Category Archives: Islam

Prayer packs: the savior of confused reverts worldwide

On the day of judgement, the first thing that we as Muslims will be asked about is our prayer.  Prayer, when done correctly, calms our soul, keeps us away from sins, not to mention fulfills our obligation to God. My point is, it’s really bloody important! But for a lot of reverts, learning how to pray proves to be a challenge in itself.

When I first reverted, nearly 3 years ago now, I had no idea how to pray and I did not know any Muslims who could show me. So, I did what I do whenever I’m unsure about something…googled it! And oh, how complicated the results turned out to be. So many movements to remember but most overwhelming of all,  giant lists of things to memorise in Arabic – a language I had virtually never been exposed to before becoming Muslim. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know where to start and unfortunately, astaghfirullah, that lead to my not starting at all.

Fast forward a couple of years and alhamdulilah I began to meet Muslims and slowly started to practice the 5 daily prayers. This time I had the help of a basic ‘how to pray’ book along with the bits and pieces I’d learnt from websites in the past. I started making some Muslimah friends and as soon as they saw me pray they told me that I was doing a number of things wrong. Looking back, I was all over the joint. Each time I had to pray, it was taking me something like 20 mins because I just had no idea what I was doing or what I was supposed to be saying so I would do all these weird things I’d learnt from a myriad of questionable sources and, probably my own imagination. Not to mention, I still only knew a couple of lines of the Fatihah in Arabic and just recited the rest in English.

I do not doubt that there are many reverts who have had similiar problems with learning to pray. If you don’t have a Muslim there holding your hand through your reversion, things can be tough. Even if you do have someone to guide you, they may not always have the correct information. And this is why I wanted to mention the ‘My Prayer Project’ (http://www.imanprojects.com/myprayer/).

This is an Australian based dawah initiative to help establish the prayer through providing free prayer packs to anyone, anywhere in the world. All you have to do is request a pack and insha’Allah you will receive a free booklet, instructional dvd and guided prayer mat. Masha’Allah it is worth it for the dvd alone which walks you through each of the daily prayers, step by step which is perfect for the confused beginner. Even if you think you know how to pray, it is a handy resource to have so that you can check that you haven’t over time forgetten something important (it happens!). The instructional prayer video on the dvd can also be found for viewing on their youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/ImanProjects.

Alhamdulilah the demand for these packs is high but unfortunately, the organisation is struggling to keep up with it financially. So please brothers and sisters, make a donation on their website by sponsoring a pack. Sponsoring 5 prayer packs costs a mere $AUD50 and it has the potential to make a world of difference to somebody out there, not just in this life but the next insha’Allah. And of course we cannot forget the huge reward we ourselves gain for helping our brothers and sisters fulfill the obligation of prayer.

May Allah make us all of those who love to obey Him and help others do the same. Ameen.

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Yes, I am a ‘Fascinating Womanhood’ fan…

Salams all,

I wanted to speak about something which I’ve noticed has come up quite a few times now in the small but masha’Allah very active ‘wives of Saudi men’ community. For anyone who is/was involved with a Saudi, you will know that it’s rarely simple or easy to maintain such a relationship. Marriage is never easy, and marriage to a Saudi has its own additional, very unique challenges. There are times for all of us when we go searching for some sort of guidance on how to improve our marriage.

However, I actually began searching for this not long before I married. I knew as a Muslim wife there are high standards for me and it is very important that I fulfil them to the best of my ability but honestly I had no idea how.  For instance, I knew that I had to obey my husband in all that is halal but I had no idea how to go about this and I couldn’t seem to find any Islamic resources outlining how this works on a practical level. The only ‘wisdom’ I possessed in regards to marriage was what I had learnt from the Western society I live in.  That was not helpful at all and obviously hadn’t been much help to others within this society if contemporary divorce rates are any indication of marital success.

So, one day I fell upon a comment on a blog post I was reading, in which someone mentioned a book called ‘Fascinating Womanhood’ by Helen Andelin. In the crudest terms it is basically a vintage 1950s housewife-esque guide to pleasing your husband and having an awesome married life. I’d always been curious about this generation of wives simply because, unlike the current generation, their marriages tended to last and their dedication to homemaking (whilst looking a little bit fabulous) also had its allure. And yes, I have heard all of the arguments saying that ‘yeah the marriages lasted but doesn’t mean they were happy, they only stayed because they were too dependent to leave’. I’m sure that was true for some women but certainly not all.

So, I came to this book with an open mind and it has become one of my favourites. It goes against almost everything we are taught to think about our husbands and marriage in Western society but it all makes complete sense and with a couple of exceptions, it is in line with Islamic teachings and the most fabulous of all is that I can personally testify to its effectiveness. After reading this, I was horrified to realise how badly I had treated my husband in the past and how I must have hurt and disrespected him without even realising, because in mainstream Western society, what I did was acceptable and normal. I was always trying to prove that I was just as good and capable as him if not better. I had some serious feminine pride issues which I think I share with most other women raised in this society.

All in all, this book has motivated me to be the best wife and insha’Allah one day the best mother I can be and to cherish those roles rather than seeing them as something to run away from or put up with. Applying even just some of the principles has greatly increased my love and respect for my husband and motivated me to improve myself both inside and outside. It has even lead to me becoming more feminine to the point that my husband even commented on how masculine I now make him feel. Alhamdulilah. And knowing how important that is to a man now, I consider that a real achievement.

So, I would like to humbly recommend this book to those of you out there who, like me are married to a Saudi. I pinpoint this particular nationality because, as one of the sisters said, Saudi men tend to be especially masculine and in my opinion they expect their wife to take on a more traditional feminine role to some extent. Most Saudi’s have grown up in an environment where traditional gender roles are observed, so naturally, they expect something similar from their own wife and marriage as a whole. I don’t think it is often said aloud, and to be fair, they may not be conscious of the fact that they expect their wife to be like this and only realise they had those expectations when their wife does not fulfil that role.

I’m certain that this happens often, and like I mentioned earlier I had experienced it previously (even if I wasn’t aware of it at the time!) because Western ideas of marriage and gender relations are heavily influenced by modern, Western feminist thought which assumes that men and women are equal and as such have interchangeable roles. The concepts of masculinity and femininity and gender roles are completely diluted to the point they are now considered largely outdated. And needless to say, from where I stand it seems that traditional gender roles are very much the norm in KSA and are re-enforced by Islamic teachings. When a woman chooses to be a housewife in a Western country, people think she is absolutely mad, especially if she has no children because they see it as her being lazy and expect that she will be bored and wasting her talents etc. In KSA, again this is only judging from what my husband has told me and what i’ve gathered from others living there etc, being a housewife is viewed as your right and a legitimate choice (when it is indeed a personal choice).

So, for those of you interested in reading ‘Fascinating Womanhood’ but can’t find it the book shop here is an e book which is based on the book and shares most of the main concepts through a narrative. It’s written in a bit of a cheesy way but it gets the message across! http://www.ebookdb.org/item/295/SECRETS-OF-FASCINATING-WOMANHOOD

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