With pouring rain since the early morning, today was a literal washout. So we all played hookey and stayed indoors watching movies, eating junk and crafting up a storm. Why not top the day off with some lazy photoblogging to boot?

Ivy is doing well masha’Allah. I’m over the moon that she’s in the 90th percentile for weight, and am humbly smug when people gape to hear she only drinks breastmilk. Eryn was on the lower end of the scale, and I quickly grew tired of hearing how small and hungry breastfed babies are. Bah, the baby contest is all in my mind anyway.

She’s such a chunky monkey, even her toes are hungry.

Eryn is going through an interesting transition at the moment. She’s terribly independent, but descends into spirals of despair each and every time she can’t do something by herself.

She now plays the role of “mama” to her own “Ivy” doll — and will nurse when I nurse, change when I change and speak to me as “the other mama.” It’s all very sweet until she can’t dress her baby the way she wants to. Why does no one ever mention that 3 year old tantrums are 500 times worse than the “terrible twos?”

I try not to laugh when she cries because the doll’s arm won’t move the “right way” or her baby-wearing comes in-between Eryn’s mouth and a tasty treat. I try anyway (not very hard though).

It’s tragic if she can’t get to her chips with the baby in the way.

This week millions of Muslims are performing the pilgrimage to Mecca — aiming to complete the Hajj rituals and fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam. The end of the Hajj will be marked with ‘Eid ul-Adha, or the “celebration of the sacrifice” commemorating Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.

So in gearing up for ‘Eid, we made a construction paper Ka’abah and a couple of sheep.

The one on the left isn’t so happy about the ritual slaughter — while the one on the right is totally saying, “Why so serious?”

I’ve taught Eryn the chant pilgrims say throughout the Hajj season and today we sang it while reenacting a couple of the Hajj rites — including circling around her new green paper Ka’abah. Green is totally the new black.

Here’s Eryn pretending that her purple monkey is Hagar and they’re running in-between the mountains, desperately searching for water.

Since Isma’il is being played by the brown monkey, I’m going to say that Ivy is the Angel. *awwww*

It’s nice that ‘Eid falls in such a special time this year. The leaves are changing colour, the air is crisper, Christmas decorations are showing up in stores and people are carving up perfectly good vegetables.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon making tissue paper ghosts.

boo.

One of my favourite posts to date is a story I wrote to commemorate Hagar’s struggle to find water in the desert.

I made the argument that under the pomp and circumstance associated with Abraham, the importance of the sacrifice and the religious weight of the Hajj season, she is often overlooked despite the fact that she is one of the most important women in Islamic history. She found the very well that allowed Mecca to flourish and become the centre of the Muslim world. Through her keen management sense and power she established a thriving community. She is the only woman to have a religious rite attributed to her life story. And it’s her womb to which Muslims trace their lineage.

She deserves more than passing acknowledgments. It’s rare to find just one piece out of the dozens of gawking, interfaith, revering, Islam 101 or cultural curiosity media coverage published at this time, that will actually mention her. Rarer still to hear her life mentioned at the mosque outside of the Hajj season, or without being overshadowed by her prophetic and revered husband.

Since writing that piece, I’ve heard wonderful sermons extolling the virtues of her patience and faith and personal accounts of friends — men and women — returning from Hajj 2010 who were told to truly reflect on Hagar and what she symbolises as they made their jog, completing the ancient rite by reenacting her search for water.

Now that Hajj is starting this week Friday insha’Allah, I’d love to hear more. Leave your thoughts, suggestions or finds in the comments.

Here’s an exert from my original piece:

The only sounds breaking the silence were of their feet grinding against the rough sand, an occasional gurgle from the baby at her breast, and the faint tinkling of her leisso. As her husband led them deep into the Paran wilderness, she removed her girdle — a colourful, woven cloth secured tightly to support her core as she recovered from the birth of her son. But tied loosely around her waist, dragging behind her, the leisso’s decorative beads bounced and chimed against the ground, covering their footprints. “If that barren woman wants me out of her home, then I’m surely not showing her where we’ve gone.”

After some time crossing a plain between two rocky hills, her husband stopped near a gathering of shrubbery and a lonely sarha tree. He unloaded a sack of dates from his back and untied her leather skin water jug from his waist. He set them down neatly at the tree’s base and turned to kiss her forehead. Before she could say anything he walked away.

At first she thought he was going to go meditate and wanted her to rest. So she removed the baby from his sling and held him while she sat down on the rough ground, took a sip of water and surveyed her surroundings. A tree. The two rocky hills. No people. No settlements. Nothing. There was nothing here.

The nothing stretched out in every direction meeting the horizon wherever she looked. In the distance two dust devils danced in a light wind — their dance made languid by shimmering heat waves rising from the ground. The oppressive silence surrounded her. Panic settled in when she glanced back at her husband disappearing in the distance and realized he was walking home. She untied the leisso and made a quick nest for the baby.

Running after her husband she shouted frantically, “where are you going? There is nothing in this forsaken valley! Stop!” Then, as realization of her situation set in, “To whom are you leaving us?” He slowed, and then stopped. His shoulders were slumped as if in pain. When he turned his head to reply, she thought she heard his voice break. “To God.”

You can read the rest here.

The only sounds breaking the silence were of their feet grinding against the rough sand, an occasional gurgle from the baby at her breast, and the faint tinkling of her leisso. As her husband led them deep into the Paran wilderness, she removed her girdle — a colourful, woven cloth secured tightly to support her core as she recovered from the birth of her son. But tied loosely around her waist, dragging behind her, the leisso’s decorative beads bounced and chimed against the ground, covering their footprints. “If that barren woman wants me out of her home, then I’m surely not showing her where we’ve gone.”

After some time crossing a plain between two rocky hills, her husband stopped near a gathering of shrubbery and a lonely sarha tree. He unloaded a sack of dates from his back and untied her leather skin water jug from his waist. He set them down neatly at the tree’s base and turned to kiss her forehead. Before she could say anything he walked away.

At first she thought he was going to go meditate and wanted her to rest. So she removed the baby from his sling and held him while she sat down on the rough ground, took a sip of water and surveyed her surroundings. A tree. The two rocky hills. No people. No settlements. Nothing. There was nothing here.

The nothing stretched out in every direction meeting the horizon wherever she looked. In the distance two dust devils danced in a light wind — their dance made languid by shimmering heat waves rising from the ground. The oppressive silence surrounded her. Panic settled in when she glanced back at her husband disappearing in the distance and realized he was walking home. She untied the leisso and made a quick nest for the baby.

Running after her husband she shouted frantically, “where are you going? There is nothing in this forsaken valley! Stop!” Then, as realization of her situation set in, “To whom are you leaving us?” He slowed, and then stopped. His shoulders were slumped as if in pain. When he turned his head to reply, she thought she heard his voice break. “To God.”

(more…)

Blogger love, fantastic female financiers, and a couple of crazy Saudis are on board for this edition of the Muslim roundup.

Again, if you come across anything of interest regarding Islam, Muslim women or Muslims in general and would like me to review it, answer questions, or just comment on it here, flip it to me via: w00dturtl3 {at} gmail {dot} com.

  • Voting is now open for the 7th Annual Brass Crescent Awards! This award aims to showcase the brightest and the best in the Islamosphere. Categories include Best Blog, Best Media Blog, Best Female Blogger, Best Group Blog, Funniest Blogger, Best New Blog, Best Non-Muslim Blogger, Best Series, Best Blog by Global Region, and Best Writer. It comes as no surprise that both MuslimMatters and Muslimah Media Watch have been nominated for multiple categories. So check out all of the nominees and give them some love!
  • Women are being tapped to fill an industry gap begging for scholars who are capable of advising firms on Shariah-compliant finance.
  • Islamic finance has embraced women relatively rapidly in its 30-year modern history, as burgeoning demand for expert lawyers and growing female education rewrite the rules of the business.

    As Islamic finance expands 15-20 percent a year and enters new markets from Australia to South Africa, so the need has grown for more Shariah advisers who can structure financial transactions according to Islamic rules that crucially include a ban on interest…

    This small circle of men dominate the boards of Islamic banks but there are now about 10 women Shariah advisers in Malaysia, home to the world’s largest market for sukuk, or Islamic bonds.

    The number of women Shariah scholars in Malaysia has more than tripled in the last five years according to some estimates.

  • This video has already made its rounds on FB, but if you haven’t seen Saudis in Audis you must. And if the insider Arab jokes are too much, check out Hey there Khalilah.

And I’m sneaking this one in: everything you wanted to know about Shariah but were afraid to ask. (thanks Hijabman.)

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