Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do what you can.

Hi! It's raining right now, which makes me extra chipper. Watch out!

I will start off by saying I'm fasting today, and as I write this section, it's about 40 minutes until "breakfast" which is the meal we eat to uh, break our fast. It's also called "Iftar" in Arabic. There, you might have learned something new!

I'm not telling you this so you will be all impressed with me, like, "Ooooh, she went from 5:50 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. without eating OR drinking!" but because it's actually not that big of a deal for most people. I am one of the truly fortunate ones who don't get caffeine withdrawal headaches, super thirsty, or hyper-irritable (anymore) when I fast. Thank God. I'm just saying it because it's relevant to the topic of exercising and Islamic studies.

It's also funny because I just made these cute little parmesan and parsley croutons to go on some leftover potato leek soup and they looked so yummy I almost popped one in my mouth at Hour 13. That would have been an excusable accident but I'm still glad I stopped myself because after a crouton you really need some water.

Anyway, fasting can slow you down a bit, and it's actually a nice excuse to just take 'er easy after work. So my 20 minutes were easy-peasy today. It's fine.

Since I just got done eating and we said we'd take it easy, I decided to do a good ol' fashioned Working Girl-type chair workout. Confession: I've had the resistance band I used for this workout for over 5 years but NEVER used it. No time like the present!

Here's the video I just googled up and followed. I liked her, and usually these people are annoying, so that's fantastic. You should give it a try. It's conveniently 20 minutes long and didn't hurt at all.

In preparation for my Arabic 7 (Can that be right???) final on Sunday, I am memorizing some Ahadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, salli Allahu alayhi wa sallam). These are not from the Quran, which Muslims believe is the direct Word of Allah, revealed to Muhammad. They are things he said and people remembered. It sounds simple but without going into like a 47-page essay here, there are hundreds of thousands of these sayings and there is a whole science to determining which are authentic, including knowing every single person they were passed down to before written. It's INSANE in the way that computers are insane or how the diversity of sea life is insane, etc. My mind can barely deal. The bottom line is, it's not like those red "quotes" from Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) in the Bible—these are backed up by some serious scholars who have devoted their lives to knowing exactly what the Messenger said.
Today I am learning Hadith #9 from Imaam an-Nawawee's Forty Ahadeeth (Revisited, May 2008 - Tarbiyya Publishing). It's short, succinct, and makes everything really easy for us as Muslims:

Abu Hurairah 'Abd al-Rahman bin Sakhr, radiyallahu 'anhu, reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, say:
"Avoid that which I forbid you to do and do that which I command you to do to the best of your capacity. Verily the people before you were destroyed only because of their excessive questioning and their disagreement with their Prophets." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Here's an audio version if you want to hear the Arabic that I am memorizing:

This hadith came from an incident when people found out about the requirement to make hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca, a very difficult trip) and asked "How many times?" and to avoid making it mandatory to do it more than once, the Prophet kept quiet. But the people kept asking. So he told them not to ask anymore, but to just do what they can.

Basically it's simple: Don't get your undies in a bunch about trying to do too much. Do what you are able. But don't think that gives you a free pass to do what was forbidden, for avoiding it is easy and everyone has the capacity to not do something. But when people ask too many questions, they end up with higher standards than they can handle. 

So much can be gleaned from these few wise words. We had a two-hour session on it in class last week, yielding this photo which I took while marveling at how far I have come in my studies:

I hope I can recite the hadith without stumbling, but I won't be too hard on myself if I can't. All praise is due to Allah and a special thank you to a sister who shall remain unnamed for her patient assistance :)

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