Half of the month is over. I’m tired. I’m drained. I’m slightly void of hope.
But not hopeLESS.
Every character goes through a complication in their story, but every story also ends in resolution. I’m confident, inshaAllah, that this Ramadan will have a happy ending. Even if I’m at a low point right now, I know it will get better. I’ve been doing this for almost 15 years now. Ramadan is great in the beginning, because we’re all full of excitement and motivation, then there’s the slump in the middle, but it always ends with that final effort to juice the month to its very last blessed drop. (No, I’m not 15. It’s been 14 years since I started fasting.)
I did push myself today to do something useful and listened to a couple of Nouman Ali Khan lectures. The first is called “Modesty, The Missing Element.” It was over 40 minutes long, and it did take me a while to really get into it, but by the end I was completely hooked onto every word he was saying. (The second I just sort of stumbled upon in the suggested links, but it’s also pretty useful advice for my husbands out there)
My approach to Nouman Ali Khan is complicated. I’ve heard maybe four or five lectures by him now, and while he isn’t my personal favorite scholar, he does say a lot of very real and practical things. The lecture that I listened to today was about shamelessness, individualism, and modesty. I know, those three ideas seem sort of unrelated, but it all makes sense if you listen to the lecture. He proposes the idea that our society has become more and more shameless, meaning that we tolerate a lot of sin, or just bad, harmful habits, much more than we should. While it is a hard pill to swallow, I have to agree with him that we as a society have been letting too many shameful habits become social norms.
One of his points which spoke to me the most was about how we define our own dignity and self-worth (which is from 14:30-18:52 in the video.) For boys, he says that in his own experience, he notices that it is the guy with the most arrogance who gains the most respect, but I, being a girl, was moved by what he said about women: “On the side of women, your sense of worth comes from… ‘How many men can I get to stare at me, and they can’t take their eyes off of me…my worth comes from how much attention I can get.'”
I have heard this point made countless times, and it is always related to how women dress for men, but the way that he phrased it this time, especially with that last sentence about attention, makes me want to take the point a step further. We women dress to impress. I’m sure most of you would agree with me that we dress to impress not only men, but also other women. I know the feeling of wanting to “make an entrance” or “make heads turn.” I’m not going to say that it’s always for the opposite gender, but it is definitely to get attention. To be noticed. To be thought of as confident. To demand respect.
But Nouman Ali Khan’s point here is that we shouldn’t rely our self-worth on the respect and attention from other people. As Muslims, before anyone else our self-worth should come from God. If God is pleased with me, and feels that I am worth something, what more could I ask for?
It’s more than just “Be modest. Stop trying so hard to attract the opposite gender.” I shouldn’t let my own self-worth depend on what other people think of me, thus, I should be comfortable in dressing the way God likes me to dress and carry myself in the way He prefers. If He is the one deciding my afterlife, He is the one for me to please.
If anyone wants to listen to it, I definitely recommend this lecture. If you can’t sit through 44 minutes, I would at least suggest listening to the last half hour of it. It gets really interesting for me at the 13:11 mark. I think the meat of his message is from 13:11 to 32:45. After that he goes off on a tangent, but ironically, I was the most interested in that part. He talks about college students and particularly the trap that parents of college students are setting up for their kids. (So if you’re a student or the parent of a student, I highly suggest listening to the end!)
On Martin Lings, I read more about the aftermath of Ruqayyah’s death in Muhammad today. A little while after she passed away, Hafsah, the daughter of Umar, lost her husband, at only 18 years old. How heartbreaking 😦 So Umar tried finding a new husband for her. Since Uthman was also now newly a widower, Umar tried suggesting Hafsah to him, but “after some days he came to Umar and said he thought it was better that he should not marry again for the moment.” Also heartbreaking 😦
Now for the happy ending to this sad situation:
“[`Umar] was determined to find a good husband for his daughter so he went to Abu Bakr, whom he counted as his best friend…Abu Bakr answered him evasively, which hurt `Umar’s feelings even more than `Uthman’s definite refusal…the next time `Umar was with the Prophet he gave vent to his grievance. ‘Behold,” said the Prophet, ‘I will show thee a better son-in-law than `Uthman, and I will show him a better father-in-law than thee’…the better man referred to in both cases was none other than the Prophet, who would himself take Hafsah as a wife and who would become, for the second time, the father-in-law of `Uthman by giving him in marriage Ruqayyah’s sister Umm Kulthum. It was after this that Abu Bakr explained the reason for his silence to `Umar, namely that the Prophet had confided to him, as a secret not yet to be divulged, his intention to ask for the hand of Hafsah”
How perfect and sweet and just cute. 🙂 This was a nice, refreshing moment of happiness after all of the sadness.
*IFTAR PICTURE OF THE DAY*
I cooked again today! It turned out okay. The fillings tastes very…Middle Eastern, which doesn’t fit my personal taste. I know, I’m a Muslim who doesn’t like Middle Eastern food.
It is really fun to make though,so if you’re into that kind of food, you should totally make it! It’s completely vegetarian (if you use a vegetable cube instead of a chicken bullion cube) and pretty healthy. Recipe Link here. (Note: the vegetables actually aren’t that spicy using the ingredients they provide.)
I would love to do the whole cabbage wrap thing again with a different filling next time. It’s such a fun idea.