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Archive for January, 2014

Bismillah

I just finished watching a documentary and I’m just in tears subhanallah. It was about a woman, a Turkana woman married to a man who was hell bent on being and remaining a herder. He also had another wife. His mom was the one who decided which of the women will have kids and when.  By the time I started watching the documentary, she was on her 7th child, who later died. She had a son, Erdo who was 2, and was not happy with her situation.

She considered her husband’s opinions on how to survive or raise their children flawed and insisted settling and farming were the way to go, not herding anymore, especially since their land was overrun by ‘shiftas’ and when war was heating up in Turkana Land, which is part of Kenya and I’m guessing Somalia.

The documentary follows this woman, Esta, along with her family, as they struggle to make it and survive in the very harsh environment that is just not friendly subhanallah. I watched this woman build houses that she kept having to run away from due to the shiftas and their shenanigans. I watched her give birth to child after child, watch them die, have dreams for the remaining ones (12 at last count) and struggle to help them help themselves and ‘make it’.

She refused to give away any of her kids, despite the difficulties she faced to provide them and give them her attention, seeing as she had to help her husband herd, make a small farm that would feed them, help her husband cut  trees so they could create charcoal that they then sell for money that by her estimation, would then feed the kids for only 3 days before more charcoal has to be created again.

She said she wasn’t afraid of hard work (while bulding a house and carrying water for miles, while heavily pregnant and with a small child, no more than 2 by her side!). she said she only had one dream and that is to send her kids to schools so they can better themselves.

She was so eloquent subhanallah, this poor woman, uneducated, living in the bunnies of Kenya somewhere unnamable mashaAllah! What really struck me was her uncompromising stance on her views, her strength of character in the face of seemingly impossible obstacles, and her consistent hope that with hard work, dedication, and reliance upon God, one can make it and accomplish much (though not everything).

Her son grew up to be a very profound young man from what I saw and heard, heading to college in Nairobi this year 2013. He seemed very aware of the dangers of leaving home, living in a big city, and trying to make it in the world. I loved it when he said that ‘corruption kills hope’ and waxed eloquently on how due to corruption and the need to bribe authorities for every small right and progress, no one makes it, and chances are nil for the average Joe giving it a go.

The whole video made me think so much and for days too. I’m still feeling the repercussions of it in my psyche a few weeks later and keep seeing flashes of various scenes from it.

ps. I apologize I could not post the video as by the time I was able to search for it, I could not find it. I will keep trying inshallah and post it when I do inshallah.

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Bismillah

 

 

So, prioritizing Allah and the worship of Him, is a theme or thought that is going around in my head. I don’t know when it became a non priority. I think as I added kids and home responsibilities in life, the overt actions of worshipping Allah just got reduced. Less reading of the Quran (still my favorite book in the whole world), less sunnah salaat, less reading of spiritual, inspiring, informative, etc Islamic material. To the point that I cant remember the last Islamic book I read!

My littlest is 9 months today mashaAllah, moving around by himself and learning to be independent mashaAllah.  I’m hoping I will slowly start to regain my direction and strength in worshipping Allah better inshallah. I also have to figure out how to integrate personal worship with the raising of my children, something I didn’t even have to think about a few years ago subhanallah. My oldest is 6.5 mashallah, goes to school for 8 hours everyday (from the time she leaves home to the time she enters mashaAllah), which leaves me with very few hours to spend with her in the week. My second is 3.7 years old mashaAllah and has progressed enough mentally to join my efforts to please Allah.

I would like to be their role model and their teacher about Islam, etiquette, rules, responsibilities, rights, obligations, etc but sometimes feel overwhelmed with just getting my own self on the right path. So I suppose my priorities should be to get myself on a routine where I practice something small but regular until it becomes part of all of our lives, the way brushing teeth is a daily and regular activity.

Besides the daily obligations, which Alhamdulillah I keep up with, I would like my daytime sunnah salaat to be more regular, such that I pray salatul dhuha at least 5x a week and the pre-salatul dhuhr sunnahs pretty regularly, again at 5x a week. I would like to pray some qiyamu al layl also pretty regularly, though I think I should start with just once or twice a week on set days until I’m stronger then push up to a few times a week until it’s a daily thing (nightly!) inshallah. I would also like to get back to reading the quran from cover to cover several times a year, ideally once every month but I’d be super happy if I finish it at least once before Ramadhan comes again this year!

Islam is living and living is hard and hectic and very involved and unpredictable and not in our control. Living means struggling, sacrificing, striving, overcoming, and doing something over and over and over and over again, then waking up to repeat it until it becomes a part of you, the way breathing and eating and drinking is. We know we are alive when we get hungry so we proceed to eat, get thirsty so we proceed to eat, are oxygen starved so we proceed to exhale and inhale, etc. To become a successful Muslim inshallah is to keep doing the same things everyday and not stopping or skipping once inshallah.

Now that I’ve given myself a pep talk, let me set a doable goal inshallah. Tomorrow morning when I wake up, I will inshallah pick up my Quran, sit my bum somewhere decent and simply open the book and start reading, until something happens that requires I have to stop (mama, khalaaaaaas!!). I don’t think I should try to set a place to start and finish, or read in a certain order or even for a certain amount. I will do as much as I can, start somewhere then proceed forward from there, and continue till I every page has been seen once inshallah. Tomorrow, Quran, no set page number, no set time inshallah. 

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