Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's a MAN'S world.... Or is it?!

[mood: tired]
[craving: sitting on the beach, drinking Chai Haleb with friends]

Forget what the West says about this being a "Man's world." Here in the middle east and with practicing Muslim's all over the world, it's clearly a "Woman's world". Fourteen hundred years ago, when the Message of Islam was brought to us, Allah (God) gave us Muslim women rights for so many things. When I talk to my friends, they can't believe some of the things they thought wasn't true about a woman's rights, is true. If any one knows me you will know that I would never be in a marriage/religion in which a woman would be treated badly. When I reverted to Islam, I was astonished by a lot of the rights women got. I always listened to the media and honestly, I stereo typed Islam. I thank God everyday that he lead me to this beautiful religion. Just like the quote I have, says
"I've learned from studying Islam and being Muslim,
that if your happiness is based on people approving
of everything you do, you're doomed to fail.
Islam helped me stand up and take responsibility
for everything to do with me."

Islam gave me rights!!!  
Let me name a few. 
  1.  The right and duty to obtain education.
  2. The right to have their own independent property.
  3. The right to work to earn money if they need it or want it.
  4. Equality of reward for equal deeds.
  5. The right to express their opinion and be heard.
  6. The right to provisions from the husband for all her needs and more.
  7. The right to negotiate marriage terms of her choice.
  8. The right to obtain divorce from her husband, even on the grounds that she simply can't stand him. (pls note that God deeply frowns upon divorce as a solution unless there is hardly any other alternative but it does not mean that men have more right to divorce their wives than women do.)
  9. The right to keep all her own money (she is not responsible to support the family financially).
  10. The right to accept or reject any suitor who proposes to her for marriage And more...

    Need I say more? LOL I just love how Islam gives us so many rights. We had more rights before rights to women were given in the West. Women started receiving their rights in Islam 1400 years ago when the message of Islam was brought forth. 

    Now, read this... 

    Women are given exemption from some duties, such as:

    - Fasting when they are pregnant or nursing or menstruating,
    - Praying when menstruating or bleeding after childbirth
    - The obligation to attend congregational prayers in the mosque on Fridays.
    - They are not obliged to take part as soldiers in the defense of Islam, although they are not forbidden to do so.
    But under normal circumstances they are allowed to do all the things that men do.
    - Even when they are menstruating, on special days, like the two eid festivals, they are still allowed to come to the eid prayers, and menstruating women can take part in most of the actions of the Hajj pilgrimage.  
Islamic law makes no demand that women should confine themselves to household duties. In fact the early Muslim women were found in all walks of life.    

The first wife of the Prophet, mother of all his surviving children, was a businesswoman who hired him as an employee, and proposed marriage to him through a third party; women traded in the marketplace, and the Khalifah Umar, not normally noted for his liberal attitude to women, appointed a woman, Shaff'a Bint Abdullah, to supervise the market. 

The Muslim woman has always had the right to own and manage her own property,

a right that women in the states has only attained in the last 100 years. Marriage in Islam does not mean that the man takes over the woman's property, nor does she automatically have the right to all his property if he dies intestate. Both are still regarded as individual people with responsibilities to other members of their family - parents, brothers, sisters etc. and inheritance rights illustrate this.

The husband has the duty to support and support the wife's financial needs, as stated in the Qur'an, and this is held to be so even if she is rich in her own right

He has no right to expect her to support herself, let alone support his children or him. If she does contribute to the household income this is regarded as a charitable deed on her part.

Women are thus well provided for: their husbands support them, and they inherit from all their relations. They are allowed to engage in business or work at home or outside the house, so long as the family does not suffer, and the money they make is their own, with no calls on it from other people until their death.
Husbands are expected to treat their wives kindly during marriage and even during and after divorce. 

... Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them, it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.
Qur'an 4:19

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said:
The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.
(Hadith: Ibn Hanbal)

Ordinary Muslim women too are urged to lower their gaze and wrap themselves closely in their outer garments, letting their head-coverings fall over their neck opening, so that they may be recognized as respectable women and not bothered. The Prophet's wives are also reported to have covered their faces with their cloaks when they were among strange men. 

Those who regard veiling as a form of exploitation should ask themselves which is more exploitative of women, the mini skirt or the veil?

So, to conclude, these are the ideals to which Muslim women can aspire and frequently have done in the past. In a true Islamic society, they are guaranteed
- personal respect,
- respectable married status,
- legitimacy and maintenance for their children,
- the right to negotiate marriage terms of their choice,
- to refuse any marriage that does not please them,
- custody of their children after divorce,
- independent property of their own,
- the right and duty to obtain education,
- the right to work if they need or want it,
- equality of reward for equal deeds,
- the right to participate fully in public life and have their voices heard by those in power,
and much more besides.

[Final whisper: Om Abdulah - I missed our one million calls a day and can't wait to see you]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

LOVE is all we need...

On a tiny itty bitty holiday/vacation with family. Using my daughters notebook! and it's tooo small!!! LOL I need my laptop! God's willing i'll be back to update this post.... Until then... Learn to love everything you have, including yourself... But, first and far most.. Love Allah (God) first, then everything should fall into place. <3

"And He is the Forgiving and Loving" (Qur'an 85:14)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Things I love...

Burning vanilla candles, hugging my kids, Islam,  My in laws, reading Quran, driving, being MUSLIM, my mom,  kissing my dad on his forehead, candle light dinners, my husband, acting silly with Om Abdulah, tiina,bukhoor, oud, perfumes of all kinds, sonia, creampuffs,sunsets on the corniche, puppy dogs and kittens, Sisters and bro, babies, Um Fatimah (C), a good laugh with good friends, cooking for my family and friends,TEXAS skies, foofoo,laughing with Saimah, my wonderful sister in laws, Emma, The smell of fresh cut grass,star gazing in the desert, Margie & Jessica,honesty, my MSU sisters, warm hugs, Prophet Muhammad, fitesa, MY KIDS, cuddling with my loved ones, Mexican food, my SUNSHINE (Ms. Madam, Mubarak, Pink lipstick, laughing so hard no sound comes out, Umm Rania's special pm's,bubble baths, Hearing the Adhan, cold TEXAS Ice tea, Weddings, big RED, Glo Sotelo (mom's best friend) barbacoa, White hot chocolate, UAE, Late night talks with Tico, MSU, Talking 2 Kasey, strawberries, cherry lemon aid, Ramadan, Tulips, Texas bbq's, winters with tons of snow, watching fish swim, Make-up, pink, watching a good movie, good hair days, DUBAI, Peace,singing while cleaning my home, Essel,making people happy, Riddy,Jesus (ISA) ,Shopping, Road trips, buying gifts for my loved ones, Talking to my dad, muja, laughing with my Mother in law, the way I feel when my husband walks in the door when coming home ,my Sandia, listening to my daughter laugh with my son, justice....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Your life is not complete until...

... you marry. There's a time in all our lives that we're going to be making one of the biggest decisions ever. This time will be when we marry. I would love to share this with y'all.

By getting married you are not just getting a wife/husband, you are getting your whole world. From now on until the rest of your days, your wife/husband will be your partner, your companion, and your best friend. She/He will share your moments, your days, and your years. She/He will share your joys and sorrows, your successes and failures, your dreams and your fears. When you are ill, she/he will take the best care of you; when you need help, she will do all she/he can for you; when you have a secret, she/he will keep it; when you need advice, she/he will give you the best advice. She/he will always be with you. When you wake up in the morning the first thing your eyes will see will be her/him. During the day, she/he will be with you, if for a moment she/he is not with you, physically, she/he will be thinking of you, praying for you with all her/his heart, mind, and soul. When you go to sleep at night, the last thing your eyes will see will be her/him; and when you are asleep you will still see her/him in your dreams. In short, she will be your whole world and you will be her whole world.

The best description that I personally have ever read describing the closeness of the spouses to each other, is the Quranic verse which says: "They are your garments and you are their garments" Indeed, spouses are like garments to each other because they provide one another with the protection, the comfort, the cover, the support, and the adornment that garments provide to humans. Just imagine a journey in the winter of Alaska without garments! Our spouses provide us with the same level of comfort and protection, cover and support in the journey of our lives on this earth as garments would do in the Alaska journey.  

The relationship between the spouses is the most amazing of all human relations: the amount of love and affection, intimacy and closeness, mercy and compassion, peace and tranquility that fills the hearts of the spouses is simply inexplicable. The only rational explanation for these most amazing of all human feelings is that: it is an act of Allah (SubHana Wa Ta`ala). Only God Almighty in His infinite power, boundless mercy, and great wisdom can create and ingrain these amazing feelings in the hearts of the spouses. In fact, God is reminding those who search for His signs in the universe, that these feelings in the hearts of the spouses are among the signs that should guide humans to His existence. 
As He says in the Quran: "And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect." But the human heart is not a static entity, it is very dynamic. Feelings can and do change with time. Love may wither and fade away. The marital bond might weaken if not properly cared for. Happiness in marriage cannot be taken for granted; continuous happiness requires constant living from both sides. For the tree of marital love to remain alive and keep growing, the soil has to be sustained, maintained, and nurtured. Therefore, here are a few tips on how to keep the tree growing: 

Allah, most Gracious says about spouses in Quran (our holy book): Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you among yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has planted love and mercy between you; In that are signs for people who reflect. Qur'an (30 : 21)

May Allah (God) bless our marriages and let us only do good for each other and respect one another and love one another and worship only you Allah -  ameen

Friday, January 22, 2010

What a blessing...

she was more than a queen in my eyes
oh,  her laugh was contagious
when she walked in the room, her smile brightened it up
she always made people feel special
when she would talk, her words were always encouraging
when she joked , you couldn't stop laughing

her skin was soft to the touch
she knew how to carry herself
she was a real woman
she knew how to be that friend that people long for
that friend everybody wanted
her words of wisdom might have sounded too much to me back then
but now I carry her wisdom with me and use it.

She was all about giving and helping others even till her last breath
Her face will be imprinted in my memory till I die.

This woman, was my mother.
Written by: Texan in UAE

One Hadith cited - "Stay with (Your Mother), because Paradise is at her feet."

Another report is the following, which is narrated by Aisha Umm al-Muminin:

    I asked the Prophet who has the greatest right over a man, and he said, "His mother."

 reported by Abu Huraira:

    I asked, "Messenger of Allah (GOD), to whom should I be dutiful?" He replied, "Your mother." I asked, "Then whom?" He replied, "Your mother." I asked, "Then whom?" He replied, "Your mother." I asked, "Then whom?" He replied, "Your mother." I asked, "Then to whom should I be dutiful?" He replied, "Your father,and then the next closest relative and then the next."

From this, we can see the special position that mothers have, which has been indicated by the Quran (see above). The word translated as dutifulness is in Arabic birr, a word that is also translated as "piety", that is, dutifulness to Allah . Here again, parents (and in particular mothers) are due the same kind of honor in our feelings that we give to Allah SWT, because of what they reflect of His qualities.

“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship…” (al-Ahqaaf 46:15)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I love me some, Bukhoor...
I was introduced to this lovely incense back when we first got married. My husband got me hooked. LOL I know my mother would of loved this stuff. It always reminds me of her when I burn it.

BTW - this is one of my favorite Bukoor burners. It's not really a bukoor burner, but it looks like it can be one. I got it in San Antonio and it holds many fond memories of some sisters that still hold a place in my heart. 

This is the definition of Bukhoor.Taken from Wikipedia.

Bukhoor (Arabic بخور) or Bakhoor is the Arabic name given to wood chips soaked in fragrant oils or in most Arab countries it is the name given to scented bricks. These scented chips/bricks are burned in incense burners to perfume the home and clothing with a rich thick smoke. This is used specifically on special occasions like weddings or on Fridays or generally just to perfume the house.

The bukhoor is usually burned in a Mabkhara, traditional incense burner. It is traditional in many Arab countries to pass bukhoor amongst the guests in the Majlis (Arabic مجلس, meaning congregation) this is done as a gesture of hospitality. world famous bakhoor are manufactured by Al Nabeel. among them the most popular is the "touch me".

- Oud, itself is relatively expensive and could cost anything from AED 1,000 (272 bucks) to AED 40,000 (10,000 bucks usa) a pot

- For the same amount of bukhoor, u would pay between AED 100 and AED 500

I love burning this about 2 times a week. Usually I do it on our Fridays or any other day outta the week, or when we're getting guests. I hope yall enjoyed my short little entry today, not much into making a entry today.

This is just a little peak at how we live here in UAE. My next topic will be about - my love for perfumes. I'm really the perfume queen. <3  So, be on the look out. God's willing I'll be updating with nice smelling, Arabian/Western perfumes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Friends forever.... or not?

What defines a true friend to you? This is what a true friend is to me..

Someone who is brutally honest with you, someone who loves you for the sake of GOD and only God, someone who you can laugh with and joke with. Someone you can sit in a room all day long and not have to say a word to make them feel comfortable. Someone you can tell anything to, someone who can keep a secret. Different people define friendship different ways, these are just some ways that I define a true friendship.

It takes me a while to get close to people. Not because I'm hard to get to know or I am anti social, but because I'm the total opposite of those two. I like to know how people act with others and how they think without me being so close to them. I do that by going to social events to other friends homes or simply inviting them over with other close friends and just seeing how their personalities shine.

That's what takes so long to build a nice foundation of a true friendship for me. I have a nice circle of "true" friends here in UAE. I've gotten to know some over many years; and others, we just clicked when we met. It happens.

I love that I can really trust them with my life. I love that they're always there for me if I need someone to talk to. I love how everything we tell each other stays with us. That's what I love about my friendships I've made.

Now... getting down to the dirty friendships...

This is what I can't stand.. It makes my stomach turn... In our religion (Islam) Our beloved prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) says this...  

The Messenger of God (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: "My entire nation is safe, except al-Mujahirin (those who boast of their sins). Among the Mujaharah is that a man commits an (evil) act, and wakes up in the morning while God has kept his (sin) a secret, he says: "O Fulan! Last night I did this and that." He goes to sleep while God has kept his (sin) a secret but he wakes up in the morning and uncovers what God has kept a secret!" [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

Abdullah Ibn Masoud (radiyallahu anhu) related, 'A man came to the Prophet and said: 'O Messenger of God! I have mingled with a woman in the far side of al-Medina, and I fulfilled my desire short of actually having sexual intercourse with her. So, here am I, judge me according to what you decide.' Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radiyallahu anhu) then said: 'God had kept your secret, why did not you keep your secret?' [Sharh Muslim]

This is a reminder for all of us.... 
Allahu Alam (GOD ONLY KNOWS) if anything you said was true.

Similarly, if one becomes aware of somebody else's sin, he should keep it a secret.
God's Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: "He, who relieves a hardship of this Dunya (world) for a believer, God will relieve (from him) a hardship of the Day of Resurrection; he who makes easy an indebted person, God will make it easy for him in the world and the Hereafter; he who covers a Muslim (meaning his mistakes and shortcomings), God will cover him in the Dunya and the Hereafter…" [Muslim]

Right above shows that in our religion it's a very big sin to reveal one of our brother or sisters' sins. I pray that with the friendships we do make in this world, they will be strong and never lead into backbiting of each other. Even if your friendship ends.

Recently I just read on a blog of someone who revealed things about a sister. Why did she do this? It doesn't make sense to me. How dare her! If it's true, that's between her and God and not the world. This person needs to look at her own life before backbiting about others. 

God has forbidden the believers from backbiting

O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear God, verily, God is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (49: 12)

Say to My servants that they should only say those things that are best, for Satan does sow dissensions among them, for Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (17:53)

Ending with these words...

Be careful who knows your secrets. Be careful who you trust. Be mindful what you do, cause Allah (God) sees all. Repent.

-Edited to remove names....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I miss you

mood: sad
craving: hugging my dad

My days and nights are filled with thoughts of you, I can almost smell your after shave when you come out of your room. I'll always remember your laugh and smile . Even if you are so far away from me, you will never be far from my heart, never. This entry is getting pretty sappy, isn't it?

I dream of you and wait to see you. All these years passing by like a whirlwind-so very fast. Do you remember bringing me home from the hospital and wondering what kind of woman I'll be? I'm sure, because you've talked to me about it. You always wanted me to be happy.

You never judged me for trying to find out who I was. I found out, took the right path and you accepted what I chose. Am I a fool to leave you back in TEXAS? Nah, you always taught us kids to do the right thing, and that's just what I'm doing. The right thing.

I've caught a (heart) and I'm keeping him. I love you. Until we see each other again, I'll always be praying for you. You're in my thoughts, prayers, dreams....

I just want to let you know: I miss you Dad......

final whisper: i miss you more than you can imagine

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Feeling a bit nostalgic today.

It's a sunny day in UAE today. I wanna go out and eat the sunshine and lay on the beach where there's no one to bother me. I want to kick the sand around and run... I want to keep my eyes closed and dream about my childhood and dream about all those times I stayed at my grandparents' with my cousin Jen and how we laughed all night and listened to 80's music (Ring my bell; we played it over and over). I want to laugh with my cousin Melissa,annoy my Uncle Roy, make my Aunt Margaret yell at us and tell us to SHUT THE HELL UP. I want to go back to my childhood and do one more cheer in my backyard with my best friends Jessica and Margie. We knew how to let the neighborhood know we were there. I want to do cartwheels and run through the sprinkler. I want to sprint down to the minute mart and buy tons of candy, chips and Big Red.

I want to go back in time and watch my dad work in our most amazing yard, watch my mom cook up a storm while getting ready for all the guests we always had. I want to go back and feel my sisters' warm hugs, I want to hear my dad call my mom Veha (old lady in Spanish [when a Mexican or Latino says this to the woman they love its a precious nick name ->it comes from the heart] ) one more time and hear my mom laughing so hard that she cries. I want to hear Mom Pena screaming at us for buying the fried chicken we weren't supposed to. I want to be 16 years old, pile all my friends up in my car and blare out our favorite songs from the speakers.

Yep, those are things I did when I was younger. It's amazing to be able to reflect on all the silly things my friends and I used to do. Amazing to be able to remember the tiniest details of life that made me what I am today. I will never let go of my childhood.

We all grow up and wonder where we'll be in years to come... Who would of ever thought I would be a million miles away living in the Middle East... away from everything that made me feel happy and loved, and brought so many fond memories.

I'm now making new memories here in the Middle East. I'm just making more mature decisions, I know what I want in life and I would never wanna change what I have.

Here's to being nostalgic! God knows I am today.

If your wondering who's in that picture. It's me in the green little dress sitting on top of my sister, Mona. James my cousin in the middle. Jennifer in the pink dress, sitting on my other sister, Laura. <3

Saturday, January 9, 2010

To get a maid or not to get a maid; that is the question.

Ok, I guess I'm on a roll today, having a new blog and all. I hope this doesn't mean that I won't be active for another month? LOL
For a while now I've been contemplating on whether or not I should get a maid. I'm the only one out of the family/friends who doesn't have one. Why? Not because I can' Just because I like to do things my way. I'm very articulate about how things in my house are organized and cleaned. Therefore, I really don't see the need to get a maid.

However, living in the United Arab Emirates and being around the local Arabs, have made me realize what social people they are. Whenever we invite people over it is 10 or more. With those people come their children and sometimes their maids tag along. Of course the dishes are going to get dirty and we don't use paper plates here, we use regular, everyday plates. So you can imagine the pile-up we have in the kitchen afterwards. After the guests have gone home you don't want to walk into a dirty kitchen. This is where the maids come in handy. I don't want to refer to them as machines that are commanded to do what you tell them to do...but this is their lively hood.

You're probably wondering, "Why is she making such a huge deal out of getting a maid?" The answer is: in this country it is unusual to see a family without a maid. I'm not saying I couldn't get a maid if I wanted to, because I can. It's just that being raised up in a household where my mother played her full roll as a housewife, I feel that I should retain the responsibility of maintaining a home as a wife and mother should, too. I don't want to rely on another person to do this work for me. After all, am I not a stay at home mom? Don't I have the time from the moment I wake up to the time I go to sleep to clean and take care of everything else that should be done in the house?

Believe me, I've asked myself this question many times. But, there's always a yearning inside of me for someone else to wash that pile up of dishes in the kitchen sink.

MOM! Why do you say "bum" now, instead of BUTT?

Just sitting here relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. I didn't feel like cooking lunch, so hubby is off getting us Domino's! YAY for pizza! I woke up at 8am to the sound of my son crying in his crib, so I took him into my bedroom and he fell asleep... again. I took a nice hot shower and had some quality time to myself. I love "me" time. Now the whole household is up and there is noise everywhere.

To get to the topic of this entry... My son had a dirty diaper (nappy,for you Brits) and I asked my daughter to change him. I told her he went caca and to wash his bum. She started laughing and said, "MOM, you became British?!??!?!"
I said,"why?". She said, "You said 'bum' instead of 'butt'." I think it's because we lived in Europe and here (where they teach British English) for so long, we are losing a lot of our Americanization of the English language.

I find that bum sounds better than butt! Don't y'all? Don't get me wrong, I don't use a lot of British terms. A lot of my British friends and I will always disagree with chips being fries and potato chips being crisps... Us American chicas will always have our stance on what we call food.

Chips are potatoes chips, not crisps
French fries are NOT chips...

I still think "American" English is the easiest. LOL and the most clear. *sticks tongue out at Saimah*

Now, yall got me on the bum... It sounds nicer.. But, I still use BUTT. LOL

Friday, January 8, 2010

The time has come....

I've decided to make my very own blog. Don't know where I'll take yall, but it's gonna be a fun ride. Basically, it's about my life, since moving outta the states almost 10 yrs ago. It's been a very fun ride and very exciting. I've seen so much and been to so many exciting places in the world. It helps when you have GREAT company.
Because life is beautiful.


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