The Many Hats of Umm Qamar… (PT 1)

I’m not really a fan of hats.  They’ve never really satiated my fashion needs.  It’s ironic, although I dislike lids, I’ve worn enough of them to open my own shop. Every now and then I switch the style up and sport new ones.   Throughout all these wardrobe changes it seems I’ve lost myself.  Something has got to give.

I think this year, I’m going to ditch the hats and go bald headed.  I might look good with a glazed dome.  I know you’re like: “what the heck is this chick rambling about?”  Let me clue you in. My hats are a synonym for the many different personas I’ve undertaken.  Are you following me now?  I’ll break it down for you.

It started in middle school.  Your middle school years are undoubtedly the most awkward years in your life.  You’re converting to teenagedom (yes I used a non-word), yet still clinging onto your childhood with your molar teeth.  At the same time you’re trying to ‘find yourself’ amidst the pre-pubescent confusion that is your life. During these years I wore the hat of a pariah desperately trying to fit in.  My family and I had just moved from a suburban area just outside the beltway, to what I deemed as the boonies.  I was black engulfed in a crowd of perpetual white, I was Muslim in a majority Christian town, and I was somewhat of a nerd.  Thank God for my natural athletic abilities.  Without them I probably wouldn’t have made it out of middle school alive.  I guess you could say I sported two toppers during middle school.  One hat, my Hijab, was mandatory; and the other hat was that of a shy, weird, misplaced girl.  One of these styles had to go.

So in high school I traded in both of my hats.  I would come to realize later on in my adulthood that I’d made a terrible mistake; one that would cost me dearly in the near future.

I went through a lot of changes during my high school years.  My family ended up moving AGAIN during my sophomore year of high school.  This time we stayed in the county but we downgraded by moving to the seedier side of it.  My new school was far more diverse than the previous, but the quality of students was less than meritorious to say the least .  I ended up trading in my most prized hat, my Hijab for a whole new host of problems.  I thought that if I unveiled myself that I would be accepted by these new kids.  That was definitely a wrong move.  These new kids were the worst.  I quickly fell in line with the so called cool crew.  My initiation into this group resulted in an instant drop in my grades, more clashing with my parents, and a newfound love of shoplifting.   I traded in my studious, reserved personality for a new more rambunctious temperament.  I exerted extra effort into fitting in with the wrong folks.  Most of whom I look at today and simply shake my head.  I wasted so much time trying to be like people who turned out to be losers.  If I knew then what I know now…

This story actually gets worse.  I do intend on telling you more about the rest of my hat collection, but I refuse to let this become a long winded blog post that’s actually a magazine article in disguise.  I think I’ll make this a mini series of sorts.  If God lets me live to see next week, I’ll be back with part two of this story.

Until next time,

Peace and Love,

Umm Qamar

A Makeover for UmmQamarBlogs…coming soon!

After careful consideration I’ve decided to take this blog in a new direction.  I’ve been doing a little bit of that “introspection” that I speak so highly of.  So, after a great deal of thought I’ve concluded that it’s time for me to come out.

No I’m not gay.   A gay Muslim, that’s an oxymoron and a topic that deserves its own website.  I’m not even going to go there.  Where I am going to go is a little deeper into me.  I want to share my story, and hopefully you all will want to listen.  If not, I’ll find some new followers more deserving of my wisdom (that’s supposed to be a joke, I’m 23, I have no wisdom).

Originally I’d intended for this blog to be informative for both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.  I’m not sure if I’ve fulfilled that purpose.  Either way, I think my readers have a right to know the reason behind my passion for Islam.  Islam did not MAKE me into the person that I am today, and trust me I am a better person; it simply provided me with a manual on how to be a better me.  Islam has given me a straight path to follow directly to success.  I am eternally grateful for the guidance I’ve received from this religion.  That’s why it’s crucial for me to share where I’ve come from, even if it is a dark and morbid place.  It seems you cannot appreciate the good in life if you’ve never experienced the bad.

SN: Stay tuned…I’ve got some good stuff planned.  Also if you haven’t had a chance, make sure you check out my new poetry blog http://dirtywordlaundry.wordpress.com

Is Islam a Match For You? 10 Types of People That Are Compatible With Islam

Peace be with you!

In no particular order, the following types of people will find Islam is the best way of life for them:

1. Those seeking to worship one God.  No bells, whistles, 3-in-1 deities, or confusion about multiple gods is present in Islam.  It’s pretty cut and dry.

2. Patient people (or those willing to become patient)

3. People seeking truth and clarity; a.k.a the “I’mTiredOfTheb.s.IWantTheRealMckoy” people.

4. Unselfish people who are always willing to lend a helping hand, or their wallets, whatever charitable deed rocks your boat.

5. People who like to smile 🙂

6. Optimists

7. People that want to die…and go to heaven because it sounds way cooler than being here.

8. People looking to start large families, as you will acquire many “brothers” and “sisters” once you become Muslim.

9. People that want to fulfill their purpose in life (which is worshipping God, duh).

10. People that don’t mind being outcasts.  As I’m sure you know Muslims are hated on all around the world.

If you feel that any of these things describe you or spark your interest, I strongly encourage you to become a Muslim.  What are you waiting for, the end of time?

Lets Get High

Sike!  I don’t get high…Anymore.  I used to smoke weed religiously.  Let’s just say for every time I stand up to pray(which is 5x a day), that’s how many joints I sparked up on a daily basis.  I proudly embraced this addiction for a good 7 years.  Talk about high times.  I’m not trying to encourage anyone to use drugs.  I actually would like to invite you all to a healthier habit.

Speaking from the heart of a woman who was once seriously committed to pot, no one could have ever convinced me that something better than marijuana existed.  I self medicated with weed.  Mary Jane was my knight in shining armor.  Always there to rescue me from the horrors of reality.  Of course I know better now.  While getting high relieves you of your stress temporarily, life will be right there, ready to slap you in the face when you come back down.  In reality you never escaped, you were just blissfully procrastinating.  If you would like something more concrete to soothe your soul, I have a suggestion.  Listen to Qur’an.

What a beautiful alternative to wasting your money and damaging your lungs.  I’m not a doctor or a psychiatrist, so follow my advice at your own risk.  All I can do is share what has been beneficial for me.  I mentioned earlier that I thought I would never find a substitute for weed.  I lied, because I never looked.  I was content with being a pothead.  I think, like so many others,  I associated getting high with being cool.  Let me tell you, there is nothing cool about being a smoked out, lazy-minded, nonchalant individual.  Nowadays I’m at ease with myself.  If  I’m in a funk I read or listen to Qur’an.  Qur’an gets me lifted like no narcotic known to man ever could.  Besides, there is no “coming down” or nasty side effect from listening to the word of God.  I love it.

I felt the need to share those thoughts with you all.  I had just finished enjoying a beautiful recitation of Surah (chapter) 

Photo courtesy of africa

“He Frowned.”  The coolness I felt was reminiscent of that “floating on cloud 9” feeling  I used to chase, only without the smoke and coughing.

Hadith of the Day- On Patience During Calamity

Beauty through the Thorns Photo By: Tina Phillips

As Salaamu Alaikum,

I hope everyone is feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to attack the week.  I’m not, but that’s ok.  Here are a few Ahadith to encourage you all and myself to practice sabr (patience).  These were taken from one of my all time favorite books “The Way to Patience and Gratitude, Uddat As-Sabirin Wa Thakhirat Ash-Shakirin,” by Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya (pg 122).

Al-Zuhary said that ‘Urwa narrated that ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

“Whenever a catastrophe happens to a Muslim,  Allah will expiate his sins by it, even if a thorn pricks him.” (Al-Bukhari 6059, Muslim 1062)

‘Aishah said: “The Prophet (saw) said:

“Whenever a thorn pricks a believer, Allah will raise him a grade and decrease one of his sins by it.” (Muslim 2572)

So when you find yourself in a thorny situation just be cool.  It may be that Allah wants to test you so that he can reward you for your patience.

New Poem- The Diamond Mine

The Diamond Mine

By Umm Qamar

If only you knew,

How I cherish you,

Place you on a pedestal

Above the rest

May you be blessed

As time goes by,

I’m going to try,

To reveal what’s hidden in me,

I want you to see

Your loves labor was not lost,

By Allah, like delicate green moss

I reach towards the light

To gaze upon the visage of my Lord, in all his might

I praise him for the gift of you,

And hold this word to be true,

That paradise lies at your feet,

By the will of Allah, amidst gardens we’ll meet

The Real McCoy

As Salaamu Alaikum,

it’s so good to be back.  I hope I’ve been missed, if not that’s cool too.  It’s been maybe 3 or 4 days since my last posting.   I had an unsettling weekend which was only beneficial in inspiring the previous post.  It was great to use that negative energy to crank out my last rant.  But, when I tried to return to the regular “lemme tell you what I know” blogging mode, I got stuck.  My fingers refused to move, and my brain simply said, “forget you.” And that was that.

Alhamdulilah my brain fart has passed.  I’m stationed back in front of my monitor, ignorantly large cup of tea in my hand, ready to go. 

Since I’ve had a few days to reflect, I’ve come to a tremendous realization.  That is that the Qur’an is the real deal.  Not that I ever doubted it.  It’s just that every time I find myself in a rut, I open it up, start reading, and Wa La!  There, within its pages, lies a wealth of knowledge, a panacea.  There is no ailment known to mankind that Allah hasn’t provided a cure for.  The healing starts between the covers of His book. 

Now I’m going to assume that my Muslim readers already know this.  However if you aren’t Muslim and you happen to be reading, know that this is no hoax.  I don’t pussyfoot around on my blog.  I only speak from my own actualities.  In my last post I complained of small-fry annoyances that irked me over the weekend.  Let me inform you that I’ve been through hellish situations in comparison to those minor irritations.  The wisdom I’ve found in the Qur’an  has pulled me out of them all.  If you don’t believe me try it for yourself.  I challenge you to grab a copy of the Meaning of the Qur’an in your native language and read it.  Approach it with an open mind, and sincere intentions on seeking the truth.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  You know what they say…”ain’t nothing like the real thing baby.”

On that note I’m going to end this.  I’ve challenged you all, and I’d love to see who actually takes me up on it.  Please do comment below or tweet me @UmmQamar and let me know your thoughts.  You don’t stand to lose anything from reading a book.

A Follow up to- “Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover”

 

Alhamdulilah.  This weekend was an epic fail for me.  The last couple of days I’ve been on edge, to say the least.  I’ve been tempted to unleash a wild torrent of emotions upon certain individuals.  They shall remain nameless. 

Some people can get under your skin if you allow them to.  This is where sabr (patience) is a vital tool in helping you keep your cool.  Never give a person  the power to get you out of your character.  More importantly don’t let Shaitan succeed in his mission.  If you become irate and act irrationally only you will be held accountable for your actions. 

Nevertheless, it is common knowledge that humans aren’t infallible.  We all make mistakes, and we all have character flaws, Muslims included.  Yes, that’s right, we Muslims are indeed humans.  I’ve come across plenty of Muslims that behave so treacherously you could not pay me to believe they were upon the Sunnah, even if it was stamped on their foreheads.  I say this to illustrate my point.  You cannot judge an entire group of people

Fair and Balanced Judgment- Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan

according to the actions of a few.  If the actions of a few bad apples spoke for us all, Islam wouldn’t be the fastest growing religion in the world to date. 

So back to the annoyances I was plagued with this past weekend.  I forgive them for their misdeeds.  However I’m having difficulty trying to convince myself that I should take naseeha (advice) from such people.  I’m only responsible for following the Qur’an and Sunnah to the best of my abilities.  I refuse to blind follow any man, especially one who sees absolutely no wrong in himself.  Brothers and sisters , let us remember to check ourselves and our families first, before we deal out advice to others.

The Beauty of Faith

“Mommy how do you build a house?”

There it was, the perfect opportunity for me to finally say something profound and memorable to my son.  Every parent wants to be thought of as wise and knowledgeable by ones children.  So I leaned my head thoughtfully to one side and said…”Well, I guess you have to pour the foundation first.”  Wonk, wonk, I know I should have come a lot harder than that, but the kid put me on the spot.  Although my answer wasn’t as meaningful as I wanted it to be, it sufficed.

Solid foundations are the essential building blocks of life.  There is no situation, structure, or system, that can withstand the blunt force blows dealt to us by life without a firm foundation.  Within our own family units we refer to the strongest member of the household as the “rock” of the family.  The rock is the individual that everyone leans on for support.  Without that individual the family is likely to crumble under the stress of today’s societal woes. If you’re having difficulty  distinguishing who the rock is in your home, don’t worry there is somewhere else you can turn to for solace.

You can look within yourself.  But be careful, introspection is only useful when you have Faith.  I don’t mean the kind of faith that you have in your favorite basketball team or American Idol contestant, I mean faith in God.  The one and only true God.  As far as the Muslim is concerned we should have a clear understanding of Tawheed(to single out Allah as the one and only God worthy of worship).  We attribute complete lordship to Allah.  We direct all acts of worship to Allah, and we recognize that Allah has the most beautiful and unique names and attributes.  When we have a firm grasp on all aspects of Tawheed and actually put those concepts into practice, then we can turn to ourselves for solutions.  A person who is well-rounded in their belief of Allah is better equipped to handle the curveballs that life pitches.

Now, of course I refrained from giving that whole synopsis to my four-year old son.  Something tells me he would have found more pleasure in playing with Thomas the Tank engine, than in listening to mommy babble about faith.  Needless to say I do talk to my son about God.  I try to explain in kid friendly language that God exists, he’s always watching us, and that he should be our only go to guy for supplications.  I’ll let Bob the Builder explain all the ins and outs of home construction, I’m sure he’d do a much better job.