Last Day of Madrasa!

Did lots of marking today – had to catch up on long overdue assignments. Most of the kdis have gone off on hols anyway, but I want to clear up and finish as much as I can before our planned vacation in Sept/Oct. We’re going to Shaam insha’Allah, if the situation stays stable and will possibly spend Ramadan in Dubai. The last time we did that was way back in 1988, when it fell during peak summer heat.

As I was finishing with the assignments and getting ready, I realised something odd. Five years ago, madrasa was my LIFE. Everything I did, breathed, spoke about and worked for seemed to revolve around it. But gradually over the past year or so, I feel as if something inside of me has changed. I have a (slightly) more expanded life.

There’s more to a day than preparing for the next week’s class. There are other things I think about, times when I even forget I have a class! I used to worry about those kids day and night and how to get them back on track or to make them realise the value of their faith. Now I’m willing to let them be and let their own parents take some share in the worry if they want to.

Am I changing? I think so. I can usually tell the phases of my personal growth from the way my temperament and perspective changes. It’s odd being able to step back and watch yourself grow, to monitor your reactions and be able to analyse how differently you behave in a situation from how you would have a few months ago.

But it’s exciting too. Reassures me I’m not dead 😛

Bint Ali

Who’s the Captain of My Ship?

How much depends on the decisions we make in life? Is it possible to close the door on something forever? Or does God just shift that opportunity to your new path, but perhaps place it along a different corridor and behind a different looking door?

Does every probable choice open up a fresh new possibility leading to completely new opportunities in completely foreign lives? How many ‘other’ lives do we give up everytime we make a choice for or against something? Can we ever even know?

I’ve often used the phrase “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”, but in this case it’s the not knowing that can make you frustrated in its elusiveness. It’s hard to decide what to choose without knowing the consequences of each choice, and yet it is impossible to know what those consequences will be without making the choice.

People say ‘Trust God!’ and I do. What I don’t trust is myself. What if I make the wrong decision simply because I was too blind to see the pointers God laid out for me? Or does He only lay out pointers that He knows you will see?

But then that’s like saying you can ask God to make your decisions for you and He doesn’t do that. The test of life is to make your own decisions. He simply guides you.

What if I’m too blinkered to see the light? I wish I could wake up in the morning and just know what to do. Or better still, get a written note under my pillow with specific instructions 😛

Some part of me understands why so many are eager to use astrology and other mystical arts to discover what the future holds. It stems from a deep-rooted insecurity of being able to handle what life doles out. It stems from the need to be prepared in advance because you don’t know if you can handle the stuff when it falls into your lap out of the blue.

And it is probably precisely for this reason that Allah (SWT) forbids the use of these arts. He wants you to face that uncertainity and conquer it. He places you in the middle of stormy seas on a boat you can barely keep afloat and then asks you to willingly hand the task of steering over to Him and sit back without question.

Perhaps that’s why the true Believers are so calm and confident. They know the seas are rough, they feel the fears and the pain, but having once trusted God with the ship, they don’t interefere in His methods of making them reach ashore.

After all, who knows better how to reach God than God Himself?

Bint Ali

Curved and Spinning

You know that famous cliche that talks about life throwing you curve balls every once in a while? Well, I got one. Work waits and I can’t manage to do a single thing, because suddenly I’m faced with decisions I’m not ready to make.

And yet make them I must, because I can’t hide behind my sense of security forever. It’s not a false one, it’s just that I’ve outgrown it. Well, actually I could get away with not making these decisions forever, but then it would be a choice motivated purely by fear and not by reason.

Reason is good. It allows you to define your life on your own terms. Fear is not. It defines life for you on its terms.

So maybe my need to finally deal with these difficult issues arises from the fact that I know I must face my fears and that if I don’t, then I’ll be missing a huge part of my life simply by letting it pass by.

Who said the best things in life came easy? No one I know of. I think even the averagely-good stuff needs a lot of courage and gut-wrenching to deal with.

Thing is, I really can’t let it hold up the rest of my life, but it won’t let me work either. Fear is an ugly inhibitor. I know forcing myself to face these hurdles is not so much about the task at hand as it is about rebelling against the fear of the task. I don’t if that’s a healthy approach.

But then there are a lot of things I don’t know at this point in time.

Bint Ali

Thursday Blues

I just realised something.

There is a proliferation of blue clothes in my wardrobe. And I don’t even LIKE blue. It’s not that I’ve been subconsciously buying blue stuff, because I don’t actually shop for clothes. I usually just get pass-alongs from relatives or friends, but when I do buy something, eight times out of ten it ends up being something that’s a last piece and guess what – it’s blue or some shade of blue: navy, royal, azure, baby, ice, powder or some other hue I can’t name.

Some time ago, I had a similar thing happening with greens. I wonder if anyone has a truly balanced wardrobe. I’ve been dividing my clothes according to colour now so I can keep track of what areas of the spectrum I have over-indulged in.

I’ll have to keep my posts short over the next week or so – too much work to do. So if you are reading or keeping up, don’t worry about the tit-bits, they’ll grow soon enough.

Bint Ali

Who’s A Happy Author, Then?

WOHOOOOO!!!!! I got my contract in the mail at last! *dances a jig* (which by the way in just an expression. I don’t dance. And using that phrase doesn’t make me less Muslim…but that’s for another day, another post.)

It’s a word document, it’s 10 pages long, it’s got all kinds of legal terminology, it refers to me as “hereinafter referred to as ‘Author‘ ” (eeeeek!) AND it has a place for me to sign!  Only thing is that I now have to get an expert to read it and see if it works for me as well as them.

I never imagined I’d actually be sitting back and allowing myself to think before doing something like this. A few years ago, I would have considered waiting until tomorrow to sign it and send it back as a MAJOR test of patience. I must have learnt something from all those writing courses, eh? 🙂

And not just in writing. I seem to be doing a lot of ‘wait for the initial reaction to pass, then think about it all reasonably’ in all areas of my life and guess what? It seriously makes a difference. Everything seems to kind of slow down. Not in a dragging, boring kind of way, but rather in a more scenic stroll-y kind of way. You think, you explore and you actually learn something about yourself. Plus it seems to stabilise life so that you feel more in control.

If you’ve ever exercised or done yoga and can remember those first sessions, then I can tell you that it’s a bit like when you get over the initial jelly-shakes and muscle-trembles and begin to feel the ability to control your body. Everything becomes more fluid.

Well, am off to ogle some more at the wonderful, lovely, official contract and hunt for a lawyer when I can tear myself away from it. Who knew I’d need a lawyer one day! Trust me, when you live where I do, lawyers are for Americans.

On the happiest note of all, Mabrook and Congratulations to all on the birth of the Fatimah, daughter of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)! 😀 I can only hope and pray that one day, all women can truly be like her. It’d be amazing what we would achieve then.

Bint Ali

Current Saying:
“A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket.”

Charles Peguy, poet and essayist (1873-1914)