brothers, personal, stories

Vegan Muslim Love Affair

He said he saw me on a Friday.

I was coming out the mosque and I caught his eye.

I guess I had it goin’ on that day…

He was a kufi wearing, dashiki donning, Africa medallion down for the revolution type of brotha.

Oh yeah, and he was a vegan.

I have a soft spot for tree huggin’ Black brothas.

Anyways…

I wasn’t talking to anyone so I accepted his offer to get to know me better for the purpose of marriage. We exchanged a couple emails and flirty texts (yes, Muslims flirt…) until we finally decided to meet at a restaurant for lunch. It was vegetarian, mind you…

I got there early, so I took a seat in the waiting area.

I decided to dress casually. Cute skirt, casual knit top and some strappy leather sandals is what I decided on. Of course I couldn’t forget my mama Africa wood earrings.

I’m a SistaQueen…gotta represent.

He walked in and headed towards my direction.

I have to say that he was incredibly cute. He smiled and his whole face lit up. His eyes smiled when he laughed. He handed me a single red rose and I made a mental note to remember that. The restaurant was packed with hipsters and wannabe vegetarians (such as myself). He already knew what he was ordering and I was picking through the menu to see what looked remotely familiar.

I settled on a BBQ tofu sandwich. It was aight…

We talked about our families and interests. He was very educated and knowledgable. He was conscious of the world and specifically the plight of Black people in America. He told me how he thought the only salvation Black folks could get would be to travel back to Africa in mass numbers. He said there would never be justice on stolen land. I felt his energy. He had not touched his lentil soup instead his attention was focused on me. He was a passionate brotha and I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.

I nodded in agreement and I studied his words and body language.

The waitress came over to see if we needed anything. She handed us the bill and I took it (this is one of my tactics I’ll expand on later). He gently grabbed it from my hands smiled at me and walked up to the cashier.

He asked permission to call me later in the week. I said yes and we parted ways.

It was around dusk and I was walking to the train. My shadow was dancing on the Chicago pavement and I was lost in my thoughts. I was recapping the sit down in my head. It went well and I was intrigued. I wanted to know more about him.

He called me later that week. I was pleasantly surprised.

We agreed to meet up at a local coffee shop with some mutual friends.

It went well.

Fresh aromatic coffee, familiar faces and laughs. Who could ask for more?

We both had a good time.

This is when my feelings started to kick in.

Not the feeling of lust, love, or passion…but the feeling of distrust.

You see, I am a big believer in intuition. It is an instinct that many people write off due to reasoning and self doubt.

I did not know him but for some reason I didn’t trust him.

It was only the second time meeting him but my feelings of distrust were so strong. I expressed my apprehension to a close friend and we wrote them off.

Over the course of several weeks we continued getting to know one another. He expressed interest in meeting my family. I thought that was a great idea.

Needless to say, things were progressing pretty smoothy.

He was very attentive and sweet. Always knew what to say at the right time.

Besides my tugging feelings of distrust I saw the potential in the relationship.
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One morning, I received a phone call from his cell.

“Asaalamu alaikum…” I said.

“Wa alaikum maaaaaa — who’s this?!” The voice sounded unfamiliar and that of a distraught woman.

Needless to say I was not surprised in the least.

Not even shocked.

The woman proceeded to tell me that her and the brotha were engaged and about to get married.

She proceeded to try and get “sista girl from the hood” with me and turn it into a competition.

I stopped her right in her tracks and said “Sista, lets not go there…”

I gave her the advice that I would highly reconsider marrying someone who was already trying to talk to other sisters. That was not a good look and that she deserved better.

We ended on a respectful note and it led me to this thought:

As Muslim women we must be pillars of support for one another. Not play the blame game. Brothas need to be called out for legitimizing certain behaviors with Islam. This is absolutely unacceptable. Polygamy is a respected practice in Islam but dishonesty is abhorred.

Best believe, he got a piece of my mind as well…

My intuition was leading me in the right direction. I was the one who chose to ignore the signs of the universe.

Life is full of subtle signs.

Keep your eyes and heart open.

Be willing to accept these signs even if in the end it is not what you truly desire.

Remember…

Allah knows all.

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Single in Ramadan: An Action Plan

Ramadan Greetings!

The excitement is in the air. I can feel it! Ramadan is here!!!

So, we are in the midst of another Ramadan and you just realized that you are *still* single.

Time to get those duas ready…

On a serious note…

Ramadan is a time filled with gatherings and social functions. With that being said it can be a lonely time for someone who is not connected to a particular community and even more lonesome for the single Muslim.

Let me help you understand.

I grew up in a practicing Muslim family. Needless to say Ramadan is a very big deal for my family and I. My mother will only cook certain foods during that time, such as her famous Turkish bread! The house stays decorated with bulb lights and our house is never empty. As a child my house was on and poppin’ during Ramadan!

When I got married I took the same energy to my own household. I enjoyed spending Ramadan with my then husband. We would attend social gatherings, the mosque and even break the fast at my family’s house. All of that was fun and exciting but the time I valued the most was when we would sit together and pray. There are many levels of intimacy that you share with a partner. Spiritual intimacy can be the most personal and uplifting. The first Ramadan I celebrated post divorce felt strange. Even though I didn’t miss him very much, I felt the void of being companion-less and needed the spiritual energy that I could only find in a partner.

I am going to give you some tips and pointers on how to combat this loneliness so you can make the most of your Ramadan.

1. Admit it. Dude, just face it. This is your reality. You are lonely and it is OK. Remember, its normal to want a partner. Like I always say, there are very few creatures that Allah created who live happily in solitude. The first way to address a problem is to admit that one exists. You are sick of being single. It’s not all its cracked up to be. Now, lets figure out solutions to combat how you are feeling!

2. Social Life 101. Take your social life to new heights. There is so much to do during this month. Find some other single Muslim folks and figure out what’s going on in your community. Find someone who you trust and lean on them when you feel lonely. There is no excuse to feel like you are “alone”, especially during Ramadan. Along with that, utilize Facebook and crash some iftars or lectures if need be. Even if you have to go to an iftar by yourself I recommend going! Unlock that social butterfly!

3. Keep Lookin’. Now if you are serious about finding a spouse then Ramadan is the best time to do so. You know Muslims come out the woodwork during this month! Keep them eyes wide open. Don’t blink. Attend more social gatherings, community iftars (breaking of the fast/dinner) and religious events. You never know, perhaps your future spouse is lurking around. Also, be sure to look your best during this month. Sistaqueens, pull out them fancy hijab. Make sure your eyeliner and eyebrows are on point! Brothas, wear your best oils and put lotion on them ashy ankles! Not only do you want to look good in the state of worship but you never know who is checking you out. Remember, I KIR (Keep It Real)…

4. Masjid hop. Attend a different mosque. Visit a community you have never been to. Praying in congregation will help lessen your loneliness. Do not isolate yourself. That’s the worst thing to do during Ramadan! This is a time for community involvement. Stay busy doing something.

If you are someone who has your social life on point then I highly recommend that you reach out to those who who need a little push.

May Allah reward you and allow you to take advantage of this blessed month…

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For the love of music

Single in the City

Love, InshAllah

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It was really cold. I was starting to get annoyed.

I was on the platform waiting for the morning train. I looked down at my watch then quickly stuffed my hand back in my pocket. “Four minutes late…” I muttered to myself.

Anyone from Chicago can testify that our winters are horrendous. No matter how long you live here you will never get used to winter in the Windy City. I always complain about how my “African blood” can’t handle this harsh weather, yet through all my fussing I can never leave the city that I love so dearly.

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