Sunday, May 30, 2010

Imam al-Haddad on Giving Good Counsel to Fellow Muslims

I have met a few new Muslimahs (female Muslims) over the past month or two. Inevitably, I am asked questions regarding some basics of Islam, such as prayer. Even though I have been a Muslim for over two years, I know I am still young in Islam. I am learning still, and I hope I will always be learning.

It's not easy to give someone a helping hand, or advice, when you are sometimes unsure of your own foothold. It is always a good idea to be cautious when giving advice, but lend yourself to your brothers and sisters, if you are able. I think this will create a sense of community and further the bond between us all. It feels good to help someone.

The above link will take you to an article I just read. It is short and concise. It really drives home the point of being truthful with our brothers and sisters when giving advice, and to not be envious of others. I enjoyed reading it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Finals are over!

Thank God! No more tests to study for, or essays to write. No more assignments due and extra credit. I feel like I have been released from the grinding stone. Now I just need to get this apartment in order. I have all summer to go through my possessions and give away what I do not need or want anymore. It will be great to downsize and donate goods to someone who could use them.

I can get to some serious reading, start some exploratory art this summer, and refinish a chest of drawers. The reading will be from Moez Masoud's website. There are a lot of interesting topics. For example, there is a topic about the proper way to carry out Jihad, which is not the extremist factions' perverted meaning of Jihad. There are also some suggested books that pique my interest as well.

I have some new media that I want to try out. I bought a material called Dura-Lar, which is like a cross between acetate and mylar. I am going to work on incorporating that into my art. We'll see how that works out.

This chest of drawers was given to me by my last landlord. It's a horrible green and off white. I am going to strip it of all its paint and repaint it. I am putting together a wildlife theme for my baby's room, so I want to paint the body of the piece black and the drawer fronts white. The handles on the drawers are a long horizontal piece of wood that is hollowed from the underneath. Those I will probably paint black since our hands will constantly be grabbing in that area. I do not want to see the oils and dirt from our hands discolor the handles.

There's my summer in a nutshell. Now, if I can stay motivated...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Too Much Stress...

I am attending graduate school. This is my first semester and thankfully I had decided on taking internet courses this Spring. It has been hellish trying to get back into the swing of completing assignments, cramming for tests, and studying for finals (which I am currently engaged in now). Saturday will be the end of my misery. I have one on-campus final left and an essay to turn in tomorrow night. The subject? Educational psychology.

I have returned to school to get my Master of Arts in Art Education with a certification in teaching. I am excited about teaching art. When I was living in Alexandria, Egypt I had an opportunity to teach art in 1st-8th grade. Although then, I knew nothing of lesson plans and multicultural education. After this semester of school, I can retrospectively look at the myriad mistakes I made and a few good lessons I had. It was hard to teach and have fun with art in a culture that did not seem to value art the same way I had grown to love it. It was hard for the students to connect to the purpose of art. They could not see the value and I was ill equipped to change that. Hopefully, now that I am more prepared, I will be able to touch the lives of students where ever I happen to be teaching.

Moez Masoud

If you go to the above link, a short presentation given by Moez Masoud will download in a RealPlayer media box.

The first time I saw this presentation, it was completely by chance. My husband had downloaded it from YouTube. Ever since that day, nearly a year ago now, any time I feel weak in my faith I think of how Moez spoke in that presentation. I think of the words he said, and the way he said them. He has love in his heart and it spills from his mouth. I want that. I want to feel what he feels.

Having faith and remaining true to that faith are two different paths. I can have faith that Allah is there; that He is watching me. I can have faith that he only wants the best for me. But that does not mean I will always acknowledge the attention Allah gives me. That does not mean I will always pray fard (the obligatory five prayers). Only having faith guarantees passivity in faith. Remaining true to faith is an active path that I need to walk. Remaining true to faith means I am compelled by that faith. that love of Allah to continue to fight the good fight, and actively acknowledge Him who created me for worship.

I am not perfect. I do not always pray. I do not always do as I should. I know this sometimes before I act, other times in reflection of the day's going-ons. If I could only live in the present and be fully aware of my mind-body, I feel I could shed my bad behaviors.

I listened to an interview with Moez Masoud that was aired on a public radio broadcast from WUNC in North Carolina.

The above link is that broadcast. It has given me hope that I can change my path of passive faith to one of active love-faith. Moez had his ups and downs and had a beginning like most contemporary youths. He definitely had a life that I could campare to my own. He even spoke about how he did not pray, and after a life changing "awakening," how he dealt with certain issues of expressing his faith. He stated that he put an injunction on himself that he would not sleep until he made sure to say all his prayers, even if he had to lump them together. Since my slip ups consist of not always praying, this really stood out to me.

He changed. He changed not because he was embarrassed or worried about his reputation as a Muslim. He changed because he realized Allah gave him a chance to change his behavior. Allah loves us so much to give us another chance. Even me. Alhamdulillah rabbil alameen arahman iraheem.