Abaya without Hijaab ? ? ? ?

Eid Mubarak to all my brothers and sisters who visit my site so often and delight me with their presence.

I hope everyone likes the new theme for the site ! Although, I love the birds but dont exactly like the idea of them mingling with a heart inbetween but that was a part of the theme so I had little to no choice in that.

Eid in Dubai is always a grand and lavish affair ~ with all the malls hosting lots of color and decorations for their guests. Dubai is exceptionally busy with the GCC crowd ushering in, in this season.

Watching little girls flaunting their beautiful new dresses with gold and silver ruffles and streamers. Young boys with their Ben10 gadgets and chic looking clothes feeling all-so-speacial are all part of the Eid charm. Cinema halls seem endlessly booked out  !!  People crowding in long queues for taxis and young boys in their starched clothes at all the coffee cafes ~ just some of the many scenes in the malls.

However one of the more unusual but saddening scene was also this :

It is not the first time that I witnessed this confused generation and thankfully, its not a common site, however this particular time, I really felt compelled to write about these sisters who seemed oblivious of the world around them. I would not like to highlight which region these sisters were from ~ “THAT” is rather irrelevant to me, atleast ~ but perhaps that is exactly the statement they seemed to be making.

What was hard to digest was :

  • what was the purpose behind wearing an abaya without a hijaab ?

  • Wearing so much gold cladded bling on the shoulders ?

  • Having their chest open ~ revealing exactly what needed to be veiled !!!

  • They have already failed the real reason behind wearing the hijaab and the abaya. So why bother continuing ??

One wonders what and where do such women fit in ? Modern women ? Muslim women ? Religious women ? Show-off Arab women ?

Honestly , “THAT” did not so concern  me as well, becoz I think, they are virtually fooling themselves into believing that they are following Islamic values. My best guess is that they are trying to be identified as “belonging to a certain region”.

And again, they are attempting to fool people around them, that they are Muslim Arab women. When in fact they are barely clinging onto to either identities !!  Hence I called them the confused lot.

I still simply fail to understand, the purpose behind wearing the Abaya in the first place !! There cant be a customized version of the abaya or hijaab if your not covering the body and head.

Frankly, I pity them and I pity the generation they will be misleading … … … Two generations down the line, I dread the outcome … …  Till then May Allah give them hidayah ~ Ameen.

ps. this amazing digital drawing is courtesy Ms.Ayesha of Mnawrah. You can find her gorgeous works of art on Flickr as well as DeviantArt under the name of Mnawrah.

Advertisements

Faith gives you wings !

This is such an inspirational quote.  I know, so many of you who visit my blog on a regular basis could find some respite in reading this quote if your disillusioned or going thru some trauma (May Allah forbid) ~  I know alot of these quotes sound soothing but it takes REAL FAITH to get you going thru those deliemmas ~ when they do appear.  For me, in my heart, all I believe is that Allah swt is always carrying me.  And I am ALWAYS thanking and praising him for that. To be honest, “Thats” enough for me to believe.

I have had my share of troubles and confusions and even when there was NOT ONE SINGLE SOUL who could guide me, share with me, support me ~ there was Allah swt ALWAYS. Knowing that ~ believing in that ~ made everything so much more “liveable” for me otherwise, I cant imagine what my state would have been then ! 

Everyday, we struggle.  Everyday, we are made to make choices. Everyday, we walk the thin line between haram and halal in small matters and sometimes big ones ~ but truth of the matter is that if you keep Allah swt in the center of all your decisions, you just cant go wrong. Question is “do you before it gets too late ? or Do you when its already too late ?

This world is a wild place and a few wrong steps, a few misplaced trusts can be  “near fatal”.   I know I took the leap knowing very well in my heart that “HE” would teach me how to fly ~ 18 years and counting, I am saying exactly how I felt then and now. Faith gives you wings !

To change or Not to change.

Having lived in the MiddleEast all my life, I have often questioned my own identity.  Sometimes I have to convince myself and look deeper into my roots. The Gulf countries have been our “foster” homes for decades and decades. As much as we have put into them, they have equally benefitted us. It is a foster home, but just how prepared are we, to actually accept our foster home regulations ? 

I can almost never include Dubai as a part of the “rest of the middle east” region. The similarities end with the topography, geography, climate, roads, road signs, bridges, building structures, language, national dress and thats that.  Dubai has been more “accepting” in nature. The local people have opened doors and opened arms to embrace us. Perhaps, more than they should. There are, however  “those differences” between them and the rest,  that really bothers. The difference between the rest and here, is that two most “sinful” things are permitted to be sold over here, which I patiently hope and pray would be abolished inshallah.  

Some more similarities : The joys of hearing the Adhaan at every prescribed time in every corner of the country, the deserted streets at the time of Iftaar in Ramadhan, the fact that every public toilet is equipped with water for istanjah, the freedom of not having to justify being a muslim are just a few of the key points I love about being here.  Dubai pampers us. Us, the expat and us the local community.

However when we came here over 2 decades back, things were not as “naked” as they are … there were’nt so many radio channels “questioning and almost mocking authority” … … .. there was genuine respect for the culture. Radio channels and tv channels, interrupted for the Adhaan break. Today, even the malls dont bother to run the adhaan audio at the prescribed times.  People refrained from eating in Ramadhan becoz they cared for their muslim fellow collegues or friends. Today, lavish iftaar parties are hosted by corporates but if one of the employees keeps a beard, he is easily and totally “targetted on the hit list” as being a “fundamentalist”.  People disregard “Ramadhan courtesies” ~ People conveniently eat and drink on the roads etc without any regard for the authorities.   Non muslims take advantage of the short working hours, eat openly during office meetings infront of muslim fasting collegues and still, grumble that they are inconvienced by the Ramadhan routines !!!

It saddens me to see that inspite the malls displaying graphic images of proper dress code for women, still they conveniently violate rules, “baring” the skin even in winters as a common practise. Do I think, there should be some pressure from the authorities ? Absolutely.

Opening doors, does not constitute dumping our culture from the back door. Why do the visitors forget that we are “VISITORS” ?? Surely no one goes to Spain or Holland and asks them to change their laws to suit our needs ??? Why do the visitors forget that we are in a “rulership state” ~ why does shariah bother them so much ?  Why do you feel democracy is the only answer ? When did Prophet Mohammed sallallahu alaiha wa salam and his believers accept democracy?  Democracy is only a way of getting a bunch of people to set rules for the rest of us to follow. Who is to question them, once they are in power ? Did anyone question George Bush ?  Why should rules that have been laid down from 1400 years back, become “primitive or backward or barbaric ” ?? Anyone knowing that the repercussions of rape would be death by hanging or gunfire, would think, atleast 10 times before commiting it.

It depresses me to see how westerners try to “influence” the culture here. 

One of the main areas of concern to them is that, the laws are strict !!!!! If only they had been to “proper”  Muslim states, they would then know just how liberal Dubai really, is.

We have noted a trend in friends who come here from Europe and Uk, initially they are super excieted and privileged with their jobs coz they benefit with their average education into cushy top notch positions. A sudden influx of luxuries follows, villas in elite properties, four wheel drives for the missus, a maid at hand, and ofcourse, nothing but the best bars and yachts for weekdays and weekends… Life is good indeed. Until, they realize that the color of skin has alot to do with their privileges rather than their qualifications.  I have seen friends who suddenly turn all “thats Dubai for you”  ~or ~ “Only in Dubai”  ~ whether it be, the traffic on sheikh Zayed road or the road safety practises or treatment of maids etc, until, they get so accustomed to being pampered, that alittle inconvenience becomes a statement followed by “thats Dubai for you” ~ they tend to forget where they come from and accept that every place has downfalls.  There is so much generalization and narrow mindedness on their part, that it is totally annoying just to read anything from them in “letter to editor” section of the newspaper especially in 7 days, which tends to add fuel to the whole attitude.

“We” make choices. Thats the choice we made to be a part of the system here. Then I fail to understand, why try to change that system ? Becoz it doesnt suit your convenience or ideals ??? In any case, you should be the one making the change coz you are the one who made the choice to stay here. Remember, there were no guns pointed at you to come here, no one really “forced” you. Its all about the choices “you” made. so while you have made the choice, it would be “ideal” for your own conscience and that of the others, that you learned to praise the candle instead of curing the dark. Learn to respect what you have, rather than constantly whining coz you have nothing else to do !!

Flea Markets in Dubai

Actually, its rather the lack of flea Markets in Dubai !!
 
I know, some of you may have totally different opinions about friends and making “real” friends in the blogosphere, but I have been fortunate enough to have bumped into some very thoughtful and creative friends thru the blog world. Its always a joy when you “meet” someone who is practical, creative, has the same hobby as yourself, and is a mom ! One such friend and I, have been enjoying exchanging a bunch of links.  What links ? you ask ? 
 
Well, one of the most fullfilling feeling I get, is when I see an old piece of furniture get a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint or a new fabric to cover up old spoils. Things like how you can reuse, recycle or refurbish a room are abosolute joys to me. I used to virtually spend hours dug in, links into links into links ~ lost in a beautiful world where common people like myself are making a difference, one object at a time. One such fantastic site is :http://betterafter.blogspot.com/ Amazing transformations here.
      
(This transformation is an absolute joy from “three boys“. Kindly follow the link to view the other amazing projects too. )
                                            
And another one of those “viewing” passions, is the Flea Markets in America.  Its amazing to visit just a few of them on the web and feel so enchanted by the vast variety of different period furniture, clothes, suitcases, antiques and what not.  It is a such an eye candy just visiting those booths with a cocktail of items from jewellry to boots to a swing !
                                             
In Dubai however, things are different. Being a melting pot of cultures, nationalities, languages and traditions, people of different mentalities feel certain inhibitions towards using second hand stuff. There is a large population of labourers and maids from India, Pakistan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Philipines, indonesia, Ethopia and a few other countries too.  Then there are the clerical workers, mostly Asians again but not very handsomely paid for their 6 days a week, 10 hour a day job ! If anything, such sales would benefit them the most.
 
One of the most generous groups of people in Dubai are the super affluent locals (Emarati’s), who would generally handover their clothes and accessories to their drivers and maids, while the furniture is traditionally changed every year and the old ones are simply “dumped”. Thats right, you read it right, dumped by the dumpster !  They would generally consider it below their dignity to sell it in the second hand market. 
 
There is a large second hand market in Dubai which caters to mainly furniture goods. Some of the shops in Karama are the favorite haunts for new lower income asians to pick their furniture from. One of the things I love about Dubai ~ theres a place for everyone to find what they’re looking for, be it food, accomodation, grocery or clothes.
 
Ofcourse the advent of “Foreigners” ~ aka Americans, Europeans, Australians, and New Zealanders did bring about the concept of garage sale or yard sales in Dubai. What with ads for garage sales in the Jumeirah and Mirdiff areas in the 1990s and ofcourse with the boom of the property era, areas like the Greens, Marina, Lakes, Arabian Ranches, falcon city ~ have all followed the traditional annual spring cleaning followed by garage sales. These sales are generally community based run by word of mouth or a flyer on the community market notice board or an advert in the local classified section of Gulf News.  They are so popular especially coz nearly everyone is benefiting from them.
 
Our Arabian Ranches Market Day is a huge hit, and you’d find everyone selling and buying toys, clothes, shoes, stuff, that kids have outgrown, or lost interest in, grown up, and sometimes, even unwanted “gifts” !!  People from all walks of life, are seen buzily buying and enjoying the family time together becoz the management sets the school ground as a family day park  for the residents, putting up food stalls and bouncing castles for the children.
                                                              
                                            
For a long period of time, The Feline Friends garage sale was hugely popular. You had people lining up from early hours of a friday morning in the sultry heat, hours before the gates opened at the factory outlet in Al Quoz where they would temporarily pile up heaps and heaps of clothes, toys, shoes, furniture, house decor and so much much more into a dozens of mini mountains. Word spread amongst the labour community and these became very popular. With designer trousers going for dhs 1 !!!!! why wouldnt it !
Now these sales are a rare event in some villa courtyard in Al Barsha, maybe once every couple of months but definetly nowhere close to the amount of stuff and crowd as it used to attract before.
 
                                        
I have been an ardent visitor to the FF Garage sales. It gives me tremendous satisfaction knowing that I have not blown away 3 workers salary on a single branded handbag or an entire years salary of one labour on a pair of branded sandals !! Its truly a joy, knowing your putting in your bit by trying to recylcle and reuse. For whatever reason, those sales are not held anymore, unfortunetly.
 
Generally folks living in villa’s, leaving the country for good, would initially give away most of the things to their maids and helpers and sometimes put up a “Leaving Country” sale. If your lucky, you could hit jackpot. Years back, I remember, I heard of one such sale from a friend of a friend of one Mary who was then running the scrapbookers network in Dubai and when she was leaving her house she put up a sale,  although I was late in attending it, I remember, feeling like I was in a crafters paradise !!!!  
For someone who was looking for clothes, purses and cooking utensils, her crafters scrapbooks or rubberstamps would’ve meant zilch, but to someone who saves for every copic marker, it was BIG !!
 
You’d be amazed at what is seen lying in the bylanes of Umm Sequeim or Jumeirah or Nad Al Sheeba !! To the westerner who cannot even come close to imagining, to what extent the Rich are Rich here, a close up of their garbage bins, is a good place to begin from 🙂
                                         
I remember, in the 2008 economic melt down, we remember, seeing a group of maids rumaging thru a heap of garbage bags in one of the communities of Ranches. On a closer look, I saw one of the maids toss a handbag behind which I recognized was a PRADA. No not the fake ones. Having been gifted the original thing, I knew how to differentiate them.  There were 11 such designer bags in that garbage bag !!!!!!!!   There were several such garbage bags scattered everywhere…  Naturally, they belonged to some filthy rich but unfortunate lady,  who had to leave the country in haste lest she get stuck in the jail for defaulting on her bank loan payments, decided Prada was not worth her freedom !
I was super happy some time back, when they started a flea market, in Safa Park, jumeirah. In the summers, they kept it in the adjacent school auditorium and it was attracting a crowd and people were leaving happy with their shoppings and vendors were not too unhappy too with their sales. It is a good platform. Unfortunetly, I feel they have not really marketted themselves well and I feel, alot of vendors are now bringing stuff from India etc trying to sell it there. Not alot of people are aware of them in the different areas of Dubai. Look them up here at : Dubai Flea Market. Dubai Flea Market
 
I know, there is one store in a small mall in Satwa, where ladies (the super rich class )  who if they wish to give away their “Original & Only Designer ” handbags, scarves, accessories etc can put them up there and they sell them for a relatively good price instead of dumping them in the bin. Imagine a Versace or a Channel, visiting something close to the dump !! Criminal, isnt it ????
 
In my experience, I have found, one good option in selling and buying second hand goods in Dubai is Dubizzle. Thats an online market, where, you just register without having to pay any fees. I have sold my ikea egg chair and a fax machine thru dubizzle and was amazed by the spontaneous response, I got. I never thought it was so popular but I suppose, online shopping has finally caught up in Dubai.
                                        10.1 Flea market,Athens
 
Ofcourse for those of you, who are interested in a good reading, dont forget to join the second hand books fair, that feline friends hold with the Arte Market at Times Square. Imagine a good book, and the proceeds goes in the upkeep and the feline neutering programe.
 
I still feel, there is a huge market here for selling used goods, not necessarily for workers but there are so many many, low income families who would benefit too. Having a proper flea market could and would answer alot of problems. Its a way, in which your trash is going to benefit someone. A hole in a sweater may mean a good bye from you, but for someone who decides that a 20 dhs sweater may be too steep a price,  would be overjoyed to have yours for free or even if it is for dhs 1 or 2 !! Please remember, what you give, (eventually after completing the whole circle) , returns to you.  
 
If you have enjoyed this article or benefitted from it, kindly leave a comment. I would appreciate it alot.
 
Naush
 
Photograpsh: courtesy Google Images.

Dealing with Hernia.

Five days after returning from Umrah, Sam was admitted for his surgery. We knew what we were up against. His right kidney was removed last year by open surgery. 2 Months later he was diagnosed with a hernia. You see there are several layers of skin, tissue, fat and muscle after which the doctors reach the organs. In sam’s case, a large area had opened from the initial scar. He had around 46 stiches on his abdomin. The scar opening from the stitches was around 9-10 cm long. 20% of his intestines were already out from that opening. Hence when he stood, there was a baseball shaped and size side to his stomach. We were only worried about strangulation in those intestines therefore we delayed the operation till now. The surgeons push the intestines back in, and place a large mesh to keep it from protruding back out. The worse part about this type of hernia is that it can reoccur. The surgeon we had, was exceptionally good, but sam’s case history was not a very encouraging one, so he assured us that he would be trying out his best to do it thru laprocopy and if they were still unable to fix the issue, then they would have to perform an open surgery. Which was the worse case scenario.

This time around, I could sense Sam was far more nervous and had made more preparation with all the house and bank docs etc, Which really puts me in panic mode. Luckily for us, his surgery went very well. The surgery lasted 5 hours and after a stay in the hospital for a week, we could get him home. As in almost all surgeries and especially with a hernia, doctors always advice that the patient should refrain from carrying heavy objects.  Sam still has swelling, probably water retention. Our concern always is that he has only one kidney which also has an arterial block as well. But I am an optimist. I believe in giving the body some time and space to heal. Inshallah. Heal, he will.

Bilal my oldest son born premature. He was underweight like most premature births and unfortunetly devoloped bilateral anguinal hernia at age 2 months. The swelling above private part was very severe. We were asked to have him operated immediately. He was so anemic and underweight that they had to first infuse blood and then perform the surgery. However, it was a simple surgery ~ ofcourse to a first time nervous mom, It was simply a nightmare. Since I had dealt with hernia before, I did a little research about it on the internet as well to keep myself prepared.

What I found strangely annoying later on, is that naturally people are limited by their own knowledge and experience. I had not mentioned about samie’s surgery to alot of people until the day of his surgery. Later however, when I had advised the near and dear ones, I felt so ridiculous when I had one person actually tell me that her cousin had a hernia which takes just half an hour and its ridiculously a simple procedure !!! Inspite of explaining his entire abdomine case, she just kept compairing it to her “cousin”. Honestly, if there is one thing that I have learnt from my experiences in dealing with a traumatic surgery is that when you visit someone who is so seriously ill, it would be best to lend your emotional support (which is so desperately seeked) and BE QUIET !!! It can be so damaging to the relationship, when you tend to belittle a certain situation.  

We have changed quite a bit of sam’s eating habits. Ofcourse he has been on low sodium salt for a little over a year now. He’s having salads for lunch and a healthy breakfast. We have been going on late night walks everyday, Which, I think, is the best part of the evening instead spending the evening being a couch potato.  I suppose dinner is the only meal, when I let him get away with rice. He is a typical rice eater.  He is making several changes, so I think, I am letting him get away with the rice in the night deal !

Here is sam with the boys 3 days after the surgery and the other picture, is that of sam with the boys, 2 weeks after surgery.

Second Umrah 2011

I know, I havent been around for so long. Alot of events have happened, since March 2011. One of which was samie’s surgery and the other was our Umrah. I think, I’ll dedicate both of these different posts with pictures. However in the middle of all this, one thing that was sorely neglected, was the boys’ studies. Just havent been able to give them the kind of attention, I used to give them.

Last year, after sam’s operation, we wanted to perform Umrah.  I believe, Umrah/Haj is the best way to reinforce our deen and emaan, provided finances are available. Samie has been in relatively good health, except for the swelling in his right lower abdomin, which has been giving him cramps recently.  We decided to perform the Umrah while the boys had their spring holidays of 10 days. So on 30th March, we visited Jeddah and the additional joy, was that Sam’s sister, sheema was joining us with her family too for a couple of days. The trip per se, was tiring but the joy and calm and satisfaction is truly beyond words.

On the first day we arrived, we rested and since we were in Ahraam, performed our Umrah in the evening after Isha. The crowd was huge. BaituAllah was blessed with thousands upon thousands of pilgrims as always.  I dont remember a moment in our tawaaf’s around the Kaaba, when I was not crying like a baby in repentence, in gratitude, in sheer joy, feeling like, what have I done to deserve this huge gift from Allah swt !! Surely He knows best. Inspite of all the overwhelming feelings, I remembered to pray for every single person I had known !! All of my Ummah, all of my newly reverted sisters and brothers and all those specially chosen dae’s by Allah. I was so overjoyed that I remembered to make duas for  absolutely everyone from family, relative, neighbours, friends, collegues and even for the taxi driver who had dropped us !!! 

My main worry was Sam. I had been such a pain for the kids thru out the air travel, making sure the boys did not let sam carry any of the luggage but thankfully Sam complained of no pains thru out the Tawaaf and sahi. I did my sahi with Sheema.  The tiny book that I carried with the english translation and proper pronounciation made it easy to connect and “FEEL” what I was begging of Allah for.

This time, all the boys including Sam, decided to go bald naturally becoz  it is Afzal.

For those of you’ll who plan to visit or wish to know more about what to expect in a similar travel to Mecca, apart from sheer exhilaration. I must advise you to really wear comfortable slippers or sandals, carry a small bag to keep your slippers in everytime you visit the haram and try to leave atleast 20 minutes earlier than the salat time so as to find a place as forward as possible. In every corner of Haram, you will find abundance of drinking water “the blessed zam zam” so dont worry about water. Please remember to wear clean ~ comfortable clothes as opposed to silkish or synthetic fabrics. Ofcourse we wish to be presentable in Baituallah but one must also consider the heat especially since we women wear an abaya. 

I wish to share my beautiful experience in the most supremely majestic of all places in the world with you. Please do share if you have had any experiences as well.

Here are just some of the pictures of that memoriable trip :

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Learning Alphabets in Nursery Schools

Continuing in the last post’s theme is another way, our newer generation will be learning the letters/alphabets in a rather keyboard oriented route.

Here’s a glimpse :-

A:   APPLE

B:   BLUETOOTH 
     
C:   CHAT

D:  DOWNLOAD

E:  E  MAIL 
   
F:   FACEBOOK

G:   GOOGLE

H:  HEWLETT  PACKARD

I:      iPHONE

J:   JAVA

K:   KINGSTON

L:    LAPTOP

M:   MESSENGER

N:   NERO

O:   ORKUT

P:   PICASSA

Q:  QUICK  H EAL

R:   RAM

S:   SERVER

T:   TWITTER

U:   USB

V:   VISTA

W:   WiFi

X:    Xp

Y:  YOU  TUBE

Z:   ZORPIA

Thank God …. A is still Apple