Monday, December 12, 2011

Interesting Article: Women and Turkish Mosques

Salaam alaikum everyone, insh'Allah you're all doing well and are in a great state of health and iman.

One of my friends on Facebook shared an interesting article about some changes that are going to be made to Turkish mosques. Read it HERE

Personally, I'm very happy that something like this is going to be done. Mosques are not only for men...but for men AND women! Unfortunately, this is something that a lot of people seem to have forgotten in our ummah, which is so sad. Not having a separate wash room for women to make wudu is just absolutely ridiculous. It's also unacceptable for men to be offered a wide, open, clean, and beautifully ornamented space in which to worship Allah(swt), yet all women get is a cramped, dirty little corner. A lot of people seem to use the excuse that it's "better for a woman to pray at home anyways" not to offer nice women's areas in mosques. However, these same people also seem to forget that the Prophet Muhammed(saws) said “Do not prevent the female servants of Allah from the Mosques of Allah.” [Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 0886] However, this is exactly what these people are doing by not providing an acceptable prayer space for women within the mosque!

As for taking down the barriers...personally, I like having a barrier. I know that some sisters do not, and feel that it is sexist, but I find that it helps me to concentrate, and I like the added privacy. I'm also aware that in the time of the Prophet(saws), men and women didn't have any barriers between them in the masjid. However, I have been to masjids both with and without barriers...and I always felt weird at the ones that didn't have at least a curtain separating the brothers from the sisters...mostly because certain brothers can't seem to be able to keep their eyes to themselves, may Allah(swt) guide them -_-' All the mosques that I've been to in Morocco have a barrier, but you can still hear the imam nice and clear. Usually, the women's areas in Moroccan masjids are on a balcony above the men, and have a decorative wall in front of them so that brothers below cannot see in. They have also all have had separate toilet and wudu areas, separate entrances, and they have all been clean and spacious (with the exception of a few which were a bit crowded...but it might have just been because it was Ramadan, and the mosques are always crowded during Ramadan...heck, I had to pray Eid al Adha prayer this year on the SIDEWALK outside the masjid because there were so many people attending, subhan'Allah!) Anyways, Morocco gets a thumbs up in my book for their women's areas in their mosques. Heck, a lot of them are 100 times better than some of the women's areas I've been to in AMERICAN mosques.

In short, I'm so glad Turkey has decided to make its mosques more women friendly, the way mosques should be.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salaam!

Salaam alaikum everyone! Insh'Allah you're all doing well and are in the best of health and iman. First off, I want to say thank you to all of my new readers! Insh'Allah you won't all be bored to death of my blog...seeing as I don't really post anything of much substance on here lol :P I keep saying I'm going to change that, but it doesn't really happen.

Anyways, I did have a semi-interesting post planned, seeing as I was at a wedding last week, and I was going to share some nice pictures with y'all...however, I've discovered that my USB cable to transfer pictures from my camera to my laptop got destroyed a while ago by little kitten teeth (fyi: I had to give my kitties away to another family after Ramadan because of allergy issues my husband and myself were having...I still miss them so much...but I'm happy that my hubby and I are no longer suffering), so alas no photos until I can get another USB cable, which might be a while...so, boo.

As for me...I've had a serious lack of energy as of late...so just trying to keep the house clean and organized requires a nap afterwards. LOL that sounds so pathetic!

So, I'll try to post some interesting/thoughtful things, but alas I can't really promise all that much.

P.S. Does anybody have any suggestions for good Islamic lectures to watch? I feel like I have been seriously slacking astighfirallah (partially due to my low energy level and feeling crummy for most of the day...but enough with the excuses), and I'd really like to make an effort to get back on track.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

EID MUBARAK SA'EED!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone,

HAPPY EID to all of my brothers and sisters around the world! For those of you who completed hajj, may Allah accept your hajj and cleanse you of your sins, ameen! Insh'Allah one day my husband and I will be able to say that we completed that amazing journey. Please keep us in your du'ahs that one day we will be able to go. Insh'Allah I hope that you all are able to experience hajj one day, if you have not already. I can only dream of how utterly amazing it would be.

EID AL-ADHA is officially tomorrow for those of us in the maghreb (as I've mentioned before, for whatever weird reason we are always one day behind Saudi...maybe the moon just doesn't like us as much, lol). I'm really looking forward to making the most of it insh'Allah.

I'm hoping that I won't cry when we sacrifice our sheep this year...mash'Allah he's so handsome ^_^ He's been hanging out on the terrace for the past few days, along with my father-in-law's sheep. It's been really rainy and cold, and I hope that Allah(swt) will give us some sun for tomorrow.

Anyways, enjoy your Eid everyone, and insh'Allah I will be back here soon with another post!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh hi

I'm currently sitting here fighting the urge not to eat all of the chocolate pudding that is sitting in my fridge. MUST. HAVE. SELF CONTROL.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Would You Be Interested?


Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all well and in the best of health and iman.

I've been throwing around an idea in my head for a while, and I want to ask y'all something. Who would be interested in purchasing things from Morocco? I was thinking of starting off with offering hijab scarves, traditional Moroccan slippers, and ready made djellabas and harem pants, and possibly offering tailoring service for djellabas.

Would anybody be interested? What types of things would you be interested in seeing?

Leave your comments and suggestions below, I'm really interested in reading them, jazak Allah khair!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gorgeous: Sisters Feast Your Eyes on These!

Salaam alaikum everyone! This particular post is going to be dedicated to sisters, specifically sisters' fashion...I encourage the brothers not to continue reading this post...but hey, whatever floats your boat.

I came across these designs online, and, can I say I was literally drooling when I saw them? Mash'Allah these are GORGEOUS! They are designed, made and sold by a french sister...if you are interested in seeing more, check out her website here: http://www.jilbabsdemariage.com/

The fabric that she's used looks very similar to fabric that is available here for caftans and takchitas, so I'm tempted to go to a tailor and get one made the next time I'm due for new formal wear (which won't be for a while...I just got a new takchita tailored for an upcoming wedding...takchitas and caftans are real investment pieces here...depending on the fabric you buy and the design, they will usually run you well over $100...which means that you wear them for years until you tailor a new one...a lot of women here choose to rent their takchitas/caftans because it's a lot less pricey).

Here are some of my favorites from her collection, what you all think?








Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So Sad...So Disgusting!



Please watch this video, if you can stomach it.

I don't understand how people can do things like this to fellow human beings. Maybe it's because they've been conditioned into thinking that their Palestinian neighbors aren't human? Mash'Allah this family has so much patience to put up with this kind of abuse...honestly, I don't know if I could!

Lol...and did you notice how much they were yelling at them to turn off the camera? The soldier even pushed her! Pft, scared that something like this will ruin the "perfectly innocent victim" image that your disgusting Zionist government has been spoon-feeding to the media for the past several decades? Insh'Allah maybe someday it will...and the whole world can see you for what you really are and the hell you are and have been putting the Palestinian people through for so long.

May Allah(swt) grant patience and freedom to all oppressed peoples around the world, ameen! Alhamdolillah I am so thankful that I can live my life in peace without having to put up with stuff like this every day.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eid Mubarak! (Late Again...lol)

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh...

...surprise surprise, I'm late again, but I just wanted to say Eid mubarak (or as they say it here, mabrook l'Eid) to all of my sisters and brothers around the world! Insh'Allah everyone enjoyed their Eid!

Eid was Wednesday for us here in the maghreb (the land of one day delay lol)...and to be quite honest...Eid for me was kind of cruddy unfortunately :( Honestly, the highlight for me was getting to wear my new djellaba (the very first for me to own!). Lol, call me shallow or whatever you want...but there's always something so refreshing about putting on new clothes :)

So, what made my Eid so cruddy, you might ask? (warning: if you're someone who doesn't like reading complaints...please just skip over the list)

1. I couldn't pray Eid prayer...and therefore was kept from going to the mosque (not by my husband, mind you, because he was at work...more on that later...but by his family). I didn't want to actually go IN the prayer area...because you're not supposed to do that when you can't pray...but ladies are still obligated to go to the mosque on Eid, regardless of whether or not they're menstruating. This was the first Eid I couldn't pray, so I don't really know how it technically works, but when I went for Eid al Adha prayer last year, I saw that the ladies who couldn't pray just sat outside the prayer area on the steps, so I figured I'd just do the same. Not the case. All of my female in-laws were like "no, you're on your period, you can't go!" So...that kind of soured my mood right from the start.

2. My husband worked the night shift the night before...and didn't get home until 11 am because the person who was taking over for him showed up late (which my husband had okay-ed, because the guy has young children and he wanted to have some time to spend with his family in the morning...understandable) However...I was just shocked that some people are still required to work here on Eid. Anyways, that meant that my husband pretty much slept all day when he got home (again, understandable...he was up all night working), and by the time he woke up, there were only about three hours left before he had to leave to go to work again (but he was really nice and made a point to spend some time talking to me during those three hours <3). So, I didn't really get to see my husband that much on Eid. Again, say what you want, but I don't like when I barely get to spend any time with my hubby all day, especially when it's on Eid :'(

3. I spent a considerable amount of my day at one of my hubby's great aunts' apartment because she had invited a lot of people over for Eid. Her husband (also one of my husband's great uncles) died the second week of Ramadan (inna lilahi wa inna ilahi raji'un)...so the atmosphere was understandably a bit depressing. I don't mind visiting my husband's family; it's actually nice to see people, especially people that you haven't seen in a while (which means in a couple weeks/months by my husband's family's standards). I just don't like spending the majority of the day there, because that inevitably means that I am stuck in a room full of women who I only half-understand (if even) what they're talking about...and most of it is talking about what happened/is happening to so-and-so in the family...not exactly what you'd call scintillating conversation (okay, again, call me whatever, but I just don't find it interesting). So, what I end up doing is sitting there for hours on end just staring at the wall, or the floor. Yeah. Fun.

So yes...that is why I didn't really enjoy my Eid. I really hope that insh'Allah everyone else had a better experience. What did you do for Eid?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This is SO Disturbing...

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all well and are in the best of health and the highest of iman!

So, before I continue, I'd like y'all to watch this short little video:




Okay, now did that give anyone else the creeps? I just want to say that personally, I don't wear flower clips or anything extra under my scarf, but I do tie my hair in a bun at the back of my head, and it does create a noticeable bump ('cause, well, I have a lot of hair, and that's the only way I find comfortable to wear my hair under my scarf...I can't stand feeling things on the back of my neck...I've had people tell me to braid my hair and tuck it into to back of my abaya...ickkkkk I would not be able to stand that...so, bun it is for me). I also want to state that I've read evidences from both sides both saying that the flower clips or adding extra is haram/not haram...and quite honestly, I'm still not sure where I stand with the issue...but I do know that personally, I'm not comfortable wearing them (but, honestly, I don't have beef with sisters who do so modestly...modestly being the key word here).

Now, with that disclaimer over, I do not find anything modest about this style whatsoever. In fact, I find it really disturbing, because at the end her head ends up looking 5 times bigger than it was before. Do people really walk around like this? Alhamdolillah I've never seen this in real life, neither in the U.S. nor Morocco...and I kinda hope I never do. To top it all off...it's a MAN styling her scarf (what's up with that?). Does anyone else find this wrong on so many levels?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Feed a Hungry Child in Only a Few Minutes!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all well and are in the best of health and high iman. Well, it's here already, we are in the LAST 10 DAYS OF RAMADAN! Let's make the most of it; may Allah(swt) grant us all pardon for our past sins, and may He(swt) shower us with His mercy and blessings, and accept our fasts and all of our acts of worship, ameen!

A sister on facebook shared this link, and I thought I'd share it with all of you...

For every person who takes this short quiz, a child will receive a warm meal thanks to an anonymous donor to WFP. It'll only take a few minutes out of your day, and who knows, you might learn something about hunger at the same time! I know I did, subhan'Allah!

Click here to take the quiz and feed a hungry child

It would be lovely if people would share this as well...let's get as many people as we can to take this quiz!

See you all soon, insh'Allah! Salaam alaikum!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Guess I'll Do It Too...

Salaam alaikum everyone, insh'Allah you're all doing well, enjoying your Ramadan, making the most of the time left (can you believe Ramadan is already half way through, subhan'Allah!), etc. etc.

I saw this over at Amal's blog and thought I'd do it too, because I feel like, so there, heh :P

A
– Available: Married, alhamdolillah!
– Age: 21
– Animals: love them (me too, me too!, here here!)

B
– Beer: I have no idea what it tastes like, but I know that it smells gross because my Dad likes to drink it
– Best friends: my husband <3
– Body Part on opposite sex: meh, I don't look at men any more, I'm happy with what I've got lol
– Best feeling in the world: feeling at peace with yourself and everyone and everything around you
– Best weather: sunny, mid sixties, with a gentle breeze, and a few puffy clouds in the sky (does it freak anyone else out when there are no clouds in the sky?)
– Been in Love: yep and still am, alhamdolillah
– Been on stage: I used to be a dancer, so yes, lots
– Believe in Magic: yes, but stay far far away!
– Believe in Santa: LOL, I figured out "Santa Clause" was my parents when I was like nine or ten...I can still remember the conversation very clearly...and my parents telling me not to spoil it for my little brother and sister XD
– Brand: I don't care about brands

C
– Candy: york patties...man I haven't had one in forever :(
– Color: purple (me too!)
– Chocolate/Vanilla: Strawberry. Hah.
- Chinese/Indian/Italian: I have had such strong cravings for Chinese food lately...
- Cake or pie: Cake
– Cheese: I love cheese. Mozarella cheese here is a special treat for me because it's so expensive.

D
– Day or Night: Night
– Dancing in the rain: I've done it. It's over-rated. I just ended up cold and wet and wanting a hot shower and a cup of tea. I hate getting wet when it doesn't involve a shower/wudu.

E
– Eyes: I have a pair, alhamdulillah :D (ameen to that)
– Ever failed a class?: yes, in fact I failed out of college, despite graduating with honors from high school
– Enemies: shaitan...but he's locked up right now, hahahaha! XD
– Exercise: I like to take walks, dance by myself (lol, that sounds so lame, but really, it's awesome, trust me), and I'm planning on getting an exercise bike for Eid insh'Allah...I used to be so much more active


F
– First thoughts waking up: it depends...but usually it's something related to my hubby
– Food: is delicious (yes, yes it is!)

G
– Greatest Fear: that I won't get to see Allah(swt) in the akhira
– Get along with your parents: yeah, I do, but I barely ever talk to them any more because they're so busy :(

H
– Hair Color: for me to know, and you not to know
– Happy: for the most part, yes
– Holiday: looking forward to taking a trip next month to the mountains with hubby, insh'Allah!

I
– Ice Cream: I like, I like!

J
– Jewelry: I used to wear a ton of jewelry, but I don't really any more
– Job: I don't have one...the last real one I had in the states was in retail (for almost 1.5 years), and I'm still recovering from it. I'm really not sure what I'm going to do about a job, or if I even want one. There aren't really that many opportunities for me here. I might go work for my FIL's friend in his office, but it depends.

K
– Kids: Insh'Allah, please keep me in you du'ah
– Kickboxing or karate: Karate all the way! I'm a second degree black belt :P
– Keep a journal?: does this blog count? I guess I kind of keep one in my head too because I'm weird like that XD

L
– Love: is amazing and worth it
– Laughed so hard you cried: yes

M
- Milk flavor: skim milk...I miss skim milk so much
– Movies: help the time pass, and keep the bad thoughts away
– Motion sickness: only at amusement parks on certain rides...oh, and tire swings

N
– Number: um, I dunno, seven?

O
– One wish: to have Allah(swt) say "salaam alaikum" to me in jannah

P
– Perfect Pizza: my Mom's meatball pizza!
– Pepsi/Coke: ew. neither
– Perfume/Cologne: Perfume

Q
– Quail: what?!?

R
– Reason to cry: I cry a lot sometimes, and sometimes I don't know why I'm crying
– Reality T.V: Project Runway and America's Next Top Model, oh yeah, trash t.v.!
– Radio Station: I don't listen to the radio that much...but I like listening to the Qur'an station when we're taking a trip in my FIL's van

S
– Song: I have "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars stuck in my head right now...it's really funny because I used to hate it when it first came out, but it's kind of growing on me now. I haven't actually listened to it in maybe about a month, but I just have an insanely good musical memory. Seriously. My brain is like it's own radio station. It can be a good thing and a bad thing.
– Shoe size: 37 wide...if I can't find it, I have to go up to a 38, but they end up being a little too big for me
– Salad Dressing: olive oil and vinegar
– Skinny dip: I think I'll pass
– Strawberries/Blueberries: both
– Sport: karate
- Sex: being married during Ramadan is difficult sometimes

T
– Tattoos?: nope...I wanted one when I was 15/16 but luckily I converted before I was 18 and could get one without my parents' permission :P
– Thunderstorms: I find them relaxing. When I'm inside, that is.

U
– Unpredictable: I guess people could say that about me

V
– Vacation spot(s): doesn't really matter, I just like a change of scene every now and then

W
– Weakness: I sabotage myself
– Who makes you laugh the most: my hubby <3
– Worst Weather?: when it's disgustingly humid and over 80 at the same time, and there's no breeze. EW.

X
– X-Rays: had them for my mouth, my left knee, my right wrist, and my chest

Y
-Year it is now: 2011
-Yellow: is a color I don't like to wear because I think I look awful in it?

Z
–Zoo animals:
I like to see animals that I otherwise may never have been able to see in real life, however, I believe that the vast majority of zoos are quite cruel because the animals have NO space :(




Friday, August 5, 2011

Just A Reminder

Salaam alaikum everyone, insh'Allah you're all doing well, and you're enjoying your Ramadan!

I came across this video via Facebook, and I thought I would share it with you all. Mash'Allah, it's a really good reminder for those of us who aren't too good with our salaat/prayers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ramadan Mubarak, Ramadan Kareem!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone! Insh'Allah you're all doing well, are in the best of health and the highest of iman, and have been enjoying your Ramadan so far (Ramadan fasting started today for those of us in Morocco...for whatever reason the moon seems to consistently like to show up one day later than it does in Saudi and most of the rest of the world XD...I remember when I was still living in the states I used to call my husband to say Ramadan mubarak, and he would always say, "Ramadan doesn't start for us until tomorrow" lol) Anyways, as I've mentioned before, I'm really excited about this Ramadan because it's the first Ramadan that I'll be spending in Morocco, with my hubby and his family, alhamdolillah! What are you looking forward to this Ramadan?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Goals for Ramadan


Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah everything's well with y'all, and you're in the best of health and the highest of iman!
Do you like the picture? It's me and my SIL on top of the roof of our appartment building close to sunset. I'm not super tall (I'm just under 5'5")...it's just that my SIL is super short lol.
Anyways, it's that time of year again...my favorite time of year...that's right, RAMADAN is less than a month away, alhamdolillah! I had a great Ramadan last year, and I'm hoping that insh'Allah this year will be even better! I'm looking forward to it for so many reasons...it'll be my first Ramadan in Morocco...my first Ramadan with my hubby...my first Ramadan with my in-laws...but most of all, because I'm craving Ramadan. Yes, craving lol. The shaytan is locked away, and it's such a beautiful month that Allah(swt) has blessed us with. A month of inner reflection, repentance, and drawing closer to Allah(swt). I always used to get asked how I could possibly give up eating and drinking during the day for an entire month, and my answer was always very simple: I'm doing it for the sake of Allah(swt). My love for Allah(swt) is what gets me through those days where my empty stomach is violently churning, those days where my mouth is so parched that I feel like my mouth is full of sand. In my hunger and thirst, I remember Allah(swt), and all of the blessings He has bestowed upon me, without even being asked! This will be my fifth Ramadan, alhamdolillah, and, like last year, I've compiled a list of goals for myself for this upcoming month. However, unlike last year, I've tried to keep them a bit more realistic.
1. Pray all my prayers ON TIME: Astighfirallah, it's embarrassing to admit this, but I've been slacking in this area lately. That needs to change. This is something I've been working on before Ramadan begins, because the sooner it changes and I can develop good salat habits, the better.
2. Pray tarawih every night: Alhamdolillah last year this was a goal I was able to complete. I went to the Islamic center (a 15 minute drive from my parents' house) every night I was able to pray tarawih prayer last year, and I LOVED it. Now that hubby and I live a two minute walk from a mosque (literally, it's like 500 feet down the street), I feel like I have no excuse not to go.
3. Read the entire english translation of the Qur'an: This is easy enough to do insh'Allah. It's in my native language, after all. I also want to try reading the tafseer (explaination) along with the translation as well insh'Allah.
4. Follow along with audio recitation of the Qur'an in Arabic: Needless to say, last Ramadan I was NOT able to get through the whole Qur'an in Arabic (only up to Surah Taha I believe?)...and it felt more like a chore than something enjoyable because it was so difficult for me...and since then, my Arabic reading skills have not really improved...so this time around I think it will be more helpful if I follow along with an audio recitation. Insh'Allah it will make it easier and more enjoyable...and will help my reading skills.
5. Memorize at least two new surahs: It doesn't matter which ones they are...I just would like to make more of an effort in memorizing the Qur'an because I haven't been making much of an effort lately, astighfirallah.
6. Make lots of du'ah: Du'ah, or supplication, is something that is such a powerful tool, especially during Ramadan. In fact, one of the best times to make du'ah is right before breaking the fast. I sometimes made du'ah right before iftar last Ramadan, and was absolutely AMAZED by what Allah(swt) blessed me with. Never underestimate the power of du'ah.
7. Eat healthier: Who would have thought that Ramadan would be a prime time to start eating healthier? Well, guess what? It is! I have so many problems with food I won't even start mentioning them all to you. I will just say though that I will make my best effort to eat a nice healthy, balanced and nutritious iftar and suhoor this year (as opposed to last year's poptarts and icecream and salt and vinegar chips late at night after tarawih...yeah, I know, really disgusting, right? I have no idea how I used to be thinner when I ate so much crap, and then when I came here I gained 8kg in three months...I know, absolute mystery I tell you!)
What are your goals for this Ramadan?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Muslim Tag

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all well and in the best of health and the highest of iman! ***Just a little reminder before I begin, and I remind myself above and before anyone else, Ramadan is LESS THAN A MONTH away! If you still have fasts you need to make up from last Ramadan, you should make them up VERY SOON insh'Allah***
I've seen this going around on YouTube, and I'm so glad that Elisa over at Before Sunrise decided to adapt it to a blog tag format! So, here it goes:
1. Are you a convert or born Muslim?
Well, since everyone is technically born a Muslim, I guess I'm both, alhamdolillah :P I took my shahada August 18, 2007 at the age of 17, the summer before my senior year of high school. I was raised Presbyterian by my parents (I think that my father was actually raised Anglican but I'm not sure...he later switched churches for convenience). When I was younger I enjoyed going to church and actually was fairly involved at certain periods of my life. It wasn't until I was older, and a year or so after I was confirmed (at 14) that I really started asking myself what it was I believed and why I believed that way. I was always very interested in world religions, but had never really studied Islam all that much until I was a junior in high school. It was in a history class that focused on current events...I wasn't really thrilled that we had to spend the entire year learning about and analysing politics in the Middle East (not a huge fan of politics...and I would have loved to move on to other regions as well, which we did...in May -_-), but I was very interested at the begining of the year when we focused briefly on Islam. Insh'Allah when my fourth anniversary comes around I'm planning on doing a more in-depth post on my choice to become Muslim.
2. What's your ethnicity, and how does it relate to how you were raised?
I am half Czech, and the other half is mostly English with a bit of French. However, both my parents are third or fourth (can't remember/be 100% sure) generation. Sometimes my mom would cook Czech food for us, that she learned how to cook from my grandma (I think?), but other than that I had a traditionally "American" upbringing.
3. Where are you from? If not from the Middle East have you ever been there, and why?
I'm from the New England region of the United States. I've never been to the Middle East (Morocco is NOT the Middle East, it's in North Africa!), but insh'Allah I'd love to be able to make hajj one day with my husband.
4. What's your favorite Arab/Middle Eastern dish?
I'm going to have to talk about Moroccan food...mostly because that's what I've been eating for the past eight months, but also because it's very tasty ^_^ Some of my favorite dishes are: kefta with cucumber, mint and yoghurt sauce, couscous (I like all kinds of couscous, but my favorite is plain couscous with melted honey and butter sauce, yeah, not too healthy but very YUM), and lemon chicken with olives and harissa. Oh, and don't forget the tea!
5. What is the most interesting or funny Arab/Islam related saying you use day to day?
Well, I say "Salaam alaikum," "Peace be upon you" a lot...but something funny that I say when I need a tissue (which is quite often, for some reason my nose does not take kindly to the climate here), I say "ana mukhnoona!"...which basically means "I'm full of snot!" I could say "bgheet kleenex" but the former is much more amusing :P
6. What's the most attractive/unattractive thing you find towards an Arab/Muslim man/woman?
Attractive (for both): Someone who sincerely strives to follow their deen, is polite and respectful, but still has a sense of humor and doesn't take themselves too seriously
Unattractive (for both): Someone who likes to make people think they are very religious/pious, but in reality they're not...and also people who have the "holier than thou art" attitude
7. What's the thing you love the most about Islam? What do you dislike the most?
The thing that I love the most about Islam is that it has the answer for everything. If I have a question about something, and I look, I will always eventually find an answer. When it's practiced as a complete way of life, it really gives you peace of mind and tranquility within your heart. Dislike? There's nothing that I dislike about Islam, just the way that certain people view Islam is something I don't like. Oh well, everyone's entitled to their own opinion.
8. What's the most interesting/embarrassing/funny thing in your house that is related to Islam or Arabic culture, excluding the Qur'an?
Not really anything...we have two prayer rugs, and some wall hangings that have "Allah" and the shahada in arabic script on them...oh wait! We have a tagine! If you don't know what a tagine is, click here: http://mosalyo.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/tagine.jpg I can't believe I almost forgot that...I use it almost every day to cook -_-'
9. Do you speak Arabic? If you do say something!
Ana smiti Ayah, wa nbgheek bzef! Bgheet nakul alftar dabba! (My name is Ayah, and I love you a lot! I want to eat breakfast now!) lol...its almost 2pm and I still haven't eaten breakfast...yay for sleeping in! (btw, this was Moroccan dialect; most other Arabs can't understand Moroccans)
10. Name all of the Islamic prophets you can off the top of your head, no cheating!
Adam, Idris, Nooh, Hud, Ilyas, Ibrahim, Ishaq, Ismail, Yaqub, Youssef, Younes, Salih, Harun, Moosa, Lut, Sulaiman, Dawud, Yahya, Issa, Mohammed (Alayhum Salaam)
I tag everyone reading this who wants to do it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm FREE :D

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone...
...so, I finally did it...
I QUIT MY JOB :D Wait...was it even a job if I wasn't even getting paid for it?
Let this be a lesson to all employers out there...if you want people to work for your company, don't give them B.S. for three months straight and make empty promises, it will only hurt you in the end. And oh yeah, PAYING them would actually be nice too...
Alhamdolillah, I feel like a gigantic weight has been lifted off my chest. Seriously, this whole situation has been putting me in a sour mood for the last three months. Now I can go get a real job I'll actually enjoy doing insh'Allah. At least now I know what to look for and the things I should do before getting too involved in a project here so I and everyone around me don't get royally screwed over again.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Random Baby Kisser on Bus

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone,
I hope that you're all well and in a good state of health and iman!
Okay, yes, I know it's been forever since I've posted...I'm sorry. I kinda felt like taking a break from blogging for a bit because there have been a few other things in my life that have been making me feel stressed (namely, my job search), but maybe a bit more about that in another, proper update post. For now though, I just want to recount something that I found very strange that happened yesterday while I was on the bus with my MIL going to the wilaya to get my carte sejours (which, by the way, I finally got a REAL card, and not just a piece of paper that has to be stamped every month...no more going back there for me until next year insh'Allah walhamdolillah! :D). Anyways, here's the story:
I was on the bus yesterday with my MIL, going to the wilaya (police headquarters). The bus was quite full, so all the seats were taken; my MIL and I ended up having to stand up. After a stop or two, there was a woman who got on with a young baby boy. Here the women "wear" their children, rather than using strollers, because it's cheaper and more convenient (I also think it's adorable!). They usually attatch their children on their backs with a scarf and then put a larger sheet over the scarf for modesty, and to further secure the child. It looks a little something like this (but imagine an extra sheet draped over the baby and tucked into the scarf):
Anyways, like my MIL and I, this woman had to stand up on the bus because there were no available seats. So, she stood a couple of rows in front of us. All of a sudden this middle-aged guy who was sitting in the seat next to her decided to reach out and pinch the baby's cheek, and then proceeded to give him a little kiss on the cheek. Now, being from the US, I found this very strange...WTF is this random man doing touching this baby without even asking the mother if it was okay or not (the mother didn't notice, I don't think, because her back was turned to him, which put her son close to the random baby kissing man...and if she did notice it, she either ignored it or just didn't care). Yes, the little boy was absolutely adorable mash'Allah...but that doesn't mean you go around pinching the cheeks and kissing every cute little baby you see (you'd be kissing and pinching a lot of cheeks lol)...and in my mind just because there's a cute baby, it doesn't automatically give every single person out there the right to touch/kiss that baby without first asking the mother if it's okay...and even then...kissing the baby? I dunno, it just strikes me as being weird. I don't kiss baby's cheeks unless they're related to my husband, and even then, only close relatives, and I always ASK if it's okay before I do. I usually play peekaboo or make faces/silly noises to make them smile/laugh (it works really well on my husband's cousin's daughter who's 6ish months :P), or if they're older, like a toddler, I'll play "airplane" with them/toss them in the air and catch them. Anyways, personally, I would feel really uncomfortable having random people on the bus touching and giving kisses to my child.
I recounted this story to my husband, and for some reason he didn't find it that weird...which made me certain that it's a cultural thing. But he did add that it wasn't exactly the best thing for the poor baby to have random people kissing him all the time because it might make him sick. I was like...but this guy wasn't even related to the woman and he's giving her child kisses, don't you find that weird? And my husband replied, "not really, people kiss and pinch the cheeks of cute babies all the time, whether or not they're part of the family, it's pretty normal here."
What do y'all think about this? How do you/people in your culture interract with babies and children? If you're a parent, yould it make you feel uncomfortable to have a random person on the bus kiss your child's cheek?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Moroccan Commercials, and Taxes!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman ^_^

Alhamdolillah, I FINALLY got my taxes sent off today. The entire process was a gigantic pain in the butt, but insh'Allah I completed all of the necessary forms correctly and I won't have any problems. I've had all the forms completed on my computer for quite a while now (since early March maybe)...I've just had to find a place to get them printed, and to get the proper documentation for my hubby's W-7 form. We filed jointly...and there were SO MANY forms to fill out because our situation is well...complicated...as you can imagine. I'm just glad it's over insh'Allah, and one day I'll wake up several weeks from now and just find my return deposited in my bank account. Ooof, what a hassel...if I hadn't been getting a large return I wouldn't have even bothered -_-'

Anyways, I thought I'd share a few Moroccan T.V. commercials with you guys. I always like watching T.V. commercials from other countries...I don't know, maybe I'm just weird, but I thought maybe you guys would enjoy them too. I was able to find the following on YouTube, most of them are from 2M:




This is a commercial for Maymouna flour...this is why I cannot name my future daughter Maymouna...here's an older version from 2008:





This one's for Laughing Cow cheese, and the song is a take off on a popular Moroccan wedding song. It's not the most recent version of the commercial, but they're still using the same song. It's actually one of my favorite commercials here ^_^



And this one's for Aicha Tomato Sauce. All of the Aicha brand commercials just strike me as really strange because there are all these little buck-toothed, dark skinned boys, and they there's the pretty pale-skinned Aicha...I don't know, maybe I'm just reading into it too much. Does anybody else find it strange?



This one's for Kindersol Sedaris, which are basically large cushions that line the walls in Moroccan homes...like the Moroccan version of a couch, except that they also often double as a beds. At the end the guy says "bye bye sedari bukrechia", which basically means "bye bye lumpy sedari" (traditionally sedari cushions are stuffed with sheep wool, and when they're a bit old, they get lumpy and mis-shapen, and generally not very comfortable to sit or sleep on).



This is another one of my favorite commercials. It's for Mesidor Sedaris, and I dunno, the sheep just make me laugh, even though I don't really understand what's going on :P



Finally this is a commercial for Afia Cooking Oil, and it's in Chleuh, a berber language :P

Anyways, I hope these commercials were entertaining to watch!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just Updates, I Guess...

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah everyone's well and in good health with high iman.

I haven't posted in a while...like a week and a half...I haven't really had all that much to write about/I've had horrible brain drain/I haven't felt motivated to write anything meaningful, even though I do have lots of ideas floating around my head for posts and videos/my internet connection ran out for the month almost a week ago, and my husband decided to charge the modem for yesterday and today only until he gets paid again...so I've been internetless for a bit...yes, I did in fact go through a bit of withdrawl...yes, I know it's bad.

Anyways, since my brain is not really working all too well now, it's time for a list :P

1. The kittehs are doing very well, alhamdolillah. We've had to leave them by themselves for a day or two while staying with the in-laws. They are extremely attatched to me (and my husband, but mostly to me because I'm the one who's there with them all day giving them food, playing with them, and cleaning their litter box), so they weren't very happy that they had to be all alone. Anyways, they're getting bigger and fuzzier, and their whiskers are coming in. They're still hyper as ever...and they've now discovered how to jump onto chairs...and how to climb myself and my husband like trees (OWWWW...I'm going to have to trim their claws soon!)

2. My stomach has gotten MUCH better alhamdolillah! It's still not 100%, but at least I've finished all of my medication and some of the dietary restrictions have been lifted (yay mild spice (cumin) and citrus in moderation! Still no hot peppers or harissa for me for a while lol, but alhamdolillah now my food actually has some flavor to it!). Also, alhamdolillah since I've made an effort to wear my glasses more often (computer and television) my migraine occurances have been reduced quite a bit (I've only had two since I went to the doctors...okay that might sound like a lot to some people, but really it's an improvement...I think a certain other medicine that I've been taking that I'm going to stop soon insh'Allah (only about a week to go!) has been aggrivating them because I never used to get migraines this often)

3. I think I've lost some weight alhamdolillah! I'm not completely sure because I don't have a scale...but I do have a tape measure and my waist has gotten a bit smaller...so I'm guessing a kg or two maybe? Insh'Allah I'm going to continue to try to get in better shape. It's a bit hard when I don't have a treadmill or an exercise bike, or an eliptical...because those are so easy to use...I guess I can try aeorobics or yoga or pilates or something...at least I'll be alone in my own home so there won't be anyone to gawk at me...and at least the appartment under us is empty so they won't be able to hear my crazed attempts at exercising through their ceiling.

4. I might have a job, insh'Allah! This is the work at home job with a telecom company in Canada I've been following through with for pretty much the last month and a half maybe...yes the recruiting company in Morocco is quite unreliable and frustrating at times, but it is a legit offer alhamdolillah...and the best part about it is that I'll be able to work from home. I'll have a decent salary, and I won't have to keep bugging my husband for money insh'Allah (I know that it's his Islamic duty to provide for me, but really...I HATE asking for money for little things I want that I don't necessarily need...) This also means money I can do what I please with. After having jobs pretty much since I was 14 (okay, up until I was 18 I was only really working for a couple hours on Saturdays assistant teaching karate classes...so not really a REAL job, but hey, it was $20 a week for me to do what I wanted with...including dying my hair hot pink and shocking violet, much to the chagrin of my parents LOL) having money of my own is something that I miss.

So, that's pretty much it for now...as always I've managed to write more than I originally intended. So, insh'Allah I'll be back with some good/thoughtful posts (and insh'Allah some videos too!) once I have regular internet again. See you all soon, insh'Allah, take care!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

KITTENS!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman!
So, my dear hubby came home Thursday night with two furry little surprises for me...that's right, I'm now a mommy to two ADORABLE little kittens! Ever since I came here I really wanted kittens/cats...I'm pretty much over the moon right now, ALHAMDOLILLAH! My entire life I've grown up around two cats, so I've really missed having them around. They're both females, and I decided to name them Angel and Whiskers. Angel is the greyish tabby, and Whiskers is her sister...she's the one who's white with calico spots. They're around 8 weeks old, so they still have a lot of growing to do! When they grow to full size insh'Allah I think they're both going to end up being long hairs. My hubby's never had pets, so this is a new experience for him :D
Subhan'Allah these little kitties are like little furry balls of energy; they enjoy chasing eachother all over the house and trying to climb the walls and other various kitten-like activities. When they're all tired out, they like to climb into my lap and snuggle together for a little nap before they go back to playing. Aren't they ADORABLE, mash'Allah?!?!? I still can't understand why my MIL doesn't like cats -_-'

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TAG: My Favorites

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman ^_^
Alhamdolillah my stomach has been feeling better since taking the medication and altering my diet...insh'Allah it'll be 100% healed soon, because ulcers aren't that fun :(
Anyways, I saw this over at Elisa's blog "Before Sunrise" and thought it would be fun to do ^_^
My Favorite:
1. FOOD: Salmon! I miss eating it so much...over here in Morocco it's kind of out of our price range :( Couscous is also delicious.
2. COLOR: PURPLE. Hands down.
3. ANIMAL: CATS. Again, no question there ^_^
4. SPORT: Karate...I'm a second degree blackbelt! :P
5. DESSERT: Mango gelatto
6. SHOES: Bilgha...they're traditional Moroccan slippers and I love them!
7. OUTFIT: My slim-sleeved, super A-line cut abaya made from saloona crepe that I got from a sister while she was living in Saudi paired with a large colored/printed scarf. Also, pyjamas for wearing underneath and inside the house XD
8. BRAND: Pshhht, brands are overrated. If I see something I like that's not too expensive, I buy it regardless of what it does or doesn't say on the tag.
9. PERFUME: Anything by Escada...stupid me I left both of my nice Escada perfumes at my parents' house...oh well, they were almost empty anyways lol (and just a side note ladies...perfume around non-mahrams is a no-no!)
10. ACCESSORY: Gotta have my earings! I have four piercings in each of my ears...oh, and I had them all before I was 15...my parents were very lenient with ear piercings...my Mommy has double piercings in each of her ears <3 And no...I never got anything else pierced...although I did want a nose piercing and an eyebrow piercing once upon a time...but I grew out of that wish before I turned 18 :P
11. CITY: This is difficult to say...I really don't have one. I like my hometown for obvious reasons, I like Casa, where I am now...I also like Washington D.C. because of all the awesome museums, monuments, and restaurants!
12. HOBBY: I enjoy knitting and sewing...but I haven't done either in forever! So, I guess stalking people online will have to suffice for now...(JK PEOPLE, JK!)
13. BEAUTY PRODUCT: I'm going to have to say it's a tie between lip balm and talcum powder...lol yeah I'm really boring when it comes to beauty products...Ayah doesn't wear makeup, even for hubby (hubby doesn't like it anyways) :P
14. SNACK: I like slicing up a cucumber and putting some vinegar on it and eating that as a snack (can't do that anymore now though because of the ulcers, boo!)...it reminds me a bit of eating salt and vinegar chips, which I used to be addicted to. I also really liked mochi ice cream when I was living in the U.S., but they don't have it here in Maroc :(
15. HOLIDAY: Ramadan...I look forward to it every year, alhamdolillah, especially this year! FYI everyone, only about 3 MONTHS UNTIL RAMADAN STARTS! :D
16. MOVIE: It's a three way tie between Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro
17. SONG: Mountains of Mecca by Zain Bhikha
18. GUILTY PLEASURE: Watching America's Next Top Model and Project Runway...I'm still annoyed that Mondo didn't win last season >:(
Anyways, I'm too lazy to actually tag people...so if you read this, and you feel like doing it, consider yourself TAGGED!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

OUCH! Doctors Again...


Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all doing well, and are in the best of health and the highest of iman! ^_^ So, as of Friday, my husband and I are back with the in-laws for a little bit. Alhamdolillah I'm happy about this because I was starting to feel quite lonely... Anyways, my stomach hasn't been feeling too well for a while now, but on Friday, the pain was absolutely excruciating. I woke up feeling nauseous, and with a mild headache, so I decided to take it easy and to just eat a bowl of plain rice for breakfast, thinking that I would feel better afterwards. Fast forward about an hour an a half later, my headache had turned into a full-blown migraine, and my stomach was feeling worse. As time progressed, I was convinced that not only was my head going to split open, but that my stomach was eating itself. This wasn't hunger pain...it was like I had swallowed fire, or some sort of really strong acid, and it was giving me the worst heart burn I have ever had. Alarmed, I called my husband at work and told him how I was feeling. He told me to try to hang on until he got off at 5pm, and he would bring me some medicine for my excruciating migraine (which was what was bothering me the most at that moment...I can deal with pretty much every type of pain except for migraines). A few hours later he called me again to ask how I was feeling, I told him I felt exactly the same, if not worse. He told me he would try to get off work early because he was worried about me (awww! What a sweetheart ^_^ <3) About thirty minutes later he arrived with my MIL at our appartment. By then I had managed to puke up all of the rice that I had eaten five or so hours before all over the floor next to our bed, and had found it strange that none of it was in the least bit digested. When my husband came into the room I immediatley appologized for the puke all over the floor (he didn't care <3), and he asked me how long ago I had eaten it. When I told him that it had been at least five hours, he also found it strange. He told me that we were going to go to stay with my in-laws so that I could go see a doctor the following morning to make sure everything was okay. When we got there, I took some medicine for my poor head, and alhamdolillah after a while my migraine felt better. My MIL made me some grapefruit juice, which normally I love, but with just one sip my heartburn and the fiery pain in my stomach doubled. After that she gave me some syrup that she uses to help her sleep, and I managed to get some rest. The following day I went to the doctors early with one of my husband's aunts. Unfortunately he didn't speak English, unlike the other doctor, but I managed to properly communicate with him in French. He was an old man, and I definitely felt like he knew what he was doing, which was comforting. I would have preferred a female doctor...but unfortunately COMPETANT female doctors are few and far between here :( He asked me what my symptoms were, and he did a thorough examination. He pressed a few areas of my stomach and asked me if it hurt...which it did, a bit. That lead him to want to do an ultrasound (which he did for free, mash'Allah...normally you have to pay 150dhs extra). The first question he asked me was, "have you been sleeping well at night?" I haven't slept properly through the night for months...I have trouble falling asleep, and I always wake up at least twice during the night. After hearing this, he replied, "well, this might explain why..." and pointed to a bunch of white splotches. Apparently, I have developed ulcers in my stomach and intestine. The doctor told me that I need to try to relax. I hadn't realized before, but I am under a lot of stress. Being a newly-wed is a happy time in one's life, but it does come with quite a bit of stress. However, being a newly-wed in a strange country, surrounded by a strange language, thousands of miles away from all of my family and friends is even more stressful. I guess it kind of just snuck up on me. I didn't recognize it at first, because I've always associated stress with negativity and sadness...and since I've come here, I've been happier than I have been in a while. So, I am on a strict no-spice diet, and I've been put on three different medications to help with the heartburn and stomach pain (and one for my migraine headaches). I've also been told that I MUST try my best to relax. The doctor told me that I should drink louisa tea (a type of herbal tea) to relax before bed because I told him I didn't want sleeping medication. I am hoping that my stomach can heal quickly, and that I can be back to normal soon, insh'Allah.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MASH'ALLAH!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everybody, insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman today ^_^

So, I came across the videos of a young Egyptian sister today, and all I have to say is MASH'ALLAH! Here's the latest video she's made about the topic of salaat (prayer), you should definitely watch it! In the video, she is speaking in Arabic, but there are English subtitles:



MASH'ALLAH! Did I forget to mention that she's only 9? It's inspirational to see such young brothers and sisters sending messages like this, may Allah(swt) bless and protect her, and may He reward her immensely for her efforts, ameen!

I hope that Allah(swt) blesses me with healthy pious children, and that He gives me the strength and wisdom to be able to raise them well within our beautiful religion of Islam.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Want to Memorize Qur'an?

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, I'm hoping that everyone's in the best of health and the highest of iman today, insh'Allah!


So the topic of memorizing Qur'an came up on sister Daisy's blog post here:



Mash'Allah, it got me thinking about how recently, I've been neglecting my memorization, astighfirallah. Anyways, I wanted to share with you a couple of great websites that I found a few months ago that are really useful to use when you want to memorize Qur'an.


[SIDE NOTE]

I want to take the time out to mention that it is a lot easier to memorize the Qur'an if you can read Arabic script, instead of using the transliteration, so insh'Allah, if you don't know how to already, you should concentrate on learning how to read Arabic. Insh'Allah memorization will come so much faster, and you will know how to properly pronounce the words just by reading them. I know that personally, it became so much easier for me to memorize Qur'an once I learned how to read Arabic...I know it might seem like a daunting task, but insh'Allah it will definitely be one that is completely worth all of the effort in the end. Insh'Allah I want to do a post in the future about why exactly it's better to learn to read Arabic over using the transliteration, because I feel like it's a crutch a lot of us non-Arabic speakers use (myself included once upon a time) that we really should get out of the habit of using. And I digress...

[/SIDE NOTE]

Anyways, the first site I want to mention is http://www.qurantracker.com/. Mash'Allah this is a GREAT site! It allows you to create a free account where you can track your memorization progress. It's a great motivational tool, a wonderful way to review the surahs you already have memorized, and it's a great way to stay organized.
This site also links to another great site: http://tanzil.net/. This is a place where you can really work on memorizing Qur'an in a way that it will have meaning to us non-Arabic speakers. You can choose to have many different translations of the Arabic text in several languages displayed at the same time as the Arabic text (so you can read, and know the meaning at the same time, something that I find really helps memorization!). In addition, you can play a recording of the surah recited by the qari of your preference, and as the qari is reciting, it will actually HIGHLIGHT the ayah that he is on, so you can FOLLOW ALONG!!! How cool is that?!?


I highly suggest checking both of these websites out if you're trying to memorize Qur'an! May Allah(swt) reward the developers with jannat al firdous, ameen!


p.s. I'm working on Surat At-Tin ^_~

Friday, April 1, 2011

Du'ah Request

Salaam alaikum everyone, jummah mubarak, "happy Friday"! Insh'Allah you are all in the best of health and the highest of iman today. Okay, I am going to try to keep this post short and to the point, as I don't think many of you appreciate the long novels I usually leave in your dashboard inbox, hehe :P I am here to humbly request that you please make du'ah for two people (one of whom is myself): 1. Most importantly, please keep my husband's cousin Imane in your du'ah. She has been really sick for the past two weeks. Yesterday she had blood work done to rule out anything serious (they're thinking that she might have diabetes). They will have the test results later today, insh'Allah. May Allah(swt) grant her shifaa (good health), ameen. Insh'Allah it's not anything serious. 2. This is my second day interviewing at a job for a Canadian company as a call center operative. After completeing training, insh'Allah I might have an opportunity to work for them from home. I still have to complete the interviewing/training period to see if they decide that they want to keep me. Please make du'ah that I get the job, if it is something that is good for both me and my religion. At the very least, insh'Allah please keep Imane in your du'ahs, we are all concerned about her.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Okay, You Can Stop Feeding Me Now...

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman! Ever since I came to Morocco, I've had an increasingly serious problem. What exactly is that problem, you might ask? It's called being stuffed full of [delicious!] food. Now, how could this ever be considered a problem? Shouldn't I just be thankful that I have enough food to eat while so many others in the world don't have enough to even eat one meal a day? Alhamdolillah, I am very grateful that a shortage of food has never been a problem in my life. I'm extremely blessed that I have always been able to eat when I'm hungry (and even when I'm just craving a certain flavor...yes, guilty as charged!) Having said that, please don't take this post in the wrong way. In Moroccan culture, and correct me if I'm wrong, in Arab culture in general, when you are a guest in somebody's home, it is expected that you will be fed...WELL-fed. I lived with my in-laws up until the beginning of this month, and my husband and I still continue to visit quite often (we've been staying with them for the past two weeks and going back to our appartment for the weekend because of my husband's work), and alhamdolillah wa mash'Allah, whenever I'm staying with my in-laws I almost never feel hungry. The problem is...even though I've been here since November...I haven't quite learned how to properly state that I'm full, and I've had enough. In American culture, when someone asks you if you've had enough to eat, and you say "yes, I'm full," they usually will not ask you again, and will take it to mean that you're full. However, in Moroccan culture, when someone notices that you've ceased eating, they will say "kool!" or "kooli!" which means "eat!"...even if you state that you've had enough. If you truly no longer wish to eat, you must state several times "saafi, alhamdolillah" "I've had enough, alhamdolillah" because they will keep insisting that you continue eating. It took me a while to understand this, but alhamodlillah, I'm finally catching on :P I asked my MIL about this, and she said that it's because in Moroccan culture, keeping people well-fed and insisting that they eat is a way to say that they love you and care about you, and they want to make sure that you're comfortable, and that you're not hungry. Whenever you are visiting someone, even if it's only for a few hours, it is expected that you will eat, even if it's just bread with cheese/butter/olive oil, and you will ALWAYS drink tea. It's also sort of an unwritten rule that if you're offered something to eat when you are visiting, you eat it, even if you're not particularly hungry, as it would be impolite to refuse. It can be a bit difficult not to over-eat sometimes, because a good host will offer you more food than you can possibly finish, and they will be quite insitant that you eat (again, this is not because they're trying to be malicious, it's quite the opposite, it's done out of love). So, needless to say, I have gained a decent ammount of weight since I got here. The problem is, I DO NOT WANT TO PUT ON ANY MORE WEIGHT, as this will cause me to start approaching the "overweight" category. I do NOT want to go there. It's not good that I almost never feel hungry...it's good to feel hungry sometimes, especially right before you go to sleep (not REALLY hungry...but what I like to call "comfortably hungry"...as in you're stomach isn't eating itself, but you could comfortably eat a small meal). Sometimes, I have trouble getting to sleep at night because my stomach feels like it's going to burst from being so full, astighfirallah. I admit that it is partially my fault...food and I have always had a complicated relationship...I kind of feel guilty if I don't finish everything that is offered to me, because I don't like to waste food. I also feel like I'm hurting my husband's grandmother's feelings if I don't eat (even if I'm not hungry), although I'm sure she understands; it's just me being weird. I also don't make the effort to actually do much exercise (in my defense I am basically in the house all day...but I will go out with my MIL if I'm staying with her, even if she's just going to buy vegetables, just so that I get a chance to walk and get some fresh air). So, any suggestions for what I should do? Has anyone else ever had this problem? I'd really appreciate any advice y'all could give me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Negafa : Moroccan Bridal Wear

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone! Insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman today ^_^
So here it goes...I shall begin my posts on Moroccan marriages by covering traditional Moroccan bridal wear, or "negafa". I would also like to request that people please not repost these pictures, jazak Allah khair in advance!
During the wedding ceremony, a Moroccan bride will change her dress multiple times. For instance, at the wedding of my husband's cousin R, she changed her outfit a whopping TEN TIMES (yikes! That's a lot of stuff to get in and out of! Luckily the bride has two women to attend to her and help her get dressed/make sure she always looks pretty for pictures and videos...and that Moroccan weddings tend to last 8 to 10 hours!)

Bridal wear usually includes a takchita (a traditional Moroccan dress for women, worn for parties and special occasions, it consists of an inner dress, as well as an outer, often transparent dress, and can be worn with or without a belt) or a caftan that is heavily embellished and embroidered, a long veil that is draped on top of the head, and a lot of jewelry (including a clip for the belt, necklaces, earings, a tiara, and clips to hold the veil in place). Brides that choose to keep covered (i.e. hijab) at their weddings will also have elaborately wrapped head scarves (however, I've found that a lot of women do not wear the hijab at their wedding for whatever reason). The negafa is often rented for the day, as buying all the fabric to tailor the takchitas and caftans and to look for matching jewelry would take quite a bit of time and a LOT of money. However, there are some brides out there that choose to do that.
These photos are just some examples of Moroccan negafa worn by my husband's cousin R, aunt L, and myself (my female in-laws planned such a sweet surprise for me, may Allah(swt) bless them...they had me dressed up in negafa after aunt L's ceremony (she was in on this too! May Allah(swt) bless her immensely for her generosity!) because I didn't really get to have a traditional wedding ceremony of my own (I didn't really want one...too much attention...I was sobbing like crazy because I was so touched that they did this for me)...I had no idea that they were planning this, they kept it a secret up until the very last minute because my MIL knew very well that if I knew what they were planning I would have very politely refused...she just told me that I was going to wear negafa so that I could take pictures for my family (she had to plead with me for me to agree to do even that lol mash'Allah)...little did I know that I was going to be brought downstairs into the wedding with a room full of women!) So anyways, yeah, that's the long story about how I ended up in negafa even though I didn't have a traditional wedding ceremony (I'm in the red if you haven't already guessed...) These aren't in any way meant to be taken as exhaustive examples...they're only just a few. If you'd like to see more, I suggest googling "negafa" images. I hope you all enjoyed this post!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spiderweb: a Small Reminder

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman today.

So, while preparing the table for a delicious dinner with hubby last night, I noticed that a spider decided to make a new home just outside of our salon window. Now call me weird or whatever, but I found it really beautiful! I know a lot of people don't like spiderwebs because they think they're creepy/dirty...and because spiders live in them, and some people (like my dad lol) are quite the arachnophobes. Now, if said spiderweb were inside of the appartment, I probably would have promptly removed it with a broom, but since it was outside...I really saw no point in getting rid of it. Also, I will admit that some cobwebs (and spiders...like big hairy ones) do give me the creeps...but only the narsty-looking horror film kind...and those, thankfully, are few and far between. However, the one outside the salon window is pretty, and the spider who made it is small; therefore it is welcome to stay as long as it likes ^_^

Also, looking at it reminds me of this ayah (verse) from the Qur'an:
"The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the spider's house;- if they but knew." (Qur'an 29:41)
Looking to things other than Allah(swt) to protect us is just like the delicate spiderweb outside of my salon window that can so easily be destroyed. So often we will try to build structures that are "indestructable." We will put extra locks on our doors to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe at night. We will work hard, long hours in search of financial security and stability, and we will store our hard-earned money in a secure place. We will lock our valuable possesions away in safes and keep them behind glass...put them on high shelves where they cannot be easily reached. However, what use is all of this if we do not, first and foremost, put our trust in Allah?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Makeover!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone!

Insh'Allah you're all doing well and are in the best of health and the highest of iman today. Needless to say I've had a bit of extra time on my hands, and didn't feel like mopping the floors today, so I decided to give my blog a little makeover, yay! ^_^

Do you like it? Hate it? I'm working on making a snazzy header as well, but that's going to take some time. I'll leave it for another day when I don't feel like mopping the floors lol.

As for the question I asked last time...I've decided that I will try to look for a job. If I get hired and I like it, great, alhamdolillah! Insh'Allah I'll be working until I have kids, and I'll be helping out my husband as far as household income is concerned. If I don't find anything, then alhamdolillah as well! I can occupy myself with the appartment, learning about Islam, memorizing Qur'an, and insh'Allah I would like to learn how to crochet lace from Khalti M (!!I'm really excited to learn insh'Allah...I know basics of knitting, but I've always wanted to learn how to crochet but never found the time!!)

Insh'Allah I'll be back soon with the posts about Moroccan weddings, I promise!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Update That Turned into a Short Novel...Sorry!

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone, insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman!

Sorry for not posting yet again for a rather extended period of time...as I kind of mentioned in my last post, my husband and I have been a bit busy getting ourselves situated in our new appartment. Alhamdolillah we're pretty much all settled in now (we officially moved in the first of March), and pretty much have all the basics covered (we still need a refrigerator though...which pretty much means that we haven't been eating much in the way of "real traditional" meals...although yesterday my husband got ingredients so that I could cook a tagine for dinner...my cooking still needs perfecting, but alhamdolillah it went better than the last time I tried to cook a tagine...we also need an oven so that I can cook delicious cakes and cookies *ahem* I mean...bread...LOL, but I guess the oven isn't really a necessity, so it can wait for later). After a while insh'Allah when we have the finances I can think about interior decoration and making it look more "homey."

I was also at my husband's aunt L's wedding on Saturday. Mash'Allah she made such a beautiful bride! It was a women's only wedding, which was pretty cool, because the other wedding I was at in January, in Marrakesh for my husband's cousin R, was a mixed wedding...and for obvious reasons I didn't really feel that comfortable dancing. Anyways, I'll talk more about weddings here in another post (or two!) in the future insh'Allah...because they're beautiful and there's so much to talk about...food...negafa...takshetas/kaftans...wedding traditions...so insh'Allah that'll be something for y'all to look forward to! ^_^

Alhamdolillah all my paperwork for my residency permit FINALLY was able to go through last Wednesday (after my poor MIL and I had been going there for almost a month trying to get it done!). Subhan'Allah, people can never tell you the correct information the FIRST time around when it comes to paperwork here; it's so FRUSTRATING!! We had to go to the police headquarters literally four times...sometimes having to wait in line for HOURS...just to be told that we didn't have all the paperwork needed/they needed more legalized copies of this or that/my husband doesn't make enough money to support me (this lady supposedly wanted my husband to make 20,000dh a month to "prove" that he could support me...when my MIL told me this I was like...seriously?!?! Does she really think that I'm THAT high-maintenance?) Another thing that I found extremely annoying is that people there, even after knowing that I can speak and understand French at a near-fluent level, INSIST upon speaking to me in English. Now I don't want anyone to think I'm stuck up or anything when I say this, so PLEASE don't take this the wrong way, but if someone is going to go through the trouble of talking to me in heavily accented English when I'd be able to understand them much better in French anyways, at least they should be able to understand when I respond to them in English as well. However, I find that whenever I do so, I'm often confronted with the blank "I didn't understand a word of what you just said" stare. JUST SPEAK TO ME IN FRENCH DARN IT! I SWEAR TO YOU I WILL UNDERSTAND! I guess it's just not that believable that an American can speak more than one language *eye roll*

Anyways, now that I will have my residency permit, insh'Allah, I will be able to look for work here...if I so choose. So now, I am stuck with a dilemma: to work or not to work? I only have a high school diploma (the equivalent of having your BAC)...and the only real marketable skill that I have would be to teach English. I have always wanted to teach...but doing this would require that I at least pass a TEFL certification first, which of course will take a few months. I also feel very strongly that once I have children, insh'Allah, I DO NOT want to work outside the home. I also know that I would like to start having children rather soon (i.e. 1-2 years time insh'Allah). I also know that, even though he won't say it, if I worked it would help my husband out a lot. I asked my husband what his preference was, and he told me outright that he doesn't really have a preference either way; the choice is up to me. I should also mention that as of now, if I am not accompanied by my husband or MIL outside the house, I am pretty much helpless (i.e. I've never gone outside alone), so I don't know how comfortable I'd be having a job outside my house. So my question to y'all is this: would it be worth me trying to find a job now, or should I forget about it?

Sorry I've basically written a book...insh'Allah I'll be back soon with more posts!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libya, Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia, and a Little Life Update

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone,
insh'Allah you're all doing well, and are in the best of health and the highest of iman today. I know I haven't been updating as regularly as I would like to be, but as always, I have an excuse! For about a week and a half my husband and I were visiting my in-laws in Ain Chok (another neighborhood in Casablanca), and because my FIL ALWAYS rushes me when he comes to pick me up (I understand that he hates to wait, but there is little I hate more than being rushed...it really stresses me out...and also, seriously, I would think he would be able to wait for about 10 mins and sit and talk with my MIL's side of the family (his khalla and khal, or "maternal aunt and uncle" by the way...yes my husband's parents are cousins!)...but he's not really the type to "shoot the breeze"...anyways) and in the rush, I forgot to bring my laptop with me. So, couldn't update. I didn't really have that much time to myself there anyways, because I was kept busy with making preparations, along with my MIL and SIL, for T and myself to move into our own appartment next month. Alhamdolillah I'm so excited that we're finally going to have a place of our own! There are still a few things we need to get, but insh'Allah next month we'll be moving out of his grandparents' appartment and living on our own. It's not that I haven't enjoyed staying here, mash'Allah everyone has been really warm, welcoming and kind...it's just that I think it's time that T and I move out and establish ourselves insh'Allah...because, well, we're going to have to do it at some point anyways! Please keep us in your du'ahs that the move and transition goes well for us!


Also, in the interest of not making this post all about me, cause, well, you know, there are a lot more important things going on in the world right now...I know that just by looking at my blog, it may not seem like I have been following the situations in Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, and Libya, but I have. I watch the news pretty much every day, and the images that have been, and still are, coming out of those countries are heart-breaking and powerful at the same time. Alhamdolillah things in Tunisia and Egypt have died down for the most part...but remember that the people in these countries now have to deal with the aftermath of the revolutions there...something that is NEVER easy. Since I only get the chance to watch the news in Arabic, I'm not aware of all the details and minutia of the situations, all I know is that people have, and are dying and suffering because their own governments were, and are using violent force to quell the uprisings, and that is enough for me to say that we should keep all of our brothers and sisters there in our du'ahs insh'Allah. May Allah(swt) ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters in these countries, and may He(swt) grant them sabr (patience), ameen!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Qur'an Recitation: New Video

Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone,
as usual I hope that insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman!

Anyways, I've finally gotten around to making videos and posting them to my YouTube channel again. Little did I know that it would take so long for them to upload, subhan'Allah O_o Just this simple Qur'an recitation video that's under two and a half minutes, with a file size of around 16MB took six hours to upload! Perhaps I should start compressing the files when I publish the video in Movie Maker so that I'll have an easier/quicker time uploading them? I don't know. Insh'Allah I will continue to post videos, but I hope that they don't all take as long to upload as this one did. It's a recitation of Surah Al Aala by Mo'eed al Mazeen. Please enjoy, insh'Allah ^_^

Monday, February 7, 2011

Doctors in Morocco: My Experience


Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone!

Insh'Allah you're all in the best of health and the highest of iman ^_^

I appologize for going a week without posting, but last week my mind was kind of all over the place. I had to go to the doctor last Thursday because I hadn't been feeling so hot...including nausea and migraine headaches...ugg...I had one that was so bad Wednesday night I was convinced that my head was going to split open...my poor husband and I didn't get much sleep :(

So I went to the doctor, and alhamdolillah it wasn't really anything serious, I just had an old infection that I was begining to get over anyways, but she put me on antibiotics just to speed up the healing process inshallah. Mash'Allah she was really nice...she's an older German lady, and I was happy to know that she could speak English. I still don't know what's been causing the nausea and migraines (she couldn't fully examine me...she just did the basics); she said I should go to a specialist to get further examined because she didn't have the necessary tools in her office. Lol when my husband heard this he asked, "is it really necessary for you to go to a specialist? That's always what private doctors say! It's so that they can get more money from referrals, that's all they want! On the other hand...if you had gone to see a public doctor, even if there was something seriously wrong with you, they'd tell you that you're perfectly fine...that's why I HATE doctors here!" I should mention that this is just my husband's opinion, and might not actually be the reality...my husband has had a few bad experiences with doctors here before...and that's why he generally tries to avoid them like the plague. I had to explain to him exactly WHY I need to go to said specialist, because they have to do x,y and z...and alhamdolillah he understood that it was a legitimate need and not just a way for the doctor to make money. So, I'll be going to the specialist sometime next week and hopefully insh'Allah everything will go well, and there won't be any problems. Hahaha I should also add that I got weighed at the doctors...I've gained 15 pounds since I came here, and I'm the heaviest I've ever been...perhaps I should ease up a bit on the delicious food/try to get more exercise :P (the weird thing is that all my clothes still fit...strange...well, I guess that's the danger of elasticized waists and wearing pj pants almost 100% of the time...you can't really tell when you've gained weight until it's way too much).

Also, the picture doesn't really have to do anything with the post, but it's my wedding henna. One of my husband's aunts is rather artistic and she did it for me, isn't it pretty, mash'Allah?