Prayer is not merely a chore or a daily requirement. It is not a key for one’s entrance to heaven, nor does it promise such a notion. It is key to recognize the habitual act of the salat as a mean to be Present and connected to the heavens and cosmos at a particular time. In a sense, the occurrence of the salat at such metaphysically critical hours is to assert and remind us of our connections to the macrocosm.
The five daily prayers in Islam occur at pivotal points of the day- before sunrise, noon, before sunset, sunset, and post-sunset. Traditional cosmology and astrology have noticed a certain cosmic opening during these hours. There is no doubt that this is the reason behind the prayers being fixed in such a pattern. In fact, if one even looks at the Hindu tradition , its prayers and meditation methods are designated at similar hours , with a particular emphasis on the practice of mantras and meditation before sunrise.
Ultimately, the salat is a cosmic invitation to the infinite abode during the sacred times of the day. It is best for one to initiate the prayers right around the time of the azaan, to ensure that the flowing grace and light reaches the soul. We can always makeup the prayers if missed or forgotten, but in a sense when one has missed out on this time of sacred opening, one has missed to be Present. Salat is not a checklist that has to be marked off, rather it is a practice for those who wish to feel the pull of the universe right here, right now, in its own sacred manner.
Thus, I ask you to open your hearts to the cosmic pull and engage in the sacral opening during the times of salat. Be conscious of your intertwinement to existence, from a single particle to the infinite stars, and learn to cherish the moment rather than view it as a requirement. Feel the vibration of the words throughout every limb, experience the endless capacity of the soul within the finite body, and soak yourself into the showering grace of that time.
Once again, I reiterate that the five daily prayers are ringing bells to remind us of our existence. We have five official opportunities on a daily basis to be aware of this eternal consciousness, and if a prayer is missed, then there is an opportunity for the next. Do not allow these simple and abundant reminders to go to waste. The salat is not a system or a requirement for being a good Muslim, but transcends all of those parameters. It is a merciful call from our Creator over and over again. So be Present- feel the energy of the stars and heavens, tune in to the holy sound of the azaan, be united with your Lord here and now— that is really all that it is about, and God knows best.
I don’t grow a beard for religious reasons, or for any reason that could place me along the spectrum of being a hipster (though, I will admit, the thought of it is appealing as a disguise if for nothing else). No, I keep my beard because a thick black beard on a brown male disturbs people; it makes them uneasy and allows for the insensitive bigot in them to come out and play.
I keep a beard because if I was white, no one would question it or treat it or me otherwise. But because I’m brown, everyone suddenly pays attention. They do everything with suddenly more caution, shift their eyes more, breathe heavier. And most of all, are waiting for an opportunity to throw generations worth of vitriol my way (a large majority of which has undoubtedly been passed down from their parents. and their parents before them, and so on).
And I can’t wait. Because you see, it is in these moments that a human being is not only this vile, inconsiderate, and in an overall deplorable state, but also the most vulnerable to revealing their weaknesses: that they, as people, are not fortunate enough to want to share in the story of another people, or perhaps were not fortunate enough to be taught to share in the journey; to act as a neighbour, or more importantly, a host (WE are the parasites after all).
No, there’s something more that goes untold in all that anger and rage against a coloured body, but above all the fear. The fear of losing ground (or jobs, whichever way you want to look at it), the fear of changing one’s ways (arguably to a better one but who wants to argue with the dense and the dull), to give way to the future (full of unseasoned food and microwave dinners? - I think not! and to think they call US villains??!!).
I mean, come on! If I inherited this land from my birth after my forefathers had raped and pillaged and forcefully taken it from people who had potentially lived on it for centuries, and then suddenly some aliens showed up one day and had said that they left everything behind for a new life here, well damn I’d be afraid of them too. Because starting over from nothing is impossible, even frightening, to comprehend to people who started with everything.
So when I am told to trim my beard, or cut it, or rid of it altogether by people who care for my wellbeing, I scoff at the idea of giving up such a valuable opportunity at performance art. Because my beard not only exists to disturb people who harbour negative feelings against me, but to remind them that I exist. And that I will go on existing despite how they feel. And that the stronger they feel, the more willing I am to exist to remind them, to demand from them, my claim of space and the respect that I duly deserve.
Nav K, the revolution growing on my face (on being a black-bearded, brown super villain)
So I have a “Facebook friend” who was celebrating and having a good old day chatting on Facebook about how the Muslim ban was a good idea. Today, she’s upset that her tires got slashed and she was stranded hours from her house because she had a Trump poster in her backseat. Now she’s upset that she’s been left stranded somewhere because of her views. I’m just like, gee isn’t that just terrible to be left stranded in an area because your views don’t mesh with others?
Probably my most messy entry, there was just so much to note down. This is from a khutbah by Dr. Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, called Concept of Tawbah and Attaining Allah’s Forgiveness. It’s on Youtube too if you’re wondering :-)
I made this post because of [this] lovely anon. I had a lot of fun talking to you all and thank you to everyone who replied to my msgs and thank you for agreeing to be on this list! I hope you know how amazing and helpful that is for LGBTQAI Muslims who think they are alone. Special thanks to leighcuen & allahmademequeer for sharing the Queer Muslims Masterpost with me xx
Me trying to be a good human being and learn about another culture/religion: *Taking notes* Okay so…name does not define religion…*more scribbling of notes* Muslims may prefer to marry someone with the same faith, okay, got it…So that’s how prayer works for them okay *still taking notes*
I'd love to see a post on writing Muslim characters. What sociocultural traits might they have that you wouldn't know if you weren't Muslim? I know there are many varieties of Muslim and I know not to make my character a terrorist, but I could use some help with the nuances. Thank you.
While this is a subject we all care about here at FYWH, this is something that falls outside our personal experiences in any way that would even scratch the surface of this topic. I hate to pass the buck, but … let’s get you started on some good starting places.
[To any of our Muslim followers: See note at end.]
The Writing With Color blog has a lot of resources for you to start with your research. Here’s a list of just some of their resources for Muslim characters/Islam, and you can find more through the search function of the blog.
It’s good that you recognize that “Muslim” is not a monolithic designation and that Islam has a rich and complex belief set and history. I hope you are able to find a more specific country/culture/generation to hone in on. Once you do that, you should be able to find plenty of reliable texts for the more factual knowledge and history you’ll need.
To help combat religious illiteracy of all types, including about Islam, Harvard University has launched the Religious Literacy Project; other free resources are listed in this article (check out book rec slide show at the end of the article; more below).
If contemporary society is your focus, Al-Jazeera has tons of stories, profiles, news, videos, etc… that can help round out your knowledge of the Middle East and the Muslim experience around the world. [They produce content on many topics, not just those relating to the Middle East or Islam, fyi.]
Nothing will help more than finding a Muslim beta reader, too. Or just someone you can discuss things with as they come up in your writing. I haven’t gone through to see any specifics, but we’ve got links from our tags for beta/prepub help. Like this. This tumblr, tho on hiatus for new content. And help for giving and receiving criticism.
You might want to keep an eye on this project, too: Dinner With Your Muslim Neighbor. There’s one video that’s been made and featured on NBC News, but another is in the works. Real people getting together and getting to know one another.
Here’s a list of not-YA novels that shows just a bit of the breadth of how Muslims live (and have lived in the past) around the globe – though it is one person’s choice of books, just be aware. And here are some YA novels.
(Not So) Final Note: I’d be happy to collate suggestions from our Muslim followers, too, for a follow-up post. Resources, experiences with cultural ignorance, good websites, etc …
One of the things that fuel and motivate my weight loss journey is one day being able to wear a swimsuit at the beach. It’s a pretty common goal for anyone who’s trying to work on their dream body. But to me it’s so much more than that. One of my favorite places to be is the beach. It’s a place I hardly ever go despite living in New Zealand.. we have some of the most beautiful beaches. I’ve always been super covered up when at the beach, not only because I’m very self conscious about my body and been bulled a lot but also because I’ve been raised to cover up and dress ‘modest’ because of Islam and not show any skin. So the thought of one day being in one of my favorite places, looking cute and giving modesty and the religion that was shoved down my throat so long the middle finger makes me want it even more. It’s going to be a very liberating moment and I can’t wait to experience it one day.
Seeing a Pakistani-American comic secure the romantic lead in a Hollywood film would be a rare delight under any circumstances. But what makes “The Big Sick” all the more remarkable is how little fuss is made of it. In the film, we see Kumail and his family eating and laughing and goofing off, fighting and (after a spell) making up, just like the actor’s real family. It’s a vision of a Muslim family, Mr. Nanjiani notes, rarely seen in American film. (x)
no school today, so i’m trapping myself in my dorm’s study room to get things done! i have a brochure (which i’m getting paid to do!) a booklet, and an infographic to make, + i have to study for an exam on tuesday. hopefully i get to check everything off my list before dinner time!