Again, much time has passed since my last burst of enthusiasm (March) to post here. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) my ideas and blogs in my mind do not immediately transfer onto wordpress, so here I am once again.
In January, I played in the Annual Lawson Nurse Scrabble Tournament, and brought home another trophy! I have since lost the photograph of same. However, NoS and Youngest and BH each brought home a trophy on the same day. (And apparently I have also lost those photos). (This blog needs emojis).
BH was awarded ‘Parent of the Year’ and the other muslimah mother was also awarded ‘Parent of the Year’. So while I could crow about my word tiles, I would rather cite some scripture on parenting:
“…kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them”. (Quran 6:151)
[Quran 25:74]…..”Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous.”
[Quran 14:40] “O my Lord! make me one who establishes regular Prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! and accept Thou my Prayer.”
Prophet Muhammad saws said, “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s household and is responsible for her flock”.
The Prophet (s) said: “Allah (SWT) will ask every caretaker about the people under his care, and the man will be asked about the people of his household” (Nasa’i, Abu Da’ud)
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded” (Qur’an 66:6).
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi va sallam) said, “The best gift to children from parents is their correct training”(Tirmizi).
Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:“Upon death, man’s deeds will stop except for three deeds, namely: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and a pious righteous and God-fearing child who continuously prays to Allah, for the souls of his parents” (Muslim).
Today’s Daily Prompt topic is ‘Whisper’. It seems as if every word associated with whisper sounds like a whisper – a rustling, murmuring sound. Your voice automatically drops to near silence and your entire body tautens as it strains to hear the near quietude.
Susurrus means the same, and you can hear the sibilance in each syllable. Is this omnomatopoeia? Susurrus comes from the Latin susurrare – to hum, whisper. Can you hear the susurrant ripples of the flowing stream? It’s a beautiful word. Welcoming, soothing, enveloping. Sounds very enticing, doesn’t it? Like you could just sink in it. Well, you can sink into quicksand too.
In the Caribbean, we sometimes admonish those who ‘wiswis’ (whisper gossip and promote confusion and chaos). Without having delved into the etymology of that word, it is my view that it probably derives from the Muslims’ use of the term ‘waswaas’ – a term connoting the evil whisperings of the devil.
In Sura 114, the last Chapter of the Holy Qur’an, titled ‘An-Nas’, those whispers are recognised and the Sura itself legislates the protection to be recited against those whispers:
Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind,
The King (or Ruler) of Mankind,
The Allah (for judge) of Mankind,-
From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper),-
(The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind,-
Among Jinns and among men.
The prettily decorated cupcake & server tell their own story. Especially in conjunction with the title of this post. And if I were silent, each of you would create your own story from your own inferences, selective knowledge, and personal views. So many times we colour our silences or our utterances because of knowledge we peculiarly hold. But just as many times, those colours can be filtered or shaded when that knowledge meets the light of reality.
Yes, the cake was served on my birthday. It’s a chocolate chiffon cupcake with homemade whipped cream, fresh strawberries & blackberries & chocolate drizzle. Compliments of BakerDaughter. So yes, my birthday was the occasion, but not the occasion. Be-fog-ged yet? Let us de-mist – the anniversary of my birth date was the time on which the cupcakes were served, but my birthday was not the reason for the cupcakes.
In Trinidad & Guyana, indentured servants/labourers were the replacement labour source for the sugarcane plantations, upon the abolition of slavery in the 1800s. 143,000+ indentured labourers went to Trinidad, almost 209,000 went to Guyana. These emanated from British India. The Fatel Razak which landed in Trinidad in 1838 is reputed to have brought the second set of Muslims to the Caribbean. Indentured labourers also went from other colonies.
It is reported that the ratio of males to females were 3:1 and in some cases 2:1.Despite the labour intensive days on the plantations and the many rules restricting religious and cultural practices, those practices (perhaps modified) survived. It is believed that both Hindu and Muslim labourers attended their respective religious ‘schooling’ on evenings after a day in the field. From one article I’ve read (and I cannot speak to its validity as a source), those Muslims who congregated to observe their Eid prayers at the Palmiste Estate were flogged for offering their first Eid prayers in Trinidad. On another occasion, defenceless Muslim immigrants attempting to carry out a peaceful observance of a religious occasion were shot by a platoon of armed policemen. Another source confirms the flogging but provides conflicting information – that Muslim religious practices were controlled and the building of mosques and the Friday congregational prayer discouraged – that Islamic community life was not transported, and the ‘Indian’-originated Muslims in Trinidad were called ‘madingas’ – in recognition of those African Muslims of the Madingo tribe. While used in a derogatory manner, the coining of that phrase by non-Muslims unknowingly reflects the recognition of racial equality amongst Muslims. This second source also states that Muslims succeeded in maintaining their religious practices by practising the fundamentals of Islam and gathering on various occasions. It is these gatherings that the author of the second source describes as an amalgamation of Hindu cultural practices with Islamic traditions.
A third author (Suresh Pillai) states: “Out of the recesses of their minds and memories they pieced together their religious and social practices and philosophies and recreated the institutions that sustain a civilization.” Pillai says: “Koran sheriff was the source of inspiration for Muslims. .There were Muslim scholars who could recite entire Koran sheriff from memory. The story of one Hajji Rukhnudeen of La Plaisance estate in Trinidad was inspiring , for he taught entire Koran to his fellow Muslims from memory under the moon light.” I had to search for the meaning of the term ‘Qur’an shareef’ as I think ‘Koran sheriff’ (a colloquialism perhaps attributable to Indo-Trinidian Muslims) was meant to be. It means the Honourable Qur’an.
So, for the past 2+ centuries, Qur’an recitation in social gatherings has been occasioned. In Barbados, despite the number of memorisers of the Qur’an, it is not as prevalent, but that may be due to the paucity in comparative numbers. Some persons frown upon it as being innovative.
So, you wonder what any of this has to do with ‘fog’ and my birthday. (And let us accept without contradiction at this time, that the ‘celebration’ of birthdays is frowned upon in Islam because of the rationale that we ought not to be celebrating the nearing of certain death and the uncertain hereafter. It can however, be a time of reflection for us, as can any other random day. What have we done with the object of attaining one of those levels of heaven and how can we improve?)
Each of us has ‘comfort food’ – food for the soul. Each of us also has ‘comfort’ practices. My comfort practice was to invite some close friends to gather in my home to recite the Qur’an and to have lunch with us. Not everyone accepted the invitation. The fog, it appears, may have been in ascribing to me intentions that may not have been mine. A celebration of a birthday instead of a giving of thanks and sharing. An occasion not occasioned by my birthday.
My thanks to those who attended (and ate some Trini-style food). And to those whose efforts assisted in the easy-going camaraderie and fellowship. And that includes my ‘fogged’ friend.
This really follows on from by second to last post Beyond the vail. Some sisters in Barbados have launched Petition for Sisters’ Space, asking for support in the plea to those in control, to include within the construction and infrastructure of a proposed new masjid, a SPACE FOR SISTERS.
I invite you to check out the Petition and to read the comments, and to sign. The goal is for 1000 signatures, the 25% mark has just been reached. The phrasing of the appeal does convey a misconception, and perhaps should read ‘of the existing mosques in Barbados, three …….’ There are 6 congregational prayer spaces in Barbados, 5 of which have jummah salaah, and only 2 of which include sisters’ space. The misstatement in the petition has caused some caustic comments, but should not hinder you from supporting the effort by signing on, or by adding to your du’as a du’a that all masjids include spaces for sisters to attend and to pray.
As I think I have posted before, the masjid which is approximately 5 minutes away from my workplace has no allocated sisters’ space and I drive the 20 minutes or so to attend jummah at Masjid ibn Umar. This despite the recent reconstruction (practically in toto) of the masjid which is 5 minutes away – the one at which my husband prayed maghrib salaat, while I prayed on the grassy area in the car park opposite the masjid – the one, photos of which, along with the invitation to sisters to visit at specific times on two specific days to view, have reinforced for me that the world is my masjid.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
“Whosoever fasts experiences two joys. He is joyful when he breaks his fast, and is joyful because of his fasting when he meets his Lord.”
There are times when it is said that any supplication is accepted. One time is while in prostration to God and another is at the time of breaking one’s fast. We are blessed with an entire month in which we are allowed to fast. Imagine, 29 or 30 days where we can ask for anything and we are guaranteed to receive it! Are we not of the fortunate? So indeed, take advantage of this month and ask the Almighty for whatever you may desire, for He is Merciful and Kind.
One of several recommended prayers at the time of breaking the fast at sunset is:
“O my Allah, for You, I fast, and with the food You give me I break the fast, and I rely on You.”
Before all meals, Muslims are to recognize that all of their blessings come from God. Similar to the grace said before meals in many cultures and faiths, Muslims throughout the world say the same prayer before meals:
“In the name of Allah and with the blessings of Allah.
“, but unlike the communal grace, the prayer is said quietly and individually.
Ok, the title is not as deceptive as the photo suggests. Nothing beats the combination of chocolate and orange (see Terry’s Orange Ball). This was a delightfully delicious orange chocolate creamsicle cupcake, with all of its divine-ness in the frosting. But a cupcake tastes SO different from a slice of cake.
And I didn’t make the cupcake (compliments go to Sister Waheeda), but I started and finished eating it!
Remember the du’a before you eat:
In the name of Allah and with the Blessings of Allah (I begin)
Remember the du’a when you forget to say the above du’a (this is Youngest’s most frequently uttered):
In the name of Allah in the beginning and end
And remember the du’a when you finish:
All praise belongs to Allah, who fed us and quenched our thirst and made us Muslims.
I learnt today that there are other alternatives to the finishing du’a (from http://www.searchtruth.com/dua/index.php?dua=23):
All praise belongs to Allah who filled our stomachs and quenched our thirst, rewarded us and gave us plentiful OR
O Allah, You grant us blessings in it and grant us better than it OR
All Praise belongs to Allah who granted this meal, (which I received) without my power or effort
The end of August and its successor September have always been highlighted months in our family calendar what with Younger Brother, Youngest, Eldest Niece, and Dad. Well, Dad’s gone (and we pray that Allah swt have mercy on his soul), YB just turned 40 (see Qur’an 46:15 and ), EN is away, but Youngest is HERE!
So while YB took Youngest and Youngest Niece to the water park and and then along with BD, N2S, and HRM1 to Playdium, Youngest dictated that he wanted three friends over to …..play video games. Are all persons born after 1990 born with a chip in them that enables them to play video games? Rhetoric aside, that was his wish. So…………with siblings seriously pitching in, three boys over, food cooked, fruit cut, cheesecake baked, poultry barbecued, video games and football, and voila………………
“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful & kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says:
My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims.”
(Surah Al-Ahqaf, Chapter No. 46, Holy Qur’an).