Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Little Bit Different

I keep having to stop myself from grabbing a cookie or going to get something to drink. Nope, I'm not dieting. I'm fasting.

Muslims all over the world join me today on fast #4. We are all abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Where I live, that means nada from 6am-7:30pm. I gave a bridal shower Sunday, and have learned that life goes on. People can just deal that I'm Muslim.

I never thought I would get here.

I guess I think it's more important now than ever not to hide the fact that I'm Muslim. I used to be scared. And well, frankly, embarrassed. What people thought of me meant everything, and we all know the general American view on Muslims.

But now I have come to realize that I have the power to change that, even if it's just a little bit, in those I come in contact with. My friends and co-workers know. It has been met with smiles and questions. Certainly there is surprise because I am not what they were thinking a Muslim would be like. My hair is not covered, I am not oppressed, I am not a terrorist. I don't advertise it, but when people ask, I no longer dance around the question. I just say the words, "I'm Muslim," and it's not as scary as I used to think.

My co-workers asked if I attend a masjid. Now they understand where I was going most Fridays at 1:30pm. My friend at work used to date a Muslim man she remembers fondly. She remembers Ramadan and has lots of funny stories to tell. All of a sudden, I began to feel (gasp!) normal. Normal as in not an outcast. For dear friends, I shall never be - and would never want to be - "normal" or "average."

I have been tested so much in the last few days. There have been some people who have been downright rude to me. And I think I have passed the tests...maybe with a C+, but I'm still passing.

And at the end of the day, it's not about what other Muslims are doing. It's about being able to live with myself and feeling an inner peace within.

And I'm okay with the fact that I will never completely fit in. I'm different than the immigrants at the masjid, and I'm different than my friends. Not vastly different, but just enough. That little tad of difference helps me remember who I am and why I believe what I do.

And you know what? I wouldn't want it any other way.
posted by Anisa @ 10:16 AM | 23 comments

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down v.2

Thumbs down: So, the Pope said Muslims were violent. Then, Muslim extremists started acting violent in retaliation. Thanks, guys. Thanks for wasting another golden opportunity to show how Muslims truly are. Appreciate it.

Thumbs up: "Deal or No Deal" is back!! I am already obsessed again. And, did anyone else find themselves too tired to get off the couch afterwards and watch "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip?" I'm liking this show. And I'm liking the fact that yesterday at the doctor's office, my weight is one pound away from a truthful driver's license. :)

Busy, busy week going on as usual. Hard to catch my breath, but I am hanging in there.

Update: Just my luck. The doctor's scale was wrong.
posted by Anisa @ 12:49 PM | 3 comments

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Look Back; A Look Ahead

I wasn't even going to write about today. Honestly, the thought didn't even cross my mind. But as I read other blogs and saw that it was all over the news, I knew I couldn't ignore this day. Even thought that's all I wanted to do.

It still hurts to remember.

I remember where I was when it happened. How could anyone forget? I think when it actually happened, I was getting ready for class. I didn't have the TV on because I relish in the quiet of the morning. As I got in my car, I heard Peter Jennings' voice. I hate hearing news in the morning, so I turned the station.

Same thing.

And that's when I heard the news. I headed to the sorority house to eat lunch, and everyone was mesmerized in front of the television.

And then, those who knew I was Muslim, looked at me. And they weren't smiling.

I just wanted to hide. Not only was I sad, but I also felt embarassed. It was the worst possible thing for someone to have committed these atrocious acts in the name of Islam.

I ate my lunch and went to class. We continued to watch the coverage.

Then, I went shopping and spent a ridiculous amount of money on a dress. I needed something to take my mind off what had happened.

Since that day, I knew my life would never be the same. And I was right.

I am as sad as every other American that this happened. It was horrible. But it was even worse for true Muslims, as we were never treated the same.

9/11 opened many people's eyes. It is time to continue to reform Islam. The dialogue has begun, but we still have a long way to go.

No, I don't agree with American policies on many things. But I can't change them. It doesn't matter; the murdering of the innocent will never be justified.

Those people did much more than hijack planes; they hijacked my faith.

I have a lump in my throat as I write this, and my eyes fill with tears. I've gone through many emotions in dealing with the aftermath of that day.

Today, I am a person who is proud to be a Muslim. I know what it means to be a true follower of Islam. It means loving your fellow man. It means that open dialogue is key.

True Muslims have to keep educating non-Muslims and Muslims alike about the true teachings of our religion.

And so that's just what we have to do.

I close with this passage from Sura Al-Imran in the Holy Quran. This is the Islam I know:

(3:134) "...who spend (in His way) in time of plenty and in time of hardship, and hold in check their anger, and pardon their fellow-men because God loves the doers of good..."
posted by Anisa @ 10:59 AM | 9 comments

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labor Day

Labor Day weekend was nice, except for all the reading I had to do because of grad school! On Saturday, Bert and I drove to Greenville, South Carolina, to visit some of my family. They have the absolute most beautiful downtown I have ever seen. Gorgeous. There are many streets of cute shops, restaurants, etc. There is also a river that goes through downtown with a giant waterfall, a pedestrian bridge and immaculate landscaping.

Here are some pictures. It's time for me to get back to laboring!

my first cousins Sommer and Lyla

my sweet cousin Sam...he is holding on to his new engine and birthday present, Henry!

me and Bert on the bridge above Reedy River...you can see the waterfall in the background

posted by Anisa @ 1:30 PM | 5 comments

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lessons Learned

Wow, I can't believe I actually have a moment to catch my breath. Here are a few life lessons I've learned this week:
  • Some people are just plain mean.
  • Sometimes women are threatened by other women, for no reason.
  • Girl time is great.
  • Being stressed out can make for a good diet. I am now only 2.5 pounds away from my driver's license not being a lie. I used to be 19 pounds away.
  • Even if Macs are cooler, sometimes it's a bummer because if someone tells you how to do something, when you get back to your computer, you can't find anything they were talking about.
  • Having a new car is fab.
  • Some people are crazy.
  • If you hold in pee too long, you might pee in your pants a little bit while running to the bathroom. Bummer.
  • I am in love with my little cat like it's my baby.
  • I have the World's Greatest Husband, and I am determined to get Bert a t-shirt that says that in airbrush. He is mortified because I talk about this t-shirt all the time.
posted by Anisa @ 10:45 AM | 8 comments