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Ice Cube & Jummah

Recently I was having one of those days.

You know the ones when you’re really feelin’ yourself.

Outfit was on point, weather was nice and I had a fly cheetah print hijab on. Not only that but it was Friday so I was in a really good mood.

There was nothing more I could ask for. My red car glistened in the sun as I drove down Stony Island Avenue. In my Ice Cube voice “It was a good day.”

I was thankful and blessed.

You couldn’t tell a sista nothin’…

I was on the south side of Chicago and I decided to go to jummah nearby. I rolled into a mosque I was somewhat familiar with and soaked in the sermon. After jummah, I gave the greeting to the familiar faces I saw put my shoes on and made my way out.

I was walking back to my car. I crossed the street and headed towards the open parking lot. First thing I noticed was that my car was blocked in by two vehicles. It looked like it would be a game of Tetris trying to get out of that lot. I thanked Allah under my breath for having a small car. I was strategically parked at the end all the way in the corner.

I pulled my keys out of my purse as the gravel crunched under my shoes. As I opened my door I heard someone say “Asaalamu alaikum sister.”

I looked over and realized there was a brother sitting in the car next to where I was parked. Like myself he was patiently waiting in the post-jummah traffic jam. He poked his head out of the window and smiled.

I returned the greeting and kindly smiled back before closing my door.

It was mad hot outside. I got in my car, started the engine and rolled down the windows.

“I like your car.” He said. I couldn’t tell if he was looking at my car or at me because of his huge sunglasses. One thing though, I could tell he was slightly nervous by the almost unnoticeable quiver in his voice.

“Thanks, its a good car. Very reliable” I said shyly.

I could hear the reggae playing in his car. He turned the music down.

“I’ve never seen you here before. So you come to this mosque often?” He asked.

I knew where this was going but I thought let me not shut the brotha down right away. He had the guts to initiate conversation and he did so after jummah for that matter! Plus, it would be kinda awkward ignoring him as I was stuck in the lot. A sista couldn’t run even if she wanted to.

Plus you already know the deal…

Muslim men say Muslim women (specifically hijabis) are hard to talk to. Muslim women say Muslim men never attempt to initiate conversation.

“Naw, not really. I was just in the area and decided to stop by. The khutbahs (sermon) always seems to be relevant here.” I said.

I looked in my rear view mirror to see if there was any progress. The cars were still empty. I guess folks were trying to get their Friday blessings in and putting extra sunnah prayers in.

I could see him in my peripheral. His body language indicated he wanted to say more. During the eleven minute hiatus he told me about his family and profession.

As folks headed back to their cars and the sound of engines echoed in the parking lot he said this, “Sister, I’m really just looking for a wife. I know its forward of me but I have to start somewhere. No better place to meet a sister than at the masjid after jummah, right?” This came out of his mouth with such sincerity.

The brother had a point.

After much thought I realized I wasn’t mad at him. He was simply doing what he needed to do in order to find a partner. He made his intentions perfectly clear.

No disrespect involved.

I know y’all ain’t gonna admit it but we’ve all scoped the scene out after jummah, Eid prayer and at lectures.

Stop frontin’…

You see, the way some men approach women makes us feel violated at times. Most women have felt like that at some point or another.

I didn’t feel violated or grossed out after our conversation ended. My dignity and self-respect was still intact.

Then I thought about how a couple of years ago I would have totally written this brotha off. I probably would have flipped my cheetah hijab, said “astagfirullah” under my breath, given him an eye roll (maybe with a neck roll for added emphasis) and zoomed off in my mini red car. Getting older, wiser (hopefully!), and experienced has honestly allowed me to see the “human” in people.

Many Muslims like to view themselves as the ideal Muslim (at least in public) but no one realizes that this is something we all aspire to become. We all want to reach a level of religious perfection and utter obedience.

But what does being a “good” Muslim really mean? Why do we deny ourselves the right to emotionally express our human needs and then equate that with religiosity?

It just doesn’t make sense to me. Acknowledge your basic needs as the human that Allah created you to be.

It’s not a weakness and at that moment I realized that,

I could not fault him.

I could not ridicule him.

I could only empathize with him.

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brothers, marriage, tips

Sweet as the Sunnah: 5 ways to hit on a Muslimah

Imagine this scenario:

It’s morning rush hour and you are waiting on the platform for the express train. Train pulls up and the doors spring wide open. The train is packed, as usual, with folks drinking their morning coffee and bopping away to music on their iPods. 

You grab hold of the bar and rest your back on the door. 

Just another morning…

Midst being lost in your thoughts and everything you have to do you look up and notice a Muslimah sitting across from you. She looks up from her book and shyly smiles. You awkwardly smile back. 

A million and one thoughts are running through your head. You want to spark up a conversation but you’re not sure exactly how to go about it. You don’t want it to come off as though you’re tryin’ to mac or be disrespectful. 

You’re counting down the stops to your destination and at the same time trying to scheme a plan to talk to her. 

Let me start off by telling you this…

Yes, we are Muslim women but at the end of the day we are women. Most of the guys who hit on us on a daily basis are non-Muslim. Occasionally it would be nice to be hit on by someone who you can actually envision a future with…

Before any mac daddy stuff goes down check out her hands. Women are more likely to wear wedding rings as compared to men. If she’s married most likely she will have a ring on (not always though).

Now this has to be done the right way though. My brotha, you have to be respectful and most of all legit when you try to hit on a Muslim woman. They say it typically takes a mere 15 minutes to figure out if a woman is interested in you or not.

Here are some helpful tips that will help you navigate the mysterious world of Muslim women (you can thank a Sistaqueen later). Remember we are talking marriage here:

1. Wise Words. Pick your words wisely. Nothing cheesy, or straight up rude. Remember women love to be spoken to gently and we pay attention to every word that rolls off your tongue. If you decide to start off your macing with a question make sure its open ended because this will lead to a conversation. Remember, mates should always start out as friends so you want to see how good the conversation is. She might clam up and not be open at first but give her a little space. Most Muslim women are a tad bit reserved.

2. Da Digits. Don’t ask for her number too soon. Ease into it my brotha. When brothers run straight for your number its a huge turn off. You start the conversation off and let her steer it. If you are really diggin’ her vibes find out a way to leave her your number. This will make her more comfortable and most of all put the power in her hands. If you guys were talking about work for instance come up with some lame excuse such as, “I know this great networking event coming up next month. Here is my number you can call me and I can give you the info.” Now if the interest is mutual then she will give you a ring.

3. Islam it up. Always relate the conversation back to Islam. This is a major turn on. You’ll have the sista “mashAllah’ing” you in her head. Compliment her hijab. Tell her you wish other women valued modesty as much as Muslim women. Don’t overdo this though because it might come off as fake. You want her to know that Islam is an important part in your life. “Yo sista, that Nawawi’s 40 hadiths is off the chain. You peeped it lately?” See it’s that simple. Islam all day err’ day.

4. Body art. Now I can not stress the importance of body language. Open stance and good eye contact are just a few signs that you are interested. I must tell you that most Muslim women like a brotha who lowers his gaze from time to time. This shows us that you have control over yourself. So look up and then cast your eyes downward. This shows you are listening but at the same time giving us the respect we deserve. Lean into the conversation. Make her feel like she is the only person in the room. Speak with confidence and without hesitation. Now onto the rules of touching. Remember like I said, earlier on I am by no means giving fatwas (Islamic rulings) here. The issue of touching (handshakes, hugs, etc) vary from person to person and their level of practice. Personally, I would tell you not to touch the sista in any way or form. More than likely you will cross a personal boundary and this could turn your sweet macing session into a sudden disaster. All that hard work for nothing…

5, Make her smile. Most women like to laugh and we value a brotha who has a light sense of humor. Remember before we access our compatibility as mates we are venturing into the friends zone. Crack a joke. Make the conversation light. Don’t go into it asking for her wali’s information. So many brothas jump into asking for your wali. Now of course we understand that things must be done Islamically but slow your roll.

My brotha, now you are ready to test the field. Rejection is always a possibility. Don’t sweat it because it was her loss. Best believe you will find the one.

Let the confidence inside you radiate! Remember, you got this!

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Does he HAVE to be Muslim?

I have received several inquires about my updates. I have been busy relocating and transitioning jobs. I am in the vibrant city of Brooklyn.

No friends, I am not married! Though, who knows what the future holds. Like I always say be open to new possibilities and ventures.

So I had a recent conversation with some of my sistaqueens that I want to share with you.

We were pondering this question:

Would more Muslim women be married if it was permissible to marry non-Muslim men?

Many of the women I asked firmly agreed. Surprisingly only a handful of them disagreed. Most in agreement had personal stories to back up their claims. I heard a multitude of stories about sisters meeting men at work or in other places but having to end things due to them not being Muslim. One sister in particular told me that she met a man at work and he was a very devout Coptic Christian. He was drawn to her modesty and behavior. He had all the qualities she wanted in a spouse (minus the fact that he was not Muslim). Obviously the relationship didn’t go any anywhere but she said she often wonders where it would have gone might they have taken things further.

Many of the women I asked claimed that they were treated with more respect when approached by non Muslim men.

Sadly, I could believe this.

The horror stories I hear about Muslim men (not all) will have you run the opposite direction. For real.

The bad part is Muslim men twist Islamic rulings to their favor and use it to legitimize their rachet behavior. As a Muslim woman empower yourself by knowing the religion in and out.

It always amazes me how Muslim women are expected to stay within an expected line of behavior but brothers act a damn fool. Getting married to two or even three women without telling their first wives.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts I have been approached by several married men who have not informed their first wives of their quest for another woman. This always leaves me to wonder if this is a common behavior among Muslim men.

I equate polygamy on the down low with cheating. It’s dishonest and breaks up a relationship real fast.

Sistaqueen, if he does it to another woman then best believe he will do it to you.

Baby, you are NOT an exception.

Taking advantage and misconstruing Islamic law is big sin. May Allah have mercy and guide us all to what He loves.

But then I thought about this…

If thats the case then why aren’t non Muslim women married?

I’ve grown up with the thought that mainstream culture doesn’t respect marriage and has a deep fear of long term commitment.

Especially men.

I am a firm believer that a majority of women regardless of ethnicity, faith or social status desire marriage. Many would beg to argue but women desire long term commitment. Always. If not then something is wrong.

It doesn’t make us weak. It’s just how we were built.

Could it be that non Muslim women don’t desire marriage? Is the idea of being with one person for the rest of your life a turn off?

Lastly, I think its important for folks to know that very few Muslimwomen in their right mind would choose a non Muslim brother over a Muslim one. We are talking about your life partner and the father of your future children.

I’ve heard of several Imams on the East Coast marrying Muslimwomen to non Muslim men. Whether or not you are in agreement with this we all must acknowledge that there is a Muslim marriage crisis happening in the Western world.

Things like this just happen due to our circumstances as Muslims in a majority non Muslim country. No one wants to stay single.

And if you ask a sistqueen herself the streets are rough. TheMuslim brothers that are readily available are either married, “not ready” or messing around with non-Muslim women.

So this leaves young Muslim women in an unfortunate position.

My last words to you are…

Take caution to the tricks of shaytan, make dua to Allah and lastly getcho’ man!

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brothers, love, mosque, personal, segregation, stories

Black + Muslim + Woman

“It’s because you’re black.”

He repositioned himself in the chair, then looked down at his cup of coffee and grabbed the handle. I could tell this conversation made him uncomfortable.

He was from the subcontinent but had the swag of a black brotha. He said he was having a hard time find a sister from his background because he couldn’t relate to them.

“I’m sorry, it’s just my family wouldn’t be happy…” He said this apologetically while taking a small sip from his drink.

I looked at him from across the table before proceeding to give him a piece of my mind. But then I stopped myself.

Why was I shocked?

I thought about how this would have played out totally differently if I was a white girl, and laughed under my breath. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand my white sisters have their own set of problems when it comes to marriage. With that being said, I firmly believe that Black women get the shorter end of the stick. Bottom line.

Muslims like to boast about how Islam is such an accepting religion. We refer to the Prophet’s (pbuh) Black companions, such as Bilal, all the time. The stark reality is that many Muslim communities across the U.S. are blatantly prejudiced, insular and unwelcoming to Black folks. The rhetoric we hear in Friday sermons – being brothers to one another and one united family – is often absolutely hypocritical.

As a result, many Black Muslim women remain unmarried and chronically single.

I know many of these sistas.

I am one of them.

In many communities, Black Muslim women are viewed as the most undesirable women as far as marriage prospects. Black people are plagued with stereotypes and generalizations, and these attitudes have seeped into the fabric of our communities. Growing up in a predominantly Arab community, I understood racism at a very young age. As a girl, I was told that Muslims should marry from their “own people.” I realized early that I would not find a husband in that community but thankfully was able to disassociate my negative experiences with my understanding of Islam.

But the question still remains: who is accountable for the horror stories involved with being a Black Muslim in certain communities?

I hold the leaders responsible. Muslims are notorious for sweeping serious issues under the carpet, turning a blind eye, and pretending as though problems such as racism do not exist. We would rather focus on interfaith dialogue than address intrafaith issues or admit that we are the source of some of our problems.

Community leaders need to properly address race relations specifically when it comes to marriage. The Islamic concept of equality needs to not only be spoken of but actually implemented through the support and encouragement of interracial marriage. Leaders need to take a hard look at the demographics of their mosques and address diversity gaps and segregation. Open dialogue and constructive criticism is the key when it comes to addressing this crucial issue.

Like the brother I met over coffee, I know there are many Muslim men out there who prefer chocolate sistas but refrain from venturing further with those prospects due to family and cultural expectations. It is ok to have preferences when it comes to potential spouses but at the same time one must be open to new possibilities.  If your preferences are solely based on race, that’s a huge problem. Remember that Allah might send you what you need rather than what you want.

Don’t block love. An open mind and receiving heart will never lead you astray.

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brothers, love, marriage, personal, tips

SSS

I know a lot of single sistas.

A lot….

They are smart, beautiful, college educated and all around wonderful women.

But for one reason or another they remain chronically single.

I call this condition SSS.

Also known as…

Single Sista Syndrome.

The symptoms might include the following:
Loss of excitement when meeting new brothas.
Consistent complaining and mood swings.
Comparing oneself to others within the same social circle.
Overconsumption of food items containing chocolate.

*If these symptoms last for more than 5 years please contact your nearest mosque, wali or closest married girlfriend.

Now, I am all up for Muslim women being proactive when it comes to their love lives. I know my transparency makes many people uncomfortable. I like to look at myself as following the sunnah.

Yes, yall following the sunnah!

I am exemplifying the example of the strong Muslim women that have come before me.

And this includes taking my life seriously and knowing what I want in a man…

Women need to be open as to what type of man they want and not be shy when approaching these subjects. Cultural implications have led to many Muslim women across the world not taking an active role in their search for a life partner.

Shyness is one thing but not having a voice in YOUR affairs is another.

By no means am I negating the importance of having a male guardian. I am simply stating that YOU need to take ownership instead of sitting around and doing absolutely nothing. Yes, as Muslims we understand that qadr (destiny) is already predetermined but please remember that we play a significant part as well.

My sista, this is your life. Don’t allow others to dictate the important matters that will ultimately effect you in the end.

Now I will admit that I have been a victim of SSS.

Personally this was due to several factors…

Being a Black SistaQueen raised in a predominantly Palestinian community my chances of meeting someone were pretty slim. Tribal mentalities, pride, and the risk of having nappy headed grandbabies was enough to deter the brothas that even expressed the slightest of interest in me.

Now miracles happen all day errrrr’day!

But…

At one point I realized that I needed to take charge. Let it be known that I want to get married because I was not about to stay single forever.

Queens need kings, right?

Don’t be ashamed to have a standard. Don’t just marry the first fool that passes you and compliments your hijab. You will be with this person for the rest of your life and if you can’t see longevity then I suggest you reconsider.

The fall of my first marriage really put things into perspective for me. Many people in the community I was raised in look down on divorcees and if you’re a woman they’ll give you the shovel to dig your own grave.

Just know, that your self-worth and value should never be dependent on a man. YOU are an independent entity that deserves to love, be loved and bask in that love together forever!

I realized what I wanted and wasn’t ashamed to go after it, regardless of what people thought. I encourage you to do the same. Just be ready for criticism and judgement.

My sista, love is a beautiful thang when you find the person who is most deserving of you. Don’t be cold and harsh because there are many decent brothas out here looking for the same thing as you.

In 1987, LL Cool J admitted that he needed to be loved, but truth is that most men don’t express that emotional side.

Like I always say keep an open mind and a receiving heart.

We got this!

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brothers, tips

Gold diggin’ Sistas

Sistaqueens, the brothas have spoken…

They are reading and soaking up all these jewels I’m droppin’.

I have received several messages from the brothas asking me how to read the ladies.

Let’s start…

You’ve met a pretty sista. She’s everything you want in a woman. She is the epitome of modesty and flyness. What more could you ask for?

But, something isn’t right. She seems to be after more. You can never please her now.

At first the flowers and candy made her happy and giddy but she seems to be yearning for something else.

You’ve met the….

GOLD DIGGIN’ SISTA!

Now let me break this down for you. Men and women are after different things in a relationship. Most men want a pretty wife (sistas stop rolling your eyes. This is the reality!) They are physical by nature so they want someone who is the coolness to their eyes. Now with that being said, most women want a brotha who has his shit together.

His finances need to be on point.

BUT…

There is a huge difference between him having his finances together and a sista being unrealistic with her expectations.

My brotha, these are the signs you should look for in this type of sista.

1. Displeased. She’s never happy. You can never please her. No matter what you do the sista always wants more. This will set a precedence for your future marriage.  Listen my brotha, everything you do at this point is out of the kindness of your heart. You DON’T have to buy her presents but you are a gentleman and you know how to woo the ladies. I whole heartedly encourage you to do these things but pay attention to her reaction. Does she say “thank you”? Does she return the favor? What makes her extremely happy? Pay attention. Pay close attention.

2. Comparison. This type of sista will consistently compare herself to her friends. If they roll through with a new car best believe she is going to want one as well. Life for this type of sista is about showing off the goods you got. She enjoys bragging and is always side eyeing other chics to see what they have. She must be the top of her game and that ain’t no lie! She has a deep disdain for other women. This distrust is stemmed from the fact that she herself has skewed intentions with you. I would also suggest that you figure out what kind of friends she has. This will tell you a lot about her character.

3. Lazy. Most of these sistas are lazy. If they had their own money they would not be after yours. They always want the easy way out and you hold that key to their financial security. Why make my own money and work my tail off in school when I can find a brotha who can give me all of that and more… Needless to say she lacks career motivation. Now don’t get this mistaken. A lot of sistas have the dream of being stay at home mothers. Please don’t confuse that with laziness. Gold diggin’ sistas use whatever resources they have to get what they want. Most women, even Muslim ones, will use their looks to get what they want. Some of us will even play the “shy never been kissed” role to get what we truly desire.

4. Perception. How does she view the needy? Does she believe in volunteer work or bettering her community? Gauge and see where she is at with this. A very good way to do this is to see how she views those on public aid. Perhaps she might even feel entitled. Like she is meant to have certain luxuries in life.

5. Interests. Figure out what her basic interests are. If she enjoys shopping every weekend on daddy’s credit card that should be a red flag. Gold diggin’ sistas give very obvious hints. You just have to be paying attention and not dismiss these red flags.

Yes, ya’ll I keep it real! OK!

Hopefully these tips helped and gave you some insight as to how you can spot these sistas out.

Like I said earlier, if it doesn’t look right or smell right then chances are it probably ain’t right!

 

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brothers, marriage

Broke Brothas

Money…

It’s important to most women. A majority of us need to feel like we are going to be financially secure within a relationship. The idea of venturing into a marriage with a brotha who is not financially stable is scary for the most part.

Now, I have realized a couple things. Sistas, take notes because this might change how you view brothas who you deem “broke”.

Let me break it down for you. I put “broke brothas” into three categories:

Broke dreamers. These brothas are really hopeful and bright eyed. They are hard workers and always on the grind. You will find them doing random jobs or working on some “big idea”. They have goals and aspirations but can’t seem to get it movin’. He would give you the world if he could. One thing to remember is that you will always have to have a steady job if you decide to stick it out with one of these brothas. Most of them are sincere, honest and trying their best. They just can’t focus and get to where they want to be. You just need to realize and expect tough times. Sometimes they just need a sista who can give them direction. If you are up for the challenge there are many of them lurking around. I advise you to determine what he wants out of life before starting a relationship.

Broke smarties. These brothas are the ones who are in school. I’m talking about the future engineers, doctors and intellectuals. These brothas have A LOT of potential. Most of them are turned off by the idea of marriage because they know they aren’t stable enough to support a wife and potential family. Also, they have been rejected by many sistas because they ain’t got no money. Most want to be married but remain single due to the financial constraint. His money is going elsewhere right now. College tuition, textbooks and ramen noodles are just to name a few. He’s broke as a joke. He wants to be married. He’s just waiting for that one sista who will see past his bank account. They are lurking all over campuses and MSA’s (Muslim Student Assocation). You might even find one in your local library gettin’ his study on. If you have the ability to be patient with a brotha you might be able to benefit from him later on. Remember what I said earlier. Don’t block love. Also, best believe once he graduates those sista will be on him!

Broke jokers. Now these brothas right here… They have been broke a long time. VERY LONG… What makes this bad is that he is perfectly comfortable being broke. They are always scheming and trying to come up with a cheap way to make money. These are the brothas who might take you out and if you pay for dinner they wouldn’t budge. They pretend like they have more money than they actually do. More than likely they will have the latest kicks on and their rims will be shining. They are show offs. Flaunting around the little money they got. Sistaqueen, it’s all a facade. ALL OF IT. It’s easy to get stuff on credit. Remember that.

This gives you something to think about. Look at each case individually. Sistaqueens, also remember never be 100% financially dependent on a man. Even if you marry someone who is really banking remember that money can disappear just as quickly as it was made.

Make your own way.

Don’t follow his.

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