AUTONOMY Q2:223

I was surfing the TV channels when a channel caught my eye so I paused to listen. It was a Christian station and I cannot remember what made me stop. Being one who is eager to learn from anyone and everyone, I paused with my finger on the remote control, ready to change it if he was spewing something irrelevant to me.

The preacher was walking through the congregation holding a microphone and shared this joke (which I am paraphrasing):

A lady came to her pastor and said, ‘Pastor, I need you to pray for my husband. He has a demon!’

The pastor probed further to assess what kind of demon it was and she replied exasperatedly, ‘He wants to have sex in the morning, noon and night! Every time of the day, he wants to have sex. He has a demon, please help him cast it out!’

Then the Pastor replied, ‘I am sorry I cannot help you, young woman, because I too have this demon!’

 

I first felt the need to write this post when I was toilet-training my first son. I woke him in the middle of the night when he was either 2 or 3 and took him to the bathroom to pee. As is the Islamic tradition, after he urinated, I fetched some water to clean him up with and felt an erection/boner/stiffness or whatever you want to call it. I was amazed! I thought I knew the human body but apparently, I knew very little about the male anatomy and physiology. The books never mentioned toddlers were capable of a hard-on. Was this normal?

And I am not the only one. At the programme I mentioned in the previous post, a haematologist also sounded surprised that a sickle cell disease patient was brought in with priapism (a non-sexual painful erection) and he was only 4 years old.

When I encountered that reaction in my son, who sleepily returned to bed blissfully unaware, I spent some time awake, thinking about men and felt some sympathy for them. I felt it was not really their fault they were wired that way. Putting it as delicately as I can, men have a piece of flesh that basically has a mind of its own. It is autonomous. I believe that as boys become men, they are able to control it better but I doubt if the effect lessens. I am betting it increases as male hormones (which drive libido) kick in at puberty.

Allah knows best.

Before I got married, I knew guys are crazy about sex. We had sisters-only events where married women advised us about courting and marriage and emphasized the importance of sex. During my friends’ nikkah khutbah (wedding sermon), the imams mentioned it. During my own preparation, friends reminded me. All the books on marriage swore by it. I guess like with every oft-repeated advice, it loses its potency after a while and becomes cliché.

We women are quick to blame men for thinking with their phalluses but if you were deprived of eating for days with a feast in front of you, you would tear into that juicy piece of chicken once the flag goes down signalling ‘Eat!’ Besides, for a lot of African, Arab and Asian men, their self image is tied to their sexuality.

I once had a newly-married couple visit the hospital. They were crazy in love. The man seemed shy, the woman more willing to talk (perhaps, because she had encountered a female doctor). She explained how quickly the man ejaculates when they meet and they were worried he had an anomaly. I had to explain that it was normal especially because the man had married as a virgin. (Virgins are not as rare as we think). Imagine denying such a man who had kept his virginity until marriage where he finally feels he can let go of the reins and bask in his sexuality.

To women married to good non-philandering men, consider this:

Our men decided to select us out of the multitude of women they encountered for reasons best known to them. They could have followed the Order of the Phallus to wife a professional vixen with a PhD in Bedmatics but instead, they made an effort to practise Islam and married us. Instead, we punish them for making the right decision to think with their heads and marry a good woman and prospective mother of good Muslim children. We withhold sex to get back at them; simply because we feel we cannot match their libido; or because we are scared of pregnancy/childbirth.

The basic religious reason for marriage is for procreation with permission, or as a lecturer of mine put it ‘Marriage is a license to have sex’. The major world religions discourage (even forbid) sex outside the confines of marriage. If you have a man who has a healthy fear of God and you starve him of sexual intimacy, it seems unfair, callous and even, wicked. Of course, we are tired, over-worked, unappreciated, not in the mood etc. but we should consider that this is one of the halal ways a man can let his hair down after a day of the world hammering on him, beating him down with disappointment upon disappointment, challenge after challenge, temptation following temptation.

Some men are out there getting their grooves on with strange women; others are drinking or gambling their lives away. If your man returns home to you every night, in spite of your attitude because he hasn’t fulfilled your demands, you should hug him and welcome him home. No matter how much he pretends to behave macho, I believe men just want to feel desired and loved; encouraged to go back into the ring tomorrow to fight valiantly for the family’s survival.

Of course, I am writing this because I am in a good place with my husband today. Perhaps I would be less charitable when he’s annoying the heck out of me!😄 #remindertoself

Seriously though, it doesn’t change the truth. We should appreciate our men more (especially if they are good men). I know the comments would not roll in because this is a bit personal but I would be glad to know that you surprised your man today (or better still, early in the morning after Fajr)😉. It is a weekend so unbuckle your chastity belt and ‘go to town’ and remind him of how happy he was when you guys decided to tie the knot. Let him be reassured that YOU are the best decision of his life!

BIG BREAK Q12:46-49

I had spent the day seeing patients this past Sunday and was in a vehicle on my way home. As we drove by a bus-stop, I looked at people’s faces and my heart felt sad and my eyes clouded over. Don’t we deserve a break?

Life in Nigeria has become very tough, for majority of the people. I can categorically say that the Middle Class has been annihilated. We only have the rich and the poor. Even the rich cannot enjoy their money because of the eagle eyes of the new government, eager to prosecute looters of the Public Treasury.

This is the analogy of Nigeria I have in mind:

A woman is given a couple of Naira by her husband to procure foodstuff to make meals for the family. This was the first time in months of scraping to get by. Elated, she hurried to an open market some distance away with her child strapped to her back. After she went round to settle her debts, she returned home to make a variety of meals and set them aside in the earthenware pots to cool. She had stretched the money as far as it could go and was satisfied with the outcome. They had enough food to last them a fortnight.

While she hung the second-hand clothes she bought for her older children to dry, she heard some commotion in the house and dashed to check it out. To her dismay, her infant (previously asleep) was now awake and with the help of their only goat, had broken the clay pots and eaten/spilled all of the food. The poor woman stood rooted in the doorway with pain on her face, unable to do what her heart was inclined to: sit down in the middle of the mess and wail. She could not afford that luxury. She had to clean up the mess and decide what to tell her older children and husband when they returned home hungry. Again.

This is the image I have of Nigeria at the moment. Our President is making a lot of effort but we want to see magic! We are hungry and do not want to hear how the previous administration is responsible. Indeed, we all suffering – both the rich and poor alike.

I had a patient that Sunday who said: The rain that beats everybody is not a bad rain. He said this after telling me to check his blood pressure because his landlord was the first person on their doorstep that day, demanding that they moved out of his house because they were behind on their rent by a mere 6 weeks when tenants typically owe several months of rent.

I disagreed with him but did not say so. This was a bad rain, flogging everyone mercilessly. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, business-owners, cab drivers, even beggars are not immune from the economic downturn in Nigeria following our undiversified economy, plummeting oil prices, pillaged public coffers, and chronic poor governance.

Thinking deeper about that saying though, I found myself beginning to agree. With this rain, we are becoming more understanding, more tolerant, more introspective. We are beginning to realise that when the sharing of the National Cake was going on, tribe and religion did not matter so it should not matter now. We now know that we are all in this together and gradually, we are coming to see that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ Even the landlord who was threatening to evict my patient tried to make him see reason that he had a genuine need for the money. His company owes him millions and cannot afford to pay him now.

He is not alone. Many civil servants are owed months of salaries. They have accrued debts so large they fear they may die bankrupt. Private companies also owe their employees at the moment. Big companies like Shell Nigeria are planning to lay off about 100,000 of their workers while a number of companies have already beat them to it by downsizing their workforce. Pensioners are dying without receiving their due. Senior citizens are following in their steps as their children cannot afford their healthcare.

You see, the entirety of the Nigerian economy fed off the Oil wealth. As the politicians shared their loot, some of it trickled down to the masses. They were acquiring land and building property. They were investing in businesses and building companies; employing citizens and sharing their largesse. Some of these thieves justified their stealing by sponsoring their wards’ education. They employed a lot of domestic and official staff, many without a clear job description. They were disposing of their barely-used belongings and buying new possessions. Money was leaking everywhere and the mosquitoes were feeding fat on it.

Now that the party has come to an end with the dwindling Oil Money and new thrifty government, the wailing is loud. Nigerians are striving to be patient but I wonder how much more we can take with new policies like the increased electricity tariff, increased cost of Kerosene and the banning of small generators.

As we drove by that Sunday, I felt we needed a break – a big break. Nigeria should win the World Cup or the Olympics. We cannot all win the lottery but I wish something positive would happen, anything really….I just want to see a smile on everyone’s face and the relief that there was truly hope; that everything will be alright, eventually.

joyful_crowd.png

TO YOUR PLACES Q2:238

There was a time I was missing praying in a mosque so I decided to go for Juma’a in a masjid. In Northern Nigeria and a couple of countries, the women’s section of the mosque is minimal, poorly lit, poorly maintained and sometimes, away from the masjid itself, seemingly like an afterthought.

I did not want to pray in such a space.
I wanted to pray in a magnificent masjid, and stare up at the elaborately detailed dome, admire the glory of the geometric designs, bask in the beauty of the masjid’s ambience.

I wanted to pray in congregation as I hadn’t in a long time. I needed to stand side-by-side with other Muslims, shoulder-to-shoulder, praying fluidly in unison – like we were one body. I needed to bond with fellow sisters in Islam on another level…

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The example of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5665

Of course, I did not communicate my feelings in detail so I was invited by a friend of mine to her masjid for Juma’a and of course, I was disappointed.
However, I was able to reignite this feeling recently. I had forgotten the magical effect praying outdoors has on me.

 

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The entire earth has been made a place of prayerexcept for the graveyards and the latrine.”

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 317

I had the opportunity to pray outside my home (and workplace) for the first time in a long while. I was attending a week-long programme and the mosque within the premises was some distance away. A new friend and I decided to pray in the car park and it was so tranquil, quiet, secluded; and serenity washed over me. I wanted to sit there all day, perhaps, I could lay on the prayer rug and take in nature through all my senses, admire the drifting clouds, the beautiful hue of the sky…but it was short-lived. It was a car park afterall, no place for fantasies!

It is such a blessing to us to have the opportunity to recharge with Allah during the day. It’s refreshing, fulfilling and relaxing. I wish we would stop our rat races long enough to smell the roses.
Anyway, I think that car park was the strangest place I have prayed so far…and that’s so boring. I need to pray in some really weird place. Let me add that to my bucket list!😀
So, where is the weirdest place you have prayed? Do you have a bucket list of strange places you would like to pray?

HIDING PLACE Q57:20

She wallowed in grief beyond our ken
As drops of tears streaked her fair face
Her life was a farce, her soul was lost
Yet from afar, girls sought her place.

A motor approached, purred on her lawn
Time to perform, the guests had come!
She caked her face and tidied her locks
Drowned herself in fragrance, then some.

‘O where do I hide this load of mine?’
Jewellery? Shoes? Bags? Something classy?
Windows to her soul fluttered in search
For where to hide what none should see.

But she was summoned a l’il too soon
To her audience there to adore
Luxury in the flesh, unmatched beauty
Riches immense, glamour, splendour.

Their gazes followed her dainty steps
Gliding with grace, she showed no guile
She’d figured it out and knew just where:
Her sadness was tucked behind a smile.

Why Perform Prayers? Niçin Namaz kılıyoruz?

Assalaam alaikum, dears. You really should read this lovely analogy about prayers. Let me know your thoughts.

YA BAKİ ENTEL BAKİ

semras

sem sem

A child in the womb of his mother has a mouth, eyes, ears, hands and feet. All of his organs and equipments are bestowed completely. However, none of them is needed in that womb. The baby is fed by means of a funiculus him to his mother.

Now if that child said:

O my Lord! This funiculus is enough for me. There is no need for this mouth, these eyes, ears, hands and feet. They do not serve any purpose.,

Doubtless, he would be replied by Allah as follows:

Do not rush my servant and do not interfere with what you do not comprehend. After a short while, you are going to enter such a world that this hose which you define as everything for me is going to fit nothing and so it is going to be cut off. The mouth, eyes, ears and similar organs which you consider…

View original post 903 more words

DELAYING SALAAH II

contd. from Delaying Salaah

There is a high premium placed on a woman who, amongst other things, observes her daily salaah because Allah knows well, how tedious it can be.

“If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (Ramadaan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.” Narrated by Ahmad

Our children need to be made to understand the importance of the 5-10minutes we spend in front of Him 5 times daily. They should be taught not to bother us during these precious moments as we’ve taught them to respect our time on the phones, with a guest, in the bathroom and at work.

Addressing the excuses enumerated yesterday, I will make some suggestions.

  • We should simplify our clothing when going out especially if we anticipate praying outside our homes; just as nursing mothers plan ahead about convenient breastfeeding clothes when leaving the home. Our sleeves should be wide enough to be rolled up to the elbows; our khimars should wrapped/tied/worn in a convenient fashion to permit wudhu, our clothes should sufficiently cover our awrah. We can even practise wudhu in them or perform ablution before leaving the house (if the time for salaah is near).
  • Scheduling our lives around Salaah instead of trying to fit it into our schedule will help us when we get caught up in house chores or kid care. If we intend to pray and they are fussing, we can put them in a baby carrier/sling or strap them to the back as is common in West Africa.
  • image source: pinterest

    image source: pinterest

  • Toddlers can be encouraged to perform ablution and given their *special* prayer rug, kufi/hijab to observe salaah with us. They are usually excited to join us. If they have learn some short surahs, you can recite a little louder so they can concentrate and recite along. As much as is possible, we should ignore them during prayers for them to understand to keep quiet too. By the time we have done this consistently enough, in sha Allah, they will be the ones to remind us to go for prayers when they hear the adhaan. And wouldn’t that make your heart sing!
  • If all fails, schedule their nap time around Dhuhr salaah and their bed time at Maghrib or Ishaa so you can enjoy khushoo and the tranquility of prayer.Accepting to lower our standard of salaah when the children begin their antics helps us to be less irritable.
  • Sometimes, we have guests and feel guilty or self-conscious about leaving them to go and pray particularly if they are non-Muslim. Nothing will happen to them in the few minutes we are gone. If we excuse ourselves for 5-10minutes, none will be the wiser. If they are Muslims, we can gracefully ask if they will also like to pray so that they can be provided with water for ablution, a hijab, and a rug to pray. One has to be discreet about asking if there are women present due to our off-salaah days.

Piling our salaah makes it harder to pray them all at the end of the day. We should try our best to perform them on time and persevere with it. 5 daily prayers every day. At least.

I will round off with one of my favourite quotes:

A busy life makes prayer harder, but prayer makes a busy life easier.

May Allah make it easier for us because we can do nothing without His Help.

DELAYING SALAAT Q5:6, Q9:54

praying child

image credit: reddit

This post is mainly for the female readers of this blog, particularly the Stay-at-home-moms (like me at the moment). The men seem to have a better salaah habit than we do due to peculiar factors that keep us away from salaah like our clothing, vaginal bleeding (physiologic and abnormal), the lack of a female section in many masajid, children, chores etc.

We do not want to pray outside our houses because we will need to perform ablution and risk exposing our hair, and face for those who wear the niqab. It can seem cumbersome trying to remove the gloves, flip the niqab to wash the mouth, nose, face; manoeuvre the fingers through the hair, wipe the ears, wipe the socks or wash the feet…Mentally calculating these can discourage some of us from making the effort outside our homes. Some of us are simply too shy to pray in the open. To make matters worse, most masajid do not have a female section. The few that have are inadequate with inappropriate ablution spaces. So, while we search for these, the prescribed time for Salaah passes.

Other times, our clothes are inadequate and may not be up to par for Salaah. Our sleeves may be short, our hemline not long enough, or veil too light. Sometimes, our daughter peed on us or our son decorated our clothes by throwing up his lunch. With children, 1001 reasons often exist to cause us to delay or even miss Salaah. Infants may be fussy and refuse to allow us perform ablution properly. They may refuse anyone else and insist on us carrying them for prayer. They may need to be cleaned up just after we’ve performed ablution or even begun praying. You can hardly concentrate because from the corner of your eye, you spy them trying to leap on their sibling from the top bunk or a desk! Or she’s been sick all night and just woke up with a cry. Sometimes, we are simply sleep-deprived and cannot get up to pray even though we hear the adhaan.

child on praying muslim back

image credit: tumblr

Our cyclical bleeding, bleeding after childbirth, prolonged bleeding from contraceptive use, abnormal bleeding can also throw a spanner in our works. Sometimes, we feel some wetness but the unavailability of a restroom to confirm can be annoying. Perhaps, our period has stopped during the day but we cannot find somewhere convenient to bathe. Other times, our menses go on for longer than is usual and we become confused on whether to go ahead and perform ghusl and pray, or wait it out. Other times, we forget to even perform ghusl!

Associated with this is pregnancy, hormonal changes and the weather. Sometimes, we just don’t feel like praying after the long break after childbirth bleeding. We seem to fall out of the habit of being regular and punctual with Salaah after cessation of our menses. Other times, it’s the weather that’s too cold for ablution or too hot to wear the hijab for prayer.

For young mothers without help, any free time is spent rushing to complete house chores or catching a nap before one of the kids wakes up. Before the chores are completed, the patter of little feet can be heard approaching us and it continues. It can be very discouraging for a mother to get up to pray when she knows she has to rush it or cannot pray with the attention she desires.

I bet we can think up more excuses/reasons/challenges but that is the point; these are excuses, challenges meant to be surpassed. We just have to strike a balance constantly and make Salaah a priority instead of a burden. Allah knows the challenges we face and even if others do not seem to get it, the Prophet (SAW) did:

Narrated `Abdullah bin Abi Qatada Al-Ansar i(RA):

My father said, “Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Whenever I stand for prayer, I want to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I would shorten it as I dislike to put its mother in trouble.” Sahih Al-Bukhari 868

 

Suggestions on how to overcome these challenges in the next post in sha Allah.

I would love for you to share any peculiar challenges you may have (had) too.