Posts from August 2014

What I watched: Work smarter

August 25, 2014

What I watched: Work Smarter by Shawn Achor
I love Tedtalks <3. This video is about "positive psychology". Sometimes when I hear people explain positive psychology I am greatly turned off because it seems to be lowering the degree of societal impact to a point where it makes the idea of social change seem quaint. In some ways this video is no different but the way in which he presented the discussion makes it hard to find fault in the argument: Happiness starts from within.

“How do I get married?”

August 18, 2014

I have been contemplating this matter for some time. Both because it effects me personal and because I have seen not only family but also friends, acquaintances and strangers have difficulty in the issue. The issue is getting married as a western (specifically American) Muslim. I’ve been in many rooms filled with men and women complaining about how hard it is to find a spouse.

The part of it that is funny is that if both men and women want to get married, they are both in the same room, with the same concern, what is making it impossible for these people to get married? To meet each other? To express interest? That part is the joke. That people could desire the same thing but find no means by which to reach their goal.

But, of course, it isn’t funny. We truly don’t know what to do. I think I will scream, and I know I wont be alone, if yet another knowledgeable person responds to the question of: How do I find a spouse? With the worse answer known to man “google it”. Of course they don’t literally say “google it” but in essence this is exactly what they say. “Try “such and such” muslim marriage dating site”. Though those of my generation thoroughly embrace the Internet in most matters of our life, love –for many of us, is not one of them. It is not that people can’t or haven’t found their spouse on the internet, once you are married who cares about the details of how you met your spouse? It is that to say “Google it” points to an extreme lacking with the Muslim community.

If I want to learn Islamic knowledge, if I want to buy halal meat, if I want to find Islamic clothing do I have to “Google it”? I certainty can, but I can also find it in real life. This is because all of these things are considered essential parts of our Islamic lifestyle. Yet there are very few proper channels by which to find a spouse. Those of us who do not come from parental backgrounds where our parents are at the forefront of our marriage process (though this also has its flaws) we end up having to go it alone. And alone can be a very lonely and heartbreaking process.

One of my beloved shuyuk once joked when a woman questioned him on the hardship of getting marries saying that there was a group of women in the same predicament who decided to dedicate their lives to Allah and forego marriage –the joke was not received well. Women and men go through years of sadness and burden at their misfortune of not being married. Because they want love, and companionship and the “marker of adulthood” that is marriage.

But the problem is not being taken seriously enough. Maybe that is because people do, most of the time, eventually get married. And yet it sits on me as a burden to know of the lonely people hitting thirty or above who have to sleep alone silently praying to Allah for someone to call there own.

I want so desperately for this “how do I get married” problem to be solved but for now dear reader I leave you with this: Once upon a time there was a very lonely man named Adam, God wanted to make him happy so he gave him Eve. By God’s grace we need to begin facilitating ways for people to find their companionship, their spouse in this life and the next.


Have a question or concern about Islam or the Muslims community that you’d like me to write about? Let me know below or email

I came

August 15, 2014

I came from kings and queens
And servants and slaves
Cooks and maids
Nobility and scholars
You can’t strip my honor
Maybe some of my ancestors were stolen on a boat

Maybe some were raped in the night
And whipped
Used at the hands of a slave masters’ grip
Maybe some only survived
By being the master’s pet
Maybe others were thieves
Who stole any freedom they could get
Maybe some ran away
Maybe some were killed
It doesn’t shake me that I’m not a product of all that is good
Some of those Africans were rotten and sick
Some were as close to God as you can get
Some of them were Muslim
And I know they prayed for me
Some were pagan trapped in a religion of lies and deceit
You want to know what this means?

That yes I came from kings and queens
Prostitutes and holy-women
Servants and freedom fighters
Uncle Toms and Nat Turners
Black skin is made up of many colors
They can’t strip your honor

If you want to be something, do something
Whether from a King or from a slave
They can’t stripe your honor
The only winners are those who end with a spacious grave

How to Wake up for Fajr

August 11, 2014

Fajr has always been tough for me. There are a few times in my life when I’ve actually enjoyed waking up or even woke before Fajr for extra prayers or stayed up after to read Quran. But, if I’m honest, Fajr (the early dawn pray) has never been a walk in the park. Today I’d like to share with you a few strategies that I hope will help you and have proven to work for me.

If you find yourself having difficulty waking up for Fajr please know your not alone. Waking up for Fajr is no easy feat but if you follow these tips something tells me you’ll have a better bet. First up, drink water before going to before going to bed. Not too much but enough so that in a few hours your body will wake up on it’s own to relieve it. It’s very difficult to resist physical bodily urges so your body will wake you up with no will power from yourself and you will (hopefully) be up for Fajr. I must say this isn’t fool proof since your body may wake you up at 3am and Fajr comes in at 3:30a so there may still be some will power involved in staying up long enough to pray.

Eat something. Very few of us can resist a tasty treat so why not use it for good? Promise yourself some hot chocolate or a bit of cake if you wake up for Fajr on time. I know it’s silly, but remember the goal. Even if you have to trick yourself or add an intention to your waking up for Fajr it’s worth a try.

Set your alarm. Why wasn’t this #1? Well because I find this to be the least fool proof of all. Many of us put our alarm beside our bed and when it rings for Fajr we simply ignore it. So my advice it to have about 2-4 alarms about 10 minutes apart and on different devices. You’ll be so annoyed that you’ll be forced to wake up and if you have enough cognizance to turn off four alarms hopefully you’ll convince yourself that you should just get up and pray.

Last and most importantly, make dua. Ask Allah in the night before sleeping to wake you up for Fajr. This is one I’ve been slacking on but I remember entire stretches of my life where I solely relied on dua and Allah woke me up for Fajr. The only issue with this method and why I stopped solely relying on it is that Allah would sometimes wake me up for Fajr 10, 20 or 30 minutes before the time and being the lazy girl that I am I’d just go back to sleep. So as the old saying goes trust in Allah and tie your camel.

So in conclusion making dua is the most important but it should be followed by action like setting 4 alarms. I would save food promises and bathroom runs (i.e. drinking water before bed) for more sever cases -like if you’ve been missing Fajr for more than a week, or for as long as you can remember. Lastly don’t forget if you miss Fajr make it up as soon as you can -this means any time. There are no time restrictions as to when one can make up a fard salah (that only applies to sunnahs).

Take care and Happy Fajrs. Also if these tips helped you let me know, email: & please reblog if you think these tips might help others.

Have some tips of your own? Please share below <3 Not Muslim? Let me know what you’d like to know about the Muslim daily prayers.

The one who couldn’t

August 4, 2014

In the name of God,
Once upon a time there was a man who had a group of students. He took great admiration of one of them and the rest grew jealous. There was nothing obviously great about this student, nothing particularly admirable. The teacher -seeing the animosity growing between them gave the students an assignment.

They were each instructed to catch and animal, slaughter him in a place where no one could see them and bring the animal to school the next day. The next day all the students brought their slaughtered meat except one, one who couldn’t. The teacher addressed him directly asking where his animal was. The boy began to explain: “I found an animal and as I went to find a place where I could slaughter him… there was no place where no one could see me -for everywhere I went Allah could see me.” The one who couldn’t was the favorite student of the teacher and never again was there a wonder as to why.

(This is a traditional sufi story, rewritten from memory slight details may be off but the point of the story is retained)
There are so many lessons to learn from this story. More then someone of my means could extrapolate but I will bring two of the most obvious. One is the futility of jealously. Sometimes we are jealous because someone has something that we want but if we only knew the reality of that purpose -who they were, the hard work they put in to achieve a goal, their personal relationship with Allah, we would be embarrassed. We would realize that that people has what they have for a reason and that we have no right to want want they have especially if we do not possess the qualities they have. Which is not to say that everyone “deserves” the blessings bestowed on them by Allah, but that we simply don’t know so why waste our energy on jealousy when we could be gravely mistaken?

The second, is of course, the entire reality of our lives: Allah. We cannot escape Allah through any means whatsoever. He is in fact the only reality, which the favorites student knew. You cannot go anywhere where Allah is not. You cannot do anything in the absence of His presence. We all know this to some degree but this student reached the level of ‘Ihsan’ (excellence) where it was a complete reality for him. In sha Allah, we could learn a lot from him and maybe the result would be that we to become a favorite, of Allah, the most high.

=One should be as one was before when God was and nothing besides=

All rights reserved © Fig & Olive 2015 · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie