34 and Never Been Kissed

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So I’m 34, still single, and a virgin. Yep, contrary to popular belief, those of us still exist – I owe it to my faith and my human biology background (well, the virginity part i.e.). I’m sure you’ve heard that in Islam, we’re not allowed to engage in pre-marital sex before marriage. I take that to heart. Moreover, I’ve studied the effects of different hormones on our bodies and mind from sexual intercourse, and thus, don’t want to offer the cookie, so to speak, unless he’s the right one, which I’m on the look-out for.  Besides, I’ve seen way too many heart-aches to want to intentionally put myself through it.  I’m not ready to start writing poems about it either. 😉

This year, I’ve had better prospects when it comes to love and marriage. (And no, I don’t do that whole arranged marriage thing.  That’s not even from Islam, it’s more of a cultural thing – the subcontinent to be more specific.)  I’m meeting better guys (thankfully), however, I still haven’t met the one that I’m willing to sacrifice the rest of my life and happiness for.

While they teach you that marriage is happily ever after, it’s truly not. It’s a roller coaster ride where half the time you’re preventing yourself from killing this other person whom you somehow once loved, and trying to remember why it was you loved them in the first place. So, if I’m going to put myself through that, then he’d better be the right one. While marriage has it’s challenges, it’s also equally as amazing, wonderful and rewarding too, making that sacrifice worth it. As with anything in life, it has its pros and cons.

Getting married is easy. It’s the staying married part that worries me, especially in our society today where most people carry divorce in their back pocket. People no longer try to fix a relationship. And with Muslims, marriage has become synonymous with having sex. If you want to have sex, get married. While it is one of the perks, marriage is more than sex. Many divorces have happened because couples realized they really weren’t a good match and were merely driven by their hormones. Generally though, many people jump right into marriage blindly to begin with, not really realizing what they’re signing up for.

I guess for some people, it’s just one of those stages of life you’re supposed to go through. You go to school, you go to college, you get a job, and you get married and have children. So, they end up getting married to the first person they fall in love with and figure that love is enough to maintain a relationship. If it’s love as in the verb where you’re constantly working on it, then yes. But if it’s love as in the abstract noun and infatuation, then you’re going to need a little more than that to sustain a relationship in the long run. Many, unfortunately, had to learn this the hard way.

And then of course, you have that pressure from others who expect you to have that box ticked by a certain age or stage in your life. When are you getting married? You can’t keep saying no. You’re clock is ticking. If you want to have kids, you better get on that soon. And even worse, you’ll get these: Don’t worry about finding the one. Just get married. If it doesn’t work out, at least you have a child out of it and you can raise him/her on your own. It’s no biggy. It’s kinda the norm now. And sadly, it’s not only older women who are saying this, but younger ones too.  So, the whole purpose of getting married, apparently, is to have a kid? Not to have a life partner, nor to love and be loved and share your life with someone you consider not only to be your lover, but friend too.

While I love kids and would love to have them, I’d rather raise my kids with a loving husband, who will be there till death does us part (and no, I don’t plan on killing him ;)). I won’t rush into marriage just because my clock is ticking and I want to have children. I believe that every child deserves to be raised by a mother and father and it’s healthy for them to see their parents modeling how to be a mother and father, and wide and husband. I want to marry a man who I’d want my son to grow up just to be like, and my daughter wanting to be married to a man just like her father – setting her standards as high as they should.

Now, because I’ve had many prospects, people assume that I’m just picky. But that’s far from the truth. Every time I sit with someone and go over my mental list (I’ve never written it down), they agree that I’m not asking for too much.

And no, I’m not a gold-digger nor high maintenance.  A man with good character who is kind, generous, educated, puts in effort and chooses to put me as a priority trumps a man with fancy cars, loads of money who pampers me with gifts but doesn’t have character and puts himself first. Well, while I’m at this, I’d also like him to have a fun-loving personality, a good sense of humour, to be athletic/active, family-oriented, and intelligent – yes, I’m a saposexual. Feed my brain and my heart, and I’m sold!

Then, once I’ve established that I’m not picky, I get the… but men are intimidated by you. Look at all the places you’ve been to. Where you’ve lived. What you’ve accomplished in life. To that, I’d have to say, boys are intimidated, but not men. Moreover, it’s also those who come from a different paradigm than me.

While I travel a lot, I’m not rich. For the love of God, I don’t even have a car or house. Women who travel, believe it or not, are actually less materialistic than women who don’t.

While I’ve always been a strong woman, due to my life circumstances, I’m actually not as intimidating when people do get to know me (outside of all the boxes they decide to put me in). Because of my job and where I’ve lived, they assume I was this STRONG BLACK WOMAN, until they speak to me and realize I’m this big kid in a woman’s body – lol – not but seriously, I am.  The Toys R Us commercial jingle was made for me – I never grow up.  Unfortunately, if you’re a single woman and successful (and black in my case), you’re automatically put in the STRONG BLACK WOMAN or the “she’s definitely out of my league” box, shooting themselves in the foot before even trying – smh.

Thankfully, I know who I am, and what I want in life. I won’t rush into marriage, nor settle, just to be married and have kids. Yes, I want to love and be loved, but that’ll just have to wait until I find my Mr. Good-enough. I know he’s out there somewhere; our paths just haven’t crossed yet.  Or as one of my good friend joked, “he’s busy trying to figure out which countries you haven’t been to.” 😉

Marriage to me is a serious commitment, one were both parities have to equally invest in. And, until I find that person who is willing to put me first (as I would him), and puts his words into action, then I’ll continue my life as a happily single woman who lives life.

And to all those 30ish single women who have yet to find their one, don’t rush and give into fear. You’ll find him; he’s out there somewhere looking for you. In the meantime, live your life, follow your dreams, and do anything and everything you wouldn’t be able to do once you get married, settle down and have kids. That’s why I travel a lot. ☺

Hate and Intolerance Has No Place in Canada

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Since the Paris attacks last Friday, a mosque in Peterborough was set on fire, and three Muslim women have been attacked here in Toronto on two separate occasions, days apart.

Just as the ISIL terrorists spew hate and terrorize, we have their equivalents doing the same, ironically, in defense of freedom and liberty.  Whenever Islamophobia is rampant, unfortunately, it’s us women who are at the receiving end of hate crimes.  Well, us and Sikh men (sorry Sikh men, but people mistaken your turban as being Muslim.  My sincerest apologies).  Because we are visibly Muslim (those who wear a hijab i.e.), people who want to take their frustrations out on Muslims or Islam take it out on us women.  And it’s almost always men, which I always find mind-boggling – very manly of them indeed.

The first attack was on a mother picking up her child from school who was attacked by two men, who punched her in her stomach, ripped off her headscarf, and stole her phone.  They hurled anti-Islamic and racist slurs at the lady before running off.

The second one happened last night where two women, also wearing hijabs (headscarfs), were verbally assaulted on the subway by three assailants, and one of the Muslim women pushed, before the perpetrators took off when a bystander pulled the emergency alarm.

Both incidents are being investigated and treated as hate crimes, and thankfully, the police are looking for them.

As a Canadian, I can’t begin to imagine how something like this could happen here, especially in Toronto where we are heralded as being one of the most multicultural cities in the World.  I am shocked beyond disbelief as this is very un-Canadian like.  The Peterborough residents who came out to rally around the Muslim community after the attacks on the mosque there, that’s Canadians for you.  These other people attacking innocent women and places of worship has nothing to do with the Canada I love and adore.  We don’t do things like this.  Hate an intolerance is very unCanadian.  But unfortunately, it’s happening, and it’s happening more and more now.

It was only three years ago that I got into a fight with some Islamophobe myself here in Toronto on Canada Day.  I was taking my younger cousins and niece out to watch the fireworks at Woodbine beach, and as we got on the streetcar from Woodbine station, I noticed a cellphone left on one of the seats on the bus.  So I grabbed it and headed up front to give it to the driver while my niece and younger cousins (4 altogether) headed to the back to find seats.  When I returned, my niece told me that the lady sitting two seats in front of us hurled some insults, which I wish not to repeat, at them (mind you, this women was in her mid 30s, my niece and cousins are all under 19 ), while I was gone because of their hijabs.  So I decided not to remain quiet and respond to this lady, who wasn’t at all amused.  How dare I respond?  I should just sit there and allow her to insult my family.  She threatened to come to the back to beat me up, and although I haven’t gotten into a fight in a long time and was probably rusty, I told her to bring it (thankfully, my mom put me in karate as a kid so I had something going for me).  She jumped from her seat, leaping obey the people between us and threw a punch at me, which I stopped.  She tried to hit me again, but I held her in place, holding onto her arms.  As people pulled us apart, she continued bad mouthing me.  Afraid that she would get arrested, her male companion ushered her off the next stop.  I had a talk with my niece and cousins after, telling them that they should never allow others to intimidate them, and to always stand up for themselves and others.  I also told them to always be aware of their surroundings.  Here on the bus, there’s cameras, and there’s a bus driver who’s responsible for your safety, so it’s a safe place to stand up for yourself.

Now some of you may say that I should’ve just ignored it, especially since I had children with me.  We’d have to agree to disagree on that, as I feel it’s important to respond and not allow people to intimidate you.  I actually get frustrated when I hear Muslim women being verbally assaulted on the buses etc., and them not responding back.  You don’t have to respond with profanity.  I never do.  But respond,  even if it is, “I’m sorry you feel that way.  Perhaps a little more knowledge and understanding would help you.”

The unfortunate reality is, whenever there is a Muslim backlash, it is us Muslim women who will be targeted.  Like, when Muslim women were being harassed here again in September during Stephen Harper’s niqab scare mongering debates to try to win votes in his failed attempt (thank God) to get re-elected as our prime minister for a third term.  Canadians let him know loud and clear that they weren’t going to let him divide us like that.  And now, after the attacks which shocked Paris and the entire world, we have it happening again.

As I’ve said before, I blame the media for this, as well as the politicians.  You want to increase your rating?  Get more votes?  Target the Muslims. Their great for ratings and getting votes since we are now the “other”.  That’s the perfect political strategy.  You see, before us Muslims, you had the blacks (and still do), the Japanese, the soviets, the Jews, you name it.  There’s always an “other”.  Just look at the movies and tv series over the years.  You’ll see who the others are over time.  Right now, my faith is up front and centre – Yippee.

So, in order to get better ratings, you have the media perpetuating the idea that Islam is behind these terrorist acts, like the CNN anchors, who expect all Muslims to take responsibilities for the attack.  And then you have politicians like “the Donald” saying that mosques should be monitored and that he’d possibly shut them down if he became president.  Funny thing is, whenever school shootings happen, or churches are burned, and people are killed by white Christians, the media never asks white people or Christians to take responsibility for those actions and apologize?  So why is it expected that us Muslims or anyone who is Middle Eastern apologize for the actions of mad men/women who if anything, oppressed and assaulted us by abusing and misusing our religion that we hold dear.  It’s clear that this has nothing to do with Islam.  Read the Qur’an yourself if you want to verify.  And do yourself a favour, stop blindly believing and passively listening to what the media and politicians are telling you to believe.

Due to the recent incidents here, I now have people calling me and telling me not to go out alone, to be careful, not to go on my daily jog in the paths near my home; but I’m sorry, I won’t.  I will not live my life in fear nor let those who are spewing fear and hatred get the better of me.  That’s what these ignorant hate-mongers want.  They’re not any different than the ISIL/ISIS terrorists who were behind the Paris attacks.  Hate is hate,  no matter what your religion, creed, colour, or nationality is.  Maybe I’m being naive, but I don’t want to believe that my fellow Canadians are intolerant and hateful people due to isolated incidents.

This Muslim chic will continue living her life the way she always has – without fear.  She’ll pray not only for Paris, but for Kenya, Iraq, Nigeria, Lebanon, Burma, heck the world.  The entire world needs prayers and healing right now, and we need to stop looking at our differences and go back to our shared humanity.  Better yet, as the Dalai Lama said, let us work for peace and not just pray.  I’ll leave you with some of his most recent statements in an interview with Deutsche Welle:

We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”

 

Furthermore, the problems that we are facing today are the result of superficial differences over religious faiths and nationalities.We are one people.”  Dalai Lama

 

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On Fridays (this is the ‘holy’ day for Muslims), I’ll be putting my Muslim hat on and posting posts dealing with the realities I’m facing as a Muslim.  This is the first of many to come. 🙂

Islam is a religion of reason and truth

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Islam is a religion of reason and truthI came across this meme today and couldn’t help but think how unfortunately, as an ummah (society), we have retracted from one of the glories of Islam, that Islam is a religion of reason and truth. As Muslims, we are supposed to be a nation of people who think and contemplate.

We are encouraged to seek knowledge, think at a higher level, and always taught to question things and not just to accept them as is without any proofs and reasoning. Allah tells us in Ar- Rum (chapter 30: verse 8): “Do they not reflect within themselves…” and in Al-Anfaal (chapter 8, verse 22): “Verily! The worst of (moving) living creatures with Allah are the deaf and the dumb, those who do not use their reason to understand…

So let us question what we are being taught and told, my dear brothers and sisters in Islam, and seek knowledge. Indeed, knowledge is empowering! For instance, if someone tells you you’re praying the wrong way, ask them for their proof. Don’t just accept it! It doesn’t matter who they are, whether they are our parents or a teacher. More importantly, study and read about why you’re praying and why you pray the way you do. Open the Qur’an, read the hadiths from Sahih Al Bukhaari and Muslim, go to the local mosque and attend the classes there. It’s not just enough to be a Muslim and just do as you see and are told. Understand what it is you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Reflect within yourself! And this doesn’t only apply to aspects of our religion, but everything! That is when you’ll be upon the truth.

I’m Sexy and I know it – Burkini Version

When I walk on by, all the guys wonderin’ if I be fly,
I walk to my beat, strolling on the street in my buriqini, yeah
This is how I roll, floral print, hijab outta control,
It’s the girl with the smooth flow,
And like Mary – yeah – I got the glow.saqueena

Ah, can’t look at my body
Ah, can’t look at my body
Ah, can’t look at my body,
Ya I work out!

When I hit the spot, this is what I see (ok)
Everybody stops and they staring at me,
I got passion under my material and I ain’t gonna show it, show it, show it
I’m sexy and I know it

Yeah,
When I’m at the pool, I don’t care nor bother to make grown men drool,
When I’m at the beach, all the girls be looking at me like I’m a freak, (what)
This is how I roll, come on ladies it’s time to go
We headed to the shop, girl don’t be nervous,
More material, less skin – get the respect you deserve (watch)

Ah.. Girl respect that body
Ah, Girl respect that body
Ah, Girl respect that body
Ah, and work out! 😉

Islam doesn’t need superheros nor superegos, but Muslims

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How many of us have come across an overzealous new Muslim or born again Muslim? You know, like yesterday they weren’t practicing, and all of a sudden today, they’re like SUPER Muslims on steroids. They got on this bipolar manic high and then all of a sudden, they’re working for the Hay’ah (Ministry of Enjoining the Good and Forbidding the Evil).

The funny thing though is, a lot of people like this end up enjoining the good that they’re on, like if they started wearing hijaab, they’re all on every non-hijaabi sisters’ case about the hijaab or the proper hijaab. Meanwhile, she’s still smoking but sees her ‘sin’ as less than the non-hijaabi’s. Or, if they stopped listening to Music, they’re all up in people’s hair about it being haram every time they see anyone listening to it.

It’s as if some people feel that if they’re doing or not doing something, then everyone else has to do it or not do it. Chill folks, we all have things that are a fitnah to us. Just like it took you a second to be all religious and mightier than though, it’ll take them a second too. :p  Hijaab may be easy for you my dear sister in Islam, but perhaps you don’t lower your gaze when looking at brothers and that’s your fitnah. How would you like it if every time someone saw you not looking down, they talk to you about it. And brother, masha Allah, so you stopped listening to Music, eh. Good for you bro; But yes, you don’t have to constantly talk about music being haram every time you’re with someone who listens to music. I’m sure there are plenty of other things that can be discussed, like the fact that perhaps your wife is on welfare, and you guys are supposedly “separated”; but somehow, she’s still pushing out babies. Ya, so that’s halal now, right?

Don’t get me wrong; The prophet did tell us to enjoin in the good and forbid the evil, but seriously, is how you’re doing it appropriate? Are you being judgemental in any way? Do you live, *cough*, in a glass house? Are you using wisdom when dealing with your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters? What is your intention in telling them?

Allah told prophet Mohammad this about his method of inviting people and giving dawah:

And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh­hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allâh’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allâh, certainly, Allâh loves those who put their trust (in Him). (Aali Imran 3:159)”

That’s what enjoining in the good is about.. gentleness and wisdom. If you’re gentle with people, they’ll respect you and wanna be around you. And eventually, you’ll get to them – it’s contagious – trust me! When you’re harsh or unrelentingly repetitive, you’ll cause people to leave you and often times, leave Islam all together. Now, imagine the day of judgement, when you’ll be held accountable for your sins, and one of them is causing someone to leave Islam due to your harshness? Ya, that’s what I’m saying!

So, instead of constantly judging people and telling people what to do and not do, don’t you think a better way to do it would be to lead by example?  As Muslims, we are supposed to exemplify the best characters, as the best amongst the Muslims is the one with the best manners. If you are someone of good character, your qualities will surely rub off on to them as we are all affected by the company we keep.

Abu Musa (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “The example of a good companion in comparison with a bad companion, is like that of the carrier of musk (i.e. perfume salesman) and one who blows on bellows (i.e. blacksmith): the musk carrier would either offer you (his musk), you would either purchase musk, or catch its good scent (on your clothing); while the owner of bellows (blacksmith) would either burn your clothes, or you capture a nasty odour (on your clothing) there from.” (Agreed upon)  

So, instead of the “Astaghfurallah” and “you shouldn’t and should bes”, stick around and be nice for a change – ya, that’s Islamic too.  Islam doesn’t need superheros nor superegos, but Muslims.  So you can take off your salafi cloak and slip out of your tableeghi spandex costume and say, “Assalaamu ‘alaikum (Peace be with you)”.