Saturday, July 13, 2013

A year in hijab


Last Ramadaan, I decided to wear a headscarf. It wasn’t the long and difficult process I envisioned it would be. I’ve contemplated wearing a headscarf before but lacked the courage to follow through on it. When I look back, I realise that the only barriers to my wearing a headscarf were ones that I created for myself. Silly notions about how other people would react to the change; vain ideas about how much I would miss wearing my hair down.

I think there is something about the anonymity of living in Johannesburg away from my family and friends that gave me the courage to finally attempt to wear hijab. When I decided to do finally do it, I wasn’t sure that I would be determined enough to keep it on beyond Ramadaan but Allah (swt) made it easy. There have been difficult days but alhamdulillah, putting on hijab has been the first step in a journey of change to me becoming a better Muslim.
I used to feel that learning about Islam and understanding and memorising parts of the Quraan was difficult. I think the problem was not that these things were difficult, I think the problem was with the sincerity of my intention. I think it is only now that I truly understand the instruction to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. We can never know enough about Islam. There is no point at which we will be able to sit back and say, “that’s it, now I know everything.” Allah (swt) wants us to be in a constant state of learning so that we can implement the teachings of the Quraan and the hadith in our lives. We cannot be complacent with what we currently know.

Last year in Ramadaan, I listened to an Imam reciting Surah Al-Ala in the Witr salaah and I was transfixed by the beauty of this surah. I decided that I would learn it. Alhamdulillah, this year, on the first night of taraweeh, the Imam recited Surah Al-Ala and I could recite along. I feel as if Allah (swt) has sent me a special reward as support and encouragement.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Things to be said:

one. 2013 marks my tenth year out of school. The fact alone doesn't mean much to me except the obvious understanding that it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that I am now solidly an adult and not in the maybe-sorta-kinda in between phase of being an adult only when it suits me.

two. I've recently transitioned from the world of clinical medicine to a world of clinical research. Despite the numerous "last tether" blog posts I have penned about frustrating patients, I realise that what I miss most about clinical medicine is talking to patients. I miss explaining HIV and Viral Loads to people that were otherwise clueless about their condition, I miss the smiling lightbulb moment when they get it.

three. The other thing I miss is the academics of it all. It's that notion about knowledge that you can never have enough. I am acutely aware of how little I currently have.

four. There are bad people in this world. People who arm themselves with weapons and use them to instil fear. People who steal the peace of mind and the possessions of your loved ones. People who don't give a damn about who you are and how hard you have worked for what you have.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Gender wars


Zahir Hoosain and I decided that we weren't really the types to spend a week lounging on a beach. Instead, we spent our honeymoon on a tour of Egypt. It was quite an experience being enveloped by such amazing history, standing at the foot of the pyramids and being face to face with the sphinx. After about a week of traipsing through tombs in the scorching sun, though, we thought that maybe we were the types to lounge on a beach after all. 

Whilst in Egypt, I picked up an interesting booklet titled " Women in Islam, Versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition:The Myth and the Reality"
It is written by Dr. Sherif Abdel Azeem. The publication very simply looks at the differences between Islam, Christianity and Judaism with regard to women. There are 15 short chapters dealing with issues such as female education, mothers, polygamy and the veil. 

A chapter that interested me was the one dealing with inheritance. It is not without some shame that I reluctantly admit to not completely  understanding and therefore questioning Islamic inheritance law. The reason behind this is  Feminism. For a while, I subscribed to the notion that "Anything a man can do, a woman can do better." It is only in the past few years that I have come to realise just how silly that idea really is. It simply isn't true. Allah swt has created man and woman differently, each with strengths and weaknesses and he has created us so that we may play different roles in society. A woman cannot do everything that a man can just as a man cannot do everything that a woman can. 

With regard to inheritance law, Dr. Abdel Azeem says, "The general rule is that the female share is half the male's except the cases in which the mother receives equal share to that of the father. This general rule if taken in isolation from other legislations concerning men and women may seem unfair. In order to understand the rationale behind this rule, one must take into account the fact that the financial obligations of men in Islam far exceed those of women.."

"A bridegroom must provide his bride with a marriage gift. This gift becomes her exclusive property and remains so even if she's later divorced. The bride is under no obligation to present any gifts to her groom. Moreover, the Muslim husband is charged with the maintenance of his wife and children. The wife, on the other hand, is not obliged to help him in this regard. Her property and earnings are for her use alone except what she may voluntarily offer her husband.

Besides, one has to realise that Islam vehemently advocates family life. It strongly encourages youth to get married, discourages divorce and does not regard celibacy as a virtue. Therefore, in a truly Islamic society, family life is the norm and single life is the rare exception. That is, almost all marriage-aged women and men are married in an Islamic society. In light of these facts, one would appreciate that Muslim men, in general, have greater financial burdens than Muslim women and thus inheritance rules are meant to offset this imbalance so that the society lives free of all gender or class wars."

A while ago I wrote a post titled, "Real Men." I think that post was also a little misguided. In response to a comment on that post, I wrote that the roles don't matter, it's the elusive mutual respect that does. The Islamic view is quite simply the "answer" to gender wars. 

The booklet can be found online using this link: http://jamiat.org.za/blog/women-in-islam-versus-women-in-the-judaeo-christian-tradition/

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Garments

I mentioned in a previous post that my writing style has evolved from frustrated rants to documentation. I think that I only half believed that when I wrote it. I am convinced now that it is true. With a surprising frequency, my posts have been a "catch-up" of the things I would like you to know, of the things I want to read about when I'm grey. I guess the idea is that somewhere in this collage of posts, I am telling you (and myself) who I am. And I guess the idea has some merit to it because as I've mentioned many times before, we are constantly moving, running on a track to keep up with the selves we are meant to be.

On the 6th October 2012, Zahir Hoosain and I got married. We had a wonderful nikah after Asr Salaah at the Riverside Mosque in Durban. Later on that evening , I put on a huge ivory dress and walked down a beautifully decorated aisle holding hands with my husband. I am still getting used to the sound of those words, still trying out how it feels as I casually (it's anything but casual in my head) let the words slip out of my mouth. I feel like a little kid playing dress up, trying so awkwardly to be an adult.


"Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you among yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has planted love and mercy between you; In that are signs for people who reflect."
Quraan [30:21]





Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wedding Week


It's officially wedding week. In a mere 5 and a half days I will be married. Surprisingly, I am not at all stressed out about being married. The wedding on the other hand, is significantly more stressful. Here's a few tips: 

1. Elope. Save yourself some fights, tears and ridiculous gawking over centrepieces and ballgowns. 

2. Decide early on that you don't care about what "people" think and stick to that. 

3. Ignore all the silly blogs and magazines and and and..... Because you don't need someone to tell you what your wedding should be like

4. Stay calm and carry on venting via blogposts

Friday, August 17, 2012

Surfacing for air

It's been a while since I've written anything about anything. The paucity of time is about as good a reason as I am going to find.
I've been pretty busy of late
Ramadaan : slightly earlier days, Taraweeh, trying to keep up with the Juz that's being read at Taraweeh.

Work: busier than its ever been. A new and exciting project that is just finding its feet.

Studying: diploma exams are now approx 2 weeks away. I am quite ashamed about not being anywhere close to ready.

Wedding plans: the "big day" is exactly 1 month and 19 days away. I'd like to think that this doesn't stress me out but the bags under my eyes and the weird wedding dreams beg to differ.

So that is why I haven't written anything in the longest of whiles. For now though, I am homeward bound, to spend a glorious weekend with family.

Till the next time I surface
Ciao ciao and as Salaam u alaikum to you all
P.s Eid Mubarak :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

There are people...

There are people in this world that demand respect but have no idea about what it means to earn it There are people who equate fear with respect and value it above love There are people who belittle others thinking themselves worthy of praise and admiration when they have only themselves for admirers  There are people who would judge you on ancestry and wealth and not give a damn about your character There are people in this world with dark selfish souls but they are too blind to see Instead they propagate their foolish agendas like overgrown bullies on a pathetic playground