Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sky over Karachi

Asalam Alaikum,
Here in Karachi this morning it rained for a while. I love the rain in Karachi, every time it rains we go up on the roof and run around until we are all soaking wet. After the rain the sky cleared up and it was sunny for awhile then we went on the roof in the afternoon and the sky had a line cutting it right across. On one side clear blue and the other puffy clouds- white, yellow, orange and pink.

And of course there were cheels-

They were making passes in front of the clouds making a really pretty silhouette, but I couldn't catch it, they were too fast.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Feature- Dhikr and Tasbeeh(prayer beads)

Asalam Alaikum,

These are Tasbeeh(prayer beads). Muslims sometimes use them when making dhikr(remembrance of Allah{swt}). They can be made of many different materials- wood, metals(like steel or silver), pearls, ivory, glass, or precious stones. Some tasbeeh have 33 beads with two separating beads making three sections of 11, and some tasbeeh have 99 beads with two separating beads making three sections of 33 beads. One of the most common forms of dhikr is to recite "Subhan-Allah"(Glory be to God) 33 times, "Alhamdulillah"(All praise be to God) 33 times, and "Allahu Akbar"(God is the Greatest) 34 times.

The ones in the middle of the picture above are a ceramic set of 33 that belonged to my mother in law. Tariq asked me to fix them because the string had broken and the beads were loose, but they are a little heavy and no one really uses them. Each bead says "subhanAllah". The beads on the far left and the second from the right are both wooden sets with 99 beads. The second from the left(light blue) and the far right(pale yellow/greenish) are both plastic sets with 99 beads.

Some people don't use tasbeeh to make dhikr, as they see it as a bidah(innovation), so they prefer to use the joints of the fingers. My view is that if you let the tool become more important than the action(like saying-"I can't find my tasbeeh, so I can't make dhikr"), then that would be wrong, but I don't have a problem with the beads themselves.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tag! My hijab story

Asalam Alaikum,
So this tag is from Muslim Convert, Since I recently posted about hijab in one of my Friday Features, I thought a little more background/details might be fun.

The title of this tag is : My Hijab Story
You can tag as many people as you want
Please state who tagged you
Have fun!


1. How old were you when you started wearing the hijab? 23, (after reverting in December 2006)

2. What or who influenced you to become a hijabi? I had researched Islam and met several Muslim women in our local masjid, from the moment I decided to revert I knew I would wear hijab.

3. How has hijab changed your life? I find it helps me to focus more on my good points, instead of spending hours looking at my faults(mind vs. body issues)

4. What does hijab mean to you? Total attitude, not just the scarf, but the way you present yourself.

5. How do you deal with the rude comments/stares you get due to being a hijabi? So far I haven't had to deal with too much rudeness, but on the rare occasion that somebody has said something or asked a rude type of question I just answer them politely and they tend to do a double take and realize how rude they sound.

6. What is your favorite thing about wearing the hijab? It feels so feminine, since I was pretty much a tomboy this is something kind of new.

7. What is your hijab must have accessory? Plain old safety pins, I never leave the house without them(and a bunch extra in my purse)!

8. What advice could you give a newbie hijabi? If it is difficult for you then take it slow, better to go slow than jump in feet first, get frustrated and then leave off the hijab altogether.

9. What is one hijab trend you never understood? The whole gulf fashion of useing huge flower pins under the shayla stlye to "poof out" the back of the head. It just looks really odd to me.

10. What question do you get asked the most due to wearing the hijab? When in America it was the classic-"aren't you hot in that?", to which I reply- "not really, the airflow is pretty cooling and the sun is not beating down on my head".

In Pakistan it is generally "why don't you loosen up your dupatta, isn't that uncomfortable?", to which I reply "no, thank you"

So there is a bit more detail on my hijab. I tag anybody who hasn't already done it and wants to.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Feature- Buh-dia Fashion

Asalam Alaikum,

I am not fashionable. I never have been, I was not girly-girly growing up, never really had any interest in make-up or fashion. I was much more likely to be found playing in the mudflats close to our house, digging up clams/snails, than playing dress up.

After marrying Tariq I did change a little. He bought me a couple shalwar kameez suits to wear, because he liked the look of them. I liked them because for the fashion challenged they are already matched, I didn't have to worry that I looked like I got dressed in the dark. They are also extremely comfortable, especially when pregnant with Saad and none of my other clothes fit. I didn't wear them too often outside the house, only once or twice to the masjid(I am pretty sure I got a lot of weird stares for that one). Mostly I wore an abaya to cover up anyway.

When we got to the UAE to live with Tariq's family, they just assumed that I would wear what everyone else wore. I didn't even really think about it. All of his sisters are very fashionable, keeping up with the latest trends. I didn't really pay attention to what was fashionable, I just went for what felt the most comfortable. Tariq's sisters tease(playfully-not meanly) that I dress like a "buh-dia", an old woman.

When I am fashionable it is usually by accident. For example-I like my kameezes extra long, hitting below the knee. Now long kameez is in fashion, so I look fashionable even thought that's not what I was going for.

I love to sew my own suits(partly because I enjoy sewing and partly because of the problems I have had with tailors not listening). Sometimes I will get an idea, and then try it out. Sometimes I get the fashion thumbs up and sometimes I get the "buh-dia fashion" face. I have changed to the point where I do enjoy a little bit of fashion for special occasions, but I am still a "comfort over looks" kind of girl.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whose father is getting married now?

Asalam alaikum,

My husband has some really quirky expressions that I have never heard from anyone else. Some are kind of funny and some are just strange.

My favorite that he says is when someone is very excited about something(like wanting to buy a new suit, or makes a fancy meal for no reason) he asks "Tumhara baap ki shadi hai?" Meaning roughly "is your father getting married?(that you are so excited?)" If he is using the expression because I want him to wear fancier clothes for something or take us out for tikka, then he uses "mere baap"(my father) instead of "tumhara".

Sometimes he says "baap ki barat" instead of "baap ki shadi", it is almost the same meaning, a barat is when the groom goes to get the bride. Every time he says it everybody in the room laughs and just says "haan, bap ki shadi(yes, father's marriage)".

I like this one so much that I have started using it, and every time I do he smiles a little. I think it might be partly because when someone else is saying it he can see how silly it is. :-)

Anybody else have any expressions that are not really common, or are just plain silly?

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Asalam Alaikum,
I used to play board games in America, usually Monopoly, chess, or checkers, and other stuff like that. When we came to live with Tariq's family I was introduced to Ludo. Tariq and his brother and sisters(and every one in his huge extended family) can play this game for hours on end without getting bored. One of his sisters is a real Ludo expert. It is very difficult to win against her, today alone I lost six games in a row!

This is our Ludo board, Tariq and I found it in a local market, I think it was 50PKR,(less than one USD). Very inexpensive, and tons of fun. We play with some variations, like instead of one die we use two, and we can only come out of the "house" by rolling a six(some people allow you to come out on a one also). If you roll double sixes you get another turn and also if you hit another player that's an extra turn.

It is a lot of fun and one of our main forms of entertainment during load shedding times. The only problem now is that Saad is just getting old enough to want to play himself or "help" mama and daddy to play. It is cute, but it can be a bit frustrating when he rolls the dice and they get lost under the sofa, or throws a temper tantrum and one of the gollees(round playing pieces) flies under the showcase. We are looking around for a simpler type of game that he can learn more easily, so we can all play together.

Here is the Wiki on Ludo, in case you don't play and want to read more.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Friday Feature (a day early)- Murderers and Blasphemy

Asalamu Alaikum,

Bismillah Ar-Rahman ir Rahim

I did not want to write this post. It is a controversial topic and in real life I abhor confrontation, but I cannot stop thinking about it. I decided to make istikhara and so here we are, InshAllah after I get all my thoughts out I can have a little peace of mind.

The murder of Salman Taseer disgusts me, and the praise showered on his killer makes me ashamed for our Ummah. Malik Mumtaz Qadri is a murderer, and yet he was showered with rose petals.
I was reading a couple of hadith this morning-

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet(SAWS) said, "The signs of a hypocrite are three:
1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise ).
3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it.)"

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr:
The Prophet(SAWS) said, "Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up.
1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays.
2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.
4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner."
(reference here)

Malik Qadri was given a trust, he was responsible for protecting Salman Taseer and instead of following his responsibility he betrayed the trust. He murdered a man that had not broken any laws, had not blasphemed in anyway. Salman Taseer criticized the laws of Pakistan, he did not insult the Prophet(saws), does he not have the right to speak up against what he sees as wrong?

There is a hadith that says-
It is narrated on the authority of Tariq b. Shihab: It was Marwan who initiated (the practice) of delivering khutbah (address) before the prayer on the 'Id day. A man stood up and said: Prayer should precede khutbah. He (Marwan) remarked, This (practice) has been done away with. Upon this Abu Sa'id remarked: This man has performed (his duty) laid on him. I heard the Messenger of Allah as saying: He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue, and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of faith.(bolding mine)
reference here

Was this not what Salman Taseer was doing? He saw an injustice and was trying to stop it.

The more I read of Asia Bibi the more I think that the charges against her are indeed false, or at the very most she was provoked to the point where she would utter a blasphemy. If she was provoked shouldn't the women who were tormenting her and ridiculing her for being Christian also be punished? They refused to drink water after she had drunk from the communal bucket, saying it was "unclean".

Part of Pakistan's Criminal Code states-
"§ 298 states: Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. "
(reference here)

This does not seem to apply to just Islam, but to any religion. Anyone who deliberately insults/defames another persons religion can be punished. So where is the punishment of those who provoked Asia Bibi?

Usama b. Zaid reported: While we were with the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him), one of his daughters sent to him (the Messenger) to call him and inform him that her child or her son was dying. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) told the messenger to go back and tell her that what Allah had taken belonged to Him, and to him belonged what He granted; and He has an appointed time for everything. So you (the messenger) order her to show endurance and seek reward from Allah. The messenger came back and said: She adjures him to come to her. He got up to go accompanied by Sa'd b. 'Ubada, Mu'adh b. Jabal, and I also went along with them. The child was lifted to him and his soul was feeling as restless as if it was in an old (waterskin). His (Prophet's) eyes welled up with tears. Sa'd said: What is this, Messenger of Allah? He replied: This is compassion which Allah has placed in the hearts of His servants, and Allah shows compassion only to those of His servants who are compassionate.(bolding mine)

Where is our compassion? How can we expect mercy from Allah(swt) when we show no mercy to others?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday Feature-Sometimes I just don't feel very gori

Asalam Alaikum,

I follow a couple of blogs by other "gori wives"(white wives), married to desi(Southeast Asian) men. Some are Muslim, like me, and some are not. Some wives convert to the religion of their husband(Islam, Hinduism, Etc.) and some stay in their own religion. It is very interesting to read the experiences others have had during stays in Southeast Asia, some of the experiences they have had are so similar to my own.

Here are a couple of blogs of other goris that I like to read sometimes-
The Gori Wife Life
Ammena's adventures
Lucky Fatima
Diary of a White Indian Housewife
Big Bad Blonde Bahu

The weird thing for me is I just don't feel very "gori" sometimes. I don't eat the food that I used to, even when I try to it seems to have little or no taste because I am now used to heavy/spicy foods. I wear shalwar kameez all the time, and when I try to wear a pair of jeans with my kameez it feels very odd.

Sometimes my husband jokes that he is more American than I am! He prefers pants and shirt to shalwar kameez for everyday wear, and hates "bargaining" when we go shopping(even though he is really good at it). He teases me about my fascination with "old fashioned" stuff like mutti handi(clay cooking pots) and wanting to learn Indian styles of hand embroidery.

I am sure there are lots of things that I won't miss like load shedding or having to boil all the milk before we can drink it. There are also lots of stuff that I will definitely miss that I can't find back home, like sitting on the roof in a cool breeze at maghrib time and listening to the adhan. I am so used to the way things are here I sometimes wonder how I will adjust when we get back home?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Last FO of 2010

Asalam Alaikum,

This is my last FO of 2010, a hat to match the crochet baby jacket I finished a while back. The jacket and hat are going to one of our neighbors who is a close friend of Tariq's, for his one year old son.

Here is Saad modeling, he kept saying "this for chota(small) baby, nahi(not) Saad. Saad want blue hat." Apparently he does not like the color of the stripes.

Pattern:none, just made it up.
Hook:US F

There are a couple more FO's from 2010 I just haven't gotten around to getting pictures yet.