My First Day of Wearing Niqab

OMG, OMG, OMG, yesterday on Thursday, Jan 19 around 2:30pm, I put on my niqab. I sat in the van and my step mom hadn’t seen me in the rear view mirror and I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to. I was going to college (at the campus near my house instead of Alexandria). The college is literally 5 minutes from my house so I had to decide quick whether I was really going to wear it to college or not. “It’s either now or never,” I told myself. This was the 2nd week of the Spring semester so I figured no one remembered what I looked like from the 1st week, but if I had gone one more week without wearing it, people would know me and then it would be harder to put it on.

When we were on the stop light, I put the niqab on.

It felt weird-nothing like what it felt when I tried it on at home about a million times. A minute later, I took it off because I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Then, we reached another stop light.

I put it back on.

Then, we were driving down the road that would take us to the intersection between a high school and NOVA. I took it off.

Then, as my step mom took a right turn and went down the winding road that would lead to the main building, I put it back on. I took a deep breath and made du’a, but I was nervous I started becoming clumsy. I slid open the door of the van and stepped out. More than 4 people stared. They stared like I came from outer space. I closed the door behind me and started walking towards the front entrance. I was so nervous, I couldn’t walk properly and my backpack kept sliding down my shoulder. People stared even more. I walked into the building, past the information desk, and everyone stared. Not only their eyes, but also their heads followed me as I turned left to go up the staircase that would lead me to the library on the 4th floor. I was so not expecting this, I thought.

I went to the library where I saw three Muslims women-2 employees and 1 student. I was so relieved to see the familiarity of Muslims. I went and put my backpack by a circle of chairs near a bookshelf.

I went to the bathroom and tried to fix my niqab. I put it inside my hijab instead of outside and it looked better, less scarier, I thought. But when I left the bathroom and walked down the hall, I realized that this style was pushing my niqab closer to my face, making it harder for me to breathe. So I went back to the bathroom and tied it outside my hijab again. Not exactly the best breathing experiences I’ve ever had, but it was a little better. I sat on the chair where my back pack was and tried to relax. I took deep breaths but I was suffocating. Part of it was because it was burning hot in the library and part of it was because I had a cold and my nose was stuffy. I tried to ignore it and pulled out the book I was reading last week, 101 Careers in Public Health. I am majoring in English and Islamic Studies with a minor in nutrition insha’Allah, but after taking HLT 110, I wanted to do something related to public health as well, so this was clearly the book for me. I was starving to death so as I read, I got out an apple and took a bite. I had barely begun eating the piece of fruit when the girl with the hijab came and sat in the chair across from me. I instantly recognized her from Al-Maghrib. I was like, “Hey, I met you at Shahadah, you remember?” But, obviously she didn’t know me cause I was now wearing niqab. I put my apple on hold in a napkin. I was having a hard time eating it anyway.We talked about careers and I told her a little bit about myself and about how my mom would blow when she saw my niqab. But it didn’t matter cause when I told my dad the night before, he was perfectly okay with it. I had said, “I’m starting niqab,” and my dad was like, “okay.” It was so simple. Alhamdulillah. After talking for about 20 minutes, the girl said she was going to the masjid to pray ‘Asr and I told her I’m going to class because I saw that it was 3:50pm.

My class was supposed to start at 4:00 and I met my professor in the hall. He pointed at me and he yelled, “You! You’re Aimen, right?!” and I’m like, “Umm……..” and he’s like, “Yeah! You’re Aimen!” and I’m like, —blank— and then he came closer and examined me for a second or two; then, he’s like, “Naw, you’re not Aimen; Aimen has blue eyes.” and I’m thinking, who is this Aimen? I gotta meet her and learn ITE 115 secrets from her, looks like she has a good standing in this professor’s class. Then I’m like, “I was just on my way to class,” and he was like “Good, that’s good, I’m also going to class.”

So I followed him to the 3rd floor. Even in class, he was like, “You know Aimen also wears that thing. That head gear or veil or whatever you call it; I’m sorry I don’t know what it’s called.” I was trying to find words to tell him that it’s called a niqab but then he started teaching so I sat down.

It was a looooong class. In the middle, I watched the clock. It said 5:20pm. I was thinking about how and when to interrupt the professor’s lecture to tell him that I have to go pray Maghrib. Luckily, he said we were having a 10 minute break right then. I ‘ran’ to the bathroom and started making wudu’ as fast as I could. Then, I went to the library to pray in the corner that always seems unoccupied. This time, though, there was a class going on so I hurried downstairs to the 1st floor and prayed in the so-called MSA room. That room is so tiny I couldn’t even pray properly. Not to mention the “SGA Meeting” that was going on there. I prayed a concentration-less Maghrib prayer and then went back to class on the 3rd floor where everyone had returned from the break a long time ago.

About one and a half hours later, I went to CST 110 (Communications class). I always had the feeling the teacher didn’t like me because I was Muslim but I decided to ignore it so I wouldn’t mess up my learning experience.  That day, the topic was perception and stereotypes. She mentioned all kinds of stereotypical behavior except the kind that occurs against Muslims. I don’t if she was being insensitive to Muslims or if she thought it would offend me, cause she kept staring at me. As she was talking about perception, a slide popped up in which there were two magazine cover women. One of them was skinny and the other was a little chubby but nonetheless, the teacher was trying to explain how people have different perceptions of beauty. The pictures were so rated-R that I was so grateful to be Muslim (and covered from head-to-toe). I was just thinking that why did she have to choose pictures like these? She could have just shown like a young pretty woman and then an older woman. I wanted to go up there and show them the youtube video I saw that says Muslim women are the most beautiful (because they’re covered).

Anyway, that was a really annoying class and  I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Luckily, she let us go 1 hour early. Unluckily, all the offices were closed and I couldn’t find a phone. I was wandering the halls in dismay and people were staring at me. I was still getting used to walking in a niqab. All my life, I observed that niqabis have a certain way of walking. They always look lady-like and beautiful. Personally, my walk is fast. Especially at college, I almost zoom through the hallways cause I hate all the guys who swarm the halls. And I learned that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) walked fast, so I decided to do the same. But then I realized that maybe I should slow down because it’s not befitting for a woman to walk so fast. So I roamed the empty hallways and practiced a slightly slower walk and it worked! Then, luckily, I found a phone! So I called my dad and told him to pick me up. As I was standing outside the building in the cold, I noticed my niqab gave me protection from the cold and from the losers who stand outside and smoke. They could no longer see my face; the only thing they would see are my outer garments. This is when I truly understood the words of the niqabis who say that they feel liberated when they wear niqab. For the first time in my life, no one gave me a look that disturbed me and no one looked at me twice except out of curiosity or because they were weirded out.  And I like that just fine.

 

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January 21, 2012 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

The Truth About the Whole “Salaf” Methodology

I will write a whole lot in this section as soon as I get the time (maybe in the next 2 days or so).

January 21, 2012 at 12:30 am Leave a comment

Homesick

I always thought it was wierdly annoying that “seasick” and “carsick” mean the same thing but homesick means the opposite. For the longest time ever, I was a confused child 😛

Anyway, I was at my aunt’s house for the past couple of days for winter break and I wanna go home. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun at my aunt’s house. My two little cutie cousins keep the humorous tactics going all the time, then they also get in trouble. My aunt teaches me how to cook delish dishes and it’s amazing. But I don’t know why I get homesick easily. I love the warmth of my room with its soft golden light (i hate white light) and my computer (actually my brother’s computer that i took over) and the sunlight streaming through the windows on the days that I stay awake after Fajr. I love seeing my family members even if I’m not cheery with all of them.

No matter where in the world I go, give me 5 days max and then I go crazy if I don’t go home. Even when I go to my mom’s house or my cousins’ houses, I have a lot of fun. They’re some of the people I can’t live without, but after 5 days or so, I start getting cranky. Then, I start evaluating my crankiness. Sometimes it’s due to low Iman, but then again, the Battle of the Iman Boost is always on in the heart of every vigilant Muslim. So, after evaluating my crankiness, I realize that it’s time for me to go home. In a way, I’m actually glad this homesickness exists since women in Islam are meant to be more comfortable in their homes than anywhere else, even more than the masjid.

It’s an hour after I prayed Fajr right now, then I decided to learn the same surah I’ve been trying to memorize for the last 3 days-Al-Munafiqun. For some reason, miracles always happen with me. I’m so grateful to Allah that I always get specific reminders. Allah (SWT) calls the Qur’an Adh-Dhikr (the Reminder) and truly what a timely reminder it is. When I went to Black Friday, I was (at the time) memorizing Surah al-Jumu’ah. When I stumbled upon the following ayaat, I was spelbound.

“O  you  who  have  believed,  when  [the  adhan]  is  called  for  the  prayer  on  the  day  of Jumu’ah  [Friday],  then  proceed  to  the  remembrance  of Allah and  leave  trade.  That  is better  for  you,  if  you  only  knew. And  when  the  prayer  has  been  concluded,  disperse  within  the  land  and  seek  from  the bounty  of Allah ,  and  remember Allah often  that  you  may  succeed. But  when  they  saw  a  transaction  or  a  diversion,  [O  Muhammad],  they  rushed  to  it  and left  you  standing.  Say,  “What  is  with Allah is  better  than  diversion  and  than  a transaction,  and Allah is  the  best  of  providers.” (62:9-11)

Allah (SWT) was talking to me and giving me a message. He was telling me not to forget the Salah because of “trade” (shopping) and that what Allah has as a reward for the believers is much better than what this dunya can offer. We were shopping and then I realized it’s Jumu’ah so we can probabaly stop by in a masjid and pray. I was thinking about how amazing it would be to go listen to a Khutbah and pray in the house of Allah after so much wordly activity a.k.a shopping. My cousins and I ended up going to Shirley Gate Masjid, where smart little me led us up to the women’s prayer hall through the men’s area. It was so embarrassing.

Well, this morning I had another miracle happen to me. Last night, I was feeling homesick and low on Iman so I was getting restless in the middle of the night. I decided to pray but I ended up just making du’a. I made random du’a and then one for Fajr. I asked Allah to wake me up for Fajr and MAKE ME PRAY it on time. and that’s exactly what happened. I woke up to the sound of the Fajr (computerized)adhan but my eyes were droopy and I fell asleep and I was aware that it was Fajr time but I didn’t force myself to get up. About 20 minutes later, my aunt came and woke me up.

SubhanAllah! I’ve heard in lectures that if you really want to pray Fajr, make du’a before you sleep so Allah can help you get up. For me, that’s not enough. From this morning’s experience (and a few others as well), I have come to learn that just opening my eyes at Fajr time is not enough. I need Allah to make me get up and pray on time before the sun comes out. It’s particularly hard for me to wake up for Fajr because I sometimes have insomnia. My thoughts keep swirling around in my head and don’t let me free. Seriously, I literally have to tell myself “okay, sleep, sleep.” It’s hilarious sometimes. 

Anyways, today I’m going home insha’Allah. I have to use the valuable time of winter break to clean up my room and the bathroom and make them sparkly clean. I love it when I clean my room because it makes me feel accomplished. I know, I’m lame but hey, even my dad appreciates it when I clean my room because he says it looks homey and comfortable and a place where someone would wanna hang out. Today’s Tuesday and on Friday starts the next Al-Maghrib seminar-Collector’s Edition: Sahih Bukhari by Ustadh Yasir Qadhi. This is the first time I’m only half excited for an Al-Maghrib class. It’s because of all that mind-boggling and brain-eating affair of trying to find out whether Yasir Qadhi is a mubtadi and a deviant or simply a Salaf who has done some mistakes in Ijtihaad regarding who treaties should be made with and who has some things wrong with his ‘Aqeedah. Allahu a’lam. I don’t even have the nerve to call him “shaykh” anymore, so I’m sticking with “ustadh.” I’m going to his class because he is supposedly very knowledgable in Bukhari and I hope I can block out his thoughts if he says anything suspicious. I even did Istikharah for this class but my results are 3-5 at the moment (i’ve been noting the pros and cons and the cons are more). By Friday, I’ll see what happens insha’Allah.

I don’t wanna get depressed over this salaf vs.non-salaf issue all over again. So for now, I’ll focus on happy thoughts like cleaning my room and listening to lectures by Br. Abu Mussab and finishing Al-Munafiqun.

January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

What I learned today:

What I learned today:

I just had to reblog this…

allaahsavedus:

  • If it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, it’s going to fall sooner or later.
  • If it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, it’s not worth it.
  • If it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, it’s going to be unbearable.
  • If it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, you won’t experience consistent happiness with it.
  • If it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, it will drain you.
  • If it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, it won’t benefit you.
  • If it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, it will fail.

If you’re going to get married, and it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, it will fail.

It will fail. It will fail. It will fail.

Even if you love each other so much, so little, for the longest time, for the shortest span… if it isn’t for the sake of Allaah, that love will turn into a plague.

Continue Reading January 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

Some Clarifications

Okay, so in some of my posts, I mentioned reading Harun Yahya and visiting suhaibwebb.com. The problem is, I found out that Harun Yahya is a deviant and has a hidden agenda and should be avoided. And suhaibwebb.com is not a completely authentic site. There is some khair in it but it has  liberal posts so it should be avoided. There a lot of more websites, deviated people and organizations to stay away from. I’ll posts the lists as soon as possible insha’Allah.

Crazy things are going on in the world and crazy people are “teaching” Islam. I spent the last 4-5 days researching about them and now I think I’ve gone crazy myself. I’ve been making du’a that Allah guides me and helps me to find the Haqq (truth). Everyone claims to be following the Sunnah and I’ve been learning from people who also claim to follow the Sunnah and follow the way of the Salaf (the first three generations of Islam). They teach using evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah but I’m confused as to why they do a few things that go against the Sunnah. I’m now trying to find out whether this is an issue of legitimate Ikhtilaaf or if they really have left the Ahl-us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah by not following some of the things that the ‘Aqeedah of the Salaf requires.

Now what I need is to discuss with some students of knowledge & QUESTION the ‘scholars’ who are *supposedly* opposing the Sunnah while following the Sunnah. Does that even make any sense? Oh well, although l’m temporarily putting learning Islam on a hold (for a few days), I can still at least read the Qur’an and/or act upon what I know to concretely be from the Sunnah.

May Allah Guide us all, from the scholars to the students of knowledge to the common people. And May He accept from us our efforts and good deeds. Ameen.

December 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

Updates on my Life

Ahhh! I didn’t get any financial aid for Spring 2012 bec of some weird reason so now I have to carefully pick my classes and limit them to like, 2 or something. I’m so mad. Anyways, I’m done with 2 finals, got one to go, so I’m happy. Tomorrow is BIO Review Class and my test is this Thursday on the 15th. This is an important week-there are so many things going on, I’m praying everything goes well.

With exactly 14 minutes until my internet shuts down (yes, my dad put parental control on the internet because I surfed the Web too much but i’m glad he did), I came online to post a piece of advice:

Always, always, always listen to your parents no matter what. Make them happy, and you’ll make Allah happy. And remember, our slightest words or actions can hurt parents deeply, it can shatter them completely; we probably forget because we’re too busy with school and friends, but parents want our company. And they want our love. I always had communication problems with my dad and I always thought he was wrong and he always told me I had an ego problem. At your age, you’ll feel like you’re right but maybe you’re not. It’s the teenage “i-know-it-all” phase or it’s Shaitan, or it’s your ego. Or maybe it’s everything. For me, it was everything. I begged Allah for Mercy, Guidance, and understanding. He listened to me.

Allah listened to me.

Finally, after 2-3 years of struggling, I found my way. I found that I was more wrong than I thought I was and my dad was more right than I thought he was. And now, my dad is about to find out that I am more sensible than he thought I was. Alhamdulillah.

I thank Allah so much for guiding me and helping me and giving me amazing friends and the best dad in the world.

Remember, no matter what problem you have, if you ask Allah sincerely while trying your best, He’ll remove it from you.

Because Allah loves you.

December 12, 2011 at 2:58 am Leave a comment

Tomorrow is Black Friday

Today is Thanksgiving and tomorrow is BLACK FRIDAY. Black Friday is when stores and malls all over have their biggest sales of the year. People stand in front of stores half the night, or even the whole night sometimes, just to get the “first 50” or “first 10” people discount. Last year, I watched the news LIVE as the news crew went to Tysons Corner Mall to show the crazed shoppers at 9pm! Another story was of a couple in some other state who camped out in front of a store 4 days before Black Friday!

For the past few years, my friend and I have been going to Black Friday as almost a ritual. We initially started going for the sales so we could save money because we are serious budget shoppers but we also had a lot of fun. I would save up about $100 or so and then splurge on everything from shirts to jeans to Bath & Body Works items. I know $100 may be not so much for people but we have been raised to believe that a $20 shirt is expensive, unless absolutely unique or gorgeous. I like that about our families; that we have been taught to save money.

The year before last year, my friend and I had two Venti Starbucks Fraps and we went high on coffee. It was freezing cold outside and we went to Tysons Corner Mall and, well, of course, we splurged. I remember back in 2007 when our other best friend came from Saudi, we planned to go to Tysons at 12:00 am for Midnight Madness, an outlandish addition to the already crazed-up situation of crazy shopping.

Our moms said no.

It was the end of the world.

We complained to each other on the phone about how unfair life was and how cruel our moms were for not letting us go to the most exciting event of the year. They kept saying we’d go at 5 am after Fajr but we didn’t wanna listen. Eventually, though, no one went.

Later, about a year ago, I came across a hadith I had heard when I was little. Here it is:

 

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most beloved places on Earth to Allah are its mosques, and the most despised places on Earth to Allah are its markets.” (Sahih Muslim) 

 

I realized how foolish I was to run after the dunya like that. I mean, it’s something to think about; if the standard for being a desperate shopper for a kafir is camping out and lining up in the freezing cold, then what is it for us? Is 5am crazy enough for a Muslim? Or can they get crazier?

I let my excuses get disguised as wise decisions and I let myself out into the storm. I was genuinely looking for cheap stuff but in the end, I was lying to myself that there is absolutely nothing wrong with going to Black Friday. Years earlier, my dad had explained Black Friday bargain-hunters to me as beggars. As we passed by a Comp USA store with more than 20 people already standing in line around 10:30 pm on Thursday night, he very cleverly attempted to change my mind about the idea of Black Friday. He said it was useless how people abandoned their sleep (and their kids at home) and even their conscience as they went around looking for material things. He knew and I knew that I would still go when I got the chance but at least he changed my mentality about the whole affair, with the hope that the action upon the new belief would come soon.

Now I ask myself: Is now soon enough?

I know it probably is but I still have not been able to overcome my desires. I don’t love shopping and even today, I’m going just to save money on a few items and to hang out with my best friends. I don’t have much of an exciting life and little things get me hyped up, Black Friday included. Everything about it just gives me an adrenaline rush, like waking up at 5:00 in the morning, buying Venti Fraps and going high and then having fun wandering the mall like there’s no tomorrow.

Tysons is having Midnight Madness again and so is Kohl’s but this Black Friday, my friends and I laid out some rules, just so we don’t fall in the category of those who are the first to enter the marketplace and the last to get out (I think there was a hadith that stated that Allah dislikes/curses those kinds of people and I was not about to get cursed by Allah over some new cardigans or jeans).

We agreed to go around 4 am to Kohl’s instead of 12 am and then to Tysons around 5am. It’s not much of a change but it’s an improvement. Also, since Starbucks is anti-Palestine, I’m going to McDonald’s for my McFrappe.

As for myself, I feel guilty for going, but unfortunately, I have not developed enough Taqwa and detachment from the dunya not to go.

But I have a resolution; next year, insha’Allah, I’m not gonna go at all. At all. Instead of piling in the car after Fajr, I will go back to sleep.


Here’s an explanation for the hadith I mentioned earlier:

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “The most beloved places on Earth to Allah are its mosques, and the most despised places on Earth to Allah are its markets.” (Sahih Muslim) 

From all the places on Earth, Allah loves the mosques above all else. They fulfill the most important function. They are the places where those on Earth make contact with their Creator and Sustainer. The Arabic word for prayer – salah – means to make a connection between the worshipper and his Lord.
As for the markets, they are not “the most despised places on Earth to Allah” on account of the buying and selling that goes on there. That is not the reason at all.
They are despised because of all the deception and fraud that goes on. The markets are places where false measure is given, and where every day false oaths are sworn. They are places of stinginess, avarice, wrangling, and disputation.
At the same time, we find that this hadith provides us with a very essential and important concept. By placing the market in comparison with the mosques, the hadith is acknowledging that the marketplace is an institution in Muslim society, just like the mosque is.
Life is not only about the mosque. The mosque and the marketplace are both integral parts of society.
Allah’s believing servants are people who engage in buying and selling. However, they do not let their commerce distract them from the remembrance of Allah. There is harmony between the rights of this world and the rights of the Hereafter. Allah says: “And do not forget your share of the worldly life.” (Surah al-Qasas-28: 77)

http://en.islamtoday.net/quesshow-39-822.htm

When entering the Market

Recite: 
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَهُوَ حَيٌّ لَا يَمُوتُ بِيَدِهِ الْخَيْرُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٍ 

“There is none worthy of worship besides Allah. He is all by Himself. He has no partner. His is the Kingdom, to Him is all praise. He gives and takes life. He is all by Himself. He will not die. In His hands is all good and He has control (power) over all things”. 

It is stated in the hadith that if a person reads the above dua in the market place, Allah writes 1 million rewards for him. I wasn’t able to get the hadith Shaykh mentioned. If anyone knows, please do post, Insha Allah.

http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?t=39522

November 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm Leave a comment

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