Originally posted on Future Husbands And Wives Of Saudis (FHWS):
I welcome you to Islam! May Allah increase you in knowledge, faith, righteousness and worship ameen. Congratulations to you and your Saudi obtaining the approval of her father. Your future father-in-law’s request is just one more obstacle to tackle before you can start the marriage permission journey. I’m sorry to say that I am not a doctor. I can say with utmost optimism that any marriage can succeed no matter what nationality or culture as long as the couple work on it together and have the support of family and friends. I recommend that you contact Dr. Khaled Al-Batarfi and kindly ask if he is interested in writing a letter to your Saudi’s father. He has been addressing non-Saudi/Saudi marriages in his articles on Saudi Gazette and apparently familiar with the subject. He is available on Twitter https://twitter.com/kbatarfi. Insha’Allah he will agree to assist you. I am publishing your…
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This video was shared on the Facebook wall of a friend and I wanted to share it. However, I do want to include this sentiment: This is really more of a snapshot of a certain group of Saudi women.
Unfortunately, many women here would risk being considered not marriageable material by going to study abroad! I have talked to many women here that dream of studying abroad and taking advantage of the scholarship system, but cannot get around the “mahram” issue. Since they have no one to “accompany” them; they cannot go abroad to study. They are the women that cannot work in hospitals and other mixed environments due to the social ramifications. The women that cannot simply choose to be different because their entire survival in this society is dependent on their reputation. Some women might be considered shameful for appearing in such a video! Some families here do not support change in any capacity; let alone the change that would lead to their daughters alone and abroad.
Although I think this is a lovely video and conversation, I think about the ladies that are not represented here and how to add their voice to the conversation.
I think one of the problems with me writing this blog is my inability to compartmentalize the life I have.
Yes, I live in Saudi Arabia.
Yes, I am an American.
Yes, I am Muslim.
Yes, I am female.
The problem is that a blog requires you to tag and categorize your thoughts. Unfortunately, my thoughts do not come out of my head in categories.
Aren’t they all equally relevant and irrelevant?
I am a Muslim, but does that mean my thoughts automatically can be categorized in that manner?
Perhaps it is partially an existential crisis that has me thinking this way, but I know a lot of ladies in this Kingdom who blog. I know many of them personally.
I know so many people in Saudi Arabia who fit into the female, Muslim; married to a Saudi, live in Saudi Arabia category just like I do.
We are all so different.
That is what categories do to a person; they eradicate personality quirks, past experiences, and nuances of culture. It simply smashes people together.
We all throw our thoughts into the abyss hoping that someone will hear and understand. What I hope you understand from this is that I am so sick of trying to figure out which label to put on myself. I am not a cartoon, an educational program, or an item that belongs on a shelf.
I can’t be labeled if I want to do justice to myself.
My writing isn’t “Muslim” or “American” or solely dedicated to “travel”, “faith, or “religion”.
The only hashtag I belong to is #human.
A lot of times I don’t write about things in order to protect my identity (although some of my readers know who I am) and my family’s identity. I also don’t speak about selective personal topics because I don’t want all of my business out there cruising on the information superhighway. But, this time I am going to make the slightest of exceptions and discuss my mother-in-law. The reason I am breaking with convention is because I have experienced a lot of negativity out there lately and I just wanted to share a positive tidbit about my life.
First, I want to clarify that my mother-in-law speaks English. How and why are answered by the general statement that my husband’s family (mother, father, him, and siblings) lived in the United States for close to twenty years. The importance of this is to simply provide enough background as to explain that I am not translating what my MIL said: I am quoting her directly.
This past weekend I attended what was the fourth wedding in my husband’s family within two weeks. This one was to be the last in a string of gatherings that I have been hopping to and from since Eid.
Eid and the flurry of activity following it have ended. Now I have only one and a half more weeks left in the class from hell and one more wedding to go to before I can catch my breath. Unfortunately, it won’t be for long because I have more classes starting. This Ramadan was quite strange. Despite my attempts to gain back some spiritual energy; this Ramadan was lacking for me. Being bogged down the first week with juggling three graduate classes and high expectations caused me to burn out pretty quickly. Due to familial obligations I only saw one friend the entire month and it was for one night. The hot and dry weather has caused me to feel dusty in my soul. I miss home. There is a bitterness that has begun to seep into my consciousness that I am doing my best to fight off, but I sense I am slowing losing this battle. Iqama issues are preventing me from traveling and I am doing my best to remain patient and pleasant. I can only remind myself that I am choosing to stay with the hope of a solution here. Since my pending travel date cannot be nailed down; an impermanent air has settled around me and is causing a major cloud of boredom. There are many projects I desire to start, but am hesitant to due to the fact that I could be traveling at any time. What can you do when you can’t tie yourself to anything? Certainly not make plans. Here’s to uncertainty.
Salaam wa alaikum
Ramadan can be a time for spiritual cleansing and improvement. However, it can also be a time for hardship, grieving, and depression. Raw emotions can surface during the difficult task of fasting and wounds can reappear that were thought to be healed. Most of the focus of Ramadan is on healing and improvement, but people can forget that life goes on during this month. Time marches on unstoppable and bad things happen. Pain is inflicted. This is an article that touches on what happens when Ramadan is not “what it is supposed to be”.
Ramadan in Dubai
Originally posted on CoffeeCakesAndRunning:
The holy month of Ramadan is here – somehow it crept up on me as it usually does – at one stage it was months away, a vague date in my diary far off in the future. The arrival of a flurry of pre Ramadan Iftar invites from hotels brought Ramadan closer in my mind and even attending the events for the past few weeks still didn’t prepare me for the fact that today is actually the start of Ramadan!
I remember my first Ramadan in Dubai quite vividly, I excitedly sat watching TV the night before it was expected to be called waiting for the official announcement from the moon sighting committee that the moon had been spotted in the right place and that Ramadan would start the next day. This year, the date for the start of Ramadan was published in newspapers a week or so in advance…
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I thought this was a nice interesting post. I have a lot of similar feelings myself…especially trying to balance my modern life with Islam :)
Originally posted on more than hijab:
Q1. As a new Muslim what is the thing you like most about your faith and what is the thing you struggle most with?
As a new Muslim I find the learning process to be the best part of my faith. Every little thing I learn has such a positive impact on my life and how I think about things; I can’t help but smile knowing every day that I made this choice and Allah chose me to be Muslim. I’ve also found that my self-esteem has went up a great deal since my conversion and I feel proud to show people and tell people that I am Muslim.
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There are many rules floating around on the information super highway about how to balance life duties. “The 80/20 rule” and “finding your Zen habits” and “making time for you” are common methods of achieving the oh-so-elusive “balanced” existence that everyone yearns for but never seems to grasp. As I sit here drinking my tea of desert flowers, guzzling water like a camel, and furiously typing I am starting to realize why my life is out of balance.
On the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with them both), he relates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once held my shoulders and said:
“Live in this world as (if you are) a wayfarer or a stranger.” And Abdullah ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with them both) used to say: “If you live till night, then do not wait for the next day (i.e. do not have hopes that you will live to the next day), and if you wake up in the morning do not have hope that you will live till the night. And take (advantage) from your health before your sickness and take advantage of your life before your death (i.e. do every possible obedience in your life before death comes to you for then no deeds can be performed.)”
[Bukhari and Tirmidhi]
If we view the world as a permanent place, our duties are never ending. The constant accumulation of material wealth, the never ending quest for that perfectly designed house, incredibly successful career, or all-encompassing relationship; our focus becomes rooted in place. Unfortunately, since this false sense of permanence can shift our priorities out of whack it is extremely important to periodically reflect and readjust.
Imagine if you are traveling to a country in a far-away land to which you know you will never return. How do you approach your trip? Do you waste it all day languishing in the hotel room and watching television from your home country? Well, some of you might. But that is another issue. The question is, why do we approach our vacations in the desperate and voracious manner; planning, researching, and rushing around to squeeze the most important and beneficial things, but we don’t approach Ramadan in the same way?
Ramadan comes once a year and an unknown and unguaranteed amount of times in a lifetime. We should plan for it as if we plan for a vacation. The balance of life is completely different on vacation, as it is in Ramadan. We dig a little deeper, stretch our boundaries and comfort zones, and resist sleep and time wasters as much as possible. Is it impressive or fulfilling to spend a month in Costa Rica on Facebook? Do we feel satisfied during a month long quest through Eastern Europe if even one town or village is missed? So then why do we feel comfortable with Ramadan passing us by with only a few goals or objectives reached? Where is the traveler urgency?
Although it is important for us to approach our entire lives as a fleeting journey, it is even more so to prioritize our life in a manner that reflects this sentiment during Ramadan.
Social obligations can inhibit one’s ability to worship whether or not it is Ramadan. However, many families view Ramadan as one month long party or excuse to gather. Although family is important; it should not get in the way of worship.
Imagine again if you are on vacation; do you accept every social invitation you come across? Do you meet random strangers for five hour lunches and miss seeing the monuments, museums, or natural wonders? Those amazing once in a lifetime things take precedence over all things social. Meeting people and spending time with them can be an important part of one’s life. However, one of the many lessons imparted by Ramadan is that of self-control. Spending time socializing is like anything else; once a certain amount is consumed it ceases to be beneficial. It is only by mastering self-control that true balance can be achieved.
As always, salaam wa alaikum