Category Archives: Prayer

My Islam

Qur'an image in masjidThere is a new masjid being built within driving distance to my new house.  I’ll be moving in March, and I took this as a sign that this is a new start for me and a positive one.

I haven’t been very proud of myself as a Muslim lately.  I prayed recently and begged for forgiveness for all the ways I have strayed from the straight path.  I won’t air all of my sins and faults, I will keep those hidden so as not to draw more attention to them.  But I do believe I will change insha’allah.  My heart is in the right place, I just need to tune myself back up to get in touch with Allah again.  I know Allah has been with me throughout this time, I just haven’t been doing the best at recognizing Him when I see Him.

The other day my sister-in-law was asking me about Islam.  She was telling me the things she does not “agree with” in the Qur’an (she was born a Muslim, but she has not surrendered to the path of Allah) and I began to explain to her some of the parts of the Qur’an that people misinterpret.  I was telling her all kinds of things about the Qur’an, about how if you believe that it is truly from God, you can’t “disagree” with the things Allah has laid out in the Qur’an.

I asked her if she’d ever read the Qur’an.  She said she had not.  I explained to her that alot of people pull parts out of the Qur’an and that they base their judgements on one passage, or one statement.  But they don’t look at the Qur’an as a whole or investigate what it really says.  The majority of the Qur’an is about peace and love and love of God.  It is not about killing people or glorified deaths of people who do evil things.  It comes down the fact that Islam is perfect, Muslims are not.  We all have faults and we all do bad things and some things people do are worse than other things people do.

I just want to get back to a place where I am praying.  I know it is best for me.  And when I pray, I know I am able to put things into perspective.

Recently, my dad, who is and always has been Catholic, was reminding me to “keep the faith.”  To trust in God, to put my faith in Him, to trust God to carry me through this move, as I was stressing about jobs and money and all the hows and whens and details of the move.  He said “you’re worrying about things that are out of your control.”  Alot of times, I need that reminder.  I can’t seem to pull myself out of that Worry Tornado when it hits me.

And I was grateful for that reminder.

I have been given so so so many blessings in this life here on Earth.  So many blessings.  And I feel Allah has given me these blessings as a test.  As a test to see if I will fall back on Allah, trust in Allah, be grateful to Allah for these blessings.  And pray.

I was talking to my sister-in-law’s boyfriend recently.  He served in the military overseas as a sniper.  He was injured badly, and at one point, he was thrown from a military vehicle when they hit one of those bombs on the side of the road.  He said that as he was flying through the air, he had a flash of his entire life that passed through his mind.  It was like time slowed and he saw everything.  EVERYTHING go by in the flash of a second. That is how Allah describes our life in the dunya.  The true life – the afterlife – is for an eternity.  Forever.

We can’t afford to waste our time on the dunya (the life of this world).  Our time here is so short and this life is temporary.  When we die, our life on this earth will feel like it was in the time span of the blink of an eye, the snap of your fingers.  That’s what this young soldier had described to me.  And I know it will happen when we die.  I know we will see it all and it will seem like it had barely even happened, as if it barely had any meaning at all. Only it does have meaning.  Great meaning.  The result of our actions and thoughts and words here on earth will determine how we spend our eternity.

They say some pray out of fear of Hell.  Some pray out of a desire for Heaven.  And others pray for a love of Allah.  I want to be of the ones who pray for a love of Allah. Insha’allah, with the new masjid only minutes from my house, I will finally be able to practice my faith in the way that I desire.  To find other Muslims who practice their faith in a positive, earnest, sincere way.  To have an ummah and attend the Friday prayers.  And insha’allah, pray out of my love of Allah.

No Piece of My Heart

Alright, so I woke up at 3 am.

I didn’t think this would affect my mood.  I didn’t think this would flip my attitude upside down.  I didn’t think I’d be trapped in anxiety for the next 24 hours.

Or, maybe this has something to do with my echo-cardiogram.  It’s taking place today at 1:00 pm.  I didn’t know I had problems with my heart.  I just had chest pains; never considered I’d have heart problems.  Age 32.

And maybe there’s a deeper reason.

You see, Allah is always with me; I am the one that has strayed.

I don’t do my prayers anymore.  I talk about people behind their backs.  I’m sure I do alot of other non-Islamic and/or haram things, too, I just don’t have time (nor do I want to) list them all here.

I’m tired.  Tired of wishing my anxiety away.  Tired of day after day feeling confused, torn, angry.  I feel like I have given up hope, only this is not the first time I’ve felt that way.  I’ve given up hope lots of times.  And the only thing that ever brought me back was the remembrance of Allah.

If you don’t know about Islam and you don’t know the truth about Muslims, you probably are reading this post right now and feeling confused.  What is she talking about?  What is this blog about?  Well, it’s about me.  I am a bipolar disordered Muslim in complete disarray.  Yes, I am  medicated.  Yes, I take my pills on time.  But do I pray on time?  No.  When I pray, I feel it is an act of worship and meditation.  It benefits me and my mental illness and essentially, all the other parts of my life, too.

I’m tired.

Dealing with Death

There was a kid that I liked when I was young.  I always hoped I would run into him again so I could see him and he could see me.  I heard stories about him and I wondered when it would happen.  It never did happen and he died.  I didn’t even know about the funeral.  It’s so strange to think that that person just isn’t on this earth anymore, that he’s just gone for good.

And now my grama is added to that category.  The gone-for-good category.  She’s just a body now, just the shell that we walk around in.  Her heart is no longer beating, it’s just a decaying thing under her ribs.  And after a while of being six feet under the ground, her skin is just going to rot and fall off of her bones and her face and her skull will be all that is left, just a skull and some unrecognizable bones and the only way you will even know that they are her bones will be the tombstone above her.  Cause her soul is gone now.  Her brain is just a chunk of meat – no more synapses or chemical reactions or whatever the hell goes on in the brain when she was alive.

And she was alive, just yesterday in fact.  She was alive, breathing, heart beating, pumping blood through her veins, thinking, talking, swallowing, moving.  And then, she wasn’t.  She left.  She is gone.  And sometimes, I don’t know how to conceptualize that.  When I was Catholic, I could just believe that the person went to Heaven.  I could tell my kids, “Grama is in Heaven now.”  And I might even believe that she could see us from where she was in Heaven, “looking down on us” and smiling.

But in Islam, it’s not like that. And I really don’t know how to feel about Grama going to the other side and her soul being removed from her body either painfully or comfortably (one or the other based on her actions and beliefs on earth) and I really don’t know how to feel about her being questioned in the grave, and I really don’t know how to feel about the grave either closing in on her to the point of feeling suffocated or having lots of spacious room and being able to feel good and warm and comfortable.

So, in short, I have learned all about what happens to our bodies and our souls, but I don’t know how I should FEEL about it all.

After searching for some answers, I came across the article Thoughts on Death on MuslimMatters.org that offered me some comfort.  I think the biggest thing for me is that I need to look to Allah for help.  I need some comfort, some stability, something to hold onto, something to lean on.  And I know that is what Allah is there for.  He wants us to lean on Him.

Strength for Today

I’m going to go visit Grama B today.  I’ll be leaving work to go home, pack, feed my kids, get everybody in the car, and then we are driving the 2 hours up north to get there around 5:30 pm.  My friend gets home from work at that time, so I’m going to drop the kids off with her.

I’m writing this out so I can keep everything straight in my head.  Right now it feels like I’m moving through water.  Everything is slowed down, I’m not really seeing things clearly, it all feels a little fuzzy.  I don’t feel like I’m very aware of things that are going on around me, I’m just following orders, going through the motions, getting by.

Last night I spoke with my parents.  My mom cried.  My dad said alot about hospice and transitioning to the “other side.”  What is happening to Grama’s body functions, how my aunt and uncle are coping.  How he feels he is in the right place to be there for them and for Grama.  But still, that I should not come visit.

Well, I’m going anyway.  I’m not going to announce to him that I’m coming, and I’m not going to seek out his permission, as I usually do for every other matter.  When my mom had a stroke 2 years ago, he told us not to come.  We came anyway.  He thanked us afterwards and acknowledged the fact that he was wrong, that as it turned out, having us come did mom good and he was grateful we had come.

He’s not always right.

I feel he’s trying to protect me from seeing Grama that way.  He said she is nothing but a shell of who she used to me.  My husband’s grandmother and father died in the same year.  I watched them slowly pass away in the hospital.  He doesn’t need to shelter me from seeing her.

Last night I laid my head on the table and closed my eyes while my son sat eating his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  He asked me to open my eyes, and when I told him I couldn’t right now, he graciously stepped away from the table and went upstairs to watch tv with my husband.  I sat there with my face on the cold surface of the table, and I started to pray.  I prayed for Allah to take the love I feel for Grama and to send it into her heart where she lay so that she can feel how much I love her.  A few tears fell from my eyes then.  I prayed some more, asking for God to cover me, shelter me, take away the tiredness I feel so I can be strong for tomorrow.

The rest of the night I sat at the computer, writing an email to my sisters to explain my conversation with Mom and Dad and report to them how Grama was doing.  Afterwards, I could barely lift my arms to brush my teeth.  I dragged myself up the stairs to my bed and laid down, feeling nothing but exhaustion.  Thankfully, a few seconds later, I fell asleep.

Stuck in a Rut

I’m stuck.
My wheels are spinning in the dirt.  I don’t know up from down.  I’m just plain stuck.  I keep doing the same things over and over, things that are unhealthy, things that are not me.  I do them because it’s now become a habit.  I don’t know how to break this chain, this cycle that leads into itself.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be out of this circle of “stuck”-iness.  If I did imagine it, I would imagine cool water splashed upon my face, rinsing my arms up to the elbows, pouring water, rushing and blue through my hair and saying La illaha il Allah.  I wish I would worship again.
6377737605_daf533dc6e_b

Thinking

We waste so much time in this life.  Sometimes I watch the clock ticking away and I realize that each second that goes by is time when we could be fulfilling our duties to Allah.  And if you are amongst the ones who are praying, wearing hijab, paying your zakat, and living in the path of Allah, then you are using your time in the dunya correctly.  But if you are like me – not praying, not wearing hijab, not paying your zakat, then things don’t feel so good.

You see every time I do my prayers, I feel so much better.  But my emaan goes down and I stop doing my prayers, and that’s when things go downhill.

You see when you’re praying, it’s not just to please Allah.  It also benefits us.  It’s good for my mental health.  To live my life around the prayers gives me structure.  The prayer itself gives me a moment of meditation, when the world disappears and I focus only on the one Creator.  These moments help ground me, stabilize me, keep my feet on the floor and upright, prostrating in the direction of the Kabah, bowing down to the Most Merciful.  These are the motions of the true believers.

I’m sad for myself.  Sad that I have strayed from the straight path.  Sad that I’m not 100% me.  But I have to keep praying to Allah to straighten me.  Help me stand tall and worship Him the way we are meant to worship.  I love Allah, I thank Him daily for the blessings he has given me – my two beautiful sons, my wonderful husband, my loving family.  Nothing in this world makes me more grateful to Allah.

Sigh.  Insha’allah khair.

Personal Du’a

I turn up to the skies and ask Allah for help
Allah the Creator of all things in the heavens and the earth
Help me figure out right from wrong
and guide me on the path that is straight.

Protect me from shaytan and his evil whisperings
And allow me to have your guidance and blessings.