Re-education: Re-re-education

I previously wrote an entry under Experiences, about a coworker explaining to me the right way to approach men, so as not to scare them away.

I often wonder if there is some kind of academic program in Gender Studies. Maybe I’ll obtain a Phd in psychology and sociology, and develop my own field of study…AHA! A quick google search reveals that there are “gender studies,” but only the study of women and feminism. Useless.

I previously thought it was a joke, this idea that men have a fear of women, or at the very least, forward, blunt, strong-willed women. Then after a particular failed attempt, I thought “maybe this shit is real.”

Besides, my coworker had successfully befriended the man she was interested in, they had great times together, and he never ever approached her sexually. She said, “I asked him, ‘if I wanted you to write letters to me everyday, would you do it?’ And he said ‘yes.'”


I caught myself, as I felt my eyes begin to roll. I had nothing to say to this mockery of a love story except-


“It’s not game. He even bought a small diary so he could start writing me letters.”


“I know it’s hard for you to believe.”

I was convinced, for a moment. Even my Muslim friends tried to tell me that the “modern” way was a surefire way to find a husband. All these rules about gender separation and mahrams was out-dated. Islamically correct nonetheless! Just ineffective.

I tried to quietly re-educate myself, and tried to wrap my head around the apparent fact that the fiqh of marriage, which I dedicated so much (too much) time to was an idealistic approach suited for a utopian world. Some of my Muslim friends suggested that I get to know some of the doctors where I work; maybe they would come around to be Muslim if they really liked me! My ovaries ain’t big enough to try that.

Weeks followed and I’m hearing more stories of Muslims getting married from modern relationships. (A few years back I would’ve said “haraam relationships.” “Wahabi,” right?) I felt like an extremist. However, since I couldn’t get past the idea that a haraam-…MODERN relationship (I can’t believe I typed that) would probably be the last thing I do, then die in a car crash, be raised up in that situation and have to answer for all that shit along with my other sins, I decided to remain on the fence with no particular direction.

Last week, my aforementioned coworker asked me to pray for her. She’s not Muslim, so naturally I asked Allah to guide her to Islam.

She later told me that her friend we’d been talking about threatened to kill her in front of her two-year-old daughter.

“Now I see why y’all don’t believe in messing with the opposite sex unless it’s for marriage, and why you have family involved.”

I was very sad that she had to go through that. She and her daughter. They’re both ok, and the man she didn’t want to “scare” away is out and about…


“I want a divorce.” (Experience chronicles)

A sister I know called me, saying she and her husband were having some issues. Basically she found a text message in his phone.

Anytime my friends are struggling in their relationships, I feel scared. A “this cannot be happening” feeling. I know not all relationships will withstand the test of time or trials, but I feel like the greatest effort should be put forth to resolve whatever the problem is. Especially since we’re Muslims.

I told her I was sorry. I don’t know why, I just felt like I should apologize. She said her trust of him was broken, that she couldn’t stand to be in the room with him. She said she had packed, and was deciding on leaving. She was trying to figure out how to go about filing her divorce.

Over a text? Is this real?

I reminded her that as Muslim women, asking for a divorce over something that can be resolved was not a good look, and from my understanding, is a major sin. Alhamdulillah women can’t pronounce “talaq.”

She agreed, but she felt that he cheating on her. It was 4 lines, and 4 months ago. She gave me more details, and it was…bad. But still, a divorce is just so far over the top. Plus, I didn’t see the text as cheating. Extremely stupid, but not cheating.

I was in a rough spot. Trying to empathize with her, validate her feelings, while still trying to say she was overreacting. She understood there were worse things than a text message, although it is very hurtful. Stacking it up against all her husband had done for her and gone through with her, divorce shouldn’t have been entertained.

I accept the fact that it’s hard to be rational when you’re upset and hurt. Also, I know this type of reaction isn’t limited to women, so ladies don’t shoot me.

After talking for 2 hours, she decided that counseling was the best step to take, as Allah has prescribed. WHEW! Trials and tests are part of relationships, and (in my opinion) serve as a means to strengthen them. If the problems are resolvable and you value the relationship (whether it is spousal, parental, etc), give it the best chance to survive. Allah has given us the blueprint for resolving interpersonal issues, and Rasulullah (the Messenger of Allah) salallahu alaihi wa salam (peace and blessing upon him) is our example.

Mistakes and Misunderstandings

I love sewing.

When I make mistakes, I can just take the stitches out. No one can ever find out that I messed it up maybe 3-4 times. I just restitch, put a nice press in the seams, and no one knows I was too dumb to figure it out the first million times. Not that it’s defective when it’s done. It’s just easy to make it perfect even with past mistakes.

With nursing on the other hand, mistakes kill people.

I remember once when I infused total parenteral nutrition through a peripheral IV. It had 15% dextrose in it, and basically ate through the kids’ vien. It hadn’t been infusing long though; I noticed early on that his hand was a bit puffy, then pharmacy called and said the kid needed a central line.

One time I infused a unit of blood too fast. Without incident though; I’d been monitoring the kid every 15 minutes. Don’t know how the hell I calculated the rate incorrectly, or never noticed as many times as I’d been in the room.

Mistakes in both those areas have helped me learn to make fewer errors.

Interpersonal relationships don’t take kindly to mistakes. And mistakes in this area really haven’t taught me anything, or rather, I haven’t learned.

Misunderstandings were the undoing of my relationship with my mom. Somehow she has memories of shouting matches between us that I don’t recall ever happening. Since I’m unable to own those actions, she can’t totally forgive me. Being unforgiven is a poopy feeling.

I haven’t spoken to my sister or brother in a week. I’m sure they feel really poopy about that, and it hasn’t made me feel great. In sha Allah I’ll three-way them when I get off work, see if they want to go see “Jobs.”

The difficulty in undoing mistakes and resolving misunderstandings makes developing interpersonal relationships a real task. I’ve gotten better professionally, since nursing requires a bit of extroversion. But on a personal level, I still need work. The least I can do is try to keep the relationships I have intact, in sha Allah.

Parenting: Ready or not

I was 22, going to college, working, getting my deen straight, etc, when I had an 11 month old kid. Did you double read? I know.

My kid had been in foster care since she was 2 weeks old. The state of Arkansas had removed her from her parents custody. Her dad (my bro) called one night, drunk, begging our parents to “get his baby.”

First thought? “Oh hell naw! A baby? We don’t have the time or capacity for that! My parents are too old for this!”

I listened to my brother beg and beg our parents. It was pathetic. I don’t mean pathetic as in “ugh, pathetic,” but “*sigh* pathetic.” Ya know? Our parents agreed, and my younger brother and I both knew what that meant. We were going to be responsible for a very young child. I told my mom “If we get her, they better not ask for her back.” Attachment issues.

After almost a year of battling the state of Arkansas, Aaliyah arrived.

She was really chunky, didn’t have much hair for an 11 month old, was afraid of water, and couldn’t sit up very well. It was obvious that she was suffering some developmental delays. She had huge dark marks all over her; bruises we assumed. Nursing school later learned me that they were Mongolian spots. Aaliyah didn’t say much, didn’t crawl or pull up like a regular 11 month old. This, I thought, was gonna be rough.

Since I love bebes, and bebes (babies) love meh (me), I was constantly in her face. She wasn’t very interactive, and would only look at me like “what are you doing?” Her foster mom had a dog, so she would pant like a dog. The only other sound she’d make was crying.

Aaliyah was a really sad person. She would just eat and sleep. She never smiled, didn’t respond to playing, and wouldn’t babble. I remained constantly by her and I have no idea why. I just needed her to understand social interaction. I knew that she would come around, and I needed to be there in her face every second.

On the fourth day, I left her in her room so I could go in mine to get dressed. She cried and screamed like it was nobodies business. My mom and brother got her, but it didn’t work. I took her, and she was fine.

The mode was set. I was about to embark on a crazy 5 year journey.

The “born Muslim” assumption

I get tired of being labeled under the “born Muslim” assumptions, as if my life growing up was like that of an Arab or Desi kid. I constantly feel like I’m progressively being marginalized into a smaller and smaller category every time a new “group” of Muslims goes on a crusade. That’s my rant for the day.


The various articles I read about marriage and being single as a Muslim typically don’t apply to me. It’s good advice for people who fit the description. However there are very few articles addressing people such as myself (i.e. non-desi, sheltered person). Not only are most article’s written to address a certain demographic (i.e. desi), they usually only speak to one or two mindsets.

I will try to write about my experiences and mistakes so people who don’t fit the status quo can relate.

Re-education: Mis-educated

I started practicing Islam more, and my parents hated it. I took it so personally, I thought they hated me. They probably did. I still don’t know. Pretty sure now. Yup. They hated me.

I thought it was my duty to help other Muslims understand what they were doing wrong, how to repent, and that it’s all good. Gain knowledge, repent, cease, done! Right? But I didn’t understand the dynamics of the ego. Including my own ego.

I didn’t understand that the ego is so strong and does not want to be opposed. My parents had been Muslim since the late 70’s, so time in versus time spent learning, time in was more relevant. To them, I wouldn’t have ever been Muslim if it weren’t for them. How dare I insult them by correcting them.

My ego said that I was their savior, I was gonna show them the right way, Allah said,

O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…66:6

So that’s what I was doing. Panic mode. My parents are old, they’re gonna die! We gotta get all this sorted out RIGHT NOW before I die! Before we ALL DIE! They’ll understand, it’ll be great!

I thought that as long as I was doing it in a nice way, it was fine. Sometimes I wasn’t nice. Either way I was getting cussed out. Fail.

I thought I was doing good, and my parents not talking to me, or only talking to me to argue…or not talking but only shouting…was just the struggle I had to deal with and get through gracefully in order to enter Jannah. Yeah! Fool-proof plan!

In my quest for jannah, I ruined my relationship with my mom. Even listening to music with her and celebrating her birthday hasn’t repaired the damage. She’ll still argue with my on figh issues, alcohol based flavorings, hijab, etc. I don’t bring these things to her anymore. I just wanted us to be ok. Probably wrong to say, but I don’t care anymore if she knows right from wrong, I just want her to be happy with me.

She says she loves me, Alhamdulillah. I feel like a failure though.