Sunday, February 25, 2007

We make plans but God knows best

Have you ever read a verse of scripture over and over and thought you really knew what it meant, then something happened to you later that made you realize it's true meaning?

That's what happened to me recently, regarding the following verse of the Qa'ran;

33:59 (PICKTHAL:)

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.
This verse always seemed bizarre to me. Well, I guess I didn't really comprehend what it meant to "be recognised and not annoyed", or why this would be a good idea.
Most of the time as a muslim in America I've been terrified to "be recognised".
I always assumed that being recognised in the context of post-911 America would be a VERY BAD and dangerous thing.
So, since returing to my homeland last July, I chose not to don the muslim headscarf, and maintained modest dress otherwise.
We scheme and plan, but Allah knows best!
It all started when my neighbor, whom I met in passing in the parking lot a few times, asked me and my kids over for a play date.
Starving for friendship and yearning for the seemingly constant socializing I was involved with while in Qatar, I was elated that she invited us over.
It was really fun, the kids had a blast playing, and my neighbor and I really hit it off. She's in the healthcare profession and we have a lot in common that way, she even has given me some very sound leads on jobs. She is also athletic/works out ( she's a runner), aspires to being a stay-home mom, and we agree on matters that have religious overtones. For instance, we both dislike the "new" Disney because the stories focus too heavily on evil (why all the evil? Why can't there just be good guys?), and she and her husband don't watch television (thus the kids don't either).
However things became extremely awkward for me when one of her questions came out of left field and slugged me in the jaw. We were actually discussing childbirth when out of nowhere she suddenly asked me "So what church do you go to?"... Pangs of terror! What did she say? Well, I was stunned beyound belief. How was I supposed to just pop out and say, uh, we're muslim? She had let on earlier in the conversation that they were Baptist. AND not just Baptist, Southern Baptist! So, I just tried to start with the story of how I became catholic in college.... "Well, I was raised Methodist, and then converted to Catholic in College...." then she cuts me off and changes the subject again!
Oh cripe! I WASN'T FINISHED! THERE'S MORE! I was screaming inside my head....but couldn't continue. It was just too.....aggressive. Who just blurts out "So what church do you go to?" ....That's not a first playdate question! How could she just assume I even go to CHURCH? ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
I went home and told my husband what had happened. That essentially I hadn't told this girl the truth. He was really reassuring and felt she had been way too aggressive. She's baptist, Nur, he said. She'd be on a witch hunt if she found out you were muslim anyways. Remeber the Baptists you knew in Florida?
The Baptists in Florida. Goodness, how could I forget? I was taking a class at our local community college. Once a group of them in my class found out I was an Amerian who'd converted to Islam, they wouldn't leave me alone. They hounded me every class with this extremely false literature their church had created. It was about muslim women like me who'd married muslim men and "forced to wear the oppressive islamic dress", and were all subsequently beaten, kidnapped, and blackmailed under threat of never seeing their children again if they didn't do as their terrible muslim husbands said. Then they "found Jesus", were freed from the "oppression" they'd endured wearing the hejab, and everything was hunky dorey.
GOD, what kind of insane propaganda was this thing based on, that Sally Field movie Not Without My Daughter??????
So that had been my previous experience as a Muslimah with the Baptists. What should I expect with this neighbor?
That verse from the Qa'ran immediately popped into my head due to this incident. Recognized and not annoyed. Man, now it all makes sense, I thought. If I had been wearing the hejab, everything would have been clear to my neighbor. I wouldn't have been put on the spot in quite the same extreme way. She still could have asked about why I cover my hair...but it would have been a LOT less awkward than me sitting there with no overt signs that I'm muslim and getting asked what church I go to!
So it now is clear to me that God wants me to wear hejab. I've been mohejabiyya for about 2 weeks now and it's going very well. I've had to make minor alterations to what I wear to the Y to excercise but it really hasn't been too big of a change. I find that the Al Amira hejab are best for working out in, as they don't slip or flip up (and expose what I'm trying to cover!) while doing aerobics, in spinning class, or lifting weights.
Subhanallah and Allahu Alim.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rumi poem

There is a passion in me that doesn't long for anything fromanother human being.

I was given something else, a cap to wear in both worlds.

It fell off.

No matter.

One morning I went to a place beyond dawn, a source of sweetnessthat flows and is never less.

I have been shown a beauty that would confuse both worlds,but I won't cause that uproar.

I am nothing but a head set on the ground as a gift for Shams.

Mevlana, Jelaluddin Rumi

Eyvallah, Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Qataris; Don't miss this performance!

Don't miss the performance of the Julliard Jazz Orchestra at Qatar National Theater, March 4 and 5!

This performance is part of Georgetown University Qatar's American Arts Festival 2007 in Doha.

To read more and find out how to get tickets click here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hejabi in the Heartland

I've created a new blog, Hejabi in the Heartland.

All of my (previous) and future posts regarding Cincinnati are/will be there.

I'll keep my personal posts and posts on other issues here on Rockin' Hejabi.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Weight bearing exercise, bone density and calcium intake

I just did some research on this subject. I have been taking an inhaled corticosteroid (symbicort) now for about a year for my asthma. It got exceptionally worse while I was in Qatar. We were exploring a ruined village just north of Landmark mall (maybe 10 miles?) and I went inside one of the dwellings, only to emerge having the worse asthma attack of my entire life.
So, obviously I ended up being ok, after a trip to the emergency room! They put me on this daily regiment of the inhaled corticosteroid.
Now after being back in the States for a little over six months I've noticed my allergies are not as bad. Maybe because we left the (outdoor) cat in Qatar.
So, I've decided to slowly wean myself off the corticosteroid inhaler, for the sake of my bone density. There is so much information out there regarding corticosteroids. Most of it says that inhaled versions of the drug are much less damaging to bone density than oral versions, thank god.
Nevertheless I know I probably have suffered some degree of depletion of my bone density, so I want to now be sure to do everything I can to build my bone density back up.
We all have heard in the USA a million times about how women should be sure to "get enough calcium", etc. and so forth. BUT there are a few facts that should simultaneously accompany that one.
1.Caffeine intake can aversely effect your body's ability to use any calcium you ingest.
2.Carbonated beverages totally prohibit (HELLO DIET SODA DRINKERS!) your body from being able to build bone stores from calcium, no matter how much calcium you ingest!
3.You can't build bone no matter how much calcium you ingest unless you also engage in WEIGHT-BEARING EXERCISE! Weight training increases bone density, along with balance skills and agility.

"Weight lifting, including curls and bench presses, is a beneficial activity … Dancing, stair-climbing and brisk walking are all weight-bearing exercises, which promote (good) mechanical stress in the skeletal system, contributing to the placement of calcium in bones. "

See this excellent article for more complete information.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hello, How are you? Ahlan Ezayik, Shams from Kuwait

Shams, a singer from Kuwait, offers up a great performance criticizing the Bush Regime.

You don't really have to understand Arabic to know the basics of what she's saying.... although an English version would be great!

In the end she walks into the sunset wearing a bridal gown alongside a cartoon character affiliated with the Palestinian resistance to the occupation... ie Kuwait is in solidarity with the Palestinians, against the US.

I guess this means The Bush Regime has lost the support of Kuwait too. What screw-ups!


Toys.... ...The kids' "walk-in" closet...
I think I'll just run away to the Y and work out!

How much worse will this look if I get a job outside my home?