Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pomp and amusement

I had Tajweed this morning and sara and I have started to sit on a green mat usually probed against a corner of the room. We thought we would imagine ourselves sat in a Qur’an Halaqa studying with the Asshaba. Sara informed me that it was an old MD (mari) practice when she was here last summer. I can see why there is something so much more spiritually uplifting reciting the Qur’an and practicing the rule on the ground with your legs crossed then sat on a chair.

I had a really precious moment when I was practicing a rule called qalqala I was concentrating on the repeating sound when sara made me repeat the ayat again and suddenly I stopped in the middle of the ayat because I realised I understood it. Subhanallah but I understood it. It’s the ayat in which Allah was ordering musa (AS) to go to Fir’aun, he has transgressed. It reads roughly ihba ila fir’auna innahu daqaa (verse 15 surah 79).

Almost 3months of studying and I understood one ayat but to me it was infinitely so much more, it’s what that one ayat represents. The misery of getting up at 6am to be in work for 8 am in the height of winter were despite all my layers I had never felt such penetrating cold but this memory has been supersede by the memory of this morning. Subhanallah but it was worth it for that ayat alone.

My father when I was young used to say to me that the worth of something that you have been give and the worth of something that you have worked hard for can never be of comparative value, one will always out live the other in your memory. It took me 23 years to "get" it , may allah grant him jannatul firdaws.

I was reminded of when allah asks the inhabitants of jannah if they experienced any hardship on earth and they say not for one moment oh lord ( or something therein) Am also reminded of the ayat that says "And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment"

Then I came home and crashed out in front of the sofa and switched on the tv which went automatically to the Qur’an channel which was at this point playing surah yusuf with the English translation running at the bottom of the screen. It was on the bit when the woman of that town heard about the wife of Al-Aziz’s failed seduction of Yusuf (As) so she invited them to a banquet and gave them knives. Then called him out and because of his beauty they cut themselves and stated that he couldn’t be a mortal and he must in fact be an angle.

She then says admitted her intentions towards Yusuf , tells about his refusal and goes on to say that he will be punished and imprisoned hence being disgraced.While Yusuf says "oh my lord prison is dearer to be then that which they invite me to" When I had moment of realisation that his concept of being disgraced is disobeying allah , hence being akhiyra orientated while her concept of disgrace is a prison on earth thus being dunaya orientated. Subhanallah!

Being from the west it struck me just what Yusus (AS) was refusing, the attentions of one of the most beautiful woman of his time and more so of the entire woman in his area yet today we are so used to men being defined as a stud because of the number of woman he has been with, and it struck me the difference in thinking, how many men of our time faced with such temptation, a beautiful women or prison would turn to his lord and say

" oh my lord prison is dearer to be then that which they invite me to"!

Monday, April 23, 2007

A no is a no

A certain someone’s mother has marked Thursdays and Mondays in her diary as shock NM into speechlessness days. Last Thursday I thought would remain in my memory as the most unexpected day in Alexandria. This Monday however managed to supersede even that.
The lady in question called me to say that she has sent me an email for the engagement details and that she wanted my dad’s number and email address! Oh my god was just no were near expressing the horror of that moment! Huh!!

On the pervious Friday I thought I made it clear that I was only in Egypt to study Arabic and had a home and family to go back to. But the insistent lady asked me to pray the istikhara, I was also under the impression the prayer was for moments of confusion except for once am anything but confused!! It is hard to be insistent back with a 50 plus year old woman without sounding rude so I said I will get back to her.

3 days later the lady is sending me my engagement details and asking for my dad’s details! Like hell am going to give her my dad’s number, does the woman not realise my dad would be on the first plane out of Manchester to come collect me! In this email the lady is also giving me details of my dowry! like i can be brought! am getting really annoyed,stressed and even panicky now

Walahi its times like this I realise the need for a mahrem, clearly am perceived as not being able to make my own decisions, but if this was my dad or my brother I bet the first NO would have been the end of it!

As I write this I need a massive does of galaxy chocolate, a cup of tea and if I wasn’t Muslim something that would come from a boy on a bicycle from moss side!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Living alone

The choice of living with the two Romanian bintaan or staying in the flat all by my lonesome has vanished because the ladies are not satisfied with there flat so are also planning on moving and are currently searching for somewhere more to there liking and having seen that place and its proximity to the school (a 30minute walk ) and its proximity from the sea ( one has to take a taxi) I too am disheartened with the prospect.

So the question remains why the girls can not just move in to my flat since am exponentially satisfied with my dwelling. (2 minutes from the institute and the sea) Unfortunately my dwelling will quadruple in rental price in June meaning that even with the strength of the sterling I will also have to move.

So as things remain I am living by my lonesome till am joined by my fellow mancunian sisters. So how have I been occupying myself? Well I have become rather house proud mainly due to watching on satellite a British show called “ Anthea Turners’s perfect housewife” the title does of course not relate to me but she does have some amazing cleaning tips as well as being a very amusing showing although am not that’s its intent.

Cooking for one and eating alone is no joy so for a while I seized to cook at all and lived on take-aways a.k.a. utter crap till I started to feel rather weak and realised I had hit another phase of anaemia so am back to popping iron pills and cooking.

But first I had to go to the local supermarket and actually buy some food, why on earth do supermarket managers move things around. Just when you think you have got a handle on shopping efficiently they change things around. Shopping is such a chore if Fathalah had internet shopping I would jump at the chance but instead I had to contend with starting one end of the shop floor to the other end because I could not phantom the arrangements literally walking the whole supermarket floor.

When I finally made it home I was really excited to try this carrot, potato and ginger soup and it was an absolute success, just delicious except I do not have a food processor so it’s a little lumpier then it should be but the proof is in the tasting. I then continued to make myself some biryani and some bolognaise sauce for when the need for paste over takes me. So not only is the flat sparkling but my fridge is full of food, it’s like an outer body experience am turning into a domestic dream my mother will not recognise me.

Friday, April 20, 2007


If your wondering what happend to my "what on earth" rant let me tell you, late at night i remembered that the sister of the brother concerned has my blog address to my horror so i had to take it off!

But its save to say that i didn't hide away all day as i had intended, although i didnt' really address the issue either but eh. The lady wants me to pray the istikhara, guess its the least i can do then in a weeks time i will just say " am sorry it wasn't meant to be"

end of issue inshallah

Monday, April 16, 2007

An egyptian family

The first person I met at Risala was Iman, she took me under her wing and showed me around, making sure that I got to know everyone I needed to know and visa versa. She brought me into her social circle until I ended up with a mass of Egyptian girlfriends. For some unknown reason I was on her engagement party list although it was relatively small.

Her mum has learnt from Iman that I am all alone and families less here in Egypt and has invited me to dinner on a very regular basis. After my first dinner at their house, we retired to the living room and watched the end of an Egyptian soap opera, then we watched an Amr khalid’s show with Iman translating while her mother made us the most delicious mint tea. It was so homely and I was awe struck with just how at home I felt there. It was a lovely experience after being out of a family atmosphere for so long.

My other point of family contact is Nad’s Qur’an teacher Khalah Hana who is an incredibly lovely woman, She too invites me to dinner every Wednesday and I have the joy of playing with her 7 year old Ula. She is the one who introduced me to the Seerah circle and now that I have purchased my copy of“sealed nectar” I feel so much more ready to soak up the teacher’s wisdom.

Truly I am constantly amazed and awed by the warmth I receive from others, people who I am a complete stranger to and all that binds us is that we greet each other with Salaam. The instant love, trust and protectiveness that people who I have only known for a short time show me. When they say if you ever need anything let me know I KNOW they mean it and know I have unconditional support if I ever needed it.

I have known the Prophets (saw) sayings that the Ummah is like one body but until know I have never come close to understanding the love that is and should be between the believers!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thus far

Its been awhile and a lot has happened I have been so busy though that I really just couldn’t bring myself to blog so here is another general update in a somewhat chronological order.

1) I made it to Cairo a day late to pick up the girls and bring them to the flat, I booked them a 2rooms in a hotel called the Berlin hotel in Cairo listed in my rough guide which is a tad old I guess because according to the girls it’s an utter dump. They said it made our flat look like a palace oops!

2) They had raised a total of 10,000 LE for the orphanage project at Risala. I set up a meeting with the orphanage projects designated donations collector at the time I was teaching so I missed the look on his face but I guess he was elated for the children.

3) I am officially teaching English to a group of students, I have a soft. Low voice and I kept being asked to raise my voice, my handwriting has gone down the tube, I found myself trying to explain things in Arabic, and the students spoke to each other in Arabic alots so I had to implement a no Arabic inside the class room rule, looks like sara’s teaching habits are rubbing of ! They want me concentrate on pronunciation so by the time I leave am going to leave behind a bunch of northern accented Egyptians.I have yet to start my conversational Arabic classes with a girl called Iven (strange name I know)

4) The banker and I spent the whole of Tuesday together as quality time, since we both hate shopping instead of completing our shopping list we spent most of the day in food outlets, sipping tea. She left her bag in the food court of san Stefano and only remembered when we were in the taxi. We asked the security guide and he asked us to describe it and then just pulled it out from a box behind him. This then made the banker feel like she needed another break so we discovered a Cilantro just at the bottom of the stairs, walked in and oh my lord I was home! They had a massive circular bookshelf in the middle of the store, I saw 2boys with books sprawled all over their table and a man on his laptop, they have wifi and the most amazing mocha’s. Guess were I am going to be studying now! I had so missed cafĂ© life

5) I have taken up Ahadith and when Sara put me straight on to level two i felt rather panicky and was I right! It’s hard-core Arabic non of this level two Arabic which I am on now, they know am almost illiterate and all the vocabulary caters for that while in Ahadith....oh boy. The first hadith in the book was that in which Omar ibn aby salamah is taught my the prophet (saw) that we should start eating with Bismillah , eat from the portion of food nearest to us and with out right hand. Sara wants to explain the hadith in Arabic in tomorrow’s lesson; I can really see that happening.

6) My remaining house mate is leaving on the 12th of April, which officially means I am going to have a 3bedroom flat to my little self, unless I move to Qortoba accommodation and share with 2 German/Romanian girls who are looking into Islam ( no pressure there then)

7) My sister and the Twins have officially left and the house is soooo much quieter now! Almost eerie. Its difficult to comprehend how 2weeks can pass so quickly.There is nothing quite like seeing family again, I really miss my bunch, makes you realise just how much you love them.
8) Oh and i went to my first Egyptian engagment and i was even able to upload the pictures!!!