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Archive for July, 2013

Ramadhan Update

ImageI’m such a useless person sometimes subhanallah. Astaghfirullah.  I meant and intended to update pretty much everday of this Ramadhan so I would have a helpful reminder of it for future reference inshallah but clearly haven’t stuck to my intentions. May Allah forgive and help me.

So now we are in the last 10 days. Subhanallah, where has the time gone! I’m house bound for the most part and yet I have accomplished very little while sitting on my bum and twiddling my thumbs. I’m in someone else’s house, which I find very limiting in planning and executing my daily routine or ramadhan plans subhanallah. And I wonder if that’s ok to even say subhanallah!

Anyway, I will write my update inshallah. At least do something productive so here goes inshallah.

The house: honestly mashaAllah tabarakallalh its much done mashaAllah. The windows/outer doors are in place, the toilet and bathrooms done, the flooring except for terrace and balcony done (we’ll do this after we move in inshallah as it is not a priority), and the walls and tiling and electicity are all done. The plumbing will inshallah be finishing soon, as well as the painting inshallah, maybe by Monday or Tuesday inshallah. The kitchen will be installed soon after (it takes about a month from ordering to have a kitchen built and installed).  We are now starting to shop for house things like appliances and furniture, which is going to take another chunk of money subhanallah. May Allah give us rizqun karim and bless every part of it for us and allow us to benefit from it in Dunia and Akhirah.

The grandparents (that I mentioned previously): Nunny is Alhamdulillah well.  I saw her about two days ago mashaAllah. As usual she is more like a baby than an adult in her needs and completely unresponsive to her surroundings. It is so sad yet so inspiring because she is a living example of what is mentioned in the quran about our creation and span of line in the Quran (22:5).

O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed – that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing. And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind.

Jaddy is not in the same state of unawareness as his wife mashaAllah yet his situation is pretty dire, especially for a man who prided himself in being able to do much for himself and even providing for others for a time. Now he is reduced to needing near constant care, even in the most personal of acts, not to mention being sick with various ailments and symptoms due to old age subhanallah. When I see Jaddy, I think subhanallah, here is a man who sired 11 children (4 did not survive to adulthood), worked 7 days a week to provide for his family, sacrificed much to see his sons educated and self sufficient and independent, and now, he is nearly a creature to be pitied and maybe sometimes even seen as a burden. It is amazing how things can turn out, how being on top today doesn’t mean so tomorrow or the day after.

It comes back to the same thing over and over again, examples and signs everywhere one cares to look or even not look at subhanallah. We are weak creatures, our places in life, our successes/failures, our happiness/sadness, and everything and all things in our lives are really and truly not by our own endeavors, but by the permission of Allah, His Love of us, His Mercy to us, allowing us space and time and so much more. We are indeed dependent upon Him for everything, but how mankind forgets all the time. Waking up is not guaranteed, nor health or wealth. We are weak and are only as strong as our dependence to Him is, as successful as our reliance upon is.

Often we forget to acknowledge Allah’s part in our lives. Until we are sick, or old, or unable in some way, then He is the forefront of our thoughts and efforts. Astaghfirullah ya Illahy, faghfirlana warhamna.

Kids: they are adjusting to the weather and rhythm of Algeria mashaAllah. It is usually very hot, and at least in this family and perhaps in the rest of Algeria, going out during the day at the hottest parts of the day, is pretty much looked down upon unless there is a strong necessity. My kids find it hard of course, especially since playing in doors without their normal toys or the usual spaciousness is hard. Further, there is a definite rhythm to the day here in DZ. You wake up for breakfast, then eat lunch at around 12, before dhuhr salat, then ‘tea time’ around 4pm (usually before or around asr time), then dinner is around 7 or 8 pm, around maghrib time. And then people sleep after isha pretty much. Of course ramadhan is a bit different since the hours and the rhythm is necessarily switched.

In a way, I’m glad that we are staying with my in-laws for now so the kids could adjust to the Algerian rhythm. Honestly, I don’t think I would have been able to institute it effectively, had we come here and gone straight to our ready made house. So Allah is being Merciful again, and His knowledge is absolute, whereas mine is none existing subhanallah. I’m glad we are delayed in entering our new home mashaAllah. It may be difficult and not ideal at all, but it is better for this family. Had we come with our things and entered our home straight away, I know many things would have taken a lot longer to adjust to or to understand in the long run. But Allah in His Mercy, placed us where we needed to be to get the most lessons at the fastest pace.

My children are getting full practice of their Arabic mashaAllah. I never knew dd was so fluent. I’m amazed at her speech level mashaAllah. Really, we all are mashaAllah, in-laws and neighbors included. And the fact that its fus-ha that she speaks so fluently means (as has been explained to me) that she will inshallah not struggle in school. My ds1 is picking up the local Arabic pretty fast but still uses fus-ha to communicate. And before coming here, even though they understood Arabic, they rarely used it but now it’s a common occurrence, even when they play, they use it mashaAllah. I’m just amazed at the ability of the young to pick up so much is so little time mashaAllah, truly it is ne’ema min indillah.

The kids spend their morning learning and playing. I’ve finally organized myself enough that kids are able to practice their math (addition and subtraction for dd and counting and sorting for ds), their Quran(mostly murajaa for dd as she was starting to forget a lot of stuff, and small surahs for ds (who is now 3 mashallah), and reading and writing (ds is unofficially starting with the alphabet and dd is practicing her Arabic reading and building more vocabulary inshallah). I also do some lessons on Islamic ettiquete, duas, and knowledge.

I’ve found that for as much as dd has learned and advanced mashaAllah, she has also forgotten many things in such a short period of time so I have to do a lot of revision of knowledge she had in the past about many subjects mashaAllah. However, I do think its quite normal now that I’ve thought about it because most children lose most of their memories of their childhood, especially things that they learned/knew or experienced when they were 5 years and under. She just entered her 6th year of life mashaAllah so I expect her to forget much except what really makes/made an impression to last through this transition period and Alhamdulillah in all things mashaAllah.

Well, this was a long post, especially considering I’m writing it after fajr and really want to go back to sleep, inshallah before ds2 wakes up… and I can hear him groaning mashaAllahJ. Speaking of which, ds2 is doing well mashaAllah. He’s nice and chubby, smiles like a champion, is already reaching for things and bring them to his mouth (last night was the remote control) and has started to roll. It’s not a full out roll yet. He can roll from tummy down to his back pretty easily and from his back to his tummy too, but not so easily mashaAllah. He also has strong legs mashaAllah and does use them to push forward on a flat surface. It’s fun to watch mashaAllah. I love his dimples and smiling eyes mashaAllah.

Well, off to the next adventure of my day inshallah. May Allah have Mercy upon the believers, forgive them their sins, and save them from the an-Nar. Ameen. 

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My  new definition of patience: to do your very best, and give your very most, at all and in every action, be it thought, speech, or deed, despite and inspite of the circumstances you find yourself in, be they easy or hard, good or bad, comfortable or not.

This ramadhan I have been negligent in everything, doing not my best, not my all, actually just barely doing basics and the minimum required to get to the next stage. I’d give myself a D+ or a C- grade for most things that I find myself doing during my day and nights… and that is just a shame honestly.

There’s just a few days left to this Ramadhan inshallah, may Allah help me to do better. No matter that my circumstances are not ideal, does not mean I should do less than my best. No one is guaranteed tomorrow and that should drive my every moment and action inshallah.

May Allah help us to be better and more dedicated Muslims, to sacrifice with good intention and strong hope in Allah, to be steadfast in our reliance to Allah and love of Him inshallah, to persevere and not give up or falter in our worship of Allah, no matter the difficulties or obstacles that arise. May Allah forgive all the believers in Him, guide us to His way, have Mercy upon our weak selves, bless us and protect us inshallah ameen. Image

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ramadhan2013-image15

Bismillah

I didn’t get to record my thoughts yesterday. It was a bit busy. I had to go out two times mashaAllah. In the morning we went to the city to the police to process my iqamah (residency permit). We got there on time but it turns out they don’t process it till Sunday! Yeah! So we took advantage and did a bit of shopping for some things that I need now that I’m staying at my in-laws.

Then later after the kids ate and we prayed, we went out to check out the progress of our house mashaAllah. Its moving quite rapidly if you think about it mashaAllah so Alhamdulillah. The bathroom was halfway done, the toilet, not at all, the corridor mostly done, the floor is all done except for the outer kitchen and the doors/windows aren’t done at all.

We agreed on where to place the electrical outlets and a few other things, and dh went to get something that sounds like seemoncol  which is used to glue the tiles to the wall/floor.

When we got home, there were other things, what with breastfeeding, taking care of the kids, reading my quran, etc. Then it was iftar time, cleaning up, setting up the bedding, encouraging kids to sleep, praying… therefore, no time to write at all.

So here I am updating today inshallah

Yesterday was super hot so it was all about ‘shaaling the climatizo’ (turning on the air conditioner). Weather wise, today it’s the same. We also went out today. We went to visit my dh’s paternal grandfather and mother, who are currently bed bound and need 24/7 care, especially the grandmother (let’s call her Nunny and him Jaddy). They are living with their youngest son who just recently married a lovely sister who used to be a widow with two (fully grown) girls mashaAllah.

I do think it’s a lot for her to take one but she is definitely a helper for him in this endeavor may Allah bless and reward her. So we visited for just a bit but obvisouly could not stay because they both have a lot to do to care for the house and their two patients, while fasting, and still having to prepare a proper iftar and sahoor. Here, there are no places where you can put your elderly with very few exceptions, and many a family (like my inlaws) would rather gain the ajar than put their elderly somewhere else. It is anathema to them mashaAllah.

However, having grown up in America, I think there is something to be said for elder community homes and geriatric hospice care. Even more so when I see the newly married sister and her husband struggling to care for the elderly pair and with very little outside help (I mean other family members). Especially when helpful materials like incontinence pads and other descreete things are hard to come by.

Otherwise, the fasting is normal. Today I do feel a bit hungry, yesterday I was mostly thirsty, especially when we were driving on the highway and my husband was quipping about the driving style here, saying there is a ramadhan lane and a suicidal lane. Its funny to me but also very true. Driving in Algiers means taking your life in your hands and tawakulling Allah because there are no guarantees that you’ll make it back. There are few traffic laws, the speed limit is 80 so people of course drive at the minimum of 80, and everyone cuts, weaves in and out, and generally work hard to create chaos on the high way. However, we manage to get from a to b mashaAllah so Alhamdulillah.

Well that’s it. My BIL is back so I’m back to sitting in my full out covering mashaAllah. It’s a hassle so I’m praying really hard to have my house done asap inshallah. I was hoping to spend a quality Ramadhan there but those dreams had to be readjustedJ however, so far, so good mashaAllah and we are thankful for everything Alhamdulillah

Well, duty calls so I’m off.

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Hijra 2

Bismillah

Today I’m at my MIL’s house and will be here for a bit. Inshallah our house will be done in the next two weeks but if it’s not done, I pray to Allah that we shall remain patient through this trial. We came to DZ full of hope that things were ready for us, in many ways, and yet, very little is really ready for us subhanallah.

The family was not ready because my MIL was having her home repainted from the inside out so everything was everywhere and she wasn’t able to receive guests really. My SIL had just moved into her rented apartment across the street and her everything was/is not organized or present yet. Our house in Ouled Fayet (OF) is completely gutted from the inside (note: it’s a 2 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor and the lift isn’t working), with no possibility to even leave our excess luggage there as there wasn’t even a floor! The first night we stayed at my grandmother in law’s house while she was away visiting one of her other daughters in Kolea. The next night we moved into my SIL’s house and occupied the 2nd bedroom, pretty much guaranteeing her son and daughter (9 and 12 years old) would be sleeping in the salon (living room). They fight like cat and dog half the time so it’s not the best combination or situation. We’ve been staying there till today.

She needs to fix her house and get ready for Ramadhan and needs the freedom/space from guests I suppose. My MIL’s painting and organizing are basically done so we can stay here for time T. It’s a bit of a stress inducing situation for us but my kids are champions mashaAllah and my DH is trying his best to create beautiful accommodations for us to live in soon so patience and good/positive thoughts are what are necessary right now, so I’m trying my best inshallahJ

Ramdhan is around the corner, just a week from now really and I’m a bit worried how everything will go. It’s not like I haven’t spent Ramadhan here before but I was a guest, with a time limit, knowing I was going home on a set date, etc. Even then, it was very hard and I only had one child, a breastfeeding baby. Now I have three, one is more or less full time breastfeeding, the other a toddler, and a lovely and very understanding daughter so I’m blessed mashaAllah. The place will be small, the kitchen not mine, nor the menu, nor any thing to do with the house. However, I hope and pray that this Ramadhan will still be one of my best inshallah.

The key is patience, dua, and remaining positive in the face of looming challenges. There is much to do in addition to fasting and keeping a leash on hot tempers in the middle of a hot summer with no access to water or food for upwards of 16 hours each day. We have to run for my residency permit, which starts with a two year resident visa, which requires some fancy footwork and lots of paper trails (more on this later as a separate entry inshallah). We have to complete the house and make it livable. From buying floor tiles to ceiling lights, doors and windows, bathtub, sink and toilet, to outfitting a kitchen from cabinets to appliances and buying furniture for the house. We also visit the schools near our location and make a final decision for either private or public and then do the registration, which again I’m sure is going to require some fancy paper work footwork (I’ll also do a separate entry for this later inshallah).

So this Ramadhan is not going to contain only the challenge of fasting while managing a household, but many additional challenges. Despite the loaming load, I’m really looking forward to it and pray for it to be one special one inshallah. Towards that I know I have to mentally prepare my heart. 

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Bismillah

ImageWe are fasting mashaAllah!! I’m so happy to have this ramadhan find me while in hijra and in hard ship too mashaAllah. I pray for good things to come, for patience to be abundant and beautiful, and for my heart to find and be in peace and contentment. Nothing I can think of in this world, beats being at peace, feeling peace, and nothing is more peaceful to me than when I’m in alignment with the decrees of Allah.

This ramadhan I quest for peace inshallah. I want to attain the darajah of peace and contentment, which I’m sure is linked with patience and gratefulness (which were my goals the previous 2 years and continue to be the two foundation pillars I try to base my living upon now inshallah).

Today is hot inside but the sun is covered by ghuyum (clouds) so it’’s not so hot when one is outside and about, plus there is a slight but constant breeze mashaAllah. Its eleven am and I’ve already felt at least one hunger pang… I hope I get used to fasting again quickly. Unfortunately (and I mean that sincerely), I haven’t had a chance to fast much this year, being pregnant and giving birth just two months before ramadhan.

However, there are people who don’t fast the whole year, not even one fast and still manage to fast their full ramadhan when it comes so I know I can do it inshallah and just pray for patience.

Well, it looks to be an uneventful day inshallah and I pray it stays so. My BIL is off in Dubai for this first week of ramadhan so that means I’m a bit free in the house (no hijab twenty four seven). My MIL is cooking iftar everyday so I don’t have to think or plan for our dinner or sohoor. There is good in that and some difficulty as my style is a bit different but that is part of my chance to make this ramadhan outstanding inshallah.

I will strive to keep a journal for this first ramadhan as a muhajir inshallah (I really pray this is a title (muhajir) that Allah will allow to be added to the names the angels will call me when they come to pick me up and escort me up to the first samaa inshallah taala).

So inshallah my goal for this ramadhan is to gain peace and contentment in addition to patience and gratefulness in front of Allah… Also, I want to gain a sense of shame/hayaa in front of Allah. He has given me so much, allowed me so much, helped me so much, and I am who I am and where I am today because of Him and His Mercy and Grace in my life. I want to gain taqwa (awareness of Him) in my actions throughout the day. I want to worship Allah with Ihsan (perfection) in my ibadaat and other actions throughout my day inshallah.

It’s a tall order so I’m going to take it piecemeal inshallah but I trust fully in Allah that He will help me, though I have very little trust in myself that I will help me but I’m going to do my best inshallah and keeping this journal for this ramadhan will inshallah help me this effort.

K, off to do other things inshallah… let’s make dua bezev bezev (a lot!) for Allah to forgive us, our families, and all the Muslims in every place and on yawmul qiyamah inshallah. May Allah fill our hearts with the love of Him, with His light and guidance, and may He help us to worship Him with certainty and sincerity ameen.

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Hijra 062113

Bismillah

Hijra, the Beginning Inshallah

It’s now day 2 of our first attempt at living in a Muslim country. We are living in Algeria, in Algiers. I am going to try  my best inshallah to document my time here in hopes of collecting my thoughts and impressions as well as benefiting myself and others as Allah wills inshallah.

The first day was Friday. We woke up early, did any last minute packing and cleaning and by 10:30 am had handed the flat (apartment) off to the next tenants and were in the car on our way to the airport. By 7pm the same day we were in Algeria, and went through customs and left the airport fairly rapidly. I say that because we had lots of stuff with us, between checked in bags, hand bags, car seats and prams.

We spent our first night with my parents in law and as usual it was a bit tight due to our size and the size of my in law’s place. Some few things that happened along the way were that I got really sick in the airplane. I had a bit of stuffy nose going into the airplane and for the first time in my life, the change in air pressure gave me a massive I don’t know what but it made my head feel like it was going to explode. My ears are still not what they were and my neck is still not  very comfortable and actually the first night and morning of being here, whenever I’d be in prostration, my neck would feel like its going to roll off my shoulders! However, the aches and pains , as well as the stuffy nose and headache are all almost gone so Alhamdulillah.

All of us are adjusting pretty well to the new environment and so far, no sickness  or  major discomfort has touched us, which is so much better than last year when we came for our usual vacation here inshallah so Alhamdulillah for everything.

Now, I came here thinking that our place to live would be ready and its really very far from. Its only been gutted inside and they (builders) are still at the stage of laying down pipes and fixing walls, which is so much further than I had been led to  believe    but I’ll be honest that I’m not overly  bothered. I have full faith that Allah wanted it this way to give me opportunity to contribute more directly to the finishing and beautification of my living quarters inshallah.

Therefore, currently, we are renting in ‘comfort’ (French pronunciation please) and are living across the two way road from my MIL’s house and 2 buildings away from the monument, and a masjid in our back yard masha’Allah. Its all very exciting and comes with its good and bad, easy and hard, fun and no so fun parts. The main thing is that I’m comfortable where I’m at. I’m happy and content, something I may not have been I think if my heart had not been prepared.

I made lots of dua for patience and a whole bunch of other necessities associated with patience before coming because I know my Algeria/Algerians very well by now mashaAllah (8 years of marriage this summer mashaAllah).

A few things of note before I go have my dinner inshallah (I’m currently typing and breastfeeding at the same timeJ): our car crossed the Mediterranean sea safely and passed through customs safely Alhamdulillah. Our builder is ready to tackle the next part with more confidence now that the ‘lady of the house’ is here to make some critical decisions regarding the interior mashaAllah. We are renting across my MIL’s so its easy to receive and access help regarding many small and big matters relating to adjusting and living here inshallah. My family in law (FIL) is willing to be of as much help as they can afford inshallah to help us settle and acclimatize ourselves to this life and lifestyle inshallah.

All in all, two days in the Hijra and I’m even more excited now that when we started this adventure. I pray Allah will help us in every way and protect us from every harm and make our path easy and open our way through easily inshallah. I pray for our effort to be sincere and to be blessed and for us to be forgiven and strengthened through the difficulties, and for our hijra to be successful till when we meet Allah ameen.

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