Why I am afraid of Tinkerbell.

My Muslim daughter loves the Tinkerbell character and all things fairy.  I was not happy with this but I accepted it as part of being a young girl.  Then we watched the 1st Tinkerbell movie, together.  It starts by asking, “do you ever wonder…” how the sun rises, how the seasons change, what makes the leaves fall from the trees. Now my Muslim mommy antenna is up!  Because there is only one answer I know as a Muslim…Allah! But no, the answer given is “it’s all the work of fairies.”  The movies go on to explain that “fairies” are responsible for these things and more.  I sat there thinking, crap, this is shirk!  And Tinkerbell is going to have to go!

Ideas put into the minds of children are very powerful and messages internalized can stay forever.  That’s why I’m trying so hard to get them to internalize love for and knowledge about Allah.  I have been teaching her that Allah has power over all things and it is Allah that is responsible for all of the things she sees going on around her.  Now Tinkerbell is telling her I am wrong.

I wondered…what is a fairy exactly.  What kind of mythology does it come from, the origins.  I found this answer on Wikipedia…  “Their origins are less clear in the folklore, being variously dead, or some form of demon…”

According to Wikipedia (and other sources) fairy folklore originated in stories of demons.  And although pretty in pink and purple wings now, originally they were scary troll like creatures who were either undead or demonic.  Similar to what we in Islam would think of as bad jinn. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t like the idea of my daughter walking around with “bad jinn” t-shirts, backpacks and sneakers!  And these fairies are on all of these items and more.  Fairies are back and they are everywhere, just as cute as they can be.

I don’t imagine, that most people buying or even selling these fairy items realize the demonic connection.  Certainly the children don’t.  As with most demonically originated items in our culture we have forgotten the true origins and meanings behind many commonly used symbols. (like the heart and arrow symbol) So I don’t really believe that my daughter will grow up and worship the devil because she likes Tinkerbell at age 6.

What I fear most about Tink is that my daughter will grow up and realize that Tink is an imaginary character without the power to do anything.  She will be taught in school, scientific explanations for the seasons changing and rain falling.  And she will grow out of believing in the unseen magical world.  My fear is that as she is told to explain her world through science and to grow out of belief in magical creatures, that her new cynicism will lead her to question a faith in God.  Because, Allah is also unseen, powers unexplainable, something that must be taken mostly on faith.  I heard an atheist on television today saying, “I am an atheiest, because I don’t believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, God or any other illogical thing.”  SubhanAllah!  This is my fear.

I want her to believe in the unseen world.  There are powerful beings and forces at work both for good and evil that we can’t see.  The most powerful being God.  This is my fear, with Tinkerbell flying around trivializing this FACT she may start to doubt, the real unseen world.  Scary thought.

 

 

April 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm 1 comment

an ayat a day

ASA,

Salaams all.  Recently I was sitting in on my kids’ Quran memorization class.  The instructor was trying to encourage them to memorize the quran and become hafiz.      He started throwing out stats like if you memorize these many ayats a day you will be a hafiz in these many years.  One child, trying to be funny, raised his hand and asked what if I only memorized, one ayat a day?  The teacher responded, it would take you 20 years.  The kids laughed a bit at that, but I thought…GREAT!

Since becoming a mom, I can barely remember where my keys are!  Any dreams I had at memorizing the quran have long been just that…a dream.  I tell myself, I am doing great just to retain, what I already know.  But I was greatly inspired by his challenge.  Memorizing an ayat a day for 20 years means that by the time my infant is in college, I could be a hafiz.  Even better if we are hafiz together!  I told myself that I can do this.  InshaAllah.  I struggled the first week but with advice from friends, I came up with a few simple tips that helped with the memorizing.

Tip Number 1:  Start with a clear intention.  (Remember, actions are by intentions!)

Tip Number 2:  The best time for memorizing is immediately after fajr prayer.

Tip Number 3:  Try to repeat your ayat in every rakat.  (That way you have reviewed it at least 17 times that day!)

Tip Number 3:  Practice with the children.  (They will love helping you especially if you give a reward for whoever remembers the best.  the more excited they are the more they will remind you and keep you focused.)

Tip Number 4:  Give yourself a reward.  (Allah always rewards us when we try to do something good.  So set small goals for yourself and give a reward as they are reached.)

Tip Number 5:  Be clear on why you are doing this, InshaAllah for the sake of Allah.  If you do it for the sake of pleasing Allah, drawing closer to Him and preserving your deen in your heart and the hearts of your children, then you can’t fail!  Even if you memorize very little.

Lastly:  Give yourself a break!  If you skip a few days or forget an ayat, don’t give up!  The only perfect one of us is Allah swt.

 

March 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm 2 comments

children at war

Salaams (Peace)  All,

And I really mean PEACE.  As I sit here with my precious children, I pray for peace.  It nearly knocked me off of my feet, while I was changing my daughter recently, that we are at war.  AGAIN.  In the seven years of my firstborn’s life, she has not lived in a country that was not at war.  We are at war!  It doesn’t seem real, because we don’t see the bombs falling from the sky.  We aren’t putting our children to bed to the sound of gun fire.  Our food, water, gas is not rationed.  So we go on with our comfortable lives.  We complain about the internet; it was slow so we couldn’t download our movie or music.  Disney world tickets increased again, so now we might have to get the 3 day hopper pass instead of the 4 day.  We  complain that, movie tickets are now $10.00.  Not for an instant thinking that today our country bombed another and 13 people died.  Do we really wonder why people from other countries hate us?

War should never be this clean!  If you are at war it should feel like war.  No pretty words to tidy up our events, saying it’s just a conflict.  We are raising war time babies.  As mothers, as parents we should be as aware of that fact as a mom is in Libya, in Iraq, in Afghanistan.  We should worry about the day we are no longer able to keep the war safely overseas.  Because that is the war our children will see.  As parents we should be firmly on the side of peace.  As Muslims we should despise fighting, as the Prophet and his companions did.  They didn’t want to go to war, they did it when they had no options left.  And after being commanded to do so by Allah.  Fighting only to end oppression and religious persecution and only until, the people stop fighting you!   We should absolutely…want for our brother what we want for ourselves!  If we don’t want our children bombed or in harms way then we shouldn’t want ANY children bombed or in harms way!

Today my prayer is for all of the mothers who worry what this conflict will bring for her family tomorrow.  My prayer is for all of the children who will be traumatized or orphaned by these conflicts. I am not for or against the policy our government is taking.  I am for PEACE at home and abroad.  And if we do have to fight and I know that sometimes we might.  Then let it be for the reasons Allah ordained.  To end oppression, to stop persecution, to protect the weak and helpless.  And not for nationalism, and not for political gains and NOT FOR OIL.

I pray that Allah brings peace to these conflicts, as swiftly as possible.

March 30, 2011 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

I’m back!!!!

As Salaamu Alaikum Everybody,
I’m back from my long hiatus. During my break my family has changed dramatically. I am now the divorced Muslim mom of THREE! Al Hamdulilah my family grew by one. I now have a beautiful baby girl. As before I am bringing you along on the beautiful adventure in Muslim parenting. With all of its’ highs, lows and in betweens. I have questions for you and some of the answers that I have found myself. I am still dealing with trying to find modest mommy clothes, stay away from spanking, encouraging healthy eating habbits, and keeping my sanity. All of this, while raising a daughter who is learning to read and trying to be the mommy herself, to her younger siblings. Also while raising a little boy who doesn’t understand what no means, never met a bed he didn’t want to jump on, a couch he didn’t want to climb over and jump off of or a door he didn’t want to burst through. If you are a mom, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are not a mom…WELCOME TO MY WORLD!

Feel free to comment often. NOT because I need the posts but because I NEED ADULT CONVERSATION. 🙂

March 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

Dua to Allah

Islam in the Internet age! I found this fascinating, troubling, exciting and amazing all at the same time! I discovered a new website. http://www.duatoallah.com. This website allows you to post your du’a online anonymously. Then others can view your dua and make dua for you or just add their ameen. (Du’a is a short informal prayer to Allah asking for His assistance.)

     The site claims to have had over 2000 du’a posted. I found this fascinating because, “wow,” the concept of entering your du’a online, posted publicly for Muslims around the world to see and ameen was just an idea that had never crossed my mind. I found it disturbing because on some level isn’t it de-personalizing your request? When a du’a is made sincerely and wholeheartedly it is such a personal moment between you and Allah that you can actually feel it in your heart. You feel that personal connection to the Almighty; who you are going to directly with your request. Is it the same when you enter it online? And should it be?

     I must admit that it is exciting. The thought that 100 or 1,000 or even 2,000 others may read your request and also request on your behalf is exciting. I have a mother who is suffering from cancer. So if I du’a that Allah help her in her situation and then around the world 2000 other join in my du’a that is an exciting possibility. Especially if you believe as I do in the power that sincere dua’s can have. And that is an amazing possibility.

     Is it a bidah? Is it depersonalizing something that should be personal? I mean let’s face it, if you ask your family, friends or even your community at your local masjid to pray for you it is still personal. But to post it online is to lose that closeness. I, like most of you have prayed for Muslims in other countries, Muslims that I have never met and don’t know. But it is still that I was personally moved by their tragedy, not because I read it on a website. But this is amazing Islam in the age of the Internet. Amazing.

January 11, 2009 at 9:07 pm 17 comments

Help during difficult financial times

Salaams (peace)

     It has weighed heavy on my heart during these difficult financial times that I am not able to help members of my family and community.  I am thankful (Al-Hamdulilah praise be to God) that He has provided for my family, given us shelter, food, clothing.  Just those basic necessities are something to be grateful for in these times of economic crisis.  In my own family I have two brothers who have been unemployed for nearly a year.  One a father with a toddler and infant twins was nearly evicted and living in a shelter until he was able to find a place to live.  But sill they struggle with poor, substandard living conditions because that is all they can afford. 

So how can we help each other during these times?

1.  Make du’a .  (pray)  The supplication that gets the quickest answer is the one made by one Muslim for another in his absence.”  Reported by Abu Daw’ud and Tirmidhi  We should make a practice of praying for each other.

2.  Share what we have.  Host a “swap party.”  Individually we may not have a lot to give. But a swap party is a great way to bring friends together and share.  It works like this pick a theme or an item.  For winter a great idea would be coats.  Get a group together, every one who comes brings a coat that is no longer needed or used and is still in good condition.  All of the items are placed on a table and then guests pick what they need.  At the end any items left over are donated to a local charity.  You can do this for toys, clothes, video games, books, etc. 

3.  Start a mitten drive.  If you have small children then you know how often they lose gloves, scarfs and hats in winter.  You can host a Mitten Tea and have friends over for a tea party and ask that each guest bring a pair of new mittens, scarfs or hats to donate.  Collect items into a box and donate to a local school or boys and girls club.  Then as children leave without winter attire they can select a new pair from the box.  Or you can just set a box out at your masjid and ask community members to leave a pair to give to those in need.  You can also collect for homeless is your area and donate to a local shelter.

4.  Host a fundraiser at your masjid.  Pot Lucks dinners are easy and inexpensive to organize.  Ask members of your community to donate a dish then charge a small admission price to the dinner.  With the money raised you can give Shelter and Utility (Heating) assistance to members of your community.

5.  Start a job bank or board at your masjid.  Ask business members to actively list open jobs and post them in a designated spot.  Even if one is not in the hiring position but knows of a job opening; that information would still be helpful to someone desperately looking for employment.  Networking is a huge part of successful job hunting. 

6.  Produce an Community Assistance Referral guide.  Often there is help available in the community in which you live but many times people don’t know where to go to get help they need.  Names of assistance programs and contact information can be helpful to a person in need who may not know where to go to get heating assistance for example.

7. Start a food pantry and distribute food to the needy.  This is surprisingly easy!  As a non-profit organization your local masjid is eligible to participate in the food bank program in your city.  Most cities have this program which allows non profits to receive foods given by local grocery stores and given by USDA, some items are given and some are for sale at greatly reduced prices for example a watermelon might sell for ten cents!  Bread is usually free!

8.  Be Watchful!  Remember charity is for those who ask and for those who don’t.  Sometimes people in need aren’t sitting around with their hand out.  Often they are the family sitting right next to yours and you never know it.  So lend a hand even when it is not asked, what you think may be a small gift of food, might actually be the meal that family has that day.

These are just some ideas that can help those in need in this country.  But as we watch our brothers and sisters around the world suffer oppression and inhumanities inflicted on them, we can’t help but thank Allah(swt) for the blessing we have of being in this country.  So if you are able try to remember those outside of this country as well.

Most importantly remember…EVEN A SMILE IS CHARITY!

January 11, 2009 at 3:58 am 1 comment

Muslim mother’s / father’s day

As- Salaamu-Alaikum, (peace be with you)

I get asked this question from time to time. Especially from new Muslims. Should I celebrate mother/father’s day? They frequently come from a tradition where the day is celebrated by their non-Muslim relatives. I would answer by saying that yes, I do celebrate these days.

My feelings about these celebrations are the same as I posted for birthdays. This day is a cultural practice that is not anti-Islamic in its intent or it’s history. According to a citation I found on Wikipedia, (not the best source I admit), Mother’s day did has a history in just about every culture in the world. Some of it was realted to worship of a particular female “god” but in most cultures it came to represent an appreciation of mothers.

“In this country it was imported (from Britain) by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother’s Day for Peace.

Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mother’s Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.

When Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women.”

Father’s day started in the U. S. with similar philanthropic reasons. “It is believed to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after the deadly mine explosion in nearby Monongah the prior December. This explosion killed 361 men, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. Another possible inspiration for the service was Mothers’ Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away. Another driving force behind the establishment of the integration of Father’s Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, as a single parent reared his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis’s efforts to establish Mother’s Day.”

After researching these origins I feel strongly that it was not a religious holiday but an attempt to recognize worthy parents and in the case of Mother’s day a call for peace. A call we as Muslims should emphasize and reiterate in our celebrations.

Prophet Muhammad stated that “Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.” The love and respect you should have for both of your parents is stressed in Islam. The honest truth is that although most of us make the effort to respect and honor our parents all year round. (Al hamdulilah-Thanks to God) We give our best effort but it is still not enough to recognize the person who the Quran states bore you with “trial or difficulty after difficulty” So I think it is an EXCELLENT idea and tradition that we can share with Muslim and non-Muslim relatives alike to show our appreciation, support and love for the people most deserving of it!

You can make your celebration more Islamic by making a special salat and dua (prayers) for your parents. You can share special Quran reading of the verses regarding parent hood with them and thank them for all that they have done for you over the years. Celebrate with service to your parents above and beyond what you usually do. You can celebrate with service to others by mentoring new parents, helping a needy family, or making donations in your parent’s name. As long as the praise and the thanks go first to Allah (God) and the appreciation is sincere and the efforts continue beyond the actual holiday, I think the day would be accepted for you. InshaAllah!

June 15, 2008 at 10:50 pm 2 comments

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