Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Funny how things turn out then. My better half is almost my diametric opposite. My attempts to get him to organise his diary, his accounts, his wardrobe, his life have gotten nowhere and that’s saying something considering I usually get my way. It’s just the way he is and I accepted that a long time ago with a resolve not to nag him about it.
This disorganised side to him also has its good points – he can be very spontaneous. If I want to go somewhere I want to pack food, stuff for the kids, make sure I am dressed exactly right and have all eventualities covered. He’ll just get us all in the car with the plan to see what unfolds. This being the case, I have been planning for a year for my trip to Pakistan in December. Better half has announced that he is booking tickets for us to go to Pakistan for his brothers wedding …NEXT WEEK!!!. No ticket’s, no leave booked from work, no time allowed off school for Little Lady. My first reaction is to absolutely PANIC. My next is okay, if you can arrange it, we’ll go. To compound things, we applied for the baby’s passport ages ago and it still hasn’t turned up, so if it comes we go, if it doesn’t we can’t (our calls to the passport office have been to no avail). It’s one of this situation’s that makes you resigned to fate and just wakes you up to the fact that everything isn’t always under your control, that you can’t organise, straighten and put everything in boxes.
This coupled with the first time I have ever lost control at work (I have never been faced with such volume of work before) and my house being half way through building work (we packed everything up, then decided we couldn’t afford both Pakistan and building work so stopped – plus the builders went AWOL in true builder fashion).I keep feeling like I am at the edge of a scream, the constant thinking about passports, travel, packing, weddings, home and work is making my brain overload to the point it trips out if I think too hard. The only thing keeping me sane at the moment is the thought that none of this is in our hands. That what Allah (SWT) wills, will happen and that Allah loves sabr (patience). So I am trying my best to let go and go with the flow of things, to see what Allah plans for me and where the journey will take me.
Monday, 23 June 2008
"O ye who believe let not your riches or your children divert you from the Remembrance of Allah if any act thus, the loss is their own." (63:9)
Abu Huraira (RA) narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) said Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stated: "As my servant thinks about Me so will I be for him. I am with him if he will remember Me. If he calls on Me by himself I will call him by Myself, and if he calls on Me in a group of people, I mention him in a better group in My presence. If he approaches Me one handspan, I will approach him one arm's length; if he approaches Me one arm's length, I will approach him by a cubit; if he comes to Me walking, I will come to him running." [Bukhari and Muslim]
Saturday, 21 June 2008
In between trying to stop Gorgeous eating the beads and flinging them across the room in a fit of temper, I made Little Lady the anklet and bracelet that she has been pestering me for. She promised to look after them and then promptly misplaced her bracelet.
Little Ladies bracelet inspired me to make the anklet I promised one of my work colleagues but couldn't get up the nerve to make, I couldn't get a clear picture (need to get a proper camera), but I used large white and thin saucer-shaped hot pink and purple swarovski-type crystals. I used silver tibetan spaces in between to give it some weight and make it a bit less childish looking. I hope she likes it.
Friday, 20 June 2008
I then rushed out to pray my zoher late as usual. I came back to my desk calmer than I’d been all day to start work on his enquiry. Maybe because I was in a different state of mind I could look at this gentleman’s predicament differently. He had apologised for crying, saying that when he was young things didn’t bother him, but now everything made him so unbearably anxious. He was young once, he had the same carefree attitude that young people are blessed with. Where had he ended up? Ill, disabled, poor and feeling helpless. So many of my whinges felt insignificant at that moment and I am glad they still do. I have been sulking because I have to wear glasses again after ten years, I felt like a plain teenager again. But this man didn’t care how I looked, he was grateful because someone had listened. I’ve been annoyed because my husband wants to go to Pakistan for his brothers wedding – everyone would be in their brightest, loudest best and I’ll be in a plain old abaya, because I can’t afford the fashionable ones.
In that moment after my meeting with this man, then with Allah (SWT) and after a little reflection, I realised that the way I looked and my hang-ups about it just did not matter. People will not love me for the way I look but they will love me if I shower my love and affection on them, if I serve and comfort them, if I am sincere and caring in my dealings with them. My better half won’t love me more if I wear more make-up and trendier clothes but he will if I hold his hand and say a kind word and look him in the eyes and smile my deepest smile, the one that comes from your heart and lights up your eyes (and the room) and dazzles people.
The elderly gentleman taught me a lesson today. It’s hard to be old, Allah (SWT) tests and forgives us with the trial of old age; he reminded me we will not always be so robust and invincible. But I also thought so many in his position are dignified and have so much peace – why? Because of the faith that lives in them, that gives them hope and holds out a beautiful promise to them if they are patient just a little longer. I felt good today about myself as I am and about my beautiful faith alhamdulillah. I pray that Allah (SWT) bestows his hidayah (guidance) on others in the old gentleman’s situation insh’Allah.
I am still going to try and make myself one mad funky abaya for that wedding though.
Happy Jumah all.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
The holes in the fence are still there from where Little Lady and the neighbours Little Missy have tried to dismantle it so that they can play through it (yesterday they were putting lipstick on each other through the gap). I’m not sure what I can do about that as this is the second fence they have broken. Better half wants to put up a wall, but I can see my borders getting murdered in the process. I STILL haven’t managed to get the junk out of my garden. I might have to do it myself. I’m going to have a go at cleaning the muck off the chairs, the windows and the old bin today and stick them on gumtree. Maybe if I make any money and clear the space I could get this bench I have been after.
I had to get the compost into the pots as soon as I got home because some of the plants were ones my mum and aunt had pulled out of their garden and sent over in carrier bags (they reckon they are weeds, but I reckon the flowers are too pretty.). Just managed to get this done and better half announces that as he is free this evening we can get some visiting out of the way.
So chased the kids round the house to get them ready and made plans to go see my second cousin visiting from Dubai for an hour and then family friends who are going to Pakistan for an hour, then home for hubby’s lovely mince and potato curry.
Best laid plans of mice and men and all that, we ended up staying at cousins for two hours during which Little Man and Gorgeous ran riot pestering her children and sneaking ice-cubes out of her fridge. Little Lady ran out in to the garden in the rain, as soon as she was herded in, someone opened the front door and the whole lot of them ran out that way. The family had a two-month old baby and as usual Gorgeous is following the baby around with the intention of playing "poke the baby in the eye". Eventually, all doors locked we were served pakora and chips and I was presented with a very pretty fuchsia and bronze coloured suit.
We made our excuses and sneaked off to the friend’s house planning to stay for half an hour, say bye and get straight home. Her son is Little Man’s best friend and they behave like a pair of fighting cocks, so I have a hoarse throat from talking/pulling them apart by the end of the night. They have a lovely little eight month old baby girl and again Gorgeous is up to his "poke the baby in the eye" trick so I have to divide my attention between the two sets of children and our host. Of course being Pakistani they had prepared a lovely meal (chicken and green bell pepper curry, sheikh kebabs, naan bread and ice-cream) so my attempt at eating less go out the window.
Half an hour turned into just under three hours and at about midnight we got the sleeping children out of the car and into bed, prayed, put hubby’s mince and potato curry into the fridge uneaten and slunk into bed.
Just recovering quietly at the moment at my desk with a hazy brain and an aching body.
I didn’t have anything to wear with it, so I found these beads at the last minute and strung them together at the bus stop in the morning to some bemused glances. I really like the coolness and weight of glass and this chunky bracelet has both aplenty.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
We live in an age where trends change eight times a year and clothing has become so cheap that it costs as much as food sometimes (think Tesco, Asda, Ethel Austin or Primark where you can get a coat for £15 or a top for £2). Many of us are in a situation where our cupboards are so full we can’t cram anything else in and we still feel like we can’t find anything to wear, every time we feel bad, we think we can buy something to make everything better.
Sometimes I think guilt is misplaced and counter-productive, but on occasion it can be an indicator that something we are doing is not right. I always felt guilty buying new clothes, especially knowing that I won’t be able to justify to Allah (SWT) why I have so much. With this in mind, I decided to start an experiment a few years ago. I decided I would not buy any more new clothes unless 100% necessary, i.e. a pair of work shoes or a winter coat. I am often made outfits by my mum who is a talented seamstress. I also often get clothes sent to me by my mother-in-law and in-laws friends and my family in Pakistan. This means that I don’t have to worry about clothes for Eid or something nice to wear on a Friday.
What I found from this experiment is that you can be in danger of losing your sense of style, I am not a fan of scarlet, yellow or orange but my cupboard has plenty of it inside. Mum comes to the rescue with sensible blues and greens and blacks in simple shapes, then I get something from a cousin in black with a chintzy sofa print alhamdulillah.
In return I send my children’s’ clothes to Pakistan once they outgrow them and buy new clothing for my nephews and nieces and husband’s friends children.
You may be thinking "Its okay for her – she seems to have lots of generous relatives", but think on this: If you didn’t buy lots of new clothes, would Allah suddenly decline to clothe you? I think of the poverty of many of the Sahabah and what little the beloved Prophet (PBUH) left behind and their fear of giving account and I realise how much we have and how little we realise the real cost of it.
Friday, 13 June 2008
Sorry, not we, that’s what I did today. I made dua for something at fajr and alhamdulillah I happened for me in the way I had asked, I thought "great this day is going my way" Then when I went to the optician and things didn’t go my way (I have to wear glasses for another month which I have had enough of), I had a little internal hissy-fit. I’ve been wearing contact lenses for ten years and got told in winter I have dry-eyes and need to wear specs for a couple of months. I expected to get my contact lenses back today, but was told to give it another month. I really had my hopes up, I really wanted to look nice for my other half today and surprise my colleagues at work by looking different. When the optician said to wait another month, I got seriously peeved. First I wanted to punch him; then I refused to speak to him properly. After I left I phoned hubby and whinged tearfully. I’m not sure either of us could figure out what had brought this on, but I wasn’t in the mood to be sensible. He called me again at work and I ended up complaining about looking horrible, wanting to spend more time with him, his dodgy Pakistani-style time-keeping and the amount of junk sitting in my garden and the spare room. Alhamdullilah he was his patient, sensible self and I hung-up feeling better (although my manager walked in on me in the ladies whilst I was yakking away tearfully – she must think I am a quack).
I’ve realised there’s a kind of pattern. I explode in temper/tears about once every three or four months or so. It usually lasts a day or two and once its over with and I’ve had a good vent with my better half, I seem to be happy enough until the next time. I wonder if it’s some kind of pressure release system built into my brain or something. Anyway if you look on the bright side, getting rage four times a year is not too bad going, especially seeing as the timing is so predictable.
Anyway, I feel better now, I’ve just had a lovely lunch of South Asian food (mmm masala dosa ) with some very nice colleagues and managed to blow my work computer up (it went POP! – and the IT bods had to take it away). There was also a dental hygiene fair in the main hall in the town hall I work in, so I got free toothbrushes and kiddies paste for all the kids, plus a little brushing time egg-timer and a chart to get them to brush every day.
It's Friday so I’m going to mum’s later and will sit with gran a while (I’ve bought her vanilla fudge). Jummah Mubarak everyone. Remember to make dua for yourselves on this special day.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) it is related that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) talked about Friday and said: "There is such an hour on Friday that if any Muslim makes dua (supplication) in it, his dua will definitely be accepted." And He (Peace be upon him) pointed out the shortness of that time with his hands. (Bukhari and Muslim).
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Anas (RA) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him and his house) said, "I start the prayers, intending to lengthen them. I then hear a child crying so I make them shorter, knowing how emotional a child’s mother gets." (Bukhari and Muslim)
Nope, nothing there about being a bad mother, just a sympathetic acknowledgement of the difficulty a crying child presents to a mother. I’ve continuously struggled with my prayers throughout the time I have been a mother, not just the dividing of attention, but exhaustion, lack of time and the children playing up have all been factors. When Little Lady was 18 months I put her in her cot to pray taraweeh prayer, she managed to get the metal knob off of my bed and throw it at me. She caught me square on my spine. I spent the next few months cringing as I prayed in case she found something else to practice her aim. Little Man used to try and get at my toiletries whilst I prayed, as soon as I said salaam he would disappear, this too went on for months. Now he sits by my side waiting for me to finish so he can get in my lap whilst I make dua – this is the serenest I ever feel. Gorgeous tries to stand on me when I sit in prayer, or climb in my lap and hug me or make sujood (prostration) in front of me. It’s very hard for children to accept that their mother could turn her full attention away from them.
The book centres on Beck a hotshot corporate lawyer who moves with his children from Chicago to a small town in Texas after the death of his wife. The book is superficially a detective novel and description of Beck’s return and settlement to the town he left as a teenager vowing never to return to. On a deeper level it is a political novel about the machinations of small town life.
I’ve read novels before that show the perfect small town, only then to start throwing up all of the nasty secrets, intrigues and deceptions that sit under the surface. (Stephen King often does this well). But this was different. Although the town seems like the perfect down-home, slice-of-apple-pie, 4th-of-July-parade town, right from the outset Jimenez describes the support Bush stickers, teenage girls dressed as if they’re at "a hookers convention", the contempt for outsiders and the lack of coloured faces.
What I felt this book was really about was the prejudices and dreams of Middle America, and the costs of these. This book most reminded me of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, but brought bang up-to-date with references to Katrina kids, ICE raids on illegal immigrants and modern teenage life.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Abd-Allaah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: "Allah wrote down the decrees of creation fifty thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth." (Muslim 2653)
"To he who is still, the whole world surrenders" ~ Loa Tzu
It takes guts and I always knew Kooky didn’t care what anyone thought about her, well now more than ever she will have to remember not to care what anyone but Allah (SWT) says.
So Kooks, say goodbye to your little ears and hello to lots of dumb questions (Aren’t you hot in that? Do you wear it at home? Do you wear it because you’re married? Is your husband making you wear it? Do you wear it in the shower?).
A gentle reminder also, to all those beloved sisters who are making the decision to cover their hair. Kudos to you for your guts, style and attitude; may Allah reward you for submitting to his command. But remember that you are visible as a Muslimah now, a walking, living, breathing da’ee. When someone says something nasty to you, please try not to hit/abuse/scare them. I know it feels good, but the next sister to come along will suffer the consequence. Please try to be kind and gentle in your dealings, please take every chance to hold open doors, smile at senior citizens (nice smile, not deranged shark smile) and give up your seat when you can. It’s not much, but the next sister that comes along will benefit from your actions insh’Allah (and it might be me!).
Monday, 9 June 2008
(West Ham Park - I remember that pond, cause I fell in it once)
(Oh – I saw that sad man from the flats not long ago, serenely shopping at our local supermarket – everything difficult comes to an end doesn’t it?)
In the end I took a deep breath and followed some steps:
First Things First
I got the kids to have a drink of milk, get changed and into bed. Once the most important things are done, everything else is superficial.
I prayed my Maghrib prayer, asked Allah for help and decided where I had to start.
I started with the most important area’s – the bathroom and kitchen (all my cooking utensils and dishes were sitting in the garden) and then some of the living room, I left the garden for another time.
Do What You Can.
I tried to be realistic; there is only so much you can do late on a Sunday night as you have to prepare for work the next morning. So I did what was most important and left the rest for the next few days.
I think these steps can be used for any area of life, perhaps the only thing I would add is to review. Thinking about if there is something I could do differently or better next time.
Saturday, 7 June 2008
So this morning, I slept late, had leftovers for breakfast and then had nothing to do. Oh how good that felt. Hubby also had no deliveries today and the sun was out out, so we visited the library, sat on a bench and had ice-cream in the shopping centre (the old-fashioned soft vanilla kind) and then came across the Al-Noor exhibition which was just the icing on the case.
It was also a nice opportunity to have a talk with Little Lady. She was complaining in the morning about Little Man annoying her and not letting her have a good day. I told her she could make a choice about whether she wanted to have a good day or a bad day, of course she chose good day. During the exhibition I asked her if she was having a good day - "YES!", I reminded her that she chose to have a good day and all of these good things had come to her. She looked a bit dubious at my cod-psychology, but it was worth a try.
Now I'm off to see my mum and gran and then my aunt has invited us to dinner, so I plan to go on as I have started insh'Allah.
These Quran were all in different languages including Braille mash'Allah.
A large part of the exhibition was given over to Islamic clothing and style and also to art work from the Islamic world.
Alhamdulillah it was a lovely. I saw the goody bags being given away and they included copies of the Quran in English. I asked one of the sister who had paid for the event and she told me that each stall-holder had paid for their bit. All I can say is may Allah (SWT) reward all of these brothers and sisters for all of their effort and may they see the fruits of it insh'Allah.