Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 meme from Amber

I love doing these kinds of things!

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Spent half the year in Afghanistan. Never did that before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Didn't make any.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My older brother and his girlfriend had a baby boy -- he's 3 months old now and one heck of a cute little nub. : P

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

Brief stops in Spain, Iraq, Kuwait, Germany, and a long stay in the remote regions of Afghanistan.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

A decent job that will pay the bills but won't require me to be somewhere where I get rockets shot at my base.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

16 June 2011. The day my feet touched the ground in the US.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making it back from the 'Stan in one piece.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not being able to find a decent job after getting back.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I've been sick a couple of times, just enough to make me miserable but not life-threatening.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I don't know....

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My cats for being excited to see me when I came home.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My younger brother's.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Buying books!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Coming home to my kitties! Getting to see my friends and family. Being able to drive and buy books.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2011?

"DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" by Usher, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, every song on Darren Hayes' "Secret Codes and Battleships" album, "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. Happier or sadder?

ii. Happier in some ways -- I'm home!

iii. Thinner or fatter?

iv. Fatter (but only by a little bit!)

v. richer or poorer?

vi. Definitely poorer. :/

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading. I read about 70 books the first half of the year, but not so much since I've been home.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Shopping. :/

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I spent it eating brunch at Denny's with a friend and working at the bookstore (we got bored and decided to come work and open the store for about 3 hours).

21. How many one-night stands?


22. What was your favorite TV program?

"Army Wives"

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Yep, one person who showed themself to be a thief and liar.

24. What was the best book you read?

If I have to pick just one, I'd say "Just Kids" by Patti Smith. Close runner-up is "Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde" by Thomas Wright.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Being introduced to Muslim artists Native Deen and Maher Zain.

26. What did you want and get?

I wanted books and I got them.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don't really have one.

28. What did you do on your birthday?

I ate a cheeseburger and chocolate ice cream at the DFAC with my platoon sergeant.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

1st half of the year: brown camo. Second half: jeans and t-shirts.

30. What kept you sane?

Reading, watching "Star Trek", and lots of prayer time.

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Chris Pine...

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

When the politicians almost didn't pull their heads out of their backsides and approve the budget so soldiers could get paid.

33. Who did you miss?

Everybody! (But my cats especially.)

34. Who was the best new person you met?

I don't think I met anyone new, really.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

Family is important and freedom and peace shouldn't be taken for granted.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The TBR Double Dare Challenge

Can you do it? I'm taking the dare to reading only the books in my TBR pile from 1 January until 1 April. I have literally hundreds of books waiting their turn to be read.

See here for more details:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yet another quiz thingy

Mark things that apply to you with an X.

(X) I am a cuddler.
(X) I am a morning person. (Yes I am, but oddly I am something of a night owl, too. @_@ How does that work?)
I am an only child.
I am currently in my pajamas.
I am currently pregnant.
(X) I am currently single. (Yep, but not for too much longer, inshaAllah!)
I am currently suffering from a broken heart.
I am left handed.
I am married.
(X)I am addicted to my myspace. (Change this to Facebook and the answer would be yes.)
I am online 24/7, even as an away message.
(X) I am a little shy around the opposite gender at first. (More like all the time. Unless they're Army guys. Then it's all "Hey, dude, what's up?" : P)
I bite my nails.
(X) I can be paranoid at times.
I don’t like anyone. (LOL)
I enjoy country music.
I enjoy jazz music. (I like it as background music on TV.)
(X) I enjoy smoothies. (Especially strawberry banana smoothies!)
(X) I enjoy talking on the phone. (I don't have much choice if I want to talk to my family!)
(X) I have a car. (Can't get anywhere here in a timely manner without one.)
(X) I have a cell phone. (Who doesn't?)
(X) I have/had a hard time paying attention at school. (I always got in trouble for reading in class, lol)
I have a hidden talent
(X) I have a lot to learn. (Don't we all?)
(X) I have a pet. (Four cats.)
I have a tendency to fall for the “wrong” guy/girl
I have all my grandparents
(X) I have at least one brother (Two older half brothers, one younger full brother)
(X) I have been to another country. (Mexico, Afghanistan, Kuwait, with brief stops in Germany, Spain, and Iraq that can be numbered in hours.)
(X) I have been told that I am smart
(X) I have been told that I have an unusual sense of humor.
I have OR HAD broken a bone.
(X) I have Caller I.D. on my phone.
(X) I have changed a diaper
(X) I have changed a lot over the past year. (I like to think I have, at least.)
I have done something illegal.
I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color
(X) I have had major/minor surgery. (Very minor, tonsils out when I was a kid.)
I have killed another person.
I have had my hair cut within the last week.
(X) I have mood swings (Don't we all?)
I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life
(X) I have rejected someone before. (Yep. Five offers of marriage from Afghani guys while I was deployed, lol)
(X) I have seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Extended version. Multiple times. All in a marathon row.)
I have seen the television show The O.C.
I like Shakespeare.
I like the taste of blood.
I love to cook.
(X) I like to sing. (At home with my cats and in the car)
I love Michael Jackson
(X) I love sleeping. (Quality sleep is the best thing ever.)
I love to play computer games.
(X) I love to shop. (For clothes? No. Hate it. For books? LOVE IT!!!)
(X) I miss someone right now.
(X) I own 100 CDs or more
(X) I own and use a library card
(X) I read books for pleasure in my spare time. (All the time.)
I sleep a lot during the day.
(X) I strongly dislike math (It is by far my worst subject.)
I watch soap operas on a regular basis.
I will try almost anything once.
(X) I work at a job that I enjoy.
I would classify myself as ghetto.
I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
(X) I am currently wearing socks.
I am tired.
I love to paint/draw/sketch/sculpt.
(X) I have had/have a broken heart
Smoked cigarettes. (Nope. Never even remotely tempted to.)
Rode every ride at an amusement park.
(X) Collected something really stupid. (Barbies, lol)
(X) Gone to a rock concert. (Recently, I went to see Panic! at the Disco and Hanson. Two separate concerts, lol)
(X) Helped someone.
Gone fishing.
Watched four movies in one night.
(X) Gone long periods of time with out sleep. (28 hours. Woohoo!)
(X) Lied to someone. (Unfortunately. :( I try not to do it, though.)
Been dumped.
Failed a class. (No, but I've gotten pretty close.)
(X) Taken a college level course. (I graduated from community college.)
(X) Been in a car accident.
Been in a tornado.
Watched someone die.
(X) Been to a funeral.
(X) Burned yourself. (accidentally)
Ran a marathon.
(X) Your parents got divorced.
(X) Cried yourself to sleep.
(X) Spent over $200 in one day. (This happens far too often when I make the rounds of my favorite book stores...)
(X) Flown on a plane. (FAR too many times in the last year and a half. I'm so over it.)
Cheated on someone.
(X) Been cheated on. (Yes. We aren't going there.)
Written a 10 page letter.
Gone skiing.
Been sailing.
(X) Cut yourself. (Accidentally)
(X) Had a best friend.
(X) Lost someone you loved.
Shoplifted something.
Been to jail.
(X) Had detention. (In 5th grade...)
(X) Skipped school. (Senior year, one day, on a "Senior Skip Day".)
(X) Got in trouble for something you didn’t do. (Probably.)
Stolen books from the library.
Dropped out of school.
Been in a mental hospital.
Watched the “Harry Potter” movies.
(X) Had an online diary. (I reckon a blog counts, right?)
(X) Fired a gun. (M-16 A2 and M-4 rifles, woohoo! So good my nickname was "Annie Oakley", lol)
Gambled in a casino.
(X) Had a yard sale.
Been in a school play.
(X) Been fired from a job. (Yes, for stupid reasons, and I'm still mad about it. :/)
(X) Taken a lie detector test.
Swam with dolphins.
Gone to sea world.
Attempted suicide.
Voted for Pop Idol.
(X) Written poetry.
(X) Read more than 20 books a year.
Gone to Europe.
(X) Loved someone you couldn’t have.
(X) Had surgery. (minor)
Had stitches.
(X) Taken a taxi.
Seen the Washington Monument.
Had more than 5 IM’s/online conversations going at once.
Had a drug or alcohol problem.
Been in a fist fight.
Suffered any form of abuse.
Had a hamster.
Petted a wild animal.
(X) Used a credit card.
Gone surfing in California.
Dyed your hair.
Got a tattoo.
(X) Had something pierced. (ears)
Got straight A’s.
(X) Your parents sent you to a shrink.
Been handcuffed.
Known someone with HIV or AIDS.
(X) Taken pictures with a webcam.
Started a fire.
Had a party while your parents weren’t home.
Gotten caught having a party while they were gone.

Another survey quizzy thingy.

Books I've read recently...

1. The Qur'an (English translation, of course)




Songs or albums I listen to all the time...

1. "Secret Codes and Battleships" Darren Hayes

2. "Vices and Virtues" Panic! At The Disco

3. "Thank You, Allah" Maher Zain

4. "The Remedy" Native Deen

5. "Not Afraid To Stand Alone" Native Deen

6. Anything by Josh Groban :)

7. Anything by Selena

8. Anything by David Bowie

I love...


2. my family

3. my cats!

4. my friends

5. Books!

6. food of most types -- leave out the fish/seafood, please.

7. a good night's sleep : )

Things I've learned this year...

1. More patience, lol.

2. How to readjust to life in the US post-deployment.

3. How wonderful my family and friends are.

4. Allah is always there for me!

5. That I eat too much bad food. :/

6. And it makes me gain weight. :((((

7. That I am a good person, despite my flaws, and I'd want to be friends with me!

New recipes I want to try and make...

Vegan neatballs with spaghetti

Vegetarian "chik'n" shawarma

Pizza crust that isn't all soggy and yuck (from scratch)

Favorite online hangouts...

1. Blogs

2. Facebook

3. Amazon

4. Yahoo

5. eBay

Projects I need to work on...

1. cleaning house

2. working more :/

3. organize my books

Islamic quizzy survey thingy. : P

1) Are you a convert or born Muslim? How about your parents?
I'm a convert (converted in April 2011, alhamdilullah). My mom is a practicing Christian, my dad is not a practicing Christian, but practicing Pentecostal -- these are two separate things in my family. If you knew them, you'd understand why. X/

2) What's your ethnicity and how did it relate to how you were raised?
I'm white, lol. Irish or Scottish and German on paternal side, I think, and Southern of English descent on the maternal side. :)

3) Where are you from, and if not the Middle East, have you been there? For how long and why?
I'm from the South in the US. If being deployed in Afghanistan counts, then yes, I've been to the Middle East.

4) What's your favorite Arab/Middle Eastern dish?
Hummus and pita bread, and chicken shawarma is a huge favorite.

5) What's the most interesting or funny Islam/Arab related saying you use day to day?
I don't really use anything on a daily basis except perhaps for "salam aleikum".

6) What's the most attractive and unattractive thing you find toward a Muslim or Arab man/woman?
I like open-minded people who respect others' free will and individuality. I loathe people who expect me to act like some wilting flower just because I'm Muslim. I have a big mouth, plenty of opinions, and don't appreciate control freaks.

7) What's the thing you love most about Islam? What do you dislike the most?
I love the Qur'an and the new understanding it has given me of Allah. It answered so many questions for me that the Bible just didn't. I don't like the hadith, the way some people put Prophet Muhammad on a pedestal and nearly worship him, or the insistence in reciting the Qur'an in Arabic instead of reading it in your native language.

8) What's the most interesting/embarrassing/funny thing in your house that's related to Islam or Arab culture, excluding the Quran?
Ummm... I have two shelves of books about Islam and the Qur'an, and I have a little wall hanging with the shahada/kalima -- wish I had one that just said "La illaha il Allah" and left off the rest.

9) Do you speak Arabic? If you do, then say something.
Only the most basic stuff: the salams, inshaAllah, mashAllah.

10) Name of all the Islamic Prophets you can remember at the top of your head. No Cheating!!
Adam, Jesus/Isa, Abraham, Noah, Muhammad, Lot, Ishmael (was he a prophet?).... Wow, I can't think of any more! I fail, lol!

Feel free to copy and fill out yourself!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Love and diversity.

Salam aleikum, everyone. Hope you're enjoying a relaxing weekend.

I was just thinking earlier today about how awesome the diversity of religion and people are. To paraphrase the words of a favorite song of mine, the idea that God "might love you, but I'm His favorite of all" just doesn't do Him justice. I can't imagine the extent of His love, mercy, and forgiveness for all of us who love Him and strive to obey Him, whether we're Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, or whatever.

I think we need to give God more credit than that. But we'll all see Him one day. If He's not the generous, forgiving, loving God that I believe in, then I don't want to serve Him. If He is, then our faith is totally justified, whatever form it may come in.


Thursday, August 4, 2011


A belated Ramadan mabrook (or kareem, if you prefer) and assalam aleikum, everyone.

I made it home safely, alhamdilullah. I'm enjoying a quiet life of staying home with my cats and working at my friend's book store. I have to look for a "real" job soon.

Ramadan started four days ago. I nearly made the first day's fasting (had just 10 minutes to go), but was quite ill after working an 8 hour shift and not eating or drinking all day. Cold sweats, severe headache, the works. It actually took me an additional 30 minutes before I could eat. Since then, I've only been fasting half days (from 5:30 am until between 12:30-1:00 PM (since I've been going to work at 1 and getting off at 7). I think that, if I slowly lengthen the amount of time I fast, by the last week of Ramadan I should be able to fast all day (without the unpleasant side effects, inshallah).

I think Allah (SWT) knows that I do want to fast the whole day but that I'm not at the point where I can do it yet without making myself ill.

Did any of you have to do it segments at first?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fashion LOVE.

Now, I'm not much of a girly-girl. I hate shopping for clothes with a passion, especially in the last couple of years, since I put on -- it hurts to type this -- 50 lbs. But I found this tunic and... I. Love. It.

It's the Summer Goddess tunic from World Market. They cost $19.99 and a L/XL quite comfortably and loosely fits an American size 14/16. It may even work for a woman who wears an 18.

This is the lightest, airiest, most comfortable shirt I've ever worn. If you don't mind the 3/4 sleeves, it works quite well with hijab and jeans. The fabric is surprisingly thin, but it's also opaque -- no showing more than you want to show. : )

I have two -- one has a blue and green floral motif, the other is blue/light purple -- or pink, I can't decide -- and white. They're both gorgeous. Sorry I couldn't find photos online... I'll post them when I can.

Best of all? When it gets worn out I'm going to rip out the seams and use it as a pattern to make my own tunics. The only difference is that I'll make the sleeves a little longer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It won't be long....

Assalamu aleikum, everyone! ^_^ I hope you're all well and that God is blessing each and every one of you in your lives.

I'm getting excited about going home VERY soon. I can't say when... but it's soon. LOL I went shopping yesterday and bought 4 scarves (light pink, bright pink, light purple, and blue), so I'll have some hijabs to wear when I get back. I'll have to go shopping, though.

Ramadan is coming up! Who else is excited?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A little of this, a little of that...

Assalamu aleikum, everyone!

I'm in the process of getting ready to go home right now. With any luck, God willing, I will be in the US again in a few days. My family is excited about it, and so am I. My cats are thrilled too, of course. : P

Just finished doing laundry so I have clean clothes for tomorrow. Still mildly annoyed at the person who took 2 of my tan t-shirts from my laundry, reducing me to 4 t-shirts.

I've read the first 7 books of the Southern Vampire mysteries by Charlaine Harris this week. I can't get myself to call them the "True Blood" books because, well... the books predated the show by many years. And I can't call them the "Sookie Stackhouse" books because, sorry, but I think her name is ridiculous. Yes, I know that Southerners, particularly rural ones, come up with some odd names, but I can't read that without thinking "WEIRD!!!!" every time. At least the character isn't hopping in the sack with every gorgeous man in the world madly in love with her for no good reason and developing a new power every book. Plot, you are refreshing indeed. : )

And I'm packing and filling out inventory sheets for each duffle bag. It's a lot of work, but if anything ends up missing out of all this over-priced stuff (95% of which I never even used), I won't have to pay for it. :D

And life goes on....

Friday, May 27, 2011

I would be....

If I were a month, I'd be November
If I were a day of the week, I'd be Saturday
If I were a time of day, I'd be dawn
If I were a planet, I'd be the moon! (Okay, not really a planet, but it is in space.)
If I were an animal, I'd be a cat
If I were a direction, I'd be the South (what else? :D)
If I were a piece of furniture, I'd be a comfy, retro sofa (like the one I have)
If I were a liquid, I'd be vanilla Coke
If I were a gemstone, I'd be an Amethyst
If I were a tree, I'd be a maple tree
If I were a tool, I'd be a pen
If I were a flower, I'd be a Cherokee Rose
If I were a kind of weather, I'd be a cool breeze off the ocean
If I were a musical instrument, I'd be an electric guitar
If I were a color, I'd be purple
If I were an emotion, I'd be content
If I were a fruit, I'd be a seedless grape
If I were a sound, I'd be the cat's meow
If I were an element, I'd be fire
If I were a car, I'd be a Toyota Camry
If I were a food, I'd be chicken tikka masala over rice with naan and rice pudding on the side
If I were a place, I'd be Spain
If I were a taste, I'd be peppermint
If I were a scent, I'd smell like an orange stuck with whole cloves and boiled in an open pot
If I were an item of clothing, I'd be a pair of jeans
If I were a body part, I'd be hands
If I were a facial expression, I'd be a smile
If I were a song, I'd be "Como La Flor" by Selena.
If I were a pair of shoes, I'd be flip flops.
What would you be?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


So, after the sudden (but brief) flurry of posts, I'm drawing blanks on post topics. Anybody have any suggestions? :)


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Native Deen

I usually hate rap music, mostly due to the nastiness of it: nearly-naked women shaking their assets, the bad language, drug and violence references... There's very little good in it.

But my sister Sarah pointed me towards a Muslim group called Native Deen. The lyrics are all Islam-related. One of my favorites is "My Faith My Voice", about religious tolerance and the true nature of Islam and Muslims. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

One of many.

This is just one of many reasons that I believe in God. I took this photo a few hours ago. The sunset and the starry nights, with very few artificial lights to compete, make me want to bow down and humble myself before Him.


My favorite. . .

1. Food – Indian food. I love it, especially naan with chicken tikka masala, and rice pudding. :)
2. Color – Purple, blue, green, pink, silver, blue... I love them all.
3. Animal – I have four cats. I adore them all.
4. Sports – None. Ever.
5. Dessert – Rice pudding from my favorite Indian restaurant.
6. Pair of shoes – Ballet flats, or sneakers when my feet hurt.
7. Outfit – Jeans and tunics.
8. Brand – ... I don't really have a favorite, but Avenue is a good store for curvier girls. :)
9. Perfume – Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue
10. Accessory – Hijab! Sometimes earrings.
11. City - San Antonio, Texas
12. Hobby – Reading, blogging, praying, watching movies, shopping for books. :)
13. Beauty Product – Lotion, if my skin is dry.
14. Snack – I like grapes, or applesauce with shredded cheddar cheese.
15. Holiday – I like the 4th of July. :) Fireworks are fun, patriotic-colored hijabs are more fun. :)
16. Movie – the new "Star Trek" film at the moment, but I also love "Top Hat" with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
17. Song – I can't pick just one, but I love all of Josh Groban's music, no exceptions. :)
18. Guilty Pleasure - Reading a book in bed with my cats piled around (and on) me on a cold, rainy day.

Haram and Halal

“Dogs are haram!” “Music is haram!” “Makeup is haram!” “Bright colored clothes are haram!” “Pictures of people or animals are haram!”

I know you’ve all heard this before. For the person who is just learning about Islam, it can be overwhelming. It can leave you wondering if Muslims are allowed to do ANYTHING but wear black, pray, and read the Qur’an.

What does the Qur’an say is forbidden?

Forbidden food

The blood and meat of animals who die of natural causes or are killed or partially eaten by a wild animal, pork, and anything sacrificed or slain by the name of any other but God. If you are starving and this is the only food available, then you are permitted to eat it. Sharing meals with Christians and Jews is not forbidden.

2:172-173 “O you who believe, eat from the good things We have provided for you, and be thankful to God; if it is Him you serve. He has only made unlawful for you that which is already dead, and the blood, and the meat of pig, and what was dedicated to other than God. But whoever is forced to, without seeking disobedience or transgression, then there is no sin upon him. God is Forgiving, Merciful.”

5:3-5 “Forbidden to you is that which is already dead, and the blood, and the meat of pig, and what was dedicated to other than God, and that which has been strangled, and that which has been beaten to death, and that which has fallen from a height, and that which has been gored, and that which the wild animals have eaten from except what you managed to rescue, and what has been slaughtered on altars, and what you divide by the arrows of chance. This is vile. Today the rejecters have given up from your system, so do not be concerned by them, but be concerned by Me. Today I have perfected your system for you, and completed My blessings upon you, and I have approved submission as the system for you. So, whoever is forced by severe hunger and not seeking sin, then God is Forgiving, Merciful. They ask you what was made lawful to them, say: “All the good things have been made lawful for you, and what the trained dogs and birds catch, you teach them from what God teaches you.” So eat from what they have captured for you and mention the name of God upon it, and be aware of God. God is swift in reckoning. Today, the good things have been made lawful to you, and the food of those who have been given the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them…”

Forbidden “fun”

Alcohol, gambling, idols, and fortune telling. God tells us that these things are used by Satan to distract us from Him and prayer.

2:219 “They ask you about intoxicants and gambling. Say: “In them is great harm, and a benefit for the people; but their harm is greater than their benefit.”…”

5:90-91 “O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and stone idols, and fortunes are an affliction used by the devil. You shall avoid him so that you may be successful. The devil only wants to cause strife between you through intoxicants and gambling, and to repel you away from remembering God and from the prayer. Will you be deterred?”


This is a hard one. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a mortgage or car payment every month! But this verse seems to address those who collect interest, not those of us who have to pay it.

2:275-276 “Those who consume usury do not rise except as one being influenced by the touch of the devil. That is because they have said: “Trade is the same as usury.” While God has made trade lawful, and He has made usury unlawful. Whoever has received understanding from His Lord and ceases, then he will be forgiven for what was before this and his case will be with God. But whoever returns, then they are the people of the Fire, in it they will abide. God condemns usury, and He grants growth to the charities. And God does not love any wicked sinner.”

Forbidden Relationships

Anyone who is related to you by blood or marriage, or a similar bond: mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, foster parents, foster siblings, mother-in-law, step daughters, or marrying sisters. This applies to the male counterparts for women. Also anyone who is a polytheist or fornicator.

4:22-23 “And do not marry who your fathers had married from the women, except what has already been done. It is a lewdness, and an abhorrence, and an evil path. Forbidden for you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and the sisters of your father, and the sisters of your mother, and the daughters of your brother, and the daughters of your sister, and your foster mothers who suckled you, and your sisters from suckling, and the mothers of your women, and your step-daughters who are in your lodgings from your women with whom you have already consummated the marriage; if you have not consummated the marriage then there is no sin upon you; and those who were in wedlock with your sons who are from your seed, and that you join between two sisters except what has already been done. God is Forgiving, Merciful.”

24:3 “The adulterer will only marry an adulteress or she who is a polytheist. And the adulteress, she will only be married to an adulterer or he who is a polytheist. And such has been made forbidden for the believers.”

Nowhere are dogs forbidden or labeled unclean. Music is not forbidden. Nowhere are pictures of animals or people forbidden. Neither bright colors (which mimic the plants and flowers that Allah created and colored!) nor makeup are forbidden. Music, photos, and makeup should, of course, be in good taste, but they are allowed.

Allah (SWT) has warned us about forbidding what He does not forbid. He chastised Muhammad (PBUH) for trying to do just that!

66:1 “O Our Prophet! Why do you forbid what God has made permissible to you? Do you seek to please your wives? God is Forgiver, Merciful.”

So enjoy the good things Allah (SWT) has made permissible for us!


I was asked about performing ablution without the instructions from the hadith. Now that I’ve done some research, let’s see what the Qur’an says on the subject.

5:6 “O you who believe! When you get ready for prayers, wash your faces and hands along with the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and feet to the ankles, and if you are polluted (have been intimate with your spouse), then cleanse yourselves, and if you are sick or on a journey, or if one of you comes from the privy, or you have had contact with women, and you do not find water, betake to pure earth and wipe a part of your faces and hands with it; God does not intend to lay a hardship on you, but to purify you instead so that He may complete His favor on you, you may be grateful.”

Wow. Could it be any simpler than that? Not really. So here we have proof of what God wants from us in regards to ablution. Washing three times, washing your ears, rinsing your mouth, and blowing water out of your nose… this is all added by man. If God wanted us to do these things, He would have told us in the Qur’an.

If you do these things, that’s dandy. I’m not criticizing you. Do what makes you happy. I’m just pointing out what the Qur’an says God wants, versus what people say God wants.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Amber asked me about how I pray if I don’t follow the hadith. Well, let’s see what the Qur’an says about prayer.

1. How are you supposed to pray?

7:29 “Say: “My Lord has enjoined justice and set your faces upright when prostrating. Call upon Him sincerely, turning to Him exclusively in religion, even as He brought you forth in the beginning, so to Him shall you also return.”

23:1-2 “Successful, indeed, are the believers, who are humble while offering their supplications.”

107:4-5 “So woe unto those who pray – while being heedless to (the commandments of) their prayers.”

We are to pray sincerely, humbly, and minding what those prayers command, turning to God exclusively and calling on Him.

2. What form is prayer to take?

9:112 “(These are) they who turn to God (seeking forgiveness), who worship Him, praise Him, fast, bow down, prostrate themselves…”

18:110 “Say: “Call upon God, or call upon Ar-Rahman (the Beneficient); whichever you call upon, to Him belong the best names. And do not say your prayer too loudly, and do not say it too softly either, but seek a middle course between these two (extremes).”

We are to bow and prostrate ourselves, and to say our prayers aloud, but not shouting or whispering them.

3. When are we supposed to pray?

2:238 “Be strict in observance of the prayer and (in particular) the midday prayer, and stand up in devotion to God.”

11:114 “Establish prayer in the two ends of the day, and at the approaches of the night. Indeed the good deeds take away the evil ones; this is a reminder for the (believers who are) mindful (of their Lord).”

17: 78-79 “Establish prayer (regularly) from sunset until the darkness of the night, and the recital at dawn; verily the recital at dawn is witnessed. And (in a part) of the night, awake from sleep for performing the prayer, as a supererogation for your own good, perchance your Lord will bring you to a praised position.”

20:130 “So be patient with what they say, and glorify your Lord by praising Him before the rising of the sun and before its setting, and in some hours of the night glorify Him, and during parts of the day, that you may achieve the Pleasure (of your Lord).”

30:17 “So glory be to God when you approach the eve or the morn.”

62:9 “O you who believe! When the call is made for prayer on Friday, then hasten, all of you, to remembering God, and abandon all trading; that is better for you, if you only know.”

We are to pray in the morning at dawn, at midday, and in the evening before the sun sets. Waking up for prayers during the night is encouraged as something extra that is good for us, but not a requirement. We should be especially attentive to prayer on Fridays and the midday prayer.

4. Under what circumstances is prayer to be postponed?

4:43 “O you who believe! Do not approach prayer when intoxicated until you know well what you say, nor if you have had intercourse, unless you are traveling, until you bathe. If you are sick, or on a journey, or if one of you comes from the privy, or you have touched women and you do not find water, then take pure earth and wipe (with it a part of your face and hands); God is Pardoning, Forgiving.”

So, if you’re drunk or high (that you shouldn’t be should go without saying), you shouldn’t pray until you’re sober. If you’ve been intimate with your spouse (unless traveling), if you’re sick, or traveling, if you’ve used the bathroom, or (once again) been intimate with your spouse – NOT just touched a woman – prayer should be postponed until you can do the ritual purification. You are to use dirt if water isn’t available. Nowhere does it say that women can’t pray, touch or read the Qur’an, fast, etc, during their periods. The hadith on this were just men being all grossed out by a process they couldn’t understand. What God makes is not unclean, and He never prohibited women from fulfilling their religious obligations at any time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Reasons for Converting to Islam, part 2.

Okay, continuing on with my story.

What about people who change their religion (ex. Go from being Muslim to Christian, etc)?

You were given the freedom to choose whatever religion you wanted, be it Islam, Christianity, or other. No one, not even Muhammad (PBUH), could force someone else to be a Muslim.

29:18 “If you reject the truth, then indeed nations before you rejected it, and nothing is incumbent upon the messenger except the delivery of a clear message.”

88:21-26 “So remind, for you are but a reminder. You have no power over them. Except for he who turns away and rejects. Then God will punish him with the great retribution. Indeed, to Us is their return. Then to Us is their judgment.”

The foolishness about killing apostates is a load of garbage. The Qur’an says that Allah (SWT) is our judge and that He will judge between us and clarify for us that in which we differed, and punish those who didn’t believe in Him. So who are we to try to usurp God’s place as judge?

In fact, if people don’t believe, we are supposed to leave them alone. Not harass them, abuse them, stone them or kill them.

43:88-89 “And it will be said: “O my Lord, these are a people who do not believe.” So disregard them and say: “Peace.” For they will come to know.”

Nor are we forbidden to be friends with Christians, Jews, or anyone else, especially if they don’t obstruct us in practicing our religion. In fact, we are instructed to be kind and fair to them.

60:8 “God does not prohibit you from those who have not fought you because of your system, nor drove you out of your homes, that you deal kindly and equitably with them. For God loves the equitable.”

Why does God allow so many different religions if only one really leads to Him?

2:148 “Everyone has a direction to which he turns. Hasten then to outdo each other in everything good. Wherever you may be, God will bring you all unto Him, for verily God has power over all things.”

5:48 “For each of you We appointed a law and a way. Had God desired, He would have made all of you a single community, but He wished (instead) to try you in what He has given you; therefore, compete excelling one another in goodness; to God alone is the return of all of you; it is then that He shall declare to you that wherein you differed.”

22:17 “On the Day of Judgment, God will decide between those who believe, those who are Jews, the Sabians, the Christians, the Magians, and the polytheists; verily God is witness over all things.”

God’s forgiveness extends to all, not just Jews or Christians:

5:18 “And the Jews and the Nazarenes said: “We are the children of God, and His loved ones.” Say: “Then why does He punish you for your sins?” No, you are merely human beings which He has created. He forgives whom He pleases, and He punishes whom He pleases. And to God is the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is in-between, and to Him is the destiny.”

9:27 “Then God will accept the repentance of whom He pleases after that. God is Forgiving, Merciful.”

42:25 “And He is the One who accepts the repentance from His servants, and He forgives the sins. He is fully aware of what you do.”

And so, after two long, confusing, stressful years I gave in to the truth of what I’d learned and the longing in my heart and became a Muslim. I know that it won’t be easy to tell my family, but what person has been given faith and not been tried in that faith? Inshallah, trials will only make my faith stronger.

In closing, I leave you with these verses.

1 Timothy 4:10 “We struggle and work hard because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all and especially of those who believe.”

28:70 “And He is God, there is no god except He. To Him belongs all praise in the first and in the last, and judgment belongs with Him, and to Him you will be returned.”

30:60 “Be patient, therefore; verily the promise of God is true, and let not those who have no belief in God make you despair of His promise.”

Alhamdilullah! May we all be together one day in Paradise , enjoying the reward of God to his faithful. Ameen.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Reasons for Converting to Islam, part 1.

Assalamu aleikum, my sisters. I've been asked about what led to my conversion to Islam. Let me tell you, it wasn't an easy decision! It took a lot of praying, thinking, and studying -- and a lot of time. I had to be willing to let my previous understanding of God, Christianity, and Islam be put to the test, and to accept the results with an open mind and heart. Please keep in mind that these are my personal experiences and opinions, and that my interpretation of things may often differ from yours. I do not intend to cause any offense to anyone or say anything against Christianity, but merely to give you all a glimpse into my personal journey.

Let's rewind back to spring 2009. As a previously life-long Christian, I never thought much about my faith or the reasons that I believed the things I did. Religion had never been a major interest or priority in my life. Not that I was indifferent to it. I just had that whole "young and invincible" mindset. You all know the one I'm talking about. The one where you think you'll live forever. The soul, religion, and what comes after death just weren't things I ever thought much about.

My interest in religion began after I read a Spanish article on the condition of women in Islam, followed by an article from the same site on the hijab. I was intrigued by the concept of covering up for God, and that such covering was an exterior expression of an internal state of modesty and purity. The idea that covering up like that was not really encouraged until a woman had achieved this internal purity was also interesting, and ran counter to what I'd always heard about women being forced to cover by their husbands, fathers, and brothers (and that was if I heard anything about it at all). I had never thought about Islam or Muslims before. Though I knew virtually nothing about Islam, I knew that my dad's assertion that Muslims worshiped Muhammad (PBUH) and not God couldn't be right. Also, having come of age in post-9/11 America, I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about.

This branched off initially as in interest in Muslim women. I read countless articles, blog posts, and books about hijab and the rights of women in Islam. I won't repeat any of that here, since I know a lot of you know just as much, if not more, on these topics than I do. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. My interest didn't expand out of that small area for several months. Because of what I'd read about hijab and the fact that, historically, Christian women also covered, I branched out into learning about modern-day Christian head covering and adopted the practice myself. (For those of you who are interested but tired of reading books by men on the topic, I recommend Michelle Barnes McClendon's excellent book "Life as a Prayer: Recapturing the Wind of Headcovering".)

As time went on, I began reading more. Books about the history of Islam, current Muslim beliefs and practices, the different groups within Islam, guides on how best to study the Qur'an, books that compared Islam and Christianity (with virtually all of them, to my annoyance and frustration, leaning towards one or another of them, never being truly impartial and scholarly), and, of course, the Qur'an. But wait! There's more. In my study of Islam, for the first time I became genuinely curious about Christianity, and just a little annoyed at the assertions I found everywhere that the Bible was a "corrupted" (altered) text. Rather than take the word of a preacher as I'd always done in the past, I began to study and learn about Christianity for myself. I read about its history and that of the Bible, compared verses from several different translations of the Bible, and generally searched for answers to my questions.

One of my first questions was:

Why did God keep the Qur'an from being changed, but not the Bible or the Torah?

In my mind, such a thing implied that God was incapable of preventing changes (whether deliberate or accidental) to the earlier books. The idea that God couldn't do something was (and remains) utterly foreign to me. As I read about the history of the Bible, I learned that it wasn't originally one or two books, but dozens of separate books pieced together and decided upon as the Christian scripture in council several hundred years after Jesus (PBUH) preached his message. So what did Christians follow before they had the Bible to tell them what to believe? (I must add that I was also amazed at the sheer variety of belief just within the first 200 years of Christianity. Some sects say Jesus was never crucified, others say he never died at all, and others say he WASN'T the Son of God! Nevertheless, they all claimed to be Christian.) Many of the books they used are now contained in the Apocrypha, floating around out there individually, or lost to time and burning. I still haven't found a satisfactory answer to this question, but I'll keep looking.

From there, I began to wonder other things, such as:

What was Jesus' (PBUH) true role in all this?

The Bible, quite frankly, confused me on this topic. It never gave what I considered to be a definite "I am God" answer. In two of the three translations I have with me here, one of the verses that could be used as answer for this question is Matthew 27:11: "Jesus stood before the Roman governor, who questioned him. "Are you the king of the Jews?" he asked. "So you say," answered Jesus." The verse is virtually identical in Luke 23:3-4. Another translation says "You have said it" as Jesus' response. Or, another popular one, Matthew 3:17: "Then a voice said from heaven: "This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased."

Once again, it doesn't outright say that Jesus is God. I knew from my studies that the Jews at that time would not have interpreted "Son of God" to mean literally God's son, but that he was a holy man. Jesus was not the only person in the Bible to be called "Son" by God. Adam and, if I remember correctly, Saul, and others whose names currently slip my mind, were also called the son of God.

Jesus called himself "the Son of Man" in Matthew 16:13, but not God. A couple of verses down, Peter says "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus says "Good for you! For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven." But go a couple of verses farther down: (v. 20) "Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah." Messiah, I found, simply meant "the anointed one", as did "Christ" in Greek. Jesus wasn't the only one to be anointed as a holy man; rabbis were also, in the temple. *sigh* So, once again, nothing for sure.

The Qur'an, on the other hand, makes it clear in many verses who Jesus was:

"O people of the Book, do not overstep in your system, nor say about God except the truth. Jesus, son of Mary, was no more than a messenger of God and the fulfillment of His word to Mary and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers, and do not say: “Trinity.” Cease, for it is better for you. God is only One god, be He glorified that He should have a son! To Him is all that is in the heavens and the earth; and God is enough as a Caretaker." 4:171

"The Messiah, son of Mary, is no more than a messenger; like whom messengers have passed away; and his mother was trustworthy, they used to eat the food. See how We clarify the signs for them, then see how they deviate." 5:75

"He was no more than a servant whom We blessed, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel." 43:59

Nothing confusing about that answer.

Question number 2: What happens after death to all the people who aren't Christian?

According to what I'd always been taught, you had to be a Christian to go to heaven. That's it. Oh, but wait! God has a covenant with the Jews, so they're okay, too. My reaction: HUH???? For me, this is quite possibly the biggest contradiction of belief. And what about all the people since the dawn of humanity who weren't Jews or Christians? What about all the Muslims in the last 1,500-ish years? Why would it be okay to be a monotheist Jew but not a monotheist Muslim? A loving, just God wouldn't consign the majority of the world's population over the course of history to Hell, for not being born a Jew or, later, a Christian.

Luke 10:25-28: "What must I do to receive eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "What do the Scriptures say? How do you interpret them?" The man answered "Love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as you love yourself." "You are right," Jesus replied; "do this and you will live."

Says nothing about having to be a Jew or Christian.

2:62 "Surely those who believe; and those who are Jewish, and the Nazarenes (Christians), and the Sabians, whoever of them believes in God and the Last Day and does good works; they will have their recompense with their Lord, and there is no fear upon them, nor will they grieve."

This is the loving, just God that I believe in. This is one of the things that most brought me to Islam. And it's not that Him accepting Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others who believe in Him is a wide, easy road. The requirements are basically the same: Love and obey God and be kind to others. It's a narrow path, just as Jesus said.

To be continued...

On the Hadith

Amber asked me a question about Muhammad’s behavior in regards to his critics, as mentioned in the hadith about him ordering the death of Asmaa bint Marwan, for example, and how I could reconcile that behavior. The answer to that is very simple. I am aware that many of you will disagree with my position on this, and that’s okay. However, don't try enter into a debate with me to change my mind and tell me I'm wrong, a heretic, and going to Hell. Allah (SWT) knows my heart. If you can't restrain yourself, you’re free to stop following my blog. In fact, if it bothers you that much, I encourage you to go. I'm not looking to cause trouble, just express my point of view.

My answer is this: I don’t follow the hadith. Gasp, shock, I know. Why? Because, as far as I’m concerned, the hadith are nothing but hearsay at best. Yes, I know that they went through a chain of narration to test their authenticity, blah blah. I’ve heard all that. But it’s like that whisper game where one person is told something, and it gets passed on down the line until you reach the last person, and the last person says what they thought they were told – which always ends up being totally different from the original comment. The fact of the matter is, modern scholars can’t even completely agree on what is authentic and what is weak or outright false. If scholars can’t figure it out, how is your average Muslim supposed to know?

The hadith are also the source used most often by the crazy extremist-types to justify their behavior, by governments to continue stoning people (hello, Iran) or to prohibit women from leaving their homes, going to the mosque to pray, and a whole variety of other issues facing the Muslim world over here. In some cases, the hadith are used as a guide INSTEAD OF the Qur’an. That’s when people begin to dangerously elevate Muhammad to a near worship-like status. How can you put the hadith and sunnah anywhere near the level of the Qur’an, the Bible, or the Torah? You can’t, and by doing so, I believe that we risk associating Muhammad with God (which is often the complaint made against Christians about Jesus and the greatest sin a person can commit).

Most often, the comment I get after this is: But Muhammad himself told us to follow his sunnah and the Qur’an!

Yes, he did. I’m not arguing that. But what so many people disregard is that some 30-ish% of the Qur’an IS sunnah! It contains a lot of questions from Muhammad and God’s answers. Want to know if gambling or alcohol is allowed? Qur’an has the answer. How to behave with the opposite sex? Qur’an has that answer, too. Want to know how or when to pray? How to treat your family? What to do to be pleasing to God? You guessed it. Qur’an has the answer.

In short, the Qur’an has the answers. It states many times that it is a detailed book, complete in itself, but that if you have any questions or doubt about what was revealed in it, you are supposed to look to the Gospel (Bible) and Torah. I don’t need to look any farther than that.

If you’re interested in learning more about Qur’an alone, go to They have a lot of excellent articles on a variety of subjects, and always supported with ayat.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's All So Strange and New.

Assalamu aleikum to all my sisters here, Muslim, Christian, or whatever you may be.

I don't really think of myself as Muslim yet. I have all of the basics down when it comes to belief, and I'm working on the practice (hello, prayers!). But the label is kinda... "Uhhhh..." at the moment, lol. It's different on the inside looking out, rather than on the outside looking in. I think, given some time, I'll be more comfortable saying that I am a Muslim. Right now people ask me "Are you Muslim?" and I look around wondering who they're talking to, haha!

I think that I'll start to "feel like a Muslim" when I get home and can wear hijab and go to prayers and classes at the mosque. Here, I'm one of a grand total of THREE females, and the only Muslim. It's pretty isolating. :(

Not to say I'm not surrounded by Muslims. Guys. But they're all looking at me like, ooh, is she married? (No.) My sergeant has actually gotten four marriage proposals for me. LOL, he's friends with all these guys, and I'm his soldier, so I guess that makes him my wali in their eyes. : P One guy offered $500 as a dowry. LOL It really cracks me up. But I'm not looking to get married, especially to a local. If and when I'm really to marry, inshallah he'll be an American convert/revert like me. (I prefer the term convert because I don't buy into the belief that everyone is a Muslim at birth and taught differently by their parents.)

Oh, and to my dear sis Sarah -- this wouldn't have happened without you and your willingness to engage in long email and chat Q/A sessions. We couldn't be more alike if we tried. Inshallah, Allah (SWT) will add this firmly to the scale of your good deeds and reward you with many blessings, in this life and the Hereafter. : )

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Big news.

I can't really explain the mental hoops I've gone through over the last 2 years. I've shared some of them with you all, but only a fraction of them have made it into this blog, especially in the last year, with my deployment and all. I don't have time to change my blog right now.

However, this is big news. I'm happy, and I feel a sense of peace in my faith that I haven't felt in a while. This will seem abrupt to all but one of you, but...

Friday, April 15, 2011

How about I cut your pay, Mr. Senator?

Is. Very. Annoyed. Half a paycheck? REALLY? Um, did you forget something, oh Federal Government? As in, I'm IN FREAKING AFGHANISTAN!!!!!!!!


These politicians will cut everyone's pay but their own, and tax the poor and middle-class more than the rich.

When I am Queen of the universe, these things will change. Soldiers and teachers will be paid at least $70,000, and athletes and movie stars will make absolutely no more than $45,000 a year.

*is fed up with the ridiculi of the world we live in*

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Well, after annoying extensive travel, I'm finally home with my family for a few days of leave. It's great, and I'm really happy to be here. ^_^

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Currently reading: Mother of the Believers

Spring scarves from HijabGirl

I know many of you may already get the email notices from HijabGirl, but I can't help putting the info out there. On top of the fact that HG now carries Capster athletic hijabs, they now have a gorgeous new selection of spring scarves. I'm in love with the new floral prints, available in a wide variety of colors. I'm particularly keen on the dark and light purple ones, the dark turquoise, the gray, and the pink. These make girly just gorgeous! ^_^

Friday, February 4, 2011

Is this a circus and nobody told me?

Or did I fall off the freak show truck? Do I have a third eyeball on my head? What? Grrr...

Okay, I know this is a bit random. I'm just venting (again) about being stared at. All. The. Freaking. Time. It's annoying more than anything, but slightly creepy, too.

The local nationals are the worst. And the ANA/ANP/whatever guys are also bad about it. Granted, there aren't many females here (big surprise).

Yeah, I got it that women don't go out uncovered here. Many of them still wear the burqa. Army regs don't let me wear hijab. But that's no excuse for all these men to STARE AT ME.

So lower your gaze!

-- Currently has epic case of "gaze rage" --

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book of the Moment and a website for book lovers

I just got this in the mail yesterday, and I can hardly wait to read it. My book of the moment is:

Also found this awesome (and amusingly titled) website: It's THE site for people who never get tired of looking at bookshelves filled to overflowing. I love it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Questions for you all, my lovely lady friends.


I've got a few questions and would love to read your responses, if you choose to reply. There are so many of you on here that I never hear from, and I'd love it if you chose to chime in, as well.

1) What faith do you follow?

2) Is it the faith you were raised in or not?

3) Would you ever consider converting to another faith?

4) If you are a convert/revert to a faith, why did you choose to convert/revert to it?

5) Do you think that once you choose a faith for yourself it is permanent, or do you think that a faith can work for you for a time (be it months or many years), after which you search for another to better meet your needs?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Swimsuit sale at HijabGirl.

Just a quick stop in to say hello and tell you ladies about the swimsuit sale at HijabGirl. (I get their e-mail fliers.) All of their swimsuits are 50% off right now. Granted, they're already cheaper than Ahiida (although I love my Burquini), but now they're much cheaper! If you've been wanting one but found them too expensive in the past...Now's your chance to get one for the summer. : )

That's my promo blurb for the night.

All is well. It snowed last night, so the mountains are absolutely gorgeous. I really want to get some photos, but it was too hazy most of the day. Maybe tomorrow it'll be clear. : )


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year's, happy day!

I am happy today. But, before I delve into the reasons why, let me wish all of you a happy new year! We actually did have a ball of lights hanging from a crane for the New Year's countdown -- and we got to celebrate it several hours ahead of you guys, which seemed kinda silly, but oh, well. It was pretty. And our "friends" outside the wire sent us some pre- and post-New Year's "fireworks" to help us celebrate. Wasn't that nice of them? : P

But, really. I'm happy because I've gotten e-mailed back on one job and two e-mails out of the blue from HR guys who'd seen my resume on an internet resume site and wanted to know if I was interested in applying for the job they each had to offer. And they're all in the place I was intending to move back to after this deployment, anyway! I talked to one guy on the phone and I think it went pretty well. I'm so excited and nervous... The possibility of getting hired by one of the two companies for my dream job in the city I want to live in is just too much to take!

I really want to run around outside jumping and hollering, I'm so happy right now. ^_^ Yaaaaaaay!