Now available on Amazon in '...Centric : A Collection of Flash Fiction Stories'
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016
Now available on Amazon in '...Centric : A Collection of Flash Fiction Stories'
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016
The White Elephant is a must read for anyone contemplating the idea of marriage or anyone going through a divorce. As the Love and Relationship Editor for Hayati Magazine, I try to counsel married and non-married folks on the institution of marriage. These tips usually stem from personal experience and/or the realities on the ground I have witnessed. So after reading The White Elephant, I can say that the author Aishah Adams did a great job at compiling things a Muslimah seeking marriage needs to be aware of when it comes to marriage and things she needs to look out for when she is dealing with divorce or marriage.
Adams has been through a challenging marriage before, so her advices are warranted. She is very experienced in the matter. Allah (subhanahu wa ta ala) usually tries us so that we can learn something from the tests. The author has and is now sharing her experience with others so that they don’t make mistakes too. She is also a Marriage and Personal development Coach at the Siddiqah Institute. In her own words, she ‘is passionate about helping more Muslim women have fulfilling marriages.’
To go back to the review, The White Elephant is divided into three parts. Part one is about ‘Before you step in’. This part includes three chapters that will help you make decisions as you consider marriage; the research you have to do, the compatibility issues you need to inquire on, and the compromise and not discounting or lowering your standards part you need to consider.
Part two is titled ‘And They Lived Happily Ever After’ and it’s far from the Disney or Hollywood Rom-Com happy ending we usually think of. This part deals with what happens when the wedding celebrations are over and reality sets in. This is the part when we realize that marriage is not a walk in the park or a picnic. It requires maintenance and sabr.
The last part is called ‘When the chips are down’. This is where divorcees and people facing abuse in their marriages can find solace and tips if they need guidance.
Adams also makes it clear that sex and intimacy are an integral part of a marriage. They shouldn’t be discounted or overlooked as they play a huge role in the happiness of a couple. Something, I allude to clockwise.
To continue, the epilogue of the book is composed of real life stories, interview style. Out of the four stories, one stood out to me the most. It was the one of Umm Bilal, mother of two kids. I really loved reading her answers. Read to find out what she said!
In conclusion here, The White Elephant launches on September 23rd and you can attend the FREE online book launch if you hurry. Click here. Contact the author through the Siddiqah Institute website to know where you can purchase your copy if you can’t get your copy on Amazon here.
Jazakh’Allahu khair for reading,
Papatia Feauxzar (Author of BLOOM)
Part I, Written by Saadia Haq of The Human Lens
When I first heard of this, I was like numb for seconds until my good friend from Sindhi community proceeded to narrate how young women in her family are married off to Holy Quran under the tradition “Haq E Bakshish.” Pakistani women aren’t new to cruelty whether it comes in guide of religion or tradition but this manner of creating Muslim nuns is totally unIslamic and inhuman. Do realize that what I was told is supposedly a taboo topic but one that has recently been creating controversy within the country.
This conversation came full circle years later, as I flew to Multan also called “The City of Saints” for investigating honor crime stories. Here I met Shaista Bukhari, a young widow that runs a regional women rights organization. While we were chatting on her work on honor crimes, Shaista spoke of her blood cousin that was married to the Quran and on spot I decided to record this case study.
Shaista’s young female cousin was barely 19-year-old victim of this tradition because the elders wanted to deprive her share in family property. Shaista said, “It’s like a normal wedding, with feasts and festivities, minus the groom. The woman is dressed up as a bride and guests are invited, for the day. The family announces that their daughter is very pious and marrying her to the Quran will bring more blessings to the family. Then the bride in front of everyone present is asked to dedicate herself to memorizing the Holy Quran and places her hand on Holy Quran while taking the oath that she’s married to it until her death.
This woman is obviously pressurized to undergo such a custom. She is forcefully made to stay in a sort of hijab where she is locked indoors, act pious and morally well and nothing that could be against Islamic teachings.” Further more I asked what happens in future to the women that were married in this way and Shaista minced no words in stating, “The victim can never dress in bright-colored clothes or leave the house, she stays indoors and cannot attend family events. At the most she is allowed to do the ‘Hajj’ (pilgrimage) with a brother or blood relative.
I have seen with my eyes, how such woman becomes psychologically ill, you see these type of weddings are done at an early age of sixteen to eighteen, as soon as the girl comes of marriageable age. Since they are so young they start believing in what the elders say that it is sinful to even to talk to anyone outside the family and other ridiculous ideas.”
Such notions that are conjured up in name of religion aren’t new, this reminds of the expression “Bride of Christ” or the phenomena of married to the Church. Violence against women is not confined to poor and illiterate families only as this bizarre trend’s noted among the rich and feudal Syed families who claim direct descent from the Prophet Muhammad. It was first devised to deny women their rights of inheritance and out of fear of property being passed on to outsiders through the daughters or sisters i.e. their spouses or children. Also, like many other ethnicities in Pakistan Syed families are often reluctant to allow women to marry into non-Syed families, in a kind of caste system that sees non Syed families as being lower in status.
It is important to note that two things play an important role in keeping this custom alive, acceptance of such attitudes and feudalism for perpetuating belief systems having no validity in Islam. In part two, my co-author Papatia Feuxzar will bring forward Quran and Islamic Hadith references that highlight how Islam is not sanctioning such type of marriages and nunnery in an Islamic society.
There is no consensus in the opinions of historians that differ over the roots of this phenomenon but we note that it’s quite a prevalent practice going on behind “closed doors” in secrecy and impunity. Independent sources state that annually, some 10,000 girls are married to the Quran in Pakistan but since the victims are kept in house-confinement beyond any social interaction they cannot report or voice the injustice. The Holy Women as they are called are married with Holy Quran and therefore cannot have a normal relationship with a man or marry.
Moreover, local men fear being cursed if they have a relationship with a woman who is married to the Quran. In 2011, the topic made sensation as a young couple held a press conference, asking for state protection because the young girl being forced to marry the Holy Book, had fled with a boy of her choice and gotten married in the court. They were receiving many death threats and the family was urging the boy to return the girl. There are no updates as what was the fate of this couple since then.
Former President Pervez Musharaf has time and again spoken strongly against this phenomenon within Pakistani society and argued for proper laws for penalizing the custom which deprives women of their basic human rights. But there are other parliamentarians that openly support this autocracy, some whose own sisters are victims of this crime and kept hidden from public eye. Previously I have written on my blog on the topic, if you missed it go here.
Pakistan has made progress in women friendly laws in recent decade and under the most latest legislation, the Haq Bakshish tradition is punishable by a seven-year prison sentence, but very few cases get reported due to fear posed by influential feudal power structures. But never-the-less, Pakistani law has already criminalized haq bakshish with a seven-year prison sentence and fine for its offenders. Addtionally, the advisory religious body Council of Islamic Ideology ( CII) has outlawed the heinous practice of marrying women to the Quran, declaring it unIslamic. It stated that Muslim men and women are obliged to order their lives, individually and collectively, in accordance with the injunctions of Islam.
From a human rights frame-work, here we are speaking of two violations – one is forced marriages and secondly inheritance deprivation that adversely affect women’s situation. Due to the inability to reach out to victims of this crime, very few stories actually get reported in the media. However some positive developments are observed; Pakistani film-maker Syed Noor’s Punjabi movie “Mehndi Waley Hath” (hands with henna) that showed how a family forced their daughter to marry the Quran to get away with her share of financial assets left in her father’s will. The film did extremely well at the local box and was also nominated for 16 awards, for highlighting this sensitive social issue.
Another instance, in 2001, when Pakistani novelist Qasira Shahraz wrote “The Holy Woman” where its heroine Shahzadi Ibadat becomes the sole heiress in advent of her brother’s death. Her fate is to sustain the family’s wealth and thus a Holy Woman is created to be married off to Quran by her father – the feudal lord. The author has brilliantly captured the importance of Pakistani traditions and the realistic view of how men always have an upper hand. Islamic fairness is intertwined in the female character’s life and the fact that Islam actually liberates women which otherwise fell prey to such outdated customs.
While researching the story I spoke with many people whom were not aware of the gravity of Quran marriage menace in our society. But despite the lack of knowledge, most communities including men and women fiercely oppose this practice.
In Pakistan, the matters of property, inheritance and asset management are usually under men’s control. And the widespread patriarchal customs do not allow a possibility for women to exerting their inheritance rights as a daughter or wife. A vast majority of Pakistani women do not have any say when it comes to their inheritance rights and here we have this horrible custom taking place where families under the guise of religion are marrying their girls to the Holy Quran. Greed and male domination are two major forces that make such families justify their crimes.
But such marriages have no value in the eyes of Allah and the religion of Islam. Both Quran and Islamic institution of marriage have given Muslim women the rights in inheritance and the rights to marry but greedy relatives and family members see that family’s wealth stays in the hands of men. In Pakistan, we renew our pledge to continue raising our voice on violence against women and abolishing of archaic customs such as Haq e Bakshish that deprive women of their rights and destroy it. #Not in the name of any religion, please.
Part two on Islamic perspective on this by Papatia Feuxzar, coming soon!
Part II Written by Papatia Feauxzar of Hayati Magazine
You learn something new every day. The practice of “Haq E Bakshish” was new to me, and I had to check with my relatives, the elders, to see if they had heard of it before. And they hadn’t. There is no other way to say it; the practice of marrying women to the Quran Karim or other objects is UNISLAMIC! The scriptures are clear about what’s expected of us in this life; five before five.
“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death”— Prophet Muhammad sallallahu aleihi wassalam. (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)
How can a woman married to an object, a tree, a small boy, an old man, or the Quran Karim for that matter by greedy and patriarch men take advantage of these given? She can’t! That’s cruelty. I’m not saying that memorizing the holy Book is a torture but agreeing to dedicate one’s life or your child’s life to only one aspect of the deen is just bunkers! It’s not healthy and it’s definitely not a balanced way of life. A thing Islam preaches about. Excesses are not Islamic. The right balance in all things is what’s demanded of the mu’min.
What do these folklore followers seek to accomplish? They want the assets of the family to stay within the greedy hands of the family heads so that the victims don’t seek their dutiful and rightful shares out of the overall inheritance. The cases from Saadia’s part show us that this inhumane practice is going on and therefore collectively we are raising our voice against this heinous practice.
Oh yea, let’s see what the scripture say about the politics of inheritance. The default source is:
“Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two-thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one-third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children – you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah . Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” (Surah 4 Verse 11)
Let me remind those who don’t know that this not the ultimate rule when dividing inheritances. This verse came down for a very specific instance and all cases aren’t the same. They have been many historical cases where a female earned the same if not more than her male counterpart; thirty documented cases to be exact. (Women in the Qur’an, Pg. 149 & Salah ad-Din Sultan) They could have been many more we don’t know about.
So why do many people not mention those instances when dealing inheritance? Go figure but I have a few possibilities in mind. They might know that the woman they are marrying off to non-human things is a worth a lot of money or assets. By that I mean, she is entitled to more than half a share of a male. Therefore, to avoid disbursing these assets to her, the rightful owner, they nip it at the bud and deny her happiness because she could marry an outsider who could consequentially oversee her fortune and cut them off.
AmI speculating? Maybe. But think about it. Why deny a woman her rightful inheritance besides wanting to control the source of the fortune and trying to keep blood lines pure? Please ponder on it.
Now, let’s talk about blood lines I mentioned just above. I tell you, there is nothing more absurd than that. If we call ourselves Muslims, we believe that we are all descendants of Adam and Awa (aleihi salam). We also believe that an Arab is not superior than a non-Arab and vice-versa. Finally, we believe that a black is not superior than a white and vice versa.
With that being said, why try to UNISLAMICALLY keep marital bonds between families of the same lineage to preserve a specific bloodline when we are all brothers and sisters when you think about it. It makes no sense to me.
I’m waiting for the day where someone will say, “I’m a descendant of Adam and Eve (aleihi salam) and you are too. We’re special MARTIANAllah, istikhara looks good, SUPERhanallah! Let’s have nikah!”
It will be equally funny to me if someone came out and said, “I’m a descendant of the first humans; Adam and Eve (aleihi salam). You’re Martian? MartianAllah, but I only marry terrestrial. Sorry.”
On a more serious note, I urge you to report these illegal and clandestine marriages because you will be asked about that on judgement day. Do not be an accomplice by letting your relative be married this way. It’s against Islam. Please speak up! Why? It’s cultural baggage. It’s not the real Islam.
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. It’s a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. As always we would love to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2016
1- "When the flamboyant blooms, the White withers."
2- "The sheep hang out together but they do not have the same price."
3- "When myopic become visionaries, mute are heard."
4- "Pineapples are small, large, and sweet. In other words, all girls are mature."
5- "If you do not know the town, you will marry the witch."
6- "The little black ant can get into a man's home, but that man can not go to her home!"
7- "When the rain pours on chili peppers, it does not diminish its virility."
8- "What God has written, a witch doctor can not erase."
9- "No trees bore fruits without having first flowers."
10- "People do not like people but they love people's money."
11- "The lazy man is jealous of the one who works and succeeds."
1- "Quand le flamboyant fleurit, le Blanc dépérit."
2- "Les moutons se promenent ensemble mais n'ont pas le meme prix."
3- "Quand les myopes deviennent visionnaires, les muets se font entendre."
4- "Les Ananas, sont petits, sont gros, sont sucrés, autrement dit il n'y a pas de petite fille."
5- "Si tu ne connais pas le village, tu y épouses la sorcière."
6- "La petite fourmi noire peut entrer chez l’homme, mais cet homme ne peut entrer chez elle!"
7- "Si la pluie frappe le piment,sa virulence n'en diminue pas."
8- "Ce que Dieu a ecrit, marabout peut pas effacer."
9- "Aucun arbre n'a donné des fruits sans avoir eu d'abord des fleurs."
10- "Les gens n'aiment pas les gens mais ils aiment l'argent des gens."
11- "Le paresseux jalouse l'homme qui travaille et réussit."
Sources: http://www.unproverbe.com/ and http://www.proverbes-francais.fr/proverbes-ivoiriens/ .
By popular demand on my Instagram page, I drafted the recipe for this savory spinach pie also known as Börek.
- 1 pack of phylo dough
- 12 oz of chopped spinach
- 1/4 of 12 oz bell pepper
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
Other things you need:
- 1 baking pan of 9 inch
- a pizza pan or a flat surface
- a brush
Mix all the ingredients and stir fry them with a little water until they become translucent. Let the mixture cool down.
Now prepare your workstation.
Spread the sheets and brush them with oil. Some will be broken but it's ok. You can work with them by applying oil on them to make them stick together. Noone will know in the finish product that some of the pastry sheets were mismatched *wink* .
Roll and brush with more olive oil if needed. At first, put your roll on the side of the pan. As your rolls increase, you can center them and they won't unfold. Do the same for the rest of the sheets.
When done, brush the top of sheets with some olive oil and bake it at 300 degrees for 45 mins to an hour. Every oven is different so keep that in mind.
Voilà! Bon appetit! :)
In French, they say ‘L’habit ne fait pas le moine’. It means, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’. If you translate it literally, you get ‘Your clothing doesn’t make you a monk’. I like this version better because it’s befitting to this post.
Team Muhammad (Dalilah and Ibtihaj) won medals for the Unites States of America at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. You will think that these two athletes will be celebrated the same way because they are triple minorities; Black, Muslim, and Women who performed outstandingly for their country despite some of their fellow compatriots that treat them like second class citizens.
However, the trend we see is many Muslim communities favoring one athlete over the other because of hijab. Why is that? Many patriarchs love to impose their views of hijab on women. Women have to be ideal Muslimahs, totally perfect, when they aren’t even ideal, tolerant, perfect, and understanding toward the female gender. I wear hijab thoroughly and it doesn’t stop men from hitting on me. It comes down to taqwa and self-control.
I followed the Olympics and I’m not going to lie. At one point, I wondered if any running athlete (Muslim or not) had to wear panties and the likes to run. I just felt naked for them. It had nothing to do with religion I assure you. My husband who is more a ‘by the book’ person interjected, “It’s all about aerodynamics. The less clothes you wear, the faster and better you can perform.”
To be honest, I was surprised by his answer and he had made a very good point. I’m well-versed in Physics and I know the force any weight can have on movements. It’s very material and it makes a difference. Having said that, I commend the Muslim women who competed covered and did their best.
To continue, aerodynamics is thus a main reason why many athletes almost perform naked. It has nothing to do with their beliefs. They probably don’t enjoy being watched for less than a minute by anybody in the whole wide world. And I noticed that most of them wore long sleeves and sweat pants before running. At least, I saw Dalilah in her sweatpants and matching long sleeve sweatshirt just before the final for the 400 meter hurdles.
Nowadays, depending on where a Muslim woman lives in the world, she can be a target. I actually want to say that she is a target at all times by men who take upon themselves to judge her, to be God, to intimidate her, and teach her ‘a lesson’.
That lesson can be sexual harassment in public, rape, honor killing if she’s uncovered and doesn’t live in the West. If she lives in the West, she’s targeted and called offensive names. She’s even banned to wear her religious clothes in these so-called free and democratic countries. Women just can't win on either side of the world.
A friend of my friend was pushed into wearing hijab because she sat in a taxi where the driver upon looking at her shorts started to jerk off right in front of her! Come on! Have some self-control and lower your damn gazes. It’s very simple. Our freedom stops where others’ freedom start. Why do women have to be arbitrarily called fitna when there is already chaos outside created by the enemies of Islam? Men also have hijab and they can be fitna for women as well. It's a two-way street.
What do we need to do?
- Stand together whether a member of the ummah chooses not to wear the hijab. Why? It makes us stronger from the inside out and nobody can harm us. It’s not our right to assess anyone’s faith. It’s not our job either. Let’s work on ourselves instead. We all have our demons and secrets we need to work on.
If we don’t stand up for each other, what happens?
- Our differences are used as ammunitions against us. Plain and simple.
No one has the right to question Dalilah’s choice of clothing. That’s between her and her Lord. She could be his dear Habib and we wouldn’t even know it. Oh, I know she is his friend because she won Gold! Congratulations to her and her parents for raising a fine young woman who is breaking stereotypes and records. May you continue to prosper!
In conclusion here, not covering or wearing hijab doesn’t make Dalilah Muhammad less Muslim. For all I know, she identifies herself with being Muslim. So, she’s Muslim like Ibtihaj. She’s Muslim like me, and she’s Muslim like you if you are. And she’s Muslim like any other patriarch Muslim out there.
I was in need of a capsule wardrobe because since the baby came to our lives, most of my drawers and closet space have been filled with his clothes instead. And when I looked at my clothes, I wondered if a Muslimah could make it work. I mean who doesn’t love a collection of hijabs? Or abayas? The hubby has always been a minimalist and for as long as I remember masha’Allah. So, he has no issues like me.
I, on the other hand had to find a solution to my accumulated junk. I had given away a lot of clothes but still, many were folded in bins because they somehow held a sentimental value to me. I used to have a ton of shoes. I got rid of the majority of them and kept about two flat shoes, one pair of sneakers, two trainers (red and black), three boots for winter, and two pair of heels (a wedge style and a low heel pump for formal meetings). If I feel the need to buy a new shoe, I give one away.
I really wanted to reduce my wardrobe that I barely wear to small a amount I can fit in one large suitcase. Though I’m was not sure if would go with 20 (Into-Mind), 33 or 37 items (Un-Fancy) for each season, I certainly tried. When I was undergrad, my closet was too full too and my cousin advised me to store the clothes I don’t wear so that I had more space in my closet. Her advice helped. So, when it was Summer, the clothes for the other tree seasons were ‘binned’ away. The only problem with that was that I always forgot the clothes packed away until there was a drastic change in the weather. I mean we’re in Texas after all.
Her method is not really different from the capsule wardrobe. The advantage with it is that you won’t have to shop for more clothes because you already have a department store in-house! *Laughs*
To go back to capsule wardrobe, below is the list of 33 items by Project333 that I based myself on to come up with my recent wardrobe :
Project 333 Papatia’s Capsule
1 Sunglasses 1 Sunglasses
1 Purse 1 Purse
1 Laptop/Camera Bag 1 Laptop and its bag
2 Dresses 4 Dresses + 1 Black Abaya
2 Skirts 6 Skirts
1 Jeans 1 Skirt in Jean
2 Shorts/Capri 2 Shorts/Capri
1 Dress pants 1 Dress pants
2 Light Sweaters 1 Light Sweater (1 Islamic cardigan)
2 Blazers 2 Blazers
2 Tanks 5 Blouses
1 Button Down Shirt 4 Button Down Shirts
5 Shirts 4 Long sleeves T-Shirts
1 Sweatshirt 1 Sweatshirt
4 Shoes 2 Shoes (1 trainer, 1 flat for the season)
1 Trench Coat 1 Trench Coat
2 Bracelets 1 Pearl bracelet and 1 Black watch
1 Necklace 1 Necklace and The Wedding Ring
1 Scarf 7 Hijabs
33 Total Items 45 Total Items
45 Items! Whoot Whoot! I tried right?! * Wink* Anyways, I am not the only Muslimah whose done the experiment to some extent. Check out this Muslimah’s capsulewardrobe http://goo.gl/Ruk0ng . Tips http://goo.gl/iXI9FT from Melanie at Haute Hijab are also things to consider. Finally, Aquila Style has some great ways http://goo.gl/7Y5rcv and Joshua Becker with this article http://goo.gl/npR8ry can to help too. Check them out if you’re considering the capsule wardrobe too.
Now, don’t use the capsule wardrobe movement to start buying more unnecessary things. The purpose of this is to become minimalist and still look good. A thing Islam has always encouraged. I’m sure a Muslimah can make the capsule movement work and I have alhamdullilah. It just depends on how much we care about what other think about us mix-matching/wearing the same clothes on the regular basis. Islam also doesn’t see a problem with us owning beautiful things, it just warns us to keep our feet on the ground and to remember our purpose here; passing this life’s test for a blissful akhirat.
“You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.”~Gandhi
While some people might frown on my use of non-Muslim material, the sunnah dictates that we can take the truth from anybody even Shaytan. We just need to be careful. To continue with Ghandi, he was believed to have less than ten personal things according to this article http://goo.gl/L5fQii .
Now I need to set a reminder in my phone so that at the end of the summer I can go through the binned clothes to select fall and winter clothes. This is definitely a good way to wear clothes you haven’t worn in a while or even clothes you forgot you had! If I live to see the next seasons, I have my eyes set on a few items I have not worn in a while because I work from home now and every day is like pajamas day until it’s the weekend when we actually go out as a family…
I would love to read your thoughts on the capsule wardrobe. Please, comment away.
Original Posted at Hayati Magazine.
Part I, Written By Saadia Haq Of The Human Lens
Women were the first pioneers of Islam – without whom the history of this Muslim Ummah wouldn’t be what it is today. For if they weren’t there; the Muslim men would not have been able to achieve the feats they did and Muslim societies would have no examples, no role models to follow. What I am going to tell you about the role of women in Islam in the next ten minutes or so is going to change your opinion of the most misinterpreted religion Islam or at least I aspire to.
When Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) started receiving his first revelation from Angel Gabriel or as we say; Jibril, among his first believers were various women. In-fact the first person to accept Islam through Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was a woman – his first wife Khadijah ale salam also known as “Mother of the Believers.” She accepted the faith and supported the Messenger of Allah SWT in the earliest period of trials and persecution he faced.
Being the wife of Muhammad was one of the many aspects of Khadijah ale salam – for she was a well established and powerful businesswoman. In her we find the ultimate and perfect example of a strong Muslim woman with an equally powerful career. She wasn’t afraid to pursue her interests in business, capitalize upon excellent opportunities, and invest her wealth in the worthy cause she and her husband believed in. Following her, amongst the other first believers in Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa salam) and his message were women of his own household; his daughters Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah. All these women are worthy of particular mention in their own right for their participation in laying the stones for a newly born Islamic society.
I am proud to be part of an Islamic Ummah full of powerful women and through them I can set right those who argue Islam is anti-women and doesn’t believe in equality like the western world does. In part ii, coming soon, my co-author will digress particularly on various aspects and roles of women within the Islamic societies with specific references from the Quran and Sunnah. For now, today I will take you on a virtual journey with me to meet several young Muslim personalities in other words, woman of power.
Islam’s First Female Muslim Teacher – the illustrious Al Shifa whose real name Shifa bint Abdullah bin Abd Shams bin Khalaf bin Shadad al-Qurashiyah al-Adawiyah was literate and skilled in medicine during the Jihalah times. Al Shifa holds a strong presence in early Muslim history, she embraced Islam before the Hijrah, by boldly taking the pledge or Bayah to the Messenger, declaring loyalty to him before witnesses at a time, when it was most dangerous thing to do. She migrated from Makkah to Medina where she sought Prophet’s blessing to make use of her skills for the betterment of the new Muslim society. She approached the Prophet and said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, I used to do preventative medicine for antbites during Jahiliyyah, and I want to demonstrate it for you.”
He said, “Demonstrate it.” Al-Shifa reports, “So I demonstrated it for him, and he said “Why don’t you teach this one [indicating Hafsah] the preventative medicine against ant bites, just as you taught her how to write? And the mother of the believers Hafsah Bint Umar ale salam learned with her new teacher Al Shifa. At the personal request of the Prophet, Al Shifa continued to practice her medicinal work, healing Muslims community of sicknesses and teaching preventive medication. Along with this she continued teaching Muslim women how to read and write thus earning the position of first female teacher in Islam.
The Prophet’s wisdom is encouraging a capable woman such as Al Shifa brought fruits beyond imagination. Along with her medicine and teaching, Al Shifa attended mosque to become a great scholar in her own right. She impressed Caliph Umar who appointed her as a market controller in Medina, point to be noted is in 7th century Islamic society started off with women’s active role in public spheres women. Following her success, Caliph Umar replicated the same in Mecca where he appointed another woman; Samra bint Nuhayk. In contrast to the perceived ideas of Islamic world, such moves show that there were women shopkeepers and women shoppers in early Islamic society. For if the market place been largely a man’s place, these women would face challenges in their duties as controller yet neither Al-Shifa nor Samra’ encountered such difficulties. Later on Al Shifa was appointed as the head of health and safety in Basra and she continued to serve the Islamic society till her last days.
The next treasure of Islam is a special female hero of Islam whom I completely adore and look up to. Nusaybah bint Ka’ab. A true warrior, personal bodyguard and women right advocate who is one of the few female companions of Prophet that physically fought in battle in the defense of Messenger of Allah (SWT). After taking the pledge to become Muslim, this mighty woman took place in numerous major events including The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Battle of Uhud, Battle of Hunayn, Battle of Khaybar, and Battle of Yamamah.
The Quran records, when the Battle of Uhud turned into defeat due to Muslims disobeying the command of Muhammad, Nusaybah went forward with her sword unsheathed and her bow in her hand, to join the small group who were standing firm with the Prophet, acting as a human shield to protect him from the arrows of the non-believers. In her praise, the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad said, “Wherever I turned, left or right, on the Day of Uhud — I saw her fighting for me.” Near the end she was inflicted with 13 wounds but didn’t run away from the battle ground rightfully so earning herself the title of “The Shield of Muhammad at Uhud.”
Her courage on the battle ground doesn’t yet define Nusaybah bint Ka’ab for she was a loving wife and strong mother. She fought actively as an advocate for Muslim women, once she asked the Messenger of Allah SWT as why the Quran only mentioned men and not women? Soon thereafter, Ayat 35 of Surah Al’Ahzab was revealed.
Her actions further teach Muslim women to learn self-defense skills as opposed to waiting for any rescue from some knight in shining armor. They also show the inherent core of Islam that doesn’t discriminate between the sexes. Her valuable services to Islam received praise and were rewarded by Allah SWT and his Messenger alike.
In times, when women were considered inferior, Nusaybah R.A’s active participation in community treaties and battles show that Islam encourages both women and men to play their roles for a just Islamic society. Yet, today’s Muslim communities and countries are plagued with many discriminatory traditions against women; don’t you feel its time for us sisters to take some lessons from our own true hero the possessor of ambition, courage, loyalty and empowerment. Say yes to Muslimah power and just bring out your Nusaybah bint Ka’ab, now.
Women of Islam. What can I tell you about these strong pillars who were and are the cornerstone of faith and divine grace. For a start, they are indeed a multitude and start at the very beginning with Eve (Awa aleihi salam) our first mother who if you read the transliteration of the Quran wasn’t accused of leading Adam (aleihi salam) to doom. It was their unanimous decision to listen to the whispers. But this is where the blaming game was inferred. Women aren’t evil temptresses. Both men and women have the ability to seduce and tempt! To prove this, the holy verses say :
“But Satan caused them BOTH to stumble therein, and thus brought about the loss of their erstwhile state. And so We said: “Down with you, [and be henceforth] enemies unto one another; and on earth you shall have your abode and your livelihood for a while.” (Quran 2 :36)
They repented and Allah made them vicegerents of earth. They ruled it peacefully until their time was up. Now speaking of peace, Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) comes to mind. She is considered a valiant governor and a democratic Queen. We know her story from surah 27 of the Quran. King Solomon sent messengers her way to announce the message of Islam (Submitting to One God). As the diplomatic ruler that she was, she consulted her advisers first.
“She said, “O eminent ones, advise me in my affair. I would not decide a matter until you witness [for] me.” ” (Quran 27: 32)
“They said, “We are men of strength and of great military might, but the command is yours, so see what you will command.” ” (Quran 27: 33)
The advisers implied that they were ready to fight off the Prophet of Allah because they had the means of their politics but she was wise not to go that route.
Since the final decision rested upon her, Bilqis decided to test King Solomon with a gift from Dunya. She wanted to know if he was after this materialistic world or if his cause was truly above that. Long story short, Bilqis (Barakissa in certain languages) and Solomon saw eye to eye and got married. In fact, Solomon was quite infatuated with her!
The hadith “Never will succeed such a nation as lets their affairs carried out by a woman.” was uttered in a very specific and isolated case about a treacherous nation (Neo-Persian Empire) whose tyrant ruler died and his daughter took over doing the same thing he was doing. The success of Balqis, the former idol worshiper, who converted to Islam after the presence of Allah was made evident to her goes against the fact that this hadith was meant as a general rule of thumb like many religious clerics and some Muslim men make it sound like. Who do you think counselled great kings and men behind closed doors when no one was/is at ear shots? Women of great morals of course! In my opinion, if a nation doesn’t do well because its ruler is a woman it’s probably because the men surrounding her don’t have her back, give her the evil eye, or perhaps undermine her authority because they can’t seem to get acquainted with the idea that a woman is above them. Plain and simple. Idiosyncrasy when a woman gives birth to you…
To continue with another Muslim woman, how about Mary (Maryam aleihi salam) mother of Jesus (Issa alehi salam) ? She was a spiritual woman whose mother (Hanna) prayed that she only become a servant of Allah in a time where only boys were allowed to become monks. Her name actually means just that too. She was so close to Allah that her name is mentioned in the Quran masha’Allah and the law changed because of her and she entered in the service of Allah when she reached the age. Even back then, gender disparities were present. The other great women of Islam aren’t mentioned in the Quran by name but their stories are still known by His might.
Hanna, mother of Maryam aleihi salam was also very religious. She made immeasurable prayers to have a pious boy devoted to the service of Allah. But Allah had a plan and gave her a girl instead to make groundbreaking changes in regard to gender discrimination! So always pray for your children and the sake of the ummah as it is Allah only that guides people and fix all our affairs!
“[Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Quran 2: 35)”
“But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ].” (Quran 2: 36)”. See, women are just as capable of doing what men do and the real Islam doesn’t preach discrimination between the sexes.
Feeling like many of the early verses revealed always addressed men or were perhaps vague for her, Umm Salama (aka Hind bint Abi Umayya) spoke up about her concern to her husband Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. Then the same day by Zhur prayer, Surah 33 verse 35 was revealed. How special would you feel when a verse is addressed to you just because you spoke up? I bet fabulous will be the word! So speak up about what bothers you and bring about a change! Surah 3 Verse 195 was also revealed under the same circumstances of brave women demanding inclusion and recognition for their tireless efforts in spreading the message of Islam under the harsh times the Ummah faced at the time.
And in the time of Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam, there were such ‘things’ called mubayiat (the involvement of women in politics) and shura (consultation between the head and the constituents of the community). Women participated in many events in the communities notably the bayat annisa. Umm Umarah aka Nusayba bin’t Ka’b mentioned in part I was actually in one of the stages of the bayat al-Aqaba. She was what you call a true warrior never falling short of her duty and allegiance to protect the Prophet Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. She lived the life of a bodyguard for him.
With all that being said and as you might suspect, anything related to women evolving has to be stopped, reduced, hidden, and diminished by closed-minded people. Many women entered Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam because non-believing Arabs at the time didn’t treat women well. Here is a religion that put women on a pedestal, what do you think I would do in those times? I would join to and surah 60 verse 12 was revealed to protect these enlighted and chosen women to siratal mustaqeem. However, this women’s revolution was cut short when our beloved Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam died and many of his successors went retrograde. Women were pushed back to the sidelines and dismissed from social and political involvement. A women revolution is on its way and nothing will stop it because it was written long ago.
In conclusion here, without women society will collapse. Without men, it’ll collapse too. So give us credit where it is due and see us not as handicapped and invaluable.
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. This is a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. We will be pleased to hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2016
Outside of New York Laguardia Airport was sunny. It felt hot and noisy with the cars claxoning à tue-tête or the police personnel monitoring the airport traffic while their cars’ sirens were on full blast. The summer heat was almost unbearable but she had made sure to wear breathable material on this trip. The heat was somewhat worse than Texas because of all the tall buildings. The air simply didn’t circulate in her opinion. The heat had whipped her face as soon as she had stepped foot outside the sliding glass doors with such a vigor that Femta sighed and rolled her eyes. She kept a blasphemous comment she wanted to utter to herself and quickly marched to get to her stop. Some passengers brushed passed Femta and their body odors seeped into her nostrils. She crinkled up her nose and pushed the baby stroller faster to get to the passenger pick up station and forget the unpleasant smells. Scowling at the cacophony on display, she prayed the baby slept through it all. Her Tonton, uncle, was supposed to be waiting for her but she knew he wasn’t going to be there on time because she could count on African Time to be her demise. Femta would be lucky if Tonton Kaboré was only an hour late. The first time he had picked up her from the same airport was when she had arrived from Burkina Faso 13 years ago with a student visa and he was three hours fashionably late. Femta Compaoré stood at the gate pickup for American Airlines reminiscing as her eyes volleyed between the baby peacefully sleeping in the stroller, cars and buses going and up and down the lanes, and the airport valley parking boy or security man who reminded her of an old Kenyan crush. Whatever his job description was, she didn’t know. What was apparent was an uniform, a stand, and a walkie talkie that he sported. What a journey, she silently thought when he reminded her of the Kenyan. Thirteen years after her friends back home had started calling her L’Américaine, here she was a totally different person. And with a baby; a single parent I might add. Femta’s conscience piped in. She winced and tried to gather and re-direct her train of thoughts when she heard a voice a little too close to her and her personal space.
“Can I help you sister catch a ride?” The valley parking boy or security man had sneaked up on her and asked as she was lost in her thoughts. He had startled her but she acted like he hadn’t. Femta peered at her wrist watch just partly visible under her long sleeve shirt as an embarrassed smile tugged at her full lips. It was almost 2 p.m. and combining her sunnah prayers was imminent. Recollecting her thoughts quickly, she replied, “No thank you. My uncle will be here soon.” She whispered the ‘God willing part’ and turned her head around to discourage him to continue talking to her. She thought about going back inside the airport to find a quiet corner to pray but she could miss her uncle arrival. So she unpocketed her smartphone from her maxi skirt and was about to dial his number when the young man interrupted her again. “Where are you from sister?”
Dude, I don’t want to talk to you. I thought my body language was clear enough, she mentally said to herself snappily, rolling her hazel eyes. Before formulating an answer, she studied him carefully for a little while. Femta squinted while twisting the corner her mouth. His curly locks didn’t escape her. His doe eyes too. Somalian for sure. Hum, maybe Ethiopian. Oh dear God, I’m checking him out. She vibrantly shook her head horrified and said nicely, “Take a wild guess.” The words that suddenly flew out of her mouth surprised her, so she put her shades on. ‘Uncover something shady’ Curly Locks, she thought with a grin as she pressed call on her phone. Then she pressed the device on her scarf-covered right ear.
The phone ringed and ringed. Just when she was about to leave a message to Tonton Kaboré, Curly Locks said, “Nigeria”.
Femta scowled at him, instructed him to be quiet with the movement of one index finger, and left a voicemail in French to her Tonton. “Assalamu aleikum Tonton. C’est Femta. Je suis arriver à New York. Je t’attends au gate mais je dois prier. Je serais rapide. Fais mois signe quand t’arrives. Masalam.” She hung up after these words but she knew it was a stretch if her uncle was going to be there when she returned from praying. Wishful thinking, she mused. Why she had to come all the way to New York to renew a freaking passport for her son because of his paternal heritage in The Ivory Coast or drive to Washington for hew own passport irritated her to no limits. Why couldn’t it be easy like going to the post office? Bitter realities of being an immigrant indeed, she mentally added.
Curly Locks’ voice pulled her out of her momentary reverie.
“So it’s not Nigeria but you’re definitely from French West Africa. You have the West Africa facial traits,” he added, smiling knowingly. She despised his debonair manners right away and replied, “Good for you for figuring out a piece of the puzzle. Good bye.”
“I’m Uthman. Can I please have your name beautiful sister?” he continued, flirting with Femta. “I know you just met me but I want your number.” The pop culture reference wasn’t lost on her. She grinned and calmed herself down. What was the big deal? No harm could be done, she thought. He wasn’t going to see her again anyways. She wouldn’t allow it. No more Africans. No more men of any race. Period. The last relationship had scorched her for life and left her with a baby! Her secular aunt, Tantie Geneviève had jokingly said once, ‘All men have the same dad and the same mom.’ Femta inferred her secular aunt was right even though she actually didn’t believe in the story of Adam and Eve. Tantie Geneviève just believed all men regardless of race behaved the same way and Femta couldn’t agree more.
“Ousmane,” she said French like and continued, “I’m Femta. It sounds like the soda Fanta. I can’t give you my number. Now, how do you know I’m not married? Anyways, take care.” And she swiftly turned her heels around and went back inside the airport, behind the sliding doors, pushing the stroller faster before Curly Locks could barge in and impose himself on her again with more unwanted questions. A part of her sank and she didn’t know why but she carried on with her backpack secured on her back and her handbag nestled on her left shoulder.
“Femtastic,” she thought she heard him yell as she quickly got away. Her father loved unique names and sometimes her name attracted great feminism debates while other times it just created confusion. And today, she simply couldn’t place where the needle of the scale pointed with her muddled internal feelings and this over friendly Curly Locks guy. When she came back from praying Zhur and Asr, she stopped dead in her tracks just outside the sliding doors at the sight of her uncle and ‘The Ottoman’ chuckling like old buddies.
Ugh! Now What?! She let out under her breath and made a beeline towards them with her luggage and baby in tow. Mission: ‘Arrested Development’ of this clear and budding friendship.
To be continued …
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016
~Picture: African Violets~
6 Broken Hearts is a multi-generational romance drama. It's befitting to say that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree or history usually repeats itself and from experience parents tend to have a short memory. As I read this intriguing novel, I kept asking myself what's the catch for this seemingly perfect plot? And I got my answers and I shed some tears mainly because I saw myself a little in the struggles of Juwayriya aka Jules Rouby, her family, and the tough decisions she had to make for the summary goes as this:
"Jules Rouby, as she is affectionately known; has her whole world turned upside down when secrets from her past threaten to affect her future. As she grows into a woman and finds love, her past forces her to choose between a husband and a father. This epic tale is riddled with immense heartache, love, death and the unconditional love of maternal bonds."
Furthermore, I believe anybody that has a person like Nawwaal in their lives is blessed. I know people like her and they come rare like one in a million. 6 Broken Hearts is also a testament that what we do to our parents if often done to us by our children and unless one party decides to forgive, forget, and leave it to Allah, the painful cycle continues. Some plots twists took me down rough, bitter, and happy tidbits of memory lane. I liked the story even though it made me sad a bit.
My rating: 4/5
Thank you for reading,
The Size of a Mustard Seed is a great Ramadhan read I had the opportunity to finish on a road trip just before the 2016 fard fasting period. When your daily goals about reading or listening to the Quran are met, I urge you to read some urban fiction crafted by Umm Juwayriyah aka Maryam A. Sullivan because it highlights and captures well the beauty of Ramadhan accompanied of course with the struggle of our nafs.
For me it was a bit of a Ramadhan love story and I now understand better why Tohib Adejumo's Love in Ramadan was partly inspired after her novel. In the domino effect of things, I was also inspired by Tohib and you will find out with time insha'Allah. I mean love in Ramadan can be with the Creator, it can be with yourself, it can be with a person, it can be with the deen, etc. Bottom line, it has a diverse meaning.
Going back to The Size if a Mustard Seed, it centers on Jameelah Salih, a 27 year old Indonesian-African American (post 9-11) who is a hair stylist and a college student. As the eldest of her family, she is a single Muslimah who acknowledged she has a lot of work to do on her person. In a nutshell, she is easily irritable and has an attitude problem she wants to keep under control. And one Ramadhan the opportunity to be a better Muslimah presents itself, and she grabs it.
In the midst of her self-betterment, a marriage proposal from a reknown imam comes in and Jameela while she's excited at the idea of getting married, she finds herself being reserved about this suitor and takes a while before making a decision. Like clock work, when she makes up her mind, secrets come out of the closet. All she can do is put her trust in the One who will never forsake her to help her make sense of her situation.
Along the way, a platonic and halal love triangle surfaces and you will have to read to get more details on this part. The book is definitely suitable for teenagers and adults alike.
So like I mentioned earlier, she is the eldest of her family. Meelah, like her relatives call her, also has a younger sister named Khadidja who is married to a white revert Muslim man and a younger brother Adam who will turn out to be an exemplary young Muslim man and a dashing wakil.
The novel is diverse in terms of ethnicities and what we should take from it is that Islam has no color and no race is above another one. They are Black, White, Yellow and everything in between the shades Muslims. Muslims are a diverse people indeed! With that being said, there are still people who frown on interracial unions and The Size of a Mustard Seed touches on that a little bit with a particular character. No spoilers!
I'm so looking forward to Book 2 because I feel like Khadija's story need to be told to great extent! Because of her untold story, I think many other Muslim writers were inspired by the great Umm Juwayriyah and that's an honor masha'Allah. I could be wrong but that's the impression I got so far. My rating? 5/5!
Get your copy on Amazon today. Better yet, gift it to someone during the Eid!
Jazak'Allah khair for reading,
Women in the Qur'an by Asma Lamrabet translated by Myriam Francois-Cerrah is a VERY bold read. This book of 177 pages is divided in an introductory section, a part one that deals with 'When the Qur'an speaks OF women' and a part two 'When the Qur'an speaks TO women.'
The author Asma Lamrabet is a pathologist in Morroco's Avicenna Hospital. She's also an award winning author of many articles tackling Islam and Women's issues. On the other hand, the translator, Myriam Francois-Cerrah is a writer, broadcaster and academic with a focus on current affairs, France, Islam and the Middle East. She writes for many accredited news magazines and channels like Al Jazeera English.
To continue, I found this read particularity bold and daring because it's a tafsir-exegesis- of the holy verses we have been exposed to all our lives about the women we already know but by a women's perspective that is very dismissive of many popular and biased male's interpretations of the Qur'an which at some point were deeply ingrained to us as a collective as the norm for nearly 15 centuries.
Some of the women cited are Awa (as), Bilqis (as), Maryam (as), Hagar (as), Sarah (as). You get the gist, women after which great miracles were bestowed upon, holy rituals were fashioned after or great doom descended upon because of their betrayal such as the wives of prophets Lut and Noah (as).
I'm sure there is a history of books that critically interpret the scriptures from a women's perspective but this is the first one I read. I have always thought that certain religious Muslim men since the time of rassullulah sallalahu aleihi wassalam to today were and are bonified dictators, patriarchs, and who could never see a woman as their equal even if their faith in Allah and Islam were/are steadfast. It's an oxymoron indeed. Thus, I'm sure many of them made sure to reduce the meaning of certain verses pertaining to fairness and equality toward women. I also have this strong feeling that many works by Muslim women weren't promoted and subsequently died out or weren't preserved the same way men's works and stories were. It's a shame.
Now, did I find Women in the Qur'an blasphemous at times? Yes! But is that because I have never challenged and critically analyzed my past exegeses about women in the Qur'an written by prominent Muslim scholars? Probably. The book is thought provoking, makes many valid points, and also supports exegeses by Muslim men who support Lamrabet's point of views.
With all that being said, this book is needed because no matter how much the Qur'an and the Sunnah vouch for an equality between the sexes, for the fair treatment of women, for the inclusion of women in social events, the reality on the terrain is different. There is a big majority of Muslim women who are still oppressed by imposed and cultural patriarchal ways when it should be the Muslim woman's choice to decide to work, to go pray at the mosque, to have children when in a marriage, to accept or refuse a suitor, to pick her own husband, to wear hijab, to be educated, etc. Unfortunately many Muslim women can't escape their husbands and families (in-laws, biological or even elder non-relatives) making choices for them.
I also believe that this wrong will be right as we all speak up and ask about a change like Lamrabet started. In my opinion, there is also a reason why women will start to outnumber men at the crack of doom; a thing that is already noticeable as the numbers of baby girls born are slightly over the baby boys born. Now, when the women have the majority, it's imperative to stay fair to men, to not act like non-Muslim feminists who can't seem to accept or recognize Muslim Feminists. Jahannam will have a larger number of women and I hope none of the ummah will dwell there because they left sirat-al mustakim.
Furthermore, just because an increase of independent women is a sign of the end times, it doesn't mean women should be kept under a tight leash. I actually see men controlling everything a woman does as a way to stop times. I see it as a way to worship dunya. Everything has an expiration date and things will follow their course no matter what. It's the qadr of Allah. It's been written eons ago. Why fight it?
Above all, get your copy of Women in the Qur'an at Kube Publishing. It has a different insight!
To get 10% off any book at Kube Publishing's website use COUPON CODE : BLOGGERS10
Thank you for reading,
You will need:
- Empty cans of soda
- Tea light candles (Safer than actual candles)
- Several waterbase paint colors (gold spray paint, red, yellow, pink, blue, etc.)
- One Paint Brush (I found the #8 Craftsmart to be very effective and fast)
- A Stanley knife
- A ruler
- Sand paper
- Masking tape
1. Leave about 2 cm at the top of the can and spare about 1.5 cm at the bottom. I noticed that the closer you are to each extremity of the can the better the can looks later on when you snap it down. (It's also easier to crush it.) Draw horizontal lines on the can at interval of 2.5 cm with the ruler. I actually didn't use a ruler because I thought it would take longer. I just winged it and wasted three cans right off the start so that I could get the hang of it. And I did.
2. Cut all the way through the surface of the the can with the Stanley knife.
3. Press down on the top of the can so that it snaps at the scored lines.
4. Some strands will go inward. Don't use your finger to push it out BECAUSE the edges are sharp! I used something long like a pair of scissors. You can sand the edges of the strands but I didn't even though I bought the sandpaper. Maybe another time I'll use it with heavy duty gloves. I was out of time and this project was supposed to be done before Ramadhan!
5. Color your can any color you like now with your brush! I only used spray paint for the gold can because the gold paint was acting out. Anyways, it turned out good. I had to go outside to spray it because of the fumes. So bare that in mind especially if you have a little one around.
6. Switch on your tea light and insert it in the bottom of your revamped can; the new lantern! Another way to use it is to hang it with a rope anywhere you like.
And voilà! That's it.
P.S. You will spend about 6 to 10 minutes per can. That's including the prep of the can and the coloring.
As a working mother, as soon as I log off/get off work (it depends of if I work from home) I have a second job to attend; Mommy and wife duties.
And having Ramadhan when days are longer has its advantages for me.
1. Time to catch up with house chores
I have time to do house chores before the hubby comes home. From 5:30 p.m. toiftar time, I have roughly a little over three hours to cook, clean, and tend to the baby needs. If we still have leftovers from a previous day, I only have to step in the kitchen thirty to an hour before iftar to warm the food and set the table (I don’t use the microwave). If we ate everything from the previous days, it takes me an hour to two to bring the house down. Then Chef Papatia feels awesome that the ‘five course meal’ (soup, salad, entrée, side dish, and dessert) is ready.
2. Time to relax
Now, I have an hour plus to spare. If I haven’t performed asr yet, I do it then. I make sure I pray at least forty-five minutes before magrib time. Wouldn’t want to pray asr during forbidden times to pray, do we? After that I sit down and relax before the next wave of things to-do show up such as setting up the table.
3. Time to perform late night prayers
When I’m done eating, praying magrib, winding down in front of the TV, it’s close to midnight. This is perfect because the second half of the night is close and Allah is even nearer to us. So, I pray taraweeh and qiyaam no matter how difficult this is, taking comfort in the fact that I can pour my heart out to my creator. Masha’Allah.
By the time, Ramadhan circles back to winter when days are shorter, I would probably be retired and sending off a kid to college insha’Allah *wink* How about you guys? How are the long hours working for you?
May Allah facilitates Ramadhan to all you working mothers and non-working mothers,ameen.
Ramadhan Mubarak dear readers! Alhamdullilah, it’s Ramadhan 1st 1437 or Ramadhan 2016. May Allah make this month easy on us, amiin. May He accept our fast and all our acts of Ibadat, amiin. May He make us better Muslims here on out, amiin. And May He allow us to see many more holy months like this one insha’Allah, amiin. May Allah protect the ummah and guide us all on sirat-al mustakeem, amiin.
Original post on Hayati Magazine .
1. Amina N. Her debut story is titled Destiny and addresses domestic violence and love in our ummah. Amina N. is a Muslim woman who lives in Roswell Georgia. Although she resided most of her life away from her birth country, Senegal, she kept within her all the great values from her culture which she was taught while growing in the welcoming city of Dakar. She always loved reading and writing, loves taking care of animals and watch them interact with each other. Being a very spiritual person, she enjoys spending time alone and long moments of silence; she yet would not trade spending time with her daughter, friends and family for anything. For more information visit www.amina-n.com
2. Farida Ado. She is a Nigerian romance writer. Early this year, a post featuring her went viral. Farida appears here as well. She’s also mentioned in other articles like this one. She writes in Hausa like many Nigerian Novelists. Her work has been translated inDiagram of the Heart which brings us next to one of the early writer of the movement in Northern Nigeria.
3. Balaraba Ramat Yakubu is considered one of the 1980s breakout writer in the romance genre in Kano, Nigeria. Her most acclaimed work is Alhaki Kuykuyo Ne…, Sin is a Puppy That Follows You Home. She is an inspiring person.
4. Author Fauziyyah B Suleiman . She has written 32 novels and three were made into local movies like one of her bestseller A Daren Farko (On the First Night). In this article, she says, “In my writing I give more attention to women’s issues, like marriage, polygamy and education.” She is what a fellow author call a warrior with a pen.
5. Papatia Feauxzar. Originally from French West Africa, Papatia lives in Dallas, Texas with her nuclear family. She loves nature and also loves to pen romance stories for adults and sci-fi/fantasy ones for the underage folks. She aims to address faith, love, romance, education, gender issues, and many other social ills close to her heart with her writing. Her most known work is Mistress of the Spices. You can learn more on her at www.djarabikitabs.com
Though I have some discussions with family members who still use amulets, I have to confess that I have used nazar for instance in the past. I have mixed feelings about it and I’ll tell you both reasons.
The first reason why I used it in the past is because I always thought it never possessed any kind of power. Ayatul Kursi, now that’s power. For me, nazar is like a deflecting object. A distraction to the person with the potential evil eye. For instance, if a person sees something they like on you and then they caught a glimpse of nazar on you, I have seen their attention go to the amulet. They quickly forget the thing they admired on you. They’ll focus their attention on that weird eye, lol. You know how you can deflect light with a mirror? Ok, this is how I saw nazar.
Now the reason I have mixed feelings about it is the other part of my dilemma. It’s an amulet and the scripture is clear on them. It’s shirk. Whether your intention for using it counts, only Allah is the judge of that. Besides, what protects you when you announce good news online. No one sees you. Nazar certainly won’t. Only Allah will if you pray for protection.
Read more here.
Jazak’Allah khair for reading,
A low maintenance sister is a sister who appreciates the simple joys of life. She’s drama free and the majority of the time because opposites attract, a high-maintenance brother (let’s say drama-queen fella) anchors his boat to her because she’s a beacon of some sort he couldn’t pass.
So if you’re a low maintenance sister like many out there (I might be one too hehe ) this is some of the things he needs to know. You are:
1. A Potato couch
He has to know that you enjoy nights in, sprawled over the couch watching something entertaining on TV. With him by your side enjoying a romantic movie, it would be bliss. Nights out are things you want to do every now and then to change the atmosphere. Not a-seven-day a week affair. Dude, our life would be like living in a hotel. You need to make memories in your new home. Plus, the bachelor life is over after marriage.
2. An attention seeker
You’re only an attention seeker for him. For other not halal guys and men for you, you put your unsocial face up pretty quick! He should appreciate your romantic efforts. You don’t have to play that game and make him feel special in your eyes.
3. Impatient,Timely, and Fast
He needs to know that you’re the type of girl that gets in the store to get a bucket of ice cream, for instance, and leaves the store with exactly a bucket of ice cream. Except on certain occasions. He shouldn’t be the one indecisive in the relationship. It should have been you and you ain’t. So no excuse! lol!
You’re timely and arrived at rendez-vous before the time. So he shouldn’t count on your ‘forecasted’ tardiness to pick the best ‘husband material thawb’ from his closet! He needs to know that punctuality is a very attractive trait for ya …
To close here, all you need is a little over five minutes to throw an abaya and scarf on and you’re ready to roll. Akhi, you won’t need to huff and puff while I get ready. I’ll be out pronto!
4. Not the common trophy wife
You know how to be a shinny dime and you ‘is’ the muse, the chef, the maid, the janitor, the seamstress, etc. of the house. But he shouldn’t except to see you wear your wedding ‘cinderella’ clothes seven days a week! Ain’t nobody got time for that! Simply chic is your best ensemble and fits you (some people would say for better and for worse right?). Dude, you should be grateful for that! You don’t want us starting to ask for the moon and stuff .
5. A penny pincher, easy to please, but you frown on slackers
He needs to know that you won’t care to use off brand toiletries 364 days a year, but there is this one day where you will care for a particular brand because it’s better and of quality or just for sake of pampering. He should just get it and not ask questions.
And oh, just because you’re laid back doesn’t mean he can’t surprise you or step up his game by showing you some genuine love once in a blue moon. Tell him, ‘just don’t get too comfortable, and I promise I won’t let go of myself.’ Haha!
May Allah help you find decent spouses ya single and searching uktys! Ameen!
Jazak'Allah khair for reading,
P.S Pansies are easy to grow and plant.
Here is a touchy subject around the globe ... Can a Muslim woman wear pants or only dresses and skirts?
Well it depends on many things. Personally, I don’t wear pants outside the comfort of my home. I used to wear them outside but these days, I am so used to wear skirts and dresses that I feel very awkward wearing pants to go outside. I just feel naked if I try to put a foot outside the door, so I just don’t. But I do wear pants under clothing when Winter hits so that I don’t get cold.
So can she wear it? She can wear pants if it’s part of her culture and the dress on top is long enough to cover her behind. Assuming that her clothes are not too tight and are loose. That said, some scholars will argue that she can’t under any circumstances. I think they exaggerate. I don’t like un-flexible point of views..borderline extreme… They based their argument on the hadith sherif that states that women that dress in men clothing are cursed and vice-versa. I think we know this wasn’t meant for women that wear pants conservatively but for men that have women mannerisms and clothe in women clothing and vice-versa.
A lot of them won’t hear this rebuttal of their thesis because there is also a cultural belief lurking in their minds; a woman who wear pants will become the leader of the family. ‘Nonsense.’ *wink*
In addition, they will agree that she wears pants privately where noone can see except them. Whether she hides it from people or not, she still wears them so how come she is not leading the home according to ‘your standards’? Ah, she leads the family anyways. She is just discrete about it and lets you believe you’re in charge... She is the moon and you’re the sun. *wink*
I can’t recall all the details of the story I am about to tell you but I read somewhere that a lady was near the prophet (sallalahu aleihi wasalam) and she fell. I think she was on a horse. Maybe a donkey. He turned his head so that he couldn’t see her privates. Later, his companions around him told him that they didn’t see anything because she wore pants under her clothing. He then prayed for her and any woman who does the same to protect her privates. See, women can wear pants! Having said that, it is not said that it’s compulsory to hide your pants. It’s just preferable and it has more barakah (blessings).
What do you think of women wearing pants? Please share your thoughts!
Originally posted here .
Happiness is READING!!! I had my share of Double this Happiness about a month back, when the the lovely Papatia Feauxzar, Author of Bloom, messaged to let me know she was sending me a copy of her latest publication for my reading enjoyment. Three weeks later,’last Saturday’, I received the much anticipated package in Bahrain, all the way from the United States of America. Greedily sitting down to read my Personally Autographed book, I am kind of a,Foodeva Marsay Confession Alert, ‘sloth reader’, trying to squeeze in any reading I can between my other daily activities, Bloom was certainly one very interesting read. SHUKRAN/THANK YOU kindly dear Papatia for honouring me with your gift, May Allah reward you Ameen!!!
So here goes my Review for this Book, and like all other times, I would prefer not to give away too much of the story, as I hope to intrigue you enough to hopefully get your hands on these Reads.
Now no matter how old I get…I am, and will be, a Sucker for a Good Looking Cover on a book. This one stole my Heart the moment I ripped open the package. Bloom is actually 3 separate books, which have also been published before, that has now been complied into one Book, under the “Djarabi Collection” banner.
This story centres around the Protagonist , Aida Mubarak, a young, African American woman. During a reuniting with her long time friend, Nellie at a coffee shop, the entire story ,slowly, unfolds as Nellie is eager to find out all the details about her friend, Aida’s ‘private affairs’.
Protagonist Nilüfer Teecher finds herself in many situations. Her Marriage to 1st Husband Jameel Saree, has many twist and turns, with her willing to do anything for him. It is during her Life’s Jouney, that Nilüfer meets with Nasir and lastly her psychiatrist, Raj Patel.
This story bounces back to the 1st protagonist we met earlier, Aida Mubarak. Apart from being the Mistress of Spice, Aïda is now also a Mistress of Tricks. The story unfolds with her trying to keep a huge secret from her Husband Mussa.
Finally a Muslim based story line, to rival any MILLS and BOONS or 50 Shades of… The Author clearly states “For A Mature Audience Only”, as these story lines are beyond spicy. It almost leaves very little to the imagination during the many steamy bedroom scenes. What happens behind closed doors, between a man and wife, is one of the many taboo topics that many Muslim women would not dwell into. We do fail to realise that these are the very essence of how well a marriage is carried forward. This May Not appeal to many Muslims, But I would urge my readers to give it a read, and if you are uncomfortable with reading those “spicy bits”, you can easily move past those scenes.
With that having been said, There are a lot of other taboo topics that is brought into the stories, Like Polygamy/Polygyny, family, inter-racial marriages, abuse, Divorce and much more. Papatia does a great job of adding lots of Islamic references to her books, which would appeal to even Non-Muslim readers alike as she does offer explanations as the story goes on.
I loved how the Author had a Foreword and Ending Notes with a Glossary at the end, making it so much easier to understand the many different languages and words that comes through. Aïda being from West Africa, her native language, as well as bits of arabic that surfaces during the interactions between the characters is nicely added into the glossary. At times it felt like the author was speaking directly to you, even if via her characters. Having the female protagonist lead these story lines, it was refreshing. Mussa and Jameel were almost unbearable, villains at times, while Raj Patel was totally opposite to both of them. Having all three stories in one compilation made for much easier follow with each story.
My ENDING NOTES
So apart from the ‘Spicy Scenes’, this compilation is a winner. It definitely lives up-to it’s title, Bloom. Be prepared to BLOOM….be it in your marriage, or by re-kindling the romance in the bedroom, or with other members of your family and friends, Bloom into a Human being that you would be proud of, and Seek to BLOOM within your religion, Be it Islam or whichever you follow, BLOOM in the Eyes of YOUR CREATOR.
I loved this one particular Thought from the book by Aïda.
” Women! Always hating each other for some nonsense, instead of supporting each other or Blooming next to each other”
Foodeva Marsay rating : 5 Stars
I pray that Allah/GOD guides, NOT JUST ME but US ALL, to be a Better person, and Help us BLOOM in all aspects of our life, Ameen. Life is Short, Like Papatia states in the onset of the novel…
“We need to bloom next to each other…There is No Need for Competition or Jealousy”.
HAPPY READING FRIENDS…. HOUB SALAAM(Peace and Love) (MY new Fav Greeting now, thanks Papatia)
You can Connect with Papatia Feauxzar on any of the following links below.