Ow! Ow! Ow!

We recently took a trip meeting Y’s parents at the Jeddah airport and taking a taxi together to Makkah. We arrived, walked into the tower where our hotel was, unsuccessfully attempted to check in and finally decided to complete our Umrah before the weather became too hot. Concierge took care of our bags and we walked to Masjid AlHaram. We forgot to bring a small plastic bag to store our shoes in, so we left them in the corner. They were just rubber flip-flops, which meant it wouldn’t be a huge problem if we didn’t find them there when we finished. We entered the Masjid and walked inside to the center, where the Kaaba stands.

We started the first ritual of Umrah.  During Tawaf the Masjid was full of the sound of the call to Dhuhr (noon) prayer, so we paused to pray. I find this part of being in the Masjid to be the most amazing. You will stand waiting to begin the prayer and all of the empty spaces around you will fill up in a matter of moments, without any pushing or harsh words. I’ve never experiences any other kind of organization like it. After the prayer we finished Tawaf and we walked to the part of the masjid to perform Sa’i. When we finished we began to make our way out of the Masjid and back to the hotel.
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Something really surprising about being in the masjid is that fact that you can walk barefoot on the sun beaten white ceramic without frying your feet. This was lucky for us as we didn’t find our shoes as we exited the Masjid. We just shrugged it off and continued walking. Just before the end of the white ceramic there was a woman selling rubber sandals. Y’s dad asked her how much and when she said “10 riyal”, Y came back with “How about 5?” She said “okay”, but Y shook his head in that we were almost back to the hotel lobby, so there was really no point.

In that moment we all stepped from the white ceramic tiles to the colored marble that lined the path to the hotels. My first step was uncomfortable. The second step burned. By the third step the bottom of my feet were on fire. Y’s dad immediately started sprinting to the door. Y’s mom hopped around for a minute in a hilarious sort of dance before following dad up to the door. I decided to follow when suddenly Y grabbed my arm and pulled me back to the soothing cool white tiles. I looked at him and started laughing. He had a smile on his face as well, especially when he mentioned his mom’s little dance. Y decided to do business with the flip-flops lady, who smiled and stated, “10 riyal”. Y chuckled, purchased 4 pairs and we walked up to the door where we found mom and dad sitting, also laughing about what had just happened.

I swear it was the sort of thing that you could just imagine happening in a cartoon. I love these kind of memories. It’s the kind of memory that I can think about a year later and still laugh.

الحمدلله


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King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz • الملك عبدالله بن عبدالعزيز

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz • الملك عبدالله بن عبدالعزيز

I was sitting on the couch with Y when suddenly he said, “There are all of these things on Twitter saying that King Abdullah died, but I don’t know…”

“Do you think it’s true?” I asked.
“I’m not sure…” he replied.

We went on doing whatever it was that we were doing. I think we had the MBC movie channel on the TV and both of us were sort of mindlessly scrolling through social media dashboards on our phones. All of a sudden the channel changed to the live feed from Makkah. Not just one of the channels, but all of them.

I could tell by the look on Y’s face that this had more significant meaning than a strange technical glitch. A few moments later the channel quickly changed to a news broadcast. The man on the screen announced the death of the King.

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Y looked at me with such sorrow in his eyes and said, “King Abdullah is one reason that I met you”.

إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون
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الحمد لله‎


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A Beautiful Surprise

One of my students went to Makkah to do Umrah and when she returned I came to my office to find a surprise waiting for me on my desk.

She left a little gold bag. There was a little note she had written on the back of a small picture of the Kaaba. Inside the bag was a Quran with a pink cover. I didn’t notice under later that she had my name pressed into the back cover. It is such a special gift and something that I will really cherish.

الحمد لله‎

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Apology and Happy Eid!

First of all, I’m so sorry that I’ve been gone all these days without any sort of update. I had a little break from work for Hajj and Eid. On the first of the month I traveled to Turkey where I spent time in Istanbul and also Bodrum. I plan to make quite a few posts about my trip ان شاء الله, so I won’t be saying too much about that now, but I will say that it was a really fantastic and relaxing holiday.

Secondly, Happy Eid!

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كل عام وانتم بخير
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I’ll be back real soon with lots of details about my trip, ان شاء الله.

الحمد لله‎


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Last September Weekend

Thursday was the last day of work for a short break due to Hajj and Eid Al Adha. A day of teaching, workshops and meetings ended with a nap on the bus and snacks with friends in my apartment.

Friday I went to Riyadh Gallery with a few of the girls. We shopped, sat for coffee at a cafe and enjoyed wandering around. Once arriving home I put on my sweats, had a cup of tea and dumped myself into bed.

Saturday was my 24th birthday.
I spent the morning relaxing. Some of the girls came by that afternoon. One brought me this adorable little sorbet sundae. Another stopped by with a box of mini cupcakes and chocolate caramels. The last visitor made a cute little Instagram video and sang to me in Spanish and Chinese. How lovely and thoughtful are my new found friends?

Later that night Y came back from visiting his family. We planned to go have sushi at Benihana, but it was so packed that we got a take-away and enjoyed dinner at home instead.

I had a really lovely and simple weekend.
A big thanks to everyone who visited me, wrote me a message, sent me a picture or passed along positive thoughts. Love you all and thanks for making life so sweet.

Here is a short video to sum it all up.


[This video contains music]

 

Thank God for each year of life that I have been given, the people who have been with me and I pray for even better years to come.

الحمد لله‎


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Happy Eid عيد سعيد

Happy Eid
عيد سعيد

Wishing you all a blessed Eid
كل عام وانتم بخير

May God accept all of our fasting and prayers.
تقبل الله منا ومنكم

Thanks be to God الحمد لله‎ for this past month of Ramadan
and God willing ان شاء الله it is not our last.

What is Eid Al-Fitr عيد الفطر ?
It is the celebration marking the end of the month of fasting (Ramadan).
Everyone wears new clothes, enjoys delicious food and thanks God for all of His blessings.

There is an obligatory act of charity, prayer, time is spent with family and small gifts of money or candy are given to children.
It is a beautiful time to reflect on the lessons and realizations of the past month.

الحمد لله‎


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Jesus عيسى – Part 1

Please read with an open mind and an open heart.
ان شاء الله

Jesus عيسى 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)
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No Muslim is a Muslim if he or she does not believe in Jesus Christ.
The Muslim, in compliance with the Quran believes that Jesus was a great messenger of God, that brought the dead to life by God’s will, that he healed those born blind and the lepers by God’s will, that he was born without any male intervention and that he was the Christ.

لا اله الا الله

Biblical evidence of Jesus 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) being a Servant of God and having no share in divinity.
“Children of God”
Jesus never called himself Son of God, but he used to call himself the “Son of Man.” [Mark 2:10]
Although he heard himself being called that name he did not object and did not condor the title exclusively for him.
According to the Biblical term in the Old and New Testaments, every God-fearing righteous person is called “Son of God”.
[In Matthew 5:9 we read]
“Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
[In Matthew 5:45]
“That ye may be children of your Father which is in heaven…”
[Matthew 23:8]
“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father which is in heaven.”
From this you will note that fatherhood and sonship is meant to be the relationship between the Lord and His servants: It is meant in general sense and not specifically for Jesus.

Jesus 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) : Preacher of Monotheism
[In John 17:3]
“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent.”
[In Mark 12:28:30]
“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ And Jesus answered him: ‘The first of all the commandments is; hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is One Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord, they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.'”
[In Mark 12:32]
“And the scribe said unto him, ‘Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God, and there is none other but He.”
[In Mark 12:34]
“…he (Jesus) said unto him, ‘Thou are not far from the kingdom of God…”
In these verses, Jesus himself had testified that Allah is the One God, there is none other than Him, and whoever believes in his Oneness, he is near the Kingdom of God. Therefore whoever associates partners with God or believes in the trinity is far away from the Kingdom of God.
[In Matthew 24:36]
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of the heaven, but my father only.”
A similar text is proclaimed in the Quran stating that none knows when the hour will come except God. This establishes the fact that Jesus was subservient to God and that he had no share in Divnity: that he was an inaction of God, was an innovation by people.
Prophet Jesus never claimed divinity.
He taught the Oneness of God and confirmed that he was just a messenger.
[In John 20:17]
Jesus said, “…I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
[In John 5:30]
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear and my judgement is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

After the ascension of Prophet Jesus most of the Christians remind Unitarian. They used to believe in the oneness of God and the teachers of Prophet Jesus and all of the other Prophets. They did not believe in the doctrines of Trinity, Original Sin, Blood Atonement or Divine Sonship of Jesus. After centuries of Persecution against the unitarian Christians, the Pauline church prevailed and the teachers of Paul replaced the teaching of Jesus.

I hope that you found this brief post informative and a helpful introduction in understanding the difference in views of Prophet Jesus in Islam and Christianity.

To be continued…
ان شاء الله

الحمد لله‎


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Umrah عمرة

Umrah  عمرة

Umrah is a non-mandatory pilgrimage to Makkah, which can be performed at any time of the year.

Umrah is comprised of a series of acts related to events that happened to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his second wife Hajer raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her). It is also meant to provide a sense of solidarity between Muslims.

The pilgrimage is full of prayer to and remembrance of God subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) .

Thursday, July 3 we left Riyadh for Makkah to do Umrah.

This was one of the best trips of my life.
It was beautiful, 
it was fulfilling, 
it was refreshing,
and it strengthened my faith.

In sha Allah ان شاء الله our Umrah is accepted.

I will make a second post with more details about the trip later on.

الحمد لله‎


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Ramadan Kareem – رمضان كريم

Abu Huraira (may God be pleased with him) Reported: God’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”

 . عن ابي هريرة رضي الله عنه ان رسول الله صل الله عليه وسلم قال : اذا جاء رمضان فتحت ابواب الجنة ، وغلقت ابواب النار ، وصفدت الشياطين
(رواه مسلم)

رمضان كريم 
Ramadan Kareem

As we enter Ramadan I would like to wish you all a blessed and successful month.
May God accept all of your prayers, fasting, and good deeds.
May God give you peace, happiness and prosperity.
May God protect you and guide you.

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Ramadan Mubarak
Congratulations for the holy month of Ramadan
May God be upon you in protection and in faith.
and May God accept from us our deeds.
Every year may you become closer to God.

الحمد لله‎


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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I’ve made a lot of mistakes with friends in the past while I was trying to figure out my life. I did a lot of stupid things. I hurt a lot of people. I think only those very close to me are the only ones who really know how much I have changed and in what way.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates

Sure, you’ve probably noticed a few things…

I don’t put pictures of myself on Facebook.

I don’t approve requests from guys on my instagram.

I cover my body and my hair when I am in public.

I don’t socialize with members of the opposite sex.

There are also a lot of things that you probably don’t know…

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My lifestyle might not be the same as your lifestyle, but please respect the fact that I am simply doing what I think is right.

Please, don’t think that I don’t care about you.

I have nothing against you.

I don’t dislike you or hate you.

This is just my life.

This is my religion.

These are my beliefs.

If you take these things personally, then you are undermining the effort that I am putting in to be a better person.

After three years I am still learning something new about myself and my religion everyday, but I just want you to think about how much I had to learn and how much I had to change in the beginning of my conversion to Islam. I was trying to learn things that people spend all of their childhood learning. I was trying to learn how to pray, how to be more modest in dress and in behavior, to read and understand a text from thousands of years ago and to be more respectful to myself and to those around me.

For those of you who have stuck by me, thank you. For those of you who have gone, thank you. However, there is one person I really want to apologize to.  You were there for me at my best and at my worst, but I think I underestimated you and I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I didn’t take time to explain. I’m sorry for anything that I did to hurt you. I just hope you know that I pray for you happiness always.

“Things change and friends leave and life doesn’t stop for anybody.”

الحمد لله‎


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