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!

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PAYING VISITS Q33.53

Narrated Abu Musa (R.A.):

The Prophet (SAW) said, “Set the captives free, accept the invitation (to a wedding banquet), and visit the patients.” –  : Sahih al-Bukhari 5174

Although I work in the hospital, I hate staying long when I visit patients (unless they would rather I stayed). I worry that I am burdening the patient with my stay and would rather pop in and out. I am also uncomfortable staying long at people’s houses for a visit. It feels like extending my handshake to the elbow. As a woman, I am aware of the hoops women jump through to make their guests comfortable at their own expense and it seems unfair to take full advantage of that.

We should not visit people unannounced unless we are extremely familiar with them. There is really no excuse why anyone will suddenly drop by in this era of cell-phones, free emails, text messages and instant messaging. This will give your host time to prepare and possibly purchase or cook/bake what to host you with. Not all homes are fully-stocked 24/7.

cookies and milk

image credit: http://www.goodfon.su

As much as is possible, a non-mahram male should not spend the night in the house of a couple. It inconveniences the woman who has to observe her hijab in your presence. Personally, I cannot do without my hijab outdoors but once I am indoors, I toss it fast! A woman’s home is her sanctuary, somewhere she can let her hair down and dress down. You ruin this tranquility for her particularly when you prolong your stay; her only reprieve in her bedroom. Between the tropical temperature and special times like breastfeeding, her hospitality can quickly become hostility.

Fellow women who travel for visits with their toddlers need to be mindful of them. We should not leave them to run amok, destroy appliances, break dishes, defecate or urinate indiscriminately, and leave food crumbs in their trail. ‘They are just kids!’ No. Pick up after your children and caution them when necessary.

We should also endeavour not to make a nuisance of ourselves by staying out late, disrupting the peace in the house by playing loud music or having noisy friends over. Destroying property in their houses is also a big no-no.

Narrated Abu Shuraih Al-Ka’bi quoted Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying: Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously. The guest’s reward is to provide him with a superior type of food for a night and a day and a guest is to be entertained with food for three days, and whatever is offered beyond that is regarded as charity. And it is not lawful for a guest to stay with the host for such a long period so as to put him in a critical position. – Sahih Bukhari 6135

Also try to involve yourself in helping around the house and following the house rules. Take your dish to the kitchen and wash it, preferably. Clean up after yourself and make your bed. Assist by taking the children off their parents’ hands by playing with them or helping with their homework.

Do not pry into their affairs particularly if they are a couple and unless your advice is sought, or it is absolutely necessary, keep most of your thoughts to yourself. Do not take sides without listening to both sides of the story.

When preparing to leave, inform your hosts ahead of time so they can accommodate dropping you off at the airport or car park, into their plans.

Also noteworthy is that we should not convert our observations to gossip and tales by moonlight for our family members and friends. ‘Do you know the couple sleep in separate rooms? They must have quarrelled more than 5 times in the few days we were there!’

As the hosts/hostesses, we are duty-bound to treat our guests kindly. Having snacks, some juice or cake handy can save us embarrassment when friends pop in unannounced. We should be patient and accommodating and try to involve our guests in our activities. Time should be set aside daily to converse with them no matter how tight our schedule is.

We should also discuss when would be convenient for a reciprocal visit. No responsible individual wants to be the perpetual visitor. Make an effort to return the visit to keep the ball rolling.

And when they leave, we should see them to the door (or gate / bus terminal/train station/ airport) and let’s try not to make our relief obvious! 😉

 

THE BEHOLDER’S EYES Q31:14

Due to the plethora of beautiful ladies we’ve been bombarded with in person and in various media, one involuntarily screens people based on their physical attractiveness.

‘Ugly…Fat…Mmm, weird-looking…Short…Not bad…’

We may not even be as physically attractive as the celebrities we berate on the TV but since they are not beautiful, we feel they should not have made it to the big screen in the first instance.

On the other hand, we’ve got the natural/plastic beauties who regale our eyes with their mighty fine faces and bodies – bodies they were simply genetically blessed with by Allah or bodies they furnished themselves with because they could afford it.

With the make-up artillery at ladies’ disposal, it is quite rare to find an ‘ugly girl’ these days. Ladies who are not as attractive as they would like to be ensure they have someone to bankroll their high-maintenance lives.

But, hey! Who am I to judge? It’s a tough world out there, made ultra competitive by the few eligible bachelors swinging into the gay pool.

Suddenly, our eyes are cooled by matronly faces with tired eyes, framed by sparse greying lashes and brows, some extra flesh, and genuine bright smiles. On these honestly #nofilter faces, we see the laugh lines, wrinkles, visible pores, uneven complexion and weathered skin with age spots. Yet, their beauty oozes out of the screens and tugs at our heartstrings. Their feeble attempts to pout a la duckface mode with their photo buddies draws a huge grin on our visages.

‘Me and my lovely mum’, the caption reads. ‘<3 you loads!’

‘One in a million mom! I love you forever!’ another says with a multitude of emoticons.

‘Shout out to the most beautiful mother in the world!’ #nofilter #lovemymom #momsarethebest #mumsrock #awesomemummy

You look again and cannot but agree that even though those mothers are beautiful, your mother’s beauty is unrivaled!

Say a word of prayer for your mother today.

LIVE EACH DAY LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST Q3.102, Q63.9-11

We lost our class representative a few years after graduation. He was a vibrant young man, a politician on campus and had been our class rep for majority of our almost 7 years in the university. I had worked quite closely with him in our last year as officials of our student body organisation. The news of his death hit me like a ton of bricks. He had supplied me with materials for entrance examinations into residency training (as he had passed his) since we shared the same interest in specialisation.

Still shocking how he was said to have died in his sleep; healthy the night before, no complaints, no warning. I wondered if he had an idea his days were numbered. I wondered how and if at all, he had prayed the night before. If he had prayed, he must have had no inkling it would be his last. I pondered on how his parents and siblings felt.

He couldn’t have lived much longer than 3 decades but he had a lot to show for it; so much that even some of us, who might live to ripe ages, may not get to achieve. It is sad but it is life. ‘It’s not the duration but the donation’. He had donated a lot of his time to improving our welfare in our varsity. His footprint is still visible in the teaching hospital where we trained years after his demise.

image credit: exquisitefamilymortuary.com

image credit: exquisitefamilymortuary.com


Do our lives count? Are we waiting for a certain time in our lives before committing ourselves to Allah, helping people, giving charity, loving our families?

We should not feel like Allah owes us our lives. We may not see the next salaah. We might not return home tonight. We might not be awake this time tomorrow.

Let’s make the next salaah count and spend time in supplication to Allah. Who knows? It could be our last.

Did you know any young person who died suddenly?

CLUTTER II

continued from Clutter I

Advantages of regulating internet time

• Better money management: money will be put to better use instead of procuring more expensive phone, the latest gadgets, internet time, or spending money on gaming and pornography sites

• More productive and liberating lifestyle: you will be able to read the Qur’an more, pray more, sleep better, enjoy relationships, exercise and be more confident.

• Healthier life style with possible weight loss: you will be more active instead of sitting on your rear all day. Bad postures from sitting behind a desk all day will also reduce, saving yourself from low back pain later in life

• Promotes imagination and creative thinking: being online all day moulds your thinking and stunts fresh ideas making your ideas cookie-cutter images of all you read online. If you read what everyone reads, you know only what they know, right?

• De-clutters your mind: weeding out all that unnecessary information overload allows your brain ‘purge’ itself and retains information better

Solutions:
• Have a buddy check on you at various times of the day. Be accountable and honest with this person

• Weed out your bookmarks or speed dial sites (on Opera mini). Limit them to six

• When opening tabs, try to keep them to a maximum of 10. Once you are done, close that tab.

• Unfollow some perpetual but non-beneficial tweeters who clutter up your TL. Same goes for Instagram, FB, and other social media sites

• Add a couple of people who add more knowledge and value to your TL or feeds to make it richer. Also have live friends who you can talk to about daily events instead of tweeting about them.

• If you are use the BlackBerry Messenger or WhatsApp, talk to contacts who are prone to doing so, to stop sending you broadcast messages (BCs)

• Having a 1000 contacts on your cell phone, 80% who you haven’t contacted in 12 months beggars common sense. You really should delete them!

• Get a timer (not your phone and start to cut down on your internet time. Reduce an hour every day for a week, shave off 2 the next week until you reach a comfortable compromise. Keep it short and you will utilise your time online more purposefully

• Often times, our FB has been cluttered with all our family members, all our classmates since the last century, all our colleagues from several places of work, then all the FB pages we think might be interesting. It is often near-impossible to sieve the good from the bad so I would suggest opening another FB page (after all, it’s free!) and restricting friends to the bare minimum while you continue to ignore the other account as you’ve always done since you are always afraid to share your thoughts due to fear of your family or boss.

• Cut down on the number of gizmos you have: the more internet-connected devices you have, the more likely you will be online so maybe you will consider not renewing your phone internet subscription? Or leave your tablet device at home sometimes. Maybe.

• Upgrade and update your library to include books or magazines you love to read, toss out the old newsletters, magazines, and outdated books.

• Get a hobby and key into this, if you can, at those times you are most prone to go online

• Set a time for lights out. Once the time hits, go to bed. If you can’t sleep, make extra naflah, adhkar or read a book with your bedside lamp.

• Have off-days when you will not be online. At least once a week. Reward yourself on these days for fulfilling your promise. Penalise yourself if you have not been able to meet up.

• Bored? Play the your favourite recitation of the Qur’an, nasheeds, read the Quran, pray extra prayers, go on a nature or power walk, exercise, visit family or a friend, call a friend, read a book…the list is endless. Whatever you do, don’t spend all your free time in the sticky web.

• Last but not the least, deactivate notifications on your phone for all except calls and texts. The emails and instant messages can be read whenever you pick up your phone without the pressure the notification sounds bring.

Feel free to add more suggestions in the comment section and let me know how this works for you. I’m working on me too!

PS:

It’s been about a year I started blogging. I just saw the notification when I returned to my blog. It is unbelievable how time flies! 24 hours is beginning to seem insufficient.

A big thank you to the wonderful people who still follow and read my writings despite my inconsistent posts. I am truly honoured and grateful :D. Especially my dear mum who always reminds me to put up a post. ❤

It's a year already! Make hay while the sun shines, people!

CLUTTER I Q31.33, Q102.1-8

Those of us who have watched Oprah, or the satellite TV channel TLC will be familiar with people who have so much clutter in their homes, they can no longer live comfortably. They have a need to amass possessions and keep on doing so even when there appears to be no need for it. Their homes become unsafe and uninhabitable but they keep hoarding. They seem unable to click their ‘stop’ button.

We watch them and go ‘These oyinbo people sef!’ We wonder why these Americans have all sorts of strange problems. What we fail to see is how like these people we are.

Just as people clutter their homes, so do we clutter our minds with unnecessary information and data. We are addicted to the internet and waste several hours of our day trapped in the sticky Worldwide Web.

We loathe deleting non-useful contacts from our mobile phones; itch when we have not been online with the fear of having missed something; our eyes keep darting to the blinking notification light of our phones on the prayer rug as we pray; we look forward to our online friends more than our real-life friends…

We are essentially obsessed with being online. Let’s get real; what is the point in having all the info if we cannot utilise it? Why should we stack up on recipes if we can never make out the time to cook anyway?

Some of the causes and risk factors of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) are:
Boredom: from unemployment, Stay-at-home moms, ASUU strike, etc
Depression: from loss of a dear one, loss of job, break-ups, poor school performance, etc
Anxiety: from agoraphobia, low self-esteem, anxiety attacks, paranoia
Loneliness: from death of a loved one, divorce, break-ups, relocation, SAHM, etc
Availability of gizmos: smartphones, Ipads, laptops, PCs etc
Insomnia: funnily enough, 24 hr internet is one of the greatest distractions from sleep hence it worsens sleeplessness instead of improving it

Effects of IAD include:

• Inability to complete tasks both at home and at work
• Mediocre work from rushing to complete tasks to hurry to the internet
• Poor social skills as one would rather be with online friends than real life friends
• Distance from family and live friends and missing out on living real time
• Phone is slow, battery dies quickly and one is left incommunicado at inconvenient times
• Money is wasted purchasing extra batteries, more internet time, Wifi, gadgets, etc
• Difficulty in making simple decisions: eg. a patient comes in an you ALWAYS have to google to make a diagnosis. You cannot answer questions without a need to google first
• Accidents in the car, at home on the stairs, or involving the children due to poor monitoring

to be continued tomorrow in sha Allah…