. These 3 tags form some of the least appreciated and under-rated tags a person could carry in today's contemporary society being: a woman, a black woman, a Muslim = a black Mulim woman. These 3 words alone could scare a lot of people, wouldn't you agree? Hence why I really believe that the successes of Somali women are triply worth jubilating over and cheering for! It's crazy to think that someone like me -who also carries these 3 tags on her prominent Somali forehead- is almost certainly going to go through more hardships, stereotypes and cynical remarks than the norm. It's also sickening to imagine that because of these 3 tags, more people on this planet have prejudice and hatred towards what I represent (be it my black skin, my religious identity or my gender).. The odds are that more people dislike what I stand for than the opposite, sad reality.

But you know what they say? Tell me it's impossible.. and I'll show you how it's possible. This also the message I heard from the 2 ladies last night. I also heard about their difficulties throughout their journeys but through another angle. This time, the struggle was not necessarily because of the tags they carry but because of the challenging nature of life. Whenever you attempt to do something different, something extra-ordinary, something brave.. life will throw rocks at you.. just to see how serious and determined you are about your dreams and goals. Are you going to give up at the first or second hurdle? Or are you going to display endurance and push through no matter what? This is called resilience.

I heard the call that sounded almost like a plea from the lady who lives and works in Somalia (the doctor) for us, the Somali youth, to return to our motherland and be the manpower the country needs to move forward. I heard that deeply. (sidenote: this is the second point that caused uncontrollable clapping from me)

I don't know whether it's because I'm the eldest of my family or not, but my parents and relatives have always -from young- told me that I have a great future ahead of me, that I will one day, go back to Somalia and do something, that I should not be just another western graduate wasting her education ect.

I have been told 2 things:
1) Think about when and what you'll take with you when you go back home and
2) Think about what you want to leave behind once you die.

Let me tell you that..over the years, much thinking has been spent on trying to plan my future and the ideas I have are grand. Each year that passes, the desire in me is growing but I have a little voice telling me 'wait, not yet.. just wait a bit more'. I know that I'm not ready to go back yet because I have no money (*bouuhh*) to invest, I have no real tangible plan yet and I also think I could deepen my expertise in my field so as to be the best possible asset inshAllah. Sabr, sabr, sabr.. 
At least, alhamdulilah, the ambition is there and I'm sure.. time will come soon inshAllah.

After the event, I left with a feeling of renewed ambition and a spirit revival. This year has been a break in my life from many angles and even though, I didn't like this break.. maybe it is for a stronger and better start soon. I want to conclude by asking you to question your life... what do you want to fight for during your lifetime? What are your goals and aims? Do these goals and aims include others? If not, I urge you to think about how you can help others and be selfless for the sake of God and in hope of His Reward.

My worst fear is to a waste of space.. to live a long life but I've benefited no one, I've helped no one, I've supported no one, I've taught no one, I've healed no one, I've guided no one..

Toddles (leaving you with some food for thought, hopefully :p)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Infidelity Issues

Assalam 'alaykum people,

*inhale*exhale*

I have purposely taken about 2 days before finally sitting down to write today's post. You may wonder why on earth I would be taking such a long time to think about a post but I guess you'll find out my hesitation as you read on. Today's topic is a topic I have never approached on this (or any of my other blogs) and you could say the topic is a little sensitive. But, we're all adults here (I hope) and I will -of course- be politically correct. Warning: this is a long one folks!

This was a short sweet little disclaimer.

Right.

About 2 days ago, I was just chilling and watching some YouTube videos. When I used to live alone, I was an avid watcher almost an addict to YT and I used to watch a lot of family vlogs, pranks, beauty related videos, chitchats and of course, Islamic lectures (did I really need to add this one in?). I guess because I had so much free time, especially in the evenings, I particularly enjoyed ending my evenings watching Judy's life or the SacconeJolys, Ellie and Jared or Lily Pebbles just to mention a few. However, lately I have no time -ironically- for YouTube at all and when I can find a rare moment then it is to watch fitness related stuff. Interesting how our interests shift so much in a short time.

Anyway, I was on the YT app and I don't remember exactly how but I ended up watching a scandal video about a famous family channel. You may have heard of it if you are into the YT vlogging community as this family owns one of most popular channel with, I think, about 4M subscribers. Personally, I have never watched their videos but I had heard of them. The family is made of 5 kids and the parents, they've made millions with YT, built a huge house and have been very successful. Since watching the scandal video (which I will talk about in a second), I decided to watch several other reaction videos from people who loved the family and it was clear that the father in particular was very loved by the audience and looked up to. A lot of people mentioned how this family and their vlogs changed and positively impacted on their own lives and how the father (ShayCarl) was almost like a father figure for them as well. ShayCarl is the kind of guy who is charismatic and lovable from the beginning so I can see why a lot of his subscribers held him in  high esteem.

The family are practising Mormons and they are apparently very religiously inclined, as most Mormons are. Who says religious also says high moral standard right? Interesting.

So, this guy -ShayCarl- whom everyone seems to love, has a very successful career, healthy kids, a huge house, a dedicated wife and in general, seems to have a good pleasant life will ruin everything by committing a fatal error. The scandal, that came out about a month ago, was that a saqajaamad callgirl exposed a number of DMs that ShayCarl and her had exchanged over a period of 3 months. She posted the messages on Twitter and tagged Shay's wife. Now, the messages were of such a disgusting and sexual nature that one would almost not believe they were written by ShayCarl or anyone who deems themselves 'religious'. But, the guy sent his picture in one of the DMs and it was impossible to deny that it was him who was indeed communicating with this woman in such a way.

This caused a crazy spark all over social media. Subscribers couldn't believe that these messages were written by the man they had idolised during all these years. They were disgusted, shocked and outraged. Then, the out-pour was driven towards his poor wife who had always been such a sweetheart and always been at her husband's side. What about the kids? This scandal is now on the internet for ever, how could he do this to his family? ect.

This, in a nutshell, is what the scandal was about. I'm not going to lie but this scandal also had an impact of me despite not knowing anything about this guy or his family before that day. I was disgusted that a married man of 5 kids would fall so low in morals to message a saqajaamad and talk in such a lewd, unrestrained manner. I was disgusted that he was apparently this righteous Mormon in his videos but in the privacy, he would have such madness in his mind. I felt sorry for his wife who was described as the best wife. And then.. it made me think.

For a good couple of years, I have observed a reoccurring pattern.
Men who are married, with kids, with an apparently happy and content family life, a comfortable lifestyle and a devoted wife will, at the impulse of desire, put all of this at risk. What makes a grown man who has everything in his life, be willing to put everything at risk? Another pattern I see is that the women involved in these marriages are usually the most sweet, hardworking, loving wives. They usually are the kind of wives who support their husbands through thick and thin, who are willing to sacrifice so much for their husbands and family, they are their husbands' shadow and are totally oblivious of the other facet that these men can have. Maybe they are too innocent? Interesting.

Another famous incident I could like to recall with ya'll is the Lewinsky affair. Bill Clinton, then president, was found guilty of having an affair with his young secretary. Normally, if a president is found guilty of adultery (at least back then), then he would have to be removed from power, however due to the American legislation on adultery, he was found 'not guilty' (despite sperm residue being found on the woman) because they was no evidence of vaginal intercourse despite evidences of other sexual activity being proven (which shows how messed up human laws are, uff). Hillary Clinton clearly in this torment still chose to remain on her husband's side and did not divorce him. Why? There are probably a million and one reasons why she chose to remain with her cheating husband. It is also proven statistically that men who cheat once will more likely repeat.

Another famous French politican called DSK comes to mind. He was known for his adulterous affairs with women while being married. I watched a documentary retracing his life a few months ago and I was disgusted. In short, he is the kind of man who can't keep his pants on. He got divorced 3 times and each time, it was to settle with the woman he was cheating with. The biggest scandal that tarnished his career was the ''rape'' accusation in the US of a black room cleaner. His wife, at the time, had stood by him through the case which was a long difficult one yet I believe he cheated on her multiple times.

I guess the limit of where the cheating occurs may differ for people. For some, looking at another person with lust is cheating. For some, all is good until there is intercourse. For others, being emotionally connected with another person than the official spouse is cheating. Seriously though, alhamdulilah for Islam where we do not have to question ourselves on where the limit is!

I have always said that men get crazy when they reach 40-50. I used to say that because I would often hear of Somali men in that age range who would go back home to secretly get married to another wife. It is common to joke about a man who wants to travel abroad alone (if he's 40 to 60) that his intentions are not for tourism but for something else. The wives of these men do not have a settled mind during the duration of his trip. I have always had a profound disgust for such behaviour and would *smh* whenever I heard of a Somali uncle in his 50s or 60s secretly getting married.

Maybe it's a good idea to mention here that for the past 7-8 months, I have been particularly interested in looking at 'love' from a psychological and sociological lens. A lot of the books I have bought and read in the past few months mostly deal with the subject of love; to the point where I get a little embarrassed when we have guests and they go through my shelf of books which is sadly placed in the living room. They probably wonder who in the family is reading this kind of literature?!
I don't recall precisely how I started to get interested in this subject but it is something I find pertinent. In general, I'm the kind of person who likes to know about things before getting involved in them. So, I thought.. if I'm going to get married (some day) then maybe it's a good idea for me to get some knowledge on the subject. Deen-wise, the topic of marriage is probably one of the few topics I'm proficient in (lol) due to listening to so many lectures (YT), books, events ect. Therefore, it was only natural for me to also turn my attention to the more secular aspect of knowledge surrounding marriage, love and the rest of it.

I have learnt a lot from my books and from listening to psychologists and relationship experts. I have looked at the theories of attachment, love languages, the psychology of falling out of love, the single trap ect. The book I'm reading now however, comes at a perfect time with regards to the scandal I mentioned above. It is a book that explores forbidden/hidden love or clandestine love; in other words, it talks about infidelity. The book is written by a sociologist who is looking at the social aspect/impact of adultery and infidelity in 30 couples who are secretly involved in extra-marital relationship that their official partner is not aware of. She has gathered testimonies from married men who upkeep secret relationships with one or multiple women (and vice-versa for women). Oh and I should mention also that most times, it's not only one secret relationship but there can be several hook-up partners thrown in the mix as well. (imagine your partner, your world, your boo having a secret and parallel relationship with someone else? *floodgates*)

Of course, as a Muslim, these testimonies for me are crude and shocking but I find the questioning of what makes these men and women go for these secret relationships and hook-ups worth looking into. Clearly, ShayCarl -a religious guy- made the choice of seeking sexual involvement (even through virtual means) but why? Likewise, it's not just gaalo (non-muslims) who have these behaviours.. oh no, unfortunately our brothers are not safe from it. So what causes a Muslim married man to seek emotional or sentimental involvement with a woman other than his wife? What makes our Somali uncles want to secretly elope back home? What is it that happens around 40 for men that seems to deny any logic and reason to their actions?

I am not a psychologist nor a sociologist nor a counsellor nor a social adviser.. but I want to share my thoughts and my readings with you.. who knows? It might help some people..

1) Regarding my stone age theory about middle-aged men becoming uncontrollable hormonal creatures.. well, it's actually been proven clinically that, as men hit 40, there is a shift in their minds regarding their sexuality. It is said that upon reaching that age, a lot of men become concerned with not being able to be as efficient in the bedroom. They also have a surge in the production of testosterone which increases their sex drive (likewise for women who will experience a rise in testosterone as they approach the menopause). Experts also explain that longevity has something to do with this phenomenon. With life expectancy and good health increasing for most people, as man reaches 40/50, he still has a good 30 years or so ahead. They will have usually achieved and worked hard for those 40 to 50 years and desire to 'kick back' as they enter that new age. Ofc for gaalo people, kicking back has many meanings!

It is also proven scientifically that the 10 years between 40 and 50 for a man are a period of huge changes, they experience a second teenage-hood.

For men, there is also this need as they age to prove to themselves that they can still attract women. A man can have everything going smoothly in his life (i.e: ShayCarl, Bill Clinton, Adeer Farax), yet they will always want to see if they can catch a new fish... sometimes just to see if they can, other times to fill in an empty spot, sometimes for sexual motives, sometimes for the excitement and adrenaline. I find that most men enjoy the excitement and passion of a new relationship, I feel like they live for that high, crazy passion of early days and as the passion declines... their interest will also decline and they will move on to the next prey. They are always in need of high emotional intensity.. but by doing that, unfortunately, they mess up with their neuron and brain electricity which causes them to have a patchy image of what the difference between lust and love is.

2) Let me move on to the women in these marriages. What makes one's husband go and look for things outside of his wife? Even though, it is sometimes the wife's shortcomings that pushes a man away.. I really believe that some men are just designed to be forever chasing. In the book that I'm reading, the cheating husbands all say that they will never leave their wives to live with their secret partner. Likewise, our Somali uncles who go back home usually have no intention of hurting their wives nor do they hate them or want to divorce them. The cheating men at age 50 will usually have been married for 20 years, they have children, they have a family and they are not looking to compromise all that they've worked for but.. still there's something missing for them. Usually that something is to do with sex in one shape or another.

Usually (I'm using this word a lot today because I don't want to generalise), they have a double face/a double life. What I mean by that is... they've been married for 20 or so years, there's definitely a routine with the wife, most likely intimacy is not really happening and living in this hyper-sexual world, being married and not being able to fulfil your desires is a pain. I can understand that (and it is also said that in couples who have been married for decades, the women are often the ones who control the intimacy that happens or that doesn't happen which takes the man in hostage in some cases). So, these frustrated men turn their desires to other women and will thus show their second face (note: I'm talking about the gaalos) which is a face of sexual frustration as is the case with the ShayCarl scandal or in the Lewinsky case.

Sadly, the women of these cheating men have typically no idea of what's happening. Their husbands don't necessarily open up regarding their uncontrollable libido or they repress it and act like all is good. They (the ladies) get too comfortable or they get too occupied with day to day life and the kids that their husband's desires is the last thing on their mind? Also, after being married for such a long time, after going through ups and downs as a couple.. I guess there comes a certain peace of mind that your partner would never do something to hurt or damage the family, right? WRONG.
Sometimes, I think that these women are too naive? How can you not see signs or clues that something is not right? Could Hillary Clinton have foreseen that Bill would at some point trespass the sacred ties of marriage? Could ShayCarl's wife have imagined that her husband was entertaining a call girl with such graphic pornographically inspired messages? Are there not warnings and signs of infidelity before they occur?

Some women also cheat on their husbands (20%) but the reason is typically different than men (34%). The women who tend to be overworked, under-loved and underappreciated by their husbands are at a higher risk of finding themselves searching for appreciation and compliments from other men (especially if that's her love language). Cheating women are usually in search of affection and compassion whereas cheating men are usually in search of intimacy and new sexual experiences (also the case for some women who feel the need to be liberated in that sphere). I find it interesting that despite not being sexually fulfilled with their wife of 20yrs, men will still rather stay with her instead of divorcing her and getting with the mistress. They much rather keep their family life intact and have the side mistress for the sole purpose of relieving their desires. It is mentioned that if the mistress displays signs of love and attachment towards the cheating man, he will leave her and search for another one as he is not interested in a love relationship. Whereas the cheating women believe that they can have polyamour (loving 2 people at the same time) just like a mother loves her 2 children. Gaalo people be craaazy sometimes.

The question now is.. is it truly possible in 2017 to be a monogamous couple with neither partner searching for something outside of their couple? Is it possible for a man to be fulfilled (in all areas) by a single woman and vice-versa? Is it feasible for a woman to feel 100% sure that her husband is exclusive to her? Is emotional exclusivity important to people nowadays?

I have personally seen married Muslim practising men looking for 'friendship' with other women other than their wives. It goes back to the double-face personality I described above. I really believe that some men (maybe the religious ones more than the others) fail to be able to fully communicate with their wives regarding their needs and/or desires. Because how is it that they are looking elsewhere then? What made ShayCarl cheat on his wife (even if he never had physical intimacy) with a call girl when his wife is under his roof and loves him madly?

After a few years, I guess some couples go through a cleavage which make communication tough. Men and women are maybe no longer looking for the same things in the marriage. They've build a successful family life with good kids but their love has become flat. Issues such as sexual incompatibility may creep up with one partner constantly feeling let down by the other dis-obliviously. I feel like this issue is definitely not spoken about in our communities and especially our parents' generation. Do you think so many uncles would be flocking back home if the wives knew that their husbands just needed more intimacy? I don't think so..

It's kinda sad in a way that a lifelong relationship can disintegrate and fall apart because of something as mundane of a lack of intimacy but it happens more than we want to admit. We, as women, need to stop being naive and stop thinking that our husbands are superheroes because they're Muslims and therefore are free from low desires. It's already ''bad enough'' that a lot of women (incl. me) don't feel themselves able to tolerate their husbands to marry a 2nd wife (the right way, emphasis on the word RIGHT), but it's terrible that they can think that this man can live with no to little intimacy until his death. That's naivety and innocence ladies. Educating ourselves on the male mindset and being open with the partner is crucial. However, there are men who can't be pleased no matter what. It reminds me of the hadith about owning a mountain of gold and wishing for a second and always wanting more.

Slightly a different topic but still related to the main topic is this..
About a year or so ago, I remember reading about the divorce of a well-known Muslim speaker and I also remember very clearly feeling sad for the rest of the day. He and his ex-wife had been married for years and years, he used to mention her in his lectures sometimes. They had about 8 or 9 kids.. so clearly one would imagine a strong couple right? The news of the divorce had a bombshell effect on me.. I was hurt and I couldn't understand what makes a couple with 9 kids want to divorce and go separate ways? This is the woman who gave you all these kids? This is the woman you've shared probably half or more of your life with? This is the woman who knows everything about you? What can be so deep and so serious that needs the both of you to go separate ways? Isn't forgiveness and looking over mistakes possible after so many years together? I couldn't and still can't comprehend that.. maybe I'm also naive.

Through my reading on this topic at large, I am realising that communication and HONESTY are key ingredients for a successful marriage. I don't know if most men can remain monogamously exclusive to their wives only for 20, 30, 40, 50 years of marriage. I don't know anymore but .. who knows?
I also used to believe in everyone having one soulmate, this belief has changed as well.. I'm learning that a person can have several soulmates and be compatible with more than 1 person. I believe that love is a choice. People either choose to love each other or they stop. I also realise that love does not just happen, it is made. It is created by two people who want it. I'm learning that intimacy is probably more important than we think especially as the couple is growing and maturing. I'm learning that as the years in the marriage increase, the two partners need to be even more closer in all spheres and they can only be close if they have honest communication of their wants and needs. Compatibility is the intimacy department will either help reinforce the couple's strength or it will weaken it. I'm learning that not all men are the same. That some men will be chasing other women until their grave and that  by learning to observe more and try to look for fore-running signs and clues, these guys can be spotted.

You know, everyone has irrational and crazy fears right?

Mine are: infidelity and infertility. (don't laugh :p)

As for the 1st one, I think I'm a very loving person and when I honestly love someone.. I love wholeheartedly and I want to be beloved too. So, the thought of my husband looking for love or lust outside of me is unbearable. I don't know if I could be like Hillary Clinton and keep such a man in my life. I often ask Allah (swt) not to test me with the people I love the most because that's the hardest thing for me. Your spouse or your own children being a test in this dunya for you is something I seek refuge from.

As for the 2nd one, well.. most girls also have this stupid fear and I guess it's because maternity is part of our femininity (even if these ultra-liberal feminists try to say the opposite), most of us dream to be mothers one day and so, being infertile is a real phobia. I know that many girls also share this irrational fear with me.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Toddles :)

Sunday, 5 March 2017

What's the point?

Hey,

What's the point of your creation if you're not working towards a purpose?
What's the point of your presence on earth if you don't know why?
What's the point of you if you are not sincere?
What's the point if you have arrogance in your heart?
What's the point if you're always expecting compliments and recognition from people?
What's the point of memorising the Qur'an if you do not comply with its teachings?
What's the point of learning ahadith if you do not put them into action?
What's the point of saying things you actually don't mean?
What's the point of being rude to your parents?
What's the point of holding on to grudges?
What's the point of being a weak believer?
What's the point of being heedless and careless?
What's the point of falling into incessant sins?
What's the point of not remembering Allah?
What's the point of being a waste?
What's the point of being jealous of others?
What's the point of spreading negativity?
What's the point of judging and looking down on others?
What's the point of' fearing people and not fearing the Lord of people?
What's the point of living a life of regrets?
What's the point of living an unsatisfying, mischievous life?
What's the point of remaining in a situation that is making you unhappy?
What's the point of hurting your soul?
What's the point of hurting others?
What's the point of being lenient towards the whispers of Shaytan?
What's the point of procrastinating?
What's the point of having low-self esteem?
What's the point of not believing in yourself?
What's the point of not pursuing your dreams?
What's the point of crushing other people's dreams?
What's the point of remaining stagnant in all spheres of your life?
What's the point of seeing life with a half empty cup?
What's the point of thinking that grass is greener on the other side?
What's the point of being impatient?
What's the point of not surrendering yourself to God?
What's the point of lying and being dishonest?
What's the point of cheating and being full of deceit?
What's the point of a dark, black heart?
What's the point of a wicked, twisted soul?
What's the point of hatred?
What's the point of animosity?
What's the point of being content with mediocrity?
What's the point of not being ambitious?
What's the point of being immodest?
What's the point of knowingly trespassing divine limits?
What's the point of listening to music?
What's the point of watching movies?
What's the point of busying yourself with things of no benefit?
What's the point of social media?
What's the point of wasting your precious time?
What's the point of distancing yourself from the company of the righteous?
What's the point of deserting the places of worship?
What's the point of not working to your full potential?
What's the point of reaching for the sky?
What's the point of staying in toxic relationships?
What's the point of not moving on from painful memories/past?
What's the point of always thinking of the worst scenario?
What's the point of holding a poor opinion of Your Lord?
What's the point of being inconsistent with good deeds?
What's the point of belittling the Sunnah?
What's the point of being fake?
What's the point of doubting yourself?
What's the point of all this?
What's the point?

Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING



Wednesday, 1 March 2017

BMG

Peace,

Let me tell you a bit more about BMG and what he means to me ..

- he is one of the closest people to my heart
- he is a role model to me
- he is incredibly handsome
- his intelligence is mindblowing
- his character is beautiful
- his spirituality is admirable
- his patience is not comparable to what I've seen
- he and his life story remind me of Prophet Ayub 'alahi salam
- he is a polyglot
- he is a thinker
- he has a great sense of style
- his speech is dignified
- he will listen to you attentively
- he has the most charming smile
- he has glossy dark skin
- he has beautiful soft shiny dark hair on his head
- he has a neatly bearded face
- he is academically gifted
- he has memorised Buhari, Muslim and Abi Dawud
- he has also memorised several other mutoon (texts)
- he (even though I've never tested him) has an impeccable hifdh of the Qur'an
- he is someone who has been tested thoroughly
- he has h***** complications
- he has j****** complications
- he has had a lot to deal with in the last decade
- he is one of the few people I can talk with for hours without boredom
- he is one of the few people whose judgement and advice I will take without hesitation
- he is one of these people that I want to please and make proud of me
- he is a human of high quality
- he is my inspiration in this dunya
- he means the world to me

- I am so blessed to have him in my family
- I am so happy that I got to see him even though it was only 5 hours
- I am grateful that Allah granted me my prayers
- I am looking forward to a time where there will be no more separations from BMG
- I looking forward to see BMG soon
- I pray for his steadfastness
- I pray for purification for him
- I pray that he remains patient in his tests
- I pray Allah gives him a happy life for the rest of his days and his hereafter
- I pray we can live together or in close proximity
- I love being in his company
- The closer I am to him, the happier I am
- I love our bond
- I love how special and loved he makes me feel
- I love our memories together
- I love how intensely he thinks before he talks

That is BMG, my paternal uncle, in a nutshell.

I don't think this short description does him justice but when you love someone this much, you never really want to reveal everything. I have to say that I am very protective of BMG and as a result, I never really talk about him to other people.

When I was younger, I used to be so possessive over BMG. He, from my youngest age, was that one family member I clicked with on a deep level. He used to send me letters regularly, and postcards for various occasions. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone. He would defend me when my dad would be 'complaining' about me and he would always be on my side. I would sometimes say in a moment of no self-control 'I wish BMG was my dad instead of you aabo' which would make my father laugh but I wonder if that comment ever hurt him? It was inconsiderate of me to say that but kids say the craziest of things, don't they?

BMG would always make me sit next to him. If I wasn't sat next to him, I wouldn't be happy. If I wasn't walking next to him, I wasn't happy. If we didn't have one on one conversations, I wasn't happy. He would always bring me close to him, hold my hand, open the car door for me. He knew how to make my little self happy to say the least. I, in return, used to try to impress him. I used to pray when he would be visiting us (again, that was when I was around 12/13/14), I would wear my headscarf neatly because I wanted to make him proud. I used to write him long letters. I used to stare at his beautiful face to try and imprint it in my mind forever. I've already spoken about one of my first spiritual awakening that happened one summer evening with BMG where he taught me the essence of Tawheed. And, the moment I became more religiously inclined, our bond deepened and we were not only linked by blood but our love for the deen and for Allah (swt) made us even closer.

Our conversations then began to deepen. BMG always had big ambitions for me especially deen-wise. I don't know if I will be able to reach those or if I will be able to reach his level. Sadly, in the last 10 years, we've only seen each other 3 times and you can imagine how hard that is. Alhamdulilah though, I pray and hope that very soon inshAllah we can live close to each other and not have to say goodbye without knowing when we will meet next.

With a man like BMG in my life you can just imagine how dull other men look to me right? (lol) My mother often reminds me not to compare regular men to BMG because he is exceptional. My mother used to teach BMG back home, in Somalia, when fresh high school graduates had to do a one year compulsory teaching. I also love the relationship mother and BMG share. I think BMG is honestly the perfect human embodied. Yes, he has his own character shortcomings (who doesn't?) but I have never met a person more complete in various aspects as him. I mean, he has beauty, religion and academia on his side!, all of which are at a high level. His future wife is definitely a lucky girl :-p

But with such  exquisite attributes, come equivalently difficult tests. With all the positive things I've mentioned, BMG is the also the one person I know who gone through such intense testing from the Lord. I have no doubt that Allah (swt) loves BMG because of the length and consistency of the tests in his life. Allah (swt) tests His beloved Slaves over time to see if they will endure them with patience and gratitude. I always pray that Allah (swt) multiplies BMG in patience.. Khayr InshAllah

May I ask you to include BMG in your sincere du'as whenever you can?
Pray for his well-being, for his safety, for his eeman, for his strength, for his affairs, for his family.

Thank you :)

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Living Alone

Morning,

Moving abroad and living alone in a country that was unknown to me was probably one of the boldest things I've done in my short life. I still wonder how my super-protective parents allowed their 23 year old to get on such a crazy adventure but I'm glad they let me. I was actually a lot ''luckier'' than other ladies who went on a similar adventure as my father lived in the same country and so there was the comfort of knowing that I wasn't really alone and that he was ''only'' a few hours away.

It was exciting at first and I loved having my own space. I loved the freedom and privacy living alone gave me. I loved not having to look presentable on weekends because no one would be seeing me anyway. I loved eating as many ice-creams as I wished without having to hide the box in the freezer from the siblings. I loved waiting for the laundry basket to be overflowing and not having my dear mama's voice. I loved grocery shopping but that was at first because..

 Quickly, maybe even too quickly.. I started to resent it. I started to hate coming home to emptiness. I hated the lack of interaction with my family. I hated the loneliness. I hated going grocery shopping because it didn't make sense to go through so much hassle for one person. I started to stay at work longer so I could come home later. For someone who enjoys silence and quiet, I started to hate the silence of my apartment. It was too much. I've spoken to sisters who also experienced living alone and a few have also reported that deafening silence that can rip your soul.

Sometimes, I think that maybe if I was in another country and not KSA.. perhaps the experience would have been less harsh and that perhaps, I would have been able to embrace living alone fuller, that perhaps I would have been able to pursue my hobbies and have an interesting out-of-work life. It's true that the fact that it was KSA did participate in making my living alone difficult. Not because of me per say but because of the way society is set in that country. It's not really made for a female to live by herself. Little to nothing is made to accommodate for such an exception. I only started to ''live'' joyfully again when I moved in with my father and I began to really enjoy life again.

Now, why am I reminiscing you may ask? I'm wondering whether I should give it another shot or not..

Whether I should try again and see how I get on this time?

But there's this unshakeable feeling in my heart that just makes me shiver at the thought of living alone in that country again. Yet at the same time, a tiny part of me (the wild side) wants to see if I can make it different this time.

Let's see what comes my way :)

Toddles x

Friday, 24 February 2017

Coucou !

Assalam 'alaykum peeps,

Ugh, do I just jump straight back into blogging or come up with an excuse with regards to my one month long absence?

First of all, a thank you to the person who commented a few days ago about looking forward to my next post, it snatched a smile from me. It always makes me feel a little funny when I see how many of you come regularly on this blog even when I don't update it. I know probably 99% of ya'll come from the old Zawajland blog and it feels like you've seen me grow through my writing and the thoughts and ideas I share with you.

In all honesty, I dislike reading back what I wrote on Zawajland and if only I could find a way to delete that blog, trust me.. I would have done so a long time ago. The immaturity of some posts, the harsh judgements that I carried and the innocent romanticist view of Zawaj just makes it impossible for me to re-read those pieces of writing. But, somehow, people found them beneficial, funny and useful to the extent that still today, people will randomly message me to thank me for that blog. Well, I'm glad but for sure, if I was to write about this topic again, I know my views would be much more moderated and I guess that my gained life experiences would also provide new insights that I lacked at age 20.

Talking about age, my birthday is lurking around the corner. Again, if you've been following me for a while, you know that I usually write a post every year on my birthday to sort-of reflect on the year that went by and the one that's beginning. But let me tell you that this year has been unmatched in terms of how many times I have been asked my age. I don't think I have ever been asked much about my age but this year and especially since 2017.. oh boy! Is this normal or what?

The good thing -perhaps- is that when I say I'm 26 no one wants to believe me. I've had one lady refuse to even allow me to say my age when I said that I was over 20 because she wouldn't believe me anyway. All the new sisters I've met recently all enjoy praising my youthful appearance and whenever a new sister joins in, they find it hilarious to make her guess my age. I don't know guys.. I mean alhamdulilaah for good youthful genes but is it necessary to make it a big deal?

So 27 is only 2 months away and I feel it's gonna be a great age inshAllah. No one told me that the late 20s are cool like this. Honestly, 25 for me wasn't a fantastic age but 26 was lovely and I feel great about turning 27. People tend to focus so much on numbers and forget that it's just a number. It's like the weight thing, it's just a number! You may look great in the mirror but if you focus too much on the number that appears on the scale, you may be the cause of your own sadness. Likewise, age is but a number and as long as you look ahead and feel content with your life and what Allah has chosen for you, then it'll be fine.

That's another thing I was thinking of today. The only plan that ever works is Allah's plan. Think about it. How many plans have you made that never turned out? If I answer this question, the answer is: too many!  But alhamdulilah, because God has the plan and I trust His Plan more than I could ever trust mine. The next question that then came to my mind was: 'well... then what's the point of planning my life meticulously?'

I like plans and knowing where I'm headed and what's happening next but this year has been a year of all my plans literally falling in the water one after the other and I am not even exaggerating. 2017 alone has been quite a bumpy start to be honest but it's okay, I'm learning to fasten my seat-belt and learn to deal with the bumps along the road.

One of the best thing that happened this year and that wasn't planned until the very last minute was a short trip to Geneva. I only came back 2 days ago and I wish I was still there. Geneva is almost like the city of my childhood, we used to go there many summers and I have the most wonderful memories made in that city. It's one of my favourite cities ever. I love everything about it. I even contemplated moving there for a year during my short visit.. yeah I got a bit carried away.

I also got to see someone very dear to me and I guess his presence in the city is part of the reason why I love the city this much. Have you ever loved a place because a loved one lives there? Again, it wasn't clear in our initial plan if we would be able to see him but we managed alhamdulilah. See what I mean about plans? God's plan is the real plan. I don't want to say too much about this beloved person right now but to dissolve any doubts you may have, this person is one of my mahrams. Sorry if you were expecting me to narrate a long distance love story guys, maybe another time ;p

What else? I'm still trying to upkeep my Qur'an learning and trying to keep my revision schedule with my molar teeth. My beloved mahram from Geneva (BMG that's how I will refer to him from now) was eager to hear of my progress. Last time we met in 2011, he really encouraged me to get started on memorisation but sadly as you know, I only started the journey last year. Actually, when we met in 2011, I had gone to Geneva to conduct part of my BA field research (well, to be completely honest, I just wanted to see BMG) and it was right after a serious marriage proposal had been dissolved into thin air. Most of our conversations during that trip were based on marriage and how I should probably wait a little before tying the knot and how I should focus on constructing myself from all sides: education-wise, religion-wise, life experice-wise, financial-wise ect. Best advice I received let me tell you that.

We need to stop trying to put everyone in the same basket. Not everyone is made for university, not everyone is made for business, not everyone is made to become president, not everyone is made to get married at 20 ect. Trust the plan God has designed for you, learn to appreciate the bumps along the road and keep calm.

But sometimes I think I'm too calm.

Yallah I feel like I'm seeing a good friend I haven't spoken in years with all my ramblings. I'll try not to be absent this long again but I can't promise!

Stay blessed :)

Toddles x

Friday, 20 January 2017

What about God?

''We did not search for God when we were children. We took Him for granted. We were at some time taught to say our evening prayers: 'bless my father and mother'. This was done no more unless a thunderstorm made us hide our heads under the covers and propitiate the Deity by promising to be good. 

Very early we had a sense of right and wrong, good and evil. My conscience was very active. There were ethical and religious concepts. To steal cucumbers from Miss Lynch's garden was wrong. It was also wrong to take money from my mother, without her knowledge, for a soda. What a sense of property rights we had as children! Mine and yours! It begins in us as infants. 'This is mine.' But at the age of four I knew it was wrong to steal.

Morality lay in the realm of property and sex. Sex was a deeper matter, and in some obscure way had a connection with the supernatural law and God Himself. Modesty at first had to do with our bodies. We used to dress around the big kitchen and if anyone came in, the grocer, the laundry boy, we would back out of the room to hide our nakedness. We did not know why and whatever obscure sense of shame we had may have been connected with that part of our anatomy which was seriously smacked for punishment.''

This is an extract from a book I'm currently reading called 'The Long Loneliness'. It is an autobiographical book written by Dorothy Day who was a legendary Catholic social activist of her time.

I read this part last night and it resonated with me. As a kid, I took God for granted and only called on Him when I wanted something really bad (i.e: when I prayed for a baby brother) or if I was very scared. Other than that, I was pretty heedless. But at the same time, I had a developed consciousness of what was right and what was wrong. I could feel the weight of trespassing a limit on my shoulders whenever I would do something wrong.

When I started secondary school, I was lucky that several of my classmates from primary school also ended up in the same school and some days, after school, I would sometimes go at one of my friend's house who was near the school. Without my parents' knowledge; of course.

We would watch movies. This was not something that was allowed in my household. The only things we watched on TV were the news and occasionally cartoons on the week-ends. We called movies 'filim dad waawayn' and we knew we weren't allowed to watch those. Anyway, so we used to chill at my friend's house and watch american series subbed in french but I knew it was wrong. My conscience was telling me that I was trespassing a limit. And even though at the moment, it was nice as soon as I would make my way home, I didn't feel so good anymore.

I also remember being aware of nakedness being wrong and shameful. As a result, I hated swimming classes with a passion and always tried to hide myself behind people. I also remember one hot afternoon, we had P.E (sports) and we were playing basketball. I was wearing a long sleeved top but it was getting uncomfortable with the heat and sweat. I decided to remove it, bearing my arms as I was wearing a t-shirt. This may seem like nothing but for me it was a huge deal. I knew my arms were not supposed to be exposed like that. I knew it deeply in me but in that moment, I decided to shut my conscious and enjoy that game.

I have so many examples like these of my childhood and teenage years. Heck, even as an adult today. Sometimes, we know we're doing something wrong. Yet, because of the fleeting enjoyment of the moment, we continue just to realise a little later that it wasn't worth it and now you're left with a heavy heart and a torned consciousness. Happens all the time! God help us.

'We praise Thee, O God --
We acknowledge Thee to be the Lord,
All the earth doth working Thee

All ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord
Praise Him and glorify Him forever.
O ye sun and moon, O ye stars in the sky,
O ye winds and hoarfrost, ye rain and dew,
Bless ye the Lord, praise Him and glorify Him forever.
O ye trees and flowers, O ye beasts of the field,
O ye fish in the sea . . .'

Another extract. I find it disturbing when I read works from Christians or highly spiritually endowed people because of how close they are to the Truth and yet, how far they seem at the same time. What beautiful lines describing the Oneness of Allah these are yet, a few lines later.. there will almost always be lines of Shirk following.

Dorothy Day, from the little I've read so far, was a woman who dedicated her life to her religion and to the social rebuilding of her society. She sacrificed a lot as the title of her autobiography suggests but for what? For a God that she loved yet maybe due to ignorance associated partners with Him. I find that so tragic.

In Islam, we are told to prepare for the Afterlife in this life. All our actions in this life will have an impact on the next one. We also believe that the KEY to attaining Paradise is living a life based on a Monotheistic belief. One God with no partners, with no needed intercessors, with no son or wife, with no shortcomings.

I find it tragic that there are people out there who are so in touch with their consciousness & spiritual identity and use it to help people (and they get their rewards in this life, in one way or another) while there are Muslims who are not thinking of being actively engaged with their communities and societies. There are Muslims whose only focus is: today, tomorrow and me, me, me. I'm not trying to blame anyone because this is the way we've been ingrained to think from a young age. But this is wrong.

We rarely see Muslims sacrificing their lives, efforts, money for the Sake of God to help His Creation. I only found out about the national Pakistani hero who passed away maybe 6 months ago (may Allah have mercy on his soul) and the extent of his humanity. Incredible.

I feel like my own life will not be fruitful and useful unless I also sacrifice myself for the sake of God. I want.. actually it's not a want but a need. I need to be useful to others. I must be of benefit to humanity. This may sound a little arrogant but I promise you it's not coming from such a place.

I don't know if it's because I'm the first born of my family but I've always had high expectations for myself. Kinda to set the path for the younger ones and to be a good role model. I've also had close family members often repeating to be to think about what I want to do for the world. And as I get older, the louder these voices become. Likewise, my internal voice is also growing louder 'YOU MUST GET A MOVE ON'.

I'm thinking, thinking, thinking.. I realise that I must become a good person first before I can wish to benefit others. I have plenty ideas but actually getting from theory to practice seem much harder than anticipated. But I know, I just know.. inshAllah, great things will happen and even if they don't.. the intentions are there and intentions are crucial and appreciated by God.

How about you? What can you do to make this world better for others and yourself?

Toddles.