Sunday, June 20, 2010

Home Wrecker Hassle

Hello Nad and Mina,

I just started going to a church that I really like, but I'm having trouble with one of the women there. I think she doesn't like me because she saw me talking to her husband. In my defense, I didn't know he was married. I was actually talking to him about business and yes, I was being a little flirty, but like I said I didn't know he was married. At the time I noticed her off in the corner looking at me with a mean eye, but I didn't know who she was and ignored it.

Later I asked my friend about the guy and she told me he was married to the woman who was staring me down. I felt bad, so I tried to talk to her and let her know I'm not a home wrecker. I didn't say "I'm not a home wrecker," but I tried to reassure her that I was talking to her husband about a business matter.

I thought everything was cool, but now I'm hearing that she is telling people that I'm trying to steal her man! I don't know what to do. I don't want to get a bad reputation, especially one I don't deserve. What should I do?

Nad says: Congrats on not being a home wrecker! There are some women that wouldn't care he is married.  Glad to see you're not one of them. If this woman is spreading rumors about you, there isn't much you can do other than go directly to the source. I know you tried talking to her the first time, but  now it is even more urgent because your reputation is at stake.

Don't approach her with an attitude. That may make it worse. Tell her you want to straighten some things out because of what you've been hearing. Ask her if she has anything she'd like to say to you and let her know you'd appreciate her keeping any issues she has with you between the two of you.

If she continues to talk about you, then there won't be anything you can do about it. Unfortunately, some people get joy from spreading rumors and will do it because it makes them feel good. And if she continues to insist you want her man when you've done nothing else to indicate that, she must be insecure about her abilty to keep her man. That's her problem, not yours.

All you can do is continue to conduct yourself with respect and your character will speak for itself. People will see that you aren't trying to steal anyone's man and that the problem is the wife, not you.  Remember, don't stress. That won't affect anyone but you.

Mina says: I co-sign! especially with this "all you can do is continue to conduct yourself with respect and your character will speak for itself."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rekindling Old Love: Just a Dream or Reality?

My question is: when is an old love too old (years since you have seen the person) when should you let an old love go and just move on?

Nad says: Love is a strong thing, isn't it? It has the ability to live on and flourish even when the person it's focused on is long gone. There is no cut and dry answer to your question. It depends. Did something cause you to all of a sudden take an interest in this person again or have you been pining away for years? You never want to stifle your joy by holding out hope for a person who has clearly moved on or just isn't interested, but I have heard stories of people meeting up years or decades later and picking up where they left off.

Have you seen or talked to this person lately? Do you have reason to believe he is still interested? If so, then there may be something there, but if you haven't seen this person in a long time and know nothing about his current life, I'd say let it go. He could be married or maybe he's grown into a completely different person. You might not even be attracted to the person he is now. There are just so many unknowns: Where does he live? What is he doing now? What is he like? You don't want to spend your life being in love with the idea of a person. It's better to find someone you can love in reality.

Sometimes, we can create grand ideas of what a person is like. Though we may have little knowledge of the person in reality, in our minds, we've created the perfect person and can't help but to compare everyon else to the created perfection that lives only in our imagination. We see it a lot with celebrities. Women swoon over male actors and singers, thinking, "He's perfect. I'd love to be with him." We attach ourselves to the roles they play or the songs they sing and think they are genuine reflections of who those people really are. The truth is that we know nothing about them and would be shocked to actually meet some of them in person and see how they conduct themselves in real life. (Need I mention Chris Brown?)

I'm not saying this is your case. I just wanted to bring up the point that loving a person from afar is often very different from face-to-face love. I hope I'm not raining on your parade. I love the idea of stepping out on faith, but I also love the idea of making wise decisons and living your life in a fashion that will allow you to benefit the most. Chasing after a person you've had little or no contact with in years may have no benefit. Please keep us updated. We'd love to hear what happens!

Mina says:  Great answer Nad! =)  My thoughts--It seems that you're speaking of an inner longing and hope, and not necessarily something that can practically materialize. (If it could, then by all means-- seek! see where he's at, the worst that could happen is he's still unavailable, in any number of ways...) But if you already know its not gonna happen, but that inner longing is still there, ask yourself--is it serving you to still hope, or could you be cutting yourself off from experiencing new love, that's real and manifesting (in a physical sense) in your life. 'Cause we wouldn't want to do that! Lol....The Good News: Genuine love never really dies.  Honor that special feeling the person was used as a vessel to bring into your life and heart.  Letting go never means dishonoring that.  It had it's place and served it's purpose, but cycles come to an end, seasons change and nothing really remains but God...Understand that God was the true Facilitator and Provider of that love,  and that lovey-dovey feeling, and can replace it with something more real and fulfilling, once you clear space to receive it... Many blessings =)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dream Chasers... Are you one?

Hey Ladies,

It's Nad. I wanted to come check in with you guys, because Mina and I get so busy. You know how life consumes you sometimes and you don't find your way out for days, weeks or even months? It's important to step back from time to time, come up for air.

Mina and I share a common goal of empowering women, and we've both been working toward that goal. Personally, I've published a book called "On All the Things That Make Me Beautiful: Short Inspirational Essays on Life, Love & Self." It is full of advice on a whole slew of topics ranging from love and marriage, to body image and confidence, to forgiveness and health. There is a little bit of everything in there.

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to write a book. But, I never did anything about it. Now, I've finally done it, and I wish I had done it sooner. We live in a time and space that encourages most people to be mindless drones, getting the old minium wage, "9-5" job and just barely making it. Sure, you've always wanted to be a dancer, but that's too hard, so just become an office assistant, and live with it. Sure, you've always wanted to open a restaurant, but that's too hard, so just work the register at Payless, and live with it.

As children, we have such big aspirations. "I want to be a maker. You know, a person that makes stuff like buildings and tables," a young girl once told me. If she ends up like most others, she'll shed that dream somewhere in her teen years and settle for a job that just lets her get by.  We all have so much potential, but somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we're convinced to shelve it. I challenge you to pull your potential from the shelf, dust it off, and put it to good use.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polygamy Problems

I am so deeply saddened by what my husband and his new wife have done to me. I have been trying to seek gudiance speak with muslims to understand how it is possible for him to meet a sister on this site, chat with her secretly, then leave me thinking he was going to research the imam only to marry her the next day. upon his return he claims to love me but things have gone horribly wrong we argued. i said horrible things. I slandered the religion. I defamed his character within our muslim community. I was so hurt and angry i wanted everyone to know how he betrayed me now he has moved out called in sick at work and i believe left on a plane to go be with this his new wife in another state. he has taken our car left no money to take care of our kids and I feel completely helpless. he wants me to pray and continue being with him however i am so distraught that while he had no money for our bills he was able to purchase a plane ticket rent a car and stay in a hotel with her for 9 days. I don't understand any of it. I have helped in the house i have paid the rent on my own shared the car loan purchased groceries done everything i possibly could. I was extremely happy with him even doing all these things I had no idea he was talking to this sister online i thought he was meeting other muslim brothers and talking about this deen. i know he is allowed to have a second wife but surely not in this manner. there must be a way for him to have another wife without causing so much pain and extreme hurt sadness and devastation to me and our family. what kind of sister is she to enter our lives and not care that she is destroying everything we built for 15 years? how do i move forward? where do i turn when prayer doesn't comfort me? i am so alone and lost i have spent my entire adult life with him and i don't know how to move on without him yet i can't sit back and watch him move on with someone else. i can't handle him going on a plane to see her, sleeping with her, growing a family with her while i suffer on the side. i know that's not what allah wants for me and i question how much he ever loved me to do this in the first place. please help me to understand give me some guidance to help me make it through this.

Nad says: Salaam sis,
My heart truly hurts for you. Please know that his actions are a reflection of HIM, not the religion. Polygamy is allowed, but it is not supposed to be done like this, in secret. Even if there is no direct statement in sharia saying you have to tell the first wife, it is stated that there is to be no secrecy around weddings. It also states that the husband has to treat the women equally, which means she knew about you, you should have known about her.

I hate that some men abuse their right to polygamy. Even the Prophets wives had issues of jealousy, and he didn't just disregard their feelings. He was very kind and considerate. Just because you can take another wife doesn't mean you can just up and do whatever you want. I'm no scholar, but I do believe you have the right to know... Allah knows best.

And you're right. There is no way he could pay for his plane ticket and other expenses but not pay the rent. No man is to take on another wife if he can't even support the first one. I'm sure he knows this. Sounds like he is trying to twist Islam to fit his lifestyle. Again, Allah knows best.

The fact that he went about this in such a sneaky way is a sign that it wasn't done correctly. There is no sneakiness in Islam. This isn't your fault. If you've done your best to be a good wife to him, then surely you will be rewarded for that. Nothing is unseen by Allah.

And I know it doesn't feel better now, but it will get better. Continue to pray, even when you don't want to, even when you feel like it won't do anything. Prayer is a mercy for us. God does not need our prayers. We do. Ask Allah to guide you toward what is best. If you stay with him (assuming he continues to provide for you and the children and treat you kindly) Allah will bless you for that. If you leave because he isn't providing, you have that right, so there is no wrong in that.

If you have done everything you can to make something work and it still falls apart, that's Allah telling you it is not for you. Of course no one wants to hear that their husband is not for them, but we never know the challanges Allah will place before us.

You aren't the first women to go thorugh this type of devastation and, unfortunately, you won't be the last, but Allah always provides for those who patiently persevere. There are women that were once in your shoes and are now abundantly happy. They were able to move through that pain and find a new peace. Inshallah, you will do the same in time.

Mina Says: Bismillah, wow, I feel the devastation and its a deeply ugly, uprooting feeling. The manner in which you're husband handled this business was dishonorable, deceptive and extremely selfish--his respect for your humanity was certainly lacking and that is enough to make you feel lost, like you've awakened to a totally new, and nasty, reality. My prayers are with you sister.  Bismillah, through the panic, the hurt, the anger, you must reachout to God, like Nadirah said and you NEED a support system...I know I wouldn't be able to deal with this alone--you need to surround yourself with your dearest--I mean closest, sound friends and family. When you will feel like you can't stand, insha Allah they will carry you and help nurse you back to emotional and spiritual strength and health. Healing....your healing is of upmost importance right now. 

I can't act like I'm equipped to say stay or leave, especially without a detailed, holistic picture of what was going on and even prior to all of this, but I do know that in order for you to make a sound decision, you need to gather YOURSELF. Yourself. sis, sometimes these things happen so we can get a moment to stop and do a re-assessment and go into self, not just into our internal selves but the internal aspects of the things that make our lives--our relationships, our systems--figure out what is working and not. Fast forward some time (6 months, 1 year, 2 years) and in retrospect we find we would NOT have been able to manifest a truer, more beautiful--throroughly beautiful--picture, without this tremendous hurt and reshaping...

Allah is your best friend. Allah is your BEST friend.  And it seems things are always happening to get us to remember, embrace this fact yet again.  It will be hard. you WON'T feel like praying...but in the words of my former multi-level marketing trainers, this is where the "players" are seperated from the "pretenders".  And it will take a great deal of strength/ muscle.  Allah (swt) says in Al Qur'an: "be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of goods, or lives, or the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently perservere. Who say when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah we belong and to Him is our return."  They are those on whom (descend) blessings from Allah and Mercy and they are the ones that receive guidance."

Allah makes it very plain that this struggle/pain/test is MOST definitely something that  is supposed to happen.  But He says we came from God, we belong to God and we are returning to God. So--let's return.  Find a way to nurse your wounds and be quiet. With God and with yourself. The answers will be clear, insha Allah. That comfortability, courage and strength you find in this place, finding your inner inconquerable spirit and power, will be sustenance for you. You didn't even realize how strong you were! You CAN do this--you CAN bounce back, you CAN be happy, MORE joyful, MORE fulfilled.

On a more specific note--again, I don't know the details, maybe your husband lost his job and could not provide--but if he wasn't providing and you were coming out of pocket to sustain the family, Islamically-speaking, he wasn't fulfilling an obligation.  Allah swt even tells men to abstain from marriage if they CAN'T find the means.  So the balance Allah has ordained, on some level, was already off.  I fear that your kindness was feeding an already weak logic and he was taking advantage--and I suspect this only from knowledge of his current actions-- Ie, 1) The money was found when he found a NEED to spend it (this exemplifies that while he was with you he wasn't on his grind, he was too comfortable and accepting of you pulling the load that he, on some level, wasn't stepping up, cus look @ how he stepped up for the other woman)  2) In asking you to stay, he wants to take on 2, but he couldn't provide for 1? How is this logical or fair? It's not. Allah says in the Qur'an that darkness and the light are NOT alike. Sometimes in life we NEED to make these distinctions.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.

That's all I will say with regards his actions.  Know that you're not crazy and this was indeed carried out with immense disrespect.  Allah has given you EVERYTHING you need to get through this tremendous trial. You have to put on your warrior gear--your in jihad mode, for your sanity and peace and happiness. Trust Yourself.  Read Qur'an and trust sound guidance. Accept love from family and friends.  Talk to women who have been there, done that and have bounced back, fully recovered and joyfully living! Look to your children for motivation and focus.  With God there is abundance and God is everywhere. My deepest prayers are with you and all experiencing such feelings of betrayal.  Allah has you, never let you go.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Blessings and Thanks!!

Peace and Blessings to all our followers and contributors out there!!!

This is Mina and I was thinkin on y'all and just felt the need to reach out, to send you love and express my appreciation for your support and engagement. Thanks for picking our brains, answering your questions has expanded me--illustrating how similar we all are, how we have more in common than different, how there is beauty in the struggle and even the pain and that God is always here for us, providing limitless wisdom and guidance direct from HIm or through the people He's placed in our lives and through creation at large. What a luminous blessing!!! Treasure!!! Gift!!! =)

Thank you and pleeeaase keep em coming, we're here for you--so ask away!

Love and Light,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hair Help!!!

I have the scissors in my hand ready to cut all my hair off!! Ugh!!My hair is really getting on my nerves! I have nappy hair(I don't think nappy is a bad way to describe natural african hair by the way =)) and I cut out the perm about 2 years ago. It's fairly healthy, but I have noticed some breakage lately, but I'm not doing anything different than I was 2 years ago and I feel like my hair should be longer than it is. Why isn't it growing?!?!?! I use all natural products like olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera, and I henna my hair frequently to keep it strong, but it just doesn't want to grow and b/c it's not as long as I want it, I'm having trouble styling it too. The only style I can really do is two strand twists, but those get old fast! I'm ready to cut it all off and start over, but I know I'm going to regret it if I do. So I need some help before I end up bald!!

Nad says: Is it too late? Did you chop it all off? I hope not. Please, tell me there is still some hair on your head. Assuming there is some left, I'll continue.  I'm glad to hear that you use natural products. You're not putting all those chemicals into your scalp. YEA for you, but something is going on with this breakage.  Have you changed anything in your routine? Have you been moisturizing it more in these winter months? Just like your skin gets ashy in the winter, your hair and scalp get dry. If you already have dry hair, then its even dryer in the winter, so you've got to step your moisture game up. 

Now we're going into spring, so you won't have to do as much, but make sure you keep your hair moisturized, which means wetting it and sealing in the water with some type of light oil.  A lot of people think moisture means slathering on this goopy greases that only clog your pores and hair shaft.  How often do you wash your hair? If you do it once a week, try twice a week, or even three times if you can. (Ever since my daughter was born, I've been slacking, but before that I used to wash my hair, which is natural,  every day. I experienced the most growth when I started doing that.) Is your shampoo natural too? A lot of traditional shampoos have harsh, drying chemicals in them.  Also, if it is natural, make sure it really is what it says it is. Some products claim to be natural but have some of the same ingredients as the other shampoos. 

Where is the breakage? Your crown, edges, all over? This could help you figure out what is going on with it.  If it's in your crown, are you wearing it in a ponytail a lot? That can put stress on the hair near the ponytail holder and make it snap off. If it is your edges, are you brushing and pulling it back tight? That can pull your edges out. Do you cover your hair? Sometimes the cotton fabric on khimars can dry out and snap off your edges. Try wearing a satin/silk scarf underneath. 

Do you know any good natural stylists? (Emphasis on GOOD, because some "stylists" will mess your head up!) Two strand twists may be the only thing you can do with it, but someone else can find a cute style that can make you feel good about your hair, even though its not as long as you want. Pay attention to the breakage, though. Don't assume that its normal. Your hair is trying to tell you something. You just have to take the time and figure out what. Girl, telling you all this makes me want to go wash my hair. I know it needs it. Keep us posted! 

Mina says: I wanted to defer this one to Nad--especially cus I know she has this water-wet-moisture-growth thing down! I wish I was more of the hair care expert but I'm in learning mode myself right now--continue to ask around and get different suggestions--but don't panic!!! 

One thing Ive noticed, even with my hair, is that hair patterns change depending on age and whats going on in your life, hormone levels and such--overall healthiness and growth is affected by everything from mood to diet--take your vitamins consistently (though you may not see immediate results), drink at least 8 cups of water (I just realized recently a cup is not even that much, all this time I'm thinking we're supposed to drink those tall glasses--the ones in your cabinet--no only a cup, as in 8 ounces---duhhh*Mina slow moment*) and figure out what you can do to relax, destress, rejuvenate--which will create a growth friendly body environment.

The fact that you've been natural and consistently nurturing it, is a GOOOD thing! Go through Nad's questions and figure out what could be causing breakage. Do all you can to address possible problems (whether in methodology, or lack of nutrition or whatever)...In the meantime--it may not be the length you desire, but I'm sure those products haven't gone to total waste--there HAS to be something about it that looks pretty, no doubt! Maybe a new shine, its moisture level, or fullness... (As a matter of fact, I wanna see a pic!---pic!...pic!...pic! Focus on those aspects and just love it really really love it. 

Because I think a funny thing about our body parts is they respond to the eyes we cast on them. If they feel love from our eyes, they're receptive and will look and feel different. And we'll be expanded to see more beauty, hope and options...

I was talking to one sister recently and she cut her hair off due to breakage--she loves her hair and so she wasn't pleased it was short due to the cut--but decided to just have fun with it, she colored it and all--when I saw it, I immediately lovvvved it. Even though shes not yet crrrazy about it, its growing on her (because naturally it takes time)--but to everyone else, it looks fabbb!...(I put that on everything I love! hehe)

The point in me bringing this up is--lets say you take care of the breakage, but it never grows to that level you want in your mind...then what? Definitely strive for OPTIMAL health, but understand your hair is YOUR hair--and it has limits uniquely your own. So acceptance may be in order as well--acceptance and a light attitude of funnn--no matter what the length, make it your own, rock it, color it, claim it, wear braids sometimes, extensions sometimes (if you're into them), afro it up--boldly--(girl i just got locs and you're making me want to experiment more!! I wanna rock it!! lol) speaking of which, locking is an option'll def. grow them lol! (and now you can take locs out when you're done...!) Soo--just remember, there are options, God always gives us options, though it takes courage, receptivity and flexibility on our part... 
Have fun and doooo keep us posted....!
(I was only semi-kidding about those pics =) )

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hijab Holdup

I wanted to get your opinion on this issue i've been having for a long time. I cover my hair all the time, but I've been thinking about not wearing it anymore. Growing up my parents always stressed dressing modestly but covering our hair was never a big issue. I started covering my fresman year of college 2005, but not for the right reasons. I had decided to stop perming my hair and decided the best way for me was to shave all my hair off..completey bald. I loved it, but was to self conscious to walk around campus with a blad head and it was winter so it was too cold :) So I decided to wrap my hair temporarly until my hair grew enough to wear it out. Well I guess I just kinda got lazy b/c I didn't want to do my hair so I never took it off. I had met my husband then as well and he liked me to wear it and bought me all these beautiful scarves so I felt gulity if I never wore them. My parents were also proud of me b/c I started covering, so I didn't want to disappoint them either. So for 5 years I've been covering for these superficial reasons and I feel like I'm not getting the benefit/blessings/rewards for covering b/c I'm not doing it for the right reasons. I've tried to purify my intentions for wearing it, wearing for the pleasure of Allah and I've tried all different types of styles from the 'traditional' to a bun style and everything in between, but I alwasy feel like a fake, like maybe I'm disappointing Allah by wearing when I'm not dong it solely for the love and pleasure of Him. So what do you ladies think?

Mina says: Peace and Blessings, dear sister--thanks for inquiring.  (Btw, I can totally relate to a time when I wore my scarf so I wouldnt have to worry about my hair! LOL)

You're right, its not good to feel like you're soley doing something for others, because it will get to the point where it feels worn out, stale and inauthentic. Its only through making a logical  and conscious decision for oneself, and feeling conviction in your heart, that you'll feel excited about doing it--or at least sincerey, even if stoically, committed.

Seperate from what everyone else thinks, and get clear about what you think.

What do you mean when you say "love and pleasure of Allah"? Examine why you think Allah is pleased that you wear it. Is is because it identifies you as a Muslim or because you think hair is enticing for men and immodest? Or some other reason? Get to the bottom of its benefits and the benefits it may have provided over the course of you wearing it. Because one thing important to remember is, if something really is pleasing to Allah, there is definitely a very real benefit for us.

Try to keep this close as you examine...

The other thing to confront and consider is--is this indeed something you feel God is asking of you, or people?  And what role does that play--People have different opinions about whether wearing head covering is mandotory, but I think most settle that its not mandotory, as it doesnt state so in The Qur'an, but preferred (as a way of distinguishment).  But again, it's not mandatory. 

Consider your reasons for not wanting to wear it. Is it because you haven't found it personally meaningful and you feel smothered, or because your hair looks cute and you want people to know it! And then think about how not wearing it factors into the bigger scheme of things--would it be a sin in your opinion? If so--major or minor?

The point of me asking these questions is so you can get to the root of what you desire and believe to determine, obectively for yourself, where you stand. 

I do think your husband's opinion is important. As your protector, does he want you to cover for safety reasons, or is it just something he would prefer (i.e: how serious is it to him)? Maybe something can be worked out where you cover if you're alone but wear your hair out if you're with him or others...Either way, you should talk to him honestly about how you feel

What I think is happeening is you're having a desire to take it off, naturally because you want to go through the process of making this decision for yourself (you may decide after weighing all factors, that not wearing it is no biggie. Or you may be confronted with new information that can make you appreciate covering more)...But ultimately you should be given time to do this. The Qur'an states "there is no compulsion in religion" and I'm sure God will be pleased if you're truthfully looking to re-examine and feel congruent in your behavior.

Nad says:  Ah, the hijab question. It was bound to come up. As a person who has been on both sides of this issue, I can definitely relate. I think the reason this is such a controversial issue is because 1.) the Quran uses somewhat vague term to address clothing and doesn't state specifically that a woman's hair has to be covered  and 2.) the hijab is such a noticable mark of Islam and has been misinterpreted by non Muslims. 

I notice that when the topic of hijab is discussed, it usually become a heated debate over whether or not it is required. I don't want to get into that debate. (There are plenty of ahadith you can read for clarity on this issue.) I'd rather turn this into the type of discussion that we have about any other issue believers find themselves struggling with.

Despite your reasons, I love that you've covered for 5 years. I'd like to know more about that experience. I know you said you just did it to get out of doing your hair, but beyond that, did you like it? Do you have positive experiences/memories attached to wearing it? Do you like the way you feel when you wear it? Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? These may sound like superficial questions, but they greatly affect the way a woman experiences the act of wearing hijab.

As Muslims, we know that hijab isn't a tool of oppression. It's a protection, a mercy, and a reminder of who we are and what we must do. Every time a hijabi woman sees herself, she is immediately reminded of her Islam. Every time another Muslim sees a hijabi, they are immediately reminded of their Islam. Every time a non-Muslim sees a hijabi, they are immediately made aware of Islam. We women have a hefty job. Quite literally, we carry Islam with us for the world to see. And depending on what you're feeling at the moment, that's not always easy to do.

Your statement that you "feel like a fake," stands out to me. Makes me wonder if there's more to it. 5 years is a long time. Even though you started for superficial reasons, you could have grown accustomed and attached to hijabing, but you didn't. That means something. I can't say what, because I don't know all the details, but a struggle in one area often denotes a similar struggle in another.  No one part of us is separate from the others.

I know when I went through the same issue, it meant something. It actually had little to do with the wearing of the hijab and more to do with what that meant and how I felt about it. Now, after much prayer and self reflection, I've been able to pinpoint why I was feeling that way.

Examine that "fakeness" youre feeling. See if it goes deeper than the reason you named. I think if you get more in touch with what you're really feeling, uncovering those subconscious thoughts we don't even realize we have, you'll have more of an understanding about which way you want to go with this issue.

ALSO, sorry to make this response longer than it already it, but I can't close this out without addressing the fact that your husband likes that you cover. As a fellowed married woman, I gotta get in on this. Of course we never want to feel like we're living our lives for others, but marriage is about balance and compromise. If you continue to cover because your husband wants you to, there are blessings in that (in the same way that the sacrifices he makes for you are blessings for him).

The Qu'ran talks about guarding what he (your husband) would have you guard in his absence, <---paraphrase.  I'm not saying this to force you in any one direction (I try never to give concrete, "you should do..." answers in these responses), but I am saying this to make the point that even if you only do it because he wants that of you, it wouldn't be "fake," but would actually speak to your devotion to and love for your husband.

Since he bought you a lot of beautiful scarves, I imagine him to be a kind man, one with whom you could discuss this issue. The last thing you want to do is make a decision without consultation and then end up with a lot of discord in your home. Talk to him about how you're feeling and see where the conversation goes. That way, you won't have to worry about him being caught off guard and feeling ignored. Sorry this is so long, but I really wanted to be thorough.

Hopefully, you'll find your way.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sister in Distress

I need your advice badly. For the past few weeks I have been trying to renew myself. You know the saying, new year a new me. Well, It was working out terrifically. Each week I set a goal and the following week I would accomplish it. It was amazing I lost weight, my clothes fit great, but just this past week a guy from my past had come back. We are only 16 and I would like my past to go away. I want to be a better muslimah and I want to be a better me because I hae the potential to be that person, but seeing the relationships in my family and how destructive they are, I dont want it and I keep going back to the same path. My goal this week was to become more religious. Alhamduallah I wear the hijab full time, but I would like to pray more and I also would like to be more strict on the hijab as well, but become more into it. I dont know what to do. I say your blog and I need advice. Please if you could help me, please do.

Sister in Distress

Nad says:

Dear Sister in Distress,

Congrats on working to achieve a new you in this new year. Don't be surprised that the progress you first experienced is starting to wane. That's part of the challenge of this mortal life. Only in paradise will things be perfect. Here on earth, shaitan (devil) works overtime to distract and derail us from our goals. So even though this guy from your past is an unwanted character, he’s right on time.

You said you keep going back to the same path. That’s usually what happens. It’s hard to change, because habits are comfortable. They feel good. To actually do things differently takes a plan and a lot of focus and determination. You know how the old you would handle this situation, but how would the new you handle it? How would the person you want to grow into deal with this guy? Think about the future you want and then do what you need to do to make it happen. If this guy isn’t part of that future, you know what you have to do.

If there are a lot of destructive relationships in your family, it will be even harder for you to change, because those are the types of relationships you’ve been around and are used it. That makes it even easier for you to fall into your old habits. I’m not saying this to discourage you, but to let you know what you’re up against. You have to know this if you want to succeed. Knowing how hard something will be lets you know how much preparation is needed.

Your goal to become more religious is a beautiful one, but it’s not something you can do in a week. Striving to be the person Allah wants is a lifelong journey. If you need to pray more, that’s the best place to start. Implementing regular prayer in your life is the best way to get closer to Allah. When you’re on top of your prayers, you’re more conscious of everything else (the things you say, do, wear and think). It can be overwhelming to think of all the things you need to do, and then try to do them all at once. Start with the one thing that is most important—prayer—and work on that.

Yes, it may sound too simplified, but getting regular prayer in your life works wonders. You have to schedule it into your life just like you do anything else that is important. Set your alarm for fajr (morning prayer). Get a prayer clock. (You can download free ones online.) Ask a friend to txt when prayer comes in. There are a lot of things you can do to make it a habit. After a while, it becomes natural. And you really do feel the difference.

After you’ve gotten that in place, move on from there. Just remember that no one is perfect. When you make a mistake, which you most certainly will, don’t get caught up on it. Pray that you learn from it and don’t repeat it. Then get back on that halal (lawful) hustle! Hope this helps.

Mina says: Sweetheart, I apologize for sounding so chipper as you experience this distress, but I have to admit--I'm very proud of you!
1) For sincerely DESIRING to elevate.
2) For being so clear and motivated on that path that you REACHED out for help.

The above steps ignite the formula to success--so long as you keep it up. Stay sincere, and reachout: to God, to right minded people (positive friends), and to the best information.

God and all things in creation will work to assist you. Nad is right--this guy coming back is a good testing ground and opportunity for you. It seems that since you've become adamant in your convictions, God is giving you an opportunity to solidify this new strength and fight the temptation into old ways, so that you can keep getting stronger.

In the Qur'an it says that only GOOD comes from God, anything else (negative) comes from our own selves. There are probably layers of meaning to this, but I take it to mean that any situation that may arise, no matter how distressing it looks and feels on the surface, is an opportunity for "good" and growth. If we dont see it and use it as such, then we wont get the benefits. If we do, we will, because it truly is that.

Please please be pateint with yourself. Remember God looks to your heart and intentions...and we are always reminded in The Qur'an that God is The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful fact we have to begin every surah by saying this...this aspect of "Mercy" is the most stressed and repeated attributes of God. There are lessons and signs in that.

We are also told that we've been given faculties of "hearing and sight" to make use of.  In my opinion, this means that we've been given a mind and heart--and have the ability to think, reason, have insight--so we can use it regularly. We should be confident in these abilities!

Rely on your common sense, your intellect and what makes the BEST sense in a given moment. This will save you from doing things you regret. No matter how hard it feels--do what makes sense and know that you're creating the best results for your future.

To summarize:
1) Pray--it all starts with your sincerity and talking to/asking God directly.

2) Read quality, encouraging books. The Quran being the first. When I was your age, 16, is when I FIRST developed a personal relationship with this book for myself--it helped in tremendous, transformational ways--if you want to stay consistent with anything let it be prayer and this. God's words are comfort when there is none, you'll learn about yourself and life. And it will increase taqwa. Important: read whats EASY for you--even if its only a sentence. but think and reflect on that sentence.

Ask around for good book suggestions, about young women and renewal and finding themselves. I just found one on Amazon that sounds like a good one: Dont Give It Away! A Workbook of Self-Awareness and Self-Affirmations for Young Women by Iyanla Vanzant

3) Surround yourself with positive, practicing people! What we're around most of the time will influence and rub off on us--hang out with the sisters you aspire to be like (this is big and will be a tremendous HELP)...if you can't find them near you, find like-minds online (thank God for the internet.)

You're soooo doing exactly what you should by simply seeking, simply striving...stay connected sis!! God is with you.

To all our readers and participants, THANK YOU

Hey, everyone. Nad here. I had to stop by and let you all know how much we appreciate everyone that has taken that leap and submitted a question to the site. Even with anonymity, it's not easy to talk about and expose your deep feelings. We also want to thank the readers who (hopefully) are benefitting from the bravery of the sisters who have posted.

It can be easy to get lost in your own thoughts and think you're the only person feeling that way. The beatuty of a site like this is that it dispells that myth and shows just how much in common we all have. In one way or another, I've been able to relate to every sister that has posted here so far. I'm sure Mina feels the same.  We often segment ourselves, pointing out the differences between US and OTHER, never realizing that all these boundaries not only keep others out but box us in. Who wants that? I'm trying to be free, happy, alive, raw, untouched by the darkness. I bet you want the same.

Thanks again for the participation. Please continue. Pop us a question. Tell a friend. Get involved. It's therapy. For all of us.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking for Space to Breath

Question: Hello, I have an Issue here and I would love an advice.

I am a 23yr old Muslim girl, I live with my mother and siblings my father moved to UK a year ago for business, him and my mother are still married. I finished school and found a great job I like down at the city. Soon after I got the job offer my mother decided to make everyone in my family including her move to the city with me, My other sisters were all working and going to school at that time they had to quit their jobs and school for the sake of moving. Anyways now that we are all living together in the city I'm sort of having a hard time finding a time and space of my own, I cant have a room of my own, I cant have friends over, I cant sleep outside of home and I cant even come home late. So I started thinking of getting my own place I started saving up, but since I am the only working member at home my mother started questioning me where is the rest of my money I tell her I'm saving it up but don't tell her for what. so since I'm moving out soon it hurts me to think that no one will be able to pay any bills at my mothers house

(keeping in my that I have other sisters that have jobs but never bother to help my unemployed mother) My mother never asks them for anything and she has excuses for them and expect everything from me.
I really don't want to lose my relationship with my mother and since my mother will influences my father, other sisters and brothers I might lose relationship with everyone in my family just for moving out secretly and not paying bills.
PS: I also like music and might move to Jersey for it but that's a whole different story ;) (which I will confess about later)
Mina says: Wow, interestingly I can relate to much of what you're going through, needing your space and independence but also wanting to be there for your family, and not feel like you're abandoning them--this is something I've grappled with at various times through my life. And I have to take my hat off to you for being so supportive of your family! This is not to be underestimated, you will be blessed, for you're doing a MAJOR service!

I apologize for the following questions but its hard to comment without knowing--I'm curious why your mother had everyone move with you? Was it for financial reasons, or because she wanted to keep an eye on you? In terms of your sisters contributing, are the same sisters that have jobs the ones that live with you--if thats the case then you're not the only working person in your home correct? Could the ones making money realistically support themselves and your mom, or are you making significantly more income then them (and thats why you're "the chosen one") ?

Have you thought about finding a less expensive place for yourself and still sending a portion of money over to your mom and sisters (providing your sisters chip in to cover the rent/bills) that at all possible?<--this would be ideal!

Realisitcally, if its impossible for them to live without your income, I wouldn't suggest you leaving them hanging--as FRUSTRATING as this is, because the other option may be more devastating, and as you've already alluded to, would you be able to sleep peacefully knowing your family is having serious financial struggles? Probably not...So if the above options wouldn't work, I suggest a compromise, where you could continue to provide financial support, and a home, but you set some Non-negotiables for your new home.

 Two things must be done immediately: A) The first task is addressing your sisters and their lack of help--I know with families theres always complicated dynamics that make certain things the "norm" but its worth getting to the bottom of "why" your sisters are not being made to pull some weight. It will take courage to ask questions and have this talk, but its necessary so that you're not spreading yourself too thin. It's only logical that if they're making money too, they should contribute.

You HAVE to talk with your mom and sisters (the ones that live with you) and let them know its impossible for you to pull ALL the financial weight and not be able to have a little more freedom and control with regards to your space. It sounds like having some alone time is important to you, as it should be, and I can relate! this is a non-negotiable in my opinion. Sometimes you have to be unrelenting when it comes to demanding this, as I've learned. It's gotten to the point in my house where my family now knows and they make amends.

If your sisters AREN'T contributing financially, THEY have to share the room! LOL, Im sorry, but if YOU pay the bills --->you should get your own room. And then in having this space, at least you can make it into a "home" within your home. Where you can have alone time, have people over to your room, meditate, read, or whatever else you like to do. You may have to settle for losing certain things, like the ability to throw a party--but its not the end of the world, if you wanna throw or attend a party, move it to a friend's house.

B) It sounds like there could be more to the story that we're not aware of, Again I'm not certain if your income is a NECESSITY or not, and this makes all the difference. But sometimes circumstances occur beyond our control and we have to do whats moral, even when its annoying or frustrating. When this is the case, its importnat to remember that ATTITUDE can make or break you. I've heard it said that situations don't change, but people's reactions or perceptions can CHANGE the way a situation looks and feels. So I urge you to claim peace and try to work through this from a place of peace and humility. When I wanted to move out, but was unable to (because I chose to be provide a service for my family) I tried to make peace with the situation by calling to mind God says in The Qur'an "give charity to the near of kin", and I would look at it as charity. Interestingly, whenever God mentions charity in The Qur'an He speaks of giving to Kin first and foremost--I think this is significant. Our family bonds are of the upmost importance, and God surely blesses those who seek to preserve them! But it IS give and take! And you cant do for anyone else, if you dont demand certain things for yourself.

Nad says: Salaam, dear
I can tell that you're really feeling pulled in both directions. That's an uncomfortable feeling.  It sounds like you've somehow fallen into the position of family provider. Are you the oldest? That sometimes happens to eldest children. Regardless of your position in the sibling lineup, it's obvious that you have more on you than you'd like.  I applaud you on handling the situation delicately. Some people would move out without hesitation. That you think about your family says something about you.
I believe there is a way for you to speak what's on your heart without losing your relationship with your mother. Families are there to help each other out, and it's obvious that you need some help. You said your parents are still married. Does/could your father help out financially? You said he moved out of country for business, so I'm assuming he has steady income. Have you talked to him about the situation? Your other siblings also have jobs. Let them know you're strained. Supporting your mother is one thing (we owe the world to our parents), but supporting your siblings that are also bringing in money isn't necessary.
From your post, it sounds like you are a "giver." That's beautiful. Don't ever lose that, but be careful not to give so much that you've nothing left for yourself. This may sound selfish, but there must be some "take" if there is to be balance in your life. If you're hesitant about talking to your mother, start with your siblings first. Tell them you feel you're doing too much and that they have to start sharing the responsibilities of the household.
Since your mother is the one setting the rules, you'll have to talk to her about this one. Of course, we always treat our parents with the utmost respect (especially mothers), but there is a way to address this issue with her without being disrespectful. Your mother may not know how unhappy you are. Have a heart-to-heart, and tell her you're feeling smothered. You sound like a responsible person. That is to your mother's credit. She's done her part to raise you. May she be rewarded for it. Now she has to move over and let you take the reigns. This can be scary for parents who fear their children (who aren't exactly children anymore) may be swallowed up by this crazy world. Reassure her that's not the case. You're not a 16-year-old trying to sneak out the house. You're an adult trying to step out on her own and establish herself on her own terms.
If you don't have this conversation now, it'll come back up sooner or later. When you get married or when you move to Jersey, you're going to be moving out at some point. See this as practice for that day. Something tells me that finding your voice has probably been a issue in other parts of you as well. Addressing this now will give you some insight into how to address other issues later.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In Love and Confused

Question: ASA sisters,
I am 23 years old, born and raised as a Muslim with Muslim parents. My family life I would say was ok although I think one of my parents has some serious issues. I wont say which one. Nonetheless, I love my parents. I'm not saying I haven't caused my parents some grief or disappointment, but for the most part I've been a good child. I know my parents have my best interest at heart, but give me a break, I'm grown. My parents want me to marry a Muslim guy that they think the world of, but little do that know. He is just like some of the guys that my parents literally talk about like there's no tomorrow. You see, I've met this wonderful guy that I love. I've been knowing him for almost two years. I tried to introduce him to my parents, but they wouldn't have anything to do with him because he's not Muslim. Although he's not Muslim, I think he is really nice. I know he loves me; he helps me out, he's there for me and he is so kind to me. If they would just get to know him, I know they would like him. There're stuck on him not being Muslim. I know he's not Muslim, but my thinking is he might become Muslim one day. I can't take too much more. My parents are driving me crazy about dating a non Muslim. My guy friend has offered to let me move in with him. I know as Muslims we don't believe in shacking up, but I'm considering moving in with him. All I know is that I love him, I don't want to lose him and I can't take the constant criticism from my parents.

Any suggestions? Please help.

In love and confused.

Nad Says: You've got yourself a situation, here. The heart wants what the heart wants. There's no denying that. Before we approach the parent issue, let focus on you. I’m glad that you’ve found a guy that sounds pretty great. You said you think he might become a Muslim one day. What if he doesn’t? Will that be a problem for you? A deal breaker? If you get married and he converts, then all will be well. But, if he doesn’t, what happens then? Are you willing to be married to a person of another religion? Is he? If so, what will that mean? Will all of your needs still be met? This is something you two should discuss before making any big decisions like moving in together. Like we said in a similar post, interreligious relationships require some extra work. Additional questions need to be asked. Have the two of you discussed this issue and how it could benefit and/or be a detriment to your relationship?

Now, on to your parents. Have you told them that the guy they think is sweet is really pulling the wool over their eyes? This other guy really isn’t all that important, but it might help them get his name out of their mouths. A lot of people’s parents prefer that they marry within their religion. You may never change their mind on that, but you can show them that you are an adult who is capable of making wise, well-thought-out decisions. After discussing the religion issue with him, talk to your parents and let them know that you’ve thought long and hard about this. Don’t just say “I know he’s not Muslim, but we’ll make it work because we’re in love.” Tons of people mistakenly assume that love alone will carry them through serious issues. Sorry to say, but it takes more than that. Let them know how you’ll make it work. If he’s interested in Islam, tell them. If he’s secure in his religion and has no plans of leaving, tell them. Make them see the bigger picture.

If after all that, they still aren’t convinced, you’ll have to choose. Wish I had a different answer for ya, but if they will not budge under any circumstances, and you’re dedicated to doing this, you’re going to have to either go with your heart or go with your parents. I won’t tell you which one to choose, because that can be no one’s decision but your own.

Mina says: Gotta make some runs. Check back later today for my response. Thanks for reaching out. Peace and love

Ok! I apologize for the delay! Great points Nad! I cosign on that =) Also, please check  this post for my very similar story and the thought process I went through, as well as the outcome =)

Looking for Direction in Faith and Love

Question: In college, I was dating a Muslim man while I was raised as a Christian. I was hesitant at first because my parents were of different faiths [Christian man/Muslim woman] and they ended up in divorce. He was hesitant because we had been intimate, but he vowed celibacy when he converted and didn't know how I would react. I did repect his celibacy, but we did have times that we were intimate again. I was even proposed to by him, but ended up not going through with it because I had so much negativity from relatives that we weren't equally yoked. It was a real possiblity that we would've ended up in divorce (just like my parents). He even was abusive towards me and I feel that no man will ever want to marry me. So, I'm now single and really don't know where I stand with my faith and what type of marriage that I want. All I know is that both biblical and Islamic books say that it's better to remain single...Peace be unto you!


Nad says: Peace be unto you,
Looks like you have a lot of unknowns in your life. I know can it be very stressful to feel like you're not anchored anywhere. Accept that peace will come.

First off, congrats on not staying in an abusive relationship! It's not always easy to walk away when there is love involved, but you did it. That makes my heart smile.

Second, know that a man WILL want to marry you! Not just any man, though. The right one. Speak that into existence. Of course, God is in control, but a lot of times we create our realities with our thoughts and actions. It’s all perception, anyway. So, perceive that you will find a good husband. Don't view your past as a hindrance to future love. View it as a collection of hard-learned lessons that have made you better, stronger and wiser. No doubt, you learned a great deal in this experience, about yourself, about love, and about the give and take of relationships. Use that. It’s such a resource.

If you don’t know what type of marriage you want, it’ll will be hard to judge if you’re satisfied with what you’re getting. You have to figure out what you want—better yet, what you need— so you can always be aware of if your needs are being met. What would a good mate be like? How would the relationship look? If you don’t know, talk to some people who you feel have healthy marriages. Ask them to help you build a picture of the type of love you’re seeking. Things are so much easier to find when you know what you’re looking for.

You don’t know where you stand with your faith? You’re not alone. So many people feel marginally attached to a religion they “claim” but may not truly grasp. Let’s shelve the unknowns of your faith for a minute and focus on what you do know. What is your absolute truth, the one thing (or things) that you are at peace with and never question? It sounds like you believe in the Most High, but maybe aren’t sure of the specifics? If that’s true, let Him lead you. Pray (in whatever form you know best) and ask for true guidance. God hears the prayers of the sincere. Study the religions that interest you with an opening mind, allowing the Creator’s magnetic energy to pull you where it will. This won’t be a quick and easy journey, so I don’t expect this answer will wipe away all your problems. (Would be cool if it did, though. Wouldn’t it?) I only hope that this can be a stepping stone to help you get to where you’re going.

Mina says:  Sis! Peace be unto you--I feel you, I'm feeling your confusion and pain and I want you to know: God has you!  I have to 100% agree with Nad to say: Congratulations for having the strength and self respect to walk away from abuse--that takes courage and is not easy, trust me, you're ahead of many!

It's always difficult to rebuild, but its such a necessary process to finding fulfilment and living truthfully...if you can get excited about anything, get excited about that! This is a remarkable time for you and vital opportunity--to wash away the negativity, confusion, stains of the past and unlock the essence of your Soul and what will make it sing and soar (Im reeeaally excited for you as I think about this process!) It will be a cleansing.

Nad is so right that God hears the prayer of every sincere caller. Get quiet. Really make the time to have those moments when its just you and your Creator. If you get still enough, sweet answers come in these moments. It definietly wont be an overnight process but know that all women come to a point when we have to dig, dig deep, pull out and reinvent, using the ingredients that never change (and represent your authentic self) but prepared in a new, refreshing, flavorful way.

Feeling that no man will ever want you...could be a subtle effect of the abuse--especially if it was verbal as well, you may have been made to feel worthless and invaluable. Listen to the thoughts that you have about yourself? Do they reflect an attitude of "I'm worthy and pretty wonderful" or one of "I'm worthless"? Just from rereading your question you can get some insight into this.  If they're reflectng the latter we'd better work fast to empty them, because these are lies and will hinder you on your journey to fulfillment and liberation! God made you absolutely beautiful and honorable. God made you that way--don't disrespect this magnificent creation (you!) by ever thinking otherwise...Don't allow yourself to get bogged down about how you may've "messed up" 'cause guess what? Welcome to the club! the HUMAN club! lol, really...its totally part of the game. Its not about never messing up or having all the answers the first time, its about coming to God with an open heart and with sincerity. God-consciousness--let nothing take you away from this.

Just as Nad talked about perception and talking things into your life, please please do this regarding your thoughts about yourself--FLIP it! You have to be diligent in recognizing when you have a destructive thought and replacing it with a truthful one. From  an "ahh that was sooo stupid of me!" to an " I make mistakes but I love that I try to correct them, thank God for that!"

Also, you may want to consider some counseling if you feel theres still healing that needs to take place from your previous relationship--its worth a consideration, we all can use extra help in our peeling away and "restarting."

In finding faith, authenticity and fulfillment, I recommend the following books:
Women Who Run With The Wolves (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
Simple Abundance (Sarah Ban Breathnach)
Faith in The Valley and/or In The Meantime (Iyanla Vanzant)

May you be very blessed sweetheart =) In every moment lies an opportunity to start anew...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Interreligious Relationships... Can they work?

Question: Salaams sisters,
Ok I think I have a topic for your blog. What is your take on interreligious relationships/marriages? Whether it's Muslim/Christian, Muslim/Jew etc. and whether the person is male or female. Do you think they work? What do you think the pros and cons are in these relationships?

Nad says: Salaams dear,
Yes, you definitely do have a topic. You hit on a big one. I know a lot of people are wondering about this. I've seen these relationships go horribly, and I've seen them work out beautifully. I have two answers to this question.

The short answer: I think it's better to stay in your own religion, because religion is a big part of a person and having that in common can be a huge benefit to a relationship.

The long answer: Love and relationships are complicated. They don't always fit in neat little, pre-prepared boxes. I know this is becoming more of an issue for Muslimahs that are waiting, waiting, waiting on Muslim men that don't seem to be appearing. Meanwhile, they're getting older and watching other people get married and trying not to be depressed. It's real out there. It really depends on what you know you need in your life. If you need someone that you can go to religious services with, celebrate holidays with, pray with, then it probably wouldn't work to be with a person of another religion.

If all you need is a spiritual connection that isn't specific to any one religion, you may be able to work it out. Successful interreligious couples tend to be more open minded to seeing the beauty in all religions. This open mindedness can also benefit other parts of the relationship. However, it can create more room for contention when certain differences come up. One parents wants a Christmas tree. The other doesn't. One parent thinks the daughter should wear hijab. The other isn't as concerned. One parent thinks 16 is a good age to start dating. The other is ready to fight. (You know Muslim get hype on this topic.)  These are the types of issues you're more likely to agree on when you're with a person of the same religion.  Either way, relationships are hard, but interreligious relationships require some extra work.  Mina, come get in on this.

Mina says:  I like Nad's answer...I like it ALOT, I was gonna approach it from a different standpoint...but I'll just say that it DOES get really hard because many times you feel like there's no one out there for YOU in your particular religious circle, and you may be meeting all these wonderful potentials BUT...they have another path. So as Nad said, you have to be really clear (or at least 51% clear lol) about what you can see in your future...because reality is...there can be some added drama in the interreligious recipe, so it will require extra energy!

I was in a similar situation at one point where I really liked/loved someone that wasnt Muslim like me--and it was HARRRD. But when I thought about my kids, and the type of family I want to raise, the legacy I'd like to have, I def. couldn't see it not being Islamic--if it was just about me (and him) in the moment, and not thinking about a shared future, I probably could have done it--but in thinking about not having someone to call the adhan to wake me and the kids up, or lead us in salat, or fast during Ramadan together. it was just too difficult to fathom, for me personally. But the BIGGEST conflict came in thinking about standards and limitations...I just felt that if we didnt share the same Book, we would be looking to a different standard in deciphering and solving conflicts. So I'm thinking, "relationships are hard enough to keep intact, we need a lil something to work with!"...and so, I had to step out on faith, and simply believe that if this is what felt sensical to my soul and mind, this is the situation that God would make available for me...and I was relentless in this belief, I simply knew that the right person was out there for me who shared these fundamental charachteristics...the long/short of that story is--me and my honey did end up together =) (yaaay!), and were able to do so partly because he actually DID ascend down his own spiritual path that led him to Al-Islam, and God worked it out! praise The One.

So the point is--be smart and real about what you want and can deal with and stick to it--you will ultimately deal with the consequences of such a decision, so think very intelligently about the life you want to craft. The positives of such a religiously diverse union is that there is probably an underlying theme of oneness in all things, in a truth that transcends titles, in tolerance and diverse flavors...(it sounds beautiful actually) but the difficulties probably center around the more practical aspect of such unions--and as I said before, the lack of a shared common standard can make it difficult when issues arise...Its hard because Union is about being unified, and seeing a commonality in many things, sharing life, etc.etc, but of course, you're not going to be unified in everything, no matter how beautiful a relationship is, so ask yourself "how extensive and far reaching (into all aspects of my life) is my religious expression? If it affects most of what I do, having a union with someone of another path is probably going to be more difficult...if not, it may not pose as much of a problem."

What I learned from my sistuation  As hard as it is, when you're on you're path and trying to adhere to truth, even if its not what you want to do in the moment, God will open up a way and you will be blessed. Trust that!

Salon Setback

Question: Salaams sistas!!! I'll be the first to break the silence....ok, so I've been working in the same hair salon for 2 yrs and and 3 months now and I really feel as though it's time to spread my wings and move on to better things. Better things meaning more growth and opportunity. I am currently working at a salon with a 46 year old who has been doing hair for 20+ years and let's just say she's "old school", there's no advancement opportunities, and I want to do more than fingerwaves and french rolls. I must admit I'm a little nervous about going to a new salon because I love stability and this has been a stable job, I just need more. Any advice on this? Or maybe I'm just looking for different opinions...whateva you have to share please share! Shukran in advance and sorry it's so lengthy.

Mina says: As Salaam Alaikum wa rahmatallahi wa Barakhatahu Joy!! First off, thank you soo much for posting and trusting us enough to engage...thats a very good question, I have to say I'm excited for you for seeking to progress with your career, because its not as easy as it may seem and can be quite scary to "step out" as you said...
Give thanks for the situation you're in now as you've had an opp. to express your craft and hopefully learn a great deal....But you're a butterfly and its only natural to wanna  spread those beautiful, colorful wings...

I would get really quiet and serious with myself and ask the following questions...

1. How (specifically) do I see myself advancing.

2. What are three goals I'd like to accomplish in the next year?

3. Where do I want to be at the "top" of my career, ie, what is the ultimate goal?

and any other questions you deem fit..

It will take a sincere delve and seriousness to answer these questions and do so truthfully, sometimes we think we know, but when we go deeper, we're surprised at what we find, so its important to put your finger on WHAT you truly want.
At that point, you can approach the accomplishing of these goals with a fervency and convicted determination. Also, your mind heart and spirit will be peeled towards any opportunities that arise. After asnwering the questions I suggest writing your goals down and reading them at some regular interval, like every night, or every morning, or every couple of days, and talk to yourself about it. This will do a lot to get your mind over the fear of something new. and in the mindframe of already attaining it. {You can write and read them affirmation style such as "I will get a job at a contemporary funky salon by June" or "I'm applying to get my Cosmetology Lisence", etc.)

Trust me, nothing can stop what God has put in you to deliver--but you/we do have to have the courage to push pass the mundane and live our passion/mission. if what you discower is true, God will aid you in seeking to attain it, espcially if you KNOW what it is, and stay CONSISTENT in going after it. But be confident that you should pursue growth! Yes ma'am, you should! Be patient, things may not (most likely) change over night, and thats part of the process, DONT let it discourage you or make you say "aww forget it, i KNEW i shoulda never..." NOPE, its just making you firm in patient perserverance. It's NOT always easy but it IS worth it!
We wish you the VERY best in your endeavors, please let us know how things turn out, keep us posted! Hope this helps!
Nad says: Wow, Mina. You put it down on that one. Can you say thorough? "Trust me, nothing can stop what God has put in you to deliver--but you/we do have to have the courage to push pass the mundane and live our passion/mission" I love that. It surely rings true.
If you're not feeling like you can thrive and be happy where you are, that means something. Our bodies know what we need. So many of us spend our lives in jobs we can't stand. Yes, it is risky to go a chase your dreams, knowing there is always chance you may not reach them, but that's a risk the successful take. 
With this recession being as ugly as it is, I would suggest not making in any rash decisions. You probably don't want to leave your current job until you have something else secured, or at least a good cushion to rest on while you search.  Hope this helps. Thanks for jumping in first. Keep us posted.

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Welcome, ladies! Glad you made it over. We've been planning to work together on a woman-focused project for a while. We're so pleased to finally be making it a reality. Our goal is to provide a safe place for women to express whatever it is within them that needs to be purged. A lot of us hold on to energies that do nothing but anchor us down in sadness and anxiety. The only place we should be anchored is in truth and love.

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