I set out on this road and by you I’m shadowed
These lyrics currently fit my life in a different context. I made a promise to myself when I became shi’a to change my life. And insha’Allah on this path of change, by Hussain (as), I am shadowed.
Posts tagged personal.
in Kufa, Iraq. an off duty police officer serves the pilgrims passing by chai aswad 7ar, that is, hot black arab tea. this is right outside of Kumayl, the man famous to distributing to the followers of Imam Ali (as), what is now known as “Dua Kumayl” or the supplication of Kumayl, originally belonging to Amir Al Mumineen (as).
today, one student asked me: what do you do when your parents have your whole life planned out for you and you want to tell them that those plans don’t align to what you want to be or do?
it was an excellent question in which I responded: there’s nothing more painful than disappointing your parents, but when and if that happens, you begin to learn so much about yourself that you’ve never really seen before. But if there’s one thing to which I can promise you that will happen, it’s this: no one will be a greater advocate for you than you. Meaning, you are your own voice. You are the only one who has the power to defend, articulate, and explain yourself to those that suggest your life needs to fall into a specific chronological order in a given, specific manner.
this is what female empowerment means; it means listening to yourself. It means trusting yourself. It means believing you are a strong woman. It means believing that you are a beautiful, graceful Muslim woman. And it means that you need to do everything in your power to tackle your journey of life with such firmness and graciousness that absolutely no one is able to take your God given right of flourishing on this earth from you.
in terms of your parents planning out your life for you, talk to them. If you are close and have a great relationship with your parents, tell them very openly but also very seriously about who you intend to be and what you need to do in order to achieve that. Although I’m not particularly close to my father — in fact, whenever my father and I get into a discussion, it’s always a very serious heated debate — he knows that when I lay something down, I do it so honestly and openly. I’ve been put through so much to get to that point, but it’s made me a stronger Muslim woman than ever before.
I spoke about the notion of identity and how often Muslim women that are part one ethnicity and part another (in which I gave an example that one of my close friends in high school is part Palestinian and part Dominican) experience an identity crisis. I explained how this isn’t a new phenomenon and that many times, Muslim women are left to sort of “choose” which culture or race they intend to identify as (as though one can’t equally accept and absorb both), especially when one parent instills in his/her children that one culture is better than the other, or vice versa.
And for those who aren’t two halves of a whole in terms of ethnicity or race, we all experience this tearing of the self in which we are confused about who we are or what we stand for.
I explained that although my parents are Bosnian (and therefore why I identify as an American European), I also identify myself with the Arab culture because I’ve been raised around it (and especially by it) for such a long time. It took me a long time — I admitted — to understand that my identity consists of many parts, and that it was up to me to sit down with myself and be true to who I was (at the time) to recognize that the environment has brought me up in so many different ways.
A part of Female Empowerment is recognizing that there is so much that makes up who you are that it is almost impossible to deny that where you live, who you choose to hang out with, and the values and morals instilled in you by your culture or religion has not molded your very being. It’s so critical to understand that yes, you are Palestinian, Indian, or Slavic, but that you are a woman (and a very, very noble and strong one).
Muharram and Karbala are so essential to my mindset, they are the centerpiece of my spirituality to some extent. Ramadan is not enough, I need Muharram…to be honest with you, Ramadan is merely preparation for Muharram, a stepping stone in the time line, meaning I’m three months away from Muharram.
it teaches my nafs obedience, gives me peace of mind and guidance, to keep going, at at least try my best. even with fasting, and salaat, and zakaat, the nafs can at times be overwhelming. weeping for the grandson of the prophet and his traumatic struggles, isn’t helping him. remembering him, mourning what he went through and his loss helps me and me solely. it tames my nafs, it cleanses my heart, my tears for Hussain (as) cleanse my heart, like water cleansing your arms when you do wudhu. mourning, beating my chest, and weeping for my imam is like wudhu for my heart and soul, and the ultimately humbling experience for my nafs.
ya nafsi erka3i wa hooni, hatha 7ussainun kad mataa at’shana, mathlooma, ghareeba, bala ra2s 3ari 3ala taraab karbala.
Our hero Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him). #Ashura #Karbala #Abbas #ImamHussain
it finally feels like Muharram. the dreariness, the melancholy, the mourning of the soul. when all I can think about is Karbala, and what transpired there, on the banks of the euphrates river. Karbala is, in fact, an ideology of it’s own, I must say. that’s why all Iraqis say they are “Karbalaieyoon” meaning, from Karbala. at least during Muharram and Safar, the first two months of the Islamic calendar, every lover of Hussain (as) and follower of Ahlul Bayt (as) is from Karbala, with their allegiance to the epitome of freedom, justice and righteousness, Hussain Ibn Ali Ibn Abi Talib.
Imam Hussain (as) said: “if you do not believe in a god, at least live as free men in this world and do what is right.”
I miss you more than anything sayidi…my real home.
this is easily one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken my entire life. just gotten out of the taxi, from my aunt’s house to Amir Al Mumineen (as), several hours after we had arrived at her house from Kuwait.
here is all you have to say in Karbala/Kufa/Najaf when stopping a taxi if you want to go visit Imam Ali (as): “ikhithni lil Amir” or simply “lil Amir” meaning take to the Amir or to the Amir.
the whole way, my eyes are searching for that golden dome, anxiously waiting, wandering about, until the taxi stops the other end of the “soug el chibeer” or one of the streets that is part of it, right in front of the commander of the faithful. my eyes spot it and it’s like I’ve just been born again, because every time I leave I’m afraid that I won’t get another chance to visit, I won’t get invited back. so, every time I see that golden dome with my own two eyes, it’s always an honor, blessing and privilege, always.
lak fidwa ilak kulshi sayidi, ikhithil roo7i, galbi, 7ayati, 3omri, 3yooni…kulshi maaltak.