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Deep Roots

I rolled over in bed and quickly realized that was a huge mistake.

The whole side of my body morphed into fine goosebumps and I was awoken to the crisp Chicago night and freshly pressed bed sheets. Streaks of moonlight creeped through my blinds and splashed parts of my bed. It was eerie but serene at the same time. I pulled the covers closer to my body and gazed out the window. The warmth was rushing back towards my body as I bent my legs towards my chest to trap it in. I saw a silhouette of the tree standing in the front yard. During the day it stood in solitude and most of the time barely noticeable but tonight it looked intimidating, fearless and beautiful. The daytime suffocated her true self. She needed to release. The tree was simply stealing the night in order to display her true brilliance.

We all steal in one way or another. I thought to myself.

I took in a deep breath of the chilled night air and reflected on the desires of the human spirit. My chest rose as thoughts stirred in my mind. I needed the tree to share the night with me. So I stole a bit of it for myself.

I did so unapologetically and without shame.

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Life feels full, but nonetheless very enjoyable. At 28, I feel like I am reaching a point of self-realization. I am growing into myself and feel more confident with the woman I am becoming. I have had opportunities to be independent, extensively travel and pretty much “do me”. It always amazes me the turns that your life can take. I always tend to think that I control the major and minor occurrences in my life. Now, don’t get a sista wrong… I firmly believe that Allah has ultimate control but I think we play a huge part in how our lives turn out as well. In my early 20’s I would have never thought that I’d be unmarried and globe trotting.

For real…

We all walk different paths that may converge with that of our family and friends and sometimes they never converge at all. People get married in clusters then they start getting pregnant in clusters too. Think of it like this, in every group of friends there is that one person who kinda does their own thing. The one who is going against the grain of expectation and normativity.

Society dictates what you’re supposed to have, when you’re supposed to have it and how you’re supposed to get it. Are people just cookie cutters of one another? Should people be labeled or pointed out when they don’t fit into what society expects of them? As women we get stuck with this big time. Once you reach a certain age (normally after 30) certain “things” are expected of you. It’s almost as though many of us have an expiration date that is shadowed in the fear of not fulfilling those societal demands. Once we get into our late 20’s we’re in a rush to get our lives “together”.

Life is not set up like that. There is no “set” age or time to get married, have children or even to be settled in a career. I’m sure those things work as motivators for many people but I refuse to live my life in the cloud of societal demands.

That’s mad stressful!

I think about my life and where I see myself in the future inshAllah. I certainly want to get married and have a family, but quite frankly I am enjoying my life. I’m living in the now and attempt every day to be conscious of the present. The past is long gone and the future awaits me, God willing.

Right now is what counts and it is the only thing I can control at this given point in time.

There is a time for everything in your life. I recognize the chances of me finding someone as mobile as myself is pretty rare. I will have to adapt certain aspects of my life and the older I get I understand that people become less flexible. So don’t misunderstand a sista because I know that time is precious and it must not be wasted.

One must strike a balance of living for oneself as well as understanding the realities of life. This balance can be hard to achieve and it is something I work on quite often.

Right before bed and in the early hours of the morning have always been a time of reflection and thought.

Many researchers have said that trees are some of the few plants that can show physical manifestations to outside stressors. Air quality, soil conditions and limited space can inhibit their growth. Just like the human spirit trees need space to fully flourish and reach their highest potential. If not they remain stagnant and eventually die. One must be rooted in the knowledge of self in order to grow.

Remember, there is no growth without firm and planted roots.

I take my time to grow and breath so that when love comes my way I am ready for it to plant itself deeply within my heart. Until then, I steal pieces of the night and patiently wait for the daylight to bring its lessons on life.

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Uncategorized

V-day Mubarak!

V-day Mubarak to you!

Another year of love, sacrifice and the mushy gushies has sneaked upon us.

Love is in the air and I am such a softee during this time of the year. I suppose I am a hopeless romantic at times.

Muslims love to be the first to vocalize their disdain for non-Muslim “American” holidays. We see it all over Facebook and Twitter. Personally, I think it goes slightly overboard. I would be very offended if non-Muslims had the same attitude towards Ramadan or Eid.

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Regardless the meme wars have begun!

Now, I can understand the religious standpoint as to not wanting to celebrate certain holidays. All the power to you. A sista gets it, you are trying your best to remain steadfast on the Quran and Sunnah. May Allah make you successful.

Though…

With that being said many Muslim men are really lacking in the romance department. The art of wooing a woman has been lost. Is it not the sunnah to be romantic and treat your wife in a loving manner even after you are married?

Romance is a lost sunnah and for some V-day assists in rekindling it.

One thing I realized is that Muslim men love to religiously legitimize not celebrating certain holidays. Most of the anti-vday propaganda is initiated by them.

Red roses…

ASTAGFIRULLAH! 

Candy for my sweety pie…

A’OOTHOO ‘BILLA!

Brothas, now if y’all were smart you would take advantage of this day (or any other day of your choosing). It really does not require a lot of planning. Every store, boutique and flower shop caters to the “man” customer during this time of the year. They understand you get easily overwhelmed and hate to shop so as a result everything is laid out for your shopping convienence.

These are the typical excuses Muslim men give:

Allah says your spouse should be appreciated every day. I celebrate Valentines day all the time!

OR

Muslims don’t celebrate a holiday rooted in pagan theology. Sister, you get no flowers! 

After really thinking about this it led me to this thought:

As a Muslim woman what does is mean to be truly “appreciated”?

Does buying me a bouquet of roses or box of chocolates cut it?

Like, really?

Of course, I don’t view V-day as being the ultimate display of whether or not a man truly loves me. With that being said, truth of the matter is that everyday you don’t get taken out to a special restaurant nor do you get flowers.

What’s so wrong with having one day dedicated to being treated like the sistaqueen you are? When we live in a culture where folks are caught up with work, school and family its nice to have a day solely dedicated to celebrating your love. Everyday throughout the year you are hustling at work or in school. These are the physical labors of your love in a relationship. Whether or not you celebrate V-day take one day aside to just unwind and let your partner know how much you appreciate them.

Anyways, who doesn’t have the time to celebrate another capitalistic holiday?

Ya’ll are frontin’.

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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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love, stories, tips

Soul what

He told me he believed in soul mates.

I looked at him over my glasses with skepticism.

“Soul mates…” I whispered to myself inquisitively.

Not me…

This is something that I have thought of over and over again. It’s a frequent topic among my SistaQueens. The idea that you are made for someone and someone is made specifically for you. Some people are on a search their entire lives for this.

Absolute rubbish.

I like to consider myself a romantic. To be more specific I exude romanticism with a sprinkle of realism.

I firmly think there are many people out there you can be compatible with. Compatibility and “soul touching” are two different things. Sooo, what is “soul touching”? This is a term I use when you meet someone and you have an automatic connection. This does not only apply to romantic relationships but friendships as well. I can count on one hand the people I have met who fall into this category. The number of brothas would probably make up two fingers.

Once I met a brotha and he said he didn’t get the “feeling” when we would talk. I inquired and asked him what feeling he was referring to. He said “You know the feeling when you meet the one…” I was stifled and quiet for a couple minutes. “Do you expect fireworks to go off?” I asked. He looked at me and said nothing. Overall, it sounded like he watched too many Hollywood movies and his expectations of love were unrealistic. Of course there are some people you are not going to be drawn to and there are some you just aren’t connected with. When you are searching you must KOM (Keep an Open Mind) and be open to potentials. Love can come through many different avenues. Be open and receiving. Do not block.

Soul what that you don’t get whatever feeling you’re supposed to feel. If you’ve never felt it how do you know what it even is?

Sometimes I think people confuse lust with this type of love. Physiologically, your body goes haywire when this happens. There have been CT scans that show the stark differences between a person’s brain when they are in love as compared to when they aren’t.  Your body releases “feel good” hormones called endorphins.  If you are interested read this. It’s reasonable to see how most people would confuse the two. In my experiences men fall victim to this more than the ladies.

Of course I have met brothas who look good.

Real good…

These physical indicators never faze me for the most part. Now don’t get me wrong a Sista still daydreams from time to time! I am human.

Difference is I think long-term when I meet someone. All this other junk is temporary to me. I want to really get down to the bottom of things.

One of my constant prayers is that God gives me an open mind and a receiving heart while I am on this search.

Refrain from allowing societal expectations of love to dilute the reality of relationships.

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love, personal

The first time

I think I was around seven years old at the time. My family had relocated to Switzerland and I was attending grammar school. Switzerland was small and cramped. The streets were brick and narrow. Every corner had a bakery and the air always smelled like pine. Despite the fact that the country still had neo-nazi tendencies I felt safe for the most part, as safe as a seven year old could feel I guess.

I was attending school and I remember when he first sat next to me. He would follow me everywhere. You see, the Swiss are very holistic in their approach to elementary education. The day would start off with putting my slippers on (yes, we wore slippers to school) and handing Frau (Mrs.) Schafner an apple. She would then carve a silly face into it smile at me and give it back. That was breakfast. The rest of the day would consist of playing, laughing and making small crafts. I was happy.

One thing I remember about him was that he had a head full of almond colored hair. It was curly and framed his face. His skin was pale and he had bright brown eyes. He said I looked like cacao (chocolate in German). This was when I realized I was the only Black girl in the class. Coming to terms with the fact that you are “different” is always an interesting process. Before that I never paid attention to it. He said it very innocently and matter of factly. You know, the way kids typically state things. Almost every time we paired off he would slyly scoot closer to me. We would play together. He’d follow me. We’d fight. He would get on my nerves. Then we would be back to playing the next day.

Basel was a small city so you would run into people you knew all the time. One time I was walking with my mother and I heard someone scream my name. He ran up to me and pulled me to the playground. I liked to be with him. He made me happy.

Later that year, we moved back to the U.S. I never saw him again.

I think about this experience from time to time. The innocence that accompanies childhood is so pure. You love without reason or consequence. You love wholeheartedly. You are too young to realize the pain and hurt that comes along with love.

As adults, what if we loved like this?

Take away all the rational and self reasoning. What if you solely paid attention to how your heart was drawn to others. As children we were drawn to one another. Can one ever question matters of the heart?

No.

I can’t even recall his name but the experience stuck with me.

That was my first time.

The first time I fell in love.

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