Archive for March, 2009

What Day Is It Really?

// March 11th, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Blog

Yasir Qadhi's latest entry on MM reminded me of a slightly paranoid question that came to mind a while ago.

Jumu'ah is a significant day for Muslims, as the most important congregational prayer is held on that day, every week. But how do we know that the day we call “Friday” in the Gregorian weekly calendar is the same day that we call “Jumu'ah” in the Islamic calendar? Have Jumu'ah prayers really been held consistently, every seven days, since the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him? It's not like we can check using the Moon, like we do when determining the beginning and end of the Islamic calendar months.

I suppose the same question applies to every day of the week, seeing as Mondays and Thursday have special significance with regards to the practice of ritual, Sunnah fasts.

I can trust that the Arabs have it right, from the point of view of uninterrupted tradition. So when the Gregorian calendar was introduced to the Muslim world, did they simply synch the two systems, noting that Friday was equivalent to Jumu'ah? I guess it wouldn't be very difficult, seeing as both weeks contain seven days. Imagine the chaos otherwise?!

Okay, now I suspect that my question is very silly indeed. :/

It’s Not What It Looks Like…

// March 10th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

It's how it was made…

Viva Palestina Have Reached Gaza!

// March 9th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Blog

Viva Palestina Update
15.30 (GMT) Monday 9th March 2009


And they entered side by side like heroes, some on foot some in their vehicles, tears, smiles, hugs, flowers. It was historic, it was legendary. Gaza we are here. We have fulfilled the promise – Viva Palestina! The lifeline from the people of Britain to you, the people of Gaza, has arrived.

We have broken the barriers, we have opened closed borders, we have defied the odds,we have overcome the challenges across thousands of miles and three continents. We are here to be with you, to embrace you, to share your tragedy with you.

After another morning of intense negotiations, a deal was reached to allow all of the members of the convoy to go through. In the end, Viva Palestina had to make the sacrifice of agreeing that some vehicles will have to cross the border from the Al Ouja Israeli controlled crossing point. This includes our mascot, the fire engine and the boat. This was due to the restrictions imposed by Egyptian law governing the Rafah Crossing.

A tearful Talat Ali told me that 'Rafah is the most beautiful crossing in the world', he also said that the time , effort and sacrifices put in by all the Viva Palestina family meant that history has been made today – on the day the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was born.

George Galloway made an emotional speech thanking the people of Gaza for the wonderful reception and assuring them that for Viva Palestina and in our millions, “WE ARE ALL PALESTINIANS!” George also reiterated that the people of Palestine have voted and that their voice should be respected.

Today the convoy will head along the Salah Eddine road towards Gaza City witnessing along the way the destruction and death caused by the Israeli war machine. Along the way they will be greeted by the people of Gaza who will know that Viva Palestina is here and that they will NEVER BE ALONE.

Farid Arada

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Bedroom Art

// March 8th, 2009 // 6 Comments » // Photos

I thought I'd snap a few photos, in order to appease certain blog readers. However, as I am confined to quarters for the most part these days, I decided to see what kind of interesting shots I could take from within the four, lilac walls of my boudoir.

Visit my Flickr account to view the full-size shots and their accompanying descriptions.

Bismillah Silver Flower Dusty Speaker Wire Maze An Alien Spacecraft?

Apologies to My Feed Subscribers

// March 8th, 2009 // No Comments » // Announcements

I installed a new RSS-to-post conversion plugin to pull my Facebook status messages into my blog, because the previous one wasn't updating automatically. A bunch of my old status messages were imported upon activation of the new code – so apologies if your feed reader was flooded!

Let’s Tweet These Twotters Tweener Twinxt!

// March 4th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Blog

The Daily Show takes on the Twitter revolution. And blogging in general. Warning: Non-hijabi female-folk in the video.

New Facebook Plugin

// March 4th, 2009 // No Comments » // Announcements

I have installed a new plugin that allows me to import my Facebook status messages, and automatically convert them to blog posts. That way, non-FB users can comment on these short updates, in the same way that FB friends can.

This tweak won't change lives, but I thought it might be fun. “Fun” being a relative term.

Wanted: A Little Slack

// March 3rd, 2009 // 9 Comments » // Blog

This rantish piece was originally intended as an email response. I then realized that I was 'blogging' at the recipient. Blog rants belong on blog posts. Hence my decision to paste it below for public viewing:

Well, if I was happy to stay in research, I wouldn't have a problem finding a job either, Allahu 'alam.

It's because I cannot tolerate that claustrophobic, isolating environment any longer, that I decided to look elsewhere for employment.

Unfortunately, I am quite clueless as to what I should concentrate on in the long term. I have to factor in the remote possibility of future wifely and motherly duties, which realistically, precludes the pursuit of any career that demands a great deal of my time and energy. This is not helped by the dearth of part-time jobs in my sector (the ones I find are either managerial roles for which I am underqualified, or technician jobs for which I am overqualified).

Add to that the fact that this is the first time I am job seeking as an “obvious” Muslimah (i.e., avec hijab), which does actually put some employers off.

Then there is the debate about whether Muslim women should be in the Western workplace at all. Yes, I do think about such things, and definitely don't miss the regular angst of 'handshaking' incidents, and having to constantly reign in my blabber-mouth personality in front of the opposite gender, all of whom so far have been non-Muslim, and thus don't usually understand the internal conflict that their “friendly” behaviour (and even antagonistic behaviour, at times) can pose for me.

I know I'm not the only one going through this. But my point is that I'd like people to cut me some slack.

Alhamdulillah, I am not in debt. I live at home with parents who can afford to house me. Indeed, if it wasn't for the pressure that they're placing on me, I wouldn't even bother looking for a conventional job. I am happy to tell friends and strangers that I am officially unemployed, but spend my time on other important pursuits – leaving the exact details vague, so as not to show off.

In fact, the only two things that I miss from my eleven years of working are:

  • A regular, stable source of income. I am useless at budgeting. Therefore, when I try to save money, it usually ends up that I don't spend any money, whatsoever. Miserliness sucks, and so I do need something coming in to avoid that extreme. Plus, I hate scrounging off my dad.
  • A regular, stable source of human company. My personal tradition has been to make friends through school, university, or work, usually because that is where I have spent most of my life. Recent exceptions have been some sisters that I met through local classes, such as self-defense and Islamic studies. But they work/study full-time, which means Mon-Friday, I am friendless, bar the odd evening meet-up.

Yes, it's a little embarrassing that a woman with three degrees, and the title “Dr” before her name should be unemployed, and more than that, is now facing a problem that most people sorted out in their late-teens/early 20s: the question of “What should I do with my life?”.

However, the embarrassment factor is relative. People make me feel ashamed, by inferring that I have something to be ashamed off.

Did I purposely pick the wrong career path, so I'd end up in this position? Err, no…

Could I have thought about it more before deciding to pursue a PhD? Err, maybe? Allāh knows best. Hindsight is 20/20, after all.

I am not looking for anyone's sympathy. More like: I want to be left alone. Unless you have a real job to offer me; then hey, I am all ears! Other than that, general concern is welcome, but making me feel small, and a bit useless, is not. Maybe I am being overly sensitive, but there you go.