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    Mrs. Islam

    The UK-based Telegraph developed a special report regarding Islam (the introduction of which is written by Prince Charles). I haven't checked the Religion forum in a long time, so apologies if this has already been posted.

    Mrs. Islam - modern Muslim
    Saleha Islam
    Telegraph, 15 November 2001 http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...am/nislam4.xml

    MY day begins at about 7.30, when I get up for Fajr, my sunrise prayers. First, I do the ritual cleansing - so I wash my hands, then my face, my arms up to my elbows, head, neck and feet.

    Because the children are waking at different times and it's usually a bit chaotic, I pray alone, as does my husband, Nazrul. I kneel on my prayer mat, which faces qibla - the direction of Mecca - and recite passages from the Koran. We both pray five times a day, at set times.

    My eldest daughter, Nilufa, prays in her bedroom before she goes to college, where she's studying for AS levels, but my 12-year-old, Yasmin, is a bit more erratic and Hanifa, who is eight, is just beginning to pray.

    I don't force any of them because praying is about making a direct connection with your Creator. They have to do it for the right motives: it isn't about outward show and it shouldn't be something that children regard as a chore.

    But I do teach them what I can about Islam, and they also have a private tutor who comes round for two and a half hours on Saturday mornings to read from the Koran and explain aspects of the religion.

    After prayers, which last about five minutes, I feel relaxed and focused on the day. We have a breakfast of tea and toast or croissants, and then my husband does the school run, while I spend 15 minutes playing with my youngest, Jannah, before heading off to work. My mother lives with us and minds her during the day.

    At home, I don't cover my head, but I do wear a hijab scarf when I leave the house. Covering your head is about modesty - but it doesn't mean you can't be fashionable. I have more than 150 different scarves in various colours to match my outfits. I mostly wear Western clothes but I'll put on a sari or a shalwar kameez, depending on my mood: it's wonderful to have such a choice.

    Girls start covering their heads around puberty, when they are becoming socially responsible and accountable for themselves. Nilufa covered her head consistently for eight years, but stopped at 15. I take the view that she'll do it again when she's ready. Of course, we all want the best for our children, but Islam says you must not pressurise anyone into religion.

    At work, most of my day is taken up with meetings. If they coincide with prayer times, I usually suggest we take a break for five or 10 minutes, but if that's not practical, I can defer prayers until later because Islam is quite flexible like that.

    In my office, I keep a terracotta-coloured, woven prayer mat, decorated with a motif of the Kabah. Praying is such a part of my routine, of who I am, that I always feel a bit unsettled if I can't do it on time. It doesn't take any longer than making and drinking a cup of tea - and afterwards, I feel energised.

    My husband goes to the mosque on Fridays, but there's no obligation on women to attend - it's about choice. However, I do go sometimes. There's an area for women upstairs, behind an ornate wooden railing. After prayers, we sit and chat among ourselves - as do the men - and there's a good community feeling.

    I usually arrive home from work at about seven and spend an hour and a half connecting with the children. During the week, I'm very lucky, because my mother does the cooking. At weekends, I tend to take over: my father was a top chef at the Savoy, and I've inherited some of his skills.

    We eat halal food, which means no pork. Chicken, lamb and beef must be slaughtered in the halal way, so if we're eating out, we stick to vegetarian food, or maybe prawn dishes if it's a Chinese restaurant. I also make a lot of pasta, and lasagne is a particular family favourite.

    When Ramadan starts, we say extra prayers and don't eat or drink during daylight hours. For the first few days, you tend to get a headache because you're detoxing, but after that it feels great. The two older children fast, and the eight-year-old joins in because she wants to - we would never insist on it.

    Friends are often invited round for iftar, when the fast is broken, and we'll tune into satellite television to hear the call to prayer. We cook special meals, featuring 15 or 20 dishes - such as samosas, pulaos and sweetmeats made with dates.

    Our home is above the family restaurant, so my husband pops up throughout the evening to spend time with the children. We often watch television together. Our favourite programme is EastEnders and the children like The Weakest Link, Friends and Changing Rooms.

    Like any parent, I supervise what my children watch, but I believe in letting them see the reality of what's happening in society, and then talking about it. On a programme like The Bill, you see people taking drugs and having sex before marriage. As far as I'm concerned, the children are being informed, but they aren't learning how to behave from television.

    At 8pm, we all pray together. We have our own prayer mats, draped over a stool in the corner of the living room, and the furniture is arranged so there's space for us all to kneel. The littlest one wants to join in, but she doesn't know the movements so she tends to jump on our backs or wriggle across the floor. To the children, prayer is a normal part of everyday life.

    My husband did hajj in 1994, and took along my mother. When the baby is a bit older, and I don't have to worry about childcare, I'll go with him myself. I've been praying towards the Kabah all my life: being there, with millions of people, would be an incredible experience.

    There was one scene my husband described that I won't ever forget. It was very early morning. He was praying and watching the birds overhead, when they seemed to be circling the Kabah, just like the millions of people down below. It was as though the whole of creation was connecting to and praying towards the One Creator.

    When my husband came back, there was definitely an extra sense of calmness about him. But it's not enough just to do hajj - you have to continue to pray and reflect on life, and learn and grow: that's the purpose of being here.

    Once we've said our evening prayer together, I put the baby to bed and read to her. I must know the Spot books off by heart by now. The other children gradually head off to bed, too, and I turn in at about 12.30am.

    Then I lie in bed and say a few prayers: you're supposed to look back over the events of the day and think about resolving anything that hasn't been very positive. If I've been angered by someone, I'll analyse my feelings and ask Allah to grant me patience.

    You can't take for granted that you're going to wake up next morning, so it's important to find peace within yourself before you sleep.

    #2
    Excellent article.
    Very inspiring.

    Thanks for posting it.

    Comment


      #3
      "A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?' She mustn't feel selfish and neurotic if she wants goals of her own, outside of husband and children"

      Comment


        #4
        nice article
        Both Halal & Haram r evident but between them r doubtful things, most ppl have no knowledge about them. So whoever saves himself from suspicious things saves his religion & honor, & whoever indulges in suspicious things indulges in Haram.

        Comment


          #5

          Comment


            #6
            All jolly good how long will it be before we are intergarted totally? when we will only be different by the colour of our skins....then and only then will the kuffar be happy with the western muslims, maybe they can call us "The church of England Muslims"

            Oh muslims is not time to wake up and realise that the kuffar are plotting and planning against the muslim so that Islam only becomes a set of rituals and becomes secular.


            These are the types of people and devilish plans which the Mufassireen point
            to when they mention specifically that the target is not how we dress, what
            we eat and how many Masaajid we have although these can be considered
            offshoots in their plan to Secularise our minds, but their target is to
            change the nature of Islam and its Shar’iah.


            Do they not aim to enact this
            change amongst us by calling for the liberation (exploitation) of Women.
            When the Wives of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President Laura
            Bush attack Islam’s treatment of Women, which in effect is a call to joining
            their winning in becoming nothing more than commodities for sale.

            Oh muslims arise and lead mankind out of darkness into the light of islam.


            “It is He who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Deen of Truth to
            Prevail over every other Deen, even though the Mushrikun (idolators) detest
            it.” [TMQ Tawba: 33]



            [This message has been edited by Da_crew (edited November 28, 2001).]

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Nadia_H:


              My husband goes to the mosque on Fridays, but there's no obligation on women to attend - it's about choice. However, I do go sometimes. There's an area for women upstairs, behind an ornate wooden railing. After prayers, we sit and chat among ourselves - as do the men - and there's a good community feeling.
              INEQUALITY! Why are women not pressured to go to mosques to pray?

              ------------------
              i am the needle in your vein
              i am the high you cant sustain
              i am the pusher im a whore
              i am the need in you for more
              - mr self destruct

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Sarah Splendor:
                INEQUALITY! Why are women not pressured to go to mosques to pray?
                In your opinion, why isn't it more positive that women be allowed the right to decide for themselves whether they want to pray at home or in congregation?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Nadia_H:
                  In your opinion, why isn't it more positive that women be allowed the right to decide for themselves whether they want to pray at home or in congregation?
                  then why shouldn't men be given the right to free choice?

                  ------------------
                  i am the needle in your vein
                  i am the high you cant sustain
                  i am the pusher im a whore
                  i am the need in you for more
                  - mr self destruct

                  Comment

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