Saturday, April 14, 2012

From bad to best.

It keeps happening. Whenever I try to do too much in a short amount of time and I think "I got this—it will take me max 10 min to get there" then the freeway's closed but I skip the detour because I think, "I can do better than that dumb road, right?" So there I am, driving around the curves of a lake (which is all the time here in MN) behind some guy in a Buick going 23 mph while listening to AM radio.

Long, painful story short, similar things kept happening this morning and I was way too late to class to set up the tea and goodies (again, extreme irony from yesterday's post duly noted). I hate to be late.

Full disclosure: I stole this from a Pizza Hut® ad.
How did they know the #1 lie told by people in my community?

Some nice people jumped in though and we got everything done. Kind of.

I'll put exercise here because what I did after finally arriving to class was haul about 127 lbs of stuff basically by myself. Really, it was all my fault. I didn't tell anyone to meet me early, and I forgot all about the UofM Campus Gestapo who will tow your car for even THINKING about leaving your car in front of the doors for more than 10 seconds. I had a little fake two-wheeler which some stuff fit on but after 3 trips back and forth, I knew I was done with my exercise for today. High-Five! 

Health Tip of The Day: Fill half your plate with veggies. Everyone knows this, but do we do it? Do we want to? One way to make it appealing is with really easy preparations that take nearly zero effort. Today, these giant bags of baby spinach (good for another week!) were 2/$2.49 at Cub Foods (High-Five!) so I paired some with a pseudo-gourmet frozen pizza and my mom's awesome "buttermilk" dressing: Take a small spoon of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of milk, some black pepper, salt, and sugar and mix well. Adjust as needed. Dress spinach greens with this and eat/smile.


After I was taught a lesson in getting my act together, the day got better and better, especially as the class progressed from "Wow this is great" to "OMG can everyone see me crying?" I was wondering if people of other faiths have these kinds of transformative experiences when learning about their religion. I sure never did when I was a Christian, but we didn't really have the calibre of teachers that I have access to now. Where I went to church it was basically Pastor Dan who really had no idea how to connect with us and the only thing I learned was that "Lock-In" was code for "Church-Sanctioned but Unsupervised Make-Out and Drinking Party".

I read a tweet or something that said "In Islam, the celebrities are our scholars". While this can have dangerous effects with some people becoming elevated to "Sheikh" because they speak well or know some Quran, for the most part, it's a really beautiful thing. For example, Muslims come from all over the world to learn to recite Quran from Sh. Waleed Idrees Menesee, a local scholar here in Minneapolis. A professional football player took an AlMaghrib class with me and I didn't even know he was there until halfway through the class. He came again to the last class and it was so great just having him be one of the brothers. I'm sure he appreciated it too.

Why am I talking about this? I guess because this is my blog and no one will stop me. But also because it's just such a phenomenon for me to see 200 people, mostly girls aged 18-22, sitting for eight hours a day, Saturday and Sunday, sometimes for two weekends in a row, just LEARNING. Not texting, not chatting with each other or "liking" on facebook, but sitting absolutely RAPT with attention at what they are hearing. Some are on Twitter, but they are mostly tweeting class content. And I am one of them (but don't tell anyone I am no longer 22).

So that this doesn't become a gargantuan post, I will just copy some tweets from today's (and last night's) class on Meaningful Prayer with Abdul Nasir Jangda:

"Whenever someone rushes through Surat al-Fatihah, a tajweed teacher dies inside."

"In classical Arabic, the word Siraat (path) has no plural. The other word for path, Sabeel does."[Siraat is used in Surat al-Fatihah to refer to the one and only straight path that leads to Allah]

"The Prophet (salli Allahu alayhi wa salaam) said, "The worst walimah (wedding) is one at which the poor people are not fed". [Referring to our messed-up cultural priorities]

"Salah (prayer) is the anger-management plan for the believer." [It incorporates every suggested method for calming you down when angry: Seeking refuge from Shaytan, making wudu', going from standing to sitting, then to the floor]

I hope these gave you some idea of the benefits of the class for those of us looking to connect more closely with Allah through our prayer. The part where I cried was when he told the story of the companion Ammar (radhi Allahu anhu). His parents were killed for accepting Islam after him. After this tragedy, he built a masjid (mosque) for the Prophet in Quba so he would have a place to go when traveling and so that others would always have a place where they could feel welcome. Allah promised to reward him for every single masjid built since that one, and that continues after 1400 years mashaAllah.

Insha Allah I didn't bore you too much. I wish I could somehow better convey this information. May Allah make me of those who benefit from His knowledge and help me share it with others without error. 

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